The Nuptials of Pavis

From: Nick Brooke (Nick_Brooke@compuserve.com)
Date: Thu 31 Jul 1997 - 10:58:59 EEST


_____
Joerg writes:

> This year's German RQ-Con freeform saw me (Cyrilius Harmonious)
> in the role of Pavis marry the priestess of the Red Goddess
> amid great ceremony and magic. If I understood Nick's parting
> instructions to the priestess correctly, I am destined for an
> angelic existance on the moon... ;-)

Yep, them's the breaks.

Story was, I was playing an underpriestess of Porusa the Patient,
High Priestess of the Seven Mothers in Pavis. (The Con organisers
offered me the chance to play a female part at my bachelor party,
which seemed suitably Saturnalian, but then decided to go male.
Having seen Greg play Great Sister, I'm glad I didn't try to
compete...)

Seems Porusa had gone out converting the Praxian natives and fell
under a rogue Rhino, putting a new twist on her nickname of "the
Patient" (now in a Deezola Hospital and recovering well, except
at visiting time...). I was liberated to play a "real" Lunar
missionary, completely different to the "Mr. Nice Guy" I had been
two years previously (at RQ-Con Berlin in '95). I know my cynical
approach to charity, conversion, negotiations, etc. shocked at
least one of my under-priests (the Teelo Norri charity worker:
OK, maybe it was a mistake to remind her of the propaganda value
of a murdered Teelo Norri nun). And my opportunism (in seizing
others' successes and proclaiming them as victories for the Lunar
Way and my own missionary work) was self-evident to others; cf.
Lewis Jardine's Sor-Eel report for an entirely fair assessment
of my overblown underachievement in the game. (At times, people
I'd never spoken to walked up to me and asked to convert. You'd
take the credit, wouldn't you?).

Anyoldhow, one of my game objectives was to marry Pavis off to
the Red Goddess. No strings attached. And I stepped nimbly into
Porusa's shoes to attempt this. Now, I negotiated with the High
Priest of the Pavis cult, and he agreed this was a good idea.
I stressed my own deep personal regard for Pavis: like the Red
Goddess, a mortal hero from a bygone age who brought the benefits
of civilisation to a godforsaken people and is still remembered
for his innovative magics. I stressed the benefits that would
(doubtless) come from such a wedding. The high priest agreed, and
asked if this would mean handing ancient treasures from the
Rubble over to the Lunars. I said, "Of course not! Give me a list
of the Ancient Treasures you're worried about, and we'll include
it in the marriage contract!" All hunky-dory so far...

Until it became apparent that other priests of Pavis were simply
wasting our time. They came to me with "technical difficulties"
(non-existent and undefinable) which would require holding up the
ceremony beyond the imminent Holy Day of Pavis. I pointed out how
much greater an honour it would be for Pavis to wed the Goddess
on his own Holy Day. I asked if they had the best interests of
the God at heart, describing the attractions of our own priestess
lavishly (and, as it turned out, entirely accurately). And I
warned them that the Governor was beginning to lose patience with
the endlessly protracted negotiations.

Then I headed over to the Governor, and told him to lose patience
with the e.p.n., urging him to consider closing down the cult of
Pavis if it continued to defy the Empire. He issued some halfway
convincing threats, and I browbeat the Priests of Pavis into a
meeting to explain themselves. One of them was off in the Rubble,
refusing to cooperate behind the Mask of Pavis. Heigh ho: would
they get rid of him, or would we?

Anyways, with a mix of threatened violence, cynical negotiation,
and appeals to the human nature of the Priesthood, we managed to
get the great wedding procession arranged. The glamorous (in
every sense) Tala Errio was brought forth from the Temple and
wedded to the most pro-Lunar priest of Pavis we could find. And
there was much rejoicing, before the wedding night "a la Hon-Eel".

At the end of the day, the Lunars *must* have wanted something
out of the marriage beyond simple rule over Pavis: more fractious
dissidents would be punished exquisitely by the Empire (if we
remember that the population of Pavis is matched 1:1 by the
Imperial Garrison, and there are plenty of empty lands in the
Redlands to transplant the recalcitrant worshippers). I was able
to force through the wedding because, in the freeform, I was
under no constraints: there weren't any "hidden clauses" in the
Lunar marriage-offer. If I'd needed to get a toehold on the
secret lore of the EWF, or rights to exploit the powers of the
Pavis cult (in the Rubble or elsewhere), then it wouldn't have
been so easy to force the issue past the Priesthood. After all,
ignore the magical issues and Pavis is just a poxy shithole in
the middle of the desert: it'd be simple for the Lunars to close
it down and build a better-planned city a few miles along the
River in any convenient direction. It must have been the Rubble
we were after, but my character knew nothing about this...

I can only assume that Porusa had hidden goals which myself as
her successor was completely unaware of: by going for a minimal
success (a marriage entirely on the Pavis cult's terms), I may
have succeeded in my ostensible goal (of fixing the marriage),
but almost certainly failed the Empire.

If so, it's their fault for not telling me what they wanted. :-)

::::
Nick
::::

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