Prologue - 028

Prologue - 028

Turns since TBfGK: 55

Thirteen turns ago, Vinny had woken up beside her and said, "Hey. I think we should go meet the neighbors."

Jitterati had recently taken White Castle, a Transylvitian outpost. Don King admitted he lacked the air power to contest it; arming Faq was taking every resource he could spare (and some he probably couldn't). So he was planning to let White Castle slide. Vinny didn't like that one bit.

Jillian, for her part, was quietly going insane. The pressure of managing this kingdom was getting close to unbearable. She'd flown out to the gap every time Gobwin Knob poked around near there, but they only sent a few little scouting forays. Her forces could handle it. She hadn't swung a sword since she put on the crown.

Vinny knew it.

Because, okay, maybe her process of going insane hadn't really been all that quiet.

They had popped five Noble warlords, and no casters. Though there was no way to intentionally pop a caster, usually a new side would receive one among their first few warlords. But it was said that the Titans read the Ruler's heart, and their Fate. Jillian's heart was armed for battle. Surely the Titans sent her what she needed.

Two of her warlords had made level 2. She left one of those defending the gap and the other in the capital, where Vanna would stay to keep handling unit production. She and Vinny took the rest hunting, along with two thirds of the air force.

Vanna had been the perfect solution. Having a Turnamancer reduced the production of an heir by twenty turns, and with funds coming in from Transylvito, Vanna was able to boost Otoh and Kibo's production drastically. Don King was very happy, though he would not be if he ever found out it was Charlie who had funded Vanna's contract. Even Vinny didn't know about that.

Mmm. Well, there was a lot that Vinny didn't know about.

Though the Royal heir would not pop for thirty turns yet, there was no talk of the Queen staying home on this outing. When your side has only three cities, you trust the Titans to preserve you no matter what you're doing. She went. She led. And most of the way through the mountain peaks to their first target, all she did was grin into the gusting wind. Free, free, free. Battle!

They didn't go after White Castle; it was too far and would have been too well defended. Instead, they chose to hit the two mountain cities closest to Faq. Besides creating a strategic buffer, sacking them would help boost the pathetic Faq treasury. It was a fund-razer.

Kona was pitifully defended for a Level 3. Jitterati had not even been aware of Faq's existence, that much was obvious. With five warlords, seven knights, four megalogwiffs and twenty-one gwiffons, they dropped the city in minutes. They croaked every defender in every zone, sacked the city and left it burning, boosting Faq's coffers by almost twenty thousand.

Jillian personally planted her megalogwiff on the city's only knight and lopped his head clean off while he squirmed. Satisfying. But her Warlords looked at her askance, even as the head was still rolling around.

"Oh right. Um, sorry." She had to remember to hold back and let them level.

Their second target was Valdez, a Level 2 built in the bushy green shade of a volcano. Valdez had been warned of trouble, and was prepared. Besides the Jitterati infantry and one warlord, it was full of Western Giants, natural allies of their side. They stood as tall as Woodsy Elves, but strong and beefy. Heavies, all. They wore spiked shoes, and black helmets with a thin bill in front and a flap that covered only one ear. They were armed with long thin clubs, which they wielded with deadly accuracy. It was rumored that their power was magical, and that like casters, they used juice.

She led the stack in and seized the undefended airspace, letting the gwiffons take the arrows from the sparse archery while she surveyed the layout. The town was made mostly of black and gray stone, a peculiar mix of slate and obsidian, with bright green moss growing in the cracks. There were at least two hundred men in the Garrison, and dozens of Giants. The tower, a squat round turret, was covered with Giants, as well. At their center stood a mocha-skinned bald man, hands on hips, wearing white armor emblazoned with a circular green crest. The city's warlord.

Vinny flew up to her as an arrow sailed between them. He scratched his nose with his thumbnail. "You wanna skip this one? Looks like we'd lose more than we'd gain here."

Jillian stuck out her jaw, looking down at the tower top appraisingly. "You know what I wanna do, Vinny? You'll never guess." He shook his head as she grinned at him. "I want to talk. C'mon."

They spiraled down toward the force atop the tower. "Do not engage!" she ordered. "Parley! Parley!"

The four huge megalos pulled in beside the tower, while the gwiffons hung in the air above them. Vinny floated beside Jillian's massive mount. The Jitterati warlord held his sword low and puffed his chest, which looked a little ridiculous among the towering Giants.

He scowled at her. "If you have terms, I will hear them," he declared, raising his sword, "but we stand ready to fight!"

Jillian held her sword of to the side and arched her eyebrows at the man. "Yeah... I did come to discuss terms, actually." She lifted her gaze to the solemn face of the Giant standing to the Warlord's right.

"Terms as arranged," she said.

The Giant nodded. "Agreed, Highness."

The Jitterati warlord looked up with sudden panic as his stack broke without his order. To his credit, he understood immediately, said nothing, and bolted for the tower entrance.

"Capture!" Jillian shouted to her stack. Her mount took it as a command. It flew her in fast, shouldering its way between the Giants, and planted itself on the fleeing warlord. The megalogwiff pinned him in the doorway and enveloped his body, leaving only his head exposed. This time, she did not swing.

Sudden shouts and clangs of battle immediately rose up from the city below. Here, and all over Jitterati, Faq's new natural allies were inflicting heavy losses. Jitterati would be left too crippled to bother Transylvito or Faq for a very long time.

When Vinny finally caught her eye, his expression was priceless. Wonder, admiration, amusement, bafflement. She knew at that moment...in his eyes, she was good enough to be Queen. It felt brilliant.

On the trip home, he was burning to know how she had done it. She refused to say, and he kept asking, until they had another huge fight about it.

He could sulk as long as he wanted, though. There was no way she was ever going to tell him this was Charlie's idea.

---

That level 6 Jitterati warlord, Duncan Scone, was now her best fighter. Vanna had done some good work to turn him, but the dungeon didn't much interest Jillian. Vanna didn't really know how to play right.

Giants were still coming in, nine more this turn. They were the perfect natural allies: mountain-capable heavies. With these guys in the cities and on patrol, she could pop nothing but air units and warlords. Not that she'd been making much infantry anyway, but the point was, she had made enough. Enough, and in time...for Charlie's other plan.

Vinny was upset that she would not take him, and at all of the things she wouldn't tell him. It started to build up. It went to shouting, it went to threats, and it went to silence. After much longer than usual, almost too long, it went to apologies and make-up nookie.

They both knew it had to. Maybe she would croak on this mission. Maybe they would never see one another again.

Vinny had his feet on the tower as she lifted skyward. She saw her armada filling the sky with yellow death, and thought it would almost be easier that way.

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
raphfrk wrote:
Hmm, the page where Wanda tells of the fall of Faq doesn't technically place it before Saline was killed. I am pretty sure this was settled somewhere :).

Yeah, I read that page looking for your reference, and I agree that when Wanda hatched her plan, Saline was still alive (since she heard of a "warlord" (i.e. not an Overlord) who found the Arkenhamer.) I don't, however, get the impression from anything that there was a long period (if any) between the fall of FAQ, and the croaking of Saline.
I wholehartedly support the theory that the FAQ invasion is the "Special Mission". It makes sense in the timeline, and attacking a secret kingdom only the Chief Warlord knows about strikes me as pretty special.

Besides, it's more interesting if Stanley in fact didn't rule because of comminting regicide. And so far we haven't really seen anyone Stanley has admired, which is wierd. He ought to be a fan of someone, right?

Also, I always found it wierd that he'd but down the Gobwin rebellion. If he was behind it, the only reason to do so would be to save face, and given what we know of free will in Erfworld, wouldn't this pretty much just be a show for the other Sides? And killing his own infantry to potentially fool other sides into thinking he's a pretty nice guy doesn't really strike me as very Stanley-ish.

I'll put forth a bloated theory: The Special Mission really was the invasion of FAQ and Charlie really was behind the Gobwin rebellion. However, causing the rebellion was a mercenary act on the behest of the ruler of FAQ somewhere between them learning of the inbound army(if Wanda wanted stanley to fail it would have made sense for her to make sure they found out in time) and the fall. If FAQ saw the incoming huge army, Charlie would really be the only reasonable ally, and killing said army by croaking the King of the side would be just Charlie's type of solution, I think, and doing it for money would be just his type of motivation. Besides, imagine the fortunes he could make on the ensuing brawl over Saline's now-empty cities?
This update has seen a lot of conjecture regarding Charlie's abilities to meddle with both sides of a conflict, even to the point of divorcing a side from its natural allies. In this case with the Western Giants (can't wait for them to square off against the Eastern Giants, unless the easterns shoot themself in the leg or something), it took the form of re-negotiating a contract. Now, Jillian won't let Vinny on that it was Charlie's idea, but my interpretation is that she herself negotiated the terms. Hence her confidence in her diplomatic abilities, whereas if Charlie set everything up and she just pulled the trigger she wouldn't get the same sense of satisfaction (though it's not implausible that Charlie also worked on the giants to make it seem that she had done the legwork herself for the motivation boost). What I'm saying is, I don't think that there's any dish-based ability to sever a natural ally from its side, any more than a new better offer can work on anyone. Natural sides are, as inferred above and through the baseball metaphor, free-agents. If a side meets the tribe's criteria for alliance, go nuts. Faq probably meets the giants' standards (no proscribed other allies, mountainous).

Which brings up the Saline regicide / FAQ Attaq conspiracy that's been picking up steam. The notion that the gobwin uprising occured while Stanley et al were off attacking FAQ is pretty good, and the only evidence I can find against is in the panel where Sizemore recalls the operation, the dragons are flying over mushroom shaped smurf houses (Mushroom Kingdom?), rather than anything similar to the oriental style of FAQ pre-fall. What isn't addressed is why he'd need Sizemore and the other casters. I can't imagine Stanley willingly taking Sizemore on a battle mission, given his opinion of the dirtamancer. Not when Stanley (with hammer and full chief warlord glory) and a squad of dwagons so ably handled it in one turn. Further, I'm not convinced that Maggie, at least, was even in GK at that point, since she would have been present for FAQ falling, and Jack turning, and probably would have learned his name. She probably has a good enough memory for it.

But getting to my original point before all this rambling, is addressing my personal speculation regarding Charlie and the Faq/GK imbroglio. FACT - Charlie will play both sides of a conflict against one another for maximum benefit. We've heard a lot of speculation about Charlie turning the gobwins against GK to take out Saline (though the art shows a silhouette of a hobgobwin with a sword to Saline's throat). I don't say I disagree. But after taking back GK, Stanley has gobwins for natural allies again, and unless it's the source of their friction, I don't think Charlie was needed to arbitrate negotiations.

No what I want to raise awareness of is the fact that FAQ, pre-fall, stinks to high heaven of a pie that Charlie would have his finger in. FAQ either through the philosophy and training of Banhammer or whatever fatemancy caster-pop mechanic, produces talented casters (profitable consultants). FAQ earned money mostly through mercenary actions, Charlie's chief source of income. FAQ had one important and valuable piece of information associated with it, and only Charlie IMO could have been in a position to possess it; the faqt that Faq exists.

Now, Charlie doesn't strike me as a blackmailer, though charging to not tell a militaristic neighbor country (GK) about a nearby, poorly defended country would have its benefits. He would certainly play the situation to his advantage for at least a little while (before orchestrating the events which would lead to its destruction, say, offering thinkagrams between wanda and stanley for a nominal fee). My speculation lies by what I see as one of the largest un-addressed issues thus far; Faq's predictamancer (Cassandra, Debbie, not named yet). She was credited with a number of fortunes, all pertinent to the story: 1.which city to veil against detection, 2, Banhammer's death/Faq's fall, 3. Wanda receiving an Arkentool.

1. Prediction magic of this type could be replaced by effective surveillance of nearby players. So, a net of scouts could provide information regarding neighbor movements to allow for necessary plans.
2. Anyone actively and confidently planning something can predict it's eventual occurrence. Say, announcing the upheaval of a kingdom you've been working towards, and are just putting the last strokes in place.
3. Suggestions are powerful things, properly applied to the open minded. The only difference between a prophecy and an aspiration, is where it came from. I find it revealing that very little of wanda getting the pliers seems fate-ish. She worked awfully hard, used Stanley, manipulated him with the express purpose of getting a tool, though it seems that her final prize was due more to her work than acts of fate (the only one being a wild-card summoned warlord to actually come up with a plan that would croak the pliers holder, since nobody else could manage).

These are all within Charlie's power, especially if he just needs to be in contact with the predictamancer in an undetected way (Charlie can penetrate 'secure' eyebook networks). That we don't have any information regarding the predictamancer's fate following FAQ's fall makes it all the more tantalizing to speculate (and she looked cute enough to be an Archon in a funny hat in the panel with Wanda recounting the prediction). Keeping Jillian away on mission (and alive) at the time of the fall is child's play at that point; just don't compete with the Faq mercenaries for a job when the boop is going to go down. Since Charlie could have been involved in her popping in the first place (prediction 2) it's perfectly reasonable that he has plans for her.

The question just comes down to why did Charlie do all that if he did? My best guess was setting Stanley up as a regicidal criminal would get Ansom and the pliers in striking range of getting them to Wanda (his idea in the first place). Dissolving Faq would remove competition, and free up caster resources. Keeping Jillian alive... well that's tricky. All I can come up with is that Faq and GK both generally share a neighbor; Transylvito. A side which (pre-hammer) was probably more powerful than GK, but also flirting with the notion of making royalty an obsolete notion. By making assistance at FAQ pass prohibitively expensive (250k/turn), Charlie forced TV's chief warlord and heir into dangerous combat, the loss of whom could seriously inconvenience GK, necessitating coming up with a new heir. Or popping one...

It may not be Charlie's primary agenda, but I believe he has marked Transylvito as a problem, and is taking action to see it gone and a return to the friendly, regimented, profitable wars of old between polite royals. The great western conflict might be just the penultimate steps to removing TV, with FAQ and GK just the pawns and game pieces. Parson included.

/Speculation off
TiMothra wrote:
Natural sides are, as inferred above and through the baseball metaphor, free-agents. If a side meets the tribe's criteria for alliance, go nuts. Faq probably meets the giants' standards (no proscribed other allies, mountainous).


I wonder if Saline did something dumb that caused the uprising.

For example, the "special mission" might have required shmuckers causing a temporary cash flow problem.

Quote:

The notion that the gobwin uprising occured while Stanley et al were off attacking FAQ is pretty good, and the only evidence I can find against is in the panel where Sizemore recalls the operation, the dragons are flying over mushroom shaped smurf houses (Mushroom Kingdom?), rather than anything similar to the oriental style of FAQ pre-fall.


Maybe that was it.

I thought this was a settled question ... so does anyone remember the reference that settled it?
I think a 3.5 caster link is possile, the 3 casterlink using the .5, which is a being an artefact/Iten, say, like Parson's bracer?
Example? Moneymancer, Luckamancer, Thinkamancer, and Mathamancer artefact.
Why would you assume a mind-link was possible with a mindless item? How can you quantify mindless as .5 of a mind? I can understand speculating that a mind link was possible with a sentient tool, but as far, there has been no verification that any of the tools are sentient.
Infidel wrote:
Why would you assume a mind-link was possible with a mindless item? How can you quantify mindless as .5 of a mind? I can understand speculating that a mind link was possible with a sentient tool, but as far, there has been no verification that any of the tools are sentient.

I've half a mind to chastise you over that tautology.
DevilDan wrote:
Infidel wrote:
Why would you assume a mind-link was possible with a mindless item? How can you quantify mindless as .5 of a mind? I can understand speculating that a mind link was possible with a sentient tool, but as far, there has been no verification that any of the tools are sentient.

I've half a mind to chastise you over that tautology.


You would chastise me over tautology?

Quote:
Tautology (logic), a technical notion in formal logic, universal unconditioned truth, always valid


Chastise me for being right all you wish. Besides, "half a mind" is just trite phrase. No one has half a mind, unless there was some serious surgery involved.
Where is the debate on "What happened to the Gobwins at Gobwin Knob?" currently standing? Sorry, but I'm new to the forums.

Anyway, I'm bringing it up because my theory is that Charlie funneled shmuckers to wild marbits (if that is possible) to move in and displace the native goblins. This is so the marbits can act as a natural-ally ground component to Jillian's air assault (who else is she gonna assault with that huge air force?).

Classic really. Air assault using Jillian and an underground insurrection using Marbits. Both arms of the attack neatly bypassing GK's formidable ground-based defenses.

Of course, even then its going to be hugely difficult, with Stanley's dwagons and Sizemore's golems. Unless there's a third component to this plan, as yet unseen.
Infidel, firstly I was mostly making a joke about "half a mind" and "0.5 of a mind."

Secondly, given the vagaries of "alignment" and the throwaway gag about the hammer itself in the original cast list, it's not completely (just mostly) unjustified to speculate that arkentools have something akin to a mind or will. (I forget, did we determine that the arkenpliers "fought" Ansom when Wanda attacked him with her uncroaked air force in TBfGK?)