Journey to Recovery

Ardal and Ziobohn's Journal - Entry 4

Conspiracy

When I first dedicated myself to the liberation of my people I knew that such a cause would be fraught with danger. Playing the political game is dangerous at the best of times but the current situation is not particularly stable. Advocating for a people’s liberation whilst the government is clashing with nationalist movements over the issue of autonomy is an uphill battle. My plan to infiltrate the tiefling nobility was more dangerous still and I expected nothing less than numerous assassination attempts. I expected to be denigrated, to be face political roadblocks at every step of the way. Ultimately however I expected such actions to be motivated purely by politics and self-interest. I thought I understood the political landscape and its players. Then I went to a ball.

The ball was a decadent affair but I must confess I was enjoying myself. My suit was impeccably tailored and my disguise had everyone fooled. I must admit my boldness surprised even myself, the exhilaration of tricking everyone and the terror that I might be found out was an intoxicating mixture. Speaking of intoxication, the wine and other spirits were of supreme quality. However, I wasn’t there for the drink, the fine music or the pomp and ceremony. I was there to enjoy the fine company of nobility and ensure that I was the one everyone would talk about come the ball’s end. It’s who you know after all. In that regard things were going very well as I toured the nobility of the various nations. Eventually I made my way to Eulisses’ clique hoping to impress upon him that I’m not an enemy and things would be a lot easier if he didn’t treat me as such. He didn’t even recognise me. While I was there to try and mend things I couldn’t help but enjoy the look on his face when I insisted we had met before. I had little luck on that front, so I left him my card so as he could get in contact when he got over it. I even had a chat with the Emperor who seemed a pleasant sort and greatly enjoyed my tales of exploration. Don’t think his wife liked that I was distracting him from his stately duties.

The ball was quite enjoyable, one of the few things my host can do well is get attention. It was the talk of the ball, a real charmer. Although that didn't stop it having it's fun making Euilisses squirm because of his disguise. Then the King was infatuated with us, suprising to get such well deserved admiration and adoration from such naive and inept mortals. Although our fun was to come to an end when my host decided to talk to Calron Delmach.

By far the most important conversation of the night however was with Calron Delmach. From what he had gathered he was Eulisses’ greatest political rival and staunch advocate for greater autonomy. I intended to talk with all the big players anyway but given how stubborn Eulisses was being I figured I would make a show of the conversation to aggravate him. If he won’t work with me, others will. At first, he seemed like just the man I was looking for. Amiable, determined, a strong advocate for freedom and looking for allies. I couldn’t help but think of this man as natural ally. We found somewhere more private to discuss things more fully. I even slipped my disguise briefly to show that I was certainly not part of the established order and had worked hard to even be here.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.

I sat back in horror watching this man manage to goad my hosts ego. Constantly flattering him and making him "happy". Happiness is an illusion and hopefully this will teach the host a lesson. If people are flattering you enjoy it but always be aware they're only doing it because they're after something. Everyone always wants someone or something, no one is ever satisfied with what they have…

Anyway, after that Calron revealed what kind of man he really is.  My suspicions were first twigged when his underlings spoke of going much further than reform. I brushed it away as little more than drunken admirers getting overexcited.  Then, when I made it clear that my people required a strong tiefling state to trade and otherwise ally with he started to speak. The words he said were innocuous in context, he would like nothing more than a strong state and certainly had no intention of dividing and destroying this nation.  His eyes however, and his tone and rate of speech. This wasn’t a man giving a political response. He was preaching, lost in fervour. Being in his presence became uncomfortable. I might have just ignored him as a madman but something clicked. Maldrek’s lessons were about to pay off in the most horrifying way. Calron had fought his way from Prudentia. Prudentia was administrated by none other than Vioreck Obitus. Under Vioreck the church and the state were one and the same, a theocracy to the goddess Rolterra. This regime was incredibly popular. There was no crime, no dissent, nothing that would threaten the stability of the realm. This is because Rolterra is a goddess of tyranny, not as powerful as say, Asmodeus, but just as insidious.

I need a drink, back in a moment.

Right well I guess I'll take over then… So this continent's doomed. Just get that out there. They aren't coming to overthrow everything. They aren't planning or scheming for something down the line. They're here already. And they're winning. If there was one thing of good that came out of the Abyssal Hosts invasion it was annihilating that man Vioreck. And now his legacy lives on in this fanatic. That I had to lock eyes with as it ranted about order and stability. Both of those things are awful blights on a world ripe for the plucking. 

Alright pop quiz, name a subdomain of Rolterra.

Being an asshole

Here’s one: Revolution.

Oh

Not for the purposes of liberation or freedom of course. No, a revolution lead by strong figureheads and demagogues to overthrow weak and ailing governments. Once they are in charge church and state merges becoming a theocratic tyranny.

Here’s another: Expansion

I can't guess any of these…

Because one isn’t enough. Nothing is ever enough. The cosmos could be crushed under Rolterra’s adamantium heel and it wouldn’t be enough. Once established they support and fund revolutions elsewhere.

Here’s another fun fact: To this end, Rolterran worshippers and clergy tend to be extremely charismatic and convincing as to sway and incite the populace. They often masquerade as bards.

Final quiz: Who is a charismatic figurehead, lived in Prudentia during the Rolterran regime, lauded as a hero, actively works against the ruling government and owns the largest coalition of bardic colleges in the land?

Got it in one. Calron Delmach.

I did not take this revelation well. I excused myself and attempted to blend back into the party. This evening would be full of surprises however, as Eulisses noticed that something was off and in a show of compassion seemed genuinely concerned. I’m ashamed to say I practically broke into tears. He escorted me to his office and began to enquire as to what the hell was going on. I decided to tell him everything, including my own personal position in all of this because as far as I’m concerned this became about a lot more than political games. For once he was actually reasonable, I think he understood just how bad this situation is. Well it was about to get worse. After that I got some liquid courage and finished the night with a song I prepared earlier about sailing the high seas and exploration.

You know it's bad when that asshole is playing nice. Like seriously the worst. He did bring in some nice wine for me though, well appreciated. I'm surprised by how well I handled everything, especially given these cultists have founded a faith on insurrection. Don't get me wrong I hate this Empire what with it's tolerance and low crime rates and no demons being allowed in. But I have no words to describe my fear of what they would create. Lawful and Chaotic evils are true enemies of each other. We're evil but they put thought into their evil. Demons fear the iron cages of hell… The Red Palace is our worst nightmares… And yet I'm not scared of this man and his ambitions. After all this is a strong Empire. I'm sure the Empire will endure. 

Now rumours of a non-tiefling being sworn into the Book of Blood are spreading like wildfire. So, that’s how it’s going to be Calron? Well if he thinks I’m just going to sit here and let him put not only my people but everyone back in chains he’s got another thing coming. Like all the others he underestimates me and it will be his undoing.

That’s not all however, rumours of a more… salacious nature are also spreading. That the First Minister is consorting with a demon. The timing is rather suspect don’t you think? Those that know about this visit a ball with influential nobles, then suddenly this rumour appears. I mean it wasn’t the Church that found out, they’d prove it with the corpse of a demon. It wouldn’t be any sorcerers capable of seeing through the disguise, because they’d be in Eulisses’ clique. I don’t know this for certain but I’m positive it was one of us. I don’t know why, and really, I don’t care who but this could endanger Dranhiro’s life and I won’t have it.

Then there’s the issue that a couple of low level civil servants have been rather nastily killed. I don’t know the details there but it’s causing bloody havoc as far as administering the realm is concerned. I hope this is just a freak occurrence and there isn’t any sort of conspiracy at work.

We're all going to die. He's already putting plans into action. This is the beginning of the end. And not the end our great lord promised us all… WHY DOES NOTHING GO RIGHT?!

Well, at least things can’t get much worse, right?

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