Winter entombs you. The blizzard returns in double force only a week later. No communications in or out. The new year brings no promise of hope or prosperity but only devastation and horror. Elves. Creatures of legend, of beauty, of horror. The lads that returned from Wilkain’s expedition are shaken; some are broken. Their eyes have gone dull and hollow, their voices lost in a profound terror. It takes days of patient inquisition to drag out the details. Wilkain found the Othercreature. A Shrike, as Nightowl predicted, a majestic bird with white plumage, tall as three men, they watched it swoop down on a full grown doe and gore its stomach. They followed its trail for three days without rest, beyond the river and deeper and deeper into forest, into the parts that had no names. They were ambushed. The elves attacked from every side, dropping from the trees like shadows. The men broke and fled. Only one remembers seeing Wilkain. Wilkain did not run. He stood and held the elves alone so that others could escape.Olmsville is in full panic. The news about the Othercreature is out and if not for the snow and cold, you’re certain the villagers would have already abandoned their homes. The ones who have lost family to this disaster (including Kilkain) are furious and heartbroken. They blame you. They threaten you with violence. They demand search parties be sent out into the forest to recover their children, their brothers, their nephews. Bodies to bury and touch one last time. Closure. Things you're not sure you can provide.Who were you kidding? Did you honestly believe that some exercise and a few dancing lessons and a piece of paper could make you more than what you are? You are a peasant. You are not fit for leadership. You are not nobility. And because you thought yourself more than what fate allotted you, people are dead. It's a different feeling than in war, where if even a friend dies in your arms, there is no responsibility for it, no weight. These deaths you will have to bear forever.It is now the month of Janurary, Year 768. What will you do?
>>2246095Sir William Shepard of Olmsville>Attributes and SkillsAge: 20HealthyDecent FitnessDecent EtiquetteAverage Rhetoric Competent BowmanNovice HorsemanPoor SwordsmanMiddling Literacy>Equipment and PossessionsOld Black Stallion Average Iron ShortswordGood Quality Clothing (including Cloak)Wicker ShieldMediocre Cabin >OlmsvillePopulation: 34 (Wary)Lands: Unnamed Forest (10% Explored), Unnamed Riverbank (60% Explored)Average HousingSmall GardensSmall Chicken Coop Average Lumber CampSmokehouseBasic Palisade (in construction) Average StoresPoor TradeAverage SanitationMiddling SecurityAverage Farming Industry>ForcesNone>MapMeaville (Village): Several hours away, a small village that subsists on its farms and livestockSilvale (Town): One day’s ride away, a large town that acts as a commercial hub for the areaRealm of Lord Eleison: A week’s rideFretag (City): Two week’s ride>ContactsNoblesKing Aldamar III - UnknownDuke Eleison - NeutralCount Lazar - FriendlyCountess Ophelia - In loveLady Miriam - AffectionateSir Ulrich - SuspiciousPeople in the VillageKilkain - Hunter - HappyEve - Clothmaker - HappyWilkain - Hunter - MissingStewart - Steward - NeutralMax Wood - Carpenter - EcstaticBrian Chapman - Head Logger - HappySamson - Miller - ContentCarn - Butcher - Content
>>2246103(forgot to update this section)>ContactsNoblesKing Aldamar III - UnknownDuke Eleison - NeutralCount Lazar - FriendlyCountess Ophelia - In loveLady Miriam - AffectionateSir Ulrich - SuspiciousPeople in the VillageKilkain - Hunter - GrievedEve - Clothmaker - AfraidWilkain - Hunter - MissingStewart - Steward - NeutralMax Wood - Carpenter - AfraidBrian Chapman - Head Logger - AfraidSamson - Miller - GrievedCarn - Butcher - Afraid
>>2246108Also link to archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=City-builder
>>2246095Dealing with the elves and shit is way above our readiness for now. So, once the snows melt we should go to Count Lazar and request aid to deal with them.In the mean time though we need to.>sooth our villagers and promise them a rescue mission.>train our swordsmanship to aid in the rescue party.>try to get the survivors to tell us where they were ambushed/ what the terrain was like.>Lastly we need to continue our literacy work.
>>2246095also nice to see you back PeasantQM thought you died
>>2246206Thanks. I thought I was going to run during the Christmas break but ended up taking a vacation instead. The quest will continue in its slow fashion for the foreseeable future.
Seems to be rather dead in here so here's a map I made of Olmsville.
>>2246180>all of the above plus acquire a bow; a bow is a thinking man's weapon, like Odysseus
With the snow blocking you in, you have no choice but to sit and wait. You find yourself spending hours staring at Ophelia through your pendant. You know you're not supposed to, that you promised Stewart you'd refrain from thinking about her but it provides the measure comfort you need to get through the day, and through the night when you can't sleep. You want desperately to see her again, to escape all of this, but you know that to do so would be a betrayal of her. That all you've done and accomplished till now, all your good fortune and even the bad, are now framed in your mind in the confines of her love. If you fail, you fail her. If you succeed it is to become more worthy of her. It's all you can do to keep from going mad. And the villagers aren't helping matters any. You've already promised the grieved families that a search party will be sent out for the bodies as soon as the snow clears, but they are now clamoring for a lavish funeral to honor their dead. Your stores are depleted as it is from the winter and the cold shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Logistically the answer is clear: wait until after the snows clear. But funerals are supposed to be held as soon after the death as possible, so that the spirit does not get stuck in this world. And given that the bodies haven't even been found, the families are unwilling to compromise.>Let the grieved have their funeral, even if it dangerously depletes your winter stockpiles>Refuse. You'll not risk the starvation and death of the entire village to satisfy the whims of a few.
>>2246608>>Let the grieved have their funeral, even if it dangerously depletes your winter stockpilesalso what>>2246180 saidGlad you're back OP, I missed you
>>2246608>Let the grieved have their funeral, even if it dangerously depletes your winter stockpiles
>>2246608>Refuse. You'll not risk the starvation and death of the entire village to satisfy the whims of a few.When shit hits the fan, the will of the people is a mess going in every direction. The lord must overrule them for the sake of all. Good to see you back peasant qm
>>2246608>>Refuse. You'll not risk the starvation and death of the entire village to satisfy the whims of a few.
You cannot deny the grieving mother her son's pyre. Not when she comes to you with her broken heart and her broken hands upon your feet, and begs, and soils your shoes with her tears, and her husband tries to draw her away but cannot because her grief is so great, so much greater than even his strength. That guilt you cannot bear. You order the construction of the pyres with the stored lumber and bring out the stored food for the funeral feast. Saving what little of both you can for the cold and praying that it will be enough. You wait for a day when the snow fall is not so harsh and gather the villagers. There were no complaints from any of them and those who were unaffected, whose sons and brothers are safely recovering from their wounds and watching the pyres along with them are silent in the face of such overwhelming grief. Then the lighters move forward in slow and straight fashion. They sing their song.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfuS22_5FecThe torches in their right hands aloft, flames and bodies and voices struggling against wind and snow and cold. They are fathers and brothers, they are uncles and friends. The mothers are held back by their children, or by villagers as they scream, as the finality of the deed settles into their flesh and bone forever and they rent their hair and weep. You want to look away, for the ignorance of this grief coupled with its responsibility is too much. But you cannot. You feel as though you are witnessing something profound. The lighters cast their torches into the triangular stacks of logs. Five stacks. Five dead men. They watch the flames, impassive, almost serene. You find yourself cursing under your breath. Not anyone or anything in particular, just a steady torrent of curses, like an ancient chant or magic spell. A father breaks down. The Miller, Samson. His broad farmers body is hunched over like a wilted stalk of wheat, his head in his hands. Silent, heaving, hurting sobs. The other men do not embrace him, though tears are in their eyes as well. Men are allowed their moments of grief, to feel completely and with abandon. This must not be perverted by pity or reprieve or even compassion. This is not a thing to be shared or consoled. Samson stands, his pain spent. He turns. His terrible gaze bores into you, briefly. His face eaten by anguish, illuminated by the flame, thrown into shadow. His eyes are eyes you wish never to see again, never to feel in yourself, never to know what lies behind, never to understand. He turns again, and the other men, and they wipe their eyes and they return to their wives who they know will weep for many days, and who must be comforted, though they will never be comforted. The procession moves into your home. Food has been laid out on the table. The air is warm and quiet. The villagers eat in somber silence. Even the children silent.And the light of the pyres burn through the night.----
>Your supplies are dangerously low! You currently have enough fuel and food to last 2 weeks Please roll 3d10 (to see how long the cold lasts)
Rolled 10, 2, 8 = 20 (3d10)>>2246889
Rolled 2, 1, 5 = 8 (3d10)>>2246889
Rolled 5, 5, 4 = 14 (3d10)>>2246889
>>2246928The hero we need. Writing.
The days that follow do not subside in cold and you can do nothing but watch your stores steadily decrease in size. The villagers begin rationing their food even more harshly then before, yet still none of them lodge a single complaint. The funeral seems to have eased the pressure and blame and increased the solidarity of the village as a whole. The mood has turned, even if the fears have not. There is less talk of leaving and more chatter about finishing the palisade once the snows clear. People making plans. People once again, settling down roots. These things should put you at ease, but they don't. The pyres still haunt you. The guilt still is lodged in your heart. And not all the villagers have moved on. Several times during the day you catch Kilkain staring at you, silent, grim, unshaven stubble gathering on his chin like unkempt grass, eyes hard as glass. You think nothing of it. Just your imagination. Then you start hearing sounds at night. Footsteps in the snow outside. Eyes staring at you through the windows that disappear when you notice them. Little oddities left at your doorstep. A rabbits foot. A dead rose. A little toy soldier with a broken arm. Still you pay them no mind. Your lessons in literacy (to which you have fully devoted yourself since Miriam's letter) now occupy all your free time. You've been improving, using the Count's letters as a supplement to the dense land deed. Yet the sense of unease remains and is soon justified.You awake one night to find someone standing over you. Staring at you. Eyes bloodshot and crazed. In his left hand is a toy soldier (the one you had fixed yourself after you found it), in his right is a sickle, recently sharpened."Scream and you die." He whispers. Emotions mix together in a frenzy within you. First surprise. Then fury at his audacity. Then understanding. Guilt. Admission. Acceptance. He is breathing heavily and trembling and several times he presses the sickle to your throat, seemingly making up his mind and you wait for the inevitable, but it doesn't come until finally he moves back and crumples into a chair. You sit up. "Samson." You say and cannot say more.Cont.
>>2247262"I can't do this." He says, shaking his head. "This was a mistake." He rubs his face with his wrinkled hands, skin scarred by the years of field work. His eyes are now full of fear. "This was a mistake." He says. "L-look. I'll leave. Just forget this ever happened and you won't see me again. Please."The punishment for assassination, successful or otherwise is known even to little children. The offender is brought to an isolated place where is made to dig a hole, a wide and large hole in the earth. And he is tied to a chair and his family is brought to the hole one by one and he watches as his family is thrown into the hole, buried alive in the hole. Wife, children, grandchildren in the hole. And when the screams are finally lost under 6 feet of earth and their spirits are forever trapped in this realm, a knife is given to the offender and his bonds cut and the tendons of his feet split open so that he cannot run. And he is left to die by that hole, by his own hand or by nature.This is the fear that takes Samson now. A fear you feel almost compelled to bring to fruition. >Call for help. This kind of thing needs to be dealt with in proper fashion.>Agree to his deal. He leaves and you go back to sleep with just a bad dream>Refuse his deal. This never happened and he remains--his skills are too valuable to lose
>>2247270>Refuse his deal. This never happened and he remains--his skills are too valuable to lose
>>2247270>>Refuse his deal. This never happened and he remains--his skills are too valuable to loseMan, he'd be so fucked if he tried something in public
>>2247270>>Refuse his deal. This never happened and he remains--his skills are too valuable to lose
Gonna sleep for now. I'll update as usual throughout the week. (around 6-7 PM PST)
>>2247270>>Refuse his deal. This never happened and he remains--his skills are too valuable to lose>>2247270
>>2247270>Refuse his deal. This never happened and he remains--his skills are too valuable to lose+ say you forgive him and understand him, try to bond with him by understanding his grief.
>>2247270>Refuse his deal. This never happened and he remains--his skills are too valuable to loseIt's not even a bleeding heart thing, it's a practicality thing. He leaves, the rest of the village is further up shit creek than it already is.
>>2247270>Refuse his deal. This never happened and he remains--his skills are too valuable to loseMake it abundantly clear he owes us
You sit up on the bed. Samson is rubbing his face back and forth, muttering the word “mistake” over and over like a prayer. You move to the nightstand to pour yourself water. “This never happened.” You say. “This is just a bad dream I had. Right?” You stare at him, waiting for him to understand.Samson lets out a shaky breath and nods back. “T-thank you. I’ll pack my things. We’ll be--” “That won’t be necessary.” You say. Samson looks behind him as though to search for the person you’re talking to. “I can’t let a...bad dream lose me a valuable member of my village.”“You want me to stay? After what I just did?.”You sit and lean forward, touching your fingertips. You speak your words delicately. “I understand your pain Samson--well maybe I don’t understand, and if I’m being honest, I never want to--but what I do understand is this: your skills are essential to Olmsville and will become more essential in the years to follow. I can’t let you leave.”Samson stands up in a huff and pacecs the room. “You want to me remain in the village where my son died? To--to be reminded of that every day, to see his burnt pyre every day...you even know what that’s like? No.” He shakes his head. “No.” He says again, more firmly, with fire.You lean back in your seat. “This isn’t a negotiation, Samson. And I’m not asking. I do take full responsibility for what happened.” You look away from him to the little toy soldier standing on the table. “It shouldn’t have happened at all. I was just trying to…” A hot mass gathers in your throat. You swallow. You sigh. “It doesn’t matter now. I’ll bear that guilt for the rest of my life, I’ve accepted that but...I can’t let rest like this. I have to put meaning to it.” Your words gather energy. “They didn’t die for nothing. They died for this village.” And the realization of it dawns even as you say it. A strange vision of your father flits past your eyes. “For Olmsville. For what little it is, and what more it could someday become.” Samson looks unconvinced. His hands run over his unshaven cheeks, dragging the skin down from the bone. “You won’t let me go?” He says, quietly. No more edge to his voice; no more resistance.“I can’t.” You say, in exactly the same manner. Then he nods. His hands fumble for his sickle and the little toy soldier and his eyes fix on something within his mind.Another vision of your father follows. He is squeezing your shoulder in a certain way and you are looking up at him, but his eyes are turned to the horizon. “Even grief can be employed.” You say, suddenly. “And it is not perversion.” You look at Samson and he looks back, unchanged and silent. He gives you a quick bow and slinks away. The next morning you find the toy soldier standing among the piles of snow covered ashes. The little body facing the forest. The little sword raised to the sky.----
The snows stop soon after and the skies clear. You begin immediate efforts to clear the main road and send villagers to replenish your supplies from Meaville. You also have Stewart send a letter to the Count to inform him of the elf situation. The letter is returned within the week. The response is as cryptic as it is short; just 4 small words on the sheet of paper:Never speak of Them.----It is now the month of February, Year 768. What will you do?
>>2252081take stock of inventory, camp and people.
>>2252081First this:>>2252108Then is there anyway to perhaps recruit more people? Or should we focus on increasing supplies first?
>>2252081send a courier to our liege to inform(ask for help) with the otherkin and the elves. it is clearly out of our league.
>>2252121>You also have Stewart send a letter to the Count to inform him of the elf situation. The letter is returned within the week. The response is as cryptic as it is short; just 4 small words on the sheet of paper:>Never speak of Them.
What's going on with the servers right now?Sir William Shepard of Olmsville>Attributes and SkillsAge: 20HealthyDecent FitnessDecent EtiquetteAverage Rhetoric Competent BowmanNovice HorsemanPoor SwordsmanAverage Literacy>Equipment and PossessionsOld Black Stallion Average Iron ShortswordGood Quality Clothing (including Cloak)Wicker ShieldMediocre Cabin >OlmsvillePopulation: 34 (Anxious)Lands: Unnamed Forest (15% Explored), Unnamed Riverbank (60% Explored)Average HousingSmall GardensSmall Chicken Coop Average Lumber CampSmokehouseBasic Palisade (in construction) Poor StoresPoor TradeAverage SanitationMiddling SecurityAverage Farming Industry>ForcesNone>MapMeaville (Village): Several hours away, a small village that subsists on its farms and livestockSilvale (Town): One day’s ride away, a large town that acts as a commercial hub for the areaRealm of Lord Eleison: A week’s rideFretag (City): Two week’s ride>ContactsNoblesKing Aldamar III - UnknownDuke Eleison - NeutralCount Lazar - FriendlyCountess Ophelia - In loveLady Miriam - AffectionateSir Ulrich - SuspiciousPeople in the VillageKilkain - Hunter - GrievedEve - Clothmaker - AnxiousWilkain - Hunter - MissingStewart - Steward - NeutralMax Wood - Carpenter - AnxiousBrian Chapman - Head Logger - AnxiousSamson - Miller - GrievedCarn - Butcher - Anxious
>>2252120Your stores are too low to justify adding more people to the village. Generally people flock to places that are operating on surplus. Get your stores to Above Average or higher and improve morale if you want more people to join.
Start focusing our lord in becoming more fit and a better swordsman.We need to raise farming industry and security somehow.We promised to send a search party, right?When its time to send it, we should go as well
We need to increas the supplies asap. Also, we need to find a way to attract trade, perhaps, start our own chicken business?>>2252265No more forest adventures please.
>>2252231Can we start construction on wooden walls to defend the village?Would also help taking the edge of the villagers.
>>2252887If you take a gander at the map of Olmsville up above, you'll see the pallisade does have some basic walls (more like a fence really). To really get some real walls up would require some time (~1-2 months) and labor (you can hire some more laborers from Meaville, but you'd need more wealth) and of course wood (but you should already be covered for that)>>2252370Remember that you did speak to merchants at Silvale the last time you were there about trading your lumber. They showed interest but wanted you to provide some method of transport. Also re: forest, remember that the elves were quite deep within. You should be fine up to and including the river.
>>2252917So, start expanding our lumber production? We could ask Max to make some carriages. But the problem is, we don't have animals to pull it neither do we have the money to buy them. So, why not contact some villagers from Meaville and make a deal? We provide a cart and they provide an oxen then we cut the income. They get a part and we get a part. We do this some times until we have enough money to buy our own livestock.
>>2252917Let's start ice fishing at the river
>>2252917How about we invite fishermen to ice fish in our river, we'll tax them less if they taught some of our villagers their techniques?>>2252977Agreed it seems that we have to barter for deals during these tough winter times.Also we should have planted onions and garlic before the winter, they are one of the few vegetables that grow in the winter months.And finally how long till Miriam's birthday feast?
>>2252977A very good plan and definitely doable. You can discuss it with Stewart (to send out letters to the appropriate parties) and set up a meeting with delegates from Meaville to get things rolling.>>2253580Can confirm that there are ice fishers from Meaville you can talk to.>Also we should have planted onions and garlic before the winter, they are one of the few vegetables that grow in the winter months.The gardens were mostly growing potatoes and grains and whatever other vegetables the villagers wanted to eat. They're small communal gardens so you haven't really dictated what gets planted. If you decide to expand them however, that's another matter. >And finally how long till Miriam's birthday feast?It's in May. The tournament is in April. A quick summary of the plan for February:>Take stock of inventory, camp and people.>Replenish supplies>Look into finishing/upgrading palisade to formal wall>Focus on swordsmanship and fitness>Look into setting up transportation deal with Meaville to facillitate lumber trade>Start ice-fishing operation at riverUpdate tomorrow at 6 PM PST (possibly a short session as well). Loving the creative problem solving!
>>2253880The tournament was jousting, right?
>>2253880>>2253880We should talk to the expert monster killer about the elves and to the Count as well. Maybe we could get some advice/help.We need to forget about Ophelia for god's sake. She is worst girl tho.
>>2254905Never speak of Them
>>2254905I think that's an inlaid character trait- it's out of our hands to adjust, we just have to play around it as best it can.It's gonna fucking ruin us.
>>2254905The Count already said to not speak of them, so it looks like if we want revenge, we gotta set it up ourselves.
The skies have cleared but the cold remains. The already difficult work of clearing the roads is made harder by the biting wind but the villagers have not flinched nor complained. In a twisted way the death of the recruits has become a boon, overshadowing all other grievances and making all other pain trivial in comparison. Their forbearance soon bears fruit: supplies from Meaville come to replenish your depleted stores. The issue of the Elves and the puzzle of the Count's response remain at the forefront of your mind, but this does not last long. Not four days after the response, the Count himself is standing at your gates. He comes alone. His whole mannerism, unnatural, the sunny disposition gone, the quiet ferocity faded. His face seems to have aged several decades. You can make out wrinkles that were not there before. You can sense a heaviness to his words, the kind that men who are near their death sometimes have. In short, he is changed. You chalk it up to his illness and maybe to the cold and journey he has made--which begs the question, why did he make it in the first place?"I called him." Says Stewart, pausing to drink his soup. You're having lunch in the dining room. Your own room is currently occupied by a snoring Count Lazar. He went to bed almost immediately after arriving, sparing only enough time to squeeze your shoulder, say hello and take off his boots before sitting down and nodding off. You had to actually carry him to the bed--so deep was he in his dreams. "You called him. Of course you did. Why? When?" You feel your stomach churn."Soon after we got the notice regarding the tournament. I hope you haven't forgotten about it.""Tournament!" You lay down your fork and lean forward. "We have bigger things to worry about than some silly jousting display." You hiss.Stewart calmly wipes his mouth. "My lord, you are wrong on two counts." He takes on the persona of the teacher, the same voice as when he corrects your sums or grammar. You sigh."Enlighten me." "First, the tournament is in the arts of swordplay and bowmanship, not jousting--that went out of fashion years ago. And second, we do not have bigger things to worry about. The tournament is the biggest thing.""Men are dead, Stewart. There are Elves in the forest and (here you lower your voice) our overlord seems unwilling or unable to help us deal with them.""What happened was a tragedy." Says Stewart nodding. "But we have to look forward. This tournament--if played right, will put us squarely on the map, will fill our coffers, will make your name, my lord, known in every noble head within 300 leagues.""How? I profess I've gained some skill with the bow." You taste a tang of guilt as you remember Wilkain's face. "But I'm no swordsman.""Hence why I've called upon the gracious Count Lazar."Confusion quickly gives way to grim realization. "No." You say.Cont.
>>2255839"Oh yes. He was quite enthusiastic in his response, told me to wait until after the worst of the snowfall. And here he is--and he is the perfect teacher my lord, you could ask no better. Did you know he went undefeated in his youth? Champion in every category--including, of course, the main attraction: the duels, for 7 consecutive years. He's never lost.""And I suppose this is all unrelated (here you lower your voice so much that even Stewart has to lean in) to my affections for the Countess?""Admittedly, that was part of it." He nods, leaning back. "Guilt is a great deterrent, as well you know."You frown and fold your arms. "I'm not doing this.""My lord you did say you'd consider the matter from my point of view. And as you said so yourself, you're no swordsman. Many would murder to learn from Bloodletter of the West. You see how he looks, how he was at the ball. How many more years do you think he has my lord? You and I both know he's fond of you--good!" He smacks the table. "Let's take advantage of that while we can. And if we can overturn some...less than proper sentiments, all the better!">Refuse, the guilt would be overwhelming>Accept, the opportunity is to good to pass up
>>2255857>Accept, the opportunity is to good to pass upwhy are we guilty again? is it the waifu stuff?
>>2255857>>Accept, the opportunity is to good to pass upWe have to get over that fucking girl. Besides, this may lead to getting good enough of a fighter ourself to fuck up elves.
>>2255857>Accept, the opportunity is to good to pass upYes, everything Stewart said
>>2255857>>Accept, the opportunity is to good to pass upWe can do better than Ophelia, I don't want to betray the friendship of Count Lazar, and Lady Miriam seems like a nice enough noblewoman. Three birds with one stone.
>>2255857>Accept, the opportunity is to good to pass up>>2255867>>2255897I don't know if you noticed this, but William is incapable of giving up Ophelia. She's our Beatrice at this point, we're not going to shake her off.
>>2255910Are you saying it's pointless to try? Cause that's pussy talk.
>>2255857>>Accept, the opportunity is to good to pass upWe're banging and marrying Ophelia, shes the true waifu and thats not changing. Our only choice is whether we ruin our relationship with our liege, murder him or wait and do it right when he dies.
>>2255940But Ophelia is basically just a young bored housewife looking for fuck. She won't stick with us we are just a fling and I rather not risk getting my head chopped off to be with her
You have no real argument against his proposition, besides that it terrifies you. Instinctively your hand reaches for the cube of white bone and shell around your neck and flips it open and peers into the perfect depths of Northern ice, made more perfect by the reflection of your love. It is irreconcilable. Perhaps as fatal as any disease. You know that she is alone now in her manor and briefly your mind traces the delirious fantasies it has traced many times before. You shiver, but not from cold."Alright." You say. "But do you really think I stand a chance--even with his training?"He nods, no hesitation nor doubt in his eyes. "I do, my lor--William." He meets you eye to eye. "You give yourself too little credit and you bear too much on your shoulders--maybe that's the peasant in you still." He smiles. "But that too is a noble quality." He says quietly. "I have seen you bend yourself this past year and not break. I have seen you do it over and over and over. Have you looked in the water my lord? Have your seen yourself? Heard yourself? You are not the man you were a year ago. And it will not be this man (he waves at you) who fights in the tournament, when it comes. And if you doubt it, doubt it--but believe in me...as surely as I believe in you." He offers his hand. You pause a second, searching him for lies, for trickery. But there is only resolve and so much of it that it almost frightens you. How can he be so sure?You take his hand. "You know you talk more than any monk I've ever met." He laughs. "To the brave, a few words are as good as many--but you're not quite there yet." He winks. ----Count Lazar sleeps through the rest of that day and most of the next. You find him wandering, looking for the outhouse near the middle of the night and end up running outside to make sure he doesn't get frostbite searching for it."Ah William! Apologizes for taking up your room, it was a long journey and--""Please, my lord, it's my pleasure. I just wish you'd given notice, I would've made better accommodations. My steward failed to tell me anything."He laughs, and you note how much less the mirth is now in his voice. "I wanted it to be a surprise. Competing the tournament so soon after gaining lordship...bold!""It was really Stewart's idea.""And a prudent idea it is--excuse me will you?" You wait for him in the cold as he does his business. "What was I saying--ah yes, prudence. You play to your strengths. You and I are soldiers William, men of blood and battle." He almost slips on the ice and you instinctively grab his arm. He holds on to you for balance. "The tournament is your key to prominence. A key that will open many doors."You feel two kinds of guilt twisting in you: the knowledge that your accomplishments were all accidental and the vision of this man's wife and the feeling of her lips in your mind forever playing. >Ask him what he thinks your chances are>Change the subject to the Elves>Ask how Ophelia is doing
>>2255951>Ask him what he thinks your chances areThis for now and once we gain some of his approval we can ask about the elves
>>2255951>>Ask him what he thinks your chances are
>>2255910What do you mean Beatrice?
>>2255992One time Mr. Aligheri went to a party and brought his kid Dante because he couldn't hire a sitter, and put him in the bedroom where everybody laid their coats. There was another kid there for similar reasons, and her name was Beatrice. Dante and Beatrice talked a little and Dante really liked her. Then the party was over and they never saw one another again, but Beatrice became a fixation for Dante. She was the end-all be-all, the height of beauty and purity, the most perfect maiden to ever exist. In most, if not all, of Dante Aligheri's writing, Beatrice plays some role, not least of all the Divine Comedy.I'm saying Ophelia has become apotheosized. She's not just a pretty woman. She's the Prettiest Woman. She's the most Perfect Woman to ever exist. She's not only a goddess, she's the personification of love itself. We're fucked.
>>2255951>Ask him what he thinks our chances ourAlso>Ask what the competition looks like, any particular lords/knights to watch out for, etc.>>2255992>>2256096>Beatrice wasn't Dante's fiance waiting for him to return from the crusades.I can't believe the PS3 adaptation of The Inferno was lying to me.
>>2256096...Oh.Oh dear.Ohhhh no.
>>2256102So, Dante the monk had nothing to do with the crusades. But he also married and had kids. And the entire time he's got this family, he's pining for this perfect ideal he's formed, devoting all his poetry to Beatrice and none to his wife.
>>2256102>>2256144Yeesh, what a mess. And just for the record, I wasn't being serious about that last post. I knew about the Inferno and its author well in advance before I played the vidya game. That being said, it was hella fun for a GoW clone.
>>2255951"So you think I have a good chance?" He looks up and frowns at you. He shakes his head and your heart drops. "Such matters are not left to chance, Will--ahem, William." He says, squinting for a moment into the darkness. "Victory is a habit." He rights himself as the steps of your cabin come into view. "What you're really asking is do I think you're capable of bearing that which must borne, and doing that which must be done in the process of attaining that habit?" He pauses, as if thinking through the question for himself. "Yes." He finally says, smiling. An old smile, from before this weakness. "I think you do." He squeezes your shoulder again in a way that you know, and you feel something stir within your breast you cannot explain. ----The lessons begin the very next morning, as soon as first light comes through the trees. "The first thing you need to understand is the nature of the tournament." Says the Count, tracing figures in the snow with a tree-branch. A sword, a bow, a horse, a pair of dice, a mouth. "There are five categories of competition, but only three are worthy of any attention." He points to each drawing as he speaks. "The duel, the archery competition and the horserace.""What are the other two?""A game of wit and speeches and oratory. These do not have the same prestige as the others, for obvious reasons. And since you don't exactly have a racehorse, that leaves archery and dueling. The tournament will proceed in three phases. Phase one is a qualifying round--you have already passed this by the merit of your invitation. Phase 2 is the elimination round. For archery you will try to make the best score you can by shooting three arrows at a target 70 paces away. The 16 highest scores move onto Phase three. For the duels, the combatants will be divided into teams of 10 and made to fight in miniature engagements. Those were always my favorite. Here too you will be scored. Your performance will be measured by three judges, one of which is usually the reigning lord of wherever the tournament is taking place."He pauses, looking into the snow. A small smile creeps into his features, perhaps from the memories of his youth. "And the last phase, the real part of the tournament, consists of one-on-one duels and a hunt--usually of a boar."This is sounding more impossible by the minute. But either the good Count does not notice your nervousness or has chosen to ignore it because he continues without pause. "Now with your experience, you should be fine for Phase 2, we'll not concentrate on that. It's the duels we'll focus on--and then the hunt once this blasted snow goes away."You nod, feeling a hot lump gather at your throat. The Count searches the ground for a few moments before retrieving two slender rods of fallen oak, about the size of your iron sword. He throws one to you and swings the other, taking a few stances and testing its integrity. He nods.Cont.
>>2256185"Right. In the tournament you'll be given practice blades. They're not much different from this (he holds up the rod) maybe a little lighter, and a little more sturdy. But you won't be using real swords. You won't be wearing armor. The distinction is important. It means that techniques which are common in the field, those focusing on penetration, heavy blows, attrition, will be useless in the tournament. Light and quick." He demonstrates a series lightning fast movements, moving from one stance to the next in a continuous, graceful flow. "That is what we intend to achieve." What follows is the complete opposite. Instead of speed, the Count has you go through every motion in the most excruciating slowness imaginable. A single swing takes almost an hour to execute because the Count constantly stops you to patiently straighten even the slightest misalignments in posture or stance. At first he speaks slowly and softly into your ear as he adjusts an arm or leg or a twist of the hips, explaining his correction, but soon, as the sun hangs over the trees and throws their shadows to the snow, he says nothing. You catch some of the village children watching the bizarre procession in mute wonder. The one man moving inch by inch through the forms, as time itself passed differently, and the other now only pointing his finger at different places in the body, the adjustment happening automatically before his touch.At the end of it you feel surprisingly sore and exhausted, but not any better at swordsmanship. The Count says nothing to encourage you or indicate that progress has been made, but again, merely squeezes your shoulder as he passes. And somehow, this is enough. ----While the training continues in the mornings, you must deal with village matters in the afternoons and often late into the evenings. Most urgent is the matter of food. You came very near to starvation this winter and even if it was because of a completely unforeseen event, such a thing cannot happen again. Your capacity to grow food in these lands is obviously limited, but as the good Count said, you should play to your strengths. There is plenty of lumber in the forest. Even if you do not venture beyond the river there is enough wood here to serve you for several years. You even have traders that have shown interest in buying the lumber. The only thing you don't have is a means of transport. To this end, you have Stewart call upon Meaville for aid. Your plan is to use their oxen to pull carts that Max Wood and his brother are currently working on. In exchange you'll pay Meaville a cut of the profits, either in raw lumber or whatever silver you make from the trade. Cont.
>>2256192Meaville sends delegates only a few days after the message is sent. At their helm is someone named Rufus Dare a man whose long pointed nose and small black eyes remind more of a shrew than a human being. He is the de facto leader of Meaville. Self-appointed. He is the only one in the village that actually owns his farmland and pays only taxes to the Count, though he is not nobility. He is, however a miser of the worst kind."I don't see how a 20% cut of the profits is fair. I mean, hell, you ain't even got an operation without our oxen."You touch your eyes. "What would you suggest then?""Hows about you buy the oxen?""As I've already explained, I don't currently have the--""I mean we loans 'em to ya. And once you pay 'em off, they're yours. For keeps. Course, you gotta pay interest in between." He nods. "Got-ta pay in-ter-est."Stewart, sitting beside you, scowls at Rufus and leans into your year. "My lord it'd obviously be cheaper to simply split the profits or rent the cattle until we can buy our own, wholesale." He says."How about if we rent them instead? A flat rate--""No, no, no. I know them tricks. Can't get me with them tricks. Ya buy 'em, and if you can't buy 'em ya loans 'em.""He's trying to push the risk onto us. If we lose the cattle, we'll still have to pay him." Whispers Stewart. "So what should I do, it doesn't seem like I have much choice.""We could ask the Count to intervene." Says Stewart."Absolutely not." Its bad enough that he's helping you with the tournament but to have him intervene in this...strangely its not the guilt which motivates you this time, but rather a feeling of shame. That somehow by doing this you would diminish in his eyes and that it would hurt you to be made smaller in that way.>Accept the terms, if all goes well you'll make enough to pay back the loan in a few months >Decline and send this shrewish man on his way, you'll find some other method>Have the Count intervene on your behalf (Contact relationship may change)
>>2256196>Decline and send this shrewish man on his way, you'll find some other methodsomething tells me these oxen are old and about to fall over and die or that they will mysteriously disappear after a few shipments.
>>2256196>Decline and send this shrewish man on his way, you'll find some other method
>>2256196>Invite him to diner.If he's half as smart as he is greedy he'll notice that we have pull with the Count (without us running to him like a little bitch) and he'll change his ask.If he doesn't we can still just send him on his merry way.
>>2256230changing to this
>>2256196>Decline, counter-offer.Tell him it's the neighborly thing to do, a favor now could be repaid later with potential interest. Increased business and trade through Olmsville will directly benefit Meaville from the traffic. Plus Rufus will have a larger market to sell his oxen and profit more in the long term. >>2256230I'll also second this route.
>>2256196>>Decline and send this shrewish man on his way, you'll find some other method
>>2256196>>2256230>>2256254These dudes are fucking CLEVER. Voting to second these write-ins.
>>2256230Supporting this. Self-appointed leader as he is, we've got to remind him that we're still the higher one on the social totem pole.
The manner of this man disgusts you to the core. And you’ve no doubt that any oxen he has to offer will likely drop dead or disappear the moment they’re out of sight, leaving you with nothing but debt and an intense(r) desire to wring this man’s neck. But you can’t ask the Count for help either. Your pride won’t allow it--nor this new and curious sense of shame. Instead you decide on a different strategy.“Let me think on it. In the meantime, would you like to join me for dinner?”“My lord what are you thinking!” Hisses Stewart.The shrew gives you a look that suggests he’s never been invited to anything by anyone in his entire life. Somehow you don’t doubt it. He composes himself, taking short whining breaths that are possibly the most annoying thing you’ve ever encountered. The other delegates behind him, more of a standing guard than actual representatives, keep their gaze fixed on the ground. “Well, alright. I mean I ain’t doing nothing later anyhow and if you’re inviting an all, I guess it’d be rude to de-cline.” He smiles. You resist the urge to hit him.----You move the meeting to the dining room, where your cook and the serving girls are setting the plates. You note the shrew’s eyes narrowing on the younger of the two sisters, Clara, as she passes. He actually attempts to flirt with her and throws coins to the floor in an attempt to watch her pick them up. You gesture for her to leave but the whole thing leaves another wave of revulsion in its wake that ruins your appetite. The shrew becomes chatty, talking about his land and his wealth and his “in-de-pen-dence”, and how the combination of these things make him vastly superior to the “common-man” (said as one word) and even to some nobles that “ain’t blue on the inside, not real nobles”. The reference does not elude you, but you remain silent.When the Count joins the table, the shrew’s manner changes completely. He goes rigid. Spine erect and limbs frozen solid. The Count says only one word to him, just his name as a way of recognition and greeting. The shrew squeaks out a response and then remains silent for the remainder of the dinner, not even touching the food he had so eagerly piled on his plate. He merely watches in amazement as you and the Count carry on conversations suggesting a closeness between dear friends. Afterwards, the Count offers the same single word to the shrew and the shrew bows until his back is horizontal to the floor and does not come up until the Count is out of sight. “Let’s talk about those oxen now, shall we?” You say, wiping your mouth. “I really don’t think a loan is in either of our best interests. Do you?”“N-no. Maybe not.”>Go back to the initial deal>You’ve got him now, press him and press him hard
>>2256356>You’ve got him now, press him and press him hard
>>2256356>You’ve got him now, press him and press him hardPerhaps out of a gesture of good faith and "friendship" Rufus should let our joint enterprise go levy free for a month or two so we can directly invest in our lumber operation.
>>2256373>>2256399>>2256444I like the idea of pushing, but I think we should treat it like fishing. Give him some slack, let him bite on it, and then reel him in with a couple of 'oh and one small thing' s.
“I really think the best way to proceed would be to trade a portion of our lumber for the use of the oxen. A one time trade, followed by a small, say 15%--no let’s make it 10--10% commission on every successful trade. Starting after the first two. That’s more than fair. And of course, I expect all the oxen to come from your personal stock, I wouldn’t trust the cattle of the ‘common-man’.” You smile. “Which you so clearly, are not.”“Y-yes.” He looks behind him at your room. The Count is snoring again. He wipes away a bead of sweat. “I’ll send ‘em over as soon as I get back.”“Excellent. A pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Dare. Good night.”“Y-yeah. Yeah. Good night.” He trips over himself as he moves to the door and you can hear him scream profanities as soon he thinks he’s out of earshot. It brings a nice warm feeling to your heart.----A few days later a servant from Rufus’s household brings half a dozen oxen. Max Wood still isn't finished with the carts so you have the oxen penned in the barren gardens (in part to fertilize the soil). You’ve also given permission to the loggers to resume their work, but never to venture beyond the river. Next month, once the snows finally start to melt of their own accord, you’ll be able to send out the first trade caravan from Olmsville. Reopening access to the forest now brings with it a host of other questions. What about the Elves and the Othercreature? What about town defenses? When will the search party be sent out to retrieve the bodies? (though this one seems to have dropped in priority since the funeral). The leader of these concerned citizens is none other than Kilkain, who suggests that the palisade still in construction be bolstered into a full wall, a watchtower be constructed, and professional mercenaries be hired to deal with the Elves and the Othercreature.The Count gets a wind of these discussions and puts an immediate stop to them. Citing that no one should be going beyond the river anyway and that any further talk of superstitious nonsense will be severely punished. The Count doesn’t strike you as a particularly religious man so his reaction feels like an overreaction. He was practically screaming when he made these announcements, you’ve never seen him so flustered and furious--which makes it all the more difficult to broach the subject with him.In the meantime, while talk of the Elves has unofficially stopped, plugs for the wall and the watchtower have not. As it is, most of the lumber is currently being used as fuel or stored for the upcoming trade deal, you’re not sure if it’s a good idea to tap into that for constructions that may not even be necessary. On the other hand it would certainly go a long way toward allaying everyone’s fears.>Hold the lumber for the trade deal >Expend the lumber to bolster the palisade and begin construction of a watchtower (Changes villager status, lowers profit from lumber trade)
That's all for today. I'll try to run again on Friday or Saturday and maybe another update before then.
>>2256486>Expend the lumberWe can make up the money in volume, over time. Safety and comfort are important right now.
>>2256486>Expend the lumber
>>2256486>Expend the lumber to bolster the palisade and begin construction of a watchtower (Changes villager status, lowers profit from lumber trade)
>>2256486Keep back the lumber, if elves want our blood will a wooden wall stop them?
>>2256486>>Hold the lumber for the trade dealWe could hire someone to search for survivors instead of sending more villagers or ourself.
In the end the needs of the villagers take priority over filling your coffers. The lumber trade is a long term operation anyway and since you've negotiated the oxen free for the first two months, the dent in your profits won't be felt as hard. You make a general announcement about the reinforcement of the palisade and construction of the watchtower that is met with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately your labor force is too small to meet the increased demand and construction progresses slowly. Stewart suggests hiring some laborers from Meaville, but with the costs of the trade deal looming you decide to wait until after the caravans are sent off. It's mostly the Count's indifference that gives you confidence in your decision. He doesn't feel the extra defenses are yet necessary. Nightowl's advice comes to mind: as long as you don't bother the Othercreature, it shouldn't bother you. Perhaps the same can be said of the Elves? Still, one immutable fact remains: at some point they will have to answer for what they've done. ----Your stores are all but filled now, mostly with fish. Investigate their source leads to some ice fishes operating out of Meaville on the river--your part of the river, and you take immediate action to wet your proverbial beak. The fisherman are willing to pay a tax for use of the river: 1 fish for every 4 they catch, which is more than generous. You accept. These negotiations attract a second wave of fisherman, more experienced, older, and out-of-work. They tell you that they are too weak now to work in the ice but might be employed as teachers of the trade. It means taking on a number of new villagers that won't be able to feed themselves, but that may increase the overall productivity of the village given time. You also feel some pity for the old timers, most of them are alone, their families either gone away or dead and they've thus far survived on what little charity the younger fisherman can spare. Certainly the gods, especially Hermet, smiles down on the charitable--but ultimately they would be a burden.>Invite the retired fisherman to join your village, their knowledge will pay for them soon enough>Refuse their offer, you're unwilling to take on such a burden right now
>>2256902>Invite the retired fisherman to join your village, their knowledge will pay for them soon enoughOnly a few, three I guess. They may still be able to help out around the village during winter. We do need help with construction, after all.
>>2256902>>Invite the retired fisherman to join your village, their knowledge will pay for them soon enough
>>2256902>>Invite the retired fisherman to join your village, their knowledge will pay for them soon enoughTeach a man to fish, and all that.
You welcome some, but not all of the fisherman into your village. Those who were not chosen are at least sent away with an armful of vittles and some new cloaks (courtesy of Kilkain's wife) which they are most gracious to accept. Hermet will be pleased.The eldest of the fishermen acts as unofficial leader of the group. A man so old he has forgotten his own age, forgotten even his name. The villagers call him "Elder". It is what he calls himself. He is a creature somehow made more whole by the toll of time--because he does not yield. You never hear him speak, yet every time you see him your mood brightens. His quiet smile is infectious. His warmth so radiant and perfect, that the cold seems less cutting in his presence. The children adore him. The menfolk gather to eat with him. Even the Count lowers his head when he sees him. Even the grieving have started to go to him for consolation--though he offers only kind words and cryptic fishing metaphors. Stewart calls him a "Holy Man", and tells you he has seen his kind before, back when he was in the clergy. They are the beings closest to the gods, farthest from this crude realm. They are supposed to be capable of miracles, but to look at the old man, his back bent over, his skin like wrinkled paint, his crippled gait, idea seems ridiculous. But miracle or no, he has managed to uplift the mood of the village despite its tragedy. And for that, you are grateful.----It is now the month of March, Year 768. What will you do?Sir William Shepard of Olmsville>Attributes and SkillsAge: 20HealthyDecent FitnessDecent EtiquetteAverage Rhetoric Competent BowmanNovice HorsemanDabbling SwordsmanAverage Literacy>Equipment and PossessionsOld Black Stallion Average Iron ShortswordGood Quality Clothing (including Cloak)Wicker ShieldMediocre Cabin >OlmsvillePopulation: 37 (Resolved)Lands: Unnamed Forest (10% Explored), Unnamed Riverbank (60% Explored)Average HousingSmall GardensSmall Chicken Coop Average Lumber CampSmokehouseWooden Wall (in construction) Watchtower (in construction)Middling StoresPoor TradeAverage SanitationMiddling SecurityAverage Logging IndustryMiddling Fishing Industry>ForcesNone>MapMeaville (Village): Several hours away, a small village that subsists on its farms and livestockSilvale (Town): One day’s ride away, a large town that acts as a commercial hub for the areaRealm of Lord Eleison: A week’s rideFretag (City): Two week’s ride>ContactsNoblesKing Aldamar III - UnknownDuke Eleison - NeutralCount Lazar - FriendlyCountess Ophelia - In loveLady Miriam - AffectionateSir Ulrich - SuspiciousPeople in the VillageKilkain - Hunter - GrievedEve - Clothmaker - ResolvedWilkain - Hunter - MissingStewart - Steward - NeutralMax Wood - Carpenter - ResolvedBrian Chapman - Head Logger - ResolvedSamson - Miller - GrievedCarn - Butcher - ResolvedElder - Fisherman - Content
>>2257050Work on expanding food production and focus on our training
>>2257050What this anon pretty much said >>2257063 Continue our training and perhaps expand the farming lands. We need to prepare ourselves for the next winter.
Hire a small mercenary party to search and be the rescue party.
>>2257063Training, farming, and keep working on the wall.
>>2257063>>2257067>>2257154Agreed with this, time for managing what we have now.
>>2257154>>2257067>>2257063Yeah im down for this.
>>2257050Use the oxen when possible to uproot stubborn stumps to clear more land for utilization. Maybe see if we can use them to supplement our lack on manpower?
>>2257593That's also a good idea, use them while we get the carts ready.
>>2257063>>2257067>>2257154Supporting>>2257593This is also good, we might as well put the oxen to use since we got them for cheap
>>2257068Mercenaries are expensive anon, I don't think we'll have the cash to do this any time soon and the some of the villager will get uppity if we don't start the mission when spring comes
>>2257050>>2257154>>2257593Yes to all of this
So far we have:>Expand food production>Continue work on the wall>Focus on the training>Look into hiring mercs for a search party>Use the oxen to uproot stumps and help with laborUpdate today at 6 PM PST, session today or tomorrow.
>>2257593Yeah thats two birds with one stone, speeding up the clearing of land for agriculture and increase our lumber output
Not wanting to leave the oxen tied to the garden posts and chewing cud all day, you decide to let the villagers put them to use. Laborers have the cattle drag logs through the village help them build the growing wall. Samson uses them to pull out tree stumps that the loggers left behind. A double boon: the villagers use the stumps as firewood and Samson frees up land to expand his gardens. When Max Wood and his brother finally finish hammering in the last nail on the carts, the oxen are yoked, the spare lumber loaded into the cart and the little caravan sent on its way south to Starlhill, a city under the realm of Lord Eleison. You personally choose three village boys to head the caravan and gave each one some extra silver in case they meet trouble or find something worth bringing back from the city. You hope the trade is enough to make a few gold pieces with the silver. The gods know well how much you need it.Your training in the art of swordsmanship continues but you can feel no progress, only the usual sore muscles and the occasional collapse from exhaustion. Every morning the same routine: up at dawn, an hour of light exercises, followed by the spasm-inducing, tediously slow execution of the “martial forms”. Admittedly the forms get more complicated with each passing week--a thrust from the hip is chained to an uppercut, an upward blocking maneuver flows into a disarming counterblow which is followed with a killing thrust to an imaginary throat--but you can never be sure if what you’re learning is sticking. Any kind of real-time practice is forbidden. The one time you attempted it, you got caught and the good Count politely asked you if you “didn’t want his instruction any longer” and whether you had “given up on the tournament.” He was livid. You didn't try practicing alone after that.You’re starting to think that maybe this entire plan is a mistake. That the only thing you’re going to accomplish in this tournament is showing the world exactly how incompetent and how much of an impostor you really are. When you relay these concerns to Stewart, he merely grins and tells you to be patient and to trust the Count, which does nothing for your anxiety. Even your pendant and the vision of Ophelia within it no longer offers any solace. You can’t look at it without feeling like you’ve let down the Count somehow--and this feeling of shame has lately grown greater than the comfort your ribald fantasies used to provide. Increasingly you find yourself relishing the slightest sign of his approval. A pat on the back, a smile, a squeeze of your shoulder, a slight unconscious nod when you’ve executed a form particularly well, sets the whole world in sunshine. The Count for his part has grown unusually silent. He doesn’t speak during the training sessions of course, preferring now to just use a stick to point or adjust your posture during the forms. But the lively conversations during dinner have stopped too.
>>2260871One night, you awake to the sound of his footsteps on the stairs, followed by the soft closing of the main door. It’s past midnight but maybe he just needed to use the outhouse? The weather is warm now and there’s plenty of light from the full moon, so he won't need your help getting around. 10 minutes pass and then 20 and he still doesn’t return. It could be constipation--the venison was a little rare at dinner. You wait some more. An hour passes and just as you’re about to throw off your sheets and put on your boots and cloak, he comes through the door, slightly out-of-breath, clothes sticking to his skin by sweat, boots encrusted with mud and foliage that could only come from deeper in the forest and sword--which you had never seen unsheathed before this moment--gripped lax in his right hand and shining with a thin sliver of red along its edge. He wipes his boots, then the sword then quietly retires to his room. The next morning he’s the same as usual; no sign or mention of his nocturnal activities. You wait for a repeat performance that night but nothing happens, nor the night after. You start thinking it was just some bizarre dream you had, and then suddenly, the next night you hear him sneaking out again. >This time, follow him>Don’t follow him, give the man his privacy
>>2260878>>Don’t follow him, give the man his privacy
>>2260878>This time, follow him
>>2260878>Don’t follow him, give the man his privacy
>>2260888OP notice those trips!
>>2260878>This time, follow himGrab your sword, cloak, and shield
>>2260878>Don’t follow him, give the man his privacyI don't want to lose our sword teach over curiosity
>>2260878>Don’t follow him, give the man his privacy>Probably finding a way to relive his glory days.
>>2260878>This time, follow himNormally I would say leave him alone, but the blood and mud along with the paranoia of the forest has me worried
>>2260871>>This time, follow him
>>2260878>Don’t follow him, give the man his privacyhes probably killing elves for us, if we follow, we become a liability which might get him killed.
>>2262872remember if we stay away, and cause no trouble they'll leave us alone, trying to follow the lord into the deep woods is gonna end very badly for us who can barely fight than the lord who can....
Its 6 vs 6 tie still. There will be an update and session today at 6-7 PM PST. I will roll the vote if its still a tie.
>>2263141Would we follow him before he leaves or after? and would we follow him past the river and into the forest?
>>2263152You'd be sneaking behind him and I'd leave how far you actually follow him to a vote, if he goes beyond the river.
>>2263265Okay, to speed things up I'll go for follow, but I do not want to cross the river.>>2262872change this to follow.
Unfortunately due to some unforeseen work I won't be running today. I'll try to run tomorrow, depending on how much I manage to get done.
Surprise late night update because I somehow managed to finish most of my workYou wait until the sound of his footsteps fade away. Then you put on your boots, throw your cloak over your shoulders and strap your sword to your waist. The night air is cold. You can see the smoke of your own breath and must clutch the cloak to your body to keep away the cutting wind. The sky is cloudless. Pale moonlight throws everything into a mix of soft white and hard shadow. Somewhere in the darkness an owl hoots. The smell of rain and wet earth is in the air. The Count is already out of sight, but his bootprints are clearly visible in the mud. You follow the tracks to the border of the forest, just behind Max Wood's workshop. The tracks continue deeper within.It is early March and the trees are still naked and the forest floor full of dead things that crunch with every step. You're practically running, fearing that you've lost him, crouching occasionally to inspect the ground for foot-shaped depressions, crushed leaves, bits of broken branches, upturned pebbles. You lose his trail twice, and then find it again and then find him. He's hunched over on a small boulder with his hands on his knees, overlooking the river. You're 40 paces away, hidden in the trees.He stands up and reaches for the blade at his waist. He takes a stance--one you do not recognize. The left leg slides slowly backward, the right leg bends at the knee, the right hand on the hilt of the blade, the left hand on the mouth of the sheath. You can hear him take a sharp breath, like he was just splashed with cold water and then his entire body springs forward in one fluid motion. The left hand pulls back on the sheath, the right hand pulls the blade out and then up, the left leg pushes forward, the right leg pushes up, the blade flashes briefly in the moonlight and then returns to its scabbard. The movement is so fast you cannot tell where the stroke fell. He takes a breath, a slight pause, then again he goes into the stance, again he snaps forward with his whole body, sword and flesh united into one vibrating nerve. Faster and faster his sword shoots out, until you cannot even make out his hands, until the only way you can tell he's drawn his sword at all is by listening for the sound of the blade rasping against its scabbard. "Most impressive!" You jump. A muffled voice calls out from beyond the river. The Count sheathes his blade, unperturbed. He sits back down on the boulder and waits. A figure drops down from a nearby tree, noiselessly like a snake. His face is masked; great stag horns atop the eyeless mold. He wears loose fitting robes that come down to his ankles and a smooth black scabbard at his waist. But it's his feet that give him away--no shoes, no socks, hairless, bare to the grass and field, long slender toes that are more like fingers, that grasp more like a hand. Elf feet. Elf mask. Elf robes. >Keep watching>Draw and attack the elf!>Try to get closer
Bubbles of thought boil and burst against your skull. Your head is throbbing, thin trails of sweat fall down the center of your face and hang to your chin. Your hand moves to your waist, grips the hilt of your sword and almost pulls it out and almost brandishes it above you in a screaming charge. But...the Count is still unperturbed. His chin is rests on the backs of his palms, hands resting on his blade, the blade straight in the earth like a thin flat tooth. "Still keeping up the art, I see. That is well." Says the elf. He draws closer to the Count. His footsteps are completely noiseless; his body so silent its as though he was gliding through the air. "You look unwell, Lem." Says the elf. It is not a mock, that is clear by the hand that touches the Count's shoulder now. Only affection in that touch; only concern. And bile rises to your throat.You remember the Count's red and screaming face as he told the villagers that Elves were an old wives tale to keep little boys out of the forest, and challenged every surviving soldier with his eyes to counter him. You remember the note. Never of speak of Them. You remember the pyres in the snow, the taste of ash, the feel of a mother's hands in your hands, wringing and begging you to admit that you were lying, that it was a joke, that her son was really alive and coming back and the supper is ready and waiting for him and she'll give you anything you want, anything at all just to tell her he's alright, and the look in Samson's eyes as he pulled her back and she wept. And the toy soldier and it's sword raised against the sky and forest."But worry not, Lem. The Renewal is soon." Says the Elf. "When?" Asks the Count, looking up. "Before the end of this cycle. Before winter, by the stars. Our god is nearly ready, the preparations nearly in place--but...there's been a slight change."The Count's eyes snap upward. "What change?" His voice is shaky, nervous. The elf doesn't speak, but instead casually sweeps his head around the riverbend and the trees. You panic for a moment, thinking he's seen you, but then his attention returns to the Count. "Have you been eating properly Lem? You really look terrible." The Count looks away at the river and the sound of its waters fills up the silence between them. "The Council wants more sacrifices." The elf says.The Count wince. "Like before?" His voice is as small as a child asking for pardon."Yes. And I think you know why." The Elf reaches for his mask and slowly takes it off. Unthinkable. No elf may show his face to an outsider, no outsider glimpse those features handcrafted by the gods. Or so the stories go. But his face is glowing in the moonlight and every feature thrown in perfect clarity--which only adds to its sheer impossibility. Not by the beauty, which borders on the terrifying but because he is the Count. Or him as he would be if he were a few decades younger, and cast in the mold of a miracle.
>>2266330 "You should have told them, Lem. Now our god has tasted them and the Council knows of their presence." Even his voice, now unfiltered by the mask, is the low timbre of the Count's.The Count presses into his eyes with the backs of his thumbs. "I tried." He says. "By the time I found out..." He lets out a long breath, clasping his hands in a praying posture on the blade hilt. "I-I can tell you they won't come in again. I can promise that.""No. The Council has already decided. And now your task will be to keep them in place until the appointed time and you know what will happen if you don't."The Count clutches his forehead. "I can't.""You've said that before." Says the elf, putting the mask back on and turning to leave."I mean it this time." Says the Count, standing and facing him."You want to die then." Says the elf."Maybe I tire of so much life."The elf laughs. "No, Lem. You tire of weakness. You tire of the sweats and the soreness that accompany even a brief exertion. You tire of this old body--as I'm sure your wife already has." The Count narrows his eyes, but says nothing. The elf nods. "You've waited a long time--well, long in man-years. Your mortality burdens you. That's the human in you still clinging to the bones.""It's not mortality. It's conscience." Says the Count. The Elf has no retort. They exchange a silent stare, a cool wind blows between them, lifting their cloaks toward the river. "If you want to blame me, then blame me." Says the elf."I do blame you." Mutters the Count."So its that in the end. Well...fine, but even I cannot overturn a decision of the Council, as well you know. And he is gone, Lem--but you will have other sons. And do not think that I didn't love him, or loved him any less than you did. He was my family too.""No. Creatures like you--like us--can't love...that's its price. Because with enough time, everything stops hurting. We forget. It's in our habit to forget.""Nonsense. Love is cyclical, like all else. It is natural for the pain to fade, natural for new things to take the place of the old. Isn't that why you took a new wife? You do not see it yet because your years are still short. But you will." Again the elf turns to leave and the Count's hand drops to his sword and he takes his stance, the left leg slowly sliding back. "I request a duel." He says."You said that before too." Says the elf, stopping and sighing. "You didn't win then, how can you possibly think you'll win now? And why for them? They're nothing to you.""Take your stance." Says the Count. "Go home Lem. Eat something. Get some rest.""Your stance." Says the Count.The elf pauses a moment, pondering whether to continue. Finally his left leg slides back in exactly the same fashion and his hand moves to his sword, so that the two mirror each other, perfectly.>Interfere >Remain hidden and watch
>>2266333>Remain hidden and watch
>>2266333>>Remain hidden and watch
>>2266333>Remain hidden and watchI want to be mad but I can't be mad.
>>2266333>task will be to keep them in place until the appointed time and you know what will happen if you don't.">The Count clutches his forehead. "I can't.">"You've said that before." Says the elf, putting the mask back on and turning to leave.
>>2266333>>Interfere"He said he wants to duel you, honorless cur."
You want to be angry. You want teeth-gnashing anger, anger that makes your blood and spit acidic--and part of you is that angry, but there is another part, a greater part, that wants to protect the Count. Despite his apparent betrayal, despite Ophelia, despite everything, you still feel an affection toward him. He’s still your teacher. Still your overlord, if that means anything. And you ready yourself to spring into action and intervene and you almost laugh. What are you supposed to do? The man who’s been learning swordsmanship for a month is going to interfere in this duel? No. All you can do is watch and wait and pray and hope. So much of this still lies in darkness buried in a hole of secrets whose depth you cannot see--and the Count must live to shed some light. He must.They hold their positions for a few seconds, watching each other's slight movements, listening for changes in breath and pace and air pressure. And then suddenly the intake of air, a sharp sucking noise and the Count springs forward and drags his blade out of its sheath and swings up in a single master strike--too fast for your eyes. Sword meets sword at half stroke. The blades rear back at the instant of resistance, the Count tries to swing from the side at the elf's leg. The elf holds the blade to the side, parrying the downward sweep, then rotates his hips and steps inward and elbows the Count in the chest. The Count staggers back, coughs, clutches his mouth and wipes away spittle. No words, no taunting, no clarification between them. The Count sheaths his sword a second time and slides his left foot back. His forehead is shiny with sweat and his body is bowed over by exhaustion. The elf looks almost bored in comparison. He too sheaths his sword and takes the same stance, this time crouching a little lower than before, gripping the grass with his finger-like toes, compressing his leg muscles until their hard outlines show against the robes. The Count moves first. The sword appears as a brief beam of silvery light, out and back in its sheath in the time it takes for you to blink. But the elf is faster still. And his body has already side-stepped the stroke and his blade is already running across the Count's throat and the delicate skin is already breaking open and admitting the iron into its fleshly folds until the it exits on the other side; blade against muscle, nerve and bone, blade winning, blade splitting head from body. Blood spurts in an upward arc. The Count crumples to the earth. A face rolls back toward the boulder. The elf wipes the gore-soaked sword with the hem of his robe and puts it back in its sheath. He walks over to the head, kneels and starts to whisper words you cannot hear. Perhaps an elfin prayer. >You can do nothing, reign your impulses and wait until the elf leaves>Surprise attack the Elf while he’s distracted
>>2266917>You can do nothing, reign your impulses and wait until the elf leaves.
>>2266917>You can do nothing, reign your impulses and wait until the elf leavesWell time to burn down the forest on the far side of the river.
>>2266917>You can do nothing, reign your impulses and wait until the elf leavesFug
Would Ophelia become our liege lady with the Count dead? Also we’re gonna need to start brainstorming some plausible murder/kidnapping alibi because no one’s gonna believe (aside from the villagers) that an elf decapitated our overlord.
>>2267181depends on the succesion lawhis lands would most likely be inherited by his direct liege
You're crying. You're holding onto a tree branch and rooting yourself like your life depends on it. It does. Your mind moves through memory; this loss is too familiar. You see your father's hand on your shoulder, the brief squeeze and the eyes toward the horizon. What did he see? You remember him lifting you to bed, slipping you between the covers, touching your hair and leaning to bring his lips to your forehead. You tried so hard to stay awake, to feel his caress a minute more, but all faded into dreams. And when you awoke, you cried for him and you ran outside into the morning dew and searched for him among the sheep, shivering and cold. You did not find him. You never found him. And then you hated him. How could he leave you all alone in this cruel world?You look to the elf, the head in his hands held by the tufts of balding hair. How could he leave you? You swallow your sobs. You can do nothing here, you are a failure, a pathetic worm, weak, foolish--wait...why is the elf joining the head to the shoulders? Why is the neck knitting together like one of Eve's quilts? Did his hand just move? Did he just speak? He's getting up, standing. His clothes are stained with his blood but the Count is fine. What have you just witnessed? Is he a god?"Satisfied?" Asks the Elf. The Count rubs his neck, staring at the blood that comes away. He moves toward to the river to wash himself. "Keep them in place Lem." The elf calls out. "And don't worry so much, once the Renewal is complete you'll have your old life back, your old habits; you'll make war and love as you used to. Isn't that what you want? In the meantime, keep away from fire and water. Eat. Stay alive. What is it you humans like to say? Don't step on mud?" The Count does not reply. He cups his hands in the river and drinks and splashes icewater over his face and neck. "Rid yourself of these foolish thoughts Lem--that's the mud. Let time do its work." The elf turns and takes a running leap onto a tree. He climbs to its top with both his hands and feet. He swings from tree to tree like a leaf blown by the wind and is gone just as quickly. The Count returns to the boulder to pick up his sword and sheath it and tie it around his waist. He looks off into the trees for a moment, in the direction of the elf, then he turns and begins walking back to the village. You remain paralyzed, cannot even think coherent thoughts until he is well out of sight. >Catch up to him, and demand an explanation>Run back before him, he mustn't suspect anything
>>2267761>>Run back before him, he mustn't suspect anythingKinda figured.
>>2267761>Run back before him, he mustn't suspect anything
>>2267761>Run back before him, he mustn't suspect anythingSo the question is do we ask him later in private, try to imprison him quietly, or mob him with villagers and force him to talk in the morning?
>>2267761>Catch up to him, and demand an explanation
>>2267761>>Catch up to him, and demand an explanation
>>2267761>>Run back before him, he mustn't suspect anything
Sorry for these sporadic updates btw, I'm trying to post between classes and research work If you went now and grabbed him and demanded he tell you everything...what would happen? Would he tell you? Would he help you prevent this? Maybe. But from the Elf's words you know he's done this before. Was that why the village was abandoned when you found it? You remember the broken arrow heads on the roads, the burnt cabins you worked so hard to restore. What is this Renewal? Who was that elf? Why did he look like the Count and call his dead son, "family"? How did the Count come back from death? You are out of your depth. You, a poor shepard's son, abandoned, left to die--you should've had your guts cut out on the battlefield with all the others, you should have missed the shot that began all this, or maybe even declined your reward. You can run. Forget these people, go today and get your horse and flee into the darkness. The gods brought you unto the earth a peasant, and was there not wisdom in it? Is it not an affront to aspire to die as something else, something more? Is this not all a temptation? A futility?And strangely it is the Count's own words that answer you: a man must determine himself, what would he be? And even the gods cannot tell him. What would you be? You stand. You wipe your eyes. Even self-pity can get tiresome. No more of this then and let the grim gods hurl their lightning--you will not cow. You will not let anyone burn away roots so carefully lain. You will not abandon these simple folk, whom you have come to love. The first order of business then is to keep the Count from knowing what you know. Getting out of this will require planning and the precision of a weaver threading her needle. You need to get back before he does. You break into a sprint and arrive home well before he does and slip into bed just as the doors open and the Count shuffles back to his room. You don't sleep well that night--or at all, but by the time the sun rises the bones of a plan have arranged themselves into cohesion.>Decide on your plan...>What will you do about the Count?>Simple. Kill him--you just have to figure out how...>Send a letter to Lord Eleison of his treachery, he'll know what to do>Get him on your side. He's already against all this, and he has valuable information>What will you do about the elves?>Ask for aid from Lord Eleison>Hire mercenaries to defend your village>Attempt to speak to them directly>What will you do about your villagers?>Keep them in the dark, they'll panic otherwise>Tell them everything, they deserve to be informed>Confide in a select few people, Stewart, maybe Kilkain--but hold them to secrecyWrite-ins for any of these are welcome, as always
>>2268760>>Confide in a select few people, Stewart, maybe Kilkain--but hold them to secrecythis is the only one I'm confident about. We don't know how far up this goes, so Eleison isn't a safe option. Killing the count or getting him on our side has too many variables, most of which we don't know, like weird elf recapitation. That also rules out speaking to the elves. Mercenaries would be good if we can afford them.
>>2268760>>Simple. Kill him>Send a letter to Lord Eleison of his treacheryThat elf told the Count to avoid fire. If he's beheaded then burnt that should be the end of it. However, if the count dies on our lands with no word at all, blame could well fall on us. This works in two ways. The Lord is alerted to the situation, and if we die because of this, he'll know who is responsible.>Ask for aid from Lord EleisonMercenaries is too expensive an option, and speaking to the shits is not gonna fucking happen.>Confide in a select few people, Stewart, maybe Kilkain--but hold them to secrecy
>>2268760>Confide in a select few people, Stewart, maybe Kilkain--but hold them to secrecyJust tell Stewart. Kilkain is a good guy, but we don't know him as well. Stewart will give good council. Emphasize that this has nothing to do with Ophelia (who we could also tell, next time we get a moment alone with her.) Ask him what he thinks we ought to do. Don't set a course of action for the Count quite yet. >Ask aid from Lord Eleison
>>2268760>>Hire mercenaries to defend your villageThis should be our immediate plan for security in the short-term. Clear the immediate tree line surrounding the village, the elves are clearly climbers. Our walls won’t do much good if they swing over it. Try to barb or fortify the top of our palisade to prevent them from scampering over the top.>Attempt to speak to them directlyWe’re gonna need more information from the Count if we really want to go down this path.Maybe try to get one last sword lesson from the Count before we grab him.>Confide in a select few people, Stewart, Kilkain, and the other patriarchs and matriarchs- swear them to secrecy.Gather and arm the men of the village, detain the Count inside one of the more secure buildings for the foreseeable future. We need to question him on everything he knows.>Ask for aid from Lord EleisonWe can’t count on Eleison not siding with Lazar, without evidence we just appear to be a rebellious lordling
>>2268760>Confide in Stewartthen with Stewart>Get him on your side. He's already against all this, and he has valuable informationand depending on the Counts reaction we either.>Ask for aid from Lord Eleisonor we can prepare our defenses and attempt to fight the elves alone.but don't forget the Elf said "keep them in place until the appointed time" what if we just abandon the village during the appointed time and come back when it is safer?
>>2269196>>2268760Perhaps we should just write our request for aid as help from brigands in the forest who kill and mutilate. Speak of a growing danger from bandits in the forest which threaten travel and trade in the region. Hopefully the idea of a more realistic threat should assist our appeal
>>2269398We could say there are brigands but they are way more organized and trained than typical brigands and they even took out Wilkain, a former mercenary captain and some of our militia so they could be a foreign army and then the lord surely would come.
>>2268760We should reach out to the church, murdering elven cults in the woods seems like exactly the thing they would be up for. Maybe meet with them under the pretense of building a church.
>>2268760>>Get him on your side. He's already against all this, and he has valuable information>he has valuable informationTHISWe can kill/report him later.It would be nice to know what the thrice-blasted hells is going on for once.Plus, he's still teaching us and murdering superior nobles vastly more experienced than us, for reasons we cannot support with facts, when there are multiple reasons we would be suspected even if he wasn't in our town, is a tad unwise.>>What will you do about the elves?>>Ask for aid from Lord EleisonProbably the best betHiring mercenaries to defend your village is more costly until we know when we need them.We'll call attempting to speak to them directly "Suicidal Plan B">>What will you do about your villagers?>Confide in Stewart>Keep the rest of them in the dark
>>2266330>The Elf reaches for his mask and slowly takes it off. Unthinkable. No elf may show his face to an outsider, no outsider glimpse those features handcrafted by the gods. Or so the stories go.Masked Elves.Neat
There won't be any updates until this weekend (and even that is tentative) because of scooped research shenanigans. So far the consensus seems to be:>RE: CountGet him on your side if you can. >RE: ElvesAsk for aid from Lord Eleison, or try to hire mercs. Definitely don't try to speak to them and ruin my keikaku>RE: VillagersTell Stewart, ask him for council. Keep everybody else in the dark.
>>2272681I'll put my vote on killing the count
>>2268760>>Get him on your side. He's already against all this, and he has valuable informationWe'd need proof since his word probably means more than ours. Killing him would be fine but unexplainable but we'd lose the chance to surprise him and honestly we'd really need that to have a chance.>Hire mercenaries to defend your villageWe can get some to do that rescue thing to not fret the villagers. >Confide in a select few people, Stewart, maybe Kilkain--but hold them to secrecy
I'm going to try and run a session tomorrow ~5-6 PM PST. We'll try to fit as much as we can before the thread dies.