“Wow, I’m impressed. I didn’t realize you had such a vocal range. Have you ever considered acting?” Seteria said, clearly surprised at her sister’s ability to alter her voice. Sherry had just finished giving a disembodied message to one of the NPC’s and they had clearly not realized who they were actually talking to. Sherry just smiled as she placed a new piece on the board in the center, where nearly all of the other pieces were gathered. The board accepted the piece as a part of the narrative thanks to Sherry convincing a character that the new piece belonged there.
The two sisters had suspended their game for a week, but were now eagerly making the moves they had spent the week planning. The translucent blue images floating above the table in that mysterious white room shifted rapidly as the two sisters made their plays. A few new characters had appeared in their absence and they had added a few of their own pieces in when their game resumed.
“Ah, finally there are enough for my game format!” Sherry said rubbing her hands together in anticipation. “Let us begin then shall we?”
The two of them leapt up from their seats and dramatically pointed at each other. “I’ll go first!” Sherry shouted. “Cedric Valionis is murdered under mysterious circumstances while Alyson and the rest are absent.” Sherry proceeded to kick the table at her sister who leapt backward.
“Oh my, how like you to start with murder, ahahahaha!” Seteria laughed. A strange serrated blade appeared in her right hand and she used it to bisect the table as it flew at her. “Alright my turn!” She pointed her blade at Sherry and grinned maniacally. “Eh, I guess I just defer until someone finds the body.” Seteria shrugged as all the intensity in the room died without so much as a whimper. “Dunno what you expect me to do, my piece isn’t the investigative type.”
“Well now that was disappointing, I guess that means I’m up now.” Sherry and Seteria had been so intent on their own battle that they hadn’t bothered to acknowledge or introduce the two other people who were in the mysterious room that was so far removed from all other worlds. The one who had spoken was reclined on one of several comfortable chairs that surrounded the table, or rather where the table used to be. He looked to be in his late 20’s. He had black hair and blue eyes and an air of arrogance that would put many monarchs to shame. He was as well dressed as the sisters in black and blue clothing as well, indicating a common theme.
“Yeah, yeah assume the role of main character with Alyson and all that, get on with it Alistar” Seteria said having anticipated Alistar’s move.
“Well fine, at least the audience knows who I am now, I guess I’ll do just that. Alyson acquires the map of all existing lost tech in Weissland and destroys the records. She returns to the sluices and promptly discovers your murder. Then she invokes her detective’s authority to gain access to all clues and testimony present.” Alistar said nonchalantly. None of the others were terribly surprised. Alyson was one of Alister’s favorite servants and she was a strong piece in most game types. She had investigative abilities, enchantment and illusion magics, and several potent familiars. However, her big drawback was a clause prohibiting her from ever holding a position of authority in the game beyond a detective and, not written in the rules, was her insufferable personality.
“Right well, both my sister and Alistar are boring, I don’t suppose you have anything to add Tornos?” Sherry said as the game table rematerialized in the center of the room and she sat in one of the remaining armchairs surrounding it.
“I might have . . . a move or two . . . however my piece’s identity . . . has not been discovered yet . . . therefore . . . I need not announce my move.” Tornos said in his characteristically slow speech. He was the fourth and final player in this strange game. compared to the two sister who were of average build, and Alistar, who was borderline anemic, Tornos was a hulking figure. He was a good 4 feet taller than anyone else in the room and at least twice as broad. However, he was still as impeccably dressed in a long black jacket with glowing blue lines of magical energy running through it. While Alistar and the two sisters looked human, Tornos looked like some sort of draconic minotaur. He had what seemed to be a mane of glowing blue fire that extended down to his waist and dark fur. His angular reptilian face and glowing blue eyes disguised a patient cunning that was in sharp contrast to Seteria’s mania, Sherry’s cruelty, and Alistar’s malice.
“Well at least you aren’t boring, unlike some people.” Seteria said mockingly as she glared at Alistar. Her serrated sword had vanished and she took a seat in the last remaining arm chair which faced her sister Sherry across the game table.
“I’m not going to make sub par moves just because you’re easily bored.” Alistar retorted, “Besides, you know my strategy always plays for the end game when things are at their most exciting. Then I’ll start kicking tables at people, probably at you to be totally honest.”
“Ooo, so scary, anyway wasn’t it your turn, Sherry?” Seteria said, clearly unimpressed. “Looks like my piece has enlisted the help of one of the random factors during the Tornos and Alister’s turns, Good.”
“Technically all of the non piece characters have to do their moves now, oh my, looks like Alyson’s familiar was just killed by that assassin we had all discounted as being useless.” Sherry said as she perceived the death of Vanessa. Seteria started giggling uncontrollably and Alistar merely covered his face with his palm. “Dammit Seteria how did you manage to help the one competent random factor.”
“Ahaahaahaa, its because I’m just that incredible. Good job tin man. Keep dancing to my tune and making a mess of things.” Seteria said as she could barely control her laughter. “Looks like Alister’s worst enemy, the idiot hero, has shown up as part of our lovely random factor in this game.” Seteria managed to say in the midst of her cackling. Vella had just forced Alyson to respond to her idiotic reasoning and that was Alyson’s one weakness. This was a good development for Seteria. Alistar was already heavily disadvantaged by losing Vanessa to Seteria’s ploy. Seteria knew that if she could remove Alyson from the game for even a little while, she could get her side out its rut and on the offensive.
“And there goes Alyson losing her plot agency, her cover, and almost her life.” Alistar said while attempting to hide his displeasure as Alyson was forced to retreat inside the KSW – Despair. “Why, oh why can she not deal with the idiot hero archetype? Please excuse me I think she and I need to have a talk.” Alistar vanished in a huff.
“Normally I’d be mad, but watching his piece sob and plead for mercy is hilarious, anyway, since my piece still hasn’t been found out as the murderer, she is going to try her luck with a second one. Let’s try offing Cyrus this time.” Sherry said, “Success, I have to say I’m liking my choice, she seems quite reliable.”
“Boo, tin man managed to give Mathos authority instead of my piece. Good thing we have a serial murderer on the loose. I don’t think another church official catching a bad case of the dead will cause any more suspicion.” Seteria said with an unpleasant smile.
“Well now . . . exploiting a loophole . . . in the ‘cannot start with authority’ rule on your piece . . . clever.” Tornos said as he immediately understood Seteria’s plan. Seteria had an extremely powerful and competent piece in the game. However this piece could not start with authority and lacked the strength of character to assert command. Seteria had decided to get rid of all other viable choices and perhaps use a dying wish of the new leader to give her piece control of the living side.
“We’re on a roll here aren’t we Tornos? I can’t wait to see how Alistar and my sister try to come back from this loss.” Seteria responded as she eyed the empty seat that Alistar had previously occupied.