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Thread: Ishmael Mk III

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    Ishmael shrugs.

    "Well... thats what you may choose to believe... your call..." he says and smiles.

    "In any case, my question is this... what do you hope to gain from all this? Sooner or later Aldhaven will be annoyed enough to actually face you and crush you... the skulks are a threat but at least they keep underground and do not make themselves appear to be an armed force employing undead and hosting arenas..."
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    "My point?" He laughs for a few seconds. "My point is to restore order to a city in chaos. Yes, I am brutal. I'm a bully. But crime in the Slums has been steadily decreasing for six months. Then the Jacks were toppled, and that opened up new options. Yes, I have a pet necromancer. Do you know what he does in his free time? He protects potential victims from assault, rape, and murder. He also has organized an extracity watch for the Slums, one that is multiracial and arrests people based on their crimes. There have been NO deaths in the arena. Ever. I do believe that the annual tourney hosted legally cannot boast the same results? Didn't think so."

    "I'll give you the point that the undead are evil. But they also are mindless and necessary. For now, the extracity watch just simply doesn't have the manpower to watch everything without it. They all are directly controlled by my pet necromancer or one of my clerics. As people come to feel more safe in the Slums where justice is actually upheld, we will phase out the ghastly members of the Watch for living ones."

    "I have to say, though, boy, it's been a long time since I've met a skulk who felt that sure of his posession of the moral high ground."

    "For my question, can you honestly tell me that you don't know that the Shadow Spider tribe seeks nothing less than the complete and total annihilation of every last human, the perform blood rituals to grant themselves power, and have a religious order that preaches not being genocidal as heresy?"

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    Heh, thank you.



    "I understand all that... its just that it seems incredibly short sighted to think that the moment you become too powerful or too much of a threat the city wont choose to strike you down..." he comments.

    When the Khan asks his next question he looks at him seriously.

    "Yes. I can do not think that the Ultimate Goal of those that matter in the Shadow Spider tribe is to destroy humanity and the city. The Shadow Spider himself, his grand-daughter and others realise the importance of on one hand maintaining this whole 'united under one purpose' thing but are wise enough to know the skulks will never be the supreme overlords in a land of humans...

    I too share that belief... when I took it upon myself, with his blessing and other influences as well, to destroy the Jacks I proposed to him a new structure of the criminal underworld of the city that would semi-legalise us all criminal ventures. That would include Skulks, Hobgoblins, Kobolds and the Korps or a few other larger organisations... unfortunately you guys decided to push your luck... not only did you fail to destroy the skulks since you attacked when the fighting force was out but also you slaughtered women and children and non-combatants meaning that any notion of collaboration or co-existence was out of the window..." he pauses at this point.

    "The clan, as any skulk clan, will always hate humans... it comes with the fact that humans of old let our ancestors be experimented and tortured... this will never go away... but until recently for example there was a truce... no attacks outside the Docks. And it worked didnt it? Or at least it worked enough that noone minded it for many many years... if the Shadow Spider was as suicidally homicidal then there wouldnt be any truce or ceasefire... as for the demon thing and the priests... well in every organisation you get those... you chose undead and think that after you are done you can phase them out... well they chose a demon and think that after they take over they will get rid of him. People always think they can cheat those that give them power 'for free'..."
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    "Bagh, Marcell would never openly cross me. These mercenaries are impressive, but they'll retake the Docks, kick you scum out, and the Slums will endure. I'll lose my newly-acquired land if they really push, but your clan will be gone. Give us a generation and another strong leader, and we'll retake what we lost. Probably legitimately."

    "And do you think yourself one of those who feels they can cheat the cost of power?"
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    "Actually is my turn but I will you this one for free..." he says with a smile.

    "No, I think I do not believe I can cheat any higher power or such entities... I believe I will be used by them and may gain something out of it but in the end they will gain more than I could hope to imagine...

    I consider myself a tool... a good tool mind you, but a tool never the less... in my dreams I dont see myself as King but as a weapon or advisor to a King... but I will reach there with my own abilities and powers and hard work as I have reached were I am now with all this..."
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    He patiently awaits your next question.
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    "Well you said Marcell wouldnt cross you... you obviously havent heard about the changes and how he lost his position and sooner or later some Noble will take over... and they wont mind crossing you... they love showing off and you will be dealing not with skulky skulks or underpaid guardsmen but with the likes of the Royal Guard and the University mages but one can have his own dellusions..." he comments on the Khans previous answer.

    "What is your relation with Marcel and the Shadow Spider?... it somehow feels things go beyond a mere acquaintance of leaders of different factions."
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    "That is grim news indeed. I'll need to make sure to prepare for that. I still have more troops than the city could afford to field. I suspect you'd find that a noble will be very satisfied taking the Docks and giving a token appearance of driving off the Slums, which of course will re-form within a month. I'll need to make sur eto not get killed in the process of course, and it will be most aggravating to lose my grip on the Docks. I suspect it will pay for itself if th eskulks get dislodged."

    "Oh, that? Herrman and I were adventuring companions back in the day. We helped the Shadow Spider kill most of his grandchildren when his son experimented on them. Both Marcell and I ended up falling in love with his only granddaughter, and he never forgave me for breaking her heart."

    "Do you know the identity of the person who's taken on the Spirit-Eater?"
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    "That is grim news indeed. I'll need to make sure to prepare for that. I still have more troops than the city could afford to field. I suspect you'd find that a noble will be very satisfied taking the Docks and giving a token appearance of driving off the Slums, which of course will re-form within a month. I'll need to make sur eto not get killed in the process of course, and it will be most aggravating to lose my grip on the Docks. I suspect it will pay for itself if th eskulks get dislodged."

    "Oh, that? Herrman and I were adventuring companions back in the day. We helped the Shadow Spider kill most of his grandchildren when his son experimented on them. Both Marcell and I ended up falling in love with his only granddaughter, and he never forgave me for breaking her heart."

    "Do you know the identity of the person who's taken on the Spirit-Eater?"
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    Ishmael wonders if the information given to him is true but files it in his memory anyway.

    "Glad to be of service by bringing you news... its impressive that an important player in this game didnt know this..." he quips.

    "I do know the identity of the Spirit Eater yes. I also know his ultimate goal... unfortunately I would not be able to answer your question of who he is should you ask it though..." he says calmly.

    "As for my question... what do you plan to do with me? You brought me here to question me, kill me or what?"
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    "I brought you here, boy, because you killed one of my advisers. One very special to me. I do not take that lightly. We had a hard time finding you, but then you got sloppy. A lucky scry managed to penetrate what I guess is your obscura, and we tracked you down from there. I was rather surprised when I saw you walking down the street. I'd pegged you to be a skulk agent and I'd never thought I'd see one walking the streets in daylight. You're a special kind of arrogant."

    "I haven't killed you yet, no. And perhaps I won't. If you can give me a compelling reason not to."

    "Can you give me a compelling reason to not kill you, the resources it takes be damned?"
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    "I walk around in the open from time to time... helps keep my complexion nice by seeing the sun from outside the shadows..." he says with a smirk.

    "So your question is... why shouldnt you kill me? Well the answer is obvious... first off all you cant be sure you can... it will mean risking your own life... The Dayman and Nightman made the mistake of underestimating me... see what happened to the Jacks?" he says and pauses.

    "That said... I have put myself in enough danger to gain the influence that I have... should I die those that employee me, and they are more than 3 powerful factions right now, will seek not to avenge me but to ensure whoever got me is shown that he cant trifle with their own tools... more as a 'lesson' than as vengeance..." he stops at this point to breath out.

    "Plus wouldnt you rather deal with a Skulk that doesnt really care about Skulk supremacy and is in a position to advance within the clan in the forseeable future and push a different type of agenda or a series of Skulk religious fanatics that hate you as much as they hate humans and plan to continue fighting you until they die..."
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    "Yes I would. Excellent use of a question."

    "Fair enough. What can to tell me about this spirit-eater without convincing yourself to lie?"
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    "The role of taking on the spirit-eater was thrust upon him or her. He or she off course benefits from the relationship with the demon and sooner or later will succumb to the lure of power but so far he or she is careful with whose soul they consume...

    Furthermore this is bigger than you and your pet necromancer... forces above me, you and them are working on this and our interference is either an annoyance or prompted by their own design..."

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    My mind is kind of stuck... I cant think of an important question to ask him though until recently I was thinking of many things I can ask him :(

    Any suggestions...?

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    "Oh, I grant that I'm a local thug in a big power scheme. One that's probably bigger than this city."

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    well, there's all sorts of things. Perhaps ask him about his blue advisers?
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    "What exactly are the blue goblins? I mean I realise they are some form of psychic servantas of yours but if they are as powerful as they seem AND there are 8 of them why not simply remove you and take over?"
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    "Oh, if they wanted to rule this clan, they probably could. But if they did, they'd have a damn hard time holding the loyalty of the clan. Instead, they get to mark each one with the symbol of their clan and I make sure they get anything they want."

    "What exactly are these friends in high places you speak of? Be specific."
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    "You didnt actually answer my question. What are they exactly? Just a strange breed of goblins with blue skin or what...?"

    Assuming the Khan answers he responds as well.

    "A noble of Aldhaven that has equipped me with a letter of Marquee, a high ranking Guard officer and well... someone involved with the Sad Flint..." he explains.
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    "They are a sub-race of goblins who are naturally skilled with psionics."


    "I asked you to be specific. This is what we call vague."
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    "To be precise you asked me 'what' are my friends in high places and not who. Thus being as pedantic as you were before and took my rhetorical question as an actual I responded with their positions and not with their identities..." he says smiling.

    "Hence they are a Noble with the ability to grant a Letter of Maquee, an Officer of the Guard, I can even say its one you have a particular dislike for but I dont really know his title... Detective or something like that I believe, and someone powerful enough to have ties with the Flint but has not official title I can give..."

    "What are the two magical circles in the sewers near your estate and how do they operate?" Ishmael asks going to the offensive with more direct questioning.
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    "Those circles are gateways into my palace. They require a command word to activate, one that changes every day."

    "WHO are the allies of yours I asked about with my last question? Toy with me again with this answer, and I will kill you."
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    "Really? I could have sworn the person that showed me them and then proceeded to go through them didnt say any word... its among the reasons I thought he was leading me into a trap..." he says vaguely.

    "Oh brother... you are insistent. Well, by now if you put someone good I am sure they can figure it out by asking around... the Noble is a Duchess by the name Hordukka, the officer is Perry Di Carto and the last one a business man by the name Edistris..."
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    "Mental command word."

    At the mention of Edistris, he freaks out. "Wait. You're a pawn of Edistris? Well, damn, now I feel stupid. Are you currently working for him on something or just retainer? I know I just violated our agreement but screw that. I need an answer."
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    "I dont mind answering that if you tell me why it matters... are you also working for him or have an agreement with him?" Ishmael asks worried... he knows not if the Khan is one of the many pawns and tools of the creature that is Edistris or maybe one of the pawns of the enemies of Edistris...
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    "Yes, I am. Part of my goal is to ensure that he maintains control of the Slums."
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    Ishmael finds that strange... is Edistris involved in everything?

    "In any case... yes I am actively working for him... he is aware of my activities and sponsoring part of them..." he says calmly...
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    "Ah, you're his chance to crack into the noble houses. His rivals have been dominant there for generations."
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    "Does that make us kind of allies then? Or just important pawns... I wonder..."
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    "It means we will draw the personal ire of a dreamwalking dragon if we kill each other."

    "But, let me guess, one of your other clients hired you to kill me?"
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