So last time, I talked about Smeaton getting involved with a princess, but not trusting her motivations, and also feeling that things might somehow be fated due to a poem he read that seemed to echo his situation. In the meantime, he was involved in a big subterranean battle that involved his being swallowed by a giant sea serpent and subsequently cutting his way back out, like a cross between Jonah and Conan. Jonan.
When he returned home from that mess, he found a note from the princess, obviously a request for him to come visit. After the exhaustion of the night, there was nothing she could say that would get him out the door. But he read the note anyway.
And then promptly left and visited her in the tower (she can play him like a Stradivarius, apparently).
She had quoted from the poem, you see. Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach," the poem that Smeaton superstitiously believed was an omen for their relationship. A poem she would have had no reason to read--she being Atlantean and it being a British poem--and which he had never told her about.
She told him that she had been having visions of him since her young teens, that she had heard him recite that poem in one of her visions, and that in another he saved her life sometime in the future.
And she was convincing enough that Dougal has begun to believe that maybe her affection is true, and that maybe this is not some cruel trick of hell or fate to simply bring him more misery. And meanwhile, there's still a sub to be built, which he spent the next day doing. And for once, between the progress on the sub and the very important clues they discovered during the previous day's battle, it seems as if they're finally making progress toward their goal after far too many digressions and distractions.
But unbeknownst to Dougal, the princess has summoned his friends to her tower to tell them that Dougal doesn't merely save her life in her visions. He dies in the attempt. So she begged his friends to keep him away from the tower for the next few nights, for her end is surely approaching quickly and she wants him to be spared.
Talk about a no-win situation. We're talking epic tragedy there. There are so many interesting directions it can go. What will the friends do? Will they tell Dougal, or will he find out some other way?
Part of me hopes that they don't tell me, because I don't want to lose Dougal. Part of me wants to fight the good fight, trusting to the dice and a clever plan to beat my doom, knowing that Dougal is indispensable as the only guy in the group who can get the sub built. I figure that's the only reason he's been snatched from the jaws of death every time so far.
But then part of me realizes that Dougal is no longer indispensable. An NPC has taken over the building of the sub and can finish it without Dougal's help. And frankly, it might be Dougal's time. As I just mentioned, Dougal has cheated death a couple of times only through the use of DM fudging and emergency get-out-of-death free points. That can't go on forever.
But without Dougal, what would I do? Before we started the campaign, I gave Sargon two character concepts, and we agreed Dougal would be the better choice. The other concept could certainly work, although it would require some serious twisting to get me into play quickly. And the problem is, this character would not fill the same niche that Dougal does, which might not work as well for the group. Or I could come up with another character entirely.
And like I say, I might be completely jumping the gun. Just because some princess in a tower says I'm fated to die doesn't mean it'll happen. After all, if she's so smart, how'd she end up in the tower in the first place? Ha!
See? Everything's going to be fine. Totally.
...god, I can't believe I have to wait a week.