You leap effortlessly from treetop to treetop, holding as fast to the shadows as you can manage as you flee from your unearthly pursuer. His multifaceted shout, like a horde of wild beasts in discordant harmony, echos from the forest floor below. You chance a glance back and look once more upon his horrible predatory guise. The incarnation of eternal hunger, Gourmander, now seemingly in complete control of his binder and your friend Arnold, has warped his vessel's shape into some cross of an emaciated and huge jawed wolf and a long legged elk galloping after you with moon-lit eyes searching for your shadowy form.<We cannot evade him forever, pact-maker,> whispers the oppressive voice of Tenebrotep into your head. <He is inexhaustible and will not stop unless to sate his boundless desire.>---------------------------------[[Welcome to Binder Quest. As per the new standard, Binder Quest will run from 16:00 to 2:00 server time today. To play along, simply post a suggestion for what you feel Brother Gregory should do in the given situation. All suggestions will be incorporated unless they contradict one another. If you are new or have simply forgotten, please feel free to ask questions about things the players have already learned over the course of the quest which I will happily answer either in or out of character.]]Previous threads are here: suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Binder%20Quest
No sooner does your bound vestige say this then the beast lets out another horrible wail and your senses momentarily blur as you stagger. You recall that noise is anathema to the the silent, shadowy being you are bound to and you feel his weakness transposed onto yourself. The beast cannot detect you so long as you keep to the shadows but being a denizen of the void like your own vestige he can track you by this ephemeral trace alone. Unsure of what recourse you have to this situation you simple redouble your flight deeper into the forest while you desperately try to think of a plan.<You have thought long enough, Animus. Now is the time for action. He is your enemy and you know what must be done.>
>>25322475New here OP. What sort of abilities do we have?
>See something on binders.>This holds St. Thomas' interest.
You mentally review your current options. Gourmander can follow you so long as you are bound to a vestige and you are bound to Tenebrotep for most of what remains of three hours without any ability to dismiss him early thanks to the troublesome being's bargain struck just moments ago. So long as you are bound to Tenebrotep you are nearly undetectable to mortal eyes and ears and you have exceedingly spectacular maneuverability and grace. And then there's the complete lack of a face and the elastic arms and claws, too. Couldn't forget about those. You've also discovered in your previous forays with the void being that Tenebrotep has control over dreams and memories, but only when interacting with an unconscious subject.Gourmander, the beast that now pursues you, is much less known to you but you've seen his work before. An amorphous but simple being of simple desires it wishes only to feed and grow and it can manifest the form or attributes of that which it consumes. Your ally of convenience Brother Arnold, another Binder like yourself, had been keeping the beast subservient for quite some time before he went missing a couple days ago. That he seems to be completely under the control of the beast now and is actively hunting you down means that something has gone terribly wrong.Of course, even if Arnold were in control, he would not recognize you in your current guise. Ally though he may be, we have intentionally obscured our abilities and the vestiges at our disposal from him.
[[The full list of vestiges at your disposal are as follows:-Xepoc, the Harbinger of Eternity’s Repose-Seno and Eno, the Dichotomous Serpent-Tenebrotep, the Lurker in the Night-Asam’Ano Mora, the Architect of Misery-Kuzo, the Storm Warder-Gourmander, the Hungering One-Quorim, the Stalwart Blade-Narcosis, the Indomitable Force -Red Jack, the Gambit of Buffoons-Acheron, the Stygian JudgeYou are able to bind any of them to your will simply by intoning a summoning ritual and negotiating a pact with them. You do know from past experiments that you can bind multiple vestiges at once. However, you also know that while bound to Tenebrotep you cannot speak and, thus, cannot begin another binding,]]
"I will not kill him. He is my friend," you speak into your head in response to the dark whispers. "There must be some other way."<There is no other way, Binder.>You feel exhaustion beginning to work its way into your body when another howl from the beast rings out, dazing you in its echoing furor. You realize you last leap was too short and you fall to the forest floor below, regaining your senses just in time to land crouched on all fours in the darkness of the night. You turn to face the beast, still charging towards you."There you are, morsel," growls the slack-jawed wolf in a nauseating voice like the ripping of sinew.The lupine beast pounces upon you and you have only a split second to decide what to do. Do you return to fleeing or do you evade his reckless attack? Or do you turn to meet him, here away from where no one might discover whatever might transpire, putting an end to this foolish chase at last?
>>25323145Evade his attack.
>>25323145Evade.This is quite compelling. I'll be sure to read through the archives.
You compress your wiry form into a tight crouch preparing to spring away. As you leap far aside from its course, the beast moves towards you undeterred. But with too little time to react properly to your new position and possibly unable to actually see your shadowy form he sail past you landing with the thump of hooves on dirt as you turn to face him.As he turns about and slows down, recognizing that you are no longer prey but an adversary, his long legs shrink down until he is nothing more than a very large wolf, though no less deadly."Ah, so the stranger has a spine after all. Delectable. I shall enjoy tearing it from your body."The wolf circles around you in two directions at once, splitting laterally into two, then three, and then a fourth beast. You look at the four identical creatures trying to mark which one is truly Gourmander and which ones are his puppets made of flesh. Or could they all be Gourmander? You realize if you do not act now you will be encircled. But perhaps you could still reason with him? Gourmander does not recognize you, thinking you a member of the shadowy Order which has kept the art of Binding secret from the populace for centuries. But Arnold and Gourmander alike would know that Gregory is not from among their ranks. But would it be safe to reveal this secret to them that you have hidden for so long?
>>25323430[[Note: The 'secret' is that Gregory has access to multiple vestiges. Most notably, Tenebrotep, to whom you are currently bound. Arnold believes the only vestige Gregory possesses is Acheron, whom he gave the seal of to you himself. The reason you have kept this secret is because you possess a powerful artifact known as the Veritalignicon and have been hiding this secret from everyone, including Arnold who as a former member of the Order is sure to know of its existence.]]
>>25323623I don't think it's wise then to let him know our identity.I suppose we'll have to kill him then. I don't really know about our relationship with this guy or most of the history of the quest so I might not be qualified to choose.
>>25323918We might be playing a noble "Binder", whatever that is. In that case we'll have to let him know. Is the possession of the Veritalignicon a punishable offense?Honestly I can't really decide what to do. Someone who has been here since the beginning should choose.
>>25323430Revealing ourself to Gourmander won't work I think. As far as I remember he is only an avatar that is created anew for each binding. He has no memories of the past nor will he retain what he now learns in the future.This means there is likely no risk in revealing ourself. If only Gourmander hears us he won't care and forget it as soon as he is dispelled. If Arnold can hear us he will know we are a friend. Now that I think about it I wouldn't be surprised if the contract went something like this: "You are given full control of my body. You are to remain in the general area and will protect my body from the Order and the Inquisition. If my friend Gregory finds me this contract ends."I wish we could summon the true Gourmander. I wonder how avatars and the true beings would interact.
>>25323918>>25323980Arnold has so far only been nice to us. However, his prime objective given by his Order is to find the Veritalignicon and give it to the Order. We don't know him long enough to trust him and have generally kept as much about ourself as possible secret because we are an incredibly inexperienced (if talented) binder with no trusted allies and an extremely potent, rare and important object that all who know about it want to have.We have over the last few threads shattered Arnolds faith in his Order and were working on recruiting him to our own cause (which is right now to find out what the fuck is going on). He thinks we are a talented binder that he initiated into the Order and is otherwise a normal monk.
>>25324113Alright. In that case I'm against any course of action that entails revealing our possession of the artifact to Arnold.
>>25324156Indeed. Our job as a monk has been to erase "heretical" information / ideas from piles of books and other texts. We got the Veritalignicon as one of those and stole it. We have also revealed our ability to bind creatures other than the one Arnold taught us to another ally whom Arnold knows. Therefore Arnold learning of some more Summons will be inevitable if he survives.I say we reveal ourself and if we are asked how we got this binding we will tell him one of the heretical books contained the binding. If he asks after the book we will say we destroyed it after memorizing the evocation and symbol.
"Gourmander," you speak from the shadows. You have no mouth but you have been able to converse to Binders and vestiges in this form before, speaking directly into the shadowy void that exists within them. "You are making a mistake. I am... a friend of Arnold's. I mean neither you nor Arnold any harm.""Meaningless words," speaks one of the wolves holding back behind the advancing pack. "And it matters not to me what designs you hold for my Animus. He serves me now."The wolf pack moves in on you, growling with fierce snarls but you do not back down.<Binder,> Tenebrotep whispers, <The one which speaks. That is the real one. I can sense his presence.>With barely a twitch you extend your arms outwards as whip-like chords towards the flanking wolves and dig into their sides, raking flesh away in huge gashes, causing them to howl out in pain. Unrelenting now that you know these to be simple simulacra, you solidify your arms and extend your razor sharp claws as you deftly sever tendons and ligaments, pulling both beasts to the ground. However, taking the opportunity the remaining wolf leaps upon you with jaws open wide. You pull back to dodge his threatening jowls, wanting to put any distance you can manage between yourself and its bite but receive some unexpected help in the form of two small tentacles emerging from your midsection. They flail out and wrap the beast's mouth tightly shut. Given a moment to breath you retract your claws before slicing the beast's head cleanly from its neck. Within seconds all three of the beasts dissolve into hunks of unidentifiable meat.
You look up to where the remaining wolf stands as it backs away and begins to stalk slowly about keeping trees between itself and you not wanting to give you a chance to kill it in the same manner. Its form begins shifting as it grows larger and more amorphous, its true shape changing each time you can spot it passing between the trees. An elk, a wolf, a predatory cat, a man, a boar, and several other shapes you do not recognize. You hear a sickening laugh issuing from the creature."So is that how it is to be then. You will be a most worthy meal indeed. I have never feasted on a predator such as you."<Binder, he seeks to deceive you. That beast is not the true Gourmander. He is moving toward you.>You keep your gaze locked onto the wolf while silently searching for his true form with your invisible eyes when you spot it. A tiny finch fluttering from branch to branch just above you. You recognize it from when you once saw Arnold take this form. He doesn't seem to realize you've seen through his deception, but how best can you take advantage of this opportunity?
>>25324405I think if we want to save Arnold we need a good plan and maybe more preparation.1) Beat it unconscious and use our mind-manipulation to force it out. Ask Tenebrotep if something like this is possible.2) We once forcefully cast out a vestige's avatar by destroying its focus. If this is still possible after a contract has been made find it and smash it.3) Leave and summon the true Gourmander. He might know some way of overpowering his avatar. Maybe he could eat his aspect of his?4) Ask Tenebrotep for a way of removing vestiges without killing their host.
>>25324405Use our tentacles and claws to hold down the real form of Gourmander. We will hold claws to the throat or whatever other vulnerable part he seems to have. While we make our move do this >>25324646
You lock you eyes onto the tiny bird fluttering closer, slowly calculating how close it will have to be for you to strike before it can notice your movements and transform. You remember when once you encountered the inquisitor as he pretended to sleep, how when you slipped your claw into his temple and opened his mindscape to yourself he instantly lapsed into unconsciousness. As you wait, being sure to turn to face the false beast, you question Tenebrotep about this and he confirms your suspicions. You watch as the bird flutters to a branch directly over your head and know that it is time to strike.Again, standing perfectly still, you suddenly burst into action as tentacles lash out from your form to encircle the bird perched above you, ripping it to the ground even as it transforms into something larger trying to burst out of your grasp. You dig your claws into the bird's head and pull back but you find no purchase as the head dissolves into amorphous flesh. You encircle the growing beast more and more as it transforms uncontrollably, prodding here and there trying to find its nerve centers. When at last a half-formed human head pops out from your engulfing mass of tentacles you raise your hands to it and without pausing you slip your claws into its temples and pull back. Immediately the beast shifts fully into the familiar form of Arnold and he falls limp in your embrace as his mind opens up to you. You look to the huge shape of the false beast and see it slumped against a tree in the form of some half-man half-beast with powerful arms as thick as tree trunks. You are fortunate you found purchase when you did, for it looks like it was moving towards you when it fell unconscious.
>>25324897Might as well dig around for anything new in Arnold's mind while we're at it.
Pausing to catch your breath you look at the waiting flow of consciousness issuing from Arnold's head but decide to wait a moment before peering into his open mind. You're not yet sure what you're looking for and need to confirm a few things."Tenebrotep, I need to wrest Arnold from Gourmander's control. How can I forcibly expel a vestige?"<I am afraid you cannot, Animus. Once the pact is made it will be carried out explicitly to the letter. Whatever the terms of this pact were, they must be fulfilled.>"What if I destroyed the Talisman? Wouldn't that destroy this Avatar of Gourmander like last time?"<Indeed it would. And it would banish him back to the void were he not currently under the terms of a pact. Doing so now would only prevent that Avatar from ever being called upon again. If you recall, I stressed the first time that it was vital you destroy the seal before he completed his pact. Now you understand why.>"What if I summoned the real Gourmander using the Veritalignicon? Would he have control over this one, being the true incarnation of him? Is there anything he could do?"<That... I do not know. If there are any Avatars of myself in this world then I am not actively aware of them. I can only assume the same is true for others of my kind.>You turn back to the shimmering halo of web-like memories floating over the naked form of Arnold and raise your claws to begin sifting through them. You've done this a few times before when you sought to prune memories from your foes but actually searching for specific memories has always proven difficult, having to follow mental connections from node to node. It would be a good idea to know what it is you wanted to find before you started searching. What might Arnold know that could help you save him from his fate?
>>25325096Search for the memory of making this pact. I really hope others who read previous threads will join. Twitter would really help with gathering your fans when you quest at random times.
[[Possibly worth mentioning, Gregory vaguely remembers that the Baron was working on an experimental procedure to forcibly separate a Binder from his vestige as a potential way to combat them. He once asked Gregory to be a test subject for his latest reformulation but you declined, unwilling to risk whatever effect it might have upon you. From what little you have gathered, you get the feeling that his prior experiments had been less than successful. And his need for fresh test subjects leaves you less than trusting of it.]]
>>25325096We try to search for the memory of the contract and find out what the terms of it were. We will also try to find if Arnold have gotten any instructions from the order on what to do.>>25325147Yeah i have read the previous threads.
>>25325237>>25325147I agree. Memory of pact.
>>25325161If knowing his contract doesn't help the Baron a good second choice.>>25325237I can go to sleep then.
>>25325267Please don't, i need sleep to.
You open Arnold's mind up before you and see, disturbingly, that his most recent memories are all an empty void, devoid of any kind of connections to any other memory yet still there just the same. As you peel back to the last concrete memory you see Arnold turning to flee from Gourmander mid binding ritual and stepping across his circle before his memory cuts short abruptly.This is bad. You recall the warning you received from Tenebrotep during your very first binding. To step outside of the circle with the pact unsettled was to forfeit your terms of the bargain. But Arnold must have known this. He had been binding Gourmander for years long before Gregory even knew about it. Surely he would never make such a careless mistake. Something must have forced his hand.You follow the strand backwards to see Arnold standing before Gourmander, trying to negotiate a long term pact in exchange for a great hunt and a promise of feasting. You sense his worry and apprehension, feeling paranoid like the Order is closing in on him. That they must know that he has betrayed them and that they are coming for him. And then he turns to see that he is not alone. There, at the edge of the circle, is a tall dark figure. He strides forward with sword drawn, his face obscured by his hood and the shadows of night, and makes for Arnold slowly and purposefully. And Arnold turns to run...
Rolled 34>>25325396Hm.Not sure wat to do. Anyone still here?
>>25325396Keep him unconscious and visit the Baron. Remember that he doesn't know this form. And remember that his daughter had been haunted by this form.
>>25325589This. Make sure to break our contract with tenebrotep before visiting the baron though. the baron doesnt know we have tenebrotep.
So Arnold was followed into the woods. This is worse than you thought. Perhaps the Order truly has found you here? Or could it be someone else? Either way you must know who. Perhaps there will be some other clue if you dig deeper.You see Arnold making his way through town, clutching his Talisman in hand beneath his cloak. His eyes are darting at shadows. He is sure that someone is following him but every time he turns there is no one to be seen. He is utterly alone. He makes his way across the river to the forest beyond and retrieves his bow from the hollow tree in which he always hides it. He examines his arrows when he hears a snapping branch and turns to look in its direction but the sliver of a moon highlights nothing in the shadows. He collects himself before beginning his hunt. He is fortunate and finds a decently sized deer within the first hour, nocking an arrow and letting fly to find its mark directly between the deer's eyes. He sets up his summoning circle with his sacramental wine, taking a few gulps to steel his nerves, before invoking the summoning of Gourmander...Something is oddly familiar here but you can't quite make out what it is. You decide to look back just a little further and there it is. The answer at last. Arnold leaves his room and makes his way to the front gate where he runs into the Inquisitor, angry and clutching the side of his head where a small trickle of blood can be seen. He spots Arnold and asks what he is up to at this hour. Arnold, not being the best at thinking quickly on his feet, replies that he was just on his way to deliver some food to a few local families. Monastery business. As proof he produces the large sack of provisions he had packed for the evening. The Inquisitor, responding in a manner which Arnold interprets as acceptance but which you recognize as suspicion, rests his hand on his sword and watches as Arnold makes his way down into town.
>>25325630As soon as our contract ends Gourmander will awaken and we will be powerless.
>>25325630We can't break it, we have to wait a few hours.
>>25325690Can we access Gourmanders memories? What would happen if we erased all of the avatar's memories?If we cannot let's move it to the Baron. Unless our telepathy is enough to summon more vestiges (which it isn't as far as I remember) we need Tenebrotep to keep Gourmander bound.Good night to you all. Don't die while I'm away.
So that's it... After you extracted the Inquisitor's memory when your contract with Tenebrotep ended he must have wandered back to his tower where you left his last complete memory intact. He must have followed Arthur and witnessed his secret. That's why the inquisitor was so curious the next day if you had known anything about witchcraft. That's why Arnold's room was ransacked. That's why he led the ranging through the woods the next day. And the unclaimed deer you found and all the half eaten animals Ranta mentioned... The Inquisitor WAS hunting for Arnold. And now Arnold was lost to the clutches of Gourmander.It seems you have no choice. You recall the Baron's experiments, that he had been studying ways to expel vestiges. You don't trust his research but it seems you have little choice in the matter now. If Gourmander, a being of unlimited desire was given free reign over the pact-making this state might be permanent unless you do something and this may be your only hope to save him. You'll have to take Arnold there and quickly. You're not certain how long he'll remain incapacitated like this once you close his consciousness again. You haul the hefty form of Arnold up onto your shoulder.Or at least, you try to. You try to heft him up once more and find his bulk to be too much for you to handle. Even with your augmented abilities Tenebrotep doesn't seem to grant you any strength beyond what you normally possess.<I am sorry Pact-maker, but you know what I am suited for. And yet you insist on making use of my abilities for anything but their suited purpose.>
>>25325916[[You can summon as many vestiges simultaneously as you can maintain pacts with. However, Tenebrotep in particular prevents you from summoning more vestiges simply because you cannot speak while you bear his mark. Acheron also prevents summoning more vestiges, because only one with pure human blood can summon a vestige and her mark leaves you with no blood in your veins. Xepoc's time stop ability also prevents you from binding another vestige as you cannot form a pact outside of the regular flow of time. As far as you know, these are the only limitations.]]
>>25325986Am i correct in assuming that gourmander is laying nearby? Could we try to kill him?
>>25326276[[You don't think you could ever truly kill a creature of the void but you could certainly try to kill the Binder he is connected to. But he is bound to your friend Arnold and you would be loathe to end his life so callously when you've just fought so hard to find a way to save him.]]
>>25326276Presumably Gourmander is still bound to Arnold, so you're suggesting killing Arnold. You can't kill vestiges because they don't exist on this plane, they're like concepts but with magic powers.
>>25326276And there is no way to search through his mind for some sort of mental link that links him with Gourmander?
You drop the hefty weight of your friend and consider what options this leaves you. You could probably drag Arnold back to town but doing so would be less then subtle. You could try to detain him but with Gourmander's incredible shape-shifting powers you're not sure anything could contain him other than this dream-state into which you have locked him. You could leave him behind and go seek a solution on your own but then he would no doubt awaken and while you would be long gone by that time you would have to hunt him down once again.And then there is the matter of what precisely to do once you leave this place. Could one of your other vestiges have answers for you? Perhaps the Quorim, the angelic denizens of the void and the enforcers of all pacts? Or Maybe Gourmander himself, bound to your own will could give you insight into his Avatar laying here before you? Or is your best hope the experiments of the Baron and his questionable methods of experimental expulsion?
>>25326425Leave him behind. A Binder of Gourmander is easy to find.
>>25326425Will Arnold wake up if we break the contract with Tenebrotep?
>>25326480Cause in that case we could use the snakes to bind gourmander to someone else and then kill that person.
>>25326494Gregory isn't the type for casual murder, it's been a long time but I'm pretty sure the one person we have killed was on accident. I'm also not sure if the twins can do that.
>>25326519The twins should be able to do that. Because that is the sort of thing they do. And i dunno what or who we could transfer the contract to. But there might be someone.....Maybe abduct the inquisitor again?
You throw open Arnold's memories once more and trace the line of memory leading from his pact with Gourmander to Arnold's memory of Gourmander itself. You see all that he knows of Gourmander: his insatiable hunger, his love of venison in particular, the ritual which Arnold enacts with rote precision each time, his usual pact being for an arbitrary amount of time of up to a day and his payment usually being two minutes of release in which to gorge himself on an offering of meat. You see Gourmander's powers of consumption, transformation and generation, all of which you recognize from your own experiences with him. And you see Gourmander's endless gluttony, tempered only by Arnold's unwillingness to succumb to his desires and his strict doctrines of only rewarding him for absolute servitude.You close Arnold's mind again. Frustrated by the lack of answers it holds. "Tenebrotep, is there any way I can access Gourmander's memories?"<Even if he were more than a simple Avatar, beings like he and I do not possess minds like you humans do. There is no connection of thoughts, no stream of consciousness that makes us. We simply are... and are not.>"How long will he stay asleep like this?"<As long as I wish him to. Perhaps a little beyond that. But he will only stay under my power so long as I am bound. Which is two hours more.>
Tenebrotep is a keeper of secrets or something right? Might he know anything about vestiges breaking their circles and possessing the host?
>>25326575>>25326494[[As far as you have discovered Seno and Eno hold dominion over vital essences, or life forces. Beings of the void have no such life to manipulate. You could drain vital strength from Arnold, possibly cripple him, but what effect this would have on Gourmander as a shape-shifter is hard to say without some experimenting.]]
>>25326632[[Tenebrotep has made clear that breaking the circle results in completely forfeiting you right as Binder to the will of the being you have called. What this means may vary from vestige to vestige but knowing that Gourmander is called the essence of hedonism and the hungering one...Equally important to note is that Tenebrotep will never give up more information than he feels is necessary. He did not become a master of secrets by sharing them carelessly.]]
Is there anyway to reverse what Gourmander has eaten? So that he will not be able to take those forms again? And we can then restrict him with some other vestige as he is now bound to human form?
>>25326455[[If you wish to leave him behind please specify what kind of action you wish to take after you do.]]>>25326494>>25326432[[While you are the players and ultimately decide Gregory's actions, Gregory has an established personality of his own now. He does not condone senseless killing and, while he has done so himself, will not resort to doing so unless he feels there is no other option. Likewise, it would take an almost unanimous decision from the players to overcome this predisposition of Gregory's.]]
>>25326767Alright, I'll read through the archives to get a sense of his personality.
Further examining Arnold's memory of Gourmander you look to see if there is any way of limiting his transformation potential. It seems that the Binder can transform into anything he has eaten while bound to his particular Avatar of Gourmander. Once they have known the taste together it is forever a part of their essence. He forever has the freedom to express that creature as a part of him or in its full shape. And there doesn't seem to be any limitation on how often or easily he can transform. But there is something interesting... He can't increase his mass beyond that of whatever he has consumed. He can shrink down or compress himself into a smaller, lighter form but he can't get any bigger or produce any more flesh-beasts than how much he's had to eat.Thinking about this, you look over to the shambling mound of a creature slumped against a tree nearby. Killing it would probably cause it to melt back into its components, just like the wolves, and might limit Gourmander's ability to make more puppets if not his ability to transform. The fact that he can always take a smaller form though makes keeping him bound a futile effort though. Besides, if you leave him here there is no doubt he'll just consume all of the meat again, rotting or otherwise.
>>25326767I am actually thinking the only safe option we have is killing him.Alternative: We leave him unconscious, get to the village, get a bag, get back, kill the mass of meat. put Arnold into bag. unbind Tenebrotep, create a binding with Kuzo, load Arnold(still in bag) onto the animal Kuzo was riding and we now have control over, bring Arnold to the mad professor.
The baron only knows about Acheron right?
>>25326984Can we drag him under cover of night to the Bardon?
>>25327137The baron know about most of them except for The Bro Dwarf and Tenebrotep
You decide that to have any hope of saving Arnold you'll need to get him to the Baron. You take your cloak off and lay it down rolling him onto it and begin dragging him along behind you towards the high towers of the monastery in the distance. You make decent time and within the hour, confirmed by Tenebrotep's assurance that you have less than an hour of pact time left, you are at the village edge closest to the Baron's house. You'll have to drag Arnold across the river and over the city walls but that should place you pretty close to the manner if you can do so.You scout the area from the hill crest above the town and curse silently. There are lantern-toting guards prowling about everywhere. The city watch, true to the Inquisitor's promise, seems to have been doubled in size. Though you could certainly sneak past them you're not sure you'd be as undetectable dragging Arnold behind you.How should you approach this? You could attack the guards and either lead them off or disable a few at the gate, saving you the trouble of trying to scale a wall with Arnold, but that might raise the town alarm if you're not quick and thorough. You could leave him here and go to get help from the Baron, possibly bringing him here, but how would you convey that to him quickly without the ability to speak? You could scale the wall with Arnold and simply wait for an opening and slowly make your way to the manner, but that might leave you with too little time to work.
>>25327343We'll have to deal with the guards quickly. Perhaps we can make some sort of distraction.
You decide you may have to make some kind of distraction. You don't have time to waste trying to figure out how to go about hauling a man twice your size over a wall twice your height and you can't leave Arnold here. So you'll have to get through that gate. But how?For once you curse your inability to make any sound. With no voice, no footfalls, not even the sound of yourself knocking on a wall, it would be hard to create any kind of ruse to lure the gate guards off. And even if you did, there are four men at the gate. No doubt you could lure two away at best.You could use your horrifying appearance or simply appear as a stranger running in the distance to lead them on a chase away from the city. But that would be a gamble, as they might simply call for more guards or, again, might not invest themselves fully in the pursuit. Even then, it is dark here. Standing alone, you may as well be invisible thanks to Tenebrotep.No, if you need to create a distraction it will have to be something else other than you. You look about for anything you can find. There are only trees, small shrubs, rocks, and a river that you can see in your vicinity.
How sharp are our claws? Could cutting a tree by another section of wall make enough of a ruckus to get people's attention?
>>25327637[[The shears of agony can, according to Tenebrotep, cut through any veil and you have yet to encounter anything they could not pierce effortlessly. And this is certainly a valid course of action.]]
We could try cutting part of the tree, enough so that it'll crack under it's own weight. That way we can stay in position by Arnold while it crashes instead of chopping it down immediately.
>>25327786I'm not sure that would work. A tree is hardly a threat to security. We'd have to cut down many trees to make a real ruckus.
You leave Arnold where he lies for a moment and make your way around to a tree around the corner from the gateway just out of sight of the passageway. You tense your claws extending them to their full length and swipe into the thick bark. It takes three swipes before you hear the sound of the wood cracking and giving way and you dash back across the river and over to Arnold's location, waiting. You heft up the cloak upon which he lays once again and get ready to pull with all your might. You'll only have a narrow window...Sure enough, the tree falls with a resounding crack and you see all four men at the gate post turn to look it its direction. Three of them run off immediately to investigate and the fourth one looks about the darkness unsure before following them slowly. By this time you've already cleared the hill and are making your way across the bridge, thankful that you don't seem to be making any noise dragging your friend this way. As you reach the gate you stare intensively at the back of the fourth guard, knowing he could spot you right now if he we only to turn around, but thankfully he is too busy watching for his companions to return to notice your passage. You clear the gate just as you glimpse the light of lanterns returning from the investigating group.Weaving through back alleyways and avoiding the tell-tale lanterns of the patrols you reach the Baron's Manner. The brightly lit interior hurts your non-eyes to look at directly but you have little choice but to seek those who reside within. You make your way into the front yard and hide Arnold beyond the gate where no passerby might see him before deciding on your best method of entrance. You look up and see the guest bedroom you occupied this morning still has its Balcony door open. Or you could enter through the front into the brightly lit foyer. Or perhaps there is another entrance...
Don't we have ways to open the secret tunnels without being bound to Mora?
>>25327985Could we search for another entrance?
>>25328083[[Absolutely. They all have special pressure plate mechanisms designed by Mora himself. Unfortunately, no tunnel entrances lead to the street level of the city proper, as there is no bedrock through which to carve tunnels here. And besides, the only tunnel leading into the Manor enters into the secret basement chamber than can only be opened or closed by elven magic or by forcing it open from the outside.]]
>>25327985Balcony Door... I suppose.
You search about the perimeter looking for any other ways in. There is a balcony on the opposite side of the manor where first you broke in to this place when you were investigating the Baron. There are also windows in the dining room and several of the upstairs rooms. All of these entrances appear to be locked but you could cut them open with your claws.While you are searching the windows of the house you notice there is some sort of skylight or hatch on the roof. It seems to be some sort of portal through which a large tube shaped instrument with a glass lens atop it is placed aiming towards the night sky above. You can see faint lights on below, though not enough to overwhelm you senses and you hear motion within. This must be the Baron's second floor observatory. Surely that is him you hear with. But what will you say to him? How will you gain his notice without provoking him when he knows nothing of this form of yours and you cannot speak?
Do we have anything with us? A belt pouch perhaps?
>>25328350we can write, can we not?Cut way in through a window, steal paper/implement, write out: "Binder, Outside. Lost control. Little time."Slide it into room with Baron, so he notices it, and retreat to shadows.
>>25328728That would cause a shitstorm. Can we cut open a window and make our way towards the baron?
>>25328675[[You have nothing on you but your robes. All of your equipment is in the pottery shop half way across town.]]>>25328822>>25328728[[Getting two opposing ideas now. Either reach consensus or both roll 1d100 alongside the idea you prefer to determine course of action.]]
Rolled 83>>25328851Rolling for:>Cut open window and make way towards Baron
>>25328822And what will we do when we reach him? We can't talk. Which is why I say we need the paper.And we NEED to be unable to talk, because otherwise Gourmander wakes up, in a town we dragged him into.I think we're in agreement other than communication method.
>>25328882(Same guy)I'm fine with taking a piece of paper once we're inside.
>>25328908[[This guy has a good point. Even if you do find the Baron, how do you intend on communicating? Revealing yourself first? And then what? Writing? Waiting for him to figure out you must be Gregory and then beckoning for him to follow?]]
Rolled 92>>25328948(the other guy)Then we're agreed. I think.>Cut window, find paper, and Baron.
>>25328969I think we should reveal ourselves first and give him the paper then. Already written on.
You slip your clawed finger through the window hatch and open it up, slipping silently into the room beyond. You walk out into the hallway and quickly search before spotting the only room in the manor wing with any light on. You pass through the open doorway in the observatory silently, seeing the Baron busy at work at a desk in the corner, charting something out.You don't want to startle him but you need to get the message to him somehow. You look about and spot a loose piece of parchment and an inkwell. You grab them both and dart up the telescope, through the hatch it protrudes from, and onto the roof. The poor lighting suits you just fine as you write out a short message to him with your ink soaked claw, hoping he'll understand what to do."Binder, Outside. Lost control. Little time."You slide back into the room with the note and tap the Baron on the shoulder."Yes dear, what is i-E GADS!" he shouts as he leaps backwards sending his work flying everywhere. He begins chanting something in elven, probably magic, and a small puff of smoke bursts from his hands causing you to feel ever so slightly warmer than you were before. His magic having failed him he, begins to panic."Who are you? What do you want?"
>>25329216Hand him the piece of paper.
You raise the paper a little further. Only now does he notice the note you hold. He reaches out cautiously taking it. He looks up at you, scrutinizing your faceless form. "Gregory? Is that you?"You figure it's pointless to hide it since he either already knows or he will once he recognizes Arnold and so you simply nod before turning and walk out of the room towards the foyer. He follows behind you as you make for the front door. You shield your face in the bright room but it doesn't help much against the blinding glare. You paw at the door before pushing it open and stepping back out into the comfort of the night air. As the Baron comes to stand beside you, you walk to the huddled figure of Arnold and drag him back into the foyer.<Pact-maker, we have only half an hour before our contract is at an end,> Tenebrotep reminds you."This... This is your friend, isn't it? What happened? What do you need me to do?"You take the paper from him and with your claw still coated in ink write out to him once more."Your experiment. Expel the vestige."The Baron looks up at you with shock on his face. "Boy... You don't know what you're asking me to do. The new formula... It's still untested. All of the previous subjects died, do you understand that? Are you sure this is what you want me to do?"
>>25329299Nod. Nod vigorously. (Yes)
>>25329299Write"Without help, he dies. With help, maybe live."
You look the Baron with as straight a glare as you can manage and nod heavily. Taking the note back once more you write one final message."Without help, he dies. With help, maybe live."He looks about to protest but decides against it. "Alright, help me get him down to the cellar."You drag your companion behind you to the secret entrance to the cellar where you know the Baron hides his secret research. The door opens with a touch and he passes into it as you follow behind, careful not to knock Arnold's head on the stairs as you descend. His heels however are not so lucky. You reach the bottom of the stairwell just as the Baron begins to light a few of the torches at the far end of the chamber. Despite the glare they create on your vision you wouldn't complain now even if you could. Not after you've come all this way.The baron opens the newly fitted set of shackles attached to the wall and tells you to lift Arnold up into the restraints. When you look at his as curiously as you can manage he responds, "We don't know what might happen. He may become violent and if he does we'll be thankful he's restrained." You would tell him that if Gourmander were to awaken that no restraint could hold him but it would take more time to argue than to just comply with his wishes. He snaps the shackles about his wrists and abdomen and you step back as he goes to his work bench. He returns a moment later with a small vial and tilts Arnold's head back as he pours the contents into his throat. "That will keep him sedated for a little while. Just in case."
He then returns to his work bench and grabs a syringe with what looks like blood contained within and jabs it into Arnold's neck, emptying it in one smooth depression. Tossing it aside he holds one hand over Arnold's head and begins to chant in elvish again. As he does so, you notice teeth beginning to form on Arnold's abdomen and his stomach splits open horizontally, as he takes a huge bite out of his restraint. The baron simply steps backward as the gaping jaws snap towards him, continuing his incantation. After a moment, the jaws dissolve into skin once more and after several more minutes he ceases his chant and walks up to the unconscious Arnold, checking his pulse. "He's still alive. For now anyways. Now all we can do is wait."<There is no need to wait. Gourmander is gone.>You are relieved to hear that your friend is both alive and free of Gourmander's grasp."Uncle? Are you down here?"But at the sound of Rosemary's voice your heart sinks once more. What can you do? Must she find out now that you are the shadowy stalker that hunted her through the night? Is there no avoiding this confrontation? Or is it best that this is settled now, so you can ease your guilty conscience?
>Been away from /tg/ for a while>bounce back to see what going on >JESUS CHRIST BINDER QUEST IS RUNNING AGAINOh man I'd love to get in on this thread, but I need to catch up and refresh myself with what we were doing before. Thanks for starting it up again, though!
How much time do we have left? Is there somewhere we can hide? Or at the end of the pact is that Tenebroteps time to hunt?
>>25329780It would be best to tell her as our usual self. So whatever it takes to hide or leave. Also, sorry I'm not being as active with the quest, been running around all day
Judging by your estimations you only have a few minutes left on your pact. If you could hide for just a few moments Rosemary wouldn't have to see you like this. The room is only lit by a pair of torches. You could douse them quickly and hide in the shadows, but where would you go and how much time would that buy you before one of the two elven mages in the room would simply relight them? The only exit from the room is the one from which Rosemary is entering... But there is also your secret passage into the tunnels, right behind you, which would lead you back to the monastery where this whole evening's fiasco began. But neither of them know you have been creating secret passages into the manor and this revelation might be a huge breach of trust were they to find out. And wouldn't leaving now just raise even more questions for you to answer to later?
>>25330022We need to communicate to the baron to talk to her first so she doesn't flip out on us.
>>25330067Yeah, he needs to intercept her. I'm sure he wouldn't like her walking down to see him with some unconscious guy strapped to a table.
>>25329780Quickly pantomime to the Baron:Point at door, shake head, make a "talking" motion with your hand.Hopefully he talks to her long enough to let you change back.
>>25330140This seems good.
You point to the Baron and then to the stairwell indicating to him that he should talk to her. He stammers for a moment and you push him lightly towards the approaching light as you cover your face. In an instant you swipe the flames from each of the torches, plunging the room into utter darkness. In the span of a single breath you walk to the secret passage and press against it, ready to vanish through it on a moments notice if the Baron fails to dissuade Rose. You wait a moment to catch your breath, watching through the dark and listening to their conversation."Uncle? What are you doing down here in the dark?""I was just... Oh? Ah, well, you see...""Here, let me get some light for you.""Oh no! That won't be necessary." You hear his voice getting softer as he presumably moves away from the chamber up the stairwell and the light dims. "Rosemary, we have a... guest for the night. A certain Brother Arnold of the monastery. Do you recall him?""Isn't that Gregory's friend?""Yes. He is in a bit of trouble and I'm looking after him for a bit. He's in a bad spot right now and he needs his rest. He's not to be disturbed..."You can hear no more of their conversation after that and you hear the grinding sound of the secret cellar door reopening again above you. You exhale a sigh of relief that the Baron is so quick to pick up on your cues, realizing only afterwards that you were actually able to exhale at all. Your mouth and nose are back in their proper place. It seems that, for once, Tenebrotep has left you in silence and your eyes slowly readjust to the darkness of the room.But what are you to do now? Should you leave through the secret passage or go up to meet the Baron and Rosemary in the manor?
The baron doesn't know anything about Tenebrotep, so we could leave through the tunnels without him suspecting they're there. The entrance to the lab is by the main door or something in the foyer right? If we were sure everyone was far from it we might be able to use that instead.
>>25330447[[You are correct. The Baron knows nothing of Tenebrotep or his powers. The exit to the cellar leads out into the kitchen which is adjacent to the foyer. Both of these options are viable.]]
>>25330507Alright then. Changing my vote to exiting through foyer.
You walk over to your cloak and see it is frayed and stained beyond repair from its long journey tonight. You decide against replacing it and hang it across Arnold's shoulders instead giving him some kind of decency. You turn to walk up the stairs after the Baron and Rosemary. You exit the cellar, leaving the secret door ajar as you are unable to seal it without magic, and walk into the foyer. You hear the voices of the two residents in the dining room, thankfully not in sight of you as you cross the room."What's wrong with him? Will he recover?""It is still difficult to say.""How did he get here?""Well, he... Just arrived shortly ago.""He arrived by himself in such a state that he may not recover?"You pause at the doorway. The Baron is obviously crumbling under Rosemary's inquisitive barrage. You could stop and save him now or you could just quietly open the door and be gone into the night...
We could come in, say we found him and brought him here since we didn't know where else to turn to. We weren't down stairs because we were checking outside to make sure we weren't followed or something like that.
>>25330712The Baron's a friend, of sorts, I say we help out.Step in, and state:"No, he arrived with a friend."If she asks about the darkness, we were praying and did not wish to be disturbed.
>>25330712Yes. Say that you arrived here with Arnold after finding him hurt.
>>25330712Tell her that his eyes were damaged by another Binder, so darkness was necessary. Also that we brought him there.
"No, he arrived with me," you say, announcing your presence. Both turn to look at you as you walk into the room, Rosemary with a serious look on her face and the Baron with visible relief."Oh, hello Brother Gregory," says Rose courteously before turning back to her uncle. "Why didn't you just say he was here?""I was getting to it, girl! Why must you pry into every little thing? Where did you learn to be so meddlesome?""Why, from you of course, uncle.""I'm sure your mother would be proud.""Indeed," she says with an air of finality before turning back to look at you. "Brother Gregory, you look dreadful. What happened?"Deciding that truth will make for the most convincing lie you tell her, "I found Arnold hurt and brought him here as quickly as I could manage. I fear only your uncle can help him now.""He must be quite injured to come here instead of the castle hospital.""Quite injured indeed," you say with a subtle inflection confirming her suspicions while also signaling that there is no more to speak of."I see. Then it is good you got here when you did," she says, reading your meaning. "But where are my manners? Brother Gregory, will you be staying with my Uncle again tonight while your friend recovers?"You consider the offer. There was something you had set out to accomplish tonight before Arnold showed up but now it might be best to stay close by until he is recovered. And there hour is grown awfully late...
>>25331228Agree to her offer.
>>25331228We'll have to ask the uncle, considering its his place.But he'll probably have questions for us anyways. And we can trade info for his separation ritual!
"Of course I would prefer to stay close by," you say as you tilt your head to look at the Baron over her shoulder. "If your Uncle would be so kind as to have me."He nods lightly, obviously exhausted by the whole ordeal."Then I shall prepare a room for you before I leave for the night.""That would be most appreciated."She turns to look at her Uncle curtly giving him some sort of look you don't catch but he merely raises an eyebrow in response. "If you'll excuse me." She turns back smiling politely at you before leaving the room without waiting for a response.You walk over to the table and take a seat beside the Baron as he rubs his temple, mitigating his no-doubt splitting headache."Thank you, boy. That girl would have flayed me alive if you hadn't stepped in. And they call ME ruthless around this town. But now, if you don't mind my asking, what exactly is going on here? What happened to you friend there? And what was that vestige that you just nearly scared me half to death with back there?
>>25331692Say as little as possible.Arnold made a bad pact, he didn't word it right and payed the price.The vestige we used was one we had never used before, we summoned him urgently and lucked out.
>>25331692"As I said, he lost control of his bind. That ritual of yours was his only hope. It seems to have worked. Congratulations, you're a genius!As for my vestige, it's one suited for stealth. Perfectly noiseless.
You choose your words carefully not wanting to reveal any more than you need to, not knowing how much you might expose yourself by saying too much."He made a bad pact. He didn't word it properly and he paid the price. He lost control.""I see. Some of these powers of yours come at a pretty high cost it seems. I hadn't realized these vestiges of yours were so malicious. The one you made a pact with for me didn't seem to have much interest in word games. But what of this other vestige of your? I've never seen anything quite like it.""It's a new one. A stealthy one. I summoned it urgently when I needed to and lucked out.""I see... And does this new one have a name?" asks the Baron expectantly.
>>25332057Tenebrotep, we didn't mince words more than that, he doesn't like to talk much, as you saw.
>>25332057"Indeed it does. However, its powers revolve strongly around secrecy, so you'll understand if I don't wish to reveal it."
"Tenebrotep," you say. It takes you a moment to realize the Baron is sitting upright now and has his penetrating gaze fixed on you."Tenebrotep?""Yes, that is the name of the vestige.""And how did you acquire this vestige?"
>>25332436I tried... calling to the void. I was desperate and being pursued by Arnold, and Tenebrotep answered my call. It was dangerous, I know, but it payed off this time.
>>25332436Jesus Baron, learn to take a hint. "Accident"
"Like I said, it was an act of desperation. It just happened by accident.""Well mark my words carefully, boy. You may have been far more lucky than you thought tonight. I don't know who or what that thing is but I know it's dangerous. In the forbidden Samoyan testimonies of Zarus, the very ones I was telling you about this morning, that is the very name given of the devil himself." The Baron stands up, still eyeing you warily but recognizing you have nothing more to say on the issue. "Now, the hour is late and I have work to finish. I'll check up on your friend but he should sleep through the night. We won't know how successful the treatment was until morning. In the meantime, try to get some rest yourself."And with this he walks from the room and back up towards his studies. You follow behind to make for the guest bedroom and you both pass by Rosemary on her way out. The Baron gives her a kiss on the forehead and she gives you a short good night before leaving and locking the front door. You immediately collapse into bed and fast asleep, unable to hold your eyes open a moment longer after a long night.
>>25333022>here comes Tenebrotep
>>25333022Does he appear in our dreams?
A hazy dream haunts you in the night. It is a dream much like you have had before, following your father through the woods as he tells you something important, though you know not what he says. But this time as you walk the forest turns to sand and your father becomes a strange man you do not recognize and every time you try to look at him you're blinded by his brilliance. He is telling you a story which you cannot remember and as he speaks to you five symbols burn themselves into your vision one after another leaving glowing afterimages in your sight. And then he turns to smile at you and you feel him looking down upon you from an impossible height not with love but with disdain. You love him. You hate him. You envy him. And in desperation you lash out. And then there is only darkness.You awaken undisturbed for a change. You sit up in bed, stretching the stiffness from your limbs and look out to see that it is still early morning. Even though you have no duties to attend to your old habits of rising early hold an inescapable grip on you. You rise and make your way out into the hallway to make for the bath when you hear voices coming form the floor below. You pause at the door listening and can just barely make out the baron speaking."Yes, I believe he should be awake by now. You can go and see him if you like..."
>>25333342Oh god what now
Deciding the bath can wait since you did just have one yesterday, you stroll down towards the first floor to get a better listen."Oh, that's just fine. He'll wander down on his own eventually. Besides, I'm starving. I feel like I haven't eaten in days."That voice. It's unmistakably Arnold's! It sounds like he's recovered already and you make your way around the banister slowly to confirm this. Sitting there in the dining room with a pile of fruit before him is the fat bastard himself, stuffing his face with plantains. You stare in awe at your friend's speedy recovery when he notices you peering in from the foyer."Greg! Just in time. Baron Leonard was just telling me how you saved me last night. Come on, in. Grab a bite."Still somewhat in shock you wander into the room spotting the Baron at the far end of the table with a strange expression upon his face as he watches the shrinking pile of fruit at the far end of the table."As you can no doubt tell, it seems the subject has made a miraculous recovery. And seemingly with no ill effects to speak of.""I'll say. I've never felt better. Not in a real long time anyways," posits Arnold between bites. "So what day is it anyways? How long was I out for? Last thing I remember is..." As Arnold says this his face visibly pales a bit and he even slows down his pace on the fruit bowl. Not by much though. "Uh. Anyways, how'd you find me?"
[[And with that, I'm closing Binder Quest XVIII early tonight. As always, thanks to everyone that participated and I hope to see you next week.]]
[[And archived:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Binder+QuestHope to see you all the same time next week.]]
Sorry i had to leave so early. Binder quest is awesome!