LAST THREAD >>39781830The tax collectors were coming? Great. That meant you wouldn't be leaving for another hour or so, until they had you accounted for.You remember a little talk you had with Mother, a few years ago.---"Ilafi, you're about old enough to work now. When you're old enough to work, you absolutely must. Do you understand?""Yes, Mother.""Good. Remember not to do anything you can't do, and to always do your best. If you mess up they'll have you out in an instant and we won't be able to afford to live here anymore. Do you understand?""Yes, Mother.""Good." She gives you a tight hug with those thick arms of hers, and then makes full eye contact with you, hands on your shoulders."There's another important thing you need to know before I let you go off and play. You need to listen very carefully here.""Yes, M-""Don't 'yes, mother' me, say something other than that!""I'm listening, really, I am!"[cont.]
>>39790456"Alright. Well, you need to know that those of us that live down here are different from those that live up there. I'm sure you've heard other children talk about the other elves that come down here every now and then, with the nice clothes and tan complexions?""Mmhmm. They're the Sunlit, right?""Correct. And we're the Lamplit. You might hear a lot about the nice things they have and the money they can spend, but that's not at all important. What is important is that sometimes, they come along to take a cut of the money you earn. It's how things are. When they do, you stay quiet and answer all of their questions honestly, and then sign off on whatever papers they hand you. Don't read it, don't waste time, they'll just take extra if you do that. Do you understand?""That doesn't sound fair, though.""That's not important, Ilafi. It keeps you alive, and that's all that matters. You speak to them respectfully, no matter what, you don't jump around, or swing your arms about, or anything else you do when you're bored, they might ask you about that.""Okay." You aren't entirely sure about all of this, but listening to Mother has always done you good. This time shouldn't be any different."And most importantly, don't forget that they aren't any better than you for living above the ground. They can say it all they want, and you'll have to nod your head and agree- do NOT forget to that, by the way- but don't you ever forget that. You're my son, and you're just as good as any Sunlit boy. Now go off and play, alright?"You don't fully understand everything about the conversation, and while you can't be sure, you think you remember your mother sniffling a bit as you turned the knob to the front door.[cont.]
>>39790486Any worker who was already working has stopped working by now."All workers, come up to the front now and prepare for tax collection!"As you join the line, you notice everyone else around you counting under their breaths. Your house isn't the only one where money is tight.A Sunlit elf woman walks up to you, carrying a slate with various papers attached.She's got a very disinterested look in her eyes, and a "I don't really care to be here" posture."Ilafi, son of Esjah"?"Yes, ma'am.""It says here you recently started taking double hours. This is correct?""Yes, ma'am.""Your mother still works in the bread factory, correct?""Yes, ma'am."She starts to write everything down on her papers, looking up at you every now and then."We'll be taking the usual cut. 45%. Is that satisfactory, or is there anything you'd like to bring to our attention regarding your taxation?"Of course there was, but..."Yes, ma'am.""Good."Turning around and walking off, the Sunlit woman prepares to forget you entirely.You still can't go anywhere until the whole process is complete.About fifteen minutes later, you notice a tap on your shoulder.>Ignore it.>Turn around.
>>39790797>glance towards the tap, but don't turn away
>>39790797I second >>39791171A few hours late but whatev
>>39790857>>39791171>>39792134((Aaah sorry something came up, I will be back with you for the rest of the evening in time, just as soon as this thing wraps up. This was entirely unforeseen and I am very sorry for disappointing you all- those of you who actually care about it.))
>>39793045aww just missed it
>>39790797>Ignore it.No reason to risk seeing some imagined giant spider creature that makes poor Ilafi jump in fright.
>>39797435bless your heart anon>>39790857>>39791171>>39792134You look behind you, but don't see anything. Odd. Marking it up to fatigue, you continue to wait.You can hear other Sunlit asking your co-workers about their finances and relevant details, and you catch a glimpse of your boss sitting in a chair next to a Sunlit man in a red suit. Looks like the one in charge of tax collection here. He appears to be extremely bored with everything.Eventually, it's all over. The man in the red suit stands up and gives his crew a whistle, and points to the door. "All workers, head out the door in two orderly lines! Thank you for cooperating!"The Sunlit also form a third line, standing to the right of the two lines. A few of them carry rifles. You've never used one before, but you hear what they can do. Mother told you never to argue with a man with a gun. It's safe to assume she knows what she's talking about.Everyone grabs their things, you included, and prepares to walk out the doubledoors of the factory's main entrance. Nobody's talking much, but you can hear whispers amongst your fellow Lamplit. Only a few are really talking loudly. And then, you hear a question whispered in your ear."Hey, how much are they taxing your profits?"A voice from behind you. Sounds like a woman. Could be the one you tried to ask for help. Sounds like it could be her voice.>"Almost half.">"Who are you?">"That's not your business, ma'am.">"How much are they taxing you?">Remain silent.
>>39797843>"How much are they taxing you?"
>>39797876>>39798084"About half." You respond with more than a whisper, less than your inside voice. "And yourself?""Thirty-five percent. It's awful, but I have to deal with it. I've worked here for fourty years and they only cut it down by five percent the whole time I've been here. It's terrible. But, at least I have enough for me." She pauses. "Tell me, don't you hate getting worked so much for so little? It's so unfair. Makes you mad, doesn't it?">"Not important.">"I'm very mad.">"Who are you?">Look behind you."
>>39798352>Look behind you.
>>39798352>"Who are you?"
>>39798352>>Look behind you.">"What can I do about it? They have all the power"
>>39798352Stay quiet, lad. If there's a time your mind would make a person up, it's now.
>OP is kill
>>39798618>>39798397>>39798613>>39798998You're really bothered by the fact that you don't know who you're talking to, but you don't want to talk any further. She could very well be another delusion. You quickly turn your head, but instead of the woman, you see a tired looking man with a working man's raggedy stubble, who gives you an odd glare before you trip, bumping into the hooded elf in front of you. "Agh!"You don't quite fall over, but then the man pushes you to the side, uninterested in being held up. You can hear him call you an idiot under his breath."Hey, what's going on?" A guard walks over to you, firearm in hand. "Get up, boy!Scramblind to your feet, you rush to look the guard in the eyes. "The hell is going on?">I tripped.>I'm just tired.>He shoved me.>Nothing, my bad.>Remain silent.
>>39801227Nothing, no problem, sir.
>>39801227>>Nothing, my bad.
>>39801594>>39802464>>39802597((New day, same thread. This time I'll be able to post uninterrupted for most of the day.))"Nothing, sir, I'm fine!""No you're not, why did you fall over?""I just tripped, is all.""You're a clumsy little shit, aren't you? Do better, alright?""Yes, sir." The Sunlit turns away, no longer interested in you.You immediately work your way back in line, and collect your earnings from your boss at the door. It's slightly more than usual, but far less than you expected, given your new hours.>"Sir, I worked double hours today.">Let it be.
>>39804298Just got taxed, remember?Let it be.
>>39804298"Sir, I worked double hours today."
>>39804298Let it be.
>>39804332>>39804918Begrudgingly, you let it be. Maybe there was another pay cut. Whatever. No need to cause a fuss.As you file out and into the streets, you run into your mother. "Ilafi, dear, what are you doing here? I thought your shift ended a while ago?""I'm doing double hours now. It's alright. There was a large paycut so I'm only making a little more than usual, though.""Oh my. I won't stop you, but you must absolutely be careful. The amount of hours doesn't quite matter if you can't do your job.""Yes, Mother, I know.""I'm proud of you, though."You smile, and continue to walk along a less dense road, likely a shortcut to your home. It's just you, your mother, and the old iron beating stick she carries around outside. It looks like it used to be part of a building.Gas lamps light the way in the perpetual darkness, fed by a deep network of metal tubes that pervade most of the walls in the city."Do you want to get something nice to eat today, son? I know you try so hard, and I made a little extra, so we can stop at that grill you like and actually order something! What was it called? Moffa's Meat?""That's the name.">...but you don't want Mother to spend money like that. It's not fair.>...and you're dead-set on getting that grilled spider you've been hoping for. Rat meat is awful.
>>39805087Rat meat for dinnah
>>39805087What is life without the little pleasures?>Go for the spider (but plan to do a little more around the hovel tonight in thanks)
((I'll wait until 2 PM EST like I planned to do yesterday, as I know I won't get much in the way of replies now. This time I'll make shit happen, unlike yesterday. Feel free to vote until then, or ask questions regarding the quest.))
>>39805920How likely is it for us to escape this impoverished, lamplit hell?
>>39806299Is that including death, or excluding?
>>39806436I'm not the type to just kill off MCs willy nilly. The quest has hardly started.
>>39806701That doesn't answer the question, mac.DONT THINK I DONT KNOW THIS GAMEWhy do the Sunlit even keep us around?
>>39806784You'll get more answers later.Remember, we start again at 2 PM EST(2 hours and 5 minutes from now)
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>39805243 (1)>>39805916 (2)Aaand we're off! Let's see what happens next!
>>39808976>>39805916"Sure, Mother! Thank you!""It's the least I can do for my boy. Look, I'm sorry for yelling at you before. You know how work gets, and I'm not quite myself after a long day. I guess you know how that feels now, after your first day of double hours.""I understand, Mother."Mother puts an arm around you, holding you close to her side as you make your way to the grill. Today is a good day. You'll have to do something nice for her later.You start to hear footsteps, and faint murmuring behind you, however. You don't quite like it. Mother always told you to never take these kinds of roads, especially after work hours, because unsavory folk love to steal from women and children here. She's a large woman with a big metal stick, though, so you do feel protected for the most part.>Ask Mother that you hear something. Her ears aren't as good as yours after all.>Let it be. Don't ruin this moment.>Loudly tell whoever's following you to stop.
>>39809427>Let it be. Don't ruin this moment.
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>39809837 (1)>>39809916 (2)((Gonna just roll the dice if there's like two votes. I will put out a post every 30 minutes at the least.))
Quest thread, more like where the hell is OP
>>39810864My money is on "somewhere involving blackjack and hookers."
>>39809837>>39810280You're concerned enough to warn her, even though it might just be your imagination."Mother, do you hear that?""Hmm?""It sounds like someone's following us.""I don't hear anything. Are you sure?"She ruffles your hair, but doesn't turn around. "There's nothing there. I made sure we weren't being followed, like I always do when I walk through here. Nobody's stupid enough to come after your ma with a blade."This reassures you. Even though you still hear the noise, you decide to believe her. Mother knows what she's doing.And then you hear the sound of broken glass."What the- Ilafi, get behind me!" She quickly turns around, and holds her weapon in both hands.You immediately do so, and peer out from behind her. It's a older-looking Sunlit elf guard, wearing a very nice looking orange uniform with a red cape that comes down to the ankles. The glass on the ground appears to be a bottle. Could he be drunk?"What do you want?""Tax, miss! Just here to collect taxes! Heh...""You won't have another coin of my money, you've all taken enough!"She brandishes the metal pole in his direction."Back off!"The drunk shakes his head, blinking in surprise, but then gets a rather angry look on his face. His speech is a bit slurred, and his short blonde hair is a mess."What's some lamp bitch doing, telling me off? Drop that shit and hand me your challs already!"He reaches into his cape and pulls out a handgun, shaky hand pointing it at her torso. "And make it quick!"You watch as she slowly bends down to place it on the ground, but quickly bats the gun out of his hand with the rod. It slides across the road, well out of reach.The two start grappling, and while your mother is strong, and he's a drunk, it doesn't look all that great. Your mother can only take so many punches to the face."Ilafi, run! Head to Moffa's and tell him to call the city guard!""But-""Now!">Run.>Go for the gun.
>>39810864>>39811004pc crashed, thank god i saved my shit
>>39811329GUN GUN GUN
>>39811329>Go for the gun
>>39811539>>39812034You should probably run, but you're too concerned about your mother. You know you can help, so why don't you?"I can't do that!"You dash over to the gun, and pick it up. You have never once used anything like this. Other kids have described guns like this one before, though, it's a "revolving gun" or something? You don't know anything about guns except that you point and pull the trigger. Your hands are shaky, but you're going to be a brave young man today!"Ilafi, no! Put that down, you don't know how to use it!""Use what? Wait, is he- Oh no, when I'm through with- mmph!"She manages to cut him off with a firm strike to the jaw, to which he responds with a few more wild swings."Please, just run!"You're really not sure what to do now. You want to be brave, but every bone in your body is yelling "run".There's no guarantee she'll be okay if you run, but you've never fired a gun before.>Drop the gun and run.>Point and pull. [1d10]
>>39812324>Keep the gun and run
Rolled 6 (1d10)>>39812324>Point and pull. [1d10]Hope we don't kill our mom
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>39812534 (1)>>39812559 (2)rollan due to lack of vote
>>39813200Don't worry anon , our death will open our eyes to the oppression around a us, and we shall avenge her. The true criminals are those who force lamplit upon lamplit. We will begin the revolution in her name
>>39812992>>39812534You can't do it. Panicking, you clutch the gun, and run off. You don't know if she managed to beat him or not. You just ran. Whispers of "coward" and "worthless" repeat in your ears over and over as you run. It's torture.Eventually, you reach Moffa's door, and you run straight in. A few people jump when they see you have a gun, but regardless, you start yelling, stumbling over your words, pointing in the direction of the street, until you receive a swift blow to the cheek from the wrinkly, gray-haired owner of the establishment."Get a grip, boy! And put that damn thing down, you'll kill somebody! Where the hell did you even get that?" His eyes widen. "Don't tell me you killed one of them. Oh, Einahva, please tell me you didn't shoot a man with his own gun.""N-no, nothing like that! One of them g-got drunk and- and she started fighting him, and she told me to call you for the guards! Her name is Esjah, she's big and strong and I don't know what I'll do without her, please help!"You're close to tears, but you can't let go of the gun."Oh no."His face falls, but he immediately writes down a note, and hands it to one of the servers."Mirfa, take this to the guardpost immediately. Go!"Without a moment's hesitation, he sprints out the door."They'll be back soon. Please be patient. Your mother is going to be okay."The look on his face is a bit less reassuring, though.>Wait. Have faith in Moffa.>Run back to the street.
>>39813681>Run back to the street.
>>39813681>>Run back to the street.
>>39813697>>39813902You can't wait. They'll never make it there in time."No!"Gun in hand, you charge out the door, dead set on doing things differently this time."Boy, don't!"You're already gone.As fast as your little legs can take you, you run off to where you hope your mother is, with questionable readiness."Mother?"You look around, and can't find her. Just the pole she carried around. What happened?You look around and see blood splattered sparsely around the street. It bothers you, but you know you can follow it to find something. Your cheeks burn with anger, but make no mistake- you're terrified.Eventually the trail stops, and there's a split in the path.>Left.>Right.>Wait for the guards.
>>39815049Look for a clue - a heat shadow, disturbed dirt, anything. And don't forget to look up.
>>39815049>Wait for the guards.
>>39815164>>39815209You turn left, and tread carefully. You're just a scared kid, not Kohme, the legendary human detective. You wish you remembered all the stories about him your friends tell you. Could be useful now.You wish you could read human books.There's not much of a trail, and you feel like giving up after a bit, but eventually you see a slightly larger splat of blood on the wall. Of course, the trail begins anew, with what looks like even more ugly fighting. Someone lost a lot of blood. A chunk of stone stained with blood is in the road, and the splatter trail is replaced by a long smear.It leads into an unlit alley. Someone clearly got dragged in there. You pray it isn't Mother.Suddenly, a large figure comes rushing out of the shadows. It could be either of them. In an instant ruled by fear, you react.>Shoot. [1d10]>Run.
>>39816310>>39816509>>39816684>>39816813Nope. Absolutely not.As fast as you can, you spin around, and start to run, but you're immediately grabbed and pulled down."No! Let m-""Ilafi, it's me! Shut up, it's me, it's me, it's okay!"You turn around, and you find that it is Mother. She's beaten, bruised and bloodied, and she's got a black eye- but she's alive."You're okay!"You finally drop the gun now that you know she's okay, and hug her tighter than you held the gun."Yes, I'm okay, I'm okay." Her breathing is a bit rough, but she doesn't appear to be in any kind of terrible condition."Did you..."Your attention is immediately caught by a pool of blood next to Mother. Your fears are confirmed."Yes. I had to.""What are you going to do?""I don't know.""You don't know? You always know!""Well I just don't this time! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry, son! I'll think of something."After a few minutes of waiting, the guards show up, along with a rather exhausted-looking Mirfa. As soon as he sees the situation, his eyes go wide with shock,"Dear Einahva... Go, hurry. Get back to Moffa's, we'll try to clean it up before they search for him."Mother gives a weak chuckle. "His blood's all over the place, and I beat his head in with a rock. Best of luck."But she doesn't object. You rush down to Moffa's place, and he arranges to have you lay low in his establishment for a while. Sleep comes surprisingly quickly, considering the day's events.[cont.]
>>39817659In the waking-hours, you get up, woken up by heated discussion. It sounds like Mother is arguing with two men. You sneak over to the ajar door, and peek through the opening."That's not going to happen, Moffa! It's not right!""Listen to him, Esjah, it's already bad, and it's only going to get uglier. Trust us. We can help.""Now listen to me, I'd gladly hang if it means he'll be okay, but that's just insane what you're suggesting. I will not allow it."Whatever they're discussing, it's pretty serious. The place feels like it could explode if you lit a match in it.>Keep listening>Go back to sleep>Open the door
>>39817892>Keep listening.Just popped in OP and read through. This is great.
>>39817980>>39818029>>39818508You decide to stay put. This is so weird.Mirfa: "He can't stay here. We have contacts above, but he doesn't look like them, and he would never adapt fast enough. He'd get thrown back down here or mauled to death by some Sunlit shithead who thinks it's fun to-"Esjah: "I get it. But how do you think sending him down there with the Dimlit will do him any good? He'll only suffer down there."Moffa: "Our people have done this before. He will be okay."Mirfa: "As for you... They'll kill you if you turn yourself in. They'll set this place on fire looking for you if they don't. I could hide you but we'd eventually run out of places to hide you."Esjah: "Was he anyone important?"Mirfa: "He was Ulaudwa's brother."Esjah: "That's the head of the tax collection group, right?"Moffa: "Unfortunately so."She sighs, then lets out a off-putting, perverse laugh. "I've tried hard all these years not to speak out or make noise or anything like that, because I didn't want to end up like Kudla. And yet, it's happening anyway."Mirfa: "I'm sorry, Esjah. If it means anything, he was a wonderful man."Esjah: "Wonderful? Bastard got himself cut down over a petty argument. You can tell me it was about pride or justice, or, or any of that horseshit but in the end it doesn't mean a thing if you can't even be there for your own son at the end of it. Don't talk about Kudla to me. I don't want to hear it. But what do I know? Now I'm no better than that waste of skin. Should have just handed over the money and worked extra hours to make up for it."With a defeated sigh, she brushes her hand over in Moffa's direction.Esjah: "Whatever. Do it. Just make sure that he's safe, because what I did to that man was just to protect my son. You don't want to see what happens to the man who actually touches him."She stands up, and heads for the door, and you quickly tiptoe back to bed.[cont.]
>>39819446You return to sleep, eventually. You have a rather nasty nightmare about the guard Mother had to kill, where he chases after you, face disfigured, gun in hand. You wake up sweating bullets after you get shot in the back.Mirfa steps into the small room you're sleeping in hands you a nice hot meal of mushrooms and spider. The sounds of business and cheer as usual echo through the sturdy wooden walls of the building. It all feels so fake from this perspective, though."Eat up." The elf looks to be a young adult, with bright blue eyes and a unoccupied hole in his right ear. The clothes he wears are as miserable as yours, but at least they appear to get washed more regularly.You eat quickly. The words needed to refuse a meal aren't in your vocabulary. It's the best thing you've had all year, honestly. A shame you had to have your special meal in a situation like this."I'm going to get you out of here. You're not safe here anymore.">"I'm not going to get to see Mother again, am I?">"I'm not going.">"Where is she?"
>>39819826>"Where is she?"
>>39819826>>"I'm not going to get to see Mother again, am I?"
>>39819826>"I'm not going to get to see Mother again, am I?"
>>39820123>>39820139>>39820325>>39820328"I'm not going to get to see Mother again, am I?"He looks down, eyes unwilling to meet yours. "Never say never!" Sighing, he shakes his head. "No, I don't think you will, at this rate. And I wish it was different. Save your questions for another time. Finish eating and then we need to get out of here.">Refuse.>Go along with Mirfa.>Demand to know where Mother is.((sorry folks, i passed the fuck out, i need to know my limits. this is my first quest and i thank you all for tuning in to what i have to offer. you are all wonderful. More next time!))
>>39821932>Demand to know where Mother is.No problem, take your time. Do you have an update twitter up yet?
>>39822013that's going to be the first thing i do in the morning, thank you for reminding me, have an elf
>>39821932>Demand to know where Mother is.