A Royal Disaster [2E]

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Raksha
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A Royal Disaster [2E]

Postby Raksha » Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:09 pm

A Royal Disaster

Prelude: What The Night Hides


"That will be all for today. You are dismissed." The castle's armsmaster had just finished with the daily training of the soldiers. Most of them were learning quickly, and with enough work, they could make a truly frightening fighting force, perhaps even worthy of being royal guards for the king someday.

He had been honestly surprised when the heir to the castle, Lady Sophia, asked to join in their training. He was relieved to quickly find that his fears had been misplaced. The baron's daughter had no trouble keeping up with the others, and she even stayed afterward occasionally for additional instruction. Her father, Baron Albert von Heisfelt, showed no objections to this, considering it part of her lessons on tactics and warfare.

Sophia felt otherwise. The majority of her lessons were tedious and boring, but swordplay and going hunting were different from the rest, perhaps because she actually did something other than sit around and listen or read. After everyone had been dismissed, she headed up to the pavilion on the upper level. Gazing out at the now-setting sun, she admired the beauty of the moment...

...perhaps a bit too lost in admiring to notice a hurried set of footsteps where there shouldn't be any.

Elysia Browning's Stealth of d20+15-5 = 18
Sophia von Heisfelt's Notice of d20+5 = 15


A crossbow bolt whizzing past her ear not more than a centimeter from hitting snapped her out of her trance. Turning to see where the bolt had come from, she spotted a cloaked figure leaping down from the low wall about thirty feet behind her. Clenching her teeth in anger, Sophia removed the bow from her back, intending to return fire, but the cloaked figure beat her to the shot.

As the cloaked figure swerved suddenly to one side, Sophia was caught off-balance for just long enough for the second bolt to find its mark.

Elysia fires with the New Moon Sniper's Crossbow, d20+8 = 11, misses Sophia's flat-footed Defense of 12.

Initiative:
Elysia - d20+5 = 13
Sophia - d20+6 = 12

Elysia surges (gain a Standard Action), uses Acrobatic Feint, wins d20+11 = 19 to d20+9 = 18.
Elysia fires with the crossbow again, d20+8 = 28, hits, criticals, Toughness save DC28.
Sophia saves with d20+6 = 9, burns her HP for d20+6 = 20; Stunned, Injured, Bruised.

Elysia spends her move action to get into melee range of Sophia.
Sophia is stunned, and can't act this turn.


Stumbling about in pain, Sophia looked up in time to see the flourish of a cloak and the crossbow leveled at her chest. Before she could react, the third bolt was let loose, sending her into spasms of pain again.

Elysia burns her HP to avoid fatigue from the surge, uses Acrobatic Feint as a move action, wins d20+11-5 = 25 to d20+9+1 = 21.
Elysia attacks with the crossbow again, d20+8 = 14, hits, Toughness save DC23.
Sophia saves with d20+6-1 = 18; Stunned, Injured, Bruised.

Sophia is still stunned, and can't act this turn.


The cloaked figure didn't let up, even for a second. Putting the crossbow away, twin knives were quickly drawn to replace it, lashing out with unhesitating speed. The initial cut was shallow, hardly worth noticing, but a second later, Sophia felt its after-effects. Suppressing an urge to sit down until her head stopped spinning, she knew that she was way out of her league, and began sprinting for the stairs.

Elysia uses her move action to swap out the crossbow for the Knives of the Changing Moon.

Elysia attacks with the knives, d20+8 = 15, hits, Toughness save DC16 and Fortitude save DC12.
Sophia saves with d20+6-2 = 20 and d20+4 = 10 respectively; no damage, but Sickened.

Sophia thinks it's time to get the hell out, and moves all-out 120 feet, which takes her right to the stairwell, but not down it, since that's a curved pathway. Very large pavilion.


As if whatever was hunting her would let her go that easily. Rushing toward her, it made a quick stab at Sophia with the knives. More blood was drawn, but her dizziness didn't seem to get any worse. All she could hope for now was that she could lose this person in the stairwell before things got out of hand.

Elysia surges for a Standard Action again, uses her normal actions to move 120 feet toward Sophia, catching her at the stairwell, then uses the surged standard to attack.

Elysia's stab comes out as d20+8-2 = 23, hits, criticals, Toughness save DC21 and Fortitude save DC12.
Sophia saves with d20+6-2 = 20 and d20+4 = 17; Injured and Bruised, but no illness.

Save to recover from Sickened comes out as d20+4 = 7; remains Sickened.


Racing down the tower, Sophia's hopes rose when she came to the door at the bottom of the tower... and promptly sunk again. There, standing in front of her, was the cloaked figure, crossbow pointed at her once again.

The shot went off... and she saw no more.

Elysia Browning's Stealth: d20+15-5 = 29
Sophia von Heisfelt's Notice: d20+5 = 13

Both Sophia and Elysia use two move actions a round until they reach the bottom. Sophia moves and takes one to open the door on the last one. Elysia slips past her while under Passive Concealment, Acrobatics roll of d20+11 = 27.

Quick Draw crossbow, attack roll of d20+8 = 26. Hits, criticals, Toughness save DC23.
Sophia saves with d20+6-3 = 8. Ouch. That's checkmate.

Raksha
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Re: A Royal Disaster [2E]

Postby Raksha » Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:06 pm

Chapter 1: Unfamiliar

Sophia awoke half a day later, as the sun began to rise once more. Her body ached all over, but her wounds appeared to have been dressed. Rolling over, the folds of a familiar cloth flopped over on the ground next to her. An almost painfully familiar cloth, one might say. Looking up, she saw a young woman with two knives tied to her belt and a crossbow slung across her back. Letting out an angry-sounding groan, Sophia managed to get herself to a standing position. "You again?"

The young woman eyed her with an unpleasant look on her face. "Look, Princess. You're coming with me, whether you like it or not. If you try to run, your body will give in long before you get anywhere meaningful, and that's if I don't force you to stay down first. Got it?" Having said that, her expression soon faded, replaced with a much more serene outlook. She even offered a handshake. "If you'll cooperate, though, I can show you far more useful and interesting things than any tutor or book will tell you. So, what do you say? Let's not make this difficult for both of us, shall we?"

Sophia let out a begrudging sigh, then accepted the handshake. It was the best option she had at the time. "Alright, alright. If we're going to be stuck together like this, then I would at least prefer to know whom I am talking to. I'm Sophia von Heisfelt, but considering how much you seem to know about me, I wonder whether I really needed to tell you that."

"Elysia Browning." The young woman's eyes drifted elsewhere. "Now that we're done with that, might I have my cloak back? I gave it to you as a blanket because I felt sorry about what I did to you, but now that you seem well enough..."

Sophia paused for a second, looking back and forth between the young woman and the cloak, before picking it up and handing it back to Elysia. After an awkward pause, she just had to ask. "So... which way are we going?"

Looking off at the horizon for a moment, Elysia pointed to the southwest. "That way. I'd estimate we'll get there by late afternoon, if all goes well." She turned to look at Sophia, a sly smile on her face. "As for where we're going, that's a secret. You'll just have to wait and find out, but believe me, I want you to see it."

Letting out another angry groan as Elysia began walking off, Sophia muttered under her breath.

"Great, that's real helpful..."

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Re: A Royal Disaster [2E]

Postby Raksha » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:04 am

Chapter 2: Reality Ensues

After several hours of walking with multiple failed attempts at small talk, Sophia was getting fed up with the whole journey. "How much further--" She was cut short by Elysia suddenly stopping and holding her arm out in front, as if to say 'stop'. A half-smile that seemed eerily sad at the same time crossed Elysia's face as she pointed downward into the valley.

"We're here." Her tone matched her expression perfectly. "Welcome to the village I call home. I know it doesn't look like much, but it's where I was born and raised..." Her gaze shifted sideways away from Sophia, and her happiness vanished. "...c'mon. I want you to meet my family." Half-leading, half-dragging Sophia, she made her way down the hill, into the village, and to her home.

What Sophia saw was far from what she had expected. The home itself wasn't too much more than a simple hut with a fire pit in the center, and its other inhabitants were wearing primarily rags and other worn-out pieces of clothing. Elysia must have noticed how out of place she looked, as with a sudden swirl of her cloak, the colorful outfit vanished, and she was left wearing a thin dress, one that seemed to have been mended many times.

One of the other inhabitants, a young woman with white hair who was wearing the same thing Elysia was now wearing, noticed the two standing in the doorway, and got up from her seat off to one side to go greet them. "Any luck, Elysia?" Then, noticing Sophia standing behind her housemate, "And this must be... I see. Come in, come in. There's not much we can offer in the way of hospitality, but feel free to stay as long as you like."

The three young women sat down in the center of the room, surrounding the firepit. Elysia shook her head, almost on the verge of crying. "I'm sorry, Nina. I failed. Winter's drawing close, and the supplies from last time won't be enough... I failed everyone at a time like this..."

Nina scooted closer to Elysia, trying to comfort her. "You did your best. Nobody's blaming you for anything. We'll just have to... hope for the best, that's all."

With her eyes turned elsewhere, Sophia spoke up. "Sorry to break the mood and all, but... you girls are both about my age, right? Where are your parents?"

Evidently, that was the wrong nerve to hit. Elysia's and Nina's expressions suddenly went very sour, and they spoke in unison. "My parents are dead." Nina continued one step further with the explanation. "That's part of why we live with each other."

Glancing around the room, Sophia took on an intruiged expression. "You two are very dutiful big sisters, then, caring for your younger siblings like this." She pointed around the room at the five younger children doing various things from playing in the dirt to sleeping.

Elysia and Nina suddenly had extremely guilty expressions on their faces. "Yeah... big sisters..." Elysia trembled slightly as she turned to Nina. "Fancy that... only children being big sisters..."

"Wait, what--" Sophia's inevitable question was cut short by one of the children crawling over to Elysia and tugging on her arm.


"...Mommy, are we gonna be okay?"


Sophia froze. She spent the next fifteen seconds looking from Elysia to the child and back, too shocked to hear Elysia's response. When she did speak, it came out as a very frantic stutter. "M-M-M-Mother? B-B-But you're my age, that means--"

Elysia nodded, an almost fake-looking smile amidst an obviously depressed mood. "Little Haru here is my son. His sixth birthday is a few months from now." Her gaze became distant, aimless. "You didn't think the world was all sunshine and flowers, did you?"

Sophia stood up, fighting off a strong urge to vomit. "Excuse me for a moment. This is... too much for me to take in all at once..." With that said, she excused herself from the hut, seating herself once more against the outside wall. Curled up in the fetal position, she mumbled something, the heavy mood of the place infecting her as well.

"...so this is reality, huh?"

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Re: A Royal Disaster [2E]

Postby Raksha » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:55 am

Chapter 3: Decision

"Not what you expected, is it, Princess?"

Sophia looked up to see Elysia kneeling in front of her. Realizing her sudden exit may have been rather rude, she shook her head, the slightest hint of tears in her eyes. "Not at all..." Wiping the tears away, she continued. "You were right... this isn't something one learns from books and tutors..." She let out a short laugh, tainted though it was with the pervasive negativity of the village. "Nobles aren't supposed to think about the people their empires are built on, are they..."

Elysia nodded slowly, not daring break the mood. "Once you know the truth, it can be impossible to go back... I'm sorry for dragging you into this, even if I didn't sound like it earlier, but we're running out of options as a community..." Her gaze drifted downward as her entire posture and expression shifted into depression. "Without an extraordinary amount of luck or a drastic change in circumstances, the entire village is going to vanish by mid-winter. Many will die of starvation... some will perish from the cold... still others may try to leave this place, but nobody ever gets far..."

Sophia just had to question the last part of that phrase. "Nobody ever gets far? What do you mean--" That day seemed to conspire to interrupt her inquiries constantly, as Elysia put her hand up to silence Sophia mid-question, her head turned as if listening for something off in the other direction. Not more than a few seconds later, Sophia heard it too.

Hoofbeats.

Elysia let out an exasperated sigh. "Again? It hasn't even been two weeks..." Glancing over at Sophia, her eyes narrowed. "And to make matters worse, they're probably here because they're looking for you." With a grand, sweeping motion, Elysia motioned to the approaching horsemen. "Your choice, Princess. You can go back with them, and live happily ever after in that castle of yours..." She made a second motion to the village. "...or you can stay with us, and learn the truth of the world. I won't ask you to make a decision right this instant, but time is drawing short..."

Sophia hesitated. This was indeed a split decision: on one hand, she was the baroness-to-be, and she couldn't simply give up her duties like that. On the other hand, though, she couldn't ignore the village's plight. Not after seeing it firsthand. As the horsemen entered the village, Elysia shoved Sophia into the hut in order to keep her hidden, then walked over to meet their new 'visitors'.

One of the cavalry spoke up, an almost-amused sneer to his voice. "I presume the village is late on its taxes, as usual?" His fingers drummed at the hilt of his sword, as if implying some sort of threat. "Tsk tsk. The baron will not be pleased."

Elysia sighed, trying to be civil in her response. "Sir, you know we can't afford to pay... we're all poor here, barely able to feed ourselves..."

The cavalier shook his head. "Nonetheless, if you cannot pay, we may just have to raze the village. Rules are rules, and we shan't abide lawbreakers."

---

"So that's what this is about..." Sophia whispered, eavesdropping on the conversation from afar. As a young noble, she understood why taxes were a thing, but to burn down an entire village, along with doing several other likely and unspeakable things to its inhabitants, because the village was literally incapable of affording such a thing? Not because it wanted to be, but because it had been forced to be?

This was ridiculous. Turning to Nina, a wicked smirk crossed Sophia's face, the spark of either a brilliant or utterly terrible idea obvious in her expression. "Nina, would you mind helping me with a little something of mine? I have an idea..."

---

"This is your final warning. If you cannot pay, the village will disappear--" He cut himself off as he noticed a most peculiar sight. Elysia turned to see what the man was looking at... and had to actively refrain from laughing, aware as she was of what had transpired.

Sophia walked from the hut into the middle of the crowd of horsemen, carrying a bundle tied with her old hair bow. In the bundle was her sword, all the pieces of her armor, her circlet, and her dress. "Will this be enough to pay off the debt?"

The cavaliers stopped to examine the various goods, and were genuinely surprised to find such good quality items in a place like this. "How did you--"

"Family heirlooms." Sophia glanced aside, not missing a beat in her acting. It wasn't really a lie, anyway; they were family heirlooms... just ones that already belonged to the Baron's family. "Will that be enough?"

After a few seconds of awkward, stunned silence, one of the cavaliers spoke. "...yes, it will. Consider yourselves fortunate." And with that, they turned and left, leaving the two young women to stare at each other for a long, silent moment... before bursting into laughter.

Once the two had calmed down, Elysia spoke first, wiping a tear from her eye from laughing a bit too hard. "A rather theatrical way to make your choice, Princess."

Sophia shook her head. "Just Sophia now." With Nina's help, Sophia had traded out all her princessly attire and equipment for clothing more fitting of the village itself, in addition to cutting off most of her hair, leaving it at roughly neck-length. "How do I look?"

"Like one of us." Elysia snickered. "I never thought I'd see this happen. A princess deciding to live among us... and shooing off her own soldiers at the same time, without them knowing it's her." She sighed once more, but this time, it was a sigh of relief, not of exasperation or depression.

"I have a very good feeling about this..."


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