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Oct 01, 2020 2:33 PM
that looks like a pretty intractable problem you've got there have you tried throwing more leareths at it
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The city guard don't themselves seem to have truth magic, also the shopkeeper is not buying her story at all and is on the spot concocting a different story where she's obviously conspiring with one of the child street gangs, probably she's their pimp too, he's heard all sorts of tales about that. 

Mama Raine does not seem to want to get involved in this one, and the girlfriend looks incredibly embarrassed to be seen in conversation with someone now being accused of theft and pimping out orphans, and is trying to tug Ratek away. 

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Look, if the shopkeeper will just go away he can have fifty pounds of gold for his trouble.

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The shopkeeper's eyes light up with greed, if he gets that plus his jewelry back he will totally go away. 

The City Watch, however, would like to take her to the temple to Anathei, they think the priests have some sort of truth magic and then they can confirm she is definitely not pimping out orphans - she looks like a respectable nice woman but sometimes criminals do and they really have to follow every lead they can on criminal street gangs. 

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- of course but can they please please get this cleared up really quickly there is an army marching through the streets of her homeland right now and this mercenary contract is her best hope of saving her family and her country.

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The temple is nearby so it shouldn't take long. They march her over to it, looking kind of apologetic but firm. 

The priest is a kindly elderly man in simple robes, who comes out to ask what he can help them with. 

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She would like to state under the local truth magic that she has to her knowledge abided by all local laws since she got here, and definitely hasn't stolen anything, and has never talked to any children in street gangs, and is kind of worried about their child street gangs and would be delighted to come back and set up schools and orphanages in the name of her god once she has saved her country, and really needs to go now if that's all cleared up.

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He nods, seriously, looking her in the eye, and seems very sympathetic, and then his eyes go unfocused...

"- Oh, you poor, poor child." He blinks back to awareness. Reaches out and takes her hands. "I am so sorry." There are tears welling in his eyes. "Your world - your country... I can hardly fathom it. But the gods of your world speak to the gods of ours, now, and so I can tell you. Aroden is indeed returned to reclaim the land from Hell - your country will be safe, soon." The tears are spilling down his cheeks, now. "But you - the darkness in your soul... Please, please, would you stay here? And perhaps we can redeem you, and your soul will not go to this - plane of horrors - when your life ends..." 

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What the fuck. 

 

"Uh. I'm fine. Nothing's going to happen to me that shouldn't happen to me. And I don't - care whether it's Aroden invading or somebody else invading, they're invading, my country is not safe, and I need to get back there to defend it."

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The priest sighs, releasing her hands. He looks deeply grieved. 

"You should arrest her," he says to the watchmen. 

They look baffled. "Did she or did she not steal the–"

The priest to Anathei ducks in close to the head Guard and whispers something in his ear - 

- the man's eyes widen, and he gestures to the others, who grab her and start cuffing her. 

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"- am I accused of a crime or just of serving a god you got fed some nonsense about." She thinks it's permissible to Teleport out if it's the latter, she bets they don't have a law about locking people up for being Asmodean because Asmodeus heard about this planet this morning and this planet, apparently, heard some propaganda about him just now.

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"You are accused of recruiting for foreign criminal activities, which is a crime in our books," the head Guard says stiffly. "We will, of course, take down all of the testimony you wish to give and consider this matter properly. At the watchhouse." 

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"Thousands of people are already dead. It'll be so much worse if the invaders have several days to dig in before we're able to respond. I'm recruiting for the legitimate Queen of Cheliax, the sixth in her dynasty, and I've never been involved in any criminal activities and my country isn't perfect but it doesn't have orphan street gangs and you have no right to tell people that it's tragic, that they might care about that more than they care about the afterlife being full of flowers and fucking bunnies."

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"Look, miss, you've got to tell us at the watchhouse so we can take down notes, it's the protocol..." 

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She's not resisting. She is crying but there's probably not a law against that.

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(Meanwhile the priest of Anathei, still with tears on his cheeks, is headed off to the mercenaries' guild to inform them of the horrifying, incredibly upsetting glimpses of Asmodeus' work that Anathei just showed to him.) 

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Aroden sees a woman sitting in what looks like a city watchhouse, in tears, while several extremely conflicted-looking guards interrogate her about her country's practices in war. 

He sighs. It at least doesn't look like she's currently in the process of handing gold to mages. 

He releases the scry without watching more than a minute of it, no need to wear out his crystal ball, and moves on to the list of Chelish soldiers believed to be evacuating through a forest, presumably to gather at some specified location. 

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Soldiers are hurrying through the forest to the rendezvous point with the rest of Cheliax's army, under illusory cover. They pass an abandoned mine, and pick their way carefully across the ground since it's the dead of night and they can't afford to fall into a mine shaft or something.

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Aroden gets out a map, compares it with Vanyel's earlier notes on the locations Leareth glimpsed, this lets him pin it down. He'll do a Sending back to the camp before he heads off to sleep in his demiplane. 

Can he figure out where the rendezvous location actually is? 

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He can narrow it down to a couple of candidates, and could scry them all.

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Then he'll do that! 

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He can find the rendevous point. It's on the western edge of the forest. There are maybe twenty thousand people there now, with large groups still on their way. Cheliax's population is a tenth wizards and they don't have Gates but there's still a lot magic can do to make a march faster and less exhausting, and it looks like they used some demiplanes as bridges to bring people in from across the country. There's an open portal to Hell. Equipment and supplies are being passed out of it.

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This is very unsurprising - he would be unimpressed with them if they weren't at least this competent - and also inconvenient. 

Aroden carefully notes the location, numbers, and observed magic, and then releases the scry and prepares a couple of Sendings to convey all of the information to one of his wizards back at the Ostenso camp. Leareth or the Heralds can take care of passing it from there. 

It's about an hour past midnight now. If he sleeps now and then prepares his spells, they can attack in the early hours of the morning, well before dawn. Most of his wizards should be sleeping, now, covered by the Velgarth mages who don't require a night of sleep to prepare spells and can push through better on catnaps and stimulants. Everyone at sixth circle or above has a Ring of Sustenance, it's well worth it as an investment, and they should have gone to bed early, usually you can't do that and still get your full night's sleep but they'll have been plenty exhausted enough after an entire day of fighting. It'll mean disproportionately fewer of his high-level wizards will have spells left for the rest of the day, but if they take out the army tonight, while they're still gathering and tired from the long march, they'll have less fighting to do later. 

He Plane Shifts to his demiplane and goes to sleep. 

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Leareth has been in bed for an hour. And wakes up an hour after that, his Ring of Sustenance finally helping him out; he feels fully rested. 

He surveys the city, checking what's going on, and then gets out his book on cleric spells and starts reading through it. 

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As a cleric with second-circle spells, he can also channel energy more powerfully; doing so would be definitely deadly to anyone who doesn't have personal shields or the local form of adventuring-related resilience, and so is probably a bad idea to test. Once he is neutral he'll be able to learn how to channel healing energy instead. Other skills that can be learned with channeling include how to exclude some people from it (so he doesn't heal enemies or injure allies), how to do it more efficiently, and (when he's much more powerful than he is now) how to channel energy at someone who just died hard enough that they are restored to life. (This only works if they died in the last few seconds.)

 

Other than Lesser Restoration, interesting second-circle spells include Fox's Cunning, the one that enhances intelligence (which won't stack with his headband), Owl's Wisdom, and Eagle's Splendour, Aid, which gives everybody he touches very good personal shields though they'll only last a minute, Consecrate, which has varied effects in different circumstances but is mostly relevant here because it cuts Asmodeus's temples and shrines off from Him, and Share Language. 

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Neat. He's curious what Owl's Wisdom feels like, but for wartime purposes he probably ought to get more of Lesser Restoration and maybe Consecrate, to help out with the temples part. He presumably can't get any additional spells until dawn - he has one use of Lesser Restoration which he's likely to need if they do end up attacking the army, which one of the Heralds on night watch confirms Aroden was able to locate. (Also, it sounds like at least one of the Chelish recruiters sent to Velgarth is confirmed to be suffering a string of ill luck. He smiles a little to himself at the though of the Velgarth gods finally helping a cause he cares about.)

He doesn't much like the channeling negative energy part and is hoping something will flip over and make him neutral soon, but can keep it in reserve in case he's cornered by enemies he in fact wants dead. 

No word yet from Aroden, so he goes on to look at third-level spells, since Khemet mentioned Abadar could maybe give him more levels if he would have any idea what to do with them. 

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