This is an in-character game thread from Changeling: In Love and War. (This page is not Creative Commons licenced.)
Jebodiah's eyes, no longer golden but hazel-brown, looked older and more tired than they ever had.
"So," he said to the assembled nobles. "Shall we talk? Tho'
we're free'a th' Duke's incompetent rule, now we're subject ta
yours. How ya gonna reassure the ordinary folk that their lives
are gonna be better?"
"Well I'm going not going to murder people and make the castle disappear for a start!"
Nyano paced as he thought.
"The first thing I'm going to do is ask duchess Regara for help, she's
been doing this a long time, she knows how to look after people. Then I
suppose I'd better makes sure that everyone is fed. Actually, before I
do that, I better find out what is actually going on.
Can you tell me?"
"Wha's goin' on," said Jebodiah, "is tha' the people'a this country are
fed up'a th'nobility pamperin' themselves an' neglectin' th' people who
do all th' work! The general feelin' is that th' peasants could
do th' job better 'emselves. So, if ye's gonna keep control'a
this place, you might wanna convince th' people that not only'a you
better than the Hy'cinths, you're better 'an us."
Nyano finally begins to understand Jebodiah's issue. He narrows his eyes as he looks at the older man
"That shouldn't be too hard. Can you even read and write?
Jebodiah's eyes narrowed to match.
"Yes Oi can. An' Oi'd wager a fair sum Oi know more 'bout this lan' an' it's people than you. Yer point bein'?"
"Then if you can prove to me that you had good reason to kill that man,
and you're willing to be a vassal of house poppy, then you can be one
of my advisors."
"He wouldn'a given up 'is 'ouse willin'ly, an' if Oi'd taken it an'
left 'im alive, he'd'a killed 'imself anyway. Man's a coward.
"'Sides," continued Jebodiah, "'is bad decisions'a led ta the deaths of
thousands'a Hy'cinth peasants. No matter 'ow much ya' might not
loike it, people loike revenge. Leavin' 'im 'live would'a made me
look weak, loike Oi didn' rep'sent the will'a th' people."
"So now he's dead you don't need to worry about representing the
people..." Ilandra said, sitting up. "What happened with your eyes?"
Nyano watches Jebodiah carefully, waiting for his answer.
"Tha's not it at all," said Jebodiah. "Oi still care 'bout the
people, more'n any Hy'cinth noble e'er did. Oi still rep'sent th'
will'a th' people as best Oi can.
"My eyes? Th' curse were lifted. That were me other reason
fer seein' off th' Duke, but it ain't one anyone else cares 'bout."
"So THAT'S what that thread was..." she mused. "That explains a lot..."
"I care about the people too. I don't want anybody to be unhappy and
for things to be badly governed. If Duke Hyacinth was so bad, that he
made the peasants think they could do a better job by themselves then
you probably just did a very brave thing."
Nyano looks deep into Jebodiah's eyes.
"But I didn't like the way you did it. You didn't challenge him or tell
him what he'd done wrong, you just murdered him. That's why I'm glad
you're not in charge. You're right, I don't know anything about this
barony, but I'm going to learn, and I'm not going to murder anyone. If
you really care for these people, you should agree to help me."
"He knew wha' 'e'd done wrong. Oi'd told 'im 'afore, not so ver' long ago, the day 'e gave me them eyes.
"Now, I din' say I wouldn't help ya'. 'avin' me aroun' is the
only way you's gonna 'ave the respect o' the people, and 'avin' you
aroun' is the only way oi's gonna get the respect o' anyone else.
"You an' Oi, we think diff'ly and we do thin's diff'ly. But
t'gether, we moight jus' 'ave a chance'a gettin' this ta work."
"Well I'm glad we've got that worked out." Nyano says to Jebodiah.
He turns to his father. "Dad, did you think I'm doing everything ok?"
"I don't. I think we ought to give Jebodiah elocution lessons otherwise
the others will just laugh the two of you out of anywhere..." she said.
"We do? I thought it would just show that I listen to my peasants. I
thought I was the one who's going to be talking to anyone important.
Besides, I don't think he'll want elocution lessons, the other peasants
will think he's silly."
"Other nobles think me talking normally instead of like hyacinth did is
too close to my people..." Ilandra pointed out. "Nobles are weird
creatures that don't always think peasants are people too..."
"Well if they don't like how I talk, then they can go and answer to
Duchess Regara. I bet she won't be happy if they go and bother her with
rubbish like that!"
Ilandra buried her face in her hands.
"Oh gods, I'd completely forgotten about Regara..." she moaned. She
looked up at Nyano, "You know, nobody's dumb enough to annoy her so it
looks like all your problems are more or less sorted really."
"Regara, now tha'd be Duchess Poppy, roight? Mister... Nyano,
were it? Oi think we should probably 'ave a word wi' 'er.
"'Landra, Cain? Tho' it din't turn out quoite wha' Oi had in
moind, Oi thank ye fer comin' this far wi' me. Wha'll ye be doin'
wi' yerselves now?"
"Might as well come with you to face the music..." Ilandra said.
"...unless we could trust all of you not to let her know we were here."
She looked around.
"Probably not. OK, well we'll go with you to see her." she finished.
"We better go and see her then..."
"I'm not sure that will tax you too much," said Regara.
Those stood around the table turned to see Regara, flanked by a Captain
and a Sergeant of the Poppy army, standing in the centre of the
room. From the surprised looks on the formerly-Hyacinth guards'
faces, it was clear that they had not used the door.
The soldiers, noting the presence of Cain, Serendil and Nyano, saluted.
"Cain, Cain, Cain," said the Duchess with a sigh. "What have you-"
She paused, having sensed the residual glamour in the air.
"Wait, not Cain, Nyano. Nyano?!" Her eyes widened in disbelief.
"I think you'd all better start explaining what went on here. But first, get me a chair!"
Ilandra hoped she hadn't been noticed, melted quietly into cat form and
ran up Cain's trouser leg into his coat pocket where she hid.
Without thinking Nyano headed right over to a big chair in the corner
of the room. After a couple of seconds of pulling and pushing he
realised this wasn't going to work.
Luckily, some of the others took pity on him, and the room was rapidly arranged so that Regara could sit.
The easy task having been performed, Nyano began the hard part:
explaining himself. He marched out in front of the improvised throne
and began to speak.
"I only came here looking for my father, it was a quest you see, and
then I met Caine and his friend, and they were with that guy."
He pauses to point at Jebodiah.
"Who's called Jebodiah I think. Anyway I knew that dad was in here
somewhere, so we came here. I think Jebodiah wanted to come here as
well, and he had those friends, who were kinda handy."
He sweeps a paw across An Hero and company. Magnanimously including them in the proceedings.
"When we got here, there were some armies outside and it was raining
rocks, so I figured I had to get Dad out of here really quickly, before
he got hit by one of the rocks. So we sneaked in the castle after
asking the guys on the gate for advice."
He strokes his nose in contemplation.
"Maybe we shouldn't have done that. But anyway we sneaked in here, and
Caine's friend and I sneaked past some other guards. I think it was
Nyano sweeps his other paw over the hapless guards, still laid out on the floor from Serendil's pacifist boomerang.
"but I'm not really sure. Anyway, we get in here and that guy"
he jerks his head over to Duke Hyacinth's corpse
"was really rude to us, I don't really remember why. I think he tried
to poison Caine's friend with tea. The butler over there probably knows
Nyano aims a kick in the butlers direction.
"Anyway it all got a bit confusing after people got poisoned, but
anyway, Jebodiah here shoved the dead guy onto Caine's sword, then he
grabbed his ring and tried to put it on. Then things got really
confusing and the castle started disappearing and I was really mad at
him for murdering someone, so I grabbed the ring. Since murders don't
deserve to be in the nobility."
He pauses for a second to get the next part right in his head before he says it.
"Well then I saw that the floor was disappearing, and we're really
quite high up, and Caine's friend was still unconcious and I'm only a
little raccoon and not very good at falling. And well... I kinda put
the ring on. Besides, it felt really wrong when Jebodiah put the ring on, and I didn't have much time to think and stuff."
Nyano puts on his best cute face.
"and then things kinda worked out, and people didn't seem to be poisoned anymore. which is good, right?"
From Cain's coat pocket came Ilandra's voice.
"Cain's friend, by the way, was totally not Ilandra. And Ilandra had
absolutely nothing to do with any of all this, honest! Indeed, Ilandra
is currently at home waiting for Cain to go visit her..."
"Right. First of all, Ilandra, come out here please. You're
not fooling me, and you're also not in any trouble, so I'd at least
like to see you.
"You, peasant. Jebodiah, was that your name? What you did
was thoroughly irresponsible, and if it weren't for Nyano's quick
thinking you would all be dead. I could very well have you
hanged! However, rightly or wrongly, your actions have resulted
in an advantageous situation for my House.
"I have been informed that you command considerable respect among the
people of the former Hyacinth duchy. I am prepared to suggest
something of a... special relationship between yourself and whomever
governs these lands on my behalf."
She turned to the young raccoon, putting on a much friendlier face.
"The question is, Nyano - is that person you? The land is yours
by right. House Poppy has men and women up to the task should you
decline, though of course few of them have even heard of the gentleman
here," she said, indicating Jebodiah.
Tentatively, Ilandra emerged from the pocket.
"Just for the record, we weren't running off... we merely got lost on
the way back to mine..." she said. "And I should be in trouble
really..." her voice sounded sad. "Anyway, please don't punish
Jebodiah! He really did have everyone's best interest at heart and
peasants are people too!! The previous Duke had forgotten that."
Nyano looked up from where he'd been thinking and replied to the Duchess, a very serious expression on his face.
"I've always been told that nobles should be responsible for their
actions. The previous ruler here wasn't very responsible for his, so
that means the next one ought to be.
It was my decision that made all this happen, so it's my responsibility
to look after everything. I don't want this new barony to start with
somebody ignoring their responsibilities.
If you'll let me, I'll look after these people."
Regara smiled. "Well then, it's decided. Baron
Nyano-Sgiathatch of House Poppy, I hereby name you as governor of the
lands formerly belonging to House Hyacinth. I trust you will take
as many advisors as necessary, and I think I see two likely candidates
standing right here.
"Much as I hate to have to concern myself with such things, there is a
certain amount of paperwork to take care of. You need not concern
yourself with it for now, you may refer any diplomats with whom you
cannot deal to me.
"Before I return, Serendil - with circumstances as they were, I was not
able to do this sooner, and for that I apologise. On behalf of
the House, I thank you for your actions two years past, and I hope that
with all good luck it will not be necessary again.
"Jebodiah, I am sure that becoming a subject of House Poppy was not
quite what you had planned. However, I am sure that under Nyano's
governance your people will be treated with much more respect than
under Hyacinth's. If either of you have any issues, you are
welcome to call on me.
"Elaine, I... Elaine?"
All eyes turned back to the table again, where a remarkably familiar figure was staring down at Duke Hyacinth's body.
"Interesing," she said. "Killed by a peasant, but with a noble's sword. Looks like you all had a lot of fun."
Ilandra tugged Cain's sleeve.
"What's she doing here?" she asked him quietly.
"I'm not sure that's the way I'd have put it," said Regara, addressing
the newcomer. "So, besides making sarcastic remarks, why are you
"Reconnaissance," replied Elaine. "This one is the peasant Jebodiah, correct?" she asked, gesturing at him.
"Oi-" the old man began.
"Yes, that'll do," said Elaine. "And the one with the highest
density of residual glamour effets... Nyano. Regara, Poppy
Duchess. Ilandra, Honeysuckle Duchess. Cain, Poppy
Prince. And..." She cast her eyes about the room.
"Sundry other nobles and peasants."
"Thank you for your time," Elaine said and in a flash she was gone,
leaving nothing behind but a few black petals drifting slowly to the
There were a few moments of silence.
"I have to say," said Regara, "that girl is really starting to annoy me."
"I still don't like her." Ilandra said petulantly. "And what was that all about?"
Nyano turned to Jebodiah.
"Don't take it personally, she seems to be like that with everyone."
"Who knows?" Regara said to Ilandra. "Whatever business she's
involved with, I can't help but get the feeling that she's got no-one's
best interests at heart but her own - or those of whoever she
"Well, with Elaine having disappeared again, that just leaves the two
of you," she continued, her gaze flicking forth between Ilandra and
Cain. "What do you plan to do now? Is there perchance a
date I should be looking forward to yet?"
"Roight..." said Jebodiah. "An' who were she, 'xactly? She seemed ta know an orful lot for someone who w'ant 'ere!"
Ilandra gulped. She looked towards the window, they were awfully high
up. However, if she braced herself she could hit the ground gently
enough not to break her legs and keep running... She particularly
didn't like the way Regara was looking at them.
She decided to stall the other duchess and answer Jebodiah's question.
"Elaine's, well... I don't think anyone really knows what she is... but
she's creepy." she said, sidling closer to the window as she spoke. She
gave Cain a meaningful look, undoing the catch and getting onto the
windowsill. "As to a date, Regara... well, whenever I return... I
Flinging the window open, she concentrated and jumped out.
Please do the rolls for me.
Ilandra uses the cantrip Hopscotch.
Rolls Wits (from Wayfare) 2 + Politics (from Fae 2) 2 = 4 dice, difficulty 6.
Outside, Ilandra touched the ground with cat-like grace despite the four-storey drop.
Cain looked at his mother, an embarrassed glow coming readily to his
cheeks. "Sorry," he said. "We'll let you know!" And
with that, he flipped backwards out of the window to join his fiancÈ.
Cain uses the cantrip Hopscotch.
Rolls Wits (from Wayfare) 3 + Politics (from Fae 2) 3 = 6 dice, difficulty 6.
Ilandra looked over at Cain.
"Right, I've arranged a pickup five minutes away..." she told him. "So, where next?"
Grabbing Cain's hand they ran to Hawthorn and jumped on.
"Now quickly, before your mother sends out guards." she said, "And the pickup is about five minutes south of here..."
Regara rushed to the window, and didn't quite manage to suppress her
sign of relief to see Cain and Ilandra galloping off into the poppy
fields around the castle.
"When will they ever learn?" she muttered to herself. And then, slightly quieter still: "Oh, to be young again..."
Chiding herself for those thoughts, she returned her attention to the rest of the room.
"Well then," she said, "unless anybody else needs me, I will be
returning to Castle Poppy. I'm sure before very long I shall have
to entertain important guests with questions to ask, and so on."
"Have a safe trip!"
"Thank you," said Regara, smiling.
As the mists of glamour folded about her and she returned with her
guards to Castle Poppy, Nyano almost thought he saw her wink and mouth
the words 'well done'...
Nyano looks at Jebodiah and his father.
"I guess we better start then."
Then he turns to the butler.
"Could you fetch the head of the army and the head of the castle servants for me?"
The servant staggered to his feet, and scuttled off into the depths of the castle.
A few minutes later he returned, following two nobles. One
matched the servant rather closely in attire, though his bearing marked
him out as clearly noble. The other, in some semblance of an army
uniform, supported himself on crutches as he made his way into the room.
Having delivered them as required, the butler bowed to Nyano and stepped backward towards the door.
"Hello, I am Nyano-Sgiatatch of house Poppy, and this is my Father
Serendil. What are your names?" Nyano asked the two nobles after
they'd come in.
The two of them flicked their gazes rapidly across those present, dwelling particularly on the body of their former Duke.
"Geoffrey," said the head of the household staff simply, avoiding Nyano's gaze.
The other man remained polite, but only barely. His eyes glinted
with malice. "Harvey. Field Marshal Harvey. Sir," he
added, sarcasm dripping from every word.
"I know you don't like me very much right now, but please at least give me a chance."
I'd like to make a charisma + leadership test to out cute them at this point...
He turns to the sarcastic one first.
"What do you think about the current state of the barony?"
The Field Marshall was clearly having trouble getting used to the concept.
"Right. Well, you can imagine, can't you? The place is torn
up. We've lost 95 percent of our army due to some abysmal
strategic decisions on behalf of our former allies, who now seem to
have deserted us, and I would estimate approximately one third of the
peasantry have lost their livelihoods or their lives."
"Well do you want to make it better, or are you just going to sit around being angry?"
Nyano stops for a second.
"No wait, I'm being mean. I'm sorry." He looks apologetic, clutching
one of his paws in another in front of him, "I want this place to be
healthy and prosperous as much as you do, and to do that I could really
do with your help."
"If I can put this place back on its feet again, I will," said the
Field Marshal. "But how? No amount of strategic prowess is
going to bring farmers back."
"I suppose it's lucky then that I don't have any amount of strategic
prowess. Whatever that is. What I do have, is an advisor who
understands what the farmers want."
Nyano looks over at Jebodiah
"What is it exactly that would make the farmers go back to their fields?"
"You mean 'em not bein' dead? Tha'd be a start. Bu' since
tha' ain't gonna happen, the ones that are as left moight want the
reassur'nce tha' they's safe enough ta' start rebuildin'.
No-one's gonna' want to get ba' ta normal if they think they're gonna'
have ta go to war again nex' week!"
"Right, well that's easy enough. House Poppy doesn't have much of an
army left. No one is going to expect us to go to war any time soon.
"Do you think we could invite some of the friendlier ones up to the castle and talk to them about it?"
"Moight be a good plan," said Jebodiah. "Mister 'arvey, who's in charge'a th' reds out there?"
Field Marshal Harvey scowled, clearly not appreciating a peasant
calling him "Mister" anything. "Duke Cherry. Frederick, I
believe. Shall I send some men to fetch him?"
"Please do that Field Marshal."
The Field Marshal nodded to the butler, who scuttled off into the
depths of the castle to find a reasonably inoffensive-looking unit and
replace their white trim with red.
Fifteen minutes later, he returned leading a retinue of five
soldiers. The most imposing of them, and the most heavily
armoured, was a dashing oriental-looking young man. He took off
his sword-belt and handed it to one of his soldiers, then nodded
shallow bows to Nyano, Serendil and Harvey.
Another of his soldiers furnished the simple introduction. "Duke Cherry, Baron Nyano-Sgiathatch Poppy."
"It's a bit late, but House Poppy would like to welcome you to our lands your grace."
Nyano tries his best to look small and harmless. Being a raccoon, his best is pretty effective.
"I've been put in charge of this Barony, and it's suddenly become my
job to make sure that the farmers go back to the fields and the people
don't starve. I don't think that's going to happen if there's any more
fighting around here.
"Could you tell me how likely that's going to be?"
"Well," said Cherry, "the Whites having retreated as far as we know -"
he flashed an almost apologetic smile at the Field Marshal "- from
these lands, you should be reasonably secure here. Buttercup to
the South and Poppy to the East are back in Red hands. To the
West, Azalea was a Red ally, so I would not imagine the Whites holding
on to it for too long. To the North are Daisy, which should fall
quickly, and the rather larger Duchy of Foxglove, which will be our big
push after Daisy.
"However," he continued, "the Whites are very much on the run in this
area. We are expecting a two-front attack on Foxglove with my
forces advancing from the South and another sizeable detachment from
Duke Cherry coughed. "My apologies, I seem to have gotten a
little carried away. What I mean to say, Baron, is that as our
advance is going so well, we do hope that the front will never again be
this far back. Even if the tide of the war does turn back, the
former Hyacinth land's terrain makes it difficult to attack. Of
all the smaller Duchies, this is one of the least vulnerable."