Book 2 - Text Updates 043

Book 2 - Text Updates 043

Queen Jillian did her best not to be able to see the tower as her forces attacked Progrock. A stack of her lowest units was screening fire, led by the Level 1 Lord DeTrop. She kept her own stack tight in behind them, with her Chief Warlord and only Caster on megalogwiffs to either side of her, close enough to bump. Ahead and below, the target threw some Shockmancy bolts up at them.

The defense was automatic. Not only were there no casters there to direct the stored spells, but there were apparently no commanders of any kind in the city. The defending units would attack by rote. As the Faq forces closed over the dull, industrial-looking garrison, a small contingent of archers thwanged a disconsolate volley. The few arrows flew limply and uselessly against Faq's Royal air force. With so close a screen, only two units in the leadership stack were even nicked by the air defense, and those only barely.

Ansom had been quiet and good through the past couple hexes, so Jillian allowed her prisoner to watch from a vantage similar to her own. His body was enveloped and held within her megalogwiff's huge gummy form, and she ordered it to poke his head out between the armor plates in front of her saddle. He was cute there, like that. She kept having to resist the urge to muss up his hair.

She took her only recon as they advanced. They were in a hurry, and there was no need for a circuit of the garrison if it was so obviously helpless. She lowered her mount's nose and pointed her sword to signal her intention. Fly on. Hit the tower.

Ansom tilted his head back but couldn't turn far enough to meet her eyes. "What, you're not going to check the enemy deployment first?"

"Doesn't matter," muttered Jillian. The city walls below rolled by, peppered with just a few infantry.

"Surely so!" protested Ansom.

Jillian eyed him, and willed her mount to turn him around to face her. "Why? Do you know about anything in the city that would change the outcome? You wanna share something, prisoner?"

Ansom looked insulted. "Not at all. That's just a basic precaution before engagement, in case of surprise," he said sourly. "Really. Extremely basic, Commander."

"Queen!" Jillian snapped, then shut her mouth just as quickly. Oh, what was that? She was defending her Royal title to Ansom now?

"No, in tactical terms, Commander," sniffed Ansom. "Rulers shouldn't lead battles, anyway."

The need for a retort was mercifully mooted as DeTrop's gwiffons crash-landed into a stack of defenders at the tower top. Spilling off their mounts and directly into sword combat, Faq's soldiers slashed through Gobwin Knob's like scissors through a line of paper dolls. The tower was nearly secure before Jillian and Duncan could even spot a place to land.

When she did settle her mount on the tower, she gave Ansom a pat on his head. "You worry too much about me," she said, her voice sweet with sarcasm. Ansom chose to glower in silence.

She took an athletic leap to the stone floor, where her feet landed to either side of the arm of a fallen enemy stabber. She bent down and lifted the arm by the wrist.

"Hey, Duncan!"

Her Chief Warlord stepped around his mount and came to her side, looking down where she indicated. "Queen?"

Jillian held up the hand of the croaked soldier for him. "Not dusted. The defenders aren't Decrypted."

Duncan nodded. "Yes. I think the livery's an indication," he said, pointing to the fallen soldier's armor. He was wearing the Stanley-and-star emblem, rather than Wanda's. "If that's true, then from the air they looked about two-thirds living to one-third Decrypted."

"Huh," said Jillian, dropping the arm and standing straight. She looked around the tower top. DeTrop's stack was already deep inside the tower, in the process of cleaning it out. Racking up all the experience, and the fun. Only the Titans knew how much she was craving combat.

But strategy was more important, and this was a lucky break. "Vanna!" she yelled. "Got a question real quick!"


Jillian did get to split a few faces before the end of the battle, carefully picking on the Decrypted and picking up the living with her megalo. Hers could capture as many as twenty-five normal units.

When she accidentally picked up a Decrypted unit, she had the megalo squeeze it to dust. Ansom seemed really bothered by this. But Vanna had said she wasn't sure she could turn a Decrypted unit, and Jillian needed troops. Next turn, when the Turnamancer had juice, she would be able to cast a mass spell that should convert half these prisoners to Faq units. The rest could be worked on in future turns.

Taking Progrock's garrison was straightforward and clean, with none of Ansom's "surprises." In no more than twenty minutes, the Faq banner flew atop the tower of this Level 3 city. For however briefly, the Kingdom of Faq now had four cities.

Prisoners from the outer walls were marched in, loaded into the megalos if they were living, and executed if they were Decrypted. Ansom's head stared at Jillian from the megalo as this was carried out. She refused to let it bother her.

Without word or ceremony they lifted, and Jillian willed the city razed. With a great swirl of sparkling natural Dirtamancy, and a tinny crashing sound, Progrock turned to dust and rubble below them.

The Queen felt her treasury jump by more than 40,000 Shmuckers. Not bad. Her side's entire upkeep, including the new units, would be secure now for eight or ten turns at least. And more easy targets lay ahead. They could possibly get to--

"Do you intend to ransom me?" demanded Ansom, breaking his long silence. "Is that it?"

Jillian looked at him. The heads of other prisoners poked out like pimples all over her mount, but she had allowed Ansom to keep his place at the top of her saddle. "No, I told you. I'll turn you."

Ansom looked flustered, but it was hard to tell in his position. The wind from their flight blew his hair into his eyes. "I see no reason to believe that's possible!" he said angrily. "But if it is, why would you dispose of the other Decrypted as if they were refuse?"

The Queen rolled her eyes, and said nothing.

"Well?" demanded Ansom. She did not even look at him. "I want to know. If you believe the Popped Again are merely talking golems of some sort, then I could understand. But to you I am still someone who is...who is alive enough to turn, to be 'saved' by you! So then what of the others?"

Jillian shrugged. "Least they're free of Wanda," she said, looking off to the side.

"If that's meant to be amusing, I can't say I find it so," said Ansom.

For a while, they flew on in silence. Jillian scanned the treeline ahead. She considered taking out their route plan, but Duncan seemed well oriented. She thought about hitting the provisions in her bag.

"Jillian," said Ansom quietly.

She met his eyes at last. He looked at her earnestly.

"We are alive."

She felt a bizarre sense of relief to hear him say so. "I want to believe that."

"I know. But understand this: we do have a will. I choose to serve her, because it is through her that I serve the Titans." Jillian shook her head to object, but he raised his voice and continued. "So if you think you can convince me to choose otherwise, then try! By all means, try to turn me."

His voice became grave. "But what I have seen so far from you is not a very fine start."

Comic - Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Recent posts... (See full thread)
gazes_also wrote:
However, as the number of decrypted increases that drive might weaken in newer units, it looks like it is weaker in Ossomer that in Ansom...

Or could it be that Ossomer has never had strong convictions, he was just good at following orders? We didn't get to see a lot of him pre-decrypted, but that would maybe explain why he was apparently behind Ansom in the pecking order.
I have to wonder if a Royal as opposed to a (commoner) caster attuned to the pliers, would they regard the decrypted and the wielder of the Arkenpliers in the same way? If Ansom had attuned and was capable of decrypting, would Slately regard him as an abomination or rather someone who could grant their fallen foes new life in service to Jetstone? That the Titans had given them the opportunity to follow the Titanic Mandate in a manner pleasing to the Royals?

Remember back to the conversation between Ansom and Vinnie in Book 1 . . . Ansom was upset that Stanley, a non-royal, was leading a side and used his belief that Stanley was a regicide as a justification for this attitude. Vinnie seemed rather skeptical of this, and said so. And it was Ansom, not Wanda, who developed and promoted the idea of Toolism. Wanda wasn't promoting an agenda, other than following the path of Fate that would bring the Tools together. I rather got the impression she was out a-conquering because that would be the surest way to bring the Tools together, and besides, that's just what one DOES in this world. Conquer or be conquered.

Trem is now aware from Jillian that even Wanda isn't a Toolist, and once he has an opportunity to reflect on what he's been told (remember, he's been a but preoccupied so far this turn), he may realize that all is not what he thought it was. Since he knows what a pompous boob his brother was, this may present him with options he hadn't considered before. Also, with Ansom gone (and assuming Ossomer survives), how will the war be presented? Will Ossomer continue with the 'New Titanic Mandate' trope, or not? And would Wanda even give a Dwagon Dookie one way or another?
Here's a thought.

Perhaps Turnamancy doesn't affect Loyalty in little chunks. Instead, it changes a unit's Loyalty all in one go, and by a set amount. The higher the Loyalty, the harder it is to turn them. Also, the less Loyal they will end up being immediately AFTER they are turned. Think of it as a sliding scale. Turnamancy flips the unit, modifying Loyalty all at once, essentially. (This is all supposition, but it kinda fits and has a nice symmetry).

A unit with a strong Loyalty to its old side would end up having a low Loyalty to its new side, and vice versa. See the illustration below for an example

Side A Side B
100 ------------------------0---------------------- 100

Now, let's say Unit x and Unit y are both being turned. This is their Loyalty beforehand. Then they are Turned.

Side A Side B
100 ------------------------0------------------------ 100

This would be the Loyalty afterwards.

If a Turnamancer doesn't have the chops to turn them on a single turn, then they can build up effort over multiple turns.

Just a thought.
Oberon wrote:
Goshen wrote:
My sense of the dramatic tells me that the moment Ansom turns, he will crumble to dust. His last words to Jillian will be "I love you..."
And if this happens, my sense of the board drama predicts that the debates will be TRULY EPIC over whether he was first finally free of Wanda and was expressing his true sentiments to Jillian and second dusted for lack of support from the 'pliers, or if he had first turned and therefore loved Jillian because he had to, but second dusted because he was no longer supported by the 'pliers.

Because, you know, everyone will have an opinion on the matter, and no one will have anything but that opinion to support their side. :twisted:

:lol: Well said!
Housellama wrote:
Here's a thought.

Perhaps Turnamancy doesn't affect Loyalty in little chunks. Instead, it changes a unit's Loyalty all in one go, and by a set amount. The higher the Loyalty, the harder it is to turn them.

OMG. Turnamancy is Quantum Mechanics.
... no. Just, no.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Housellama wrote:
Here's a thought.

Perhaps Turnamancy doesn't affect Loyalty in little chunks. Instead, it changes a unit's Loyalty all in one go, and by a set amount. The higher the Loyalty, the harder it is to turn them.

OMG. Turnamancy is Quantum Mechanics.

I'm not sure whether I love you or hate you right now.

...that would put Jillian watching Vanna in the dungeon and thinking she's not playing hard enough in a decidedly odd context.
Housellama wrote:
I'm not sure whether I love you or hate you right now.

I didn't observe what you did there.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Housellama wrote:
I'm not sure whether I love you or hate you right now.

I didn't observe what you did there.

What's the conjugate variable of knowing what he did there? Because now we have a chance to get it very well defined.