I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
The ex-commander shakes his head. "While I'm not surprised at your reaction, I would think you'd see the idea of preparing for anything on the field of battle. What you call treachery, I call good battle tactics," Lowenan says calmly. He sighs. "It seems you've spent too many years cloistered in a dusty room and not enough time standing toe to toe against foes. I guess with your upbringing, it isn't surprising, but if I can give you some advice Loremaster." He pauses. "You must learn to see three steps ahead of your enemies if you are to survive in this world. Keeping Arnona and Silagord out of sight to attack from rear if violence erupts was a sound battlefield tactic, but they would not have attacked you from behind unless you used your magic or Sir Tim swung the first strike."
Lowenan looks at Tim. "You are a knight of your people. You have fought on the field of battle, yes? So, you understand that good tactics are the key to victory and that when fighting against magical foes you have to be doubly prepared. Yes, we are enemies, but as a good soldier, you know how to prepare for war."
"I know how to prepare, good man, I was intentionally provocative. I expected the throne to be for your master or at least something that would rile you up. I didnt expect a mimic though. Well played. I did sit in a monastery for a long time...but that was my masters mistake, just as The Five made a mistake of your family. The laws should be guiding the justice, not be all and end all."
Akos nods at Lowenan.
"I am negotiator first, fighting doesn't come naturally to me. Rising swords didn't really give me a chance so they suffered the other side of a good negotiation."
"Leaving the weapon there is dangerous for you. It could provoke some trickery from us. Thank you for your confidence. As for The Five, the failing of wizards of all stripes is their curiosity. The difference between wizards and sorcerers is that the former think first and experiment later. Waldo cannot expect peace after the explosion. Whatever he offers. And leaving him here to experiment with the portals, while knowing he cares for nothing except opening the world-ending portal to te Far Realms...we can take a message, but I don't see it happening."He turns to look at Akos again. "Yes, I have this blade, but I also have my orders. I am here to keep the peace, if possible. My mentor has ordered me not to be the aggressor. We haven't taken any hostile action, but I will not hold back if you strike first. Yes, it puts me at a disadvantage, which is why I kept Arnona and Silagord out of sight." He sighs again and takes another swig of wine. "I should have warned you about the mimic up front, but I never thought that you'd go and try to sit on it. It's a mistake I don't often make and I apologize." He looks at Akos. "But, ask yourself this, if the throne wasn't an unknown factor in this room, then why wouldn't I have been sitting there? It would be a position of strength. This place wasn't built by Phelix, and I think you know that already, so there could be dangers here that even my mentor hasn't deciphered yet."
He walks over to the table and places his rapier on it. He takes a chunk of meat from one of the plates and dabs it into something in a bowl before eating it. Then he walks back to the chair and sits down. He leaves the rapier on the table. "I hope that will prove to you that I will not attack first. If I was to do so, Phelix would be very upset with me. He knows that eventually you'll come for him, and he would like to broker some sort of agreement to prevent it." He takes a deep breath. "Yet, it may not be possible to avoid more bloodshed. He has his plans and he isn't going to change them without some sort of incentive from your masters, and it is doubtful The Five will agree to anything that Musummaar can offer on Phelix's behalf. But, he wants to try to keep you from invading the enclave."
He motions to the portal. "There are things contained in that place that you should not disturb. Creatures he's brought in from the Far Realms and monsters trapped in magical circles that were placed there long before Phelix discovered its existence. Some of those ancient circles were close to failing before he arrived. Yet, he will not give up the demiplane without a fight an he knows the Wizard Council will take it from him, if they can. But, also ask yourself... would they destroy it or would they do what Phelix has done and use its power, study it? Hmm? Don't be so sure you know the answer Loremaster."
"But was it your place to question the wisdom of forbidding sorcerers in the city then?"Lowenan fumes but keeps his temper in check. "Yes, I admit that we use him as a guardian, but he wouldn't have left this place without fighting to the death. Phelix found it more useful to convince him that we meant him and his charge no harm." He shakes his head. "It unfortunate that the power of the portal drains the genie's life force, but Phelix refuses to give up this room or the power it has that connects it to the Ancients. We do not always agree, but I have accepted his choice and will not question him. It is not my place.
"I think you traitor to your oath and your city, yes. Not because you aren't right, but because you took the oath and broke it. The laws have nothing to do with it. You changed your loyalty for whatever reason, you're now the traitor. And believe me, if you didn't hide so much your power or at least studied some of the arcane lore, you'd know that opening the portal to the Far Realms is a world ending event. And that alone would bring the wrath of the Five down on him even if he was a wizard. Status quo could have been challenged from within. Now you're just another outlaw. But we're here to negotiate, not to try and open your eyes. So...""You think me a traitor to my oath and my city, and if you look at it from the point of view of the city's unyielding laws over its citizens, then you are right," Lowenan says bitterly. He lowers his head and stares at the floor. "I am no longer loyal to a bunch of preening merchant lords who rule over Bluffside like it is their personal property, and who push out anyone who challenges their power. The Wizard Council is just as bad, but at least they contain their most of their machinations to the Wizard District. Still, it was the council that convinced The Five that sorcerers like my mentor have no place in Bluffside. They care not about his ethics or his interest in the Far Realms. They only see a sorcerer who threatens the status quo. If he was a wizard, they would accept him into their circle. He would have a position of importance and not be trying to live off scraps." He looks up at Akos. "They will come for you at some point, Loremaster Akos. Be prepared for their treachery if you become too powerful. They may have let you join one of their Houses, but now, you always will be subject to their rules and games. Be glad that the people of Old City have come to admire you, but be careful how popular you become. It could be a death sentence."
He stands and points at Vinccenzo. "That is what they did to my mother and when they discovered her powers did not come from texts but was innate in her soul, they used it as an excuse to execute her as a renegade! She was a good woman, but they did not care!" he rages. "Nonwizards live in fear in this city," he snaps. "I know this because I am a sorcerer in addition to being a soldier! I have had to hide my abilities or risk being branded a traitor and a renegade! I have watched good men die because I could not use my magic to save them! So, you'll forgive me if I care not what you think of me!"
I think we agreed that no one knows Akos is anything more than a cleric and half-fey. Warlock healing can be 'reach spell' + cure wounds...and with Akos bluff skill it would take high level arcanist to know the difference.
Arnona is surprised by Akos's words. It's clear as a bright summer day. She gives him a sly smile before glancing at Lowenan. "Sir, what do what to do?"
"If he feels he must converse with you instead of me, so be it. But don't promise him anything that Phelix would not offer. Neither you or I can them any such guarantee," Lowenan says more calmly. He sits down in the chair and crosses his feet. "This could be interesting, but remember what I told you about his abilities. If you sense any sort of magical guile on his part, don't hesitate."
Arnona nods and takes a step away from Tim, so she can see Akos better. "While I have some diplomatic training, I'm the youngest in my family and was not given the same opportunities as my older sister and brother. She will inherit my father's holdings and my brother is now a cleric of one of the Twelve Gods. If I hadn't joined the Regulars, I would have been forced to marry a decrepit old nobleman from Pertan. No, I wasn't going to let that happen, so I became and guard and a soldier but soon came to realize I had traded a bastard of a husband for an uncaring group of dictators."
She sheathes her blade and then crosses her arms. "Commander Wearne has taught me how to survive and that rulers and leaders don't always have the peoples best interest at heart. I realize that Phelix is not a moral man, but he is more accepting of who I, no, we are as people. Yes, he does not like betrayal, but who does." She pauses. "And I will not tell you my family name. I will not have the Sectarian," she points at Vinny. "Disgrace my family because I stand with my commander and Phelix, despite the arcane power in their soul and the horrible restrictions on sorcerers. It is archaic."
"I have no preference, as I said, it was just to rile you up to see how far we can go. I think we shall go now and report everything we learned. I think Waldo is close to finishing his ritual and he's afraid of us as he should be. You would be no more than a speed bump for us. Except obviously he could send his demon down here."
Local to recognize Arnona; Nobility to recognize Arnona: 1D20+11 = +11 = 12
1D20+8 = +8 = 26
She looks solemnly at Tim. "I respect your abilities knight, but you are not on the right side. Mirella has nothing against sorcerers, but the Five do. The World Goddess is simply dispassionate about the lives of mortals."
Linguistics (int + number of languages): 1D20+2+4 = +2+4 = 22While v.3.5 doesn't have a Linguistics skill, you can roll an Intelligence check and add a +1 bonus for each language that Akos speaks (+4) to try to learn what the gestures mean and how to interpret them. The DC is 20.
"We're not your enemy Lady Arnona Chittendens...but you knew you were putting them at risk by joining the sorcerers. You know the officers here have to obey a direct order. You could also come with us, young noble misguided by the powerful."I will... I do," She nods. "But please do not say my name to Oakfirst. He knows me and my family. If he learns what I have done, he will go to The Five, and they will strip my family of their titles and have them all either thrown in prison or ostracized from Bluffside. I now I can't keep you from telling him, but I'm begging you not to... they don't deserve to be punished for my choices."
Lowenan adds. "Phelix cares not for the mercenaries you've captured. They failed to capture the doppelganger, and they didn't do what they were told. There leader didn't even try to bluff you. Pathetic. The Rising Swords think they are good tacticians, but they tend to attack first and negotiate only when their backs are against the wall." He pauses "Phelix will want to get Solomon back, I think, but I know that Lord Commander Oakfirst won't release him under any circumstances. The man is too dangerous to let go, or live. He will probably not survive his first night in prison."
I don't want to enter 'influencing part' here so...Let's try to get to some agreement here. We will give you time to improve your defenses while we report to The Five and The Commander. But we will return, you must know that."
"The Five must give up the idea of sending you, or anyone else, into the demiplane, and in return he will agree to pay to keep the Rising Sword out of Bluffside, but he will not give up the room you are standing in nor any of his other arcane holdings in Old City. However, he no longer cares about the Growers' Tower, as the portal there was a failed experiment. Seal it up or tear it down if you wish. But, don't try to open the portal within the tower itself. That would end badly. Tearing down the tower most likely will not activate the portal.
"The other portal near the gardens could bring you or another force here, but please know that he knows you are coming and that he will be prepared to fight to the death if you do so. He has many Loyalists in Bluffside. You have not rooted them all out. He would prefer the rulers of the city to see reason and allow him to continue his work, so that he can return home t-"
"What reason would that be, good gnome? Your master killed hundreds already. And he will kill thousands if he finishes his project here."