The Nuptials of Pavis

From: Nick Brooke <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 03:58:59 -0400

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. :-)


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