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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:11 pm 
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"Sir Ulath, could you write up a note that Dolmant would act on in a timely manner?"

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:15 am 
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Arkady looks at the still eating Talen: "And could your friend who knows people get it to him before we enter the city?"

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:08 am 
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"I could certainly tell him what's going on," says Sir Ulath. "Since he outranks me, I can't order him, but I'm sure he'll take me seriously."

"Sure!" says Talen, speaking with his mouth full. "Long as I've got a bit of a head start."

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:26 pm 
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Arkady turns back to Sir Ulath. "Then please write the letter; with luck, he can have someone meet us at the gate and tell us where it would be best to take the truck. I would rather not drive right up to the Basilica if we can avoid it."

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:10 pm 
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And so, in fairly short order, the letter is written and dispatched to the city with Talen. An hour or so later, the trucks trundle up to the city gates, where they're met by a stern-faced Patriarch Dolmant who brings with him some unsettling news. Beginning with the first, and newest topic - the Arch-Prelate has now died, less than an hour before your trucks rolled into the city.

Once you are in his house (your trucks neatly parked outside his stables), he gives you a brief run-down of the current state of affairs. It turns out that Talen's summary was complete but not accurate...

"With the Arch-Prelate dead, tradition and law state that there will be a one-week period of mourning, during which time the Patriarchs will not meet in the Basilica. After our period of mourning is complete, we will meet and vote on various issues, the most urgent of which is the election of a new Arch-Prelate. This is normally one of the Patriarchs, but there's no reason why the Patriarchs can't vote in someone else - such as Raven."

"It's true that he has more than half the votes on his side already - fortunately, that's not enough to elect him. Now, a full meeting of the Patriarchs consists of ne hundred and sixty-seven Patriarchs, and in a full meeting he would need one hundred votes to be elected Patriarch - or a like proportion, if the number of Patriarchs attending the vote is reduced. He's not quite there yet, but there's a lot of patriarchs not present for one or another reason, and he's close. Worse, some of the Patriarchs against Raven's election have vanished, and no-one's quite sure whether that's because of foul play on Raven's part, or because they're hiding themselves in fear of foul play on Raven's part."

"As far as other candidates go, there's one particular Patriarch who would make an excellent compromise candidate for the remaining factions; a fundamentalist hardliner known as Ortzel. Unfortunately, he's not in the city at present, and is unlikely to be able to return soon."

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:56 pm 
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"If he becomes Arch-Prelate what are the odds of him answering for his crimes?"

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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:22 pm 
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Arkady looks thoughtful. "Forgive me, but in the Elene Church, what does it mean to be a 'fundamentalist hardliner'?"

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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:11 pm 
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"Chyrellos is outside the jurisdiction of any temporal authority, falling only and entirely under the jurisdiction of the Church - and the Arch-Prelate is the head of the Church until his death. As long as he never leaves the city, he would be impossible to prosecute in any court, for any crimes. And a fundamentalist hardliner of the Elene faith, such as Ortzel, is completely opposed to the use of magic in any form; it is likely that Ortzel would not ratify the exception that permits the Church Knights to use magic in defense of the Church, and would cut ties with any magical allies, such as the Styrics."

Sir Ulath shakes his head. "That'll never work in practice," he says. "If we can't use magic to counter the Zemoch priests, then we won't be able to hold the border."

"Yes," says Dolmant, "but at the moment it seems he's the only choice that all of the Patriarchs opposed to Raven would be willing to accept. And, for all his failings, I think he is a better choice than Raven."

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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:58 pm 
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Arkady grins. "And we have seen Raven casting a spell. This could be interesting. But since the subject has come up, we need a magic item in order to power a healing spell for Her Majesty. Would you know of any in this city? Quietly held by someone, perhaps?"

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:13 am 
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Dolmant shakes his head.

"Not that I've heard of. Unless part of the Knightly Orders, Patriarchs are expected to have absolutely nothing to do with magic of any sort. The correct course of action if I run across any sort of magical device is for me to report it at once to the next Knight I meet, and allow him to take appropriate action. Of course, this also means that if any of the other Patriarchs are quietly collecting magical items, they certainly wouldn't make that fact public."

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:55 am 
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Arkady nods. "Why should this be easy? Well, let us assume for a minute that a candidate who would make it harder to stop Zemoch priests is better than the candidate who seems to be studying magic under a Zemoch priest. Would you know where Ortzel is and why he can't return?"

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:00 pm 
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"I know of no reason why he can't return, as such; he simply cannot return in a timely manner. He left Chyrellos some time back, in order to visit his brother, the Baron Alstrom, in Lamorkand; it's a good month's travel by horse, so even if he knew the instant of Cluvonious' death, he just would not have the time to return. Before he left, he indicated that he planned to stay long enough to celebrate the birthday of his niece, which is yet a few weeks in the future, so it is most unlikely that he would have left his brother's castle yet."

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:58 pm 
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Arkady nods, then says "If we have a decent guide, we can get him back here in time. Sir Ulath can attest to that. But we would probably need an official announcement of the death of the last Arch-Prelate, and it would help if you could give us a letter explaining what's going on. Or get us one, if he is more likely to trust someone else."

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:22 pm 
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"I can have the letter and the official announcement ready for you within the hour," says Dolmant. "However, in case something should happen to them, simply informing Ortzel of Cluvonious' death should be sufficient to impress upon him the urgency of his return - he's well aware that he's a strong candidate for the Arch-Prelacy. And Baron Alstrom's castle is not hard to find, but a guide can be provided if necessary."

"Been there before," grunts Sir Ulath. "And it's on my map. I know the way. Good roads all the way. We'll have to ford a couple of rivers."

Dolmant nods. "The people of Lamorkand do take a lot of pride in their roads."

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:01 pm 
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Arkady nods. "Good to know. Ah, yes; we are carrying some letters from Sir Vanire to you as well. You might find them interesting." If Arkady happens to be carrying them, he hands them over, otherwise he glances over at Sir Ulath. "And if we are still having problems with a Seeker on the way, well, that might help convince Ortzel to soften his views a bit."

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