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 Post Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:37 pm 
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"What purpose would Martel have for blocking the letters and working for Aramsham, though?" Felix asks. "Isn't he in Primate Raven's pocket? It doesn't make sense. Do you think the Primate might want a war?"

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 Post Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:34 am 
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I think Martel works for Martel. The Primate may pay the bills, but I very much doubt that he has a monopoly on Martel's loyalty. This is something else.

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 Post Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:53 am 
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"It would hardly be a war," says Sir Perraine. "Rendorish fanatics attack the Elene kingdoms every few years or so. The Church Knights will crush their offensive as soon as they leave the desert." He pauses a moment, and then adds "But it would take almost all our attention."

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 Post Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:14 pm 
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"Well, operating under the assumption we're thinking along the right track..." Felix ponders aloud. "Maybe the Primate wants a war to distract the Church Knights so he can do something without their scrutiny? He's already tried to discredit the order once before using Martel's goons."

Felix sighs.

"We should go help Sir Sparhawk finish his objective so we can tackle the Martel matter cooperatively."

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 Post Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:14 am 
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"It's possible," muses Sir Parasim. "If he can control when these fanatics attack... Sparhawk will be back any minute now."

Almost as he speaks, Sparhawk's group enters the room. Sephrenia is looking mildly grumpy, but the rest of the group seems quite happy.

Sparhawk nods at the Terrans. "I take it you were successful? Our own endeavour went quite well. In summary, we can cure the Queen - if we can find a magical item of sufficient potency."

"If that idiot doctor hadn't ground the thing to powder..." growls Sephrenia.

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 Post Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:54 am 
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Felix nods.

"We were successful in obtaining a sample," he says. "Now we just have to get it back to the ship so we can analyze it in the labs. We should be able to find an antidote from there."

Felix grins.

"Now all that's left is the Martel matter? I believe we can help if you want to go after him."

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 Post Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:04 am 
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Arkady looks thoughtful. "This may be easier if this Aramsham is a useful fool for Martel, but he may not want to hear it. Is there somewhere we can find out more about exactly what he and his followers believe? Do they have a holy book?"

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 Post Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:29 am 
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"The Eshandist Heresy is a major part of their beliefs," says Sir Sparhawk. "All Church Knights have some theological training, so if you have any specific questions, we should be able to answer them; but, in short, they believe that the Elene god speaks through certain people - including Eshand, the originator of the Heresy, and now apparently Aramsham. Since they believe he speaks with the voice of god, they will obey his every command."

"It doesn't help that these Eshandist 'prophets' are normally senile," adds Sir Perraine. "There was one a decade or so ago - and in central Rendor - who wanted to tell how followers to 'fall on your foes' but accidentally said 'fall on your swords', and ten thousand fanatics disembowelled themselves before he could stop them. Took him three days to figure out what he'd done wrong."

"They also believe," continues Sir Sparhawk, "that the Elene church is corrupt to the core, and that the Elene people are suffocating under its rule, and all sorts of nasty things about the Church Knights in particular. Your average Rendorish fanatic can't read, and though they do claim to follow the same scriptures as we do, they will ignore anything written down to follow their prophet's words instead."

"As to the man himself," says Sir Perraine, "Aramsham is a very elderly man who, as far as I can tell, honestly does believe that the voice of god speaks through him, via a piece of the horn of a ram he once owned."

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 Post Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:46 pm 
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After a couple of seconds Arkady looks at Sir Perraine and says "He might not be entirely wrong about that. A wizard who is dealing with demons and such can probably make a piece of horn talk, one way or another."

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 Post Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:01 am 
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Felix nods.

"I could make a ram's horn talk and I don't even know any magic. Those with access to magic and whatever else might be available could maybe do such a thing?"

Felix sighs.

"We should look into going after Martel first, though, before we look into Aramsham. He's the one most directly impeding progress on the ground. We should track him down before anything else."

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 Post Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:45 am 
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"We don't know where Martel is," points out Sir Perraine. "No-one else has ever heard the ramshorn speak, and Aramsham has occasionally received messages from it in public..."

Sephrenia shakes her head "That won't stop a determined Practitioner. Mind you, if the Ramshorn truly is magical, and of sufficient power, we could use it to cure the Queen."

"In my experience," grouses Sir Sparhawk, "Martel tends to be in exactly the worst possible place at any given moment." He thinks about this, and glances at the window.

Sir Perraine shakes his head. "I've been cultivating a wonderfully thorny bush under that window for the last ten years," he says. "Anyone trying to listen there is going to be badly injured at the very least, and I haven't heard any branches rustling."

Sir Sparhawk checks through the window at any rate, but fails to spot any sign of Martel. "That is an impressively thorny bush."

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 Post Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:53 am 
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"Sir Perraine has said his messages to the order have been getting intercepted, right? I can rig a package that will give off an energy signature that we can pinpoint and follow at any time from large distances. It would lead us to whoever is intercepting them which could lead us to Martel."

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 Post Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:05 am 
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"We could also try and throw Aramsham off script as bait to lure Martel into a trap. Even if he doesn't show, or sends a flunky, it'll trip up his plans for a time."

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 Post Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:27 pm 
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"The package is a good idea," says Sir Sparhawk, "but it does have one flaw. We don't know how soon the message will get to Martel, and finding a cure for the Queen must take priority. We can take a day or two here, at most, to throw a wrench in Martel's plans; we certainly can't take a month. Much as it irks me, we only have so much time to find a cure in."

"Aramsham, on the other hand, we know exactly where to find. Do you have any suggestions for how you plan to throw him off his game?"

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 Post Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:33 pm 
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"Hmm..."

Felix ponders for a moment.

"I don't really have anything I can think to do about it right now. Does anyone else have any thoughts?"

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