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27 January 2007 - Saturday

Amazon Quartet of Justice XIIa: "Civil War! Tigris Splits in Two!"

Unable to do anything with Queen Ditte in her current state, the Amazons turn their attention to some aspects of their great plan to save the world that have been neglected for a few days.

Their first stop is Rati, where Fresa charms her dwarven scholar into beginning the research process on yuan-ti tentacle grafts, and Natalya and Marika split off to search for the murderer of Natalya's urchin. Some of the blondes rescued from the Plane of Snakes are also dropped off at this point.

Next is Louistown, the capital of Orleans, where the remaining blondes are returned to their homes, and the local syndics are enlisted in the Great Plan.

In Nööl, even Gabrielle's astounding diplomatic talents aren't enough to overcome the bribery being applied to the neutral councillors. Shinbo doesn't want to be seen with Amaryllis, but he does recommend that she contact the mysterious person known only as... Joe.

Amaryllis puts out the word that she's looking for Joe, and he obligingly appears in her quarters after she has retired. The people he represents want to be on the winning side, but aren't sure which side that will be. They propose a duel to the death between the Amazons and a team from the opposition, with the support of Joe's backers going to the side which best proves its ability. Amaryllis accepts on behalf of the Amazons, on the unstated premise that if things seem to be going poorly, they can forfeit the match and then overthrow Nööl's government.

Finally, back to the forest outside Tigris, where strange people were spotted previously. It turns out that the people in the forest are those citizens of Tigris who followed Princess Lisbet when she fled from her older siblings who wanted to execute her for treason. Tigris teeters on the brink of civil war!

To add fuel to the fire, agents of the Necrotheologians have been committing murder and arson in Tigris and signing their work with revolutionary slogans. They have also been lurking around the edges of Lisbet's forest encampments, picking off patrols to reduce morale even further.

This latter problem is exactly the sort that the Amazons feel they can solve, so they use divination magic to set up a counter-ambush. When enormous ravening wolverines attack, Our Heroines are ready! The beasts severely wound one of Lisbet's soldiers and maul Alyra, but are then imprisoned in a bubble of impenetrable force. Their masters exchange spells with Amaryllis and Fresa, but are soon driven off. Unfortunately, they return while Amaryllis and Gabrielle are finishing off the wolverines and nearly kill Fresa with tentacles of darkness! Only the famous dwarven luck lets her dispel the tentacles before being crushed to death!

The villains make their escape and have taken measures against being scryed upon, leaving the Quartet nominally victorious, but triumphant. Something must be done!

Back in Rati, Stephan's friend hasn't uncovered much about yuan-ti grafts, but a number of magic shops have been looted and burned to the ground, including the one Gabrielle had hired to upgrade her bow. Something definitely must be done!

(If you were wondering, Amaryllis's new spells are wall of force, disintegrate, and Bigby's grasping hand. The best theory for why boots of flying and broom of flying are priced the way they are is that the broom has a weight limit that might prevent a half-ogre in full plate without a bag of holding from using it. That may have been the actual reasoning of the designers, but it's still pretty bogus.)

Cats: They seem to have survived my 13-hour absence without either dying or destroying the apartment.

Writing: Check, if I get to count the words from yesterday, which I do, because I didn't get back until after 22:00.

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