Midnight RPG - Chapter 11.44

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This conversation takes place while Kyuad and Eranon were scouting ahead to investigate the statue, leaving Durgaz and Zal'Kazzir behind in complete darkness. Assume that it follows a few minutes of silence.

Durgaz/ Andrew[edit]

Durgaz: "I have not been friendly to you, Sarcosan. This is because I do not like you. There is a way about you that always makes you sound like a liar, even when you speak what I know to be the truth. I do not care for your kind; you are of a type that I have encountered over and over, and when they are not wearing legate's robes, they are selling out family and friends alike to enrich themselves.

However, it is possible that I have been more harsh than you deserve. You have traveled with us for days now, and you have given us no obvious reason not to trust you, beyond your manner of speech and the fact that you are a Sarcosan. You did make an effort to save my life, even if you then pretended to have done more than you did. I may not know what your intentions are in this place, but I have no reason to suspect them any more than I do Kyuad's.


You know my people; you have evidently dealt with enough agents of the Shadow to be familiar with the ways of orcs. You made mention of Freedom, although you called it by another name, so you may even have heard of the dreams that plague us when we sleep, although you cannot possibly know them. You know that the Shadow hides behind our eyes at all times, and colors all that we see with blood. But you do not know what it is like. You cannot know what it is like. You have never been a slave in thrall to a will greater than your own. I have, and I have been freed, and I will never allow that to happen to me again.

If you ever attempt your mind-magics on me again, I will break free, just as I did from the Shadow's grasp. And I will kill you. I will strike you down where you stand.
Until then, you have nothing to fear from me ... unless, of course, you prove to be a betrayer after all.
But take my will from me again, Sarcosan, and I will take your life in exchange."

Andrew: Obviously, there could be some point in the future where Zal'Kazzir needs to put some enchantment on Durgaz ... Durgaz gets charmed by something bigger and badder, Zal'Kazzir gets possessed again, Zal'Kazzir for some reason needs to use his Diplomacy skills through Durgaz's body (hell, I dunno, it could happen), etc.

As a player, under that type of circumstance, I'm okay with that, but I don't see Durgaz being nearly so accommodating ... that type of nuance isn't typically what the orcish mind is known for. Basically, if it does comes up, go for it, but expect some interesting roleplaying afterwards. (He won't just attack, though, no matter what he may say in character ... that's not a lot of fun, so I'll justify him listening to reason somehow.)

Zal'Kazzir/ Adam[edit]

Zal'Kazzir: "There is strength in what you say, Durgaz. We may not yet be friends, but know that I respect you. You and I may be very different, but perhaps not as differeant as appearances would suggest; we may be different, but we are both free and we are both strong, and together, we are stronger still. You have my solemn vow on my father's life that I will never take your free will again, and what is more, since I have wronged you, I swear an oath-bond in recompense, and welcome you, such as the justice of my people demands. If you are ever in need of my aid or my voice, and it is within my power to give, you need but speak the word, and it shall be done.

As for intentions in this dark place, I am sworn to speak the truth to you, and so shall I tell you plainly; I seek to harm the shadow, I seek to kill it's followers, I seek to see it's corrupt mockery of justice thrown down in a rain of fire and blood. I want to see Legates scream for mercy and beg for death. I want to see it's hordes broken and heaped in great piles by fruitless civil war. I want them to suffer in ways their febrile minds cannot imagine; no price is too high, and no sacrifice is too great to save Aryth from the ravages of the bane of all life. I do not know if you agree with me; I do not know if you care, but know that all I am and all I shall ever do will be to that end. I collaborate, I survive, I give lip-service to the petty fools and false sussars, but in the end it is the collaborators, not the outlaws who will bring down the corrupt and the tyrant. I hope that I can trust you; I hope that you will stand with me, as a brother, and hope, beyond hope, that we can gain the power we will surely need to strike a blow for our children.

Adam: Zal'Kazzir felt really bad about charming Durgaz, and wants to make recompense; basically, since he forced you to support him, he is giving you his support in return. This is a big deal among the Sarcosan nobility (not that Durgaz would know that, though he is free to ask). In practice, someone who is oath-bound to someone else owes them their support; either a vote or political support, food and shelter, etc. Though the bond technically goes both ways, it is the obligation of the higher case individual (Zal'Kazzir) to aid the lower caste individual (Durgaz). Part of this is also honesty, and Durgaz now gets an earful. Hopefully, he isn't horrifed, hopefully he will respect Zal'kazzir's conviction, or not... we'll have to see.

Durgaz/ Andrew[edit]

Durgaz: "I may have misjudged you, Sarcosan. You may be human, and weak, but you speak of fire and blood and hate and murder with the fervor of one who has experienced the sendings that are both the strength and bane of my people.

"I do not think you understand them, though. Your rage, your lust for vengeance against the servants of the Shadow? You may not realize it, but in giving these thoughts refuge in your mind, you strengthen the very thing you wish to harm.

"The Shadow cares nothing for its followers. It does not mourn the death of the loftiest of legates. It does not shed tears for the lowliest of goblins. The servants of Shadow are tools, means to an end, and that end is fear, hatred and death. You could, as you say, have the priests of Theros Obsidia screaming for death, the orcs and ogres of the Northern Marches dying by the thousands in a pointless civil war, and the Shadow would look down from its perch on the roof of the world and laugh, and when the smoke cleared and the blood dried, you would likely as not find yourself one of its new Night Kings.

"Vengeance is a fool's game. And the desire to hurt your foes ... not just destroy them, but to inflict pain and suffering ... is a dangerous weakness that can, and will, be exploited by the black pit that gives birth to that desire.

A wiser man than either of us could ever hope to be taught me these things, and if he had not, I would likely not be here today.

"We both want the same thing. I do not know if that is achievable; perhaps the Shadow has already won. But I have escaped its grasp once, and it will not have me back. I have resolved to carve the Shadow out of this dying world like a cancer, cut it away and destroy it without emotion. I will slay its servants where I can find them; I will take no quarter; I will show no mercy. But I will not make the mistake of believing that I can embrace the Shadow in order to defeat it, and neither should you.

You will not be the first to try. And you will not be the last to be swallowed up by the darkness for your effort.

"As for your oath-bond, I know nothing of Sarcosa, or its customs, so it means nothing to me. Truthfully, as far as I know, a Sarcosan's word is said to be worth less than the paper it is written on. But it is clear from your words that such things mean a great deal to you, so I will accept it.

I still do not like you, but you seem to be a man of honor. That is something."

Andrew: Durgaz has spent a great deal of time trying to fight his own nature. In the first few months following his 'conversion', he spent his time doing more or less the same thing he had done as a soldier of the Shadow - only now his targets were other orcs and agents of Izrador - for the simple reason that he had no other frame of reference, no other idea of how to do things. He is still struggling against that, because he knows that to give in would ultimately lead to his downfall, and he sees elements of a orc-like perspective in what Zal'Kazzir says. However appealing an approach that may be (and it is appealing to that still very conscious, if suppressed, part of Durgaz's psyche that revels in blood and violence), he no longer believes it can ever be effectively used to combat the Shadow.

Of course, maybe he's wrong ... after all, he did learn this viewpoint from someone whose side LOST that last great war...

Zal'Kazzir/ Adam[edit]

Zal'Kazzir: "You are right, of course, Durgaz. I truly believe that the things that must be done in order to defeat the Great enemy of all life will be horrible, dark and vile. And, of course, you are also right that blind fury and vengeance are grave weaknesses, just as is refusing to use them when necessary. I have no love for vengeance or for hate, but I also refuse to deny any power that might help me to forge a future for my children, or theirs, or so on. Which is why I will be keeping this. *flourishing aside his cloak, revealing the strange hooked blade from before* There is great power in this blade; power that may help us to solve the riddle of it's former mistress, and power to inspire terror in the servants of the shadow. I misunderstood earlier what the blade meant when I grasped it, but now I realize it is part of the great covenant of Aeryth, and should be used in her defense. It is a dangerous tool, but one that can cut deep. However little the shadow may care for his followers, it is to his detriment that he feels so; he might laugh as his legates die, but without their slavish devotion, his mirrors starve. He might shed no tear for his armies as they slaughter themselves, but without them, the free peoples rise up and overthrow his tyranny. You may be right that we have already lost, and are on a fools errand; however, we seem to both agree that we must give all to attempt to save the world, whether possible or not. I want nothing more than to create a future where men like you and I have no place and are nothing but bitter memories of a dark and forgotten time.

I am glad to call you my oath-brother, Durgaz; you are strong, and you seem true as well. There are few who risk all to save those they will never know, and it is for that reason that I give you this. *hands Durgaz a small copper ring* That ring was given to me by my daughter Zia, my little light, someone you will probably never know; and it is with honor that I give it to you, because you help me to defend her."

Durgaz/ Andrew[edit]

NOTE: Since a couple of distinctive, non-verbal things happened over the course of Adam's post, I have broken down Durgaz's response into sections. I'd also like to point out, for atmospheric reasons, that this entire scene is taking place in complete darkness. Durgaz can see Zal'Kazzir, but Zal'Kazzir cannot see Durgaz (although it's not hard to guess where he is).

[Durgaz - Following the first three sentences of Adam's post, before Zal'Kazzir reveals the weapon:] "That is your decision, then. I think your words smack of stupidity and weakness, but if you choose to take that path, I will not stand in your way. Until I have to. And when that day comes, I will see you die ... perhaps having left the world a better place, and perhaps not. Just so we understand one another."

[When Zal'Kazzir reveals the weapon:] "I suggest that you lay your weapon down, Sarcosan, and do it now. Maybe you are telling the truth, and maybe you are not. If you drop that thing at your feet ... if you even can ... then I will have no need to do anything I do not wish to do. Drop it and step away from it now. We will wait until our companions return, and then perhaps you and the other sorcerer among us can discuss what should be done with it, because I don't know anything about the nature of magics like this, and I do not care to."

[Following the offer of the ring - which Durgaz does not take:] "I am not your friend, and I am no friend to your family. I want nothing to do with your children. Nothing. Your Zia gave you her ring, and you should keep it, not hand it off to a creature that might have killed her a dozen times over just for the pleasure of watching her parents beg. Keep your ring. And drop your weapon. We are finished here."

Andrew: Durgaz seems really upset about being offered the ring, in a way that Zal'Kazzir has not seen him before. Durgaz has always seemed kind of irritable and vaguely pissed off, and he was most certainly angry a minute ago when he told Zal'Kazzir he'd kill him if he ever charmed him again, but he actually seems really freaked out about this ring incident. I'm sure Zal'Kazzir has a high enough Sense Motive (no real need to roll here) to determine that he's not angry at Zal'Kazzir per se. Clearly, though, he somehow hit a real nerve there.

Also, this probably won't be an issue since it's Friday night and all, but Durgaz will not say anything more to Zal'Kazzir from this point, other than repeatedly asking him to drop his weapon, if he hasn't already. Kevin, since nothing really substantial happened in the last session after this point (we explored a little, but I think we did most of it in 'fast-forward' style and could do it again after resolving this scene), could we start off the next session with a sort of "flashback" to this moment, so Kyuad and Eranon can get in on discussing the weapon and its implications?

Zal'Kazzir/ Adam[edit]

Zal'Kazzir: "Fine then. *withdwaring the small ring*. I will respect your decision, though you do yourself a great disservice in descibing your choice in such terms. Who you once were or what you might have once done are not who you are NOW and do not bind you to the past. We all have choices to make. I swore to be honest with you, and I shall continue to do so. This scourge has no posession or hold over my thoughts, beyond the fact that it is a powerful and valuable tool, and I pity it. Yes, I pity it; I have compassion for it, I pity it's lonliness and isolation and fear. Just as I pity all of the other sorry, tortured things abused by the shadow. I will gladly drop it *sets the scourge down* but I will not abandon such a tool in this dark and hopeless place. All things, save perhaps the shadow itself are independant and can make choices for themselves, even if they are unaware of their own freedom; you yourself are proof of such. The choices may be difficult, and the costs may be high, but all beings can make their own decisions. And here is one of mine. *picks the scourge back up*. If you feel the need to threaten or harm me fine; go right ahead, but know that if you do, you act against one who is a true foe of the shadow and a sworn-brother to you. I need neither your friendship, nor your kindness, and I expect even less, but think before you threaten those who would stand beside you, and put aside prejudice in the face of truth and loyalty. I am done being cowed by you, just as I am done manipulating you. NOW we are finished here."