The Devil’s Riddle: Session 58

Rufus scowls. He is sworn to protect Lisandra, and it sits ill with him to be sent after Fyn when they are still amidst such peril. But, he concedes, they do need to retrieve their ally, and of their number Rufus is best placed to carry out that task. His scowl deepens as he follows the dark tunnels after his companion, sword in hand. He quickens his pace.  The sooner he is back at Lisandra’s side the better…

“My apprentice, I am troubled.”

Rufus halts in place, astonished. This cannot be! The voice that reverberates through his mind is unmistakable; Olimar, the Blademaster who tutored him in the skills of the Chamarand. His master, who sacrificed himself to eternity trapped within Rufus’ sword, that the fey spirit Andromeda, who wars for control of his mind, might be kept at bay. Since that moment when Olimar impaled himself upon the sword there has been the constant sense of his master’s presence, but never words. “Master? How it that you speak?” 

“Is this the question that most needs asking?” There is the faintest hint of amusement in Olimar’s voice, so reminiscent of their time training together. Rufus calms himself, straightens, and slows his breathing.

“What troubles you master?” A sense of approval washes over the Blademaster, and he can almost see his elderly master nodding in satisfaction though when it speaks the disembodied voice is grave.

“You experienced Andromeda’s recent assault upon your mind as you approached the desecrated place. My influence was tempered by the dark energies here, and the fey queen was able to momentarily wrest control. With focus you overcame that assault.” The last Chamarand pauses, but Rufus knows him well enough to know that he is merely considering his next words. The Blademaster remains silent.

“It is what has happened since that troubles me.” Olimar continues. “We have warred from the moment I entered the blade, she and I. Always the two of us in perfect balance. Always held in perpetual stalemate. Sustained. Predictable.” He sighs. “Since that moment of destabilisation I no longer feel her presence warring against me.”

“But master, is this not good news?” Rufus asks, gazing at the sword held out before him.

“Would that it were my boy. Andromeda has ceased her direct assault, but her presence in your psyche remains. She has… changed tack. I fear  she has read your memories and learned something to her advantage during her brief domination, while your mind was temporarily unguarded. Something that she means to turn to her own ends.”

Rufus, calm and focused as he is, cannot suppress a thrill of fear. “The bargain.” he says, with fatalistic certainty.

“I can see no other possibility. Your bargain with the fey king Finvarra was your turning point. As a self-absorbed, ignorant  youth you selfishly demanded transcendence in return for betrayal of Andromeda, expecting power and influence. Instead you were gifted with self-awareness, and this started you on the path towards the man you have become. I fear the fey queen now knows this, and means to turn the knowledge to her advantage. How exactly I cannot say, but I sense great malice in her.”

Rufus bows his head. “Master… I have never had the chance to thank you. For your training, your friendship and most of all your sacrifice. For the perpetual battle you have waged on my behalf. Thank you, master. Whatever Andromeda’s scheme we shall face it together, and Source willing, overcome it. I take great solace in that thought.” He looks up, suddenly recalling his task, and begins to walk again. “My master, I must find my missing companion…”

“Indeed you must my boy.” Olimar agrees. “I will contemplate further.”

And with that the sword falls silent.

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One Response to “The Devil’s Riddle: Session 58”

  1. I was about to get stuck in to combat with Lisandra and co, but the last thing that happened in Session 57’s questions was a random event that sits better in a new post. Looks like this post will switch the scene to Rufus.

    E: Negative for Olimar, the last Chamarand of Valonde: the Opening of the intellectual!

    Rufus’ master’s mind is trapped in his sword, locked in an endless struggle with the fey spirit Andromeda that seeks dominance of Rufus’ mind (see Interlude: The Blademaster’s Secret II). I rule that “Opening of the Intellectual” means that Olimar communicates directly with Rufus, and it’s bad news.

    Q: Has Olimar spoken recently? EXCEPTIONAL NO
    First the obvious question:
    Q: Is Olimar losing the fight? NO

    OK, let’s try this:
    Q: Has Andromeda changed tactics? EXCEPTIONAL YES

    That doesn’t sound good!
    Q: Has she allied with the Darkspawn? NO

    Well that’s something…
    Q: Has she allied with anyone? NO

    Hmm. So what’s she up to? Time for a Detail question I think.
    Q: What does Olimar tell Rufus? The Answer involves A Small, Notable Example of Squalor

    That’s fairly ambiguous. Let’s find out a bit more about this example of squalor. Is it a:

    Place
    Person
    Monster
    Event

    R: #1: 4/4: It seems this is an event, and I rule that it’s an event from Rufus’ past. We know that Rufus wasn’t always the stalwart defender and Blademaster we know today. Back in his youth he was, frankly, a bit of a shit. Are some chickens coming home to roost? And how does this event relate to Andromeda’s significant change in tactics?

    Q: Does Andromeda intend to exploit a bad decision Rufus made? YES

    Looking at Rufus’ backstory his most squalid moment seems to be when he won Andromeda’s love, then betrayed her to her greatest rival, King Finvarra. Rereading this I notice something that never occurred to me before; the text reads “Rufus made a bargain with another powerful Fey”. I rule that Andromeda’s change in tactics relates to that bargain. This begs an obvious question:

    Q: What was the nature of the bargain? The Answer involves Helpful Obsessions, and could involve Approaching the Heart of Darkness.

    I’d assumed the fey was the one who was was calling the shots, but this suggests that it was Rufus who set the terms; he gives Finvarra Andromeda, he gives Rufus something in return.

    Up until this point Rufus was a weak, self absorbed and arrogant noble. This is the point that he becomes self aware, and begins his journey to redemption. I rule that this bargain is the seed of his path to Blademaster; in his ignorance he asks for transcendence, but in typical fey fashion he gets more than he bargained for, and is transformed.

    This is the bargain Andromeda seeks to exploit; she has learned what Finvarra offered, and seeks to somehow undo it. Doing so will weaken his blade bond and his mental resistance, making him more vulnerable to Andromeda’s influence.

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