>Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Bladebound%20Retainer%20Quest>Previous Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/1539046/>Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaskForceKaz>Pastebin: http://pastebin.com/u/TaskForceKaz[STATS]>Combat: +++>Social: +>Knowledge: ++[Abilities/Traits/Perks]>Indomitable, Rank 1: Ignore the penalties imposed by Blood Loss. Does not negate health loss. >Atelier of Death, Rank 1: Craft your own Bombs and Poisons.>Blutmörder: +10 to Combat Rolls made against Blutlings and Blood Mages.>Fleetfooted: If a Natural One would be among any roll related to acrobatic feats both in and out of combat, immediately disregard it and either take the highest roll or reroll again.>In Plain Sight: >+30 to Disguising/Hiding/Sneaking, Take 75 in non-stressful situations >Nimble Fingers 2: +40 to non-attack actions involving your hands (lockpicking, pickpocketing, etc.).>Specter’s Dream: A technique to allow one to rest while remaining aware of one’s surroundings. (4/8/12 hour intervals each with their own bonuses)>Knowledge: Nobility (Aderaveth): Take a flat 50 to Knowledge rolls concerning this subject. >Knowledge: Underworld (Aderaveth): Take a flat 50 to Knowledge rolls concerning this subject.>Riding, Rank 2: You are able to ride unassisted, and perform rudimentary skills to obedient horses.You are Marcus Painel, the troubled son of the late assassin Lucien Painel, dead by your own hands at ten. At the age of eighteen, you have already loved and lost, and the blood of dozens stains your hands a crimson red of retribution. But a chance meeting at the brink of death has found you as the bodyguard to Princess Ellana Crowmond, youngest of the royal family of the Aderaveth Empire. Inducted to her service as her Crownguard, you have sworn to keep her safe from harm by whatever means necessary…In the last threads, you uncovered proof of Lady Sofia Rudnick’s infidelity and all but secured the evidence necessary for Klara Mazur to bring to her father. And after a brief session of bonding with your fellow Crownguard, Lord Mazur has ordered for a victory banquet to celebrate the victory at Silverstone Quarry. And you are no mystic or seer to know that something is bound to happen…=======
>Winter 59, 238 ACR>Fortress of Alnerwich>Marcus Painel>>The FeastEllana frowns as you dig into a portion of chicken, with more intensity than what you would normally expect. As far as you can tell, your manner of eating is no different than the others at Mazur’s table. After all, Ansell was very strict in drilling the proper etiquette of high dining in-between history lessons of all the Empire’s houses. You’re almost certain that it’s nothing to do with your dining habits.The three of you had returned to the fortress with little fanfare, quickly making your way towards the guest quarters to change. When asked about where you Heardhad been by the Crowmonds, you were sparing on the details.“A local tavern,” You muttered, shrugging off your cloak, “A curiosity that I wanted to try while we were here.”“Try the beer,” Bellatrix supplied, kindling the hearthfire, “It’s almost to die for.”“…the patronage is no good,” Urath finished, rubbing his hands together, “Food spoils quickly.”From the worried looks they gave you, you’d think that you paid visit to some seedy house of ill repute. And most certainly not the best and closest tavern within the vicinity of the fortress. But before they can ask for more details, the servants whisked them away, in order to prepare them for tonight’s feast.For his apparent lack of tactical sense on the battlefield, let it not be known that Lord Mazur has no sense for festivities. Following the mirthful tune of some archaic minnesang, the Lord of Alnerwich begins the feast with a toast; a toast for Lord Pullman and the Eagle Knights, a toast for his officers to have come home safely, and finally, a toast to the dead, who gave their lives to stop the Vascieli.As a member of the Crownguard, you have the unique privilege of a seat at the high table, albeit all the way at the end of it. But as a result, you are given a lord’s portion and choice of the dishes to be brought out into the room. It’s not nearly as refined as the food served in Karthmire, but it’s a high cut above what the peasantry would be eating.Still, even the taste of spiced meat and creamy tomato soup is not enough to take the edge off your mood. It’s not just from the irritation the three of you had felt in the tavern. There’s something else that charges the air with ominous premonition. Even as the assembled guests make a show of toasting, as sporadic peals of laughter ring throughout the hall, there’s a neigh-palpable tension just waiting to be cut.The rest of the Crowmonds could not care, too busy either digging into their food, or making small talk with their neighbors. Even Patrik, for all his bluster, keeps a low profile, morosely picking at a drumstick with a look of abject boredom. But his sister watches with narrow eyes, at the woman clinging onto the arm of her father...Something is going to happen tonight.(cont.)
As soon as the meals are finished, the servants whisk the food away, and begin to clear a space in the center of the hall. Courtiers and soldiers alike grumble at having to move their own seats as the minnesänger take their positions. The leader of the troupe, a foppish man with cheeks seeped too deeply into his cups, somehow remains upright, bowing before striking a somewhat tolerable melody.It’s no midsummer dance, or fleeting song of passion, but it is lively enough to mask the tension in the room. And as they perform, their music cajoles smiles from grim-faced soldiers, and requests for raunchier tunes. It seems that no one wishes to be the first one to break the tentative and fragile peace. And for that, everyone is grateful...“Would it be too troublesome to bother you for a small jaunt?” Breaking away from your thoughts, you see that Klara has come behind you and Ellana. Her smile is the same vulpine, mirthful curve that had graced her lips earlier that day. But her eyes are as hard as tempered steel, and colder than the hoarfrost along the battlements. “The room is stuffy and I’m in need of fresh air and company that I can trust to be discreet.”>“It is loud enough to remain here.”>"My company, or with milady's?">“What are you planning to do?”>Custom option.
>>1755659I swear to fucking god if our waifus and husbandos are hurt...
>>1755662>"My company, or with milady's?"
>"My company, or with milady's?"Ellana still doesn't know Klara's up to something right? So, seems like the most reasonable reply.Also woo! Finally, I'm actually around for one of these sessions!And since I doubt I'll ever have such a stroke of good fortune again, I just want to say that at this point I'm hoping Marcus gets over Serena...and strikes something up with Bellatrix.Because that lady is awesome and hilarious, and is so outrageous and unlike the past waifu there oughta be a minimum of flashbacks and maximum of brawling good times.>“Do not compare our charges to poultry. It’s unseemly.”>She sighs, cursing under her breath. “You’re right. I shouldn’t have done that. Now I’ve gone and made myself hungry.”So glad I reread this Quest, I'd forgotten that gem.
>>1755662>>“What are you planning to do?”Still, we may as well dance. Makes a different target profile after all. Super down with her acumen though.Not too many have that hardcoreness.
>“It is loud enough to remain here.”Ask Ellana for permission and there are also too many people that could hear our plans
>>1755662>>"My company, or with milady's?"
>>1755669>Marcus gets over SerenaEh...that's a rather tall order anon.There's so much implied baggage, before and now after, it's insane/
>>1755706I'm aware, but at the same time he's got a lot going on in life and I'd rather him not hold on to that lost love until death.We just gotta have him keep making choices to have him push his comfort zone, and if he flashbacks like he did with Claudia, have him push through.
>>1755662>>"My company, or with milady's?"It's clearly a pretense, but might as well follow along.>>1755669>I'm hoping Marcus gets over SerenaI doubt it; We tried to suicide by gang when she died, and there's no indication we're even started the process of getting over her.Personally, I hope he never does get over her. It's nice to not have constant waifu wars.
>>1755672>>1755687>>1755667>>1755719“My company, or milady’s?” You retort, glancing back towards the troupe. The lead singer, having been pressed a generous wineskin, begins to hiccup some Bruchanian trouveur. Lyrics about some dashing knight and a sorceress begin to echo along the stone walls. “It’s loud enough to remain here, I would think.”She smiles as if you were an errant student, and she was some tutor about to administer a correction. “Ah, but even bawdy verse cannot completely fill the holes in the walls. And in a similar vein…trusted company is very hard to come by, nowadays…”The meaning of her words is not lost on you. Nor Ellana, as it seems. The youngest Crowmond regards Klara with a look in equal measures of worry and anxiety. While she knows about the situation between Rudnick and Lord Mazur, she is unaware of whatever machinations Klara has planned. Perhaps it would be better to keep her out and away from it…“If milady will permit me…” You turn to her, offering a quiet smile to Ellana. “Then I would be more than honored to escort you.”“Princess Ellana…” Lord Mazur’s daughter curtsies before your charge. “If I be so bold to temporarily borrow your Crownguard, I would be in your debt.”A frown creases her brow, and her lips purse as she glances to and from the table. Bellatrix hovers closely to Adrianna, maintaining a permanent frown whenever someone comes too close. Urath remains silent, staring into the flames of a distant brazier as Allanus tries to sneak something into his cup.“It would not be any trouble…” Ellana begins, even as she tries to make a move towards her brother. The sorcerer prince ignores his sister’s panicked waves, and promptly downs what you suspect to not be water. “I will be safe with the others. Marcus…keeps her as safe as you would with me.”You nod, quietly standing up from your seat. Even as she has gained Ellana’s permission, Klara has already taken brisk steps towards a nearby door, leading out of the hallway. “Of course, milady.”The two of you make your exit without much fanfare, disappearing into the hallway. The lack of servants comes as a surprise. Would it not be odd for the daughter of a lord and an Imperial Crownguard to be sneaking away from a feast? Only if someone saw them.Klara’s path is swift and sure, taking you quickly from corner to corridor without pause. And as you walk briskly in the halls of her ancestors, you can feel a slight draft coming down from your unknown destination. A balcony, perhaps? Maybe a veranda of sorts?“A foolish girl has no mother,” she says as you fall in step beside her. Her eyes are distant, and not just from looking to your eventual and unseen destination. “She’s never known one because that woman had died bringing her and her brother into the world. The teat that nurses them is that of a stranger’s, some kitchen girl with her own suckling babe.”(cont.)
The breeze begins to quicken, and blades of wind begin to nip and scratch against any bare skin. And you notice that in this part of the fortress, this is hallway that has not seen maintenance for several months, if not years. The braziers are rusted, and cobwebs hang along faded tapestries and tarnished metallurgy. Layers of dust become prominent when you step through a portal, and track prints along the stone.Still, Klara continues, “Her father is aggrieved beyond comfort. He cannot stand the sight of his children, even after their infancy has ended. Not only because he believes they killed his wife, but because they are so close to their mother’s image…especially his daughter.“So he does that he can to avoid their presence, spending time in the capital or abroad, fighting for the Empire. He hires tutors to educate his children in his absence, and servants to provide what he is unable to. Love and affection, paid for in gold and baubles. Is it enough for children who have never known the hand of a mother, or their father’s affection?”…you remain silent, even as your hand closes in a tight grip. It seems that even among the lordlings of the Empire, there is no shortage of horrible parents. What is the similarity between a lord of Aderaveth, and an assassin of the gutter? How they treat their children, perhaps…“The foolish girl hated them all. She hated all the servants who took her father’s money, hoping to win his approval by doting upon her. She could see past their kind masks, and see the naked ambition in their eyes, and treated them with all the scorn that they deserved. It made life difficult. Why could she not be like her brother, who accepted things as they were without any sort of struggle?”The source of the wind comes from a veranda, perched along the side of the fortress. It overlooks the Anosar, and all the forests in the shadows of the mountains. In the sky, the light of the waning moon casts enough to illuminate the abandoned site. Snow covers the tables, and the wood of the awning is in desperate need of paint and varnish.Klara turns to you, settling down upon a bench without care for the snow that seeps into her furs. She gestures for you to join her, to gaze upon the territory that her father commands. You try to ignore the snow that blows into your hair, sitting adjacent to the young lady.As you acclimate to the cold, she produces a tinderbox and a spark. Pouring the powder into an abandoned urn, she begins the long and arduous process of lighting a fire. “But there was one,” She says past gritted teeth, “One servant who truly cared for her, and not for her father’s money. And it took many long weeks before the foolish girl saw the truth for herself. She was mean, scathing, a brat by any other name. Yet as other servants would flee, this one would put up with every hurled abuse and insult, all with a smile on her face and a soothing invitation for a gentle embrace.”(cont.)
Moisture strikes your face, and you look up to realize that it has begun to snow. Clouds roll down from the Whrelzwth, covering the sky in thick and roiling clouds. The moon is shrouded, and what little light begins to fade away, replaced by a sharp current in the winds.Klara’s spark finally catches, and the tinder ignites within the urn. Within moments, after collecting what dry deadfall you can find or snap off from the broken awnings, the two of you pile close to the warmth of the fire.Minutes of silence pass before she continues, and the flickering tongues of light illuminate the softest smile on her lips: “To the foolish girl, this servant was everything she could ever want: the loving touch of a mother, the patience of an elder sister, and the loyalty of a friend. She can tell this servant everything and anything: her fears, her doubts, her little insecurities and never have to worry about gossip or secrets spilled to undesirable ears. It would not be wrong to say that this servant was more instrumental in her upbringing than her own father.”But the smile turns brittle, and as cold as the winds around you. “But it could not last forever. One day, the father of this foolish girl returns home for his annual visit. But he is not alone. In tow, and in his hands, is a woman. Not close behind them, her protector follows in her steps. They are engaged to be married, as soon as her father completes negotiations for the wedding and the dowry.”…you have a sudden feeling where the story is going.“But years of seeing past fake smiles and facades have taught the foolish girl well. There is something rotten in this woman, but she cannot yet find it. But she is too good in masking herself, as no one, not even her own father or brother will believe her accusations. All in the castle…save for one steadfast servant.“Thus, the foolish girl begins to conspire to reveal the truth to her father, and gain his approval. Would he not be grateful for her to expose a charlatan? So together, the girl and her loyal servant begin to search for everything and anything that could prove her claims. And it was only with the servant’s help that the foolish girl eventually came as far as she did…”Her voice trails off, tapering off from a light and conversational tone, as if talking about someone else, into hard and tapered steel. “…but she underestimated their ruthlessness, and she had been too aggressive in her search. And for her mistake, they had killed her servant, without any trace or proof leading back to them. Her mother, her sister, her only friend in the world, gone and written off as a tragic accident on winter day as cold as this...but what the servant had left behind was even colder.”(cont.)
…the silence this time lasts longer, and you dare not interrupt it. Obscured by her cloak, Klara’s face is literally unreadable as she continues to feed the flames. And all the while the weather begins to take a turn for the worst. The snow is coming down in thick flurries, threatening to douse the fire and both of you in meltwater. But the two of you endure in the silence of the winds of winter.“So, Painel?” Underneath the light of the moon and the gentle whisper of snowfall, Klara’s smile is beautiful in every wrong way. “Tell me. Now that you’ve listened to this story, I want you to answer a question. What do you think that foolish girl desires, above all other things in this blasted world?”>“Approval and pride from her father.” [Justice]>“I’m very sorry for your loss.” [Condolences]>“Revenge for her retainer.” [Vengeance]>Custom option.
>>1755823To see the ones who took her mother friend and sister from her suffer. As deeply and personally as possible. To see thier dreams shattered, thier bodies broken and thier souls left in utter despair. To take all they are and refuce it to nothing. At least that was what I wanted.
>>1755823>tugs her braid>folds her arms beneath her breasts.>“Revenge for her retainer.” [Vengeance]
>>1755823>“Revenge for her retainer.” [Vengeance]Although I'm also considering a write-in:>"Victory."I'm not sure Klara wants her father's approval, or if vengeance is her driving motive, or if she just wants another friend, but I'm damn sure she will not be satisfied with anything less than total victory over the harlot who killed her friend and servant.She's come too far to settle for less.
>>1755837 Seconded. Revenge and triumph.
>>1755823>>“Revenge for her retainer, mentor, and friend.” [Vengeance]
>>1755823>"Clarity. To see her father for what he is, no more and no less. To see what she has and had, and to take better care of the cards in her hand.">"Revenge is a tempting treat, though. One I've indulged in. But we carry more than our own lives."
>“Revenge for her retainer.” [Vengeance]>“I’m very sorry for your loss.” [Condolences]
>>1755823>>“Revenge for her retainer.” [Vengeance]>>1755832and thisIt's what we wanted and carried out when we lost someone dear to us.
>>1755832>>1755833>>1755837>>1755841>>1755847>>1755850>>1755877>>1755933“…the immediate answer is vengeance for her retainer,” You answer slowly. “But that isn’t what you only desire.”Klara’s laugh is scathing, mirthless and devoid of any sort of amusement. “I never said that this tale was about me, Ser Crownguard. But enlighten me. What is it do you think that the girl desires”“Victory.” The swift reply causes her to blink in surprise. Ignoring her, you continue, “Total and utter triumph over Lady Rudnick and Ser Royce. You’ve spent too much time and lost so much that you won’t be satisfied with anything less than completely exposing them for what they truly are before your naysayers.”“Victory…” She repeats, staring into the flames, “…but you mention vengeance as well.”“…there are many others who have lost loved ones through conspiracy.” The voice that answers her is distant. It could not have been yours. It sounds too alien, too detached and devoid of your own emotional inflection from your own experiences. “Many who desire to bring the full brunt of their anger against their enemies. You desire for them to suffer as much as possible, to see their dreams shattered and their souls left in utter despair as you take all they have and reduce it to nothing…”The voice trails off as you catch Klara staring at you with unabridged surprise. You offer a wry grin in her direction, gesturing beyond the veranda and to the lands of the Empire. “Revenge is a tempting treat, milady. One that countless indulged in plenty of times before…myself included. But…you have to carry more than your own life when all’s said and done. It burns quickly, vengeance does.”She recovers quickly enough, quickly chortling to herself. “You truly are unlike any Crownguard I’ve ever read or heard about, Painel.”>Klara sharply approves.“I shall take that as a compliment,” You return dryly. The flames in the urn are buffeted by the winds, and you quickly move to place another set of sticks in the urn. “…though we may not take any more time. We’ll be missed soon.”The implications of finding the two of you alone in such close proximity are left unsaid, but are communicated nonetheless.Her breath comes out in a stream of fog as she shivers, huddling closer to the urn and the flame within. All she does is nod, leaving you in a decidedly more awkward silence. Then: “…can I ask you something?”“Hm?” You turn to her. “What is it?”(cont.)
“Can you follow my lead?” She asks, grey eyes piercing directly into your own. “I’ve been waiting five years for this day to come, but I’m going to need your help if I want to achieve...in your words, ‘total victory’. Clarity and triumph are what I desire, but your help…” Her eyes glitter, as dark as moonless night, “…I can gain my vengeance.”>“Aye, I can arrange for that.” [Yes]>“My loyalty is with the princess.” [No]>“Only reasonable requests.” [Neutral]>“You can’t explain it here?” [Skeptic]>Custom option.
>>1755940>“Aye, I can arrange for that.” [Yes]>"Details would be nice however."
>>1755940>>“Aye, I can arrange for that.” [Yes]>So long as you don't test my loyalty to the crown
>>1755940>“You can’t explain it here?” [Skeptic]>So long as you don't test my loyalty to the crown
>“Aye, I can arrange for that.” [Yes]
>>1755937>Custom option.Only with the blessing of my Princess. Loyalty first yo.
>>1755940>>“Aye, I can arrange for that.” [Yes]>>"Details would be nice however."
>>1755937>>“Aye, I can arrange for that.” [Yes]>So long as you don't test my loyalty to the crown
>>1755940>Don't test loyalty
>>1755951>>1755953>>1755957>>1755960>>1756001>>1756039>>1756286>>1756615“So long as your orders do not conflict with my loyalty to the crown,” you offer with a grim smile, “I would be more than honored to aid your quest for vengeance.”Klara returns your gesture with one of her own, a foreboding smile that promises fiery retribution and scorched ash her wake. “It seems that I will be in your debt once more. I’ll have to ask Adrianna to increase the reward come the end of this debacle. But you need not worry about where your loyalties lie, and whether or not you’ll cross them in my scheme. My plan does not involve the imperial family.”She stands from the bench, shoveling a handful of snow onto the urn to douse the fire in a single instant. Steam hisses from the pot, mingling with your breath as the two of you prepare to return to the feast and the warm halls of Alnerwich. But there is still one more thing to take care of.“Although,” you mutter, rubbing your hands together, “Details would be nice. You’ve proven yourself to be more than adept at playing games of intrigue.”Klara raises a cursory brow. “High praise coming from an unorthodox Crownguard.”You snort. “If you’re planning a conspiracy, it’s at least common courtesy to inform your partner of some basic semblance of the plan. Even if you cannot trust them.”“You speak from personal experience?”“Perhaps…”“…very well.” She stares at you, running her eyes up and down your body. It does not take long for her to reach some conclusion, as she nods before extending a hand towards you.“As I said before,” Klara exhales, “All I need for you to do is to follow my lead. But I suppose I should ask now, instead of later.“Painel.” Her voice is, for the first time, devoid of all mirthless and scornful inflection, as deadly serious as she was atop her father’s chair. “How proficient are you in dance?”>>LaterThe two of you return just as the first servants come searching for their lady. Upon finding her in your company, eyes narrow, weighing your flushed appearances and snow-blasted clothing. Klara dispels all these thoughts in an instant, stating that both of you simply went to get some fresh air. She firmly insists that it is all that happened, but you know that there’s bound to another wave of rumors no matter what she says.Still, is the escort and separation by two degrees truly necessary?You return to find the charade of peace has continued, albeit a touch more boisterous than when you departed. Enough of the tables have been cleared to allow a small space for the soldiers and courtiers alike to dance. The lead singer has long since passed out, vanishing into a large tankard up-ended over his head, but his troupe continues to play. They pound their drums and pluck at their harps, summoning memories of warm summer days and the valor of old and ancient battles.(cont.)
Are they so drunk that they cannot remember Silverstone, you muse, or have they willed themselves to forget the battle for as long as they can?But perhaps this is for the better. Eagle Knights and Alnerwich captains hoot and cheer each other on, masking disgust and loathing with smiles and steins of frothy beer. The status quo is maintained, and though intoxicated, they still remain sound in mind to not shatter the delicate balance.You turn your attention away from the carousing soldiers, and towards the high table. Lord Pullman regards the noise with a tired, weary smile, nursing the same goblet he had when you departed. Adrianna, whose cheeks are slightly flushed, converses with a sober Bellatrix in hushed and quiet tones. All the while Urath keeps a close on both his prince and your princess, with the former asleep in his cups and the latter scolding him to no end.Klara’s eyes are elsewhere. They briefly touch her brother, red-faced and making overtures to a kitchen girl, before moving onto her father, huddled with Sofia and giggling all the while like besotted lovers. Lord Mazur is not nearly as drunk as he could be, but he’s fast approaching it. Ser Royce looks on with wry amusement, sitting adjacent to a pile of empty mugs.And to your amazement, he manages to stand without anyone’s aid, holding a hand up for silence. Only half of the inebriated carousers obey, and it takes Lord Pullman clearing his throat before the master of Alnerwich commands their attention.“Clear some more tables, lads!” Mazur shouts, helping Lady Rundick onto her feet with his good arm. “And give us a go to dance, will you?”There is a moment of silence as the tension reaches a fever pitch. The men see their regent, who nearly led them into death and ruin, half-drunk and with the woman he’s so besotted with. And for a dreadful second, one that catches both your and Klara’s eyes, you fear that there will be an incident.But it does not come to pass. A captain bearing the sigil of the Mazurs shouts, “You heard our lord. Get those tables cleared away!”…Klara’s breath of relief is barely audible over the dull roar.The nobles follow Mazur in a procession from the dais, pairing off with their own partners. Adrianna politely takes Patrik’s hand, but her eyes remain wary of the lordling. Somehow, Ellana manages to rouse Allanus from his stupor, and she helps him down the steps as he blinks his sleep away. Even Lord Pullman takes the hand of some young debutante, who blushes and stammers when he offers a friendly smile. And to his great reluctance, Urath finds himself pulled along by Bellatrix, who insists that he has to dance as well.“Where is my daughter?” Mazur asks, with only the slightest slur in his words. “Where is Klara…has anyone seen my daughter?”(cont.)
Klara’s arm slides into yours, and she takes hold of your hand in a tight grip. She does this all without looking in your direction. Her gaze remains steadfast to the front, and to her ultimate goal. It is time to begin.There is a lull in the silence as the two of you come out, not from the dais, but from the side. Finally, the others have noticed you, all with varying reactions. Surprise from the princesses and Pullman, knowing grins from your fellow Crownguard, and a severe frown from the lord of Alnerwich.“Ser Painel was kind enough to offer his hand since our steward is injured,” Klara intones smoothly. “And as the host, it would be improper for me to leave one of our honored guests without a partner for the dance.”Clever. Even drunk, the tradition of host-and-guest is not lost upon Mazur. But in spite of that, you can see the seeds of suspicion being planted in his mind. Even without the servants to tell them where you were, his mind is already forming scandalous thoughts for as the reason to your absence.But before he can voice them, Rudnick places a soothing arm on her betrothed. “Your daughter is right. Let them dance, milord. And it is not like they cannot change partners throughout the night.”Her voice softens Mazur. He shakes his head, muttering something to himself before turning his attention towards you. “So be it. You are very kind to remember how to treat our guests.“But, Ser Crownguard…” You do not look away as his eyes bear down on you. “…try not to step on my daughter’s toes.”That draws a laugh from the assembled hall. Mazur couldn’t threaten you with the Crowmonds in the room, and he knew it. Still, the unspoken message is clear in his eyes, and you do not need anyone’s aid to translate it.“Hands where I can see them.”Shaking your head, you follow Klara’s lead as you position yourself carefully. This is no reigen carol or a commoner’s weller, but something else entirely. Even as you tentatively take her hand -which she notices with a wry look- there is only so much Klara can do to aid you when most dances have a male lead. You’ll have to be careful, or else the plan is forfeit.>Roll 1d100 + 20>Best of three.
Rolled 67 + 20 (1d100 + 20)>>1756946
Rolled 29 + 20 (1d100 + 20)>>1756946
Rolled 12 + 20 (1d100 + 20)>>1756946
87 isn't bad.
>>1756948>>1756957Not bad at all, considering we have no reason to know how to dance.
>>1755657is the quest ending?
>>1756948>>1756950>>1756952“Sit down and watch, boy. Observe. Listen. Learn. Soak in as much as you can. There is merit in watching others besides gaining intelligence.”The Dance is the name Lucien gave to his method of fighting. Brutal and unforgiving, yet graceful and flowing, the Dance transitions seamlessly from one form to the next. Dodges, strikes, parries, all can be interchanged as the tide of battle ebbs and flows in one direction or another. You must be fleet of foot, and quick in your movements. A single slip, even a small mistake, could spell disaster.Real dancing, you muse, is similar in some ways, both in technique and principle. The footwork is slightly more regimented, with steps marching to the beat of the drums, and the motions of coming together and parting are repeated several times. It’s almost entirely all legwork, with only minimal gestures with your arm, pressing to meet your partner’s hand every few beats.But all in all, it could have been worse. The troupe takes a slower pace due to Lord Mazur’s semi-intoxication, for which you are inadvertently grateful. Thus, you are able to keep a sharp eye on the other nearby dancers who are more proficient than you.“Looking away is bad etiquette,” Klara admonishes you as you come together once more. With her free hand, she sashays her skirt, lifting the cloth a few scant inches above the floor. It rustles in the soft breeze, tantalizing the contents underneath and above what glimpse of delicate leg you could see. “Your eyes are supposed to be on your partner.”You snort. “Forgive me for being cautious and desiring not to trip you onto the floor.”“How scandalous…” She says, letting one of her vulpine smiles tug at her mouth. “But I should have expected this. Several books mention the virility of the Crownguard in spite of their oaths to abstain from marriage.”“You’d have better luck with the paladins of Opran,” You return. “Their oaths are stricter than ours from what I’ve heard. And I would say the same to you. Is Lady Rudnick’s scarf that impressive? You’ve your own silk dresses and cloths to pick from.”Her lips part to reveal a predatory smile. “You’ll have to forgive me, then. I’ve been waiting for a long time for this day to come.”“You’ll have to wait some more then.” You pull her close as she glides around your torso, and whisper into her ear as she lingers along your body. “Nothing spoils a trap more than an eager hunter.”She scoffs at your own admonishment, even as you finish the dance and tilt her towards the ceiling. The troupe finishes with a final note, and a polite applause fills the room. One by one, the assembled dancers begin to glide across the hall, looking to change their partner as the musicians prepare another tune. A folk song, given how the harpist has produced a set of reed pipes.(cont.)
>>1757020Nope. It just means that I'm concluding Thread 12. My bad if it confused you. There's still A LOT before I can even begin to see the end for this quest.
>>1757023“Save your strength for me,” Klara whispers as she curtsies. “Our last dance will be my anthem, and Lady Rudnick’s swan song.”And with that, she pulls herself away, moving to find another partner for the folk dance. This one promises to be lively, and very…intimate, judging from giggling courtiers and servants. Perhaps you’ll have an easier time with this than the others. Fast tempos are, after all, your forte.Best to get a move on and find your partner…>Adrianna.>Bellatrix.>Ellana.
>>1757030Pros and cons of each anons? Otherwise I'll just default to our charge.
>>1757030>>Bellatrix.shame the alchemist is not here
>>1757030>Bellatrix.I don't really want to cause any more undue rumours by dancing with Adrianna and I'd normally default to Ellana but if it's meant to be intimate, it might be a little awkward.
>>1757030>Adrianna.>>1757042point taken. But I enjoy flustering the princess.
>>1757030>AdriannaVoting for her so that we can inform her that something will happen now. She'd appreciate being kept in the loop on this.
>>1757030>>Ellana.We've kinda left her hanging; All the other Crownguards are with or near their charges.
>>1757030>>Ellana.Dance with our Loli.
>>1757030>>Bellatrix.She can tell her charge what's up .
>>1757042>>1757054>>1757091>>1757185>>1757207>>17572141 UID posts
>>1757223You forgot to count yourself.
>>1757230i'd be2 posts with my second post, thus not mattering.
>>1757240Still a 1 post at time of voting same as them.
>>1757223Quest runs stupidly slow and at odd hours. It's perfectly reasonable for people to be just showing up.
>>1757223I'm not surprised, it's always the votes about who to spend time with that bring the lurkers out of the woodwork.
>>1757030>BellatrixHow can we say no? It'll be hilarious, appropriate for our station, and a tale to be retold in the future.
>>1757223I work retarded hours on call. go fuck yourself
>>1757274I can say no.
>>1757274It sounds funny but you have to bear in mind Bella's been a crown-guard much longer than we have. She likes fighting but she's no barbarian and it's already pointed out numerous time she's trained in etiquette when it comes to parties
>>1757274Better to dance with one of the princesses. Allana to fill in on our hijinx, or Ellana to cause adorable hijinx.Personally, I prefer adorable in the midst of all this drama.
Vote locked in for Adrianna.Writing...
>No Urath optionWhat a fucking travesty.
>>1757380What a fucking gay questI'm out, peace
We should have asked Patrik to Dance
>>1757380We should dance with Ellana next.
>>1757380>>1757381>>1757382That is some downright tragic timing right there
>>1757049>>1757054>>1757060>>1757064>>1757091>>1757214>>1757377“Is Patrik that terrible of a dancer?” Adrianna starts at your voice as you appear behind her. You offer her an apologetic smile and a low bow. “I’m sorry to have startled you.”The elder princess recovers quickly enough, coughing before speaking, “No, it’s alright. Forgive me. It’s just been a rather long day. And I’ve not danced in a very long time.”“That makes two of us then. I’m not nearly as skilled in court etiquette as I am in martial prowess.”“Perhaps that is for the better…” She turns over her shoulder, towards the sight of Patrik abstaining from this next dance. A servant brings him a tankard, from which he nearly empties in a few swings. “…though the dance was slow and he knows his steps, Patrik has…ah…little in the means of endurance. Admittedly not the best match…”“Then if you would permit me to rectify this match with one of my own…” You offer her your arm as the others take the hands of their new partners. “From one inexperienced dancer to one who has forgotten the steps. Perhaps we can make a better performance.”Adrianna looks at the offered hand, considering before accepting with a polite curtsey and a smile. “I accept.”As you take to the center of the hall once more, you take a cursory glance at your companions. Lord Pullman politely declined another dance, citing his injuries from the battle. Similarly, Allanus is reclined a nearby pillar, his face a slight green from his own “battle” with the spiced mead . Hovering around him, Urath shakes his head with weary resignation even as Ellana scolds her brother.But you find Bellatrix looking straight at you, even as she brushes off an offer from a courtier. Eyes that you’ve seen turn red in bloodlust stare right at you, weighing the sight of Adrianna hanging on your arm. At a questioning eyebrow, the Hultish knightess scoffs, shaking her head before making a snipping motion with her hands, and a threatening glare.It seems that there are no exceptions for the princess, even among fellow Crownguard.Mazur and Rudnick remain in each other’s arms, seemingly lost in their own world of perfume, silk scarves, and too much fur. The others clear a wide berth for them as they take the center of the dancers, who ready themselves for the song to start. Even as Adrianna tentatively grasps at your shoulder, you in turn place a careful hand on the small of her back.“…this is definitely a smallfolk’s dance,” she manages. Her face is red, but not only from the alcohol. If you were in her place, you suppose you would be as well, given her upbringing. “…but I remember the beginning. It may still take some time for me to recall all the steps. Gods, what if I do something wrong?”You offer a small grin. “Then it is a good think you have a commoner to stumble along with you.”(cont.)
The musicians slap their drums, the dance begins with an upbeat temp, a swell of folk lyrics and a roar of approval from the crowd. This is definitely a folk dance, you wryly note. All of the higher nobles wouldn't approve of getting so close to their partners, even if they were friends or comrades.>Embrace the spontaneous nature of the dance. [Get closer to her]>Keep everything decent and befitting of nobility. [Keep your distance]
>>1757525>>Keep everything decent and befitting of nobility. [Keep your distance]
>>1757525>Embrace the spontaneous nature of the dance. [Get closer to her]Show her a good time.
>>1757525>Keep everything decent and befitting of nobility. [Keep your distance]Baby steps
>Keep everything decent and befitting of nobility. [Keep your distance]
>>1757525>>Embrace the spontaneous nature of the dance. [Get closer to her]
Definitely wish Bellatrix had won for this though. Considering how competitive she is I can't help but imagine getting closer is all but a foregone conclusion, and if it's improper to look away from your partner, this would have been a fight to see who can shock the other into blushing.Ah well, hopefully we can at least alert Arianna to what's going down....Come to think of it, I wonder what Bellatrix's limits of propriety are with regards to the princess. Hmm. Pretty sure she's not gonna rip our head off mid-dance, but we may end up owing her another fight. Which is an acceptable outcome to me.
>>1757525>Keep everything decent and befitting of nobility. [Keep your distance]
>>1757525>Keep everything decent and befitting of nobility. [Keep your distance]Avoid the snip-snip
>>1757525>Keep everything decent and befitting of nobility. [Keep your distance]Let's not cause an incident before the planned one.
>>1757516>Embrace the spontaneous nature of the dance. [Get closer to her]At least do it for long enough that we can tell her what's going to happen, and then get back to acceptable distance.I don't think we need to worry to much about sullying her honor, there'll be bigger fireworks going off tonight.
>>1757589>>1757586>>1757581>>1757548>>1757534>>1757533>>1757528You people pick to dance with the Princess to tell her our plan, then immediately puss out and back off because one person gave you a dirty look. Stop being fucking boring.
>>1757601Except I didn't vote to dance with her, genius.
>>1757601We were able to talk with Klara just fine without getting close, I don't see why getting close is a requirement to share the plan. In fact maintaining propriety probably draws less attention to us, and Arianna's reaction as she hears it.>>1757615Neither did I.
>>1757601Didn't vote for her eitherAnd we can talk just fine.
>>1757616Because we weren't doing an upbeat folk dance, with cheers from the crowd, which if anything like the upbeat folk dances I know of, drown out conversation unless you're close. Even then, we should dance this shit properly instead of pussing out. Might as well sat out entirely if we're just going to do that.
>>1757601I don't want to mess up the plan just because you're thirsty.
>>1757662>I'm thirsty>Bunch of betas pick to dance with the Princess on a close dance then hoverhands the whole time.
>>1757671>bunch of betasWell gee wilkers that just hurts my feelings, I guess I should roll over and do as you say.Wait. No. The opposite.
>>1757681Nah, you should be responding to >>1757629, but seeing as you have no actual argument against it, you decided to take a shot at something else entirely, because you're a faggot.
>>1757601>>1757671>>1757701Are you trying to get spite votes?>>1757662If you're afraid of causing an incident, we could do >>1757593.
>>1757714Nah, I just want them to stop taking the most boring fucking options available. We're at a party, with a decent excuse to dance close to a princess, and they picked the grown up one. If people wanted to hang back and not get close or make an effort, they should have picked Ellana. At least then there's an excuse.
>>1757701Oh yeah, that one. Thanks for the reminder, homophobe.>>1757629Maybe it'll get loud, and if does become inaudible we can reevaluate, but if this were a concern it'd probably have been highlighted as such by Marcus, who instead only takes note of how the nobles may not approve of getting so close.Let's see, what else am I missing....oh yeah, ad hominems.Your argument is based on your personal experience. Boo. You suck. Penis.
>>1757714I'd support that. Just gotta remember this isn't an animu quest and that this is an official function.Where we are planning shenanigans with the local Authority about scandalous behaviour.Might be good to act like an adult and not a horny harem protag.>>1757671> B B B BetasFuck off cuck.>>1757740I can tell you're a cuck because fantasy princess dancing is more interesting to you than fantasy politics or, you know, keeping to the tone and character of the quest. Did you have a pretty pink dress to wear for the thread to pretend you were a princess cuck?
>>1757740>We're at a party, with a decent excuse to dance close to a princess, and they picked the grown up one.>the grown up one.Isn't that what Marcus Painel would do? I'd imagine he'd only do something potentially scandalous if it involved his deadfu. He's mostly dead inside.>If people wanted to hang back and not get close or make an effort, they should have picked Ellana. At least then there's an excuse.They just wanted to inform Adrianna Crowmond first. Why we didn't do that before the dance, I'm not sure, but it's what happened.>>1757745>by Marcus, who instead only takes note of how the nobles may not approve of getting so close.Might just be because he's getting tunnel vision by that, but I'd imagine Marcus is more professional than that.>>1757760Yeah, I'm mostly going for the intrigue options.
>>1757745>Whining about being called a faggot on 4chan. Go back to fucking tumblr>>1757760How does it go against the tone of the character and quest? Are we suppose to be an emotionless emo robot constantly cutting himself over the fact that we're alone? Why are we even here dancing then? We can brood in the corner just fine and not set off the plan without a hitch. Honestly, though, I think you're just a fag who wanks over fucking GoT and wants to pretend everything is just like your fucking favorite HBO series.Otherwise you'd know that literally the first thing Marcus did outside of the prequel thread was spill his spaghetti all over the place and swear a life debt that was so fucking out of left field it resulted in people mocking it for threads after that.Besides, when did we start giving a shit about what other nobles think? Otherwise we would have kept holding our dick instead of embarrassing whats his face on the floor infront of everyone.
Holy shit does it matter that much? We're going to tell her we're going to dance. It'd be nice to be closer but maintaining etiquette is fine...
>>1757786>>Whining about being called a faggot on 4chan. >Go back to fucking tumblrThe most stirring argument of our age. The depths of faggotry you plumb with your mighty intellectual phallus...Truly, you have the spirit of a quarter inch strap-on.Now is this the part where you tell me that's more than I'll ever have?
>>1757786I think it has more to do with not being a horny teenager who needlessly causes scandals and rocks and boat as well as not getting a reputation of being a player especially since the servants will start talking about our rendezvous with Klara.We're already likely to cause a huge scene once all the accusations get thrown around so I think everybody's just trying to not start too much shit before that happens
>>1757786>How does it go against the tone of the character and quest? Are we suppose to be an emotionless emo robot constantly cutting himself over the fact that we're alone?No but we're not romantically seeing anyone and leading people to false conclusions is bad. Run counter to our job.>Why are we even here dancing then? We can brood in the corner just fine and not set off the plan without a hitch. Helping with the revenge plan, given you can't fucking read you illiterate spastic twelve year old.>Besides, when did we start giving a shit about what other nobles think?Calling someone out is Much much much different than injuring the reputation of a princess retard.Stop bitching that your waifu doesn;t get lovey dovey feely feel time time. Marcus isn;t ready for it nor does he at this juncture desire it.
>>1757516>Embrace the spontaneous nature of the dance. [Get closer to her]
On a slightly more humorous not to try to defuse this situation. Anybody thought about how since Serena's Brother's name's Marcus and Pienel and her had lots of wild passionate sex how awkward it would have been to be screaming her brother's name
>>1757805I think he's over-reacting. But if you're going to get butt blasted over being called a faggot on 4chan, you may want to seek another site, nigger.
>>1757810>Marcus isn;t ready for it nor does he at this juncture desire it.>nor does he at this juncture desire it.He will once he gets some of 'dat aphrodisiac.
>>1757810>No but we're not romantically seeing anyone and leading people to false conclusions is bad. Run counter to our job.Damn, I wish we knew that before we seduced the head alchemist's daughter to fulfill our plan. Because getting close and leading people to false conclusions is something we've never done before. Fuck. >Helping with the revenge planWe can help with the revenge plan in the corner. Assuming this leads up to either us dancing in close with what's her face, are you going to remember what you said about how we never lead anyone to false conclusions?>Calling someone out is Much much much different than injuring the reputation of a princess retard. How does it injure the reputation of a Princess? If anything, the first thing people would think is "Oh, the princess wanted a close dance so they're having a crownguard do it." I also believe it's common knowledge that Crownguard have to sever all ties and aren't allowed to take wives, or have relationships. >Stop bitching that your waifu doesn;t get lovey dovey feely feel time time.Ain't my waifu.
Can we smash already?
>>1757840even then he was noping out. One does not induce cranial trauma lightly>>1757842firstly, There is a huge difference between stealth work and visible bodyguard work. You're braindead if you can realize that.Secondly the plan explicitly asks for us to dance, the fact you don't know this means you haven't read and should probably do so.it injures the fact because people may think she's fucking us, similar to the situation we're dealing with Lord Mazur's fiancé. In case you did not realize that is fucking horrid for her AND us. You're sure acting like it with how much you're crying like a lil bitch.
>>1757826>I think he's over-reacting.You think I'm not?Clearly I need to step up my game. I'm apparently too subtle.
>>1757856Plus, Even though we were having PTSD flash backs Pienel always tried to Rationalize it as using seduction as a tool. In the Alchemist guild we needed an in so we made a new name. Here everybody knows us and we can't just vanish.
>>1757841>Writing...>>1757824The votes or the scene?>>1757856>One does not induce cranial trauma lightlyI'm sure Marcus does it every Tuesday.
>>1757878That's an excerpt from some smut I've been working on for the last month. I'll upload it before I head off to otakon on Friday I'm almost done with the votes.
>>1757869Really you're mostly using sarcasm and passive aggression which some people find a little more acceptable than straight up aggression. We can't be sure if maybe this is just his normal speech and maybe he's not actually being as hostile as he could but most people can see Laconics and swearing more than sarcasm.
>>1757856People may think she's fucking us anyways, because we're dancing with her in the first place. Hell, with the way we're always together with Klara and running off for secret meetings, maybe we're fucking her too! I mean, we were with Allana and Klara at the same time a few times, get a good ol' fashion three way going in the minds of gossipmongers. The Plan asks for us to dance, but it doesn't say we have to dance with everyone on every song. We can totally go to the corner and brood until the one dance we need to dance. You do realize this is both stealth work and visible bodyguard work at the same time, right? You're also shifting goalposts, you stated that >leading people to false conclusions is bad, it runs counter to our job.That is a total definitive statement.>You're sure acting like itI feel really strongly about taking the most boring option when we decide to do an intimate dance during a party.
>>1757842>Damn, I wish we knew that before we seduced the head alchemist's daughter to fulfill our plan. Because getting close and leading people to false conclusions is something we've never done before. Fuck.We did that to complete a job, and Marcus clearly didn't enjoy it.> We can help with the revenge plan in the corner. Assuming this leads up to either us dancing in close with what's her face, are you going to remember what you said about how we never lead anyone to false conclusions?I'm not even sure what you're trying to say here, but acting scandalous will definitely HINDER the plan.> How does it injure the reputation of a Princess? Dancing too closely with her sisters dedicated guard, who just danced with the hosts daughter, that would do it. This is a formal event, not a barn hoe down.> I also believe it's common knowledge that Crownguard have to sever all ties and aren't allowed to take wives, or have relationships. Which is why it looks bad to get too intimate with the Royalty. You aren't supposed to shit where you eat.
Bellatrix’s glare has nothing to do with maintaining a proper distance. Even as some of the other dancers get closer than propriety would normally allow, you keep enough of a distance from Adrianna to avoid rumors. Actually, a correction. Rumors are going to pop up no matter what you say. But at the very least, you can at least dissuade the worse ones from cropping up if you can help it.But for your keeping appearances, you think you’re still able to give the princess a good taste of a folk dance. There’s really nothing special about it other than a few steps that need to be done at certain intervals or dramatic flourishes at key changes. A few seconds of watching the others go at it is enough to give you a foundation of what to replicate. Slowly, Adrianna herself gains confidence and tempo in her steps, and her hesitation drops away. And soon enough, she begins to smile, even laugh as you spin and take her around the hall to the music of your pastoral ancestors. Even you can’t help but crack a smile as the energy of the song begins to course through your body.Eventually, the singers reach a fever pitch, and the assembled room of nobles matches their lyrics. Now, the dull roar has become a near cacophony, with everyone’s shouts bouncing along the stone walls. It’s impossible to make out anything coherent. All you can pick up are scant phrases without context or meaning.Now is the time to strike.As the dance calls for you to pull her in for another spin, you lean in close. She yelps, recoiling back before you shake your head and gesture towards Mazur and Rudnick. “Klara intends to reveal Lady Rudnick’s true colors soon.” You don’t need to whisper, but you need to say it louder to make yourself heard. “And she needs my help to do it.”Her eyes widen in surprise. “So soon? I understood that she wanted to do it as quickly as possible but…now? In the middle of the dance?”You nod. “Aye. I’ll spare you the details, but now is the only time she can do it. She won’t get another opportunity like this for a very long time.”Adrianna blinks, then her eyes narrow. “So you two were conspiring when you left the hall?” Even the noise of the crowd doesn’t drown the accusatory tone in her voice. So your absence was noticed. But at your firm nod, it quickly bleeds into an exasperated sigh, with a small hint of relief. “Could you at least do the courtesy of letting me know next time? In the absence of my brother or Ser Palme, I am in charge of the Crownguard. Besides...I would very much like to know when the plan takes place. You did see fit, after all, to inform me about Lady Rudnick's...infidelities."She has a point. “You’re right. Forgive me, your highness,” You intone contritely, even as you hide a smile. “I’ll be sure it doesn’t happen again.”(cont.)
>>1757899> Hell, with the way we're always together with Klara and running off for secret meetings, maybe we're fucking her too!You seem to lack some crucial concepts of the "Secret" part of those meetings. > I feel really strongly about taking the most boring option when we decide to do an intimate dance during a party.Same. Namely that it's the correct choice. Our job right now isn't to be "exciting".
>>1757921Eh, they're noticable enough that her servants realize she's missing and people saw us coming in and leaving with her. That's more then enough to get the rumor mill going.
>>1757887Ehhh. Honestly I don't care whether this is his normal behavior or not. He had a few points, eventually, but it was smothered under a thick layer of whiny bitch.If he had just led with, "Hey maybe she won't hear us over all this noise," then hey, that is a valid point! I disagree, and the recent update bears this out, but it was a possibility.As it is stands? I'm not above shooting at an easy target.
>>1757899>People may think she's fucking us anyways, because we're dancing with her in the first place.and we don't want to add fuel to the fire. Some rumors are inevitable, but we should not feed them like a fucking idiot.>The Plan asks for us to dance, but it doesn't say we have to dance with everyone on every song. We can totally go to the corner and brood until the one dance we need to dance. .... Reread moron>You do realize this is both stealth work and visible bodyguard work at the same time, right?We needed an In to the alchemists, we did not enjoy it and it was covert ops. This is not us hiding our face, the guild was. If you think the two are in any sort of shape the same situation you need to self terminate now because holy fuck you are too stupid to live.That is a total definitive statement.Ok let me rephrase leading people to believe we're fucking the princess is a very poor way to go about our job for her and our own sake. >I feel really strongly about taking the most boring option when we decide to do an intimate dance during a party.Common sense and furthermore very much I character. Stop whining like a petulant child because you have no good arguments and didn't get your way. We're not a noble, we're not a suitor, we're not her fiancée. We're being sensible and cautious in a court full of politics. If you want us to just do whatever damn the consequences, you need to find a new quest.>>1757937One meeting, and if she plays it right it will all go away very quickly. Since we are isolated from each other usually. The princess we are traveling with all day every day, and that is differed. Proximity and consistency of that proximity is a huge factor.
>>1757921>You seem to lack some crucial concepts of the "Secret" part of those meetings. Actually, we did get noticed or at least starting to. Hopefully, we can end all the rumors that have popped up but then again that would risk exposing our name if we take too large of a part in the confrontation or people know how much we scheme and plan rather than ambiguously fucking nobles.I can't decide which is worst honestly, Being known as a skilled spy who "Gathers" evidence from people's rooms or a dashing Guard with questionable relations with some young ladies
>>1757952>If you want us to just do whatever damn the consequences, you need to find a new quest.You do realize this has literally been how Marcus operates for the entire fucking quest, right? >Kill an entire fucking gang, damn the consequences. >Swear a life debt 5 minutes after meeting someone, damn the consequences>Someone is trying to assassinate the princess and it leads to the Alchemist Guild? Let's infiltrate there without telling anyone, damn the consequences. We've just gotten very lucky that it's panned out in our favor each time. >and we don't want to add fuel to the fire. Some rumors are inevitable, but we should not feed them like a fucking idiot.>Ok let me rephrase leading people to believe we're fucking the princess is a very poor way to go about our job for her and our own sake.We're a Crownguard, deflect it with "She wanted to participate in an intimate dance, so we had her dance with a Crownguard."
>I feel really strongly about taking the most boring option when we decide to do an intimate dance during a party.This is a good point though. Some people will get bored with court intrigue but the dashing rogue who sweeps people off their feet is usually overcome by the slightly sociopathic assassin who thinks of the consequences of his actions. We can't have excitement all the time, Sometimes it needs to be tempered with rationality and subtlety
>>1757970he killed the gang because he was trying to suicide by it and cause as much damage to it as possible. he had nothing to live for and no real desire to go past killing them allThe life debt was him having nothing so he'd protect the very good and nice young princess who saved him with no reason to do so.He was under orders to track the assassin, and it lead tot eh guild. infiltration was expected. In the first two he had literally nothing to lose, and on the last he did his duty.>We're a Crownguard, deflect it with "She wanted to participate in an intimate dance, so we had her dance with a Crownguard."Which if we got close would not hold up at fucking all.
>Kill an entire fucking gang, damn the consequences. He didn't expect to get out of there alive>Swear a life debt 5 minutes after meeting someone, damn the consequencesHe didn't have a purpose in life anymore>Someone is trying to assassinate the princess and it leads to the Alchemist Guild? Let's infiltrate there without telling anyone, damn the consequences. We were assigned by I can't remember either the Crownguard captain or the queen to investigate
>>1757915Her stern demeanor does not last too long. As the music draws to a head, you decide to do one more dramatic flourish, just to ensure she does not miss what the others have done. She shrieks as you spin her around, throwing her out and pulling her back into your arms as the troupe plays their final notes. It turns into a laugh of surprised delight as you dip her low, and offer flushed and panting face a confident smirk as the final peal of the drums echoes across the hall.>Adrianna highly approves.“…it’s also unseemly to lie to a princess,” She pants as you pull her up, “Clearly you’ve experience with dances like this.”You chortle as you steer her towards her siblings. “It’s no lie. It’s as you said earlier. My prowess lies in martial skill, not courtly functions.”Bellatrix regards the two of you with a critical eye, but says nothing of it. She jerks a finger towards Allanus, who leans on Ellana for support. “The little prince can’t hold his liquor,” she grouses. “Best to get him to bed before he becomes sick in the hall-”“There will be one last dance!” Lord Mazur roars, drowning out all of the other partygoers. And even as the troupe protests, something about gold, he waves them off. “Bah, you’ll still get paid! So hurry to the last finale! We’re all tired, full of good food and drink, and some brave souls are still wounded from the battle. One last final send-off to celebrate our triumph over the Vascieli!”Surprisingly, the men roar back their approval, banging tankards and fists alike on whatever surface they could find. And as they holler and cheer and prepare for the final dance, you feel a set of eyes on your back. The unspoken request is in Klara’s eyes as she stands and makes her way towards you.You gesture for Adrianna. “It might be best to send Allanus and Ellana away. In my experience with these kinds of situations, the reveal of an unfaithful spouse is never a pleasant sight for children.”She doesn’t refuse your advice. “Urath, Bellatrix…could you take my siblings up to their rooms?”Ellana looks like she’s about to protest, but a yawn cuts her off. You place a reassuring hand on her shoulder, squeezing lightly. “It’s for the best, princess. In a few minutes, the great hall isn’t going to be a pretty sight.”By the time Klara makes her way at your side, Urath and Bellatrix have already spirited the youngest Crowmonds away from the hall. Mazur’s daughter meets Adrianna with a look before the two of them nod at some unspoken exchange.“Whatever it is you plan to do…bring it to an end.” Adrianna whispers as you join Klara once more, and proceed with the others towards the center of the hall. Only this time, you’ve placed yourself as close as you can towards Mazur and Rudnick without impeding the path of their dance.Klara’s vulpine smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes as you take her hands in yours. “I plan to.”(cont.)
>>1757988>>1757981He still damned the consequences. He had no care about the gang or the results of it, just for revenge.He should have taken more time and talked to the Princess and Painel instead of spilling his Spaghetti. There's a reason it was mocked for threads after it happened. We're suppose to inform the crownguard/royalty of our actions so it doesn't end up coming back on them. Allana's been complaining about it for the past few threads, he'll she did it in this very post. >Which if we got close would not hold up at fucking all.Eh, sure it would. Just say you wanted her to experience the dance properly or something. People who were going to spread rumors anyway will spread rumors no matter the excuse.
I always saw Pienel as SAO Abridged Kirito, At least slightly. A kind of sociopathic physical god that can kill anybody with poor social skill who doesn't like people but's trying to learn to actually change and be a better person. Of course Pienel's still less likely to start shit unless there's a good reason but still>>1757970You're seeing him more as a dashing rogue that love spontaneous actions if only for the amusement of it which even if my interpretation is wrong he is most certainly not
>>1757993It’s an amazing thing, the seam. How a single thread is capable of holding up an entire section of a dress. It is the Eridian keystone of clothing, that which unites separate materials into a unified whole. And how quickly everything falls apart when it is pulled…It is right there, a fine strand of silk that the maidservant seems to have missed, just dangling from Rudnick’s arm. She’s so engrossed with her partner, leaning into his chest and sighing in delight, that she can’t notice your and Klara’s approach. But even as your eyes go towards the thread, her target is something a little more substantial...>Roll 1d100 + 40 Slight of Hand>Best of three.
>>1757999You're flip flopping now first it was an excuse to not spread rumors now you're saying fuck the rumours do it anyway.For the two he had nothing to lose. Like I said he had no purpose in life now he has a reputation, as well as a responsibility to maintain the reputation of the crown guard and the royal family he protects
Rolled 36 + 40 (1d100 + 40)>>1758010
Rolled 50 + 40 (1d100 + 40)>>1758010
Rolled 98 + 40 (1d100 + 40)>>1758010
>>1758002I see him more as a very awkward and impulsive man with no ability to handle social situations outside of the masks he's been given. >>1758014I've always said fuck the rumors, do it anyways.
>>1758022C-C-C-CLUTCH!Oh this is gonna be sweet.
>>1758022Kek bless your soul Anon
>>1758022This'll be fucking amazing.
>>1758022Nice. We could probably pick all of her pockets with a roll like that.
>>1758024Hey, that wasn't as aggressive as before we're making progress. As much as I'd love to also see him as incredibly awkward he's not. I say this with slight disappointment but Pinel's too Awesome, Even his social stat which is his lowest is just average and even then he's smart enough to pick his words to get bonuses to charm.
Where the fuck did all of these faggots thinking this was PGQ come from? Christ.
>>1758070Other anosn have bandied this about both here in other quests, in qtg and in akun as PGQ but good. Soooooooo probably from that.
I just realized.We said we thought Klara wanted total victory, and it certainly seems that way.We probably just delivered exactly that, with a roll that great. And backed by a +40 no less.Come to think of it, I kow Palme's exceptional for having a +40 bonus in combat. Is Marcus' +40 in Nimble Fingers similarly rare?
>>1758070>>1758079If this was PGQ, Kaz would be railroading us to fail constantly and we'd forcefully end up with the worst fucking waifu.
>>1758136Feels like someone is salty over something here.
>>1758136>worst fucking waifuEllana?
>>1758056Like I said, he's good when it falls within one of his masks. If he needs to bluff and seduce his way into a building, he'll have no problem.If he just got rescued by a princess and her knight commander, he'll stumble all over the place, spill his life story and swear a life bond in about 5 minutes.He's gotten BETTER with social situations, but that doesn't mean he's good at them. >>1758139 0I am. Immensely. Fuck, PGQ.>Ellana?Ellana is best daughterfu.
>>1758140dem's fighting words. Ellana is not a waifu. Jesus, she's a child!
Yeah, lots of people were salty about Princess Guard Quest. It went to shit from what I've hear Like complete utter class 11/10 shitstorm
>>1758160Well she might be well into marriageable age depending on the social climate of the setting. But I can't see Marcus going for Ellana, she's always been firmly in the little sister/surrogate daughter spot in my eyes.
>>1758136Well, yeah. Like I said it was bandied about as PGQ but good.>>1758140She's a daughter not waifu sicko.>>1758164It was pretty bad from the archives. The QM straight up fucked his audience.>>1758173Eh she's not even hit puberty yet. It'll be a while for her to get married at the soonest. I do agree she is our adoptive daughter.The one we never had with Serana.
>>1758164It's not Psion Quest bad.
>>1758017>>1758018>>1758022Without as much as a pause or hesitation in your step, you deftly pluck the thread out of the air, masking the grab by dipping Kara at the swell of the music. It’s a fine thing of middling quality, nowhere near the fine silk that comprises Ellana’s dresses, but of good enough stock for a noble of middling rank. What a terrible shame that this thread was not pruned from the dress.It comes away with a single tug, and there is barely even a whisper as the sleeve of Lady Rudnick’s dress slowly begins to come undone. In the dull roar of the crowd, and her own trance with Mazur, she cannot even notice what you’re doing. And even the surrounding audience, once shouting and hooting, have already began to turn away to their own business. Some watch other dancers, others nurse tankards with the night’s final drink.But you have to hurry. A significant portion of the seam has to disappear before Klara’s plan can come to fruition. Otherwise, her actions would be for naught. You are the crux upon which her vengeance lies, hanging in the balance between possible and beyond her reach.Yet it seems that the odds are in your favor. By the time you break away, the sleeve of her right upper arm and the back of her dress are only held by a few threads. Just the slightest stress would cause the fabric to completely fall apart.And no one’s all the wiser. As far as they’re concerned, all they’re seeing is Klara Mazur and the newest Crownguard performing a slow dance near her father and his betrothed. With exceptional skill, you might note. For what you lack in grace, your partner more than makes up in helping you along.Now…it’s Klara’s turn.You squeeze her hand three times, signaling that you’ve completed your task. Now all that she has left to do-“Painel…” You start as she closes the distance, resting her head against your chest. For a moment, as her breath washes against your neck, you freeze in place, and your grip tightens to an almost painful degree. Other than a sharp frown of discomfort, Klara doesn’t even make a noise, even as a million thoughts whirl through your head.You hiss sharply, not even bothering to mask your surprise. Rumors are the furthest thing from your mind right now, as well as the plan she’s forgotten. You can taste the iron in your throat as the image of an open smile and the scent of lavender comes to the front of your mind. “What are you…”“Can you trust me?” The vulpine smile is gone. And in its place, Klara stares up at you with the softest gaze you’ve ever seen. A vulnerable gaze, that of an uncertain young girl standing before a crossroads from which there is no turning back. “Painel…no, Marcus…one more question. You said you would follow my lead and my plans, but I need to know.” She pauses, swallowing before she continues, "...can you trust this foolish girl, trust this girl as she did so many years ago?">“Yes.”>“No.”
>>1758555>>“Yes.”And here...we...go.I'm not sure if this is a leap of faith or an 'Are you sure' moment but I do think we've come to far to reasonably stop now
>>1758555>>“Yes.”Surely nothing will go terribly wrong!
>>1758555>“Yes.”Let us see it to the end.
>>1758555>"I cannot replace her, Klara. But I will stand by you."
>>1758555>>“Yes.”We're too far in at this point anyway.Any guesses on what she's about to do? I've a suspicion she's going to kiss us or something equally dramatic.
>>1758555>“Yes.”What's the worst that could happen. Hold my Mead, I got this.
>>1758566>>1758577>>1758584>>1758585>>1758600>>1758612>>1758626>>1758634>>1758637>>1758659>>1758661>>1758685“…I do not know of whom you speak of…” You slowly intone, even as you try to even out your breathing. She’s too close. Too close. “…but I will stand by you. The answer is ‘yes’.”There is a moment of silence where nothing happens. She continues to stare at you with that uncertain look on her face. The two of you, Crownguard and Imperial noble, left in your own little world, ignorant of all other things save for yourselves.Then she sighs, and the smile to grace her lips is one devoid of sardonic humor or hidden meaning. It is simply an honest smile, completely genuine, from a beautiful young woman. “Thank you,” she whispers into your chest, leaning in deep before drawing away. There is an iron resolve in her eyes now, as hard as folded steel and colder than winter’s night. “Thank you so very much.”And then the unexpected happens.As Lord Mazur and Lady Rudnick draw closer once more, Klara Mazur, the noble who has been helping you stay on your feet during this noble dance, stumbles mid-step. The path of her fall leads into you, and your own legs become entangled with hers. The unexpected motion catches you off guard, as it does to the alarm of several of the other dancers. Several of them, save for a certain besotted pair.Until, with limbs flailing wildly in panic, Klara’s hand grabs the end of Sofia Rudnick’s scarf, accidentally pulling the squawking noblewoman and her shocked paramour down to the ground with them. All you can do is pull her close against you, and brace for the sudden impact with the cold stone floor.Yet in spite of her accident, the girl in your arms sports a triumphant smile, only growing bigger as the sound of tearing fabric echoes through the shocked silence…>Four years ago>Alnerwich Fortress>The Vulpine “You are far too impatient.” Sigune’s voice was reproachful as she worked the brush at your hair. “You have such beautiful hair. It would be such a terrible shame for you to ruin it in a fit of pique.”“It’s easy for you to say,” you grumbled, “You’re not the one that had an entire pot of chicken stock dumped on your head.”“Certainly true,” she agreed, “But that is no fault of your own, is it not? And in your sulk, you only just missed the flogging that your had father ordered. Still, even with that accident, I envy you, milady.”“You do?” You were astonished, almost enough to turn around and gawk. But the hand on your shoulder is a firm, but gentle grip, and it keeps you in your seat. “But your hair is so shimmery and pretty! I have to be directly in sunlight before my hair becomes shiny...”(cont.)
>>1758742>Four years ago
>>1758755psst, that's not a vote.
>>1758758Not as embarrassing as dear Rudnick
>>1758742“Ah, but you forget that mine is as straight as a bundle of rods,” Sigune bemoans. In her hands, the comb gently teased each knot until it came loose. Every time the fine ivory teeth prickled at the back of your head, you could not help but shiver at their touch. “At the best, all I can do with it is put it in a braid, pin it to the side of my head, or hide it under a cap. None of those options sound very appealing…”Faced before the mirror, you managed to catch her eyes. At times, she reminded you of a willow tree, lithe, thin and curved over the banks of the Anosar and catching all the secrets that passed in the summer breeze. But even in overcast skies, she carried the sun in her hair, perhaps the fairest color you’ve ever seen. For all their ways, the men and women from the Hielmaesùt who settled Vlennmar and Suthyae in the prior ages certainly were of fair stock.But Siguine’s eyes, once light and gentle as you cried into her arms earlier that day, had become sad and melancholy at the mention of her hair.“…Ser Royce is bothering you again.” It was not a question. Your voice is not nearly as threatening as your father’s, but it is a far cry above Patrik’s, and half of the other males of power within the household. “I should have known this would’ve happened…”“It’s quite alright. To be honest,” She hummed, carefully teasing out a clumped knot, “It is preferable to the alternative. Let him believe that my constant presence near the two of them is an imaginary romantic interest…it would be better for the both of us that way.”You snort, resisting the urge to spit at the thought of the man. “Such an inflated ego Ser Royce has! To think that your constant presence is a sign of his prowess in charming women…”“It is nothing that I have seen before, milady. Many warriors are always that way, and it matters not whether they are knights in resplendent armor, or Eiðrond standing on the prow of a knar. They must always think that women are pining after them.”What an unpleasant thought. You weren’t able to hide a grimace at the thought of your brother becoming that way. Thank the gods he was not nearly as proficient with a sword as father had desired for him to be.“But it still is not right!” You insisted, squirming underneath her touch. “If his advances are becoming untoward, we could always find another way…”Siguine clicked her tongue, ordering for you to stay still. “The only other option is for you to make inquiry and remain in their presence. And with your undisguised loathing for them, you would be hard-pressed to find any sort of evidence. You are far from an underhanded rogue, milady.”You scowled, muttering petulantly to yourself. “…maybe if I lopped off all of my hair and dressed like a boy…”(cont.)
>>1758798I am confused. The mention of Ser Royce seems to imply Rudnick's family but this doesn't sound like her at all.This sounds like it could be Bellatrix's origin story, if she started out a noble lady and decided to hell with this life, Imma be a warrior woman.
>>1758822Sigune is spying on Lady Rudnick and Ser Royce for Klara.And Bellatrix isn't Norse Vlennish she's Scottish/Celtic Hultish.
>>1758798She laughed, lowering herself beside you. In the mirror, the two of you were nothing alike. Freckles dotted your cheeks, and her skin remained as unblemished as porcelain. And your eyes, a dull and cloudy grey, were a pittance to her own, as dark as the glaciers of the distant north. “You will do no such thing, meyla. Your father would be furious if I were to let you carry on in such a manner.”The little noise you made in the back of your throat only cajoled another peal of breathy laughter. “But your country is full of warrior women! The shieldmaidens, Astrid the Swift...even the daughter of the high king has her own wyvern mount-”“Klara…” Sigune placed a gentle hand along your cheek. “We are not in Suthyae, or in Vlennmar. We are in Aderaveth. The cold lands of the north demand that women fight just as much as men do because of what they face. Linnorn, blutlinge, the frozen undead…you do not wish to live there, where men’s hearts are just as cold and hostile as the land they settle.”“…I thought there were frost giants in the northlands.”She was unable to hide her smile. “Perhaps there are…but if they do exist, then they would have fled very far away from the dragons. Drathil was very thorough in her scourging of the fjords.“But ancient history aside…” she pulled you close into an embrace that you do not shy away from. In her arms, you can find solace in the arms of a mother you’ve never known. “You must be patient, and bide your time.” She intoned softly, as she gently ran her fingers through your hair. “That is what we are best at. Patience is our strongest suit, when men will act hastily in all things. So long as you continue to work, what you desire for will come to pass.”What you desire for…for your father to look at you without being reminded of his dead wife, of the woman who birthed you into the world.Sigune must have been one of her people’s gyðja, as she is able to read your mind. She whispers sweet nothings as you pulled all the more tighter into her arms. “All you can do is wait and endure. Continue to strive and work. If you do, you will finally reach your goal. And if your plan succeeds, then we will get what you desire. Your father would be proud for you to have unmasked that woman for the viper she is.”“…do you think so?” You looked up towards your servant, the only one you could truly have called anything close to your mother, your sister, your only friend. “…if we do this…he will be proud of me?”“He would be a fool not to be,” she assured you. “I know of no rational man who would not be should that situation happen. Such a man would be a shame, not a true man at all. To do nothing even when he knows his woman is laying with another man? Even I would spit upon such a fool.”(cont.)
You wormed your way out of her embrace, and placed your hands firmly upon her shoulders. For a moment, you run a tiny hand through her hair, admiring the differences before you stare directly into her eyes. “…then please…Sigune…” You have to swallow a lump in your throat before you can continue. “…if it isn’t any bother…could you please endure it some more?”She blinks owlishly, before laughing. “Yes, meyla. For you, I will do this. You do not have to ask. But before I can continue…” Sigune swivels around you, unfurling the sheets of your bed. “It’s time for you to sleep.”“But I’m not…” You were unable to finish your sentence. A yawn cuts you off, even as you try to protest. “It’s still early…”“Night may come late in winter, but I am Vlennish. I can tell when true dusk has fallen, and right now, you need to go to bed.”Grumbling, you reluctantly settled into bed, diving under the sheets in an attempt to beat the cold. The hearthfire crackled in delight as Sigune fed more tinder into the opening, nursing the flames with an iron poker. Only when she is satisfied does she return to your bedside, blowing out the candles on your vanity.“May the Night Goddess watch over you, Klara,” She intones, making the sign of her gods across her heart and lips. “And bless you with good dreams.”This isn’t fair, you thought, desperately fighting the fatigue. Why couldn’t you help her? After all that she’s done for you, and continuing to do...debts you can never repay. “…good night…Signue…” You slur as she disappears through the threshold. And as your eyes closed, taking you into the realm of dreams, you think about the first thing you’ll do with father…>>MorningYou awake to the sound of screams.Sigune’s prayer did not work. You could not remember anything you dreamed about, but you know that they were nightmares. Flashes of light, incoherent noises in a hellish cacophony…perhaps it could be worse. All you can remember are flashes of light.But by the gods, who was screaming?Squinting, you glanced through the window. The sun’s not even up yet, still hiding behind the Whrelzwth. All that shines through is a pittance of light, barely enough to illuminate the edges of the town or the forest in the shadow of the mountains.Yet it is odd. You would be asleep at this time, but Sigune would be here, preparing and drawing a bath for you. The day's wardobe would be laid out on the table, with all of the required lace and pieces to go with your dress. And a light snack, to alleviate immediate pangs of hunger, was missing from the table. This is quite serious, you suddenly realized. Sigune had never missed to prepare them, save for days when she'd caught cold. But she was completely healthy last night from what you can remember. Where could she be?(cont.)
...it hit you like a falling stone. The screams. Something terrible must have happened in the middle of the night. Even though she was her personal servant, Siguine still answered to the majordomo, and the steward of the house. Perhaps she’d been summoned by them to deal with the emergency.You roused yourself from your bed, shivering as your feet touch the cold stone floor as you stumble towards the closet. Wrapping a fur coat around your shoulders, and hopping into a pair of slippers, your entrance to the door is interrupted when a frantic strikes the frame. You jumped back in alarm, heart in your throat before you recognize the voice on the other end.“Milady? Milady, are you there?” The urgency in her voice was allarming. “Klara?”You relaxed, even as you frown. It was one of the staff members, a Lowlander girl who’d only just arrived. What was her name…Pia? Tonia? You shook your head. “Yes, I am. What is it?”“Oh, thank goodness!” The door opened, revealing the servant in all of her livery, red-faced and gasping for breath. Pia! That’s the one. The mole underneath her nose was iconic to her and only her.“Pia…what’s going on?” You asked, glancing towards the window. The screaming has stopped, but the silence it leaves behind is ominous and foreboding. A chill entered your bones, and your clothes cannot stop the shiver that runs through your body. “What’s all the screaming about? What happened?”“Ah…” The girl swallows nervously, glancing to the side as if there were other people next to her. You tried not to scoff. “Lady Klara…I need for you to…stay in your room…”“What?”She continues as if you didn’t speak. “Breakfast will be coming shortly. In the mean time, if you need any books-”“Pia.” Sigune never approved of it, and how it easily intimidated servants, but you let the iron seep into your voice. “Tell me what’s going on. And where’s Siguine? Why isn’t she here to tell me the news?”The flushed appearance in Pia’s face disappears, bypassing red into a paling grey. “Milady…I think it would be…”“That would be up for me to decide,” You retort, transfixing her with a deadly glare. This was your weapon, the assured weapon to cow the servants into doing what you wanted. “Tell me. Where is my servant, and what’s so important to drag her away from my routine?”Before she can protest, you glare all the more harder. And even as she tries to bluster an excuse, she knows that she's been defeated, an inevitability that you know, and she does as well.>>Outside>>Alnerwich Courtyard, under the verandaIt was impossible for you not to have recognized her, in spite of her mangled body. Even matted and covered in blood, there was no other in Alnerwich who had that lustrous, golden shade of hair. Or those sapphire eyes, with whites bloodshot and vessels burst from the impact, there was only one who had such vibrant eyes of winter.(cont.)
How could the human body contain that much blood? You cannot help but wonder how much of the splatter on the ground is hers, and which one is meltwater caused by her own blood. Or how her limbs twist at odd angles, or how her broken bones jut out from ruined flesh-There was a terrible curse, and a sharp pull drags you away from the sight. Even as you turn away, a Mazur guardsman hastily drops a blanket over the corpse, obscuring Sigune from your sight.“What the hell is she doing down here?!” Your father roars to the servants, who balk before his wrath. “You know damn well that this isn’t the place for her to be-”Even as the servants quail underneath the fury of your father, your eyes are still drawn to where the body had been found. For such an impact, she would have had to have leapt from the veranda, high above the fortress. And landed on her head, if the grey fluid commingling with the blood was any indication...It’s funny, you thought to yourself. I still must be dreaming. What else could it be? There is no way that this would happen. The gods are playing tricks on my tired mind…but if this is a dream, I would very much like to wake up…But you cannot. No matter how hard you pinch yourself, hard enough to draw blood from your hands, you were not able to wake up from this nightmare. And as the blood flowed, the reality of the situation began to dawn on you.Sigune is dead.“Ah…” Suddenly, your legs give out from underneath you, and you collapse onto the ground without any warning. You stared stupidly at them, trying to get them to obey your commands and let you stand up. But to no avail. It takes another nearby servant to help you up, and to receive instructions from her father to take her away and back to her room.But then, all of a sudden, you weren’t alone.“Sofia...gods, you shouldn’t see this…” Your father pulls Lady Rudnick into his arms, who immediately begins to bawl hysterically. He gently pats her on the back as Ser Royce looks on uncomfortably around them. “…gods, I’m sorry you had to see it…Royce, can you tell me what happened?”The knight nods. “Aye. The servant was there, taking a quick break and a breath of fresh air. But she must have been in a rush. In her haste, she slipped on the ice and…” He gestures helplessly to the body.“She must have tripped,” Sofia babbled into your father’s arms. “One moment she was there, and then the next…she’d disappeared over the balcony when we tried to save her-”It was small, but you saw it. The way their words didn’t quite reach their eyes, how their grief seemed to be tempered with something else entirely. All your life you’ve seen the masks that people wear, and seen what’s underneath them. You frown, bringing all of your mental power to judge their expressions.Relief. It is relief that is in their eyes. Relief for the death of Sigune Fyrsdottr, the most important person in the world.(cont.)
Relief that she was dead. Why would they be relieved?Because she found something about them, something that she needed to die for.She’s lying. There was a terrible noise, a sudden roaring in your ears that drowned all other sounds. The frantic whispers of the servants, the soothing dulcets of your father, the incoherent ramblings of that woman…all of it was overtaken by the cacophony of your own heartbeat. She’s lying. She’s lying, she’s lying, she’s lying, lying, lying, lying,…When everyone turns to you in surprise and shock, you only realize that you’ve been speaking aloud, almost screaming at the top of your lungs. “SHE’S LYING, LYING, LYING, LYING-”Strength and power flooded your arms, and your emotions returned your legs to you. Kicking and flailing, you try to break the grip of the servant holding you, desperately trying to reach them. Your father stares on in equal mixtures of shock and embarrassment, but Rudnick and her bodyguard recoil from the intensity of your screams.“SHE’S LYING, SHE'S LYING, SHE'S LYING, LYING-“ You continued to scream, even as your throat began to turn raw. “LYING, LYING, LYING, LYING, LYING, LYING, LYING, LYING, LYING-”Caught in your tirade, you’re unable to see the magister sprinting towards you. But you are able to smell the concoction in his hands, a powerful vapor that robs you of your vigor and fills your mind with sleep. You struggle against it, fighting hard against the urge to lay down and rest, to release all of your anger and simply return to dreams.“Lying, lying, lying, lying…” You weakly cried out before the darkness took you.When consciousness returned to you, you were in your room. The grief of losing Siguine had made her temporarily mad with grief, the magister had said, and she would need to spend some time to recover. She would be blaming everyone and everything for her death, no matter how irrational her claims were.When you finished crying your eyes out, shivering in a world without Siguine’s warm embrace, her words come back to you, and you cling onto the precious memory with everything you have. All of them, all the years spent together with Siguine, they are treasures beyond value, now. And more than ever, you need her aid.“Patience, perseverance, endurance…” You muttered, to yourself, drying your tears against your sleeve. “Patience, perseverance, endurance…”Ser Royce.Lady Sofia Rudnick.Wait and strive to reach your goal.An oath of ruin was sworn that night, on the grave of a mother, a sister, and a friend.>>Present>>Great Hall, Alnerwich>>Marcus Painel“What is the meaning of this?”Lord Mazur’s voice rings loud in your ears as you pick yourself off of the floor. Everyone’s eyes are fixated on the dancers, and all other conversations have faded away. You shake your head, blinking out the stars in your vision as you help Klara off of the floor.(cont.)
“Are you alright?” You quietly intone, ignoring the lord. “It was a nasty fall.”For a moment, you think she might have staggered. But Klara remains upright, gripping your hand tight as she stands up on her feet. “I’ve never been better.”Nonplussed at the display between you and his daughter, Mazur shakes his head in disapproval. He turns towards Sofia, who rubs the tender flesh of her neck. The fall had nearly torn it in half, undoing the knot around her collarbone. Royce lingers at the edge of the circle, uncertain as to leave his charge to Mazur’s care.“Sofia, are you alright? I apologize for my daughter. This has never happened before…”“Oh, it’s alright, Adamus,” she wheezes as she extends her hand. “Accidents happen, even to the best of us…”A choking noise cuts off her voice. She only realized the nature of her sleeve, and she’s too late for Mazur to retract his grip. His sharp tug to help her up is the final nail in her dress’ coffin. And one by one, the pieces fall away, scarf and dress alike. And the court explodes into scandalized gasps and furious shouts upon the sight of her arm, shoulder and neck.There, running along the hollow of her neck and the crook of her arm, are the products of her vigorous lovemaking with Ser Royce the night prior. Puckered flesh, bruises in the shape of handprints. It would take a blind virgin to not recognize the marks for what they are. And it certainly does not take any magister to understand that Mazur didn’t have the time to inflict such marks upon his betrothed.“Oh, I’m so sorry, Lady Rudnick.” The sound Sofia’s neck makes when she turns to Klara is to be of cause for worry. Lady Mazur’s smile is beautiful in every wrong way, not quite reaching eyes as cold as winter ice. “I. Must. Have. Tripped.”It is there that you see the eyes of a human being trapped in a corner with no escape, mirrored in the eyes of her protector. In turn, Ser Royce turns as pale as snowfall, in sharp contrast to Lord Mazur's face. The lord of Alnerwich's composition turns from one of embarrassment, shock, disbelief, and finally...anger. And it is not the cold anger of her daughter, but a fiery, tempestuous anger.>Pull Klara away from the epicenter.>Stay and watch the ensuing spectacle.
>>1759022>Stay and watch the ensuing spectacle.>Interpose yourself between the spectacle and KlaraGIT HYP
>>1759022>Stay and watch the ensuing spectacle.
>>1759022>Stay and watch the ensuing spectacle.I'm not missing this for the world. Stay near Klara. Protect her from any potential emotional lashing out.
>>1759022>Stay and watch the ensuing spectacle.This is her vengeance, let her see it to the end
>>1759022>Eyes on Royce. If Rudnick tries anything, Klara would only welcome the opportunity to "accidentally" claw her eyes out.
>>1759022>>Stay and watch the ensuing spectacle.Sorry, I'm late.
>>1759022> Position yourself to neutralize Ser Royce
>>1759022>Stay and watchMan Klara went from nobody to best girl
Just found this quest and oh boy am I in for a treat. Saw the finale here, but unfortunately haven't yet managed to binge to here so will pass.However, I came to say thank you for the quest nonetheless. Amazing work!
>>1759202it's not a finale for the quest as a whole, just the arc
>>1759212Also the night apparently.QM CURSE! QM CURSE! QM CURSE!
>>1759202>finale this is the beggining
>>1759287>this is the begginingThe beginning of the end or maybe it's the end of the beginning
>>1759360Umm no it's still in the first season to use an anime comparison
>Stay and watchThen this> Position yourself to neutralize Ser Royce
>>1759364Ohh yeah I can see that, Like the end of the second or third Arc midway through the season.
>>1759022> Position yourself to neutralize Ser Royce Our job is also to keep Mazur from killing him in a rage. That's to be done after a trial.
>>1759198It's that poetic line delivery.
>>1759367Second arc first season atm
I was wondering is the travel here and the Alchemist guild constituted an Arc so I wasn't sure
>>1759022>Interpose yourself between the spectacle and KlaraPoor Klara. I didn't even know the girl long and I liked her. I also have that pic in my character art folder. So it was semi-personal. She's a sweet npc who doesn't deserve that.
>>1759022Y'all getting in the way of her front row seat to vengeance need to back the fuck off here.
>>1760034I don't think they mean physically block her from the spectacle, just be nearby and closer to the action in case something happens.Least I hope so.
>>1759022>>1759628>>1760034I don't mean, block her view, I mean shield her from backlash.Interpose as in she can see but if anyone comes at her ass we are in the way.
>>1760101Our skills are being sneaky and stabbing things. We're in an extremely high visibility situation while "on loan". If things get violent, sure, defend her, but anything more would be a n overreach of our duties.
>>1760164Her and her father. Also preventing them from outright killing the poison lovers.We're the Crownguard not their guard. Gotta do what's best for the Crown.
If possible try to get them to confess to Sigiune's murder. They're off guard and may let it slip which would vindicate Klara and let it be known she knew it from the beginning.
>>1760376Klara will probably have to do that. Only she has all the insider knowledge that could shake them.
Swiftly, you interpose yourself between Klara and Rudnick, pushing her behind you as you keep your hand on your weapon. In these tight confines, and the surrounding crowd, a dagger would be the preferable, and quicker weapon. You’ll not take any risks. You know more than most how vicious people could become when backed into a corner.“Who?” In the frozen silence, Mazur’s low growl comes as loud as the peal of thunder. He doesn’t seem to care “how”, or descend in to despair as to the reason as to why his beloved would cuckold him. Even with his bad hand, his good hand reaches for a sword that isn’t at his hips. Rage has taken control of him, and seeks to find a target to punish. “Who is the one you’ve betrayed me for?”When Sofia doesn’t immediately respond, staring at everything and nothing in an incoherent daze, he snarls, barking an order from one of his guards. Pushing their way through the crowd, one of his captains breaks through, kneeling before his lord and offering his sword. And then the sound of naked steel being drawn is the signal for everything to fall apart.The great hall explodes into pandemonium. Guests panic, either trying to grab for their own weapons or outright fleeing the room as fast as they can. Sofia finally finds her voice, shrieking as Mazur advances with the promise of violence etched across his face, all the while Ser Royce desperately tries to push through the crowd of bodies and screaming courtiers. Pullman tries to call for order, for his fellow lord to listen to reason, let cooler heads prevail and have her stand trial. And the troupe, realizing that their payment won’t be soon coming, disappointedly begins to pack their instruments and rouse their drunken meister.“He must have been a fine catch, Sofia!” Mazur roars, stamping on the end of her dress as she tries to flee. Rudnick trips, falling onto the floor with a nasty sound. Stunned and reeling from the impact, all she can do is babble incomprehensively, shielding her face with her arms as he betrothed closes the distance. “To ruin your father’s wishes and throw my affections back into my face! Does he even know that he’s tried to marry me to an adulterous whore, or brought one into the world?!”Red-faced and screaming wordlessly, tears flow freely from her face as she prostrates herself before Mazur in a futile attempt to calm his rage. “Please! Milord…those are just…I didn’t…”“Didn’t what?! Do you mean to tell me that those bruises are from needlework? Or that those marks on your neck are from a wandering sanghul or winter mosquito? Smuggling a lover into your bed…in my own castle nonetheless! Your lust has no shame!”“Milord!” Pullman pushes through the crowd, with five of his own Eagle Knights behind him in tow. “Milord, wait! If she’s truly guilty of infidelity, there is procedure for this. Harming her will provoke war with Lord Rudnick, as she isn’t even your wife-”(cont.)
>>1761466See. This is where we grab ser Royce and tell them we have a suspect.Provide a distraction and a convenient target from his rage.
>>1761484Rather just not do anything and let this play out. Defend Mazur or Klara when necessary.
>>1761484that would only drag the crown into this shindig. Klara knows, let her rat him out. If she let's her get away politically, holy FUCK that is either deliberate or some insane incompetency on her part.
>>1761501let's HIM get away politically
>>1761493Same. I'd be happy to watch her reap what she's sown. Who she did it with isn't really important right now, except as a secondary revenge target.
>>1761466Mazur turns around, snarling furiously. “Stay out of this, Pullman! You are my equal in the eyes of the Emperor, but you still my guest, in my own fortress. I don’t know how you punish unfaithful women in your Vale, but in Alnerwich, they pay a heavy price for their actions.”Atop the dais, shrinking into her seat, Adrianna glances in your direction, seemingly panicked at the threat of violence. And even Patrik seems to be shocked at the turn of events, unsure of what to do. You return their looks with a grim affirmation. This is going to get out of hand if Lord Mazur doesn’t control himself.And the look on her face, it seems that Klara could continue watching the piteous sight of Sofia weeping, soiling her dress and balking in the terror of her father’s rage. But it seems that she has not even begun the true extent of her vengeance. “Father!” She calls out, and her voice cuts through the cacophony. Heads turn from all directions to face his daughter. Even as she stands behind your frame, that iron determination of hers has caught the attention of all the assembled court. “I think the answer would be obvious as to who her lover is.”The silence is deafening, but it is fleeting. “Who, then?” Mazur snarls, turning towards the frightened guests. Tongues of flame cast from brazier and torch catch the edge of the blade in a sinister light. “Don’t keep me, daughter. I’ve had enough surprises for this evening.”“Father, I would think the answer to be obvious!” She raises her arm, and with a dramatic flourish, points directly at Ser Royce, all the while still fumbling to push his way towards his charge. The Hinterlend knight freezes in his tracks, as if the gesture had been a physical blow. “As her constant companion, I think that Ser Royce stands to be the foremost suspect for her mysterious lover.”…and with that, the pieces fall into place. You cannot help but marvel at the intricacy of the web she’s weaved.Courtiers and commanders, soldiers and officers; all scramble away from the stunned knight as the full attention of the enraged noble falls onto him. “You…” Mazur snarls. “I should have known…”To his immense credit, Royce hasn’t drawn his sword yet. But his brow is caked with sweat, and he opens his mouth in vigorous denial. “Milord, this…you have no proof-”“Proof or not, you’re still a part of her entourage, and I’m not having any of you escape before I get to the bottom of this.” It seems that Mazur’s temper has finally begun to cool. But it still simmers with barely restrained anger. “Throw them all into the dungeon! Every one of those Hinterlend bastards! And send a letter to Trevor Rudnick. The betrothal’s off! He can have his whore back after we've dealt the appropriate punishment!”(cont.)
>>1761540Oh you think he is pissed now.Wait until they search her room and find the aphrodisiac
>>1761540“This is…” the knight sputters, “This is outrageous! Lord Rudnick will not stand for this-”“Ser.” Pullman intones, stepping beside Mazur. “You will relinquish your sword willingly, or it will be taken from you. Those are the only choices you have before you.”\For a moment, it looks like he would have drawn his sword, and not to surrender it to them without a fight. But then the knight hesitates, looking to his frightened lady, and the equally scared Rudnick servants. His eyes then wander across the hall, from Mazur and Pullman, their guards and retainers, then to you and Klara.His eyes narrow as they register the look on her face, and a vein throbs at his temple. And in turn, she offers another one of her vulpine smiles.Muttering obscenities under his breath, the hinterlender knight draws his sword. As one, the Eagle Knights and Mazur’s guards tense, lowering spears and leveling swords in his direction. But there is no need for worry. Ser Royce holds out his sword before dropping it onto the stone, kicking it away with an angry strike.“Harm one hair on any of us,” He growls as the men pin his arms behind his back, “And you’ll answer to my lord.”Mazur blinks, but then he marches forward, thrusting his sword into the arms of a startled guard. He crosses the hall in three strides, before standing in front of Royce with murder in his eyes. Then, he grabs the gorget of his plate, and pulls the knight down to his knees so that he can stare him in the eye.“I intend to.” He hisses back, before relinquishing his grip. “Throw him in the oubliette, and the rest into the dungeon cells. As for her…” Sofia flinches as he regards her with a contemptuous look. “…lock her in her room. Two guards on either side.”His retainers are none to gentle as the haul the lady to her feet. But for her lack of resistance as they drag her away, she manages the strength to turn to Klara. Past the tears and puffy eyes, you see nothing but a bottomless pit of helpless rage, and undisguised hatred.“Justice for Sigune…” Klara’s lips move, but she does not speak. Yet you can see the words that her lips would have spoken. But then she finds her voice, continuing in the smallest whisper, “And I would hope the child in your belly isn’t Ser Royce’s…ah, but the maidenweed would’ve taken care of that. Such a funny name for an herb used only by whores…”Perhaps she shouldn’t have done that.Sofia finally snaps, and she finds strength beyond her limits. With a hideous shriek, she tears herself away from the guards. Uncaring of her dress, and the shocked appearances of the surrounding court, the nobles, the Imperial Princess and her own surprised target, Lady Rudnick’s hands turn into outstretched talons, aiming directly for Klara’s neck…>Draw your dagger. [Punish]>Lead with the fist. [Mercy]>Custom option.
>>1761580>>Custom option.Lead with the dick
>>1761580>Catch her arms and present her to Klara to do whatever she wants with.
>>1761580>Lead with the fist. [Mercy]
>>1761580>>Lead with the fist. [Mercy]
>>1761580>Trip her, give time for Klara to react.This too, is a lesson for Klara. If she's too absorbed into her revenge, she could make a mistake and lose her life in turn. She needs to take responsibility for that instead of relying solely on a bodyguard.
>>1761580>Custom option.Trip and restrain her so Kara can look down on her.
>>1761619While the lesson is nice we still have to do our job here. A good gesture it may be to you outwardly it will look like negligence.Just tell her that after the fact.
>>1761580>>1761619This is some of the most satisfying vengeance I've read in awhile. Let's trip this bitch.
>>1761580>>Lead with the fist. [Mercy]Hmm, no need to be cute about how we handle it. If we screw up the roll this will look very poorly for us.I'm voting mercy because it was mentioned that causing harm would bring about an incident. I suspect Sofia making the first move alleviates some of that, but best not push our luck.
>>1761580Supporting tripping her at least, restrain her if she tries to keep going for Klara
>>1761627Outwardly, it might look like we're lovers at this point.
>>1761580>>Lead with the fist.This is no mercy and is the "moral" choice, all the better.
>>1761650Hah, good point.Fuck it, trip her. Just restrain her like >>1761641said if Klara doesn't react or she keeps going.
>>1761619Appears negligent, and might not actually stop her; she's diving at Klara, not running at her. this fist or the blade would actually stop her, physically arrest her movement.Also, we're not her teacher or mentor, we don't need to keep trying to teach her things.
>>1761619I really don't think Mazur needs more reasons to go ballistic, he is dancing a fine line as it is.Let's not get him literally screaming for blood, asking why we didn't do more, and having to answer, to teach your daughter a lesson.This isn't the time or place, and Klara isn't a fool; she'll get the lesson without having to bleed for it.
>>1761580>Lead with the fist. [Mercy]Think watching her live with this is better than killing her.
>>1761665I can work with >>1761641
>>Lead with the fist>>Restrain her.Even as Pullman opens his mouth, Mazur reaches for his sword, and all the guards attempt to rush towards the lunging woman, you’ve already made your move.There is a harsh and sudden CRACK that echoes throughout the hall as you bring your fist up in a wicked right hook. Too intent on trying for Klara, it’s almost as if she flies directly into your fist. Your strike crashes into her jaw, and you can see blood flying from the point of impact. But even as she reels back, moaning and clutching her face, you don’t cease your counterattack.It’s almost pathetically easy, how you’re able to bring her down onto the floor. All you do is pull her back towards you, pinning her arm behind her back as you knock the support from under her knees. The fabric of her ruined dress does an amazing job of soaking up the blood pouring from her mouth, and masking the bloody obscenities she throws in your direction....perhaps you hit her a little too hard…no, wait. Her jaw isn’t broken. But that shard that accompanied the flecks of blood had to have been part of a tooth.She was lucky that you didn’t lead with your dagger. That could have ended dangerously for her. There are worse things you can inflict on a human beyond disfiguring her face. Of this, you know all too well.Klara seems to be slightly shaken by the attempt on her person. It takes her a few moments to swallow the lump in her throat, and to get her breathing under control. Not from fear, but from genuine surprise. She truly did not expect Sofia to try for one desperate bid for retaliation, no matter how foolish it would have been.But while she isn’t angry, you can’t exactly say the same for the surrounding crowd… “You dare?” Mazur roars, “You dare to scorn my mercy and attack my daughter? So be it, then! Into the dungeons with her as well!”It takes someone donating a scrap of their cloak to fashion an impromptu gag. Even past the swelling and bruise along her jaw, Sofia continues to hurl curses and incoherent threats. What a powerful mouth, some snidely remark, to overcome an obstacle and speak clearly through it! But there are still those who obey their lords with grim duty, escorting the prisoners to the dungeons.Pullman takes Mazur’s shoulder, pulling him quickly aside to exchange whispers with him. Patrik seems to have disappeared in the confusion, leaving a tentative Adrianna plodding her way from the dais towards you, and Klara.As for Mazur’s daughter, she looks at the bloodstain on the ground, where you held Sofia when she tried to attack her. Then, she turns towards you, with the ghost of a genuine smile tugging at the corner of her mouth."Thank you."(cont.)
>>Raleigh will need to rest for a few days in order to recover from the Siege of Silverstone.>>Until then, you will remain in Alnerwich before you depart for the Pullman Vale once more.>>But until then, you decided to focus the majority of your time on two activities…>>Chose two of the following activities:>Observing the Rudnicks’ Trial. [Intrigue, Klara, ???]>Studying with the Crowmonds. [Knowledge, Adrianna/Allanus/Ellana, ???]>Training with the Crownguard. [Combat, Bellatrix/Raleigh/Urath, ???]>Visiting the Alchemist’s Guild. [Alchemy, Claudia, ???]>Custom option.Goin' to sleep. Gonna dump Serena's little smut later...
>>1761903>Observing the Rudnicks’ Trial. [Intrigue, Klara, ???]>Studying with the Crowmonds. [Knowledge, Adrianna/Allanus/Ellana, ???]
>>1761903>Studying with the Crowmonds. [Knowledge, Adrianna/Allanus/Ellana, ???]back to work.
>>1761903>Observing the Rudnicks’ Trial. [Intrigue, Klara, ???]Wouldn't miss this for the world>Studying with the Crowmonds. [Knowledge, Adrianna/Allanus/Ellana, ???]I kinda wanted to spend some time with Claudia, but Ellana and our job comes first.
>>1761903And >Observing the Rudnicks’ Trial. [Intrigue, Klara, ???]
>>1761903>>Studying with the Crowmonds. [Knowledge, Adrianna/Allanus/Ellana, ???]>>Training with the Crownguard. [Combat, Bellatrix/Raleigh/Urath, ???]we're done here
>>1761903>Visiting the Alchemist’s Guild. [Alchemy, Claudia, ???]>Studying with the Crowmonds. [Knowledge, Adrianna/Allanus/Ellana, ???]Kinda want to observe the trial, but we did say we were going to visit Claudia I think? If duties permit, I believe. Dunno if this should be one of our major efforts, but at least make it a token effort.
>>1761903>>Observing the Rudnicks’ Trial. [Intrigue, Klara, ???]>>Studying with the Crowmonds. [Knowledge, Adrianna/Allanus/Ellana, ???]
>>1762421We actually did say that.
>>1761903>>Training with the Crownguard. [Combat, Bellatrix/Raleigh/Urath, ???]>>Visiting the Alchemist’s Guild. [Alchemy, Claudia, ???]
Ask Claudia if she has time to teach Ellana Alchemy
>>1761903>>1762421>>1763308Support.>>1763556Support, but we'd have to make it discrete.
>>1757023>The Dance is the name Lucien gave to his method of fighting. Brutal and unforgiving, yet graceful and flowing, the Dance transitions seamlessly from one form to the next. Dodges, strikes, parries, all can be interchanged as the tide of battle ebbs and flows in one direction or another. You must be fleet of foot, and quick in your movements. A single slip, even a small mistake, could spell disaster.... I wanna say it's basically Shadow of Mordor combat with two daggers. And more dodging.
>>1755657Hey, Kaz, I just wanted to say that you're a hell of a writer and I'm glad this quest isn't dead. Keep up the great work.
What time zone is Kaz in again?
Did Kaz mean August 16th or 17th when he said "tomorrow night?"
>>1779679Kaz @TaskForceKaz 1 hour ago Feeling a little ill. Guess it's leftover carsickness. I'll run tomorrow morning.Bleargh..I assume somewhere in the US.
>>1779172>>1779246That's more or less what I had in mind as well. And thanks for the kind words, anon! Writing.
It takes a total of two days before Raleigh regains full coherence and another three before he can eat solid foods without being sick. He seems equally mollified in his overuse of his magic, as well as an equal frustration of being confined to his bed. In his own words, it would be a waste of time for him to merely “lie about like an invalid” but there was little he could do without aggravating his injuries.So it is with weary resignation that your fellow Crownguard settles in, passing the time with books and codices stacked high on a nearby table. There is seldom a moment when you don’t find him scowling fiercely at nothing or at the books he’s reading. All the books in Mazur’s archives and in the shop in town are at his fingertips, but his fingers crave and reach out for a spell book that isn’t there. No magic until he’s fully recovered.You’ve seen it before. A mage going for days without casting a spell is little different from living with an itch you’re unable to scratch. Not truly vexing enough to cause problems, but bothersome enough to be a minor discomfort. At the very least, Silverow does a good job of holding the worst of his acerbic tongue in check. And you could’ve sworn that you’d heard him mumble an apology under his breath when his temper flared.Still, it seems that he will make a full recovery. That’s more than you can say for the mage he defeated.The tone of Alnerwich underwent a dramatic change come the morning after the feast. The anger and tension at Mazur has been replaced with a nervous apprehension. There is no one in the castle, or in the town for that matter, who didn’t hear about the full extent of their lord’s anger. It’s on everyone’s tongues, from fortress guards to stable hands, scullery maids to fishmongers. The collective mood is one of worry, but there are those who chuckle to themselves in the coming days.With the tension in the air, all of the Crownguard decide that it’s for the best to restrict town sojourns and remain close to the royal family. You have doubts that anyone would make an attempt on their lives, but it’s probably for the better that you stay close. Their security supersedes any erstwhile outings, or promises made.Regardless, you make the best out of your situation. Allanus couldn’t care less about the affair, but he’s been keeping company with his family instead of Patrik. There is no ill will, but rather a lack of contact due to the ongoing trial. Perhaps it is for the better. No longer will he have an audience to egg on his recklessness.Ellana, on the other hand, has a vested interest. She was slightly upset, petulant that she missed the reveal, but quickly turns around when Adrianna says that all of the Crowmonds must attend the trial. As scions of the Bladebound Throne, it would be remiss of them to ignore the functions of the local court. She is absolutely delighted to attend, making a stark contrast to her horror-struck brother.(cont.)
But in the time whenever you’re absent from the trial or the other banalities of the imperial court, you find yourself in deep study with the Crowmonds. Adrianna is a strict mistress in this regard, monitoring her younger siblings with hawkish eyes as they plod through their books and journals. In this regard, Ellana is the better student, allowing for more leeway as her sister helps their brother with the subtleties of High Vethic and a myriad of other continental languages.A blessing in disguise. With the other siblings busy, your charge has a little more leeway in choosing the subjects of her choice. You sit with Ellana, carefully pouring over the botanical journal with careful eyes. The topic that you’ve decided to teach her is that of…>Choose one:>Flora used for healing. [Lifeguard 1/5]>Flora used for poison. [Poisoner 1/5]However, no matter how much of her knowledge on the subject, there are simply some plants that are useless without proper treatment. Alchemy is an absolute essential for some of the tonics and potions derived from the plants to have their intended effect. There will come a time when the threshold of application would be reached, and the uses of several plants would be locked away.It is a good thing then, as you are an alchemist in your own right, though you can say little about your experiences as a teacher. And who could forget? Alnerwich is home to the Alchemists’ Guild, one mired deep with their own internal problems, but a competent one nonetheless. There’s bound to be several experienced hands better suited for teaching, hands that have held beakers and flask from an incredibly young age....and there is one alchemist that springs to your immediate mind. Who knows? Perhaps a distraction away from her father's plight might rouse Claudia's spirits.>Choose one:>Convince Adrianna to let you teach her sister alchemy.>Convince Adrianna to invite Claudia to teach Ellana alchemy.>Secretly teach Ellana alchemy without asking Adrianna.>Wait for a better time to broach the subject with Adrianna.>Custom option.
>>1781929>Flora used for healing. [Lifeguard 1/5]One, I think Ellana should learn the art of healing first and Two, it'll be easier to convince Adrianna to have us teach her if we are teaching her to save lives.>Convince Adrianna to invite Claudia to teach Ellana alchemy.
>>1781929>Flora used for poison. [Poisoner 1/5]for diagnostic purposes. You don't need to know alchemy to know what cure to purchase.>Convince Adrianna to invite Claudia to teach Ellana alchemy.
>>1781938I should've clarified. The ranking at the end of the trait is Ellana's current progress. She's dipped her dainty little feet into both healing and poisoning.
>>1781929>Flora used for healing. [Lifeguard 1/5]>Convince Adrianna to let you teach her sister alchemy.How old is Adrianna again?
>>1781962...but you said choose one
>>1781929>Convince Adrianna to invite Claudia to teach Ellana alchemy.
>>1781965>>1781929Wait, changing mine to>Convince Adrianna to invite Claudia to teach Ellana alchemy.
>>1781929>Flora used for healing. [Lifeguard 1/5]>Convince Adrianna to invite Claudia to teach Ellana alchemyI agree with the other anon, Adrianna will probably be happier to hear her sister is learning medicine. Plus we can always teach her the subtle arts on our own. We can also spin it as giving Ellana another postitve role model as well as a friend high up in the Guild.
>>1781929>>Flora used for healing. [Lifeguard 1/5]>Secretly teach Ellana alchemy without asking Adrianna.Ellana wants to know how to heal people. Her majority knowledge should be about healing, with some poisons for identification.Teaching medicine shouldn't be worth bothering Adrianna about.Claudia is likely busy attending to her father and the guild.
>>1781966She had lessons in prior threads. That's what I mean.
>>1781965Adrianna is sixteen. And I may as well dump these out. Current ages are as of the beginning of BRQ, Winter 238 ACR.>Emperor Leon Crowmond51 - Born Summer 52, 187>Empress Melianna Crowmond née Tarmund37 - Autumn 46, 201>Prince Emeron20 - Summer 75, 218>Princess Adrianna16 - Autumn 13, 222>Prince Allanus12 - Summer 19, 226>Princess Ellana8 - Spring 1, 230
>>1781929>>Flora used for healing. [Lifeguard 1/5]>>Convince Adrianna to invite Claudia to teach Ellana alchemy.Especially with that Necromancer dude on the loose. We're willing to die for Ellana, but ultimately everyone is their own guardian. I mean, after all, what about AFTER we die for her? Vengeful ghosts can only do so much.
>>1781978>>1782030Can we convince Ellana by pointing out how dangerous the Guild was when it was used against us, and how beneficial it will be to have what is most likely the next Guild Master as a friend not of us, but of Ellana?And learning more about a persons profession is one of the better ways to bond with them.
>>1782030I thought his name was Lionel.And I see Adrianna is an early bloomer.
>>1782888I changed it to something more Germanic. Lionel is too much of an English name. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Ellana squints at the bottle, frowning intensely at the contents within the container. She gives it a cursory shake, and the white petals tremble at the sudden motion. “…and you’re saying that the garawa can do more than just cure headaches?”“Yes, your majesty,” Claudia answers with a polite nod. Seated besides the princess, the daughter of Mengus Silvera makes no effort to hide the smile or pleasure she derives from her position. Any initial nervousness seems to have faded away, replaced by her enthusiasm for all things alchemical. “In addition to alleviating headaches, it can also provide temporary relief to injuries of battle, toothache, and the bite of rabid dogs. And by themselves, the oils secreted by the plant will kill the larvae of some mosquitoes, making it an essential tool of the Rotgardist. The swamps and bogs that the Blutlinge inhabit are home to insects carrying horrific diseases…”In the adjacent room, you lean against the wall, silently listening in on the lesson. A quiet smile tugs at the corner of your lips as their voices carry through from the room and into the hallway. “They’re making good progress, don’t you think?”“…so it would seem…” Opposite of you, Adrianna seems unable to reach a conclusion as to her sister’s lesson. Trepidation wars on her face with resignation as she regards the two of them with a reproachful look. So far, she has yet to reach a verdict on the subject of letting Ellana learn alchemy. And if you’re being honest, you have a feeling that she’s only humoring you with a sample lesson in light of your recent success with Klara’s conspiracy. But you couldn't help but notice the wary look in her eyes at Claudia's arrival to Alnerwich.She continues, “But I must admit for her…enthusiasm and aptitude for the subject, I can’t help but feel that it’s not perhaps the best subject for a princess to learn.” She pauses, eventually settling on a perplexing frown.You blink. “Really? How so?”“I mean no disrespect towards the members of the guild. Their tonics, tinctures and chemicals have done wonders for the Empire. But toiling over cauldrons, hunched over beakers and flasks…the art lends itself not the most flattering image, especially to a princess.”That has to be the politest way you’ve ever heard someone displaying disdain for alchemists. But you decide to let the unconscious insult slide off, and you offer a polite smile. “I hope that her highness does not share that same opinion of me.”The meaning of her words dawns quickly on her, and she blanches in response. “N-no, of course not!” Her face turns a slight red in mortification. “It is more than acceptable for you to pursue alchemy, Painel. But with that said…” She exhales, pinching the bridge of her nose. “There are ways for princesses to spend their time. Alchemy is seldom one of them, if not at all.”(cont.)
>“A princess and her bodyguard go to visit a seer…” (Tell her about Yaya)>“Should not every noble have some sort of hobby?” (Appeal to reason)>“Then how does her highness spend her free time?” (Inquire about her)>Custom option.
>>1787275And yet, your sister has a healer's heart and a strong desire to learn. Better she learn from the best than try to skulk about and learn on her own, no? Every noble needs a hobby after all.>“Then how does her highness spend her free time?” (Inquire about her)
>>1787275>>“Should not every noble have some sort of hobby?” (Appeal to reason)segways nicely into>>“Then how does her highness spend her free time?” (Inquire about her)
On one hand, a policy of honesty makes me want to come clean about the seer, just get it over with. It doesn't reflect terribly well on us, but I think Ellana wanted to do it? So maybe we let it slide.Don't remember exactly how the seer relates, been a while since I saw that segment.
>>1787311tl;dr - Seer's prophecy about family dying spooks Ellana bad enough into studying alchemy.
>>1787311You should only feel compelled to tell her about the Seer if you think it's something you need to be honest about. Remember, we don't put stock in Seers or any other fortunetelling, so there should be nothing to worry about.Unless I've mixed my quest up again
>>1787275>“Then how does her highness spend her free time?” (Inquire about her)
>>1787275>I personally don't know what piqued her interest...>But your highness, I was saved by a bottle of Goddess' Tears, and the King is in no small amount of trouble because we have reached the limits of current medicine. (Appeal to empathy)>“Then how does her highness spend her free time?” (Inquire about her)
>>1787321I remember Marcus was pretty convinced by the seeress' prophecy here; and it was pretty convincing and thorough. Absolutely nailed Marcus' backstory, and their advice was to not be complacent and to fight against/loophole out of your prophesized fate.
>>1787302Supporting this. Be nice to learn more about the eldest princess.
>>1787275>“Should not every noble have some sort of hobby?” (Appeal to reason)
>>1787298>>1787302>>1787330>>1787333>>1787390“I would think that every noble should have some sort of hobby.” You gesture towards a boar’s head, mounted on a nearby wall. Its beady eyes stare sightlessly across the hallway, transfixed in the beautiful moment of its death. “Hunting seems to be the most popular choice across the Empire. Granted, it only applies for barons, counts, lords and dukes, and there’s bound to be some variation along the way.”“Hunting…” Adrianna’s lips purse in mild distaste before she sighs. “True. Thankfully, my brothers have neither the aptitude nor the patience for it. Em would rather spend his time training, but Allanus…” She hesitates. “…if he has a hobby, I’m not privy to it. Whatever he does in his free time, he does so out of our company, without bringing back the corpses of wild boars or stags.”If you were anyone else, that would be particularly worrisome, even cause for alarm. But the intricate politics between the realms of the continent and the Ivory Tower of sorcery are none of your concern. Especially since you spent the last seven years of your life fighting in the service of a rogue sorceress. The consequences of refusing the Edicts of Magius will sort themselves out in due time, you suppose. One year is still too soon, it seems.The elder princess reads the look in your eyes, and is quick to reassure you. “Ser Palme and Urath have reported to my mother and brother that what Allanus does is not of suspect, or breaking the Edicts. He just wishes to keep it…private, for lack of a better term.”Understandable. The prince is in those formative years of his life where he’d be at the ripe age for testing the rules of his station. On the cusp of adolescence, it is little wonder that he’s so reckless, both in his behavior and his borderline careless use of magic. A potent combination of the folly of youth, simmering energy, and no small amount of wroth.“But enough about his highness. Let’s return to Princess Ellana.” You pause as Ellana giggles at something Claudia said, indistinct among the quiet whispers you’re exchanging. “You say that alchemy is a bad image for her? Then by all means, it is not necessary for her to be open about it in other company. She can keep it to herself. And I know for a fact that Claudia knows of the better part of discretion without being asked to hold her silence.”“You know?” Adrianna echoes back with a frown. “I do not mean to castigate your judgment, and you’ve no obvious reason to lie. I just wish to make sure that you’re certain about this. That Silvera can be trusted to hold her silence.”You nod. “As I said, she'll remain silent. The rest of the town won’t know that she’s coming into the fortress to teach your sister. They’ll find some other reason of varying scandal to come up with.”(cont.)
She appears only to be comforted by a slight degree. Doubt still mars her brow, keeping it trapped in a gentle frown. “…I must admit, that I did not except her to take to the lesson with such…enthusiasm. What could have caused this?”…it’s not like you can just say that an Ingulan seer told the youngest Crowmond that her family was going to die.“Who knows?” You shrug. “All that matters is her desire to learn, and a gentle heart not unlike a healer’s. And were it not for her and her alchemy…I would not be here right now. And forgive me for being blunt, but I understand that your father, the Emperor, is very ill, is he not?”“Father is…” A pained grimace flashes across her features. “…it is as you say, he is ill. He has his moments of waking coherency, but his fever keeps him in bed. Omma has been tending to him for the better part of last year.”“‘Grandmother’?” That’s quite odd. From your limited history books, you can recall that Emperor Leon’s mother, Empress Margund, was killed in the Time of the Bastards by her husband’s illegitimate children. Albrecht ‘the Lewd’ Crowmond left not only an Empire on the fringe of collapse due to frivolous indulgences, but a trail of bastards in his wake. The ensuing power vacuum on his death was an incredibly bloody one, with bastards and legitimate heirs fighting for the Bladebound Throne.Two years of war would eventually see Leonhardt Crowmond and his younger brother Gerard as the true heirs of Albrecht. ‘Kinslayer’ was a term thrown around, both in hushed whispers by the smallfolk and by the disgruntled families who sided with the bastards. Though Emperor Leon’s nickname is that of ‘the Shrewd’, ‘the Cruel’ more often than not comes into the play. Upon attaining the throne, he had all the family heads that swore allegiance to his bastard brothers executed, and their heads mounted on pikes on the walls of Karthmire Keep.Excessive? Perhaps it was, but it was not solely done without outside influence. It was under the advice of his primary supporter, Emirich Tarmund, the Grand Duke of Gerforen's Reach, that Leon show no mercy to those who would even think about threatening the legitimacy of his rule.“Ah…she is not our biological grandmother.” Adrianna pauses. “…I suppose the more accurate term would be to call her Yaya…” At the look on your face, she blinks, seemingly worried. “…did I say something wrong?”“…no, no…it’s nothing, your highness…please, continue.”Her uncertainty remains, but she continues, “Yaya’s true name is Jetta. She is an Ingulan caretaker, and she’s always been in our household, even before Em was born. It is her responsibility to take care of father, a task she does so with great zeal, even in her old age.”(cont.)
Ah. One of the Children of the Goddess eschewing tradition to find employment in the lands beyond the Moonlight Plains. If Urath is any example, then this surrogate grandmother of theirs must be well-regarded in the Crowmond household. Snidely, you can recall that Ingulans are always a popular choice of lover for the nobility of the land, much to the vexation of their wives and husbands alike.But it seems that this one is no such bed-warmer. To win the loyalty of an Ingulan is to gain an eternal friend and companion, if not another surrogate family member. Even Wulf, a half-Ingulan mongrel borne out of a union between a mercenary and a whore, shared just enough of his father’s traits to remain loyal unto death for the Black Alley Locusts……Ingulan loyalty. The memory of the twins in the snows of the slums comes back to you, and the familiar weight of melancholy settles on your shoulders. What a damn shame…what a waste of life…“I hope his Imperial Majesty regains his health,” You offer sincerely, brushing off the temptation to slip into reverie.Adrianna offers a quiet smile. “I hope so as well. For all of our sakes.”Underneath the polite veneer, you can detect the slightest mote of tension in her words. Something is clearly bothering her, and it isn’t just a daughter’s concern for her ailing father. But you decide not to press the issue, and shift to a lighter topic.“Then we must hope that all advances in alchemy will go forward to healing him…perhaps her highness’ enthusiasm for the subject will be enough for the gods to turn the tide in your father’s favor.”Even as a mirthless chortle escapes from her lips, a smile tugs at the corners of her mouth. “If that is the case, then I see no harm in letting her pursue it so long as she keeps quiet about it.”“Of course,” You reassure her. “And I will likewise take my steps to ensure secrecy.”“See that you do.”“You may rely on me, your highness…” You pause, before tilting your head. “Your highness, I earlier mentioned that all nobles must have hobbies. And you agreed that it is perfectly fine for one to have a hobby not of a scandalous nature.”She frowns. “…I did, but…I don’t quite see where this is going.”“If I may be so bold…how does her highness spend her free time?”The question seems to catch her off-guard. All she responds with is a confused, “Eh?”Not very princess-like, you muse to yourself. Hiding a smile, you repeat the question. “If you do not mind, I’m quite curious as to how you spend your free time. Or in other words, your own hobbies befitting of an Imperial princess, whatever they may be.”(cont.)
>>1787584>And in this moment, Adrianna DID realize she only has herself to blame.
>>1787584>>1787594>inb4 Marcus's spaghetti-dropping rubs off on Adrianna.
>>1787616>>The favor of a noble lady.
She regains her composure easily enough, even as she coughs into her hand, trying and failing to hide the glowing red on her cheeks. “It’s…it’s no problem to explain. Ah…mother keeps songbirds from across the continent. Sometimes, I take care of them, and tend to flowers grown in the interior gardens. And per public function and social expectation, I do weave with other ladies when mother has to host guests with their own children…and I would like to say that I’m a fair hand with the cross-stitch…”Ah. Very noble-like and refined, befitting a princess of the Empire.She hesitates before continuing, “…and…I share a love of books…but I’m not nearly engrossed with them as Ellana is. Our genres are…” She struggles to find the right word. “…different.”Different? From what you recall, Ellana has always been fond of reading books of myths and legends, preferring them over most academia save for history and the recent edition of natural science.But before you can inquire further, the bells atop the fortress towers begin to ring. It is three o’clock in the afternoon. The trial of the Rudnicks will begin shortly.>>Later>>Outside the great hall“I can’t believe it…” Klara whispers, more to herself than to you. “I can’t believe I’d make it this far.”You grunt, keeping a sharp eye out for wandering servants. It was suspicious enough for her to pull you away before the trial started. To find the both of you talking in hushed whispers is only going to make things worse. “Tenacity and perseverance. And the desire to see your dreams of vengeance fulfilled. Which, by the way, you’ve completed. Congratulations,” you answer.That seems to shake her from her thoughts. Clearing her throat, she stars out a nearby window, towards the snow-filled courtyard. “Yes...and I couldn’t have done it without you, Marcus. Again…I’d like to thank you. For going above and beyond my expectations.”She pauses to give you another looking over, before shaking her head in mock disbelief. “You truly are unlike any Crownguard I’ve ever read about or met in my entire life.”“…I’ll take that as a compliment.”“Good, because it is! Yet that would make for a poor reward for all that you’ve done.” Her vulpine smile stretches her mouth into a playful contour. “Not only have you given definite proof of her infidelity, but you executed the plan flawlessly and kept me safe from attack.”You scratch the back of your head. “I didn’t expect her to try and lunge for you.”Her laughter is derisive, but not at your words. “I didn’t expect for her to be that stupid. Truly, the woman has cock on the mind, and the desire for a quick finish. But we must be quick. Crownguard Marcus Painel, for your services that you've done for my family, what do you desire from the Mazurs?">Ask for a sum of gold.>The favor of a lady.>What she thinks is best.>Custom option.
>>1787616What exactly is the favor of a noble lady? Like, taking a favor from her like a lady giving a token to a knight? Or just her goodwill and appreciation?Hmm....Well one thing I would like to ask, is her to protect the loval Alchemist Guild. We promised Claudia we wouldn't let them be marginalized over the blood mage. Unless that's already been handled, I feel trusting Klara with this obligation of ours, and essentially safeguarding our word of honor, is a nice show of trust.
>>1787621>>Custom option.Can we can access to the intel or spy networks? That was mentioned back with the unupgraded rewards.
>>1787623A favor to be called in at a later date, or it could be a gift of her appreciation, or even both. But that bottom paragraph is just as good as asking for a favor to be called in now. >>1787626That's Adrianna's domain more than Klara's.
And just for a quick check...http://www.strawpoll.me/13739231
>>1787621>>1787628Does she have anything we want? We'd like something more than gold, obviously.>What she thinks is best.This might work if we don't have anything else in mind, or as a measure of faith.
>>1787628I suppose my next question is, is the Alchemist Guild in a safe place politically yet? Are they still in danger?I'd like to wrap up that plot thread and promise before we leave.I mean, the fact that we uncovered the blood mage probably ought to pay for thatt favor in itself, we ferretted out another threat in their backyard, but I suppose we never told Klara that.
>>1787621>The Alchemist's guild. Mazur is not going to be in a happy mood when he gets around to dealing with them. Having Klara stand in their defense would be helpful in preventing truly.....rash, action. The alchemists are still needed, especially when the killing blow was dealt with acid, not blades.
>>1787621Since according to the twitter Kaz seems to be away...>You promised Claudia that you would leverage your influence to ensure the Alchemist Guildis not punished or marginalized . You would like Klara's assistance in upholding this promise.
>>1787636Nothing immediately springs to mind. >>1787638You could tell her the whole truth of the Blutlinge if you decide to want her to protect the guild, and by extension, Claudia.
>>1787648What would be the problems of telling the truth, really? It can be hidden from official documents, but letting the ruling bodies know doesn't seem like a bad idea.
>>1787648I would not be opposed to informing Klara about the truth of the Blutlinge. She's proven to have a good head on her shoulders and somebody in the ruling house here ought to know the whole story.
>>1787634>no ingulan dancer>no based queen>no dragon
>>1787652>>1787654I could do that. So when my computer cools off, I'll write that. Just lemme get an official vote to get a consensus.>Use the favor to protect the Alchemists' Guild>Use it for something else.
>>1787634>No UrathShit poll.
>>1787648>>1787652>>1787654>>1787662We can inform her, then consider if the favor might be better spent elsewhere. I think it'd be best spent on the Alchemists' Guild at the moment, but there could be other cases.
>>1787662>>Use the favor to protect the Alchemists' Guildjust to make it clear, I'm still for thiskeep throwing other ideas, though.
>>1787662I thought you were saying if we inform her of the Blutlinge, that would be enough to get her to protect the Guild and Claudia?Or do we need to spend the favor in order to get action?For now:>Use the favor to protect the Alchemists' Guild
>>1787669>>1787673>>1787674Wasn't the favor Adrianna's to spend anyways?
>>1787681I think we went above and beyond that particular part of the favor? Maybe?
>>1787681>>1787686I think we have two now? We got an upgraded favor. So I think one is Adrianna's and one is ours to personally spend in our stead?
>>1787681>>1787686>>1787689That's right. Adrianna has one, but you've got one also, and it's definitely heavier than hers.
>>1787689Think so; we ceded the favor to Adrianna at the start of this. I believe we earned exra reward when we tested the aphrodisiac on ourselves, and then we lent our skills to let Klara achieve totaly victory.I think she's intended to reward us personally for the last two.And, once she learns of the Blutlinge, we probably rise in her esteem yet again. Especially when we ask to use her favor to fulfill an honorable promise that is arguably in the best interest of her realm.I kinda expect Klara would insist on giving some personal token in addition to the favor because really, Marcus is the gift that keeps on giving from her perspective.
>>1787662>Use the favor to protect the Alchemists' Guild
>>1787634>no Serena>no Marcus>no Dagger
>Use the favor to protect the Alchemists' Guild
>>1787662>Use the favor to protect the Alchemists' Guild>>1787634>No ClaudiaB-but I actually liked Alchemist waifu
>>1787626Don't we already have access to the Imperial Spymaster?