ARCHIVE: suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Below%20(Quest)LAST: >>41696868OP IMAGE CREDIT: iluvnippon on DAUpdate information at https://twitter.com/belowquestYou 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.A month ago, she was forced to murder the brother of an important 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- an environment where gaslamps cannot be used, and crystals light the way.You've lived there for a bit over a month now, and things have been decent enough. You got a job gathering the webs of giant spiders in the deep caverns, and became friends with a human co-worker, Teomo.Recently, you were kidnapped held by the man that first greeted you to the city, Earka. He hated your father, and seems to have no issue taking the grudge out on you. You made the choice to obey him and do as he wishes in exchange for Teomo's safety. He had you drink the bottle of glowing water to seal the deal, which caused you extreme pain before you finally passed out, starting to dream.[1/4]
>>41935481The following posts are based off the choices made in the first attempt at thread #12.You're on a swing set. It's dark; there's nothing but pure darkness all around you. The swing set is made of rusty metal pipe, likely cobbled together from discarded factory products. In fact, it's probably the same swing set that you used to ride on when you were in Ksana, in the days before you started working in the factory.You rock back and forth, but not on your own- someone's pushing you. You can feel some force moving you, but somehow you cannot tell what exactly is pushing you. Something's keeping you from turning around, too. No point in letting it bother you, though. It's been forever since you've been able to enjoy a swing. Clutching the worn, constantly replaced ropes that hold the rough, rubber seat in place, you swing peacefully, staring blankly into the void."It's nice, isn't it?"You lazily turn your head to the left, and find that Teomo's swinging next to you. Good to see that he's doing well. You can see him wearing the usual beat-up green shirt and light brown trousers, much like yourself. The look on his face suggests he doesn't have a care in the world."Yeah.""We don't have any swings in Ksatul. You might have noticed that. It's all slides here. But I don't really like those, you know?"You think about it, and realize that slides aren't all that awesome. You really like see-saws more than them, and you know for a fact that swings are you favorite."I like see-saws more than slides."[2/4]
>>41935502"I don't. I'd say they're worse than slides, really.""Why do you say that?"He turns his head to look at you, eyebrows raised. "Well, you're touching the ground most of the time. A swing lets you fly, or at least lets you think that you are. Even a slide gives you a bit of a rush.""A see-saw is something you share, though!"Teomo chuckles."Yes, but that doesn't change the fact that you have to keep touching the ground just to hold the other up.""I never really thought of it that way. It's always been a relaxing back and forth with my friends and I.""Yes, but they aren't always there for you."Also very true.Teomo turns his head back to the front, swinging a tad slower now. "But, in the end, what I like's not all that important. Do what makes you happy."Teomo's such a good friend. He always cares about you."Tell me, do you think your mother's still okay? Do you think I'm okay? Then again, you don't really get to worry about either, you don't even know if you're okay."Very true. "I'm okay. Whatever Earka wants, he won't get from me. I'll be sure to escape soon.""But you might not be able to. He's clearly stronger than you, and you don't know who else is involved. You're smart, but he's smarter.""Says you."He laughs. "Whatever. Just know that I won't be there to help you this time."[3/4]
>>41935519"Wherever they are, I'll see this through." You turn your gaze to your feet, dangling over the abyss."That's a good mindset to have.""I'm glad you believe in me, Teomo.""That's unimportant, really. I'm not here. You know this is all in your head, just like always.""This is a dream, though. I'm safe here.""Maybe. But it's going to end, and what's next is probably going to be painful if you don't believe in yourself.""I believe in myself!" Why would he suggest that?"Do you?" The sudden change in tone startles you, and you look back at Teomo, only to find your mother sitting in the seat."I-" You turn your head away for a moment to think about it, but as you look back, it's Teomo again, looking directly at you."You don't need to prove anything to me."Do you believe in yourself? That's unfair of him to make you think about at a time like this. You sit in near-silence for a while, allowing the creaking of your swings to fill the time spent without words."Oh, before I go, I must say that see-saws and swings do have something in common.""What's that?""Much like a see-saw, a swing requires you to trust the person pushing you."You instinctively turn your head around, just in time to see Earka shoving you out of the seat, and into the darkness. It's a black liquid, much like water, and you sink deeper and deeper, as if you're made of lead. Everything around you is pitch black, and no sound escapes from your lips as you shout for help.Waking up flailing and shouting, you quickly notice Earka."Good morning."It's a different room. More spacious. You see a door standing behind him, presumably locked. A wide variety of ceramic jars line the walls, with shelves containing several bottles similar to the one you drank.>"Stop knocking me out.">"Good morning.">"Says you.">Roll over defiantly.
>>41935533>Stop knocking me outHm, this seems a little on the slow side QM
>>41936443great, almost nobody showed upshould i bother or
>>41936663You want to talk about it QM? It's obvious you're putting a lot of work into this story and I appreciate it at least
>>41936892The quest? What do you want to know?
>>41935533>>"Stop knocking me out."Hello old friend, back from a haircut
>>41936913well do you think that there's enough interest for it to continue? Maybe we could find a better time to run the game if it's currently not attracting enough attention. I'm new so I could use a short summary to catch me up
>>41937192>>41937075I'll continue right now. It's gonna be alright.
>>41935533>>"Stop knocking me out."
>>41937075>>41936443>>41937307"Stop knocking me out.""Stop walking right into danger."His response is met with a scowl, and as he turns around to fiddle with that satchel of his, you sit up. The floor is stone- not particularly warm stone at that. You wonder how you managed to get any sleep lying on it."What's in that bag of yours, anyway?""Mostly the teeth of little boys who ask too many questions."It's too early for this. Instead of asking him anything more, you look around for anything that might be useful. You can already see the jars and the bottles, and a closer look at the door suggests that it's fucking heavy. "Before you ask, that's a two-inch thick steel door, and I own the only key." Yeah, that answers that question."What's the point of this?""They don't teach kids patience up there, do they?"Looks like he's not going to be of any use for now. Might as well look around for the time being.Behind you, you can see a short wooden staircase lead to another part of the room with a bunch of wooden crates sitting around, along with tables, a cot, and cooking equipment. Iron bars separate you from the stairs, with a door of bars sitting ajar, allowing anyone to enter the other side.>Wait for Earka to go through his bag.>Investigate the other room.>Inspect one of the jars.>Try to snatch Earka's bag.
>>41937695Inspect the jars while waiting.
>>41937695>>Investigate the other room
>>41937695Look around the room, the jars in particular
>>41937749>>41938031>>41938308You decide to go check out the jars.Whether he's too consumed in what he's doing with the bag to notice you, or he just doesn't care, you have no issue walking over to the edge of the room to examine the jars. They're placed next to each other very neatly, with about an inch of space between each of the plain, rounded containers. Curious, you lift the lid off of it and see that there's nothing but water sitting inside. The jars next to it are just the same. It's probably safe to assume that all of the jars are being used to store water. Interesting."It's not a good habit, going through other peoples' things.""Maybe if you'd give me something to do, I wouldn't be bothering with the dumb jars. Did you go through all the trouble to get me here alive just to bore me to death?"Earka ignores you, and finishes looking through his bag, dropping it to the floor.He turns around, holding a sandwich made with some kind of meat, probably spider, and chucks it at you as irreverently as possible. It almost hits the floor as you scramble to grab it. Food is food, and you quickly gobble it up. It's spider. This bread is dry. You don't much like it. The first chance you get, you're going to break this asshole's ankles and throw a sandwich in his face."I want you to know that Teomo is safe, as I promised. He's back in Ksatul, and he should be fine so long as he keeps his mouth shut about all this." That's good to know. "After you finish that, I have a task for you.""Hmm?" You're about halfway done with the most unappetizing sandwich in the world."We're going to start training later today.""I honestly want to leave.""You can, if you want to."You raise an eyebrow, suspiciously. "Are you serious?""Absolutely. But to do that, you have to pick out the right bottle off the shelf and drink it. If you can do that, you're allowed to leave."[cont.]
>>41939240Is he joking? There's at least a hundred bottles on all the shelves combined, and they all look close to the same.>"I'll pass, let me know when we start.">Walk over and grab a bottle at random.>Give him an incredulous look and finish the sandwich slowly.
>>41939254>>Give him an incredulous look and finish the sandwich slowly.
>>41939254Give him an incredulous look
>>41939254>Give him an incredulous look and finish the sandwich slowly.
>>41939325>>41939386>>41939822You give him an incredulous, wide-eyed look as you continue to eat your sandwich. You even drag it out, chewing longer just to spite him."It's not going to knock you out, if you were wondering. In fact, it might help you.""Really? It'll let me sprout wings so I can fly home?""No, but it should be useful to you. There's only one bottle like it, the rest are plain water. You lose nothing but time for trying. I really do advise that you finish eating and prepare for training."He can shove his advice up his ass, for all you care. Escaping's not possible right now, but you may very well be able to break free some other time. Playing along can't hurt. Then again, if he's serious about the bottles..."I'm allowed to try again if I get it wrong?""There is no limit to how many times you can try.">Give it a go.>Finish the sandwich and agree to start training.>"This has got to be a joke." [Walk to the other part of the room.]
>>41940180>>Finish the sandwich and agree to start training.
>>41940180>Finish the sandwich and start training
Give me a bit, gotta take care of some shit.Won't be longer than an hour, although I don't expect I'll be that long.
alright i'm back, next post in a few minutes, sorry for the massive wait
>>41940226>>41940366>>41940392What he's proposing sounds ridiculous. You finish the sandwich and stand up, looking at him dead on. "I'll train.""This is going to be unpleasant, but by the end of it, I do believe that we'll both get what we want.""You mean I'll get to see my mother?""Maybe. I've been withholding this information from you, but we haven't heard any news of recent executions in Ksana. There is hope that your mother is still alive."Why's he telling you this? "What do you care?""Motivation. I can threaten you all day, I could even start torturing you, but if you don't actually want to do this, I can't really do anything."What's with him? "Why is all this so important to you? Why is revenge so important?""There you go, asking stupid questions again." He crouches briefly to pick up his satchel. "Since you seem to be with me here, we can begin training right away. Remember that you are free to attempt to earn the right to leave at any moment."He walks over to the door and hangs the bag on the doorknob, and pulls an empty glass flask the size of his fist out of it."How much do you know about elven history?"You've never given it much thought. "Not much.""That's to be expected." He walks over to the jars and fills it to the brim before walking back to you. "Now, tell me how to assemble parts for a mechanical lumber saw."That's easy. You worked on those all the time. "Oh, you just-""I'm aware that you know. Isn't it funny that you know how to assemble parts for a machine your people have no use for, but you've no idea about your history? You've never seen a tree before in your life."You've had them described to you in Kohme's stories. They sound beautiful and sturdy. They're apparently very important, and quite plentiful, because tons of wood keeps getting sent down for people to use. But no, you've never seen a tree before."What's your point?""Just food for thought. For now, I want you to try something."[cont.]
>>41943417Earka crouches down in front of you, and pours the contents of the flask on the floor. The water eventually takes a shape of sorts and stops moving about."Come look at this."You get down and look at it with him. "This is water.""No shit. But this is the first part of your training. I need you to tell me what you see when you look into this puddle of water."You look into it, not really expecting much of anything. You can vaguely see your reflection. What exactly does he want here?>"I see myself.">"I don't see anything.">"I see a massive waste of time."
>>41943571I see myself is the most obvious, I guess we might as well start there
>>41943571>>"I see myself."Are we a wizard or not, bitch, come on.
>>41943571>>"I see myself."
>>41943665>>41943844>>41944092"I see myself." It's the first thing that comes to mind. The water is clear enough to reflect your face."Of course you do. The image is clear and unaltered, the water is still and clean enough to where you can see your face reflected in it. Now, look at this." Earka starts blowing gently on the surface of the water. Ripples form over the surface, and it's far more difficult to make our your facial features in the puddle."You saw how the water became distorted when I blew on it?""No, I'm blind, I've been pretending to see all this time.""The other kids bullied you often because you weren't interesting or funny, didn't they?"That was uncalled for. The comment hit close enough to home to stop the snark. You shut up and allow him to talk."Focus on the way the water was. Imagine the ripples in the water."Is he serious? What's this got to do with anything?>Entertain him by focusing on the water.>"Is there a point to all this or do you just want to see if I'm willing to stare at a puddle for half an hour?">Give him another incredulous look and ask to grab a bottle.
>>41944368>>Entertain him by focusing on the water.Fiiiine, DAD.
You once asked about pacing in the weekend thread, right?>>41944368>Entertain him by focusing on the water.
>>41944607I know i'd vote for "incredulous look" if it didn't mean on a meta level that we'd have to wait another 6 hours and 3 updates for the plot to advance.
>>41944877Not everyone can be Hex
>>41944607I believe so, why?>>41944877If it feels like it's going slow, bear with me. I know where I'm shooting for, and I hope I won't disappoint as we advance closer to it. Do whatever you want, don't let that stop you.
>>41945052>I believe so, why?Because if I start trying to order my thoughts, I could give them when you finish here. Not that I am A Popular QM or anything.
>>41944412>>41944607Might as well give it a shot.You focus on the water, staring into your reflection as you picture the ripples in the water that you saw before.Earka stands up straight and steps a few feet away. "I'll allow you some space."What's the purpose of this? You don't know. But you'd rather not be denied meals, so you stare into the shitty puddle. A few minutes pass, and you look up a few times. Each time, Earka scolds you, saying "Concentrate!" in a rather harsh tone.You're just about to give up and help him concentrate on the back of your hand when all of a sudden you think you see the water ripple a little. After you blink in disbelief, you stare harder, trying to see if it's not just a fluke."The second part is about 'feel'. You see it. But you need to feel it too. Clear your mind and allow yourself to focus on nothing but the water. What do you feel?"Taking a deep breath, you look back at the water with slight trepidation. What the hell is going on here? As you gaze into your reflection, you allow yourself to take in the situation. He wants to know what you feel. The answer to that is a bit tricky as well. You're not picking up on anything."I can't really focus on that, all I can really feel is my heartbeat. I look into the water and I'm trying to focus on... on whatever you want me to find, and I can't find it.""Ah, but you have. The answer is in your blood. Both literally and figuratively, but I can talk about that some other time. See the water as a part of the blood flowing through your body. Think about it just like that, and imagine it rippling, but focus on your heartbeat as well."[cont.]
>>41946400This man must be crazy- all of this is just mad. There's no point in saying no, though. "Alright."You do what he says, and allow your mind to quiet itself again. Your heartbeat, huh? With each beat, your mind narrows in on the puddle, further and further until there's nothing but you and it.And then it happens.The puddle of water begins to ripple as you stare into it. "What the-" That's incredibly freaky. You scoot back onto your palms in disbelief, and the puddle sort of bursts all over the immediate area, including your clothes. "What the hell is this? How did I do that?""That, Ilafi, is our history. Most elves used to be able to do this." He gestures to the floor with a hand, and the water flows away from the floor and out of your clothing, and back into the flask. "When the humans came with their machines, they brought our people ahead technologically but destroyed so much of us in the process. The air and water became polluted, and many of us lost the ability to do this. It was never the humans' intent to actually become allies with us. In fact, they feared us. When they discovered what their pollution does to us, they built even more machines and sold them to us, over and over, and we only realized what they were doing when it was too late. With no means to fight back, the elves were invaded by the humans and our history was erased and rewritten, and that's why even the oldest generations of elves don't remember a thing about this. As soon as we are not needed, the humans will kill us all. That's why your father was such an idiot. The man was ignorant of history, and believed the Sunlit to be the ones to blame when the issue is far more complex." He reaches down to grab his flask before emptying it out in a jar. "The problem is humans. Sunlit are simply idiots who don't worry about humans because they're treated so well."It's a lot to take in.---That's a wrap for now, next thread will be announced on twitter. Thank you for participating!
>>41945328You have thoughts to share? I'm all ears.
>>41946765Here's most of it.Your starting summary is good, but later it could point to more immediate things instead of a full recount. Same way, you could find some way to avoid large blocks of dialogue with spacing.