The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 61: Of Power and Pies

Anedius 22-The Pellae

I screwed up here and forgot to save between weeks, and so when I used the Perform action again just to make sure it really was random (even I couldn’t believe I got +1 Glory on the first try), it was either try for Glory again on Sunday or live with the +1 Theatre on Monday. I decided on the latter. Fortunately, there wasn’t a random event, so we aren’t missing anything.

Your second performance is, in your opinion, even better than the first. One more day of practice always helps, and the first day nerves have worn off, letting the actors enjoy themselves. On the other hand, the audience knows what to expect this time, so they aren’t quite as enthralled as they were before.

After the play ends, the entire cast and crew get together and strike the set. Pulling everything apart is fun in its own way, plus one of the older actors goes out and gets a bunch of pizzas from the Strozzan restaurant. Cheese, olive oil, and artichokes really hit the spot after a long night of work, especially when served on a handy bread plank.

One of the cooks from the kitchen approaches you with a plate of strange-looking cookies. She explains that she needs you to be part of her research group to develop a new type of tasty cookie.

Looking down on the plate, you’d say “tasty” is the last word you’d use to describe them. The cook is very eager, though, and keeps the plate much closer to you than you’d like.

C’mon, I helped you out, remember? And now I’m feeding you cookies! Just try one!

Perhaps we could find out why the cookies look so terrible.

You take a cookie and examine it. Getting some granules on your hand, you lick it and discover the sugar has been replaced with salt!

This seems to be a running theme with the kitchen. Iliana should probably point it out now that she knows.

You hold the cookie up and explain the mistake she must have made—accidentally, of course. The cook squints at it for a moment, then realizes you’re absolutely correct.

I can’t believe I did that again! Thank you so much—no wonder everyone reacted like that! I’ll get it right next time, no problem!

Good day, dearest. What did you think of your play?
I thought it went really well! It’s too bad you couldn’t see it yourself.
Couldn’t I? I am a master Revisionist, you know. It wasn’t the best rendition I’ve seen, to be honest (nor was it the best of plays, really), but as student productions go, it seemed quite good.
Wow, thanks.
Oh, don’t scowl, dearest. Remember, I’ve seen the finest the Empire of Man had to offer in terms of entertainment, and Academagia students have never been able to equal the efforts of professionals. Why, I’m sure a troupe would love to scoop you up once you graduate, should you be so inclined. But what brings you to my tower today? Need some last-minute tutoring for one of your classes?
No. I just thought…since time’s running out, you should start teaching me Gates. For real this time.

The Sphinx considers you for a moment, then nods.

Very well. We shall start first with the basic Theory, then learn the Phemes. After that, I shall show you the Methods, and finally teach you the basic Spells. And, as we agreed, I shall also teach you the ways of power. Let me start with a question, and this one you do not need to answer: how many people does it take to create a blueberry pie?
You only need—wait, this is a trick question, right? So how many?
It is indeed. Only one person is required to cook the pie, but where do the raw ingredients come from? Someone needs to raise and pick the blueberries, someone needs to raise and harvest the wheat, then grind it into flour, and someone needs to raise a pig, slaughter it, and render it into lard. And what about the kitchen tools? Someone must mine the tin, smelt it, and smith it into a pan. Then you have iron worked and trees carved to get spoons and spatulas. Then there is wool for the potholders, the oven must be constructed, homes built for all, food for the humans and the animals…One person might alone create everything she needed to make a pie, but either she must sacrifice her ability to gain food and shelter to make them, or else create them so rarely that the pies would be priceless. No, to create a supply of blueberry pies, a community is required.
So, dearest, who then has the right to eat this pie?
Um…whoever pays for it, I guess.
A good answer, but one that does not fit into this allegory. In this community, there is no money, nor any sense of bartering. Every act was performed to create this pie, every effort and every struggle, and everyone will want a share of it. This blueberry pie represents leisure, and luxury, and ease, and every other material thing humans have ever striven for. This pie is worth struggling for. It is worth killing for. Who, then, should eat this pie? I shall leave you to meditate upon your answer, and next time we shall discuss the distribution of wealth.
Until then, we discuss the Theory of Gates, as well as certain Gates Phemes to illustrate its points. We can then discuss how the Stars interact with the unpredictability of Gates, and perhaps an illustration of power using the Middle Empire.

You find Raoul Leconte sniffing and teary-eyed in the common room.

What’s wrong, Raoul?
Oh, it’s just terrible. Aveline and I had an awful fight.
You want to talk about it?
Well, I was feeding the rabbits in front of Campus Aranaz when Aveline came by and started lecturing me. “Why do you spend so much time with those animals, why don’t you try interacting with humans for a change, you’re a disgrace to the name of Aranaz, and so on.” It was such a dreadful fight!
Didn’t your bodyguard help?
No, she’s just supposed to stop the pranks. Aveline didn’t even touch me.
I suppose that’s fair. It didn’t really sound like a “fight” to me, though. It just sounded like Aveline yelling at you for no good reason.

No skill checks, I see. Well, Raoul really should grow a backbone. If he did, he might get away without having to pay someone else to have a backbone for him.

If you’re really upset with Aveline, then you need to sit down and talk to her about it. You can’t stand for this kind of treatment! If you let it go this time, then she’s just going to keep doing it until she drives you absolutely crazy.

Raoul wrings his hands.

Oh, but I don’t know if I could—I’d have to talk—and for her to sit down and listen—it all just sounds so unlikely—
You can do it, Raoul, I know you can!
If you say so, Iliana. I’ll give it my best try.
Look out there, she’s still just outside the Campus right now. Why don’t you go try talking to her?

Raoul takes a few steps toward the door, then looks back at you. You give him your best encouraging nod. Raoul takes a deep breath, and then heads out the door.

You can see Raoul approaching Aveline outside through the window. You can’t hear what they’re saying, but Aveline seems to be moving her mouth a whole lot more than Raoul…

Oh, well. Can’t change a tiger’s stripes and all that.

So, dearest, what is your answer to yesterday’s question?
Well, if the blueberry pie is worth killing for, then I guess everyone would just kill each other until there was just one left.
A reasonable response, but incorrect. While the pie is worth killing for, it is not worth dying for. Thus, most will give up before it comes to that, perhaps at only a warning or a threat. Besides, it is hard for a human to kill a fellow intelligent creature, and for nearly all of you, killing is a last resort. There are also future pies to be considered; as I pointed out, one lone survivor could not make nearly as many. And we must not forget that there are other ways to get what you want, like persuasion and bribery.
In addition, you humans are well aware that you are far more dangerous in groups than alone. So I shall tell you what will happen: the community will divide itself into groups, based on kinships and friendships, most likely, and the groups will contend with each other, using all various means they have and wish to use. One will eventually be victorious, and divide most of the pie between its members, leaving mere slivers for all the rest.
Wait, why give them anything? Why not just take it all?
Oh, they would if they could, dearest. However, the victorious group is still outnumbered, and if they take too much, the others will ally to depose them and begin the contest again. If the winners can concentrate enough control onto themselves, they can take more, but never quite all. So, how shall the losers perform their jobs if they get mere tastes? I shall leave you to meditate upon your answer, and next time we shall discuss incentives and motivation.
To consider the effects of winners and losers, we shall again discuss the Captivity of Man. Some of the texts are old, so you will need to brush up on your Elumian again.

Let us assume the tinsmith was among the losers in the fight for the pie. As such, he only gets a small amount for each pie tin he creates. What should he do?
If he only gets a little pie, then he should probably make the tins as big as he can. That way his sliver gets bigger, too.
Ah, true! If it were only that fair. But the masters know the tinsmith will work for very little already; if the pies become bigger, his slice will only become smaller to match, and the extra will go to the winners. What should the tinsmith do now?
I guess he’d make them as small as he could, just to spite them.
Or simply because smaller pans are easier to make, yes. Here we see illustrated the problem with limited control: those with no stake in success will not contribute to it, and this will shrink the wealth of everyone. We shall discuss why they should do this regardless on a later date. Let us next suppose that the berry picker is among the victors; she will grow and gather as many berries as she can, yes? She does gain from it, after all. But the tinsmith keeps making small, roughly made tins that can’t hold all her berries. What should she do?
Can she make the tinsmith make bigger pie pans?
Perhaps, but not much bigger, not without giving up a lot of her pie for him. It will not be enough.
Hmm…I dunno, make everyone eat blueberries on the side?
Just so. If she cannot use all her blueberries properly, she will force the rest to use them in other ways. I recall that once the Queen of Langsey—this was back when Langsey had a Queen—she decreed that everyone in the land must wear a wool stocking cap at all times. This wasn’t because she liked the way they looked, mind you, but because the Shepherds’ Guild had her ear—after filling her coffers.
Now, assuming that such a situation might be more accidental than intentional, how might it be fixed? I shall leave you to meditate upon your answer, and next time we shall discuss leadership and responsibility.
Until then, perhaps you should learn some geography? I shall show you a map of Greater Elumia, and you shall draw what you remember. This will improve both your Cartography and your Memorization.

You’re passing between classes when Magalda Quaranta comes out of nowhere to grab your robes and shout in a frenzy:

Philippe stole my diary! There are some very, very private things in there I don’t want anyone to read and I’m pretty certain I’ll die of embarrassment if anyone reads it! Please, please help me get it back!

Well, Philippe’s hands aren’t the worst they could fall into, but then I suppose he’d turn right around and sell it off to Reitz anyway. So in solidarity with her fellow secret diarists, Iliana will seek (politely) to win back the diary.

Without a moment’s hesitation, you walk right up to Philippe and ask him kindly to give Magalda back her diary. His response is typical:

Make me!

You sigh, then turn to Professor Badcrumble, whose attention you happened to get while passing her classroom. The professor most certainly does makes Philippe give the diary back, leaving Magalda quite happy and you quite free of people clinging to your robes.

With the Sphinx busy today, as she sometimes is, you decide to continue your study of Gates Theory on your own back in Longshade. You also happen to find a book you read once, months back, regarding Queen Avila and her uncompromising defiance against the Dragons, so you take the time to read a few more chapters.

Let us say that both the tinsmith and the miller are equal in standing, neither having a greater share of the blueberry pie. How do they make sure that just enough flour is made to line the pie tins, and neither more nor less?
They could tell each other how much they’re making, couldn’t they?
They could, but there are several problems. First, the tinsmith is making his pans in whatever sizes he likes, and the miller is filling whatever sacks are at hand, so they have no way of knowing if one is enough for the other without meeting and checking for each load. Second, the tinsmith doesn’t know how much tin he will get until the tin smelter comes by with his load, and the same with the miller and the wheat reaper. As well, by the time either gets his load of raw materials, he must busy himself with his job, and not with talking to others across town. Finally, whom do you think each will blame when their loads do not match up?
They’ll blame the other one.
Exactly. And being blamed, being declared wrong will embarrass them, and humans fear and hate embarrassment more than they fear and hate death.
I told you once that power is the ability to make a choice, and responsibility is the need to make the right choice. Each artisan, if left alone, will choose what measures are the best for him or her, but these naturally conflict with those other professions they interact with. Thus, to make things smoother, they will elect someone to make these choices for them, to standardize the weights and measurements, to set prices and regulations, and to take the blame when things go wrong. For that last reason, if no other, leaders are respected and honored by those who trust them. This leader only needs to have a passing knowledge of each profession, but a strong understanding of how to convince and cajole other people into doing what she asks.
But let us not forget the winners in the struggle for control. Do you think they will allow the others to elect whom they want to be the leader, to have that power of decision? I shall leave you to meditate upon your answer, and next time we shall discuss tyranny.
Today I shall show you some practical skills of a leader. We shall discuss Gambling, and how to Act to fool your opponents.

Fur melts and turns a dark pine green, then orders itself into the weave of a robe. The sickening crack of a bone fills the air as a dog’s leg extends into a human femur. Blonde hair sprouts from the top of a bulldog’s head, whose muzzle even now retreats into a button nose and full lips. A few cracks and squishes later, Eliana’s face emerges. She stands and takes a bow as her audience applauds.

Very good!

Conducting a Revision class on a holiday is highly unusual, but these are highly unusual circumstances. Professor Aventyrare was out sick for much of the past week, so she has offered an optional class today where students can demonstrate their most advanced Revisions for extra credit. With Kaliri just around the corner, it’s well attended.

Nodding at Eliana Carosi’s display, the professor wrinkles her nose and reaches for the special Eallandine tea she likes so much (she tried to explain exactly what makes it so special once, but your mind glazed over as she went on about natural processes and strange worms). Aventyrare brings her floral cup to her lips—

But that’s when a huge, thick vine erupts from the tea, knocking the instructor over in surprise.


As the vine grows and thickens and thrashes about, attempting to free itself from the cup, you and the rest of the class dive behind desks, chairs, bookshelves, and anything else that might provide cover. You are shivering in spite of yourself, and you are uncomfortably aware of just how full your bladder is.

From behind your cover, you hear a loud plop, and then a scream. Curiosity gets the better of you and you peek over the edge of your desk. The vine has now become brownish-black slug, although still obviously made of plant matter, as two flowers sprout where its eyestalks would be. It’s actually a little cute, or would be if it weren’t rampaging through the room. It’s also grabbed one of your peers in its strange, viney feelers, his robes flapping with its every bound.

A golden flash draws your attention to the professor’s podium, where Aventyrare has Revised a pair of scissors into a mean-looking set of gilded gardening sheers. The professor casts a small fireball at the creature to get its attention, but that causes you to duck back down beneath your desk, heart pounding even harder. You can only hear the next exchange: the creature hissing, your classmate going “Oof!” as he’s dropped, and the sound of chopping shears—one, two, three.

When you’re finally able to calm down and look back over the top, the creature is already done for, drying up and disintegrating into a fine powder. With a sigh of relief, Professor Aventyrare drops her shears, wipes her brow, and shakes her hair dry.

Well, I guess that’ll be it for today, folks. Remember to keep studying, and the exam is on the thirteenth!

Dusting yourself off, you look towards the door and spot a familiar head of glossy black hair: Rui da Casga. He loves his pranks, of course, but…would he really have pulled something like this? He did once turn an entire class of First Years into warbling toads for an hour, but the plant-slug seemed honestly dangerous.

This adventure treats the PC as though he or she isn’t familiar with Rui personally (let alone put him in their Clique), so I’ll be making some…modifications as we go along.

You decide to approach Rui and ask him, but he runs away too fast for you to call him. You sprint after, determined to get answers.

Your chase leads you out into the hallway. Rui deftly dodges a pair of upperclassmen whispering to each other; you admire his grace as you wind up knocking them both over. Still, you manage to follow him out of the building and into the courtyard. There, a bustle of students rushing in for lunch confuses you and causes you to lose track of your errant friend. You unfocus your eyes, looking for any hint of movement—there, a cloak in the bushes! You follow.

Just as you’re about to dive into the bush, a strong hand grabs your shoulder and pulls you back. Turning around, you see Professor Aventyrare has followed you, her hair still wilder than usual from her duel with the plant monster.

Where do you think you’re going?
I saw Rui watching us! I have to find him, ask him what he—
You shouldn’t worry so much about Rui. He may be a little troublemaker, but his heart’s in the right place.

You should have expected that she would be understanding; Professor Aventyrare’s own mischievous streak is well known.

Of course, the pranks have gotten rather out of hand. Last week one of the third years was hexed and couldn’t say anything other than his first name for four days.

She shakes her head.

I don’t know. Maybe there’s something troubling him. He was always more…elegant before. Still, if you’re following him, you’d best be careful.

It’s exposition time!

How do you think they’ve changed, exactly?
Well, you know what they used to be like. Heavens, you’re a good friend of his, aren’t you? Why, just last month I remember a particularly charming jinx he pulled on Professor Chastellain. This was in the instructor’s lounge, where if Rieulle gets started talking, it’s impossible to shut the man up. He was right in the midst of one of those over-dramatized panderings he calls art when he pulled out his lute and began to play. At first the notes were sweet, but soon they came out strange, until all the strings were turned to saltwater taffy! Very tasty, too. Chastellain was livid, and his fingers were sticky for days, but it saved us all from that din, at least for a while.
But now it’s like they aren’t even jokes anymore. You saw what kind of havoc that…thing could have caused. We can only thank the gods no one was hurt. I’ve heard reports of students losing their wits for hours on end, students going into rooms and getting their clothes turned to foul mush…
These aren’t jokes anymore. They’re cruelties.

Enough of that. Time to move on.

You turn back to face the bushes Rui dashed through.

Well, don’t worry about me, Professor. Rui doesn’t mess with his own friends.
He didn’t, at least. If there’s really something wrong, I couldn’t say how he’d react. Best have your wits about you; Rui and his little prankster society like their privacy.

Prankster society? You’re about to ask her what she meant, but when you look back at the professor, you see she’s already moved off into the crowd, which is still too large for you get her attention. Guess I’ll find out, you think to yourself, and then you move into the bushes.

Not that you would ever admit to being anything less than dignified, but a casual observer might say you were playing around in the bushes like a deer. You’ve been moving deeper and deeper into the foliage, but without a trace of Rui to find; it would seem your conversation with Aventyrare has given him time to escape. It crosses your mind for a second that they might be in cahoots, but then you trip over a large opening and fall unceremoniously into a knee-deep puddle of foul water.

Spitting the brackish taste from your mouth, you climb out of the small pond and into a moldy tunnel. Silently thanking yourself once again for creating a self-cleaning enchantment, you look around at your new surroundings.

The moss-covered walls and crumbling stones indicate that you have found your way into one of the many catacombs or abandoned cellars of the Academagia. It obviously hasn’t been used for many centuries, but you can see you aren’t the first to pass through it today: lit torches fill the rusty sconces, and the cobwebs have been cleared out of the central pathway. In fact, judging from the relative cleanliness, you’d say the tunnel has seen frequent use lately.

You trek deeper in, the sound of your plodding footsteps swallowed up by the absorbent moss and frequent mushrooms. The tunnel makes a left and you follow, but the ground ends so suddenly at chasm that you nearly topple in. There’s a strategically placed rope tied off on your right, and it looks like you could use it to swing across. There’s also a narrow ledge you could shimmy across; heck, it’s not all that far to jump, either.

Sometimes showing off means doing it without magic. Sometimes showing off means using magic instead.

You draw out the phemes to negate gravity, then take a small hop. It’s a reassuringly long time before you return to the ground, so you step up to the edge of the pit and then fling yourself across.

You easily cross the distance. You draw a few more phemes to counter the spell, and then continue on your way.

You continue deeper into the catacombs. After passing through more twists and turns than you can count, you start to hear the sounds of hurried discussion. Creeping quietly now, you discover a door left ajar, and you listen in on some remarkably familiar voices…

…can’t stand by while they ruin our reputation!
But what can we do? They’re cruel and don’t show mercy. We’ve seen what happens from their tricks. Kelis can’t use his hands for at least another three days!
So should we just wait, then? Our society’s good name is at stake here! We don’t even know who all those people are!
I do. But I think we should let our guest in, first.

The door swings inward, causing you to lose your balance and fall on your face.

Iliana! Good to see you. Welcome to the Society of Tricksters. I was hoping you were still following me.

Rui helps you to your feet, but you give him a cross look. Looking further into the room, you see a couple more Vernin students along with Iustus Venture from Hedi, Jere Niemela from Durand, and, yes, Emilia Strolin. Emilia flushes as you look at her.

I’m sorry, Ana. I know you wanted—
Wanted to know what my friends were up to behind my back? Yeah, that’s something I wanted. Care to explain this, Rui?
Well…it’s pretty simple. You were busy with the first Duel Club, so we decided to start a second one when more volunteers showed up. It sort of…mutated into the Society of Tricksters after me and Dexter—one of Philippe’s brothers—got into a feud.

Your expression changes to puzzlement.

I heard about Dexter’s wand turning into a flower, but…How come I didn’t hear about this? How come you didn’t bring me in?
You were busy trying to get on Philippe’s good side and helping out Joana, so we didn’t want to ruin that by bringing our fight into it.

Now it’s Rui’s turn to look cross.

Maybe we should have ruined it. It’s Philippe we’re after now. Now that Joana’s finally hooked up with him, they’ve both gotten even worse.
Wait, so…Philippe set that slugbush in Aventyrare’s teacup? But he’s as subtle as a bag of hammers!
He’s done some pranking before. Remember when Eduard set him up as screwing with my dorm room? It wasn’t him, but it might’ve been.
And it turns out Joana’s smarter than she looks. She’s gathered a gang around Philippe, and now the two of them are terrorizing the whole school with those mean pranks of theirs.
And worse yet, I’m the one taking all the blame!
So will you help, Ana? Please?

Hardly anything to say here.

Fine, if only to stop these terrible tricks. I still wish you guys had told me what you were up to, though.
Great! Em knows where they’re meeting next. You can go and listen in with her.

As the two of you leave for the exit, you have to ask:

“Em?” From him?

You and Emilia emerge from another hidden hole near Campus Morvidus. The sun is low near the western sky, and the owls are already emerging from sleep.

This way!

Emilia patters across the grass into the hall, and you follow after her, both of you keeping quiet since it’s after visiting hours.

You sneak up several flights of vaulted stairs, amber rays giving the tower an odd, sickly color. Finally, you reach a floor with dorm rooms on it, and Emilia pads up to one door in particular. Crouching next to it, she opens a small pouch on her belt and pulls out an odd slug-like thing. She jams it wriggling into the keyhole, and then, to your horror, pulls an eyestalk to her ear and jams it in. After a few moments, she gasps.

Here, listen!

She pulls the other eyestalk towards you. After some hesitation, you place it in your own ear, where you feel it oozing further in until it halts just before your eardrum. However, you can now hear the occupants of the room clearly.

…tonight! Next time will be our greatest stunt ever! And, even better, that stupid da Casga kid will take all the blame!
What if him and his punks find out?

You hear a shrill giggle.

How would he do that? He hasn’t yet. No one in the whole school thinks it’s us behind this prank wave, and even da Casga doesn’t know what we’re planning until it’s too late!

You share a dark look with Emilia.

Over the next few weeks, look for a red flag hanging from a dorm window. When you see it, meet at the courtyard. It’ll begin then.

We need to go now!

The two of you pluck the listening tubes from your ears, and Emilia then pulls the slug deftly from the lock before grabbing your arm and running. Before long, you are both back in the catacombs meeting room, where you find Rui writing furiously by the light of a candle.

Good, you’re back. What’d you find?

You tell him. Rui furrows his brow.

Sounds like they’ve got a big project coming up. Suppose they could use a few extra hands?
Look, Iliana, maybe we should have told you what we were doing, but you can’t expect us to just sit around and do nothing while you’re off on your own little projects. Anyway, we could use your help now, but if you want to back out, I’ll totally understand.

Well, we can’t just abandon them, can we?

Oh, I’m in all right. But you, me, and Emilia are going to have a long talk later…

As you enter the feasting hall for dinner, you notice Philippe rushing out to use the bathroom. He has not-so-cleverly left his goblet behind, unsupervised. The options for mischief are unlimited…

Wow, this was such a well-timed random event that I almost thought it was part of the adventure when I was playing. Iliana just so happens to have a lowered opinion of Philippe at the moment, so…

Better not go too far, or he might try to find out who did it. You walk over and quickly pour in the contents of the various condiments on the table, including some fae-pepper and gnome-chili powder. You go over to get your dinner, then pick a good, inconspicuous spot to await Philippe’s return.

In due course, Philippe reappears and goes straight for his goblet. He takes a hearty swig, but then spits it all over the table. His eyes water, his chest heaves, and just as quickly as he came in, he runs back out, presumably to find a cure for his burning mouth.

You have volunteered to assist with the Pellae, helping to float the scores of candles and boats down the Pella Ardicus canals prior to the crowning of the King and Queen of the river. The event seems off to a great start, but then the water suddenly starts flowing in the opposite direction.

Pranks are all well and good, but come on…

Bah, easy enough to fix.

Magic should be useful in this situation. You decide to cast an old naval spell used by barge workers who need to move upstream in a hurry; quite appropriate, given the circumstances. You cast the spell and within moments the water slows, halts, and begins to flow in the correct direction. You’ve saved the day!

Still, was this prank directed at the festivities, or at you, considering it happened just where you were volunteering? And exactly which prankster society was responsible?

Gains of the Week

Competition increased by 1.
--Athletics increased by 1.
Performed at the Dimmae Theater.
--Theatre increased by 1 step.
----Learned about Dimmae Theater: Stage.
Aveline used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 468.

Illustration increased by 1.
Matched Wits with the Emperor’s Sphinx.
--Stars increased by 1 step.
----Sparkling Fields spell learned.
--Theory of Gates increased by 1 step.
----Dextrous pheme learned.
--Gates Phemes increased by 1 step.
----Strength pheme learned.
----Gates increased by 1.
------Control pheme learned.
--The Middle Empire Research level increased by 1.
Successful event!
--Social Skills cannot be increased.

Matched Wits with the Emperor’s Sphinx.
--The Captivity of Man increased by 1 step.
--Theory of Gates increased by 1 step.
----Disorientation pheme learned.
--Elumian increased by 1 step.
----Wind pheme learned.
----Language increased by 1.
------Knack for Languages ability learned.
Aveline used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 471.
Successful event!
--Relationship with Aveline Cincebeaux increased to 2.
--Rallying increased by 1 step.
----Jeer action learned.

Orthography increased by 1.
--Engrave action learned.
--Calligraphy increased by 1.
----Calligraphy skill maxed!
----Create Formal Invitation action learned.
Anthropology increased by 1.
--Manning “Bushwacker” Polingrath Catalog available.
Matched Wits with the Emperor’s Sphinx.
--Memorization increased by 1 step.
----Remembrance pheme learned.
--Theory of Gates increased by 1 step.
----Rend pheme learned.
----Understanding pheme learned.
--Cartography increased by 1 step.
----Length pheme learned.

Studied at Longshade.
--Theory of Gates increased by 1 step.
----Weaken for Melee spell learned.
--Pride of a Rebel Queen increased by 1 step.
----Defiance pheme learned.
Successful event!
--Relationship with Magalda Quaranta increased to 3.

Matched Wits with the Emperor’s Sphinx.
--Gambling increased by 1 step.
--Theory of Gates increased by 1 step.
----Weaken for Magic spell learned.
--Acting increased by 1 step.
----Feign Emotion action learned.
----Learned about Spavia Theater.
----Espionage increased by 1.
------Read Lips action learned.
Studied at Manetele.
--Theory of Gates increased by 1 step.
----Indiscriminate pheme learned.
--Jeweler increased by 1 step.
Successful adventure!
--Curiosity increased by 1 step.
----Curiosity skill maxed!
----Flash of Insight action learned.
--Relationship with Lisle Aventyrare increased to 5.
--Courage increased by 1 step.
--Relationship with Lisle Aventyrare increased to 6.
--Courage increased by 1 step.
----Stiff Upper Lip spell learned.
--Dedication increased by 1 step.
----Dedication skill maxed!
----True Friendship spell learned.
----Plot increased by 1.
------Plot skill maxed!
------Klaudian’s Revenge ability learned.
--Relationship with Rui da Casga increased to 10.
--Recipes increased by 1 step.
----Gained 1 Batch of Sweet Rolls.
----Learned about the above.
Carmine Sturzo used Hang Out inside the College.
--Relationship with Carmine Sturzo cannot be increased.
Malacresta used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 474.
Successful event!
--Practical Jokes cannot be increased.
Successful holiday!
--Incantation Methods cannot be increased.

New Abilities

Practice Speech (Dimmae Stage): +1 to Theatre, Acting, and Charm for 3 days.
Sparkling Fields (Spell): no roll; add Sparkling Fields ability (+2 Perception and Playfulness until Rest).
Knack for Languages (Permanent): +1 to all Linguistic Actions and Abilities.
Jeer: Charm/Insult v5; add Jeered ability to target (-1 Confidence and +2% Chance of Failure until Rest).
Engrave: Finesse/Orthography v8; +50 pims to item worth, but -2 Durability regardless.
Create Formal Invitation: Finesse/Calligraphy v27; Control target student for 2 days (no Relationship penalty).
Weaken for Melee (Spell): Insight/Theory of Gates v6; add Weaken for Melee ability to target (-1 Strength and Finesse and -10% Chance of Success at all Combat, Melee actions/abilities until Rest).
Weaken for Magic (Spell): Insight/Theory of Gates v7; add Weaken for Magic ability to target (-1 to Insight and Charm and +10% Chance of Failure to all spell rolls until Rest).
Feign Emotion: Acting/Charm v target’s Insight/Observation+2; add Guiltied ability to target (cannot perform Hostile actions, abilities, or spells until Rest).
Read Lips: Luck/Lip Reading v12 and 15; gain Information on chosen target and then random target.
Spavia Theater – Makeup Artist: Cosmetics must be 4+, and Insight/Observation v6; 20 pims payment, then +2 steps in Theatre.
Tour the Spavia: +1 step in Theatre and Awareness, and Information on all Spavia locations.
Flash of Insight: Fitness/Concentration v6; +1 to Insight for 2 days.
Stiff Upper Lip (Spell): Intelligence/Courage v6 and 12; +2 to Courage and Leadership, then +4 to Forge and Enchant and removes Forge Fear affliction (if present), all for 4 days.
True Friendship (Spell): no roll; +2 to target Relationship, and +3 Manipulation for 3 days.
Klaudian’s Revenge: Insight/Coordination v target’s Fitness/Danger Sense; target’s Vitality Maximum becomes 2 for 4 days.