The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 54: Trying New Things

Veranix 19-Fountain Days

It’s only breakfast and already you’re on a roll. You’re passing out quips like they come with the meal and trading snippets of your adventures for all the latest gossip, but just when you get to the juiciest rumor you’ve heard all week, your voice disappears!

You try furiously to tell your rumor, but you can’t even manage a whisper. You couldn’t have lost your voice at a worse time. You imagine it’s just a temporary thing, but you don’t have time to wait it out; you’ve got an audience in waiting!

Composure is green, but I think going straight for the source seems like the best option.

Your throat still feels fine, so you can’t imagine it making sense to lose your voice so abruptly. You have a sneaking suspicion that the loss of your voice is less something natural and more that someone wanted you to stay quiet…

You wave your wand in front of your mouth and cast a Negation. You start trying to hum, waiting for the spell to kick in, but then you feel something growing from your ears. Reaching up, your hands encounter…potatoes?!

Great. Someone managed to counter your counter. Now you’ll have to report to the infirmary to get the spuds out and your voice back in, and by then your audience is guaranteed to have dispersed.

You’ve decided to use today to give yourself a civics lesson, and the first stop on your tour is the criminal court of Mineta. Here are prosecuted the criminals not only of Mineta, but from all across the Empire of Man (which is admittedly only most of the island of Elumia at this point, and only called an empire out of respect). The Chief Justice of the court is named Daribus Conley, and he runs the courthouse like a well-oiled clock.

The first case seems fairly run-of-the-mill: a man stands accused of murdering his wife after a night of arguments. First the physical evidence is arrayed by both sides, and then witnesses are brought forth. Neighbors report hearing shouting followed by screaming on the night in question, and then character witnesses are brought in to confirm that the man had a history of arguing with his wife.

Finally, the man himself is brought to the stand, where he claims that his wife left after the quarrel and must have been murdered by a random mugger just behind the house. The woman was indeed found dead outside, but the prosecuting advocate manages to poke holes in the man’s statement by simply making him repeat it two or three times and pointing out where he changes his story. The defense advocate gets a turn to help the man cover for his mistakes, but the damage is obviously already done, and you aren’t surprised when Judge Conley hands down a verdict of guilty and sentences him to hang.

The second trial is far more interesting to you, as you see a fellow Academagian student acting as the defense advocate! The defendant is accused of piracy, and was picked up a number of weeks ago. The prosecutor points at the defendant’s shabby clothes, foreign pidgin, and dubious fellows, but the defense advocate does a brilliant job of pointing out that her client was not seen doing anything wrong, and is simply a poor sailor who couldn’t afford to visit a more reputable tavern. When her opponent brings up the piratical acts the defendant boasted about in the tavern before he was arrested, the student simply explains that he was lying for attention, and prompts the accused to tell one of his better stories. As the sailor describes defeating the second band of deep-storm harpies single-handedly, the judge throws the case out on the spot.

After the trial ends, you go up to the student, whom you can see now is a few years older than you, and ask her how she wound up advocating. She explains to you that there are dozens of poor prisoners languishing in jail simply because they can’t afford an advocate and Judge Conley refuses to try them without one. To help the problem, the judge has offered to pay a fee out of pocket for anyone who can do a sufficient job of defending their client, anywhere from 50 to 140 pims, depending on how serious the crime is.

You store this new information in your head and continue on to your next stop: City Hall!

City Hall bears an interesting distinction it shares with the Academagia itself: it is one of the few structures in Mineta built in the Early Empire that still serves the function it was created for. While other buildings were burned down, scrapped for stone, or repurposed (like the Imperial Palace), City Hall has managed to weather all the various invaders, rioters, and angry mobs bent on its destruction, all the more remarkable for not being built like a fortress like the Academy of Magic. As such, while the politics have changed a lot since the fall of the Emperors, City Hall remains full of the bureaucrats needed to run a city this old and important.

Which means a lot of paperwork. And according to Sido, someone who can bring a supplicant’s request from the front door to the place it needs to go, with all the forms filled out and signed properly, can command a high price for their services. You don’t have too much experience with bureaucracy, but you figure you’ve still got the skillset needed for the job (or at the very least, more than enough stubbornness to get the desk jockeys to do something useful). You find a nice-looking couple who need a permit to open their new shop, arrange a price, and head inside.

By the time you come out, you feel like you’ve taken a dozen tests back-to-back on subjects you never knew anyone had to study. You needed paperwork to prove the identities of the couple owning the shop, paperwork to prove their identities to get the first set of proofs, deeds of ownership past and present, receipts from the construction, notices of guild due payments…you were just lucky that the couple you found already had most of what they needed to show before they arrived. Still, your success nets you a fee of two hundred pims, and you feel like you earned every single one.

After the grueling effort you put in at City Hall, you decide to skip the rest of your tour and head straight for the relaxing meal at the end. Considering the recent favor you did her, the Seven Stars is an obvious choice to visit, although you decline Mrs. Plumpsom’s offer of cake and go straight for the full meal. After griping some about the bureaucrats in City Hall, you find to your delight that most of the patrons have gone through paperwork troubles of their own, and soon the tavern is full of increasingly outlandish stories about just how troublesome clerks can be.

You find yourself at the edge of Elumia, staring down at the swirling storms that cover the long-lost oceans, hundreds of feet below. You had considered for a time whether to bring in the other ‘Tree members, but you ultimately decided against it. After all, this is supposedly a one-of-a-kind bird, and you have no idea where its island full of pools is, so adding extra people might just make the whole thing take forever. Better to just risk your own neck on something as spectacularly foolish as this.

The good news is, walking to the edge of Elumia, jumping off, and shouting for a bird to come rescue you is much too stupid to count as Gates magic. You’re much less likely to be expelled than you are to come to a horrible death.


Then again…

On the other hand, it’s much easier to make up for a failed spell than it is to re-summon a bird while in freefall. It’s tricky to Gate a creature you’ve never seen and only know by title, but you know some of its characteristics, and that may prove to be enough. You’ve already found a nice, quiet, deserted spot far out from Mineta (you really didn’t want anyone to see whichever thing you wound up doing, after all), so you pull out your wand and carve the powerful phemes of Gates into the air. You feel a kind of pull, as though something’s trying to get you off the island whether you like it or not…and then the pressure eases, and you wait to see if the spell succeeded.

Nothing happens for long enough that you doubt if it really worked, but then you hear the flapping of mighty wings and something swoops in from behind, taking a surprisingly gentle grip of your shoulders. You lift off the ground, carried in the claws of a gigantic bird.

You can’t help but laugh like a maniac that it all worked out.

In a far shorter time than you expected, The Lord of Hawks sets you gently on the surface of a strange little island, no more than a mile long and twice as wide. The surface is bare of vegetation, completely black and smooth across its length; you’d guess at either polished stone or volcanic glass.

As described, there are three small bodies of water on the island, all within about fifty paces of where the bird dropped you off. Each seems as dark and opaque as the stone they are carved from and perfectly still beyond ripples from the wind and the passing of the Lord of Hawks. Glancing back up at him, you give a wave of thanks and contemplate how troublesome it will be to get back.

You look around again, and something minor catches your attention. It was just a bit of a blur, something moving when it shouldn’t have. Moving your head around, you think you see it again. That would be a telltale sign of a Glamour.

Simple enough.

You draw out a few phemes and invoke them. A small patch of ground before you shimmers and changes, showing what appears to be an old campsite, along with scratches in the rock that seem disturbingly like claw marks. In addition, a stone holds down the decayed remains of an Academy robe, too old to determine the college, and under that is…a paper? The first section is still legible (and in Elumian), but crossed out. The note reads:

My dear Fikret,

I fear that you are lost, and that your notes have fallen into the hands of our enemies. I leave this final note to you, in the hopes that I am wrong, but I also leave it to those who follow us in the fear that I am right.

The Book is secure below the Pools, as you always intended. The wards on the surface of this island, however, are badly damaged—I presume by our enemies. I have repaired them as best I can, and the Regent’s Seal has proven very useful in this regard. I feel confident that only a student or a professor of the Academy can come to this place safely, though I have made such provision for you as I can.

Of course, should the Watchers arrange to bring an Academy student here for more than a few seconds, the defenses will fail.

Now why was that struck out? You continue:

To whom this will concern:

I know now that my friend is gone. Those Who Watch made use of his body to try and defeat my wards, and what remained of him was destroyed. Their overreach made them vulnerable, and I have trapped them with the last of my power. The spells I used will hold for little more than a century at most; after, they will come again.

You, I hope, are an instructor at the Academy of Magic in Mineta. I fear you are more likely to be a student.

My enemies will have learned after their escape that they cannot enter this place with the help of the undead; instead, they will try to trick the living into opening this door for them. They have access to some of my notes, and to whatever my friend had with him when he died. I suppose they may use these against you. As you are reading this, you must know that they have succeeded, and that your life is now in peril.

Dive into the Pools to the very bottom. There you will find a room with a great stone seat. When activated, it will take you directly into the Imperial Reserve, close to the property of the Academy. The Watchers should lose interest in you then. They only want the Book.

They have won. If you are here, the Book is already lost. I beg you, do not challenge them for it. Too many have fallen already.

You have wasted too much time already. Run!

Professor Bellissima Divora

Regent, College Durand

7 Aniedus 1592

You do a quick count in your head. 66 years next month will have passed since the note was written. You suppose that means one of the Watcher fellows must have sent that letter just to make someone like you curious enough to investigate.


Not seeing anything else around, be they evil Watcher cultists or other items hidden under Glamours, you step up to a pool at random and tentatively stick your toe in the water. Without even a moment to take a breath, you are sucked directly into the pool, flipped around to face head-first, and dragged down to the bottom. This persists long enough for you to run out of air and gasp out of reflex, sucking in a mouthful of stale, salty water, but then you are shot out at the floor of a cavern where you vomit the water back out. You feel rather glad that there’s no one around to see this.

Once you’ve recovered, you look around and discover that you can see because of thin rays of sunlight that make it through the brackish pools that hang suspended in the ceiling. From where you’ve fallen, you can see the seat—really more of an obsidian throne—sitting boldly between the three glowing pools. Off in the darkened distance, though, you can also hear—well, things. Laughter and a fierce wind and the sound of breaking glass.

The wards here are so thick you can feel them shattering even from this distance, but you also know they haven’t yet fallen. The Book is still here, still under attack.

Evacuate? In our moment of triumph?! I think you overestimate their chances!

You jog off, away from the throne and the distorted sunlight, down to a cavern that looks as though it’s been torn from the rock. Really this whole island seems off; it’s like something dragon-y must have happened here once. The noise is getting more violent now, and more unhinged.

That’s when you see the Watchers.

The wizards, if you can even call them that, look as though they might have been human once. You make out around five or six of them; their heads all hang at strange angles, as though they’ve all been dropped from a gallows and refused to let that stop them, and their skin seems stretched and dry. They don’t seem to be looking at anything in particular; they just stand in various places, pointed in different directions, and yet they draw the same phemes so exactly the same that it seems like a single puppet master is holding their strings to a single control rod.

The loud noises are coming from something else: warped little men riding giant hornets like winged horses, all apparently under the liches’ command.

Unless it’s the other way around…

And then there’s the Book, hanging in the air in the middle of the big, dark chamber. There’s a golden bubble surrounding it, which is fading under the assault of the screaming bug-men. Each one zooms in to crash against the sphere, which glows for a moment as it repels them, but then dims just a bit further than it did before.

“The food is here,” something whispers. You can’t quite tell what said it.

“Food,” another voice agrees.

And Gates shows up again, this time green. Wanna know a secret? This Gates option doesn’t have a roll attached to it. Based on the other options, it should be around 11-12, but instead it’s a freebie. Odd school for that to happen to, isn’t it? And while I must admit “Fire everywhere” is a very good argument, I’ll have to side with “send in the giant eagles” this time.

When you first start drawing your phemes, you’re almost totally ignored. The wasp riders keep up their assault on the protective ball, and the wizards start drifting over to surround you. They aren’t being terribly hurried about it, though.

But maybe you should have been paying better attention. A spark flies from the tip of one of their wands, quickly expanding into a flaming sphere. But before you can even think about it, you’re already on the ground, your hands covering your head, and the fireball misses you completely. Unfortunately, your spell fizzled when you ducked, and now your heart is attempting to beat its way out of your chest. You might give the spell another shot, but your hands are shaking too hard to form a single straight line. The wizards are all drawing in tandem now, this time in dark, pulsing Mastery phemes. You turn to run.

That’s when a great winged form bursts in from an inverted pool and plunges at the hornet riders. Everyone starts screaming, and spells—Incantations this time—start flying all over the place. One of the screams manages to stand out to you, being particularly high-pitched and…almost familiar…wait, it couldn’t be—


Just before the Lord of Hawks reaches the bug-men, Emilia slips off its back and drops rather painfully next to you. After checking to see if she can stand up and then to see if the bird is winning, you run for the golden sphere and grab the book (the sphere being kind enough to allow it). Carrying the heavy tome in your hands, you flee back to the throne, Emilia limping on behind you. You spare a moment for your friend to catch up, and then you sit down on the seat.

All at once the room goes dark and you feel an unpleasant tugging sensation, as though all your body parts aren’t moving at exactly the same speeds. Finally, you are dumped unceremoniously (but in one piece) out onto the weedy undergrowth of the Imperial Reserve. For a few tense moments, you wonder if Emilia made it, but she reappears right behind you.

The two of you sit there for a few minutes, panting and laughing despite yourselves, happy to have made it out alive. Finally, you set down the large book and start casting Revisions to heal the bruises you both sustained. While doing so, you ask Emilia the obvious question:

How in the world did you end up on the Lord of Hawks’ back?
Well, after you told me about him and that summoning thing, I knew you were going to try sooner or later. So when I saw you put on your old robe today, I decided to follow you, and…and you really shouldn’t do stuff like this on your own! After what happened last time—
Last time won’t happen again! I promise.
Shabby promise when you go summoning giant birds without anyone else to help. I think those wizard-mummies were trying to kill you! Ow.
Sorry, I’ll get that next. Well, I admit, they were trying to kill me, but even I didn’t know about them before I got there, honest. They were after this book, and I knew that if they wanted it, I had to have it instead. But I…I panicked, and then I was going to run for it, but then you showed up with the Lord of Hawks. How’d you get him to dive into the pools, by the way? He just dropped me off next to them when I went.
I don’t think I did anything. When I chanted the phrase, I dropped right onto his back—
That’s another thing. I still can’t believe you actually jumped off the side of Elumia to go after me. I guess Rui is really rubbing off on you.
Um…I guess I wasn’t really thinking about that when I jumped. And I think it was easier after I saw you get his attention, first. Anyway, after I landed on his back, we were at the Pools just a few minutes later, and then he seemed to get angry and just dove straight in. Maybe he knew those bug-things were there?
Maybe. Or maybe my summoning spell worked after all. Well, we made it, we’re safe, and we’ve got the Book, so I say that’s all that really matters.
What’s in this thing, anyway?
I guess we’ll find out when we get to Longshade. And on the way, I can tell you all about this letter I found on the way in…

What does the Book of Deep Shadows do? It’s quite simple, really. Using the attached skill will raise your Intelligence by 1 for 3 days. Not really the best, especially since I’ve got a book that gives +1 Insight indefinitely, but it has a secondary function. See, equipping it for a day will Inform you on all four Mastery subskills. Somewhat more useful, that, and rather more worrisome considering what that implies about its contents.

Oh, and it’s basically indestructible with a rating of (Durable) 999. Each use will lower that by 1, but there are only 900 actions in a complete game year.

After discovering the subject matter of the Book of Deep Shadows, you and Emilia decide to hide the book away in a dark, quiet corner of the Library of Longshade for now until you can figure out what to do with it. Until then, you’ll simply carry on with your day.

After getting lunch at the cafeteria, you head down to the Broken Window. There’s actually no glass involved at the Broken Window; it’s just a fancy name given to a cave carved out underneath a waterfall on the eastern face of Chorda Peak. According to one of the other student council members, it’s a great place to practice making speeches, so you’ve decided to give it a try yourself.

The broken pathway to the cave seems more like an unusually horizontal stretch of cliff, but you reach the Broken Window without much trouble. Once inside, the roaring of the waterfall reflects off the walls and pounds into your head until you can hardly hear yourself think—quite the useful simulation of an unruly crowd, now that you think of it. Despite the noise, you can still hear yourself when you’re not quite shouting, although it’s kind of hard to make out exactly what comes out of your mouth.

You start out with a few basic famous speeches, but then you stop to think. What if you’re in a loud room and you intentionally speak certain words quietly? If they were just the right ones, the audience would fill in the blanks with what they want to hear. That way you could appeal to everyone without committing…hmm…

Passing through Mineta, you meet an old man with a staff in his hand. As you pass, he holds out his hand.

Please, can you give just a little?

Better safe than sorry.

You give the old man a wary look. He appears just to be another beggar. He’s wearing tattered robes and he’s somewhat dirty, but there is one thing that stands out about him. He’s wearing an amulet depicting the boots of Iasos the Traveler. Could he be a priest in disguise?

If so, he’s probably not a cutpurse, so you relax a bit. It’s amazing how paranoid a large city can make you, really.

A disguised priest means this is a test, and Iliana is always happy to pass tests.

You reach into your pocket and pull out a single pim. As you place it in his outstretched palm, his eyes look brightly at you.

Thank you. You have done well. I do not need your money; I have plenty of my own. But I only give it to those who are generous.

The old man hands you back your pim, along with one of his own.

Go in peace.

You scowl at your hand as you walk off. Just one more pim? Cheapskate.

Your eyes have trouble concentrating as you behold the Block Puzzle of the Academagia. According to the inscription conveniently left at its base, the Block Puzzle has been a fixture of the Academagia since 672, nearly a thousand years ago. The puzzle has been solved many times over the centuries, but thanks to its enchantment, it’s impossible to cheat. Each morning, the blocks rise out of their thirty-foot square, dance around for a while, and change colors before settling into a random configuration. The goal of the puzzle is to get each of the oddly-shaped pieces into the correct quadrant for their color without lifting them out of the puzzle frame (something the enchantments make impossible anyway) and then leaving the open space right in the center.

The plaque assures you that each configuration is entirely beatable, but of course you’ve heard plenty of gripes about how the puzzle cheats. Evidently, if you actually mange to win, the puzzle will magically announce your name and college, and you’d never say no to a little more praise. So you decide to wade on into the block puzzle and start moving things around.

Unfortunately, while you had thought that solving troubling riddles might somehow translate into solving troubling block puzzles, the skills involved just aren’t anything alike. You’d never even heard the term “spatial reckoning” until you read the inscription.

This may take more effort on your part if you really want to solve it.

The grape crop is nearly ready for harvest, marking the much-loved Fountain Days. The cafeteria will serve delicious food and drink in its honor. While that alone is more than enough for you, for the farmers this day marks a time of hard work and lots of extra help. To ensure the bountiful harvest will transform into delightful aqua vitis, great care must be taken when plucking the fruit from the vines. The Academagia Botany Department has been enlisted to help with this effort, and you really want to be part of the team—it’s sure to score you points with Professor Vickery, and it seems like it might be something interesting to do. How do you make it happen?

Secretly, the “just show up” option is actually an easy Infiltration check. But as always, Iliana’s favored method involves talking to people.

You figure you can get yourself onto the team if you have a local connection. You remember that you once met a grape farmer in a tavern and helped him write a letter to his brother, who lives several towns away. He told you to contact him if he could ever repay the favor, and now seems like a good time to call it in.


Finding the grape farmer’s home is easy thanks to all the Fountain Days signs everywhere. You knock on his door and reintroduce yourself, explaining the situation. The farmer remembers you, and says he would be happy to help. You explain that he can meet you in front of Professor Vickery’s office just before the meeting and offer to sponsor you.

The farmer shows up just as planned and endorses you; for his part, Vickery is more than happy to have another student involved in the efforts and welcomes you aboard.

The meeting takes all morning, and it mostly consists of thinking up ways to improve the harvest yield and speed through the use of magic spells. It’s actually pretty touchy considering how fragile the grapes are and how deep in the vine some of them can get, and then they also need to be sorted by quality. There’s a lot more thought involved than you first expected.

Speaking with the old priest yesterday planted an idea in your head. You’ve known for a long time that gratitude and favors are their own kind of currency, but what’s a way to gather a lot of it at once? You’ve wondered this more than once, but the priest reminded you that beggars are always grateful for whatever you give them, and your old mentor back home once told you that beggars are the eyes and ears of every marketplace. That led you to remember Beggar’s Corner.

As a major trading hub, Mineta has always had its fair share of beggars, but as the once-capital of most of the known world and a still-vibrant tourist destination, the government has always done its best to keep its poor off the streets. In the early days, the emperors made a point of spending lavishly to help those in need in the capital city, but as time went on and the later emperors stopped caring about the lower classes, the temples and the Academagia itself stepped in to fill the gap. At first they only needed to contribute a little, but more and more was required until the emperors fell completely and they were all that was left. Still, they have done a good job of it, and the beggars are still few compared to the size of the city. One method of helping the poor is known as Beggar’s Corner.

Initially it was rather informal, but as the years piled up, it became a tradition. Simply put, if anyone shows up at this particular corner of the Admiratio at midday, he or she gets a free meal, no questions asked. The Academagia being one of the sponsors, student volunteers are always welcome, and you are quickly set behind a giant cauldron of gruel by the stern, worn-out lady in charge of the Corner food supply.

Before the beggars arrive, you curiously sip at the gruel yourself. It smells like oats and tastes like nothing but boiled, chalky river water. To put it gently, it’s the most depressing thing you’ve ever tasted. Even the stuff your family ate back during the stall days had some honey and herbs to flavor it. Refusing to let this stand out of principle, you whip out your wand and try to recall the best gruel you’ve ever tasted, and then sketch out the phemes for a Glamour.

The change is obvious immediately as the smell from the cauldron actually becomes appetizing. The woman in charge catches your eye and nods; evidently you’re not the first student to think of improving the food, if only cosmetically.

Fine, then. You’ll just have to do even better.

When the beggars arrive and line up for their food, you give each of them a big, welcoming smile as you ladle their portion into the bowls most of them seem to keep handy. Your smile is taxed by some of the smellier and surlier customers, but most of the panhandlers seem happy to see a bright young girl such as yourself helping out on the food line. In fact, one of them tells you how you remind him of his own little girl “when she was your age.” That’s when you get your next great idea. You begin to tell stories.

You consider telling them about some of the things you’ve done since coming to Mineta, but you quickly realize that none of them want to hear how much better your life is than any of theirs. Instead, you wrack your brains and come up with every story you ever heard with an underdog, or anyone who has to overcome tremendous odds for one reason or another. You also include everything you can remember where the hero goes through a bad period but gets better, and a few stories about rich folk acting miserly and getting punished for it.

The stories you tell come from kid’s tales, history books, and legends about distant lands, but the beggars eat up everything you say as desperately as the food on their plates. Most of them can’t read, after all, and none of them could afford a book, so most of what you’d consider old and worn out is completely new to them. You also like to think that you’re doing a good job of telling them. Eventually, you run out of stories, but the beggars call for more, so you start “revising” a few of the more depressing tales you’ve heard. You imagine the original author would be a bit angry to hear you made up a nice ending for, say, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” but he’s not here, and your audience doesn’t need any more sad stories.

As the sun sets behind the buildings and all the food tables have been collapsed and put away, you finally manage to convince the beggars that you have no more stories to tell them (and hardly any voice left to tell them with). Your audience breaks out into applause then and heads out to whichever alleys they call home. A few come up to thank you personally, including the one with the daughter.

You can hardly even believe what happened today. These beggars gave up half a day’s worth of panhandling just to listen to you spin story after story out to them. Are tales really so important to people? Then again, it does help explain why some of the crazier rumors manage to last so long among the students…

One thing you do know is that you’ve definitely earned that ginger ale and cake you’ll be getting from the Seven Stars.

Gains of the Weekend

Watched a Conley Trial from the Observation Gallery.
--Criminal Law increased by 1 step.
----Learned about the Lesser Court of Civil Law.
--Lie increased by 1 step.
----Steel Eyes ability learned.
--Rallying increased by 1 step.
----Cheer action learned.
--Learned about Daribus Conley’s Court: Advocate’s Platform.
Fought City Hall.
--Stress increased by 3.
--Money increased by 200.
Enjoyed a Meal at the Seven Stars.
--Stress decreased by 6.
--Conversation increased by 1 step.
----Speech pheme learned.
--Money decreased by 25.
--Innuendo increased by 1 step.
----Gossip increased by 1.
------Confide action learned.
Unsuccessful event.
--Stress increased by 1.
--Negation Spells decreased by 1 step.
Aveline used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 381.

Successful adventure!
--Theory of Gates increased by 1 step.
----Enrich pheme learned.
--Intelligence increased by 1.
--Gates Spells increased by 1 step.
--Gained the Book of Deep Shadows.
--Learned about the above.
Spoke into the Broken Window.
--Diction increased by 1 step.
----Acuity pheme learned.
--Voice increased by 1 step.
----Learned about Arcadius’ Temple.
--Manipulation increased by 1 step.
----Schism spell learned.
Tried to Solve the Block Puzzle.
--Puzzles increased by 1 step.
----Smooth pheme learned.
----Malice increased by 1.
------Stress pheme learned.
--Dedication increased by 1 step.
----Loyalty pheme learned.
Successful event!
--Money increased by 1.
--Ethics increased by 1 step.
Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 384.

Cast Intense Focus.
--Plus 5 to Piety.
--Plus 1 to Insight.
--Minus 2 to Architecture and Drive Carriage.
Gave Charity and Worked.
--Piety increased by 1 step.
----Religion increased by 3 (bugged again, I guess).
------Pray for Guidance ability learned.
------Pray for Calm ability learned.
--Ethics increased by 1 step.
----Ethics skill maxed!
----Parental Approval increased by 10 (135) (lost Golden thanks to Intense Focus buff).
--Baking increased by 1 step.
----Learned about Esther Zohan’s Baking Cubby.
--Beacon of Beggar’s Corner ability learned.
Enjoyed Free Ginger Ale and Cake.
--Stress decreased by 2.
--Storytelling increased by 1 step.
--Confidence cannot be increased.
Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 387.
Successful holiday!
--Conversation increased by 1 step.
--Relationship with William Vickery increased to 1.

New Abilities

Listen to the Arguments (Lesser Court of Civil Law): +1 step in Civil Law and Insult.
File Civil Complaint: Charm/Civil Law v target’s Intelligence/Debate; -50 pims from target, +45 pims for self, +1 step in Debate and Persuasion, and -25 pims regardless.
Steel Eyes (Permanent): +2 to Lie and +1 to Courage.
Cheer: Charm/Passion v5; target gets +1 Confidence and +2% Chance of Success until Rest.
Advocate at Daribus Conley’s Court: (Criminal Law 7 required) Intelligence/Criminal Law v10 and 30; +50-140 pims, then +1 Glory, and +1 step in Oratory and Debate regardless.
Confide: Insight/Conversation v7 and 13; +3 to Relationship with chosen student, then -1 Stress, Anxiety emotion added (if possible) regardless.
Schism (Spell): Finesse/Glamour v13; set Relationship between targets to -4 for 3 days.
Offer Prayers to Arcadius: -10 pims, +1 step in Prayer, Piety, and random Music skill.
Pray for Guidance: +1 to all Actions and Abilities for 3 days.
Pray for Calm: Insight/Prayer v6; -2 to target’s stress, -1 to own Stress, and +1 step in Piety and Willpower.
Beacon of Beggar’s Corner (Permanent): +1 to Confidence and Insight () and +3% Chance of Success to all Prayer Actions and Abilities.