Ratfolk who is most likely my daughter.
Conversation 1: 2/28/17
DM: You approach the rats, who had been whispering quietly to each other. They stop whispering when you approach.
Me: “We’re glad to see you unharmed.”
DM: Beaker nods. Ingrid is watching him, then she nods.
Ingred: Ingred, speaking evenly, says “We would really prefer discussing what happened here after we have had counsel with our government.”
Bro: “I understand, but I’m afraid our questions can’t wait. Especially given all that’s happened down here.”
Me: “We need to collect your statements of what happened”
Ingred: She looks at Beaker. “Then dismiss this one. I will remain behind to answer questions.”
Me: “It’s currently not safe. Several of your comrades seem… impaired. We can’t guarantee your safety”
Bro: “We need to get his statement as well as yours, Ingrid.”
Ingred: She sniffs curtly. “Ask your questions. Beaker is not informed on etiquette when dealing with surface goers, so I would prefer you listen when I clarify that he cannot legally discuss certain matters without betraying his station and duty. To ratfolk, station and duty are everything.” she continues to watch Beaker, rounding her words. “Everything.”
Bro: “Alright. Beaker, please wait in the corner. We will be interviewing you separately.”
Ingred: “What is your name?” she asks, pointing at Broderick.
Me: “Do you not remember us?”
Ingred: “I remember you. I never got his name or his name.” she points at Richard and Broderick.
Bro: “My name is Broderick Spencer.”
Ingred: “Thank you. You all work for the Weather Society, which we have an alliance with – so yes, we will give initial statements, but if Beaker is speaking I need to be within earshot. I outrank him and there is protocol in place.”
Bro: “We have protocol’s that must be followed as well, Ingrid. To ensure accuracy of your statements, we interview all witnesses separately. That’s why we asked you and Beaker to wait over here while we interviewed Venyard.”
Ingred: "Fine. I’ll note it in the report. We had an assignment to retrieve a relic from the base of the tower. We found that someone had constructed a device down here that appears to have been based on stolen designs. While investigating the device, we were caught by that man… " she gestures to the body of Harrison… " followed by about 12 living corpses. He killed half our group and captured the rest… did things to them using chemicals and those tools over on that table. The ones who were dead he couldn’t raise, which was a boon to us. But he turned the living ones into… well living traps. Of the six that remained, he turned four against the common goal, tricked them into working for him using those chemicals. I assume Beaker and I were left alive because of our knowledge of the designs of the machine. He didn’t have the skills to operate it, and I am certain he intended to beat the information out of us. Beaker told him too much." she said quickly. “Far too much. I am only being careful to make sure I do not follow in his folly. We cannot let the designs of the machine fall into the hands of the general public, or your government.”
Richard: Who were the designs stolen from?
Ingred: “I don’t know. I cannot answer that question, I just know the designs were not available to the public at any point. I knew when I saw it they must have been stolen.”
Me: “Was this machine down here when your forces previously held the tower?”
Ingred: “Yes. We returned because of this machine. It is so important we risked lives twice trying to deactivate and dismantle it.”
Me: “Dismantle it?”
Ingred: “It can’t be moved from the room as is. We will take it out in parts if we must.”
Me: “Why do you want it to be deactivated?”
Ingred: “Because as is, it could be used for very wicked things. Its in a place that is inherently hard to defend, and as you have seen now, others are learning about it.”
Me: “What does the machine do?”
Ingred: She stiffens a bit. “That is a matter for our diplomats to discuss. I cannot go into that, especially not here.”
Me: “Did you cause the collapse of the tower or was that harrison’s forces?”
Ingred: “If it was one of us, it was not something the group in general knew. I believe it was Harrison. It seems more likely than betrayal.”
Bro: “Unfortunately, we can’t accept you declining to answer about the machine. I hope you can sympathize with our position, Ingrid. We have seen some terrible things down here, and the fate of not only our district but also the city rests in the balance. Now please, what does the machine do?”
Ingred: “That is above my station. I’m sorry.”
Bro: “But you know what the machine does?”
Ingred: She says nothing. “If we return the questioning to things I can discuss, I will gladly do so. But why we ratfolk are interested in this device is not something I will answer.”
Me: “How long was Harrison down here?”
Ingred: “He was down here for maybe twelve hours at most.”
Me: “What about the elementals? Were they here before or did you conjure them?”
Ingred: “They’ve been trapped down here since we started investigating.”
Me: “Did Harrison mention anything about why he came down here?”
Ingred: “Briefly he said something about needing an audience, and then threatened to deafen us if we spoke to him. So we didn’t. Then he demanded information from Beaker, who cracked under his… disturbing… behavior. There you go. You folks arrived… I don’t know what else to say.”
Me: “Did you overhear him say anything to the two men he killed in the other room?”
Ingred: “No. I saw him say something to them, but I couldn’t make it out over the sounds from upstairs.”
Me: “What sounds?”
Ingred: “Sorry, I mispoke. We were trying to get a message to the rats upstairs. We were focused on the sounds from upstairs, not on his actions. The sounds were very minimal.”
Me: “How were you trying to get a message?”
Ingred: She seems uncomfortable. “There was a rat we tried to communicate through, but I think it got lost or distracted… it was feral, what can I say…”
Bro: “…How do you deliver messages through rats?”
Ingred: “We have some means of communications that are extremely hard to put into words. We can derive basic meanings and send them through rats using a combination of movements, smells, and sounds.”
Me: “I’m out of questions”
Bro: “Thank you for your patience, Ingrid.”
Conversation 2: 10/12/17 – Log
Me: He asks to know what they intend to do with the lich process. When she says no Pearce brings up that he has been a hero to the Ratfolk and that they only have this opportunity because he spoke up for them.
Ingred: She says the average lifespan of a ratfolk is less than a quarter of a surface-dweller. She says that they had believed Ratman had a solution to this – a way to extend the lives of ratkind. She says they believe this process might be similar.
Me: Pearce points out that the process involves slaying the lives of others. It uses the dark magic similar to the stuff that is currently hurting the divine realm. If they go this route they will bind their race to the Shadows. He implores them not to use it.
Ingred: She says they need to examine it and decide for themselves, because they can no longer be so dependent on the divines. She asks you to trust her people to make the right choice.
Me: Pearce saddens at her doubts in the divines. He brings up that if Ovid is still in his poor state the Court has a dangerous ritual that might be able to restore him. Pearce points out that Ovid would be a great asset to tomorrow’s mission
Ingred: She wants to know the specifics of the ritual.
Me: Pearce avoids details but states that Lady Amethyst can put him in a state that will allow Pearce himself to speak with Ovid’s psyche, even if his conscious self is unresponsive
Ingred: She says that they believe you would put yourself at peril doing that with a being like Ovid.
Me: A risk I might be willing to take
Ingred: She says she will allow it but warns you of the risk, again. Refers to you as “Father”.
Me: I thank her for her concern and ask the ratfolk to bring Ovid to the Caslte at 6 pm.
Ingred: She clarifies he is still in the sacred realm and cannot be moved.
Me: Fine, but they must guarantee that no ratfolk linger inside at the given time. We respect their secrets, we expect them to respect ours.
Ingred: She agrees. She says it isn’t mind-control, she can’t force subjects to listen, but she will make that clear.
|Conversation 3: 10/28/17 – Log|
Ingred:“He hasn’t spoken. But he is amongst us again. We can’t thank you enough, Pearce.”
Ingred: “You returned Ovid to our people. Did you not?” She looks confused.
Me: Pearce looks at the body and then Ingred. “We should talk in another room”
Ingred: “What is it?” she asks, closing the door.
Me: “What happened in the library… Ratman died. Or at least we thought he did. If it were not for the Amethyst Lady I would have been killed as well when we performed the ritual”
Ingred: “That doesn’t sound correct. That is Ovid in the room. He isn’t dead?”
Me: “I’m saying Ovid’s mind and soul are probably gone. At best his body is all that’s left. At worst something else might be in there”
Ingred: She furrows her brows. “If Ovid… is actually gone, the ratfolk will lose their unity as a people. That in there – that moves, and behaves, and allows – much like Ovid did. It just doesn’t speak.” she says. You get the feeling she is implying something. She pauses, watching you. “If there is a part to be played by us tomorrow, Ovid cannot be dead.”
Me: “You are the ambassador. It is not my business what or when you choose to reveal things. However remember that before Ovid became who he was he was a machine that worked for the Kingdom. Also remember that Ovid’s body alone has power. There are things in the shadows that can use the bodies of the dead and hollow”
Ingred: “Can I trust you and yours to keep silent on this?”
Me: “It will be so. In that case while I can speak about it, I want you to know I am truly sorry. We did try to save him. He could not let go of the grief”
Ingred: “What happened?”
DM: You give a generic description of what happened inside Ovid’s mind.
Ingred: She is quiet for a time. “You did the right thing, letting him die.” She puts her paw on your hand. “Everything dies, Pearce. Even the beings that seem so perfect. Its just the way of things – its a secret we learn, and quietly ignore, hoping it doesn’t apply to those we care about. The cost of everything is that it ends. All we’ve learned from this secret is that, even the lights that guide us – they fade too. It sounds like Ovid himself struggled to accept that. Everything dies.”
Me: “Maybe you have a point. I pray you remember that advice when your people advocate for the lich process. It shouldn’t exist. All it takes is for one generation to find evil acceptable before it’s tradition and the world becomes slightly darker”
Ingred: She adjusts her bifocals thoughtfully. “While we will not ourselves use the process, it must be preserved. There may come a day when a tool such as this is needed to solve a grander threat. As we are seeing now, with this Kingdom – we cannot predict what the future will require. Not of any of us.”
Me: Pearce shrugs. “I hope you’re correct and I hope I am wrong. Now is there anything else you need of me Ingrid? I’ve nearly died twice today and there will be more close calls tomorrow. If I don’t make it” he kinda rubs the back of his neck. “I’m proud of what you accomplished. You’ve achieved in a matter of weeks stuff it would take a humans decades to do.”
Ingred: “Thank you. We ratfolk have to grow and change quickly. Our lives are not measured in decades, as yours is. I have done what I could with the tools I was given, and I hope to die at the ripe old age of 10. So please. Do not fail tomorrow. Our kind will never be allowed in that Kingdom. We are barely allowed in this one.”
Me: Pearce nods and exits the room.