19
Jun
14

Hârn: Genisis – Entry 26

HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 26
PREVIOUS: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 25
NEXT: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 27

23rd of Azura in the year 720 TR

Merrick has already thrown himself fully into the task of destabilizing the Church of Larani. It took less than a few words to enlist his aide, as though he already had the idea himself. The Shek-Pvar have insisted on a few more days of preparation in the Chantry, giving us ample time to sow the seeds of discord.

Again, schedule conflicts prevented everyone from getting together so we put off the journey up Mount Galatia for another week. This time it was just Merrick, Talon, Mai Lin and myself. Due to shifting schedules and the abundance of one off sessions we’ve been doing, Talon spent most of the session creating a secondary character to play from time to time.

After some discussion, Merrick and I elected to prepare the town for Ran and Agrik’s return from the mountain and the downfall of the Church of Larani. After all, he still has his mission he’s accountable for.

He spent the day walking among the townspeople. Word of the previous day’s events had already spread, he simply made sure to place blame squarely at the church’s feet and play up my own actions in defeating the fallen cleric. Once the story took root and began to spread of its own accord, we called a meeting among the Agrikians of Degong. Merrick accompanied me to this meeting, not as one of the faithful but no less important to our plans.

In the dank cellar they call a temple, I reiterated my intent to cull the weak dogs of Larani from this town and bring Agrik once again into the light where he belongs. Though I have continued to go by the name Scaurus, as my compatriots now call me, I introduced myself to the gathered men and women as my true self, Ran Oranus of the Clan of Oranus of Rethem, Terahni of the Holy Temple of Agrik, sent to tame this land in the name of the God of War to appease the First God of Primal Fire, mighty Manrasusha.

I challenged the weakness found among those gathered that allowed them to be driven to this low station and allowed the followers of Larani to walk so freely. They seek a champion to lead them and I will gladly take that place, though to be truly strong they must be taught to stand on their own.

Their leader finally made herself known, a Sindarin by the name of Talia. Strangely, she seemed familiar to me, though I could not place it at the time. Merrick later confirmed that he had seen Talia in the robes of Larani at their temple the day before, the head of the local guard as it were. Clearly, she is not all that she appears.

We dismissed the gathered followers to prepare themselves, spread dissent and gather support for our return. Talia, Merrick and I began to make plans of our own, plans that would put the church on the defensive and shake the townspeople free of the stupor Larani has lulled them into. With Talia’s aid and influence within the church, Merrick will begin the first stage of our plan tonight.

Before he left for his job and I returned to the inn, I reminded Merrick that, though privy to my identity and true purpose, he was to keep that secret from our traveling companions for the time being. I am still determining the loyalties of those who travel with us and if they may be of use to Agrik.

25th of Azura in the year 720 TR

The town crier in the marketplace this morning confirmed our first attack was a success. With Talia’s aid, Merrick broke into the temple of Larani, stealing uniforms and even, somehow, gaining access to their treasury despite armed guards and making off with a small chest of money, which he donated to the war effort. Talia leveraged her own special brand of pressure within the church and the crier indicated that the temple would be levying a tax of one pence upon the businesses, townspeople and travelers passing through to recoup their losses. Those who refused to pay would be assessed a larger fine.

Merrick immediately entered relations management mode, moving among the people and assessing their temperament in response to the tax and stoking fires where they presented themselves. The town of Degong is made up of some seven hundred souls, nearly a tenth of which are stout, prideful Khuzdul; a high percentage of the population for this island, but appropriate given the town’s mining operations. The Khuzdul and followers of Sarajin in the town were especially vocal about refusing the tax in their district and will likely make our most valuable allies, if unwittingly.

The Church of Larani largely runs the local government in town as a matter of convenience, handling local issues and managing the guard of the town. This uniquely grants them the most power of all of the major temples represented within the town, but also focuses the blame for their actions squarely upon their feet.

While he was out, I paused by the tavern where were staying and spied Mai Lin, sitting alone at a table with her two dogs. It was strange sitting down across from her, she regarded me not as a stranger but certainly unfamiliar while I remember each of our days traveling together since we met outside of Gerar.

I tried to engage her in pleasant conversation, but it was clear she found my intentions more uncomfortable than friendly. Briefly, I considered confiding in her my true identity, but thought better of it. For now, it will wait.

Mai Lin’s player and I are very close friends who have known each other a long time and I find it incredibly hilarious for my mail character attempting to flirt with his female character. It usually makes for a good laugh around the table.

27th of Larani in the year 720 TR

Talia has begun leading her men about town to collect the tax, flanked by a small contingent of guards as a show of force. When it came to our inn, my compatriots protested, but I volunteered the tax on their behalf to keep our involvement out of sight for the time being.

Merrick set out among the townspeople to see how the days of tax collecting had gone, focusing on the a local bar known to support Sarajin. To our delight, they had refused the tax and thrown the guards out for the time being. We were able to get a message to Talia and she left a pair of helmets and Larani shields out where we could reach them that evening.

We waited outside the bar in the shadows, admittedly not my favorite part of the plan though I trust to Merrick’s expertise, until the bar closed. With our identities hidden beneath helmets and clad in the stolen uniforms, we forced the lock on the inn and barged in. A young girl was cleaning up, surprised at our sudden entrance. We demanded she retrieve the inn keeper to pay his fine, which she initially refused, but went running into the back rooms as I began ransacking the bar.

A mountain of a man emerged moments later, squaring up on Merrick with a massive, two handed maul in hand. We demanded the owed fines, plus extra for his refusal to pay earlier, which, predictably, he flat refused. Merrick continued arguing with him while I paused behind the bar, struggling hard to find that deep connection with Agrik I once shared. Of all the things that have changed with this new body, that is the connection I miss most personally. Digging in and concentrating, praise be to Agrik, I was able to conjure a ball of flame alight in my hand. Pressing the searing, curl of flame into the bar, it began to smolder and eventually burst into light.

I was only able to achieve this through a fair amount of luck, making the roll by a single point, and a large expenditure of Piety. For any character, but Clerics in particular who tend to have higher amounts of it, Piety can be spent to act as a modifier to the dice pool, making success more likely. 

Clearly, regaining my clerical powers will take a fair amount of work.

The bartender was done negotiating and took a swing at Merrick, smashing into his shield which just barely withstood the blow. Finally a battle, something I could throw myself into. We dueled among the toppled chairs and beer soaked tables of the inn while the bar fire quietly grew. I got my nicks in on the man, but he was a talented fighter and held his own.

Finally, he was driven back by the attacks levied against him and retreated through the door into the back rooms. I allowed him to break long enough to slam the door shut against us and lock it from his side. While I certainly hope no harm comes to such a warrior from our deception, the ruse must be made clear. I jammed my stolen shield against the handle of the door, blocking it from our side, and turned to leave. I discarded the Larani robes into the fire behind the bar and left with Merrick into the night.

Should he realize what was happening, a man of that might should have no problem breaking out of the building before it is consumed in flame. Either way, the ruse should be complete and the attack on the townspeople over a tax should be enough to drive popular opinion against the Church of Larani.

In the morning, we will leave early for the top of Mount Galatia and see our tasks done with Spar Daymar. By the time we return, Degong should be ready to explode.

PREVIOUS: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 25
NEXT: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 27
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