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/qst/ - Quests

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Few things are more important in a young child’s life than the process of education. Letters, numbers, history, the arts, and all other manner of vital information are the sacred torches that must be handed down from one generation to the next, the foundation on which ever greater achievements can be built. However, in a world not connected with an abundance of roads, let alone a vast reaching net of instantaneous communication, knowledge could only travel so far as hoof and wing and coin would allow, which unfortunately placed those out of the way locations with little in the way of the latter in an unenviable state.

Knowledge was limited to what was known passed from parent to child, what was discovered in a lifetime, or whatever just so happened to drift in on portentous wings. So, it was that news of a formal academy being built in the sleepy town of Jonasburg caught many ears in the villages nearby and brought eager applicants to the door of its mayor as the auspicious structure began rising from the sullen dirt as though by magic.

Or rather, it should be said quite literally by magic, the duo of ogres hauling great trees and heaps of stone to the edge of the village day-after-day whereupon the eager automatons would slice into them and remove uniform pieces to fuel the growth of the structure. Even in the laying of the foundations, it was clear that this would be the largest structure the town had ever seen: with hallways, multiple classrooms, a library (albeit one filled with empty shelves), and classrooms rows of empty desks waiting to be filled. There was also, for reasons unfathomable to many of the town, soon water running through its walls, a sight no less miraculous than the magical illumination that was promised in later weeks.

For Cici’s part, the excitement was something tempered with nervousness, the knowledge of a placement exam stuck fast in her mind as she attempted to balanced magic and baking with the demands of education suddenly looming at her door. She wondered what school would be like when the first day finally arrived, whether she would get to meet lots of new people, and most of all, if Hannah and Katy would end up in the same class as hers.

Naturally, the voices were constantly around to offer assurances, suggestions, and advice in the meantime.

> With two weeks until judgement day, how should Cici spend her time?
> Write-in
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For any new players:

Welcome to Gorgon Child Quest! Where-in you take up the role of a magical talking artifact being wielded by a young gorgon girl named Cici. Living out of the remains of a once great dungeon, the game will focus on exploration, character interaction, and learning as the voices of the players within the amulet help guide her along.

For news about quest updates, my twitter can be found here:

And the archive can presently be found here:
play with friends?

Study and friends? All work and no play makes Cixi a dull girl. Maybe make a study group with girls who will also be going to school?

We can't help you to cheat at tests Cici, only help you to study.

And is the school water cooled and water heated? Interesting.
Just here to say I love reading these between commutes. Sadly it´s very very late here so i can rarely partake.

Live well li´l snake.


Stody as much as possible. Listen to this anon >>1320499he has nice numbers as well.
Study with friends. You can play AFTER the exams. You have only two weeks to cram in as much as your brain can hold.
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I appreciate it, anon. Sleep well.


“Maybe if we study together, we’ll end up in the same class,” Cici muses, and those words more or less set the pace for the remainder of her time.

At Mama’s insistence, magic and work with Uncle Guyus take a move to the back burner, the three girls giving their all to studying as the days suddenly seem to grow very short. Fortunately, Mama seems to have plenty of her own business in town so that taking Cici with her hardly poses any difficulty, the three girls sharpening pencils and their math skills in the mornings and then transitioning to reading in the afternoon sun.

Naturally, it’s all work, but it’s still somewhat fun for Cici to get to spend so much time with her friends. If nothing else, it’s nice being able to share the headaches as they puzzle through problems posed by the voices, who gently nudge the girls in the direction of the right answers and provide revision when they get things wrong.

In the end, it seems that Hannah is a bit sharper than the others with numbers and Katy, the most confident reader. Cici strikes a little bit more of a balance between. The question is, what do the voices want to ensure they learn before school comes around and how hard are they willing to push them in order to achieve those ends?

> Write-in
Math and reading are indispensable. Concentrate on them above others.
Basic algebra should be enough, and push them relatively hard for their age. Do the hard work now so that learning is easier when you're older.
Remember your three R's: Reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic.

Yes, I know writing and arithmetic don't start with R, it just flows better then "Your R, W, and A".

Also, think about learning some music, or learning how to paint. The arts today don't get enough attention...
Logic would be more important than most arithmetic. Perhaps proposing an education based upon the trivium might be more valuable model.
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The voices take a comprehensive and rigorous approach to the girls’ remaining education, as much as can be permitted granted their comparatively young pupils. Reading, writing, and mathematics requiring order of operations: it isn’t necessarily the easiest list for them to learn, but they make generally favorable progress on each, the girls helping each other in the areas where they are strong and weak, respectively.

Instruments, unfortunately, are a bit harder to come across, but chalk and lead are plentiful as the girls take the occasional break to practice drawing, something which yields a couple of interesting discoveries. The first is that Cici is: well, to put it bluntly, awful. The voices would never have expected that a girl could make a woodpecker look so much like a hippo on accident.

However, on the flip-side, it seems that Katy has talent to spare in that regard, her line work sharp and her concept of perspective and depth almost disturbingly well-honed for a girl who claims to have never practiced before, earning the collective awe of her peers.

“It’s so pretty,” Hannah coos at Katy’s picture of a robin.

“Yeah, it’s really neat,” Cici compliments as she holds her own picture of a potato with stick legs and an angry face.

“It’s just a bird…” Katy murmurs, the color growing in her cheeks as she seems a little too interested in the canvas below her to meet their gaze.

“Maybe Uncle Yesh can make us some paints for next time,” Cici says. “It’d look even better with colors.”

The picture ends up safely stowed one way or the other regardless of the artist’s objections, one of many from both her and the other girls that ends up in an old, weathered chest for safe keeping. The math and writing practice pages are meanwhile so saturated in marks at various odd angles that they might as well be encrypted by the end of most sessions, those and the myriad chalk marks that had been formed against every available stone surface more often than not consigned to oblivion.

Still, though the road map to their education may be so much papier-mache and bird nest lining come the end, the gains they’ve made are undeniable. It at least stays a little bit of the nervousness in Cici’s belly as the morning finally comes when the school opens its doors for the very first time, its instructor having enigmatically arrived just the evening before.

Still, some of the nervousness definitely isn’t all as she faces the throng of unfamiliar faces already waiting at the school house entrance as she rounds a bend. Some of them older than her, some of them younger, and all very, very different if you judged their looks above the neckline.

> Any last words of advice?
> What did Cici pack for her first day?
> Write-in
Remember Cici, don't get stuck on a problem. Complete all the ones you can first, then come back and finish the ones you have trouble with. You're smart, you can do this.

Make sure your pencils and chalk are properly packed, and your notebook.

>She packed pencils, paper and whatever other school supplies she needed in a backpack they got her.Oh and some bread!

Remember to be polite Cici.
>> Any last words of advice?
Everyone gets nervous on their first day of school. Just be yourself when you're doing your introduction, you'll do fine.

Also, you should ask Uncle Yesh if he knows how to build flutes using reeds or bamboo. That might work for musical studies right now.
Oh yeah, forgot about what she packed.

> Pencils, loose paper, a small notebook for writing down homework and school projects, some chalk, and a lunch of dried fruit, a bottle of water, and a sandwich.

With a calming breath, Cici readjusts the straps of her wicker backpack and turns to her mother hovering just a little back from the crest of the hill.

“Be good, okay,” Mama says as her daughter comes in for one last hug. “And do your best.”

“I will, Mama,” Cici promises. “An’ I’ll be sure to learn lots.”

With that settled, Cici is on her way, releasing her grip on her mother before excitedly bounding over the hill where the other students were already making their way inside. The smile only grows on her face as she spies Hannah and Katy in the crowd as well, the two apparently returning their gaze as they wave in her direction.

“Cici, over here,” Katy calls loudly.

“I see you!” Cici assures her. “I’ll be right th-!”

“Aaaaaah!!!” a young boy shrieks as he catches wind of what’s going on, his finger pointing accusingly at Cici before he about faces and runs head first into someone else in the crowd.

There are other concerned voices not far behind as the crowd catches wind that something may be wrong, people gasping and scurrying away from the tiny girl as she approaches. And just out of the corner of the periphery, the voices notice an older boy stooping to grab a rock.

With zero hesitance, he hefts his weapon, takes aim, and then immediately collides with the dirt as Clyde’s fist slams into his teeth.

“Now listen up, you pack o’ no good-“ he begins to shout, loud enough to get everyone’s attention as Cici pauses frozen on the hillside.

However, a gentle hand on the boy’s shoulder gives him pause.

“Now, now, no more shouting,” the older woman tuts. “We’ll handle this inside, like civilized people. That said-“ She raises her own voice, the notes refined and clear as she addresses the crowd. “You should all make your way inside and to a desk at once! Those late for their first day in class will force me to have a talk with their parents.”

And like that, the crowd once again begins flowing into the building at a reasonable rate, soon leaving just Cici, Clyde, Katy, and Hannah without along with their soon-to-be instructor.

“I’m sorry,” Cici apologizes sadly.

> Write-in
You have no reason to apologize, Cici. I'm just disappointed in those gawkers... This might be a small town, but there's no excuse for that kind of behavior, AT ALL.

Anyway, are you Ms. Willow? It's a pleasure to meet you. Bradly may have mentioned us. While I know that this might have been a bit out of your control, could you have a talk with that boy?

Is not your fault. Thst kid was an idiot who didn't know how things worked on the island. I mean how can you ignore that the ruler is a Gorgon and thd school was build by an oni, a troll and golems?

The voices offer their reassurances to Cici, one of a chorus as Hannah and Katy move in, before drifting out of the bracer and offering their greetings to the woman at the door.


Her blue eyes widen as she suddenly comes to terms with the telepathic ball of light in front of her. To be fair, however, she does a much better job than those who came before in sorting out that shock. There’s a certain dignity in her features that is quick to recompose itself, her air turning from wondering to scholarly as she adjusts her long, blond curls with delicate hands.

“Why yes, I suppose the archmage did mention you before my departure and naturally young Cici as well.”

“It’s alright, Cici,” Katy assures the moist-eyed snake girl. “They were just being jerks, is all.”

“An’ I’ll slug ‘em as many times as it takes till they start actin’ right,” Clyde volunteers.

“I’m afraid violence is not going to be allowed going forward,” the teacher reminds the young boy. “I’ll not have my students turn this school into a battleground.”

“Alright, alright,” Clyde sighs. “But-“

“I saw what happened earlier,” she assures him. “And while violence is never the correct answer, you probably prevented worse injuries from happening with your immediate action. In any case, for now, you should run along and take your seat.”

“Yes, ma’am…”

“And you three girls should hurry as well,” she says with a gentle smile, offering Cici a velvety cloth from her pockets. “We’ve a lot of learning to do today.”

The school is slightly cooler on the inside than the outside as they make their way within, though not uncomfortably so. No, the real discomfort is walking into a room filled with eyes trained on her and her group of friends for Cici, some students unable or unwilling to hide their discomfort as the trio search for open seats in the crowded room. In the end, they find themselves having to split up to accommodate all of them.

“Alright class,” the teacher’s voice is loud and clear from the front as she cuts through the background chatter of the class and creates silence. “As many of you already know, I will be the primary professor of this institution going forward, and my name-“ She turns to the chalkboard. “Is Ms. Willow. I am what you would call an enchanter by trade. However, it will be my aim in this situation not to teach you magic, but the fundamental knowledge that you will need to go on to become thriving members of your society.

“Now then, by a show of hands, who all in this room can read?”

Hands and shoulders shuffle as a little over a third of the room eventually move to indicate themselves, and it’s clear that this poll causes the teacher to falter a bit.

“Well, that’s not altogether unexpected,” she concedes, still smiling to the class as she begins taking count. “Now, who feels comfortable in their skill with mathematics? Basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication?”

Again, hands go up, but this time roughly two-thirds of the class raise their hand.

“Wonderful!” she applauds. “And I look forward to teaching every single one of you until you have complete confidence in your abilities. Of course, to do that properly, we’ll need to divide you into groups based off of how much you already know. I wouldn’t want to bore any of you, after all.”

With a flourish, she then reaches into an innocuous bag on the table and withdraws a stack of papers that should not have logically fit inside.

“Now, for those of you who do not feel confident in your reading skills, I would ask that you relocate to the classroom on the opposite side of the hall. There, my apprentice Melody will be waiting to clarify how we will proceed with your education. For the rest, I recommend that you not stress. This is not a pass or fail examination, but merely an assessment of your abilities.”

Cici shudders a bit as wood chairs shriek against floor and hordes of people make to exit. Clyde being among them, he waves to the girls with that gap tooth smile before disappearing, leaving thirty or so students in the classroom proper. Ms. Willow is thereafter very prompt in delivering them their examinations and setting them to a task with a few gentle words of encouragement.

> By the looks of things, this is going to be a long test.
> What would the voices like to do in the meantime?
> Write-in
Well, if Ms Willow has some free time, I'd like to talk to her about her previous teaching work, as well as how the discovery of the High Chronomancer's tome has gone over in the mage's college. Also, we should see about bringing in Iris to school as well. The school of hard knocks is a tough school, but an education is important, especially if she's trying to learn medicine.

After that, wander around the classroom looking for people cheating.
Let's see if we could converse with Ms. Willow. Perhaps we could serve as an assistant in class, given that it sounds like her apprentice is going to be otherwise detained.
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With Cici preoccupied, the voices once more exit the bracer and drift across the room, much to the disbelieving eyes of several students.

“Please don’t be alarmed, students,” Ms. Willow cautions. “It’s nothing to be concerned about.”

She smiles gently at the fairy like orb as it drifts over her desk.

[“I suppose there are many things the students will have to grow accustomed to.”]

She thinks, rather than speaks in the direction of the voices.

[“Now that I think about it, I had planned on addressing the incident with Cici to the entire class while they were all gathered together, but I’m sure we’ll have time later. It may be best just to cover all of those circumstances at once, anyway. You, Cici, Danny, and that girl named Iris. Last I heard there were also some lizard clan children considering joining should that seem reasonably safe, but we can’t exactly-”]

A knock comes at the door before someone promptly lets themselves in, a younger girl slightly older than Cici with blonde hair and a troubled look on her face.

“Jane, I was wondering when you were going to come over to the other side and give them the test. I was surprised that they switched to my room anyway because I thought you were going to keep the students who could read.”

“I did,” she says softly, gesturing to the students already hard at work with a smile.

“Wait, b-but… How!?” she demands in a whisper. “How can that many people not know how to read? And some of them are teenagers!”

“This is a different place than where we come from, Melody,” the woman gently reminds her. “Things are different here.”

“B-b-b-but-“ the girl stammers.

“I was surprised as well,” the teacher admits, “but I fear now isn’t the time to discuss this. If you must do something in this case, I recommend placing the older students in their own separate group and dismissing them until later in the afternoon. That will give us some time to tend to the younger students and formulate a strategy for the others.”

“Oh gods…”

Melody’s walk says everything as she exits the room, stiff and high strung, though she somehow manages to shut the door quietly before returning to her own room.

[“She’s going to have trouble adjusting to life out here.”] The woman thinks with a sad smile. [“And I fear teaching is a new experience for both of us.”] She considers the voices’ offers for aid. [“Honestly, I don’t think it would be a terrible idea. These students will need a lot of help, perhaps more than she and I can give. I’ll also have to consider whether to take the beholder girl (Iris, I believe you call her) up on her offer to also teach a class or two.”]

> Write-in
Your apprentice, I presume? She seems rather... fashionable... Is that what's considered Haute Coutour in Ashport?

Anyway, if you would like, there is a colony of intelligent Bee-Pixies who have some magical abilities near our house. If you and your apprentice would like, (and pay proper respects and whatnot) we could arrange a meeting with them for you. Cici does take some magical lessons from them, and she's been doing quite well gathering magic from the surrounding area for spells.

Also, I do reccomend the local bakery. They make some lovely sweetrolls and pies. Try the pecan pie, it's great.

>Also, bananon, I was under the impression that we'd be bringing in Iris in as a student. Just how old is she?
Iris can't help with your understanding of magic, as can the Queen and her daughters. There's some sapient bee-people who have a protectorate here; their magic is interesting.

But I think the priority right now should be instilling a sense of tolerance and stamping out xenophobia.
Like that boy that was about to throw a rock at Cici.

People like that need a good public lashing. Them AND their parents.
While I am one for acceptance and the recognition that sapience is what matters, I don't think that physical punishment would help in this case. It would most likely reinforce their negative tones and world views.

What are your opinions on the use of social isolation and ostracization?

If possible, we could use some of the more basic forms of teaching language literacy to them. We might even be able to develop the ability to show videos to them as a n educational tool. I am going to pull up an article from the void on literacy education techniques.

And Jane, you should realize that reading and writing aren't nearly as necessary here as in the city. Most of the necessary information like deeds and contracts are done with the permission and presence of the local ruler (who is literate) or passed down through oral tradition. It is only recently/with the progression of information density that literacy becomes prevalent.
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[“Knowledge is something that must always be shared carefully and with a spirit of cooperation and beneficence rather than used as a weapon to prove someone else wrong. Otherwise, you run the risk of just reinforcing their biases by challenging them and making those people less likely to actually listen to you in the long run. It’s an unfortunate but consistent trend, one could even call it a universal constant of human stubbornness.”]

She sighs.

[“As for your friend, Iris, I don’t know. She’s just…. Well, strange is the best way I think I can describe her. She came up to me last night, said hello, and then immediately started rambling on about something called a ‘sin pie’ and voices that told her she needed to teach. However, for various reasons afterward that have nothing to do with that introduction, I’m not sure that she would be stable enough for the job. She’s very intelligent mind you, even well-spoken, but… Hmm…”

[“I suppose I can tell you this much. At one point during our conversation, it was like speaking to an old and wizened professor, one who had spent years studying their topic. However, the next thing I knew, I was just speaking to a scared, young girl who only wanted to live a normal life and make friends. I believe that the archmage’s notes described in some detail this splitting of the psyche, something he attributed to genetic memory conflicting with her active memory. It was a peculiarity that had him very worried in his risk assessments but… well, maybe it would be better to give her a healthy social life and plenty of supervision rather than trying to keep her away from the children.”

[“Speaking of Master von Ostigar, I’m afraid his granddaughter is somewhat of a debutante, always one to be up on all of the latest trends and attending every function she could pry her way into back in Ashport. I was honestly a little surprised when she didn’t simply give up my tutelage when I told her that I’d be moving all the way out here to continue my studies.”

[“And as you said, there is plenty to study out this way. The Chronomancer’s tomes, the honest-to-gods clan of insectoid hybrid fey creatures who can wield magic, the non-rabid beholder kin, the ogres!”]

The smile on her face as she translates the thoughts speaks to her excitement.

[“What’s more is that Master von Ostigar has been withholding details from the academy for now, so I have all of this research mostly to myself. In the long run, that may mean hundreds of papers I can put my name to. Also, I suppose teaching and good local cuisine aren’t bad additions either.”]

> The students are still writing. Any other questions?
> Write-in
>What are your opinions on the use of social isolation and ostracization?
Social isolation and ostracization are time-tested and effective. But that's why the public lashing is so effective; now there is a physical sign and reminder for all that this person is to be shunned, that they are to be left out.
Archmage von Ostigar? Brad? Is that his last name?

Oh, that's right. If you see a manticore cub around, her name is Jasmine and she's a little smarter than your average beast. Don't worry about her too much.

We should talk about setting up a curriculum and deciding between a broad education and one that's targeted for practicality and immediate application.
Personally, I think the latter for most students, and the former for those students that excel at their studies and who may find it worth their time to further their education under an apprenticeship to a mage.
I believe that the word she used is "Senpai". My limited knowledge recognizes that it comes from one of the Eastern Kingdoms, and translates roughly to "Senior". I am still working on theories as to how she learned this without previous contact with the surface worlds.

As for keeping this research, please don't forget about asking permission to study them first. I've known a few mage's who didn't follow proper procedure before, and it always seemed to get messy. Sometimes in ways quite literal.

Anyway, we been considering asking a group of miniature golems that have befriended Iris to put up a playground for the younger children, as well as a few ball-in-the-basket baskets for the older ones. Something to do after they finish their lunches to socialize with their peers.

Finally, about your apprentice, Melody... I might be old fashioned, but it's a bit strange hearing someone talk to their superior that casually. Can you tell me a bit about her background as a student and mage? Such as what magics she specializes in?

Miss Willow, maybe Itis could give... a class for monsters? Harpies chicks and lizard kids need to learn too. And their classes could be at different hours.
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[“Why, yes, I have heard some of his closer colleagues call him Brad, but I’m far too many years his junior to be so familiar. Umm… Then again, I suppose that I may just be a bit old fashioned in that regard. That’s why I don’t bother to correct Melody when she uses my first name. It doesn’t exactly bother me, anyway. In fact, it might be even a little cute. Besides, as I understand it, she also addresses her parents by theirs.”

[“In general, she’s just very mature for a girl her age; maybe that’s why she addresses adults as peers. Only eleven and already an apprentice, some have gone so far as to declare her a shoe-in for a position on the small council of the academy when she graduates. Her reading, writing, and mathematics are all already at a high enough level to where I felt comfortable allowing her to teach the younger students their introductory lessons, and her basic magical skills are top notch, especially with regards to evocation and basic wards.”

[“Honestly, though, we’ll have to see how teaching works out for her before I really turn the reigns loose. While she’s very intelligent, I suppose you could also say she’s also a bit of a maverick, not to mention a perfectionist. And with as bullheaded as she can be, she’s had more than a few disputes with her fellow mages back in Ashport and not just the ones in her class. Why, I still remember having to put out the fires after she picked a fight with a mage three years her senior.”

[“Come to think of it… Oh my, I really shouldn’t be talking about such things so openly. A bit harder to stop yourself when it’s all a part of a stream of consciousness, I suppose. In any case, you can rest assured that I’ll be proceeding with caution and due diligence in gathering permission from everyone and with regards to everything I plan on studying. I also plan to teach the students mostly whatever seems most practical for their benefit.”

[“After all, I didn’t grow up in the big city but in a small town called Oxenford. My father was a store clerk, our neighbors were farmers, and so I understand how certain knowledge just won’t benefit them. Still, if I can just open their eyes to the world reading and learning in general and teach them everything they need to know to balance a household budget, I feel I can give them enough momentum to continue educating themselves by the time they duck out of the door. After all, school isn’t meant to teach you specifics so much as it is meant to teach you how to absorb information and utilize it.”

[“Still, if you have any strong recommendations for subjects I should teach or skilled individuals in the local area that could step in as educators, I’m all ears.”]

> Write-in
You might consider sticking to the trivium with children of this area. The applicability of even algebra might be limited in this area. Grammar, especially when taught with culturally relevant texts, would be most important.
Cici currently has a strong talent in size and dimensional manipulation through magic, and Katy is a wonderful artist, with near-professional levels of structure and perspective.

As far as subjects go, I would recommend the basics, along with possibly a Chemistry/Alchemy course with most of the material relating to farming, or a Biology course with a material focus in Animal Husbandry. People tend to find relating new concepts to ones they already know significantly easier than learning new ones in a vacuum, though I assume you knew that. Wow this is turning into a stream of consciousness.

Anyway, being a maverick isn't so much a problem, but the issue I'm concerned is with is Melody not taking in some of the lessons the Queen could impart due to overconfidence. That and her being stubborn in trying to solve a problem her way.

Actually, the hive mages have this fascinating casting process that involves dance as a physical component, as well as a spell that turns the subject into a Pixie-Bee. Just think of how the magical collaberations between both the Mage's Guild and the Queen's Hive could make new magical techniques be possible. I've been thinking about using their dancing technique for fine manipulation of time magic, in fact...

As for possible teachers, the only one I could think of right now would be one of the ogres, the red horned one, as a phys ed teacher, but that comes with it's own set of problems, namely swearing and some issues with her past that might make situations like this morning much more difficult right now. I'll see who else might fit the bill for educators.
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Well, it's three o' clock here folks, and I need to grab some sleep. Feel free to continue suggestions, and I love the ones I've seen thus far. I'll get back to this tomorrow.
Night boss. See you around.
Well, for obvious reasons, some Botany and Biology would probably go a long way. Some entry level medical knowledge might work too.
If the math classes go well enough, you might consider putting together a geometry and/or physics class together for all those would-be carpenters and architects. Probably more as an advanced placement class then a standard one though.
History I feel is a must. Everyone should know a little about where they come from, so I'd start with something on the local history and gradually move on to the rest of the continent.
In general, I'd also like to suggest that you consider taking the children out for lessons every once in a while. Everyone likes a field trip and some students dont do as well cooped up in a classroom all the time.

On the subject of Iris, I agree pushing her straight into a teaching position would probably be bad, but perhaps you could have her on as a Teacher's Assisstant? shes still very intelligent, and she could help with grading or putting together papers, watching the classes, helping your apprentice, etc, And it would be a good excuse to gradually get the students used to her presence and vice versa.
And hey, if you ever want to do those magic lessons, or study the Underdark , she'll be right on hand.
Grammar and logic. That shit, while not glamourous will ensure that out little girl can think and reason. Everything else comes after those things.
Ah, so Cici and Jane are cousins, then. Well, not blood-related, but Cici's father was something of a second son to the Archmage.
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[“Reading and reading comprehension are the gateways to learning. Grammar, writing, and public speaking are the second half of the equation in effectively sharing knowledge. I won’t be satisfied until all of the students have at least those under their belt.”

[“Botany and chemistry are two additional facets I feel qualified to teach, as they are fairly routine parts of a mage’s education. And naturally, a precursor to any of those is a grounded understanding of biology. I’m afraid I know next to nothing about medicine or animal husbandry, though…”

[“Anyway, we’ll focus on the rudimentary subject matter for now and move forward to discussions of more difficult material as we make progress. I suppose it’s also worth considering if there are any students around here who have the capacity to learn magic, but I’m not sure what effect that would have in this sleepy town with a bunch of upstarts throwing sparks at each other and unsecured barns…”

[“Either way, I do hope that Cici and Melody can get along. In such an unfamiliar place, I can’t help but feel she’ll be a bit lonely without making friends her own age.”

[“As for other teachers, we’ll have to see. I suppose in my spare time, I’ll speak with the people you mention and determine if they’d be a correct fit. Naturally, the locals seem to have a bit of a stigma against demi-humans and monstrous humanoids, so I’ll have to be careful.”

[“Maybe the bees would be able to offer some advice as well, and not just in magic. Don’t get me wrong. Their spatial manipulation magic sounds incredible, as does their techniques, but perhaps they have other knowledges on subject matter of the more academic variety.”

[“In any case, it seems the students are nearly done with their examination. Before that, however, I want to confirm: you mentioned a desire to teach. Is there a specific subject you feel proficient in? Would you prefer simply to act as an aid?”]

> Professor Orb of Chaos. Sounds fancy.
> But in what capacity would the voices like to serve?
> Write-in
>But in what capacity would the voices like to serve?
We could act as a reservoir and educational tool for the students. You see Professor, we have the ability to reach beyond the Veil and pull information that we need from it at times. As such, we can quickly answer any questions and act as a way for the villagers to quickly cement ideas in their minds.

Though being a sort of adjunct professor could work.
I think being an Aid would be best, seeing how all us voices dont always agree and often have contradictory knowledge on some subjects, seeing how were not all from the same place, as it were. That could get confusing for someone who already doesnt have a clear view of the world.
As for what to teach, well... We have easy access to a lot of practical science knowledge that could be applicable? Maybe logic?
Maybe counseling too. I think we do a good job as a sounding board for peoples problems so far.
Being an adjunct professor is probably the most that we can handle, what with our spatial coordinates being tied to the bracer that Cici wears, and our knowledge being somewhat fragmented. Mathematics is universal, at least. Chemistry and geology, some of our information may be applicable, and others not.

While we may know something of Theoretical and Applied Temporal Mechanics, and some Temporal Engineering, that's a bit different from Chronomancy, so application may be awkward.
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[“So, a teacher’s aide, then? I can understand how a collective consciousness such as yourselves might be hesitant to take up more responsibility than that. That was more or less my assessment with Iris, honestly, since she suffers from what amounts to much the same condition. Not that the condition itself need be called detrimental, but it seems in her case the various personality fragments are far from harmonious.”

[“In any case, your aid would be very much appreciated as we try to establish ourselves here. This is a tremendous shift for not only myself, personally, but for the surrounding area and its children.”]

“Alright students,” the teacher says pleasantly. “I believe that at this point, I would encourage you to submit whatever you have completed thus far.”

The predictable scrabbling and looks of panic follow, Cici among them.

“Now, now, no need for concern,” she assures them. “This is merely a placement exam. There is no right and no wrong. So long as you did your best, you’ll end up in the right place.”

Slowly, with grace and patience, she then goes to each desk and receives the form from each student, offering a few calming words where necessary before adding them to the growing stack.

“I hope I did good,” Cici says with a smile as she hands hers in.

“I’m sure you did,” the woman assures her, ruffling her slithering hair affectionately before moving on to the other students.

“No need to be frustrated,” the teacher offers as one final assurance as she returns to the front with a full stack. “This is simply a short introduction to tell me how much you know so that I can know what I need to teach you. And don’t worry, if you didn’t test well, there’s always room to move around later until we find just the right fit. For now, just enjoy your afternoon, do something fun, and be ready to come back tomorrow ready to learn.”

Chairs screech and scrape as students move to comply, Cici content to let the larger students move out first rather than be caught in their way as the room clears. By the end, that just leaves her, a hooded student in the corner, and Hannah and Katy waiting by the door.
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“Hurry up, Cici!” Katy calls. “It’s time for lunch!”

“I’m coming!” she calls back, but she pauses as she notices the person in the back still not moving. “Umm. Would you like to eat lunch with us?”


“C’mon, it’ll be fun!” Cici insists. “Mama packed enough to share.”


“O-Okay…” comes the final, nervous response of a young boy’s voice as the small figure moves to stand.

Shorter than Cici by roughly half a head, something seems to wriggle beneath his hood as he regards his new, friendly acquaintance. Curious, the picture becomes somewhat clearer as his fur clad arms come into focus, part of a set with his legs adorned with much the same fluffy black tufts. Nervous red eyes gleam beneath the hood as he seems to almost have to force himself to look at Cici, flattened ears struggling to right themselves against the fabric as she gives him a smile.

“You’ve got pretty eyes,” Cici compliments as she stoops down to grab her bags. “What’s your name?”

“D-Danny!” the small boy stammers nervously, following Cici as she bounces along toward the front without a care in the world.

> Seems Cici made a new friend.
> Was there anything else to discuss with the teacher?
> Write-in
We've got to do something about the xenophobic attitudes around here.

Since public lashings, facial branding, and violent social ostracization seem to be off the table, we'll need to figure out a gentler method of behavior modification. That should at the top of our agenda right now.
We could always go with a "Remember the Titans" forcible interaction approach.
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“Clearing ignorance and misconceptions starts with one person at a time,” the teacher sighs. “Best you go along with them for now, though, as I’ve quite a bit of grading to do on my own.”

To be fair, the voices could just remain in both locations unless Cici goes especially far, but they take the hint to leave the teacher for the time being. They drift from the classroom light on the breeze and hover above the heads of dozens of students as they make their way outside. It’s kind of amazing, really, seeing how clicks are already being formed, clusters of students picking out benches in the surrounding clearing and with them, their likely friends for the next several months.

Or maybe it had more to do with who knew who coming in this morning, as they find Cici comfortably unpacking her lunch with Hannah, Katy, Clyde, and the new boy who constituted the only new addition.

“Neat, so you’re a kobold then,” Hannah comments as Dany removes his hood and his ears perk up.

“Umm… probably,” the reserved boy murmurs. “And you’re a gorgon right?”

“Mhm,” Cici confirms happily. “Me an’ Mama are gorgons.”

“I always thought they turned people to stone by looking at them,” he admits with some embarrassment. “Glad to see that isn’t t-true.”

“Mama says it’s really hard,” Cici corrects. “An’ I’m not supposed to try, either.”

“That’s probably for the best…” he agrees.

“Anyway, I’m starving!” Katy murmurs, tearing into her lunch bag. “Mom packed plenty of stuff for today’s lunch too. Peanut butter sandwich, fruit and some carrots.”

“I got chips and peanut butter,” Hannah says.

“Jerky and corn!” Clyde chirps happily.

“Umm…” Cici begins.

Mama had gone overboard, that much was clear as Cici pulls out multiple skewers of cooked meat and vegetables, half a loaf of bread, cheese, and a canteen full of juice. She blushes as the others gawk.

“Mama thought I’d be really hungry,” Cici murmurs, “but I don’t think I can eat it all. Will you guys help?”

The others look to their own lunches and give a few affirmations, all except for Danny, who the voices notice doesn’t have a lunch at all.

“Did you forget to bring your lunch?” Cici asks curiously of the flustered boy, whose strangely long hair flicks side to side as he shakes his head.

“Umm… Err, mom said that I had to hunt my own…” he admits. “Those who don’t hunt, don’t eat…”

> Well, that’s odd.
> Write-in
(Gives him an extra skewer of meat)

That's a little harsh...
I can understand where your mother is coming from, but the way she is going about it is very wrong. For one, I doubt that you would have the time to even successfully complete a hunt for an amount of food that would make up for the time and energy. In addition to that, hunting is becoming less of a priority in the society you live, especially with the introduction of mages and other aspects of civilization.
Now, she does have a point though.
Change "hunt" to "work", and it's something necessary till they get to a level where there can be a Universal Basic Income or a post-scarcity society.

Cici wastes no time dividing out a portion of her lunch, piling a skewer of meat, cheese, and a large chunk of bread onto a napkin before passing it toward her classmate.

“W-wait, t-that’s too much!” he exclaims.

“Hmm? Are you not that hungry?”

“It’s not that! I’d just… I’d just feel kind of guilty…”

“But I don’t mind,” Cici says. “Mama made me a really big breakfast, too. So, I’m not that hungry.”

“But I-“

“Eat it before I eat it for you,” Katy threatens as she hungrily stares at the fresh roasted spit of venison, forest mushrooms, and potatoes.

“Alright, alright. I’m sorry!” he concedes, the threat of having food taken from him apparently enough to overcome his former objections as he quickly takes one bite then another, tearing through both skewer and bread like a man who hadn’t eaten in days.

Cici passes him another spit when he’s done, this time getting no objections as the young boy slows down to actually chew.

“You must be really hungry,” Cici says, getting a nervous nod.

“It was a long run to school this morning,” he admits, “and the fish weren’t biting much that early before I had to leave.”

“So, you were fishing?” she asks. “You must be like Mama and need to eat lots of meat.”

“I do,” he agrees. “It’s just that I’m not very good at hunting. Getting blood all over my mouth, teeth, and claws is just-“ He shudders. “Plus, it makes me feel bad. So, I prefer fishing.”

“You’re not a very good wolf person,” Katy comments, causing the boy to flinch.

“Katy!” Hannah objects.


“No, you’re right,” Danny interjects. “My mom says that all the time. I mean, my sisters are already out doing mercenary work and I can’t even catch a rabbit. I guess I’m really not that good as lupines go.”

> Write-in
Chin up, my boy! You are now about to enter the world of academia as the world (hopefully) moves towards industrialization! There will be a need for specialists of all types, not simply soldiers but men and women who can keep those soldiers fed, housed, armed, and supplied.
Why, if you have the proper attention to detail and good handwriting, you could become a combat or espionage botanist!
Well, it's only natural to be a bit squeamish about the whole "blood and guts" thing. Some people can handle it all day long with no objection while others faint at the smell or sight of blood. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Food is very important. Maybe a proper cafeteria wouldn't go amiss here. There has been studies that link well-fed children to being able to learn more and better.

I wouldn't worry too much about the thing with you and your sisters. Different people have different skill sets. You don't become a great business owner or a knight or powerful wizard or such all at once. It takes time. This is one of the perks of getting an education. You have a steady environment to figure out what you're good at and build your skills from there.

You seem like a nice person. And you should understand that your mother is simply pushing you because she thinks you can handle the extra responsibility. One does not improve without motivation, after all.
You and your family really should be introduced to Cassandra
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“I think so too,” the boy says to the voices. “Mom knows it’s a tough world out there, and she only wants what’s best for me and my sisters. She just… She doesn’t really know much about life not on the battlefield or on the road. Still, she didn’t try to stop me from coming here to learn if that’s what I wanted.”

“Is that what ya want, then?” Clyde asks between loudly chewing huge bites off of his ear of corn.

“I think so. There’s so much I want to know and so many places I want to see in my lifetime. And they aren’t places I can just wander into, either. There’s the Grand Library of Kazad’hal, the Noble Courts of Saaresh, the Mizedhal, and the Wandering Woods…”

“I don’t know what most of those are,” Cici admits, “but they sound neat.”

“They’re all places of learning,” he explains. “Huge libraries filled with books where they make amazing discoveries that help everyone!”

“How do you know all of this stuff?” Hannah asks.

“Oh! Well…“ he hesitates, scratching the back of his head with one paw. “My mom kind of broke a scholar’s leg when he stumbled into our warren. He had lots of books with him…”


“He taught me how to read while he was healing up, though, and he even seemed kind of happy when he left. Even in the worst situations, there’s always something to learn, after all.”

“I hope your Mama comes by eventually,” Cici says. “She an’ my Mama would probably have lots to talk about.”

“And she doesn’t even have any legs,” Katy murmurs, getting a sharp jab in the ribs from Hannah.

“I can ask her when I get home,” he agrees. “Anyway, who are your fairy friends, here?”

> Write-in
Hello there, young pup. Though we're not really fairies, and most fae would probably be insulted to be compared to us.

We are a sophisticated Dwarven runic array with heuristic algorithms and a memory core that contains a large number of different personalities with varying levels of intelligence and knowledge.
Simply put, we're a bunch of disembodied voices centered around the bracelet Cic's wearing. We serve as advisors to her and others. We know a lot of things or can puzzle them out pretty fast.

A lot of those words are probably going to go over their heads for now. Might wanna tone it down a few notches.

But yes. It wouldn't hurt to have your mothers meet since she's in the area. And yes, Cici's mother is the snake-bottom variety of gorgon so if you see a big snake trail in some dirt or something on the roads she's probably been that way recently.

Perhaps there should be some sort of basic lesson or attention paid towards the fact that there's a sizable non-human contingent in these parts. That incident earlier is a flavor of something that shouldn't be tolerated in what one would hope is an enlightened age. Such things will upset the newly-minted baroness, and one does not upset a battle-hardened gorgon without a *very* good reason.
And with an attitude like that it would be safer for every one if your warren was a known location and even better if your mother could move closer to town into the nearby woods here.
We should also remind Cass to make a map that notes the locations of local 'monster' homes if she allready hasn't
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“I see. At least, I think I do,” Danny says nervously. “Umm, I’m not sure Mom is going to want to move though. We live about twenty miles away from here and-“

“Wait! Twenty miles!?” Katy demands. “How did you even get here?”

“Running,” he answers simply. “It took a long time, though. Luckily, there’s a river not too far from here, so I-”

His voice trails off as he realizes the whole table is looking at him, dark skin growing darker.

“I-It’s not that weird, right?”

“Ain’t that weird at all, Danny,” Clyde assures him after a pause. “Just most folks would prob’ly need a horse and a couple o’ hours, is all.”

“Well, it did take a couple of hours, I guess.”

“An’ that’s why you were so hungry,” Cici reasons.


> Write-in
Well, we could look into finding you a proper den nearer to the school if you would like... There was a cave that was vacated by the great Demon Bear once we killed her. Mind you, there's some neighbors, in the form of magical Bee-Pixies, but they're nice enough once you get to know them.
We'll speak with Cassandra and the headmistress about building dormitories for students, and setting up a river taxi service for school students.
Uhm... Isn't that cave like literally RIGHT UNDER the hive? They were kinda making a big deal about it, and the whole fence thing and all. Also, the mother may have a pretty sweet spot for their home and it would be unfair to have them move just for this.

For the moment, I think he's got a decent system set up. Just have to make sure he's got some food waiting for him when he gets here. Something meaty with a bit of salt to replenish his body's stores. The running will help keep him in good health.

Not sure about the dormitories. We literally JUST got this place open, and room and board for a large number of children is an endeavor all on it's lonesome. The troubles an orphanage has are an example of that set of issues.

We can't really do much until better transportation resources become available. Perhaps some form of communication crystal network each student could have so that students could be informed of any developments or can call ahead to the school to prevent misunderstandings due to travel times? Maybe add a small tracking spell to it in case of emergencies? Having something to unify around tends to help student solidarity, and a pendant or something that everyone can identify would help that.
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“… You mean live ‘with’ the bees,” he shudders. “I mean, I already live in a cave, but that sounds like it would be uncomfortable for both of us. Also, it isn’t like it’s too bad of a walk. So long as I watch out for the snakes, it’s not ‘that’ dangerous. There’s even a little waterfall where I can get a bath before class. I-it’s-“

His entire body freezes as Cici leans over and gives him a hug.

“W-w-what are you-“

“It’s okay to ask for help,” she says softly. “Going to school shouldn’t be that scary every day.”

“Noreallyimfine!Theresnoneedtoworry!” he squeaks.

He’s- Is he literally steaming?

As the voices watch the flustered pup nervously squirm in Cici’s arms, it seems like the heat in his cheeks is actually reaching abnormal temperatures, his eyes glowing a little, but Cici remaining unharmed at least for now.

> Maybe you should say something.
> Write-in
>Uhm... Isn't that cave like literally RIGHT UNDER the hive?

We did build them that hive box thing, so I don't think they're still hanging above the den, but I don't have a good idea where the hive box is situated. And besides, it's only an offer. If they have a pretty nice spot, then they can stay where they'd like.

Although we should consider talking to the sisters about being hired on as security for the basement.
Now Cici, you should respect a person's personal boundaries and be aware of unwanted personal contact.
Let the boy go.
Might wanna lean back there, Cici. Pretty sure his particular breed starts puffing into flame when they get overly excited. Your enthusiasm is certainly appreciated, though.

Well, they're at that age where personal space is less of a hard thing and more of a "strengthening suggestion". It's purely innocent. No harm no foul.

“Imfineitsjust-“ He stops and takes a few more seconds of silence. “I’m fine. I just wasn’t expecting that is all.”

As he steadies himself, the heat recedes.

“So, wait, does that mean you’re magic?” Hannah asks.

“Umm, sort of, I think,” Danny murmurs. “When I get really embarrassed or mad it just sort of… happens. Mom and my sisters know how to use it at will though.”

“Sounds mighty inconvenient in yer case at the least,” Clyde comments.

“You have no idea. One time I had a bad dream and when I woke up, there was fire everywhere. I also accidentally burned up one of my sister’s dolls and she beat me bloody.”

“Your family sounds awful,” Katy states flatly, getting another jab in the ribs. “What!?”

“Oh, it’s not that bad,” Danny assures her. “They’re a bit hot-headed, but everyone still takes care of each other when it counts.”

“Hmm…” Cici thinks for a minute. “I don’t know where you live, but you could probably stop by me an’ Mama’s house in the morning. We have a bath an’ plenty of food.”

> That is, assuming her mother can handle one more mouth to feed.
> Write-in
Depends on the path he takes. He might be coming from the opposite direction of the tower which would end your plans pretty fast, or from such an angle it wouldn't make sense to make your house a stop on his trip.

We need to locate a map of the area so he can point out where he goes. Your mother would probably like to add that information to her own map of the area. It's also a good idea so that if something does happen with him or his family we have an idea of where to start the search. Just in case, of course.

It also seems Katy's decided to try her hand at being the "innocently tactless" friend of the group. Might wanna ease up on that. People might get the wrong impression.
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“We probably do need a map,” Cici agrees with the voices. “Maybe Mr. Martin has one!”

“Who’s Mr. Martin?” Danny asks.

“Just the local bookstore owner,” Clyde explains, “but ya’ll’re gonna be on yer own for that. I gotta stick around for when class starts up for us older folks.”

“Take care, Clyde!” Cici says with a wave, switching to a quick hug. “We’ll see you tomorrow, probably.”

“Or later in the afternoon, whichever comes first,” he laughs, and with that, the group is off into town.

It’s a pleasant day, all things considered, the weather moderate and cloudless and relatively free of children after their first day at school saw them with free time to spend elsewhere. And, much to their relief, the shop is open when they arrive, with the more responsible of the brothers manning the register.

“Well, hello there, ye wee bandits. How can I help ye today?” he greets with a smile.

“Umm. We were hoping you had maps,” Cici explains. “We wanna figure out where Danny lives.”

“Oh, aye, I’ve probably stowed a few of ‘em around here. Just hold tight, and I’ll fetch a set from the rafters. Also, a pleasure to meet ya, Danny boy!”

“Nice to meet you, sir!”

“Ah, an’ a polite one at that. A tad furrier than most o’ my customers, but I ain’t one to judge.”

He laughs as with a stroke of his beard, he’s up the ladder and out of sight, leaving a clear view behind him into the back room where another familiar dwarf is busy rummaging around.

“Hmm. Just gotta turn a knob here, adjust that, an’…”

He doesn’t seem to notice he has an audience as he bends down with a wrench to examine something. He also doesn’t seem to notice that whatever that something is was about to give as an explosion sends him flying back with a net covering his face and body.


With a loud roar and a louder thump, he goes rolling out of sight.

“Uh. Should we help him?” Danny asks.

> That is a good question.
> Write-in
>> That is a good question.
Yeah, we probably should. Cici, you and Hannah go over to the florist's shop and grab Mrs. Martin. Kate and Danny, you two go check on Mr. Martin, and make sure you don't get caught in anything like that.
Nah. He'll be alright. He's got a task to recover a pair of pygmy griffons that he was trying to smuggle. Looks like he's working on a net launcher of some flavor to aid him in his work. It may be a bit cruel, but he's getting what he's earned. I say we leave him be unless he STOPS thumping and howling without reappearing. It's not the noise that's a problem, it's the silence.

That's unnecessary. His brother's right upstairs, and push comes to shove he'll know where a knife is located or can send us running for help.
>And, much to their relief, the shop is open when they arrive, with the more responsible of the brothers manning the register.

Naw, dude, it's the cool brother. The one who isn't generally a dick.

To clarify, Mr. Martin is up in the rafters presently. His brother, Oscar was working in the back with what was presumably a net gun.
Ah, so the one who was a dick WAS here. My mistake, thought that Mr. Martin got hit by the net.

Well, we should still check up on him. He might be a jerk, but there's no reason not to stoop to his level. Just make sure he doesn't have any broken bones.
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“Ack! Ye don’t have to worry none, little ones,” Mr. Martin calls down. “That’d be the twelfth time today by my reckoning, an’ his head ain’t gettin’ any softer.”

“I heard that!” Oscar shouts from the back.

“Aye, ye did!” Martin confirms. “Good to know yer ears are still workin’. Maybe they’ll even be workin’ come next time when I try to talk ye out of one of yer dern, fool ideas.”

“Ah! Get plowed, ye thrice damned son of a whore!”

“Mind yer language, or ye’ll be sleepin’ with the pigs come tonight,” Martin warns. “Brother or no, we’ve got little ones present.”

As Oscar goes back to cursing more quietly, Martin makes his way down with a scroll, carefully unfurling the thick material on the counter as the quartet draw closer.

“See lad an’ lasses, this here is the map of the local territory an’ quite a bit beyond. It’s a tad on the older side, way back before this place was even owned by the previous barony, but the forests and fields are much the same. Now then, lad, ye said ye wanted to know where ye lived, was it?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well, then, first things first: here’s where we are.” He points to one corner of the map.

“And that’s where we live!” Cici says excitedly, pointing the graveyard three miles to the south.

“Aye, that’d be the place. Ye can tell by the nice, big marker shaped like a skull with fangs and sundry. Anyhow, I reckon ye’d know yer east from west then, lad, and if yer in the mood, I’ll teach ye a trick to readin’ these maps so far as distance.”

With a twist of his hand, he places a thumb near the legend.

“Now, ye see, lad and the three of you as well. These here maps always have a key on ‘em to tell ye how far yer travelin’ and in what direction. See, this one’s about the size of my thumb tip to my nail for a five-mile span. So, if I was wantin’ to figure out how far it was from where to where, I’d just do a shuffle like this.”

With palms flat, he then shows the children two different ways of waddling his digit across the map.

“O’ course, it always helps to have landmarks for figurin’ out where ye are, which is easiest to tell with the way the sun rises when you do.”
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“We live west of here,” Danny guesses, putting a claw lightly to the map, “and really close to a lake.”

“That’s a way to travel for an education, lad, but I suppose I admire yer spirit. Yer Ma lending ye an old nag or somethin’ to speed ye on yer way in the mornin’?”

“I’m afraid not,” Danny answers, shaking his head.

“He runs to school,” Cici explains, putting a frown on the other’s face.

“Well, that’d be one way to break in a pair of shoes, I suppose, if’n ye were to wear any in the first place. Anyhow, it’s none o’ my business what ye do or don’t wear. Just know that if ye need a place ta rest yer head between classes, I’ve a loft and some extra blankets. My wife also ain’t too bad of a cook.”

“I… I’m not sure if I could accept so m-“ he starts, but the dwarf just laughs.

“Ye listen to me, now, boyo. Where I come from, it ain’t nothin’ so grave or serious to offer one another hearth and hospitality when it suits us. ‘Sides, a wee pup like yerself just tryin’ to learn his letters ain’t meant to be running ‘round like a damn fool come the break o’ dawn and settin’ o’ the sun.

“O’ course, I ain’t one to be tellin’ ye what to do, either, but if yer Ma and Pa don’t mind, I can at least find ye a place away from the wind and weather. Ye understand?”

“Yes sir..”

“Good then. Now, unless there’s somethin’ else ye’d be lookin’ for, I’m guessin’ ye’ll be on yer way.”

> Were there books Cici needed?
> Write-in
I dont suppose they have any puzzle books or such? Might help and/or be fun while waiting for classes to start
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Think I'll need to get some sleep now. Hope you folks are having fun thus far, and we'll be able to wrap this up early tomorrow afternoon.
yeah, some books should be fun, we, as ball of wisp, could go try help the other dwarf in the mean time...
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“Oh, aye, I’ve a few books o’ brain teasers and the like,” Martin responds to the voices. “As a matter o’ fact, I wrote some of ‘em meself back when I was a learned scholar. Always was a bit keen on the idea of a whetstone for the mind an’ all that.”

He rummages behind his counter before procuring a few volumes of folded paper, more like magazines than books.

“Anyhow, weren’t but a few coppers back in the dwarven lands. So, they’re meant to be written in. I’ve also plenty more if ye tire of the one.”

He pulls up a stack of the pamphlets and scribbles a few notes in his ledger.

“I’ll be puttin’ it on yer Ma’s tab, as it were, which is a means o’ currency an’ credit some shops will afford ye. Mind, lass, when yer older and pullin’ in coin yerself, ye can’t ever let yerself think of it as free money. Rather, ‘s a matter of trust that ye’ll pay the tab quick as ye can. Otherwise, ye’ll find yerself in a bad way, hurtin’ business and friendships. Aye?”

“A-aye, sir,” Cici says nervously, drawing a laugh from the shopkeep.

“I’ll teach ye how to say a proper Dwarvish ‘Aye’ someday, lass. Ye gotta feel it in yer chest.”

“I’d like that,” she confirms, thinking for a moment.

[“Maybe he could teach.”]

> Write-in
he has the library to look after, tough, but asking can't hurt?
Yes he could.
We can ask him to think about it at least.
We could have him also be an adjunct professor, and possibly introduce trade programs to the school.
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“Umm, I know that you’re really busy running the store,” Cici says as the voices offer some agreement, “but do you think you could be a teacher, too? There’s lots of students at school an’-“

She cuts herself off as the dwarf sighs thoughtfully, leaning his head to one side.

“Ye know, I think we were all a bit surprised with how many students showed up outside o’ town this mornin’,” he admits. “Sure as sunshine, some of ‘em will get bored with it, an’ that’ll be the end. But even then, we’ve naught more than a single woman an’ a child to teach ‘em all what’s what.

“Still, yer wee voices an’ ye catch on quick. I can’t simply up and leave my shop for hours on a day. I’ve mouths to feed an’ bills to pay, after all… However, I suppose I could have a word with the missus runnin’ the school to see if she could compensate me for my time. Fairly certain that I’ve lived through more history in these parts that most o’ this town put together, an’ I’ve a fair head for letters and numbers. A fair hand at poetry too if ye ignore the wife.”

“So, does that mean you’ll do it?” Katy asks excitedly.

“That means we’ll see,” he laughs. “Anyway, no sense for youths such as yerselves to spend all day cramped up with dusty ol’ tomes and a dusty ol’ dwarf. Take care, now.”

“We will, Mr. Martin!” Cici calls. “Thank you!”

And with that, the group is on their way, leaving only Mr. Martin, Oscar, and the voices hovering over the latter’s shoulder as he works.

It actually is kind of impressive how the back of the bookstore had turned into a workshop at some point. Gadgets and blueprints hung off of every conceivable surface with drawings of his nemeses intermixed. Apparently the most recent in this diverse arsenal, or at least the one presently having caught the dwarf’s attention is something like a hand-crank air compressor that he is using to charge the individual chambers that launch his net grapnels.

> The question is: to help or not to help?
> Write-in
Might as well help.
"You know, if you use a larger reservoir tank that all of the chambers feed from, it'll be easier to reinforce the main tank.
Tough the pressure release valve should be made to open as fast as possible give the greatest amount of thrust.
How are the chambers designed? Is he using single shot consumables or reusable rounds?
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“What the-“ he begins to demand as the voices begin offering their input. “Yeah, yeah, I been working off a four-cartridge system outta necessity, more or less. Gotta press that I can do a heated draw through an’ it’s only so big. We ain’t exactly got a proper blacksmith around here, either. Still, the more I look at it, another mold might be the easier way to go.”

He picks up a mold and examines it before turning to a tank off to the side that’s feeding into the air compressor.

“Ye see, there’s an old dwarven salt recipe that’s already makin’ this somewhat on the easier side for me. Pain in the ass to boil down an’ extract, not to mention mildly toxic, but it makes it produces air that’s easier to compress, at least in theory. Still, without a bloody oxen press, I can’t do it anywhere near proper.”

He sighs.

“Would that I had my set-up from back in the tinker’s guild in Kazad’hal. It’s be a bloody sight easier.”

> Write-in
Well, theres currently an enchanter in town. If the air compression method youre using gets in the way too much,im fairly sure it would be fairly simple to make a magical substitute. It might be possible to convince Ms.Willow to help you with that if you say you need it for a task given to you by you-know-who...
Oh, creating carbon dioxide? Or monoxide?

Anyway, it may be possible to order one, or perhaps see if the school will bring in a blacksmith.
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“I ain’t never met a mage what works for a miner’s copper, on a noble’s orders or not,” the dwarf dismisses. “An’ a blacksmith in a town like this with naught but a horse to shoe, fah, I doubt it.”

He looks around his workshop and pulls up a couple of odd pieces.

“Ye know, though, I might be able to manufacture some pellet guns for the wee miscreants runnin’ about with this. Maybe use the proceeds to buy up some better tools and a shite load of shite from the pastures. Ye need it for the salts, ye see, and with the run-off from that, I can…”

The voices are beginning to see into the workings of Oscar’s mind and the origin of his schemes. It’s rather informative actually, and equally disturbing as he goes from trying to build a better air press to selling dynamite to some questionable traffickers circling the border of the territory.

However, before they can begin offering cautionary statements, the flickering of their form tells them Cici is already too far away. All they can hope is that their last correspondence is heard as they fade away and that the days going forward would continue to be interesting for all the right reasons.
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Anyway, that's about all I have in me for this thread. Hope you guys ha fun, and I'll see you again on Tuesday.
Thanks, Bananon!
Thanks bananon.

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