My work computer still won’t let me install the software I need to work, so I guess I just have to keep screwing around.
So, here’s an Interlude for the Nobilis game. Should be player-safe, but if you want to remain as ignorant as your characters, do not proceed.
Interlude: The Price of Loyalty
?There?s been a problem.?
Joshua Stark, power of Loyalty, felt the awareness of his master fall upon him like the weight of a thousand homeless souls. Air pressed out of his lungs for a moment and the lights of the Chancel seemed to dim. Just as suddenly, the presence was gone.
?Things become less predictable when one faces the dragon in its cave.? The entity known as the Perpetual Wanderer, whose true name was not spoken or thought by its servants, inclined its head. “What specifically has gone wrong?”
“I? we don’t know.” He gestured sharply with his hand. “They didn’t die. They were supposed to die.” He was elegant, even in frustration. That was his nature.
?You mean the other Nobles, following the assassination of their Imperator??
Stark looked pained. ?Execution, my lord; we possessed evidence of treason against the Valde Bellum, presented it to the Locust Court when asked, and have been exonerated of all wrongdoing. The fact that an Inquisitor Chancel supported us is proof in itself.?
?Justifying a murder after the fact simply makes it acceptable, Joshua, it does not make it less a murder.? The Imperator?s motioned with one hand in his noble?s direction. ?Do not take this as censure on Our part; your actions were justified, but We do not care for sophistry.?
Joshua bowed his head. ?As you say, my lord,? he said, hesitating before going on. ?It was my understanding that a Noble could not survive death of the master –”
“Such is traditionally the case, as We have told you before.”
Joshua nodded, not looking directly at the Imperator. “Yet somehow?? He shook his head. ?Servants were sent to assure that they had in fact been destroyed but in almost all cases the subjects not only survived but acted quite effectively to preserve themselves.?
?We hear the word ?almost?, Joshua.?
Devon glanced toward his master. ?The Graf died, but in such a way as to suggest that it was merely another of its many demises and thus unsatisfactory. One of the others? it is unclear what exactly happened, but the evidence is not reassuring.? He waved his hand and a table rose next to him, covered in reports. ?We think we might have some idea where??
?We do not wish to know particulars.? The table vanished.
The Power of Loyalty inclined his head. ?Of course.?
?It is enough to know that they have acted against the Valde Bellum and, not inconsequentially, Ourselves. Details are the reason you are here.?
The Imperator regarded his noble for a moment before continuing. ?Where are your brothers and sisters??
Joshua?s chin rose to indicate the open window of the chamber. ?They search, my lord. They are aptly suited for the task.?
?Agreed.? The being turned to the window as well, through which the hazy cityscape of Deus Sanguinas stretched away to the limit of mortal sight and beyond. ?We are weakened, Joshua. You know this well enough and you might have some small inkling of how it must feel to know that the reason for this weakening is one of Our own kin and a onetime ally.?
Joshua shifted his weight. ?I have some small understanding of Loyalty, master.?
?Don?t engage in banalities, Joshua.?
?I apologize, my lord.?
?It is important to Us to show the rest that We can yet exact Our own vengeance while protecting the goals of all.?
?I… we all understand this.?
?Therefore, you will not fail Us again.?
The man (who was not truly a man, and had not been for years) hesitated for only a moment before nodding. ?Yes, my lord,? he said.
He was already alone in the room.