On Plans of Rebellion
That club to the head must have shaken me more than I’d thought; to have not only agreed to join some kind of rebellion, but play a role within it is ridiculous! Usually I’m far better at keeping…errant thoughts…unvoiced!
Errant thoughts? My thoughts are far more directed than yours have been for years. I take charge when you can’t. You lost control when you were clubbed to the head because you needed me, not because of the blow itself. This meeting was no different.
You haven’t been here for years. I buried you.
Buried? I take the things you can’t handle, so that you can live your happy family life.
What things? You didn’t remember the slaughter at the statue. You forgot about the executions father took us to. I remember everything from the streets you have forgotten. Haha, you don’t even remember the hellhound!
The others said I was attacked by a hellhound, I didn’t know what they were talking about. You shouldn’t keep things like that from me.
I can let you remember it if you like. It wasn’t exactly pleasant, though .You never buried me; bored me out of existence would be a more accurate description. I’m not going to bother showing up for your mundane life. But now things are getting more interesting, I think I’ll stay awhile.
You’ve dragged me into a rebellion! I’ve made a very deliberate effort to stay out of the attention of the authorities for the past 20 years. Why should I change that now? I have a family to protect, and no skills to fight in a rebellion!
We have no choice. Even your blind optimism can’t hold up in the face of Barzillai’s actions. You love this city, would like to see it restored to its former glory. I don’t particularly care for the city, but our goals are well aligned. But don’t worry, you don’t need to do anything overt; I signed us up, I’ll take care of it. We have plenty of skills, they’re just rusty from disuse. I haven’t forgotten how to use them as you have. I’ll help you relearn them, as I did when you were making those pathetic attempts to throw daggers at rats. You saw how much better things got when I took charge.
Sure. That’s why I’m sneaking home in the night, after curfew, dodging patrols while carrying three dire rats and several small dogs. Seems perfectly reasonable to me!
Haha, it’s true that you were always stronger on the planning side of things, action suits me far better. But until you wake up from twenty years of complacency I’ll have to do that too. The vermin are for Ereniel’s benefit. We tell her that tours are suffering and we have to hunt vermin to supplement our income. This will explain our absences on those night when I’m…otherwise occupied.
I told Ereniel that the tours are going well. She’s worried enough as it is.
Ha, you’re just pissed off that my lie is more truthful than yours. But it serves more than only justifying us to our wife. If you want to keep your family safe then you need to continue to live your life as normally as possible. That means your tours are suffering and you’re running out of coins. You are hunting vermin to keep your family. You’ve already approached Songbird Hall about schooling for your daughter, which is expensive. Thus less questions will be raised when you enquire after her old teacher, Brother Vaelas.
That makes sense, and I do regret not having acted when he was arrested. But why do you care about Brother Vaelas?
Call it a gesture of goodwill to you. Besides, a man of learning may be a valuable addition to the rebellion if we can locate him.
Only if we can retrieve him. And even if we can, if he is freed shortly after I have enquired about him it will do little for the safety of my family.
You don’t retrieve him. I do. As I said, the best thing you can do is live your daily life as normally as possible, and do what you can for the rebellion in that guise. Anything outside of that is down to me. The way to keep you safest is for me to be prominent. Spread rumours of me, speak of me on your tours. Anything you hear of that works against house Thrune and its operations in Kintargo, promote as my doing.
You really think that will work? No matter how much autonomy you think you have, you may have noticed that we look a little alike. What are you going to do? Wear a mask?
I’m thinking a satin veil.
I admit it’s not ideal, not nearly as memorable as I’d like. But it will do for now, and may capture the attention of the Asmodeans. I will work on something better to build my persona. The Nightswarm will be feared as an agent of rebellion!
Nightswarm? That’s what you’re calling yourself? It sounds ridiculous.
Of course it does. Until the Nightswarm has slaughtered a Dottari patrol, flayed a Hellknight, and burgled the castle. Then it becomes something feared by the authorities. And something so far from the life of Gaian Vespinus that he need not fear discovery. Which is why you need to make sure that the name is known, and not thought ridiculous! Fabricate some stories, you’re good at that. Make them outlandish but believable, and then make sure you attribute everything I actually do to me; if some of the stories can be verified, the rest will be more easily believed.
It’ll still be risky. And I’m not sure about fooling Ereniel; she might find it strange that we’re leaving home armoured and carrying several daggers to hunt mice.
I’m not fighting Thrune loyalists with daggers. I think I’ll take that elven blade you’ve been playing with, it will both look more impressive and be more effective when used by someone half competent. I’ll store our gear under Belor’s. The only person Ereniel will see coming and going from home is you. Of course there will still be risk; we’re aiding in leading a rebellion against an Asmodean empire! But remember also have still have the favour of the Savoured Sting, something you gave up for your family life with your token worship. That counts for much. Now, let me take charge and get us home, you’re terrible at sneaking while you’re thinking.
The Day After
Nicely done! I knew you’d be useful once you started thinking again. Enquiring after Brother Vaelas immediately after dropping Raiia off at Songbird Hall seems perfectly natural, and your horror at the news of him having been arrested for teaching false histories was perfectly believable.
Well, it seemed best not to actually show any interest in what had happened to him after that. Far safer to assume another guise and research standard punishments for crimes elsewhere. The change of appearance was certainly helpful in avoiding any links between the two.
I’m glad I could be of assistance. You see what you’ve been missing by straying from our Lady’s favour? Now we know Vaelas is likely at the Salt Works, we can plan our rescue!
Not alone though. I will inform the others at Belor’s, it shouldn’t be too difficult to convince them of the benefit. Perhaps they will then take me more seriously as a member of this rebellion; I’m not sure they feel the local tour guide has much to offer.
So you want to build their trust in you? What about our trust in them?
If we can all work together on such an undertaking it will no doubt help us all to build trust. But I do admit to some reservations with certain members. Rufus certainly seems passionate about his causes, and of course I trust Pavo. But the tiefling would have no real love of the city, and I know little of Titus’ motivations, nor those of Bug.
Hah, don’t let your friendship with Pavo blind you, the bard is the most likely to cut and run. All very well to sing songs of revolution, but his kind would rather talk than do. The halfling will likely be right behind him; if he can’t even get himself off the street he’s unlikely to have the motivation to stay the course on this! Titus has potential, and he was under the tutelage of Lentius. And you misread the situation with the freak; he is scorned under the Thrunes, and feels personally slighted. He will stick, and his sorcery will be useful. I agree that the Butcher is the best of the lot, both dedicated and competent. Plus he has more balls than the rest of you put together; other than me he was the only one prepared to take the fight to those loyalist thugs.
You? What did you do?
Threw knives at loyalists. Of course, it was more fun before the Hellhound noticed, but those are the risks we take, are they not?