This is a post I wrote up for a roleplay I’m taking part in called Godhood 3. Julius is one of our player’s big villains, and this post leads up to said villain’s trial and butt-kicking at the hands of my main character, the goddess Onore.
It’s all for a game, has not been touched since the original post (beyond some quick grammar and spellchecking that I wasn’t even that thorough on), and it’s about 1600 words.
Alucio was used to getting strange looks from passerby. Even back home in Lampide, there were many who did not trust the Inquisition. He couldn’t say he blamed them – after all, the Inquisition had very near absolute power. It was human nature to be wary of something that you could not stop. This, however, was much darker and foreboding. This didn’t look like the unease of someone whose entire livelihood and well-being could be upended by the words of another. This looked like a pack of wolves, circling and waiting for a moment to tear you apart. They were not welcome here. He doubted they would even be tolerated as foreign visitors if they made too much of a ruckus.
“Oh sweet!” Lukas exclaimed, pressing his hands against the shop’s window, green eyes wide with excitement. “This lamp is Qalistani! And… is that Dancer pottery?! It is! This is awesome! Can we get it?! It’d look great in the chapel back home!”
His apprentice seemed blissfully unaware.
“Lukas,” Alucio said evenly, stroking his beard, “I realize you have a passion for art, but we are not here to sightsee.” He glanced. “And that is not Dancer ‘pottery’. I’ve been to Ilen. Dancer work is… very distinct.”
“…… Killjoy.” Lukas pouted and pulled away from the window. The young man had been a Lightbringer before the Inquisition had found him. He had a real passion for artwork of all kinds, especially paintings and songs. His dusty brown hair was messy and unkempt, as if he’d never taken a comb to it in his life. He was not quite as tanned as his master, having lived most of his life in a studio, but his training had bronzed him before too long. He wore the large hat and black longcoat that was the mark of his office, but Alucio could see some paint marks on it.
Alucio had not changed much since the battle of Lampide(1). He still had that gas mask and his beard was a bit more gray, but he was showing few other signs of his age. “We’re not here to sightsee.” He repeated, pointing to a sign in the door.
Solars not accepted, it read.
Lukas stared at it for a few seconds, then sighed and pulled back. “Right.”
Alucio looked down the street at the people milling about, “The locals don’t really care about us one way or another. The warlord here – Maximillian Eustace Fotheringham, he calls himself – is, however, a little execution happy.” His eyes narrowed at Lukas. “Especially where we’re involved. We’re just lucky to have secured an appointment so he knows we’re coming.”
Lukas cocked an eyebrow, putting hands behind his head as they started to walk towards the center of town. “Then why haven’t the Legions come down on him? It’s not like our Lady would take such a thing lieing down.”
“No,” He agreed, “But Fotheringham would put his people in harm’s way rather than face Her wrath.”
“Probably.” Lukas admitted. “Warlords aren’t known for being peace-loving and kind to their subjects.”
“So we’re here to attempt a peaceful transfer of power, rather than to simply crush him underfoot.”
“‘Peaceful’.” Lukas said dryly, looking down at the two matched swords his master had asked him to bring. “Riiiiight.”
“Or persuade him to be a good neighbor and to stop arresting or executing our citizens.” Alucio pointed to a stone building at the end of the road, the only stone construct in the entire village. “We simply need to persuade him that working with Lampide is smarter and more profitable than working against it. I’ve done my research, the man is arrogant, not crazy.”
It was at that exact moment than someone’s leg came flying out of the stone building and plopped down in front of the two Inquisitors. “THERE! ONLY ONE LEFT FOOT NOW!!! THE NEXT BITCH BETTER KNOW HOW TO F$#%ING DANCE!!!”
Lukas stared at the leg. “You sure about that, Master?”
Alucio sighed. “Less than I was.”
“I love a lady’s who’s touchy, really I do,” Lukas brushed off a servant who was reaching for him. “But the hat stays on.”
“Was reaching for weapons.”
“You were reachin’ a little high for my swords.” He muttered, handing them over. “I’m gonna want those back.”
“Is fine. Just for meeting with master.” The servant said before bowing and allowing them entrance to Fotheringham’s “throne room”.
Fotheringham had originally been a simple mercenary in the countryside, like any other in the Lampidan grasslands. The village he now ruled had once been considered ripe for conversion to worship of Onore. Many of the villages here had, in fact – strangely most of them had some belief system that appeared distantly related to the sun goddess’, and in some cases outright identical. Others, it seemed, had ancient prophecies that told of their coming, perhaps delivered by a masked man, or a doctor(2).
This village, however, had been hit hard by Restless attacks, and had no desire to be ‘grouped together for the slaughter’ or some nonsense, Lukas didn’t remember. In order to preserve themselves during the mistbourne invasion, they had refused Lampidan aid and requested the aid of a brilliant mercenary tactician by the name of Volkan Brighteyes. Brighteyes had successfully defended the village, but in time his subordinate poisoned him and took his place as leader of the band. The band had then settled into the village permanently, declaring the village as permanently under their protection.
That was not the official story, of course. But only a fool completely believes the ‘official’ story.
The man before him now looked like he had enjoyed the benefits of being ruler of a village for far too long. The man was slovenly and unkempt, his beard a tangle and his belly rotund. He had a pair of attractive women to each side, each with their expression neutral. Lukas doubted they were much more than arm candy.
“You will not kneel in the presence of Lord Fotheringham?”
“No, my lord. I’m afraid we kneel only to our mistress, and you are not she.”
The warlord’s eyes burned. “You will speak to me with respect, sun-kisser!! You are here at my pleasure.”
“My lord, with all due respect, your pleasure would have both I and my apprentice strung up by our intestines. We’re in this place because you do not want the Legions to come down on your head and talking to a pair of Inquisitors is more likely to get you something out of this arrangement.”
Lukas didn’t know much about diplomacy but he was beginning to think ‘all due respect’ actually meant ‘go **** yourself’.
Lord Fotheringham (Lukas was also fighting the urge not to snicker) raised an eyebrow at that, but something in the Inquisitor’s tone made him drop the matter. “I already told Julius I’m not interested in being a slave to Onore’s whims. I’ve sent him troops, but I demand more if he wishes more.”
Alucio nodded. “Which is why we are here from Lampide itself to offer a direct partnership with our lady instead.”
Frothingham scowled, rivulets of sweat trickling down his ugly mug. “Call it watcha want, Inquisitor. I ain’t blind, you’s types always talk about protection and pardnership. But I seen through it!” He jabbed an accusatory finger into Alucio’s face. “You’s gonna put your taxes and your soldiers out here in mah village to take it from me!”
“Firstly, taxes are necessary for the maintenance of the roads and our legions, we do not do them for fun.” Alucio said evenly. “Secondly, Initiates and foreign powers do not pay taxes, only cities that have officially joined our nation.”
“They also can’t earn Solars in your cities.” Fatteningham snapped. “I dun my homework.”
“You don’t let anyone in this town use Solars anyway, what do you care?” Alucio pointed out. “If anything it encourages your citizens to stay here, away from the cities.”
Lukas tuned out his master and the annoying warlord as his mind began to wander a tad. As he did so he winked to one of the lady bodyguards, who simply returned a glance of cold stone.
He knew how this would play out: Farting-in-ham would eventually promise to lift the ban on Solars so that the people could trade properly with Lampide for food and supplies, in exchange for having no Inquisitorial or Legion interference. He’d seen his master’s work often enough.
Moreover, though, this would signal the end for Fotheringham.
The economics and culture of Lampide would become the dominant force in this town. Lampide was a powerhouse, and anyone in their right mind would want to trade with them. A vase here, a story there, a happy wedded couple over there… Slowly but surely Lampide’s culture would begin to subsume this village’s. Brighteyes was a great hero worth remembering, and the people would remember his greatness, and find Fotheringham’s wanting. There would be no trust left for the old mercenary, but plenty for Brighteyes and Onore.
After all, Lukas thought as Fotheringham laughed uproariously… The Sun burned the wicked away.
“Master, who is Julius?” Lukas asked as they left town.
“Our next target.”
“…Wait, you didn’t know who he was when we were in there, did you?”
Alucio turned his eyes to glare at his student. “I assure you, Lukas, that that is a temporary arrangement. For now, I simply needed Fotheringham to believe I was there in opposition to a man he didn’t like.”
“…Neat.” Lukas tilted his hat. “I’ll write a song about that trick.”
“I thought you were a painter?”
“I can do both!”
(1) The Battle of Lampide was one of the largest events in the game up to this point. It consisted of a massive invasion on the city of Lampide by mist-zombies and monsters born from the corrupted heart of the planet (long story). Lampide called in all of her allies, from the magical Dancers to the mysterious Joybringers. Ultimately Lampide was victorius, but at great cost. Alucio was a man with a long gray beard and a deep tan.
(2) This isn’t just plot convenience, by the way, the events leading up to those belief systems and prophecies were actually planned by myself and another player.