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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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ARCHIVE: suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Below%20(Quest)
LAST: >>40314270

[Continuing based on the thread that I cut short.]

You are a young Lamplit elf by the name of Ilafi.
All your life you have lived in Ksana; a vast, busy subterranean city, made of the excavated caverns around you and the cheap imported wood bought from the Sunlit, a higher caste that lives on the surface. From the day you were born, it's been a struggle for you and Esjah, your loving mother. She did everything she could as a single mother, working unreasonable hours to support her moody little boy suffering from hallucinations.

Only a few days ago, she was forced to murder a Sunlit elf in order to protect you. Afterwards, she arranged for you to be sent away to Ksatul, the city of the Dimlit, just beneath the city, in an environment where gaslamps cannot be used, and crystals light the way.

Some of your questions have been answered by Earka, a hooded Greeter who says he suffered a similar fate years ago. From what he's told you, you can already tell that living here seems rough, and that trying to get back to Ksana will be no small feat. Recently, you discovered that he knew your father, and doesn't exactly have the fondest memories of him.

Today, you're working out in the east caverns in order to gather webbing left by giant spiders. It could be dangerous, but it pays well, and you'll likely never return home if you don't stay on top of things. Your partner is Teomo, a 16 year old human boy. While you got into a petty spat with him, you've managed to get a solid amount of work done on your own.

While you haven't seen any signs of spiders, you have been hearing what sounds like a nearby waterfall.
You're considering leaving the tunnel, but then a thought comes to mind. You're 24 years old. That might only be 12 to a human like Teomo, but to you, that's a lot! You're not a dumb kid anymore, you don't need to hang around Teomo to be safe. Letting go of the wagon's handle, you look around and see that he's not out there. "Still gathering, huh..." Certain that he'll be busy for a good while longer, you open the gate up again, and head back down the stairs.

The tunnel's got a different feel to it now that you've cleaned it out. The pale stone really complements the crystals, which at this depth, shine bright enough to illuminate the entire tunnel.

With the clearing pole in your hand, you step into the tunnel full of webbing, and take your time pulling away at the sticky strands as you advance. A few minutes later, they start to get less dense, and the tunnel starts to open up into a less well-lit, spacious room. you can tell that the crystals are less densely placed.

The sound of the water is less of a subtle rumble and now a faint roar. There isn't any water in here, but there's clearly a good deal of webs around the floor. Best if you watch your step. Above, there's several small tunnels, not big enough for any "giant" spider, but enough to go through yourself. If you could climb walls.

You can see two other large tunnels leading out of this room, one to the left, and one to the right. When you approach them, it's impossible to tell which leads to the waterfall based on sound. Maybe both lead there? You just don't know. Instead of going through either, you elect to inspect the cavern you're in. Careful not to step through the webs, you search for other points of interest. There's a bunch of large, flat rocks lying around, some in piles. Odd. One's larger than the others. You wonder what they're for.
The holes above don't have any webbing on them either, now that you're really paying attention. That's also odd. But, that doesn't answer your question. You're wasting time, and Teomo will probably come in and drag you out for wasting time. That's honestly the last thing you need right now.

Frustrated, you grab a handful of small stones and toss them around. Strangely enough, they don't scatter the webs. Leaning in closer, you can tell that these webs are undoubtedly fresh, they're not weak and thin like the other ones, these have the same luster of a web that you watch a spider make in front of your eyes. You're unsure of how to react to this, and so you turn your attention to the rocks, uninterested in considering the .

Taking a deep breath, you step around the webs, and approach the rock pile. It's fairly large, and each stone is pretty big, maybe about your size, but you should be able to take them down if you try hard enough. Pushing at the topmost rock, you can hear it grind against the others, until it hits the floor with a dull thud. Shouldn't be too much trouble to get the others!

A few sweaty minutes later, you manage to move most of them, and when you move enough rocks, you can see that they're made to hide a deep hole of some kind. There's a knife inside. Reaching in and pulling it out, you look it over with awe. It's less of a knife or a dagger; you're holding a short sword, really. The blade is heavy, dull and worn, and the handle, bearing a plain, rounded pommel, is discolored. It was probably a bright red before you found it. The blade is a tad rusted, and what appears to be a name etched into it is too corroded to decipher. It reminds you of the old tools you had to maintain back in Ksana.
The fun stops once you realize that you're working on someone else's time. You've been slacking. However, before you can really feel bad about that, you remember that you're out doing things on your own for the first time. You have no limits. Teomo is too busy to care if you're gone, and you'll be fine even if you only bring in a little bit, it's your first day. You should be happy that you found the sword!

Brandishing the weapon, and swinging it around in two hands, you decide to enjoy yourself a little. But, you do have things to take care of. You really can't sit here and play with this sword forever.

>Head back.
>Head left.
>Head right.
>Write in.
>Head back
>>Head back.
Pick up dsome more on the way there
It's probably best to head back with that you've got.
You awkwardly stick the sword on your belt, careful not to place it in a way that might cut you, and then begin walking back, knocking down a few webs as you go. By the time the exit is in sight, the sound of the waterfall- or what you think is a waterfall- slowly diminishes. You climb back up the barricade, top off your wagon, and look for a way to get the wagon down. You can't just throw it, it'll break at this height.

After a bit of looking, you notice a chain pulley hooked up to the side, with a few rounded hooks on one end and a weight on another. It's operated by a crank, which looks old, but it doesn't appear rusted, so it must be maintained. Must be for lowering and raising wagons. You wonder if it's possible to carry people up and down in wagons. Whether or not you can, it's probably best not to waste any more time daydreaming. Hooking the wagon up by sides, you start to ease it down to the bottom of the barricade, each turn sending it lower and lower, with the constant metallic clanking working as your cadence. Several turns later, the crank refuses to turn any further, and you look down, seeing that the job's been done.

Climbing down the barricade in the same fashion that you found it,you hit the bottom, unhook the chain, and start pulling your cart to the main building. However, you're interrupted by a shout.

"Hey, Ilafi, looks like you managed to get it done right!"
It's Teomo. He's coming down from his barricade as well, and his basket is almost overflowing with webbing.
"That's not that bad for your first time. Could have done more, given how thick the webs are in your tunnel, but granted how new you are, it's not that bad a job."

>"I suppose."
>Keep walking.
>Write in.
>"I suppose."
>"Did you know there is a waterfall in there?"
He's sort of irritating you with his surprisingly chipper attitude. Has he gotten the stick out of his ass, or is he just letting it go for now?
"I... Thanks."
"Just keep up the good work and you'll be able to do this as fast as me, or even Bilja. He's the best gatherer of us all."
Bilja, huh? You should probably ask about him later.
Or not. You're not sure if you really care too much about all of that.

"...Did you know there's a waterfall back there?"

"In the tunnel you're in? Yes."

So you weren't just hallucinating. Interesting.

"That's where we go to get a large portion of our fresh water, but we can't go all the time, because giant spiders tend to go through there for water as well. They come and go at certain times of the month- this is one of them. You didn't go over there, did you?"

He stops pulling his cart, and looks at you with a more serious expression.

"We don't have signs up yet, but you can't go near there, if your scent gets mixed in with the water, they'll follow it."

"No, I didn't, it's fine!"

He hits you with a look of scrutiny.

"That's not the whole thing. Come on, talk." And then his eyes dart to your hip.

"Where'd you get a sword? What's going on here?" He grips his gathering pole, glaring, suspicion heavy on his features.

>"It's not mine, if that's what you're asking."
>"Calm down." [Drop the sword.]
>"I swear I didn't see any water."
>Run to the building[with/without your wagon]
>"I swear I didn't see any water."
Some shit just went down, I'm really sorry folks I'll have the next post in just a second
"I didn't see any water, I swear!"
"Really? You're telling the truth? Then what's that sword?"
"I found it in a big opening full of webs, it was under some rocks, I was looking around!"

"What do you mean full of webs, the whole cavern should be full of..."
He looks over to the barricade, then back at you.
"Describe the webs to me."
"They were on the ground, spread out in patches, but the sword was in-"
"I don't fucking care about the sword, what were the webs like?"
He's really starting to scare you at this point.

"Uh, they were fresh-looking, I threw some stones on them and they stuck, I don't-"

"You are way too lucky. Holy shit."
"Wh-what do you mean?"
"The spiders are down there looking for water. They lay webs in caverns like that in case other animals come by. You came in just after they left. Any sooner or later and you would have been dead."


"I'm really sorry about not warning you about that, this is all my fault, I could have gotten you killed. Thank Pelstor you're alright."
"So I'm not in trouble?"
"No, not at all, if anything, I'm the one who messed up for not getting those signs ready beforehand, or at least telling you."

That's a relief.
"I think you've had enough excitement for one day. Let's just have you turn in for now."

>"No, I want to do some more work." [reinforced barricade/worn barricade/fresh barricade]
As you go back to pulling your wagons, you can notice a difference in Teomo's expression. He doesn't look irritated or fed up with you, in fact, he appears a bit relaxed. Maybe things won't be so bad?

"Maybe I was wrong about you. I'm sorry for giving you such a hard time earlier."
"It's fine."
"Alright. When we get back, I want you to tell Awendi about the webs, he might have to do something special about that."
"No problem."
You turn your head to look at him, and you're met with a smile from him. The first you've seen out of him, in fact.

"I think you'll be just fine down here. I'm always skeptical of new people, but I really don't think you deserved what you got. Tomorrow will be better. Believe it."

"I suppose."

The walk goes on for a few more minutes, and you see two younger elves with absolutely stacked wagons. It's the sisters from before. They're sort of difficult to tell apart.
"Hida, Hadi, looks like you did a good job!"
One turns and answers Teomo, the other merely waves.
"Yeah, and we're going back for more! What about you?"
"Not us, we're going to turn in after this. We had a minor incident, wasn't the new guy's fault, but I'd say he's had enough for one day."
"That's cool!"
They look at you, then back at each other, and grin. "What's with the sword?" The one that keeps talking seems to have slightly shorter hair. At least it looks that way. You can't tell, if you're being honest. If they ran around in circles you really would not be able to remember which one.

>"Found it."
>"A spider gave it to me!"
>"Wouldn't you like to know?"
>"Wouldn't you like to know?"
Whatever. I am going now, see you next thread, I guess.
"Wouldn't you like to know?"
They have these big fat grins on their faces, and look at you like you've just said the funniest thing.
"Teomo, this guy's a laugh." Was she mocking you?
"Hey, what does that mean?", you say.
"Nothing, nothing." The grins escalate to snickering. Maybe they're just a pair of silly girls who play around too much.

Teomo sighs. "Give him a break, he's tired.
"Whatever, I still think that sword is pretty fishy."
"We'll let Awendi decide that, Hida."
"Did Awendi remind you about the signs? We handled ours, so he probably won't nag us about anything else."
"Yeah, about that..."
She snickers.
"You forgot?"
The two start to make noise, Hida letting out an uproarious laugh that could very well scare the crystals off the walls and Hadi making the most obnoxious wheezy sorta-laugh imaginable. They fixes an even more mocking look on Teomo.

"So you don't setup the signs, he goes on a little adventure, brings back a sword of all things; what else? I wonder if you're going to get whacked again for this?"

He quickly clutches his right ear. "No, I don't think so. There's no cause for it. Mind your own business, Hida." She stops goading him, and leaves you alone about the short sword.

By the time you get close enough to see the building, it's probably a bit past the middle of the day.

'You go in first." The twins wave at you.
"Later, you two."
You nod awkwardly as you enter the building. You can see Yefu and Lirte unloading webbing into some machine on the far end of the room. The big man sits on his stool, placed next to a table covered in papers of all kinds.

"Ah, Teomo, how did it go?"
"Fairly well, but he went a bit too far in because I forgot to place those si-"
He is immediately interrupted by a swift, open-handed strike to the side of the head.
"Could have gotten the boy killed. You know better than that."
"I'm sorry, it was a mi-"
This time Awendi shoves him over.
"You heard there was a new guy and intentionally skipped on the signs."
"Save it. If I see it again, you're done."
"...Yes, sir."

Teomo goes over to the machine, eyes to the floor. You're unsure if you should feel bad for him.

"Sorry about that, kid. Probably should have been a little more careful about that, but I needed to be sure Teomo wouldn't be trouble."
You're not really not sure what to say to that.
"But, there's something more important. How did you find that sword, and what possessed you to bring it here?"

>"I found it in some hole under rocks."
>"You know about this sword?"
>Just hand him the weapon.
Fell asleep, no excuse for not warning you, thread is still active for any who pop in.
>"You know about this sword?"
"If I'm not mistaken, that's a hunter sword. We carry those when we fight spiders. It's good to use them down there, the natural gas isn't so dense there."
"I think someone got careless and left their weapon lying around, you likely just got lucky because they got careless. I'll have the guys clean it up, then we-"
"I can do it!"
The whole room turns in your direction.
"I mean, I used to do this for a living. I can do it, just hand me some tools."
Awendi grins. "Resourceful. I'll get you what you need."
Soon, he's back with a little solvent, a rag, and a file. It doesn't take you very long to get most of the rust off, and in only a matter of minutes, the sword looks as good as new."
The name on the blade is lightly gone, but you can make out enough of it now.
"Awendi, this is your sword."
"Mine? Oh my. You found my first sword? That's... Wow. Haven't seen it in years, assumed it would be gone for good."
He places a hand on his cheek, deep in thought.
"You wanna hear the story behind that sword, or would you rather make your way home already?"

>"Maybe another time."
"Well, when I was a young one like yourself, I was a hunter. I don't hunt with anything but a crossbow now, because I'm old and a one-eyed hunter is easy for a spider to eat, but back then, I was the greatest. That sword helped me clear nest after nest, and it was made by my father. He wasn't a hunter himself, he was too busy working as a blacksmith to feed me and my mother, but he always wished the best for me."
He reaches for the sword, and you hand it to him almost instinctively.
"The thing about this sword is, it's heavy, with more weight to it than other swords its size. We make them heavy because otherwise you can't sever spider legs as easily. Severing legs and taking out eyes are the most crucial parts of taking those bastards down. If you look on the wall, you can see a few legs sitting around, those are just a few small ones for display, we take the big ones back and cook them. I did a grand job, and eventually I worked my way up to the top."

>"What happened to your eye?"
>"How did you lose the sword in the first place?"
>"That's really cool." [Excuse yourself and prepare to leave.]
>"How did you lose the sword in the first place?"
"I made a careless mistake. Years ago, I had a bit of a smoking habit. I could afford imported cigars, and I loved them. Thing is, the spiders don't like the smoke. One day, we almost got seen by one and had to run and hide to be safe, and to take off the edge, I lit one when we were deep in the caves. I underestimated how smart they were, and they tracked us using the smoke. Teomo was there as a new recruit, about 11 years old, just a gatherer, and I put him in harm's way. I stood my ground and tried to fend off the spider with Bilja and Rodaf, but it got ugly fast. In the end, Rodaf got killed, and we had to trigger a cave-in just to escape alive. Back then, we could afford to buy explosives, but that was before the got banned outright and the miners started making less money for the town."

He sighs.

"In the cave-in, I lose my eye, and broke several bones, but at least Bilja and Teomo got out safe. I assumed my sword was lost there for good after the miners cleared the place out and recovered the body, but it looks like I was mistaken!"

You can see Teomo at the processing machine, loading webbing into it, seemingly angered by something. He's handling the webbing like he wants to strangle the processor.

"That's enough story time though, load up your webs and get going. You'll want to head down to the town center so you can get your food marked for the day. Teomo, I want to have a word with you later."

You get your turn to load up the webs, and make your way out. A productive first day, you think. As you make your way back across the bridge and into town, you contemplate all that's happened. Can you really keep this up? You just don't know.

At the town center, you see the same woman at the front desk.
"Hello, you called for me?
"Head over to Earka's house, he has further duties as a Greeter to attend to. Also, here's your meal ticket, this will cover the next three days, please remember to get a new one when it expires."
As you leave, you wonder what he could possibly need to do. You wonder if you have it in you to even show up.

>Go to Earka's house.
>Go straight home.
>Write in.
>Go to Earka's house.
Give me a minute, eating breakfast.
You figure that it's probably best to just head to his place. Whatever he needs, you can probably handle quickly.

As the chatter of the busy town fades, you return to your lonely dimly lit cul-de-sac, and walk along the edge to Earka's house. As you go, you notice something you didn't see before- on the small belltower in the center, there's a clock ticking away. Apparently it's about 3 in the afternoon? You didn't work nearly as long as shift as you would have in Ksana. It's nice not having to work ridiculously long just to be able to eat.

You stop at Earka's house, walk up the creaky wooden steps, and knock on his door. A few moments later, you can hear footsteps approaching, and then see a familiar hooded figure open the door.

"Hello, Ilafi. Come on in, sit down."
Still can't see his face. You walk in, and sit down in one of his chairs.
"How was work?"
You almost died. "Eventful."
"Good to hear. I think you'll fit in just nicely here."
That's what he thinks. "I guess."

He takes a seat in the chair across from yours. The terrible lighting in here drives you mad.
"So, I called you down here for a reason. I want to ask you a few questions, partially because we need to know a little more about you, and to get an idea of conditions up there. Our knowledge of the above isn't perfect, so we'd like you to do your best to recall as much as you can."

Hmm... "Okay."

"First, can you tell me about how many Sunlit were in the city?"
"On tax days and in the trading groups, they come in pretty large numbers."
"How large?"
"I saw at least uh... three dozen last tax day."
"How many armed?"
"Seemed like all of them."
"Damn. They're really improving security."

He takes a pen and starts taking notes on a pad, holding it up close to his hidden face.

"Now, can you tell me a bit about your family?"

>Write in.
Supposed to write in an entire family? Ok. Let's see if you will do it then.
>I never met my father, but I was told he was killed for challenging the sunlit.
>My mother was very brave and strong. She did everything she could to keep me safe. She would touch me to calm me down when I had really strong hallucinations or when it was cold or lonely. She taught me everything I know and saved my life. She even...sacrificed herself to save me and she absolutely hated my father (after he died) and the sunlit.
>I don't remember my uncle and aunt too much, but they were nice, I think. They often took pity on us, but treated us well. My cousins were energetic, but didn't like working. They didn't hate me.
>Grandma was a nice lady who always had a little bit of food to spare.
>I think I am an only child. I don't know. Mother would spend time with other kids sometimes, they looked like me a bit, but I don't know if they were hallucinations or not. Sometimes they visited and would just...stare, or look at me with pity or anger.
I intended more for you to decide what to tell him, not decide his extended family, should have phrased it better, that's my bad. In either case, I'll continue this another time, I'll let you know on Twitter. Really sorry about how lousy I've been with updating at a reasonable speed.
Shouldn't have prompted a write-in only vote, then.
Yeah, that was my mistake, I really should have written that prompt better.
True, but I also like this family
I like it too.
I'm probably going to use this next thread.

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