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Freedom with a Price

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Summary Edit

The Stranger taunts the Grounded Dungeon Rebellion members, telling them to get their act together. Peach and Haddock step up to speak to the Stranger and demand for him to explain himself. Haddock's bodyguard Stonegit lingers silently in the background, and as the conversation continues, Haddock takes the lead in speaking to the Stranger. He presses for answers. The Stranger speaks in riddles nonetheless, telling the king that he can receive freedom for a price, but does not specify more. Instead, the Stranger tells Haddock to desist his armies and not look after either Tree or Akkey, because the Stranger says they are "safe" with him.

As soon as the Stranger tells Haddock he should let his armies rest for a day, the king becomes suspicious and pulls out his sword, pointing it toward the Stranger's chest. The king demands the Stranger speak, but his answers do not satisfy him. They are too vague. Haddock at once knocks the Stranger to the ground, stabs him straight to the ground and pins him to the earth, then pulls out a separate dagger. He places that dagger against the Stranger's skin and threatens to begin peeling it off if he does not receive proper answers. Haddock does indeed press the blade down, and the Stranger shouts out that he is doing this to free Tree and allow her to meet with Vox across the waters. However, he says Tree cannot touch the water, and if she does, she will lose Vox again, and it will be Haddock's fault.

The king is still perplexed at these answers, but Peach tells him to put down his weapons and not let his emotions be manipulated by the Stranger. His bodyguard Stonegit, silent until this point, also steps up and tells the king to back down. If Haddock wants information out of the man, Stonegit can take up the task later. For now, they take the Stranger, capture him, and jail him in one of the ice fortress' cells. As the Stranger is taken away to be locked up, he accuses Haddock of being the monster and tyrant he has tried to fight.

Note: There is a split thread, but the content of the threads is not contradictory, and all the words of both threads have been included below between Parts 1 and 2. The split between the two threads occurs after Haddock's comment, "This is for the end result. Of us being free from tyranny at the end." One thread continues on to Peach's interference, the Stranger being taken away, and then locked up. The other thread elaborates further on the questioning, and then turns in a circle back toward the other thread after Haddock says "You're not going anywhere."

Full Text Edit

Part 1 Edit

The Stranger: Get your act together boys… I do not have time to play petty games…

Peach: Have some respect for your opposition, Stranger. Not all of us are “boys.” I am a goddess.

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Get your own act together. Please. Explain to me what’s going on. We don’t need to prolong anything. I am here and completely willing to talk. Say your intentions.

The Stranger: Freedom… but it comes with a price…

Peach: If you tell us the price, we may pay it. But I, for one, will refuse to pay a price without knowing what it is. The imbalance could be too great.

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Explain what you mean by “freedom” and tell me what that price is.

The Stranger: Prices come in all shapes and sizes… freedom as in to be set free… what other kind of freedom is there?

Peach: Freedom from you.

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Set free from what?

And yes, there are many types of prices out there. But what do you have in mind?

The Stranger: Freedom from pasts i suppose you could say… as for the price… i have not decided how much you are worth…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: The past of the Warden’s jailing us, the past of the Tyrant’s coldness, and the past of Vox’s death are all things that would need to be erased for us to be truly free from the past.

But there are other ways to free ourselves from the past, such as defeating the Warden as we stand. We can press forward to a brighter future, and through that erase the pains of the past. That is my planned course. I don’t know what yours is.

How much *I* am worth? Are you saying I am a sacrifice? Do you imply I must sacrifice myself?

The Stranger: Read what you would like into it… for my decision is still undecided…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Decide now, tell me what you’re planning, and I’ll tell you whether or not I’m in the deal.

The Stranger: If I tell you it might ruin the surprise… You might charge your armies onto something that is currently working… The sacrifice you may make is rallying your armies.. Do not go looking for Tree… I have her.. she is safe…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: You’re saying I have to give up my armies? Step away from the rebellion? And quit looking for Tree because you “have her”? It better not be in the same way you “have Akkey”!

What then is there for me to do? I just sit like a stump and you magically “cure the past” for me? Is that what you mean?

The Stranger: Akkey merely got caught in cross hairs… You let her leave i simply picked her up… Now as for the whole what you do… Rally your armies…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Rally my armies and send them where? What will that accomplish?

The Stranger: Back home… give them a day off… It may get you no where but me very far…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: No.

* whips out sword and places it right at your chest *

That suggestion is dangerous and makes us all vulnerable.

You speak in riddles.

I hate that.

So.

Either talk to me.

Clearly.

No vagueness.

Tell me everything.

Or.

You’re dead.

The Stranger: If I die you have gotten no where… *steps back looking down* but i must tell you forgiveness is key… to getting freedom… 

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: And suddenly you’re talking like a religious guru. Randomly discussing forgiveness has nothing to do with youor releasing armies for a day. You’ve never said a thing about ‘forgiving’ in your plan until now, and I don’t think it’s a part of your plan. It is a red herring to your bargain with me. Keep to the topic at hand and tell me why my armies need to take the day off. That’s not so hard, is it?

* steps forward, sword still extended, eyes intense *

If you die, you’ve gotten nowhere, either. Speak. Or everything you’ve done will fall apart, just as your heart will soon fall from your chest.

The Stranger: Your armies do not need to be around Tree… It is a theory that if tree forgives herself… Lostvox is only helping…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: In a quick maneuver, almost too rapidly to be seen, King Haddock whips forth his sword. As he steps forward to roughly force the Stranger downward, he stabs his blade tip completely through the Stranger’s hand and uses it pin his assailant to the ground. Blood from the Stranger’s palm immediately begins to paint the earth. Haddock’s boot pushes down against the Stranger’s chest, and he leans in menacingly.

With his other hand, Haddock pulls out a dagger and presses it against firmly the Stranger’s arm. A small cut forms on the whitened skin. “If you don’t start talking, I’m going to start peeling your skin back, slicing first at this arm, then your next, and continue through the rest of your body, and listen to your howls until I get a proper answer or you die. Never taunt me. I do not bluff.

"Suffer the agony of my blade. Or talk. Your choice."

The Stranger: A man of great power… *laughs* Tree forgives herself and she is free… In theory i thought if someone showed her love and forgiveness it would be an easy process… *hisses at pain* but she can’t touch the water! 

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: WHAT WATER? TELL EVERYTHING, ALL CONTEXTS. * knife pushes deeper *

The Stranger: *clenches jaw* The water in which vox was shipped… They are there… together…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: And what purpose is any of this? To the Tyrant? To them? Vox is gone.

You’re still being cryptic. Are my blades not clear enough?

* peels along underarm near elbow *

The Stranger: TO FREE TREE!!! It was just to free Tree… *glares up at you* I saw a friend in need… i thought if she was surrounded by her friends with lostvox talking to her maybe she would become free.. I’m sorry if that is not enough for you…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: YOU COULDN’T HAVE JUST SAID THAT SOONER WITHOUT OMINOUS LANGUAGE??? YOU COULDN’T HAVE DONE THAT WITHOUT TELLING ME TO “SACRIFICE SOMETHING”?

THIS SOUNDS LIKE LIES.

THERE IS MORE GOING ON THAT YOU ARE PLOTTING.

OUT WITH IT.

Peach: Haddock. Stop. You are losing control of yourself. Do not let yourself be beating by this…creature and its manipulations, no matter its intentions. Do not lose sight of yourself. *coalesces in the clouds* Remember who you are.

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "am being beaten by this creature? This is the closest I’ve had to besting it.”

But Haddock is abashed to be chastised by his Goddess Peach. Pauses. Suddenly hesitates. Stares down at the blood. Just as much red splatters him as his victim.

"I… I…"

Haddock has no words to say.

"I……..

"The end result, Peach. This is for the end result. Of us being free from tyranny at the end."

The Stranger: I TOLD YOU EVERYTHING! and now all who sees me will see what kind of a MONSTER you ARE!  Now if tree touches that water… she will lose vox again and it might be the end of you because she will go raving mad and kill everything in sight!

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: I am not a monster!

Peach: I know not what this creature is, or if it is related to the Tyrant, only that it is causing strife and conflict amongst the Rebellion. If we truly wish to achieve our goals - whatever they be - we must be unified. We must not lose sight of what we wish to accomplish.

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: You’ve… got a point.

We don’t know what connection this Stranger has to the Tyrant.

But the threats… and the animosity… the Stranger has shown me…

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "We will be able to sort it out King Haddock, but for now may I suggest you clean the blood off of your blade, and your hands for that matter." 

*glances down at the Stranger. “Besides, we can always peel more of these riddles and lies away once we have ourselves regrouped.”

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Very well. Let us secure this Stranger in a cell for now. I will speak more with others (especially my reverent goddess Peach) before… extracting more information, if I must. But… * exhales noisily * …I hope we do not need to. After Peach chastised me, my temper has faded, and… and I do not know if I made the right decision after all, even though I only meant to follow the leads and find a way to help everyone to freedom… I still do not trust this Stranger’s cryptic speech, and there is much more we need to discuss… but… I will desist.

For now.

* very quietly * Oh gods, what came over me? If the Stranger has nothing to do with the Tyrant… then I attacked someone innocent… innocent in that respect at least… oh gods.

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: *feels uneasy* *not used to trying to console someone outside of logical advice.* *Reaches one finger out but then pulls it back and stuffs hands awkwardly in pockets*

"Um, my King ( battleofthegroundeddungeon ) I believe that I stated in my credentials that I have experience in interrogation. I should be able to extract accurate information out of @anonymousbotgd.”

*Shrugs* “Besides, you may not have to fear that you hurt an innocent man. People will say anything to stop extreme pain. He could have been lying. If you will allow me, I would be happy to question this man.”   

The Stranger: YOU CANNOT DO THIS TO ME! I REFUSED TO BE CHAINED! I HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH… let me go…   

Part 2 Edit

The Stranger: Yesterday took to long... i have akkey locked in a mind prison of sorts in a deep part of somewhere... I had a plan for lostvox to convince Tree out... but they spoil my plans and he gets sent to Hel! I am doing my best to throw you off... (I just like pestering people) Peach is a worthy component in a sass war... I hope when and if i reveal myself i can be friends with you all... i love you guys!

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: You love us and say you want to be friends with us, but at the same time try to “throw me off” to pester me, that you enjoy sassing with the incredible Goddess Peach, and you have Akkey locked in a mind prison. Release the chief from this! No one deserves to be locked in “a mind prison of sorts”!

And wait.

Wait.

Wait.

* on the edge of fury *

LOSTVOX IS IN HEL?????

The Stranger: Yes.. He sacrificed himself… I gave him and tree one rule… And in her curiosity she almost touched the water… So Lostvox through himself through to Hel… It’s the price one must pay…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: And let me guess: you never told them why they should or shouldn’t touch the water? You were just as vague to them as you were to me.

Sounds like you’re responsible for Vox’s death then.

The Stranger: Sounds like you’re responsible for Vox’s death then.

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: That doesn’t sound like ‘luck’ to me.

Alright then. If you’re so kind and didn’t want tragedy in Hel to occur, and you care for us all, then what is this with Chief Akkey?

The Stranger: simply that she has her place and time in everything…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: That sounds far from simple… I understand none of that.

The Stranger: As I’ve tried to explain to many… It’s all simple but you read to much into my words…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: If it’s that simple, you should be able to speak clearly enough for people to understand you and not have to ask you for more information.

The burden of explanation is on you. I suggest you try to rephrase things so that I understand.

I think that’d be in both of our interests, right?

The Stranger: *nods* but I have now explained everything… I should be bidding you adieu… 

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: You’re not going anywhere.

The Stranger: And why not? I have explained! you have your answers… There is no reason for me to stay here…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Pray tell me how you’re going to leave. You’re outmatched, we’re armed, and we’re locking you away for now. I don’t think you have much choice in this matter.

The Stranger: Locking me up? Like how you were locked up… Now look at whose becoming a prison lord… Locking up innocent people… May i remind you I got in and our of those dungeons without your knowledge of it…

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: You can’t remind me of something I never knew.

And I can explain how we escaped *without* your assistance. We staged a rebellion, pulled out the key which unlocks all things, received assistance from the outside, fought, and left the Grounded Dungeon.

You weren’t involved, and if you were, you weren’t the cause of our freedom.

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