Storming The Castle
“I don’t suppose walking in under pretense of diplomacy is an option?”
“Well, I do own the place.”
-Kogel and Naoko
Naoko, Kogel, and Kalil traveled into Paradise and to Kouhei Castle, intent on putting a stop to the Brood of the Dark Lord once and for all, though Naoko harbored concerns about the rumor Squall shared about Sari being in charge. As they approached the castle itself, a memory overtook Kalil of a time where he saw Kouhei Castle, long in the past.
The blizzard’s wind slices through your armor, the cloak wrapped around you serving as nothing more than a wet towel plastered against your skin, sending icy daggers into your bones, fighting against your every step.
In the distance you can see it – the only light for miles, the only sign of civilization you’ve seen since you left that tiny logging village three weeks ago.
Every step is a battle, the snow crunching beneath your boots. You have to tap your hood to keep the snow from building up on it and weighing you down further.
But you press on, knowing that what rests in your pack cannot be left to chance, knowing that if you were to die out here, then many more would die after you… and though it would not be your blade that would free them from this world, it would be on your hands nonetheless.
Kouhei Castle included multiple rooms, each of which was explored by the party.
West Room – 1A. North Room, Left Of Stairs – 1B. North Room, Right Of Stairs – 1C. East Room – 1D.
West 1A – The room on the left wing appears to be a reception hall; there is a wooden desk and high-backed chair on the far side of the room, framed by tall windows hidden behind blue curtains. Five large bookshelves sit on the north wall, spines covered in letters you cannot read. Naoko discovered that the books looked to all be written here, from how the lettering was the same on each of these, and they appeared to be books of a primarily political bent — The Tonberry Nation, The Cactuar Of Saboten, The Caelondian Kingdom, etc. Other books were history books, religious texts (focusing on Bahamut, Alexander, Odin, Garuda, and others), books on native flora and fauna, etc. The desk was full of misshapen green materia, and since materia did not exist in the Old World they struck Naoko as peculiar.
NW 1B – This is, or at least was, an armory. Racks that once held spears, mannequins that bore suits of armor, and chests that must have once held many goods. They certainly don’t now — the racks are empty, the mannequins are bare, and the chests lay open, raided. Kalil found little of interest in here.
NE 1C – A small, restrained sanctuary, with an organ at the back, an altar in front of fifteen rows of pews, and a holy symbol in front of a statue of Bahamut at the back of the sanctuary. The statue is surrounded by candles — candles lit recently. See below for Kogel’s exploration.
East 1D – This dining room is dominated by the beautiful, long table in the center of the room, set with the finest china and piled high with food that fills you with an incredible hunger you did not have before you came in. Succulent bird, beef, bratwurst, and some sort of plant that starts with B for the salads that are set above and to the right of every plate. Kalil investigated this room, wanted no food, and left.
West 2A – A waiting room, where lords and ladies of varying levels of import would be told to sit and wait, probably with some tea or something, while the King or Queen prepared to welcome them.
It is also a bedroom, from the bedroll in the corner; a thin bedroll, white sheets and pillow, empty plate sitting against the wall, and an extinguished lantern on the windowsill above. No one found anything of interest here beyond the bedroll.
Center 2B – Blocked from entry via a barred door and a magical seal.
East 2C – This room is full of paintings, hanging on the walls and positioned on easels. Most are complete, though there is one partially complete in the far corner. All of the paintings are portraits, and the face on every painting has been scratched out. All save two — the largest painting in the room, of King Randall II of Kouhei, and the painting in progress, which is of Princess Sari, age 19. Kogel identified the painter as Bertrand Gwynhald, known for his series of paintings on kings and queens, and also found a painting that looked remarkably like how someone of the time might have described Kogel — the man in the frilly long coat, the feathered hat, holding a letter in one hand and a crossbow in the other one. They also found a program for Act 1 of Horizon.
“You’re not taking her from us. You’re not going to kill her like you did him. If I have to fight you myself and die, then I will! I’m not letting you take her!”
-The Girl, to Kogel
When Kogel investigated the Sanctuary, and specifically the defaced holy symbol of Bahamut, a small girl attacked him, stabbing him in the shoulder with a poisoned dagger while shouting that he would not take the Princess from her. Kogel fought the poison with a Remedy and fought the girl by not fighting at all, instead putting distance between he and the girl and assuring her that they came to do no such thing.
The girl knew that Kogel killed Lord Hades, and she was intent on making sure nothing like that happened to Sari. Kogel talked to the girl carefully, trying to put her at ease without misleading her in any way. During the conversation, Kogel learned that the girl thought that Victor was dead, that Schutter too was dead, and that Bahamut was responsible. That’s why she defaced his holy symbol with iconography of Tiamat’s. She also wasn’t allowed into the rest of the castle, according to “the big guy,” Dajjal.
Kogel bartered himself as a hostage to allow Kalil and Naoko to continue further into the castle, and gave Brotherhood to the Girl (whom he was calling “little bird” by this point), though not before taking all of the bullets out. In return, the Girl gave the greenish-brown materia from her dagger to Kalil. The materia was a unique, never-before-seen materia called the Decay materia, created by Sari. The materia’s abilities would allow Kalil and Naoko to advance further into the castle and find Sari, and Kogel would remain with the Girl.
Party gained the Decay materia.
The party gained 1 LP each for participation, and 1 LP each for good teamwork.
Kogel gained 1 LP for discovering Captor Girl, and an additional LP for not drawing once.
Naoko gained 1 LP for the search in the library, finding and correctly deducing the purpose of the materia.
Kalil gained 1 LP for an accidental brilliant pre-planning moment where the Ring of Sustenance protected him from eating food that would have allowed the inhabitants of the castle to track him as long as he was within its walls.
“Congratulations, Nathan. You can now say, ‘I beat a tabletop RPG trap on account of it being physically impossible for me to be hungry.’”