The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 10: New Friends and New Foes

Athonos 22-26

You take one last look around you to make sure everything is perfect. Yes, this is still the quiet room in the Great Hall you chose earlier; yes, all the tables and benches have been pushed to one side so you have plenty of room in the center of the area; yes, Emilia is still standing off to one side, looking anxious and fidgeting nervously (which is pretty standard as far as you’ve seen).

At last, Rui de Casga enters, looking both somewhat puzzled by his own presence here and as pleased with himself as he ever is.

So I got that note you left me. What’s the deal here?
Rui de Casga, Emilia and I had a proposal for you.

At the sound of her name, Emilia turns a shade of pink and turns her head to avoid eye contact. You had hoped she might back you up on this, but you suppose it’s too much to ask, at least when meeting someone new.

A proposal? What? Look, I barely even know—
No! Nononono! Gods no! It’s a—it’s really more of an opportunity. I understand you’re not in a Clique yet?
Oh! Oh, okay. Nah, not yet. I figure it’s only a matter of time, though. Master pranksters like myself are good to have on any team, yeah?

Rui de Casga casually inspects his fingers as he speaks, but he glances at you expectantly as he finishes. You do not intend to disappoint him.

That’s right. And that’s why we, the Five-Handed Tree, have come to you.
Hey, that’s that tree that stole my book! I still need to get back at that thing. How come you named your Clique after a tree?
Because like the tree, we will be kind to our friends and unforgiving to our foes. Because like the tree, we will never stop reaching for the sky, and though we will have many hands, we will act as one! We need you, Rui de Casga. I…we intend to go places, and with you on our side, no one will dare to cross us! What say you?

Rui de Casga is still trying to keep a calm expression, but you can tell you’ve intrigued him. Keeping a steady gaze on him, you hold out your hand, palm down. Emilia, now familiar with the ritual, moves closer and places her hand on yours, leaving enough room for Rui de Casga to approach.

After another moment of hesitation, Rui de Casga places his hand on the two of yours.

Five hands, one—
We’ve only got three hands.
I’m working on it! Five hands, one voice!

You fling your collected hands into the air. You feel satisfied with what you’ve accomplished, but looking at the expressions on your new friends’ faces, you can tell you still have some work to do on the motto.

Hoping to get some studying done, you head to the Aranaz common room. Only there’s too much ruckus in the common room for you to get any work done today. Everyone seems to be in here and the place is simply packed. People are screaming, cheering, yelling, laughing, and otherwise causing a scene.

Some of the students in the room are trying to talk over one another. There’s not even a place to sit at the moment, much less study.

Furthermore, you’re not exactly sure what’s going on. Maybe there’s a fight or some unspeakable horror, like a spell that makes people go insane. Or maybe it’s nothing and you should go find somewhere else to study. Either way, you need to get some work done and you can’t do that with all this noise!

Whelp, that skill selection isn’t terribly helpful. Might as well go for Interrogation.

You try to ask someone, but there are too many people making too much noise for anyone to hear you ask.

Damn, it wasn’t even a failure. Well, Iliana isn’t the type to try and outright bully people, so I guess she’ll have to try for the library.

Frustrated at everyone and everything around you, you pack up your supplies and head for the library, where you know it’ll be much quieter.

However, when you get to the library, you notice a sign on the door stating that it’s closed today.

Great, the library is closed and the common room is too busy to study. You suppose you can go to the Library of Longshade early, but you’re still feeling annoyed by the runaround.

Figuring that you’ll have to do some searching in the warehouse Oan brought you to, you spend some time training your observational skills by picking out misplaced books in the older, more regular shelves. In the process, you find an interesting collected volume of St. Ganis’ retold folk tales.

Wandering through the school after class, you find yourself walking through an area that you aren’t too terribly familiar with. You’ve never been down these halls yourself, and you aren’t sure where you are or who might know. Just as you decide to turn around and head back, one of the schools many alarm mechanisms, a nearby statue, begins screaming at you!

Well, that’s not a good color for all the options to be in. Um…Diplomacy?

Shouting, the statue explains that once the alarm is triggered, he cannot stop screaming until one of the professors deactivates it. While he assures you that he won’t lie to the professor and claim you were causing trouble, he also refuses to state anything in your defense, either.

Crap, booted back to the options and they’re all still red, so I assume that was a failure. Well, the topmost option is usually the one with the best chance of success, so I suppose Iliana will just have to run for it.

Scared and not wanting to be caught in the vicinity of the wailing alarm, you turn tail and flee, running smack into Professor Briardi. It just had to be the Regent of Durand, didn’t it?

Oh, I should have known. What’s your name, young lady?
Iliana Ot’Matar. Listen, I was just—
No, no excuses. I don’t imagine an Aranaz student would be around here unless there were some mischief involved. You’re in big trouble, Iliana. I’ll see you in detention.

She doesn’t listen to anything else you have to say. You kind of wish you had at least been up to something to earn your first reprimand.

You still go to the Library of Longshade like you planned, but you’re too preoccupied to put as much effort into your observation training as you intended. Instead, you spend half the time listening for rats and insects who have managed to get back in the library and trying to zap them with your wand. Unfortunately, you don’t know much Incantation magic, so your futile attempts only add to your foul mood.

You’re about ready to call an end to the worst day of your life when you discover to your horror that the Aranaz girls’ dorm has been completely trashed! The hallways are full of students’ possessions, while every room looks like today was Synchronized Whirlwind Spell Practice Day. Stunned students are picking through the piles of stuff, looking for their personal items, while others are venting their anger by kicking anything in their way, which only adds to the mess.

As you make your way to your room, dreading the state it must be in, you pass an impromptu gathering of the older female Aranaz students in one of the bedrooms. They’re speaking quietly, but you catch the words “Durand” and “sabotage” several times. You try to join the group, but the student by the door bars your entry, assuring you that “We’ll take care of things. We don’t need a First Year’s help. You should just find your things and leave the rest to us.”

Unsatisfied, you nevertheless make your way over to your room, which turns out to be just as bad as you’d dreaded. You spend over an hour tracking down the last few books and bits of clothing that somehow made their way into the distant corners of the dorm.

Such a perfect way to end the day.

After yesterday, getting detention with Professor Briardi is almost anticlimactic. She sets a bunch of work in front of you to do, but without any understanding of Negation magic, all you really learn today is where to find the Negation classroom.

Luckily, the day isn’t completely over when Professor Briardi lets you go, so you are able to find a nice tavern in Mineta to unwind in.

You close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the tavern: laughter, good-natured conversations, the periodic thumping of a dart hitting a dartboard.

Sighing contentedly, you think to yourself that you could remain like this for quite some time, just sitting and letting your mind wander.

You’re simply sitting there like that when you suddenly hear a whistling sound. As you turn your head, you see something flying toward your head.

I’m training Observation right now, for crying out loud! Cut me some slack here, game! Well, our options here are “let it hit” or “try and probably fail to not let it hit,” so we might as well be proactive.

You try to duck, but it’s too fast and you’re too slow.

The sharp metal tip of the dart strikes the side of your head and scrapes a shallow cut across it before falling to the ground.

You can’t help but yelp in pain as a shamefaced foppish man in a beret runs up and winces at your cry.

Apologizing profusely, he picks up the dart and gives you a napkin to press against the cut. He grimaces again before ducking out of the tavern and leaving you with a headache.

Feeling at least a little better after the last few terrible days, you return to Longshade to continue your Observation training. This time you find a rather interesting volume of historical speeches. One in particular catches your attention: it’s a speech by a mayor who is increasing taxes, but he describes it more as an investment than a burden.

You wonder if that line might work on your parents.

Gains of the School Week

Illustration increased by 1.
Character or Confidence increased by 1 (didn’t check).
--Relationship with Tarvixio Sido at 2.
The Calamities increased by 1.
--Haejar Enthifal Cortath, Pages 5-7 available.
Rui de Casga has joined the Five-Handed Tree!
--Relationship with Rui de Casga increased to 2.
--Gained Clique Ability: Prank Enemy.

Theory of Revision increased by 1.
--Alteration pheme learned.
--Structure pheme learned.
Glamour Spells increased by 1.
Studied at Longshade.
--Observation increased by 1 step.
--Famous Prose increased by 1 step.
--Concentration increased by 1 step.
Unsuccessful event.
--Planning decreased by 1 step.

Innuendo increased by 1.
--Air pheme learned.
Studied at Longshade.
--Observation increased by 1 step.
----Gained info on Oriabel Sidot (ghost chick).
--Listen increased by 1 step.
--Concentration increased by 1 step.
Unsuccessful event.
--Chance of Success temporarily decreased by 1.
--Reprimanded by Polisena Briardi.

First Principles (Dialectic) increased by 1.
The Early Empire increased by 1.
--History increased by 1.
----Quote History ability learned.
Attended Detention with Briardi.
--Learned about the Negation Classroom.
Unsuccessful event.
--Vitality decreased by 1.

Revision Phemes increased by 1.
--Inorganic pheme learned.
--Strengthen pheme learned.
--Artificial pheme learned.
----Revision increased by 1.
------Inhibit Change ability learned.
Studied at Longshade.
--Observation increased by 1 step.
--Famous Speeches increased by 1 step.
----Parental Approval [allowance] increased by 10.
--Concentration increased by 1 step.

New Abilities

Prank Enemy: Luck/Practical Jokes v11; target hit with -1 Character, -1 Composure, and +1 Danger Sense for a week, plus a Reprimand.
Quote History (Permanent): +1 to History and Memorization.
Inhibit Change: Contested Intelligence/Revision; target gets -1 Revision Spells and -1 Revision for 2 days.