The concept of a long war is alien to most of the nations of Sosalia.Conflicts in Sosalia are explosive, fast moving and decisive. A war lasting more than a year is practically unknown, except for the civil war in Valsten; terrible wars like the Emrean War, that starved nations, dried them up and made them brittle over long years of attrition, simply did not, could not, happen in the Sosalian lands. It was not that the nations were incapable. Even the bandit kings and fortress cities of Sosaldt were plenty capable of unity, as were the walled metropolises of Plisseau, but when a nation is surrounded by enemies, focusing overmuch attention upon one was unwise. It was even worse to allow one’s army to be severely damaged in a conflict, and allow an opportunity for a rival to take advantage of the momentary frailty that comes about after a lost war. War in Sosalia is a careful dance, each kingdom and republic dancers in a ball of duelists, squaring off with one another, often parting with little more than an exchange of glares. Any combat is a deliberate, prepared affair. There are no spontaneous battles, no sonorous war cries followed by blind furious assault; merely two swordsmen who slowly close with rapier and dagger until they clash fiercely, only fighting until first blood is drawn, upon which they break away from one another with a bow, careful not to tarry long enough for one of their fellows to slip in from behind and slide a blade between their ribs.The coming duel was inevitable. Strossvald and Valsten were near close enough to touch steel, one merely waited for the other to take another step, as all the other players watched hungrily for their chance to snatch a bite of flesh.
You are Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht, armor platoon commander of the Archduchy of Strossvald. You have been deployed to the Varbonnlands to the south, along the border with the neighboring Republic of Valsten, as part of the military buildup taking place in preparation for an invasion by Valsten. Tensions had been running high recently, even on top of the amassing of troops. A gunman the locals called the “New Moon Sniper” had been taking potshots at your counterparts from Valsten, wounding many. War indeed seemed on the morrow, but it had not come yet- and you were hungry for allies in the coming fight. In a full blown war, after all, could you really have enough help?It only took a little asking around to find out where the huntress you had seen earlier, apparently named Hilda, lived. She seemed like the sort of character who would know a sniper; at least, how one would operate in the region. If your lead wasn’t good, it didn’t matter too much in the end; Maddalyn, with her peculiar method of seeing things, would be able to keep a watch out for the sniper when they came out after sunset.Hilda’s house was a little white brick cottage and a wooden shack out by the river, a little walk from the bridge after leaving the city of Salzbrucke to the north. The ground here was not scorched like the city’s lands were. Scruffy grass and autumn wildflowers lined webs of dirt footpaths, one of which led down the gentle slope to Hilda’s home. Into the river stretched a small, disused pier, its boards broken up and its pillars swaying with the Glennz. It must have been many years since its last boat bid it farewell.A small sign outside the shack read, in sloppily painted writing:“Touch my furs and I shoot you dead.”It was spelled phonetically; hunters apparently had no need for proper grammar and spelling.The windows of the cottage had curtains drawn over them from inside, thick and heavy enough to block out any light emanating from within, indicating anybody would be inside.>Investigate the shack; maybe she’s in there.>Case the house more before approaching>Walk up and knock on the door>Other>twitter is @scheissfunker for announcements>pastebin with past threads is here: https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh
>>1321002>Walk up and knock the door
You decide to just walk up and knock on the door. No reason for her not to be neighborly, right?The door is a heavy, hard wood, and knocking upon it feels like beating upon a cliff. You waited. It took just a tad longer than what would be an unreasonable amount of time to answer the door, for the hardwood portal to open inward.The huntress stood before you. She was less warmly dressed than before, and her form reflected her work, slim but decently well-muscled. Old scars pockmarked her face and arms; some ugly canyons of twisted tissue, and others barely visible. Her face wore the sort of deadened expression one would expect from somebody who hadn’t quite woken up yet, and may have been typical of a (very plain) young woman, were it not for a thick curved scar that ran from somewhere up on her forehead down to her cheek. Her eyes themselves, despite their sleepy lids, did not share this trait; they were sharp, and lanced through whatever she looked upon, in this case, you and your companions.Hilda frowned ever so slightly more, looking about as unimpressed as she could express. “Oh. You people.”“Yes. Us people.” You say like a smartass, unsure of how else to respond to that.“You find your New Moon Sniper yet.” Hilda asked, her tone unchanging.“No.” you admit, “We were hoping you could help us with that.”“Really.” Hilda leaned against the doorframe, continuing to stare through you with icy grey eyes, “Why do you think that.”>You’re a hunter, we thought you might know where the best places to shoot people from are.>Figured you might be a likely candidate. How many hunters are there even around here? There isn’t too much woodland.>I heard that the New Moon Sniper was a gorgeous woman, so I’m working my way down from the top.>Other
>>1321445>Figured you might be a likely candidate. How many hunters are there even around here? There isn’t too much woodland.
“Figured you might be a likely candidate.” You tell the huntress. A daring accusation, but one you felt could bear fruit whether or not it was the case. “How many hunters are even around here? There isn’t much woodland.”“You’re right.” Hilda replied, “I hunt up north.”“Where you get your furs hardly matters,” Von Metzeler stepped forward, “The Lieutenant is proposing that your do another sort of hunting, across the border.”“You think I’m the New Moon Sniper.” Hilda asked, in a tone that might have been incredulous from another person, but was strangely monotone from her. “Don’t you have anything better to do than waste my time with this. If you’d rather chase after ghosts than get ready to fight the seagulls, go jump in the Glennz. Maybe the cold water will clear your head.” Hilda makes ready to shut the door in your face.>Hey, wait, you can’t shut out soldiers on an investigation!>Shove your way in, she isn’t getting out of this.>Accept your defeat and leave.>Other
>>1322773>"But we are preparing! A successful sniper is a treasure when you need intelligence, much better than any of those oafs in army recon.">>1321445You hit all my fetishes with her tanq
>>1322822This could work. If not, at least ask for some advice on where she thinks we could find the real sniper.
“But we are preparing!” you protest with frustration, “A successful sniper is a treasure when you need intelligence, much better than any of those oafs in army recon.”You hoped that word of you saying that wouldn’t spread to you battalion’s armored reconnaissance platoon, although it was true that the scouts lacked the ideal espirit de corps, with their tendency to be isolated from their fellows and the first in a fight. Hilda didn’t close the door yet, but she kept her hand on the door. “You’re utterly convinced that I’m who you’re looking for, for some reason.”“You are the most likely person,” you breathed a slight sigh of relief that she’d decided to listen further, “Unless you know anybody else who fits those shoes. Please, we’d really appreciate the help.”Hilda paused for a moment, seeming to think, not that she let any such clues cross her face. “My brother,” she finally said, “He could help you.”“Great!” you exclaim with maybe a bit too much enthusiasm, finally, a definite lead. “Where is he?”“The prison.” Hilda answered, “He was arrested for killing seagulls a month ago.”“I…” you say uncertainly, “Don’t think he’s the New Moon Sniper.”“He isn’t. You said you wanted a sniper, then go free him.” Hilda’s lack of emotion made you nervous; you would have preferred some warning of when she had lost patience.>No, no, I can’t just free a criminal. Besides, he’s probably out of practice. I need somebody free, and good enough to not be caught.>That’s too bad, I don’t want just anybody, I want the New Moon Sniper. Can you tell me where I can find them instead?>Dear, we can stop playing around. Are you honestly going to propose that it’s somebody else? You’re practically dripping with suspiciousness.>Other
>>1322972>"That means his intel is a month old. But. Are you saying that if he's free he could help us to find who we're looking for?"Translation: "Are you saying you will exchange the NMS's identity for your brother's freedom?"
>>1323000I vore for this
“That means his intel is a month old,” you counter, “But. Are you saying that if he’s free, he could help us to find who we’re looking for?”Hilda blinked at you. “No. I’m saying he’ll kill seagulls for you.”“Maybe I’m not making myself clear.” You adjust your officer’s cap, “We aren’t looking for your brother, we’re looking for the New Moon Sniper. Maybe we could make a trade. We pull a few strings, get your brother released,” you gesture to yourself, then to her, “and you find out where the person we’re looking for is.”Hilda stared through you and your companions for a minute, not answering. You were about to speak up, when she said something.“…Tsk. You’re wasting a lot of time just to get another gun. If you want your New Moon Sniper so much, go talk to my brother. He could have been in there for ten years, and he’d still know who it was. If you bust him out…we’ll talk.”Hilda didn’t let you have the last word as she shut the door.“A needlessly difficult woman.” Commented Von Metzeler.“Richter,” Maddalyn whispered in your ear, at least, the best she could, being vertically challenged as she was. “She had a funny presence. Like it’d been touched by something.”“Something like what?” you ask.“Somebody else with a strong presence, or a strange one.”“Like a wizard?” you ask cautiously.“Soulbinder. And no.” Maddalyn replied. “Like…something else. Not something strong or dangerous, just…off.”You weren’t sure if you should be concerned that she didn’t know what it was.“The prison’s visiting hours will be over by now,” Von Metzeler stated, looking at his pocket watch, “We would have to return tomorrow, if we wanted to do everything officially. That said, our positions…rather, my position, could let us…hasten, the process.”>Nah. I’ve got a bad feeling about this other guy. We’ll just watch from the hilltop for anybody suspicious.>No, we can do everything on the up and up. I feel like we have enough time for that.>By “hasten the process,” you mean without paperwork and red tape? I’m game.>Other
>>1323257>No, we can do everything on the up and up. I feel like we have enough time for that.
>>1323257>No, we can do everything on the up and up. I feel like we have enough time for that.We can use the time while we wait to investigate the possible Soulbinder that Maddalyn whispered to us about.
I say we stay a bit just to spot for any supernatural shit that might be visible at Night time? Less so to spy on hilda though
“No,” you turn down Metzeler’s plan, “We can do everything on the up and up. I feel we have enough time for that.”“Very well then.” Von Metzeler accepted your judgment with no protest.“So we’re going back now?” Maddalyn asked, “All that walking is…ugh.”You spent so much time around people used to full days of marching that what she said almost surprised you, despite her appearance of a stunted walking stick.“No, actually,” you crush Maddalyn’s hopes, “We’re staying for a little bit and watching.”“For what?” Maddalyn asked.“Whatever weird thing you said could be around.”“I do not like the sound of these ‘weird things’ you are referring to,” Von Metzeler said darkly, “I do not have fond memories of the last time I saw something like what I think you are referring to.”You had everybody retreat uphill, behind a few errant stones, where you could watch the house from about a hundred meters.
Six minutes of observation told you little. Every time you quizzed Maddalyn on what she could see, she gave a noncommittal answer; after the first time, she simply repeated “The same thing as before.”However, the fourth time, just before you considered calling it quits, Maddalyn spoke up herself.“…crap. Not another one.” She muttered as she looked away from the house, and instead gazed across the river.“Another what?” you pretend to be able to see anything across the river except the muddled shapes of Valsten soldiers on patrol.“Soulbinder.” She said, “The worst kind, too. A new one.”“The worst- Wait, how can you tell that he’s new?” you try to process the possibility of yet another Poltergeist.“Because he can’t control all that presence gushing from inside him,” Maddalyn continued to stare, unblinking, across the river, “Soulbinders, once they get strong enough, learn pretty fast how to control their power. With practice, they don’t look different from any other person.”“Poltergeist must not be that strong then,” you muse.“No, don’t start thinking of excuses to fight with Poltergeist again,” Maddalyn scolded you, flicking the side of your head, “Poltergeist is incredibly strong, the only reason I could see him all the time, and why he kept popping up, was because he wanted to be seen. Also because he’s an annoying rat. He also isn’t that dangerous, so long as you don’t act stupid and provoke him. This other one, though…” Maddalyn trailed off in thought.“He’s weaker, so he’s more dangerous?” Metzeler wondered for you. You wondered yourself how much he knew from just listening in.“No, he’s newer, and that’s why,” Maddalyn corrected, “Soulbinders are supposed to try and keep themselves hidden, to make sure they stay legends and folk tales. People as new yet strong enough to do something like this guy…they can get…ideas.”>What could he possibly want here anyways? As long as he stays away from us, who cares?>That sounds problematic. Can we deal with him?>We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. He isn’t bulletproof, let him try and stir shit.>Other
>>1324558>Ideas like helping his country in a war?>That sounds problematic. Can we deal with him?
>>1324558Option 3.I hate trying to copy and paste on mobile.
Sorry guys, I overslept a long ass time.“Ideas like helping his country in a war?” You ask.“I mean…” Maddalyn twirled a curl of her hair around her finger pensively, “These people like to wander a lot, so he might not even be from around here, but…maybe. Nobody’s found him and told him how to put a lid on his presence, so it’s possible.”“That sounds problematic.” You say to that, not particularly relishing the possibility of having to fight somebody whose powers you didn’t even begin to understand, “Can we deal with him?”“I’d rather not have to.” Maddalyn sighed, “They aren’t supposed to do anything like fight in wars, or favor their place of birth or nationality or anything like that. I forget what it is, but they they’re supposed to have some sort of oath they take.”“Humor me.” You’d prefer to be prepared if this new wizard decided not to just keep to his own business in a place about to explode into a hot war.“I’d rather not have to.” Maddalyn repeated, “I mean that. You can’t just shoot a Soulbinder to death, or cut him, or whatever. They just pull themselves back together; I don’t know if blowing them up even works. The only thing the Hermit ever told me about how to fight them was to call another one to do it for you.”“Great.” You let yourself fall backwards from squatting behind the stones, “Wait, can’t we just shoot him with the Hellfire?”“…you could.” Maddalyn said after some thought. “Maybe. I don’t know how well it would work.”You’d have to give it a shot, if it came down to that.>Stay and watch longer>Go back to camp and see if any new orders came>Goof off in town>Other
>>1329619>Stay and watch longer
>>1329619>>Goof off in townbut go with >>1329642 so it wont be a tie.
You decide to stay and watch Hilda’s house a little longer. Night was starting to droop over the Glennz; lamps in the city had been lit, and the reflection of the stars glittered on the river. “Lieutenant,” Von Metzeler said to you, “We should probably move. Concealed like this, Valsten sharpshooters may think we look suspicious.”“I agree.” A voice said from behind. You turn around in surprise and see Hilda, dressed as she was when you saw her in town, with a fur lined jacket and hood. “The Seagulls’d be less jumpy if there was a war. There’s better ways to entertain yourself than spying on my house, isn’t there.”“How did you-“ Maddalyn recoiled and fell down, “Oof! How did you-How did you get out here?”“I told you,” Hilda said tonelessly, “The Seagulls don’t like people walking around at night across the river. Especially people trying to hide and watch things. I have my ways of not being seen, but you definitely don’t. Get out of here before you get hurt.”>I don’t see why you get to have evening walks while we don’t. We’ll stay right here.>As an officer of the Archduke’s army, it is my responsibility to keep his subjects safe, not the other way around. You should get back inside, or we may have to take you into custody for your own safety.>Whatever. Being so inhospitable isn’t very charming, you know, but we’ll be on our way.>Other
>>1331889>I don’t see why you get to have evening walks while we don’t. We’ll stay right here.
>>1331889Option 3.Quick stroll through town before heading back to camp and hitting that prison first thing in the morning
>>1331889>As an officer of the Archduke’s army, it is my responsibility to keep his subjects safe, not the other way around.Leave out the other half for when she decides to start obstructing us.>>13319152nded.
“I don’t see why you can have evening walks while we can’t,” you object, “As an officer of the Archduke’s army, it is my responsibility to keep his subjects safe, not the other way around. It would be difficult to do that if said subjects could tell his soldiers to leave, and expect their wishes to be granted.”“Yeah,” Hilda said, “but you aren’t acting much like soldiers. More like peeping toms. The police don’t like those any more than the seagulls do, soldier or no.”You get the message. “Whatever.” You shrug and get up, “Being so inhospitable isn’t very charming, you know, but we’ll be on our way.”“Being so persistent after a girl says no isn’t very charming either, army man.” Hilda shoots back, “Don’t let the seagulls shoot you in the back on your way out.”---“Someone so recalcitrant must be hiding something.” Von Metzeler said when you were crossing the twin steel bridges going back into the city of Salzbrucke, “but it seems we have no choice but to do what she wants.”“Hm.” You grunt noncommittally. “Also,” Von Metzeler looks back to Maddalyn, “The Lady should not follow so far behind. It is not safe, especially considering her small stature.”“I’m fine.” Maddalyn said in reply.“Suit yourself.” Metzeler didn’t press the issue.However, a minute later, you felt a tug on your sleeve from behind. Maddalyn, pulling you away from your other comrades.“What is it?” you ask her after she’s dragged you back sufficiently far for her comfort. “If our magic friend is coming for a visit, I’m sure everybody deserves to know.”“What? No, I, um,” Maddalyn stuttered, “I just wanted to ask, that, um,” she composed herself, “We…passed by a bakery when we were walking around. They had apple pie, I could smell it, I mean, and…” she let go of your sleeve, “Never mind. It was a stupid idea.”>We can make a stop there. We’re off duty as far as anybody’s concerned right now anyways.>We don’t have time for that. Maybe later.>How will you retain your figure with that sort of diet? Unacceptable.>Other
>>1331997>We can make a stop there. We’re off duty as far as anybody’s concerned right now anyways.
>>1331997>We can make a stop there. We’re off duty as far as anybody’s concerned right now anyways.>You don't need my permission to buy yourself some pie.
>>1331997>(Jokingly) How will you retain your figure with that sort of diet? Unacceptable.>>1332156Maddalyn can indulge herself while we're still in cold war tensions, she probably won't get the chance to once the fight begins in earnest. Some pie won't do her figure any harm either, living the army life and all.>>1331997>“Being so persistent after a girl says no isn’t very charming either, army man.” Hilda shoots back, “Don’t let the seagulls shoot you in the back on your way out.”And this is why Maddalyn is Richter's best girl/fiancée. Maybe I should've mentioned the intended tone for option 3 to be more cheeky than dismissive, but this still fits.
“How will you retain your figure with that sort of diet? You tease Maddalyn, “Unacceptable.”“I…” Maddalyn grimaced and looked down.“I’m kidding,” you say, “We’re off duty anyways as far as anybody’s concerned right now, so we can make a stop there.”“O-oh…heh” Maddalyn tried to laugh, before nervously feeling around her waist. Why, you had no idea; she was rail thin, so far as you could tell, even with her baggy uniform on, her belt was cinched in tight enough that if she were any thinner she’d be a skeleton.
The bakery was in a relatively isolated part of town, but still seemed to have a steady flow of patrons. Von Metzeler had declined to come with you, choosing instead to go back to camp, saying something about “not being obstructive.” He tried to take Malachi with him, but the mountain man would hear none of it, replying in increasingly less comprehensible gobbledygook until your fellow officer gave up and left on his own.“So, apple pie?” You asked Maddalyn, “Seems a bit…low class, considering.”“Not all of the high nobility are gourmands, you know,” Maddalyn said, quite close to you and shirking away from the strangers around her, “but…I guess. We have some relatives who preferred rural living. My great aunt was such a kind woman, even after I…maybe father didn’t tell her. Maybe she wouldn’t have been so nice if she knew. I suppose I’ll never know now.”“My condolences.” You offer.“No, it was a long time ago.” Maddalyn sighed, as the line advanced, “It was a small place that she and her husband built long ago. They got sick of the courts, I suppose. It had a stream and a pond, and I was told it was lovely in the winter. The pond in the winter though…horrid.”“Let’s not think such things right now,” you try to divert her thoughts as you see her frown deepen, “We’re next, see?”“Hey, soldiers!” one of the shopkeepers greeted you, “Where are you from? Not the Ohlenslands, are you, milord?”“I’m afraid not.” You reply. The Ohlenslands were the opposite of the Blumlands; an eastern territory bordering Netilland and Sosaldt. Being so close to both the unfriendly Netillians and the outright belligerent brigands of Sosaldt meant that the region was particularly rough, and so were soldiers from it.“Ah, sorry then, milord.” The shopkeeper scratched at the back of his head, “A lot of us from around here are from the Ohlenslands, moved over here when the Netillians attacked a couple years back. The Archduke offered us a good bit of money to come here instead of back there, and for a lot of us here’s as good a home as ever we got, so it ain’t bad. Tho’…” he glanced around, “It’s getting awfully unfriendly as of late. We won’t have to all move again, will we, do you reckon?”>Hardly. Valsten lost twice before, and we’re set for a third win in a row. Count on it.>I’m a soldier, not a fortune teller. I can only say we’ll do our best.>You all should be getting ready to leave just in case. War is unpredictable, and the only smart thing to do when it comes near is to get as far away from it as possible. >Other>>1322822Sorry I didn't address this at first, but I can safely say that you must be the luckiest son of a gun because that's quite a combination to hit all of.>>1332574Nah, if it wasn't clear, that's on me. You can always feel free to ask if you're not sure what tone something is.
>>1332907>The defensive positions here are unbeliveably strong.>Then again, they were taken once before.>All I can say, anything can happen, though not much likely.
>>1332907I'll keep that in mind, thanks.>>13329292nded.
>>1332907>I’m a soldier, not a fortune teller. I can only say we’ll do our best.>You all should be getting ready to leave just in case. War is unpredictable, and the only smart thing to do when it comes near is to get as far away from it as possible.
“I’m a soldier, not a fortune teller,” you shrug, “I can only say we’ll do our best. The defensive positions here are unbelievably strong, but, they were taken once before.” The shopkeeper’s expression was steadily falling as you gave your realistic opinion. Likely not what he wanted to hear, but you didn’t want to perpetuate any unnecessary fantasies. “All I can say is that anything can happen, even if it doesn’t seem likely. You should be getting ready to leave in the case something really unlikely happens.”“Er, yeah,” the bakery’s employee said, “Right.”“Two slices of the apple pie, by the way.”“Huh? Oh, yeah.” The man gives you the price, and you dig around in your pocket for the change, which he quickly snatches off the counter as you lay your coins down on it.“You don’t need my permission to go buy yourself pie, you know,” you say to Maddalyn as you are both shuffled down the counter, leaving the man taking money to deal with Malachi’s unique linguistics.“I don’t like being alone…” Maddalyn said quietly. You decided not to press the issue.
You didn’t realize how hungry you were until you got your cut of pie. You had some vague memories of it being fantastic, in between wolfing it down in as few bites as possible, but upon being presented food your guts clawed at you until there was nothing left but flakey shards of pastry.Maddalyn stared at you as if you’d eaten something alive. “I…didn’t think we were in a hurry…” she had barely eaten any of her pie, and pushed around a piece of caramel-colored syrup-bathed apple.“Sorry,” you say sheepishly, trying to smile. You noticed Malachi approach you with an enormous bag of what seemed to just be bread rolls. He must not have been very trusting of the field kitchens’ ability to get food to the front, because you couldn’t imagine him possibly eating all of that himself. Your driver made an inquiring syllable at you when he came up.“We’ll be fine,” you say hurriedly, “Just go back on your own.”“Yem.” Malachi grunted again just before lumbering out the door, buns teetering on top of the paper sack.Maddalyn carefully speared the bit of apple she had been playing with and nipped it off her fork. “What you were telling that man…” she said in between little bites, “How can you both be sure of winning yet considerate of losing? It seems contradictory.”“A commander cannot ever be blinded by the appearance of inevitable victory, nor cowed by the illusion of unavoidable defeat,” you recite some of Claus Von Witzelheim’s war theory from memory, “When Valsten invaded three years ago, they probably didn’t think they would lose as hard as they did, either, but they did. Even if the Archduke has forces sent here to help the Von Varbonns, with the Air Corps being ready at a moment’s notice, we can’t assume we know how Valsten will act, or react.”“I don’t think everybody needs to know that. Mmf.” Maddalyn crunched on a chunk of sugared crust, “…ah. After all, one man doesn’t decide the battlefield just like one farmer doesn’t decide the harvest, right? They should trust their superiors to make the right decisions.”Maddalyn finished her pie. A few crumbs rested on her lips, but she didn’t seem to notice as she waited for an answer.>Officers aren’t infallible. I prefer for people to know the situation, even if they aren’t decisive actors.>Perhaps, but those are the soldiers. The citizenry has the right to know how a battle might affect their homes, since they may have to remain or leave after the fighting is over.>Are you concerned that people might lose the will to fight if they know there’s a possibility of losing? I can’t discount that being a factor, even if it isn’t kind to the peasantry.>Other
>>1333952>Perhaps, but those are the soldiers. The citizenry has the right to know how a battle might affect their homes, since they may have to remain or leave after the fighting is over.
>>1333952>>1334792>>Officers aren’t infallible. I prefer for people to know the situation, even if they aren’t decisive actors.>Are you concerned that people might lose the will to fight if they know there’s a possibility of losing? I can’t discount that being a factor, even if it isn’t kind to the peasantry.>Still, it's better they don't get hyped up on unrealistic expectations.
“Perhaps,” you say back to Maddalyn, “but those are soldiers. The citizenry has the right to know how a battle might affect their homes, since they have to remain or leave after the fighting is over.”“Mm.” Maddalyn pursed her lips.“Besides, officers aren’t infallible,” you go on, reminding yourself of the troubles of your final exercise at the academy, largely caused by officer incompetence, “I prefer for people to know the situation. Do you the possibility of losing might affect their decisions?”“Isn’t it?” Maddalyn licked her lips, “An individual has a limited view. A soldier is always looking up from below someone, aren’t they? They don’t have the whole view of things, they only know what’s in front of them like any of us. Yet if they’re like any other subject, if they act on their own, they could risk the welfare of everybody around them. To lower the risk of that happening, that’s a natural thing to want, I think.”“It isn’t that they need to know everything,” you say, “It’s that they should know what’s realistic. It’s better that the men don’t begin planning for Langenachtfest before the war is over.”“I think allowing some hope to have another Langenachtfest is better…” Maddalyn said, getting up. “I don’t want to hold you up any more. Do you want to go?”There’s no reason to stay any longer, you suppose. You get up as well.
While the streets did not have the bustle of Blumsburgh, Salzbrucke, still being a city, had a decent amount of evening traffic. You were about to take the most direct path back to the camp, but Maddalyn tugged on your sleeve from behind.“What, is there a ghost on this street?” you ask, perhaps a bit more sarcastically than you would have intended.“Ghost is…no, it’s appropriate, in a matter of speaking. They’re called Embers, though.” Maddalyn said completely straight faced.“I wasn’t hoping for an answer like that.” You admit. “Are any of the people here this…Ember?”“No, you can’t see it,” Maddalyn held up her hands, “you don’t really want to get close to one anyways, in case they stick on you. They’re soul parasites, masquerading as dead people. They might think they’re the dead people, but they’re really just impressions made on presence creatures. They’re probably what’s keeping the Pacers aroun-”“Wait, wait,” you stopped her, “Are you saying these things actually think and talk?”“You know what a ghost is?” Maddalyn summarized, “It looks like that, but it isn’t. If you start seeing one…I can take care of it.”“I’ll keep that in mind.” You squint at the street, looking vainly for anything that seemed ghostly, before Maddalyn pulled you to an adjacent street.---“Lieutenant,” Von Metzeler greeted you as soon as you got back, “Company Headquarters left a message with the platoon. They wanted ‘volunteers.’ For what, they did not mention. Only that it was a secret operation, and would likely be quite dangerous. However, the possibility of ‘honors’ was mentioned, which could mean many things.”“Honors, indeed…” you think, put your hand on your chin and tap your finger on your cheek in thought. “Secret Operations” didn’t tend to involve tanks; there wasn’t any possibility that you in particular were being asked, despite your history in performing unusual operations; most likely nobody knew about that anyways. No, this would somehow be some strange plan involving tanks.>Somebody else would volunteer; you didn’t have to bother jumping at every strange thing that came up in your service.>A possibility of honors? What else was needed? Volunteering for and succeeding in pulling off this operation, whatever it was, could only help you…>Express interest, but try to keep options open so you can back out if needed. This would be risky, however, considering that these sorts of things really didn’t tend to have exit clauses. Refusing the operation could mean a court martial…>Other
>>1335938>>Express interest, but try to keep options open so you can back out if needed. This would be risky, however, considering that these sorts of things really didn’t tend to have exit clauses. Refusing the operation could mean a court martial…Is it about harnessing the power of ghosts? Should we bring the Ghostbusters too?
>>1336221Most likely not, considering that it came down from company HQ, which probably passed it down from battalion. As far as Richter can tell, it shouldn't have anything to do with the supernatural.
>>1335938>A possibility of honors? What else was needed? Volunteering for and succeeding in pulling off this operation, whatever it was, could only help you…Could this give us the clout to free HIlda's brother and find our missing shell?
>>1336273>and find our missing shell?What if HQ took our missing shell to force us to take the Secret Operation?
>>1336400I'm not sure I see how HQ having taken our missing shell would force us to accept the secret operation.
>>1336473I was thinking it would be for blackmail that we were negligent enough to lose such a dangerous piece of equipment, but it that didn't seem reasonable because they're HQ. That was just me in the conspiracy mindset from another quest.
“I’ll tell Company HQ I’m interested,” you say to Von Metzeler.“They did not ask for interest,” Von Metzeler turned his head to the side, still looking at you, “They asked for volunteers. I doubt you will learn very much without a full commitment.”“Testing the waters won’t do any harm,” you wave a hand in mock dismissal, “The worst they can do is tell me nothing.”“Do what you feel is right, then.” Von Metzeler let you go. You climbed into your m/32, where you found Hans loitering.“Where did my radio operator go?” you ask him.“What? I’m your - whatever. If you’re talking about the runt, she turned her nose up at sharing the tank with little old me. Said she was going to look at the river.”“Well, go get at the radio, then. I need to talk to company headquarters.” You say, picking up the headset at the commander’s position and turning the switch to the tank radio instead of the intercom.“My pleasure. My poor, delicate hands aren’t built for loading.” Hans complained. There was some delay as he looked up the frequencies in the platoon codebook, kept in your tank, before he turned some dials. “You’re in.”“I’d like to speak with Captain Schwarzholdt,” You say to whoever was on the other end at the moment. “This is Lieutenant Von Tracht of 5th platoon.”“One minute.” The HQ radio operator told you, before presumably running off to get the captain. “Captain Schwarzholdt. What is it, Lieutenant?” the voice of your captain crackled on.“What’s all this about a secret operation that needs volunteers?” you ask him.“I can’t tell you,” He says with resignation, “I don’t know, myself. Battalion just asked for whatever volunteers each company could give, didn’t say anything else.”“Come on, you can’t tell me anything?” you cajole.“I can tell you how to talk with the people who want volunteers, that’s it.” Schwarzholdt said back, “Only if you’re saying you want to volunteer, though. Do you?”“Sign me up.” You say, hoping that there was a possible way out after those words left your mouth.“Alright then,” Schwartzholdt rattled off an encoded frequency name, which you carefully decrypted using your communications book; itself only a partial guide to the codes, in case one was captured. “Bother somebody on that line, and say that you’re interested in a river cruise.”“Much obliged. Von Tracht, out.” You switch to the intercom and tell Hans what frequency to go on, before listening for a minute for anything.There was just static. “Are you on the right frequency?” you take off the headset for a moment and call down to Hans.“Positive.” He shouts back.You frown to yourself and put the headset back on. Maybe they’re waiting for something?>Hello? Is anybody there? I want to ask a few things.>I’m interested in a river cruise.>Wait for any transmissions>Other
>>1337697Interested in a river cruise.I'd like to do this mission whatever it is. I'd rather be in some sort of special operations armored unit then some typical line unit.And if it's to insane a mission it's not like we have to take Maddy, she isn't really an official crew member anyways. Also, are we undermanned if we leave Maddy behind?
>>1337788> Also, are we undermanned if we leave Maddy behind?It's a simple enough matter to get somebody from replacement companies. I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but you're supposed to already have somebody lined up just in case.
>>1337697>I’m interested in a river cruise.
“I’m interested in a river cruise.” You say to the empty channel.I SEE YOUThankfully, the phantom’s unwelcome talking, at least, what you assumed the voice from inside your head came from, did not block out any response.You waited a few more seconds. Maybe they weren’t listening?“I’m interested in a-““Identify yourself.” A strangely distorted voice answered back.“Er.” You were caught off guard, “Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht, with Von Blum’s 1st Battalion of Panzers, 3rd Company.” The voice did not answer for some more time, but you patiently waited until a harsh voice responded.“You will be considered. Arrive tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM, at the bakery on 15th Street. Go around to the rear entrance, and tell the man you find there that you are looking for a ferryman. He will lead you to where you will be briefed.”“I have a few-““All questions will be answered there.” The voice said with finality. No matter what you said, no responses arrived afterwards. You took off your headset with a sigh and opened the turret door to let some night air in, when you heard a terrible shriek.You looked out of the tank and saw the dim shape of Maddalyn stumbling back and forth, half running and half crawling, towards your tank.
“Are you-“ you ask, jumping out of the tank.“H-h-h-he…He saw me! M-m-marked me! He knows! He’s c-coming for me!” Maddalyn stammered madly. Her face was a horrifying sight; thick, black matter flowed from her eyes, nose, and mouth, mixed with blood. Her eyes themselves were a deep black, and their centers glowed with unearthly light. “Help! H-help! Help me, please! Richter, p-please, hide, me, h-h-h-hide me!” Maddalyn’s knees trembled, and she tottered from side to side, hyperventilating in deep, ragged wheezes.>Wait, who’s coming? Calm down. What’s wrong with your face?>Something’s wrong. Find an empty tank to throw her into.>Grab her and hide her with you in your own tank.>Other
>>1338940>Grab her and hide her with you in your own tank.
>>1338954Seconded.Plus that picture is truly creepy as hell.
>>13389401 & 3
>>1338940>Also let's load the special shell
>>1338940>>1339004>>13390072nded. GEEK THE MAGE!
>>1339004This and loading the super Shell
>>1338940>>13390073, then 1, then super shell.
>>1338940>>1339301>>1339433Messed up the linking.
You quickly throw Maddalyn over your shoulder and clamber back inside your m/32. Immediately upon being put down inside the turret, Maddalyn crawled into the lower basket, curling into a ball and sobbing.“What happened?” you ask Maddalyn as you shut the turret door, “Are you alright?”“H…he…” Maddalyn was in no shape to answer you, it seemed.“Loader!” you kick Hans to attention while moving over to the gunner’s seat, “Get up here, and load the Hellfire. The weird looking white shell!”“What the….fuck…” Hans’ training worked faster than his thought process did, and by the time he took his place on the other side of the breach from you, fumbling the breach open with a turn of the handle and pushing in the hellfire shell, before turning the lever back and locking the breach with another turn.You peered through the sights towards the river, waiting for a cocky soulbinder to show his face.“No!” Maddalyn said from below, “You c-can’t shoot that right now! There’s p-people outside!”COME BACK“Oh, not now-“ you say to nobody before your body goes limp without your permission.“Boss?” Hans looked at you, just before her turned into a blur, “Hey, boss, what’s-“---You were back in the dreamscape. It wasn’t quite as shocking as before, although the swirling fog and the odd hut were not any less alien.This time, however, Poltergeist was nowhere to be seen.“Hey!” you shout out, “This isn’t funny! I need to get back, right now!”Nobody answered you. You thought that Poltergeist would at least have some sarcastic reply, were he here.You look around for some vague hint at an answer. Besides the rough path to the hut on top of the hills you stood atop of, and the hut itself, there was nothing. You looked downhill to the swirling abyss; it did not seem to hold the answers you sought either, merely bubbling, tantalizingly, as if beckoning you to leap in.Well, that didn’t seem productive at the moment. Then again, little did.>Just wait. If this is anything like last time, you’ll be back soon enough.>Investigate the hut. Poltergeist was living in it, or whatever, maybe he left some clues.>Leap into the swirling fog; it can’t take you any further from your problems than you’ve already gone.>Other
>>1339753>>Investigate the hut. Poltergeist was living in it, or whatever, maybe he left some clues.Time to start sleuthing while we're in dreamland.
>>1339753>Investigate the hut. Poltergeist was living in it, or whatever, maybe he left some clues.
You decide to investigate the hut. Maybe you’d find some answers inside; possibly, some way to deal with this new soulbinder that had decided to make things personal.The hut itself was made of odd material, like trees twisted together, then burned to charcoal. When you ran your hand across it, though, it was hard as stone. The door was opened to the inside, a thin plank clumsily attached to a crude frame; from inside, a few creatures you remembered being called “Hungry Darkness” blinked their pale white eyes at you, from inside cracks in the walls.On the wall opposite the door, there were lines scratched into the strange, dark material, gouged deep enough to be visible even in the dim interior. They appeared to have been made with a knife, and seemed to be counting…something. There were four lines crossed by a fifth, and another two after it. Odd.You looked around inside the hut. It was a single, large room, sparsely furnished with only a few pieces of mismatched furniture. The whole place was coated in a thin layer of grey dust, that swirled about like it was being tossed by a wind that did not blow. In the corner there was a bedroll, a well-worn wool blanket you recognized as being Strossvald army issue. You tried looking at the date of manufacture; after all, this model wasn’t exactly new. Except for the first number, though, the printing had been worn away. At least you knew this roll had been made this millennium.Across from the bedroll, on top of a low desk with no chair, but a ratty old cushion, there was a blue covered journal, as well as a writing set consisting of a thin ink brush, a cake of ink molded in the shape of a flower, a closed glass jar of some settled water, and an inkstone for mixing water and the ink for writing. Like everything else in the hut, they hadn’t been touched for a long time, and were slightly pale with accumulated dust.You pick it up, turning it over and looking at the back before flipping it open in your hands. Most of it was empty. It certainly didn’t seem new; perhaps Poltergeist didn’t like writing much?
You decided to start at the beginning. To your relative surprise, all of the writing was in New Nauk. Strange, considering that you were under the impression that Soulbinders preferred to write in what Maddalyn had called “the ancient language of the mountains.” Thoughts that could be pondered later. You start reading.---I am Poltergeist. For anyone else who finds this place, make yourself at home. I haven’t found any inns here in Betwixt, so this is the best one can really do. I would appreciate it if you didn’t take this book, or any of the furniture inside. Some of us come through here often, after all.---That was all for the first page, but you saw more writing through the paper. You turn the page.---I am unsure what I was thinking when I wrote that message to no one. It feels like it’s been so long ago, but this place does not have the same respect for time that the place I come from does, or even the Navel. It has been years, but there wasn’t even a speck of dust in the place, as if I had come here only yesterday.The first, second, even third times coming through here, the sights were fascinating enough to merely gaze at the skies for the whole trip back. Now though, it has become dull. I would have expected to tire of it much later than my fifth visit, however.Although I doubt anybody but I will read this, one cannot be too careful. So, if you’re somebody else, don’t bother reading through this for any secrets or tricks or forbidden arts, or anything else you might be looking for. There will be nothing here but the idle ramblings of somebody far older than they have any right to be.---
His fifth visit? Maybe the seven marks on the wall counted how many times he had been here. You look to the next page. Poltergeist didn’t sound very old; maybe Soulbinders didn’t age the same way? If that was the case, though, the one who lived with Maddalyn shouldn’t have gotten senile, unless he was ridiculously old. Not like you were expecting to simply outlast Poltergeist or this new wizard anyways.---This time, coming through, something strange happened. I received a visitor.A very familiar one. I was lucky I could remember his name, even though once upon a time there was a time where it would have been ridiculous for me to ever forget. He had no fond feelings for me, however. I have forgotten much, so perhaps in one of my travels, I somehow offended him indirectly. It is easy to forget, especially when so much happens to oneself.---There was much more on that page, but the writing had been scratched out, and had ink spilled over it, and a few pages had been torn out after it. The last bit of writing was on a page after the damaged ones.---I may have made a dire mistake. However, I have done my best to amend it.I wrote many things down the last time I opened this book, things I should not have allowed myself to reveal, especially with the knowledge that people other than myself can visit this place. It is quite something to realize that, and have to think about it for years before you can come back and do anything about it.Thankfully, there was no sign anything had been tampered with, seen, or anything like that. I won’t make such a mistake again, that is for certain. Half of this entire trip was just to make it back here.Nobody other than me has decided to write in this journal, and I’ve never seen anything out of place when I’ve come back around here. I must assume that, as usual, nobody has read my words.I would not mind terribly if somebody wrote, however. I get terribly little mail these days.---The journal ended there. >Write something in the journal?>Leave it be>Any other actions
>>1341828>Write something in the journal?"'Indirectly offended' my ass. You were being an absoultely directly assholish old fart."Do we have a pencil? If we do, and Poltergeist put enough pressure when writing, we could try to make out what's under the inkstains by lightly hatching the reverse side of the page. We could also attempt the same with the first not torn page to se what was written on the last torn one.Also, o nthe picture it seems like the hut has two outbuildings. Let's investigate them. And look behind the hut as well.
>>1341873>Do we have a pencil?You're having a bit of an out of body experience, so no.You could try looking for one, or something like it though. The desk has drawers, so there might be more writing utensils inside.
>>1341882Then>Search the drawers.>Search everything in the hut, actually>Including under the bedrollThen >>1341873
>>1341887If we find come charcoal it could work too.
You had the idea to see if you could extract anything from the page Poltergeist had tried to obscure. After all, by drawing charcoal or pencil over another sheet of paper, one could try and lift the indentations left by writing onto another page, even if the text was obscured or erased.You didn’t have a pencil or anything like that on you, however. Come to think of it, you weren’t even sure how you still had your clothes on you, especially considering you didn’t feel them on you, despite seeing them. Certain questions didn’t need an answer, though, you felt.You rifled through the small drawers of the desk, looking for other writing utensils. Your search turns fruit in the very first; little sticks of what looks to be charcoal. You excitedly tear a page from the journal, and begin rubbing the charcoal onto the page on top of the other.Without warning, the charcoal, instead of leaving marks, cracks open, and a glowing yellowish tendril slips out. You drop the thing with a jerk.Whatever was inside of what you had thought had been a stick of charcoal finished crawling out. It looked like a pair of legs connected at the top, except very abstract, and once it had extracted itself it marched around aimlessly about the desk with a steady, deliberate pace.It was unnerving, but didn’t seem aggressive or harmful. Partially because it was only a few centimeters tall. You resumed your search for charcoal or a pencil as the little creature circled the perimeter of the desk. The place you found the thing you thought was charcoal was merely full of more of the same things; you could tell them apart now that you knew what to look for; the striations, upon closer inspection, did not look like burned wood.Another level of the desk held part of a typewriter. Perhaps the rest of it had gone missing or had been disposed of after being broken; Poltergeist was no luddite, it seemed, if he could help it.Finally you found blocks of what had to be charcoal. They were squarish, and not too good for writing with, but when you tested them they at least did not sprout strange animals.
With some effort, you managed to reveal some of the hidden text. It wasn’t perfect, and parts of it couldn’t be made clear, but you lifted most of it.---My visitor was clearly in a state of distress and confusion when he arrived. On__ na__ral, considering how he ____ to visit. The pull of a בריכת נשמות is a mysterious and _o_____l f_rce.I was expecting ____ to come, I remembered that much, but not at the time he did. Such strong forces are not diffi_ult to sense here, after all, but there is a certain la_k of pr_____on.My visitor was not acting like he would be very receptive to any advice I could gi__ _im, not that there was much to tell bey__d what I said to him. Such creatures as those that torment him ___ foul works, not only because of their _an_er to ______kind, but also because of how in___atingly difficult they are to ______. Such pr__e_ces are, like that of S__lbin_ers like myself, quite d___ble because of their ability to reassemb__ themselves even from ______. A solution, however t_________, that I have b__n thinking about, is such. Given the ________ ___ure of the creature, an _____ solution is to bind it to ________, as to more _asily do away with all of it at once and destroy ev_ry piece of it at once, leaving no___ng to try and reassemble itself. As any like myself, who are l___ to someday p__s through here, know, a Soulbinder is still, at their core, human. Thus, binding their presence can be done through inelegant, but qui_e simple means of ove___wering their _____ with one’s own, and isolating ____ from their golem. This creature, however, is no longer __man, and thus ________ difficult to _____ _____ in a ______. My theory is such, for the __ne_it of any who come across this ___, as one of these creatures are a _____ to all. If one were to bind the creature to a per___ as one would bind their pr_sen__ to a golem, the creature would no longer be in______t. Such would require knowledge of the Rites of Bi__d__, which as of now, _ ___t ___w __. ---The text ends there, the barely legible letters trailing to the missing next pages.There was only one thing left to do with the journal now. Putting together some ink, you write a rude comment on one of the entries.---Indirectly offended my ass. You were being an absolutely directly assholish old fart.---Perhaps it blended in too much, though, despite being written in the margins. It wouldn’t have made much sense just put at the end, though. You closed the book and put it back down, avoiding the walking little creature. You felt yourself fading; it wouldn’t be long now before your visit was over. You figured you had enough time to look around inside, or outside.>Search the outside buildings>Look around more inside>No need, just wait.>Other
Look around inside some more... Maybe write your name and tell him to contact us once he sees this?
>>1341947>Memorize the words בריכת נשמות to reproduce them to Maddy later>Search the outside buildings
>>1341947>>13419772nded.>>1342571>Memorize the words בריכת נשמות to reproduce them to Maddy later2nded memorization.
>>1341977>I can't imagine us ever willingly wanting to meet Poltergeist again, so I have to vote 'no' on the contact request.
>>1342641>>I can't imagine us ever willingly wanting to meet Poltergeist again, so I have to vote 'no' on the contact request.What's so bad about Poltergeist? I thought he'd help us with this new soulbinder that's got us hiding in a tank.
>>1342653He's an asshole and we've even written as much.
>>1342690But is he a helpful asshole? If he is then I don't see why we shouldn’t get him to help us before we nuke the other soulbinder. Poltergeist even said as much that soulbinder vs soulbinder works best, so we'll just have to shoulder on if that's the case.
>>1342743This.Poltergeist may be an asshole, but he's made no attempt to harm us and no indication that he wants to. This new guy is working with Valsten, so I doubt we'll be able to say the same of him for much longer, and we'd be in a much better position with another soulbinder to fight him.
You think to write a request for aid in the journal. Who knew when Poltergeist would see it, but with no way you could remember of to reliably contact him otherwise, it would have to do.You remember that he told you that saying some chant of some sort would have him come to you, but you assumed that was because, before, he had been always near you. You didn’t think you could count on summoning him so simply, after Poltergeist made such a show of telling you he wouldn’t be following you to Salzbrucke.You decide to write a short note before continuing a hasty search around the room.---This is Richter Von Tracht. I am in need of help, and very soon. As soon as you see this, I need you to get into contact with me. There is a Soulbinder who is likely to be very antagonistic, who I need taken care of.---Maddalyn had hinted that Soulbinders were not supposed to hold any loyalties to nations or be unnecessarily obtrusive in the affairs of the multitude. You hoped that perhaps Poltergeist conformed to such opinions, and that he would be willing to help.With that done, you decide to look around the rest of the shack before you fall back into reality. There isn’t anything quite as interesting as the journal; a few shelves held little packages that were enscribed with varying reasons not to open them; some wriggled when you got close to them.You weren’t about to have any of that nonsense, you decided, so you looked elsewhere. The bedroll betrayed no secrets besides a cloud of thick, cloying dust, and a thick beaten up chest against a wall that you opened appeared to contain nothing but various bits of junk. Some of them seemed oddly familiar, being golden tools like you had looted from the old laborator back in the Blumlands, but these lacks the insets of precious stones.There was some more to look through, but before you could get to the rest of the room, you felt yourself sink through the floor like you had been dropped in water, and the world turned into watercolor.
You wake up with a start, outside, under the roof of a canvas half-tent. Your clothes and the bedroll you were resting on were both lightly wetted with morning dew; just enough for you to notice how damn chilly it was starting to get with winter trying to make an early showing in the middle of autumn.It was definitely early morning, but you couldn’t hear any birds singing. The silence was rather off-putting; there was only the distant sound of locomotives, and the river.You pull your pocket watch from your jacket. Six twenty. You gave it a few turns just in case it was winding low.“Morning, commander,” Stein said as you crawled out from under the canvas, “You alright? Hans said you conked out right after you got ready to shoot at something.”“Dyehed…” your voice wasn’t cooperating with what your brain wanted to say,” Ahem, did….did anything come for us in the night?”Stein looked baffled. “No, sir, and even if anything did, I put salt on all the usual places. So far as I hear it’s worked; no hauntings in the whole platoon.”“Not tha-never mind.” You pull yourself to your feet, “Where’s Maddalyn?”“Oh?” Stein gritted his teeth, “She’s…acting….weird? She won’t come out of the tank. Hans was starting to get pissed, said she’s boarding the platoon’s link to company, but she won’t answer.” He itched at the side of his head, “Hans won’t say it, but I think he feels like the rest of us do about her being so closed up. Sure, she’s a girl, but she doesn’t talk to anybody, even when people try to talk to her. ‘s like we did something wrong that we can’t remember.”“I’ll take care of it.” You tell Stein, “Be ready for something later today. I volunteered us for a surprise.”“A surprise?” Stein said vacantly as you headed for your tank.You creak open the turret door, and from inside immediately comes a shout.“D-don’t...don’t come in! Go away!” Maddalyn’s voice was dry and haggard, and you could hear her starting to hyperventilate again. You looked down at her, where she must have been the whole night, down in the turret basket. You were wondering where your officer’s cap had gone to; Maddalyn is holding it in from of her face, hiding it.“Noooo! G-g-get out!” she cried into it, “Go away!”>Don't worry, it's me. Everything’ll be alright. We’re all here and there's no creeps trying to get you. >It’s me, Maddy. It’s time to stop hiding in the tank, we need it for business today.>Good morning, dear. It’s nice to see you, too.>Other
>>1344606>>Don't worry, it's me. Everything’ll be alright. We’re all here and there's no creeps trying to get you.Deescalate situation, calm her down before she loses it.>OtherMention that we tried leaving a message to deal with the problem we're heaving.
>>1344606>Good morning, dear. It’s nice to see you, too.
>>1344606>Don't worry, it's me. Everything’ll be alright. We’re all here and there's no creeps trying to get you.
>>1344618Pretty much this and include a goodmorning darling or something
“Hey, don’t worry, it’s me,” you try to calm Maddalyn’s fears, “Everything’ll be alright. We’re all here, and there’s no creeps trying to get you.”Maddalyn’s cries ended when you spoke. “…Richter?” she asks feebly, peering over your cap, “I…”“Good morning, darling,” you say to her, trying to smile. It wasn’t something that came easily, as of late. “It’s nice to see you.”“…Darling?” Maddalyn echoed, suddenly mystified. She slowly lowered your cap. Her face was still caked in the odd black matter, but it had mostly dried into a sparse cracked caking on her cheeks, most of it seemingly rubbed off. Her eyes were still completely black, with glowing centers. “You…You’ve never called me darling before…” Maddalyn looked at you, her oddly afflicted eyes wide.“Well…” you noticed that Maddalyn’s eyes were darting back and forth from the open turret door, so you let yourself in and close the hatch behind you. “Are you alright?” you ask.“…yeah.” Maddalyn sighed, “Yes. But I…I must look…revolting. I know I’m not good looking even at my best, but now…I’m sorry if I make you ill just looking at me…” >I’ve seen worse. Trust me. What would a blind girl know about good looks anyways?>Don’t put yourself down so much, aside from the glowing eyes, you look fine.>I wouldn’t say you make me ill, but we should probably cover those…eyes.>Other
>>1345355>Don’t put yourself down so much, aside from the glowing eyes, you look fine.>How were the things since I dropped?
>>1345355The only thing making me ill is that I still have no idea what the hell happened last night. Care to explain?
“Oh, stop, don’t put yourself down so much,” you scoff at Maddalyn, as if she’d said something ridiculous, “Aside from the glowing eyes…you look…fine.” Maddalyn didn’t say anything, but something told you she could smell the uncertain tone you tried so hard to hide. “Anyways, the only thing making me ill is that I still have no idea what the hell happened last night. Care to explain?”“Mm. Well…” Maddalyn shifted her seating a little, not dropping your cap as she moved her legs out from under herself and pulled them up in front. You might have to directly ask for it back at this rate. “I was looking for any strange people, like the sniper, when that other Soulbinder…he just starts pacing back and forth at the river, like he was looking for something, or watching for something. I guess he saw me, eventually, so he…marked me.”“Could you explain what you mean be…marking?” you ask, checking the breach, just in case for some reason the hellfire shell had been left in. It hadn’t been, but it was only safe to check.“Ah,” Maddalyn thought for a moment, “Well, to put it simply, he used a…spell, that makes me stand out, even from far away.” She rocked back and forth, “It’s like how I can see him so easily…I don’t know why he did it. He shouldn’t be able to tell…what I am, from so far away.”“Was the, well, you know,” you gesture to your eyes with a little hand motion like a grenade going off, “Was that part of it?” You weren’t keen on having that happen to you, whatever it was.
Maddalyn leaned her head back and to the side, against one of the shell racks. “No, that what just because…the little ones don’t like the surge of energy that happens when that spell is done. It’s harmful to them, and they start thrashing around, trying to get out…it really, really hurts…”“Does it still hurt?”“No.” Maddalyn rubbed a bit more of the strange black crust off her face, “Well, just a little. It’s fine. I just…can’t go out. I’m scared.”“You’re fine as long as you’re in here, right?” you say, “That’s fine, you can stay in here, but you can’t keep my crew out. We need this tank to fight, you know.”“I know, I know…” Maddalyn buried her face in her knees, “I just thought they wouldn’t understand, that…I mean, I thought…I really am worthless, aren’t I? I’ll stop making excuses…”You drag your hand across your face. Battlefield fatigue was one thing but there wasn’t even a war on yet. >They’ve been through the same things I have. They’ll understand, don’t worry about it.>Just cover up your eyes and I’m sure they won’t worry about it.>I’m sure they won’t notice. Just carry on as normal.>OtherAlso>I have a meeting to keep with whoever wants volunteers for some secret operation. I’ll be going.>I’m going to the prison to keep my end of the deal with Hilda. >Did you even eat dinner? Creepy wizard or no, you’ll waste away to nothing hiding in here. Let’s get something to eat.>Other
>>1346836Er... How much time do we have to fulfill the 3 meeting options?I haven't read through the archives so I'm not sure of the tank crew's reactions.
>>1346945You have plenty of time, you just have to go to the operations meeting in an hour and a half, if not earlier. It's more a matter of what you want to do first.As far as knowledge of reactions go, they know insofar as the existence of these strange, supernatural things, they just don't know the details beyond "scary looking things are probably bad" since they haven't had an in depth explanations given to them.
>>1346836>>They’ve been through the same things I have. They’ll understand, don’t worry about it.But if she's still worried:>>Just cover up your eyes and I’m sure they won’t worry about it.We'll go and talk to them later about Maddalyn not being possessed with those glowy eyes.Then>I’m going to the prison to keep my end of the deal with Hilda. We'll bring Maddalyn something to eat on our way back before leaving for the meeting.
>>1346836>>1347354>Ask Maddalyn what she wants to eats before we leave.We'll pick up the food on either our way to the prison or the spec ops meeting to then drop off at Maddalyn.I'm not going to ask her to leave the tank because of the whole glowy mark that'll spook everyone and bring the attention of the Soulbinder and all.
>>1346836>Just cover up your eyes and I’m sure they won’t worry about it.>Did you even eat dinner? Creepy wizard or no, you’ll waste away to nothing hiding in here. Let’s get something to eat.>Ask her about soulbinder golems>Reproduce the strange words from the hut for her and ask what they mean
>>1347706>>Ask her about soulbinder golems>>Reproduce the strange words from the hut for her and ask what they mean2nding these parts. I forgot about that.
Got up shitty this morning, sorry I'm so late.“You’re not worthless.” You tell Maddalyn, “For goodness sakes, just trust my crew a little more.”“Alright…” Maddalyn said noncommittally.“So, a golem,” you ask Maddalyn to try and steer her away from further self-pity, and also out of curiosity, “What are those again?”“It’s…hard to explain.” Maddalyn says waveringly, “but they’re basically what makes a soulbinder a soulbinder in the first place. They’re a focus for their presence, and also what makes them so strong. As long as the golem’s around, you can’t really kill a soulbinder, too; they’re like a spare copy of themselves, I guess, but not really.”“So we just get rid of the golem and we’re golden.” You conclude.“It’s not that easy,” Maddalyn retorts, “In fact, I really have no clue how you’d do that anyways. It’s best, only if we need to, to do as much damage as we can and only hope it delays him, if he decides to attack us.”“Also,” you say, looking around for writing material. You find some rather quickly, and jot down what you could remember of the ancient language noted in Poltergeist’s journal. “Do you know what this says?”Maddalyn squints at your writing. “That’s really old style dialect. Where did you see this?”
You explain Poltergeist’s vacation home in dreamland, and what you found there.“Hm.” Maddalyn absorbs the information, “I mean…I’m sorry, but I don’t know what this says. I know the characters, but…well, I don’t know how they’re pronounced, and these don’t even form words. They’re in some sort of code, if I were to guess. The only other thing would be that it’s written by somebody who doesn’t know the language that well, and tried sounding it out instead of following the rules of the tongue.”Slightly disappointing, but you supposed that it wasn’t too surprising.“So did you even eat dinner last night?” you change the subject, “Creepy wizard or no, you’ll waste away to nothing hiding in here. Do you want me to get something for you?”“No, I’ll be...fine.” Maddalyn said distantly. The answer to the first part must have been “no.”“Well then,” you heave yourself up, “I’m going to the prison to keep my end of the deal we made with that Hilda woman. I’m sure you’ll be safe as long as you stay in here.”“But-“ Maddalyn started to object, but you cut her off.“Don’t be scared of my crew. They’ve been through the same things I have, don’t worry about it. They’ll understand.” Maddalyn looked pleadingly at you, and you come to the realization that those glowing eyes got really, really unsettling very quickly when you looked into them, for a reason you didn’t exactly know. If you were to describe the feeling, it was like having your ears ring, but for your eyes.“If you’re worried about it though…” you add, “Just cover your eyes, and I’m sure they won’t be concerned. Just don’t hog the tank for yourself, okay? I’ll be back later.”“Mhm.” Maddalyn sank down lower into herself and looked at the floor. “’kay.”
You made your way down to the prison; it was a small affair, given the size of the city, but then again, the city had undergone major restructuring in the past few years.The building was a squat, two story concrete block. A thoroughly ugly building, uninformed by any architectural theory and completely unadorned with any sort of decoration. It was here, you hoped, that you would find Hilda’s brother, and somehow, convince the authorities to free him. An officer’s rank meant much both in war and when war was nigh, but this sort of action usually was reserved for making work gangs from pickpockets and disturbers of the peace, not freeing mass murderers.Maybe with some mild convincing, you wouldn’t have to free Hilda’s brother. After all, she said he knew who your target was; maybe he could be made to just tell you.“Morning, officer,” a man hairy enough to be a river troll sat half asleep behind a booth guarded by iron bars. A simple, break action shotgun and a baton sat in a dusty corner, neither seeming to have seen use in quite a while. “How can ah help ya.”>I want to talk to a prisoner. Some guy who was jailed for shooting many Valsten soldiers.>I’ve been granted authority to collect prisoners for a work detail. I’d like you to show me around.>I’m looking for a good shooter, somebody who shot a lot of seagulls. I need you to bring him to me, his stay in prison’s being cut short by authority of the army.>Other
>>1349036>I’ve been granted authority to collect prisoners for a work detail. I’d like you to show me around.
>>1349036>>I want to talk to a prisoner. Some guy who was jailed for shooting many Valsten soldiers.Isn't that the reason we're here? If he's not the New Moon Shooter, that is.
“I’ve been granted authority to collect prisoners for a work detail,” you bluff. You figured that it might be a bit strange to just come in and ask for the shooter specifically.“Ah, sure, just a sec,” the scraggly fellow pushed himself off the chair. He was quite short, and tromped around on heavy boots that squeaked and clicked with every step. “Come on then, we don’t have much, but most a them can dig a hole jus’ fine.”“Actually,” you improvise, “I’d rather have somebody…driven, I suppose. Somebody who wouldn’t feel like cutting and running, even better if they have a particular dislike for Valsten. We’re putting demolition charges on the bridge, just in case. We don’t need too many, just one or two would do, but it’s dangerous work. Not for anybody feeling unpatriotic.”The warden doesn’t even have to think about what you said; he just smiles, his large mouth creaking open and revealing misshapen rows of dip-stained teeth and gum. “Yeah, we have somebody like that. Yeah, somebody drive. Upstairs.”He steps backwards, grinning back and beckoning to you until you begin to follow him up to the second level of the jail. “In there,” the warden points through the barred window of a door, whose aperture was too tall for him to look through. “Guy’s crazy, doesn’t have any regard for law and order, heh. Went across the river and shot two dozen guys dead, ‘fore running back here. He should be happy we didn’t send his head back on a plate.” He beats on the door with the back of his hand, “Hey, trick shot, somebody’s got some work for ya.”The only response is a despondent rattling of chains.“Ha. Don’t worry, it’s good that he ain’t talking. Doesn’t shut the hell up once he starts, and it’s always about silly crap about ghosts and such.” The warden almost spits, but looks to you and thinks better of it. >Actually, I’d like to speak with him first. We can’t have somebody mentally unstable working with explosives.>He’ll do. Go ahead and bring him out for me.>Give me some privacy with him. There’s a few things I need to make sure of before I consider him.>Other
>>1350644>>Actually, I’d like to speak with him first. We can’t have somebody mentally unstable working with explosives.Ghosts? Why don't you leave us some time to talk, I'd like to figure out what this guy's deal is before I become responsible for him. I'll come back downstairs when I'm done.
>>1350644>Actually, I’d like to speak with him first. We can’t have somebody mentally unstable working with explosives.>Give me some privacy with him. There’s a few things I need to make sure of before I consider him.>>13506822nding the details given in this.
“Ghosts?” you echo, “Why don’t you leave us some time to talk, I’d like to figure out what this guy’s deal is before I become responsible for him. I’ll come back downstairs when I’m done.”The warden smirks at you again. “It’s not out the ordinary for people to be watchful for ghosts around these parts, you know. I jus’ never heard anybody so talkative about it other than the vendors.” He retrieves a single key with a numbered strip on it from a ring in his pocket, and unlocks the door. “So long as you keep near the door, he can’t reach ye. I’ll be waitin’…”You wait for the warden to leave, whistling down the stairs, before slowly opening the heavy wood and iron door and entering the cell.The cell’s occupant looks up at you as you walk in and lean against the wall. He himself had himself pushed against the corner, next to the eyelets in the floor he was chained to. His bindings let him have the walk of most of the room, which had the barest comforts necessary for survival, but he remained close to the origin of the chains. The resemblance to Hilda was just enough to recognize if you were looking for it. He was gaunt, and ragged looking, with a scruffy eyepatch over one eye. His visible eye was sunken deep in its socket and tired looking, but despite his stay in these conditions, you could still see something behind it as he stared through you, before turning one end of his mouth up slightly.“You came looking for me, didn’t you?” his voice was smooth and crawled like oil over a bed of river-smoothed pebbles. “What for, though? Do you want your slayer in the night once more, or…” He lifts his eyepath. The eye underneath is coal black, and glowed in its center. “…did you see that light in the night as well?”>Put that back on. Where I come from, we introduce ourselves before acting mysterious and presumptuous. >That isn’t hereditary, is it? My fiancée has eyes just like that and it’s somewhat concerning.>Night in the light? Slayer? Neither. Your sister sent me. If I get you out of here, she tells me who the New Moon Sniper is.>Anything else to say?
>>1350862Little bit of both, now that you mention it. I came here to get you out of prison, but this isn't the first time I've seen an eye like that. Why don't you start by explaining how you got it?
>>1350862>>13509642nding, but state we're here to get him out if he proves trustworthy.
“A little bit of both, now that you mention is.” You say, “I came here to get you out of here…if you’re trustworthy. But, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen an eye like that. Why don’t you start by explaining how you got it?”Your blasé reaction seemed to catch him off guard. “It isn’t the first time?” he frowned, “intriguing.”“I’ll say.”The man stretches out with a groan, and leans forward again. “I knew you seemed like one I could be more open with, about this. It’s easy to see, considering how touched your ghost is by so many strange things.”You were about to ask him to get back on track, but he held up a hand, “I know, I’ll tell you.” He waved his hand up and down. “I’ll start at the beginning,” he sai. “Even before I was born. This story’s been passed down in the region for a while, about the river. The ferrymen, the fishermen, all who lived on this river respected it, paid tribute to its spirits, before the priests of the Judge of All spread their faith here. The river, the Glennz, was said to flow up from beneath the mountains, from a great spring underground. I’ve never bothered to learn if that was based on anything true or not, never cared to go find out. You’re not supposed to go poking around the source of such things, anyways. What’s important, is that because the river came from inside the earth, from under the mountains, it had some sort of power other rivers didn’t.”“Most people had forgotten about that by our time, but our family didn’t. Glennzsegler, by the way, one of those nice easy names that tells you all you need to know right on its face. Dad was a ferryman once, knew the Glennz like nobody else. It was around twenty years ago, maybe a little more, when he got the idea into his head that there might be treasure up at the Glennz’s source. A few stories said there was, that was all he needed. Business wasn’t good, and he had had to get some expensive medicine for mom. He’d already sold a lot at that point, so he didn’t have much choice, in his mind.”“He came back a few weeks later, after we thought he’d left us for good. A day too late. Mom died right before he got back. He never said exactly what he saw, how he got there, or what he found, but he came back with this strange looking water, in glass so clear it was like it wasn’t even there. He wasn’t the same after he came back though, since he couldn’t save mother. Sometimes, strange people would come by, and he’d sell this water he got so long ago…for a lot of money, too.”
“So I’m five years old,” the man goes on, catching your eye and smiling slightly, “I know, I know. I’m getting to the important part.” “Anyways, I was five years old. I had a sister who was four. I was curious, getting into things I shouldn’t have. Look how much I changed since then, huh? So I was wondering what was so special about this water, and dad wouldn’t answer me. Told me not to talk about it, didn’t want to be reminded about how him getting it meant his wife died without him. So being a little kid, I figure it’s because it tastes good.”The man who called himself Glennzsegler licked his lips in reminiscence. “It was delicious. It didn’t even taste like water. It was sweet, like honey, and just a sip was like wine, and it made everything that made you sad, or angry, just vanish. I still remember it exactly how it was, to this day. I gave some to my sister, too. She had plenty to be sad about, what with her mom dead and her father so distant.”“A bad idea, it turned out. We only drank a little, but in a few days…” the man grinned sardonically and pointed to his dark eye, “Our eyes start looking like this, and I start seeing things. Things other people can’t see. So does my sister. Says she can see mom, and that she talks to her. Dad didn’t like the sound of that one bit, and in a month or so, one of the strange people shows up again. Says we’ve been cursed, that we’ve got monsters in our eyes, but he can fix us. He fixes my sister’s eyes, gives her some draught of something to make her forget a few things. It really did a number on her head if you ask me, but such is the price of things.” “She was trusting of this strange guy, though. I wasn’t. I didn’t want to stop seeing the things I saw.” He sighed a short breath, “Sounds silly now, but I wanted to see my mom again. She never showed up for me, I was pretty pissed about that, I guess. So when the guy came to get the curse out of my eyes…” he tapped his cheek just below his eye, “I pretended I had cut it out, and put a bandage on it. It’s real useful, beyond the ghosts thing. Lets me see in the dark real well, even when other people can’t see.”“That’s quite a lot to take in.” You reply, although you’d had your world shaken up worse in the past. Namely by the appearance of ravenous shadow monsters.“I showed you my hand,” the man turns his hands up, “Now show me yours. Why do you want to spring me out?”>Your sister, Hilda, wanted me to get you out. She offered to help me find somebody in exchange.>I wanted to ask you about somebody called the New Moon Sniper. I was told you could tell me who they were.>I was looking for a good shot, not just any work detail. Are you interested?>You still haven’t told me your name. Any reason for that?>Other
>>1351243>>I wanted to ask you about somebody called the New Moon Sniper. I was told you could tell me who they were.>You still haven’t told me your name. Any reason for that?If he keeps being helpful, we'll tell him about Hilda's exchange.
>>1351243>I wanted to ask you about somebody called the New Moon Sniper. I was told you could tell me who they were.>I was looking for a good shot, not just any work detail. Are you interested?>You still haven’t told me your name. Any reason for that?
“I wanted to ask you about somebody called the New Moon Sniper,” you start.“That’s it?” the prisoner interrupted you, “It’s my sister. Her name’s Hilda, and she lives by the river.”“That was…” you try to adjust, “a lot more straightforward than I expected.”“Yes?” the prisoner looked at you with mock quizzicality, “If you met her, you’d understand. From my point of view, there’s no way it could be anybody else.”“I more meant that I expected you to try and hide it.” You say dourly. “Not at all,” he threw up his hands, “I am a loyal subject of Archduke Whatever His Name Is. Why would I lie to one of his servants?” he chuckled and put his hands down, “Moreover, it isn’t safe. I’ve heard the New Moon’s MO. The seagulls don’t care if she’s only shooting to wound. I don’t want to get out of here only to find my sister’s corpse floating down the river with a hole in her head.” He leaned forward, suddenly extremely serious, “The last person I killed was a sniper they sent after me. I raised a lot of hell, if I do say so myself, but I knew at that point it was time to stop. They might have been schooled in ’29, but if they need sharpshooters, Valsten has places to get them. Even if you get the first, they have plenty more. Eventually they’ll find somebody better than you, or you’ll slip up.”“So you’re telling me this because you want me to stop her?” you say, “To be honest, I was looking for the New Moon Sniper because I was looking for a good shot. You seem like a good shot too, though. Are you interested in joining up with me?”“Nah.” He said almost immediately.You hadn’t been expecting that answer. “Why?” you ask.“Say you get me out,” he said, putting his hands together, “I have plans for the future. You might not think it, coming from me, but I had plenty of time to think about what I want in here, and I don’t want to fight any more. Not unless I need to.”“I see,” you say, slightly disappointed.“I’d still shoot for you,” he held up a finger, “On one condition.”“Yes?” you eagerly lean off the wall, seeing an opportunity beginning to form.
“I want you to date my sister.”You answer him with silence, before muttering, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”“She’s hopeless with men. If she gets much older, she’ll have a hard time finding a husband.” The prisoner explained, seeming oddly careful. “Look, just give her a chance. You do me a favor, I’ll do you a favor.”“I’m engaged.” You say bluntly.“What a shame.” The former shootist shrugged.“You can’t be serious about this.” You repeat yourself.“There’s still time to change your mind,” he countered, “Besides, you’re far away from home. I’m not asking you to sleep with her, I’m just asking you to indulge me.”“You still haven’t told me your name,” you say, “Any reason for that?”“I’ll tell you my name if you make a deal with me.” The man says slyly.>No. I’ll get you free from here, but I’m not dating your sister. She didn’t even seem interested anyways, even if I were to be interested in her.>I’d rather get her opinion on it first. How about you agree to help me, and she gets to decide what happens with her.>I’ve always wanted to try two-timing. Not really, but you’re not giving me much of a choice.>Other
>>1352225>I’d rather get her opinion on it first. How about you agree to help me, and she gets to decide what happens with her.
>>1352225Listen buddy, I met your sister, and I'm not sure why you seem to think she would ever agree to date me. I could offer if that's enough for you, but if you mean I have to actually get her to agree I think I'd just be wasting my time.
>>1352225>No. I’ll get you free from here, but I’m not dating your sister.>If you need a deal, I can get you info on that eye of yours. What it is, how to better use it, and what not to do.Could somebody remind me why we even need a sniper?
>>1352530At the time it seemed like a decent way to spend our time while we waited for an assignment, but now that we've had developments with the haunted mansion, new soulbinder, and secret mission, I agree that the sniper thing has sort of dropped in priority. At this point though I think it's worth continuing, even if only to prevent Hilda from getting killed. It's true that we don't particularly need a sniper, especially one we broke out of jail under questionable authority to do so.
>>1352560Wait, the mansion is haunted?Did I miss something?
>>1352685Do you honestly think there's a chance that it isn't?
>>1352685>>1352813Does this mean we're going to go on a Scooby Doo chase once we start investigating the mansion?
>>1352816I was hoping for something more like Luigi's Mansion but I'm good with either.