Episode 09: Fallout
The day dawns, with the group converging again on Ianthe's household. Otlyn has brought a friend from her foster family, Hestia Petropoúlou along with her today. Hestia had insisted on meeting the Hero of the Røyskatt. After a bit of wide eyed admiration of the hero, she recognizes that the group clearly has something to speak about. Hestia stands, and asks Ianthe if it would be ok if she visits with her former apprentice-master, Abas Hestia reminds Otlyn to get her before departing and they would walk home together. Hestia gives a sidelong glance over her shoulder at the hero, and leaves the room. Two snorts can be heard from both Kallisto and Ianthe. Kallisto chimes in sarcastically, "Another one for his harem." Magnus hangs his head. "Great." "So, hero, tell us of the meeting with the Hēgemōn?" continues Kallisto. "She wishes to know of my plans for myself." Magnus sighs. "We discussed the implications of the death of my cousin, which will likely lead to war. It was very unusual, his circumstances of death. He would never step foot in a place where there was what he considered to be a sinner's house." "Magnus," chimes in Cille. "I'm sorry, but I had some people following him. From what I could tell it was him, and he was there." Magnus considers. "He went there. Did he torture the sex slave...?" Kallisto corrects him. "Not slaves. We cannot prostitue your slaves. Those engaging as a service are free, and actually well educated members of society." Magnus apologizes. Kallisto continues "No concerns. The concept of a Hetaira is not something one would expect you to know... right?" With a blush, he continues. "And truly, I weep not for his demise. I actually rejoice for he was... scum. As many are within the Church of the Empire. Seeking only pain, not true enlightenment. To me though, it was strange behaviour." Ianthe is conflicted, but continues to listen intently. "In any case, we discussed what future plans were." Magnus pauses. "I have decided to become citizen. Here." Both Ianthe and Kallisto raise their head, surprised and somewhat pleased. Cille interrupts, "What's going to happen to the body? Are the archons going to just give it back?" "I don't know," responds Magnus. "I know they are going to send it back." Cille continues to describe potentially escorting the body back, and the political norms. Kallisto interjects, "If I know my mother, she'll make a statement. I wouldn't be surprised if she sends it back in pieces." Magnus recalls the almost eager war-posture from his meeting with Hippolyta. "I did not intend to start a war. I do not wish to bring needless bloodshed on the islands. But your mother did not seem to be bothered by this... at all." Magnus recalls the outcomes of the last conflict between the Holy Empire of Humanité and the Drákon League,. Magnus winces at the cavalry charge where just prior to the pike line, all of the Human cavalry was thrown from their horses directly onto the spikes. "Though I do not wish to bring war or discomfort to the islands... Your mother? She seems to be 'Bring it on.'"
Asteriápolis politicsThe house Chamberlain, Crethon, enters with evening snacks. Crethon became a slave after being captured during a revolt within Asteriápolis. He carries himself not as a slave, but as a trusted family member -- appropriate to the primary lieutenants of the former head of house, Phlios. That said, he carries a deep sadness with the loss of his children along with the Kyrenia. Ianthe spots him. "Crethon, do you know what Phlios would have felt about another conflict with the Humans?" "While your family would have never aggitated for battle, they were never ones to shy away from right conflict. You are aware of the daily battles that your father and sisters waged within the assembly, and their specific roles to..." He pauses and looks over to Kallisto, "...offset some of the more radical, oligarchic impulses." He looks at Cille and Magnus. "I hear that congratulations may soon be in order. I hear on good authority that the Hēgemōn and Danaë Thalasopoúlou, as your wards, will soon put forward a petition for his and Cille's citizenship." Cille looks up short. Crethon winces, "Ahh, I see Danaë has not shared her plans with you yet." After a pause, he continues. "While I agree that the family may disagree very vehemently with some of your adopted father's politics, your mother is most formidable. Phlios would have wished her the best of success." Crethon, distributes the last of the food and drink. "Lady, may I share more of your father's approach?" He gives a meaningful glance at Kallisto. Kallisto responds, "I am not in agreement with my father's positions." At the same time, Ianthe adds "I think we can trust her." With a knowing glance at each other, an unnoticed tension seems to drain from the room. With a chuckle, Ianthe continues. "Crethon was heavily involved with drafting a set of reforms." "Indeed." Crethon assumes a teaching posture. "Temenos has been pushing in the assembly to reduce the eligibility for citizenship to just those with both mother and father as citizens. Hippolyta is already pushing for an exception given that neither have a citizens for a natural parent." "But he is going farther than that. He is pushing for revisions that would also strip citizenship from the less well off... those who cannot supply the necessary arms and armor for battle. It doesn't appear that he's pushed that in the assembly yet, but it's what is planned." Kallisto nods. "It's common knowledge that he believes that democracy in the hands of everyone is a mob. Only the wealthy elite have proven themselves fit to rule." "Ianthe, is it possible that your family was targeted for these reforms?" asks Magnus. Kallisto noticably flinches. She looks at Vulcan, then to Ianthe and glances back to Vulcan. "It's an area of investigation that we've been pursuing. There is circumstantial evidence that one of the kidnappers may have had dealings with my father or Damian Megálos somewhere in the past. However I've never seen this person before. I've shared this with my mother, and of course my father has denied it." Rigidly tense with fury, "Knowing the man he is, I would be surprised if he wasn't at least pleased with the outcome." Cille breaks the tension, "Surely it's not just your house. The whole idea behind taking out the leadership of this house and offering subpar contracts on the property isn't just a one house thing. There must be another one involved." Crethon clears his throat. "I believe you are correct. While he was clearly antagonizing Temenos, the reforms affected many." "As you are aware, the slaves in the city-states outnumber the citzens by perhaps three to one. Phlios believed that the collection of slaves as status symbols and means to sh fit the bulk of work or production onto others was immoral at best. His most recent reforms were to limit the ownership of slaves to three per citizen." The group pauses considering. For the agricultural community, trades and in particularly the mining the elite are able to exist because it shifts production to the slave. This frees up the citizenship for participation in the democracy. "He had also put forward a proposal to eliminate debt slavery." Otlyn chimes in. "What's debt slavery?" "Debt slavery is where someone finds themselves through bad circumstances or poor decisions, unable to pay off a significant loan or borrowing. They sell either themselves, or more commonly a child, into bondage in order to be able to pay off that debt. But that, as you know, is a false hope. When you sell someone into slavery you establish a purchase price, or price of freedom. Unfortunately that's usually the original debt plus the costs of upkeep. So if you can imagine your room and board for 10-20 years plus interest, it's effectively a lifetime sentence. Along with that, limits on the sale of intergenerational slaves. My children for example being sold to another house or being separated from me. My children, which of course were born while I was a slave, are the property of the household. This final reform would at least keep families together. It wouldn't give rights of marriage, but it would certainly allow them to live a more fulfilling life. "Phlios has been actively blocking Temenos's proposals to form two armed forces of slaves." He glances at Kallisto. "These would be under the promachos and strategos... a standing army for the state, as well as a police force. Phlios beliesves that active engagement in defense of the citizenry creates an engagement and participation. Shifting that to others would both disencent active particiatpion in democracy but is also at risk of abuse." Kallisto snarls, "As you can see, I didn't agree with my father on... anything." Cille asks "What other houses were supporting each house?" "The politics were fluid." Crethon considers. "It's difficult to say because each of those individual reforms in large part would affect each of the houses, and even individuals within the houses, differently." He glances at Vulcan. "The Aerasópoulos Family would probably benefit from a disenfranchised population. But on the other hand, placing a large armed force in the hands of say..." glancing at Kallisto, "...Temenos, would be something that all of the families would be concerned about. Briseis, on the other hand, is quite liberal when it comes to use of freemen versus slaves in her businesses. Craft is craft." Cille asks, "Who do you think did it?" Crethon stops. "I don't know." he whispers. "I've been at that question since the second I found out. Since the second they failed to reach their destination. I lost children on that ship." His eyes tear up. "And my best friend. Nothing will stop me from finding out."
Phlios's Will"Do you have grandfather's will?" asks Ianthe. Philos chokes back a laugh. "Of course I do. "Grandfather had always said he had made arrangements for you?" "Your father had made arrangements. I was to be made free upon your father's death. But of course, since no one can prove he is dead that is in limbo." As if shifting the focus, he looks firmly at Ianthe. "I know of other arrangements in his will. Such as for the disposition of the heiress of the house..." Ianthe freezes. "As you are aware, all of you are required to be married by the age of 25. This is an ancient law to maintain the population. THat is particularly a case for Heiresses of the family... the underage wife or son of the household if the parents become deceased. They are required to be married within 1 month within the end of the mourning period." The group pivots and stares at Ianthe. That's another two months from today. Crethon laughs, looking at Cille. "I believe you know the gentlemen that was the potential suiter..." Cille splutters. "Rizon! He's a baby!" Crethon nods. "Of course Phlios believed that there was more time." "At least he's nice." pauses Ianthe. "Of course he's nice, but he needs a bit more... seasoning." Kallisto chokes. Crethon continues, "Of course we haven't officially started the mourning period. However Temenos is likely to push for assumption of his death in the next assembly." Cille takes on a look of deep thinking. "While Rizon's not a bad choice, he's not old enough. There's a very simple solution." She looks at Ianthe and then at Magnus. "It's a really simple solution." Kallisto spits her drink across the room. She stands, drink spilling and turns from one to the other. Words fail her. Cille looks nonplussed. "It would be a very simple solution. It'd be a dynastic marriage. Magnus has power, he doesn't know where it comes from. He'd be in a very good position to defend the house." Otlyn blinks and watches on interestedly, petting the badger in her lap. Magnus has frozen. "I don't know how this is good solution. No!" "It's a very simple solution, actually. You're outside politics, yet well known. The Hegemon already has an interest in you, she's already pushing you for citizenship. Yet you're outside her control. You'd be the head of a house. And it's a dynastic marriage." Ianthe appears frozen, like someone being asked on a first date. Crethon, amused, adds "Ahh. Something that the northern people differs from our traditions. When were you suposed to marry?" Cille shrugs. "It all depends, I was a special case." "It was your choice?" Cille shakes her heead. "Not really. As a chieftan's daughter..." The group, including the elk that Otlyn is leaning against, suddenly turns and gapes. "...I would have to marry for alliance purposes. As long as you provide for partners that you have, it's not necessarily a monogamous affair." Ianthe flaps her hands, now looking on the border of panic. "Because of our low birth rates, marriage is for procreation. Proof of consumation is required to make it official." "So? There's dynastic considerations and there's personal considerations." Kallisto finally gains enough composure, "Magnus, you can't be ok with this." "I'm not." Magnus gathers himself. "It's one solution." counters Cille. Ianthe has slid back away from the group enough that she's effectively hiding behind Otlyn's elk. "I wish to protect the house as well. I don't see that as a viable solution..." He mutters under his breath. "Oh shit." Crethon tries to get control again. "Magnus, in your country how is the sacrament of marriage?" "The empire is not nearly as... shall we say... liberal as the traditions I've found here in the league. Courtship is a very structured, time consuming affair." Cille rolls her eyes as Magnus continues. "There are lots of little rules... it is..." he trails off. "Sounds like you don't want to deal with them!" chimes in Cille happily. Magnus follows Ianthe's eyes. Pelopia stands with Hestia. On being noticed, she dances into the room "Oh! can I join in?" She flops down next to Otlyn and Ianthe and throws an arm around both. "This is so interesting!" Crethon glares at Pelopia and shakes his head. Magnus looks at the ladies and at Crethon and says "May I have a bottle of wine?" Crethon laughs and snaps a finger. "I think we can make an exception." Patroclus, the valet who has adopted Magnus as his lord, comes in. After a brief exchange, Patroclus's eyes bulge and he vanishes. Moments later he returns with Euripides, his aid, and bottles of wine and spirits as well as late evening snacks. Magnus shares a sidelong suffering look at the lad he's adopted as a trusted squire, as if to say "Save me." As attention returns to Magnus, Patroclus steps back. "Oh no sir, I find your customs fascinating. Continue!" The servants have all moved to traditional positions, but notably hadn't left the room. Magnus drains his first glass of wine in a practiced move. Hestia, watching intently, does the same and motions for him to continue. "I had hoped things would be different. I could marry for myself. Perhaps it is a dream, but I still hold hope for that dream." He makes a brief glance at Kallisto. Several of the group follow his gaze, but Kallisto and Ianthe are oblivious. "That's so sweet" chimes Cille. Vulcan adds "You're a good man Magnus." Hestia, taking on an aggresive tone chimes in. "Do you have someone you might be interested?" Magnus chokes. "I haven't really..." Cille saves him. "It's me of course! Magnus, I don't really think it would work though, and there's no dynastic benefits." Magnus, appreciative of the save chuckles. "Ah, well. If it is not meant to be, it is not to be." He drains another glass. Vulcan, unwilling to let it go. "Well if not Cille, then who else?" Hestia shakes Otlyn. "Is it you?!" Otlyn laughs and points a badger at Hestia. Cille grins evilly. "Oh come on. It's better than Hermione." Kallisto half rises, "That witc..." She sits back down and grabs Otlyn's third pat, a rat, from her and begins aggressively petting it. The rat looks pained and panicked. Magnus pours a third glass and puts down the bottle. He reconsiders and says "I believe, at this point, I need some fresh air." He stands. "This will be continued... never," and walks out to the main courtyard.
Breaking up for the eveningCrethon glances out the window at the dark sky. "Ladies, I do think it's an appropriate time to retire. Unless you'll be staying here?" Cille glares at him, then softens. "No, I need to get home. I have things to discuss." Hestia joins them and says "Otlyn and I will join you, at least part of the way." Kallisto on the other hand, looks at Ianthe and after a moment's consideration says "I'll stay. We have much to discuss." Crethon passes on the news of the additional guest to Pelopia and Patroclus and asks them to begin preparations for the evening. Patroclus and Pelopia begin their mothering and pushing the "mistress" and "young master" to the usual night time ritual, preparing baths (separately) for Magnus and the two young ladies. Vulcan at the word bath, instantly retires towards his workshop.
A Relaxing BathMagnus can hear snippets of the conversation through the relatively thin walls. It sounds as if Kallisto is frustrated and you can hear words like "Tramp" and "Simpleton" along with phrases like "Too good for the likes of them." The voices drop and the conversation continues with a intermittant exclamations of surprise and giggles. It's a moment that finally begins to feel like two young women having a good gossip, and outside the bathroom the two attendants banter while they arrange for clean clothes. Magnus settles down to sober up while trying to ignore the banter. After resting for about a quarter hour, Magnus hear Ianthe call for Pelopia to bring some juice. After a moment, Ianthe unusually calls out again. Suddenly, Magnus hears Ianthe's scream and the sound of blades being drawn and the clash of metal on metal. His head clearing instantly, he dashes out of the bath to retrieve his weapon. Emerging into the antechamber, Magnus notices Patroclus and Pelopia unconscious on the floor in a pool of blood, their throats slit. The sounds of battle ring out from the women's bath. Faced with a dilema, between aiding the servants and arming himself, he stops. After a moment of struggling with his impulse to call on Dieu. Instead, he relies on his training at the Akadimía and performs a spell of healing Pelopia and Patroclus in turn. After they have stabilized, he dashes into the outer chamber and retrieves his sword, turning towards the women's bath. Magnus, bursts into the bathing area, his naked sword ready for battle. He is met by the sight of the two similarly unprotected girls arrayed against four attackers, a human cloaked male which seems oddly familiar and shadowy beings. Kallisto somehow has both blades in her hand, and Ianthe appears to be preparing to cast a spell. Blood from someone's wounds pollutes the water. As Kallisto slashes at the shadowy being, Magnus shouts "Don't!" The sword passes through the being untouched. The shadowy beings reach out to the girls, but are too slow. Vulcan, who had been lurking outside of the bath eavesdropping makes it back through the household and bursts into the bathing chamber. His view blocked by Magnus's unclad form, he casts about for an opponent. Magnus interposes himself between the shadows and Ianthe. He swings with his sword, arcing with lightning, through the shadow in front of him. Shortly after he shakes off a spell from the hooded figure. "Church dogs!" Magnus screams. "You call up this filth and call yourself righteous!" The pitched battle goes back and forth with Vulcan using his cannon to clean up the shadows. Ianthe launches a coldfire ball at the hooded figure, and then attacks from the pool edge. She grasps both sides of the attackers head and ice begins to form out of his mouth, ears and eyes. In a coup de grass, Vulcan fires a crossbow bolt from the far side of the pool into the eye of the hooded figure. The bolt blows the back of the skull out covering Ianthe's face in blood. The hooded figure falls to the ground. Silence falls as Ianthe and Magnus face one another, Kallisto moves to stand just off of Magnus's shoulder. As the adrenaline wears off. Both girls slowly glance down. "I'm flattered, but could you cover that..." Magnus becomes aware of his situation and dashes out of the room. Grabbing a quick towel he focuses on checking on Patroclus and Pelopia. Kallisto and Ianthe follow him into the antechamber, and clean up and dress. Magnus continues to swear to himself as he realises that this was planned, and not a reaction to Inquisitor Joaquin's death; his body would not have arrived. Vulcan checks on the group and then immediately heads off to intercept the girls.
Ambush at the AgoraAs the three girls walk back from the Meletitís family compound, they wind their way through the city to the Agora, where Cille will head south to the her household, and Otyln will head out of the inner city walls to her household. The Agora is quiet, lit only dimly by the magical lights along the inner city walls, and an occasional street lamp on either side. Areas normally bustling with slaves, free craftsmen and traders is now a silent maze of darkened fabric. Silence is broken only by the wind causing the closed covers of the tents to snap and flutter. As you wind through the darkened tents, you begin to feel more unease than just the darkened streets. It's too quiet. Suddenly, they hear a screech and rending fabric. Arrayed around you are four cruel looking creatures with bird wings and human heads. They circle for a moment, then scream and launch into an attack. The three girls quickly eliminate the harpies. Otlyn unleashes a fireball on the hooded figure at the same time that Cille calls down lightning upon him. The hooded figure reaches out a hand and unleashes three crackling beams of energy at the girls. Shaking off the attack, Hestia brings a large farming scythe into being behind the hooded figure, slicing down on him, while she rushes to Otlyn's side. Otlyn looks at where the bolt hit her in the chest, looks at the Elk she rides, and then aims her staff at the black robbed figure. A bolt of lightning emerges at point blank range, causing him to crash back into the building behind, and incapacitating him. After Cille binds and stabalizes the attacker. A black winged figure lands beside them. "Ahh, you got him!" Cille whirls and asks Vulcan while he's there. "So we got attacked, and Hermione got attacked, and obviously I didn't get here in time." "Is Ianthe ok?" asks Cille. "Everyone's ok. Well, except for maybe Magnus's dignity." Vulcan responds. "There's a story there?" she counters? "Later." Hestia turns and encases the captive in a jar of stone, and then loads on him on Otlyn's elk. The group sets off back towards Ianthe's household, captive in tow.
There was a significant out of character discussion on the rarity of magic within the Drákonian population (about 5%). Also about the relatively sudden ability for the Humans to perform magic. The abilities are very rare.