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/qst/ - Quests

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How long had it been, now: A few months, maybe half a year? When had the amulet that housed their presence finally been unearthed after unknowable years lying abandoned on the floor of a cavern in the woods?

These were the questions the voices often didn’t have time to ask themselves, especially during the day when their energetic charge was constantly running headfirst into some sort of new adventure, let alone asking themselves more nebulous questions about where they came from or how they came to be here. Perhaps someday Cici, their little seer to-be, might be able to tell them.

Honestly, it was a little hard to believe at times that at some point, the future, the past, and everything in-between, the very world itself would be like an open book for her. It was harder still to imagine what sort of impact that might have on a girl who could presently lose herself in the simple joy of petting a farm animal or guiding a singular beetle up a tall tree. Would it change her for the better or the worse, they wondered?

Perhaps she asked herself the same thing somewhere deep down, in a part of her heart and mind the voices could not so easily read, a thought that might explain why the dreams she had once had frequently about faraway places had been less forthcoming of late.

Then again, she was an active girl who constantly pushed herself to the brink of exhaustion on a daily basis. Even now she lay in a pile of black feathers and fur recovering from her first day of school, snoring contentedly amidst her friend and family as she prepares for the next.

This might simply be her body’s way of combatting additional stress and nothing to worry about, they reflect. Yet in the depths of night, when all is silent and peaceful, the voices can’t help but feel that something is hovering out there on the horizon, like a pair of probing eyes watching and growing ever closer as the days pass on in what passed for tranquility. What would come of it, who could say?


For Cici, at least, her day begins with the sun and many tired yawns as she and Vivi wriggle out of bed dragging Danny behind them. Breakfast was already calling to them, the smell of grits and sausage on the air as Mama no doubt was preparing to send them off with care.

[“Good morning, voices.”]

> 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:
Gooood mooornign!
Good mornin' kiddo. Did ye sleep nicely?
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The voices greet back, albeit a bit groggy themselves, or possibly distracted as they continue to leaf through the tomes of the chronomancer. That’s enough for Cici, though, as she and Vivi quite literally have to support the still half-asleep pup.

“I slept good,” Cici agrees to the voices’ questions. “I think Danny slept better though.”

“Jsst five more minutes…” he whines.

“I could try dunking you in the river if you think that would help,” Vivi offers, getting a shiver from the hapless boy.

“No dips in the river for anyone, please,” Mama requests, catching the tail end of the conversation as she looms over the fire pit. “Last thing we need is someone catching a cold on the second day of school.”

“How come Vivi isn’t going to school, too?” Cici asks, thinking back on the matter. “She needs to learn stuff too, right?”

“Well,” Vivi says, pulling Cici in a bit closer when they sit down. “I guess you could say it’s more like trade school than regular school that I’m going to.”

“What’s a trade school?”

“It’s like a school that teaches you how to do a job rather than how to do a bunch of other stuff. You only learn what you have to that way.”

Cici frowns a little at that, saying nothing in response but a half-hearted:


> Write-in
What a vocational-technical school lacks in breadth of knowledge, they make up for in depth in a given field.

It works for Vivi, and you can still play with her after school.
Don't worry too much about it. She could go to school if she wanted to. Some simply want to work instead
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“What they said,” Vivi agrees with the voices. “I don’t really need to know a lot of complicated stuff. So long as I know geography, math, reading, writing, and a couple of other things, I’ll be fine.”

“And so long as it makes you happy,” Mama concedes, ladling out a portion of grits for each child with a bit of sliced meat. “Now, the rest of you, eat up and we’ll get you to school.”

Breakfast goes quickly as per the usual in the household, Danny getting a second bowl full without having to ask when his first helping all but vanishes in seconds.

“S-sorry,” he stammers, manners warring for supremacy with his hunger as he hovers there with another spoonful.

“Children grow quickly,” Mama dismisses with a warm smile. “It’s natural and healthy for you to have a strong appetite. Besides, I made quite a bit extra this morning anyway, as I’m expecting a guest before long.”

“A guest?” Cici asks, but as the sound of crashing brush grows behind her, she hardly needs to wait for an answer. “Aunt Rosie!”

“Huh? Oh! Heya runt!” she calls back. “Let me get outta the weeds and I’ll be right over.”

A few minutes, some snapped branches and more than a few poorly hidden curses later, and the oni is once again free, looming over the two children in front of her with a smile.

“And what’s this?” she questions, head swerving past Vivi’s shoulder to spy a third child trembling in her shadow. Said child releases a nervous yip as they’re then lifted into the air by their scruff. “Aww, honey, stop with the shaking, will ya? I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“…” Danny just whimpers a little as he’s dangled in front of the woman three times his height.

“Danny’s just nervous is all,” Cici explains. “Danny, this is my Aunt Rosie. She’s really nice!”

“I… I…”

“Relax, I don’t bully cute little girls. Alright?” she assures him, wrapping him in a hug.

“B-butI’maboy,” he squeaks out past her muscled arms. “Pleaseputmedown!”

“Huh? I didn’t get that.”

“Rosie,” Mama interjects. “Please put the boy down and let him finish his breakfast, will you? We have business to discuss.”

“Huh? Boy?” she questions, giving Danny a good sniff before setting him down. “Oh right, business! Something, something, guardians of the realm and all that!”

As Danny collapses into an extremely embarrassed puddle on the ground, Rosie wastes no time taking a seat next to Mama, plopping down on a stone bench all to herself before pulling the entire rest of the pot in front of her and digging in.

“I think she broke Danny,” Cici whispers.

> Write-in
Help the poor boy up, he'll need to get used to these kinds of things anyways now that he's you friend.
He'll be fine. Come on, Danny Boy, keep a stiff upper lip.
Good ol' Danny... Help him up and bring up his spirit up, wont ya Cici?
Does Danny smell like a boy or a girl? Now I am curious.

Cici be sure to eat well before school!
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“You know, we could always chop off some of that hair for you…” Vivi offers as Cici helps him up off the ground.

“But why?” Danny asks.

“Yeah, why?” Cici echoes. “Long hair is pretty.”

“That’s exactly why,” Vivi notes pointedly. “If you don’t want to be mixed up for a girl, not having long hair would be a start.”

“Nnnn…” he whines softly. “I can’t. Mom would be so ashamed.”

“Huh? I don’t get it,” Cici murmurs.

“Heh!” Rosie laughs with a mouthful of porridge before thinking better and swallowing as she turns to the group. “Well, you see, kids, it’s a bit of a weird mess with kobold culture. Now, don’t get me wrong. I ain’t a nerd, but I’ve had enough fangs sunk into me over time to get a bit of history too. Anyway, used to be their blood ran together with werewolves something fierce, and so when they got really serious in a fight…”

She makes an unpleasant sound along with a ripping motion of her hand.

“They’d rip the skin and hair clean off of each other’s heads. Ears too, if they could manage.” Cici flinches a little at the image as Danny’s ears flatten. “Now, getting your head partially ripped off won’t always kill ya, especially if you’re a werewolf, but assuming you live through it, that scarred up dome of yours isn’t gonna be sporting hair any time soon.

“That’s why folks in their culture grow their hair out. It’s a sign that nobody’s been tough enough to cut you down to size, yet. Ah, you remembered to shave that one bitch you met in the woods yesterday, right?”

“First of all, don’t swear in front of the children,” Mama reminds her. “And second, no I didn’t. Why would I even think to do that?”

“Heh. You’re funeral,” the oni laughs, tilting the pot up to her lips and finishing it off. “Better hope she isn’t one of those old-world blood hounds or she’ll be making a house call in the near future either to serve you or cut off your head.”

“…” Mama sighs, looking hopelessly between the ever-classy Rosie and her increasingly terrified children. “Lovely. Well, I left her with a broken arm, last I checked, and a few bruises that ought to make her think better of the second option for the time being at-“

“It was my mom, wasn’t it?” Danny states more than asks.

“Uhm, well, she did have your skin color, fur, and eyes…” Mama admits somewhat guiltily. “I didn’t want you to worry.”

“It’s okay,” Danny assures her. “I don’t think anything short of a broken back would stop her for long, anyway. I’d honestly be more worried of her showing back up for a rematch.”

Mama just sighs.

“Guess I’ll get my armor, then. Rosie, given the circumstances, would you be so kind as to walk them to school today?”

“Huh? Sure.”

> Looks like a bit more quality time with Aunt Rosie
> Write-in
How're you and your brother doing? Has his appetite gone down any?
The Archmage had some ideas on ways to get him to develop his brain a bit; any luck with that?
Man, is Danny really that pretty? Thats like the third time someone thought he was a girl.
Well Rosie, how have you been doing? Any advice to offer to the children?
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“I mean, at you all’s age, you smell more like mother’s milk than anything,” Rosie comments as they’re walking down the road, Mama having assured the kids that everything was going to be alright before the ogress began walking the remaining two to school. “Once girls get their moon blood and men get hair on their chest, it gets easier to pick ‘em out by scent.”

“Neat! You must be really good at smelling things, then,” Cici comments, drawing a laugh from the red woman.

“Well, yeah, guess I’ve got a good nose on me, but I don’t think you can exactly call it a skill, ya know?”

“Hmm. Maybe, but what’s moon blood?”

“First off, you’ll sprout a pair of tits,” Rosie begins, completely unabashed.

> Oh god. She’s going to tell them everything, isn’t she?
> Write-in
Quickly stop her and have the teacher take care of that in time.
Rosie, please be a little more delicate with this please. Being a little too course with this might do the children harm.
A Bit too early for the human youth Rosie...
Ignore the others, Rosie. A good education about what happens to their bodies will do the kids good. Especially Cici since she'll likely get to it faster than most.
Also, possibly not mammalian!
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“Huh?” Rosie questions, gesturing to the kids. “They ain’t exactly human, are they? And even if they were, I’d say it’s better they know what’s going on in their pants way before some jackass even thinks about tryin’ to get into ‘em.”

“Why would somebody want to wear my clothes?” Cici asks, somewhat scared.

“I don’t think that’s what she means,” Danny squeaks, having just enough worldly knowledge to see where things are headed.

Rosie, for her part, is nothing if not inflappable.

“Nah, nah, you see kid, it’s not your pants they want to get themselves into…”

It’s about at this point that the voices begin yelling loudly into Rosie’s brain, begging for mercy, if not at least some degree of delicacy, eventually getting a conciliatory snort and grudging acquiescence.

“Guess we’ll stick to what you need to know then,” Rosie sighs.

And so, the rest of the trip is filled with more a rough outline on the subject of birds and bees than anything else, the ogress explaining the fundamental differences between male and female anatomy and providing helpful pointers to where the kids should aim if anyone ever comes at them with unwanted advances.

“Guys are especially weak downstairs,” Rosie laughs. “One good crack between their legs and BAM!” Danny visibly flinches. “They’re down for the count.”

“Mama says I’m not supposed to hit people…” Cici says.

“Heh. Some people need a good thrashing from time to time. And look, I ain’t sayin’ it’s the way to solve all of life’s problems. I’m just saying sometimes you need a hammer and not a lockpick.
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“Anyway, that’s pretty much the deal. You’ll eventually bleed downstairs once or twice a month, and grow some lumps on your chest. Meanwhile, his parts and every other guys’ in the vicinity will occasionally start getting stiff. Put ‘em both together around then and BAM, you’ve got kids.

“But, and it’s a big but here, let me be the first to say it: I’ll beat the hell out of either one of you for shacking up with some sleaze bag first time nature calls. Making kids isn’t somethin’ you play around with, and there’s plenty of alternatives I can tell you about when you’re old enough to bother with it. Just for the love of gods, don’t go runnin’ around scared shitless of your own bodies.”

“B-But why me to?” Danny questions.

“What was that?” Rosie demands.


“It was a rhetorical question, pipsqueak,” the ogre grunts as she lifts the boy. “It’s because A) She’s impressionable as shit, B) you might grow up faster than her for all I know, and C) by the looks of things you’re probably gonna be beating girls off with a stick around the time you finally start shaping up as a man.”


“The bones don’t lie, kid. You’re gonna turn out fine, maybe better than fine if you put some meat on your bones and steel in your spine by then. Also, you’ve got nice hair.”

“T-thank you?”

“And there. School’s in site. Kids are in one piece. That good enough for you lot putting it ‘delicately’?”

> Write-in
sorry, ive cringed myself into a singularity and cannot respond
Man Rosie, might want to let Cassandra know you have the kids the talk.
Yeah, thats kind of a dick move to suddenly tell a bunch of kids about sex, kids that arent yours, and whose parents you havent informed, and who are of various races who might not mature as fast as you. Or have differences you might not know about.
Yeah, that's good.
Good for nothings would have held out telling these kids about the changes to their bodies until they were halfway through puberty.
Hey Danny, how old are you, anyway?
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“Why is that such a big deal?” the oni questions, rubbing her forehead. “But yeah, I’ll tell her. I wanna make sure she’s fine at any rate now that she’s battening down the hatches. You kids alright to take it from here?”

“Mhm. Thanks Aunt Rosie!”

“Thank you…”

With her task taken care of, Rosie then retreats, leaving just shy of the school grounds, most likely to avoid terrifying the students once again assembled in front of the door.

“How old am I?” Danny asks for clarification. “I’m six, just a little older than Cici.”

“Wah? You’re older?” Cici asks. “Then how come you’re shorter than me.”

“Err, well, I’m kind of a runt,” he admits. “I hope your aunt’s right about me coming out okay.”

“Aunt Rosie is really smart,” Cici assures him. “An’ being small’s not bad anyway.”

“Says you.”

“Uh-huh,” Cici agrees.

Obviously, selling someone on the benefits of vertical clearance wasn’t something they were going to manage in 100 yards, but they travel nonetheless, eventually arriving to find the throng still very much stretched out in front of them.

“Attention students!” the teacher calls from the front. “Please form a neat and orderly line, and we will sort you into the correct class! Just be patient and don’t push!”

Seems school was going to take a while to get into this morning. However, as Cici prepares to get in line to begin the wait, something catches her attention out of the corner of her eye. Was that a sheep person?

> Stick out the line?
> Write-in
Cici should stay in line, while we go investigate.
Make sure to have the proper air of authority about us. We are an assistant adjunct professor.
Leave the scouting to us. We will report back with our findings

Cici, leave it to us.
Only stick out of the line If you're really reaaaaally curious.

Cause who knows if it's worth it, It could be a sheep person or and actual sheep or a human dressed as a sheep or a sheep dressed as a person or a sheep person trying to pose as a human dressed as a sheep, or ANYTHING. So, you know, it might not be worth checking out. Who knows!?

The voices, being the model of diplomatic relations, elect to go first while leaving Cici and Danny to wait things out. And sure enough, as they draw toward the cart, there is in fact a sheep person manning the helm, one with black fur, darkened skin, and petite, curled horns who appears to be directing another, far more conventional ram to come to a halt beneath a sturdy oak on the edge of the school yard.

Perhaps the crowds of people mask the voices’ approach. Perhaps the girl simply has more pressing matters on her mind. Whatever the case, she doesn’t seem to pay them any mind as she handily hitches her goat to a ground root and begins gently nudging other occupants in the back.

“Uno, Daisy, Tracey, time to wake up you three,” she murmurs at her unconscious cargo. “It’s time for school.”

“Just five more minutes, Baaarbra,” one of them bleats tiredly.

“It’s too early!” another complains.

“Come on. It’s talk like that that had us missing school yesterday,” the slightly older sheep girl insists. “Your father will kill us if we’re late again.”

“Papa wouldn’t kill us…” the last, tiny sheep murmurs as she sits up and rubs at her eyes. “He wasn’t mad yesterday, either…”

“Just disappointed,” Barbra agrees, “but let’s shoot for making him happy today, huh?”

“Alright,” the child yawns, allowing herself to be picked up and placed on the ground, tiny overalls maneuvered for more comfort over her fur as she continues to shake off the weight of dreams.

With patience, the other two, near identical in every way, aren’t long behind being offloaded, likewise fidgeting as the older girl distributes their lunch pails and double checks their state of dress.

> The oldest might be twelve, her sisters less than half that age
> Write-in
Thats adorable.
I had no idea there were so many nonhuman living in the area all this time. Would have thought the locals would have been a little more welcoming if .so
Come on, come on. Hurry on along and get in line, don't want to be late two days in a row, do you?

“Huh?” she asks as a voice comes from seemingly nowhere. “Well, we aren’t exactly… from around here…”

She stumbles back.

“Barbra look! It’s a fairy!” one of the girls cries excitedly, pointing at the ball of light.

“A fairy!” another agrees excitedly.

“I wanna touch it!” the last announces, but thankfully her stature doesn’t allow her to reach that high as she dreamily wanders forward.

“Juno, no,” the older girl calls gently, placing her hands on the smaller girl’s as she lowers them back to the ground. “You can’t go around touching people without asking first.”

“B-but Paaapa says fairy dust makes you fly!” Juno objects.

“That may be, but today is for learning, isn’t it?”

“I…. I guess…” she relents.

“I’m sorry about that,” Barbara apologizes, eyes not quite meeting the orb, “and we’ll certainly get in line first thing. I am curious, though, who are you?”

> Write-in
Voices will do.
We are an amalgamated heuristic runic array, to put it succinctly. We provide advice and direction to young people such as yourselves. Now, come along, if you're on time, you're late.
Well, we are a collective of disembodied minds, housed in some capacity in a magical bracer. And who might you be, miss?

“I’m Barbra,” she introduces herself, casually brushing hair out of her eyes. “And these three are Juno, Daisy, and Tracey.” She points to them in turn, each of their overalls marked with a one, two, and three respectively. “Since I was already planning on attending, their father asked me if I could bring them along as well.”

“Yep!” Juno agrees happily. “Papa said we needed to learn lots of stuff.”

“And make lots of friends,” Daisy adds.

“Greg too,” Tracey submits, already untying the leash keeping the ram to the tree. “He’s the smartest out of all of us.”

“Baaah!” Greg asserts as Barbra stifles a small laugh.

“Now, now! Greg can’t come into class with us, can he?” she asks.

“He can behave himself!” Tracey insists.

“He only pooped in the house that one time!”

“And that other time… And that other time… And-“

“No means no,” the older girl insists, disrupting the third’s train of thought.

“Can we tie him up outside the window, at least?” Daisy begs. “He can watch through the window!”

“Alright, you win,” she sighs after a moment of silence. “To the window, it is.”

One re-tethered goat later and Barbra has a much easier time herding her tiny flock through the diminishing crowd. Seems that those remaining are just so anxious to get in that they have little time to even notice their horned classmates, providing an incident free affair to them getting to the board where the school has apparently been broken down into two classes: intermediate and advanced which is further broken down into math and reading.

“Hmm… I expected the school to have more than two classes…” she murmurs, “but I suppose we’ll have to worry about that later. You girls be good, alright? Don’t cause any trouble for your teacher.”

“We won’t,” Juno promises, reaching her arms up imploringly before receiving a hug.

“Promise,” the other two confirm as they pile in.

“Good, then we’ll meet again at lunch.”


The voices drift along until the flock disperses into their separate rooms. However, that raises an interesting question. Do they want to support the advanced class where Cici and Barbra are or try to help Melody deal with the remedial section?

> Write-in
I dont know about Helping, but unless Cici needs us, im curious to see how melody runs her class
I think we should stick with Melody for a bit. Cici has a telepathic link to us with the bracelet, so we'll see her at lunch.
If Cici needs us all she has to do is speak up. IF something happens we've got a sense of what's going on around her.

I say we go to Melody. We'd be more useful there. After all, Cici needs to learn how to be smart without us so that she can be even smarter WITH us. Be unobtrusive about entering Melody's classroom. Maybe come in from the rear of the classroom and quietly bob up and down to show her we're available for help without making a spectacle of ourselves that would immediately distract the students? After all, we're assistants not instructors. Ours should be the background role unless otherwise needed.

And oh boy, the baroness isn't gonna be happy about Rosie giving the little ones that talk this morning. Gonna have to figure out some sort of damage control there...
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The voices decide that it’s probably best to work with the class that needs the most help, leaving Ms. Willow to her own devices as they drift quietly in after the triplets and toward the back of the room. Fortunately, it seems that the class is still filing in and that many of them saw the voices drift around yesterday. That significantly cuts the wide-eyed stares and the rest at least have the courtesy not to shout or throw anything as Melody throws a courtesy nod their way.

“Attention class,” she says in a professional manner, her voice loud and clear. “I’d like for the shortest students to come toward the front and occupy those seats. It will afford you better visibility than the back. Note that if you cannot see the board from your seat, you should move now.”

Perhaps not the most tactful way of asking the students to reshuffle, but after the inevitable scraping of seats follows. Some arguments of who is taller and thus who gets the better seat to claim as their own are inevitable, of course, but eventually they seem to figure it out without punching each other.

“Alright class, now that everyone is settled, I think it may be a good idea to make these your seats for a while. That said, tell me, who here can write their name?”

This class is noticeably just the younger portion from yesterday’s group of illiterates. As such, it probably isn’t so much of a surprise when no one raises their hand. That is, except for the three tiny sheep girls sitting in the front row, Juno enthusiastically waving her hand for extra attention until Melody calls on her.

“Yes?” the teacher questions.

“I don’t!” she responds cheerily.

“You don’t what?” she asks.

“I don’t know how to write my name!”

“Me neither!” Daisy chips in.

“Or me!” Tracey finishes.

“Baaaah!” comes a call from outside the window.

“I- Is that a sheep?” she questions. “Wait, no, can’t get distracted, then why did you raise your hand?”

“To tell you!” Juno explains happily, the others nodding along.

“Well, no, you see, you only raise your hand to answer yes,” Melody explains. “You keep it down to say no.”

“So, it’s like sign language?” Tracey asks curiously.

“Then, how do we ask questions?”

“Or ask to use the bathroom?” Daisy adds.

“Does that mean when we aren’t raising our hands, we’re always saying no?”

Soon, the murmuring in the classroom is growing, order breaking down as Melody attempts to avoid shouting to be heard.

> Maybe you could lend a hand
> Write-in
Yeah, time to intervene here. I didn't want to draw too much attention, but it looks like we're gonna have to.

Children, please calm down. What your teacher is doing is getting a count of who can do what. While your enthusiasm is appreciated the 'raise your hand for yes, keep it down for no' thing is just so she can get a quick count for the purposes of answering a question. This only applies when she calls for such answers.

Raising your hand to volunteer yourself to answer a question or ask one is normal during lessons. Just listen to your teacher and figure out which action is appropriate at what time. It'll become second nature very quickly as I'm sure you're attentive individuals.

Apologies if I'm metaphorically stepping on your toes here authority-wise, Melody. Just trying to keep things calm and flowing smoothly. And for the record, we are merely acting as assistants. Miss Melody and Miss Willow are the authorities here, and you should listen to them.
Basically, if you understand what the answer to a question Ms. Melody asks, or need to be excused to use the restroom, or an urgent situation that you would like to bring to the teacher's attention, raise your hand, and either Ms. Melody or I will call on you. Please note that if you claim that you are heading out to the bathroom, but don't return to your seat in a timely manner, I will be sent out to find you and bring you back.

Now, let's start with the alphabet.
Wow. That was a little aggressive there with that one bit. Might wanna tone it down a notch. No need to spook them. They're just excitable right now since this is all new.
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Meanwhile, several miles away, a certain oni was just coming back around to the home of her baroness, the tall, muscular woman having enjoyed a leisurely walk home in the sunshine and soft breeze blowing through her hair. It’s not like she was stalling in trying to get back or anything, naturally. The weather had just been perfect lately, was all, and besides, it wasn’t like was about to tell her Royal Majesty Baroness Scaly Butt anything significant.

Then again, Cassandra was a very scary woman, when she got angry, and by the way the voices were yacking away, not everyone viewed the areas below the belt with the particular disregard she did.

“It’s fine,” she sighs to herself. “Just need to slip that bit in while she’s distracted is all.”

That’s what he-

Before she can finish that juvenile train of thought, a guttural shout of rage catches her ears, propelling her into action as her feet quickly go thundering toward the tower entrance. Even from this distance, it’s pretty clear what must be happening.

“You never gave me an answer, yesterday!” comes a playful shout, a surge of flames dancing on the ground as a fire clad kobold rises into the air. “Did I get the job or not?”

What she gets next is not an answer, but what appears to be the remains of a flaming chair thrown at her chest.

“Stop trying to burn down my house!” Cassandra roars.

“Why don’t you try and make m-“

That train of thought is decidedly derailed as she takes roughly a ton of tackling scales and muscles directly to the chest.

“Gonna have to do better… THAN THAT!”
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In a surge of flames, the spritely hellhound forces Cassandra to open her coils just an inch and goes dodging out through the gaps, happily licking a claw on what appears to be a bandaged arm as her smile widens.

“If you’re so mad about your house, would you rather I burn that little rooftop garden of yours to the gr-“

A tail whip, and a good one at that, slams against her head with the sound of a bullwhip, lady gorgon and kobold both going tumbling end over end as Rosie finally gets close enough to maybe intervene.

“No fair!” the hellhound shouts from amidst the ball. “No calling for backup!”

“How about you ssstop struggling before I break you in five different places!” Mama hisses, ensuring her grip is steadfast before turning to Rosie. “Can you give me a hand, please?”

“Nah,” Rosie says, looking at the situation. “Looks like you’ve kind of got this one wrapped up.”

“Was that a joke? Are you joking right now!?”

“Of course, not,” the ogress assures her, “but, uhm, while we’re talking about tying up loose ends, me and the kids might have had a little talk on the way to school about the eagles and the owlbears…”

“The what?”

“You know, about the penises and vagin-“

[“Oh gods. She does not look happy!”]
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Back in a school several miles away from screaming human-dog flails and screaming demi-human targets, it seems the voices’ ability to communicate directly with the children’s brains does a lot of good in sorting out the confusion. At the very least, it quiets them down slightly while Melody gets ready to resume teaching.

“Alright then class, not knowing how to write your name was kind of expected, and you are all here because you can’t read. So now that we have show-of-hands figured out, we can get to the actual foundations that will help you figure all of that out. To that end, you have to know letters.”

Without turning from the class, the chalk levitates behind Melody, several pieces acting in unison to scribe out the alphabet as the mage’s apprentice no doubt exalts in the class’s reaction.

“So, you see, every word in the world is made up of sounds. And combinations of letters allow us to make those sounds on paper. And so, what we are going to spend the next hour doing is familiarizing you with these forty-two letters that represent all of the sounds we commonly use.”

What follows is a learning experience for both teacher and student as the voices try to press her into using mnemonic devices to teach them, a task certainly not made easier by the use of a foreign alphabet. Still, where there is a will, there is a way, and where there are many voices and something at least representing a beat, harmony can be achieved.

A few very basic writing drills later, and it can be reasonably inferred that is as much work as she’ll be getting out of them for the time being.

> The question is, what will the voices do now.
> Write-in
Ask Melody if shes still freaking out. if shes not, we can check back with Cici
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And, I think that's where we will end it for tonight folks. We'll pick back up Thursday, as per usual.
Thanks, bananon

focus on cassandra and rosie!
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“Hmm. I should be fine from here,” Melody says, looking around the classroom. “Feel free to check on Ms. Willow.”

“Teacher? Teacher?” Juno calls. “How many ‘r’s are in your name?”

[“Ugh. Mostly fine.”]

While Melody is reiterating some crucial points for the benefit of the class, the voices drift over to the other side of the hall, squeezing through a crack in the door on either side before arriving in the other classroom.

“A-and s-so the carpenter…” one student murmurs haltingly as they stand before the class.

Apparently, they were having public reading exercises at this point, and the black furred sheep girl was less than confident in her delivery.

“Come now, Barbra, try to speak a little louder,” Ms. Willow coaxes. “The whole class needs to be able to hear you.”

“R-right. The carpenter and his customer went down to the market and baaaa-ght a crate of… supplies…”

Her face grows flush at the momentary stutter, her square pupils darting around the room nervously as she gives a pleading look to the teacher.

“That will be fine,” Ms. Willow concludes politely. “Please take your seat.”

“I’ll read the rest,” Hannah immediately volunteers.

And with that kind gesture, the rest of the class flows rather smoothly, the students reading simple stories and common phrases aloud, with the occasional tongue twister thrown in for good measure.

“Few feats reinforce fluency quite so fiercely as reading writ right off the register!” the teacher recites with a laugh. “Being able to parse pronunciation in a clean and concise manner is important even without factoring in reading, you know, but if you can manage both, it will bring both your casual conversation skills and reading skills up by leaps and bounds.

“Now then, who would like to tackle the following?”

With a piece of chalk and a practiced hand, she quickly writes out: “She sells seashells down by the sea shore?”

For her part, Cici’s eyes bounce over the line, clearly reading it to herself silently before she takes on a nervous expression.

> Then again, seems like no one is in a huge rush to volunteer.
> The teacher is probably going to call on someone randomly
> Suggestions?
> Write-in
Hi Cici. Dont worry if you think you might get get tongue tied, thats what the sentence is built for.
The trick is to pronounce each word slowly so you dont run over the next one.
Try it, Cici.
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[“I don’t think this is a good idea…”]

But all the same, Cici raises her hand, taking a deep breath before Ms. Willow finally calls on her.

“Yes, Cici?”

“I’ll try to do it…” she murmurs, standing up.

“Well, no need to be nervous,” the teacher assures her. “Read first if you need to, and then read and recite aloud as quickly as you can.”

Another pause, another reading of the line, and another deep breath precede her first words.

“Sea shells sea-“ she begins, before realizing her mistake, her cheeks reddening even as the class remains respectfully silent.

“Let’s give it one more try, hmm?”

“Okay, Ms. Willow,” Cici agrees, taking another breath. However, it’s fairly clearly the stress may be getting to her. “She sssells sssea sssells…”

Her voice trembles a little as she catches her own lisp in action, a few small giggles echoing in the background as she comes to an awkward pause.

“Now students,” the teacher interjects. “Nobody should be made to feel self-conscious for the way they speak. You wouldn’t want someone from the big city giving you lip over ‘your’ accent, now would you?”

“No, Ms. Willow,” comes the unified chorus.

“Then I’d ask all of you to contain yourselves. You’ll never be able to improve if other people make you unwilling to practice. Now, then, try again.”

The voices can tell Cici is not doing so well. Her face is flush and her knees are trembling a little as she tries to start again.

“S-she sellsss sea shells…” She swallows. “Down by the s-sea… shore…”

“Very good, Cici,” Ms. Willow compliments, starting a round of applause as the traumatized gorgon swiftly retakes her seat and curls into her desk.

[“That was awful…”]

> Write-in
And there must exist a person that thinks would think your lisp is cute, but you did very well with the sentece!
Well, it's better then this one: I slit a sheet, a sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.

By the way, don't try that one out loud.
Don't worry about it, Cici. You need to feel embarrassment like this so that your emotional state is tougher later in life. Your emotions need to develop calluses to be better prepared for social life and all of the roughness that is in store for you.
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[“It’s not cute.”] She objects. [“It’s embarrassing.”]

Being thoroughly convinced of this, Cici spends the next short while with her head down and arms crossed, the little gorgon cooling alternate cheeks against her desk as the other students complete the remaining exercises. Fortunately, it seems it isn’t too much longer before Ms. Willow calls an end to it and sends the students to lunch.

“Remember students,” she announces. “You’ll be coming back afterward to continue with math. So, don’t wander off!”

Knowledge being hungry work, the students likely only pay cursory mind to that warning as they eagerly exit the school building, Cici’s various friends gathering around her like a magnet as Barbra goes searching for her sisters amidst the throng.

Thankfully, today Danny had his own lunch, prepared with care by Cici’s mom, which he begins digging into with relish as Cici just begins unpacking her own. A sandwich made with fresh bread and fresh sliced meat, a canteen of juice, and a salad: she’d been able to convince her mom that was all she needed to power through the day, making it far less awkward as Clyde, Katy, and Hannah produced their own variations on what they had eaten yesterday.

“Where were you this morning?” Cici asks the older boy as he digs in, getting a chuckle filtered through a mouthful of corn.

“Well, looks like us older folks will be taking our lessons in the afternoon. Just as well, really. Frees up our hands in the morning to help in the field when it’s cool, and it’s over before sundown so some of us can get right back to it.”

“That sounds like hard work,” she comments with a frown.

“Doesn’t leave a body smellin’ like roses, that’s for sure,” he laughs. “Still, it ain’t bad if it keeps food on the plate.”

While the students chat about the day’s lessons, the voices cast an observing eye over the crowd. Seems Barbara is already heading in their direction, a sizable portion of the students already seated and making handy work of their lunches. However, there are a few others who seem to either be having extreme trouble finding where the empty seats are or simply have no intention of sticking out the whole day of school as they wander toward the road.

> What to do?
> Write-in

But you made the sheep girl feel better sonce now she isn't the only one who made mistakes.

Try to talk to her after class.
Invite Barbara and her siblings over, they missed the first day of school. Should probably find out where they live, in case they need Cassandra's help.
Invite Barbara and her sisters to Cici's place, and we should fly around helping the other students find places to sit. Send them towards Cici if they seem good natured enough.
>>[“It’s not cute.”] She objects. [“It’s embarrassing.”]
It can be both!
Be friendly, and let other friendly people sit with you guys
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The voices take a moment to drift toward Barbra and offer her directions toward Cici, something the sheep girl seems all-too thankful for as she tries to shepherd the three, curious lambs at her heels through the crowd of unfamiliar faces and smells.

“I’ll be right over,” she assures them, and with that, they go on their way, darting over the crowd and seeing if there are any people who need help finding seats.

In some cases, this is true and the students accept the help with a mixture of incredulity, surprise, and thanks. However, those exiting the school yard just seem to be picking up speed along their way. The voices can only internally shrug as they watch them go, realizing not everyone wants to learn.

Regardless, with their good works done, they zip back toward the table where Cici is waiting for them, finding the sheep girls having already scooted a nearby table over with the tiny trio excitedly opening their lunchboxes to get at the tufts of grassy material poking out from inside.

“What’s that?” Cici asks curiously as they excitedly stuff the first handfuls into their mouths, little tails wagging along the bench in unison while they chew.

Barbra, meanwhile, withdraws something that looks like a salad in a bin, not to mention utensils, before starting in on her own lunch.

“It’s good!” is the only response Cici gets from Juno before the sheep is reaching a hand over filled with greens. “Here, try some!”

It looks like the stuff Mama pulls up from her garden and smells like it too. Cici hesitates a bit to accept as the other girl excitedly waggles her hand. Still, not wanting to be rude, she eventually takes the wad of leafy material and tears off a small bite, mouth and nose burning as she begins to chew.

“Blegh!” the reaction is involuntary as Cici spits the contents of her mouth onto the school’s lawn, the mixture of chewed foliage vanishing almost instantly as it’s deposited. “What is that?”

“It’s hay, alfalfa, wheat grass, an’ more grass,” Juno says happily, grabbing another mouthful so generous, she still has strands hanging out of her mouth as she chews. “Ish good!”

“Juno, don’t talk with your mouthful,” Barbra begs, offering the girl a napkin. “It’s not polite.”

“You shay all shorts of shtuff ishn’t polite,” Juno objects.

“Like not wearing clothes,” Daisy chimes in.

“An’ burping,” Tracey adds.

“Those are very basic things, yes,” Barbra explains, presumably not for the first time. “They make other people uncomfortable.”

“She also gets mad at us for making sheep sounds,” Juno complains. “Even on accident…”

“Is it really that baaaaad?” Tracey asks with a pointed bleat.

“You’ll understand how embarrassing that is when you’re older,” she admonishes them, putting her head to the table. “Just trust me, please.”

“Huh, why?” Daisy asks. “It’s fun to make those sounds, and it doesn’t hurt anyone.”

> Is this something the voices want to wade in on?
> Write-in
I dont think theres anything too baaad about it.
I dont think hissing is so bad either.
Well, sometimes when people get older, their opinions change. For my opinion, I'd say you should practice not bleating for when you're in town, and talk how you want when you're with friends.

The only exception is swearing. Use it sparingly. Swearing is like putting hot sauce on a delicious meal; a sprinkle or two. Anything more risks a red bottom.
You shouldn't bleat like that; it isn't a part of the language you're speaking so it interrupts the word flow and makes you sound like you don't have any self-control.
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“I mean, we don’t mind none,” Clyde offers.

“Yeah, it’s fine,” Cici agrees.

“But the voices are right,” Barbra sighs. “The reason we have to avoid bleating in public is because it makes us look less intelligent. Humans… Well, everyone really tends to think of animals as their lessers, and truth be told they aren’t wrong.

“Where they are, is in thinking of us hybrids as being the same as animals. And every bleat, bark, or growl only reinforces that bias. It’s why my grandparents were slaves in a faraway land. It’s why we wander so that it can never happen again.”

“What’s a slave?” Cici asks.

> Do the voices want to field this one?
> Write-in
A slave is a servant, someone who has to work for or serve another, and has no choice in the matter.
Now, there's lots of implications around that word depending on the society. Some, being a slave just meant that you couldn't quit your job; you still had some rights as a person.
Others, you had no rights; you were just property. Your master could kill you and there would be no legal repercussions.

Generally it's considered a bad thing.
We'll discuss enslavement and how it pertains to constructs and artificially created client races when you're older.
Thats a heavy topic for someone so young but >>1363606 description is correct
They're a person who is forced to do whatever someone else - their master - tells them to do, in practice mostly work like farming, mining or serving at tables. They don't get paid and they aren't allowed to leave, and they get beaten if they don't follow their master's orders. Slaves are often prisoners taken in war.


“That sounds bad,” she observes at the voice’s explanation.

“It is or rather, it was. My ancestors were born and bred as slaves, and-“ She looks to the concerned faces of the other children. “Well, things are better now.”

“Wow, that sounds awful,” Juno says.

“Yeah, really bad,” Daisy agrees.

“Guess yer grampa and grandma would be a bit tight lipped about all that,” Clyde concedes, looking to the younger sheep people. “You should probably give ‘em a big ol’ hug when ye get home.”

“Huh?” Juno asks, tilting her head. “We don’t have grampas and grandmas.”

“Well, sorry to hear that. Maybe they-“

“Yeah, Papa made us!” Tracey volunteers.


“Oh, I get it. Aunt Rosie explained all of that this morn-“ Cici’s commentary is muffled as Danny cups a hand over her mouth.

“Please don’t.”

She nods.

“What do you mean your father ‘made’ you?” Katy questions, completing undoing that stop.

“I mean he made us,” Tracey repeats.

“You know, with magic,” Daisy adds.

> Well, that’s a thing.
> Write-in

"Well... should we ask the bee people?"
Better ask some one more experienced about this, Queen Bee or your teachers, after school
Uh, okay. That sounds nice. He must be pretty skilled, huh.
That's probably a subject best left to Professor Willow.
I have no idea the current laws concerning the creating of client races, hybrids, and autonomous homunculi.
So, I'm presuming that your father is a mage of some sort? I've heard of a similar story happening with a colony of bees we live next door to.

Actually, do you mind if the baroness meets with him? She likes to meet with people in case they need help. She used to be an adventurer, you know.
Or it might be a case of too young to be told what Rosie told you in the morning, it really is a thing that needs some understanding of societal norms to sink in truly
Uh... huh.
Wait, are they clones?

I think they are sheep changed by magic?
I was thinking they meant made like, grown, maybe

“Their father -is- a mage,” Barbra admits, “but he barely seems capable of boiling water, let alone making children from nothing. The way he described it to me was that he adopted them.”

“Papa’s a great mage! He just told you that so you wouldn’t get him in trouble!” Juno objects.

“Yeah!” the other two agree.

“Well, if he -did- do something bad, I guess I’ll have to tell someone and get him in trouble then, won’t I?” Barbra points out, immediately changing the expression on the little lambs’ faces.

“Gah! We didn’t mean it!” Tracey concludes.

“Don’t get Papa in trouble!” Daisy begs.

“I’m confused…” Cici admits.

“Ugh. Don’t be,” Barbra sighs. “We have this exchange about once a week before I remind them.”

“Baaarbraaa’s always mean to us,” Juno bleats tearfully.

“Now that’s just hurtful,” the older girl sighs, handing the little one a handkerchief. “I’m always nice to you three.” She gives Juno a few reassuring pats before turning to the others. “As for where they live, it’s a small farm on the outskirts of Sojourn to the north. They’re right off the main road with a windmill. You can’t miss it.”

“*Hic-Hic*. Will you guys come and visit us?” Juno inquires.

“Sure!” Cici says. “I can bring Mama with us too. Oh, an’ the voices want you to visit the bees. Would you guys like to come home with us after school?”

“Can we Barbra?” Daisy asks.

“Can we?”

“Uhh. Sure,” the sheep girl sighs. “I can make time.”

“Yay!” they cry in unison.

[“I don’t know voices. Should we tell Ms. Willow about this? I don’t wanna make Juno, Daisy, and Tracey sad.”]

> Write-in
No, it's their own business.
We really should, though.
At the least, your mother has to be told.
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[“We’ll tell Mama then. She’ll know who else needs to know.”]

In the meantime, lunch was just about over, and for the youths gathered in the yard, that meant that it was time to go back to class. Inevitably, Ms. Willow frowns when she realizes not all of the students made it back, but she leaves off at a light warning to the other students before proceeding with lecture.

It’s honestly a bit boiler plate as the teacher goes through a review of everything the students should know before beginning to teach them additional content. At least Cici seems to do well, not quite as bashful with chalk in her hand than she had been spouting off tongue twisters. A couple of swaps in and out of classes shows that the basic addition and subtraction Melody’s class is going over isn’t producing much in the way of complications either.

All in all, boring is simultaneously not a bad way to describe it but not a bad condition in and of itself. That’s even after it appears some of the older students have been integrated in with the rest of the class, including Clyde. A couple of hours later, they are back out in the warm sunshine, once again free of academia.

“Hmm. Was there anything we needed to take care of in town?” Cici asks.

> Write-in
I don't believe so. There's always the baker and the bookstore, but right now I think going back is fine.

Not really.
No, but we should try to look for your mother in front of the school. We don't want her to worry about us like last time.

(Memories of THE SHELF return...)
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Cici takes the time to look around the school yard for Mama and makes sure to inform Ms. Willow that she’s going home with some friends before leaving.

“Just be safe,” is her only request before letting the children go.

And fortunately, as usual, the roads and sky are clear, the way that much more merry for having a growing pack of friends at her side. Three goats, one hellhound, two humans, and counting, it doesn’t take long for them to walk the winding road back home and finally come into view of the-

“Cemetery?” Barbra asks hesitantly.

“Cemetery,” Katy confirms.

“There’s lots of pretty statues!” Juno says excitedly.

And apparently Mama and Uncle Yesh are already sitting outside as the girls arrive, the two holding some sort of discussion that apparently has Mama too engrossed to turn around and address the small mob headed her way.

“You overdid it, Cassandra,” Yesh cautions.

“Given the circumstances-“

“Do I need to remind you that I’m a spirit shaman and not a cleric,” he sighs. “I can only do so much for broken bones, yours or your victims.”

“I know, I know, it’s just-“

“Mama!” Cici calls excitedly, finally getting her mother’s attention as the woman turns around and does a double take against the small flock of sheep people accompanying the usual suspects.

“Welcome home, sweetling,” she manages regardless, scooping the little gorgon up and giving her a kiss. “Did you have fun at school today?”

“Mhm. I learned lots,” she promises. “An’ this is Barbra, Juno, Daisy, and Tracey! They’re sheep people.”

“Sheeple,” Hannah suggests.

“I’ll teach you the proper name later,” Barbra promises.

“Well, that’s lovely. Pleased to meet you all. I’ll see about getting you some refreshments in a moment.”

“Also, Mama, Juno, Daisy, an’ Tracey are magic sheep. The voices said I should tell you!”

“I… what?”

> Write-in
Yeah, their father is a mage who lives a bit north of here. We're not sure if he really did create them the wizard way, or the old fashioned and mundane way, if you get our meaning.

We're not current on the laws concerning the creation of servitor races, client species, fully sapient and autonomous homunculi with the potential for fully functional reproductive capability, so thought it best if you look into it.

At the least, it might mean another teacher for the school, or one more person of magical ability you can foist work onto.

Two of sheep people claim to have been magically created by their father, of course, it could be a lie.

[“Gods help me. So either we have children lying about these sort of things or a wizard who’s playing god. Still, I guess it’s better to know about it. If you can be more specific, I’ll pay him a visit later.”]

Cassandra does her best to hide her disappointment, going through the motions as she quickly gathers a sizeable meal for the no-doubt hungry children.

“Hey runt,” comes a voice from down below as she’s making her descent, and Cassandra’s brow wrinkles.

“Hi Aunt Rosie!” Cici greets. “That’s a really pretty dress.”

“Heheh! Yeah, it’s one of your mom’s.”

“Wow! What happened to the clothes you were wearing earlier though?”

“Well, err, ye see when I got back here-“ Cassandra’s eyes meet Rosie’s as she comes down, and all it takes is one second to realize what will happen if she finishes that sentence honestly. “I fell! In some mud…”

“Weird, it hasn’t rained in a while…”

“Yeah, well,” she laughs nervously. “You know how it goes.”

Naturally, the real reason she was presently stretching out one of Cassandra’s favorite dresses would probably be explained by the bandages she even now had wrapped around her waist and chest, remnants of their scuffle earlier that were taking their sweet time healing completely. At least she was a troll, unlike the other-

“Hey *hic*, Danny!” comes a woozy voice as what could pass for a mummy comes stumbling out of the tower. “How’s my little man doing?”

“M-mom!” Danny yelps.

“Thash right, Danny. *Hic* I’m yer mama and I heard all about yer little talk this mornin’ with miss tall red and angry over there. *Hic* Ye know I’m jeloush. I tried to tell you shame as yer shisters an’ ye ran off on me. Am I *Hic*, am I not good enough for y-“

A pair of precise fingers knead into her neck and the hellhound is peacefully drooling on the ground, Uncle Yesh struggling to keep her upright.

“You. Should still be in bed,” he grunts.

“Gah! Mama what happened!?” Cici asks.

[“Gods preserve me!”]

> Write-in
Prospective employee, my liege?

Anyway, from what Master Daniel told me, his mother and two sisters are skilled in martial combat. Should we keep them on retainer for a nominal fee for future underdark excursions, or perhaps as pathfinders?
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Maybe the sheep kids parent is a healer?
Cici, your mother lives an interesting life. See if you can help Uncle Yesh.
remember to cut her hair short, so she stop attacking you!
make it cute, though, so it's not too mean!

“Err, Mama and Ms….”

“Faye,” Danny fills in.

“Mama and Ms. Faye were just rough housing a bit and-“

“She fell down some stairs,” Rosie offers.

“She fell down some stairs. Anyway, Rosie, could you help Yesh move her back inside?”


With hardly a hint of effort, the oni picks up the woman and is making her way back inside. Mama sighs.

“And before I forget.” She slithers in, pulling a knife from Danny’s mom’s own belt to slice her long hair down to a third of its length, long enough to be styled, but short enough to make a point. “I swear if you got this one wrong.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Anyway, time for snacks!” Cici says happily, distracting the other kids with the basket Mama brought down.

[“And maybe that will buy me a moment of sanity.”] She thinks to herself. [“I don’t exactly have much in the way of a retainer budget to begin with, you know. For Mishael and Rosie it was easy. I just gave them some land and that was that. For her though, well, I’m not sure the same trick will work twice. Hmm…”]

Turning the thoughts over in her head, there was just no telling how this woman was going to react. Diverting taxes to cover her wages seemed irresponsible, and she wasn’t sure leveraging her at-the-moment medical care in the future would get her far. Maybe if there was a mage she could press into service, he could turn her into a frog if all else failed and… She really didn’t like the places the stress of this position was sending her mind.

> Any advice?
> Write-in

>Give her a piece of land and right to hunt as long as she doesn't try anything with Cici pets or friends. Make very clear that if certain bunny is injured or killed you will kick her out.
well, a militia to keep public order is always useful?
>> Any advice?
I'd talk with Danny about what she would agree with, preferred forms of payment, and if a nearby plot of land would be acceptable. He had some private tutoring before he went to school, and he's definitely a cooler head then his mother.

She could be your guard dog. I do not see such a violent person being able to do much else. Plus since she can keep what she hunts she could earn money that way.
It sounds like, Cassandra, you may have just gotten yourself a forest warden. Determine a stretch of land you need eyes and blades on, and away she goes. Paying a warden a stipend is nothing out of the ordinary.
First we'd need to establish how well she knows friend from foe. And how to properly treat friends.
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“Danny,” Cassandra calls at the voices suggestion. “Could you come over here for a moment?”

The young boy neatly sets aside his piece of bread before hopping to it.

“Yes ma’am.”

“I imagine you know what actually happened here today,” she sighs.

“Yeah. Cici probably does too. I mean, she’s not dumb.”

“I…” Cassandra doesn’t know how to respond to that. “In any case, because of that, you can understand why I am looking for a more long term solution.”

“I understand. How can I help?”

“Well, your mother, to put it bluntly, what does she want?”

“Land, food, something to kill,” he explains simply.

“That’s it?”

“I mean,” the boy pauses, rubbing the back of his neck. “I might get in trouble for saying it, but Mom isn’t all that smart. If you give her a fancy title, something to do, and make sure she has enough food to eat, I’m thinking that’s more than enough to keep her distracted.”

“Hmm. Well, how do you think she’d take to being a game warden, then?”

“She likes the outdoors well enough. You might want to make sure she knows how to regulate a forest though, maybe have her talk to the local villages to see what needs killing and what doesn’t.”

“That… That’s surprisingly insightful. Thank you.”

“I mean, it’s kind of what she does already. It’s just that usually she gets that information… less diplomatically. If the towns in the area have to ‘report to her’ though.”

“I see… That would probably work.”

“Just make sure they have cold beer and warm food as part of her payment. It’s what she’d spend it on anyway. Doctor visits and other stuff as a bonus would probably also do her some good. Was there anything else I could help with?”

“No, I think that will be fine,” she says. “Just relax with the others while I crunch some numbers.”

[“Smart kid.”]

With the voices’ initial suggestion and some added details, things quickly fall into place. There were bandits that needed taking care of in the area. Transferring their bounty into a fiscal incentive and then having her take care of them, scheduling payment in food, and playing to her desire for dominance, all of it seemed very doable.

[“First though, there’s the matter of the sheep…”]

> Cici still wants to take them to the Queen
> Write-in

> Cici still wants to take them to the Queen

The bee people are the only ones familiar with magicaly upgrading a species that we know if.
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Well folks, I'm just about out of juice. We'll pick up tomorrow.

Actually, the more that I think about it, Cassandra will probably want to go alone to talk with the sheep trio's father before they go home. It's up to the voices whether they would rather stay with Cici and visit the bee people or go with Cassandra and speak to the wizard. To that end, feel free to vote.

> Stay with Cici, go with Cassandra, or other?
> Write-in
Stay with Cici
stay with cass, i'm quite curious
Go to the wizard
Go with Cassandra.

> Stay with Cici.
Stay with cici
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“Cici,” Mama finally asks. “Can I borrow the voices for a little while? I’d like to make a trip into town, and I think they can help.”

“Okay, Mama!” There’s no hesitance as the little girl fumbles at her wrist. “You guys be good, okay? We can visit the bees when you get back.”

The voices give various murmurings to set her at ease before they’re once again paired with the Baroness.

“Rosie, you wouldn’t mind watching them for a while until I get back, right?”

“Nah. Sure thing.”

“I can also assist if you want,” Yesh offers. “That is, assuming you don’t want me to go with you.”

“I think it’s best I go alone,” Cassandra tells him quietly. “No need to worry him anymore than I likely already will. Besides, I’d rather have you here to prevent… ‘repeat incidents’.”

She pointedly nudges toward Rosie, who is even now explaining the process of how to sharpen a knife to the children gathered around her before slicing into an apple.

“I make no promises,” the tiny lizard cautions. “Just take care of yourself.”

Mama sighs as she ducks back inside. Her law book, her travel bag, some coin, and her badge of office, she’d hoped that those could be given a rest for today, but the gods seemed to have other plans. Still, best not to keep them waiting as she gives her daughter another quick hug and hits the road, quickly slithering out of sight.

“Now, then, Sojourn is only about ten miles away,” she murmurs to herself. “I could travel there on scale, but maybe a horse would be smarter…”

As it would turn out, using your own spine as a makeshift bullwhip really did a number on your back.

“I really could do with something like a cart, the more I think about it,” she muses, “especially with how often I travel the territories nowadays. I know a lot of barons tend to make the common people come to them, but, well, I don’t really know how to strike that balance yet. I’m open to suggestions, of course.

“Also, how has Cici been doing? Has she been eating well, making friends, doing well at her classes? She hasn’t run into any bullies yet, has she?”

> And there’s the ever-fretting mother
> Write-in
There was some punk brat that was about to throw a rock at Cici for being a Gorgon, before Clyde punched his lights out. Good kid, that Clyde.

Otherwise, she's excelling in classes and has started making many friends, as you saw.

As for transport, yes, you really should get a pair of horses and a wagon.
Probably see about getting water taxi boats for the rivers to speed up travel, too.

You should also set up a post box at the local office, where your subjects can send letters to. Probably best to provide some kind of template or form, too, so it's not all confused rambling.
Cici has been doing well. There were some issues early on, but her friends have taken care of it.

As to meetings, you may want to establish a place to hold court. Right now, it doesn't seem many know either you, your strength, or your legal authority. Do remember that while you are a kind woman, violence is golden. Strength and power underlie all civil interactions. Being a credible protector and enforcer while showing a kind face should pay dividends.
Shes doing real well in school, though she gets nervous. Shes quite smart.
And you should have already seen how she makes friends, so theres no problem there.
If you go with this voice's suggestion, and invest in some transportation, I think you might want to consider making a public transport system out of it. Like a bus service, you can have it make designated stops between the town, school and other areas so that people dont have to walk everywhere, especially the kids and the elderly. if you can get it going, at the very least you should see an upswing in activity, since people will be able to get around without tiring themselves out. You could have it be something like a monthly paid service, but be free for kids and elders, or have it be completely covered by taxes.I dont think youre actually collecting yet though, so if you got it started at the same time, at least you'd have something to show as to where the money's going, and im sure the people would be grateful.
Maybe you should talk to Ms.Holly about it.
Oh, to add to this, if you decided to go with it, any transport you use should be covered. That way it will be useful even in the rain. And you might want to have one for the general populace, and then one just for taking the kids to and from school.
Oh and to add, Cici has been a little isolated, and that has shown. She reacts a little strongly to teasing, but that is to be expected. Her friends seem of a good sort.
>Ci ci is doing well and making friends. And yes you should get a cart... that certain big troll that eats a lot could pull
For personal use some type of a chariot would be best I think
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Cassandra stops, the sort of abrupt halt you would expect if she had been hit by a rock herself, and behind the new wrinkles in her expression is the clear calculus of someone who has no idea how to process the information they’ve just received.

“I should have gone with her myself all the way to the classroom,” she confirms. “They wouldn’t have been so quick to throw a rock at an adult, I’d wager.”

It had been a painful decision to leave Cici at the hillside that day, that made only more painful as she realizes what had almost happened. Obviously, the voices can see it was probably the right decision, but the news is more than enough to reopen Cassandra’s doubts.

And of course, Cici hadn’t told her, not out of malice or a desire to hide things from her, but from the sheer indifference to that negativity causing her to forget as she talked about all of the things she’d learned and the people she’d met. If she had shown up with her head bandaged, her reaction probably would have been just the same.

“Thanks for telling me,” the gorgon sighs. “Glad to hear other than almost getting stoned, her first day of school went well.”

She resumes travel and just listens as the voices talk, occasionally waving to field hands or other people that cross her way.

[“Maybe Katy’s grandmother could provide a horse and cart…”]


“Well, howdie doo, Ms. Skinny Britches,” the old woman laughs as Cassandra comes slithering up her drive. “What can I do ye for, other than a sandwich?”

“I’m actually not that hungry…” she says, but she just snorts.

“Ye aren’t hungry, or yer watchin’ yer figure, still?” she questions, not waiting for the answer as she goes to the kitchen.

“A mix of both,” Cassandra concedes with a blush.

“Eh. Once ye stuff that big ol’ tail and set a cans of yers in one of them poofy dress, reckon nobody’ll be the wiser to a pound or two,” she jokes, reappearing with a small platter, “but I know that look. Yer in a hurry, ain’t ye?”

“Well, there’s a wizard I need to speak to up north…”
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“Heh. Ever since you took the job, it’s been wizards, dragons, an’ man eatin’ ogres. Ye better be watchin’ yer health rather than yer weight, if’n ye ask me.”

“But there haven’t been any-“ Cassandra stops short.

Please, no dragons. Please, no dragons. Please, no dragons.

“Anyhow, yer needin’ a cart or I’ll shoe myself. Got a nag and a turnip cart that’ll do, if yer not overly particular on yer regal bearin’.”

“That would be wonderful,” Cassandra assures her.

“Eh? Well, she’ll get ye there,” the old woman concedes. “Just give me a sec, and I’ll have one of the boys hitch’re up for ye.”

She’s hardly a step out of the entry way before Cassandra hears her shout.


And then it’s right back inside with a smile.

“That’ll take ‘em a minute, I reckon. So, what else have ye got on yer pretty little noggin’.”

Cassandra takes a small bite of her sandwich, enjoying the rich ham and fresh cheese as she thinks.

“Do you know of any baronies that have a system of public transport?” she asks. “I’ve been hearing some students are having trouble getting to classes in the morning, and I was wondering if there’s not something we could do to alleviate the burden.”

“Heh. Well, reckon the big, uppity types got their carriages all to themselves. A few o’ the bigger cities have taxi services from what I hear tell, but ‘round here, it’s mostly every man for hisself. Either that or folks pay their neighbors to haul a rig whenever there’s a need.”

“Hmm. Do you think people would be willing to pay for a general service, for the schools if nothing else?”

“Eh. Carts don’t drag themselves is the real kicker,” the old woman explains. “And last I checked was the Potly’s up over the pasture that got themselves enough horses to help with a program like that. Guess you could trade outta territory for ‘em, too, but ye gotta imagine a horse can’t run every day or it’ll be run clean into the ground. Then ye need feed, stables, and cart smithies to make sure they ain’t draggin’ plows by the end of a month.”

[“Any suggestions?”]

> Write-in
Actually, what about Iris' golem friends? Any way they can build roads or construct mechanical self-propelled wagons?

She is right in that we'll need lots of horses and the infrastructure to keep the wagons in working condition if we're running them every day.
Well, I imagine youd need some form of either alternating horses, or something other then a horse to pull the carts. Ms.Holly might have an idea, and those Constructs with Iris might be...technologically inclined. They might be able to put something together. Might even be able to make a kind of cart that doesnt NEED something to pull it, such a thing isnt unheard of.
Other then that, The best solution may just be to pay out for quality up front so you dont have to worry about upkeep as much later.
If you plan it out with whomever is involved, and wait till you have the necessary funds ready, you dont necessarily have to get everything ready all at once. Take your time planning out the people, the locations and resources, set it up over the course of a few months and then ease into it?
Arranging some manner of ride sharing our some such would probably be the most low impact way of getting this going. Part of the problem of taking the cost out of things is it changes his your subjects value the education. In fact, you might try setting the precedent of tipping the instructors. Might create an incentive for tutors to offer services.
A well build and maintained road network will be essential for this kind of thing.
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Something like this would work the best for now.
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“We’re going to have to start paying those golems at some point,” Cassandra sighs.

“Yeah. Still don’t know what to make of ‘em to tell ye honest, but heck, they built us a school that’d make the big cities blush.”

“I wonder what they would ask for to start building some public roads for us.”

“That’s a mighty tall order,” she concedes. “Especially for little fellers like them.”

“For now, at least, the method of ride sharing is probably going to have to stay. I’ll inform Ms. Willow and ask her to relay that to students who presently are walking.”

“Well, if they’ve got cash or the kindness of their neighbors, that oughta be fair,” she concedes. “If’n ye come up with somethin’ better, ye can always send new word. Heck, for right now, pavin’ the streets ain’t gonna hurt nobody.”

“I just want to set up a system of education where rich and poor have equal access to the pursuit of knowledge.”

“Well, best o’ luck on that, sugar. I’ve got yer back in the council here’n town If nothin’ else.”

“Thanks,” Cassandra returns with a smile, offering up her empty plate.


By now, the sound of horses outside told her it was time to go, and so with a few more fond farewells, she ducked out of the farmhouse and slithered herself into the wagon, a farm hand helpfully closing the back gate after her.

A couple of spotted mares, a rickety old cart that smelled and had been stained by countless turnips, no one could make it appear quite so regal as a full-grown gorgon at the reigns. Balanced on her coils with a look of determination that defies her rustiness with guiding such a vehicle, Cassandra commands the pair with as confident a hand as she can muster through the town and beyond, getting a few happy waves and nods along the way that she struggles to return as she heads north.

Not surprisingly, there are few things willing to bother her along the quiet roads she passes once she exited the town proper. A tall woman set on a serpentine trunk, her hair made of vipers that waved happily in the wind as the breeze blew through them, she struck a figure neither wild animal nor bandit would easily mistake for a mark.

True to Barbra and the voices’ words, the farm outside of Sojourn isn’t hard to spot from there. Right on the edge of a small patch of forest, a stone’s throw from the crossroads, this was apparently where the enigmatic wizard had decided to call home with his three children. A windmill lazily turns in the background as she approaches, a sparse few animals giving a lackadaisical stare as she rides by, as though she weren’t the oddest thing they had seen today.

The real question, however, is how she plans to approach the house from here.

> Write-in
maybe we could float there and warn the mage ffirst?
Might as well openly come up. You're not about to raze the farm to the ground for crimes against nature yet.
Try opening as a fellow parent.
Your kids go to school together, theyre playing at your house, its a good excuse to meet.
Oh, you happened to hear he was a mage, how bout he tells you about that. and from their bring up that thing they said about him making them?
its not as unnatural as it seems. No need to be hostile yet, they seem happy enough so even if it turn out to be something, he may be reasonable.
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Cassandra sighs and clears her throat before heading toward the door. The voices were probably right. It really was just one parent to another, and things didn’t have to start off on a confrontational or even stressful note. With that in mind, she gives the door a firm couple of knocks and waits.

“Ah, is that you Barbra?” comes a call from inside, a man’s voice. “You’re a little late, you know. Still, I’d thank you for the trouble. Just give me a moment and I’ll put on a pot of… tea…?”

The last part turns into a question as he opens the door to find the gorgon matriarch staring down at him, his hands quite visibly trembling on the tea pot.

“I’m sorry,” Mama apologizes. “The girls are presently visiting over at my home, and so I thought I’d take this chance to stop by.”

“Well, um,” the man swallows, pushing his glasses up on his large nose before running a hand through his thinning hair. “I suppose the offer still stands. Would you care for some tea?”

“I’d love some.”

A few moments later and Cassandra has ducked her way inside, her host having to clear a couch of various articles of girlish clothing before she could have a seat.

“Apologies. Well, we weren’t exactly expecting guests today? And you know how girls are… boys too I suppose?”

“I do,” Cassandra admits, though at least Vivi and Cici kept the mess to their rooms.
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From the looks of things, it was like a hurricane had gone through a library and a clothing shop before depositing its contents here, piles of books of various thickness scattered amidst socks, shirts, and under things.

“Will mint be alright?” he asks as he fills the kettle, hands and voice still noticeably shaking.

“Mint should be fine.”

“Good, good. You see, the girls have taken a liking to the leaves as a garnish or a spice if you will. And it’s not quite so easy to keep them out of the cupboards as it used to be.”

“A length of thin cord and a sufficiently complicated knot is what I use to deter Cici.”

“Ah, so that would be your daughter, then?” he asks.

“Yes, and you’re the father of Juno, Daisy, and Tracey, I take it.”

“Aye, I suppose you could say that.” With a practiced hand, he dumps leaves into a strainer and sets the kettle on a burner. “They aren’t mine by blood. That’s clear enough. Still, kind of a surprise that the baroness is an honest to gods gorgon.”

“Really? You hadn’t heard?”

“Oh, aye, I suppose I did, but it’d be just like any damn fool of a noble to call themselves a lion, a fairy, an ocelot, or a gorgon. I guess I just figured it was a sir name.”

As soon as the water hisses, he’s pouring, bringing a tray with cups on it, front and center before hastily sliding some of the contents off of his coffee table onto the floor.

“Is there anything else I could get you?”

“No, no. This should be more than fine. Please, have a seat.”

He looks around helplessly for a moment, before finally just plopping down in a nearby arm chair, wiggling until he’s cleared out a space for himself. It’s still very clear how nervous he is as she takes her first sip.

> Do the voices want to introduce themselves?
> Write-in
eh, at this point, I think that would just put him more on edge. If it comes up, then we'll come out.
Good day from us as well, Voices is the name we go by and a conglomerate of transdimentional inteligences bound to a bracelet is what we are.
Let's stay hidden for now.
fine we can stay hidden
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The voices keep silent, understanding that a man on edge hardly needs another reason to panic. Meanwhile, Cassandra, for her part, tries to drink her tea in the most disarming way possible, though judging by the man’s expression, that may still qualify as vaguely threatening.

“So, I heard tell from your daughters you might be a mage of some sort…” Cassandra leads as the man begins drumming his fingers together.

“W-Why, yes. Not a very good one, mind you, but I am a mage by trade.”

“I’m sure you’re just being modest,” Mama says with a smile. “And even if you aren’t, any craftsmen of any remote skill is an asset I definitely want to keep in mind.”

“K-keep in mind?” He nods, giving a nervous smile. “I guess that would make sense, but really, I’m more of a researcher than a practitioner nowadays.”

“Hmm? Interesting. What do you research?”

“Well… Ehem. Well, I’m a transmutation specialist, ex-academy and no longer affiliated with my college. Mind you, I do still collaborate in exchange for a small stipend. As for what I do… I suppose you could call it agricultural science. By using transmutation, it’s the belief of many in our community that we can make life better for the working man out in the fields. Fatter cows and stronger horses, better crops and the like.

“Naturally, your average farmer could breed for those traits over a dozen generations or so, but what we seek to achieve is more immediate and lasting effects via early stage manipulation of both fauna and flora through magic. It’s a messy and oft slow process, taking years of cultivation to verify results, but it has caught enough ears in society’s upper crust to provide my daughters and I a stable living.”

> He seems a bit more confident talking about his field of study, but then there’s what he’s studying…
> Write-in

>Ask about her daughters saying that he made them with magic.
What college did he attend, out of curiosity? And what kind of changes are you working on in in those flaura and fauna, specifically?
This. Lead with a complement as to their manners and friendly disposition
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Cassandra takes a thoughtful breath, staring down into her tea. She wasn’t going to get a better opportunity to ask than this, most likely.


“Oh, you can call me Willy,” he insists, extending a hand. “William Hawthorne in full, but well…”

“Right. Willy, it is then,” she breathes. “While we’re on the subject of hybrids, your daughters had an interesting story they shared with my little one this afternoon.”

“O-oh.” His face pales. “And what would that be?”

“That rather than being adopted, you made them through some sort of experiment.”

A cold shock ripples through his expression at the accusation, though not the kind you’d seen born of hearing something completely ridiculous. No, he doesn’t answer immediately. There’s no rejection, no denial, just a slowly building expression of guilt on his face as he holds the cup of hot tea in his hands. Perhaps he’s looking for answers in his own reflection now, but they are a long time coming as he just sits there.

“A-and if that were the case?” he finally asks, throat dry and voice shaky.

“Then I would at least like to know why,” Cassandra answers calmly.

He seems to take a bit of heart in that simple kindness, some semblance of hope in at least being heard peeking through his face as he returns to quietly mulling over his cup.

“W-well,” he eventually begins. “I suppose it’s best we start at the beginning then, when all of this madness started.” He lets out a deep breath then another before finally taking a sip of his tea. “You see, my dear, the gods have always had a particularly rotten sense of humor. I’ve always said it, even from the time I was a young man. In love, in warfare, their decisions have eternally left me baffled, but none so much as the one decision that has kept me baffled to this day: they gave me a wife.”

He gives a sort of dry, sarcastic laugh.

“Yes, even a man like me found love once. Someone who can barely remember how to butter his toast, lace his shoes, and who has always lived in as sorry a state of dis-orderliness as you see now was inflicted on some pitiful creature. Somehow, despite all of that, she managed to find something she felt was worth keeping. And for the time we were together, it felt like I had stepped into the middle of a dream.

“Everything just worked when she was around. My life found a rhythm, my heart found ease, and even now, my only regret is that those days could not have been longer. Unfortunately, as it seems must always be the case, there came a day when everything went wrong.

“We had promising careers, stable finance, and our love. All we lacked was a child, and if that were the only problem, we certainly didn’t lack the enthusiasm to remedy it. What we lacked was the sort of absolute foresight to remedy what came next.
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“It wasn’t the doctor’s fault in the end. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but as she and our child lay on that operating table, bodies cold and souls departed, I needed someone to blame. And in my youth and my arrogance, I chose the gods as the ones who had taken everything from me. They took her smile… our future… o-our child…”

He takes a few breaths, wiping at his eyes with a piece of cloth.

“And so, I made in that moment a dangerous determination. That some part of my wife, some semblance of the child we had sought to bring into this world would escape the ashes of her death. However, I’m no necromancer, no chronomancer, or golemancer. I was simply a man who knew animals, how to bend and mold and combine them.

“Even then it took years of research. It took a stomach strong enough to abandon everything I knew was right. With these hands, I took three lives one night and beyond my wildest dream, come the morning I had made three more.

“One could argue that sacrifice was small, taking three barely born lambs as my materials, a nobleman’s Sunday dinner in another world, but I know the sin for what it is, just as I know that a chimera cannot be made without at least a sample of the creature it seeks to imitate.

“But I gave them her smile in the only way I knew how, her heart, her eyes, and at least the blueprint of her mind. I twisted life itself to make what many would call a mockery, and yet, were you to ask me now if I have any regrets, I would tell you no. If you were to ask me if I would do it all again, the answer would be a yes. Because though I made them in a way against the laws of god and man, I do not regret that they were born.

“At the same time, I know my crimes. I… I know their punishment, and if you will only promise me their safety and happiness in my absence, I will gladly come quietly.”


[“Why? Just why?”]

> Why was it always so complicated?
> Write-in
Now, what laws specifically are we talking about here? Because the end result justifies the means in this case at least to me.
So I was right, theyre clones! So technically speaking he just altered them, not made them whole-cloth. Thats a good enough loophole for me, besides,Cassandras not a priest.
Is he planning on doing it again? Is he planning on spreading the knowledge, leading others to do the same for less singularly sad means?
If not, then we really have no proof besides his word that he did anything, and as such cannot properly come to a sentence.
Have him stay in the territory, stay where you can find him, and forbid him from practicing or passing on that knowledge. consider it a kind of lifelong probation.
Cassandra, it seems like this man's sins are ones he will likely spend the hereafter paying for. We l were it mine to decide, I would require of him faithful service of the realm and good fathering of the daughters he has created, on the understanding that his life is likely forfeit if higher authority comes calling for it.
I think we need to read up on the laws before we can make a judgement on this, Cassandra.

Personally, I've got nothing against uplifting non-sapient animals into full human sapience, so long as the client-master race relationship is maintained.
Just thought I should add, I would absolutely not be as lenient if the girls didnt seem healthy and happy.
As far as crimes against nature go, the gods can speak for themselves, and I really dont feel qualified to pass judgment in that capacity, but if the girls had come out suffering or harmed in some way it'd be a lot more of a case.
For now it should be enough to keep a close eye on them and make sure this doesnt get spread around, because even if this guy had noble intentions, this method of his could definitely be used by someone else to do much worse things.Preventing that seems more important then punishing this guy at the moment.
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“Do you plan on doing this again?” Cassandra asks frankly.

“What? No!” he assures her.

“I want your word going forward that you will NEVER do this again nor disseminate the information in such a way so as to enable repeat incidents.”

“Does that mean-“

“What it means is that right now-“ Cassandra pulls out her big book of law. “I have you in violation of the Treaty for the Ethical Use of Human Remains, General Magical Malpractice, and withholding information from the acting (not to mention previous regent) about said malpractice. I could go on, but those seem to be the major ones.

“As another question, were the human remains extracted prior to the time of burial?”


“Yes or no,” she demands authoritatively, flipping to the article.

“I… I took them from the operating table,” he admits shamefully. “It was a small amount.”

“Good, then we can forget about charges for grave robbing,” she sighs. “And do your daughters have legal birth records?”

“Well, of course not-“

“Fix that,” she commands. “Within the next week, I expect them to be fully documented.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Now then, based off of everything that I’ve heard, it is my conclusion that you acted illegally on multiple accounts long past the point where it could be considered a simple crime of passion. You jeopardized not only your own safety, but could have potentially given rise to a creature and/or creatures with permanent physical disfigurement, mental impairment, or organ failure.”

“I-I understand this…”

“Then you understand I’m being lenient by hereby ordering your sentence be served (via executive decree) in services to the public of this barony up until such time as you are granted full-pardon or detained by powers that exceed the scope of the barony.”

The man’s expression breaks with excitement, and he seems halfway between hugging Cassandra or jumping for joy before she gives him an imperious glare that puts him back in his seat.

“At such time as your daughters turn the age of 18, being of sound mind and body, it will be granted within their power to sue for any gross negligence on your part as a guardian, including the negligence that resulted in their very birth. At such point or at any point where your position as a caretaker must be brought into question, the commuting of your sentence will remain an open issue. Until then, it is my judgement that your incarceration or execution is being postponed in order to prevent inflicting more egregious harm to the victims we would seek to protect by administering punishment.”

“And for the love of the gods, clean your house!” she finally finishes, sinking into the couch as she lets out a long sigh of frustration.

[“Ugh. Did I miss anything? I want a bath.”]

> Write-in
Well, you should probably ask if he knows how to take care of any medical issues that the girls might have, and to write down any possible ailments and recommended treatments in case of his incapacitation, death, or discovery and imprisonment by a higher power.
Sounds like you hit the high points at least. Keep an eye on him, but he seems to be raising those girls in as loving an environment a man of his faculties can provide. Occasional health and welfare checks may be necessary, but I would say you got it.
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“Oh, thank you! Thank you! I never thought- I couldn’t have dreamed-”

Willy quite literally weeps from relief as Cassandra lies there in her post-political exhaustion.
“Do you have the means to ensure they stay healthy?” she asks, trying to make sure everything is in order.

“Why yes! Thank the gods they came out fit as tiny fiddles!”

“And how would you feel about breeding a better horse for the local transit system as your first job?”

“It would be a grand opportunity to serve, and I’ve plenty of experience in something as simple as that!”

“Good. I’ll be contracting with the Potly’s to get you samples.”

“Pardon, Baroness, about my girls-“

“They’re with my daughter right now and being watched over by one of the wardens of the realm, their adoptive sister, and Cici’s uncle for good measure. They’re safe.”

“Oh, thank you! I promise I won’t let you down!”

“Just be a good parent to them,” Cassandra says gently, standing on her coils before lifting the comparatively tiny man in a hug. “Keep them safe. Keep them honest.”

“Y-yes ma’am. O-of course, ma’am,” he eventually manages through a stream of conjoined platitudes.

“I’ll also see if I can’t get you paid a stipend for your work with the barony. I’ll be posing a budget this week.”

With a few more fond farewells, handshakes, thank you’s, and promises, Cassandra eventually makes her way outside, waving back to the still teary eyed wizard as she mounts her cart and gets back on the road.

“I’ve never been comfortable with people thanking me,” she admits to the voices, “but I hope this all works out for them. Now, let’s get back before Rosie makes another mess of things.”

“And that’s how you throw an uppercut, kids. Now let’s pair up and make sure you’ve got yer fundamentals down!”

Things would never be simple.
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And that's where we will leave off for the week. Hope you folks had fun. Feel free to leave comments, suggestions, questions, etc, below.
>Well they do need to know how to fight...
Man, Rosie is teaching Cici so much shit mama doesn't want her learning.
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Everyone in this world has a special talent. Rosie's might be pushing Mama's buttons.

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