Chapter Four, Verse FourPrevious Threads:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=And+I+Will+Fear+No+EvilYou are Bartolomè de la Fuente, an ordained priest of the Catholic Church, though you are still young. Following the disappearance of your father, Hidalgo, you were recruited by a woman named Catarina Belmont to take his place within a secret branch of the Church, the Executors, and serve as a weapon to destroy those who would besmirch the name of your Lord.Having barely survived your trek beneath Kayton's castle, you wake suddenly after a troubling dream.Bartolomè:Wounds: 14/15 (Broken Arm, Crippled Arm.)Faith: Strong (+1 to Rolls, Holy Relics at 1.5x effectiveness.)Strength: C (3 Wounds dealt per hit, +0 to strength-related rolls.)Agility: C (1 attack per round, +0 to dexterity-related rolls.)Endurance: C (Can sustain 15 Wounds.)???: D (Unknown effect.)???: C (Unknown effect.)Traits:Gifted Skirmisher: +5 when using Thrown WeaponsButcher of Dead Apostles: +1 Wounds dealt to Dead ApostlesMissing Eye: No Penalty, but depth of vision reduced.Extra-Sensory: +2 to Combat Rolls, Can perceive Secret Options.Instinct: Chance to perceive the optimal strategy in combat.Items:Black Key (x2): +10 to attack rolls, currently at 1x effectiveness. Can be thrown. Bonus doubled against foes with Faith ratings.Cross of Orleans: +10 to Attack Rolls, +1 to Wounds dealt, deals 1 Wound per round after hit as burn damage for two rounds. Treats Faith lower than Stable as Stable while held.Inventory: Catarina's cell phoneBlack KeysRosaryCross of Orleans
Your weary body strains to keep you aloft, sitting straight up in bed as your addled mind replays a fading dream. You feel queasy and pained just trying to recall the images. Something in the recesses of your memory is fighting back; it doesn't want you to see this. But you force the protests down, and get another look at the face of a girl you shouldn't have seen for another eighteen years. Your father said it clearly in the dream, and there's no way to mistake that blunt look on her face. It was your mentor, Catarina. But how? You rub your aching forehead with one hand, but quickly stop. The effort is too taxing. Your arm's been terribly wounded, as you recall, and it's too weak to lift it for very long. The other is in even worse shape, clutched to your chest by a sling.You finally notice that you're in new clothes. A soft, black and unbuttoned shirt of some soft fabric. Silk, perhaps? The broken arm hasn't been run through the sleeve, and hangs underneath the clothing like a cloak. What has happened to your frock?"Bartolomè! You're awake!" cries someone. You see Aldric spring off of the floor and lean against the side of the bed, stopping just a few inches short of your arm, lest she irritate some bruise. "I'm glad you're not dead!" she exclaims."Er... me, too," you tell her. You're still a little confused. Too much of last night came from instinct, and your conscious mind took part in too little of what occurred to remember much of it. "What happened, exactly?"
"You went trespassing. And you destroyed my property." A third voice wanders into the conversation from the door. You and Aldric both look towards Kayton Abraham, dressed in anachronistic green robes that you would expect to find on... well, a wizard. You have to remind yourself that in that regard, he's dressed appropriately. But his words aren't pleasant. Destroyed his property? The vision of a hulking, hairy beast stalks you... right. The werewolf. "Do you mean the beast that tried to devour me?""The one whose home you blundered into? Yes, I do. And for the record, his name was Lachlan. He did have one, you know." You can see the furrowed brow atop Kayton. For all his polite presentation, you can tell that he's suppressing intense anger. "You killed him, and would have died yourself, were it not for your persistent luck. That, and the charity of my golem."Pardon?"Grrrrmmm..." A low and very deep rumble to your left causes you to jump a little in your bed, and you jerk your head in that direction to get an eyeful of the tremendous earthen golem you'd intended to track last night, reclining against the wall. It's beginning to come back to you: you begged this thing for help. It must have brought you to Kayton after you passed out.An outstretched hand juts in front of your face. Aldric is offering you your eyepatch, which you accept. You try to thank her, but notice a chilling frown on her face. She's more focused on the other human present than you right now. She looks hungry.>1. Aldric, why don't you go do something else while Kayton and I chat?>2. I apologize for the trouble I've caused, Kayton.>3. I won't apologize for protecting myself.>4. If Lachlan had a name, what right did you have to keep him locked up?>5. What did you do with my old clothes?>6. My mind is still fuzzy. What exactly happened last night?>7. What happened, happened. What do you intend to do about it?>8. Say or do something else.
>>30856428>2. I apologize for the trouble I've caused, Kayton.>4. If Lachlan had a name, what right did you have to keep him locked up?
>>30856512this but with 6 added
>>30856512>>30856762You address Kayton carefully, trying not to project any hostility. To do so might set off the vampire beside you. "Please, Mr. Abraham, forgive my trespassing. And my, erm, trespasses. I never meant to cause you any trouble, my curiosity simply got the better of me." Your lip curls, and Kayton raises an eyebrow at you."But?...""But," you say in affirmation of his suspicion. "I pray you'll forgive one more trespassing of mine. If Lachlan had a name, then I suppose he had rights. So, what right did you have to keep him locked up?"Kayton scoffs at you, a dismissive grin playing on his features. "Locked up? Mr. de la Fuente, perhaps you've forgotten after all the trouble you've been through. Lachlan's door was unlocked. He had free reign to come and go as he pleased. He merely opted to stay in his cell. He was an honorable beast, and saw no reason to break our contract.""Contract?" you question. The mage nods affirmatively."Lachlan was a criminal to his own people. Defiler of the laws they held most sacred and, for all intents and purposes, amounting to little more than slime to be wiped away. I, being a human, have no cares for the dealings or laws of phantasmal beasts. So I offered his people an alternative to putting him to death: I would grant him life and asylum in my estate, should he accept a geas to acknowledge me as his master, and submit to my experimentation. All parties agreed, and Lachlan became my guest here." His eyebrow twitches. "And, truthfully? I find this line of questioning quite amusing, considering it comes from his murderer."
There is a tense moment, and you feel a chill in the air as he glares at you. Gears turn in his mind, and you imagine he must be trying to think of a suitable punishment for you. His head briefly bows, and he runs a hand through his dreadlocks. "Perhaps this is fortune. Though a wolf such as Lachlan was a rare commodity, to have a claim on the life of an Executor? That may be a greater prize."The green mage throws his head back and laughs. Such an animated gesture is particularly odd coming from him. "Worry no longer about your punishment, Bartolomè de la Fuente. I've decided that your life is too precious to snuff out in retaliation. Understand that I am sparing you nonetheless, and you should be grateful enough to heed me when I call for you in the future. Beyond that simple obligation, though, I'll call you free of debt.""I... appreciate that." Regardless of your true feelings on the matter, it would be unwise to say anything else. "Perhaps with that cleared up, you can enlighten me further. I still recall little of what actually occurred last night.""You don't? I would be glad to tell you. I have questions of my own, of course; namely how a servant of the Church came to be proficient in the ways of magecraft..."Your eye blinks in confusion. "Que?">1. You're mistaken. I don't know any magecraft.>2. Would it be unusual if I did?>3. I'm confused. What "magecraft" did I do?>4. I'm afraid I don't know either.>5. Say or do something else.
>>30857365>1. You're mistaken. I don't know any magecraft.>2. Would it be unusual if I did?
>>30857365>1. You're mistaken. I don't know any magecraft."I haven't done much of my training yet"
>>30857441>>30857661>>30857664Your head slowly shakes at Kayton. "I am sorry, but you are mistaken. My training has barely begun. I do not know any magic, nor could I imagine what I did to make you believe I do."The mage mumbles something, rubbing his lips with a finger as he paces from one wall to the other. "Not the response I expected, but understandable. You're more ignorant to the situation than I knew." He stretches out one hand, gesturing along with his speech, though he is looking out the window rather than at you. "The Church does not practice magecraft, Bartolomè. The miracles they perform operate under a different set of concepts and rules. As you can surmise, that means that no matter how far into your training you progress, you will never be taught such methods. And yet your nerves, upon cursory examination, show that you possess magic circuits, and processed prana through them during your confrontation with Lachlan. My guess would be some kind of reinforcement, but it doesn't appear to have been done perfectly. Tiny imperfections weakened your bone structure. The result was a killing blow, but so unstable it shattered your own arm in the process."Looking quite somber, the mage finally turns to face you again and asks directly: "I need you to think back to last night, Bartolomè, and think hard. Was there anything, anything even slightly out of the ordinary, that may have triggered this?">1. There was a verse from the Bible I kept repeating...>2. I had a dream about something I don't remember happening...>3. [LIE] No, there's nothing I can think of that might explain this.>4. Dodge the question. Ask something else.
>>30858089>1. There was a verse from the Bible I kept repeating...leave 2 out of it. Maybe mention it to Wayne later.
>>30858089>>1. There was a verse from the Bible I kept repeating...
>>30858170>>30858185You put away the memory of the dream you had. It may not be in your best interest to tell him about that. "There was a Bible verse. Psalms 23:4. I started repeating it, over and over, though I do not know why. And then--"Your conversation is interrupted by a loud smash as Wayne blunders in, shoving open the door and clutching a a wide-brimmed hat to his head. A thick gray raincoat he's wearing is coated in snow. "Hey, Kayton!" he exclaims, trying to brush the excess snow off of himself. "I got the car started. If we're lucky, I might even be able to get it moving. Is Bart ready to move yet?..." He locks eyes with you, and frowns. "Aw, what the hell, he's still in bed?! What have you been up here yapping to him about? I thought we were going?""Sorry," Kayton apologizes. "My... curiosity got the better of me." He addresses you next, saying, "You should know that it's well into the afternoon. We've made an agreement to pay a visit to the Painter, and regardless of your antics we must be punctual. Please, come downstairs as soon as you've finished up here. Our conversation may be continued later."Wayne departs without addressing you, and Kayton follows him before stopping at the door. "And believe me, it will." The door shuts, leaving you with the golem and Aldric,whose narrowed eyes are still pointed after the mage who has just left. You suppose you should get moving.>1. Try and get dressed. (1d100+1)>2. Ask Aldric to help you get a coat on.>3. Ask Aldric if she's seen where your frock went.>4. Ask Aldric if something's wrong.>5. Do something else.
>>30858710>4. Ask Aldric if something's wrong.
>>30858710>3. Ask Aldric if she's seen where your frock went.>4. Ask Aldric if something's wrong.
>>30858710>2. Ask Aldric to help you get a coat on.>3. Ask Aldric if she's seen where your frock went.>4. Ask Aldric if something's wrong.
>>30858785>>30858833You shuffle your legs out of bed, staggering up onto your feet. You're not particularly mobile at the moment, but it seems you have obligations that you aren't going to be getting out of. As you stumble around looking for some clothes to pull on, you ask Aldric, "Have you seen my frock anywhere?""Hm?" She purses her lips, then goes, "Oh. I think they threw that away."You try to throw your arm out in indignation, but the overdone motion nearly topples you. "They did WHAT?! Why would they do something like that? I needed that frock?""Uh, probably not anymore," the girl muses, shifting her eyes to the side. "It looked like it was in pretty rough shape when they pulled it off of you. The sleeve was missing, and most of the middle was all shredded up.""Oh..."Item lost: Priest's Frock."Well. In that case, I suppose this will have to do." You remove a coat from off a hook on the wall and begin the arduous process of getting it on without hurting the arm you've got in a sling. As you do so, your eye doesn't leave Aldric, whose strange mood is beginning to get to you. "What's wrong, Aldric?"She tilts her head in confusion."Don't try to fool me. I saw the way you were looking at Kayton. What's troubling you?"Her answer is put more bluntly than you expected. "I want to kill him.""A-ah..." You don't find an immediate answer. She goes on."You're too nice to him, Bartolomè. He's polite, and he talks like he's trying to be nice, but he's the reason you're hurt." Her hands cup together in front of her waist, and she swings them back and forth as she explains. "The food said that I had to stay put and not move, or Bartolomè wouldn't be allowed to stay here. I stayed put so you wouldn't get in trouble. And I wasn't allowed to follow you, so you got hurt. He's responsible for your injuries, so I think he should die." She pleads with her eyes, and says like it's the most natural thing in the world:
"...He broke the Golden Rule. So you should let me eat him, right, Bartolomè?">1. No.>2. Absolutely not.>3. That's not for me to decide.>4. ...
>>30859546>>30859572"No," you tell the vampire firmly. "You won't be doing anything of the sort. Whatever I think of Kayton Abraham, he hasn't done anything that I could call hostile. He doesn't deserve death. Now please... help me get this coat on."...You and Aldric march out into the snow. The storm was more severe than you'd imagined, and over a foot of white powder has piled up on Abraham's estate. As you step outside, you're assaulted by biting cold. Luckily, with Aldric's help you managed to get a fairly thick coat on over yourself, and though your slung arm bulges oddly from inside, it's comfortable enough to travel in. The vampire offers you support as you stagger out towards the car, down where you'd left it the previous day. Wayne is waving you down, the other mage already in the back seat. "Sorry to drag you out like this, Bart, but an appointment with the Pain isn't something you can just cancel, day of.""Thank you for the concern," you say as you pass him. "But don't you meant 'Painter'?"A quiet "No." is the only answer you get. "But on the bright side," Tepes adds, "In your condition you get automatic dibs on shotgun!" He opens the door for you and assists you drop down into your seat. A shiver of discomfort runs through your body as you flop down into the car seat. This ride likely won't be pleasant. Once you're in he shuts the door and waddles through the snow to get to the driver's side. Aldric gets in the back, where you can already see Kayton waiting to go."Alrighty!" Wayne exclaims, rubbing his hands together as he slides into his seat and grabs the clutch. "Let's get rolling.""We're in a foot of snow," you protest. "How do you expect to get us there in a sedan?""Magecraft," he answers simply, tongue stuck out as he shifts into gear. "Suffice to say I'm probably not getting my deposit back on this rental. Here goes nothin'!"
Wayne's foot slams the gas pedal, and for the life of you you think this is the end. Against all reason and logic, the two-wheel drive vehicle plows into the snow and disperses it like it's nothing but fog. You can hear the engine screaming for mercy, but its driver isn't feeling very merciful. You pick up speed, tick by tick, until you can see you're barreling down the road at about sixty miles an hour. Your eye stays on the road, waiting for the moment you start to slide, or the car flips, but the moment doesn't come. This automobile is sturdier than you could have imagined. Ever so slowly you begin to relax, and try to enjoy the ride. Wayne sticks a tape into the car, and some kind of synthesized rock you don't recognize starts to blare.>1. Ask the others what kind of music they like.>2. Ask for more information about the Painter.>3. Ask how they managed to enchant a car.>4. Talk about something else.>5. Say nothing and let the ride go by quietly.
>>30860243>>1. Ask the others what kind of music they like.>>2. Ask for more information about the Painter.>>3. Ask how they managed to enchant a car.
>>30857340I wish I was here last night to avoid this latest piece of stupidity.When will you fuckers learn that poking the mystery box is rarely a good thing?
>>30860538>last nightLAST TIME
>>30860380Well. You scratch your chin and quietly shift in your seat. This won't exactly be a pleasant trip if you stay shut up the whole team. Best to broach a topic. "So, Wayne. You seem to have a specific taste in music."He makes a goofy smile and admits, "Yeah, I'm a sucker for the classics. Rush, Journey, Queen, Billy Joel, Rolling Stones. It's all good stuff."You hear a displeased grunt from behind you, coming from Kayton. "That's what he 'classics'. He doesn't know the meaning of the word."You see a vein bulge on Wayne's forehead, and he twists his torso around to lean forward into his seat and glare at the offender. "Oh, yeah, bub?! And what would YOU call a classic?""H-hey!" you shout, "Keep your eyes on the road!""Chopin, Vivaldi, Beethoven," Abraham counters with a raised voice. "Artists who have stood the test of time, and whose work will be preserved for centuries after the world has forgotten the name 'Freddie Mercury'!""YOU TAKE THAT BACK--"You decide to be forceful, and with your working arm pull Wayne's eyes back towards the road. He seems to settle down, though he sinks into his seat a little more deeply. A brief respite, and then. "What about that Toto album you've got in your study?"You glance back at Kayton, who seems to be fascinated with whatever's going on down by his feet. "...Only a fool restricts their taste to a single genre."They're hopeless. Both of them. Completely hopeless. You decide to ask Aldric instead. The girl roll her eyes up, thinking on it. "I can't really say," she decides. "All the music from when I last woke up is a blur, and I don't think I've heard any since."So much for that line of dialogue. "Uh... so Wayne, Kayton. What else can you tell me about this Painter?""Go for the blood feathers," your enforcer friend suggests. "It's the fastest way to cripple a harpy."
"Excuse him," says Kayton. "Don't allow our mutual acquaintance's colored past to taint your expectations. The Painter can be difficult, and those of lesser patience," he pauses to motion towards his fellow mage. "can be easily frustrated by that. She expects things to be done a certain way, and so long as we're within her home, we at the Association respect that. So long as you do the same, she'll warm up to you. I'd also advise you not to ask what any of her work means. Something about 'the creator spoiling the experience of divining your own meaning.'""I see." You jot down a mental note to do those things, though you're already beginning to wonder just what kind of person this Painter is. "Anything else to keep an eye out for?""Just don't start trouble," Kayton says. You settle into a more quiet ride. Wayne suggests a game of Punch Buggy to pass the time, though it's hard to play it when there are no other cars on the road. Indeed, you seem to be distancing yourself from civilization by quite a bit. You haven't passed any towns or buildings in the last hour, and the untended roads are piling yet higher with snow. Yet the bizarre little sedan plows ever-forward, intolerant of any obstacles.Curious, you ask, "How exactly did you manage to enchant a car to repel snow?""Basically, the magic of friendship," is the snide remark that Wayne gives. Kayton elaborates."Wayne is good with cars. He has an intimate knowledge of their working parts.""Reinforcement whiz!" the mage in question boasts. "Trouble is, the skill isn't worth much when I can't even use it on myself.""Because of Circuit Breaker?""No. Well, yes. But also because I can't concentrate on the image long enough to make it work. Kayton can, though."Abraham holds up a finger and states, "I have the... ahem, mental acuity to create a lasting reinforcement. Wayne coaches me on what needs to be strengthened where. The result:"
"A powerhouse, baby!" Wayne slams on the horn, releasing a tremendous wave of sound that scatters birds in every direction off the pleasant snowy road. "Oh hey, we're here. Hope they didn't hear that."Up through the treeline, you can finally spot your destination. A square mansion several stories high, its beautiful brick exterior covered in snow. Frosted windows glow with orange light coming from indoors, offering a warm and inviting appearance. As you draw closer, the car crunches to a halt within a bank of snow. The doors on the left side pop open, and as you wait for someone to get yours, you catch Aldric glancing at you from the rear-view mirror, waiting for something.>1. Ask Aldric to wait here.>2. Bring Aldric in with you.
>>30861315>2. Bring Aldric in with you.What could possibly go wrong?
>2. Bring Aldric in with you.
>>30861398>>30861413"Coming, Aldric?"She smiles at you before getting out of the car. The door to your right opens, and Wayne helps you up to your feet, gesturing up to the large mansion towering over your group. You're lead up to the doorway, a colossal work of carpentry with reliefs embossing most every inch. Kayton takes hold of a large bronze knocker and smacks it against the surface four times before taking his hand away and stepping back.A minute passes. You hear the door click and unlock before opening, to reveal a monster. A colossal man opens the door, dressed all in black. From his uniform, you'd suppose he's the butler. He is an older gentleman, but you wouldn't count his age as a weakness. This giant of an individual is a full foot taller than you, and maintains what appears to be an excellent physique beneath his uniform. His skin is dark and lined by many years, and his eyes are narrow and focused, examining you all. His white hair is slicked backward, and a rough goatee clings to his chin. You hear a rumbling in his chest as his eyes fall upon Aldric. You hope that no one else is close enough to hear her hissing at the butler.Holding a fist up to his mouth, the butler coughs to clear his throat. He speaks with a strong intonation that you'd guess is an attempt at received pronunciation. But you can hear an Austrian tinge to it. "Welcome, esteemed guests. My Mistress is still preparing for your arrival, but if you shall follow me, I shall see to your comfort in the meantime." He gestures a hand out to his side, ushering you in. "Shall we?"...The four of you are led into the sprawling manor, and though it does not rival Kayton's estate it is still larger than any home you're accustomed to. You're certain that the square footage of the entrance hall beats out your home back in Madrid.
The floors, beyond the welcoming mats and carpets, are a beautiful lacquered wood with a reddish coloring to every plank. The walls are alabaster white, and marbled with exquisite detail. There is a distinct scent of perfume in the air, a pleasant and sweet smell that reminds you of apples. Carefully spaced tables hold beautiful vases and statuettes, each worth more than all the money you've ever earned. But nothing compares to the paintings.This is not a home, but an art gallery. In the first hall alone hangs dozens, maybe approaching a hundred paintings, each unique from all the rest. You behold a splendid array of colors and styles, different strokes of the brush and different methods of painting creating idyllic landscapes, sprawling urban spaces, cubist environments, and militaristic formations. You spy the influence of artists you've only heard of in passing, and events you only vaguely recall. The sight is almost overwhelming. Is it possible that a single person is responsible for all of these?Your trip continues through further hallways, each adorned with unique paintings and setting a different mood. Finally you reach a stopping point in a strange room. It is constructed like a dome, with its walls curving upward to meet a single point, so that its hard to say where they end and the ceiling begins. The walls are a deep umber, and the carpet is a matching shade. You are led to the center, where several chairs are arrayed around a long coffee table in some bizarre shape that's too "modern" for you to really understand the purpose of. You each are sat down, the butler taking your coats before you do so. Once you're all seated, he asks if you would like something to drink."Vodka," Wayne says. Kayton asks for ginseng tea. You hear the butler scoff as Aldric requests coffee, and scoff again as she clarifies she wants decaf. He turns to you and asks, "What would the Mistress' guest ask of me?"
>1. Nothing.>2. Water.>3. Coffee.>4. Alcohol.>5. Tea.>6. A soft drink.
>>30862143>>30862186>>30862288"Just water, please." "Very well," he says with a smile, arching his back straight as he cuts a retreat. The four of you are left in silence. Aldric's eyes are shooting around in a frenzy, trying to take in all the sights."Wow... humans sure do like art.""Remarkable, is it not?" Kayton asks the vampire and, to an extent, you as well. "The Painter is quite a prodigy. The Association has taken a marked interest in the development of her talents. Hopefully she'll be able to shed a little light upon any questions you might have, Bartolomè." He ends his sentence by turning to you, though Aldric asks a question afterward."How does a person tell the future with paintings?" she asks, scrutinizing an image of the sun between two skyscrapers on the far wall."They don't," Wayne snarks, crossing his arms as well as lounging one leg atop the other's thigh."She isn't telling you your future," Kayton explains. "The Painter's gift is not so direct. She... illustrates, through her paintings, and leaves you to extrapolate the course of events.""Yeah. And for the low, low price of $19.95 she might even give you enough vague hints to make a real fake prophecy out of her doodles."Kayton gives an unkind look to Wayne, who retorts with a cheeky grin. Footsteps from down the hall herald the return of the butler, who strides into the room with his long, spindly legs, balancing a tray of drinks upon one arm. He stops by you and sets a glass of water down upon the coffee table. He goes around and gives the others their beverages before straightening himself and addressing you all. "Please, make yourselves comfortable, and feel free to look around the room. My Mistress shall join you shortly." He bows once before departing, leaving you alone.Wayne hunches over his glass, grabbing the rim of it with the tips of his fingers and lifting it up. He shakes the glass around, watching the liquid inside slosh about.
His forehead crinkles, and his lips pout. "I think... he spat in my drink." He holds still a moment, then shrugs and begins to sip. Aldric, likewise, starts on her piping hot cup of coffee. The butler's disdain aside he certainly didn't skimp on the quality. You can detect an air of something like blueberries even from where you drink. The coffee is fresh enough you'd think it was made here on the property. You take a few idle sips of water while Kayton eyes you."Enjoying yourself, Mr. de la Fuente? By all means, have a look around the room. You may find something that interests you.">1. Have a look around the room.>2. Ask Kayton if the painting he saw is in this room.>3. Do something else.
>>30862853>1. Have a look around the room.
>>30862853>2. Ask Kayton if the painting he saw is in this room.
>>30862907>>30862950You rise from your seat. Perhaps it would be best to stretch your legs for a little while. Easier said than done, though. Your knees still feel a little stiff as you take a stroll around the domed room. Back at the center, Wayne and Kayton chat about something, but you aren't paying enough attention to hear what about.Your attention is turned towards these paintings. Each is certainly quite beautiful, though you can't fathom what many of them are supposed to mean. Musing, you wonder if that's because their prophecies aren't meant for you? Perhaps these are the types of things that only make sense to those that they are meant for. You focus on the ones at eye level. A golden frame envelops the sight of a beautiful, red bridge above a quiet body of water. The bridge is lit up by many dots of golden light, though the source escapes you.You step onwards, and look at another. This abstract work shows what you imagine is a little girl, draped in a white gown. She stands atop what seems to be some form of fountain. Within the water at the bottom lie many shapes arranged in a pattern, though you cannot discern what they are meant to be. Bodies?You move on, and stop at another one. What on earth is this supposed to mean? It's not even a painting just a plain black canvas ripped by many slash-marks, as if some vandal had taken a knife to it. What could this mean?"How confusing," you whisper. "Clearly, none of these were meant for me.""Indeed, they aren't. I am most impressed; very few understand the nature of my paintings so readily."
You start and scramble around to face the source of the words. It is a girl. "Greetings. I am called the Painter." Her voice is mature, and quite smooth, possessing a cultured accent. Though she appears young, her body matches the voice quite well. She is shorter than you, the top of her head only reaches to about your collarbone. Her skin is a pearlescent white that glows in the lighting of her gallery, and gives an inhuman impression to you. You can't imagine how rarely a girl like this must see the sun.She appears to be fairly young; you wouldn't place her above fifteen, yourself. Her face is doll-like, and her perfect visage is only marred by the coy smile she's making at you. Blonde hair is gathered up into pigtails, each split into three strands that drape across her shoulders. Her dress is poofy and overly fancy for your tastes, particularly the inflated shoulders, and the way it expands outward, forming a large circle where it stops around her knees. The colors are a striking mix of reds and yellows. Hands clasped at waist level, she appraises you with sharp and intelligent eyes."I do not believe we have met, Mister...?""Bartolomè," you tell her. "It is a pleasure.""Likewise," she says. "What brings you to my home today?">1. Ask how she first discovered her talent.>2. Ask why she paints.>3. Ask about the painting that Kayton saw.>4. Ask if you might be able to receive a tour.>5. Ask if she could help find your father.>6. Ask something else.
>>30863701>5. Ask if she could help find your father.
>>30863798>>30863806"I was hoping for something... specific," you tell her.She holds up a hand, dismissively. "I do not take commissions, Bartolomè. It would compromise the purity of my work.""That's..." you want to say "a little arrogant", but perhaps that wouldn't be wise. "That's quite all right. I was only hoping to find something within your gallery that can help me. I seek my father, Hidalgo de la Fuente. He--""That's very nice, dear," says the Painter, stepping past you with an outstretched hand. You stammer, asking where she is going, but do not get a response. She makes a beeline toward the center of the room, leaving you behind."W-wait, you can't just--" you stifle a growl and go after her.The Painter stops beside the chairs, curtsying towards the only guest she seems to respect. "Mr. Abraham. Always a pleasure to have you under my roof.""A pleasure to be here, esteemed host," the mage responds with a raise of his glass and a pleasant smile. You come up behind the Painter and try to grab her attention once more, but as you raise your voice you hear a quiet sound from the girl. Humming. Is she... blocking you out? As you stand there baffled and offended, Wayne mocks Kayton's gesture by imitating it."Oh yes, a toast to our wise host; may she do no wrong...""Oh." The Painter deigns to acknowledge him over you, and shifts a glance towards Wayne, looking most indifferent. "Would you look at that. I see you've brought your faithful hound with you. And how is my favorite dog today?" she asks with a false smile.Wayne bows his head, hiding his face beneath its brim. "...not a dog...""Oh, what's the matter boy?" the Painter coos. "Feeling sick? Hold on, mummy's got something to make you feel better..." she sticks a hand into a pocket on her dress coming up with... is that a dog treat?Confused, you ask, "What are you--"
"Would you like a biscuit?" she waggles the treat in front of Wayne. "Want a biscuit, boy? Hm? Want a biscuit?" She eggs him on, and you can see Wayne's grip tighten against his pant legs. He sneers, and you can hear the repressed rage within him."No, thank you. I would not like a biscui--MMPH!" The Painter doesn't seem to care about his opinion on the matter, and shoves the treat into his open mouth. You see tears in the corner of Wayne's eyes. Pain, shock, or shame, you wonder?"Nonsense," the girl tuts. "Dogs LOVE biscuits. Now be sure to chew it all up so you don't choke."Wayne heaves forward, gagging on the treat, briefly locking eyes with Kayton, who gives him a quiet nod. The Enforcer furrows his brow, and fuels himself with spite. His teeth grind down the treat to a brown mush. Mustering all of his will, Wayne swallows the treat before gasping in relief and leaning back in his chair. The Painter gives a lurid smile. "Good boy."Standing behind the little devil, you reach out towards her, trying to get her attention again. "Excuse me, I was asking--""And who would you be, madam?""Aldric!" your companion replies with a smile."Really? What an unusual name. It is a pleasure, Aldric. Tell me, what brings you..."You frown, infuriated. You were warned she was difficult, but this is more than that. She's a brat! What detestable human being taught this girl about manners? You came here for answers, not to be ignored like some ghost! You lift your working hand and...>1. Smack her. This girl needs discipline, and Wayne is owed an apology.>2. Grab her shoulder. This brat can socialize after she's helped you.>3. Lower it. Kayton warned you to be patient with her, so you will be.
>>30864583>3. Lower it. Kayton warned you to be patient with her, so you will be.We've already tested Kayton's patience once, let's not do it again.
>>30864583>3. Lower it. Kayton warned you to be patient with her, so you will be.
>>30864629>>30864656>>30864772You sigh. The raised hand is stuffed into your pocket, and you bite your tongue. You are a guest in her home, and however rude she may be, you'll accomplish nothing from being cruel or impatient. As Kayton warned you, she must be handled diplomatically. Perhaps if you wait her out, you'll have a chance to ask for what you wanted. You slip back into your chair, retrieving your water and downing a few gulps of it. Discretely, Kayton makes eye contact with you and nods. He was watching you, then? You feel very aggravated, and can hope only that this is worth it.The Painter chats with Aldric for some time about surprisingly little. You tuned out most of the conversation, hoping the run down the clock, so to speak. Your head is light, and you find it hard to concentrate in your current state of health. Your eye drifts shut now and again, though you manage to force it open before you ever doze off.The clock ticks on, and on, and on. Small talk between the Painter, Kayton, and Aldric goes on for what must be ages. Your only companion in the misery is Wayne, who still looks sick from the treat he choked down. You sigh."Is something the matter, Bartolomè? I do hope you've not caught the mutt's illness." The Painter's voice drags you out of your stupor. As you bring your glass to your lips she says, "It would be a shame if you were unable to join us for a tour. I was sure you would be interested in seeing Hidalgo's favorite pieces of mine.""Oh, of course I--" you nearly choke on the sip of water you just took. "What?! You cannot mean..."
"Cannot mean what? Do not insult a lady's honor," she scolds, touching her chest with outstretched fingers. "I would never do something as boorish as lie. I needed some time to be entirely sure--you're just as naively patient as him--but that stupid expression on your face has sealed it: you're certainly that man's son. All people come to me sooner or later, and they all find a painting that suits them." She flashes an amused expression your way. "And if you really want to know where he's gone, that would certainly be a good place to start."
That's where we'll be calling it a night, folks. Hope you enjoyed today's thread; I plan to do another one soon. If I'm real lucky, possibly tomorrow night around the same timeFollow me at Frolloswagendir on Twitter for updates on the Quest, and let me know there or here what you enjoyed, or what could be changed for the better!See you next time.