Competitions, Concubines, and Justice
Fuelwen: We caught hints of a poetry competition. Brilla decided to try her hand at it, thinking that she could parlay the winnings into something more concrete. I understand that unfettered access to the Emperor's concubines is valuable in this society, but I'm not sure how fungible it is.
I spent some time prepping Brilla for the competition. I have more than a little knowledge of literature and some of the forms used.
In between prep and competition, we sought the dragon, $DRAGON_NAME at the arena. We spoke with one of his servants who handled the business side of things in the arena. He offered an invitation to us to compete- a group of prisoners were to be executed.
Things have been stressful lately. I needed some relaxation, and so did Splat. We signed up, along with Tsk'tsk. Afterwards, bloodied but satisfied, I was ready to watch Brilla win her poetry competition.
TskTsk: The elder acquired us comfortable seating to witness the contest in the soon to be water-filled arena. In talking with some of the other spectators it becomes apparent that volunteers are welcome to participate in the battles. I hop out of my seat and rush to the challenge.
In the heat of battle one of the criminals, a tiefling, reveals himself to be a spellcaster—a better challenge than the rest of this pathetic lot. Fuelwen and I defeat him handily with but one unexpected side effect, the bastard exploded as he died!
Once the battle is ended we clean up and visit with a large (fat) man with a beard the size of gnomes who is one of Takeshi's Major Domos. He kindly arranges for us to meet Takeshi the next day at sunset, at the harbor.
Brilla: I woke up this morning with my ability to bind vestiges gone. It appears that all of my research and work has finally paid off. I almost feel my entire connection to my ancestors gone. The only one that still stirs is Amon. I'm actually a bit troubled by this, but we currently have more pressing matters to attend to.
It appears that one of the pastimes here in Fan is to watch people battle to the death. It is such a waste of life. Who could enjoy such a sport. Oh, wait... they give out bottles of fire breathing to make things more interesting?!? Well, how can I say no to messing with people of my own group. They have had this coming for a while now.
The fight was heavily one-sided, though there was an individual in the ring that gave the group a pretty big problem. If I didn't know any better I'd fathom a guess that he was an assassin that got caught by the empire. The group did well enough, though their target exploded upon his death. It was quite a show, though still a bit grim.
There was a second competition for the emperor that week that involved poetry. This was a bit more my speed so I prepared with the group to learn some tips from the rest of the group. Oddly enough, TskTsk was not to be found, but I guess that was for the best.
I ended up winning the competition and my encore was well received as well. In fact, I was so caught up in the competition I forgot that there was a set prize. In my hopes of gaining more holdings, I instead got a week with the emperor's personal concubine. In the least, I can get a nice massage and eat and sleep well for the next week. I'll just let the rest of them say what they will. I did walk into this one after all.
And, um, more justice… sort of?
Fuelwen: Traveling along a dis-used section of road, we were accosted by bureaucrats offended that Bo had resigned from death. I think they were likely exceeding their authority, but that's neither here nor there. We downed one of them (the rest fled) - but it did help me realize that I've grown to accustomed to channeling my spells; I forget that normal casting requires more concentration.
Still, we were victorious, even if I spent most of the fight running from my own death.
TskTsk: The ground shakes as a rider, mounted upon a mountain of a lizard, leads a team to remind our elder that death is a nature part of life. The battle is fierce and I come within a razor's edge of dying in a great battle. Inside the belly of the beast I call upon Kord to help me defeat my foes before I fall and he blesses me, guiding us to force our enemies to retreat hastily. I would have pursued but my clutch was exhausted and not of the mind to end the battle.
Brilla: It has been a while since Bo resigned from death, and it was only a matter of time before his people found out about it. Needless to say, it wasn't taken well here.
I was quite surprised to see that my combat prowess has decreased even more than it once was. I supposed that losing the ability to bind has taken quite a tool on my body. I did notice, though, that there was something new manifesting in me and it clung to the rest of the group as well. The spark in me is growing.
The battle nearly ended in a draw as we were both severely beaten and retreat was the only course of action for the opposing group. I saw little reason to pursue them as their cleric fell in battle and we would be able to recover more quickly than they did.
We now make our way to get our answers from the great bearded dragon of Fan.
Wiki update: Next AP used is one die size higher. Fuelwen, Tsk'tsk, Brilla