velvetpage: (Default)
I'm tired, but not sleepy (too much caffeine) so you get a journal. )
velvetpage: (Default)
Sometimes reality can shift in a moment. One minute, you're plotting with people you trust to do something which may turn out to be for the betterment of the city, and the next you're fighting off an assassination attempt by one of the city's Templars.

Solon has been the target of dirty politics several times already, notably whenever Ghadir has tried to hire me away from his service. But that, while fairly quiet, was still known. This has a different quality, somehow.

There were four of them plus the defiler. The door burst inwards, a spell of darkness was cast on Sallah's home, and someone said, "Kill them." Axes were thrown blindly in the dark before I'd properly drawn my battleaxe.

I pulled out all the stops to fight them, as did the others. Sallah's spells were less effective than usual, as the attackers seemed able to throw them off. They also knew how to position themselves so as to flank us each in turn. While not as skilled as I am, they were nevertheless well-trained.

I dispatched two of them and nearly killed the other two, though Tak and I both flirted with death to achieve it. The defiler fled and we could not chase her. And it was during the clean-up that I discovered why they were so well-trained that they could nearly deal with a Templar, a drey city soldier, a gladiator, and whatever it is that Sallah does.

They were city soldiers. I recognized them. I've worked with two of them in the past; in fact one has been under my command on at least two occasions when Solon needed a group of soldiers as backup in the city.

Four city soldiers, out of uniform, with weapons not from the armoury, under the command of a defiler? That defiler was a Templar. The question is, who was it? From which faction did she take her direction? Which (of at least three I can call to mind) action of Solon's and mine was the impetus?

I do not believe it was Ghadir. Assassination is not his style; he works to undermine by digging pits for others to fall into. But that doesn't mean he was uninvolved; only that he may have been the front man for a deeper game against my master. (I should not call him that.) So, was it a result of Solon's rebuff of the overture by the faction we assumed was the True? Was it a result of the interview with the Princess? (I use many titles here that never cross my lips.) Are they one and the same? Did someone learn of our dabblings with the gangs, and seek to take us out before we could replace the leaders they had set in place? Is Tithian so nervous of the Princess that he's seeking to rid himself of those Templars he fears will have most cause to be loyal to her?

I believe the True is the most likely culprit, but I cannot fathom how the contact who seemed to know about Solon's orders to slip poison into the hero's cup came to be the foremost of the Princess's guards. If Solon has figured it out, he has not yet shared that insight with me.

The two attackers who did not die by my blade during the attack were both very badly hurt. One, Solon woke up to attempt to interrogate him. Our usual routine, where I frighten the man and Solon asks questions, did not work. He refused to indicate much of anything. About the only vaguely interesting thing he said was to call Solon a traitor. When the city guard who had appeared on the scene was distracted, I dispatched him in such a way that it looked like his wounds had prevailed over Solon's healing. The other we took back to the jail, but since it was by that point quite late and the Templar responsible for the jail did not wish to be woken, we did not leave him there. He is resting in the guest room of Solon's suite, and I suspect much of the day will be spent getting information out of him. I confess I do not relish the thought. The first needed to die, for he had threatened us with retribution after he returned to the barracks and that could not be allowed to stand. It was distasteful, but I did it. I hope the second sees reason and tells us what we need to know. Of course, it might not be too reasonable to tell us. If this plot goes a long way up through the Templars, then his protection from the law is assured by telling us nothing and getting to the prison quickly; whereas, if the plot is small, he's better off throwing in his lot with us. Either way, he must know he could die in our quarters and nobody would question how it had come about.

Other battles in the streets have been fought and won with nary a thought afterward. Nothing is simple anymore.

That sounds like a complaint. It is in fact merely an observation. I do not want to go back to the time when dispatching people without thinking too hard about the rights and wrongs and meanings of the deed was a normal occurance. But I cannot deny that it is more complicated now.

While I was training this morning, yet another odd thing happened. I cannot fathom if this is a single candle on the mountainside, or a single lit candle about to set off a firestorm. My heart says he was sincere, a candle on the mountainside, attempting to spread light and hope. But perhaps he is simply a good dissembler.

A man approached me. He was thin, not because he had nothing to eat but because he was built thin. He commented on my training and how effortless it looked, and then indicated that my mind needed similar training but had not received it. And he offered to train me. I asked him to speak plainly, to tell me what he wanted in return, for nothing is ever free. When he said he wanted no payment, I wanted very badly to believe him. I decided to trust him to a point, and let him train me, but I will be attempting to learn more about him. If there is one thing my life has taught me, it is that nothing is without cost, even things that seem on the surface to be done with the best of intentions. There must be an agenda. It worries me that I can discern none.
velvetpage: (Default)
(Game note: written during the day, before going to Sallah's in the evening.)

I've known many great people in my life. When one is a valued soldier-slave, one tends to guard those who are considered to be most valued. I have moved almost-invisible through the halls of power at the heels of one who aspired to greatness, and have known many like him.

Two have trumped all other definitions of greatness in my life. One I feared. The other I met today.

Solon and I were summoned to the Golden Tower, where Kalaq's daughter, Lotus, has attained entrance and taken up residence. This alone is a feat unmatched by anyone else; King Tithian has been trying for months to overcome the Tower's protections to no avail. Our meeting took place very early, at an hour when I am usually in the training grounds and Solon is usually still abed.

The Princess - a title I will use nowhere but here for a while yet - has her father's overwhelming sense of presence. And she had a very different aura. I have been in the presence of Kalaq, though I would never boast of the fact as Solon used to do. When we were sommoned to attend him, all I wanted was to leave. He terrified everyone about him. I know I'm a pretty terrifying person much of the time, but the difference is that for me, it's passive. If my size and training and weaponry are terrifying, they are not so because I am setting out to increase the terror (well, most of the time.) For Kalaq, "terrify" was an active verb. He did it on purpose. The princess set out to reassure. The sense of her was of a kind and powerful goddess. She promised at least once during the interview that we could speak freely and would not die for it. I believed her. I, who has rarely been worthy of truth from anyone and has even more rarely had a promise kept to her through anything but happenstance, believed that she would hold any promise she made to me as a sacred thing.

I am a fool, I know. And yet I believed her. I still believe her.

(More later.)
(It's now later.)

She asked questions. First of Solon, which I was expecting, if indeed I expected anything from this interview. She asked him what he had thought of her father during his reign, and she asked him what he thought of her father now. It was intriguing, from my new position which is not slave and not truly servant, yet not truly equal either, to listen to him hedge his answer. The part of me that had given myself over to the Princess already wondered why he bothered. Surely he could see that she would not want to rule as her father had. But he hedged, so he must have been less sure of that than I, or at least more of a politician.

Then she addressed me. I had not expected that - not in my dreams or my nightmares. She asked me why I had stayed with him, when I could have left, when so many had left.

I did not hedge. I don't think I was able to lie to her, even in a politician's way. I know that this was part of her art, and that I should not trust it. But one does not always choose trust. Sometimes it simply is.

I told her that I stayed because he had changed. When she pressed me, I said that he had been used to using me to crush people in the city with nary a thought to what would become of them when he was done. Since the death of the King, he had stopped doing that, and had started to redress some of those old wrongs.

She asked next if I thought he was still a good Templar. I did not hesitate to say yes. I said that he was now better able to mete out, not punishment, but justice.

She switched her questioning back to Solon then, and asked him what he thought of slavery. He indicated that he did not want to see it again. When she asked me, I told her, "I would fight for my freedom before Tyr, and I would fight for Tyr before all else."

She dismissed us from her presence then, and I was sorry to go.

Solon does not serve Tithian in more than name, and never has. I suspect he will serve the Princess with a different kind of fervour from that which he gave to her father.

And whether he does or not, if she asks me and I can do it without harm to Solon, I will be hers to command.
velvetpage: (Default)
Note: Anwar can't actually keep a journal, because she neither reads nor writes. I don't care. I like character journals. Snip snip. )
velvetpage: (Dance)
This is a new character, in the Dark Sun setting for D&D4E. She's going to be fun to play.

As you've probably all noticed, I haven't been around much lately. That's because I have a job that doesn't require ranting from school anymore and DOES require that I be on task pretty consistently, so I haven't had reason to pop over. I'll strive to be around more!
Cut for length; cross-posted to LJ )

June 2017



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags