Tuesday, September 30, 2014

High Tea

Since I am not currently building worlds, instead playing and DMing in the Forgotten Realms, a chunk of my brain has had nothing to do, so it has focused on what my character does while not adventuring.  I typically come back to the game table with an ocean of things my character has planned.  Luckily, the DM is good-natured about all of this, but sometimes there is just too much, so I turn to email.

Even that can get out of hand. :)

We recently finished the Mines of Phandelver in the Starter Set and have been branching off in new directions.  My current character, Lady Sarafina, is obsessed with locking down her powerbase in the Phandalin region.  She is empire building.  Her only real opposition, aside from orc armies, Dragons, Drow, and ancient Netherese Medusa Queens, has been Halia Thornton, the local Zhentarim leader and mob boss.  Sarafina's faction,the Lords' Alliance, has centuries of animosity with the Zhentarim, and the feelings bleed over between the two women as they vie for control over the wealth and the people in the area.

However, Lady Sarafina tends to get into trouble (this last time being turned into stone,) and Halia tends to pull her out of the fire and hold it over her.  A cold war between the two developed - as Sarafina realized she just couldn't lop off Halia's head - and Halia realized that having a legitimate noble protecting the area had some benefits.  So the two ladies began to have tea together at Tresendor Manor and discuss matters in a more genteel setting.

Sarafina, of course, couldn't stand it for long.  When it became evident that the party's two wizards were going to join the Zhentarim faction. I wrote the following note to the DM (those of you who have played the Mines of Phandelver will probably recognize some events discussed below):

While eating off a thousand year old Netherese dinette set that the party found in a ruins, Lady Sarafina broaches a subject that's been on her mind;

"Halia, we are the two strongest women in a fifty mile radius.  In one way or another, we are equal in power. I really can't have that.  

"No, the wine isn't poisoned.  I'm not about to put my axe through your spine either.  However, I am claiming you as my possession.  Like I took the town.  Like I took the people.  Like I took the land and trees and rocks and water. That's how I'm taking you.

"Every pack has to have an alpha bitch.

"I see that anger in your eyes.  But you know that I take care of my possessions.  I have bettered this town. I have protected the people.  What exactly did you do when you had the chance?  You pussy-footed around, not dealing with the incompetent Townmaster Wester, not dealing with Glasstaff and the Redbrands, not dealing with that Drow bastard.  You were screwing around with the Miner's Exchange, a good amount of money and power in your hands, doing nothing.

"I do things.  You knew that the minute you saw me walking into town.  I take charge.  I lead.

"I know how the Zhentarim works.  They are all busy trying to stab each other in the back.  You certainly don't have any friends there.  In fact, I'd say you must have quite a few enemies to have been chased off here to the boondocks, away from the political games and intrigue, away from the true sources of power in the organization.  I'd say that your assignment to Phandalin is punishment for some catastrophic failure on your part.

"That hit a nerve.  Sit back down.  I'm not through.

"You never feel safe in the Zhentarim, do you?  There is always someone ready to kill you if they get a chance.  That little elf witch you brought in; the cute one.  What do you bet that she's a spy for your boss?  She's keeping an eye on you.  She'd gut you with one word from that boss of yours.  In fact, she'd gut you on her own if she thought she could take your place.  You can't relax in those conditions.  You can't rest.  I'm amazed you even sleep.  In fact, that disguise spell is having a hard time keeping that under-eye baggage of yours in check.

"I sleep just fine.  I even snore.  Loudly.  

"A minute ago, I claimed you as my possession.  That means you are under my protection.  Not my begrudging protection as was earlier, but my full protection.  You have aided me in many ways, including saving my life.  I protect my own.  I hunted and killed a Medusa to save 6 peasants.  I executed a dragon on the off chance it might be a threat.  I destroyed the Redbrands, wiped out a Drow led conspiracy, and have slaughtered countless sub-human savages that threatened me and mine.

"All of that to protect people I barely knew; people who could never pay me back.  So what do you think I would do to protect you; you who are so vital to the health of my holdings?  I've destroyed an orc army before.  I'd at least do that for you.  Why, I'd even take out a cart load of Zhentarim assassins with bounties for your head.

"All I ask of you is your submission; your acceptance of me as your mistress.  You will be my vassal.  My bitch.

"Not officially, of course.  We'll continue our little cat and mouse game of Zhentarim versus Lords' Alliance.  You'll continue to do things to piss me off and I'll continue to do things to stop you.  You can report back to your overseer that you have me under your thumb.  But the two of us will run this place and look out for the good of the people and each other and grow in power and get filthy rich while doing so.

"Stop with all of the mock surprise and fake indignation.  You know this is our only logical option.

"I'll be forming a town council soon.  I think you'd do well as its chairman, as long as you obey my wishes and not let your own agendas get in the way of mine.  I think it's time we formalized your power.

"Did I just see a smile?  You hid it quickly, but yes, I definitely saw it.

"And I see you've got your claws in my wizards.  That's okay.  They have never had the temperament for sweetness and light anyway.  Keep your claws in their dark souls.  I have my own claws in yours.

"The sphere in which I can protect you fully will ebb and flow, but know that inside these walls, you are safe.  We will continue to have our dinners.  You can relax and breathe easily here.  Kick off your shoes.  Loosen your corset.  You might even get the first good night's sleep you've ever had.  After all, I know you've had a secret murder tunnel installed from your house to my bedchambers, even if it's not on the blueprints.  You might as well use it for something more productive.

"Stop staring at me with your mouth gaping open.  The proper response to my offer is 'Yes my Lady'."

Yeah, Lady Sarafina enjoys hitting hornets' nests with sticks.  Fun times.

- Ark

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