Following Doc's previous instructions, the Vikings stay back with the horses, out of sight but not unwary.

Doc summons Mark and Brother Broderick forward. Brother Broderick takes off the goat skull and holds it somewhat behind his robe. He dons his wooden crucifix.

Doc turns his attention to the Abbot. "Ah, Father Nathan! It is a strange omen that brings me to your door."

There is a brief moment of intensity between the two. The old man stares him down, hard. For a moment, the outside world disintegrates and the universe is between the two mens' eyes. The old Abbot tries to tear Doc down emotionally with the force of the wisdom of his years, but Doc's not so easily overcome. He knows full well that wisdom does not come with age, but age with wisdom.

The old man seems frustrated that his silent attempt to dominate the young stranger has failed. Doc grasps that hole in his psychic wall and turns the tables right around. The man is old, his health is failing, he knows it, and perhaps his wits and strength is not what it once was. The events of today have shaken his understanding of the universe. There it is, Doc thinks. That shining beacon that lies behind every psyche, a pure human weakness; the fear of the unknown.

Doc grasps on to this key. He can start by building trust via familiarity. He turns to the monk behind him "Brother Broderick, I'm sure you know, has guided us here."

"Yes, I remember this young lad," replies the Abbot.

Doc turns to Mark. "This is Sir Mark, Captain of the Duke's own guard. If we could just have a private word with you for a few moments, I'm certain I can explain everything."

Doc can tell immediately that he's not buying that one.

The abbot looks them over. "What Duke?"

"The Duke of Bologna." Doc pushes it.

The old man looks them up and down. He looks at Mark carefully. "What are those things you carry? Weapons? Leave them behind."

Doc turns to Mark and nods. He unslings the rocket launcher and assault rifle from his back and places them gently on the ground.

"And your sword," Father Nathan insists.

Mark complies. He's still got a side arm stashed, as does Doc.

Father Nathan turns to the monk with the hoe and instructs him to open the gate. The monk goes to one of a set of cranks and begins the laborious process of rotating the lever. The portcullis rises.

"Your slaves will stay behind, for now. Follow me."

The Abbot leads Doc, Mark, and Broderick into the foyer and up the stairs. The portcullis cranks down behind them.

Doc opens a video link to Thunderhorse. Doc's sunglasses send what he sees to Thunderhorse's glasses. Doc sends him an eye-typed text message. "Tell me if you see the girls."

"Yerdsw, I wiklmj," replies Thunderhorse via eye-typed text, much later.

The Abbot takes them up several flights of stairs to his personal parlor. The "armed" monks escort them, but stay behind as they climb the final flight, past the beautiful stained glass window which depicts the sun and what is presumably Venus amongst a battle of angels and demons.

The parlor is very ornately decorated with golden trinkets and precious gems. The Abbot is a wealthy man.

He asks them to sit at the wooden bench, and he pours them all a glass of wine.

"There is no Duke of Bologna," he says to Doc as he hands him the goblet. "Now, tell me," he demands, "who are you really?"


ERR said...

Charismatic Initiative: Doc 4, Nathan 23. Ouch.
Nathan uses Dominate Ego. Doc save 17 + will 2 + 3 wis = 22 vs. 10+3 cha+ 1pl + 5cl = DC19, Doc saves. Doc xp+19
Doc uses Read Emotions 2, Nathan save 7 + will 1 + 4 wis = 12 vs 10+3 will+2pl+4cl= DC19, Doc wins.

Doc bluff check 7+ 5 bluff + 4 cha + 4 Power Bonus = 20 vs. Natahn Sense Motive 13 + 4 wis + 10 sm = 27, Nathan wins. Doc xp+2

Doc said...

I knew this bastard was going to be a tricky customer. Alright, let me try a different tactic than I normally do. I'll tell the truth, or at least as much of it as I can spare.

"Father Nathan, you are an intelligent man and I won't insult you by trying to lie to you. There is no Duke of Bologna and my name is not DaVinci. These are regretable but necessary lies that I have been forced to tell to ensure the safety of myself and my party."

Aside to Brother Broderick, "I'm sorry Brother Broderick for my deception but I did it to protect you as well."

"Let me ask you Father Nathan, have you ever been in love? Because that is what brings me to your door tonight. I am on a mission to do some good and help some fellow Christians. In order to perform this task I need to find a woman named Jezelle, a local girl, who is reported to be a nun here. From what I understand, she and several others joined about the same time."

Try that.


ERR said...

I'm having some trouble with the next segment and I'm not sure how much truth you want to spill.
A few questions the Abbot will have:

Who are you & where are you from?

What do you know about the smoke in the valley, the fire in the sky, and the war in the heavens?

What is the nature of your "mission?"

Brother Broderick can certainly verify that you're in command of some spooky powerful magic like summoning dragons and fire, driving horseless chariots at breathtaking speeds, and that there are agents against you (the Exkoreans). It won't be hard for Nathan to believe you are not of this world, but it will not be easy to convince him of your intentions.

Doc said...

Okay. Strike that. Don't tell the truth. The follow up questions would be even more inconvienent than piling on more lies.

Let me not say what I suggested before. It was written late at night and I wasn't happy with it when I sent it off, but I wanted to respond quickly so you could write the next installment and the story would move along from there.

I should have remembered that if Rule #1 is "Do No Harm", then rule #2 for a time traveler should be "Don't let the cat out of the bag and tamper with time!" but these are very hard rules to follow for a character in my position. I am constantly forced to use weapons and means that are incongerous to the time I find myself in, yet without them I am at the mercy of forces far beyond my relm of control. What is a poor time traveler to do?

As a player I feel very challenged playing a psionic doctor as this is counter to anything I've ever played before. Not to mention this is the first time in an RPG that I've ever met a psionic character, at least that I can think of. It's kind of like your first dragon I would think.

I tell you what. Instead of putting it in the comments, let me write the next post and that will give you a "jumping off" point for the next installment.


Doc said...

I've almost finished the post and will put it up thia afternoon.


ERR said...

I can't wait. To tell the tructh I'm stuck, too. I've never had a psionic NPC. Good thing we can make up the rules as we go here.