The dojo is drop dead silent for only a few moments, but that’s incredibly hard for you to believe; the drum beating in your chest seems to reverberate off of every surface; sweat pours off your body in what sounds like rivers; your breath leaves you in a series of gale force bursts; but your hand… is steady.
Rosaria picks herself up off the floor, a small rivulet of blood streaming from the corner of her mouth. She wipes it off with the back of her hand and admires the red stain with a sardonic smile. Her eyes meet yours. They are proud. “Finally. It’s been almost two years - slower than I would have liked, truth be told - but I think you’re finally ready.”
She admires the bloody streak on her hand once more before it dives into her tunic and pulls out a slip of paper. As she does this, the proud look on her face changes ever so slightly but only for a moment. She holds it out to you between two fingers. “Your first mission. I chose your target carefully. It should be…” she searches for the word, “special.”
(If you’d like to know what that look was, that’s a Perception test.)
She extends her arm just enough to present the slip of paper, enough so I have to reach out to take it. She’s not just giving it to me—taking it is as good as a handshake. My life, her protection, this paper. I move my sword to my other hand and wipe the sweat on my hip. I step forward and reach for the paper, looking her in the eye. There’s something there. I’d never expect her to tell me everything, but her look puzzles me.
I take the note and read it immediately. Written on it… is how my new life begins.
(Perception: [6, 1, 2, 3] 1 success)
That look in Rosaria’s eyes was too fleeting for you to really tell what it was, but it was unsettling. Could it be fear? Shame? Uncertainty? Jealousy? Yes, it could’ve been any of those things. Or all of them. Only Rosaria knows for sure.
You look down at the note and see the name written there:
Owen Gartier - Ass’t Bengoshi at The Yoran Tempelle da Incendie
“Make it look like the Nimhnan did it,” she says. “Do me proud.”
(As an aside, I’ve kind of decided this culture is a blend of French and Japanese and the names I come up with for things will continue to be a bastardization of both languages. FYI, Bengoshi = lawyer. Temepelle da Incendie = Temple of Fire; in other words, their department of justice.)
Owen. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. That look I saw in Rosaria’s eye, was it glee? I may have betrayed a smile myself. I have him to thank and to blame for finding myself here today. He would have been my first victim, had I not… wavered in my faith. Even all those years ago he was dear to all; I’m sure his indomitable charisma serves him well in the halls of the Bengoshi. Undoubtedly one who would be mourned by many—a prized offering to Irin.
But what did Rosaria just say? Nimhnan? We never agreed to any such intrigue. I only know Yoran has been at Nimhnan’s throat for a decade, demanding they stop harboring the pirates that plague Yoran’s shores.
“I’m not interested in your city’s polit—”
She salutes me with the merest flourish of her sword and a hardened glare, and turns and leaves.
I step out into the afternoon sun. The sea breeze rolls over the walls and ramparts looking out into the bay, with Nimhnan nestled in the distant haze. I tear the slip of paper and drop it into a nearby water trough. Owen will be easy to find, and if he thinks I was executed after he turned me in, my job should be that much easier. But first, I better make sure to do what Rosaria said; what would a Nimhnan assassination look like? I’m sure any number of courtiers could tell me.
(I want to use Circles or Assassin-wise to find a “broker” to ask about how a Nimhnan assassin would operate. I’ll also want to be Inconspicuous where appropriate, so when Owen turns up assassinated by a Nimhnan, the underground doesn’t erupt in gossip about that woman who was just asking about this.
I love the French/Japanese mix. Do you have any resources you’re using to pick names? I know next to nothing about either language. My google-fu gave me courtier for “broker.”
ETA: Does it make sense to update my Rosaria belief when she gives me a new assignment (and update other beliefs as normal)?)
(Sure, that 2nd half of that 1st Belief was a bit open-ended because neither one of us really knew what I’d hit you with, but now that we know feel free to tighten it up a bit. In general, you can change Beliefs/Instincts pretty much any time, just let me know.
You’ve got a few options for finding what you want. Circles is a fine option, but you should know that FoRK’s don’t apply because it’s an Attribute. I should also point out that you have a research skill that might apply here: Doctrine, for example, plus a few FoRKs. Or maybe Assassin-wise. Just giving you your options. Tell me which way you wanna go - and be prepared to narrate your choice - and I’ll give you an Ob and some consequences.)
(I’m not entirely sure that there’d be a Nimhnan library just hanging out in Yoran, especially considering the political situation. I’d like to first have you roll to establish this. I’m thinking City-wise is the most appropriate skill here.
Intent: Find a Nimhnan Library/Temple here in Yoran.
Task: City-wise, or Beginner’s Luck Perception
Obstacle: Ob 4 Perception test. Be aware that you may not FoRK into a stat.
Consequence: There was one here a few years go, but it’s been abandoned and looted. You’ll either have to scavenge around in there or travel to Nimh territory to find one.
Note: you don’t have to roll if you find the test unacceptable in some fashion. You may find another way around. For instance, since no one is around to lend helping dice and you also wanted to use Circles, perhaps a Linked Test with Circles to try and find someone who can direct you.)
(I like that. I don’t imagine a Nimhnan temple would be so rare, just not everywhere. The cities and followers aren’t antagonistic, they just have different patron deities. It’s only Rosaria and her sympathizers who are extreme enough to reject the other gods, and they’re gaining a foothold in Yoran politics.
However, I really like the test and consequence you offered. After all, Hannah has been sheltered for the past three or so years, so she wouldn’t be aware of any changes in the city, such as a temple being ransacked.
So I’ll do a Link Circles and then unskilled City-wise. Hannah’s been here before, but the city’s changed so she’ll ask directions to jog her memory; what’s my Ob and Consequence for asking someone—preferably a woman, as it would go against her Instinct to accept free advice from a man—nearby for directions to the temple?)
(Heh, ok. But no more setting up your own tests! That’s my job. :p
Intent: Establish that this temple has an underground mausoleum with the information you seek.
Task: Temple-wise. Doctrine and Assassin-wise are acceptable FoRKs should you desire to use them.
Ob: Details, Ob 3.
Consequence: This mausoleum is dank, dark, and full of passageways that you can barely squeeze through. Your Claustrophobia will necessitate a Steel test.)
(Hopefully it goes without saying that failing this means that a Perception test will be necessary to set up the kill site properly. I probably should’ve stated that beforehand, but it seemed obvious. If you manage to find another way to get the info, great, but per Let it Ride you can’t just try to run into the Temple again.)
As you run out of the Temple - screaming as you do - you nearly run straight into an elderly gentleman.
“Whoa, whoa, young miss! Whatever seems to be the trouble?” He looks behind you and takes note of where you must’ve come from. “Ohhhhh,” he chuckles jovially. “Rooting around the the basement of the old Muster, were ya? I suppose it can be a bit frightening down there if ya hadn’t seen it before.” He looks over his shoulder playfully and lowers his voice a bit “That’s not strictly allowed you know. But, it’s them that let the old place fall into disrepair in the first place, so I guess we’ll let this stay our little secret. And yer out empty handed so I guess yer not a thief. Or at least not a very good one.” He winks at you as he says this last part. If this man isn’t a grandfather, he really should be.
“Welp, I’m the caretaker of this place.” The way he says the word ‘caretaker’ you’re certain that it’s been deliberately marinading in a broth of gallows humor and irony for at least a few years. “What is it you were lookin’ for? Mayhaps I can help you find it.”
The spots clear from my vision as I shake him away and come to my senses. “I… was… I… the bodies… learning! Trying to learn.” I step back as his words catch up to me.
“Caretaker?” I take another look at the blackened ruins around us. “Caretaker of this? You’re some delusional sans-abri. And you want to ‘help’ me. This place used to be a temple to Nimhn; an embassy of their city. I used to deliver missives here from Sōke Valeux at the Tempelle de la Terre.”
Finally gaining my composure—as best I can after screaming and charging headfirst into the old man—I stand straight and rest my hand on my sword at my hip. At least I should look confident. “How many of you people live here? Were you following me?”