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  1. #181

    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

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    You're making me want to try recruiting some female and non-white writers to design a mini-campaign that's just "help the oppressed get free and build a place of their own."

  2. #182
    So, you got some PCs with a connection to Elfaivar as well? Damn, I'd love to read all about it, but for now I'm afraid of spoilers, even if we got a good grasp on the Obscurati plan and Nicodemus' true identity by now. We'll most likely return to Elfaivar to meet Kasverina and Asrabey this sunday.

    Oh and @RangerWickett I'd love to play that. So many campaigns are focused on stopping the villains from doing evil stuff or ending a reign of terror, but very few plots try to incorporate building and rebuilding and protecting what you're trying to grow.

  3. #183

    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    You're making me want to try recruiting some female and non-white writers to design a mini-campaign that's just "help the oppressed get free and build a place of their own."
    Do it.
    .
    .
    .
    Dooo eeeeet.

    The world needs more Ryan Nock campaign sagas.

  4. #184

    In the pale moonlight

    We then decide to make all necessary preparations for the arrival of new refugees in Sawyer. So back to Sawyer it is. When we arrive at the main hall and ask for governor Roderick, we are told that she's currently in a meeting with Mr. Pemberton, so we'd have to wait a bit to see her. After a while, we see her and another man emerge from her office and hear Roderick call Pemberton a true friend of Sawyer. The two then bid each other farewell and both seem a bit surprised to see the two of us waiting there.

    Roderick assumes that we just returned from Pallita, only to be even more surprised when we tell her that we already spoke to King Aodhan and told him about the issues in Sawyer. Pemberton, being a thin and angular man in his late forties, introduces himself as head of Pemberton Industries and claims he's happy to shake hands with the new knights of Risur and heroes of Flint and Sawyer sooner than he'd expected. Still, Carlyle senses that he's a bit uneasy about our presence here as if we're the last people he needs around him right now.

    (Let's just hope he doesn't plan anything fishy now that he got the gratitude of Roderick...)


    He leaves quickly afterward and we join governor Roderick in her office and tell her about our visit in Slate. She's quite happy about the prospect of working closer together with the mainland. We then tell her that we might just bring new refugees soon. Refugees who are to be officially rescues from King Vardanis' territory despite coming from “elsewhere”.

    Roderick gets that the details about the refugees' origin are top secret, so she doesn't dig much deeper, but she seems concerned that there might be troubles ahead. We stress out that while this is top secret indeed, we are in close contact with the King, so no need to worry about betraying risuri interests.

    (Walking the thin line between telling too much and raising suspicions...)

    As we don't want her to get entangled in the specifics, we simply ask her to prepare shelter for roughly 20 eladrin, most likely only women and children, and to get them a counselor who'll help them get accustomed to life in the Covenant. Seems like Roderick can live with that.

    As soon as this is settled, Carlyle uses a teleport spell to get us close to a town near Beaumont where the Avery Coast train stopped for the first time. There we take the guises of Monsieur Pompadour and his less linguistically talented manservant and buy tickets for the slow train that's stopping at all neighboring villages. Once aboard the train, handsome Mr. Pompadour starts chatting and flirting with quite a few elderly danoran women and finds out that the Traverses are a rather rich family of tiefling heritage who live in an estate near a town called Frojmont.

    (In case you were asking who's playing who: Auryn clearly has a thing for posing as flamboyant men while Carlyle doesn't object to not talking every now and then)

    So we get off the train in Frojmont and rent a room in a local inn, claiming to be on a trip to visit distant relatives of Pompadour who live in the countryside. There, we take quite some time to inconspicuously gather rumors and information about the Traverses and their estate. We then take an elongated stroll through the nearby farms and hamlets where we also pass by the Traverse estate. From outside, we can see a large mansion surrounded by vast lands. There is a well-tended garden in front of the mansion where a family is having a picnic. We also spot a couple of slaves working for said family and another building that appears to be an old castle and decide to take a closer look.

    So we continue our stroll, turn invisible and return to said castle. We find a group of eladrin children inside, playing in the courtyard while being watched by female guards and one eunuch. We don't see any of the missing women or signs of imprisoned eladrin men, but we assume that they'd be inside the castle as well.

    We withdraw from the Traverse estate to discuss our further proceedings. As the Traverses appear to have many employees, slaves and also kids of their own, we decide against eradicating them all. Which also means that we'd need a scapegoat to cover our strike. Fortunately, we just learned of one crazy individual who's also allegedly in the slave business and who could have even been the one who sold some women to the Traverses a few decades ago.

    As our plan has to be flawless, we realize that we first need an authentic letter from King Vardanis. So we travel back to Elfaivar to get the fitting ink and paper and then ask one of the eladrin veterans to write a letter where King Vardanis, the Shining Light of Elfaivar demands to get back the women he gave the Traverse family back in the day or else. We then enhance the forgery by adding the King's historic crest and seal and go back to Beaumont.

    When we take the train to Frojmont again, we are quite surprised to come across four well-armed eladrin men who, judging by their uniforms, are part of Danor's Red Tiger company. They appear quite organized and we manage to snatch a message they got from their quartermaster where they are promised “the usual benefits” for their good services. Seems like we just found Isobel's Nightelves.

    We discuss taking their visit as an opportunity to cement King Vardanis' involvement in ending the Traverses' business and make the Nightelves pay for their crimes at the same time. So we wait until the four eladrin have entered the estate and sneak into the building later that evening. There, we wait patiently until the guests are brought to separate rooms in the guest wing of the house. We agree that we have to stop them before they can cause any more harm to their suspected unwilling partners, so each of us follows them to a different guest room.

    While waiting for a perfect opportunity to strike, we are both quite surprised to see that the Nightelves actually do know common courtesy and that their encounter with the Traverse eladrin would probably be more akin to being respectful customers than to be ravishing beasts. So Auryn is a bit baffled when she sees “her” Nightelf bowing calmly before disrobing and it takes her quite a few moments to finally knock out the unsuspecting eladrin man. She then reveals herself to the woman and asks her to swallow her fear, calm down and stay quiet. She then explains that she's here to rescue her captive sisters which is why they'll have to leave immediately. The woman appears to be both glad and unsure, but she insists that she won't leave without her daughters.

    Meanwhile, Carlyle takes no time to knock out his Nightelf, but he fares much worse in calming down the eladrin as he's seen as a human invader. Luckily, he can fetch some alchemical anesthetics before her screams can alert the whole estate to the intruders. We then repeat the process with the other two Nightelves before we wake up the unconscious woman and explain her that we came to get her and her family out of this hell.

    We leave through one of the windows and, once we feel safe, discuss how to proceed. The four women can give us directions and describe where their children are being held at night. They also tell us about the guard's routines and we get the expression that these guarding girls (and that eunuch) were treating them poorly and with much force.

    “Then they'll deserve their fate” Auryn whispers before Carlyle explains that the servants of King Vardanis would leave no “enemy forces” alive. So we ask the four women to hide in the darkness while the two of us sneak into the old castle and stealthily assassinate all of the guards present. We then free the children and the two remaining women and lead them to the other four. Once the family is reunited, we tell them that they are free now and that we'll bring them to a place where they are actually welcome. We just have to make sure that this Traverse business ends here and now, so we ask them to wait a bit longer until our mission is fulfilled.

    We then return to the main estate to find out more about the trafficking business of the Traverses. More precisely, we wish to find out who got their hands dirty and who's to be considered innocent.

    “To make one thing crystal clear: I won't help you kill children, no matter how cruel they might have been to the eladrin.” Carlyle says sternly as they both scan through various documents and sales accounts. Auryn looks completely estranged in response just as if someone just claimed she loves torturing puppies.

    “You know me. I would never harm a child. And even if they were cruel, they will still have more than enough opportunities to change and mature.”

    Carlyle seems satisfied with that response and together we find our that there are currently six members of the Traverse family living in the estate: Lord and Lady Traverse, both tieflings, their juvenile son, their young daughter, the Lord's brother and his wife, being the sole human. Among the adults, this young woman seems to be the only one who never appeared in any sales document, contract or correspondence about the eladrin which is why we consider her to be innocent. This offers a bit of relief as she'll be the one to witness the strike of “Vardanis' men” and might act as caretaker for her niece and nephew afterward.

    We then sneak into the private wing of the estate where Carlyle summons a wall of ice to block off any means of escape and muffle all sounds. He then points out that everything else is Auryn's business and her decision. However, when she openly muses whether it would be more humane to kill them in their sleep, Carlyle puts a hand on her shoulder and whispers:

    “More humane for whom? It'd be easier for you, of that I am certain. But don't they deserve to know who came here to judge them and why? You're not an assassin, you're passing a sentence.”

    Auryn nods silently. “You're right. I shall not tread lightly tonight.”

    She then takes on her haunted, dark fey aspect and walks into the Traverses' bedroom with Carlyle following her trail. She then wakes them both, staring at them with glowing, violet eyes. Believing this to be some weird case of robbery, Monsieur Traverse offers the intruders all the money they wish in return for mercy. Seeing the twisted irony, Auryn finally raises her voice which sounds cold as ice.

    “You ask for mercy when you gave none yourself. You and your family committed unforgivable crimes and cruelties against my sisters and my people. You bred them like cattle, imprisoned them, sacrificed them to soldiers and sold their children to slavery. Your never ending greed destroyed countless lives. But this ends tonight. Now you shall pay the just price for what you've done.”

    She then pieces the man's heart with a swift thrust of her rapier. Madame Traverse faints a mere moment before Auryn's strike pierces hers as well. She then silently leaves the room and moves on to her last target where she first places a sleeping spell on the human woman and then goes on to judge the other Traverse brother.

    She then turns to the sleeping woman and whispers “I'm sorry that you'll have to witness all of this.”. She then alters the woman's memory and implants the cruel memory of an eladrin raid on the Traverse estate into her mind where eladrin men in King Vardanis' colors storm into her bedchamber, kill her husband and tell her that this is what happens when you don't heed the one true King's orders.

    We then place our forged letter in one of the writing chambers before Carlyle kills the remaining Nightelves. After that, we return to the group of eladrin women and children who are still waiting in the dark. We tell them that their nightmare is finally over and teleport them all to Sawyer. Roderick already expected our arrival and she promises us to take good care of the new arrivals. We make the eladrin swear to never tell anyone where they came from and leave the rest to Roderick and Kaealys.

    When we finally return to Flint, Auryn is shaking all over her body and she confesses that she's feeling quite sick right now despite the fact that she's relieved that the Isobel's family is free at last. She says she never expected her judgement to take such a heavy toll on her, especially in a clear case like this.

    “That's only natural because you are no assassin, no cold-blooded murderer.” Carlyle says softly.

    “What you're feeling right now are two aspects of you who are in conflict with each other. You're shivering because they're struggling to find out which one is right. There is that part of you who knows what you've done was wrong, the part of you who values life and who seeks forgiveness. And then there's the part of you who knows you've simply done what's just and right. The part who wishes to protect and avenge your people at any cost.”

    He pauses for a moment before mustering Auryn with quite the curiosity.

    “I must admit I'm a bit surprised at your strong reaction though. I originally got the impression that you were actually looking forward to taking this mission. Anyway, I can only give you the advice to take some time to properly process what happened today. I can obviously understand your need to bring criminals to justice that cannot be persecuted officially, but please don't take these deeds too lightly.”

    Auryn quietly admits that she was truly looking forward to freeing Isobel's family and bringing an end to the Traverse business was naturally going to be part of it. And after freeing and avenging herself in the arena of Nalaam and killing Elanor with her bare hands, she almost felt as if killing those who'd harm her people was truly satisfying. But striking down the Traverses was no pleasure, not even satisfaction, but a heavy duty instead. A duty that's to be expected from a matriarch judging criminals.

    Carlyle reminds her that the Traverses will most likely not have seen themselves as criminals as danoran rights do not outlaw slavery, so, according to danoran law she'd actually be the criminal here.

    “Curse that damn danoran law. A system that's encouraging amorality and a lack of empathy, that puts no value in life, and especially not in eladrin life, shouldn't be allowed to be called law.” Auryn hisses before adding that even with such a careless law, people should actually be able to live up to certain moral standards.

    Carlyle adds that he doesn't need any explanation as he understands how she's feeling. All he wishes to ask of her is to carefully consider her decisions when she's about to take or spare lives as he had to do the same when he was acting as guardian of the Vantrys family. He then admits that this mission almost pushed him to his limits and that there are thresholds he has to actively avoid crossing lest he'd fall back to old habits.

    Auryn tells him not to fear as she reminds him that she'd never take lives lightly. After all, life is most precious for an eladrin like herself.

    (Okay, this was most likely the darkest episode so far. At least in terms of PC actions.

    First, yeah we tried to delegate the mission to various Vekeshi but ended up doing it anyway. I really don't regret it as it pushed both characters to their limits. Going against the Traverses was a test for both of them for different reasons.

    First, there is Carlyle who did similar stuff for the Vantrys family but left that path behind when he joined the RHC. If you remember his first adventures, he was even more uptight and rules-adhering. For example, in our very first mission he suspected Auryn to have an unregistered second job as bar singer and to use some of her plants as narcotics (which she obviously did for relaxation) and totally called her out on that. In reality, this was just his way to distance himself from his own vigilante past.

    When he realized that he cared for the eladrin people as well, he allowed his old self to reappear, a process that truly started with Isobel's rescue. And I guess he fears that he might lose himself in returning to a “pro-active way of dealing with injustice” as he'd call it. Which is why I think that he's started to use Auryn as part of his moral compass as well. All while trying to help her navigate in this new territory as he doesn't want her to go through the same troubles he had to on his own.

    Then there is Auryn who really wanted to help her people and who totally knows about her duty. But Carlyle hit the nail right on its head here: She's struggling with her perceived duty as strong protector, avenger and judge and her love for life and her need to induce change.

    As for why this situation was so completely different from that one in Nalaam where she did indeed feel the heat of combat and even enjoyed killing Elanor? Because this was about herself and ultimately a power struggle. Elanor had rendered her helpless, a situation she could only stand because she had faith in her friends. After having been stripped of her power, she naturally felt that rush of power returning and a direct need to avenge herself and punish that woman who took her power away from her and who tried to sell her like an object.

    On the other hand, the Traverses were totally defenseless compared to her. They didn't stand a chance and Auryn executed them while she was in total control of the situation. So even if they truly deserved it, this didn't feel completely right for her.

    Also, this seems like a good spot to discuss alignment. Or rather the difficulties one can have in placing a simple measurement like alignment on characters like these. For Auryn, this works okay-ish because she is generally altruistic, has a lot of empathy and is a protector of the weak. Even if she does some morally grey actions and has pretty dark thoughts, especially when she's being disillusioned. She's equally a dutiful traditionalist and neurotic perfectionist as well as unconventional, emotional and creative, adhering to law (and enforcing it) while also being open to interpret it freely. And even if it might very well be her sense of duty towards Elfaivar that may break her eventually, I'd overall consider her neutral good.

    For Carlyle, this is way harder and I found myself unable to give that character a concrete alignment. Then I talked to Carlyle's player, who didn't know either, picked up his character sheet and found that he had written no alignment on it at all.

    Like Auryn, Carlyle is extremely dutiful and he's following strict rules. He's also utterly loyal to a point where he'd break said rules to serve those he loves or to do “what has to be done”. He's very orderly and follows risuri customs and traditions while also asking others to question their own traditions (hah, also like Auryn). He hates violence, but is the first to strike if he has to. He can be caring and is an empathetic protector of the innocents but can be utterly ruthless while doing so. Especially if he's frustrated or dealing with wannabe-tough guys. He's quite cruel when he calls out people who screwed up on their tasks – he absolutely loathes incompetence. And he tends to stick to what's his job when considering morals.

    So all in all I'd place him as more lawful with a touch of good-ish. But I'm keen to hear about your opinions as well )
    XP Tizbiz gave XP for this post

  5. #185

    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

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    I'm running a game with four paladin PCs. Alignment stuff comes up surprisingly rarely, because I've striven not to overwhelm the players with moral dilemmas. It's easy to ride forth to defend innocents against clear villains who intend to conquer and slaughter. It's harder to make morality clear when you enter a city with a cruel government and help overthrow it, hoping you'll be reducing people's suffering, only to see the new leadership using extreme violence to stamp out the allies of the old. Did you just abet evil acts? Does it matter how orderly the executions are? A public trial with evidence, or an assassination in bed: both have the same outcome, but the former is harder to pull off, and gives the ne'er-do-well a chance to escape, yet is more morally acceptable.

    Auryn did not act unilaterally. She got advice from allies, and considered whether it was feasible to rescue those women through legal pathways. She broke the law, but tried to do it in a way to minimize fall-out and keep from leading to retribution and more suffering. So she's good, but this act was 'chaotic.' Overall, though, is she trying to maintain Risur's system, or at least build a better system? I think yes. She's not simply doing whatever she thinks is right at the moment. She's trying to build something better where the rules protect everyone. I'd honestly peg her as lawful good, with the occasional chaotic act.

    Killing the Traverses, though, wasn't a "good" act. It wasn't necessarily an "evil" act, either. There certainly could have been a way to capture those people and arrest them, even if it had to remain secret. Or to make a deal with someone in Danor to arrest them on some other valid charge, and in the meanwhile steal their wealth and discredit their names so they could not rebuild their slave-selling business. That would have been harder, though, and one could reasonably argue that Auryn and Carlyle don't have time to spare for that. But that would have been more of a "good" option.

    An "evil" option would have been to torment them before killing them, and then to steal all their wealth and use it for oneself.

    So yeah, what Auryn did is, I think, neutral.

    As for Carlyle? I've never seen him pursue things for his own desires while ignoring the harm it causes others. But he certainly feels less motivated to mitigate harm than Auryn. I feel he's more Lawful Neutral, doing what society says is proper, having relatively few desires of his own.

    If they ditched Aodhan, though, and stopped having anyone to second-guess or guide their paths, they might shift from Lawful Good and Lawful Neutral to Neutral Good and true Neutral.
    XP Lylandra, Tizbiz gave XP for this post

  6. #186
    I would say that Auryn's actions (and carlyles) were largely good. You were acting to bring about the end of a great injustice and bring justice for clear crimes, however the nature of the crimes placed them beyond your legal jurisdiction and in a place were the legal authorities would not act against them, you there fore took the appropriate actions and delivered the punishment you could. It would have been better to bring them before a court and a trial but that was impossible unless you had kidnapped them and delivered them to the government of an Eladrin enclave and even then the consequences for that enclave may have been negative and the sentence would have been the same. Ignoring the slavers activity would have been wrong.

    My own players have always tried to take people alive to face trial but particularly during the train journey when they lacked legal authority they found that they could not always find a legal solution. In one case the half orc business man and his mafia deals they reached an agreement which while was not legal was fair and made use of their influence with the family to do so (in general dealing with the family has pushed them into legal grey zones a lot with them accepting somewhat illegal solution to reach a moral result). They did deliberately kill everyone involved in the slaving in Naalam , normally they choose to not kill when a target drops to 0 hp but here they went for death as anything else would let the criminal escape and re-offend, they also had the serial killer gunslinger assassinated they arranged for a Vekeshi Dryad to meet him and when he tried to kill the dryad it planted him under a tree. I will be interested to see how they operate as they operate further from home and reach a higher level which puts them somewhat above the law, the Kobold is somewhat gun and bomb happy which creates some conflict the others being much less bloodthirsty.

    Most of them have no ties to the Eladrin or Elfaivar except for a general interest and curiosity. However Nevla the female Eladrin Vekeshi cleric is very interested in her people although she had never been to Elfaivar having been raised as a slave in Danor before escaping somehow leaving all the slavers shredded. She is a cleric of Ssrama she thinks but she has no idea where she manages to draw her power from and instead of channelling positive energy seems to channel some entropic force she and no one else has been able to determine the origins of. She also keeps having visions of Elfaivar from before the death of Ssrama so thinks she may be the reincarnation of an Eladrin who died in the great malice.
    The Goblin has a batman obsession and indeed his father tried trying to clean up corruption in one of the Beran cities leaving his son and an elderly butler to flee to Risur.
    The Dwarf is a solid military veteran who has a link to the elemental plane of air and is accompanied by a lightning weasel.
    The Kobold is a dragon obsessed gun wielding lunatic who really wants to become a dragon
    XP Tizbiz, Lylandra gave XP for this post

  7. #187
    Thanks for your insight.

    I read a bit about the SMITE EVIL campaign and it does sound really intriguing to have such an unconventional and dynamic team of paladins as PCs. My last attempt at playing a paladin character was several years ago, and she wasn't planned to be come a paladin at start (originally a noble girl who took her family's bard to go find a cure for her brother who had caught a magical illness while traveling abroad), while Carlyle's player has a soft spot for playing them (his only nitpick is that they can be mechanically niche with their smite)
    So yeah... made me want to play one again.

    Andrew's party sounds incredibly colorful. I guess Nevla and Auryn would get along quite well while the Kobold is absolutely in for a surprise in adventure 6. Also... no human PC? That's quite rare. And yeah, we left a trail of bodies along the Avery Coast as well due to a lack of time and influence on the jurisdiction. Boone and Elanor totally deserved their fates though. Regarding Cippiano and La Familia, we got the okay from Delft to make deals with him as long as it was in Risur's best interest and he stayed true to his words. But this will come up again soon. Cippiano is still one of our favorite NPC and it is quite ironic that the most trustworthy and likeable person from Crisillyir is basically a mafia godfather. But this will have to wait till after the long-awaited Dirge of Vekesh

    Regarding alignment, it doesn't really play much of a role in most of our campaigns. But we had quite the discussion on the concept as written as there are often underlying aspects that are hard to judge, like motivation, action, aim and ideals. Before WotBS and Zeitgeist, we played Way of the Wicked, an AP where you play a group of (persecuted) Asmodeans who try to overthrow a LG theocratic government. So naturally you'd all be on the LE end of the spectrum. And it turns out that you can't really march in and say "Now we rule, obey or die!" - the party doesn't have the resorces and it isn't really Asmodeus' favored way of getting done. So we ended up using subterfuge and also "good deeds" to get what we want and sway the populace. What totally helped was the fact that our PCs deeply believed that the Asmodean rule was actually better, more natural and transparent. It was also a great case study on why and how people can turn to evil, or literally start worshipping the devil, as individuals or as society as a whole.
    XP RangerWickett, Andrew Moreton, Tizbiz gave XP for this post

  8. #188
    Oddly enough our previous pathfinder campaign was Way of the Wicked, and again no human main pc's (2 Aasimar, Dhampir, Half Elf, Half Orc ) the cohorts included a couple of humans but as they almost all became undead they were not terribly human. Very evil, very subtle had a cookbook guide to sentient species of Talingarde (Following being forced to east lutefisk in book 1 , the Tritons looked tasty and Grumblejack was a bad influence). Bizzarly in that campaign 4 out of 5 pc's had cha 18+ while in this campaign 3 out of 4 pc's have cha 8 , even the high charisma character is no match for the high charisma Aasimar Vampire Sorceress who managed to diplomance a dragon to death
    My impression is that Nevla and Auryn would get on well. The Kobold is in for a lot of suprises but he is already very much of the opinion that some dragons must be out there in disguise.
    We only make loose use of alignment I tend to be a bit more restrictive that Paladins/Cleric abide by the ethos of their gods but that has never been a problem and the player of the Goblin has a tendency towards chaotic whatever he is playing

  9. #189

    Dirge of Vekesh

    We spend the next days writing reports and analyzing our information. One day, Auryn asks Carlyle to give her one of these old suits he's no longer wearing as she'd love to try out something new. When he asks her what she'd do to his clothing, she just winks and says that it'll be an experiment but doesn't go into more detail.

    We also tell Isobel that we found her family and brought them all to a safe place. As this safe haven is quite far from Risur, we promise to bring her there whenever she wishes. Isobel is truly happy about this news but says that she still got much to learn in Flint and wants to stay with Auryn even if she'd visit them regularly.

    Some days after, the premiere of the Dirge of Vekesh opera is finally on schedule in the Navras Opera house. As the performance team sent out invitations to almost everyone they knew, Auryn also invited King Aodhan and Principal Minister Lee who confirmed that they would come as they do not want to miss this spectacle. (Yay!) She also invited Lya and Han Jierre, as well as other members of the danoran entourage (as the opera was originally set to be performed during the peace talk period), but they, unfortunately, had to decline. Honoring her pact with Fordren, she also sent the businessman an invitation, but he, too, has other plans as he's trying to expand to Ber.

    So the colorful troupe of Dockers, opera performers and Auryn perform the fictional tales of Vekesh and a Crisillyiri soldier who gets reborn as deva after the Fall of Srasama:

    The opera starts with a magnificent overture that combines traditional elfaivaran music with an ancient crisillyiri opera style and is interwoven with snippets of the original Dirge of Vekesh melody.

    Then the first scene begins, set in Alais Primos just before the final march of the Eladrin. A group of crisillyiri soldiers is gathering their armor and weapons, getting ready for what might very well be their last stand. They discuss how things could have come this far and whether they'll see the next sunrise when one of them asks himself whether they've brought this situation upon themselves. He's rebuffed by his comrades however.

    On the other side of the city wall, the Eladrin soldiers are performing ritual dances and traditional war prayers to prepare for the grand battle ahead. They swear to take revenge for the events and losses of the First War and the human raids on their territory. And they also swear to bring their grand elfaivaran empire back to its original glory. Vekesh, played by Auryn, is present at the sidelines of these preparations, looking contemplatively.

    The scene switches to a peaceful setting, depicting a magic-weaver in her home and workshop. She sings of her hope that this war will end soon and that her family returns to her alive. At the end of her song, she warns her eldest daughter to not do so much mischief with her newly-learned spells as her baby daughter is sleeping and she needs her rest.

    The battle for Alais Primos begins. Human and eladrin soldiers clash in massive combat. Still, the walls of the city withhold the ongoing assault. Then, a giant silhouette of a six-armed, fiery woman appears on the battlefield: Srasama has come to join the eladrin forces.

    The human side falls to desperation as they fear that their final hour has come at last. One by one they throw themselves at the goddess in a heroic act of sacrifice, hoping to halt her advance. Then, the goddess dies a death of thousand cuts and she sings a heavy song of lamentation as she knows that her death means oblivion for her daughters. The whole stage is wrapped in flames and the scene ends.

    One by one, all eladrin women fall to the ground, completely lifeless. The short lament of lost hope is interrupted by fanfares of victory as the human soldiers find their hope renewed. As they charge towards the eladrin, the mourn of the remaining men turns into an angry vow for revenge. Weapons clash again violently, but the eladrin are hopelessly outnumbered and their ranks get devastated.

    (I guess this is where one could place a break. Either here, or after Srasama's death)

    The wave of Srasama's death reaches the magic-weaver's home. Both the woman and her daughter die in its wake, falling to the ground without sound. But her baby daughter is nowhere to be seen. Only an ominous, hovering rope indicates that there might be more going on than the eye can see.

    (Yep, I borrowed this shenanigan from the Book of the Eight Lands ploy of the Ragesians. Rope trick is such a cool spell)

    The crisillyiri soldier awakes somewhere in the jungle, appearing completely naked and covered with markings. He's quite disoriented and walks through heavy undergrowth until he reaches the home of the magic-weaver. There, he finds the lifeless bodies of both the woman and her daughter and mourns their death while asking himself what tragedy might have happened here.
    After his lament, he finds the mysterious rope and, curious as he is, decides to pull it. Coincidentally, the spell is ending this very same moment and an eladrin baby falls straight into the man's arms. He sings a short song where he asks himself whether this “heaven-sent” child is a sign of hope among all this tragedy and then takes the child with him.

    In the next scene, a group of surviving eladrin swears revenge for their fallen female comrades, even if such an endeavor means certain death. Vekesh tries to calm them down and asks them to think before springing to action, but he's ignored by the zealous group. He leaves them with his head held low and wanders off to the jungle.

    Vekesh almost bumps into the strangely marked Crisillyiri. They are both cautious in the presence of the other, circling each other as both expect an attack every moment. After a while of musical taxation, none of them shows any sign of aggression and both are about to relax. Then, all of a sudden, the child starts crying which alerts Vekesh to its presence. He asks the Crisillyiri how he came to carry an eladrin baby and the man tells him all about the strange scene he had witnessed. Both enter a short duet where they agree that this baby is indeed a sign of hope.

    Vekesh understands that there is still more to this world than death, despair and mindless revenge. He talks about his hope that he might find more survivors of the calamity in time and that there may still be a shimmer of hope for Elfaivar. He then sings the titular Dirge of Vekesh.

    The Crisilyiri is impressed by Vekesh's resolve and explains that his own memory is pretty fragmented. He sings a moving piece where he swears to abandon war and conflict as he can agree to Vekesh's statement. Both decide to take care for the baby girl on their journey, even if they don't know where it might lead them.

    After a longer while, the unlikely trio encounters another guerrilla band of eladrin warriors. The eladrin see an enemy in the deva and are about to strike at him, but Vekesh intervenes and places himself in front of the Crisillyiri. He tells his people the tale of hope, his idea of renewing Elfaivar and the fortune of finding this baby girl. The eladrin listen to Vekesh, agreeing that this child is a symbol of hope indeed. They swear to protect her with their lives and to teach her the history and culture of Eladrin in her mother's stead. But they demand that their “ancient enemy” keeps distance from her.

    The Crisillyiri appears struck with sadness and regret, but he understands that this child will be better off with her own kind. So he says goodbye to her and Vekesh without any sign of anger. After he retreats, he sings of his hope to eventually see her again one day.

    Many years later, the deva (who now seems to have come to term with his new identity) comes across an eladrin hunting company. The eladrin are led by a mighty warrior (played by Auryn as well) who recognizes the man as someone from her distant past. She orders her companions to lower their weapons and asks the man to come with her to her home.

    She and the deva enter an eladrin enclave where she reveals that she knows what he had done for her when she was a child. She thanks him deeply and then leads him to her own baby daughter. The opera ends with the woman singing about life being always more powerful than death as long as there are people like him and Vekesh who keep an open mind and believe in the right values and who are not afraid to fight for their beliefs.

    Before the curtain falls after this last scene, Auryn searches for Carlyle's seat and dedicates these last notes to him.
    XP RangerWickett, Tizbiz gave XP for this post

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