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Four years have passed since what is now called “the Sunwell Crisis” - a time when the infamous Sunhawks, led by prince Kael’thas Sunstrider, attempted to summon the demonic Burning Legion into this world. In a desperate struggle the mad tyrant and his slavish loyalists were defeated - and a new age has begun for the elvenkind, one of recovery and prosperity.

But you are ‘Lynestra Dawnstrider’, the last Sunhawk. And currently - the errand girl to the robber baron of Strahnbrad and the Shadow Council's bitch. Having to juggle your allegiances to the dark wizards and Alterac's brigands was always going to be a challenge in itself - but the worst is yet to come, as the list of the Syndicate's enemies is ever growing. Having just survived a close encounter with a new menace: Stromgarde's undead allies, you are in desperate need of recovery and rest.
Who knows, if you're getting either?

>Google document, constantly updated
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-jPBo0HRy-9zORO12ZO325ka3L1e2Bsjrtzo9RDlO20/edit?usp=sharing

>Twitter, because you have to have one these days
https://twitter.com/sunhawkqm

>Previously, on the Last Sunhawk
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4929317/

Hopefully, you've spent this break doing productive things, like playing story campaigns of Warcraft III. We're back.
>>
Rolled 2, 1, 5, 2 = 10 (4d6)

EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 0
Stress: You'll live.
Consequences: Everything hurts, all the time (4)
Fate Points: 3

Time to present the duke with a heroic tale of your exploits. You've never been much of a storyteller, but this could be the first time someone ever listened to you.

(Dazzle +0)
>>
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"Are you feeling well?", the boy lord inquired, looking at your pale face with concern. "Perhaps, it's a bad time for a social call. You don't look..."

This was not the moment to show weakness, admit the pain of either flesh or soul, beg to know if anyone visited you. Of course people visited you. Brooks had a vigil over your bed. You're the hero of the day - and your exploits should be immortalized in a saga. Or at least a tale. Such was already emerging deep from within your vast soul, pushing through insignificant memories and unbecoming self-pity - you just needed to open your mouth.

"I'm great!", you were a little too quick to assure his grace. The decision to stand on your feet to demonstrate just how well you were feeling was a little bit too hasty too - as immediately, you twisted your face in a grimace of ungodly suffering and collapsed on the edge of the bed again. Speaking the following spiel through your clenched teeth, in a hiss, perhaps also has been a mistake. "An armored corpse... Fought many like them in the liberation war. Can't... Can't keep me down."
To see yesterday's child - and perhaps, even today's child - raise his eyebrow skeptically at your assurances was the biggest humiliation of your entire life, at least of those you could remember at the moment. It was quickly topped by a clearly insincere agreement from the Dryden lordling:
"Yes, I've... I've heard that you did very well. Please, sit. You have nothing to prove to me."

In your experience, people that claimed that you have nothing to prove to them, tended to be lying. For your sake, out of pity. You've just felled a death knight, and he was pitying you. You needed to take control of the situation, fast.
"Still, he was... A very dangerous foe.", for some reason, your tongue was not obeying you quite as well. Words were slurring in your mouth. You were stumbling. You needed to stop trying to speak so fast, but pausing would look even worse. "One of the few, few still remaining in these lands - of his breed and caliber. I'm proud to have been... The one to do it - not diminish the heroism of the rest, but, not to boast, I was the one who stared him down..."
"I was told.", duke Dryden interjected, hoping to end this story before it even managed to begin. "I assure you, I know of your contributions - and I'm here to commend you on your bravery."
He sighed, gesturing barely.
"I can see with my own eyes, that you were in the thick of it. There's no real need for me to hear this again, especially when you need to rest."
>>
Again, you were being shut up during your moment - but this time, by a human child. Not even being on the death row in the dungeons of Dalaran felt this badly - and for a few seconds, you were silent. After breathing in deeply - and immediately regretting it - you've closed your eyes and nodded.

"As you wish, your grace.", you've let out. "I was just hoping to deliver these news myself. Still... Since you have heard what happened already, I wish... I would like to..."
You thought on your wording for a second too long, and lord Dryden intervened.
"I understand. Well, according to the sources - many different sources - you've found several of my men dead. Then you've chased after their killers, tracked them down, and those turned out to be a death knight and an army of undead."
He spoke calmly, factually. If he was nervous, his facade did not betray it - he probably had time to panic over it, long before he ever entered this room.
"You took initiative and engaged in a verbal duel with the fiend - then, you've engaged in an actual duel. In the chaos of the battle, you've received a heavy blow - but still persisted. I was even told that you prevented the enemy's retreat somehow, with magic."
He remained still for a moment, thinking if he should or should not say something. You've known the next words that came out of his mouth, before they actually sounded.
"Sir Mercer has qualms about this particular decision, but..."
Of course he has, you wanted to say, but bit your tongue. To be perfectly fair, your daring move has immediately costed lives - and while Mercer would undoubtedly prefer it to be yours in particular, you lived, and you'd hear no end of it. Soon enough, you will be engaged in fierce debates on the subject of many potential deaths you averted by not letting the enemy to fight another day.

"...but the fight was resolved in our favour. The enemy is dead, and the dead are avenged."
Your prudent mind would not let the many things wrong about that story slip - namely, two. The duke focused exclusively on your great contributions, and neglected to mention contributions of everyone else - including very possibly saving your life, while you were on the ropes. There was simply no way he did not hear about that part, and there was no way he was leaving it by accident.
>>
"And what happened then?", you inquired carefully. "Did they burn the body?"
"There was not much left to burn, from what I was told.", the duke smiled faintly. He enjoyed imagining that. "As for his armor and weapon, sir Mercer asked for those to be granted as spoils of war. I saw no reason not to grant this request, although I did remind him to clean it first."
And now Mercer had magic armor - as well as a weapon. Grand.
"After that, they've returned to the town in haste. There were fears about this being merely a distraction, about the supposed main force sacking Strahnbrad while you were away. Clearly, this did not happen - and things have been relatively calm. I've summoned the council, and decided to send runners to other lords - warn them of the danger and come back with news. They're yet to return."

"I could...", you breathed in sharply. Again, a mistake. "If there's anything I can do, your grace..."
"The best thing you can do for Strahnbrad right now, is to rest.", the human shut you down in an instant. "You have a great need of it. Now that I've answered the question of what you can do for our grace, please answer, what our grace can do for you. Do you need anything? Beyond peace?"

>Write-in
>>
>>4992051
Welcome back QM.

>>4992057
Classic dice for us at this point, I suppose we'll be verbal diarrheaing all over the place.

I don't suppose you forgot Bondweaver and we actually did slightly better than our roll may indicate? It may be too much to hope, but I gotta try.

---

I'll avoid voting right away since I want to ask the other anons what they think about the Duke's question. Is there anything we want from the Duke?

I personally think we may want to ask for Jarad's tome that Mercer is keeping. We'd like to do some light reading.

Maybe news from the council discussions and any news the runners return with.

I dunno what else at the moment. Those are my ideas to start with.
>>
>>4992195
>I don't suppose you forgot Bondweaver
I don't think Bondweaver should apply in this scenario. You're not really making friendly conversation - you're trying to puff up your chest and pretend that nothing is bothering you, while also cementing your place as THE hero of the battle.
But I'm willing to listen to counterarguments.
>>
>>4992108
Seduce him for the heck of it
>>
>>4992209
Nah, you already wrote out the whole series of posts, I'm not sure why I asked. I was more asking if you forgot it if it applied, I wasn't insisting it did.

Though I will say that this...
>[Dazzle] I'm not fine, I'm great! Present a heroic tale of the battle, from my perspective.

...sounds a bit different than...
>you're trying to puff up your chest and pretend that nothing is bothering you, while also cementing your place as THE hero of the battle.

As the first greentext to me just sounded like enthusiastically telling the tale from our point of view.

Though to counter myself a little, the earlier vote regarding our opinion on the Death Knights attacking Alterac certainly indicates we are more than a little full of ourselves for having helped slain a Death Knight. So it makes sense in the end.
>>
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https://artflow.ai/

>>4992195
I support asking for whatever our "predecessor" left behind, though whether we'll actually get anything is another matter.

>>4992108
>"Your Grace, I require strong alcohol. B-but, only to allay the the pain, you see. I can assure you that I am most certainly not some sort of inebriate."
>>
>>4992333
lol, I could definitely see us saying this had we chosen Possessed by Spirits. Hell, I could still see us asking for a drink even without the flaw, we've been through some shit.
>>
>>4992108
Well, I have to sleep now, so I'll submit my vote for now.

>Ask for Jarad's tome and for the results of the discussions between the council, plus any news the runners bring back.

>Ask for a strong drink, our ribs still hurt.
>>
>>4992108
Backing the request for the tome, seems like a safe bet.
>>
You've thought on the matter very briefly - it did not take long for you to pinpoint several things that you could ask for. One of them, you had a feeling that you wanted - the other, you needed.
"If I'm not too bold, your grace...", you began. "It's several things I wish to ask for. Firstly, I would like some strong wine - for the pain, of course. Strictly for the pain."
The boy duke nodded without hesitation:
"You need not even ask.", he assured. "Anyone in..."
Your state, he was going to say, but he bit his tongue. The pause was short, but it did not escape your notice.
"...your situation would receive it. We have no shortage of alcohol - although it may not be as delicate as you're used to."
The words were not spoken with mockery - but in a genuinely apologetic tone. He wished he could provide you with the refined thalassian wines instead of whatever poison you would have to pour down your throat, probably made out of beets and the dreaded potato, with which humans seemed inexplicably obsessed with.
"I'll make do.", you nodded slowly. "It's for the pain only, your grace, I'm not some..."
You've heard a saying somewhere, that a man only becomes an alcoholic once he begins drinking alone. Should you be using very large quantities of the strong drink to numb the pain, you would have to find yourself a companion. In any case, you did not finish the sentence, only gestured vaguely to show your disdain for these sad people.

"As for my second request, I would like the grimoire of one Jarad.", your change in subject came quickly and suddenly. To the duke, it must have been like a whiplash.
"Jarad?", he asked, blinking.
"My predecessor.", you confirmed. "I was told that before me, the Wake's man here was a human named Jarad, of whom little more remains than a grimoire. It's that tome that I want."
"I knew Jarad, yes.", the Dryden scion confirmed with a slow nod. "Sir Mercer should have his book now, he's... Taking a look at it."
Nothing you haven't already known from Church, but it was good to have it confirmed from another source. Trusting another warlock on his word, no matter the triviality of the matter, was always a fool's game.
"I'll see..."
What I can do.
"...to it.", the duke muttered, before asking. "What's your interest in it?"

>I've been told Jarad died a death, circumstances of which I consider suspicious. The grimoire may have answers.
>Mercer is not a warlock, he's not even a mage of any sort. This book won't be useful to anyone in his hands.
>Each warlock is a researcher, of sorts, so grimoires always have useful knowledge in them. I strive to be better, and serve this kingdom better.
>I know a friend of his, Godfrey Church. I think it's right that Jarad's things pass to him.
>The grimoire is the Wake's property, and the Wake has decided that I am Jarad's successor. I don't mean no disrespect, but this tome already belongs to me.
>What's YOUR interest in it?
>Am I not entitled to this reward with no questions asked?
>>
>>4994840
>>I've been told Jarad died a death, circumstances of which I consider suspicious. The grimoire may have answers.
If nothing else, if the guy really did blow himself up with a dumbass spell it'd be worth looking into what spells he was researching so we avoid the same mistake.
>>
>>4994840
>I've been told Jarad died a death, circumstances of which I consider suspicious. The grimoire may have answers.
>Mercer is not a warlock, he's not even a mage of any sort. This book won't be useful to anyone in his hands.
>>
>>4994875
+1
>>
>>4994840
>>I've been told Jarad died a death, circumstances of which I consider suspicious. The grimoire may have answers.
>The grimoire is the Wake's property, and the Wake has decided that I am Jarad's successor. I don't mean no disrespect, but this tome already belongs to me.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

I've really expected a tiebreaker by now, but very well.
>>
"It is about the manner of his death.", you answered without a moment of thought. "Warlocks perishing by their own spells is not unheard of - dark magic does not tolerate mistakes - but considering the circumstances..."
The duke tensed a little in his seat. It bothered him, that you came to this conclusion.
"You think he might have been killed?", he asked directly.
"It's not impossible.", you allowed. "Anyone in my position would be nervous. I'm not saying Jarad was definitely murdered, and I am next - but it would soothe my soul, if I knew there was no foul play. This is why I'm asking to see the tome."
The boy did not answer you for several long moments. He was thinking - and it did not take a great sage in the matters of human emotions to know, that his thoughts were dark.
"Sir Mercer also suspects something.", he confessed then. "And I'm concerned that both of you independently came to the same conclusion."
"I did not.", you reminded.
"...same suspicion, then.", the boy spoke with some annoyance at your semantics. "From what I've heard, it seemed very much like some mishap. Jarad was a talented wizard. And while it's true that he did not seem the sort to make mistakes, it's as you've said..."
"...there is always a danger.", you finished for him.

For a few seconds, both of you have sat in silence. The problem of Jarad has long been in the background for his lordship, it was evident. And now you've not only reminded him of it, but all but confirmed existence of some nefarious conspiracy. "Who could have done it?", the boy was now wondering. "How many enemies do I have, and what do I do now?".
He demonstrated some admirable resolve by not speaking any of those questions out loud, instead only letting them obviously torment him.
"You'll be provided the tome.", he nodded at you. "It's not likely sir Mercer will find much, regardless. And perhaps it would be wise of you to speak to him of his findings, if there's opportunity. If you come to any conclusions, one way or another..."
"I'll inform you right away.", you assured.

Another few seconds of silence. Heavy, grim. It would be wise to change the subject - but sadly, most other thoughts that entered your mind at the time were also heavy and grim. Perhaps, it was not right to lay even more on his youthful soul. But perhaps, some things needed to be said now.
>>
>So, he's not upset that I'm from the Shadow Council? Because I can't imagine the entirety of Mercer's retinue has gone deaf when the death knight mentioned it.
>Change the subject back to the Death Knights of Strom. Tell him everything I know, except, perhaps, the fact that I've neglected to inform him about them before.
>Inform him of everything I know about the Argus Wake, and their agenda. He needs to know they're not his friends.
>Perhaps it's a good time for him to know, why am I really here.
>I could not help but notice that sir Mercer bears some grudge against me.
>On the matter of Jarad... Who was he? What did he do?
>Perenolde or Falconcrest?
>How did his lordship come to rule this place? I can't imagine it was easy.
>Time for some idle chit-chat. Let's gossip about some people, who are currently alive. [Specify]
>[Write-in]
>>
>>4997845
>How did his lordship come to rule this place? I can't imagine it was easy.
>Compliment his dashing looks and stately manner.

Thinking on it, this is is a good chance to get close to the duke since his retainers aren't hovering around. He already seems to like us, or at least treats us favorably, and it doesn't really seem like he has any confidants here. More importantly, it would probably rustle Mercer's jimmies.
>>
>>4997937
Is it wise to ask him about that knowing that his father must've died when he is so young? (probably violently) Given that the seemingly relatively young Brooks was taken in by the Elder Duke sometime earlier.

Also kinda weird for a 60 plus year old elf to be hitting on a teenager.

>>4997845
>Change the subject back to the Death Knights of Strom. Tell him everything I know, except, perhaps, the fact that I've neglected to inform him about them before.

Alternatively we could chat about Sherman's guardian figure, the priest, the Duke doesn't seem to appreciate him for obvious reasons but Sherman painted a good picture of his moral character. Maybe lighten the mood, slightly.

I do want to tell him about the wake, but first I'd like to ask him about why no one seems to care that the wake is part of the shadow council. Perhaps in typical Alteraci fashion they have chosen to ignore the character of their allies in order to benefit from their alliance. Best not to blurt out how evil they are before seeing if he even cares, we wouldn't want to out ourselves so readily as a traitor.
>>
>>4997973
Grannies tell people how good they look all of the time, there's nothing weird about paying blandishments. Yet comparatively, we're not much older than him, and "Lynestra" is some pretty stranger from an exotic land. Who better to confide in? True, it may turn out poorly, as we are as charismatic as a cold potato. But it's also an opportunity to build a rapport while Mercer isn't here to shout us down.
>>
>>4997845
>>4997845
>>How did his lordship come to rule this place? I can't imagine it was easy.
My concern with the deah knights option is we'll continue to provide info he already knows about from the others, and look foolish. Also don't want to keep banging on about his enemies - hopefully asking about his rulership is a bit less fraught.
>>
>>4997937
supporting
>>
I feel like this is a big one. Let's see if we get a tiebreaker.
>>
>>4997937
+1
>>
If we are going for a compliment and trying to ask about his past, do we want to use an early FP given we have low Dazzle?
>>
Rolled 5, 2, 3, 3 = 13 (4d6)

>>5000568
Great idea.

(Bondweaver +2, Fate point +2)
>>
EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 0
Stress: You'll live.
Consequences: Everything hurts, all the time (4)
Fate Points: 2

You've already had an idea as to how lighten the mood, even if slightly so - you just needed a way to get there. Every second you've spent looking at each other in silence was the second this already difficult morning had a chance of becoming unbearable.

"In any case...", you suddenly looked up and tried to smile. "I have faith that everything will be well, because I have a complete faith in how you're approaching things."
The boy blinked. He was glad to hear that, although he did not yet understand where you were going with this:
"You do?", he inquired. "I'm glad to have made an impression, but I don't quite understand when that happened."
Hook, line and sinker. If you were to judge by yourself, everyone enjoyed hearing good things about themselves - and when they said things like this, it was an invitation to say more good things about them, in extreme detail. Your only problem right now would be overdoing it - as you did not quite know where the line was.

"When I was first riding through these lands, I did not intend to make stops.", you confessed. "My stay here was originally an accident. And to confess, I did not think much of the Syndicate either. I've thought that honor and nobility are lost to this land."
May have gone a little too far, but it will probably matter little. The main course was well on the way.
"...I was never more glad to be proven wrong.", you finished, not too quickly. "Here, I've seen patriots, capable soldiers and most of all - a lord. Not a robber baron, not a bandit captain, but a lord."
"A lord.", the duke rose his head a little.
"A lord, from a tapestry - maybe not of the present day, but certainly of tomorrow.", you assured. "Have you looked in the mirror, your grace? Fair, bright-eyed, tall... If the political situation was different, you'd be betrothed - if you are not betrothed already."

Lord Dryden has gained a little bit of color in the cheeks.
"That's... Still being discussed.", he gestured weakly. In the instance, your imagination went wild. What kinds of bandit princesses dwell in these parts, that he'd have to wed for a hundred more men at his command?
>>
"Not that I'm just saying that you'll be a handsome lord in a few years.", you noted then. "It's about now too. You're calm and collected beyond years, you know when to speak, and when to listen. You're not too familiar - but not too distant either. Where I come from, we call this a 'stately manner'."
The lordling smiled a little. He was glad that you noticed, and that you valued it.
"I've learnt how to act by looking at my father. His lordship always said that he's here to rule vassals, not a gang - and that he'll act like a lord, king or no king.", he hesitated for a moment. "At times, I wonder if it's entirely appropriate. Not all of my men seem to be inspired by the image. But..."
...you appear to like it.
"We will not be a syndicate forever. I feel like when this land grows tamed again, once we crown a king, manners will become fashionable again."

"Your father.", you caught on. "Was he much like you?"
"Better than me.", the young duke assured you. "In all regards. He was a warrior and a knight, a man of great honor. All who knew the name of Richard Dryden, could attest to that. He followed the king loyally into the war..."
What it meant was, his loyalty did not waver once Alterac aligned itself with the orcish horde, and against the alliance of men.
"...and once the war was lost, he was stripped of lands and titles. Many years have passed, since he returned to his homeland - and it's during those hard years, that I was born. He was forced to travel from court to court, until finally an opportunity to reclaim Alterac has come."
And that would be the plague of undeath, that utterly devastated most of the opposition the Syndicate would otherwise have.
"He assembled a great number of adventurers..."
Bandits.
"...such as sir Mercer on the way, promising a new kingdom, a haven in the mountains. Once he reached these parts, an even greater number of patriots would join him too. He was one of the founding fathers of the Syndicate - has been there when lord Aliden had the charter signed."
>>
"Sir Egmund is not from Alterac?", you inquired quickly, before the story concluded with lord Richard's recent death.
The way he spoke of the events clearly implied that there was a separation between "adventurers" and "patriots" - and that Mercer belonged to the first group. For some reason, this knowledge bothered you.
"Not from Alterac, no.", the duke shook his head. "My father met him in Lordaeron, when sir Egmund was not yet a knight of Alterac, but instead a hired sword. I know little of his past, but the important parts - that he saved my father's life multiple times, and has been a great friend to both of us. Without him, I would not be here - so I forgive the man for the lack of war stories."

For a moment, he was quiet, considering something. You already knew what.
"If only he was there on that fateful day...", he muttered.
"What happened?", you asked, very cautiously. The wound was likely fresh in his memory - but the boy did raise the subject himself.
"The details, I fear I will never know.", the duke clenched his teeth. "My father went to negotiate with the Alliance men. A truce - perhaps even a union against the common enemies. Their leader was an honorable man, or so it seemed, and a parley was agreed to - under its flag, my father should have been safe. Instead, once he arrived, they slaughtered him like an animal - him and every man he had with him. Those who surrendered, were hanged 'like the common criminals they were'. That's what was written in the letter we received soon after that. Together with a demand of unconditional surrender."

The boy closed his eyes, falling quiet. His hands should have been quaking with rage - but instead, a melancholy must have washed over him, and a moment of weakness with it.

>The old duke was too trusting and too honorable in a time that does not reward or forgive honorable men. There is a lesson to be learnt here.
>Although it is an unfortunate end, we all die - the good and the wicked. The duke's honorable life, not his death, is something he should be remembered by.
>I'll just be silent.
>>
>>5001399
>Although it is an unfortunate end, we all die - the good and the wicked. The duke's honorable life, not his death, is something he should be remembered by.

I don't want to influence the good boy duke to be more "pragmatic". His attempts at retaining the seemingly lost honour of Alterac's past are the only thing that are preventing his men from being a band of marauding thugs and the only way Alterac will transition into a stable nation with solid institutions is if the people leading it and upholding those institutions are honourable and rational people.

If there is a similar situation to his father's then we can simply encourage him to scout and investigate the other party more thoroughly and come prepared with a big stick, but the cloak and dagger shit while entirely appropriate on occasions and sometimes necessary is not how you wanna do things on the regular.

Hell, while there will be plenty of deeds both dark and dumb that we'll probably end up undertaking, some of them necessary, it'd be good to have an ideal ourselves to aspire to.

I'm super paranoid about Mercer being an alliance spy or a secret warlock now.
>>
>>5001399
>>Although it is an unfortunate end, we all die - the good and the wicked. The duke's honorable life, not his death, is something he should be remembered by.
>>
>>5001399
>Although it is an unfortunate end, we all die - the good and the wicked. The duke's honorable life, not his death, is something he should be remembered by.

Just seems fitting given the defeat we suffered and our (likely selective) memory of the prince.

>>5001825
We'll deal with him... probably. We'll have to set aside some time to stalk him later, if only to dig up some dirt on him.
>>
>>5001399
>>Although it is an unfortunate end, we all die - the good and the wicked. The duke's honorable life, not his death, is something he should be remembered by.
>>5001825
It's suspicious, but not yet suspicious enough to throw accusations around. Is Stromgarde in the Alliance at this point?
>>
>>5002811
I'm not sure, we are in MoP timeline and Danath apparently leads Strom as of right now, so I'd say that if they haven't rejoined the Alliance yet they will soon.
>>
EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 0
Stress: You'll live.
Consequences: Everything hurts, all the time (4)
Fate Points: 2

"My condolences.", you spoke quietly. "The loss of such a man is a loss for us all."
The duke only nodded, silently. He was grim, and you had little doubt that his this thoughts right now were of two things - of revenge, and of how hopeless the thought of such a revenge was. Who made the fatal decision, all those years ago? How many people did it pass down in the chain of command? Were these people even alive anymore, you wondered, or were they the remnants of the northern Alliance, of which so few remained now? If it were the old union, it was dubious if there was anyone even left to take revenge on now. And if it were the new men, men of the south - they had the whole might of their flag behind them.

He needed to be guided away from those defeatist thoughts - and you already knew what to say.
"A lesser man...", you began cautiously. "...would allow this tragedy to blacken his heart. It's the most devious quality of evil men - they make more of themselves."
A brief pause, and a glance spared at the boy. He was at least listening to what you had to say, looking at you.
"I didn't know your father.", you admitted quickly. It was best to get this out of the way. "But I think I knew men like him, noble men, who valiantly fought for what they believed in. They have not always met good ends, yes - but we all die. I would say that we're all equal in death, but we're not."
You tried to stand from your place, for extra flair - and, after a few seconds of effort, you managed to. A step was made away from your bed and across the room, and you've struggled to keep the grimace of pain away from your face. Now was not the time.
"When the just perish, they leave behind a noble legacy. Memories of their heroism, of their righteousness, of their sacrifice - if there was such a thing. They live on in death, inspiring us with their example from the beyond. And when, in turn, death comes for the wicked, they leave nothing but our scorn, our contempt - if even that."
You inhaled deeply, and attempted a smile.
"His grace Richard may have died, but I have faith that he did not leave you. I see his legacy in you, your lordship, but also in this land, in his noble name, in the men he has forged - not brigands, but soldiers. His spirit persists in everything he has built. And I think that if he was here now, he would be proud that you carry on his works."
>>
The young duke listened to you speak silently and attentively - and as you talked, you desperately tried to see some meaning in those slightly watering eyes of his. When you finished, a great silence stood between the two of you, until...
"It is a harsh time in the kingdom of Alterac...", the boy smiled very faintly, shaking his head. "When it is a foreign witch that delivers a rousing sermon, instead of our own priest."
You frowned a little:
"I did not mean to proselytize, your grace. If I was out of..."
"No, no.", the boy quickly shook his head. "It was a good speech. I liked it, I thought it was wise. I have never looked at things in such a way."
He too rose from his seat and made a step:
"Thank you.", he looked you in the eyes, and spoke earnestly. "I think that's what I needed to hear."
You felt a strange feeling in your heart - a warmth of the sort you've rarely experienced. It was difficult to pinpoint, and you did not get the opportunity - this moment lasted very briefly, just like the duke's demeanor.
"...and.", he shifted into a different tone, speaking more quickly, business-like. "I think it gave me an idea on how should we proceed, and deal with this undead matter."
You blinked.
"How?"
"All in due time.", he assured quickly. "You need to rest, not occupy yourself with these problems, as I keep reminding you. Besides, it is half-formed. I need to think on it a little more, in peace."
Before entertaining any protest from you, the young duke has already headed towards the door - and when he stopped by it, it was only to reaffirm briefly:
"It was a good conversation. We need to speak more, in time."

And so he departed, leaving you alone - for the time being. Like him, you've also had plenty to think of, when it came to the matters of the future.

>I need to get in touch with Church. He had some scheme in mind, and I don't want to waste time.
>Just before I've scryed - such a dirty word - death knights in the capital city, I've found some things I need to follow up on. Preferably, right now.
>We still have all those problems discussed on the last council. If I handle them, while the duke is preoccupied...
>The grimoire... It's important - it feels important, for some reason. It never leaves my mind.
>I'm in no state to do any of these things. The best thing I can do is reintregrate myself into the court's social life.
>He is right. I am in dire need of... Recovery. A healing touch of a priest is what I need. We have a priest - the duke just reminded me of it.
>>
>>5002823
Just like Stormpike dwarves, who are also a very present power in Alterac, Stromgarde is in a strange legal position right now. It's not officially a member state, and whatever military aid the Alliance provides comes in the form of volunteers, not the actual army. Still, the connection is there.
>>
>>5002873
>>He is right. I am in dire need of... Recovery. A healing touch of a priest is what I need. We have a priest - the duke just reminded me of it.

While following up with Church so we have at least one ally in the Wake or handling the mine so we can progress this fief's interests or especially following up with the grimoire to pursue the truth of this conspiracy at home are all prominent issues on my mind, I think we need to heal ourselves before anything else. That, and we haven't talked to the priest at all yet as far as I recall.

I do want to get on with those other things very soon though. We've spent plenty of time introspecting, socializing and sleeping, all of which were very interesting but we've got shit to do.
>>
>>5002879
Thanks for the clarification.
>>
>>5002873
>>I'm in no state to do any of these things. The best thing I can do is reintregrate myself into the court's social life.
>>He is right. I am in dire need of... Recovery. A healing touch of a priest is what I need. We have a priest - the duke just reminded me of it.
>>
>>5002873
>He is right. I am in dire need of... Recovery. A healing touch of a priest is what I need. We have a priest - the duke just reminded me of it.
>>
>>5002873
>>He is right. I am in dire need of... Recovery. A healing touch of a priest is what I need. We have a priest - the duke just reminded me of it.
I really want to get in touch with Church, but agree it's for the best to heal up first.
>>
Truth be told, you were never quite sure just what you expected from these lands before you first crossed into them. For some reason that you could not quite grasp, you've always imagined it to be teeming with bandits - and while it certainty was the case, you always failed to imagine all the other people who had to live there. Somebody cooked food to all those brigands, someone patched their shirts and their trousers. An organization as supposedly huge and threatening as Syndicate could not all survive just by raiding and taking other people's belognings, could it? A gang can only be so big, before...
Maybe some of it did, you thought to yourself idly. This Falconcrest man seemed like more of a raider than a lord, from what little you heard about him. And if he was, was he a typical specimen when it came to the leaders of those merry men, or were most a little bit more like duke Dryden?

It was the sight of Strahnbrad that inspired you to these thoughts, each time you laid your eyes on it. It was almost bizarre, how normal things seemed here - there was a working inn, there were tradesmen - and not just thieves, bartering with each other with their loot. In the distance, you've seen a herd of goats, being watched over by what looked like an old shepherd with a crooked stick. A pair of men were working on fixing the roof of what seemed to be a home. Maybe, when the time came, these very same men would don orange masks, and the old shepherd would change from a stick to a rifle - but right now, all of them were doing honest work.
Maybe, that's how they thought about you, as they watched you cautiously, from afar. You've seen your own thoughts reflect in their eyes - shortly before they turned away, not eager to meet yours. You were not communing with unspeakable horrors, you were not about to burn this place down and feast on the souls of whatever poor bastards were unfortunate enough to meet your wrath. You were just walking. Hobbling, really.
Then again, you thought a few moments later, you were probably projecting. By now, these people should have been less used to an elf, than a warlock.

Regardless, maybe everything you've just told the duke wasn't conceit. Maybe this place really had a chance.
>>
File: The Priest.jpg (691 KB, 1920x2485)
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EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 0
Stress: You'll live.
Consequences: Everything hurts, all the time (4)
Fate Points: 3

This wasn't a walk of leisure - you mostly abandoned this sort of nonsense ever since you were crippled, and with what's been done to your ribs, you'd much prefer to stay in bed. However, once you've tasted that hooch that was brought to you to dull the pain, a much better idea visited you. Rather than wallow in your misery and wait for the priest to deign and bless you with his attention, you'd rather find him yourself, and douse him with water until he started helping. Have one of your demons drag him away from whatever pig pen he was sleeping at by force, if necessary.

However, once you've made it far enough from the castle, another thought occurred to you. Just how would you know where this holy man was presently located? Something told you, the church was not your safest guess. The local watering hole? Maybe, but he might have been as well somewhere in a ditch - or maybe, he really was in a pig pen. Before you overexerted yourself looking for him through the entire town, you had to be certain just where you're going. A quick flight of the Eye of Kilrogg could take care of that...
...or you could just ask a local - was, for some reason, the second idea you've had.

"Do you know...", you turned to some black-haired boy of about eight, whose face you've spotted in a window.
"YOU!", your sharp ear twitched, as a shout came from behind. Slowly, you would turn.
Such luck - the priest just happened upon you by himself, and he was even standing. Not without difficulty - the hefty, red-faced man was staggering from side to side, and the finger he was extending towards you was visibly shaking. Of course, even without so much as looking at this embarrassment of a priest, you could tell he's had a bit too much. There were plenty of audible clues - for example, the tone in which he was speaking to you.
"I... I see who you are!", holy father shouted loudly, stumbling forward. "Your face... Your face won't hide it!"
You've resisted the urge to look behind you and check, if there was anyone else there. It was you he was speaking this nonsense to - everyone present knew that, and "everyone" was quite a list of witnesses. The child in the window you were just trying to speak to, the pair of workers on the roof, a seamstress on the rocking chair, a pair of barely sober armed men passing by - they were all around you both already, like an audience in a circus.
If you wanted not to make a scene, it was already a touch too late.

"The soldier of the apocalypse cometh!", the priest bellowed. "Her fiery talons reach for your souls! Run, you fools! I'll... I'll shield you! I'll stand against the eternal night she brings!"
>>
>[Exertion] Shut him up. Forcefully.
>[Movement] Deflect the focus to him. He's drunk. He's embarrassing himself.
>[Mind Palace] Is there something wrong with this man?
>Sigh, and walk away. There's nothing to be won from being in this situation.
>Against my better judgement, what else does he have to say?
>[Write-in]
>>
>>5005734
>[Mind Palace] Is there something wrong with this man?

Lets try and figure out what his problem is, besides being drunk.

We want his help and we told Brooks that we'd treat him well, or at least she stressed that we should given that he raised her. So, forcefully shutting him up or deflecting to him in order to embarrass him probably isn't a great idea.

Though I'll admit I'm curious to hear his rantings to see if he somehow knows something legitimate about us and isn't just going full doomsayer or being bigoted against warlocks.

Also, QM, isn't our fate points at 2, not 3? Or did we gain one for some reason like maybe this guy can detect our Aura or something?
>>
>>5005758
>Also, QM, isn't our fate points at 2, not 3?
No, I'm pretty sure I got that right.
>>
>>5005766
We used one here >>5001276 >>5001304

So, unless we regained one, I think we are at two. Not that I'm complaining if you say we are actually are at 3, just trying to stay honest.
>>
>>5005734
>[Mind Palace] Is there something wrong with this man?
>>
>>5005734
>>[Mind Palace] Is there something wrong with this man?
>>
>>5005734
>>[Mind Palace] Is there something wrong with this man?
>>
Rolled 2, 3, 4, 5 = 14 (4d6)

He is drunk - that much is clear. But is there something else than wine at play?

(Mind Palace +2)
>>
The aura of corruption around you, you remembered then. Even some without any special training, magical or divine, could sense that there's something off about you. Why wouldn't a priest be able to pick up on it?
For some reason, this conclusion felt a tad unsatisfying, but most things in life weren't. You had to play with the hand you were dealt.

Only about a few seconds have passed between when you first began thinking about the issue, and the conclusion you've arrived to. The priest was still before you, and people were still staring. None of them were terrified, thankfully - but they were very much bewildered, and you were very much in the focus of their attention. If something was not done, it was very likely that a crowd would form to observe the commotion.
It was also likely that at some point, the priest would get close enough to swing at you with his fist, but in all honesty, you were far more afraid of him tripping over his feet and hitting his head, than harming your person.

"I see... I see them in her eyes!", the blob of a holy father yelled, as he rolled towards you. "The flames of Xoroth that shall devour the land..!"

>[Exertion] I don't want to upset Brooks by doing physical violence onto him. But can I intensify my aura, scare him off somehow?
>[Prudence] Roll my eyes, keep a straight face, make eye contact with a man nearby. Someone needs to get this man to bed.
>[Dazzle] Father, you need to WAKE UP!
>Stay awhile and listen.
>[Write-in]
>>
>>5006724
>>[Prudence] Roll my eyes, keep a straight face, make eye contact with a man nearby. Someone needs to get this man to bed.
>>
>>5006724
>Stay awhile and listen.

I'll vote against my better judgement.

Though I will say it is probably best we get this man some rest, no amount of social alacrity is going to return this man to the real world at the moment. It's a shame, we kinda need his help.
>>
>>5006724
>>[Dazzle] Father, you need to WAKE UP!
>>
>>5006724
>[Dazzle] Father, you need to WAKE UP!

This won't end poorly.
>>
>>5006724
>>[Dazzle] Father, you need to WAKE UP!
Last chance to get through to him, I guess.
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 4, 4 = 17 (4d6)

Thinking on what to say was hard. For some, it might have even taken several days, to come up with what you're about to do.

(Dazzle +0)
>>
EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 0
Stress: 1
Consequences: Everything hurts, all the time (4)
Fate Points: 3

For you, it certainly would have taken a few days - because in this situation, faced with a drunken priest clearly out of his mind, no other idea came to you other than letting go of your cane, grabbing him by the shoulders and shouting in his face:

"Father!", you screamed at him, trying your utmost to shake the man. Some of him shook - but you weren't certain if it was much more than his fat. "Father Delvin! You need to snap out of it! Father Delvin, wake!"
Someone in the crowd laughed - and rightly so, because the situation was, in fact, a bit comical. Even you found it slightly amusing - now that the priest was still continuing his doomspeaking in earnest, despite his voice wobbling and jittering much like the man himself:
"It has... Has happ... Ened be-fore!", he desperately cried to someone. To his woe, if anybody was listening to him before this moment, no one did so anymore. "Be... Beware! Beware the winged b-b-bea... st! The m-m-mother of storms! It'll... Be... Brought yet!"

Needless to say, despite your honest efforts at awakening the man from whatever half-fervor, half-drunken delusion he was suffering, it did not work. It only tired him, and you, and the latter - significantly so. This is when your own, slightly inebriated mind, started coming up with different ideas. Perhaps, if you managed to get your hands on some water...
Before any of it came to pass, however, the Syndicate men finally intervened in the commotion. It were two men - one of them definitely familiar to you from the crypts, the dark-haired brigand who was the first to strike at the death knight, while the other was a new face. Gently grabbing the priest by one hand each, they began dragging him away from the street - and you - and to the old church, where he would, hopefully, sober up.
Father Delvin was still making attempts to break free and rush towards you, but they were hopeless and doomed. All you could hear before a silence came was:
"No, fools! The flame! It's yet to come! The flame!"

And then, the farce came to an end. A few people still lingered, perhaps hoping that something else interesting would happen, and eyeing you cautiously from the distance. Your part in this, however, was done - just as was your patience with the man.
This was a collosal waste of time. It did not seem like you would be healed today - and maybe not even in the nearest few days. At least you've managed to get out of this situation without anything violent happening - you did not have it in your heart to harm or embarrass the man. He did not deserve it.
>>
Still, now that this particular road was closed, you needed something else to busy yourself with.

>That scheme that Church was promising me a place in.
>That potential hiding spot I've found while scrying.
>The silver mine, the one allegedly filled with flesh-eating spiders.
>The mystery of the grimoire.
>The problem of unlawful taxation by Falconcrest's men.
>The problem of me not yet being the duke's chief advisor.
>The problem of me being still too sober for this pain.
>My uncle did not raise a quitter. I am following up on the priest problem.
>>
>>5008811
>The problem of me not yet being the duke's chief advisor.
>The problem of me being still too sober for this pain.
>>
>>5008794
That ain't a bad roll, shame we have the charisma of a particularly malformed piece of plywood.

>>5008811
>The mystery of the grimoire.
>The problem of me being still too sober for this pain.

If we can't get fixed up we'll just do the next best thing for the pain. Actually, probably a terrible idea as it'll inhibit our faculties more than the pain, and we kind of need those for the mystery on the homefront, but we've had a rough day.

I don't think we should do anything dangerous or physically strenuous, we should make sure our home is secure from sabotage or ill intent by solving this mysterious murder, seeing what that cellar was and generally socializing. Then we can choose to do the silver mine thing which should solve our Falconcrest issue or see what Church had in mind. Just my opinion though.
>>
>>5008811
>>The problem of me not yet being the duke's chief advisor.
>The problem of me being still too sober for this pain.
>>
The first thing that you needed to do was to dull the pain - both the one that came from your ribcage, and the subtler one, that came from beneath it. Father Delvin was clearly both unwilling and incapable - and you knew only one other certain way. Alcohol - in copious amounts.
You could, of course, ask for more strong wine and consume it in your quarters. That would certainly avoid you some potential embarrassment, from whatever your inebriated mind comes up with. But drinking alone, as you already recalled that day, was a surefire sign of an addict - which you most certainly weren't.
No, you needed company.

And there was only one logical place to look for it in - the local watering hole, one you've already passed by multiple times - if never entered. It was a small, shoddily built establishment, the entrance to which was decorated with a large sign denominating the place with a rather overly ambitious name: "The King's Respite". If there was any king that would have sought to spend a night here, it would certainly not be any king you've heard of. Even if you were a bandit lord of Alterac, you'd think of your reputation twice before setting your foot into the doorway...
...but the circumstances were, admittedly, unusual.

Upon entering, you've found that the insides of the tavern were exactly what you were expected. There were some local men here, likely the duke's soldiers - who drank, and gambled, and argued with each other over who slept with whom, and when. One of them was warming his bones by the barely burning fire, while one was drinking alone - that one was certainly an alcoholic.
There was a bartender - a picture perfect example of his kind - fat, balding, with a spruce moustache. He was busy cleaning glasses - which, as you were told, was every bartender's primary job.

Once you've entered, however, every noise in the tavern has gone a little bit... Not quiet - but quieter. Even had you been blind, you would have noticed how everyone present was eyeing you - some with caution, others with curiosity. You've not even spoken a word - and already, you've become the star of the show.
That was a first.

>Mysteriously and silently sit down in the darkest corner. Someone will approach me. Surely.
>Join the gamblers at their table. I'm not sure what we're playing, but I'm in a betting mood.
>Join the lone alcoholic. We'll tell each other of our plights.
>I feel lonely all of the sudden. I wish my human friend was here.
>Hear ye! For the next hour, every drink is on me..! By the stars, I hope I actually have coin.
>Just order a drink, like a sane woman would. I've not come here for reverly, it's for medical purposes.
>>
>>5009795
>>Join the gamblers at their table. I'm not sure what we're playing, but I'm in a betting mood.
>>I feel lonely all of the sudden. I wish my human friend was here.
>>
>>5009795
>Join the gamblers at their table. I'm not sure what we're playing, but I'm in a betting mood.

I see we've not yet fully embraced our latent alcoholism. That can change. The best way to sooth both our physical and spiritual pain is, without a doubt, by indulging in as much vice as possible.
>>
>>5009795
>Join the lone alcoholic. We'll tell each other of our plights.
>Just order a drink, like a sane woman would. I've not come here for reverly, it's for medical purposes.

Do we even have money?
>>
>>5009795
>>Join the lone alcoholic. We'll tell each other of our plights.
>>Just order a drink, like a sane woman would. I've not come here for reverly, it's for medical purposes.