Post by scottenkainen on Mar 9, 2016 8:59:43 GMT -6
Day 17, turn 1a-2 for Ximo:
Saturnino still seemed to be upset despite Ximo's pacifying words. Had Baron Cornett really shaken Saturnino so badly, or was the wizard really upset about something else? Ximo was given no time to inquire further.
"If it was possible to delay our plans until this matter with the baron was rectified, I would. But we must proceed with the plan to infiltrate you into the cult. Emmanuelle was right that, normally, this part of your training would involve interviews with specialty magic-users, but we do not have time for that luxury with you. Return to your classroom with this note," he said, handing Ximo a slip of paper. Ximo saw no writing on it. "It says that Quinton is to take over your training for the afternoon. You're to wait in your classroom until Quinton can join you."
With that, Ximo was dismissed and sent back with the curious note. Emmanuelle was still in the classroom, but so was her prize pupil, Ceferino. They were talking side-by-side at the head of the room, but stopped when Ximo returned.
Once the note was in Emmanuelle's hand, a mouth appeared on it and said everything that Saturnino had said it would.
"I see," she said. "Very well. Quinton will no doubt have more to teach you in regards to subterfuge and infiltration then I can. Good luck, Ximo the Humble."
She and Ceferino moved to leave, leaving Ximo to wait for Quinton alone.
Ximo was not pleased to have so much shine come off his apple in the eyes of Saturnino. But it seemed like it must be from things beyond his control. He sat down and waited for Quinton. Everything was just going terrifically today.
Post by scottenkainen on Mar 11, 2016 22:51:36 GMT -6
Day 17, turn 3 for Ximo:
When Quinton arrived he was wearing his simple robe, rope belt, and pointy hat -- nothing like what one expected a wizard to be wearing, which was probably the point of sending in Quinton to teach him pointers on subterfuge.
"How good are you at acting, Mr. Humble?" Quinton asked.
"Don't think that acting is not part of being a wizard. Intimidation is an important factor in surviving between spells. Bluffing, you might call it. We'll spend the afternoon working on some scenarios you might find yourself in among the cultists and some plausible ways out of them. Now, what do you suppose you should do if the cultists want to meet you alone, outdoors, and you're badly outnumbered by them...?"
"I might insist that we meet in a place crowded with obstacles and mak all sorts of comments to suggest I had unseen sorcerous companions. Or use the cover to make them think I were constantly transporting myself about."
Ximo thought, "Assuming many of the cultists are weak henchmen, I might engage in a bit of bluffing around my powers, say something like, 'I'm glad you brought so many of your men. If they take one wrong step they will all become a mice for my familiar to feast upon.'"
Post by scottenkainen on Mar 16, 2016 8:21:07 GMT -6
Day 17, turns 4-5 for Ximo:
The afternoon was spent in these exercises -- Quinton outlined a situation Ximo might find himself in and Ximo had to pretend he was in that scenario and explain how he would talk his way out of it. At first, Quinton would say "Very good!" or "Excellent!" and Ximo thought this exercise was too easy. But later, Quinton went into a desk drawer and pulled out some sheets of paper, and a handful of dice. Some of the dice looked normal, but some were in funny shapes.
"So far, we've just assumed that all of the cultists' responses will be perfectly reasonable," Quinton explained, "but sometimes reactions in real life are tempered by other events outside of your control and seem completely random. Hence -- we compiled these encounter reaction charts and had these special dice designed so we can roll randomly on these tables."
They began again, this time Quinton reading from prepared notes when he was not improvising dialog or descriptions. He rolled the special dice often and consulted charts. If this wasn't a simulation of the real dangers Ximo would soon be going through, it would make for a fun game.
Two hours later, in the scenario, Ximo was in Dieg Manor, left in a furnished office by the men who recruited him, with two exits. "Do you search the room, check the door they left through, check the other door, or just wait here for them to return?" Quinton asked.
Post by scottenkainen on Mar 17, 2016 8:35:29 GMT -6
Day 17, turns 6-8 for Ximo:
Ximo was really getting into this gaming. Afterwards, during a break, he discussed with Quinton if there might be some way to score, and keep track of his score, during the game with points.
That evening, Quinton said they were done with spy training and there was another important task for his magic-user training that he could still do. So Quinton took him to a room on the second floor where Ximo had not been before -- a library, bigger than any Ximo had ever seen before. On a table, underneath a hanging lamp that glowed with a magical radiance, were over a dozen unbound books, held together with string.
"These are pages from the personal journals of magic-users who have belonged to our Consortium. The pages before you bear no personal secrets, but were donated for this purpose: that those who come here for training might read them and gain insight into what direction they wish to take with their studies, with their magical careers. You can spend as much time in here as you need tonight -- reading just the materials on this table," Quinton said, and he moved to leave the room.
Post by scottenkainen on Mar 22, 2016 19:12:23 GMT -6
Day 17, turns 9-10 for Ximo:
Ximo poured over the writings. His first impression was that sorcerers and wizards had an awful lot of free time for writing diaries and journals.
Next, Ximo read about specialists. Other than the illusionists, who seemed to stay fairly active as adventurers, the diviners, enchanters, transmuters and the like all seemed to settle down soon and retire, either because the rewards were more lucrative, or because their new studies demanded more intense study.
Ximo read about amazing magical power. Wizards who could throw fireballs and lightning bolts and teleport. But he also found uniformly tragic stories. Not deaths (even wizards, Ximo assumed, could not pen memoirs post-death), but powerful, vital men feeling compelled to isolate themselves, shut themselves off in lonely towers, and create magic items they themselves often did not understand the purpose of.
Is this what Ximo's ultimate purpose would become? Was there any way to escape this fate? Or was it a purpose Ximo would come to understand later on (since it was only puzzling from these scattered pages)?
Ximo must have fallen asleep in the library, many hours later. He woke up in a small room he did not recognize with flagstone walls and a straw mat covering the floor. A shelf in the room had a stub of a lit candle on it, with some unlit candles lying next to it. The walls were covered in chalk writing which appeared to duplicate many passages from the pages Ximo had just read last night. There was no sign of chalk in the room. There was a small piece of parchment on the simple bed he had slept on. And there was a door, which appeared to be locked from the other side.
((Ximo appears to have all his gear with him, by the bed.))
Post by scottenkainen on Mar 24, 2016 11:18:47 GMT -6
Day 17, turn 11 for Ximo:
The parchment read: You have not left the premises, we have only moved you to another room. Everything you carried is still on you. This is now part of your training, however. If you want out of the room, you must remember what you read last night and speak what you didn't.
When he checked the door, Ximo saw that it was indeed locked from the other side.
Ximo took the candle and lit a second with it. He then pocketed all the other candle stubs and then went over to examine the words written on the wall in chalk. Perhaps there would be some clue to the riddle there.
Post by scottenkainen on Mar 29, 2016 22:13:52 GMT -6
Day 17, turn 12 for Ximo:
Ximo soon had the room well-lit by candles. By their light, he was easily able to study the words in chalk on the walls, so he easily found the clue. Seven words were deliberately misspelled with extra letters. After rearranging the seven letters, Ximo figured out they spelled "FAILURE". When he said it out loud, the door unlocked.
Outside his cell, Ximo found a hallway that went left and right. To the left it soon turned right, and to the right it soon turned left, so that both passages went in the same direction, away from his cell.
Exploring further, he found that the passage to the left led into a room with a griffon statue mounted on a stone platform. There was a plague on the platform with writing on it.
Backtracking, Ximo found the passage to the right led into a smaller room with walls lined with weapons racks. At the back of that room was a door.
This all seemed very strange. He remembered some of what Joaquim had told him about his training so he put his own guard up.
Ximo went to the room with the griffon statue in it and only moved close enough to read the plaque, in case there were some trap. Whatever training they had given him, he stood by the basic principle that running away should always be considered as an option.
Post by scottenkainen on Apr 5, 2016 19:26:02 GMT -6
Day 17, turn 12b for Ximo:
There were daggers, swords, flails, maces, spears, short bows, heavy crossbows, and quivers of arrows and bolts leaning on or hanging from the weapons racks. There seemed to be nothing unusual about any of them. There was a door at the back of the room.
Ximo kept up his dodging and self-defense while groping behind him for the door handle. If he could he would pull it open just enough to squeeze past and then, hopefully, he could pull it closed behind him, leaving the ensorcelled sword on the other side.