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 Post Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:17 am 
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Nate snickers. "I'm holding out for Marty Feldman, myself. This place could use the laughs."

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 Post Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:45 am 
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"My mind went in an entirely different direction, and I now have 'Be Our Guest' stuck in my head," Felix says. "Joking aside we really should seek shelter, mayhap that ominous and foreboding castle would be willing to offer? That's how it goes in this situation, correct?"

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 Post Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:02 am 
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"Per Church law," says Sir Ulath, "the Count is legally required to provide shelter to a Knight of the Church -" he raises his fist to his own chest - "and his travelling companions. He's not, strictly speaking, legally required to feed us if he claims famine, but there's no legal way for him to escape the obligation of giving us some place out of the rain to sleep in."

The castle broods unmoving over the landscape. The only signs of movement are a few banners waving in the wind, and a group of small birds (or, possibly, one can't help thinking, bats) flying around one of the towers. From here, one can see no signs of living humans in or around the castle at all.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:39 pm 
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Arkady turns to Sir Ulath. "If you are going to be official guest, then it sounds like you should be the one to knock on the door. Unless that is not the way it is done around here?"

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:55 pm 
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After the group navigates up the road to the castle (a winding route that would be at least half an hour by horse), Sir Ulath does indeed knock at the door.

After a while, a small slit opens to reveal a pair of eyes, at around Sir Ulath's chest height. "Go away!" snaps a voice, and the eyeslit is slammed shut again.

Sir Ulath hammers at the door again.

"I said, go away!"

"I am a Knight of the Church," rumbles Sir Ulath. "And as such, you are required by Church law to offer shelter."

There's a moment of contemplative silence from the eyeballs beyond the door, followed by "Wait here. I'll ask the Count." The eyeslit slams shut, and footsteps can be heard leaving.

"Some people," opines Talen, rolling his eyes. "You give them a gatehouse and they think they're the ArchPrelate."

"And how often have you tried to get past a gatehouse?" asks Sir Ulath.

Talen shrugs. "Now and then. It can be hard to ply my trade from outside the walls."

After several minutes, the gate guardian comes back. The door unlocks and the man holds it open; revealing a hunchbacked man dressed all in black.

"Come on in," he says. "The Count wishes to see you."

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:01 pm 
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"If he had asked us to 'walk this way' I would have lost it," Roger says with a smile.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:35 pm 
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"We need to have a movie night," Felix says as he follows the others in. "Treat ourselves. Take some time off from just trying to survive and watch some of the classics."

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:14 am 
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"If Bela Lugosi jumps out at us, I'm probably going to scream," says Theresa, looking around nervously. "There's something... evil about this place. Can you feel it?"

The hunchback - after locking the door behind the group - leads them in to a large room containing a heavy wooden desk, plentiful notebooks, a couple of bookshelves, a fireplace, and a number of comfortable chairs. They meet no other servants on the way - the Castle is as quiet as the grave. In the room, however, they come across the Count; and aside from the fact that he's Elene and thus has skin dark as ebony, he would not entirely look out of place in the Lugosi family tree (it's something in the shape of the nose).

Theresa gulps nervously at the sight.

"These are the people, Master," says the hunchback.

"Very well, Ivan. Prepare the guest rooms for them, will you?" requests the Count.

"As you command." The hunchback leaves the room.

"We don't get many travellers in this part of the world," says the Count. "I am Count Stoke, and while you are welcome to the meagre shelter of my castle until the storm abates, you may in time come to wish that you had chosen to brave the weather instead. Please, take a seat, and might I ask what it is that brings you to this desolate place?"

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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:21 pm 
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Arkady doesn't say anything, limiting himself to observing and trying to get a read on this fellow. After all, there's a mage around here somewhere.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:36 pm 
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Arkady, cold read:

Empathy +5 Roll +1 Total: +6
Count: Resolve: +2 Roll: +0 Total: +2

Success!


The Count presents a very calm and composed front to the world, but there are hints - a tremble in his hand, a tear on the edge of his eye. With his skill for divining directly to the secret closest to a person's heart, Arkady picks up that the Count is deeply, deeply worried.

He's seen something similar to this particular breed of concern before, back on Earth, however many million years ago (but some things never change, not as long as people remain people). Back then, it was a man whose wife had overdosed on various drugs; the wife had found her way to an asylum, where she lived out the rest of her days alternately screaming and laughing at things that only she could see. And the husband had never abandoned her, visited her every Saturday for the rest of his life, even when she had no longer recognised him, no longer recognised anyone; he never stopped blaming himself for not having noticed the trouble sooner, not having stopped her taking that initial overdose.

Whatever the Count's trouble is, it will not be exactly the same; but the emotions, that mix of stoicism, shame, concern, guilt, worry, fear, suggests that there will be some close analogy.

Aspect: Count Stoke: Concerned About [Someone Close To Him]

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:52 am 
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"Looking for trade opportunities," Felix replies to the Count. "There are things we have and things we lack so it seemed a good idea. We were in the area when this storm hit, so we figured it was a good idea to ask if we could bunker down."

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:14 pm 
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"I've never known a Knight of the Church to be involved in mere mercantile activities," says the Count.

Sir Ulath shrugs. "It's complicated."

"I assume that means it's merely your cover story," says the Count. "Know that you will find little to trade for here except despair and rumour. Whatever you seek, it is doubtless elsewhere."

"That's twice now you've said there's trouble here," points out Talen.

"And it's unlikely to be the last time, young lad," says the Count. "The word 'trouble', however, is far too mild a descriptor. To be honest, had you not been in the retinue of a Knight of the Church, my gates would have remained closed to you. This is an unhappy house, and I do not willingly inflict its sorrows on strangers."

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:05 pm 
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"Well guys? Shall we offer to help him with his trouble? Or is that *exactly* what he wants us to do?"

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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:18 am 
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Arkady comments: "The count does seem to be worried about someone, and some mage was drawing a big arrow pointing to a sister of his."

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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:28 pm 
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"I can't trust him," says Theresa. "Have you noticed how quiet this place is? A castle this big should have a staff of dozens, at the very least, but we've only seen the Count and that hunchback. Where are the rest of the servants?"

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