Choose Your Own Adventure 16: History Lesson
From last time, you chose to hear more about Emperor Kaev.
“What’s Emperor Dleshan Kaev like?” you ask. The question tastes of déjà vu.
“Oh, he’s brilliant,” Dunscher says cheerfully. “He doesn’t leave the capital much, though. He’s a tall man, dark hair, big nose, really deep, booming voice. I went to one of his speeches once. There was this one bit about the greatness of the empire that was absolutely majestic. You could have heard him a mile away…”
You miss the rest of what he says. You’re too busy processing a series of flashes, images, echoes, which you can only assume to be memories somehow triggered by even this brief description.
A man stands atop a staircase, in front of a stone temple, gesturing in front of one of its grand windows. Below him are a few guards, and below them, standing in the plaza, in a huge gathering of people of all kinds. The man is tall, and wears a thick cape that he uses to emphasize his motions. His other clothes are a dark crimson, trimmed in silver. “We shall never again tolerate their actions against us…” You are not watching him. You are watching the crowd from its edges, looking for someone.
Your memory skips away. You are standing in a small room, furnished with a thick red carpet and several deep, comfortable chairs. You are alone here, save for the presence of the tall man from the earlier memory. “What I ask of you is a difficult thing. I require both your unfettered advice and your unquestioning obedience. Can you do that?”
You bow in your memory, arms held behind your back. “My Emperor, I have trained for this all my life. I will…”
The thought fades into another memory, this one warm and dark and tired. Then, it is suddenly cold and bright and filled with adrenaline.
You were in the service of the Emperor, and you were betrayed by… by… the memory fades.
Back in reality, Dunscher is still chattering on. “… and they say the Empress is finally expecting. Everyone I talked to before I left said it was sure to be a girl, but-”
“That’s enough, corporal,” Burschiss interrupts. “We’re at Venbrik.” You can tell that the town is not a large one, but it is probably the most sizeable outpost for a great distance. A few wisps of smoke twist through the sunshine. The smells of baking bread, metal, dust and dung reach you, all blended together. The buildings are mostly made of wood, probably from the forest up the road. Most have paper and shutters for windows, rather than expensive glass. A few people are visible in the streets paved with hard-packed dirt.
The sergeant looks at you, and asks, “Are you all right? You seemed out of it for a little while.”
“I’m fine,” you say. “I was just woolgathering.”
“Heh,” he says. “Dunscher is like that sometimes.” The corporal looks offended. “We have business here, so we can’t be chasing you all over town. I’d suggest you visit Aldna. She’s the town healer, and knows more about that canyon than anyone. Assuming that’s what your problem is, I’ll show you where she should be.” He hops fairly nimbly from the cart, turns to the corporal, and says, “Talk to Thendiss about the mead. And make sure not to pay him too much. And no sampling. You’re on-duty.” The corporal is saddened by that last sentence.
Option 19: Follow Berschiss’s suggestion and visit the local healer.
Option 20: Wander around town to find out what this place is like, and what’s going on.
Option 21: Eh… it’s been a long day already. Go with Dunscher to visit the brewery.