Olafier Cranick, the Fort Commander of the Death Heads, had found himself in a perfect storm of predicaments.As the overseer of defenses for the home city of Todesfelsen, he held quite a bit of sway in local politics; the Fortress Commander, after all, had to be trusted with keeping the house, as well as not exploiting the frequent absence of his fellow senior officials to try and grab power. Perhaps he had done too well of a job at that, though, since now that old Selgess was pushing daisies somewhere in a bit of Valsten dirt and his closest people had gone missing in the mountains, everybody left was starting to agree that he ought to start running things, after seeing that they certainly couldn’t trust anybody else.If Cranick had his way, he would rather have not. Being boss didn’t interest him; he hadn’t run from Netilland to take up yet another command he didn’t want. Oh, he’d do it if he had to, but damn if he’d rather have anybody else do it instead.Lately, though, despite the storm of utter horse shit, he’d found an immensely relieving distraction from it all. Cranick considered himself a ladies’ man, since despite his intimidating features, he had reason to believe that his nonphysical aspects were charming indeed. Confidence, fellows, confidence and honesty was what won a woman’s heart, was what he told those who wanted to hear. Everything else just followed after those all-important foundations. Of course, it also helped that he was such an important person, relatively…but that was hardly the most important element. Such a shame it was, then, that despite his skill, the local examples of womanhood were so…dissatisfying. All soft bodied, snippety, what one would expect from those rejected from the rest of the world. The Blue Ribbons were even worse than the typical Sosaldtian woman, what with their new privilege making them irritatingly haughty and self-important, thinking that simply because they could take advantage of men’s baser desires, that they were in any way clever or powerful. Just…revolting. Such women were enjoyable to charm, bed, and dropped like a burnt cigarette, but Cranick found nothing in them beyond that.So when this peculiar woman had stepped in a few days ago, Cranick couldn’t help but be smitten with her on sight.
She was ugly. Her face was covered in scars both old and new, but it was clear that even before that this girl had been less than plain. The largest scar seemed to nearly split her face in twain, and looking at it, Cranick couldn’t help but touch his own face, and feel the thick line where an Ellowian sword had blinded an eye and cleaved his cheek. The look in her eyes was dead, but the rest of her seemed to burst with life. Loose sleeves on the blouse she wore cut just short enough to show that her arms had strength in them.Because she was so fearsome looking, the usually eager crowd was hesitant to go through with the usual procedures for an aspiring Blue Ribbon; namely, a physical examination, along with the acknowledgement that what happened when a woman got naked in private with a man would happen, and without complaint. Cranick didn’t even want to sleep with her yet; he merely needed to see what lay hidden under this woman’s clothing. None objected when he took the opportunity, using his powerful station to shut out any other red tape in the proceedings.Once the woman had shed all of her clothing, Cranick noted that she was dense of body, muscular and firm, but also, that she was covered in scars. Much like he was; products of both the Ellowian’s as well as his own army’s best efforts to kill him. He could only think of one phrase in reaction, in his head.What a babe.Much as he would have liked to seduce her, the girl wasn’t much for conversation, and he quickly could resist her no longer and took her right there like he was expected to. It was to his immense pleasure that, to try and keep the door open for her in spite of her (subjectively) lacking appearance, the woman had willingly forsaken protection or similar contraceptives, which was fine, because Cranick knew that he wouldn’t find another he’d marry sooner.
Soon after though, he felt something that he hadn’t felt in a long time; disgust, towards himself. The girl had wept while he was doing her, and he later recoiled at the thought that he had merely asked if she was a virgin and if he was being too rough. He’d bedded enough women to know how to please them, but while her body had not resisted, it was clear that her heart and mind had.It was a strange feeling being around this woman, whose name, he learned, was apparently Emma. Cranick wanted to know more about her, wanted to learn every story her scars told, and be able to recount them just like he could say how every scar he had got there, and unwrap the life that lay beneath, but he could scarcely get Emma to even talk. There was the joy of discovery, the thrill of the hunt, but also a completely unfamiliar feeling of impotent frustration as he tried and failed to get to know her. The first woman he gave a single shit about in a very long time, and he couldn’t get more than a few words sometimes! It made everything she did tell him, though, a treasure.In the meantime, he ranted to her about the local politics. What a pain in the ass it was that he was the only person who could be relied upon, the agendas every other boss was trying to pull him into, how he really didn’t have a choice but to agree to lead, how the Blood Suns wanted an answer soon, everything on his mind, he dumped on Emma. A lot to trust such a new girl with, sure, but he didn’t give a shit. She’d just be one of so, so many Blue Ribbons privy to another’s secrets. At the very least, from how she interacted with the other women, she wasn’t nearly as like to share them with others.
“Tell me, baby,” Cranick cooed to Emma, as he lay on his bed with her that evening after a long, long day, his arm tight around her waist, gripping her close to him as he ran his fingers up and down the broad scars across her abdomen, “How did you get these? Looks like a wild animal, but what was a sweet thing like you doing going after something that could do this to you?”“Sweet thing” didn’t describe this woman, Cranick knew, but he’d already tried coaxing conversation from her in other ways, and the saccharine route was merely one of the few paths he hadn’t gone down that day.“Mm.” Emma grunted softly, as she almost always did as a response. “Yeah, I get it,” Cranick coughed roughly, “Not in the mood to talk about yourself. Here, just relax, while I…” Cranick slid his hand down her belly, then lower, but Emma caught his hand.“Don’t…” she said, “Please. We can talk.”“Alright, fine,” Cranick shrugged and rolled out of the bed, slipping a deep blue dressing gown decorated with silvery clouds over himself, a simulacrum in fabric of a moonlit evening. “We can sit around and jabber like old people, then.” He clicked his tongue and pointed at Emma, who had bundled the sheets of the bed around herself, “None of that, now. I think you ought to know that I like looking at you naked.” Emma looked down in defeat, and let the sheets fall away from her torso as she sat up. Half would do, Cranick thought to himself as he settled into the armchair on the other side of the small bedroom. Cranick’s quarters were small by necessity, but he did not mind such. He didn’t need much room for the few worldly things he kept.
“We’ll play a game, how about that?” Cranick asked as he fumbled around for his pipe on the table beside him, unwilling to tear his eyes off of Emma. “I tell you about one of my scars, then you tell me about one of yours. Should keep our evenings occupied for a few years, eh heh heh.”“Okay.”Cranick pointed to the long scar that cut down his face and through his left eye, smiling, “Where do you think I got this?” “A battle.”“Baby, I’m trying to get more than two words out of you,” Cranick kept his smile despite his growing exasperation.“I don’t know.”Well. Cranick shouldn’t have expected too much. He tipped the still unloaded pipe up and down in his fingers as he reminisced. “Know how I told you I was in the Netillian Army of the Republic, right? Back when it could still be called a republic with a straight face. I was new, not trained too well. Tanks’re supposed to be crewed by experience people, elites, but a lot of experienced soldiers were lost in battles before it was my turn to fight. So I’m driving, right, the tank, through a forest. It was a night move, we were trying to get stuff up to the front for a surprise offensive.” Cranick brought the pipe up to his teeth and chewed on the end, and then pointed a finger at Emma, “Hey, don’t cover your tits up, baby, they help me concentrate. As I was saying, the ‘toon was going down the forest, when suddenly, there’s a block. Some Ellowian commandos had set up a trap, twenty klicks behind the goddamn front lines. I dunno if they were that good or if our guys had gotten that bad, but next thing we knew, while we were stopped, we got doused with firebottles and grenades. I tried to get out, and when I did, this crazy dick comes up and almost chops my head in two with a saber.” Cranick drew a line down his face, illustrating, “Woke up a few hours later, down an eye. The toon was down by half, but we still rounded up everybody and headed on up to the line. A lot of our commanders died in that raid, cause they were sticking out at the start, so I got a promotion. These were little two person things, not really a lot of places to be promoted to, heh. Funny that my ugliest scar was the first I got though, hm.”“I guess.”
“That whole thing was only worth I guess?” Cranick feigned being wounded, “Uh! I always thought that was a good story, but I guess every other woman’s been blowing smoke up my ass. Fine then, tell me about one of your scars. How about the one on your face? The big one.”Emma looked away. “I’d rather not.”“Fine. The one on your tit, then.”Emma looked down dumbly, as if she had forgotten she even had a wound there. “Oh. I got blown up.”“Blown up by what?” Cranick led her on. This was like pulling teeth.“A tank.”“Whose tank?”“I don’t know.”“You don’t know?” Cranick said with disbelief, before coming up with a theory. “…Oh, yeah. Grey Gunners. What’d you do to piss them off?”“I shot their commander in the head.”“God damn, you’re sexy.” Cranick couldn’t help but spout, and Emma’s lips bent downwards and she shut up. “Baby, I’m just saying it how it is. So why’d you shoot him?”“…I don’t know.”“Alright,” Cranick heaved himself up, “I know you’re still a bit sore from earlier, sorry again. So I’m going to go take a walk. Go ahead and nap or whatever, there. Tell whoever’s close to here you’re Cranick’s girl, and they’ll take care of you. If anybody gives you trouble, if anybody lays a finger on you, tell them to stop, and if they don’t, tell me, and I’ll have their fucking head chopped off. Alright?”Cranick put on more official clothing and departed. The scarred girl thought about what Cranick had told her throughout the day, and who he was, and what position she was in…Over the next few days, she had much to tell the little ghost who visited her every so often.
You are Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht, officer of Panzers in the service of the Army of the Archduchy of Strossvald, temporarily serving as a military advisor to the newly born Army of the Republic of Vang, which resided to the east of your home nation. You’d been as hard at work as you could have been, which in truth, was not very, in doing your best to forge the infant fighting force into something that could win the battle that was to come in less than a week.Currently, you had a ghost nestled in your bosom. It was the most affectionate thing you’d ever seen the ghost, named Emma, do, but it wasn’t as cute as it could have been considering that while doing so she was eating your soul. Or rather, your presence, though you weren’t certain what the difference between the two was. “Why did you come all this way?” you had asked her when she had returned, knowing it had to be important. When you last left her, she had been far to the east, in the city of Todesfelsen.“It’s Hilda,” Emma said morosely, “She’s gotten an opportunity to do something, maybe in a day…I came as fast as I could, but I…it got so cold, I don’t know if I could do it again…but...that’s not important. If that dumb hick girl goes through with this…I think she’s going to die.”“What?” you rasped, your mouth having gotten quite dry all of a sudden. Probably a result of Emma sucking your life force or whatever the hell presence was out of your chest. “What do you mean?”“…Brr…BrrBetter,” Emma shivered, as you felt the draining sensation cease in your chest, “G…Give me a minute.”You let her have exactly one minute before demanding once again for the sprite to tell you what she meant with such an alarming message.“Alright. She’s getting plowed by somebody who’s a big shot, because they’re both ugly, I guess.”
“I thought I said to tell her not to get roped into doing that…” you growled.“She didn’t listen, like I said she wouldn’t. That’s not the important part. The important part’s who this guy is.”“Who is he?” you demanded, urging Emma along, “And why is Hilda going to die if she does…what is she going to do?”“Slow down, please,” Emma said tiredly, “I’m getting to that. The guy’s name is Oliver Cranick or something, and he’s in charge of…I guess he takes care of the city while everybody’s gone. He gets new recruits and all that. Most of the people like him, so if anybody’s going to unite that place, it’s him. Hilda’s idea is, since he’s fucking her, she has a chance to kill him and mess up any chance the place has at getting back together. She’s talked with some of your soldier people you sent with her, and some of that Loch guy’s people who were there who came with you…all of them talking, they decided that if she killed this Cranick guy, then your chances of winning go way up.”>Isn’t that nice. But she still dies? Can’t we think of a scenario where she doesn’t do that?>We don’t need her killing herself. I won’t have that. Go straight back and tell her that I order her not to do it.>If that’s what it takes, then so be it. I have no objections.>Other?>past thread archives @ https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh>Updates and announcements can be found on twitter @scheissfunker
>>2078434>>Isn’t that nice. But she still dies? Can’t we think of a scenario where she doesn’t do that?
>>2078434>>Isn’t that nice. But she still dies? Can’t we think of a scenario where she doesn’t do that?Well goddammit Hilda, will no one listen to us?It is very telling that she's using Emma's name here, who knows what crap Hilda has been listening to, shit is the ghost Emma even telling the truth? Maybe it isn't such a good idea to keep this parasite 'alive' much longer.>Other?>Can we just poison his pipe that he leaves behind and she can get the hell out of there?I'm assuming of course Richter knows about the pipe or that he can ask the ghost more details.I don't think we can pass this up though. Loch's whole plan hinges on them being disorganized. Otherwise we'll all probably die.
“Isn’t that nice,” you said sarcastically as you turned about and kicked an innocent m/28 that had done nothing wrong. It might have even been the one that inexplicably survived since you took it from the Academy. “But if she does this, she dies, no matter what? Can’t we think of a scenario where we avoid that? She doesn’t have to personally kill him, right? She could use…poison. She could poison his food, or maybe he smokes and she can do something to his cigarettes, or a pipe, or something.” You lifted a foot to kick the tank again, but midway though, you hesitated, and turned the kick into a step forward, as you began to pace back and forth. “I need more information.”“You think you can think of a better way than all the people actually at the place can?” Emma said doubtfully, “Yeah, good luck with that one.”“Better than not trying at all.” You pointed out, “First. What’s the plan to kill him in the first place?”“There’s a few,” Emma said, “Poison was a good guess, and that was the initial plan, but it’s gotten harder to get things in lately.”“Their security didn’t seem that great when I was there,” you said back, “How hard could it be to smuggle in something deadly? Lots of things kill in small amounts.” Nature was certainly a generous provider of deadly chemicals, you knew from your outdoorsmanship. Near every region had some sort of venomous creature or poisonous plant, and even deadlier poisons could be found in the recreational drugs common around this country.“Harder than you think when you don’t have any poison,” Emma said, “Loch messed up. He didn’t send his poison guy along, he just sent his wormy guys. They said the development taking place wasn’t something that could be foreseen, and a poisoner is too specific of a person to send just to scout with no target, but…” Emma let out a puff of flame, “Because they didn’t expect it, they missed their chance to do it. Death Heads are starting to realize how important this guy could be. There’s more checks, the weak links are going into hiding, everything’s getting harder for the spy guys to do. So it’s down to Hilda trying to shank him or something…she’s strong, I guess, but she’s not as strong as this guy is, let alone a whole fort trying to get her even after she succeeds. If she does.”
“No poison, you’re sure.” You had to be absolutely certain, because as is, this plan had an unacceptably high rate of failure.“Some other girl was caught trying to sneak in one of those…Loch’s people called them suicide pills, or something. I think it might have been to try and kill Hilda, really…a lot of the girls are really jealous that she’s banging the guy set to become the big boss. But because she messed that up, they’re really careful about checking people for poison. They’re spooked about that now, which…just sucks, because that was the original plan…”“The original plan was for Hilda to break open one of those pills in this guy’s food or something,” you guessed.“Kind of. Another was, since she was so close, she could just spit it in his mouth.”“That’s disgusting.”“You’re one to talk,” Emma said with a snooty confidence, “You think I haven’t checked on your bitch girlfriend? Who exactly gave her that fat hickey right in the middle of her chest? Don’t pretend as if you haven’t been getting frisky.”“Hmph. How did you find out about that?”“She has to get naked to bathe, genius,” Emma told you, “Oh yeah, speaking of that…your wizard’s on that. Says that’s probably your best bet for him to move.”“When she’s bathing?” you said incredulously, “Really? Wait, you met the Riverman, and he didn’t kill you?”“Yes. Yes. Sorta. Look, if she’s not going to or from the bath house, she’s locked up deep inside the fort. The wizard can’t get to her when she’s that deep, but the upside…when she’s in the baths, the only people around her are wimpy, weak women, instead of big burly men, they’re not allowed in the girl’s place. So the plan…I think, is for Hilda to go take a bath at the same time your bitch girlfriend does, beat the hell out of all the bitches there, and drag the ginger off to hand her off to the wizard, somewhere on the walls or where he can get to her. Either she helps with that, or the Riverman tries a really risky snatch himself.”“After she kills Cranick, which she might not even do?” you were doubting the success of this more and more, “That requires very convenient timing.”“They wash the bitch the same time every day. All Hilda has to do is tell Cranick that she wants to make the bed bounce, and he’s there.”You really would rather Emma avoid the unnecessary lewd suggestions. “Yet,” you pointed out, “After this, she’s still probably dead.”“Probably. Maybe the wizard can get her, but…he said he wasn’t strong enough to get two people from the walls down to the ground quickly. He’d have to leave one person up there. Hilda. Who then dies.”
“Hell,” you swore. Though, you couldn’t think of a reason to not try at least part of that plan. If the politics Emma stated were true, Cranick had to die, or else the battle for Todesfelsen would become incredibly difficult to win. Loch probably had a trick up his sleeve for if the worst happened, but you didn’t want to depend on that even so.“Richter?” Emma asked you wearily, “Can I ask you a favor? To replace the one where you and your guys take off their shirts?”“What?” you snapped at her.“Tell Hilda not to go kill herself. Please…” Emma’s voice turned thin, “I know I call her ugly all the time, and stupid, and a hick…but she’s just like me. We’ve talked to each other, I know how she feels, she knows me, she’s really the only person I’ve been able to talk to about myself…because we’re the same, in a way.”“Couldn’t you just tell her that I said to?” you asked, holding back the temptation to point out that Emma didn’t exactly have a problem with lying.“No. She told me…a way, just in case. You’re still wearing her necklace. That tooth on the string. It’s why she thinks you still care about her at all. Loch’s guys sent a request for a few extra people, and the messenger might come soon…maybe in the night. I was faster than him, just in case he wanted to…try something. Hilda said that if you send her necklace back to her with him…you’re fine with her dying. If he doesn’t come back with it, she won’t go through with it.”>Screw that. Hilda gave me this necklace as a gift. A good luck charm. There’s a big battle coming up, and I need all the luck I can get. This necklace isn’t leaving me until I don’t need her good luck anymore.>She said this necklace was a good luck charm. I don’t know how true that is, but for that plan to work, she’ll need all the luck she can get. I’m sorry, Emma. It’s either her life, or too many others.>Other?>While it's entirely possible to have your cake and eat it, if you can think of a way to do it, it will probably be exceedingly difficult. You can also raise the chances of the operation working, should you have Hilda go with it, by excising a step from it. For example, you could have her only kill Cranick, or only help the Riverman rescue Maddalyn, and she'd be more likely to succeed...or even escape with her life, with enough luck.>Likewise, the Riverman's plan is rushed and sloppy because...well, you didn't give him much time to work with. He is a soulbinder, yes, but not a very powerful one. He is far, far from somebody like Poltergeist.
What the hell. Why all the girls around us are so eager to die. Why do we have to save them.Also goddammit, Hilda, we only sent you to scout! Not to sacrifice yourself!I need to think on this vote.P.S.: ponytail really looks good on Hilda. She would be even cute if not for those dead eyes.
>>2079383>>2079881Also need to think about this
>>2079383In the meanwhile, we could talk to Emma about eating our soul and turning into a disgusting monster.
Okay, anons, how about this plan:1. Hilda tells Cranick she wants to try something new2. Hilda blindfolds Cranick and/or ties him to the bed3. MURDER4. ARSON5. Hilda breaks into the bathhouse and announces that there's a fire on the premises6. In the confusion, Hilda evacuates Maddy to where Riverman can snatch her7. Hilda leaves the compound and hides in the Loch's men's hideout, which they certainly should have.8. All of this is timed to just before the attack.Criticism, ideas, commentary?
>>2079911Sounds reasonable.Though it's bound to be more complicated during the actual execution.
>>2079911In general I think it works, but it all depends on whether or not Cranick wants to get kinky. And considering he's already lost an eye he may be hesitant in anything involving sight. Also since Hilda has been both a new arrival and suddenly interested in sex involving being tied up or blinded it may suspicious.Then again, she's ready shown a reluctance to bare her scars so it may be reasonable for her to pretend to be more... enthusiastic if she was getting stared at.I'm just spinning ideas but Cranick also seemed very into Hilda killing a guy. She also happens to be a very capable sniper. Maybe having her demonstrate her marksmanship on the walls could be a way to lure Cranick out. Also risky because then how does he get killed? Likely have bodyguards too, but maybe easier for Riverman to extract her.Another option that would likely cost much of our gold would be to head back in to buy a few prisoners for Rosebud and possibly handoff supplies to Hilda. I doubt we'd be left alone with either girl though, and it'd be suspicious to have the Emrean come back so quickly to buy stock he didn't see.tanq questions,It sounds like Hilda and Lochs men are coordinating or am I just reading things wrong?Would it be still possible for us to return to the city fairly easy without necessarily going into the fort?
>>2079911Your plan has 8 steps, that's the main problem with it. 8 steps that can go wrong.I seriously do not care much for Hilda but she is a friend, like it or not but Maddy and winning the battle comes first.
>>2080029If we want Hilda to help Riverman, she has to stay in the fort, so shooting demonstration is out unless we find another plan for Riverman. >>2080047You're giving up too quickly.
>>2080029> It sounds like Hilda and Lochs men are coordinating or am I just reading things wrong?>Would it be still possible for us to return to the city fairly easy without necessarily going into the fort? Pretty groggy, but yes, though the capability is being reduced as security gets tighter.Returning to the city in general is quite possible but they probably will be scrutinizing strangers more than simply accepting meetings. An attempted assassination was botched after all.
>>2080086oh yeah also I am me
This is >>2080029posting again.>>2080069I was thinking she could pick a target on a rooftop in the city from her shooting on top of the walls but getting Cranick outside of them would be the ideal. Maybe then Loch's men could snipe Cranick? Risky, lot's of holes to it.>>2080086So they are planning together, which means that Loch either knows about her plan or will very soon know. Time to talk to Loch then, if his men plan on utilizing Hilda then he better have plans to help her out otherwise this shit won't fly.Did his men really think that they could just get her killed without us finding out somehow?
>>2079911Hello. Your plan has a lot of steps, and I feel like this creates a flaw from the conception. Let's review the characteristics displayed in their relationship, and the characters themselves. Plan to listed in 3 parts.First is Cranick. As a character he's a man in power, and is greatly taken with the Hilda specifically because of her roughness. He fancies the hunt more than anything, a challenge to pursue. From what's been described so far, I feel it safe to assume that he'll readily consider whatever opportunity she presents him with to engage in that hunt - Both for his own pleasure, and the ultimate end goal of seducing her. We can see the first hints of that in the exchange of scar stories, but Hilda shut it down because... Well, she's not a talkative person.He's not necessarily a BAD guy, just in an unfortunate position for our purposes. His attraction to Hilda may be quite real, and the way he makes compromises with her, and has generally held himself back, reflects more of his character than much else. This is also where I believe we can exploit him.I propose we play on his lust for Hilda, alongside his interest in the hunt, while emphasizing exactly what he finds attractive about her in the first place. To that end, >>2080119 's idea regarding counter sniping is close, but also somewhat missing the point. From the walls of the fort we have the perfect opportunity engage in a game that does all 3 of the aforementioned things at once: Strip Sniping.
Hilda is a born marksman, and that ability of hers implicitly attracts Cranick. Her body isn't amazing, but the hunt to obtain it is, and Cranick himself is a man both of confidence in his pursuit and his own skills. Should Hilda challenge him to a game of it during the night, once more making use of her unique skillset (night shooting), I imagine the temptation to compete with her, show off his own skills, see hers for himself, and the build up of the both of them slowly stripping down during it would be enticing for him.This is where the compromise comes in. She's quite shy, and he's been shown to somewhat accept that. It's plausible that in this scenario she could request space so as to not be boldly displaying herself to the entire fort, as well as to give them some measure of privacy for what could be implied to come AFTER the strip sniping match ends.This is where the point comes in. With the aforementioned scenario set up, it creates favorable conditions for the Riverman to make his extraction with Maddy through this location, ideally towards the later end of the match, so that our Soulbinder who is self admittedly "only good at killing" runs afoul of a distracted, somewhat naked duo in a space of minimal guards. This presents an easily dispatched target for him to handle, and then escape down the wall with Maddy.The order of this is important. If The Riverman is the one to ambush them and kill Cranick in the peculiar way of horrible dismemberment that he is self-attestedly adept at, it allows Hilda to stay in place even during a commotion and play the part of being both uninvolved with the murder, and a potential victim-bystander who is mostly naked and possibly covered in blood should guards come to investigate before the Riverman can get Maddy down the wall, then make his way back up for her.In other words, this plan aims to take advantage of Cranick's vices, and Hilda's charms/skillset to artificially create an opening for the Riverman to both extract Maddy, and kill a mostly unarmed, unguarded, man in the process. It provides Hilda an alibi should they be caught which absolves her of liability, as no HUMAN, certainly not a half-stripped woman, could kill as a Soulbinder does, and if they are not caught immediately, it allows her to be extracted in kind.
In summation, the plan has the following steps:1. Propose Strip Sniping, with a compromise for her modesty.2. Riverman kills the partially stripped Cranick on his way out3a. If there is time, Hilda is extracted as well.3b. If there is not time, All obvious evidence points away from Hilda being involved.In 3 steps this accomplishes the primary objectives of:1. Maddy extracted2. Cranick dead3. Hilda aliveSome possible concerns in regards to this include being unable to extract the compromise of modesty. In this case, it would be sending the Riverman (and Maddy) into a more guarded area, which would be unfavorable. Luckily we would have plenty of time between the proposal and the actual extraction, so it could be relayed as a "plan failed", in which case an alternative would need to be considered....I feel that's about it. If we wanted to be thorough, we would also consider the possibility that Hilda would be held accountable for Cranick's death just because she was there, but that's a realm of needless suspicion we've not actually seen before in this quest. While I feel it would be unlikely this event occurs, should I be wrong, there should still be sufficient confusion and doubt over her involvement to warrant the punishment consisting of detainment rather than immediate death. In that scenario, Loch's men storming the fort will likely take place in time to prevent anything untowards occuring before the end of her detainment.Further, her efforts to aid in Maddy's rescue would ensure Maddy's cooperation in repairing whatever injuries she may gain during said detainment. So long as immediate death isn't a possibility, we can handle things.And finally, in the unfortunate scenario that 3b is true, and the worst case outcome of detainment + torture is enacted, I want to point out that we're using a woman who desperately wants our love to rescue our waifu by giving up her body, and then consigning her to torture on the grounds that we can fix physical damage. The emotional damage is not going to help. I say this on principle, because we've done nothing but exacerbate emotional damage in most heroines in this quest, and I want it completely on record that people understand and are willingly agreeing that's acceptable.
>>2081314I don't see how your plan helps extract Maddy. The obstacle to that is not Cranick, it's the fact that Maddy is under guard in a closed compound. How exactly luring Cranick away will help get her out?Also, your assumption that Hilda won't be accused of Cranick's murder is very questionable. Most people don't know soulbinders even exist. Without any alternative theory, they will naturally assume Hilda did it somehow.
>>2081381Rather than helping to extract Maddy, it's more that Maddy's extraction is considered a given - Or in other words, the highest priority. The goal here places her extraction as #1 (as shown in >>2081314), with the additional goal of making it easier to have Cranick killed along the way, and without much fuss (#2), with what I posit to be the highest possible potential to have Hilda remain alive regardless of how the rest of the operation goes. Specifically, rather than lure Cranick away, you would be luring Cranick into the line of the Riverman's fire. The compromise for Hilda's modesty in set in place to ensure this makes the extraction's danger level change as little as possible, compared to picking a gap in the patrols. If all goes to plan, it creates an artificial bubble of low-protection to be exploited, and if it doesn't go to plan, we are aware ahead of time it won't be viable.As for Hilda's accusation, this is generally accounted for already, and I turn your doubt back towards you. Assuming he dies in a peculiar enough manner, which the Riverman has previously informed us he is quite capable of, then even if they did assume Hilda was involved somehow, it is more likely to doubt that she herself did it. If a man as large as Cranick is trash compacted? Hilda doing that is doubtful. If he's maimed and there's no tools around? Hilda doing that is doubtful. If his body is twisted? Hilda doing that is doubtful. The goal there is for his death to be bizarre enough that even if they DO blame Hilda for it, rather than write her off, there will be enough doubt cast to create a detainment scenario rather than an execution one. Interrogation, questions, and general confusion as to how it's even possible.
>>2081449The problem is, Maddy's extraction is NOT a given. Riverman extracting her alone was described as "very risky". Without a plan for Maddy's extraction, there can't be anything.
Tbf Cranick dying puts more risk on Maddy if we fail to extract her, especially if Cranicks successor doesn't see her as valuable.Why can't we just try to persuade Cranick to join the republic, he already said that he doesnt want to be the head guy. He could still be the mayor of Todesfelsn or some.alternative
>>2081512Our given outcomes are the following:1. Hilda helps save Maddy, the Riverman escapes with her. -Hilda dies, -Cranick survives.-The snatch is (more) secure.2. Hilda kills Cranick, The Riverman makes a risky snatch.-Hilda dies, -Cranick dies, -The snatch is risky.3. My aforementioned suggestion. -Hilda likely survives, -Cranick dies, -The snatch snatch is (slightly more) secure due to an established escape route.Should the compromise for her modesty go well, it aids in creating a designated escape route for the Riverman and Maddy, thus loosening the load on him. Should it not go well, it will be known ahead of time and his plan to extract her doesn't change. #2 is the worst possible option in for our interests, and #1 makes the coming siege harsher, sacrifices Hilda, pisses off Emma, and adds more weight to Maddy over someone dying to save her. Of the plans put forth, it has the fewest steps that could go awry, and the most given reasons for probable success. Rather, there WAS no plan for Maddy's extraction in the first place. Before this scenario came up, there wasn't the possibility of Hilda aiding Maddy's escape at all, yet it was still mostly considered a done deal. Not having Hilda compromise herself to aid in Maddy's escape directly changes nothing from how we had already assumed it would go when we made the deal with the Riverman. On the contrary, having Hilda attempt to create that bubble for easy penetration maintains plausible deniability while indirectly aiding Maddy's extraction more than if she hadn't at all.It was described as being risky in this thread, but in reality the stakes haven't changed at all. It's just a reminder that things aren't all predetermined. Considering we made the deal with the Riverman in the first place, I'm comfortable trusting him to get the job done with (at most) minimal indirect assistance. It should go without saying, but that he took the job implies he believed it to be accomplishable by himself, with the given circumstances at the time.>>2081592This is also a fair point, and negotiations are a lovely option, but our circumstances dictate that even having an open line of communication would be hazardous to various involved parties, and the fallout of a potentially spoiled diplomacy has no real back-up plans or ulterior perks.
>>2081592I don't think Maddy's value is going to go down much. Her heritage is pretty high spec, it'd be like throwing out gold.
>>2081633>It was described as being risky in this thread, but in reality the stakes haven't changed at allThis just means this was risky from the start. We didn't have any actual impression of Riverman's chances. Now we know that we gave him too little time and that he can't easily reach Maddy. I wouldn't rely on him alone.>>2081592I thought about recruiting Cranick too, but it's not guaranteed to work, and if it fails we're in deep shit, because now Blood Suns know we're attacking.
>>2081684>Now we know that we gave him too little time and that he can't easily reach Maddy.Have you perhaps forgotten something...? >>1987818>"Two and a half weeks!?" You spurted out, not realizing that time and space had come back to normal, causing your outburst to elicit confused looks. You leaned back and itched at the bridge of your nose furtively until there was less attention on you before next saying, "Unacceptable. It must be done within a week.">"Within a week? Ridiculous." The Riverman was about as surprised by the content of your exclamation as he was by the volume, "That will give me shockingly little time to prepare. The chances for failure would rocket up like a firework.">"Give me an estimate." You dug a nail further into your brow, "For the chance of failure.">"Fifteen percent." the Riverman seemed to decide this arbitrarily.>Honestly, that was an acceptable level of risk considering what nonsense you'd been up to in the past. You were sure that your chances for failure in the past had been far greater, and you'd still managed to cheat fate. Even death, truly; thin, faded marks in your chest were an almost invisible reminder of how close but a few shards of metal had come to slaying you. "That will have to do," you threw your hand down, "The less time you can do it in, the better."This isn't new information. We told him the deadline at the cafe, and he told us explicitly it would be risky and you were putting him in a tight situation. Anons agreed to have him go through with it, with that information blatantly put in front of them. We reminded him of the deadline at Wossenalia and he didn't object, or raise any further complaints. The stakes remain unchanged, and we were well aware of them when we set the plan in motion.It's understandable if you're shaken, or suddenly want more insurance, but this isn't a situation where there is room to spare. Either sacrifices are made, or risks are taken. I would stay behind the risks I've already chosen, rather than make new ones at the last second.
>>2081754Being aware of the risk isn't a reason not to try to decrease it.
I'll be putting out an update soon; the current choice will still be up, but I hope that some new information shed will help the decision process, since it seems some more would be appreciated before coming to a final decision....either that, or it'll make things even more messy. We'll see.
>>2081792You are correct. If you feel it's a better choice to decrease that risk, and forgo the advantage gained through Cranick's assassination as well as sacrificing Hilda, then that is entirely your prerogative. Given that we put our weight behind those risks in the first place, and there is a potential to gain significantly more while also lowering those same risks to a lesser extent (establishing an escape route), with the downside just being that nothing changes, and no extra sacrifices are made, I am inclined to hedge towards this alternative. Unless you have an alternative which is safer than the one presented, which does not explicitly make a sacrifice of Hilda?Even if she isn't a character we particularly like, Maddy was very clear about what she thought about people dying to save her. That death may not linger on Richter's shoulders, but I have no doubt it will stay with her. Especially if she is put back into an environment where many people knew Hilda - Like your own tank crew.
>>2081838I'd like to make it clear the I won't agree to sacrifice Hilda.I'm trying to find a way to decrease risk for everyone.
You tugged at the necklace Hilda had given you, that was tied loosely about your neck. It was usually hidden by the collar of your jacket, but the feeling of its presence had become so normal, that is was easy to forget that it was even there. Nevertheless it had remained.“I need to speak with Loch,” you declared, “He had best have a better plan for this.”“So you’re not going to have her kill herself, then?” Emma asked hopefully.“Of course not,” you scoffed, “I haven’t volunteered any of my people to become sacrifices. I’m not allowing anybody to go on a suicide mission if it can turn out another way.You began to march towards Rostig’s town hall, but Emma dashed in front of you, obstructing you as best as a creature with no physical body could.“Wait, wait,” she said hastily, “Don’t you think you should wait for the messenger to come? It’s going to be suspicious if you go to that guy knowing all this before anybody even comes back and tells him? I don’t actually exist as far as most of these people are concerned, you know.”“Can’t that one Mask person see you?” you asked.“Well, I think he can, but he doesn’t tell anybody about it. I don’t think you lose anything by waiting.”“Except time,” you grumbled, “Fine. We wait.”“Boss,” Hans approached you, “You alright? You’re talkin’ to nobody.”“What?” you echoed, turning to him, then back to Emma, who looked as cluelessly at you as something without a face could. “I’m talking to Emma. She’s right here.”Hans squinted at the air, then at you. “Sure. Sure she is, boss. I’ll just…get back to work. Sitting on my ass.”As Hans slouched away, scratching his head, you murmured to Emma, “You aren’t a figment of my imagination, are you?”“If I am, then I hope you don’t start thinking creatively,” Emma said, “I don’t want you to turn me into a copy of your bitch girlfriend and start trying to mack on me. Because then I’d be a bitch.”“A simple no would have sufficed.”“That’s what a figment of your imagination would say to make you feel better.”
A figment of your imagination would have shut up by now, too. “So how does my soul taste?” you asked abruptly, “I’ve been informed that you’ve been taking bites out of me.”“So?” Emma asked, not surprised at all, it seemed, that you’d found this out. “Do you know how much of that you have? And it just grows back, anyways. It’s not like I’m biting off your fingers or anything. I could have just laid down on the ground and faded away if it was that much of a problem.”“I would have preferred you to ask, at least.”“Do you tell people to ask permission before they breathe the air near you?”“I would,” you said, “if breathing the air next to me meant people started turning into monsters.”“…you mean…” Emma postulated uncertainly, “…you mean I’m going to turn..?”“If you eat too much of me, yes.” You said harshly, “Then you stop being a persnickety fireball that people tolerate and turn into a spooky ghost that the scary wizards kill on sight.”“…I don’t want that.” Emma decided with ease, “But, who told you that?”“That girl over there,” you pointed to Fie, your latest personnel acquisition. “She knows some things of your sort. She’s called Fie.”“Fie?” Emma echoed, “I’ve never heard of a name like that. Is it short for something?”“Maybe.” It didn’t particularly interest you. Right now, you were thinking of a way for Hilda to not get murdered while waiting for Loch’s man to return, hopefully, to tell you as much as Emma did so you could confront Loch with it. You wondered if it was possible for nobody, even Cranick, to have to die at all. That would have been the best scenario, wouldn’t it? “Say,” you asked Emma, “From what Hilda’s told you, or what you’ve seen, of Cranick, would he be willing to just join the republic and free all the prisoners?”“Pffbbffpt.” Emma blew a dismissive raspberry, something you still weren’t sure how she did without lips, “No. I actually hung around him and Hilda to hear his opinion on that.”“Do elaborate.”
-----The first morning Cranick woke up with Emma still slumbering next to him, he was pleasantly surprised that his first reflex wasn’t to kick the woman sharing his bed onto the floor and while telling her to piss off, since it wasn’t night anymore. Something was slightly off in the air; like something was looking at him, but he put that up to just being a strange part of this new experience this relationship brought, and something he’d just get used to and eventually forget about altogether.He’d learned a quirk of Emma’s while sleeping next to her, though; something that had woken him up a few times in the middle of the darkness. She mumbled in her sleep, and shuffled about fitfully even though she was completely out of consciousness. The poor girl had been having nightmares, and he felt surprisingly helpless as he wondered what on earth he was supposed to do about that.So he’d let her sleep in as he went about his duties for the morning. The miners were making a big fuss, and some of the other band leaders wanted to teach them a lesson. They were influencing some of the home guard, it was argued, and some dangerous rumors were spreading, some whispering of revolution, an attempt to seize power. Cranick calmed these worries easily, though. Many of his fellows in leadership had been away from the city, but he had stayed in it for years. He’d have a word with the miners and the home guard, he reassured the other leaders, they knew him well, and they wouldn’t revolt against him. He spoke of this as the administrator of the city’s security, but he knew from the looks exchanged at the meeting that some were already thinking he spoke as Boss of the Death Heads.Damn all that, he thought as he watched all his fellows leave, themselves surely relieved that they had another reason to shove Cranick onto the golden shitter that was Boss. Selgess himself had despised the position while he was alive, Cranick knew; it was part of why the bastard was hardly ever around at home, and always out fighting despite the protests of people like himself. Now that it was looking like Cranick would be taking Selgess’s place, he was understanding why Selgess had acted with such irresponsibility.The damn sensation of being watched hadn’t stopped, either. Maybe he was just going nuts. Well, he had a salve for that particular ailment, at least. He wouldn’t even have to spend a day pretending to care about somebody’s feelings, either. He returned swiftly to his quarters, to find Emma still deeply asleep, despite his best efforts to rouse her.If she had been some worthless one night stand, Cranick would have just tipped her out of bed or splashed water on her face, but this was a woman Cranick wanted to find himself on the good side of.So instead, he opened a vial of ammonia salts under nose.
Emma’s eyes shot open and she launched into a coughing fit. Cranick waited patiently for her to cease, then sighed and said, “Sorry baby, but it’s nine in the morning and I haven’t eaten yet, I’m a hungry boy and momma told me to never eat til the whole family was at the table.”Cranick did his best to spoil Emma as much as possible. He had a few Blue Ribbons dress his new mistress in the best that they could find for her size, and called in the favor he had from Cookie, head of the kitchens, to make him something that wasn’t the same slop everybody usually got. Cookie was an effeminate, but massive man, and he seemed to live to please the Blue Ribbons, despite Cranick suspecting that Cookie was a homosexual (not that that mattered much in Sosaldt, but it still was an odd thing to Cranick). When Cranick asked for his aid in giving his mistress a pleasant morning breakfast, Cookie had accepted far more readily than Cranick had expected. “Oh, you are juthtadorable, how’d you get involved wiff a twathbag like Cwanig?” Cookie commented as he laid the plates before Emma and Cranick at the small table he had selected, away from the remnants of those still eating this late, “Thwied cakes, norffern thtyle, wif whifped cweam. Poabthed eggs, thea thalted. Theabewwy jam, to keep your hair pwetty, mithy.”“Will it make my hair pwetty?” Cranick asked mockingly.“Nothing could make you pretty,” Cookie said disapprovingly, dropping his ridiculous lisp when speaking so, “Enjoy~!”Cranick had devoured the breakfast, it being as delicious as it usually was when Cookie bothered to put effort into food, but Emma stared at it as if she wasn’t sure what food was.“What’s wrong, baby?” Cranick stole a bit of her fried cake with his fork, dipped it in a shallow dish of syrup on the side of the plate, and extended it to her mouth, touching the dripping sweet against her lips. “Well, I’m not going to chew it for you and spit it in your mouth, baby. Even I’m not that kinky.”“I’m not hungry,” Emma muttered.“C’mon, Cookie put his heart into this for you,” Cranick ate the bit of food he stole with pleasure, “You really have no idea how special that is. I could count the amount of times I’ve eaten food like this from him on one goddamn hand.”Emma said nothing, and Cranick simply sighed, saying, “Alright, I get it. Not a good place for you. No worries, I have a better place. Hold onto that food and come with me.”
Emma trailed behind Crannick as he led her up the north tower of the fort, and hid behind him as he shooed away the lookouts, and kept them down on the floor below, along with his guards. He got the feeling them watching with their beady little eyes Emma’s every move was what had kept her from her appetite.The north tower was nice, and open, with accommodations for the people who had to sit up there and keep a lookout and receive signals from the north facing outposts. Sosaldt wasn’t a pretty country, but when you lived in the middle of the place, you had to take what you could get for good views. Besides, Cranick thought there was a charm in the wilderness, even its barren spots where the grass yellowed and browned. For whatever reason, he thought the skies here were bluer than elsewhere, and where the sky met the ground it seemed like if he could get there he would find heaven.“So baby,” he sat Emma down beside the wall. He was thankful the wind wasn’t blowing much today; it could get annoyingly windy up here and he didn’t want to shout. “What do you think of Sosaldt? I know you’ve had a bit of a miserable time up to now, but I want to know what you think of things.”“I don’t know.” Emma said flatly.Cranick sighed, having expected this, but only thinking it polite to ask anyways. “Well, a lot of people will tell you it’s a shit pit. I don’t disagree, but it’s not like that everywhere. Plus, you have to take the shit with the good stuff, and the good stuff we have here is better than any other place.”“Good stuff?” Emma asked, and Cranick felt immensely pleased that she had actually asked something for once.“Yeah,” Cranick said excitedly, “Any other place, you’re born into laws and culture. You’ve got the expectations of your ancestors, everything that’s supposed to be who you are, but for a lot of us it just kept us down. This here? This is the only place in the world that’s free. You might think that sounds funny when we’ve got a bunch of people cooped up down below, when there’s people sold as slaves, and yeah, that’s pretty bad for them. I’m not gonna deny that’s some twisted shit I’m letting by, but like I said, you take the good with the bad.”“Mm.” Emma didn’t seem to agree, but Cranick wasn’t finished.“People come here, people get whacked, people get killed. But that’s life. If you can avoid all of that, then you can make it here like you can nowhere else. Nowhere else lets you be you. The Southern Cities? They’re our paymasters, sure, but they’re trash. Some other places try to be places they shouldn’t be, too. I love this place because it’s unique, you know? What do you think?”
Emma took a nervous bite of fried cake, heartily doused with syrup. “I don’t know.” Another surprise to Cranick, she actually followed up on this. “Sorry. I’ve never thought about that that much. I just lived where I was at and did what I did.”“Well,” Cranick said, “We’ll have plenty of time to change that particular outlook. Hey,” he held Emma’s chin in his fingers and titled her head up, “You’ve got syrup on your lips.” Then he kissed her.-----“Was it really necessary to include the part with them kissing?” you asked, annoyed. “And them eating? Really?”“…I got carried away.” Emma admitted, “It was cute.”“Cranick is a slaver and a bandit,” you declared, “and a deserter, from the sounds of it. He is incapable of being cute.”“I would say your bitch girlfriend is incapable of being cute, but you thought enough otherwise to put a fat hickey right between where her boobs would be,” Emma said with offense, “But the point is, he like the way things are now. He’s not going to join up with you, I don’t think he’d just give up and surrender, either, but that’s…another story. What do you think of what he said, though? About the freedom and such? Seems like somebody talking from a high place to me.”>Well, he is right about one thing. With enough force here, you can do anything you like. By that philosophy, Signy’s going to create a better place out of this hole. Everything else, he can get stuffed on.>He sounds ridiculous, like anybody coming out of the mess that Netilland would. Freedom has no worth if man uses it to do beastly things. Strong authority must watch over the actions of those who cannot be trusted, or justice is discarded for the sake of whims.>He sounds like he’s justifying why he stays in a hell because he can’t escape it. It’s not serious philosophy, from where I stand, so it shouldn’t be given any mind. Why listen to a prisoner regale me with speeches of how pleasant his cell is, when there is a world outside the prison?>Other?
>>2082357>He sounds ridiculous, like anybody coming out of the mess that Netilland would. Freedom has no worth if man uses it to do beastly things. Strong authority must watch over the actions of those who cannot be trusted, or justice is discarded for the sake of whims.>But he is right about one thing. With enough force here, you can do anything you like. By that philosophy, Signy’s going to create a better place out of this hole. Everything else, he can get stuffed on.
>>2082357>>He sounds like he’s justifying why he stays in a hell because he can’t escape it. It’s not serious philosophy, from where I stand, so it shouldn’t be given any mind. Why listen to a prisoner regale me with speeches of how pleasant his cell is, when there is a world outside the prison?
>>2082458Yea in that order>>2082357
>>2082458Works for me.>>2081314This plan could work but it also hangs on something that Hilda hasn't been demonstrating very well: acting the part. She's done an admirable job getting into the place and not getting found out. But she's been extremely lucky snagging Cranick. If he wasn't so head over heels for her this opportunity wouldn't work. It wasn't her charms that snagged him, it was his particular peculiarities.I don't give her good odds for staying cool under this kind of pressure. Challenging him to a night duel? That'd probably work if she can do more beyond muttering "I don't know." It relies on some showmanship that I don't think she currently has.As for extracting Maddy, the timing would have to be superb because Riverman has to both gib Cranick quietly and then either immediately spring Maddy or wait and risk Maddy getting moved/ Hilda getting imprisoned. He likely has a good chance getting Maddy without any help from Hilda but the more complications we put into his plan the greater the chance everything fucks up. We just can't anticipate what a fort full of bandits will do after their leader got iced.I think the best thing would be to get Cranick to the wall one way or another soon and then Loch's men snipe him, Riverman extracts Hilda immediately after and he continues whatever earlier plan he had for Maddy. The longer Hilda is there the greater the risk to her well being. Even if she was naked and screaming because she was covered in blood the guards would still see her as suspicious for getting Cranick there in the first place. And who knows if a vengeful Blue Ribbon would knife her in the cells while we wait for the Riverman to magic us a solution. Maddy would have no connection to an assassination that was using regular bullets, possibly from a potential rival not eager to see him become the Chief. So for her we have a little more time.
>>2083019To add on to this, if he gets Maddy first he has to escort her to the wall and spend precious time for Hilda to set up and strip with Cranick. What if he says no? Or if he's grabby and goes straight for the goods after one round? How can Hilda and Riverman coordinate if something goes wrong? What if Riverman actually fucks up somehow and we left Cranicks assassination to the very last hour before the Fort Attack and everyone is trapped with us none the wiser?If we kill him much sooner that gives time for tempers to flare and accusations to fly. Any front line Death Head won't automatically know Cranick is dead at the battle line. If anything the surviving leadership will assume that it was the opening shot to our attack to try and cut off their leadership and rally their troops against us using his death.
>>2083019>>2083019>Riverman has to both gib Cranick quietly and then either immediately spring Maddy...In the given scenario, the notion hinges primarily on the Riverman killing Cranick on his way out, rather than going in. This negates the need to worry about what the fort of bandits will do when they're alerted, because he would be leaving by then anyway. To reiterate: It provides him an Escape Route, not a point of entry. I don't feel it actually relies on any sort of acting on Hilda's part, though you seem to have misunderstood me. When I refer to Hilda's charms, I am talking about her scars, general roughness, and skill in marksmanship. As you said, these are the things he values so highly about her; Those are her charms. All it would require from her is to remain the deadpan shooter she's always been, and be willing to strip down between shots - She's already proven willing to be somewhat naked around him, so that's entirely within her capacity currently.>if he gets Maddy first he has to escort her...He's going to be going over the wall with Maddy anyway. In this scenario he would have a specific escape route guaranteed to have less guards assuming the modesty compromise works.>What if he says no?Then revert to default plans, or whatever alternative you would like. There's time between the extraction and the proposal for the match for the outcome to be relayed.>If he's grabbyNone of his characterization indicates this. The one time he WAS forceful with her, it was explicitly noted that he felt terrible afterwards and redoubled his efforts to "win" her properly. He's not desperate, he's committed. Any scene regarding him in this thread will tell you as much.>How can Hilda and Riverman coordinate if something goes wrong?Tentatively, Emma can act as a go-between. if this is unacceptable, signals could be devised using Hilda's gunfire during the match, which is plenty loud enough to do the trick.>What if Riverman actually fucks up [etc].I have no answer for you. I could ask "what if the sky fell" or "what if Loch betrays us", or any number of other scenarios; The bottom line is that in this scenario, you will NOT find a solution which guarantees 100% safety for all involved parties. Either you sacrifice one (Hilda) to ensure the safety of another (Maddy), you put your faith in Riverman to accomplish one objective (Maddy) while sacrificing Hilda to accomplish the other (Hilda), or you take a risk to achieve all goals, while risking a fall through.In the latter, our goal would be to mitigate potential risks. This means aiming for minimal steps with probable success rates - All of the characterization put forth by Hilda, Riverman, and Cranick point towards this sort of plan going off relatively fluidly. With only step 2 is guaranteed, step 1 has an abort-switch if the modest compromise fails, and step 3 has options for positive and negative outcomes.
>>2083019>the guards would still see her as suspiciousIn the outer bounds of prediction, this is acceptable so long as that suspicion is cast with enough doubt to warrant detainment rather than immediate execution. It is, regardless, safer than the 100% sacrifice ratios where she smuggles Maddy or kills Cranick herself.>who knows if a vengeful Blue Ribbon would knife her...Need I remind you that you're suggesting the spoiled prostitutes noted for being weak would be attempting to shank Hilda? It's certainly possible but... This seems more a result of nervous conjecture than a serious concern. It's an important decision, so the nervousness is well deserved, but I'm not worried about this outcome at all.>If we kill him much sooner that gives time for tempers to flare and accusations to fly. You are correct. It's certainly one option to kill Cranick and extract Hilda immediately, then go back in for Maddy later. This would probably cause the most disarray in the coming siege, but it will also make Maddy more difficult to retrieve. Once Cranick is dead, security is liable tighten down further than we can possibly imagine, to the point we may be better off just retrieving Maddy after the siege.Setting aside the timing, the option of counter-sniping during their match is plausible. Loch's snipers wouldn't be liable to have a very good position, and it would be even worse since it was at night. Naturally, a single missed shot on their end and the entire plan is up in proverbial smoke, with the blame placed squarely on Hilda's shoulders. It isn't an option I'm confident in, but I won't deny that it could work well.My primary complaint in that regard is that if THAT plan fails, then step 1 ruins all subsequent steps unless the Riverman is in position to immediately swoop in and silence Cranick, assuming the bullet doesn't alert someone in the fort since it missed and continued along to a wall/window. It certainly has a nicer outcome in the infiltration/extraction sequence of events, but all of its risk (and reward) is front loaded in the initial act. Compare to the previous suggestion where we it's possible to achieve even partial success even with failures.If you prefer the front loaded risk however, that's certainly a valid option.
>>2083102These are valid answers to my concerns, but it does boil down to placing a great deal of trust in the Riverman's killability and Hilda/Guards responding to Cranicks cranial displacement. If she doesn't have to "ham it up" as it were then she'll probably do a fine enough job getting Cranick out there into position. I just don't have confidence in Riverman dealing with unforeseen problems arising in the execution (in all senses of the word) and Hilda being able to escape the blame.My priorities are killing Cranick and less getting Maddy out immediately, I feel we can expose Hilda to less danger even if it means leaving Maddy in there longer. It puts Maddy in a more dangerous position than I'd like but there's no obvious connection between her and assassinating the Chief and as stated earlier they wouldn't want to kill the golden goose as long as she appears unconnected.My only challenge is that a Blue Ribbon has already tried to kill Hilda with the cyanide pill or whatever they were smuggling in. It's a valid concern that she might be harmed even before we get to the end of the week, Cranicks protection or not. Without Cranick she's completely vulnerable to revenge if we don't extract her at the same time, or before Maddy.Question, when do you wish to enact your plan timeline wise? As soon as possible or more towards the end of the week? We also need to consider Rivermans plan as well. He seemed to want as much time as possible but if we want to try this with the possibility of giving him another shot at rescuing Maddy after a first failed attempt at killing Cranick (Magic/Sniper/Fisticuffs/whatever) that would imply acting ASAP.
>>2083246I actually have more faith in the Riverman being able to kill people than I do him extracting Maddy. He's told us before that he worked primarily as a superpowered hitman, so in that regard I'm completely willing to trust him to get the job done. You may have a point in the Riverman not being the most reliable improviser, but I don't believe we know enough about his character to specifically doubt him in that regard. I may be forgetting a time he displayed an inability to react accordingly in a situation, though.>My priorities are killing Cranick and less getting Maddy out immediatelyI agree with your judgement on Maddy's safety being more or less secured, though I suppose we will continue to disagree regarding Hilda's potential safety. Considering she has tangled with a bear in the past, and any number of wild animals, and even our own enemies while accompanying us, I find it severely unlikely that even the most vindictive of Blue Ribbons will be a threat to her. Even if they tried to be tricky, it's clear she won't let her guard down.>when do you wish to enact your plan timeline wise?This is important. If we follow my suggestion of using the strip sniping match to secure an exit route, then I would suggest it be done as close to the end of the week as possible. This allows plenty of time to relay whether the modesty compromise looks to have born fruit, and organize the location of said exit route between Hilda and the Riverman. It would maximize the time the Riverman has to prepare for the extraction, and minimize the amount of potential time Hilda could theoretically be detained before the siege if he can't extract her in time (down a wall, back up a wall, etc.) Even more so, if it's possible for Maddy to prepare a healing spell ahead of time somehow, then we may be able to expedite Hilda's extraction by having her jump off the wall and be caught by the Riverman someways down. She would get hurt, yes, but Maddy could immediately heal it, thus negating the need for the Riverman to go all the way back up the wall... Or however he plans to do this.If we follow your suggestion, then the strip sniping match would ideally occur very soon as you've said. This way if it fails, he MIGHT have another chance of extracting her later... Although if his preparation includes stereotypical information gathering such as patrol routes, and pattern recognition, then we may be screwing him over by throwing all that out the window via killing Cranick early and then giving them time to double down before he goes back in. In essence, we'd be giving him 3-4 days or less to do it, instead of a full week, because his initial preparation would be rendered invalid.
>>2083246An alternative is to have the Riverman use the strip sniping match as his entry point, attempting to stealth kill Cranick, and then extracts Maddy while Hilda pretends to keep up the sniping competition. As long as she keeps up the gunshots, it could buy us time... But if anyone comes to check on her and finds Cranick dead, we're in trouble. There's the possibility of her throwing his body over the wall and lying about him having just left, which could buy a little more time, but I am loathe to bet on buying time when I don't know how much time I need in the first place.In that scenario we would use the timing of the furthest into the week to allot for Riverman's preparation, and organizing between Hilda and the Riverman (and perhaps Maddy).The perk to that would be the guaranteed death of Cranick, and a potentially silent infiltration/extraction. It hinges on a stealth kill, which I feel somewhat confident in the Riverman achieving simply because Soulbinders make it their job to appear out of nowhere anyway. It's frontloaded like your initial sniping plan, but I feel it may have a higher success rate, while maintaining the circumstances which allow for Maddy's extraction to go more safely.
“He sounds ridiculous,” you scoffed with as much derision as you could muster in a well-practiced turn of the lip, “Like any coming out of that mess that is Netilland would. Born into laws and culture, as if that is such a bad thing! Freedom has no worth if man lives as beasts do. Strong authority must watch over the actions of those who cannot be trusted, or justice is discarded for the sake of whims.”“…Well, yes, I agree,” Emma said slowly, “maybe in a less Praise the Archduke way, but I agree.”“However,” you weren’t quite done yet, “he is right about one thing. With enough force here, you can do anything you like. By that philosophy, Signy’s going to create a better place out of this pit. Everything else, he can get stuffed on.”Emma stared at you for a moment, then started laughing, “Is that a republican bent you’re swaying towards?”“Republics are not an invalid form of governance,” you said defensively, “Merely one that is lacking in its present state.”“I get the feeling that you haven’t always thought that, hm? Did Republic Girl put those thoughts in your head?” Emma asked teasingly.“No.” You were well educated on the subject of republics, thank you very much. Well, at least, educated enough to pass the class. Barely. The philosophy of government interested you much more than the way it was executed.“You know,” Emma said coyly, “She looks like a total dork, but she’s sort of cute. Republic girl, I mean. Flocked by girls and you pick the worst one, isn’t that funny? Just imagine the way your children look from each. Republic girl, they’re normal, with massive caterpillars stuck to their foreheads. Hilda, they’re fine until you dump them headfirst into a meat grinder. Your fiancée? Ginger. Midgets. With horrifying eyes.”“That’s quite enough.” You cut off the conversation there, “We have other subjects, to broach with Loch’s man when he gets back.”“He won’t be here for a while,” Emma sniffed haughtily, “May as well pass the time with something less…stressful.”“…Fine.”-----
You waited an appallingly long time for Loch’s man to come to the town hall while Emma theorized about the nature of potential relationships you would have, disregarding the choice you and Maddalyn’s parents had already made for you. You knew she was doing it merely to annoy you, but you couldn’t even plug your ears; Poltergeist after all had said you didn’t hear her so much as you felt her presence fluctuate and that was translated by your brain into sound somehow. When she got around to the possibilities of Fie, you shut your brain off entirely, and pretended that you were a madman doing his best to ignore the voices in his head that suggested the unthinkable.“Von Tracht,” you heard an actual voice say. You looked up, and saw the smallish man of Loch’s who had come with you to Todesfelsen, who called himself by the false name of Fritz, stepping up. “If I didn’t know any better, I would say you were waiting for me.”“That would be ridiculous,” you stood up and nodded, stretching your back out as you did, raising your arms to the sky.“It was inconvenient for me to stop by your camp first, and find you not there,” Fritz mused, hands in his pockets, “It is good that you waited here, at least. I wish to broach this information to you as well as Loch at the same time.”“Now that is convenient.”-----Fritz led you up to Loch without a word, and Loch smiled at you and Fritz as you entered. Besides a few guards lurking by him, including his shadow, Rune, the room was empty. Signy had left a day ago to tour the Guillotines’ territories, as well as look at their troops contributions. She was expected to return with more troops that hadn’t yet come to Rostig; presumably, Loch would inform her of what you were being informed of now, then.“Hello Fritz,” Loch greeted his man, beaming, “Von Tracht, as well. What news do you have for me?”“We have a problem.” Fritz stated simply.Loch’s expression inverted itself with frightening speed. “A problem?”“Disunited they are,” Fritz said levelly, “But they are rallying around a pillar of their community. One who has never left the city, who has popular support of the city. The leaders of the warbands are wary of one another, and the city of these warbands, but none are wary of one man. Olafier Cranick.”
“So Olafier Cranick must die,” you said, pretending as though you didn’t know this before.“Indeed he must.” Loch said coldly.“But if he doesn’t…” you led on, “…do you happen to have a plan for that?”“Of course,” Loch said dismissively. It was an extremely different tone to his usual; lacking in any sort of his usual warmth. “But we will avoid reaching that point, if we can. Fritz, you have a plan for eliminating this development, yes?”“We do,” Fritz hadn’t become more nervous, to your surprise. You would have expected as such from a crony of such a man as Loch. “One of Von Tracht’s companions…a woman who is called Hilda Glennzsegler, has caught the affection of said Cranick. His extreme affection. The security situation in the city has increased to the point where none other of our operatives are easily able to approach…”“Yet she can approach him closer than most in the entire city can,” Loch concluded, “We have nothing to worry about. You wanted to me to give you Isek, then?”“Indeed.”“Isek…the poisoner?” you asked, “I thought…is the security light enough for that?”“No,” Fritz answered the question you already knew the answer to, “But there is a sort of poison that is extremely difficult to detect, and it is extremely poisonous, though slow acting. A topical. Isek is skilled in its preparation. Apply the topical to her lips, and all she need do is kiss her new lover, and the poison will corrupt his body until it dies, an hour later.”“But,” you said, “If it’s on her lips, then she could accidentally ingest it…easily. And kissing…” You thought to Maddalyn. If Cranick was even half as sloppy as you had been, there was no way that topical was just going into his mouth alone. “She’ll stand a big chance of getting poisoned herself.”“She has already volunteered for the mission,” Fritz said matter of factly, “One life, for potentially thousands. You can do sums, can you not, Von Tracht? This is a noble sacrifice, to build a better tomorrow. The poison will be painted upon her lips, with some sealant as a precaution, but as you said, not a reliable way to prevent transmission. It is a slow acting poison. Even in case of an accident, she is plenty capable of arranging a romantic interlude with the target in the time she has, even if she were to swallow it, or if it were to contact her skin, as soon as it was applied.”
“Is there no other way?” you asked.“I do not like it,” Loch said, his hand on his chin and partially over his mouth in contemplation, “But time is of the essence. Fritz. What is the progress of our other projects?”“Unimpeded,” Fritz declared with satisfaction, “If not for this Cranick.”“Hmph.” Loch ground his teeth together, “So be it, then. You will be taking the attack teams and the stormsuits on your return, as well.”“Indeed. There was one remaining matter…” Fritz’s gaze turned to you, “Miss Glennzsegler stated that you had a charm of hers…a necklace. She would like it returned to her, if you would be so kind as to give it up.”Emma has said that Hilda would refuse the mission if you kept the necklace, and embark upon it if you did. This man, Fritz…had told you no such thing.In truth, this plan was more likely to kill Cranick than any you had come up with…but Hilda’s death would practically be guaranteed.>Hand over the necklace>Do not hand over the necklaceIf you do not choose to hand over the necklace, then:>Refuse on principle; it was a gift to you, bluff to make her deny the mission.>Call out Fritz on his lie; you have no way of knowing, as far as they know, of his deception, since Emma cannot be seen by most outside of your band,>Propose an alternative plan; one that would not end in Hilda’s death, yet still have a good chance of succeeding. Note that these men likely do not know what Soulbinders are either; an explanation for the Riverman’s involvement will have to be forged. Alternatively, you can just be enigmatic like Loch often is, but they will not like your behavior on this.>Other?...Yeah, okay, I think we already know what the choices here will be, but ehhhhh, you know?Anyways as far as the alternative plan goes, I'm sure you all can vote on what you think is best, considering y'all have been thoroughly discussing it thus far. Don't let me interrupt that; take as much time as you need to refine it, but once everything's done, go ahead and vote on that, and we'll get that going.While you've never fought a Soulbinder, well, to put it bluntly, even the Riverman would be an impossible opponent if he were to just rush you and try and kick your ass outside of your tank.
>>2083337>Hand over the necklaceBut>Other?Keep the tooth ourselves, tell Fritz that she'll know what it means....and in the likely event she doesn't understand what we mean, when we send back Emma to inform Hilda of whatever plan we chose we'll give her instructions. Hopefully being: attempt the plan(s), come back alive.
>>2083337>>Hand over the necklaceI dont particularly feel confident about the whole sniping plot thing. It hinges alot on getting Maddy's bathtime to coincide with match if we want to get her out at the same time. We dont even know the schedule for that, and it likely occurs during the day anyways.I would like to return the necklace with the intention that she return it to us herself afterwards, right now, she needs all the protection/charm/magic she can get. I dont know if Emma can survive another journey back, but I would like her to relay that to Hilda if she can.Maybe we should feed Emma our presence so she can pretend to be a person, im not sure if she'd be able to take additional forms, but if she were to turn into Hilda and lead Cranick somewhere where one of Lochs men could snipe him, that would be a whole safer alternative imo, especially if we can get Hilda to disguise her self and leave before then.
>>2083337>>Hand over the necklace
>>2083337>Hand over the necklace
>Hand over the necklace
>>2082313Cancel the attack immediately, Cookie is too adorable to get killed!>>2083418>>2083431>>2083470>>2083481>>2083486You're consigning Hilda to death, anons. Notice that proposing an alternate plan is an option only under not handing over the necklace. Returning it means not "try it" but "I don't care if you die".>>2083337>Do not hand over the necklace>Say that we know why she'd want it back, don't elaborate further.>Propose the Cranick-killing part of the plan in >>2079911. Either go for tie-up sex, or just fuck Cranick until he's asleep, then smother him with a pillow, or hit over the head with a chair, or something. This gives Hilda plenty of time to get away, since no one will intrude on the boss while he's resting after sex.
>>2083337>>2083523Is there any way we can get Hilda to do this shit without giving the necklace? If we're going to send her to go and die I'd rather not she go thinking we don't give a shit about her.
>>2083554Yes, we can. Just ask her to do it and survive.
>>2083561>>2083337Fine then hand it over but tell her we expect it back personally from her when this is over
>>2083337>>2083583Make sure to have Fritz tell Hilda we expect it back.
>>2083589Fritz might just lie, like he lied to us.
>>2083647Send Emma back with him.
>>2083648I don't think Emma can make the trip again unless we juice her up. >>2083647That's why we'll send Emma with him to make sure she knows why we sent the necklace.
>>2083669She can always feed on Fritz. Though tell her this is a special case.
“If that is how it is,” you said to Fritz, untying the necklace and holding it in your hands; there was an itch on your throat, where it used to be, “then that’s how it is.”“What…” Emma said thinly, floating next to you, unseen and unheard by anybody else, “What are you doing? You said…you just said…”Fritz smiled at you, and held out his hand, waiting for Hilda’s charm.You couldn’t explain to Emma what you were thinking right now, so you tried to communicate your intent through an innocent glance at the air. It probably looked like you were approving of a suicide plan, but you weren’t really, right?This had the opposite of the intended effect.“You monster!” Emma exploded, “You piece of shit! You complete and utter worm!” She stammered, speaking quickly, so much so that she was barely comprehensible. “Do you even know how much she cares about you? Doesn’t that mean anything at all to you? She’s not doing this for some bullshit republic, or for honor, or anything! She’s doing this for you you sack of shit! If you hand that over, nothing that I say will convince her to live on! I’m just some floating nothing, she doesn’t trust me not to lie to save her life, if you give that slug her charm, that thing she gave to you to keep you because she loves you, then she takes that poison and dies!” “I’m waiting, Von Tracht,” Fritz droned.“Please!” Emma almost screamed.>Hand over the charm>Keep the charm>Other?
>>2084633>Hand over the charmDidn't we already vote on this? I was >>2083589
>>2084643>>2084633We can just explain our plan to Emma later.
>>2084650I would like to remind that Emma has left in the past for an extended period of time because you made her angry, and she wasn't even close to being as mad then as she is now.
>>2084671Why did you give us the option to hand it over at all if you obviously don't want us to?
>>2084680It isn't a question of what I want. I write what's been decided on, but from the way the votes have been cast, then changed around, I'm thinking that I should make very certain that people know what they're voting for. I don't want to make a major development based off of what I'm seeing is an uncertain decision.There has never been a point where I have held another vote because the plot is developing in a way I don't want it to. I don't believe in doing that for what's meant to be an interactive medium. However, when something like this comes up, involving volatile characters and known manipulators, I want to stress that decisions be made while fully considering the possible consequences, and from the earlier results, that simply wasn't the case.
>>2084701Nothing changed around? The closest thing to changing votes was >>2083554 wanting her to not feel as bad when she went. This will get rid of our Cranick problem easily, and the chaos will make it easier to grab Maddy. If Emma storms off, it's not our problem.>>2084633>Hand over the charm
>>2084732From what I'm seeing from votes like here>>2083583>>2083589What with expecting the charm back, there's an implication I'm seeing that there is a desire for her to live to give it back personally. She can't give back anything if she's dead.If I'm misunderstanding something here, I want to know.
>>2084680I don't think tanq is saying he doesn't want us to do this, I think he's pointing out the severe possibility that it won't work. I think it was made clear earlier that sending the necklace back was a signal that Hilda should sacrifice herself, so this plan that we should send it back but depend on Emma to tell Hilda to not sacrifice herself anyway (when we don't even have reason to believe it's actually possible for her to go through with the plan without sacrificing herself) just sounds incredibly tenuous and risky. So I think the purpose of tanq's last post was to clarify that for people who seem on the fence about what they actually want to happen.
If we don't trust either messenger to accurately deliver our message, how about we go back with Fritz, talk to Hilda then immediately return back?
>>2084806Considering he lied to us, likely already knowing she'll only go through with it if she has the necklace, I doubt they'll just let us go in person and potentially blow the whole thing for them. I'd expect heavy resistance to the idea, because not only would it compromise their easiest assassination plot, it would engender bitter feelings of mistrust between yourself and Loch's men in the short days before the siege.Though even if we were to humour this idea and go ourselves, what we would do? Tell her to put on the poison that going to certainly kill her, and then say "please don't die while doing this" in person?
Good god guys this isn't that difficult. Give the necklace if you want to go through with the plan with has an 99% chance of Hilda dying or don't and find a different way.This whole fucking decision on telling her to survive is retarded. She most likely will NOT survive if this plan goes through, no amount of empty platitudes you bring along with the necklace will help her chances. This is nothing more than you guys trying to make yourselves feel better about sending a person on a suicide run, that's it.
>>2084909The main point (at least for me anyway) is that the idea Emma and Hilda have thatsending someone to die equals not giving a shit about them is honestly stupid. We're not sending her to die because we don't care, we're doing it because it gives us the best possible chance of making sure we can take Todesfelsen. Heck, in-universe you can ask Brucker. How many men has he sent to his deaths as Von Hohneholz? I'd doubt he'd reply that he'd sent them to their deaths because he hated them.
>>2084948Once again this is arbitrary. Emma isn't going to care that you don't like that you are getting Hilda killed. She is going to care that Hilda is getting killed in the first place. Specially after you lied to her face.As for Hilda? What, you want to make her feel better before she dies? Write a note to go with the necklace explaining that you're sorry it came to this, she's our best shot, etc. but don't do the 'pls survive' shit.
>>2085081Fine change it to 'good luck' or something if telling her to survive is too triggering.
>>2084633>Keep the charmDelay the plan and do something else
>>2084633>Keep the charm
>>2084633I'll vote for this. >>2085128>Hand over the necklace, but write a letter saying you do care, she's just in the best position to save lives.
>>2084633If we can't remove the tooth from the charm thus insinuating we want her to attempt it but come back alive then:>Keep the charmHanding over the charm is pretty cold guys.
To all of the people now voting to keep the charm. I'm not saying your choice is wrong, but I feel compelled to ask - Except for >>2085763 and >>2085128, who helped put their all into alternative plans, and were fine with it anyway respectively - What part of the repeated statements before Tanq had to make an entire extra post going "Are you REALLY sure?", and reiterating via literally screaming in your face, about how this plan was going to kill Hilda did you not understand?What compelled the overwhelming vote earlier to hand it over, after literally everything regarding that action to that point saying "No, she will not survive this. This is the choice you make if you're okay with her dying"? Because for the life of me I cannot possibly fathom how it took actually, factually, being screamed at in the face, before people realized they could not hand over the necklace AND still keep Hilda alive.This entire series of events is just... Baffling on so many levels, I can't even begin to process how it occurred.
I'll be calling this vote in half an hour. I know it's already been a while, but, well, just so we're all on the same page for this one instead of me just writing and posting with no warning as usual.I think either choice would make a good story, honestly, so I have no particular preferences, but I was pretty sure it was going to go one way, then it went the other, then back again. I shouldn't have been sure what to expect.
>>2085878To be fair this is probably the most major choice we have needed so far, so I can see why people are shifting back and forth.
>>2085878Also just to make sure, if we don't hand over the necklace, what IS the backup plan based on whatever people have said so far?
Well, it looks like Hilda's not quite dead yet.Not that this is any guarantee considering there's still work to be done that could result in great bodily harm.Writing.>>2085941Well, there's been some discussion of that earlier in the thread, so perhaps something could be found there? It was rather deeply thought about from the looks of it.
>>2085974Oh, I thought you were just going to take whatever the majority decided previously on alternate decisions.
>>2085997There was no majority decision previously. All of it was ignored and/or discarded in favor of handing over the necklace.And now we're back to where we started, after that vote got overturned into not handing over the necklace directly after voting to hand it over directly after saying we wouldn't hand it over.
>>2086002Actually after reading it again, we didn't tell Emma we wouldn't have it over. All we said was we'll talk with Loch and we won't send anyone on a suicide mission if we can help us. YMMV that to me is more wait and see rather than a definite no.
>>2086006>“I need to speak with Loch,” you declared, “He had best have a better plan for this.”>“So you’re not going to have her kill herself, then?” Emma asked hopefully.>“Of course not,” you scoffed, “I haven’t volunteered any of my people to become sacrifices. I’m not allowing anybody to go on a suicide mission if it can turn out another way.Our mileage varies greatly. However, the point is moot, and honestly I'm more confounded as to how ridiculous this was than I am particularly invested in whether or not Hilda gets sent at all.
You had to think about it more than you would have cared to admit. You didn’t actually want to condemn Hilda yet; you wanted to see if Emma could convince Hilda to try something else, if possible, and send her her charm back for sentimental reasons…but Emma put the kibosh on the possibility of that rather neatly. Though, with the finality of it all, you still had to think.This was a chance to destroy the structure of a vile enemy, with a very high chance of success, for but one life. Reasonably, it was a worthy sacrifice, and considering the desperation the situation might bring, it would be reasonable for you to trade one life for thousands. Likewise, it would be mad to do the opposite. But was this your life to trade away? It was the duty of an officer to minimize the losses of their unit, while accomplishing their duties to their fullest ability. It was inevitable that in war, one would lose allies, friends, perhaps even family. You had been incredibly fortunate to only take casualties in the form of injuries. Strossvald did not draft; enough volunteers were drawn towards the army to not require it most of the time, which meant that the soldiery knew what they had signed up for. Hilda, in having signed a mercenary contract, likewise knew exactly the risks. She had been wounded already multiple times while serving you. Perhaps Emma’s outburst had swayed you a little. Mostly, though, it was a sense that locked your fingers tight around the charm, a feeling that betrayed logic, that hoped to smother it with will alone.I can do better than this, can’t I? Does the blood of heroes not run in my veins? Would my honor remain intact if I made no attempt to protect my servants, my friends?Am I truly so powerless that I cannot save but one life?“Actually,” you said, pulling your hand back, “This was given to me as a token of favor. I’d rather keep it, in remembrance.”Fritz frowned, and his jaw set. “Hm. I see.”It was a relief to you that he didn’t try and press that; you supposed it would have seemed strange if he did, but as far as Emma had said, Hilda would refuse the task to poison herself, at least, if you did not send back her charm.Emma was silent as the rest of the room was, and then shouted, “What the hell is wrong with you!?” She couldn’t hide that she was much less tense in this outburst, though.“I suppose,” Fritz said blankly, “That will be all then. The combat teams, the storm suits, weapons, and Isek…although we may not end up using that plan, should the circumstances change…”
“With the increased security, can you get all of those in?” Loch asked.“We can.” Fritz said confidently, “We have secured an entry for that sort of materiel. It is merely…difficult, to get close to the most important target…” He looked to you, “I am sorry, Von Tracht, but we have little else for you. You may leave.”“Fritz,” Loch said, “I will dismiss Von Tracht.”“Sir.”“You are dismissed, Von Tracht.”-----You were plenty happy to leave that room, though when you left you still weren’t sure what to do.“So that was needlessly intense, you dimwit,” Emma scolded you harshly.“I was going to tell you not to take the poison route,” you tried to defend yourself.“She wouldn’t have believed me!” Emma snapped, “If you had handed that thing over, she would have thought it would have come from you. If you had let go of that stupid tooth, I would have left and never looked back.”“Well, good thing I didn’t, then.” You shared in quietness for a moment, in your isolation outside. “You aren’t very trustworthy, admittedly.”“…Fine!” Emma sniffed, “I egged Hilda on to take advantage of you. Is that what you want to hear?”Well, not at this moment, it wasn’t, but at least she got that out there. “Why?”“She has nothing. All she wanted was something that means…so little to your life. It’s not like you’d have to deal with it if she got knocked up. It’s not like you would have done anything wrong, she’d never tell anybody, not even you…So why not? It’s better than her just keeping on as…some bit of nothing. Like I am.”“Now wait just a-““So what’s the plan, then,” Emma cut you off, “Obviously you want me to relay something to her, since you didn’t stick around in that room to try and force it.”You could have, and really, you could go back. But depending on the plan, there was a possibility that you couldn’t involve Loch and his men, if you were to even attempt to preserve the secrecy of your links with soulbinders, who themselves were not even supposed to exist.>So what’s the plan?There’s been a few proposed, so I’ll let people look through those and support them, modify them, whatever, if they like. I’ll put out an abridged list soon, but I’m just getting this post out for now.
>>2086086I liked the plan where the Riverman finds a way to kill Cranick and Hilda rescues Maddalyn by beating up all the thots.
And plans! I know they're really goofily named considering the risk of what could happen, but it's good to have some levity in stressful situations.>Operation Full Moon: Have Hilda take Cranick to a secluded location, and challenge him to a game of “strip sniping.” With Cranick’s guards kept away for the purposes of his mistress’s modesty, another party could swoop in and kill him. It wouldn’t even have to be Hilda.>Operation Boneyard: Have Hilda attempt to murder Cranick in private, perhaps after a romantic evening, by smothering, strangling, or bludgeoning with blunt instrument. Risks Cranick being able to fight back, and thus is rather unreliable, if simplistic.>Operation Peeping Tom: Nix the stripping, keep both people inside the fort, but have Hilda bring Cranick out to the walls, where he can be dispatched.>Steps can be taken to make the Riverman’s job easier, or one could simply let him to his own devices, or just have him try for a rescue at some other point.>The Riverman can also be used for the assassination, being a powerful sorcerer, if self admittedly a new one. If he is not used, it is possible for one of Loch’s or Honnrieg’s men to take a long shot, but the extra security means that an ideal shot is practically impossible to set up, thus carrying riskI summarized these as best I could, and if I missed important steps or modifications, I apologize.These are of course not the only options. Anything can be covered under>Other?
Any chance of hiring the Iron Hogs to do their distraction then killing him someway? Sniping, Hilda, etc.Might require him to go out or he might be a coward and hole up. Could use Riverman then.Just an idea.
>>2086121You could implement that into a plan, though it might be a bit of a pain to get to their outpost.Or you could just have somebody do that for you. It depends on the timetable you want. Getting their involvement will definitely delay things though.
>>2086113>>Operation Peeping Tom: Nix the stripping, keep both people inside the fort, but have Hilda bring Cranick out to the walls, where he can be dispatched.>have the Riverman kill him once he's there with some magic bullshit. If he can shoot a gun he could probably use his magic to get himself into an ideal sniping position. But it needs to be clear that a third party was responsible for the death and not Hilda.
>>2086113Oh shit, that was intense to read. I've already seen one character killed by anons misunderstanding a vote in another quest. The aftermath was not pretty.>Operation Peeping Tom: Nix the stripping, keep both people inside the fort, but have Hilda bring Cranick out to the walls, where he can be dispatched.>Use the Riverman for assassination>Have him rescue Maddy after the attack has been started, when the people in the fort are sufficiently distracted.
>>2086113>Operation Peeping Tom: Nix the stripping, keep both people inside the fort, but have Hilda bring Cranick out to the walls, where he can be dispatched.Method of execution to be determined. I am only worried that if he is messily killed with magic, then our old friend Liemanner will catch wind from a radio call that the Riverman has turned and that Von Tracht is up to no good nearby.I think we should continue creating a plan, but I can't contribute much right now.
Snipe him with a mortar, too. Just in case. I'm sure honnrieg has a mortar team that's good enough. Ask iron hogs for a sniper team.>Bring Emma and talk with die. Ask her if she can tell how close she is to becoming a monster, ask again if she can be starved to delay the transformation. The plan is to let Emma simply go over and suck up all his presence.See if Emma feels confident that she can suck him dry quickly, or if it will take time, or if she'll get full. Honestly Hilda should be able to leave the fort and enter the town. We could have an extraction team ready to get her out and Emma gives a ghost blowjob once she's clear.
>>2087139>See if Emma feels confident that she can suck him dry quickly, or if it will take time, or if she'll get full.Jesus Christ anon she's only fourteen, dial it back.
“I have to ask something about you,” you looked at Emma, “You eat souls, right.”“Well, when you put it that way, you make it sound like I’m some sort of monster.” Emma muttered, sounding quite hurt.“Would it be possible for you to, for example, suck all of somebody’s soul out? Like a vampire sucking blood?” you asked, not very confident that this would lead anywhere good, but it was worth at least a shot.Emma stared at you, then said, “Imagine that there’s a pile of a thousand pie slices.”“What kind of pie?” You couldn’t help but ask.“It doesn’t matter! Sheesh. Anyways, some big, mean Imperial comes up and tells you that you have to eat all the pies. Now also imagine, as soon as you’ve eaten, like six slices of pie, you’re feeling like you’re gonna barf, you take a break, but then when you try to start again, all of the slices that you ate just popped back where they were.”“So, no.”“Didn’t you say I shouldn’t eat too much, anyways? Something about, oh, becoming a monster that wizards kill on sight? I don’t think I want that, thank you very much.”“Speaking of which,” you segued into another subject you felt you had to examine, “Come along. I want to have Fie look at you and see if you’re close to that.”-----“Fie,” you called to the green haired girl who you had agreed to take to Strossvald. Her possessions had been lacking when you had picked her up, including clothing, so her current wardrobe was a mix of what had been donated by the crews of your platoon. Hans had somehow gotten hold of one of the provocative maid’s uniforms that was the garb of many a prostitute around the city at one point, but Fie had not once touched it. “I need you to look at something.”“There is…an ember haunting you..?” she said drowsily, retrieving a little cloth bag from her pocket and dipping he fingers into it, “Begone, foul spirit!” she cried with heretofore unheard of fervor as she threw a pinch of what looked like pink salt at Emma.The little crystals sparked and popped as they hit Emma, and the ghost recoiled, yelping. “Aagh! Agh! You cunt! That hurts!”“Wait!” you moved in between the two, “Fie, this is the ember I told you about. She’s helping me; she can’t begone yet.”“Who just throws salt at a person?” Emma cried, “Ow, ow, ow!”“…oh,” Fie blushed, abashed, “You told me about this one…I’m sorry…”
“Richter,” Emma growled, “Forget what I said earlier. If you had kids with this mosshead, they’d turn out retarded, too.”“If we had children..?” Fie cocked her head and put a finger to her cheek, “Why would we have children? Mister Von Tracht is already married…”“Are you sure you want to ask this person anything?” Emma still sounded quite sore about being seasoned, “I think I saw a more intelligent turnip on the ground on the way here.”“I said I was sorry…” Fie looked down, “so…could you not call me stupid..?”“I didn’t call you stupid, I just said that you were less intelligent than a turnip.”“But turnips don’t even have brains…”“Emma,” you said patiently, “Peace.” Emma puffed at you, but quieted down. “You said that Embers turn into…Blazes, right? Can you tell me how close this ember is to turning into one of those, if she is at all?”“Uh…” Fie squinted at Emma, “It’s…”“Don’t call me an it.” Emma snapped.“…Sorry…” Fie’s lip quivered, “I’m sorry. She’s…small. She would have to be…three times this size. I think. She’d also be burning…a different way.”“If she gets close, could it be reversed?” You asked next.“…Yes…just keep her from feeding any more, and she will grow smaller…”“I can watch my own weight, thank you,” Emma was still feeling snippy from the sound of it, “I don’t need face tattoo to tell me that.”“Why…why is she so mean..?” Fie whined piteously.“Who’s being mean to you, honey?” Hans slunk up beside Fie, “Boss? What’s making this mountain sweetlily so upset?”“Mountain sweetlily!” Emma cackled, “Definitely talking about the bottom half of you if that’s true. Oh, I should specify, for the special girl here. Big, fat bulb that makes up the bottom of the stalk. Figure the rest out.”“Emma is bullying our new recruit,” you explained to Hans.“Emma?” Hans asked, “You’re saying that like she’s here. Is she behind me? No?”Fie hunched her shoulders and clutched her hands together, looking nervous as hell. “She’s there…you just can’t see her…”Hans blinked, looked around one more time, then shrugged. “Huh. Isn’t that odd…” He left without another word, scratching his head; evidently he had business that sprouted up somewhere else.
While you had Fie here, you thought, you could possibly ask a few more questions; namely about what a soulbinder could do. You had a solid idea of what plan you wanted to go through with to get rid of Cranick, but you felt the need to know a bit more, to be sure of the chances of success, and the risks, since the Riverman would be playing a large part in whether this succeeded or failed, and you wanted to see if there was anything you could account for…>Ask Fie Questions (Write in)>Why ask this girl? It was late, you could go to sleep and ask a more reliable source, could you not?>Other?As far as I can see, Operation Peeping Tom will be what is proposed, but I figured a bit of potential extra information about an element of that would be appreciated.>>2087139You do not have any mortars; it wasn't included in the list of things to bring with you, so even though Bat Company had a section, they weren't part of what came with you. Unless they were in there and I've forgotten.Sosaldtians also lack that sort of thing in general; it doesn't tend to last long, nor be available often in this part of the country. Heavy guns are more common by virtue of just being stocky and durable and in less relative demand.
>>2088461Also how the heck is Hilda supposed to run away in time from a mortar bomb.
>>2088461Also just to kick things off: What's the simplest way for a soulbinder to kill someone?
>>2088461>Why might a person who could see Embers lose that ability?>If Soulbinders can teleport, what could stop them from, say, entering a fort?
>>2088461Apologize to Fie on behalf of Emma and explain that Fie didn't do anything wrong, Emma just has an abrasive personality due to the unfortunate combination of being an adolescent girl and also having been murdered and stuffed in a barrel of bourbon. That would probably leave anyone feeling a bit sour.
>>2088867Supporting.Also if we're going to call in the Iron Hogs we should probably do it now so they have time to arrive.Might also be a good time to figure out what we need them for:Extract the girls?Patrol Glockenblume against treachery?Show of force with the invasion (actually invading or just pretend?)Assassinate Cranick?Run interference against Liemanner?Anything else?
“I’d like to apologize on the part of my companion,” you said to Fie, “You haven’t done anything wrong.”“Oh, yeah, throw your cloak over the mud for the lady,” Emma muttered sorely.“Emma is…abrasive,” you told Fie, “It’s nothing personal, I assure you. She’s young-““And dead,” Emma cut you off, “Get on with it. If you’re going to go on a tirade about all my flaws this late at night, she’s going to fall asleep standing up.”That outburst was the reason the Emma quickly found herself shut in a mess kit tin.“…Anyways,” you sighed, “I have a few questions. About soulbinders.”Fie took a reflexive step back and looked about, fear in her eyes, “We shouldn’t talk about this here…nobody’s even supposed to know they exist except for those trusted with the knowledge…”“Fine. Over here, then,” you led Fie not too far away, but into a corner away from where the rest of your platoon loitered the night away. “Firstly, then. What’s the simplest way for a soulbinder to kill someone?”Fie’s eyes widened in shock, “That’s…that’s a strange question…but, I would think, you would know more than I do…you’ve met several, you said…”It was true that you’d met several, but none had ever, thankfully, been given any reason to pursue violence of that level against you. “Humor me. Also, what do you mean, I would know more than you would?”“…All of my knowledge comes from study…” Fie confessed, stroking at one of her braids with both hands, “My peoples opened themselves to the rest of the world…and have not maintained the old ways. I…and the elder of ancient, were the only ones in my villages to know deeply of the old ways…Soulbinders sought no acolytes from us, and the Elders of the Mountains demanded no tribute…”“But you know something, right?” you egged Fie on.
“…They exorcise spirits by attacking their presence with their own,” Fie twisted the braid around her finger and continued to tug nervously, “They can steal away another’s presence, destroy it with a surge of their own, distort presence…almost anything, in various ways, depending upon how they use it…with their presence bound to golems, they have control over their spiritual energy as if they were spirits themselves…to destroy a person’s presence…I think they would use a burst of their own energy, and cause a reaction between their presence, and their enemy’s, and…I don’t know how to put it…”“Don’t use ghost talk, for one,” you suggested.“Er…” Fie stuttered, “There’s just so many ways…I suppose, for the simplest…imagine a knife, but when it stabbed somebody, it became a bomb...Soulbinders can change the energy of life to something more dangerous…they would collect this changed energy in a ball, or a thread, or something…and if they touched this against another’s presence, it would react, with heat, light, but mostly…something else. It corrupts flesh, and acts as it were poison and fire both…in one form…but, many develop their presence to do otherwise…”“I get it,” you said, “No need to try and elaborate too much. Wizard has a big ball of magic spirit energy, hits you with it, bad things happen.”“I suppose…” Fie accepted that explanation, “They can also…use their presence…as, er, arms? They can push and pull on things, and they could kill somebody like that with enough force, I suppose…but it takes much more energy to act one something like that instead of with the energy of presence…”It would have probably been a lot easier to hear this from the Riverman, you thought in despair, but what choice did you have?“Can they appear anywhere they like? Soulbinders, I mean.” You asked next.“…No..?” Fie said slowly, as though you’d asked something utterly ridiculous, “They have to move like we do…but, when one can use presence to move their body…they don’t have to move in ways we would think are normal…”“So they fly?”“…I don’t think so, no records ever say they fly like birds do…they say more to think of a sling.”“They throw themselves around, then.”“I think, I don’t really know…”That explanation would also have to do, for now. Although the thought of the Riverman catapulting himself over the walls by launching himself like a stone from a trebuchet was not as enchanting a picture as him simply appearing where he liked.
“So Hans used to be able to see Emma, now he can’t,” you said, “Do you know why that might be?”“Uh.” Fie’s voice caught in her throat, “I did that…I’m sorry…but, if spirits know they can torment humans, they can exploit that…it is better for the world of presence creatures to be secret, invisible…it is only temporary, should he continue to be around things that corrupt…er, change, his presence…being in spiritual places, or people, for example…”COME BACK.Oh, there was that friendly voice again. It had taken a bit to come back, hadn’t it?Fie’s eyes shot open in shock, and she slipped her satchel hurriedly off of her, and scrounged through it in a panic, knocking things to and fro, little instruments and ingredients rolling about in the dust, before she finally found what appeared to be an oiled handkerchief, and yanked it out of a small canister.“Is something the matter?” you asked casually.“Evil!” Fie cried, her voice thin and rasping, “Evil like no other!” She clasped the handkerchief over her nose and mouth while grasping what looked like a brass lighter in her other hand. She muttered her words of power as she did so, and you remembered where you’d heard them before; it was the bizarre language whatever lived inside your tank’s armor spoke, at least, a form of it.>There’s no need for any of that, please. This is completely normal for me.>…You know what, sure. Give me a breath of that. I could do with a bit less evil right now.>Don’t light that, I don’t really need you breathing any of that, if that’s what I think it is. I have my own.>Other?Sorry for the delay, today was just...blah. Bad sleep.
>>2091263>>…You know what, sure. Give me a breath of that. I could do with a bit less evil right now.
>>2091263>>There’s no need for any of that, please. This is completely normal for me.Last thing we need is to accidentally dispel the tanks magic armor by touching it, or having an adverse reaction to us
>>2091263So just to confirm the voice is coming from our tank? If not ask Fie what the hell it is.
>>2091365No. The tank doesn't sound anything like the voice.
>>2091368Ok, then ask her what it is first before we do anything.
>>2091372It's the giant soul thing that we locked up way back at the start of the quest, anon. It's always been that thing. It's talked us multiple times before.Please.
>>2091374I know it's talked multiple times before but don't remember it was explicitly said it was the Demiphantom. But if Fie can shut it up by all means do so.
>>2091263>…You know what, sure. Give me a breath of that. I could do with a bit less evil right now.
>>2091263>Don’t light that, I don’t really need you breathing any of that, if that’s what I think it is. I have my own.No need to get Fie all hot and bothered.
>>2091919If that was what it was I doubt she would do that to herself so casually without some sort of resistance.
>>2091919>>2092279Yeah was thinking it was a female-friendly version unless she's really that desperate.
>>2091263>>There’s no need for any of that, please. This is completely normal for me.>Don’t light that, I don’t really need you breathing any of that, if that’s what I think it is. I have my own.As other anons have pointed out, its likely that blackflower stuff
“There’s no need for any of that,” you said, raising your palms, but already feeling uncertain on your feet. “This is completely normal for me. It’s not really as evil as it could be.”Fie stared at you, frozen, handkerchief still over her nose and mouth and thumb crooked in preparation to strike the lighter again. “What..?” She asked with complete and utter disbelief.“If I wanted to stop this, I have my own supply of stuff to keep me from drifting off. For now, though,” you pointed to Fie’s lighter as you stumbled down onto your knees, feeling yourself being peeled away from your body, “Don’t light that. I don’t really need you breathing any of that, especially since I’m about to take a nap.”“But…”“Nighty night,” you said as you faded into the abyss.
You woke up staring into a horror.It was incomprehensible to even look at, and you had to shield your eyes for the pain it caused to your senses to see it move, even exist. What could speculatively be called its body rippled and flickered with the currents of the ethereal land you now inhabited, smearing itself into strands and blobs that trailed to and from it. Its form was inconsistent, and the only parts of it that could be discerned by your eyes, lacking in the proper senses to perceive this impossibility before you, were clutches of glowing masses and deep black tendrils that hung off of its front end.It floated before you, moving very little, the glowing orbs at the ends of its tendrils slowly swaying closer to you.>”…Hello?”>Run to the shack!>Sit and wait>Other?
>>2092785Option 1While slowly back up to the shack
>>2092785>Run to the shack
>>2092785>>Sit and waitI want some cool special spooky powersIf it dosnt eat us
Well the arrogance is ic for Richter but man that was a dumb thing to do.>>2092827+1
>>2092785>>2092827Let's do this
“…Hello?” you greeted the terrible apparition, honestly unsure of what else you could do. You stepped backwards deliberately as you spoke, hoping that Poltergeist’s shack would somehow shelter you from this…thing.”Щᴟ□Ϟθ#” The thing seemed to buzz at you in some incomprehensible language in response, its sounds as inconsistent as its physical form, as it floated closer and tried to brush you with its luminescent appendages, its wing-like formations fluttering in an invisible wind. Whatever it was trying to do, it must not have been very interested actually accomplishing it; you were easily able to stay out of its reach with your ponderous retreat backwards. It followed you up the hill, towards the only human construction for…however long in this dreamland.A thought came to you that the shack wouldn’t offer any protection at all, given this creature’s lack of discernable form, but you backed through the shack’s portal regardless, carefully shutting the flimsy door in the thing’s face. Whether or not it could reach you inside of here, it made you feel much better to not have to look at it.Now being inside, you looked around for Poltergeist’ journal, or similar information, but found little in the places it had been. Either Poltergeist had taken it away…or it hadn’t been put there yet. Time in this place was a confusing thing, and trying to think about how it worked was as much use as trying to figure out what the thing lurking outside was.The only thing that stood out to you as new, or even worth investigating further, was a note on the floor that was placed before a gift wrapped box.You read it quickly.Hello!This letter is for Richter Von Tracht. If you’re not him, kindly leave. Though if you weren’t him, then Hummel wouldn’t have let you in.Don’t worry about him, by the way. He’s easier to deal with if you just ignore him. Don’t think too hard about his nickname either. Or anything concerning him.I stashed some entertainment for you in the box. Look at it if you like; or, you could waste your time and see if I forgot anything. Which I didn’t.I tried to accommodate for your funny tastes.
You opened the box, curious, and inside…was a slightly worn printing of Opal magazine. Despite its plain outside appearance, you knew what the contents were; it was a nudie book, for a limited audience; it was made especially for nobles, featuring highborn girls as the subjects. Despite their base nature, these were collector’s items, produced in far too limited quantities to be merely ogled at. This was an old vintage, too; 1909. This porno book was older than you were.In the middle of it, you could see that a portion had been dogeared, presumably for your convenience.You clicked your tongue in annoyance. What was this supposed to be for?…Not that you had any ideas of where further to look. You didn’t want to look outside with the creature lurking about, and you’d already ransacked the place in the past, or the future, or whatever. You sat down and peeled open the Opal. Hey, who said that you had to skip straight to what Poltergeist thought was relevant? You had time.Opal had, as far as you knew, used the best photography available, but since you had a copy in your hand you saw the other thing that they did that made it more than just a rag; beside the photos, there were versions that had been painted over with color, giving a better-than-life impression of the ladies bared within. …Baroness Von Gilten used to look like that? Goodness…The door creaked open, and you saw Hummel, the name Poltergeist had given for the terrible creature, peering in judgmentally. You followed the soulbinder’s advice and did your best to ignore it, which was difficult, but at least not impossible, since it made no attempt to enter the space.Eventually you had flipped through to the dogeared page to find…Maddalyn.Well, no, actually, though the initial misjudgment was understandable. It was her mother.Maddalyn and her mother looked quite similar, though not the same. Barnabas Von Blum had evidently not contributed very much to Maddalyn’s appearance beyond some traces you distantly recalled of his line. The petite build, the hue of the hair, and the general appearance of the face were things Maddalyn shared with her mother, who was splayed out before you on the magazine page, black lingerie that barely covered her falling off of her body as she lay on her back on a bed. Maddalyn’s mother really killed it doing this shoot, though; she seemed to radiate sexual energy through her pose and expression that made you shiver even looking at her, something her daughter had tragically not inherited. Yet, at least. It would be nice if she actually had.It probably wasn’t the right attitude to have, though, considering that Lady Von Blum was now dead, and had been for some time.The small blurb hidden on the corner of the page, which you eventually consigned yourself to reading, had an excerpt from the lady gleefully announcing that she was recently pregnant.
Oh. 1909, twenty three years ago. Hello, Maddy. Somewhere in there. Was this what Poltergeist wanted you to notice?“Having fun?” Poltergeist asked, suddenly in front of you. You jumped up and let the magazine fall from your hands. “You took a while to get to her,” Poltergeist mused as he picked up the dirty book and brushed it off, closing it. “Dirty boy.”“Why do you even have that?” you demanded, “You’re the one who even brought it here, I was merely…curious.”“To mess with you,” Poltergeist replied, “I’d half think you prefer pictures of women to the real thing, with how much attention you gave this thing.” Poltergeist laughed hollowly, and you felt your ears grow hot. “As fun as it would be to joke with you some more, I suppose you want to know something.”“Many things,” you grumbled, “For example-““Woah there,” Poltergeist raised a gloved hand, “If I let you yammer on about whatever you liked, we’d never leave this place. I’ll tell you about one thing. Then you’ll be forced to rejoin the three dimensional women you so abuse. Although, I suppose your fiancée is two dimensional from a certain angle, is she not? Heh.” Poltergeist cleared his ragged throat in such a way you could practically hear what seemed like layers of dust being choked up. “Hurf, so, your choices. One. I can tell you what’s happening at your vacation spot in Salzbrucke. Two. I tell you what’s happening out east with the Netillians and Ellowie and all of that. Three. I tell you about some funny ‘wizard’ business going on east, that the Mountain Lords are really spun up about, that might end up affecting you. Or…I tell you what ol’ Hummel outside actually is.”“You can’t just tell me all of that?”“I could. But that’d be breaking my rules. It would also really piss off the Mountain Lords, and while that'd be funny, I sort of need to be in their good graces for now. So,” Poltergeist splayed out his palms invitingly, “Choose.”>Ask about the home front>Ask about the eastern war>Ask about the soulbinder business>Ask about the bizarre spirit>Other? (Unlikely to be answered unless Poltergeist thinks it would be entertaining to do so)
>>2093974Strossvaldian customs are really strange. Married noblewomen doing erotic photoshoots? For mass printing?>Ask about the soulbinder businessMundane info we could acquire in other ways, and Hummel's nature doesn't seem to be too relevant.
>>2093999It isn't for mass printing. It's an exclusive sort of deal; the amount of these books would number in the dozens at most.It is rather strange though, compared to the attitude of the general populace; more something that's quirky in some circles that's done to feel superior in the midst of boredom. Also it's a sneaky way to advertise unmarried women to any rich bachelors, or if a lord wants to be boastful about their wife in an unfashionably bold way.Barnabas was VERY fond of his second wife.
>>2094011He ain't such a bad fellow>>2093981>Ask about the bizarre spiritCause honestly, we'll find out about the soulbinder business eventually too. Either when we're right up shit creek or when Chuuniman hears about it and needs to whine at someone who can't beat his stupid ass. Fie's village is over East too IIRC, how hard can it be to get hogwarts gossip from a retard?>Keep the magazine
>>2094024Fie's not a retard, she's just pure as a cinnamon roll.
>>2093981>>Ask about the soulbinder business>>2094027>Fie's not a retardanon...
>>2094189I stand by my ridiculous claim.
Also my other reason for asking about Hummel is because I want to keep up with our tradition of asking inane questions of him. We've got an image, you know?
“Well then,” you decided, “What is this funny wizard business going on in the east? What does it matter to me? Wouldn’t you be risking telling me too early, or late, telling me here anyways?”“This would have been happening for a while, honestly,” Poltergeist leaned back with a groan, “Auugh, right, so you know who the Mountain Lords are, right.”“No.”“Good.” Poltergeist said, against your expectations, “You’ve probably at least figured out they have authority over Soulbinders. Some more than others. Really, it’s more a matter of them knowing so much that it’s a better idea to do what they say…as long as I feel like it. Anyways, the Mountain Lords only have sway over this continent, the continent they’re native to. Across the sea, it’s a different story. They’ve got their own Mountain Lords that moved over there who knows when, with their own Soulbinders, but they aren’t so lenient like ours are.”“I see.”“Not yet, you don’t. If that was all, I wouldn’t bother telling you about them.” Poltergeist corrected your assumption, “They’ve done something that would normally be considered forbidden. They’ve organized into something they call the Oblitare Order. You know anything that would be considered forbidden knowledge?”“That you even exist, I presume,” you guessed, “Do they take umbrage with that?”“Not quite. They take umbrage with me existing, and they take umbrage with you knowingly utilizing spirits, and possessed artifacts. The Mountain Lords preserve forbidden knowledge, and tolerate mild cases of its existence, to prevent what happened in the past from happening again.”“What happened in the past?” You asked.
“Forbidden knowledge,” Poltergeist waved a finger at you, “The Oblitares want to wipe out any trace of the old ways, knowledge, everything. Their reasoning is that it all needs to go to prevent it from happening again. Or, as they claim, to stop it since it’s apparently already going on, or something. What they think and why doesn’t really matter for you, though, because they declared war as soon as they came over from the east, after the maelstrom ceased.”“Caelus and the Twaryians,” you muttered, “When should I expect these people to start showing up and making themselves my problem, then?”“How is Ellowie looking right now?”You recalled what Fie had said about that. “Completely screwed.”“Soon, then.”“Crap.” You let your head rock back and stare into the ceiling, “What can I do about them? Sit and wait for you to kill them?”“Don’t do anything that would attract their attention if you think one’s close,” Poltergeist advised, “They’re going to be looking for people like me, not you, so as long as you don’t do anything stupid you should be fine. If you screw up…you’d better think of something, because I’m not going to always be around to bail you out. I have enough on my plate.”“This information seems to have been the most important of the lot, you know!” you pointed out, “Were the other answers necessary in comparison?”Poltergeist shrugged. “Mountain Lords. Also, I don’t think you’ve done anything too noticeable recently, so I figured you’d be fine even if you were ignorant of them, like the Mountain Lords would prefer.”“Wouldn’t they want all the help they can get?”“Nah. Vows of non-interference with the outside world.”“Do the Oblitares share such a view?” you challenged.“Hah. Somewhat.” Poltergeist laughed the sort of laugh that indicated that what was being said really wasn’t funny at all. “Oh, looks like you’re about to take off. Say hello to your sweetheart for me, will you?”“Speaking of,” you snatched the magazine from Poltergeist’s hand, “I’m keeping this.”“You’ve forgotten that you don’t actually exist here, haven’t you?” Poltergeist crooked a finger in beckoning and the magazine flew out of your hands, “Find your own smut.”“Damnit.”With that, you were on your way back to the real world.
“Morning, Boss,” You heard Hans’s voice as you woke up, “Earlier than usual, that’s good.”“Oof,” you sat up wearily, pulling your pocketwatch out and checking the time; it was six o’clock, “Where’d Fie go?”“You really upset her,” Hans said smugly, “I gotta thank you for taking the fall for me there, boss. I got more out of her talkin’ to her last night than I have every other day I’ve known her. Even if most of it was bullshit I don’t know the first thing about, it’s nice that she gabs to me.”“So she’s fine, then,” you concluded as you stood up and stretched your back out; you never seemed to faint into a position that didn’t bend or stretch something the wrong way. “Feival is fine, yes,” Hans smiled.“Feival? What the hell sort of name is that?” you asked, “I thought that was a man’s name.”“Her parents wanted a son,” Hans said, “They didn’t get one, but they were in denial. Sort of like how when your dear gunner was born, his daddy asked for a beer when he saw him. Heh.”“And your father mistook you for a shit,” Stein shot back from around the tank, “…Ah, good morning, commander.” You returned the greeting politely.Ah, but so much time lost! You had to get to work, especially with last night’s developments! You would let out Emma soon and send her on her way with the plans you had come up with, having her follow Fritz, if he hadn’t left yet. But for now…>You had to ask Fie something. [Write In]>You had to figure out what to do about the Iron Hogs, and if their help could be gotten a bit earlier.>You had to check if Fritz had left yet; if he did, you needed to get Emma out, posthaste.>Other?>This is more an order thing, since presumably you’ll want to take care of all of these at some point, so this is a “what do you want to do first, or anything else” thing.
>>2094405>1.You had to check if Fritz had left yet; if he did, you needed to get Emma out, posthaste.>2.You had to figure out what to do about the Iron Hogs, and if their help could be gotten a bit earlier.>3.You had to ask Fie something. (Any way to tell apart a Sosalian soulbinder from a Caelussian one?)
>>2094462This works but also ask her about ways to spot a Soulbinder without resorting to magic. Strange presence? Ritual markings? Creepy laugh?It now occurs to me that Fei is carrying a ludicrous amount of Pearls that would certainly catch the attention of anyone lurking for supernatural bullshit. Is there any way to mask it's magical "aura" to keep them hidden and if there isn't maybe we should sen Fei on her way sooner rather than later. I don't know if it would be better to warn her of the danger or not. She seems very jumpy already without Spooky Wizards possibly roaming about.My guess for Hummel? It's the Demiphantom reclaimed by Poltergeist in the far future.
>>2094405>>1.You had to check if Fritz had left yet; if he did, you needed to get Emma out, posthaste.>>2.You had to figure out what to do about the Iron Hogs, and if their help could be gotten a bit earlier.>>3.You had to ask Fie something>Just mention that poltergeist is on the case of that Great Evil Voice, and that it is safely tucked inside a magical cave with a magical door. So far, since being locked up all it has done is whine at us to come back. Completely harmless, I'm sure.Tell her to hide her pearls and explain what we just heard
>>2094462>>2094405This.Ask Fie if her mission is related to foreign Soulbinders attacking.And ask how we can determine how close Emma is to becoming something unbecoming without Fie's help.
>>2095000She said she'd grow bigger. About three times before it got real dangerous
>>2095083We need to measure Emma then so we don't miss it.
>>2095086How should we measure her by?By dick length?What if shes longer
>>2095093With a ruler.
You had to see if Fritz had already left. If he had, you had to get Emma moving as soon as possible, even if it meant that the plan for removing Cranick from his mortal coil would have to endure as is. You made your excuses, and left for the town hall. In the best case scenario, Fritz would have stayed the night, departing with his reinforcements and extra equipment in the morning. In the worst case, he would have left last night soon after having met with you.Thankfully, fortune smiled upon you as you jogged to the town hall to find a small truck sitting before it, Fritz and a few others making final preparations. There was no need to speak with them, though. The plan you had in mind wasn’t something they could account for; only Emma could be trusted to properly convey the information needed to execute the plan to all the players in it. Fritz and Loch’s men would have to be content with the pleasant surprise that would come about when Cranick died without needless casualties on your part, and they could focus on whatever plan Loch had to turn Todesfelsen upon its own head.With time guaranteed for you, you had to figure out precisely what you could do, if anything, with the Iron Hogs mercenaries, and if their help could be gotten a bit earlier. With no representative of theirs in easy contact, you would have to go to them, or send somebody to them. You didn’t have very much time before the Republic’s army would assemble and march, though, and even a day spent to rush over to the Iron Hogs’ outpost would be a day sooner into the four days you had before nothing more could be done, unless the assault was delayed. From Fritz’s indication of Todesfelsen’s political situation, the sooner Cranick died, the better, and while the Hogs could potentially help with that plan, there was also the feeling that perhaps that would be overcomplicating things.>Go over to them yourself; this would be going over territory that, while not necessarily hostile, is unlikely to be safe. The treaty agreed upon to let the Republic cross these lands, after all, is not necessarily in effect yet.>Send another group over, with instructions on what you want them to tell the Iron Hogs to do. As mercenaries, they’ll probably require payment, and you know that their prices are exhorbitant, though not unfair…>Other?Also>Have them send aid in the assassination plan. This will require delaying it.>Do not include them in the assassination. No delays, no more complications.Emma fits in a mess tin, guys. There's no need to molest her. You just have to look for when she doesn't fit any more.
>>2096178I dont like the hogs, but I feel that we should go ourselves so there isnt a mix up on what we really want them to do. Which im not to sure exactly what it is we want them to do, since I feel like delaying the assassination attempt wouldnt be in our favour, that and their previous statement of refusing to act ovetly until Todesfelsen was pacified. Seems like a waste of money on our end, considering they expect to be a part of the Republic shortly after this assault.Whether we go or not>>Do not include them in the assassination. No delays, no more complications.>Emma fits in a mess tin, guys. There's no need to molest her. You just have to look for when she doesn't fit any more.Pudgy Ghost! Pudgy Ghost!
>>2096178>>Do not include them in the assassination. No delays, no more complications.I'm still not clear on what we would have them do and I don't think it's worth the effort or cost to include them. I don't think we should send someone with them at all.
>>2096178>Do not include them in the assassination. No delays, no more complications.I don't think they're even needed. They're tankers, not snipers, and we have our own professional assassins already.
..No, you decided, they had no place in any immediate plans. What you had thought of at the moment would be perfectly serviceable. It was questionable whether or not you needed their aid at all, should Loch’s plan go as well as he seemed to believe it would, but part of you felt a need to seek them anyways. Was it their connection to your heritage? Or was it merely that they were a light of respectability in a wasteland of criminals and individuals who had otherwise been cursed by fate to a place where they would never become anything more? For now, that didn’t matter much.With that decided, you let Emma out of the can, who squirmed out before you were even finished opening it.“Excuse me!” She cried, “Just because I don’t have a body doesn’t mean you can just stuff me in a can whenever you feel like it!”“It’s for your own good,” you told her, “You’ve lacked any parental guidance for three years, and I can’t exactly discipline you for poor manners.”“I didn’t realize you were such an expert in parenting,” Emma said with scorn.“…Military command is similar to raising children,” you attempted to reason where you shouldn’t have.“Oh, go jump in a lake,” Emma saw straight through you, “Even if that were true, I’m seeing a profound lack of daughters in this big stupid thing you’re trying to imply is a family.”“Well,” you saw no need to continue to argue the rather farcical comparison you had made, but didn’t want to admit that. “I’m going to need you to convey a message so we can reintroduce some femininity back into our band.”“…Go on,” Emma lost focus on anything else, so you told her your plan, its details, and what had to happen with whom. When you were finished, you awaited Emma’s reaction, feeling more confident in your plan actually now that you had explained it to somebody.“I would have thought you’d go for something with more guns,” Emma said, “But, it’ll work, right?”“Cranick is extremely well defended against any conventional attack,” you said, “so I thought the least conventional route possible would be the most effective.”“Actually being able to tell a wizard to kill somebody isn’t something I’d expect anybody to do, yeah,” Emma admitted.“…By the way, are you hungry?”“What?” Emma chirped, “You actually want me to eat you now?”“No. I was wondering if you would fade away if you were in the can long enough.”“I don’t really feel any different,” Emma said, then wondered aloud, “I guess because I’m not really doing anything in there. Even time seems to go by faster.”Well, that was a good thing, then. “I want you to follow Fritz and his men back,” you told her, “You can go ahead and take bites out of them if you get peckish. I don’t need you withering away before you even get to Todesfelsen.”
“I’ll go right away!” Emma shot off without even a farewell. At least, you sighed to yourself, she was enthusiastic about this.You went back to your tank, and found Fie beside it. A small room of sorts had been built for her; Fie had said she’d been fine sleeping on the ground, but Hans would not hear of it. Your radioman was a much better at electrical engineering than construction, judging by the shoddiness of the structure, but Fie had made no complaints about it. Not that it had made her more amorous of Hans, as he had likely hoped; Hans had complained to you that he wasn’t sure if Fie even knew whether or not she was attracted to men.Hans wasn’t exactly charming enough to break an ignorance such as that, but you didn’t tell him that. He was sort of a greasy and suspicious looking fellow, and not somebody you’d think women would want to associate themselves with, but he had a relationship with Stein’s sister, so it wasn’t as if he was completely bereft of attractive qualities, evidently.Fie was sleeping soundly; she wouldn’t normally be up at this time from what you’d gleaned of your time with her, but she was also a light sleeper. All you had to do was stand before her and clear your throat, and her eyes slowly opened.“Mm…good morning, Richter.”Von Walen had made the joke that you only allowed women to call you by your first name. You did not correct him on this, though it wasn’t for the slanderous reason he had likely suggested.“Good morning. I have some questions I want to ask you.”“…Nhhgh…” Fie whined in an unintelligible gurgle.“I understand,” you said, turning around, “I’ll tell Hans to get you something for that case of heavy eyes.”Fie seemed to have trouble putting words together at the best of times (You would have put it to discomfort and uncertainty in herself, though Hans insisted that she was simple, as did some others), and in the mornings, she was almost incapable of complex sentences altogether. Coffee injections helped with this, and though you still found the stuff awful, it was a drink that was still plentiful here. Presumably it was prioritized in trade for unfathomable reasons. Hans had gone and come back with great haste when you told him of your new compatriot’s needs. According to him, Fie liked her coffee with enough sugar that the bottom of the cup was more sweetener than coffee grounds, as Hans readily told you when he returned.Fie had crept out of her hovel by then, loosely dressed in a donated jacket that she wore over a similarly gifted faded shirt and pants, all adjusted to her size by her soon after she received them. They hung loosely on her, but not in the same fashion Maddalyn’s had when she wore a uniform. You handed her her coffee and motioned for her to follow you out, and you’d talk while you walked.
You hadn’t gone far when you heard a splattering, followed by a shriek. It had taken precisely five seconds for Fie to sip her coffee, burn her tongue, and spill her coffee all over herself while dropping it on the ground. Her face was so pitiful that it would have drawn sympathy from a hardened veteran.“Are you alright?” you asked reflexively as tears began to well in her eyes.“…Yes…” Fie sniffed, “…I ruined these nice clothes your men gave me, though…”They weren’t nice at all; even when you had received them from the Intelligence Office operatives, they were obviously secondhand.“It’s not a problem,” was all you said. “Hans would probably strip the clothes off his back to replace those if you wanted.”“…If you say so,” Fie was unconvinced, crouching down to pathetically lift the near empty paper cup from the ground, “…You wanted to…ask something?”“You wouldn’t happen to know how to tell a Soulbinder from our continent from a foreign one, would you?” you asked.“You shouldn’t be asking that so loud…” Fie said, her fingers tapping nervously against the cup she had picked back up.“Nobody here cares,” you said a bit more shortly than intended, “I know you said you’ve never met one, but surely you know certain customs. Ritual markings? A strange feeling? Maybe they have a creepy laugh?”“I don’t know…” Fie said softly, “All the ones I’ve heard about don’t have much in common anyways…they’re all kind of strange in their own ways.” She looked pitifully into her empty cup, “Not that I, or anybody, knows much about foreign Soulbinders anyways.. There are no Nief’yem outside of this continent, so we know very little about them…”“Also, about those pearls,” you asked, “Those emit presence, don’t they? How do you keep them hidden from somebody who might want to steal them?”“The bag is made…from the silk of a certain sort of worm…who feeds upon plants deep under the ground, that need no sun…it shields presence from escaping…”“How much would a bolt of that be worth?” you asked, already thinking of a few ways that could be useful.“That much silk…would be worth more than I can even think…the cocoons can only be collected when somebody ventures deep into the caves beneath the earth, where they live alongside the Living Stones…”
“I see,” you sighed with the faint disappointment of a trinket merchant’s lost sale, “I should mention, also, about the evil presence last night-““You shouldn’t have stopped me,” Fie said with what could be tentatively be called aggressiveness from an otherwise gentle woman, “I can already see…your presence is all…messed up.”“It’s harmless,” you insisted, “It’s sealed in a cave with a magical door. It can’t get out, and all it’s ever done is complain at me. Poltergeist is on its case, anyways.”“…Okay…” Fie calmed down when you mentioned Poltergeist’s involvement, sipping the sugary sludge that remained in her cup and making a satisfied sigh,“…You asked about foreign Soulbinders…and if my pearls were hidden…are you thinking that-““I think I am, yes,” you said quickly, “Is your mission related in any way to foreign soulbinders coming to our continent? I’ve heard of some people, the Oblitares, I think they’re called? Coming over to stir up trouble…”Fie went into a tizzy at the mention of that. “Y-you’re not supposed to know that! Even if you knew about soulbinders, you’re not supposed to know about that!”“Well,” you said matter of factly, “I do. So does your mission have to do with that at all?”Fie touched the tattoo on her cheek lightly, her face falling, “I…I can’t tell you. I can’t tell anybody. I’m sorry…I just can’t…”>Insist that she answer on the part of her mission.>Leave her alone; soulbinder nonsense shouldn’t be any of your business if you’re careful anyways.>Attempt to question her on other things, even if she won’t speak of her mission.>Other?
>>2097845Don't overdo it, Fie. The border between moe and annoyingly pitiful is paper-thin.>You don't have to tell me if you can't. But if your mission had nothing at all to do with them, you'd tell me, right?
>>2097847>>Insist that she answer on the part of her mission.We've gone out of our way to help her and it's clear that we already know enough about these sorts of things to be trusted with the information. Surely she can make an exception, just for us?
>>2097847this>>2097867>You don't have to tell me if you can't. But if your mission had nothing at all to do with them, you'd tell me, right?
>>2097847We're gonna give her a heart attack one of these days. Is her spirit animal a deer, or maybe a field mouse?>>2097847>Leave her alone before we give her a nervous breakdown"Don't worry about it. But if the situation changes so that I'll end up in danger due to these things I shouldn't know about I would like to be informed."
>>2097847>Insist that she answer on the part of her mission.I really want to bully her further
“Surely I’m trustworthy enough to tell, since I’ve agreed to help you?” you asked Fie. She nervously shook her head back and forth. “Well, alright,” you relented, “You don’t have to tell me if it’s that much to ask. But if your mission had nothing at all to do with them, you’d tell me, right?”“…Er, sure…” Fie said uncertainly; whether she had detected your verbal sleight of hand was unclear.“Then I won’t worry about it,” you reassured her, “But if the situation changes so that I’ll end up in danger due to these things I shouldn’t know about…I would like to be informed.”“…Okay…” Fie sputtered uncertainly in a way you didn’t like, as if there was a very real risk that she would have to do that. You’d have to remind yourself to keep an eye out.That was all you wanted to ask for now, and you left Fie to her devices. As far as you were concerned, all you could really do was wait, and prepare for the battle ahead. It wasn’t as if there was a shortage of matters to take care of, but it disturbed you that the operations taking place that involved people under your supposed command were so far away from you, or your influence. The things in Todesfelsen, wherever Von Neubaum was causing trouble to draw the attention of Liemanner…it felt somehow wrong for you to be here instead, but what else could you do?-----So, I won't be updating for most of today, both because of a game session I have to attend, and also because I have to get some things ready for a short perspective shift that I anticipated, but want to make sure I'm really ready for. I should be back around this evening.In the meantime, I'm partway through the silly shit I asked for requests for about a month ago. Progress is slow of course because even then it was sort of a backburner project.I'm not sure what sort of apparel a Queen Signy would wear, either. It's more of a problem of the selection being broad than really being restricted in any way.
Panzer Commander will be put on hold for just a little bit.Mostly because the short aside being taken will have nothing to do with panzers, their crews, or commanding them. The thread will still be going on, but this may diverge even further than normal for a brief period of time.It won't be for long; the segment should be done by tomorrow, from tonight. Thank you for your patience.
Todesfelsen’s nights were an uncommon memory to you. It was never in your tastes to linger here for longer than necessary; if any asked of your relation to it, you’d say that you’d never been to this city. Lived here you had, though, in your wretched past life that felt eons away despite having been only six years ago. Back then, as it was now, the darkness had a totality to it, as if the stars and moon could not penetrate the stink of malevolence that hung over the place, and the only light came from sparse lamps that were ill tended and broken most of the time. Back then, in the days before you stumbled onto an uncommon sort of strength, you feared the dark. Now, though, the dark was no enemy to you. When one could see the colors of the soul, the difference between darkness and light mattered little.You are the Riverman, and now, you were free. There was but one deal that shackled you to this place; a favor for the one who had loosed you from your prison of debt, in exchange for your limited services. The deal had changed greatly, but you minded little; although you didn’t hold the man himself in high regard, being the puppet of a greedy regime that held no empathy for peoples outside of its realms, you would not stand to be called one who did not properly return a favor as great as he had done you.You were tasked with taking a life, and saving a life. You hadn’t been given much time to prepare; in fact, you had scarcely been able to do any at all. Your debt to the southern cities wasn’t even truly repaid, you having trusted your newly acquired finances to an experienced and trusted friend, who would deal the money in packages as to not alert your former employers to what would have been considered blatant bribery.You could only hope that the flow of money would keep their attention from how you were going to interfere with their lackeys here.A crackle of energy ran down your spine; your Golem, whose form was lengths of heavy rope hidden inside your robes, renewing your presence with its ever renewing supply of spiritual energy. Energy perfectly suited to you, and not for any other, though you knew not of why. Your education in your new power was almost entirely self-taught, and although you understood how to use your presence, your golem, you hadn’t the slightest idea of why they worked that way. Not that you ever had needed to know such things; much could be figured out, you had found, from feeling alone. A sort of art rather than a strict discipline.You were full up on presence, as was your Golem. It was time to get to work.
Presence: 6/6Golem: 4/4 (1)Presence is the energy of life, the reflection of one’s mind and body onto a force that is ever present, yet ever unseen, unfelt, and not perceived by the very things that exude it. Soulbinders have gained the ability to use the energies of Presence in a myriad of ways, but such energy is not limitless; as vital energy, if a Soulbinder should expend all of their presence in their body, they will fall into a near-death state until their Golem reinvigorates them. Energy between the Binder and Golem can be freely exchanged, and the Golem constantly generates a small supply of presence that refills its reserves, which can then be drawn into the soulbinder’s own presence.Riverman's Soul Arts List: https://pastebin.com/ijZQbxsT“Be careful, won’t you?” the ghost that called itself Emma asked you. “The whole reason you’re being asked to do this is so she doesn’t die.”“You have my word upon my honor,” you whispered to her, “That she will be unharmed.”“…You know what he looks like, right?” Emma asked.You did, and said so. “As long as he is there as you say he will be, he is doomed.”It put a bad taste in your mouth to kill people; it was a hopeful sign that you were still human, you thought, that that feeling had not worn away despite the blood you had shed. Olafier Cranick, though, being a Death Head, was no doubt a person you needn’t mind putting an end to, nor were any brigands serving him worthy of extra effort to spare their lives. Sosaldt wasn’t a place like most. Few had families, loved ones, or anybody to miss them when they passed, by your reckoning. To kill here was much less of a sin than anywhere else. Nevertheless a sin, but one that could be easily justified.You looked over your equipment. It wasn’t much, but tools such as these had often proven useful in the past. Throwing knives, that could be driven by presence kinesis. Smoke bombs to dilute the senses of those who could not see by presence. A five shot revolving pistol; a recent acquisition, not that you were skilled in the use of firearms, but Von Tracht’s weave had made you wary of the same thing happening for somebody you actually had to cause harm to. That, and it was much faster to pull a trigger than it was to kinetically accelerate a projectile with presence. Finally…>A vial of your blood, a powerful enhancer of soul arts. Using it, you could add an additional level of might to any of your techniques, once…>A rune of Stitch. Your own arts could not heal others, but with the blending properties a rune had, even incompatible presences could be mixed and used for a spell. A valuable thing, which you found along with the things that had turned you into what you were now.>A tiny Radiant Pearl. Imbibing it would restore some of your spent presence (1 unit of it)
>>2101369>>A vial of your blood, a powerful enhancer of soul arts. Using it, you could add an additional level of might to any of your techniques, once…lets overcharge a spell
>>2101369>A rune of Stitch.If Hilda gets hurt somehow, this is our back up.
>>2101369>>A rune of Stitch. Your own arts could not heal others, but with the blending properties a rune had, even incompatible presences could be mixed and used for a spell. A valuable thing, which you found along with the things that had turned you into what you were now.
>>2101369>A rune of Stitch. Your own arts could not heal others, but with the blending properties a rune had, even incompatible presences could be mixed and used for a spell. A valuable thing, which you found along with the things that had turned you into what you were now.Does the rune require spending presence, or is it pre-powered?
>>2101369>A rune of Stitch. Your own arts could not heal others, but with the blending properties a rune had, even incompatible presences could be mixed and used for a spell. A valuable thing, which you found along with the things that had turned you into what you were now.
Alrihgt, I'm awake. I'll start soon.>>2101786It requires a negligible investment to activate. Maddalyn makes a sort of version of them.
The final tool in your arsenal was a rune of Stitch. The names for arts were varied, and while Stitch was something easy for a soulbinder to learn, on account of being an accelerated version of what their bodies naturally did to repair themselves, it wasn’t something that could be easily done to another person. This was a valuable thing, then; and it wasn’t something you could replace as far as you knew. It was something you found among the clutch of artifacts, with which you’d accidentally transformed yourself.You’d never given that series of events much thought. Nobody had come calling for their things back, and you didn’t look for the soulbinder who had left behind the treasure trove. Your callousness back then meant you had no problem with looting it then, and the amount of time that had passed with no consequence meant that it little bothered you now.The rune wasn’t for you; your body was immortal, so far as you knew. You had brought it in case the woman that Von Tracht wanted you to rescue was injured in any way. It could be used in case you were sloppy and wounded the woman who would lure Cranick to his grave, you supposed, but that wasn’t something you planned to do.If the woman helping you was on time, the time to strike would be soon. A look to your slightly worn, etched brass pocketwatch told you this time would be soon, though it would be tolerable to be somewhat late. After all, since the faux event was a show of marksmanship, it wasn’t as if the window for an attack would be intolerably brief.The watch had been a gift from Tilly, an adorable girl you’d known for some time. Heavens knew what she did to get this thing; she really tried so hard to make you stay, but stay you could not. Not without warping the presences of too many innocents. Not without tainting the land and rousing the spirits of the earth.
The fort glowered at you from the distance, its high walls a barrier to most men, but not you. Your brief time accompanying the Death Heads in their frivolous journey to fight Strossvald had been merely as a guide through the mountains, and potentially the Wander; they had little idea of the extent of your abilities, something that would be quite to your advantage when you made your attack. The repertoire of a soulbinder was something that very, very few had any ability to anticipate or prepare for.Suffice it to say, the actual act of destroying your targets in the past had not been the difficult part. The most difficult part was the breach, often into an enclosed space where your talents were less useful than they were against something like the fort.Getting into the fort and attacking Cranick was not much of a problem. The problem, rather, was which angle to do it from.>Slingshot yourself into the place. A risky move, considering that it required throwing yourself through the sky with no guarantee of catching yourself, but an angle that absolutely nobody would see you coming from.>Go to the walls and climb up them. This would also give the advantage of being able to look at your enemy’s composition before striking.>Other?Also>Infiltrate from the precise part of the walls Cranick would be on>Infiltrate from an adjacent wall where you’re less likely to be seen coming in/up
>>2103484>Slingshot yourself into the place. A risky move, considering that it required throwing yourself through the sky with no guarantee of catching yourself, but an angle that absolutely nobody would see you coming from.>Aim for the nearest roof where Cranick will be.No one's gonna look up, and if it's too high and he will be out of range we can slingshot down into any good hidey hole.
>>2103484>Slingshot yourself into the place. A risky move, considering that it required throwing yourself through the sky with no guarantee of catching yourself, but an angle that absolutely nobody would see you coming from.Infiltrate from an adjacent wall where you’re less likely to be seen coming in/up
>>2103484>Slingshot yourself into the place. A risky move, considering that it required throwing yourself through the sky with no guarantee of catching yourself, but an angle that absolutely nobody would see you coming from.>Aim for the nearest roof where Cranick will be.
Called for trebucketing directly towards the target. Writing.
A straightforward approach would require the least planning, you deemed, and the less planning the better. As long as the most complex step was actually getting to the man, you’d be fine. Intricate plans, after all, had led you to your present situation…for better or worse.The straightest, most forward approach would be to simply launch yourself over the wall and directly on top of Cranick, making shock and surprise your allies. Getting to the wall itself was not difficult. The Death Heads put a good amount of faith into the walls of their fortress, and for good reason; for any normal man, they would be a stout barrier against any attack or infiltration. Against one such as yourself, though…A few quick practice slings across the town to some buildings close to the fort gave you confidence in your next one. You’d thrown yourself up heights such as this before…mostly as practice, though, and you still weren’t great at the landing portion. The actual mechanics of it were simple. Attach one’s presence threads to a piece of architecture or landscape, attach another piece to the ground, and when the force felt enough to snap yourself all the way up, let the ground piece go. Classic physics at work, and much safer than trying the equivalent with your body instead of presence; presence was much more resistant to sudden shock and acceleration, dampening the effect it had on the body, as well. Landing after a height was theoretically simple; from a small height, one could force themselves upwards with a strike to the ground and dampen the impact that way, but you had found that didn’t work at a certain height. The hard way. Falling from a great height wasn’t quite as deadly to you as a normal individual, thankfully, but puppeteering your shattered limbs about would be a painful obstacle to accomplishing your mission here.It was a good thing that throwing around your own presence was simple, you thought as you walked your threads up the wall of the two story you had crept behind, keeping an eye out for any curious passerby, elsewise this would require a significant investment of your energy. Throwing an object was hard enough, and throwing somebody with an opposing presence that would resist yours…well, there was a reason that it was simpler to merely blast them.Your presence found the edge, and gripped over the roof’s edge tightly. As it tautened, you thought about how much force you should use…>Use a hefty amount of force to make sure you make it over the wall, even if it’s sure to launch you quite a bit higher than your target. Better to overdo it than underdo it, after all, and what better way to overdo it than to pitch up high?>Try to put yourself more precisely on the wall. This could risk shooting too short, but if you do it right, you wouldn’t have to worry about the landing as much. >Other?There is a presence cost, but since it’s being reabsorbed in flight, it doesn’t matter much to list it here.
>>2104160>Use a hefty amount of force to make sure you make it over the wall, even if it’s sure to launch you quite a bit higher than your target. Better to overdo it than underdo it, after all, and what better way to overdo it than to pitch up high?That way we can also recce the surroundings.
>>2104160>>Use a hefty amount of force to make sure you make it over the wal
I’ve had worse ideas, you thought to yourself as you increased the energy tugging at your very essence, perceiving the faint pops and groans as the structure you were using as a base itself began to wear under the stress you put it under. You didn’t think you’d pull it down, but the owner would likely need some work done on the roof once you threw yourself off it.Once the moment of truth approached, you loosed your presence from the ground, and were dragged upwards by the tension of the presence coil, followed by some shards of the room you had hopefully not torn up too much. The wind rushing past your face blotted out all sense of where you were, save for the fact that you were going fast. You’d have to get your bearings back once you reached the apex of your arc.>Roll 1d100; higher roll will be chosen. The golden range is 50, any deviation above or below from that will be the degree, that you've missed the goldilocks range by.
Rolled 47 (1d100)>>2104320
>>2104336That's a nice roll.Writing with this.
Thankfully, you had launched yourself almost precisely as high as you thought you would go. Not that it wasn’t nauseatingly high, but you would at least, probably, not have thrown yourself over the fort entirely. That would have been extremely embarrassing.The Death Head’s fort was a monstrosity on the landscape, but from up high, it was much less intimidating. You were up high enough that people were ill discernible, especially in this light, but you could still see around the area where your target was supposed to be.From the look of it, they had to be on a protrusion that could speculatively be called a tower on the northern wall. It wasn’t much of a tower, since it only seemed to go up a little from the wall it was attached to, but a tower it was. Five people in total were on the tower; evidently, what was going on wasn’t something that required privacy. Perhaps if that were different, pursuing the target would be easier, but…well, this was how it was.Landing directly on the tower would be a nuisance, and risky, but the entrance to it was heavily guarded by what appeared to be six men. Could you take on six men? Probably. But it would be a fight, unless you were very quick in dispatching them.>Aim directly for the target’s tower. Landing on or by it is a challenge, and injury will result from landing directly on it without the arrestment of an actual structure; throwing presence beneath you only slows you so much, after all.>Aim for the much easier target of the wall itself, and catch yourself on its edge. The lessened risk of falling would be worth having to dispatch the six guards.>Try to fall forward and catch on the edge of the target tower. A risky move, and since you would be on the outside, there’d be a chance of you being seen, but it would carry less risk of injury than going directly onto it.>Other?
>>2104520>>Aim for the much easier target of the wall itself, and catch yourself on its edge. The lessened risk of falling would be worth having to dispatch the six guards.
>>2104520>>Try to fall forward and catch on the edge of the target tower. A risky move, and since you would be on the outside, there’d be a chance of you being seen, but it would carry less risk of injury than going directly onto it.
Hurtling through the air and looking at the ground had a peculiar way of making one weight their chances on the side of the route that was less likely to end with one’s bones pulverized into powder, so you decided to aim for the wall by the tower your target was on. Six guards, after all, were not that much of a problem. They could shoot you, certainly, but you weren’t going to let that happen if you could help it. The time you had to plan for tactics was lessening as the ground began to accelerate towards you, threatening to slam into you before you were ready. You cast out a hopeful lash of presence to catch the northern wall, while preparing for the worst should you miss…>roll up to three d100, one roll per post, best of three. DC 70 Roll Under.
Rolled 58 (1d100)>>2104747
... I have forgotten how to roll.
>>2104820dice+1dnumber on option field. No, ffs it is not email anymore
Rolled 86 (1d100)>>2104829>>2104747I did it!
Rolled 38 (1d100)>>2104747
The coil of presence you sent forward bit into the old stone of the fort, and relief washed over you as it already pressed on your aura to slow you as you swung down and forward. Being caught this way was a bizarre feeling as your presence was tugged at, as if your insides were being pulled at by an invisible hand, but the harm being done to you was far less than it would have been if you, say, tried to arrest the force of falling with your arm. Besides the flutter of your clothing, the scraping of stone and brick being tugged upon to catch you, and your boots hitting the inside of the wall, your entry had made little noise, and nothing that drew a great deal of attention. A few quick, puffing breaths helped to calm your body; some panic was unavoidable when sent hurtling through the air, and closely avoiding making a crater in the ground, but now, you had to be calm. Rational. Cold.You heaved yourself up, scrambling onto the wall and letting your presence finally retract. It left you feeling like stretched out dough, but not by virtue of muscular exertion. It was…difficult to put properly into words, but it felt like it nevertheless.
The section of wall you found yourself on was unlit, and you managed to sneak along the ramparts smoothly until you reached the entrance to the tower.What had appeared to be six armed men was actually only two armed men, being badgered by four young women. They gossiped loudly and complained, and it was clear that, whatever was happening in the tower, it annoyed them greatly.You recognized them as Blue Ribbons; a group that the average person in Todesfelsen held absolutely no love for. They used their favor with the warbands to impose their will upon the common people, and while the average person here had many ugly names for them, they’d not dare say them if a Blue Ribbon, or a Death Head, would hear it. That said, they were unarmed, so they probably wouldn’t fight you.The two men, uniformed in raggedy black jackets, however, would. Each carried a worn, yet intimidating machine pistols in their hands. You would have had something of the sort yourself, if you could have gotten one. From what you knew, they fire rapid burst of bullets and were difficult to control due to their light weight, but it hardly mattered up close.You had a few ways you could deal with this, all that said.>Manifest a Crack in the middle of the group; that would injure all of them, and you could finish off the armed men in short order.>Manifest a Grenade in the middle of the group; that would severely injure or even slay all of them.>Imbue your Golem, Recht, with Golem Aura and do battle. (Recht is a length of heavy rope, and when empowered with Aura, can move with speed and power, though not with enough to not be resisted physically)>Disarm one of the guards with Kinesis and shoot the other>Simply move in utilizing Lash to attack the guards. (A Lash strike could be compared with a saber stroke in the amount of harm it can cause with a solid strike)>Ignore all of them and try and swing around the side, and up the tower itself>Other?>Riverman’s Presence is at 6/6, Golem is at 4/4.
>>2104969>>Ignore all of them and try and swing around the side, and up the tower itselfsplinter cell that shit
>>2104969>>Ignore all of them and try and swing around the side, and up the tower itself
It wasn’t worth the trouble, you thought, looking to the tower and thinking. If you did quick work right at the target, these people wouldn’t be a problem. Of course, you had to actually get there without being noticed, but the window where you could be spotted would, ideally, be small. A wide swing around the tower, with the aid of darkness, would let you get to the side of the tower and climb up without being spotted by the guards at the entrance, or the women protesting whatever.It wouldn’t be an elegant maneuver. Swinging around required some slack in the coil of presence, which meant you could make some noise if you crashed against anything, and you were much closer to these people than you were when you made your initial, albeit much more perilous, descent. Also, if anybody spotted you when you swooped around, there was a chance they could be spooked enough to alert the guards, even if they didn’t know what you were. It would depend on how fast you went.>Roll up to 3 sets of 2d100. The first is averaged, the second is best of. The first is for not being noticed, the second is for the actual movement. DCs are roll under 50 and 70 respectively.
Rolled 23, 93 = 116 (2d100)>>2105211
Rolled 73, 35 = 108 (2d100)>>2105211
Rolled 45, 6 = 51 (2d100)>>2105211
Your leap off the wall to swing around was premature, and you felt a second of panic as you fell freely, but it was only for a moment before your presence threads caught the edge of the tower, and you swooped gracefully around the tower before landing deftly against the side, just out of sight of any watching from the entrance side of the tower.“Was that a bird?” you heard one of the women wonder aloud. Yes, a bird. An incredibly large bird, you thought, and certainly not somebody who almost pitched themselves off a wall. Anything as long as it wasn’t something that would make the guards investigate.You waited at the edge for this eventuality, but the bickering returned to its former topic. Confident that you had avoided detection, you began to creep up the side of the tower.BANG.A loud crack shattered the night over your head and to the right, and you flinched, only for a slight *pang* to ring in the distance. You looked over in the direction of the metallic sound, and had to squint somewhat…targets? They were rather distant for this sort of shooting…“Damn, baby,” you heard from overhead as you crawled slowly upwards, “I didn’t say which one to go for first, but the farthest one? It’s like you’re trying to set me off, heh.”Cranick, if the affectionate tone was any indication. You knew from your flight overhead that there were three other people up here, and from the silence they were certainly not Blue Ribbons. Come to think of it, the bickering had been centered around some “ugly woman.”Well, at least the person whom you were to leave unscathed would be apparent. You got to the very edge of the walls, and peered out at your opponents.Cranick was acting very intimately with the woman, with a hand firmly gripping her bottom, and they were both looking out, northward, towards the makeshift shooting range; Cranick himself had a sixshooter on his hip. The other two guards had their eyes on the woman; cautious, ready looks, as the submachineguns they held waited for her to use the rifle in her hand against Cranick. The last gunman also had a submachinegun, but looked down the stairs coming up, extremely bored. All were spaced well apart; at most you could only get two at once with a well-placed Grenade Spell.This would be the moment of truth.>Plan your assault. All your mission demands is that Cranick dies, and the woman is left unharmed and not in a position to be harmed.>If any clarification is needed on what you can do and for how much presence/manifest cost, simply ask. To get it out of the way, first, throwing a person off the wall would require 4 Manifest in Kinesis. Ripping a gun out of somebody’s hand would only be 1 manifest, while adjusting their aim by tugging on the ends of the guns would be free, but the Riverman is inexperienced so he can only cast one spell at a time, or do two minor actions at once, minor action being the utilization of any of his items, firing his gun, throwing knives, etc.
>>2105384Can he use his kinesis to silently snap a both watchments necks and prop them against a wall? Silent take downs with Kinesis?
>>2105433Riverman's not nearly that good. Interacting with people's bodies directly is difficult enough, since there's the problem of having to interact with their bodies through their presence; hence even tossing them is difficult. So no, he can't do that. If you mess with their bodies the best you can really do are either forceful moves across the whole thing or piddly things on a limb, like pulling an arm or leg one way. In short, you're a bit clumsy and imprecise when it comes to that sort of thing.
>>2105450Is lash fairly quiet? sneak up behind someone and lash his neck, rinse and repeat?
>>2105477Presence attacks make no sounds on their own, no.Besides whatever sound flesh sublimating, curdling, and dissolving makes
>>2105384Grenade two of the guards. Rip the gun from the hand of the third. Shoot Cranick with our revolver, being ready to push his aim away if/when he draws his gun on us. Ideally the third guard should remain alive so he can testify that Hilda had no part in any of it.
>>2105489I should add that they don't work too well on bones, or anything contained within bone. There's still an effect, but not as much of one.
>>2105384Grenade the two, shoot the one downwards of them and let Hilda take out Cranick.
>>2105493This works pretty well, ideally we should have also informed Hilda to shoot at the Riverman to deflect even more blame off of her. But I doubt there's time for that, as it is hopefully the sheer absurdity of a magical wizard attack will keep her safe-ish.If we leave a guard alive then we should not have Hilda do anything hostile to the Death Heads.Cranick would also best be killed by a Mark then Conflagrating Brand for maximum HOLY SHIT A WIZARD. But if time is of the essence we can just shoot him.If this goes well then maybe Riverman would have enough juice to help Hilda escape? Probably not, I know.
>>2105658>Cranick would also best be killed by a Mark then Conflagrating Brand for maximum HOLY SHIT A WIZARDI figured we wanted to minimize the HOLY SHIT A WIZARD effect as much as possible, since they're supposed to be secretive and not interfere with common events in the first place, and additionally because the Deaths Heads have knowledge of Markus so he probably doesn't want to draw suspicion to himself and possibly invite trouble. The revolver wounds will help detract from the wizard impression; the third guard might not even be believed when he describes what happened, since it would be more believable that he just pussied out failed to do his job than that he was attacked by a powerful wizard that left him alive for no discernible reason. Maybe we should even put revolver bullets into the two guards we kill with the grenade to mask their true cause of death, after we kill Cranick of course.
>>2105384>>2105658>>2105994Mark + Conflagrating Brand makes for some SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION, which deflects blame from Hilda and doesn't reveal the existence of wizards. So I'm voting for this.We'll need to wait until Cranick starts taking his shot, so that he unhands Hilda.
Going with one witness, blow up Cranick.Writing.
Your plan was simple, quick, and deadly; if you did it right, nobody would have a chance to do anything before it was over.The woman’s position as close as she was to Cranick was troublesome; she would have to move further away, or else what you planned to do would likely hurt her greatly. You would have to hope that she’d move away from him on her own.In the meantime, you placed a Mark on Cranick…Presence: 5/6 …What? Your mark had been placed successfully, but there was an interference that it adhered itself to, rather than sticking to the body as per normal…did somebody place a weave on this man? Who? Why?This could change everything. Judging from the color of his presence, this man wasn’t a soulbinder, which meant that somebody else had an interest, for whatever reason, in protecting him. You were sure if this had been a known risk, then you would have been told. The city was too full of the glow of living presence to tell if any soulbinders were about; at least, any like you. Trying to watch for the approach of one was pointless- you’d simply have to deal with that later.After more time than you were comfortable with, Cranick ceased amorously groping the woman and took the gun from her hands, handing her the binoculars he had. She backed off slightly, but not nearly far enough; you'd just have to figure something out at this point. The initial stage of your attack began. A well placed kinesis, acted upon an inanimate object; the gun of the sole man you deemed to be out of reach of the presence grenade you’d place between two of them.The coil of presence snapped tight, and firearm popped out of the guard’s idle hands.“What in the goddamn..?” He muttered as you focused on concentrating your presence into a tight, volatile sphere.Presence: 2/6 Your breath became short; your presence was becoming perilously drained, but you could draw more from your Golem immediately after you had slammed the Grenade art into the middle of the two still unsuspecting sentries.You thrust your arm forward, and the turbulent sphere darted forward on a little thread of life energy, aiming as equally between the two men as you thought you could.
The presence burst upon the ground, its energy crackling through the air and spreading the stench of ozone as the two sentries were thrown away by the force of an explosion so replete with energy that even the ungifted would see the light of it. The brief light illuminated their rapidly blackening flesh, screams of shocked agony tearing from their mouths as their blackened pieces bent and crackled upon striking the floor.“What!?” Cranick whipped about as you leapt into the fray, his rifle at the ready. The now disarmed guard still stood cluelessly, but Cranick’s eyes were alive and ready for a fight.The damn woman was still too close to destroy Cranick without wounding her, though…she seemed only slightly less surprised than the guard. She was away from him, of course, but she had no way of knowing how wide the effect of your spell would be...>She can stand some pain. Draw power from your Golem and cast Conflagarating Brand upon Cranick. Weave or no, the power of this art through a mark that pierced the barrier anyways was sure to be deadly, and messy.>Maybe he cares for this woman. Pretend to aim at her with your revolver.>What a damn pain. You’d have to pull her out of the way, but it would take enough presence that you couldn’t safely cast a Conflagaration!>Other?
>>2107683>She can stand some pain. Draw power from your Golem and cast Conflagarating Brand upon Cranick. Weave or no, the power of this art through a mark that pierced the barrier anyways was sure to be deadly, and messy.
Rolled 83 (1d100)She could stand some pain, you decided quickly; hesitating now could mean failing your mission, or worse.You drew upon the presence of your Golem, refilling your reserves enough for a safe casting.Presence: 5/6Golem: 1/4With an outstretched palm, you manifested the signs and currents to form your most powerful art, as quickly as you could. Cranick turned out to be a fast shot, though, and as soon as you completed the manifestation, he had taken fast aim and pulled the trigger…
The shot cracked wide, but not so wide you didn’t feel the bullet whiff by your arm.Even if Cranick had struck you with that round, it was too late for him. You closed your hand and activated the Conflagrating Brand.Presence:2/6Golem: 1/4Everything was still for the briefest moment, before your presence united with Cranick’s, and both transformed into an expanding inferno of roiling energy.The torrent of flames you saw would not have been perceived by most; to anybody without a gift for seeing such things, Cranick would have looked like he’d merely shriveled up and fallen apart, blackened flakes of flesh floating about in a cloud away from him, but you saw the true fury of a deadly soul art.Cranick made a hoarse yelp as he died, but the might of the attack was such that he couldn’t have felt pain for more than a moment. The same wasn’t true of the woman, who screeched in terror and pain, doing her best to scramble away as venomous darkness crept into her extremities and softer flesh, her cheeks greying and flickering as she tried and failed to escape the wave of deadly presence you had created. She crawled in an agonized scramble to the edge of the wall, where she curled into a ball and expressed her pain in gasping, haggard cries.She would live, though.The sole unharmed man stared at you, wild eyed, eyes darting about for a weapon on the ground, before calling an alarm.You were tired, and your Golem was nearly drained of energy as well. You could fight, you supposed, but you’d have felt more comfortable leaving, now that your mission was accomplished.>Leave now; your job was done.>Try and heal the woman; you had a Rune of Stitch, and it wouldn’t take long.>Try and disable the reinforcements coming so you could examine the situation more thoroughly>Other?
>>2107785>>Try and disable the reinforcements coming so you could examine the situation more thoroughlyIs the weave on Cranick even possible to investigate now that he's a charred corpse.Otherwise can he gtfo with Hilda?
>>2107683>She can stand some pain. Draw power from your Golem and cast Conflagarating Brand upon Cranick. Weave or no, the power of this art through a mark that pierced the barrier anyways was sure to be deadly, and messy.It's unfortunate but it is absolutely how the Riverman would see it and it has the fortunate side effect of further shifting the blame from her if she's injured in the attack. Worse comes to worse if the guard runs off we can use the Stitch.
>>2107797>Otherwise can he gtfo with Hilda?He doesn't have the presence required to safely drop her off the fort.He could imbue his golem (since it's a giant length of heavy rope) and make it so the fall wouldn't be definitely deadly, but that would require time to let her down with, which you don't have if you just want to leave.Although I thought the point of doing it like this was so you didn't have to get her out because no guilt would be placed on her?
>>2107799Dammit too slow.>>2107785>Other?Point at the pile of ashes that was Cranick and then point at the guard. If he runs, use Stitch on Hilda, if he doesn't then GTFO alone.
>>2107804Oh, and for the weave question...No. It dissolved with his presence as he got charbroiled.
>>2107808Well then, I guess their really isnt any reason to stay here then, since we cant investigate it.Hilda weaved him
>>2107807Well, he isn't ashes, so much as a goopy pile of thick black sludge, carbonized bones and congealed fluids in what could be construed as a once human form. What happened isn't really akin to what a true fire would do.
>>2107813All the better, I'm hoping this small bucket of molasses formerly named Cranick will get the point across better than the ashes would.
>>2107785>>Leave now; your job was done.
>>2107785>>Try and heal the woman; you had a Rune of Stitch, and it wouldn’t take long.
>>2107785>Leave now; your job was done.
>gtfo - 3>stay and heal - 2>try to drive off reinforcementsRiverman's heading out, writing.
The woman would live; that was all that mattered. Her wounds were unfortunate, you thought, but necessary. They’d get better with time, and to be completely fair, in the end they would be nothing compared to the scars she already bore.As Cranick’s presence had died with him, the mark you placed on him was reabsorbed.Presence:3/6Golem: 1/4Without another word, you jumped over the edge of the wall, skimming slowly down, suspended on threads of presence. The chaos you heard spreading within the fort no longer had anything to do with you.-----A change of clothes into something less theatrical later, and you were waiting idly once more atop a building. It hadn’t been difficult to find the ember once more, and to tell her that you’d been successful.Your presence had some chance to regenerate since, from your Golem.Presence:3/6Golem: 4/4“The man called Cranick has passed,” you said.“And Hilda..?” Emma asked hopefully.“She will live.”“Thank goodness…” Emma sighed, “…so what now? You have to rescue the skinny bitch, right?”“Skinny bitch?” you asked, dumbfounded, “I was asked to rescue Von Tracht’s fiancée.”“Same person.”You didn’t feel any need to use such derogatory language, even for somebody with vile creatures living inside of their eyes; the measure of a person who would willingly infest their body with such things was always suspect. “That should not be at the same level that this was,” you said confidently, “But I will be waiting until the day of your attack, as Von Tracht suggested to me, through you.”“…Hey,” Emma said, suddenly wary, “Who’s that guy? He looks funny.”
At the same time Emma said that, you felt a chilling presence approaching. You turned, and saw a strange man walking towards you, from another roof.He was dressed in some sort of uniform you’d never seen before, an old looking sort, a white tunic with colorful red cuffs, and green dress pants tucked into shining black calf length boots. The field cap the man wore was of a matching color scheme, but was of decidedly newer style. He looked as though he belonged to an army you’d never heard of, though his appearance wasn’t out of the ordinary in a place like this where mixed uniform pieces from all over the place tended to make up typical male fashion anyways.His hands were wrapped in layers of what seemed like bandages, and similar material seemed to stretch all the way up to his throat, under his clothes. He was muscular, but slim, and his face was thin and pointed, the whole thing being stretched from side to side by a thin, wide smile. His dark hair was brushed back into a spiky mess behind his head, revealing a tattoo of the Hammer of the Judge upon his forehead. Behind him walked a construction that many would mistake for a hound, but you knew from the presence it exuded that it was no animal, and never had been. This was a golem.“Why do you speak with an unclean creature?” the stranger called out to you from the roof across from yours, “The creatures of the Earth are to be purged by mankind. That is our only purpose. Do you blaspheme against the Judge by fraternizing with the evil of earth?”“Leave,” you said sharply to Emma, who got the message and flitted away. The other soulbinder watched her as she left, but only briefly, before returning his eyes to you. “I trust you have not heard of my order, or you would not be standing so confidently as you are now.”“No.”“Just no?” the man shifted his stance to a more aggressive one, “Very well then. I will give you a chance to consider your allegiances. I am of an order that seeks to being justice and eternal peace to the world, a world that cannot exist without purging those who would misuse powers such as ours.”“I am not interested in joining any organizations, or cults,” you stated flatly, “I wish to be left alone from nonsense such as yours.”“A shame,” the man sighed, and his smile opened to a white, toothy grin, “I tried. See, you don’t get to say no to that offer. To be true, I was hoping you’d say something fucking dumb like you just did. I’ve been waiting for the chance for my first kill of your sort.”You had assumed that he would have at least tried to negotiate one more time with a more appealing sell, but you had been wrong.>Fight!>Flee!>Other?
>>2108081>Flee!No way we're fighting this guy.
>>2108081>Flee!If his golem is a dog-thing then maybe there is a chance they can be separated at a later time.And now that we know their is a soulbinder hunting us we can formulate a better defense against him/ Assuming we live of course.
Perhaps you would have been more confident if you were completely refreshed of presence, or if you had known of the possibility of dueling another like you. You hadn’t even known that Soulbinders ever even fought one another; so far as you knew, there was no reason to.With the odds this much against you, it was most reasonable to flee.As your tendrils of presence reached out backwards and forwards to anchor themselves on the building you stood upon, readying to fling you across town, the enemy stretched his own threads towards you, the multitude of threads convalescing into a single point, which stabbed towards you; he was marking you; why he had to do so, you didn’t know; he didn’t seem to have much trouble finding you in the first place, after all.Afterwards, he made bizarre symbols with his hands as well as his presence, speaking aloud; “I plead to the heavens to bind you to the earth, as the mountains fall into the sea! May your presence be bound by the Seal af Samson.”You had shot away as he finished saying that, but you felt a weight fall over your presence; it wasn’t hard to tell that Recht, your Golem, had ceased feeding you presence. What had that man done, to do that? Well, you were well away from him now, at least.Not that you predicted that he would simply give up just like that. You took but a moment of rest to dispel the mark upon you before fleeing once more. Hopefully, this strange man would not realize that you had another mission to complete here; there was no way you could do what you had come to do with him waiting for you.If he was tailing you, on the other hand…well, then you’d lead him on a merry chase indeed. First kill, hah. What disgusting overconfidence.>Flee to the mountains, where you knew certain elders held sway.>Report back to Von Tracht>Other?Thank you for participating in this brief run of Gambling Debts Wizard Quest. Panzer Commander will return after this vote.Not that I have much big planned until next thread, so basically all we can do for now is chat with people if you want.
>>2108355>Report back to Von TrachtThen go to the mountains.
>>2108355>Gambling Debts Wizard Quest>Panzer Commander QuestOne of these quests involved their title being relevant.Also >Flee to the mountains, where you knew certain elders held sway.If the other soulbinder was following the Riverman, then going back to Trach would lead him right to us. More concerningly, since Emma was told to run, it may also lead said enemy soulbinder directly back to Emma, as well.
>>2108390>>2108355Go to the mountains but find a way to update Richter on current events.
>>2108355>>Report back to Von Tracht
>>2107848>>2107853What the fuck, anons. We specifically took akong the Rune for such an occasion.>>2108355>Flee to the mountains, where you knew certain elders held sway.
>>2108355Mountains, Riverman knows Emma will tell Richter the news.It also keeps the enemy away from the parasite, Von Tracht and especially Maddy what with the unclean monster currently acting as her eye.
>>2108355>MountainsEmma will tell Richter and waterboy isn't so stupid he would lead an assassin directly to his employer.How far away are the mountains anyway, he will be able to return in time for his original mission, right?>>2108593Right now it looks like it can save his own life and if that means he'll be able to save Maddy then it's all good.
Sorry, I've been busy abusing my sleep schedule and paying for it.Anyways will update soonish, probably after dinner.>>2109096>How far away are the mountains anyway, he will be able to return in time for his original mission, right?They'd be pretty far for people who would have to walk there, but yes, he'll be able to return in time.Really the intent is to see if he'll track him all the way there or break it off at a certain point.
There was only one place you suspected could help you against a threat such as this; you’d never made a point of meeting with them, but deep in the mountains of this continent, you had heard tell of authorities of your kind, who called themselves the Mountain Lords. If you sought them out, you would at least be able to find out just what this strange man wanted with you, even if you didn’t actually receive any help. One of the few concrete things you had heard of the mountain lords after all was their aloofness towards personal problems.So far as you knew, at least, the dog man had no reason to believe you had to come back to this place; if he didn’t stop chasing you once you’d reached (what you hoped to be) neutral ground, then you theorized that you could just loop back around and accomplish the second favor you’d been asked with little trouble. After all, the abomination girl was small and light looking enough that she would at least be simple to carry out of the place. After that…well, hopefully, this new soulbinder wasn’t somehow somebody else you owed money to.You dug your foot into the dusty earth and pushed upon it with all of your might and your presence, and made the view of the lands around you a blur.-----You are once more Lieutenant Von Tracht.Today, the day you had sent Emma uncertainly off with a plan that was, admittedly, an attempt to both have your cake and eat it, several large weapons shipments arrived, and the four battalions that had been assembled were finally at least equipped. Among them had been Tib of Tatter’s contribution of what was supposed to be VM-28 light machine guns, but they had turned out to be…less than that.“What in the fuck is this supposed to be?” Von Walen had commented crassly when you and him had gone to inspect the weapons, “This isn’t a Von Muse at all. It’s…some sort of chimera of the front end and stock stuck on…I don’t even know what the hell this is.” He lifted up a gun to point out the difference, and it was obvious to see. Where the mechanically relevant part of the Von Muse was supposed to be, there was instead something from a completely different, older gun. If you were to guess from the bulk of the mechanism, it once belonged to an Emrean War era machine gun; the resulting weapon from this bizarre fusion looked heavy and awkward to use.“It will have to do,” you sighed, “We only have a few days until we’re supposed to march.”“Damn whoever this Tib of Tatter guy is,” Von Walen let the freakish gun he carried drop with a loud clatter back into the crate he took it from, “At least the uniforms didn’t turn out to be…I don’t know, old Lancer parade uniforms or whatever else would make no sense.”
Today had been designated a rest day for the training troops to be. Rumors carried word of the stress the Army of the Republic was suffering from as a result of the recent upheavals, so it had been deemed that a single day of R&R would improve morale for a negligible decrease in future combat potential. After all, these people already knew how to fight; if they socialized and relaxed with one another, it could only help their cohesion, Brucker had pointed out to you when making the proposal.Of course, this also left you with little to do other than examine the steadily deteriorating mechanical status of your most valuable assets. Even after a thorough cleaning, Von Metzeler’s m/32 had refused to start up for an entire hour before it was bullied into doing so. A makeshift repair of its hydraulic recoil mechanism had been made, but with ammunition for the 4.7cm cannon not being available outside of your own stocks, actually testing the repair had been seen as not necessary. Looking upon the numerous flaws of the Army of the Republic and trying to fix them had been an interesting, engaging, even fun project for what it was, but going back to managing your own equipment felt as though you were returning from a walk in the woods to the scent of mildew growing in one’s house.There was also the fact that you hadn’t heard back from Von Neubaum since he had left to commit mischief in something that could be approximated as your name; you would have preferred that all your officers be accounted for before having to charge off into battle once more. With the lack of communications equipment, Brucker had suggested to you that your group be split among the battalion to help coordinate their broad movements better, and you had agreed that that would be a wise plan…but it required all your officers be actually present. You took some solace in that, at least, no more pieces of Maddalyn had been sent to you in a box. That hopefully meant that Von Neubaum was making enough of a nuisance of himself to satisfy Liemanner.All in all, the guns being the wrong sort hardly even registered as a problem on your mind right now. The only thing worse than the problems you actually were worried about was your inability to do much about them yourself.You supposed that you could take some R&R yourself to help cool your head for the coming days, at least until Emma or somebody else came with news from Todesfelsen.>Go do something, with or without somebody, and/or talk with somebody. Write in.This is pretty loose, I know, but we’re up near the end of the thread and moving on in a big way isn’t much of a good idea right now in my opinion, so we can just have some fun with this, as long as two things don’t contradict with one another I’ll slot them into the update time left.
>>2109986Think we should hold a gathering of our officers and discuss what our plans are for going home.
>>2110002This works plus maybe wishfully thinking of the awards we'd all get if this was in any way officially sanctioned.
>>2109986shoot the piss with our guys
The best thing you could do was to plan for the future after your victory here; it was inevitable, wasn’t it? If it wasn’t, you’d rather not think about what you’d have to do if you lost, anyways. You already knew what could happen if you failed.Your officers had expressions that told you they thought similarly when you gathered them together at your camp, before your vehicles. Except for Honnrieg; you had the feeling that, even if he were exiled here, he was far more used to these lands, and likely would be more comfortable living here than any of the rest of you would be.You were all crowded by Von Metzeler’s m/32; Von Metzeler himself said that he wanted to watch over his vehicle’s repairs and cleaning, and that he’d interject if he felt he needed to. You didn’t know how you felt about that, but Krause assured you that he would be attentively listening the whole time, so you took that as a chance to not worry about it.“I’ve been thinking about what we should do when we rescue everybody,” you said, “so we can go home.”“When?” Von Igel asked skeptically, pushing up his spectacles, “Don’t you mean if?”“When.” You repeated.
“We can just come back over the border where Von Holtenberg is,” Captain Honnrieg said, “That was the plan from the start, from what I can see. Border raids are nothing new to the Light Rifles. I know the signals, getting back in that way would be a pinch.”“About that,” Von Walen scratched his chin and said this carefully, deliberately, like stepping out onto an icy pond, “What if we didn’t do that?”“Pardon?” you sputtered out.“I mean, instead of us going right back,” Von Walen tested the waters, “We have our people come to us. This place is shaping up to be a lot less of a wildland, right? There’s no chance that we get shot up or arrested or whatever if we have a delegation come to get us.”Von Metzeler’s tank started up with a cough and a roar.“May I remind you,” Lieutenant Von Metzeler said loudly and sternly over the churning of the tank’s engine and the whine of its belts, “That our nation is at war. We have heard no news that would indicate that we have time to dawdle after our mission is complete.”The tank engine kicked up again, and a burst from the exhaust send dust billowing up and around, and all in attendance of the meeting were forced to shield their faces.“Look,” Von Walen coughed and shouted over the engine, “It’s not like we’re going to be just heading back to the front, anyways. We’re deserters, remember? If this is as secret as it’s supposed to be, the IO’s not going to have told the army justices jack. Chances are good we’ll all be court martialed even with two hundred some odd rescued hostages.”Von Metzeler signaled to his crew to turn off the tank’s engine, and it slowly sputtered to a whining, squeaking stop. “It would be the honorable act,” he stated loudly, his volume still unchanged despite the lack of interfering mechanical noise, “To not tarry whatsoever, no matter the potential of repercussions. To do otherwise could easily be used against us, should we somehow find no allies in the courts.”“Unless we didn’t delay on purpose,” Von Igel suggested, “For example, if we were hindered…”Von Metzeler glared at the bookish man. “Explain yourself.”“W-well,” Von Igel stuttered, “I remembered, when we were in captivity in the Blumlands, I saw the woman who has now named herself as leader of this place. She and the Lieutenant seemed well acquainted, and from what I can see…she could…engineer a situation that would benefit us?”
“I concur, actually,” Krause spoke up, without a hint of uncertainty, his voice as clear as glass. Von Metzeler blinked and looked to him, mouth slightly open in concern. “I will elaborate. Over two hundred hostages is a powerful bartering tool, in any situation. Since we are rescuing these people with the aid of the Republic, I have no doubt that the possibility of claiming these hostages for themselves has been discussed. However,” Krause stipulated, “Not for the purpose of ransom or anything like that, but as a favor.”“Moral capital,” Von Igel regained confidence in his idea, “Yes, yes, they’d probably be tempted to do it anyways, so why not make it an agreement? It gives time for diplomacy to take place, and the coming state would be friendlier with the Archduchy. Most importantly, we would draw no suspicion of conspiracy. The best of both worlds.”“I do not like it…” Von Metzeler said darkly.“Me neither, actually,” Von Walen announced, “After all, that means all the credit’s with the republic, and not us. We’d get dick all for honors, awards, anything. It wasn’t the Republic that came all the way out to the ass end of the badlands to get our countrymen, it was us! I’m not being too greedy here, am I? It’s only fair.”You looked to Captain Honnrieg expectantly. He looked bored with this talk, and his eyes flashed back to you. “What, my take? I’m not interested in diddling around here either. If you’re really so concerned about a court martialing, we can just seek shelter under Von Holtenberg until it all blows over, though that means you won’t be gallivanting back off to the front so quickly. My people have some favors we can call in, after all, and the daughters are…fond of military men, should I say? Hah.”“I change my vote to going to Von Holtenberg,” Von Walen said quickly, “They’re single?”“Yeah,” Honnrieg chuckled, “They’re also half your age. They’re interested in stories and fawning over boys, not in marriage or affairs.”“Goddamnit. Never mind then,” Von Walen sulked.“Not that this is a democracy anyways,” Honnrieg added, “This is a military operation. We’re only deserters in name, so that means all decisions are with the commander.”>I’m quite fond of battle honors and glory, thank you very much, and I would like to return to our comrades. We’re getting out, hostages and all, as soon as possible, damn the consequences.>I’d rather play it safe. We’re but a platoon, the Archduke’s Army is alright without us, and we need to think of the safety of the hostages, too. It would also help the Republic, which isn't a bad thing either.>Other?Also>Anything else you want to do after this
>>2110304Much as I would like to play it safe, we might not have the time especially with what's happening out east.After we rescue the hostage maybe give them a days rest to check on whether they're OK to travel then let's head north.Also update our guys on what's happening in Ellowie if any of them don't know. Another thing is it possible to get any info about the other things we didn't ask Riverman (such as the events to our east and west) from Loch or other sources? A lot of these arms merchants seem to have contact with Neitilland for example so we should know if the war has started.
>>2107785>venomous darkness crept into her extremities and softer flesh, her cheeks greying and flickeringThat sounds like a 4th degree burn. She'll lose her hands and possibly face. Good work anons.>>2110304>I’m quite fond of battle honors and glory, thank you very much, and I would like to return to our comrades. We’re getting out, hostages and all, as soon as possible, damn the consequences.>Discuss the happenings in Ellowie, ask for their input.
>>2110304>>I’m quite fond of battle honors and glory, thank you very much, and I would like to return to our comrades. We’re getting out, hostages and all, as soon as possible, damn the consequences.Also>Anything else you want to do after thisFind out what it is exactly our role is in the upcoming attack and be upfront with Loch and Signy about the condition of our armor. What role the Honnriegs infantry will be playing.Do we have enough vehicles and supplies to transport 200 odd hostages back to Strossvald or do we need to acquire anything else?
>>2110304>>I’m quite fond of battle honors and glory, thank you very much, and I would like to return to our comrades. We’re getting out, hostages and all, as soon as possible, damn the consequences.
>>2110425Was me.We should tell them about Ellowie as >>2110324 said. In fact, we should tell Loch and Mega Eyebrows too.In regards to generating political goodwill between the republic and archduchy we'll just tell everyone we meet what a great help they were yadda yadda. Fact is, without this op and the safe haven Signy provided us we'd be so far down shit creek I doubt Richter would still be alive.
Awake and writing.>>2110390>Do we have enough vehicles and supplies to transport 200 odd hostages back to Strossvald or do we need to acquire anything else?You definitely do not. You'd need to borrow some or march them back on foot, which to be honest, so long as you can provide for them, isn't too far of a walk if the region undergoes any fast stabilization.
“Personally,” you made it known, “I’m quite fond of battle honors and glory, and I’d prefer to return to our comrades sooner rather than later. We leave with the hostages, as soon as possible, no matter the risk.”There was no dissent against you for this decision, though Krause frowned slightly, and Von Igel fidgeted while making a conciliatory sigh.“With that out of the way,” you went on, “I am unsure if any of you have heard from our new acquaintance, about something that may be happening in Ellowie,” you referred to Fie who had originally told you about the troubles happening back at her home, “Something I would like your opinions on. According to this person, widespread drafting has affected even rural townships. This mobilization is apparently because both Twaryi and the Netillians are mobilizing armies of their own on either side of Ellowie. I know not of whether they will invade or not, but I think it’s safe to presume war is already beginning, or will begin soon, if history is an accurate judge of either nation’s character.”The Twaryians and Netillians both had pursued numerous wars against the Ellowians, though the stout character of the Ellowians had allowed them to fend off either opponent most of the time. It also helped that neither of them attacked at the same time, for fear of helping the other. Such fears, evidently, having been placed aside.“Impossible,” Von Igel shook his head, “Twaryi refused to recognize the new Netillian government. They’ve even declared that it’s their intent to depose it when they reach Netilland. They have to dislike one another more than ever.”“Von Neubaum would know a lot more about this,” Von Walen itched at the back of his head, “I can’t say I remember a thing about Twaryi, just that the Netillians are a bunch of belligerent cocks.”There was truth in that statement, though Netilland’s territorial claims had backing to them, unlike the Twaryian’s blatant thirst for conquest; it had initially formed out of a group of states that themselves had lost territory due to their disunity making them easy targets in the days of nation building after the Reich’s loss of control over the east. “Ellowie is the eastern neighbor of this land,” Von Metzeler summed up, “If war arrives, we would no doubt hear of it, and soon after the fact.”“Speaking of hearing of it,” you led off, “Have any of you seen or heard any rumormongers? People in the know? Many of the arms dealers seem to have connections with the north, for example…”
“Nah,” Von Walen said, “I wouldn’t bother looking, not among the natives, at least. The traders, maybe. See, international news only spreads here from rumors. There’s no journalists traveling abroad, no big newspapers, nothing like that. Although, I’ve certainly heard of a lot of rumors…trickling out of that camp full of Vyrmani. They’re eastern peoples, you know.”“That will have to do then,” you said. You had found Fie in the first place staying in that place; who knew what else you could find if you were actually looking for something. “Regardless of whether or not war in the east is likely, if it were to happen, what would be the result?”“Ellowie crumples up in a month, probably less,” Honnrieg stated, having pulled a cigarette box from his jacket and looking mournfully at how coated in dust the contents had become. He brushed them off as he continued, “They’re hard fighters, but they just don’t have the men and materiel to do anything more than delay. They won’t be able to hold long enough for anybody to get any ideas about exploiting the Netillians or Twari, either. That, and since they’re reduced by fighting on two fronts, our other eastern friends have some things freed up just in case anybody gets ideas, anyways. After that, who knows?”“I think they’d fight,” Von Igel declared, albeit uncertainly, “They’d work together for now…but neither seems the sort to share in the spoils…”“Hopefully that will be the case,” Krause said warily, “If they broker a true alliance, the threat to the east might be such that drastic measures might be taken to counter it…and the strength of the Imperial Gate becomes more important than ever. Strossvald would become the new Ellowie, caught between two mighty powers…”“And Valsten becomes the one caught between three,” Von Metzeler adds, “As much as I hope that we return to our comrades in order to aide them, I am also of the opinion that peace there needs to be had sooner rather than later, due to the threat of this new foe.”“All the more important for us to return quickly,” you said, looking to Von Walen, “Go make some friends in the migrant camp, and report back to me. I have to go visit our temporary allies, and make certain of a few things.”Out to lunch
That day, Signy had returned from her business elsewhere. When you found her and Loch at the town hall, engaged in a sort of game with a few onlookers standing slightly away, she had deep, dark circles under her eyes and a look utterly lacking in amusement. Her expression was so poisonous that even Loch wasn’t quite as jolly and carefree looking as he put on at any other time.“Von Tracht,” Loch greeted you, smiling broadly, a sudden change from the mood you had initially seen him wearing. “Why have you graced us with your presence this evening? Would you like to partake in a game?” Signy didn’t even look up, though she was definitely not focused on the game.“I don’t know what you’re playing,” you said frankly, “But no. I thought I might ask if you’ve heard of what’s happening in the east…with Ellowie?”“The threat of war? Conquest? The fall of the new order in the east with the rise of another?” Loch closed his eyes and shrugged, still smiling, “There is much happening in the east. You’ll have to be more specific.”“I thought you’d be more concerned,” you said lightly, “And therefore more forthcoming with such information, if you’d known it all this time.”“It little concerns you, Von Tracht, unless you wish to stay, that is.” Loch opened one coy eye at you, “I am sure that your news going back home would hardly be the first time the archduchy has heard of this.”“I prefer to keep informed.”“There is no need to be stressed over international policy,” Loch said, “Miss Vang here is the one who does that.”Signy sighed heavily and brushed a bang behind her ear.“I wanted to also say that our tanks have been encountering mechanical trouble, from having been away from proper maintenance for so long,” you broached the next subject, “Our heavier models, in particular. I’m unsure if we can rely on them for the assault.”“More good news, of course…” Signy grumbled as she placed a card down onto the table more heavily than she had to, shaking the wooden surface.“They do not need to operate for long, Von Tracht,” Loch placed a card down and peeked under Signy’s, smiling and flipping it over before advancing his own on top of it, “Just one march, and just one battle. All you need to do is be the iron toe of the boot that smashes the rotten building’s door down. Whether you do it my way or Brucker’s way, either will work.”
Brucker’s proposal had spread your platoon over the companies of the first battalion, enhancing their communication capabilities with your radio equipment as well as being sturdy support pieces for any unexpected trouble. Loch had proposed a more simple task; for you to simply work as a platoon within the battalion and smash any opposition so thoroughly that the formation you were with could break through enemy lines rapidly and exploit the breach, prompting a collapse of enemy structure. Both, as far as you could tell at this venture, were viable tactics, should your equipment endure. The subject of what to do with Honnrieg’s infantry had come up a couple days ago, and both Brucker and Loch, as well as Honnrieg, had no recommendations. A squad and a half of men was simply too few to devote to anything in this operation, and all expected you to simply keep them with you for support.Signy became incredibly frustrated with Loch’s move, and she stood up, pushing her chair back with a clatter. “I need a goddamn drink. All of you, piss off for a bit.”“Miss Vang-“ Loch tried to soothe Signy, but to no avail.“We’ll pick this back up later. I can’t do anything like this,” Signy said bitterly, grinding her teeth together, “I’ve been ready to shoot whatever slimy weasel I’ve met over the past few days since I got done talking with the first one. I’ll consider it an accomplishment if I don’t shoot myself after I get blasted.” When Loch glared at her, Signy scoffed. “I’m not going to shoot myself, alright? Though a hole in my head might help with this headache. I won’t be drinking alone, either.”She leered at you, and you looked side to side for anybody who might be standing by or behind you. “Yeah, you, Richter. You’re drinking with me. I’m not going to get drunk with a bunch of bureaucrats, and I don’t need Loch teaching me how to knock back shots like a proper statesman or whatever crap.”>I’m glad to see I have a choice in the matter. Why me? I could find you somebody better from my people.>I think you’d be better off with some sleep, actually. >Sure, why not. I’ve been annoyingly sober recently.>Other?
>>2111544>I think you’d be better off with some sleep, actually. But one or two glasses should be fine.
>>2111544>>Sure, why not. I’ve been annoyingly sober recently.
>>2111544>Sure, why not. I’ve been annoyingly sober recently.
“I think you’d be better off with some sleep, actually,” you said, and when Signy’s frown deepened, you quickly added, “But one or two should be fine. I suppose Ihave been annoyingly sober, recently.”Signy’s mood brightened, but only slightly. “Upstairs.” She said simply, leaving the rest of the room behind.“Von Tracht,” Loch put a hand on your shoulder, “We still require her faculties at a normal time tomorrow.”“I understand,” you said, and Loch shook his head mournfully, taking his hand off of you.-----Signy stripped off her jacket and tossed it into the corner of the small study, where a heavy glass bottle of spirits colored dark with spices and the aging of a barrel waited, with a single shot glass. Signy took no time at all in yanking a chair away from the table and falling into it, in the same motion lifting the bottle and dumping the dark ichor into the glass, pounding it back in a single swallow.“FFfwah,” Signy sighed, “Sorry. I only have one of these, but…look, it’s not like I have a cold or anything.”“One or two-“ you tried to say, but Signy was already getting her second shot ready.“You know how many people I can get drunk with in this city?” Signy asked with exasperation, “God damn nobody. Anybody who isn’t a complete bastard would take advantage, and anybody who isn’t wouldn’t let me touch a drop of this.” Signy knocked back her glass, coughing after she did so. “Huff…you aren’t that sort, I know. You’re looking at me like I’m gonna bite you. Look, I…I know when I’m beaten, okay? You don’t have to think I’m going to throw myself at you. Alright? I haven’t felt that way since…well, you know.” Signy was already busily refilling the shot glass.“Signy!” you reprimanded her sharply and leaned over the table, tilted the bottle back up, “At least slow down a bit. You’ll pass out in the hour!”“Psh.” Signy didn’t put the bottle down, “Fine. One more. Okay?”“Fine.”Signy knocked back yet another shot, looked at the glass, then began to pour again. “Maybe one more…”“No.”“Pffine,” Signy let the bottle back down with a clatter. “Youssh should drink sommathis…” Signy’s eyes began to flutter with tipsiness, which was hardly a surprised with how much hard liquor she’d just imbibed. “C-C…Commonnn, I can’t be…canbe the only drunk person here, it’s…iz paffedic if your drung aloooone…”>Knock one back, just to be social.>There’s no way that you’ll let a woman be more intoxicated than you. That, and keeping the bottle to yourself should keep Signy from having any more, at least.>No. You won’t be encountered mutually intoxicated, that would look bad.>Other?
>>2112069>There’s no way that you’ll let a woman be more intoxicated than you. That, and keeping the bottle to yourself should keep Signy from having any more, at least.
>>2112069>>Knock one back, just to be social.What is this stuff, anyway?
>>2112088Some northern export presumably made of fermented pure evil. It's unreasonably strong and not well suited for anything but knocking yourself out with.
“I get the feeling you’re playing it up,” you said critically as you snatched the bottle away, “This stuff isn’t really that hard, is it?” You took a shot yourself, and though it was powerful enough that your nose scrunched up reflexively just from a sniff of it, you downed it anyways. There was something decidedly not alcohol in there, but from the status of the bottle, it was at least not poison. Whatever herbs were in there seemed to merely be there to hide the strength of the distilled death juice.“What the hell is this?” you felt the need to ask.“I donno, but it’s great.” “I’ll have to take your word for it,” you said, looking at the label. What little there was, aside from the brand name, was in Old Nauk. “I don’t suppose you need to vent, do you?”Signy’s attitude hardened. “I haven’t had nearly enough for that.”“How much is enough, then?”“When I’m passed out in a pool of my own puke.”“This stuff wears off quick, doesn’t it?”“Oh, pish off,” Signy huffed, “I wanted to have fun, not just go to sleep and wake up with a hangover. Givvit back if you’re not gonna drink.”“No.”Signy cradled her head in her hands with a huff, wincing as she did so; her fingers weren’t healing fast enough for her tastes, apparently, though they were much better than you had last seen them despite the brief period of time since their breakage.“More I go around,” Signy muttered, “More I see how messed up everything is. What’s left of my people just want me to go home. Everybody who sees what I could do here’s just in it for…who knows what. It’s driving me crazy…but, father always said that nothing good is ever easy…” Signy looked longingly at the bottle you kept away from her, “Is it wrong that I don’t feel so bad about that any more? Everyone dying. I remember I said I’d never forget how mad, how miserable I was, but it’s already so far away.”“Isn’t that fortunate?” you asked, cautiously testing another shot, “Psychological tests of soldiers have indicated that some of them never get over their trauma.”“If I get over it though, doesn’t that make it seem like I didn’t care that much, though?” Color had flushed into Signy’s cheeks, and she looked lazily from side to side, “I remember being sad for longer when my cat died…this was my father, people I grew up with, maybe not my friends, but we were all in it together…am I just a horrible person?”“You’re not a horrible person,” you sighed, “This might be a country for horrible people, but you’re not from here.”
“Ehh,” Signy trailed off, “Hmm…Tell me aboud your wife.”“Excuse me?” you held your shot glass half tipped, frozen. Taking another shot of this stuff was questionable, but you kept the bottle to yourself; better to not let Signy have any more, whether or not you had more yourself.“I just wanna know about her.”“I would think you’d know more,” you put the glass down and eyed Signy skeptically, “Didn’t you live in the same city? For long enough that your group had their own cave or mine or whatever it was?”“She’s…Mathilda?” Signy guessed.“Maddalyn.”“Yeah I never…heard of any Maddalyns much,” Signy sank deeper into her hands in thought, looking upward, “Only a few things about…people not talking about her. Like it was weird, or something’…that was a loooong time ago, though…” Signy pushed her head up and put her hands flat on the table between you, “Tell.”>(Be aloof)-She’s rich and her blood’s of a society I’d never be able to join otherwise. I don’t think it’s necessary to say much else in passing, is it? >(Be transparently ingratiating)-She’s small, cute, a sweetheart and she has magical powers. Everything else is just icing on the cake. The strawberry shortcake.>(Be overly critical)-She’s maniacally self-deprecating, gets into trouble all the time, overly clingy and dependent, and whenever she acts independently it turns into a problem. So basically, she’s about as good as a highborn noblewoman gets.>Other?
>>2112104>(Be confused)-She’s maniacally self-deprecating, gets into trouble all the time, overly clingy and dependent, and whenever she acts independently it turns into a problem. And she has that kind of adorableness that makes you want to take her by the shoulders, hug the stupid out of her and make her into a woman she deserves to be. Like her mom
>>2112112I can support this
>>2112112Haha! True. All the while we shake our head in disappointment at other things
Long term investment it is, then.Normally I'd start later than this, but considering how low on the page we are, better to get at least one thing done early so next session is all business.
“Well,” you leaned back and thought about just where to start, “She’s maniacally self-deprecating, gets into trouble all the time, she’s overly clingy and hopelessly dependent, and on the occasion that she acts independently it turns into a problem almost immediately.”Signy blinked dumbly at you. “Uh. That’s…”You weren’t quite done yet, though. “And she has that kind of adorableness that makes you want to take her by the shoulders, squeeze the stupid out of her, and make her into a woman she deserves to be.”Signy smirked, then giggled hollowly, but it wasn’t a true smile; it was mixed with something sadder that turned her lips into a crooked ironic line. “Heh. Hee. Squeeze the stupid out of her. She’s already pretty thin, you’d turn her into a skeleton.”“She’s not so thin in some places.”“If pinching a girl’s cheeks worked that well,” Signy lamented, “I wouldn’t have turned out such a…such a mess. This place ishn’t squeezing the schtupid out of me, you know? It feels like it’s wringing out…something I ought to keep, you know?”“You really need to get this trip off your chest,” you said, and when Signy’s eyes went towards the liquor, you pulled it defensively away.“Whatever,” Signy said, as she yanked out a hip flask from a holster you’d never noticed had a flask on it; it must have been behind her, unlike the pistol she had on her hip sometimes. “What’s in that?” you asked cautiously. Signy pointed to the bottle as she tilted her head back, wrenching her eyes shut as she took a pull on her flask. “For heaven’s sakes.”“Aaahh,” Signy wiped her mouth on her sleeve, “Okay. First, I didn’t spend that much time with the people in the republic. I went north, to the big…big, bands of badashesup theres. So they wouldn’t come raidin’ and…messing around while we were away.”
Signy didn’t let you have a word in edgewise as she rambled on, “Buncha pigs, alla them. Makes me pishd off at myself, for bein a little girl…I need a big ugly scar, or somefin, the patch helps, but I shtill look like…like a kid, I guess. The number of times I said…Touch me again, and I’ll kill you, I’m a broken record. I can’t punch anybody with these hands, every time I try to be intimidatin’ without the whole kill you schtick, they just laugh and grope me like I’m some uppidy whore.” Signy pointed to her anatomy, “Always the goddamn right one, too. Ish the right boob the better looking one or something?”“I’ve never exactly paid much attention.”“I’ll bet you haven’t, your wife’s so scrawny,” Signy muttered, before launching into a diatribe about each individual dirtbag she had the displeasure of dealing with that lasted somewhere around twenty minutes.“Id wudden be so bad,” Signy blubbered, the stuff having gotten well into her system by now, “If they wanded to phuck me, y’know? But ids like…they’re shidheads because I’m young, and cause I’m a girl, it’s so frusdrading.” Her blush had gone around to her whole face, and intoxication had put her into an even drearier mood instead of a carefree one. “Why da fug aren’d you dringing? Ad leasd have a liddle pardy wid me before…before you leave lige everybody elsh has leffed me. My mom, my dad, anybody’d who’d be a friend…lige give me a fugging breag…”>My oh my, that’s enough drinks for you, young lady. >You know what? Sure. I’m only going to get proper perspective if I’m as deep in the bottle as you are right now. Just give me a bit.>Other?
>>2112397Drink another shot.
>>2112397>>My oh my, that’s enough drinks for you, young lady.
>>2112397>My oh my, that’s enough drinks for you, young lady.
“I think that’s enough drinks for you,” you said, reaching for Signy’s flask. She held it away from you with a glare of annoyance.“Nuuh,” she moaned, “If you’re nod drinkin’ then hands off mine. Led me fuggup for once in my goddamn life, I’m a goddamn adult. I’m nod so drunk thad I forgot why I’m doin it. This is the whole poind, dummy.” Signy stared blankly into space, muttering in a string of disjointed self pity, “You know whad daddy was worried aboud before he died? Thad I didden have a boyfren, no marriage in side. Look at me now, nobody even wands do get drunk wiff me. I’m eider somebody’s bure daughter, the king of the shid house, or a pile of fugging garbage.”Signy splayed herself over the table, resting her head on her hands with a choked sigh, “Whad’s so bad aboud being drunk anyways? Lods of people do id, I’ve god more reason than a lod of people I know…” A half closed eye drifted lazily up at you, “Don’d just stare ad me. Lige you’re anudder fugging guard dog I never asged for. Everything’s jusd gonna ged worse from here oud so jusd led me have dis while I sdill can. Don’d eben haff to be drung wid me, whad da fug ever. Led me fug up my own hed ad leasd.”>Take her to bed, it didn't take long for this to happen, more would be irresponsible.No, not like that.>Let her get hammered if she wants. You just have to watch over her until she passes out.>Leave>Other?
>>2112471>Let her get hammered if she wants. You just have to watch over her until she passes out.
>>2112471>Let her get hammered if she wants. Take a swig.>Join the pity party, whine about Liemanner and his fucking army of selves and all the bullshit you have to deal with. At Least she doesn't have to be verbally abused by an adolescent ghost.
>>2112487Aw what the hell, Loch can be mad at both of us, supporting this one.
>>2112471>Take her to bed, it didn't take long for this to happen, more would be irresponsible.
I think Signy is underrated as a waifu. Honestly what more could a man ask for than a cute democracy-loving girl who turns into Spurdo Sparde when she gets drunk.
>>2112487Sure, except for the hammered part, lets just have another and thats it.
>>2112653Well, I said a swig, not multiple swigs. If there is one constant in this world, it's that Richter is no fun allowed.
>>2112670It was mostly for the other guy voting to get hammered, incase that would be part of the winning vote.
“You know,” you said, grabbing the whole bottle of spirits around its middle, “You aren’t the only one who needs to bludgeon themselves with liquor. Here.” You upended the bottle into your own throat; it was like swallowing a river of fire, but one whose heat left the senses purer, if only through burning them numb. “Hee. Wow,” Signy snickered, “You goin’ to leaff any for me?”“Nope,” you whistled, “Where did you even get this?”“Found it,” Signy said nonchalantly; it didn’t matter much to her, nor you at this point. “Somethin’ come up that need thad?”“You have no idea,” you slammed the bottle down theatrically, “You know that Liemanner prick? That I borrowed some of Loch’s men to go kill? Turns out not only is he alive, but there’s…who knows how many of him. It’s like they took the biggest twat they could find and, for some reason I can’t fathom, cloned him so he’ll always be around to antagonize somebody.”“Sounds lige a charmer,” Signy said sardonically.“About as charming as somebody who has girl’s eyes carved out can be,” when Signy looked at you with puzzlement, you elaborated. “The day after I went and killed one of him, since he was threatening my fiancée, he had one of her eyes cut out and mailed to me in a gift wrapped box. I feel like I’ve been walking on eggshells since.”“Log said you had somebody killed in Toadsfell…Toades…whadever. Wouldn’t dad biss him off?”“I’ve been waiting for him to mail me more pieces of Maddalyn, but I’ve been lucky,” you said, “With this latest stunt, I’m hoping he can’t trace it back to me. I haven’t heard any word since the eye came, so I have to presume I’ve been behaving well enough. Either that, or the man I sent out to impersonate me has been satisfying Liemanner’s bizarre demands.”“Whad were dey, again?”“He either wanted me to knock up a bunch of women and make a crop of bastards, for some far-fetched scheme, or to do my best to destroy the Republic.”“Well,” Signy sniffed, “You coulda just shod me then, couldn’t you.”“Of course not,” you were offended by that suggestion, “Actually doing what he wanted has never crossed my mind.” That was a lot easier to say, of course, than to practice. “I’ve also picked up an honest to Judge ghost, if you’ve noticed.”“I haffn’t,” Signy had sprawled over the table again, rocking her flask back and forth, “I’d sorda hoped thad crab…was a one time thing.”“If only,” you concurred, “She’s really nasty when she feels like it, too. I’ve never heard an adolescent girl with such a filthy mouth.”“If we’d med some years ago…” Signy said into her sleeve, “You’dn’t thing thad.”“You haven’t heard what this girl says,” you reassured her, “At the very least, she’s already dead, so she can’t try and get herself killed like some people.”
“I dond try and ged myself gilled…” Signy sulked, still talking into her wrist.“…No, not you, this other woman I’ve met.” You told Signy how you’d met Hilda, and had ended up taking her with you, and how she’d gotten herself mixed up in what was both a great opportunity, but also a massive headache. It was a long story, and as you went on, you felt the effects of the added alcohol you’d consumed starting to cause you to loose a few more details than you’d normally give. But why not say them? This was Signy, not some random person in a bar or a spy or whomever.“You didn’t happen to drug this, did you?” you joked innocently.“Whad?” Signy rose up, not getting it for a moment, “Oh. No. I dond thing anything could live in dere anyway…” She rocked the flask over again, but this time, she accidentally knocked it all the way, and she swore as it clattered onto its side, though nothing dripped out. She had done an excellent job at preventing that potential disaster from happening. “Sh-shid…” She propped it back up carefully, “You know…you’re a psycho magned or something, I swear.”“Do you count yourself among said psychos?” you teased, but it gave Signy pause for thought.“…Yeah, I’m bretty grazy, I guess,” she nodded to herself, “Maybe dad’s a bad thing but…around here…” Signy tapped the flask up and down, “…do you wanna blay a game?”“A game?” you asked, bewildered, “Why?”“Well,” Signy drawled, “I don’d wand you to just leaf begause we’re out of booze…rader, you won’d dring any more…”“Well, I don’t know what games you’re into…” you just went off the top of your head, “Vier-Sechs?”“Sex?” Signy coughed, “Whad..?”“Sechs,” you repeated, “Four-Six.”“Oh.” Signy’s tone returned to a level of normalcy, “Wow, I probably sound lige a creeb ride now…”>No, you just sound like you’ve had too much to drink. It’s late. You should sleep.>(Teasing)You’d best hope my fiancée doesn’t find out you’re perving over me, or she’ll make you regret it.>I don’t think either of us have the mental faculties for a game anyways. We can just talk about…whatever. (Write in?)>Other?
>>2112714>No, you just sound like you’ve had too much to drink. It’s late. You should sleep.
>>2112714>>I don’t think either of us have the mental faculties for a game anyways. We can just talk about…whatever. (Write in?)Hunting stories. Those boars are monsters and fuck whoever thought that letting snakes climb trees was a good idea.
>>2112714>>I don’t think either of us have the mental faculties for a game anyways. We can just talk about…whatever. (Write in?)Silly shit, like >>2112740Im sure she'd appreciate not having to talk about the republic, or what comes next, maybe just escape into some happy memory
Going to call the thread here, just because we're at the point where the thread could be bumped off at a moment's notice if a few threads were made one after the other. Thanks for playing! I'll be back next week.