The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 24: The Pirates Return

Cheimare 12-14

You awaken suddenly in your room, feeling startled but unsure of what could have woken you up. Perhaps it was just the storm raging outside? You turn over and try to fall back asleep, but then it happens again, this time unmistakable: someone is throwing rocks at your window. Curious, you crack it open and look down.

A small rain-soaked monkey is jumping up and down at the base of the wall. Seeing the open window, it scampers up and dives through before you have time to react. Shaking itself and chattering at you angrily, presumably for not opening the window sooner, it reaches inside its little vest and pulls out a damp piece of parchment. Handing it over to you, it then begins the process of shaking itself dry.

Blinking in surprise, you open the note to find it is a summons from Kaidlette, the pirate first mate you met back on your first day at Academagia. She asks you to come as quickly as possible to help her and her crew to secure their ships in the monstrous weather. You grimace, glancing over at the pouring rain, but you do want to help, so you cast your anti-rain enchantments and head out. On the way, you rouse Emilia and Vrenelle, neither of whom are too happy to be up before the sun (though the storm is so heavy it would be hard to tell). You also cast a Sending spell to alert Rui da Casga and Tacito, and the entire Five-Handed Tree meets at the Academagia Gates in time for you to lead them to the pirates’ secret cove.

By the time you reach the cove, you’re soaked through despite constantly refreshing your protective spells, and your teeth chatter as the wind kicks up and pelts icy rain into your face. Kaidlette is nowhere in sight, so you take it upon yourself to try and take quick stock of the situation to see how you can help. The rain is making it difficult to see, but you can spy figures dashing this way and that along the ships trying to secure lines and all manner of other tasks. The large vessels are straining their mooring lines, causing the ropes to snap with every blowing wind. You’d better decide how to help before there’s nothing left to save!

There are a couple of other options, but they’re all just as purple as Brute Strength. There’s really only one option to take here.

Spread out and try to find some way to help!

You have to shout to make yourself heard over the storm, but the rest of your clique nods and spreads out along the ships. You waver for some time, unsure of how to help yourself, but it’s not long before Tacito returns.

Looks like one of the ships hasn’t secured its cannons yet!

Climb is another one of those purple options; Athletics was the only check unlocked by Observation. Good thing we just recruited someone in that class, eh?

Go get Vrenelle! I’ll do what I can!

The loose cannons could easily roll straight through the railing or, worse yet, smash into someone, so now that you know about it, you take action. Ignoring the biting wind and pelting rain, you cross the unsteady plank onto the deck of the ship and begin to tie down the cannons. It’s not at all easy, especially with the wind blowing you around like a ragdoll, but you manage to make some progress.

Unfortunately, that’s when you see a cannon you had thought you tied down heading straight for you. You do your best to scramble out of the way, but it’s still headed straight for the side. However, before it can crash through the rail and sail over the side, a dark blur darts in front of it, rope in hand, and manages to drag it to a halt.

It’s still too loud for a heartfelt thanks, but you show your appreciation by helping Vrenelle tie down the rope and make sure the cannon is secure this time. As you both finish tying the last cannon, you look for anything else that needs attention, but everything looks to be taken care of now.

Good work, kids!

Kaidlette is only a few inches away; you hadn’t even noticed when she showed up, and you can hardly hear her voice over the howling wind. The pirate continues, and you can just barely make out that she’s letting you know they can handle the rest, so you and your friends should head back to the school. Nodding and giving her the thumbs up, you make your way back, aching and sore but glad you helped stave off a disaster. You look back only once and are pleased to see the ships securely fastened before the trees hide them from view.

Sure hope we can get back before the grammar exam starts!

Well. Isn’t this just lovely. You’re lost. You try to recall just where you got lost, hoping to retrace your way back, but before you can even close your eyes to think, an annoying droning noise drills into your skull, making further thinking almost impossible.

Of course you’re lost. It is your first year after all. You’re supposed to get lost. Did you know that 97% of the freshmen, such as yourself, get lost during their first week? Or that 45% still get lost more than twice a week by the end of their first year? In fact, 57% get lost—

The monotone mumbling of the rather annoying ghost, whom you suspect was a lunatic in life, is interrupted by a quick flick of your wand.

You can’t remember at what exact point he first started to follow you, but now you just can’t seem to get rid of him. Incantation, negation, bluff, deceit…nothing helps, and the persistent ghost sticks to you like a bad case of Mudion’s Disease. The only thing you can do is temporarily deafen yourself so you at least don’t have to listen to him; you’re pretty sure that long-term exposure to his boring, monotone speeches would cause severe brain damage.

Unfortunately, your spell keeps deteriorating more rapidly each time you cast it. Maintaining the spell requires a certain amount of concentration, and each time you are forced to listen to the ghost, you become more and more annoyed, losing focus more and more easily. While this doesn’t explain how you got lost in the first place, you imagine it explains why you can’t think long enough to find your way back. Instead, you simply continue to walk forwards, waiting to find something you recognize.

The school can’t be that big, you try and reassure yourself, ignoring for convenience’s sake that, being a magic school, anything is possible and everything will probably happen eventually, whether to you or someone else.

Great. And now the spell has worn off already.

You are incredibly distracted, and severely annoyed. So severely annoyed by the constant pointless mumbling of your involuntary companion. Even through the spell it seems like his voice still reaches you. It’s like a soft humming deep inside your brain that just won’t let it sit in peace.

Suddenly, you bump into a dead end. You feel uncertain and kind of stupid, as well as rather annoyed. You glance around to see if you recognize anything, but no luck. You don’t think you can take any more of the ghost’s company and you guess there is a 79% chance that being completely lost will only make it worse.

Realizing what you just thought, you get the urge to slam your head against the wall again. Well, you’d rather blow away the ghost for irritating you, but you’ve already tried that and thinking about your failure just increases the headache. Instead, you try and focus on your surroundings again.

Just as before, though, you don’t recognize a thing. In fact, it’s even worse than you thought: not only do you not recall anything around you, you aren’t even familiar with the style of the structure. It looks completely different from anything else you’ve seen so far at the Academy.

Something about it all just seems off, as well. There is a smell that reminds you of the graveyard back home, and you can detect a hint of blood in the air. Actually, the longer you stand there, the stronger the stink of blood gets. It’s so thick you can practically taste the iron. What makes it stranger is that you must be the first person to come through here in centuries. There are thick layers of dust everywhere, and the only disturbance is from your own footprints.

A dozen scary stories suddenly pop into your head. Your heart rate increases as you review every possibility, and your undead companion is not exactly improving your odds of survival.

You wonder for a moment if you should ask your companion about the situation. After all, he said he was around since the school began, so he might have known this place before it became so dusty. He may have even been around here before, as ghosts wouldn’t disturb the dust. After considering a few other options, you reluctantly turn to ask him. Giving him attention might just make him worse, but it seems you have no other choice.

That’s when you realize you hadn’t heard any mumbling since you first ran into the wall. Sure enough, the ghost is gone. That’s when the fear really grips your heart and creeps up your spine.

At that very moment, the smell of death and blood doubles in strength and the urge to bolt becomes much harder to resist. When the loud weeping begins, you almost flee right then, but as you turn to run, what you see roots you to the spot.

The way back out is gone.

You can’t explain how the wall got there. It makes no sense. You pound your fists against it, futilely, the wall far too real to be an illusion. You draw your wand next and fire off your most destructive spell (not as impressive as you’d like, being only a First Year student), but instead of causing a satisfactory crunch, your spell bounces right off, then again off the back wall, and soon it’s careening through the room like a mad bird trapped in a cage. How it keeps missing you you can’t explain.

For a moment you remain caught up in dodging your own spell, but once it finally dissolves, the weeping begins again and you remember just where you are. Between the blood, the wall, and the disembodied voice, this is turning more and more into a horror story.

Wait, what was that? Did that wall just flicker there? It could be a way out. In fact, it’s probably your best bet; every horror story you ever heard tells you to run and never look back when you hear a disembodied voice, or else face a gruesome death. You should leave right now, but something is making you want to stay and investigate even so. Perhaps it’s just morbid curiosity, or maybe you think there’s something off about the weeping, something you can’t quite place. Either way, you must choose: run now or face the mysterious voice.

Man, even the choices are wordy. I’ve been doing some editing, but the word count above (and below) is roughly equal to the random event in the game. Yeah, all these words spent on just a regular random event. I’ll explain some more once we hit the end; for now, I’ll just pick Library Knowledge since it’s green.

You have spent weeks in one library or another by now, and you can recite your textbook chapter titles from memory. You’re fairly certain you’ve read more books by this point than many Fifth Year students. Heck, you spent days on end simply organizing a single library for your personal use!

You must have read something about this room somewhere. The only matter in question now is whether you can recall what it was you read. Yes, that’s right! You can recall an old history tome talking about an experimental room being closed off forever before it was ever used. The walls themselves kept weeping, and people grew so uncomfortable that there were several nervous breakdowns.

Well, at least you know where the weeping is coming from now. That helps.

It helps in that the Reason check has now turned blue. Curiosity has the exact same reward, but why the heck not Reason it out?

Your mind is working like crazy. Within ten seconds you have analyzed the situation and come to two conclusions. First, you are nearly 100% certain that you are alone, thanks to the room being covered in dust. You calculate the odds of someone else finding it at exactly the same time as below 0.001% (well, maybe that annoying spirit wasn’t too off-base).

From that conclusion you can draw a second. If there is someone else in the room with you, that person is almost certainly highly magical. In that case, running would do you no good anyway; you might have at least some chance if you face the threat instead. Then again, if it really is the room itself…

For some reason, thinking out the situation has calmed you down some. Your situation is no less creepy or dangerous, but somehow just working through the questions makes you feel less frightened of it. Your body is still trembling slightly, but it doesn’t stop you from turning around to face the source of the weeping. Now finally able to concentrate, you notice something odd about the room itself.

Sure enough, the wall is weeping. And it’s weeping blood, no less. It’s just like how the book described it! Now that you know others have been here before, you don’t even feel mildly disturbed by the fact that the wall is oozing blood from between the stones. You start to examine it with the care and precision of a scientist, but then you hear a voice. Why, this could be the discovery of the century! Your voice trembles with delight as you answer, and the wall replies.

A few hours later, you appreciate just how incredibly fortunate you are. Aside from making a new “friend,” you have now learned things very few people will ever know.

Unfortunately, it won’t amount to the world fame you were hoping for. As the wall explained during your long conversation, it was creating using a special type of mortar. By mixing in pig blood and casting the ancient Steel Blood spell, the makers had hoped the wall would be even stronger than the hardest metal and be able to withstand not only the most powerful spells, but even time itself. The experiment was initially deemed a success, and they built an entire room using the mortar. It was intended to be the vault for the school, made to preserve the most powerful, rare, and valuable artifacts of the Academy of Magic forever if need be. It could even have protected the inhabitants of the school in case of an attack.

That quickly changed when they noticed too late that their experiment had a sinister side effect: the wall was “born” and wept so much blood every night it would flood the room. Disgusted with their own creation (and not to mention severely creeped out), the builders, along with some of the most powerful wizards of the time, tried to destroy it and undo their mistake. However, the vault was a work of perfection, and nothing they could do was able to tear down the walls.

In the end, all they could manage was to install a drain around the edges and seal off the room permanently—or at least as close as they could come.

The room is actually protected by a series of Glamours. As such, there are still a certain set of conditions that will allow entry to the room: first, the person must be lost; second, he or she must be distracted enough to walk straight into the wall before seeing it; third, the person must have no previous knowledge of the room, or at least enough knowledge to locate it. These and a few other conditions work as an effective barrier to entry, and it is only with the most incredible luck that you happened to bypass them all.

When you leave the room, it is with a rumbling stomach as you had missed lunch, but mostly you leave with a feeling of mixed delight and sadness. While the room gave you an amulet made from its bloody tears that would allow you to come back, you can’t take even one other person with you, as the ancient magic is far too powerful to be fooled by any means you know of. So much for world fame.

Still, it’s not like you to be a pessimist. You’re still the only living person to know about the bloody vault, and it has taught you about a number of new things. It also asked you for a favor: though it enjoyed your company, the wall has been alone and miserable for three hundred years, and it wishes for its existence to end. It even made you promise to do everything in your power to tear it down before you left.

You’re not so sure you want to bother, though. The wall tended to talk at length, and you might encounter the ghost again if you traveled through here more frequently. And then you’d be doing a good deed where there is absolutely no one around to appreciate it.

No, it would probably be best to foist this quest onto someone else instead.

So, I looked this one up online, and this incredibly wordy random event is one of the ones created by a forum member and tossed in with a DLC at some point. However, so far as I can figure out, the promised adventure string does not exist. This means the pain of the wall will never be healed, and all Iliana gets from this event is what she has right now. This includes a Courage boost, a mediocre spell and the three phemes to cast it, and an amulet which grants +1 Vitality and a 15% boost to casting the mediocre spell.

An amulet worth 900 pims. Which we don’t need since the quest line was never written. And even if it gets written eventually, Iliana won’t know because save files aren’t forwards-compatible.

Garibaldi’s House of the Seven Colors seems like the sort of place that would sell quest items anyhow. I’m sure someone will handle it eventually.

Getting back to the library to study rhetoric is almost a relief compared to your recent harrowing journey. Come to think of it, that ghost makes a pretty good negative example: your audience needs to know how passionate you are about your subject if you want them to pay attention to you—whether you’re actually passionate about your subject or not.

Nice party, Iliana. Where did you even get all this food on short notice?
Rui da Casga has his sources, and so do I.

Your “sources” being the cook whose life you saved last week. For a modest price, she was perfectly willing to let certain party favors “disappear” from the kitchen, only to reappear in the Great Hall room where you happened to be hosting an impromptu party. For his part, Rui da Casga is responsible for the more exotic sweets, sweets you double-checked earlier to ensure there would be no surprises.

Anyway, what’s the special occasion?
There doesn’t have to be one. Let’s just say we’re celebrating that exams are mostly over. Now please excuse me, I’ve got to go mingle.

Nice party, Iliana. The stars foretold this would be a good night for a gathering.
Well, I am trying to pay more attention to that sort of thing.
Awesome. We should compare notes sometime.
…Sure. Sometime. Excuse me, won’t you?

Oh…hi there! Glad you could come!
Hi. I like your party. No one’s fighting.
…That is a sign of a good party, yes. Does Godina have a problem with fights?
Kind of. Everyone likes to argue about rimbal. I don’t like it. I mean, I like rimbal, but I don’t like arguing. Or playing rimbal.
Yes…of course. Oh, hello there! (Excuse me).

Hello there! Herbert, right? We take rhetoric together.
Hey, yeah! Thanks for remembering me!
Hard to forget…
Great party! Where did you get these snacks? They remind me of the snacks they sometimes have on Saturdays in the main cafeteria but I don’t think they were made very well then and they look really good here, in fact they smell pretty good too, but I haven’t tried them because I’ve got a lot of catching up to do you know, like how you’re friends with Tacito now when did that happen, a few weeks ago now? Anyway it’s not just you or him there are a bunch of people here I haven’t talked to for a long time in fact I think there are a lot of guys here at school I don’t talk to regularly even though I try and talk with my classmates but they’re always in a hurry especially in rhetoric did you ever notice that yourself? I wonder if it’s the teacher, she can be kind of scary sometimes especially when she yells at you for going over time during speeches but everybody does that, right? Why should she get so mad?
What? What’s that? Sorry, I need to go take care of this. Good to see you, Herbert. Bye!

You sigh with relief as your ruse works and Herbert latches onto another poor victim. Still, you’d call this party a success!

Honestly, I was trying to boost Rui da Casga’s relationship with the party, but the clique mate is chosen at random, and it went with Tacito. I was intending to reload and try again originally, but after the windfall from the Longest Random Event, I decided to keep the result. As it is, I won’t need to boost Tacito’s relationship when it comes time to do his adventure. And besides, there are other ways of raising a relationship.

Curious to see how they weathered the storm, you and most of the Five-Handed Tree skip out of morning classes and head to the pirate’s hidden cove. All the ships and cargo look basically intact, but you notice the pirates still seem to be hurrying about, hauling a good number of raw materials into a growing pile near the back of the cave.

As she usually does, Kaidlette manages to spot you first, and swaggers over to where the four of you are standing.

Ahoy there, Iliana! Haven’t seen you in some time, not counting the emergency yesterday.
Sorry I haven’t come to see you. School’s kept me busy, especially with the exams right now. Do you still need me to help with the artifact?
We’ve been handling that since you taught my boys how to dress proper. If you don’t know about it, that means they’re doing their jobs well. Or not doing them at all…I’ll have to check on that soon. I see you’ve built yourself a crew of your own now?
Yep! This is the Five-Handed Tree: Five Hands, One Goal!
Oh, I like that one.
Thanks, I just came up with it. Guys, this is Kaidlette Devereau. She’s the first mate of Asad the Lion. I know I told you about her, Em.
Yeah, although I kind of thought you were making things up. Um, hi, Miss Devereau.
This is so awesome.
I didn’t even know about this place until yesterday. Pirates on Elumia. Asad the Lion’s pirates on Elumia. This is unbelievable.
Good to meet you. Wasn’t there a fifth one of you last morning? A speedy girl with strong arms?
Yeah, that’s Vrenelle, but she’s taking her zoology exam right now. I hope you don’t mind that I brought my friends along yesterday.
Anyone willing to pitch in during a storm is an honorary crewmate in my book, lass. Besides, we could probably use all your help right now. That storm brought more than wind and rain, as it turns out. Take a look.

Kaidlette hands you a telescope and points to a spot between two mountains. As you look through the lens, you gasp. There, floating as bold as you please, is a small tropical island hovering in place a few miles away from the peaks. As you hand the spyglass around, Kaidlette explains:

We’re all of a mind to get up there and see what we can find, but we need to build a cannon first. The regular sort we have in plenty, but we’ll have to jury rig one to fire a grappling hook so we can secure our ships to the island. We’ll need a special kind of explosive that won’t destroy the grappling hook or the rope, plus we still need to build the hook itself. Come have a look at what we’ve got so far.

What the pirates have at this point is mostly just a small cannon and a random assortment of wood and iron that looks like someone thought it might end up vaguely useful. Two small kegs of gunpowder sit to one side, carefully guarded by a single pirate, while another pirate is sketching out a vague design, pausing often to scratch his head.

Looks like you have your work cut out for you.

For some reason this adventure showed up as purple, despite that Persuasion option leading forward just as well as the others. But I’m curious, so let’s check out that Observation check first if we can.

As you walk around the cannon, you notice that the pirates have forgotten one important aspect. Movement! The cannon is sitting on the sand and it’s too heavy to lift. Even if they drag it onto one of the ships, they’ll have to use the entire ship or the entire crew just to aim it. Someone had better work on crafting some wheels or this plan won’t be moving.

Illuminating! However, succeeding that check only unlocked a couple more purple actions. Guess we should just stick with Persuasion.

You and the rest of the Tree spend a decent amount of time coming up with plans for the grappling hook cannon. Rui da Casga and Emilia spend most of their time working out a special exploding latch that would protect the projectile, while Tacito spends his time on building a decent set of wheels. You aren’t able to do much to help, but once the plan is complete, Kaidlette points out that the construction will be beyond the abilities of any of the pirates. In response, you roll up the diagram and smile.

Just leave it to me.

Upon arriving at the school forge, you see only the forge master’s apprentice is around at the moment, lazily enjoying the peace and quiet. What a perfect opportunity! You come up to him looking irritated and tap him on the shoulder. He jumps and looks up at you with a mixture of uncertainty and anger.

What? What do you want?

You glare down at him for a moment longer, then explain.

The forge master sent me down here with this plan for something he wants crafted right away. He said it’s simple enough that it shouldn’t take long, and he wanted to see if you were up to it.
Why did he send you?
I was closest to the door, I guess. He looked really busy. How about you? You want me to go back and tell him you’d rather sleep than work on this? I’d be happy to—

The apprentice snatches the parchment from your hands before you finish your sentence and gets straight to work. Within the hour he has produced an excellent replica of the design.

Thanks. I’ll go bring this back to the forge master. And don’t go asking for praise, now; the master said he only wanted to test how well you worked on the fly.

Hoping you kept him from asking the forge master any unnecessary questions, you run as fast as you can down to the hidden cove with the device.

When you return, you see that everyone has finished the other parts of the cannon and they are glad to see you come back with the last item. A wrinkly old pirate takes the device from your hands and sets about finalizing the cannon. As you and your clique leave the pirates for the day, you glance up at the distant island and wonder what could possibly be up there.

…Tell ‘em how well I’ve been behaving since I got here.
Do you really think your parents would believe me if I said that?
Good point. Hey, what about grades?
No good. Professor von Rupprecht told me once the Academagia sends its own reports to our parents after exams end.
Dang. So what’s your idea?
We’ll tell them the truth, but make it sound real good. Like the Itching Gas Incident? “Really helped me on my school project.” The pirates? “Makes friends easily. Everyone knows how good he is with his hands.” And now the final touch: “He spends all his money on materials to help others. I don’t think he has any left over for himself.”
Wow. This might actually work.
Consider it a payment for all your hard work. Here you go; I hope they increase your allowance by twenty pims.

Professor Badcrumble is having one of her tea parties in her office—really just an excuse to lecture students on the proper rules of behavior.

You’re the only one present, sitting in the middle of the room with a cup in your hands. You saw a sign advertising free cake and somehow ended up stuck in here.

The professor is talking endlessly about the importance of good manners. How will you get away?

Make a mess? Too messy. Better just risk it.

You take a sip of your tea, then cry out loudly and clap your hand over your mouth.

Did you burn your tongue?

With a pained expression on your face you nod and hurry out of the room.

Great acting!

As you study into the night, you are startled when Professor de Canapiedra appears behind you again.

I see you are still studying for rhetoric class. You appear to be nearing the end of your book.
I’m gonna make my midterm speech worth remembering. Just you wait and see.

Your professor nods and walks away. She just doesn’t give anything away, does she?

Lady Sphinx, you have a visitor here to see you.
Very well, let her in. Ah, Iliana, so good to see you.

As the guard heads back downstairs, you overhear him muttering to himself.

How does she always know?

The Sphinx smiles as you look back at her.

I find that an aura of mystery is always useful. So, for what lesson have you come today?
I have some…friends with a project. I want to help them out, but I think I might need to understand Coordination better to do it.
The pirates who wish to explore the floating island, yes? Oh, don’t look so shocked, dear. The rogue island is obvious to those of us with wings, and even now the pirates are scouting it out.

The Sphinx waves her paw, and the view between a pair of pillar switches instantly from the surroundings to a close-up view of the floating island. Sure enough, you recognize one of the pirates’ vessels flying in a wide circuit around the edge.

No need to be circumspect with me, dear. The Emperors of old associated with much worse than those. But it is time for your riddle.

There is a part of every bird which never leaves the ground. Though it may swim through the ocean, yet it will remain dry.

Part of every bird…never leaves…oh, the shadow!
You are correct. Now it is your turn.
Okay, how about this: why is a raven like a writing desk?
Because you’ll look for either when you’re in need of a quill. I appreciate that you’re being creative, but do try a little harder, dear.

She answered it without any hesitation! Even you hadn’t thought of an actual answer for your riddle, but the Sphinx managed to think of one without even pausing!

Tell me, dear, does your history professor teach you much about the Captivity of Man?
Um, no. He started with the founding of the Early Empire and mostly talks about the Empire’s history.
A shame. It is understandable to want to ignore the dark parts of history, but the best lessons come from the direst of times. Hmm, perhaps a bit of Incantation next so you may defend yourself, and maybe some Cryptology to improve your riddle-making. Now, the Captivity of Man officially starts when the Dragons lifted the land from the oceans and the kingdoms which lived upon it swore unending fealty to the drakes…

On a whim, you decide to take a more scenic route back to the Academagia, perhaps hoping for a glimpse of the floating island with your bare eyes. Unfortunately, as you’re in the middle of a long stretch of trail, you notice a massive fog bank moving swiftly toward your position. Before you can scramble to lower ground, you’re enveloped in a cold, dense cloud, unable to see more than a foot ahead. What shall you do now?

Observation sounds like a good bet. Well, it sounds like the only bet, but still.

The fog is too thick. You are unable to find any landmarks or other objects to reference your position and movement.


You can’t think of anything to do except to huddle against a cliff wall, cold and shivering, until the fog lifts. After a few moments, the cloud dissipates, and you are able to see clearly enough to continue on your way.

Seeing Rui da Casga always means trouble one way or another, so you are less than shocked when he corners you with a rather unusual question:

Wanna break into this classroom?

He sees the look on your face and laughs.

Look, the problem is that someone’s messing around with my stuff. I thought of booby-trapping the place, but if I did that, someone could get hurt.

Based on his expression, you can tell that bodily harm is only a mild concern for him at best. As you hesitate, he shrugs.

If you help me, I can mark my stuff instead. Might be good to know who’s messing around with me.

Will you help him?

Looks like we’ve got another one of those escape clauses that, if failed, will continue the adventure. Of course it’s so easy that Iliana can pass it with flying colors despite having barely anything in Negation. Not that we’d even try it, of course. Confidence is a sure thing, but what might we learn from Perception?

You give Rui da Casga a good look over. You notice his pockets are packed with items like wands, scrolls, maps, tools, and other assorted goodies. Perhaps he would be willing to sweeten the deal if you agree to help him. It never hurts to try, and what do you have to lose?

Why, what to demand as payment, of course! And it’s another sure thing, too.

Rui da Casga has been a good friend and clique mate, and the thought of someone rifling through his belongings makes you mad. You know he’ll need your help since his schemes can easily get out of hand, but you’re worried about getting caught in a serious violation of school rules.

You know I’ll be glad to help, but I’ve got a reputation to worry about. Hopefully you could provide me something to make it worth the risk?

Rui da Casga nods in understanding.

Of course. I have the perfect thing.

He fishes around in his robe and produces an interesting looking wand, which he hands to you.

Here. I know this is something good, but I’ve never been able to get it to work. I’m sure you can.
Thank you.
No problem. You’re really doing me a favor. I’ll let you know when I’ve got something figured out.

Another night falls that finds you in the library. You find you are getting very good at this studying thing. You may even be over-prepared for the rhetoric exam by this point. You guess you’ll find out in two days either way.

Gains of the Weekend

Successful Adventure!
--Endurance increased by 1 step.
----Restoration pheme learned.
--Courage increased by 1 step.
--Knots increased by 1 step.
----Simple pheme learned.
Studied at the Venalicium.
--Rhetoric Study level at 7.
----Rhetorical Knowledge: Passion ability learned.
--Cryptology increased by 1 step.
----Jumble Letters spell learned.
----Research increased by 1 step.
------Entirety pheme learned.
Had a Party.
--Relationship with Tacito Viadana increased to 6.
--Relationship with Neso Ulleri increased to 1.
--Relationship with Herbert Downes increased to 1.
--Relationship with Malacresta Vercesi increased to 2.
--Money decreased by 20.
Aveline, Aymeri, and Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 215.
Successful event!
--Courage increased by 1 step.
----Learned about the Path of Fire.
--Steel Blood spell learned.
--Blood, Revision, and Solid phemes learned.
--Gained the Amulet of Bloody Tears.
--Learned about the above.

Successful Adventure!
--Persuasion increased by 2 steps.
----Relationship with Violante de Canapiedra increased to 3.
Bragged on Rui da Casga.
--Relationship with Rui da Casga increased to 4.
--Rui da Casga’s Parental Approval increased by 5.
Studied at the Venalicium.
--Rhetoric Study level at 8.
----Externalized Desire action learned.
--Cryptology increased by 1 step.
----Research increased by 1.
------Research Monster action learned.
Aymeri used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 218.
Successful event!
--Stress decreased by 1.

Matched Wits with the Emperor’s Sphinx.
--Theory of Incantation increased by 1 step.
----Magic pheme learned (for about the millionth time).
--Coordination increased by 1 step.
----Klaudian’s Shame ability learned.
--The Captivity of Man (History) increased by 1 step.
--Cryptology increased by 1 step.
----Oliba’s Reading spell learned.
----Research increased by 1.
Successful Adventure!
--Gained an Escape Wand.
Studied at the Venalicium.
--Rhetoric Study level at 9.
----Extemporize action learned.
--Decipher Handwriting increased by 1 step.
Aveline and Aymeri used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 224.
Unsuccessful event.
--Patience increased by 1 step.
----Meditate pheme learned.
--Stress increased by 1.

New Abilities

Rhetorical Knowledge: Passion (Permanent): +1 Passion.
Walk the Path of Fire: -5 pims, Fitness/Character v4; +1 step in Courage, Endurance and Willpower.
Externalized Desire: Charm/Passion v8; +1 to target Relationship.
Research Monster: Intelligence/Research v4; +1 step to History of Magic and random Zoology skill.
Klaudian’s Shame: Insight/Flawless Timing v target’s Charm/Awareness+2; target loses a point of Glory.
Oliba’s Reading (Spell): Insight/Theory of Astrology v9; +8 Cryptology for 3 days.
Extemporize: +2 to target Study Level for 2 days.