Hvs.tCF 119:3

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Turn Number:90
Side's Turn:Charlescomm

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Think about how it works. He'd said it twice. He'd said it the way he'd often talked when setting up a new puzzle.

"It" being the contract, "how it works" then meant that when one side damages the other's units, they must pay. The Archon Lilith likely was not currently wounded, or else the treasury would not be empty. But she would be wounded, because she would need Healomancy. And she would come through the portal, because how else could she arrive here "soon?" It was Predicted.

He glanced at the portal, wondering if perhaps there were a scene just on the other side of it which made for an equally excellent moment in time…

"Well!" said Jack, quite loudly. Most eyes turned his way, but he focused his own on Artemis, the warlord ostensibly in command here. She hadn't spoken a word, to this point. "As we're under truce and without a Chief Warlord, I can't suggest anything that Gobwin Knob can do to stop you. But perhaps Sister Marie might be persuaded to let you be on your way as well."

Artemis nodded uncertainly. Marie gave him a quizzical look. "Oh?"

"Yes, the answer is obvious," said Jack. "I suspect that if you were to cast about it, you would see that he's simply Predicted to pass through this portal." He glanced over to Sister Wanda, worried that she might see him as trespassing on her philosophical grounds, but she actually looked fractionally amused.

Sister Marie narrowed her eyes at Parson Gotti. "You don't move, okay?"

The warlord (enemy warlord, hmf) raised an eyebrow. "What if my nose itches?" he said with a little smirk.

"Then I shoot it off yah face. Quiet now," said the Predictamancer. With seeming ease, she kept the weapon pinned against her shoulder with her right hand, keeping her eyes and the rod trained on Parson Gotti's head. With her left, she withdrew the scroll from her sash and tossed it blindly to the grass. "Wanda, take it."

Sister Wanda rose and picked up the Healomancy scroll.

As her left hand became free, Sister Marie waved it and said, "Kremna." Her eyelids fluttered.

Jack watched Parson Gotti closely. His posture and gaze indicated that he was considering taking the opportunity to flee through the portal, but could not justify the risk. Then he looked to Marie, sizing up his chances to steal the weapon.

Jack twisted the cap of his staff slightly and began to cast a baffle spell to throw the warlord off the mark, if he attempted any move against her.

Sister Marie's milk-white eyes went wide, and her gaze darted around, glancing at the warlord, the portal, a soldier, the near ground, then the far ground. Her head shuddered slightly, and Jack deduced that the vision of the spell had cleared.

"Yah. He goes through," she said distantly.

"Well," said Jack, interrupting the assembly of his spell. "You of all people should know the folly of delaying the inevitable."

For three heartbeats, she said nothing. Then she tilted the rod upward and pulled it close to her body. "I'm keeping this," she said.

Parson Gotti pressed his lips together and looked around for a long moment, "checking for traps" as he would likely put it. "Okay," he said, "I'll be in touch."

He turned around and stepped through the portal to Charlescomm.

…But not before Jack could complete the baffle spell, and throw it the warlord's way. After all, he hated to waste juice, almost as much as he hated that wretched suit of clothing the warlord was wearing.

Well. Whatever sort of moment they were enjoying on the opposite side, that ought to make things a little less perfect.

"Jack! Wanda! Move!" cried Sister Marie, the moment Parson Gotti was gone. "Everyone… down!!"

see also: Enlargement