Author Topic: Luck of the Drow  (Read 1015 times)

Offline Vix

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Luck of the Drow
« on: January 19, 2013, 09:51:36 PM »
Why does Vix, a drow, run an inn in human lands, you ask?

Being a rogue drow, hunted by her old House, as well as the local drow houses, is a dangerous predicament. Vix needed allies. Strong allies who could offer some protection from those who sought to capture or kill her. She also needed a solid base and cover to operate her network of spies from.

Thus, after long months of insinuating herself into the power structure of the Barony of Hamptonshire as a spy for the Baroness (while spying upon the barony, too), Vix became nigh indispensable for her accurate and timely information. Still, she had no official standing in the barony. She was tolerated, perhaps even respected and admired by the baroness and her council, but they could not be seen as giving aid and succor to a drow.

Vix understood this, and had been cultivating a "friendship" with the owner of the Sancrist Inn within the town of Engliton itself. (Player owned property). Through some guile, bribes, and no small amount of luck, Manny Krows, the previous owner, found himself in more debt to people than he could pay. Vix, of course, was behind most of the front businesses owed substantial amounts of coin, and maneuvered the others in which she had no controlling stake. With creditors hounding him, he needed a way out of town, and a substantial amount of cash to see him safe and far.

Being a drow, Vix could not outright purchase property in Engliton, or the barony which it was a part of. Even if she could, Manny would not sell to a drow, no matter how much of a friend she was. So she prodded the inn owner to hold one last event at the Sancrist -- a gambling gala. With the share of the profits from the evening, Manny would be able to either pay off much of his debts, or skip town and keep the coin for himself. Manny planned to skip town, but he had no idea what to do about the Sancrist. Vix had an answer for that.

Various games of chance were held, as well as the main event -- a pokir tournament with the deed of the Sancrist and half the end pot to the winner ... for an exorbitant entry fee, of course.  All proper permits, fees, and contracts with the barony were meticulously handled and approved with the proper persons. Manny, the tournament winner, and the barony were set make a lot of money on this event. Even the Thieves Guild was cut in for a share.

The night went well. People were having a good time ,even when they lost, due to Vix nudging Manny to open his bar to all and sundry for a small cover fee. It was not like he was going to be around to worry about if all his liquor stock was consumed, was it?

Then the main event was started. Rich dilettantes, wealthy businessmen, guild leaders, and nobility from near and far paid their king's ransom to join in the game of pokir. Just as the tournament was about to begin, Vix cleared her throat and stated there was one more entrant to be seated at the table.

Herself.

Cries of outrage mingled with shocked gasps and more than a small number of friendly cheers. Vix refuted all claims to her joining as legal. The event was delayed several hours as town and barony officials scoured the books of law and the recent contracts. It was for naught, as Vix had already researched and manipulated for months to reach this point.

Grudgingly, Vix was allowed entry. She paid her fee and took her place at the table.

Near everyone at the table did their level best to force Vix out. But time and again, the drow held her own, steadily winning pots and ousting other players until it was down to the Master  of the Mage's Guild, the Baroness of Hamptonshire, Manny Krows, and Vix.

Two hands and a substantial amount of coin later, it was the Mage's Guild leader fumbling cards in sweaty hands across from an outwardly calm Vix. An hour passed with neither player making headway against the other. The festivities had waned to almost nothing but drunken carousers, all other eyes were upon the duel of wills and luck being played out on the green felt table in the rear of the inn.

It all came to a head when the Master Mage, after a brief consultation with several other prominent patrons, offered a deal of one hand, winner take all. Though as Vix was several hundred goldens short of matching the Master Mage's stack, he was willing to continue if Vix would swear to leave Hamptonshire, never to return upon pain of death, should she lose.

An excited murmur arose through the thronging crowd. The Baroness argued against this, not so much as she feared the drow would win as that Vix would lose and thus the barony would lose its most valuable informant. In the end, again after a brief consultation of barony law regarding such wagers, it was left up to Vix to decide.

Vix smirked and agreed.

You might expect there would be a long, drawn out battle of artfully contrived bluffs. There was not. Each was dealt their hand, neither traded for different cards by some unspoken agreement that passed between the seething arch-mage and dusky skinned elf interloper. Vix did not even look at her hand, though the master mage peered intently at his own and bestowed a predatory smile upon her. With a raised snowy white eyebrow and a slight nod of a bearded head, the two flipped their hands over, fanning the cards for all to see.

*****

The inquiry took weeks.

Manny Krows was stopped as he attempted to take ship out of Hampstonshire and made to stay the duration. Every one in the inn that night was magically questioned, as were any and all who were even in some small way associated with the event that night. Every piece of paper concerning the event was gone over with a fine toothed comb. Law books were exhausted in greater depth seeking a way out of the outcome.

In the end, Vix became the new owner of the Sancrist Inn. Now being a landowner, she also became a citizen of Engliton and of the Barony of Hamptonshire, with all rights, privileges, and duties that entitles.

Vix now had her buffer of protection and a legal front for her clandestine activities.

Many still claimed Vix cheated to win, the Master of the Mage's Guild the most vociferous of them all. But in the end, no proof could be found. The event was magically secured against cheating, both arcane and divine. Even the Master Mage had to admit his wards were secure and untouched.

There was simply no way Vix could have cheated to win.

But she did ...

Those long months prior, before she set one piece of the convoluted scheme into motion, before she even had begun to formulate plans, Vix had made a long and dangerous journey to an Oracle. The Oracle answered one question, and one question only, for each supplicant. It always answered with only one word.

The question Vix asked was this:

"Will I ever know true love?"

The answer was "Yes."

Vix knew then that what she sought the most, what she needed more than anything to fill the gnawing black hole in her soul would be hers someday. She did not know when, she did not know how, she did not know who. She just knew it was to be.

No matter what she did, no matter where she went, fate had decreed Vix would know true love. Everything that would happen in Vix's life would lead to that moment. Everything else was just incidental on her journey to reach it. 

~fin~

Notes:

I had thought I lost this story. I found it in a directory I did not know existed in another directory I thought long deleted. Events played out in live role play roughly as described below. I spent literal months setting the entire story up, culminating in the pokir tournament, which was completely random and run by an in-game pokir program. Embellishment is, of course, added to create a more readable tale. The card game played out as written, except for the time delays and the next-to-last hour-long card game; those were minutes instead of hours.

Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: Luck of the Drow
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 03:31:47 PM »
Very nice story :) I liked it very much :D

Offline hans

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Re: Luck of the Drow
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2013, 09:54:15 PM »
I always enjoy hearing the adventures of your avatar.   :read2:

I hope, one day, you'll reconsider immortalizing her in a UA mod, even if it's just a mini.  I'm certain it would be wonderful!   

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: Luck of the Drow
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2013, 04:02:57 PM »
I'll always feel like i missed out not playing on Engliton... wasn't that James Rand or am i thinking of someone else?  Well, i do feel lucky i have been able to brush pixels with Ben Sanderfer, Olivier, Foy and some others on the 2001 Neverwinter Nights.

I will echo the already stated sentiments just how great it would be to meet Vix inside a FRUA design.