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/qst/ - Quests

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The Silva Forest is chilly without the sun, but your wound feels like fire. You pull out the knife embedded in your arm and wipe the sweat off of your forehead. The pain is agonizing; it’s as if a thousand needles were driven into your arm over and over again. It may have missed bone, but the gash is still deep. The length of your arm has been soaked by now and so has your clothes. You can only grit your teeth and wonder if it was poisoned. Taking off your belt and putting everything that was on it on the ground, you wrap it around your arm. You tighten it as much as you can before fastening the buckle and hoping the pressure is enough.

The air here is sickeningly sweet. It sticks to your skin, as if the very landscape is trying to consume you. Even as you sit on the strange wooden platform of a supposed house inside a tree, you can see the lush greenery below sway from a wind that is not there. If you close your eyes and listen carefully, you can almost make out whispers of the forest.

You... You go by Aledt. It doesn’t matter who you are. Maybe it matters to the owl that is watching you from afar. Its deep, black pupils track you down wherever you move, but you pay it no heed. You have no time to worry, not with the wound in your arm and a leg that’s petrified from the knee down. That’s not even mentioning the arcanist from before, Circe, is lying on the spell circle platform, her body splayed out.

Her bag is lying on the floor, and the artifact is in your hands. It is right here, the halfway point of your journey. You’ve never seen someone actively draw circles with their blood before until now. Your vision blurs and the world splits into two. The last thing you remember was the fae lizard closing in, and then the next thing you knew, you were here. It’s as if there was a distinct gap in your memory. There’s a great, throbbing pain in your skull as questions and doubts arise one after the other. You worry if you can still draw the circle correctly, and you wonder if it would reach all the way to Aldrose.

Those considerations should be saved for another time, as you don’t plan on leaving anytime soon; you can’t waste time thinking about things that can wait. If you run away now, you won’t be able to face anyone. You owe your life to Circe, and you must pay your debt back in full. No, that’s wrong. It’s not about owing anyone anything. It’s that if you can do something, then you have to. With a heavy heart and a heavy body, you pull yourself up, gripping the detailed balustrades. You doubt there is much time left to do much, but you make a silent prayer.

May Solaria guide you forevermore.

>Examine Circe.
>Attempt to communicate with the owl.
>Search around the inside of the tree-home.
>Examine the artifact.
File: spell diary.pdf (289 KB, PDF)
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Archives: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Eidolon%20Quest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hopelessQM

You can click the pic to see the Spell Diary.

Upon character incapacitation or death, the perspective will switch to someone else.
>Examine Circe.
>Examin Circe.
You feel the stare of the owl grow more and more intense as you hobble over to Circe. The damn thing is giving you the creeps, but if it’s only watching, then you have nothing to worry about. Still, you can’t help but glance over it every now and then, checking if its moved or not.

You focus your attention on Circe. She’s lying on the other side of the platform, away from the spell circle controls. You tried calling out a few times to her, but there’s no response. A deep cut in her palm and forearm is where all the blood came from. Her dress is stained, but it doesn’t seem dry. It’s all still wet and slick, but it’s not flowing at all. Her chest is still, too. When you take a step closer to see the wounds in detail, you feel a gravely uncomfortable sensation building, and you are forced to back away. It was as if all of a sudden you were holding your breath the entire time and that you haven’t blinked for eons. The second time you try, the same things happen. You resign to being unable to physically approach her, wondering if this was the work of the owl.

Circe’s face is covered by strands of her, but her expression is relaxed, as if she was sleeping. A part of you thinks she’s dead. The fact that she’s not moving, not breathing, or even her heart’s pumping would all be obvious clues, but ignoring that, you don’t believe it. You’ve never seen a faerie die so easily, and even though you have little to base it on, you’ll believe in it.

You have two problems: one of them is getting close to her. Something is in the air, something that may have to do with her current condition and the gap in your memory. The second problem is reviving her. If you remember correctly, all faeries have aether coursing within them. You also have the alleged sap from the tree. The circle to draw, however, is a mystery. You wonder if you even had to revive her in the first place. She might not have had a heart, or even needed air.

You take in your surroundings; you are currently in the same floor you were in last time when you came here, the one with the kitchen and the dining room. The platform stopped rising any more than that.

>Bring the lift down and search around the entrance.
>Attempt to communicate with the owl.
>Search around the inside of the tree-home.
>Examine the artifact.
>Examine the artifact
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The leather cover is worn, but not damaged in any functional way. The gilded borders and glyphs practically glow when the book is angled in different directions. When you turn it on its spine, you see a small spell circle at the top, and from its center, a line that drags through and out, leading to a line of glyphs. You’re sure it does something, even if you have no idea what or even how to activate it. The back of the book itself is nondescript, or as you believed at first. When you tilt it, you see the slight shadows from the slight indents. Lines and arcs trace from edge to edge while failing to form any kind of coherent shape. You ponder what it means as you run your fingers down it.

A spark of pain runs down your arm, causing you to flinch and tightly ball your hand into a fist. Your nails dig into your palm as you try to not fall back down. After a long minute, you relax again.

You flip through the pages inside. They’re all empty except for the first two now, the second of which catching your eye. It’s in an odd shape, but simple enough. The crimson is surprisingly caked onto the surface, staining the page deeply. The circle itself, well, you’ve never seen the star at the center have so many points before. It must have done something, though.

Your head aches in your attempt to recall the bits of information you overheard at your time alongside some arcanists back at home. The “border”, as they called it, were supposed to serve two purposes: to identify the source of aether to draw from, and to specify what is to happen to the target of the spell. The “core” on the other hand was supposed to specify what was the target, like the subject of a sentence. That doesn’t do you any good, however, as you never bothered to learn anything more than what a firebomb looks like. The border is the same though, however.

You rub between your eyes as you try and pull out the pieces that are in front of you. The spell must have saved you somehow, and perhaps it even caused the gap in your memory. You from while you try to figure out what had happened in the time between you giving her the book and appearing back here again. Wishfully, you think that all of your problems are connected.

Sighing, you close the artifact. You glance again at where the owl should be, only to be startled when you find that it has disappeared. Your eyes narrow in suspicion when you notice it is nowhere to be found.

>Bring the lift down and search around the entrance.
>Search around the inside of the tree-home.
>Draw a spell circle. (What?)
>Bring the lift down and search around the entrance.
Writing a bit slower
You get on the platform, trying to not to get too close to Circe. Grabbing the wheel, you rotate it until the edges of one semicircle align with the rest of it. The lift jolts, and then starts descending. The roots underneath seem to be smaller than you last remembered.

Beside you, Circe beings floating. Her dress starts to defy gravity, ever so slowly, her hair following suite. It’s as if she’s falling in slow motion, unable to catch up with the platform. You pull out the controls instantly, stopping it and watching as the girl slowly hits the floor. Your eyes widen in confusion.

The rest of the trip down was alternating between the lift lowering itself and watching for Circe to catch up to it. It took a longer time than you’d want it to, but you eventually reach the ground floor, stopping it before it went even further to the underground room.

You walk out, bracing against the side of the gargantuan tree and its bark walls. You wonder if the source of the sluggishness coming from Circe herself, something on her, or even the very space around her. Perhaps you can grab something to move her physically if you can’t pull her away yourself. With the artifact under an arm, you make your way forwards.

You stop at an enormous recess into the side of the tree. A statue stands in the middle, one made out of stone and rock in equal parts, both elements intertwining and fusing into a human-like shape that wears no face. It is weathered, and much of the detail is visibly lost to time. For a reason you can’t pinpoint, the whole thing is unsettling.

You pull your eyes away from it, searching around for anything useful. A large branch lying on the ground catches your eye. You bend down and grab it, jumping up when something moves in the corner of vision. Turning around as fast as you can, you reach for a dagger on a belt that’s not there, find a familiar unnerving owl land a distance from you.

The two of you begin a stare-off.

After a short silence, you say, “What is it? Are you just going to keep watching me?”

It doesn’t budge, nor does it blink. Instead, it’s eyes stare down at you. You shake your head, choosing to ignore it. There’s a clinking sound, made by something falling onto the wooden floor. When you check back, the owl is gliding away.

Infinitely more frustrated than you were a moment ago, you make your way over to what made the sound. You almost tip over at one point, your sense of balance starting to fail you. Your hand swoops down and picks up whatever it had left, and you find a small glass bottle. Inside it, it’s filled with murky sap, the brown leaves inside barely visible as it floats around.

It’s given you this, but what are you supposed to do with it?

You make your way back to the platform just barely. Setting the artifact down, you opt to grab the branch with both of your hands and jut it at Circe. Carefully, you manage to hook onto her clothes, and then you start pulling her. Besides trying to move the weight of an entire body with a piece of wood with a lousy grip, it’s also like you’re trying to drag her out of a pool of molasses. You manage to move her just a tiny bit, but you realized that accomplished little.

You drop down, letting your back slide against the wall, ultimately ending with you sitting on the floor. You rub your petrified leg, tired.

The drowsiness is starting to overpower any discomfort.

>Draw a spell circle.
>Drag Circe off the platform.
>Drag Circe off the platform.
You should drag her off of the platform. Out of ideas now, it’s all you can do. You take the sturdy branch once more and try and move her out of the way. Your bones are aching, the strength in one of your arms is fading, and your footing is unstable. Yet, you try, and slowly but surely, you manage to get her from one end of the platform to the other and then out.

With your last effort, you double your grip on the branch, leveraging an awful position. It snaps on you, and you fall back, landing on your back. You lie there, chest heaving from your effort.

You lie there, staring at the canopy of the ridiculously large tree. The trunk rises into the sky, splitting countlessly until it disappears into the thick blanket of leaves. Only on the edge of it, you can start to see the stars slowly coming into view, Luna rising alongside the rest of night sky.

Rolling over to one side, you grab your upper arms with your hands, shivering.

There’s a distortion in space and time, as if someone hand grabbed the very fabric of the world and tugged at it until it tore. The aether drifts above, below, and all around it, stopping when it hits the wall. The ground shook as the eidola stare down, dismayed. Their hands displace the world as it swept down, trying to grab hold of the tear, but they found they couldn’t reach it. They were rejected, pushed back and away.

You are Circe.

Soft chirping awakes you, and before you open your eyes, you groan. You turn over and push your face against the cold, hard, wood floor. This isn’t nearly as soft as your bed. There’s a distinct, sharp pain in your arm, but you shake it off. You push yourself up onto your knees, having rather to sit on the floor instead of lying on it.

“Pyri, I had a terrible dream.” You pry open your eyes, and your mood sours when you see it. “Never mind.”

You stare at the body in front of you in surprise. You don’t move even after Pyri perches onto your shoulder. “It’s over now.”

The person in front of you doesn’t move, their name you’ve already forgotten. You stand up, patting the dust and dirt off yourself with a big sigh.

“It’s over!” you say, “I wonder if Bassy’s hungry... Oh, that’s right!” You left her down there back then. “She was hurt too...”

You start walking back over to the platform when Pyri stops you. “Circe, be mindful. You can feel it, can’t you?”

Your brows furrow as you concentrate for a moment. It’s as if there’s a tornado in front of you, pushing away the aether inside you the closer you approach it. Luckily, you can operate the controls just fine. Speaking of the controls...

“Where did the thingy go?” you ask.

Pyri blinks. They tilt their head, and then motions toward somewhere to your side. “Right there.”

You give them a thank you and go on to pick it up. Only when you reach out your hand that you remember that something went through it not long ago. You almost drop the wooden disc.

You sure have a lot of things to do this morning.

>Clean up. You can’t leave things just lying around here.
>Tend to Bassy. Is she still okay?
>Worry about yourself!
>Worry about yourself!
>Tend to Bassy. Is she still okay?
Rolled 2 (1d2)

“Where are you going?” Pyri asks.

“I’m going to help Bassy,” you say, “Why?”

“You shouldn’t go down there.”

“...Why? What’s wrong?”

“You drew the circle with your blood, and you used the aether in it to call Gaia,” they reply, “The circle and book not only drained you dry, but used your entire body as the location for the spell to take place, acting as an extension of circle.” You stare at your hand, the cut on it long since dried. “The spell continued wherever you had travelled, leaving behind a trail. You shouldn’t go down there. Remember time isn’t a tangible substance—it doesn’t fill back in like air with a vacuum.”

“So, you’re saying... I drained the entire room of its ‘time’?”

“Correct,” Pyri says, “If you were to go now...”

“Then there’ll be no telling what will happen to me,” you say. Well, that’s wrong. You’ll just simply be stuck there, forever. “That just means I have to fill it back up, right?”

Even though birds can’t smile, you could’ve sworn you seen Pyri giving you one anyways as they take off somewhere. You walk over and pick up the fallen artifact, dusting it as you open it back up. “Should I use the book?” you ask. You look at the circle drawn... last evening? It’s kind of gross. You almost want to rip the page out, but you settle for not soaking precious books with life juices instead.

“Use what you want.” Pyri’s voice grows louder as they come back. “Hold out your hand,” they say, giving you a small filled bottle. “Crushed vyeroot and sap, infused with some leaves.”

“...This looks really awful. I’m not drinking this.”

“It’s not for you to drink.”

You look at Pyri questioningly for a few moments before you realize what he intended and let out a sound of relief and realization. You pull the cork out, ready to stick a bloodied finger into it before stopping and switching hands instead. You really ought to be more hygienic.

You draw a circle into the book with the mixture, one with two triangles serving as the border and the same eight-pointed star in the center. With that, you hold out the book in one hand, and the book practically glows. You take a step forward and put in the platform controls, going back down once more.

Pyri says, “The Spell Diary pulls aether to make sure your spell is always fully completed. Normally, that shouldn’t have been a problem, but the one you drew was particularly a bad choice.”

“And you didn’t stop me?!” you say.

“It was going to work out one way or another,” they reply. You want to retort, to say that even if time didn’t pass and the two of you could wait a couple of eons, nothing would come of it in the end! All the books you would have missed, and you would’ve still been stuck down there! You wanted to say that, but—“I trust you.”

You sulk instead. That’s cheating of Pyri, but you’ll let it slide this time. Soon enough, the aether in Pyri’s magic mixture runs out just as you reach your destination. You feel like you stand in a single pocket of time, the world around you still as ever. Bassy is visibly mid-jump, lunging at a half-petrified statue of that other human from before. Her upper half is fully stone. You notice once again she’s missing an arm, and you wish that she was missing all of her other limbs too.

“Is Bassy okay?” you say. She’s covered in multiple cuts that went through that sturdy hide, and her eyes have red veins covering the yellow sclera. “She didn’t listen to me before, and she almost...”

“Have you thought about simply sedating her?”

How can you do that, exactly?

>...Freeze spell?
>Search your library for an answer.
>Search Dox.
Last update for the day
I'll probably just do this quest slow burn
>>Search your library for an answer.
>Search Dox.
We're here anyway.
>Search your library for an answer.
>Search your library for an answer.
Dox rather
“We can search... um...” you trail off, “her since we’re here already.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“It’s fine, she’s half petrified.” You touch your lips with the side of your index finger, as if telling yourself to be quiet. “...Right?”

Pyri tilts their head. “Don’t ask me.”

“Don’t scare me like that in the first place!” you say. You awkwardly set the Pyri’s mixture onto the ground so you can dip a finger back into it. You let the sap drip down back onto the circle, filling it with aether. It activates once more as you walk slowly toward the girl in a direction that’s directly opposite of Bassy, afraid that you might “unstick” her.

“Circe, I don’t think you realize this, but your judgement is sorely lacking sometimes.”

“How rude,” you say, “My judgement is perfectly fine.”

“Oh? Then what was the freeze spell back then? That worked splendidly, didn’t it?”

You ask, “Which one?”

Pyri replies, “There you go.”

You can only return with an exacerbated expression.

The body ever so slowly begins to fall down. It’s one of the strangest and most surreal sights you’ve ever seen. It hits the floor, and you close the Spell Diary. Even though her face is clearly a hundred-percent stone, the fake shadows that the hood seems to cast still lingers. It’s a little remniscient of void magic, only very localized and seemingly impractical. If light doesn’t reach your eyes, then how can you see anything? Or perhaps it works a different way. You shake your head, trying to get your mind back onto focus.

“This isn’t looting, is it?” you ask, as you begin to loot the body.


You hang your head down a little. “It’s okay, you don’t have to answer that.”

Searching through, you can only find some rations, two mysterious bottles, a handful of sharp, pointy weapons, and a compass. You rack your head when you don’t find a map on her. You have a rather large map of your own in your library, but why isn’t she carrying one? She sure must be confident of her memory. Then again, you’ve never needed a map or even left the forest for that matter, so what do you know?

You raise the two bottles into the air; they both can fit onto your palm at the same time. One of them is a light purple, and the other is clear and swirling.

“Pyri, what were the rules for testing poisons again?”

“You don’t.”

Pursing your lips, you say, “What? Then how can I fix Bassy?”

Pyri ruffles their feathers, seemingly baffled. “What in the heavens are you expecting? You’re going to drink it and magically spit out an antidote?”

“Well, if I know what it does, then I can reverse it, right?”

“Circe, please. You’re making a lot of dangerous assumptions.”

“I’m not assuming anything—I already know it! I’m confident,” you say.

“It’s nothing,” they say as you collect all of your new loot—you mean, newly acquired materials—and head over to the platform after wiping your sap colored finger on the girl’s outfit. She won’t mind... right? You take out the quill and ink and draw out another circle, this one to undo what the previous one did; you intend to enlarge the roots underneath the platform.

It takes you a moment, but you slide the control back onto place and start the platform again, planning on switching it back to the normal side when it’s back to normal.

Pyri shuffles on your shoulder and chirps. “I should go do my patrols.”

Your mouth opens a little, hesitant. “Wait.”

The owl stares at you. “What is it?”

“...Can you stay with me for a bit?”

“Of course,” Pyri replies without hesitation, gazing back forward at the forest.

You lightly smile, the canopy getting smaller and smaller as you rise into the sky. “Thank you.”

“It’s not something to thank me for.”

Yes, it is, you wanted to say, but you leave it at that.

The library is exactly as you left it, the scattered books and papers still there. The volume of Journals remains untouched and uncreased, just as how you like it. Describing your love for Ryletley’s work is difficult, but in a sense, it’s completely natural. Over the years, you’ve noticed that less and less people have continued handwriting their books. The first time you realized this was when you were cross-referencing two books because one seemed to contradict the other. It was then that you saw that the writing itself was not only completely identical, the authors were completely different! Upon this shocking discovery, you checked your entire library for this, finding that the more recent the additions to your collection were, the more likely duplicate typefaces showed up. Somewhere along the line, they must have automated the publication of books!

Although this was natural, a fact that you’ve come in terms with, you couldn’t help but believe that something was lost along the way. The works became less and less personal, as if you were no longer reading the secret, playful whispers of someone who wanted to share with you their world. Perhaps it was lonelier that way, but there was one last bastion of hope left for you—Ryletley! Oh how you’ve collected every single one of their works, just to see their strange little squiggles when they write their Q’s—


“I’m looking, I’m looking!” you say, snapping out of your stupor. You run your fingers along the spines of the books, your eyes following along until you stop at one. “There we go.” You pull it out, seeing the title of it in all of its splendid, fanciful glory. Maladies and Mixtures; An Encyclopedia of Peculiar Toxins.

Pyri peers over. “What makes you think it’s peculiar?”

“Bassy was acting peculiar, wasn’t she?”

“I have doubts that it’s literal.”

“I know, I just wanted to read it again,” you reply, grinning.

The owl sighs. “I’ll look for something myself, then.”

You acknowledge Pyri with a hum, and you crack open the book.

Oh, what strange things exist in the world! A curse that makes the body become gelatin? A critter whose quills cause your bodily fluids to boil? A mollusk that switches the reception of sound of your ears?! You’re filled with a childish wonder as you wish you could see some of them yourself while hoping to never get even in eyesight of some of the others. Although you were enjoying yourself more than anything, you were still looking for clues. The purple concoction, to you dismay, could be a great number of things. The swirling clear one, however, just makes you think it’s water infused with aether. You’re not sure why anyone would do such a thing, but you’re not exactly an expert on the weird little eccentricities of people.

However, that doesn’t stop you from trying your best. You pop open the cork of both of them and smell them a little, only wafting the air to be safe. The purple one smells like pepper, while the clear one is like... nothing.

While you have no leads on the latter, you have successfully narrowed down the former into three possibilities:

1. It sweetens any food you put it on while making it particularly spicy.
2. It causes your hair to fall out over the course of a day.
3. It melts the lining of your inner digestive organs.

You promptly cork both of them and set them far, far away. Surely, Ryletley may have not wrote about all of the potions of the world, but so far, you do not particularly want to touch any of them anymore.

Pyri, on the other hand, is currently building a sizable collection of books.

>Mix them together and see what happens.
>Pour some of them onto the ground.
>Put a drop of each onto your tongue.
>Consult Pyri.
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Pic related is circle from >>2045386

I think I like slow updates a lot more, since I don't feel as pressured. What do you guys think? Is it a pain in the behind?
>>Consult Pyri.
Fine with me, you usually run when I'm not here anyway
>Consult Pyri.

I'm so easily distracted by video games that it actually works to my advantage.
As someone with a very inconsistent schedule I'm fine.
Also consult with pyri
Wait, when has Dox been stoned?

>Consult Pyri.
Embrace the update block schedule.
You are completely out of clues—even though you never looked that hard—so the only thing left is to consult Pyri. Or you can experiment with the two liquids, but you decide against it. For some reason, you have a really bad feeling about it, and it’s not because you are at risk of going bald. The whisperweed in your bag that you took from the little patch of flowers has withered away completely, dry of aether. You never even got the chance to talk to it, but it has left a clear message for you: there’s going to be some bad luck today. Huh? Isn’t it actually talking about yesterday? It was the very definition of it!

You are getting very distracted. Promptly collecting yourself, you regain your focus and head to Pyri. The stacks of books they’ve collected aren’t too thick. The heavier ones that were picked were simply pulled slightly out of the shelf, hinting at its relevance. Picking up one from the table and reading the title, the contents of it are found to be disappointing. Pyri had actually collected everything ranging from the color purple to “things that move that normally shouldn’t move,” their search all-encompassing and ever-expanding.

“Am I going to have to go through all of this?” you say.

The owl replies, “You’re not in a hurry. You have all the time in the world, literally. Bassy’s not going anywhere.”

You purse your lips. Sure, you can, but that doesn’t mean you want to. “I’m thinking of just drinking both instead.”

Pyri wheezes, “I will lock you in your room if you do that.”

Isn’t that a little counter-productive? “I mean, what is this?” you say, picking up Imperial Purple: A Danger to the Environment. “What does this have to do with anything?”

“You never know. You could miss the most important detail if you always glance over the small things.”

“It’s talking about dye!” you say, “Come on, help me come up with a plan already.”

“I think you are quite aware of my plan, Circe.”

“I meant other plans.”

The owl, pausing momentarily, turns their head to face you. “At least read the ones that relate to toxins.”

You yield, but only for now!

Three books, all equally as thick as any encyclopedia worth its salt, await you, bringing forth a great dread. You like books about interesting and amusing stories or adventures, not dry text unloading information pages upon pages onto you. Most of the fact-heavy texts aren’t yours; they were left here, a gift from the woman that lived here before you. The library has certainly improved this past century, that’s for sure.
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A handful of hours pass before you close the cover of the last hardback, slumping down on your chair as you feel victory. Well, it’s not actually a victory at all; you have managed to go through everything without finding a single hint to what either of the mixtures are. As it turns out, no one will drink a poison that’s suspiciously purple or even moving. Such strange, vivid properties would be proof of a greater external force. Worse yet, you aren’t even fully sure if either one of these caused Bassy’s loss of self-control.

You blankly stare at the text, feeling the protected pages. Some of the books in your library have every single page completely coated with an impossibly thin layer of resin for some reason. It’s a bit mind boggling, as the sheer amount of effort required would’ve been ridiculous. You feel a brush of wind, one that came from behind you where the entrance was, and instantly know who it is.

“Pyri, I’m done,” you say, “And I found nothing.”

“Have you?” They say, coming back from their patrol. “Ah... That’s surprising. Are you sure?”

“A hundred percent sure.” You push your seat back, swinging out your legs to one side. You rest your chin on the back of the chair on top of your arms. “I didn’t learn anything; I should’ve just drank them.”

“That’s not true,” Pyri says. ”We learned something quite interesting.” They fly over to one of the bookshelves, perching atop it.

“Don’t leave it at that—continue!”

“Look at the map,” they say, staring at the one that’s hung on the wall above the entrance to one of the studies. It’s evidently aged, but still clear enough to make out the details on the painted canvas. “All of the books that arrives at the post come from Ristella or Aldrose. A little from Pryport, but that’s nothing.” The large body of the continent consists of one huge island and a handful of smaller ones. The large island is the one you are on, and you are right there in the center of it, impervious to the petty squabbles of the three major nations trying to carve out their own land: Ristella, Aldrose, and Elphrath.

“...Okay,” you mutter.

Pyri continues, “If the potions are to believe to be natural,” which you do, since any alchemical substance can only come from nature, “Then they must have come from Elphrath. From what I know, they’ve quite insular.”

“What does this mean?’

“...I’m still thinking.”

You head falls on your arm as you collapse onto the desk. You are done. Very done.
Pyri chirps, “Actually, Elphrath is a nation whose spell circles mostly are favored when it comes to the void. Perhaps it wasn’t a potion in the first place?”

“If it’s not an alchemical mixture but a spell circle,” you say, “Then it means it could be still active and remain that way until there’s no aether left to use.” Potions are one-time tricks; different parts of flora and fauna that are blessed by the eidola may have inherent properties that cause different afflictions or phenomena, but only momentarily. Prolonged actions are impossible to create with it. If it’s a spell that’s driving Bassy mad, then you can simply target that and be done. If it was a potion, then whatever done to Bassy must have damaged her physically. “This still doesn’t tell us anything! I’m going to drink the potions.”

“Hold on!” Pyri says, “We have more options now. Reconsider them, will you? In any case, I believe we can safely assume whatever’s wrong with your basilisk friend is caused by the void.”

>Drink the potions.
>Test them using nearby plantlife.
>Go back down in search of a spell circle.
>Un-stop Bassy and cast Restore on her.
File: sad Remi.png (85 KB, 246x246)
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>I forgot my trip

>You drag her through the air, like pulling along a heavy kite along the wind. You push her in front of the wave of petrification, and parts of her become stone as she settles into stillness.
From the last post of the previous thread

Hurray for /qst/!
I was going to update once in the morning, but I woke up very depressed and completely distraught, and I found myself unable to write.
You are the very embodiment of moe!
>Test them using nearby plantlife.
>>Test them using nearby plantlife.
>Test them using nearby plantlife.
“We still have to know what they do, right?” you say.

“Circe, you’re not drinking them.”

“What about something else?” you offer, “Like a plant?” You grab your satchel and put it on.

Pyri sighs. “That’s a terrible idea in almost equal proportions.”

“I’ll be careful not to test it on any eidola-borne things.” Because if you were to do so, that would be the equivalent of using the plot of land as an alchemy testing ground. If you test it on something inert, then surely the effects would be clean and visible... unless something other than the aether is responsible, in which case everything goes out the window.

“Did you forget where we are?”

You stop. You glance toward the doorway out and back to Pyri. “I-I’m sure there’s something out there, right?”

The owl shakes their head, leaping off and gliding onto your shoulder once more. “We should start early, before the sun sets.” It’s not even midday yet. You’re not sure if Pyri’s being optimistic or not.

Down the platform the two of you go. When you reach the ground floor, you notice that something is missing, a certain someone. Although, the mess you and he made are still very much on the floor, uncleaned.

“Where did he go?”

“Your welcome,” Pyri answers.


Leaving that matter for another day, you walk away, taking notice of your hand and arm, and think to really get the kitchen faucet spell circle working again. The wounds have long closed, the dried blood and small scars still there, acting as the proof of yesterday. Your clothes are also ruined. You’ll have to fix all of this later, but first—you have to help Bassy! You step onward, burning with determination to find a suitable plant.
Your determination is gone. It only left behind a pitiful, tickling flame. The forest you live in has changed often over the course of your stay, or rather existence, but you’ve always bothered to remember it because quite frankly, there’s nothing else in here. The types of plants never change; each latching vine is same as the next, and each man-eating plant is also as equally carnivorous as the next. Sometimes you see them develop a new acid or even grow teeth, but it’s all the same thing. Even the grass that coats the floor is blessed. How else can something live while being starved of Solaria’s light when most of the time it strains to get past the canopy? It draws from the aether in the ground, of course. The shrubs that normally fair better is no different, although they sometimes allocate more of their efforts at excreting neurotoxins at the tips of their sharp leaves. Extra nutrients in the soil is always good!

That being said, there is actually very, very little to work with. That is why you and Pyri have approached the Eastern Edge of the forest, a point in which the mountains fall back into the earth and give way to a treacherous pass. The ground is jutting and the slopes are occasionally steep, but the trees have subsided and the sky is clear. Breathing here is a little rough, but you’ll manage.

“What are we looking for again?” you ask.

Pyri answers, “Anything that’s not the grass, I suppose.” You stare outward, into the long stretch of the twisting path. There is nothing but the grass. “Should I go look for something myself?”

“I can keep going,” you say. Beyond here are the supposed giant, mythical snakes you’ve read about. Well, you’re not sure if there’s snakes here, maybe something equally dangerous. Guardians, Ryletley called them. A little strange, since you’ve never seen them, but it would make sense that they’d spent their time fully committed to keeping things outside. They’ve also been doing a poor job recently, so you’d like to scold them a little. Just a little.

Pyri chirps, “There are no giant snakes here, Circe.”

“How did you—?! Oh, never mind.”

Pyri says, “I’ll be right back. I’ll check what’s up ahead.”

Hesitantly, you nod. There might be people again; it wouldn’t be surprising, since it is rather safe here. A few more minutes pass before your quiet stroll comes to an abrupt halt. A handful of flowers catch your eye, hiding besides a teeny, tiny rockface while rising above the grass. You quickly rush over to it, crouching down to see it. Five beautiful petals of white surround a mud-brown center. It has a soft scent, one that brightens and clears the very air around it. You’ve never seen it before; it must be native to the outside. Lowering a hand but careful not to touch, it you feel for any aether inside. Empty.

How did Pyri miss this?

>Try the purple potion.
>Try the clear potion.
>Pull it out and take it with you.
>Continue and find something else.
>>Pull it out and take it with you.
>Pull it out and take it with you.
If you take it with you, it should be fine, right? As long as it’s living or used to be...

You carefully reach outward, toward a single flower that’s separated from the others. With a solid grip, you grasp it and pull—only to be met with great resistance. Surprised, you lean forward to try again, but your footing is shaken.

Past the rockface, the ground before you rises into the air, a concave slab of earth covered in grass that swivels at the point in the ground that’s directly beneath the patch of flowers. At the very end of it are a row of differently sized rocks, solid as if attached to it. Dirt falls, and your eyes widen. You pull away, scrambling backwards, and it falls. It crashes down with enough power to sever you right in half with sheer blunt force. The earth shudders with the immense weight, the line of jagged stones catching your dress. Yelping, you kick away from it, tearing free. As you stand back up, you tightly grab the strap of your satchel while standing still. It’s equal parts fear and curiosity that holds you, and calling what happens next rewarding is questionable.

The plains split at an edge that was never visible before. The uneven surfaces rise simultaneously, all the grass, dirt, and loose rock that lay on top falling down where gravity was able to take hold. It casts an incredible shadow as the creature stands and straightens itself—four pillars are erected, bending at points so it looks like a rather large canine. Underneath, brown, muddy flesh can almost be made out. Its head, you recognize, was what you were standing on before, or rather its mouth just as it slammed its jaw shut. The thing is two and a half times your height, and it is moving.

A beast of earth stares at you without eyes. It is no fae.

The next moment in time is perfectly still. Two figures in the mountain pass, both waiting for the other. You foolishly failed to pack any perpetrated circles, completely forgotten the fact that you had spent the only previous one yesterday. What can you use? Could a firebomb even damage it? You have two spell sheets with you. The Spell Diary is also in your satchel, but you are wary of it. Its power is extensive but wild, and with the wrong spell, writing in it with your blood could be punishable by complete annihilation of both you and your target.

There is a hideous, bestial groan that is more guttural than anything, almost hidden by the sound of stone grinding upon stone. It’s “head” rotates just a little. You lose your nerve.

You pivot on your foot and take off, reaching inside your bag.

Roll 1d10.
>Toss the potions at it.
>Draw on a spell sheet.
>Draw in your Spell Diary.
>Run in the direction where Pyri left.

You can specify the intent of the spell that is drawn. If there’s none, then it will be left up to Circe’s imagination to decide.
>Draw on a spell sheet.
Freeze it then run away
>>Draw in your Spell Diary.
Rolled 3 (1d10)

Slow it down and run away
Rolled 2 (1d10)


Here’s another roll in case we need more
Rolled 9 (1d10)

Thank you for saving us from our incredibly bad luck
File: rng.png (422 KB, 599x600)
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422 KB PNG
Okay, dice rolls don't work with slow updates, to no one's surprise. Going to streamline some stuff so it doesn't end up like pic related.

Oh, forgot to say
14+2 = Success

You reach for the spell sheet, pulling it out and shoving it into your other hand. Your speed doesn’t break as you make your way downwards, each trip and stumble over uncomfortable footing saved by the next few steps. Your fingers feel for the fleam and snap down at the center of a finger as fast as you can.

Lines and curves arc across the paper, trails of blood laying down the borders, each jagged triangle leading to the next. Four glyphs make for the center. You squeeze as much as you can into the paper, practically feeling your pursuer breathing down your neck. The quakes grow louder and stronger, and when the distance is too much for you to handle, grab the sheet and throw it.

Not at the creature, but at the ground underneath. If it could lift thick chunks of earth and stone alike, then there’s no way your kind of ice can hold its legs in place. The weight and muscle behind every lumbering step is impossible to stop. Instead, there’s a better option. The single moment the sheet falls onto the grass, the very air behind you chills. The cold tries to seize you, failing as you’ve already left it behind.

The ice loudly crumbles and shatters while the wind whistles. There is an enormous crash behind you that can be felt through your feet. When you peek behind, you find that the circle had worked the way you intended; the ice had grown and grabbed onto its leg mid-gait, causing it to tumble forward. Before it can pick itself up, it was already almost entirely frozen, haven fallen directly onto the sheet. You would stop, but the noise of it breaking through warns you otherwise.

Despite the extra distance you’ve made, you realize that the way to the forest itself is far too long. You don’t even have a guarantee that it will stop even if you make it to the tree line. The thing could very much outrun you, and its doing exactly that. It strides over long distances with large leaps, its sprawling legs and low, shifting head keeping balance the entire time. It gets under your skin how fluid it runs.

At this rate, it’ll reach you just as you make it to the trees. You have to take action. With your clean hand, you grab your Spell Diary and take it out.
Your grip tightens on the spine. As if reading your very intention, each glyph embedded glows one at a time, trailing downwards before fading away right after. On its own, the book flies open, flipping to a clean page. Then, you slam down onto the ground, pivoting around to face your enemy. With a cut finger in the air, you push down, smearing down as draw another freeze circle.

One that points to your target, be strong enough to hold still even a crumbling mountain, and can stop when you desecrate the page yourself. Your fingers move faster than you expected. Two circles in the center, surrounded by two larger circles and three interlocking triangles. A single vertical line at zero degrees to mark orientation. The last line comes down just as the faceless beast jumps into the air. The wind blows against you from the sudden difference in air pressure. A chilled gale, one that pales in comparison to the blizzard is launched from the Diary: a storm that begins to physically still the falling boulder.

A silhouette behind it; two wings and a pointed crest—Pyri.

You hand runs down the page, ruining the circle. You are afraid for a moment for what you might have done.

Those fears, just like the creature, split in an instant. Bisected cleanly with a single stroke, the block of ice and rock becomes two, both sliding on each other before collapsing onto the ground and separating. A figure stands behind it, swinging a sword to clean it of fluids. The blade is paper-thin and the crossguard is a detailed circle. Where the two meet are glyphs engraved onto it, drawing from a blue gemstone that’s inside the pommel. And just like that, the sword is sheathed.

A girl in strange, flowing clothing stands before you, a small smile on her face. “Ah, I was too late. You already had it handled, didn’t you?” Her voice is soft yet tinged with an unwavering confidence. “Oh—you’re bleeding! Are you okay?”

It’s a h-human...! You’re not ready for this. This is overwhelming. Yesterday was overwhelming too, but this is far too much. You were almost eaten by some rock monster, and then now you’re just going to become dinner for someone else. You reach for another page in your spell diary, but a sudden strange sight stops you.

Pyri visibly lands on the girl’s shoulder. The owl doesn’t say a word.

The girl hurries up to you, slowing down once she comes near. “You were bleeding. What happened...?” She almost recoils from the messy sight, but she sighs instead. “I thought you needed help, but it seems like you can take care of yourself fine.”

“...Ah—“ Your mouth makes some strange sound as you try to figure out something to say. You want to talk to Pyri too, but instead, your mind settles for being utterly confused. What you do manage to accomplish is shoving the Diary back into your satchel.
“Funny, I didn’t see you coming through here. I must’ve fell asleep, haha...” She gives you an embarrassed smile. “Hi, I’m Lind.”

“C...Circe,” you say. Pyri... Pyri has had to know some humans, right? How else could he have gotten things delivered to the post?! It was a truth that only finally sunken in, something that you didn’t want to believe until you saw it for yourself. There’s a stabbing feeling in your chest, as if you’ve been brutally betrayed. It makes sense, but still!

Sensing your discomfort, the owl in question flies over to your side. They settle onto your shoulder again, but this time you almost flinch.

“...You two know each other?” Lind remarks, “Wow, Snow sure gets around, huh?’

“Snow?” you say.

“Aha, that’s what I called him since I didn’t know his name. I’m not good at this kind of stuff,” she replies. “I’m guessing you know him something else?”

Him... She keeps calling Pyri a “him”! You’re not sure why, but it bothers you. It bothers you a lot. Pyri doesn’t have a gender! You silently take a deep breath and calm yourself over this pointless frustration.

You reply, “Pyri. Their name is Pyri. Isn’t that right?” You smooth out the owl’s crest with a finger and are reciprocated with a chirp.

Lind mumbles to herself, “Pyri...? I see.” After a second, she faces you again and offers a small smile. “Circe, right? Why don’t we get you cleaned up?”

You take a look at yourself. One hand is a bit dirtied from sap, and the other is in the air, a thin trail of blood running from a finger, down to the palm, and trickling past your wrist to your arm. The sleeve is also torn and stained crimson, and there are multiple splatters on your chest. You look like someone half-murdered you. “I, uh... I-I’m fine, I can—”

“Come on, there’s a stream up ahead; it’s better than cleaning up in the forest,” she says, grabbing your good hand. She gives you a light tug, pulling you along. “I won’t take no for an answer!”

“It’s a bit too far—” you cut yourself off, surprised at how easily you almost let something slip.

“It’s fine, it’s fine. It’s really close, trust me.”

You walk along, past the perfectly split boulder-beast, pulled toward certain doom. She seems to be a different though, for some reason. Maybe it’s one of those mythological vegetarians you’ve heard about. Even so, you don’t want to place too much hope on that.

>”How did you do that?”
>”What was that back there?”
>”Why did you help me?”
>”You shouldn’t be around here. It’s dangerous.”
>”...Why ‘Snow’?”
>”...Pyri’s mine.”
>Stay silent.
>”...Why ‘Snow’?”
>”...Pyri’s mine.”
>>”What was that back there?”
>”...Why ‘Snow’?”
The slowly distance between you to naturally separates the two of you; she lets go of your hand, and your arm falls back down to your side.

“Pyri’s mine,” you say, triumphantly claiming your ownership over all that dwells here. Except not really, not at all. “He—they’ve been my side since I can remember.”

“Wow,” Lind mumbles with equal parts apprehension and amusement. “I can see it.” She faces away from you, hiding an almost sad expression. “That was actually the first time he got close enough to touch me. I guess if you cut things in half all the time, people don’t get too comfortable around you.”

You felt like you’ve made a mistake. A part of you wants to smile at this imaginary victory, but the other part of you, for some reason, just for today—

”...Why ‘Snow’?” You swing the conversation away.

“Because. The first time I saw him, I almost couldn’t tell him apart from the snow. That was sure a long time ago.”

That’s unsettling.

You ask another question, this time louder. “Where did you meet Pyri?”

Lind thoughtfully squints at the sky. “Somewhere a little past here? You know, the little road from Greenvale.”

“That’s strange, I’ve never seen snow around here,” you say. That might be overstatement, considering you’ve rarely been here.

“Wait, I know this; I read about it in a book, I think,” she says. You can see her thinking really hard about it, way harder than she really has to. “Something about clouds not getting past the mountains. Rain... shadow? It might be snow shadow in this case, if that’s a thing.” Her brow furrows as something clicks inside of her head. “No wait, that doesn’t have to do with anything.” She shakes her head. Her thoughts start wandering, and you realize that you should do something.

“Why were you around here anyways?” you say.

“Isn’t that my question?” she laughs. “I make sure no one comes through here by accident. I mean, nobody comes in here willingly. Except you, apparently.”

You reply, “I was trying to find something...” It wasn’t exactly a lie. “And I went looking here until I found that thing. I almost thought I was done for.”

“Gnolls are something else, aren’t they? I thought you were done for too when I saw that you had prodded one.” The two of you pass the spot where you found the flowers. Behind is large spot of crushed grass and dirt, an indication of where the creature had laid down before. Without even trying, you can easily make out the indentation of its body. It’s almost disturbing. “You pulled a plant or something, didn’t you? If you needed alchemy materials, you should’ve just bought some. The Silva Forest isn’t something you can mess around with. Wait, is that how you got that nasty injury?” Lind points at the bloodied sleeve.

Blankly, you look at it. “Oh, this? Someone stabbed me.”
“What the—” she says, “When was this? I haven’t seen anyone come through here in a week. I can’t believe I let this happen.”

“No, it’s really not a big deal. I don’t think they came here, anyways.” The trail you were following back then, that blond’s trail, led to the southeast, which was where you met Dox. It’s also quite a distance away from here. You doubt either of them would walk around the circumference of the forest like that.

Lind uneasily says, “If that’s what you say. Anyways, we’re here.”

Before you knew it, you had ended up in a place that’s completely different than anywhere you’ve ever been. It’s wide and spacious, the earth is uneven, and the trees are distant. It’s a wide valley, and on one side you can see a log cabin stand on multiple legs that hold it horizontal. It’s not big, but it’s not tiny either. Water runs down the cliffside, trailing, twisting, and turning until it passes the humble house, where it then splits into multiple directions widely. Eventually it all gathers back again, slowly down into a calm, flowing river that runs down the mountain pass.

You tightly grab your satchel and breathe in.

You didn’t notice it, but something is different. The air is thin and each lungful is straining, but the world shifts, and the river turns. Each second is easier withstand than the previous one, a slow, subtle change that you’ve noticed only now. For the first time in your life, the wind blows your way.

“Earth to Circe. Hello? Is anyone in there?” Lind waves her hands in front of your face.

You blink, snapping out of it. “Sorry, what did you say?”

“if you need a change of clothes, I think I have some inside.”

“No, it’s fine. I can fix these up.”

Lind purses her lips. “But you need to wash those, don’t you?”

“I can run it under some water—”

She now has a pained expression on her face. “Sorry, I didn’t want to say anything rude, but—it’s like you’ve been in the woods for a month.” Lind shuts her eyes and tenses up, as if you were going to hit her or something. When you don’t say anything, she opens an eye. “You... you understand what I meant, right?”
A long second passes, and then another. Your head slowly moves to the side, like an ungreased wheel turning, and you lift a sleeve. It smells like... it’s like the forest! Leaves, pollen, Bassy, iron, wood, dirt, and sap! What’s wrong with it?! Woodland fragrance is perfectly fine, wonderful even. Frustrated momentarily, you start to grumble before a realization hits you. The two humans you met yesterday didn’t have a scent that’s like anything like this, nor does Lind. The former two didn’t smell like anything at all, maybe except fear, which may or may not be a fragrance in the first place. Lind is... devoid of anything. This discovery is completely world-rending. Is it good? Is it bad? You can’t tell anything about her from it, but that also means people can tell everything about you.

Therefore, for this moment, you need to erase that part of you. That’s the only thing that matters, lest she finds out you live in a tree. You remember that stupid expression that blond had. Oh, that surprise! The sheer ignorance and rudeness was simply aggravating; you will be indignified no longer!

“Sorry—I’ll take you up on that offer.”

You sit on the streamside, feeling the cool river flow around you as you sit down on the riverbed. You rubbed clean your arms, the dark red carried away by the water and revealing the pale skin underneath. The scars are there, but it’s smaller than the last time you saw them. Your fingers run down it, feeling the small bumps. You feel so fragile, as if you could break any moment. You’re thin, not a single muscle on you. The water could wash you away any moment, like a piece of paper.


You sit there wistfully. This is different. This isn’t too bad.

Though you will never admit it, you always wanted to see the world that Ryletley loves so much. You lived in one that they couldn’t explore, and they lived in one you couldn’t. It’s so dangerous out there, you tell yourself, but isn’t that why it’s fun? Is the grass simply greener on the other side?

The other side that has people like Aledt, like Dox, like Lind—

“Circe!” a voice calls. “You’ve been there for a while. Is everything alright?”

“Y-yes!” you shout back. You hurriedly get out of the river, drying yourself with a cloth and wearing the clothes that she gave you. They’re loose and flowing, like hers, except without the blue coat. Your neck feels bare without your cloak, but your long hair will have to do. Your hat, however, makes you feel naked. What a great vulnerability from feeling the wind on your head!

Everything you were wearing before—save for the ribbons on your hair—are drying on a clothesline beside the cabin.

Lind steps out, Pyri flying out behind her. “I’m going to get us dinner. Do you want to come?”

“...Dinner?” You almost start to run, but then you noticed she said “us”.

“Going hunting!” she says, “You’re free to stay if you want. Buuut, having an arcanist to help out is handy.” She adds that last part playfully, as if she wasn’t directing it to you.

>Stay. You should fix your clothes.
>Tell her you’ll catch up. You want to talk with Pyri alone.
>Go with her.
>Go with her and tell her about the potions.
>>Tell her you’ll catch up. You want to talk with Pyri alone.
>Tell her you’ll catch up. You want to talk with Pyri alone.
>Tell her you’ll catch up. You want to talk with Pyri alone.
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Finally drew the directional target freeze spell for >>2058236

“I need a minute. Can you go on ahead?”

“Um.” Lind awkwardly shifts the weight from one leg to another. She begins to say something and stops herself. After a short reconsideration, she replies, “...Sure. Of course, you’d know your way around, right? Since Snow—I mean, Pyri’s always nearby. I’m sure he can find me if it comes to it. I’ll be in the forest then, only a bit in.”

“You’re hunting in there?” you say, almost surprised.

“Just for today.” She smiles before she strolls away.

A second elapses before you shout to stop her. “W-wait, can we really just leave my clothes there?”

Lind shouts back, “No one comes by here. It’s fine!”

You stare at her back for a minute hesitantly, and then you resign to that kind of fate. Instead, you turn your attention to the owl that’s waiting for you, perched atop one of the wooden poles that make up the clothesline.

You coax, “Pyri.” As if by your command, they take off and glide over, landing on shoulder again. Pyri shuffles around, moving to face the same way you’re facing. You begin a very slow walk up to the cabin. “When were you planning on telling me?

“Telling... what...?” Their voice is lost in a howling wind; words are blown away, never to reach your ears.

You raise an eyebrow. “What did you say? I didn’t make that out.”

“...you about what exactly?” They reply, even louder than before.

“About her,” you mumble, “How many... people do you know exactly?”

Pyri tilts their head. “I’ve never bothered to count.”

“...” You have no reply for that.

“It’s for your sake, Circe. Hasn’t it been pleasantly quiet? And back then, I only went ahead to check up on her for a moment,” they reply. “Still, you surprised me, Circe.”

“How are you faring?”

“I’m fine. What’s this about?”

The owl turns their head backwards, prompting you to turn around too. Pyri answers, “How far do you think you can walk?”

You stare down the pass. “Oh—” Your body is light, your senses are crisp, and most of all, your mind is clear. “...What happened?”

“I have a handful of ideas,” they say, “But nothing concrete.”

“Pyri, that doesn’t tell me anything.”

They don’t say anything either. Instead, you are left to the sound of your own breathing.
Is this jealousy you feel? Or loneliness? No, abandonment. By Pyri. You don’t want to feel this way. The weight is unbearable, and you’re too weak to carry it. If you lose this, then you have—

“Circe. I choose to keep certain things from you to protect you. Every night could have been like last night. Was that an enjoyable experience for you?” A warbled hoot reaches you loud and clear. They weren’t wrong. You would rather have a thousand boring days than another one like yesterday. “Do you not trust me anymore, Circe? Have you forgotten our special connection?”

“Special... connection?” The sound of those very words is embarrassing. You feel as if Pyri’s cheating. Do they mean... this? Is this special? Even if it’s not special to them, it is to you. And if that’s acknowledgement, then you are fine with it. Even if they are silent. Even if those may be sweet, sugar-coated words. “Come on, Pyri, let’s catch up.”

For now.

Your walking back to the woods resumes. You mutter “Lind’s... actually pretty nice.”

For some reason, you felt as if Pyri was extremely disappointed by that sentiment. Not at you, but at who your compliment was directed at. They ruffle their feathers and choose to say nothing.

Nothing, except, “Sorry.”

You almost stop walking in surprise. “For what?”

“The gnoll. Normally, they’d use something like trinkets or coin. Flowers were the last thing to expect, and I missed it,” they reply. Then, much quieter, as if embarrassed, “I wouldn’t know what to do if something happened to you and it was my fault.”

>Forgive Pyri.
>Don’t forgive Pyri for secret-keeping.

>”So, how did /you/ meet Lind?”
>”Is there anyone else I should know?”
>”I bet she’s a lot more interesting to be around than I am.”
>”As punishment, I’m leaving potion-testing-plant duty to you.”
>”It’s nice out here; I like it.”
>Ask them a question. (What?)
>Forgive Pyri.
>”So, how did /you/ meet Lind?”
>Forgive Pyri.
>”As punishment, I’m leaving potion-testing-plant duty to you.”
>”Is there anyone else I should know?”
>”It’s nice out here; I like it.”
>>Don’t forgive Pyri for secret-keeping.
>”As punishment, I’m leaving potion-testing-plant duty to you.”
File: 1470244107309.jpg (65 KB, 411x412)
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>completely mangled the first sentence of one update and deleted an entire line of dialogue from another
>didn't even notice even after proofreading
You forgive Pyri.

If that is what they tell you, then you choose to place your trust into them.

“Then,” You say, “As punishment, I’m leaving potion-testing-plant duty to you.”

“Fair enough,” The owl sighs. “That’s likely for the better.”

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?

You stop and change directions, heading to the side of the cabin; you should probably organize yourself further before anything else. On the clothesline is also your satchel, the weight of it almost pulling everything else down too. It’s wet, but clean now. Your clothes are also torn, and you realized that you should have used a restore circle on it before washing them. A bit of a wasted effort.

On a small, square table besides a chair are your items; a Spell Diary, a rather lumpy ball made from a spell sheet, a quill, and a bottle of ink. The last two are incredibly impractical to use when you need it, so you opt for the Diary. You already know how to abruptly shut down a circle, so you should be fine. Inside the strange spell sheet ball is the fleam and the two potions. You take them both out and set them on the table.

“Don’t let Lind see them, okay?” you say.

“Why not?”

You readily answer, “Because she might drink it.”

“...Your fears are unfounded, but I’ll do as you say,” they reply. “Before that, let me guide you to her.”

Nodding, you put the bloodletting blade between pages of the Diary, which is rather conspicuous since it’s not exactly tiny. But then, you don’t have any other options. The clothes that Lind gave you are completely void of pockets. You can only wonder why people design things to be so utterly useless and lacking in utility.

As you continue on your path again, you ask Pyri, “So, how did you meet Lind?”

The owl pauses before answering, seemingly thinking heavily about it. “She peeked into the forest one day, and that was it. It was like a child looking into a forbidden garden. And the little story she told you—she only saw me because I let her see me.” They nudge you on your shoulder, and you turn directions by their signal.

You poke Pyri to clarify. “What do you mean?”

“She was lost, and I felt pity for her.”


“In a different sense of that word.” Pyri explains, “You don’t need to worry about her: her sword is not made to rend flesh. The runes on it only split the earth, and only that.”

“But she cut the gnoll thing in half, just like that,” you retort, “If she wanted to, she can hack me up to pieces.” That’s a bit grim when you say it out loud.

“That’s a big if.”

That’s not wrong. You let the thought pass as easily as it came.
You consider how she was going hunting, and that the only weapon she had brought along was that sword. There’s a bit of unease, but you choose to ignore it, hoping it would simply go away. Hunting... inside your home. So many mixed feelings, but, you choose to leave it at that. You trust Pyri and their judgement along with all of its implications. If they would guide you into danger after all this time, then what would you have left? The answer to that question is a thought you wouldn’t dare to entertain.

Eventually you past the threshold of the treeline, feeling as if you’ve returned home. The towering, expanding leaves of the branches start to blot out the light, which in combination with the lowering sun, makes it begin to grow rather dark. You walk for a bit more before Pyri flies off, letting you know Lind’s only a little ahead.

You make your way farther in, wary of any movement. Shrub, grass, bark, and vines pass as you walk deeper in. You start to wonder where she had gone.

“Circe?” a whisper calls your name from the side. You recoil and jump back to face the voice. There, Lind is waiting for you. Her sword is drawn and pointed to the ground. She only has one hand on the grip, and her index finger is visibly not touching it. “Where’s Pyri?”

“They went to do something,” you reply. “...What are we hunting again?”

“Pitcher plants.”

“...What?” She’s hunting plants? There’s great relief as the vegetarian theory beings to take root. The two of you are quite shallow into the forest, meaning barely anything would be scuttering around. In the eastern side, there’s a significant lack of animals, replaced by flora instead. So, her answer makes perfect sense.

“I’m not brave enough to try for anything else,” she says, offering a weak laugh. “Oh, with you here, I think we can try and go for those giant spiders.”

No. Absolutely not.” You were wrong. There was so much wrong with what she had just said.

“I-it’s not that gross,” Lind tries to explain herself, “They kind of taste like fowl.” The theory is now laying on the ground, shattered into a thousand pieces.

You grimace. “If it’s foul then why would you eat it?!”

“No, wrong fowl!” she says, ”Okay forget it. Let’s just find some plants.”

“That we’re hunting?” you emphasis.

“Hey, they might as well be breathing,” she retorts. She carefully maneuvers her way around, hacking away shrubs. “You don’t need me to tell you to not touch anything, right?”

You instantly pull your hand away from the latching vine on the tree you were moving past. “R-right, I know.”

You notice how Lind’s leaving a rather wide berth for her and you to pass through. “You’re cutting up the forest a lot; we’re leaving behind a big trail.”

She dismisses that thought. “It’ll grow back in a day. Rather be safe than sorry, you know?”

The plants that she steps on, the one she brushes off, are all silently hissing underneath her feet. They’re venomous and spiteful, but you ignore it, continuing.
After some brief period of time, Lind eventually comes to a stop. She points forward, and you see what she was after.

A fat, bulbous sack that hangs off of a rather large tree. The bulging mass of its body is spotty yellow with green veins running through it. It’s stretched out with liquid, and the atmosphere around it is sickeningly sweet. It rises until it ends at a purple rim, wide leaves spreading outside it. Vines and roots drape over the side of it like a hideous, incongruent curtain.

It’s a Nepenthes, commonly found on the northern part of the forest. It looks like it had begun spreading to the eastern side too.

Never before, not even once, in your entire life had the thought of eating that crossed to you.

“That doesn’t look too tasty,” you mumble.

Lind replies, “It’s... It’s kinda good if you cook it and salt it.”

You raise an eyebrow. “’Kinda’?”

>Leave it all to Lind.
>Firebomb it.
>Opt for hunting arachne instead.
>Look for literally anything else that’s not spider or pitcher plant.
>Leave it all to Lind.
oh lord
>Leave it all to Lind
Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised. But probably not.
>>Look for literally anything else that’s not spider or pitcher plant.
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You say, “I don’t know about this.” You take a further step back, unwanting to deal with what was supposedly “dinner”. What comes to mind is not the question of whether or not it is edible, but if it should be eaten at all. In fact, you are about to go look for literally anything else. But if Lind is so willing to cook and serve it, then you can only believe in her. It could even be surprisingly pleasant!

The plant bubbles inside and makes a kind of sound that resembles someone choking and vomiting in their own mouth, only to swallow it back down. At first you thought it was just you. When you realized it wasn’t, you frowned deeply. What little remains of your appetite has now fled far, far away. It is gone forever. Goodbye.

“Don’t make that kind of face!” Lind whispers to you. “It’s not all digestive juices, you know.”

Your frown recedes only very slightly. “Yes, there’s the bait.” The nepenthes aerosolizes it and sprays it into the air, attracting unwitting prey. Of course, usually nothing is dumb enough to walk into it, but that’s a different matter.

“It’s sweet, like honey. All we have to do is be careful when separating it from its roots.”

You see an opening, and you take it! “I’ll leave it to you, then. I’m not good with precise work and have no experience, so I’ll would mess it up.” That wasn’t exactly a lie, but—

“Should an arcanist really be saying that...?” Lind looks at you questioningly. “So, what you mean to say is to never stand near you when you use your spells. Got it.”

“Lind...” You open your mouth to retort, but stop. “Oh, whatever.”

She peeks up at the sky. “It’s getting dark, so let’s hurry. You’re helping me carry it, okay?” Without hearing your reply, she draws her sword. You catch a glimpse of the glyphs on it, searing it into your mind.

“LOAM” is engraved on one side, the name of an eidolon, while “SPLIT” is on the other. She places on hand on the pommel, and her index finger rests back on the grip as she steps forward. As if a circle was completed, the glyphs glow briefly. The girl dashes forward, already swinging her sword.
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The nigh-invisible spell circles engraved on every spot on its skin activate, feeding information and reacting, like a brain. The roots and vines erupt from the side of the plant. One swing of her sword, and they are shredded. Its main cavity bulges upward, swelling and expanding. Lind carries her momentum and digs the end of the blade into the ground. Pivoting on one foot, she spins around and rips the sword upwards, sending chunks of split earth upwards. Amber sludge spews out of the nepenthes, splatting all over the flying dirt, grass, and pebbles. More roots spear toward her, but she lunges forth.

She stabs it straight in the center of the “pitcher” and slides to the side. Bile and ooze gush outward, pouring onto the ground as she retreats. Her movements are smooth as silk, flowing from one to the next with a rhythm that you find yourself drawn to. The attacking roots are hacked to pieces again and again as she closes in. A single huge slash, and the plant is separated from the tree. Just before it falls down onto the puddle of its own digestive juices, Lind slams into it with her foot, sending it over to you.

You yelp as you move out of the way. It crashes by your feet, and you switch from being enthralled back to being completely disgusted. Its roots and vines shrivel up back to its body, and you understand why Lind used the word “hunting”. Before this, these things never even bothered you. They just sat there, making the landscape very, very ugly. You don’t think you can ever come near another one ever again. You suppose this is a good thing, all things considered.

Grabbing it by the rim, which also serves as the base of the large purple petals-leaves and also the presumed mouth-hole, you try to pull it upwards, only to find that it’s surprisingly heavy. You give it another tug before you feel half the weight disappearing. Lind is grabbing the other end with one hand. With her other, she swings the fluids off of her sword before she sheathes it.

You can’t help but say, “How did you learn to use a sword?” Swordsmanship seems like a flashy myth. If you were to do it, it would probably end up with you tripping and accidentally slicing off a finger.

“Practice with friends,” she replies. She seems oddly happy that you asked. “You have a lot of time to learn when you have nothing better to do.”

Completely disregarding the first part, you enthusiastically agree with this sentiment, even if you don’t show it.
As the two of you heave the thoroughly-defeated nepenthes and make way out of the forest, Lind talks to you. “Hey, Circe.”


“Are you from around here?”

Caught off guard, you take a second to recover. “You can say that.”

“You seem really comfortable around here,” she says, “...It’s almost scary how relaxed you seem.”

“I’m familiar with this place, so it would make sense, wouldn’t it?”

Silence. It’s obvious, isn’t it? Slowly, you begin putting your guards back up. You were too relaxed. What a mistake. What a terrible mistake—

“Not familiar enough to have tasted everything,” Lind says. “You’ve never tried eating this before, have you?” She eagerly watches you, waiting for your response.

“Nn... No, I haven’t. Why would I?” You end on a note that’s almost as if you were offended.

“That means I win!” she triumphantly declares. “If you want to be worldly, then you have to open your mind to anything.”

“Even if it means eating this?”

“Especially if it means eating this,” Lind says. That conversation ends there, with your total loss in every sense of the word.

It leaves you confused, but you give up. If you want to be worldly... then you have to eat disgusting things?

If that’s the case, then forget being worldly. You’ll just have cake from now to eternity. Cake will do just fine.

Eventually, the two of you make it out of the woods and back onto the pass. The sun is now setting, hiding away into the mountains again. As you’re straining to carry “dinner” for the rest of the way, Lind suddenly exclaims, “Wait, we forgot something.”

You stop. “What is it?”

“Sorry, you were looking for alchemy materials, right?” she says, “We just left the forest without looking for them.”

You look confused for a second, but then you remember the false assumption she had made when she first saw you. “That’s not a problem; I have time.” You start walking again, and Lind follows suit. As more time passes, an urge in you grows stronger and stronger until you couldn’t help but ask it. “Why are you being so nice to me?” And when did she decide you were having dinner with her?

A pause. A long one. A wait that feels like eternity. Then, she arrives at an answer. “You seemed friendly.”

And that’s it.

She says nothing else, letting the soft, faint sounds of the wildlife behind you sink in.

That can’t be it, can it?

There must be something more. Humans are always selfish beings. They always are.


Because that’s what they are, aren’t they? The very definition of a human.

>”You shouldn’t be so trusting.”
>”You’re the friendly one.”
>”Let’s do this again sometime.”
>”...Sorry, but I have to leave.”
But, but!.. Ryletley surely couldn't have been selfish, so we can't overgeneralize!
>”You’re the friendly one.”
>Let’s do this again sometime
>>”You’re the friendly one.”

Dialogue options are mutually exclusive this time, so I won't combine.
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The very definition...


If you want to be worldly, then you have to open your mind to anything.

Ryletley once said, life is only interesting because you don’t know what’s at the end.

Then, if nothing else, you’ll choose to believe. You’ll believe in Ryletley, in Pyri, and in Lind.

The words she had said, and the silence that surrounds it, you will take it as it is.

“...Me?” you say, surprised. “Are you sure you weren’t talking about yourself?” You glance downward, making a show of you wearing these borrowed clothes.

She laughs, “No, I’m talking about you. I think I’m a good judge of character, probably.”

You smile with her. “I’m not sure if I can trust a person who wants to eat something like this.”

“Trust me! It’s not my first go at this.”

“In some ways, that’s even worse,” you throw back.

The two of you bicker back and forth light-heartedly, until the cabin comes into sight. Taking the pitcher plant herself, she brings it over to the river to wash it while you check on your things. They’re untouched, like she promised, save for the two missing potions. Pyri is nowhere to be found, but you’re sure that you can leave the matter with them.

Instead, you grab the Spell Diary that was firmly secured under an arm and take out the fleam. Leaving the tome aside, you wander around a little, gathering sticks and wood. Following Lind’s vague instructions, you manage to build a small bundle for a campfire. You skip out on the tinder, however, since you won’t be doing it her way. Fire-starting isn’t exactly a subject you’re familiar with, save for the only way you know how: with a spell circle. You cut yourself open again, unable to stop wincing a little. It’s a lot harder to do without your instincts on edge.

The “subject” of the circle can be composed of either a set of glyphs or a star, the latter of which can be either be drawn with straight or curved lines. Depending on the number of points on the star and whether it is straight or curved, a different aspect of the world is manipulated. A plain seven-pointed star stands for fire and all that falls under its domain. Alternatively, you could have wrote “FIRE” for the same effect or called “IGNI” for an even greater effect.

When your finger finishes drawing the last line, its lifted out of the way as fire slowly rises from the circle itself. You quickly pile on the wood over it, not afraid of smothering it out. The flames grow by the second, eventually resulting in a sizable blaze. Meanwhile, you take the time to change back into your clothes. Fitting the hat over your head, you feel at ease again.
Lind returns with the nepenthes, now cut up into pieces and skewered with sticks. Some parts are missing, most noticeably the purple leaves. It’s not surprising, since it never seemed to be edible in the first place. Nor was any other part of it, but the purple bits just happened to be more inedible. While she leaves them to you to prop up by the fire, she enters the cabin with a jar full of what was presumably the “bait” and comes back out with an object that almost resembles a small salt cellar, but with a lid that’s dotted with many holes.

Eventually, a smell begins to drift out of the plants. It’s strange and inexplicably difficult to describe. Neither clearly good or bad, it’s hovers around the large grey zone that is “funky”. It smells as if you were burning furniture, but it’s almost good? Eidola forbid you ever get any ideas from this.

One by one, they slowly become “done”. You’re completely vague about the specifics of whatever is happening, but you follow Lind’s lead. Taking one and seasoning it, you warily hold it in front of your face, carefully inspecting it. After a long second, you open your mouth, and then you take a bite.

It tastes like...

It tastes like...!

Salt. It’s a bit crunchy, but that’s about it. There’s only a small hint of a sweet aroma that resembles the bait, and it’s almost negligible. With this, you promptly declare that cake is the ultimate end goal of all foodstuffs. The bar was set too high, and now nothing can clear it.

“How is it?” Lind asks. She’s leaning forward, eagerly waiting for your answer.

“Uh.” You try to find words to answer her with, and you realize it is supremely difficult. “It’s not bad.” It’s not good either. In fact, it serves as a perfect reminder how eating continues to prove itself as an arduous task whose efforts are not even close to equaling its benefits.

She says smugly, “I’ll take that as a win then.”

Not even answering her, you continue consuming the result of Lind’s efforts out of politeness. You still leave the majority of it to her. Standing up, you pat yourself off and face her. “Thank you for the meal, but I should get going.” You’ve gotten a bit too sidetracked for a such an important and immediate task.

“You’re leaving already?” Lind says, starting to get up too.

“You had distracted me for too long,” you jest. “But it was fun, Lind.” You offer her a smile, and hold your satchel tightly. You won’t say you want to do it again, because you honestly really don’t, but you won’t mind... seeing her again. You want to tell her that, but no words come out.

She pauses, but then she smiles back. “If you ever come by here again, pay me a visit, okay?”

You nod, “I will.”
You say goodbye, and she says hers.

You leave the light of the campfire behind you, your mind wandering. There’s so much to think about.

You walk through the mountain pass, over the awkward ground and past it. The sky is so clear, and the wind is so soft.

You enter the forest, and the land welcomes you back again. The flora seemingly parts for you to walk through.

Without a single sound, Pyri glides onto your shoulder. Two half-empty potions are in a small bag tied to a foot.

You’re home.
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A Bird’s Eye View

A thousand pairs of eyes and a thousand mouths.

Screeching, chirping, shrieking, growling.

A space that’s too small. A wind that’s too slow. A whisper that’s too quiet.

The sapling sprouted its first leaf.

A world that turns without end. Whispering, pleading, wishing, crying. Ants skittering across the ground. Innumerable.

Wicked smiles from above. Benefactions of death. Their cruel kindness.

The ants are almost pitiful. They hide in their homes and pray. They will answer them like they will answer you.

A lucky fool. A filthy stain that runs deep. A false crown. A luck that ran out. All things inevitably become even. Ten years. A hundred years. A thousand years. It all returns home.

To be chosen is to be marked. Such an ugly scar on his hand.

Ruffling feathers. Fluttering wings. Screaming silence.

Today, you are starving.
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That concludes this thread. Thank you for playing! Updating like this is kind of strange, but apparently everyone’s usually online when I’m asleep.

I’m a bit curious, though. How much of this spell circle stuff do you guys get? Is anything sticking? I feel like I’m taking shots in the dark. At this rate, things might be snowballing out of control very, very quickly.

I'm here for any comments, questions, or concerns. Criticism is very welcome too.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hopelessQM
>How much of this spell circle stuff do you guys get?
Well I think I've got _some_ things.
We will endeavor to protect your smile!
I think I get the general idea behind it.
Thanks for running!
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...My smile?
Not yours. You're the worst girl.
Give us Patchy back.
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She's very clearly sleeping, and this isn't even a Patchy thread. There's a grand total of zero pictures of her in here! But, there's a picture of Circe, who is very different and completely unrelated to that other purple turbonerd.
>implying Circe isn’t also a turbonerd

I’m too stupid to understand the intricacies of the spell circle system thus far, but I’m having fun regardless

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