40 Comments

Renegade Project 7: Stalking Deceit

You study Selyna for a moment – long enough to see her hand fidget with her satin skirt, then you shrug. “Then I will bid you good night and seek the young man another time.” You give a deep bow, turn your back to her and walk away.

However, you listen, lest the woman hurry away, but she doesn’t. You feel her watching you. At the first branching corridor, you turn just far enough to be out of sight. You continue walking, but only in place, gradually softening the footfalls.

When your steps are almost too faint for even you to hear, you catch the sound of her slippers hurrying away. You pull your leather boots off and peek around the corner to see her turn left down a corridor. With your boots in your hand, your linen stockings make only the slightest sound as you follow. Cold seeps through to your feet, but the stone is far warmer than it usually was in the monastery. You had spent plenty nights in your youth sneaking around after dark and rarely ever got caught.

With the most of the servants and others still at supper, the halls are empty. The dark shadows and maze of turns make the tailing easy.

After a ways, her pace slows as she walks down a longer corridor then enters a door. Well it was certainly a long ways from the kitchens or servants so it seems she’s turning in for the night. Which meant you now need a good hiding place where you can watch. Beyond the door she entered lay a set of two doors across from each other. A lit torch hung on the wall between the doors, but there is plenty of shadows. Crouching in the darkest spot, you resign yourself to waiting.

After a while, you hear footsteps behind you. With no alcove or doorway to take cover in, you hide as best as you can and hold your breath.

Gallino passes, without pausing or glancing in your direction. The shadows are deep enough that he might have missed you entirely, but you wouldn’t stake your life on it. He proceeds to one of the farther doors. That when you realize where you are – right by his office where you’d found him before. That means the third door is Galen’s study. Apparently their private chambers ar linked through their respective studies. Did that mean that Selyna had an antechamber too?

After he vanishes through the door, you again wait. By now you expect most people to be headed to bed.

Another long while later, your eyes catch the hint of motion in the darkness at the other end of the hallway. There is no noise of footsteps but you do hear the soft rub of worn leather.

You press your back against the wall and hold very still.

A form emerges. The person wears a short cloak with a drawn hood, but from the clothing, gait and short sword sheathed at the side, you safely assume it’s a male. The man stops by Selyna’s door, glances both ways then opens the door and enters.

You smile. Seems your patience is about to pay off. Keeping an eye on both directions of the corridor, you creep out of the shadows and head for the door. As you reach it, you hear a knock inside and the murmur of voices.

“Selyna – I’ve only just returned.”

“Hurry, come in,” Selyna says and then the voices fade.

You frown. They must be within the bedchamber now. With two doors between, there’s no way you’ll hear anything useful, but they are definitely up to something. Entering would be risky, but if you could just catch enough to know what they were planning, you could report it to Galen. If you let this chance pass, there might not be another one.

You test the door to find it unbarred. Pushing it open you glance around the room. The room is dark but small enough to not offer any good hiding places. Two chairs sit to the side of the room near a knee-high table.

The sound of voices draw you to the inner door.

“So,” Selyna says. “Is it truly arranged?”

“Yes. This time it will work. I am sure of it. They’ll wait until after the caravan reaches Myrmiar and attack the first night of the return trip. The guards won’t stand a chance.”

You tense, startled by the depths of the betrayal. Galen was right to fear treachery, but is he really prepared to discover the plotting happening just on the other side of the wall from where he slept? You don’t have any sure evidence – only your word. However, the caravan is to leave in the morning and Myrmiar is only a two-day journey.

A time of decisions has come and this time, lives were definitely at stake.

Do you:

Report to Galen immediately, despite the lateness of the hour.
-OR-
Get out of there, and plan to report to Galen at the first light of dawn, with an offer to foil the attack yourself.
-OR-
Keep listening and pray you don’t get caught.

-OR-

???

(Open to alternatives or tweaked options, but no more than five choices altogether)

 

Voting is closed.

For those who missed the rules for this game check them out here!

And to see how this adventure began, see Renegade Project #1

About Ren Black

Part-time novelist. Weekend artist. Full-time Mother. Ex-poet. Perfectionist by training. Compulsive researcher sporadically. Prone to fits of linguistic commentary Unorthodox Renegade occasionally. Sarcastic by habit... Dreamer Always... Consider Yourself Warned

40 comments on “Renegade Project 7: Stalking Deceit

  1. “Get out of there, and report to Galen at the first light of dawn.”

    Knocking now, considering the proximity to the other chambers, would likely draw unwanted attention from Selyna. You don’t want a late-night (first night) he-said/she-said battle of words to come up. You certainly don’t want Selyna catch you allowing her to accuse you of indecent activity.

    Approach Galen first thing in the morning and convey your intelligence. You can even write up the repair list as cover for your reason for approaching him first thing to avoid rousing suspicion in the conspirators. Counsel Galen to act normally on the first day but then prepare the caravan as they approach the strike point.

    • Not that I’m saying that I’m voting for report immediately, but if indeed their chambers are so close, perhaps reporting immediately would give an edge as Galen could catch them “in the act” as it were. After all, even if this is a trusted servant, just what is he doing in her bedroom chambers at this time of night if they are not married? (Not saying that Ren declared them unmarried) Also, if it would be hard for him to hear voices through two doors, who’s to say that they would neccessarily hear him knocking on the door to Galen’s chamber? Just saying, unless I’ve misunderstood the placement of the doors somehow.

  2. First, love the reference to sneaking around the monastery. Very nice!

    Second, while Seth has a great idea about how to approach Galen, I’m in for a penny, in for a pound. Meaning: stay to listen and pray I don’t get caught.

    I’ve been stupid enough to follow the daughter of the household to her private chambers to meet someone (younger brother is my guess) when all I have is a suspicion she isn’t acting right. I should get all the info I can before I tell anybody anything. A sword fight in this chamber should wake up Galen and his son if it comes to that, so my biggest worry is getting caught without a reason to be there other than zeal to do my job. (Which reminds me. Am I carrying a sword? I can’t remember)

    Right now, I’m the more likely spy/ thief/ bad guy/ whatever. Galen just hired me, after all. I could be a creep here to ruin his household. If I’m telling him anything, I need more facts and some names if I can get them.

    And I’d better think of a darn good excuse for when “insert name here” finds me crouched outside the family quarters in the middle of the night instead of doing a more obvious job of protecting my boss’ house.

    I’ll keep thinking about that but I’m open to suggestions.

    Nice job, Ren!

    • Of course, a suggestion for another voting possibility (not that I’m voting this way, just bringing it up) is a combination of two of the choices Ren laid out and that is to first stay for as long as you can without getting caught and then first thing in the morning tell Galen everything that you’ve learned.

      Another thing to add is why not after listening as much as possible, if the name of this man isn’t revealed, then follow him from that room to wherever he will go and before he can “get away” (whether that’s through entering a door somewhere or running through a field), approach him and announce that you’re the new security and as it’s late so you want to verify his identity. He just might tell you who he really is. Then when you talk to Galen in the morning you can give both a name and a good physical description so that Galen can verify if he knows this person and if indeed the person gave you the correct name. 😉

    • Thanks Robynn… And yes, you are carrying a sword. After all, you are in essence a security guard. Don’t they usually wear a weapon of some kind?

  3. I saw go to Galen in the morning, with a twist; tell him you’ve overheard a plot to ambush the caravan. Volunteer to take some men and foil the attack. Capture the leader and force him to identify the son as the one behind it.

    Do you tell him that it’s his son? Not right away; simply say that it’s someone close to him, but you don’t want to make accusations that personal without proof. That comes once you stop the slaughter and capture aforementioned bandit.

  4. “Report to Galen immediately, despite the lateness of the hour.”

    If you’re as good as Galen is paying you to be, you could break into Fort Knox without anyone knowing. Go see him and tell him everything. He’s hardly an idiot (and he’s definitely the kind of guy who’d want to know right away if something were acting). He’s suspicious and clever, and at the least, probably has a good idea that all is not well on the home front. Not only is he paying you to keep him informed (and paying you very well), two heads are far better than one when it comes to problem solving. And since going to bed would be a bad idea, you might as well stay up with the one person you can talk to (and stay close to the others involved).

  5. Get out of there, and report to Galen at the first light of dawn with the “volunteer to lead a counter ambush” option.

  6. Some combination of Seth and Robynn’s ideas.
    Get as much information as you can, tell Galen, but don’t tell him everything. This is a good way to build trust–overhearing something seemingly by accident and foiling a plot against his caravan, but without making him distrust you right away by pointing the finger at his kids. You can prove the kids’ treachery when you foil the plot, but you need to establish your own trustworthiness first.

  7. Okay, I’m happy to change the informing of Galen at dawn to offer to lead the resistance – sounds eventful and intriguing.

    However, Seth was interested in getting out of danger’s way to ensure not getting caught. Robynn is saying getting more information is worth the increased risk. These are totally different immediate actions. So, just saying “a combination” and things like “stay but don’t get caught” are not valid options.

    You guys get to decide what the narrator does at this moment, not the results. Fundamentally your only real choices I see are: a) stay and listen, b) go tell Galen immediately or c) get clear of the danger with a plan to act later (ie, insure that you get away safely with the information). Well, I guess you could rush the door and try to take the traitors prisoner or you could decide to wake Gallino instead of Galen (being that he’s the one in charge of the caravan). Oh, and I guess David suggested following the guy when he leaves, so you could theoretically retreat to a better hiding place and follow the guy when he leaves.

    I like the discussion of other plans and I think I will implement them, but the most important thing I need to know for the vote is what you guys want to do right now. Morning is still a ways away. Who knows, there might be another choice or so before we reach it, but that depends on a few other variables. If you choose to stay to listen longer, you are in a room that has no good hiding places. You do not know how much of a notice you will have to hide before the door is opened or whether or not you will get caught. However, you do know that the man is armed… What will happen rests in my hands.

    … can you hear the devious chuckling?

  8. Retreat from the room. But do not tell anyone. Instead, knock on all the family doors and wait for them to come out. Then, tell them you just received word from your “informant” that there is to be an ambush on the caravan. Say it came by way of a note and you have no idea who the “informant” is. Then, sit back and watch them sweat and turn on each other. The caravan is saved and brother and sister have ulcers. It’s a win, win for you.

    • Leave it to Diane. 😉

      Very good suggestion. 😀

    • Pros: you’ve prevented the attack.
      The twisted siblings are turned against each other.

      Cons: you’ve lost your trump card; the element of surprise. The twisted siblings now know someone’s on to them and they’ll be a lot more cautious and suspicious, making your job harder.
      You have no evidence of treachery, not even the “note”.
      You’ve just painted a target on your back. Twisted siblings aren’t likely to be fond of you. If they’d attack their own father’s caravan, I doubt they’d mind sticking a dagger in your back.
      Plus, you just told daddy dearest. Daddy now expects there to be an attack. Only, no attack comes now that twisted siblings know the gig is up. You no longer have his trust.

  9. I’m sticking with my original vote, but I did want to take a moment to give a public kudos to Ren for pulling this together.

    The tension is ramping up. The stakes are increasing. I felt my real pulse quicken when I pressed my fictional ear to the door. I was reluctant about the whole “choose your own adventure” thing in the beginning, but I am having a great time, and I wanted to say “thanks for doing this, Ren.”

    Reminds me of my old role-playing days, except all the players get to be the same character. hehe!

    • Thanks Robynn, but I gotta tell you – I’m having a blast!

      Before I started this, I mentioned that I had tried it before on a community one… but it just had no life to it. You guys are a lot of fun to toy with… er… play with… um… I mean, this game is a lot of fun. *grin*

      Of course, you all realize that there’s another option it would only be fair to mention… You could do nothing. You could simply gather information and only when you have figured out what everyone is doing and why, then you could present the whole truth – kind of like that old movie, Clue… right? With a couple of “twisted siblings” (as Mary put it so delightfully) who knows what might happen if they found out that anyone is on to them. As soon as anyone actually takes action against a sneaky enemy, he or she is bound to retaliate, right?

      However, everything has it’s down side… and that plan probably wouldn’t save the caravan from attack… but hey, then you’d have the solid evidence.

      But then again, I believe highly in a thoroughly stacked deck – against the hero. We have only just begun…

      (p.s. did I mention I’m having a blast?)

  10. Ok, I’ll clarify my earlier response to a more immediate plan of action. Stay and keep listening, gathering more information.
    After all, Knowledge is Power or something, right? 🙂

  11. Okay, so my informal tally says that we have a tie going, between staying and getting clear… so who wants to break the tie?

    David? You’ve been wandering around commenting but definitely withholding… you want to chime in officially? Or anyone else is welcome to speak up! I’ll let this run for most of the day… since I am supposed to be doing a big review and book give away…

    But we gotta get this guy committed otherwise I might have the two people finish their meeting and come out to find you pacing the room in indecision… having missed your chance to escape AS WELL as the rest of the conversation…

    lol… and don’t think I won’t…

    • Can you specifically lay out where all votes are at now? I mean even if two are in a tie, where are the other ones at? Someone just said something after you posted this, so that should count as a vote. Once you put it out there (even with those that have “0” votes) then I will know better exactly where I want my vote to be. Plus, it might help anyone else out there hedging a bit. Or that may just be me. 😉 😛

  12. I want to follow the man when he leaves.

  13. Seth & Stanley want to Get Out Now and talk to Galen in the morning (including the “send me to rescue the caravan!”)

    Robynn & Avily say Stay and Listen despite risk

    Jlrowan wants to inform Galen Now

    Diane wants to Cause a Ruckus and let them fight it out

    And Aili wants to pull back and Follow the Mystery Man when he leaves.

    So, two tied at two and three with 1 each. There have been other options mentioned but none that seem to have sparked interest. Does that help?

  14. I vote to pull back and Follow the Mystery Man when he leaves.

  15. Okay then, let’s wrap it up.

    One more hour for anyone wavering at the last minute. Well, we’ll go to 8 pm CST. Then I’ll call the vote for what it is, tie or no.

  16. Don’t forget me! I say option 2. The poor guy needs some sleep.

  17. Okay, okay, we have a winner! Actually, it may have been my own fault that this drug out so long. I think I may have mistallied… sure sign that the Review & Interview have addled my brain… or it could be the snow and having a bunch of kids over here…

    Nuts, I was actually getting kind of excited about the idea of you getting caught in indecision.. had a sword fight etc all planned out and even you losing… well… anyways, so much for that idea, another time.

    The Winning Path is to get out of the area and wait til morning, but I shall consider the option of following the mystery guy…

    Well, I’m off to concoct the next mess… gonna get a fight in here one way or another, only a matter of time … trust me.

  18. I’m gonna win one of these one of these times. I’m determined. 🙂

    • lol, yes, I’m sure if you stick around you will. Got a lively choice next time… or it could really get lively depending on what is chosen…

      Don’t worry – You’ll get your day too.

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