You are Sir William Shepard, a former peasant elevated to nobility by an accident of fate. You are currently the lord of Olmsville, a small fief on the outskirts of your kingdom. Unprepared and unused to rule, you are trying to best to become a leader worthy of your title.Recently you've learned that your trusted overlord, Count Lazar, is in cahoots with a group of elves living deeper in the forest. Worse, these elves seem bent on Olmsville's destruction. ----All things point toward the Count’s destruction: the dagger he has stuck in your back, the wife that would be yours if he perished, the gods that would be pleased by the karmic justice, the variable that would be resolved by his removal. And still your hand stays from the knife in the dark. And if you try to convince yourself that it's only because there is still juice to be squeezed from him, information, advantage, even assistance against the elves--you cannot. You know this is a hollow lie. You’re fond of him. You admire him. You pity him. You see your father in him--this became clear in the course of your planning. The father that abandoned you. You don’t remember him. He is only a fuzzy imitation of your own face, a face in a fog. Small memories: that one time you helped him fix your neighbor’s roof, handing him nails between his vicious strokes and afterward, when the neighbor’s wife made eyes at him and gave him choice of the good meat in secret, you ate together on that roof, in the darkness beneath the starshine; that one time he showed you how to tip a sheep over on its back and prop its shoulders between your knees so that it didn’t fidget when you worked the shears and he held your small arms in his scarred and broken hands and told you not to be afraid. And that one and last time that you saw him, before he slipped away in the night and left you to fend for yourself. You were just 10 years old. And when the Count calls you the next morning in that voice like a distant drum, you fear to face him. You fear that he will know everything by the way your smile has changed, know the pain and the rage and the great seas rolling inside. His voice is different also, today, quiet and scratchy. “Come.” He says and his throat shudders as he swallows. “Will. Today we try something new.” He waits for you by the door. Cont.
>>2279903Your plan today was to skip practice and wake Stewart and to confide in him everything you’ve learned and to seek his counsel. He usually gives good advice and always great confidence and you’re in need of both.“Will--William.” The Count sighs, half-knocking. In your mind you see his mouth half-open and silent, some secret words half-breathed, half-clinging to the inside of his teeth like bits of jam. But this is imagination. You can hear a soft thunk on the door, too high to be his hand--his head then, leaning against the wood.The longer you stay between your bedsheets, the more suspicious you become. It will not do. You throw off your covers, sweat-soaked from last nights tossing and you pluck a serrated cheeseknife from a small hunk of cheddar on your bedstand and pocket it, and you throw open the door. The Count snaps his head back in surprise. You see him. You see his eyes. They are red and sunken from lack of rest and you think (though it is mere speculation) from crying.“We have much to do Will. You have so much left to learn…” He clears his throat. “Before the tournament. Come.” He turns, expecting you to follow.>Tell him you have other business this morning, you’ll practice some other time>Follow him, best to keep things level and you’re curious what new thing he’s going to try>Spring the question on him now, while the two of you are alone.
>>2279906>Follow him, best to keep things level and you’re curious what new thing he’s going to tryLet his guilt stew, maybe throw in a few passing comments about trust over the course of the training then confront him.
>>2279906You follow. You don’t think you have what it takes to kill this man. And therefore your only choice is to bring him over to your side. He shows the obvious signs of guilt and you can use that guilt to your advantage, press him on it.He takes you to the usual spot, a clearing behind your house. He occasionally looks behind him to make sure you’re still following. Two sticks lie crossed on a tree stump--the only stump now left in this field, Sampson was careful to remove as much as he could while he had the cattle. The Count picks up at the stick and throws the other to you. Your body starts to take its stance in expectation of the forms. All of this is routine. “The tournament is next month.” He says.“Yes?”“I’m satisfied with the shape of your forms. It’s time we practice at real speed. From now on and for the next two weeks...we will spar continuously. Breaking only to eat and sleep.”“What!” Is this is a plot? A stratagem? Is he trying to force you to spend all your time exhausting yourself so you cannot oppose him? Does he know? You panic, but when you meet his eyes again, you steady yourself. Impossible. He does not know. This may just be part of the training. There’s only 6 weeks before the tournament, 4 if you take out the week and a half journey, and victory was always a dice roll--with the odds strictly out of your favor. Maybe this is the only way to achieve the improbable. But it would mean you’d have no time to think, no time to put your plan into action for the next two weeks.The Count now takes his stick in both hands and raises it to his shoulder. A fighting stance. “Do you trust me Will?” He asks. “You’ve given me no reason to do otherwise, my lord.” You say, trying hard not to grit your teeth.He nods. “I promise you...you will stand even with any man that competes--and shoulders above many. It will be hard, but I know you are capable.”“If it will bring greater prosperity to my people...I am willing to bear it.”He winces and lowers his sword. “Will. William…”“Yes?”“How much do you care for these people, really?” He blurts out. “The people are fickle, they would as soon cast you to the crows as they would bow to you. They are not family. You are only their lord William. Spare them no love. Labor for yourself. Always. I-I can help you more than this...after the tournament I...” He takes in a ragged breath and cannot go further.>Refute him and press him now on his betrayal>Say nothing on the matter, just take your stance; the tournament comes first
>>2280349>>Say nothing on the matter, just take your stance; the tournament comes first
>>2280349>Say nothing on the matter, just take your stance; the tournament comes first
>>2280349>“How much do you care for these people, really?> "I don't think I could do that, sire. If I cared not a whit for the people, I would have deserted my post in the army."
You do not answer. You fear that anything you say will reveal your hand. The time is not yet right to play those cards. You take your stance and the Count, though his face is still contorted in pain, takes his.====Rules for Dueling>Dueling is done in rounds. Each round is made up of two exchanges. >During an exchange, combatants first choose a combat maneuver from the available list (write-ins also welcome if appropriate), then roll 3 d20s counting successes against a target number (TN) >Combatants can only do an attack maneuver when they have the initiative, or the initiative is undecided>Combatants use Stamina Points (SP) to perform combat maneuvers, SP carries over between rounds and is replenished every round>Injuries affect rolls and SP. The duel ends either on a certain condition (calling mercy, unconsciousness, certain number of rounds etc.) or upon delivery (or reception) of a fatal wound====Round 1>You have 10/10 SP>The initiative is undecidedIn the first exchange you decide to:>Take a defensive stance and prepare to receive the blow safely (TN: 12, +1 to this roll, -1 SP, Take the initiative if successful)>Inch forward, look for an opening, then go straight for a decisive blow (TN: 17, -2 to this roll, -2 SP, Win the duel instantly, if successful) >Chaaaarge! Steamroll him to the ground! (TN: 13, -1 to this roll, -3 SP, Knock him to the ground if successful)
>>2280628>>Inch forward, look for an opening, then go straight for a decisive blow (TN: 17, -2 to this roll, -2 SP, Win the duel instantly, if successful)
>>2280628>>Chaaaarge! Steamroll him to the ground! (TN: 13, -1 to this roll, -3 SP, Knock him to the ground if successful)
>>2280628>>Chaaaarge! Steamroll him to the ground! (TN: 13, -1 to this roll, -3 SP, Knock him to the ground if successful)Time to vent some of that anger.
>Chaaaarge! Steamroll him to the ground! (TN: 13, -1 to this roll, -3 SP, Knock him to the ground if successful)Roll 3 separate 1d20s please.
Rolled 10 (1d20)>>2280756
Rolled 16 (1d20)>>2280756
Rolled 13 (1d20)>>2280756
>Two successes: Standard SuccessYou put all the training and the martial forms and the lessons and even your weapon aside for a moment and just break into a running charge, attempting to tackle the old man to ground, to hurt him as he has hurt you. He tells you not to love your people? To labor for yourself! And though you admit, you had thought of abandoning this village only last night, that thought is as much destroyed as the person that thought it. You are a new man and the new William does not run away. The Count is taken completely by surprise. You collide into his breastbone, your arm wraps around his torso, trying to force him down. He staggers back and falls to one knee, but his reflexes are still much better than yours. He tries to roll away before you can get on top of him and pin him down. Round 1>You have 7/10 SP>You have the initiative>Follow up with a fist to his face, put all your weight on it--let him really feel it (TN: 15, -2 SP, Deal a critical injury if successful)>Go back and get your sword, you've made your point (+1 SP recovery this round)>Grab one of his limbs and try to pin him down (TN: 16, -4 SP, Enter grappling if successful)
>>2280837>>Go back and get your sword, you've made your point (+1 SP recovery this round)
>>2280837>>Follow up with a fist to his face, put all your weight on it--let him really feel it (TN: 15, -2 SP, Deal a critical injury if successful)
>>2280837>>Grab one of his limbs and try to pin him down (TN: 16, -4 SP, Enter grappling if successful)
>Grab one of his limbs and try to pin him down (TN: 16, -4 SP, Enter grappling if successful)Please roll 3 1d20s
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>2280927
Rolled 14 (1d20)>>2280927
Rolled 9 (1d20)>>2280927
>Zero successes: Critical FailureYou try and grab his leg as it tucks into the roll but he's too quick for you. He flips backward, pushing off of his hands and the moment his feet touch the ground he springs forward, his stick pointed out toward your throat. Weaponless and still imbalanced from your grappling attempt you are unable to do anything against the blow--but it never comes. The stick touches your adam's apple and pauses, tapping playfully against the bottom of your chin. "Again." Says the Count, whipping the stick to his side and taking his position and allowing you to do the same. The Count takes a defensive stance, the stick in both hands in front of him, ready to swat away and exploit any errant blow. The same trick will not work twice--it didn't even work once. Now you must rely on what he taught you. Round 2>You recover 1 SP; you have 4/10 SP>The initiative is undecided>Use an attacking form, thrust at his vital points (TN: 14, -2 SP, Inflict an injury if successful)>Keep your distance and try to catch your breath (+1 SP recovered this round)>Attempt a feinting form (TN: 17, -1 SP, lose the initiative but if successful +3 to next exchange)
>>2281030>Keep your distance and try to catch your breath (+1 SP recovered this round)
>>2281030>Use an attacking form, thrust at his vital points (TN: 14, -2 SP, Inflict an injury if successful)
I have to head to bed. I'll try to run another session tomorrow same time.
>>2281030>>Use an attacking form, thrust at his vital points (TN: 14, -2 SP, Inflict an injury if successful)
>>2281030>>Keep your distance and try to catch your breath (+1 SP recovered this round)
>Keep your distance and try to catch your breath (+1 SP recovered this round)You take a defensive stance and circle around, trying to catch your breath. The Count lunges forward a few times, testing your defenses but to your surprise, the martial forms come automatically and unconsciously to your aid. All of it has been conditioned into reflex but this is not enough to overcome the Count. He begins his strokes slowly but soon you can only see his stick as a brown blur It starts to make contact with your body more and more often.. And each is blow heavier than the last. One lands directly on your shoulder and its as if someone drove a nail into your collarbone. You gasp in pain and jump back before he can land another. The pain slowly permeates through your body, but does not quite leave it.Round 2>You have 4/10 SP>You have lost the initiative>You are in pain (+1 TN)>Continue to keep your distance, all you can do is wear him out (+2 SP recovered this round)>Attempt a counterblow. (TN: 15, -2 SP, if successful, gain the initiative and inflict an injury)>Enter into melee, defend as best you can. After all this is supposed to be training, how can you learn if you run away? (TN: 13, -1 SP, if successful initiative becomes undecided)
>>2283496>>Attempt a counterblow. (TN: 15, -2 SP, if successful, gain the initiative and inflict an injury)
>>2283496>Attempt a counterblow. (TN: 15, -2 SP, if successful, gain the initiative and inflict an injury)
>>2283496>>Continue to keep your distance, all you can do is wear him out (+2 SP recovered this round)hes an old man, literally his only weakness, wear him down
>Attempt a counterblow. (TN: 15, -2 SP, if successful, gain the initiative and inflict an injury)Roll 3 1d20s please
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>2283594
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>2283594
Rolled 6 (1d20)>>2283594
>Zero Successes: Critical FailureYou attempt a counterblow, a switch in your footwork as you try to trap his swing and then reverse it--it doesn't work. Your form is perfect, but the Count, as usual, is just too fast. You do manage to block his strike but before you can raise your stick to hit him, his is already jabbing your stomach. "Again."You both move to your starting positions. Two losses. Zero wins. You take your stance. And so it continues for the rest of the day and the rest of the week and the rest of the next week. No rest or quarter except to eat and sleep. No mercy in the duels. You do not win even a single bout. The matches begin to blur into each other as much as the days. A continuous cycle of unceasing combat until even the bruises and stripes across your body become something barely registered, until the Count's swift strikes start to resolve into solidity--you still cannot match them of course, but now you can see them, track their movements, sometimes even dodge them.The Count is thoroughly satisfied with your progress but every day he seems to be driven greater into his own guilt. You do nothing to alleviate his condition. As the training draws to a close, the Count decides to give you a few days to recuperate before the next phase of the training: the hunt. You take this time to:>Discuss your plans with Stewart>Force a confession from the Count, it's time.>Concentrate on actually resting
>>2283728>Discuss your plans with Stewart
>>2283594>>2283604A 15 was rolled.
>>2283756Don't forget the +1 to the TN from pain
>>2283759So why wasn't the TN 16 then?
>>2283767It was. I just put down the base TN there. Sorry for the confusion.
>>2283779So you'll have the TNs not be misleading from now on?
>>2283728>>Discuss your plans with Stewart
>>2283782I'll just put the modifier with the choice next time to make things clearer.
>>2283842Why can't the modifier already be configured into the TN when you list the TN?
Stewart doesn’t take the news well. It seems the elves have thrown his own plans into disarray, but for all that, he remains calm. He diffuses the nervous energy by pacing back and forth in your study, arms locked behind his back like a general inspecting his ranks. “And you’re certain about this? Absolutely certain, my lord?” He has asked this 6 times now, in different ways.“I told you. I saw it with my own eyes. Everything I’ve told you is the total truth as I know it.”He groans and paces more furiously, creaking the floorboards with every step. “If even the Count is...it was Elves he was with? There is not any doubt of it being Elves?”“Elf.” You correct, holding up a finger. “Just one. And as I said, he looked identical to the Count--just several decades younger. And he referred to the Count’s son, as family.”“Which means he’s family to the Count as well. His brother, perhaps? Is our Count an elf too?”“I’ve seen his feet.” You say, remembering the time you forgave him at the ball, for a sin you knew nothing about. His toes were human. “He’s no elf. Not fully anyway.” “Half an elf and all traitor then.” Says Stewart, cursing in the same breath.“I’m not sure about that either. He may yet be turned.”“There are several ways to go about this my lord, but none of them guarantee or even suggest success.”“Tell me.”“Elves. Well, elves were traditionally hunted by the Order of the White Sword. They were blessed by the White One himself, trained to hunt down the gods’ own creatures.”“They are also myth and legend, Stewart. Be serious. Even if they did really exist, there are surely none alive now.”He nods. “True. And their services would be overkill anyway. This is a small group, not the great Empire of yore. But the principle is the same: we who are not equipped not handle these creatures, must hire those who are.”“Mercenaries.” You rub your chin, you’d thought along the same lines. “Well fine, but hire them with what? Our coffers are filled with spiderwebs and silver. It takes gold for this kind of work.”“We’ll have gold.” Says Stewart, nodding. “The caravan will return with gold--”“And if it does not?”He pauses, holding back his words.“The tournament.” He says, quietly. “We will use whatever we win from the tournament. I had plans for that gold. Expand our trade network, hire some laborers to clear the land, build roads, a proper logging camp, a sawmill, a watermill, access to the river, a port, barges, food from the west, slaves from the east!” He sighs, his shining eyes slowly dulling. “But...we have no choice now. These elves must come first.”>Agree with this plan and pray you succeed in the tournament>He mentioned several ways, what are the others?>He never mentioned his plan for the tournament--there's prize money but how are you supposed to get a hold of it if you lose as he promised?
>>2283855Because the modifier may not apply across the board and I need to show which options are affected by the modifier and which are not.
>>2283857>Agree with this plan and pray you succeed in the tournament>Am I going to take a dive after you bet on the other guy?
>>2283857>>He mentioned several ways, what are the others?
>>2283857>He mentioned several ways, what are the others?>He never mentioned his plan for the tournament--there's prize money but how are you supposed to get a hold of it if you lose as he promised?
I'm calling it for today. Will continue throughout the week.
Just posting to let people know the quest isn't dead. I'm just a bit more busy this week than expected. Update tomorrow 6 PM PST if all goes well and session this weekend.Thanks for bearing with me!
>>2289638I really loved this quest but why is our character so obsessed with Ophelia?Miriam best girl tho
>>2290011Natural character flaw. The players just have to deal with it.
>>2290011 after we kill her husband we shall take her as a maid a commoner the way she was born
>>2290021We could bet everything in a roll.
Ophelia best girl!
“Speaking of the tournament, you never told me about your plan. How do you intend to make money from my loss? Are you going to bet against me in the final match?”Stewart laughs. “My lord, it’s forbidden to bet on one’s own matches. If we were caught, given your--and it pains me to say it--lowly rank in the noble hierarchy, you would be stripped of your titles and probably quartered.”The image of your legs and arms being torn from your torso, your skin breaking across your body, passes through your mind. Not a pleasant thought. “Then...how?” You ask.He smiles. It is a face you’ve seen him make in the throes of seduction, when his mark is a whispered word away from being taken. “I cannot say all. I am bound by my word to keep things...confidential. Suffice it to say that a certain party or parties have an interest in your loss-- and are willing to pay handsomely to ensure it.”“A bribe then? But who? And why? I know no one in the nobility besides the Count. I have no enemies. I am no warrior.”He stands and pours himself some wine. “But they do not know that, my lord! In their minds, you are what the rumors say you are! You are the man who single-handedly struck down Lord Nigel, cleaved horse and rider in a single blow. The same Lord Nigel that won the tournament last year, the same Lord Nigel that was a favorite to win this year. And because the tournament has great meaning for these nobles--because it allocates prestige and honor and even nobility itself, and because you have no need of these things--not yet anyway--you find yourself in a unique position.” He sips at the wine. “They will bid over you, my lord. Not at first, not many--they would not have you lose immediately, for then your loss would mean nothing, but as you accrue victories, your loss accrues demand. How high a price do you think that last noble will pay to see his son or brother or even himself, win the final duel? More to the point--how much do you think the other nobles will pay to see that same noble lose? There is far more profit in their petty politics than could ever be won in the tournament.” He swirls his glass and drains the whole in one move.“I see now why they kicked you out of the clergy…”“Hardly, my lord.” He starts to laugh, but it quickly dies in his mouth. “Where you do think I learned all this skullduggery?” He says quietly.You shake your head. “I hope I can live up to your expectations, Stewart.”“I know you will, my lord.” Again you see the unshakable resolve--almost an equal to the toe-trembling fervor of a zealot. You cannot place its source, but feel assured by it nonetheless.Cont.
>>2291732“Well, I suppose I’ll trust your faith in me to see me through--but back to the task at hand--mercenaries are one option and perhaps the best, but what were the others?” You say. Stewart sits back down, rubbing his chin. “You mentioned that the elves were gearing up for some kind of ritual.” He says.“That’s right. They mentioned that they needed more sacrifices for the “Renewal”--whatever that means.”He waves his hand. “Some kind of elven dark magic no doubt--probably best not to dwell on it.” He looks away toward the windows, musing. “But, such rituals usually have very stringent requirements. You said that they were waiting for a certain time to raid our village?”“The elf mentioned that they wanted to do it before the end of the Cycle, before the winter. Are you suggesting that there’s a way to disrupt this ritual?”He nods. “Maybe only temporarily, but it could buy us time. If their ritual is season-sensitive, then...what if we simply vacated the village? We are few enough to be able to do it without much of a fuss. We leave in the summer or early fall and return next spring. I mean, if you think about it, the only reason they’re even attempting this at all is because our men were caught in their territory--not that you should blame yourself for it, my lord.” He says, seeing your face pale and your hand move automatically to massage your temples. “It wasn’t your fault, you were just trying to...it wasn’t your fault my lord.’You nod along, not believing a single word. He sighs. “This is all presumption of course. We don’t know anything about this ritual or the elves. We’re operating blind.”“Perhaps the Count--”“I hesitate to include him in any plan. He is a traitor my lord, there’s no telling how many lives he’s sacrificed for whatever twisted thing he stands to gain. As a matter of fact, we could take this to Lord Eleison.” He says. He sounds like he does not support this line of action, but is only saying it for the sake of argument. “He might not believe a story about the elves, but we can try an...alternative explanation of events. At the very least it might take the Count out the equation, and we may get some martial support if we are convincing.”“And what would happen to the Count, were we to do this?” You bite your lip, thinking of his face. It’s beginning to look more and more like a dried prune, or flesh that’s been underwater for too long.
>>2291735Stewart grabs his knees and grunts. “What happens to any traitor, my lord. He will be taken to the capital, given a chance to state his case before the judge and, should the judge remain unconvinced, burnt at the stake. He’ll a draw a crowd too, I’m sure. And maybe...hmm, maybe this is the best course of action. In his death, given your proximity and rank and assuming your performance in the tournament goes as planned, you would have good claim over his lands. And his titles. And indeed, should you wish it…” His touches the tips of his forefingers and brings them just below his lip, looking at the ground in deep thought, rapidly parsing the calculations in his mind, then meeting your eyes. “Over his wife.”>You don’t want the Count to come to harm. He should be given a chance to explain himself, to redeem himself--even if it means losing out on the one thing you want most in this world. Keep to the original plan.>Stewart is right. The Count is a traitor and should be dealt with as such. He doesn’t deserve his lands, his people or his wife--and you’ve pined long enough. Ophelia wants to be with you; this is your chance to make that happen. You’ll take it.
>>2291738>You don’t want the Count to come to harm. He should be given a chance to explain himself, to redeem himself--even if it means losing out on the one thing you want most in this world. Keep to the original plan.If William really wants worst girl that much he's getting her the hard way
>>2291738>>You don’t want the Count to come to harm. He should be given a chance to explain himself, to redeem himself--even if it means losing out on the one thing you want most in this world. Keep to the original plan.
>>2291738>You don’t want the Count to come to harm. He should be given a chance to explain himself, to redeem himself--even if it means losing out on the one thing you want most in this world. Keep to the original plan.
>>2291738>>Stewart is right. The Count is a traitor and should be dealt with as such. He doesn’t deserve his lands, his people or his wife--and you’ve pined long enough. Ophelia wants to be with you; this is your chance to make that happen. You’ll take it.
Guys. Paranoid thought time. What if Ophelia is complicit in this weirdness? I mean, wasn't the Count married previously? What if the two of them have been taking turns getting de-aged, and Ophelia is really the previous countess?
>>2292021*palpable anxiety*>>2291738>You don’t want the Count to come to harm. He should be given a chance to explain himself, to redeem himself--even if it means losing out on the one thing you want most in this world. Keep to the original plan.
>>2292021I wouldn't worry about it.
>>2292021I mean it's unlikely...But not IMPOSSIBLE. Not necessarily even infeasible.That's what worries me the most. God I hate when I get these kinda thoughts in my head.>You don’t want the Count to come to harm. He should be given a chance to explain himself, to redeem himself--even if it means losing out on the one thing you want most in this world. Keep to the original plan.
>You don’t want the Count to come to harm. He should be given a chance to explain himself, to redeem himself--even if it means losing out on the one thing you want most in this world. Keep to the original planIf we were the kind of guy to manipulate for what we wanted we would have kept our mouth shut when he was bleeding at the party.telling her about the elves might reveal something.
You draw your fingertip back and forth over the rivulets of bone and shell of the necklace around your neck. Even now, you cannot help but think of her. Your Ophelia. Her slender arms around your neck and the feel of her thighs and the feel her fingers in your hair, bird limbs wrapping tightly around you; a love so strong you could sacrifice almost anything to consummate it. But not everything. “We keep this matter to ourselves.” You say, squeezing the pendant so hard its corners leave little red marks in your palm. “Make preparations to hire the mercenaries.”Stewart narrows his eyes, holding back questions. In the end he just nods and bows. You spend the rest of the day and the remainder of the week catching up on village business. A few small matters of judgement had to be settled, petty disputes between quarrelling lovers and neighbors. The distraction from your worries the steady return to normalcy gladdens you--even if it’s only an illusion.----Dawn of the first day of the hunt you and the Count ride into the forest. Rather than heading straight toward the river, the Count takes you further east, to his personal hunting grounds. The trip awkward and quiet. The Count is more gaunt and haggard than you have ever seen him, flecks of white fuzz adorn his unshaven cheeks, and heavy black bags weigh down his eyes. You arrive before midday at a small campsite that the Count tells you he has used before. You unload your tents while the Count busies himself with building a fire. There’s only enough bread, cheese and smoked meat for one meal, to put greater incentive on your success. You eat in silence, fidgeting on the small tree-stump and trying to concentrate on the taste of your food. The Count suddenly stands up. “Will. William.” “What is it? Something wrong?”“I…” He swallows, his whole face turning red. “I must confess something to you.” Tears are welling in the old man’s eyes, just as they did when he was delirious from his sickness. This is it then. It’s too soon, and to do it the middle of the woods seems...inappropriate, but it’s what you’ve been waiting for nonetheless.>Tell him you already know everything, and ask whether he is on your side or not>Let him get it out for himself, see what he has to say
>>2301868>Let him get it out for himself, see what he has to sayPrepare the 'I know', gentlemen.
>>2301868>>Let him get it out for himself, see what he has to say
>>2301929>Let him get it out for himself, see what he has to sayits prolly unrelated tho
>>2301868>Let him get it out for himself, see what he has to say
You put down your bowl and stand. “Tell me what?” You say, with as much sternness as you can manage, though inside your heart is turning liquid. He pinches his forehead. “Where to begin? You’re in danger William. And it’s my fault. The Elves…” He hesitates. You wait for him, he must make the decision on his own, without assistance. It must be him, not you. “The Elves are going to come for your village William. They are going to take every man, woman and child into the forest.”“Why?”“...” He opens his mouth and closes it.“Why?” You must hear it from him.He hangs his head and slumps backward on his stump.“Explain yourself, my lord. You told my villagers the Elves were merely an old wives tale. That is not what you’re saying now.”He clasps the side of his head, slipping his fingers through the hair, palms hiding his tears. “I made a deal with them.” He starts to sobs, low stricken moans like a wounded caribou.You move to him and grab his shoulders--not as a gesture of affection, though you come close. “Pull yourself together my lord. What deal? Speak!” You tear away his hands and he looks up at you, snot and spit and tears mixing down his wrinkled face.“The Renewal.” He says, calming himself. His next words comes with a practiced fluency, something he has recited before or committed to memory. “That from the gods shall kill a god and eat of its flesh and organs and take of it, eternal life for their own. It is an ancient ritual, older than man.”“Speak clearly, my lord. You’re not making any sense.”He sighs and rubs his wrinkled skin. “It’s a long story, William and not one I like to tell. You’re in danger and I can help you, can’t we just leave it at that? Come with me Will, back to Silvale. You have so much potential. You can live with me as my...” He does not finish and only looks down at his feet. "Just come back with me."“And my people?”He stands up, nostrils flared in anger. “Your people?” He sneers. “What of them? They’re only peasants Will, can't you see that?”>Refute him directly--you're a peasant too.>Redirect the conversation toward his story, make him tell you everything>Go for the gut, ask him about his son
>>2302079>>Refute him directly--you're a peasant too.
>>2302079>>Redirect the conversation toward his story, make him tell you everything
>>2302079>Refute him directly--you're a peasant too.Also can we add something to the effect of "A lord without people is only one naked man. My title is a a duty to keep them alive and help them prosper if I can."
You stand too. “So am I.” You say.He scoffs. “No you’re not Will! You’re so much greater than that lowborn dirt, greater even then those that claim ‘true’ nobility through blood and lineage--because you got it through your own hands, because you sweat and bled for it, because it was never given to you, Will! Out of ten thousand blades of chaff, you are the lone stalk of wheat. So do not compare yourself to your lessers, leave them and come with me. There are always more peasants, there will never be another you.” He grabs your shoulders, squeezes them in that way that reminds you of your father and stirs your heart and makes you love him. And your heart hurts all the more for it.You brush his hands off. “How can you call yourself a lord if you would not defend your people? A lord is supposed to love his people like family, so that they can trust him and love him in the same way, to put aside personal gain for that mutual love--isn’t that what nobility is?” He switches his gaze to the fire, face as immovable as stone. “I won’t let you die like this Will. You are destined for greater things than this.”“I will not leave my people.” You say. “You’ve lost your way Lord Lazar, I see you are no longer the man I first idolized.”He sighs. “No?” He says quietly and crumples back to the stump. “That makes two of us.”You move to him and kneel and it is now your turn to grab his shoulders and squeeze them. “But you still can be.” You say. He looks up. “Help me destroy them, my lord. I know you know how. I know not what they offered you, but I offer this: a chance at redemption. A chance to free yourself from this guilt, from your sins. And I will be at your side all the way.”He touches your cheek. “My boy.” He says and his eyes are the same as Sampson’s, with that same perpetual grief playing out in its depths. His hand goes down to the back of your neck and gives it an affectionate squeeze. He brings his forehead to yours briefly and draws back. “...alright.” He says. A glowing warmth passes through your stomach. You did it! You convinced him! “Yes. There is a way…” He says nodding to himself. He lets out a deep breath and all that he carries in him, seems lifted. He smiles for the first time in weeks. “I think it’s time. And I don’t think I can make the same mistake twice. Yes. It’s finally time.” He nods again, squeezing his knees and rising. “I will go and deal with them--but not you my boy.” He says, pushing you down when you try to follow and digging his thumb into a point on your neck. You try and shake off his hand, but you’ve already lost all the strength in your limbs and your vision is quickly fading.“No...Count…” Then all is black.----
>>2303157When you awake, the sun has already set. It’s dark and you’re still in the forest. The Count is gone, his horse is gone. The fire has long died out. There’s something in your hand--a note. You open it. It’s a letter from the Count:Do not follow me, Will. Go back to the village. Tell them I returned to Silvale. Do not send anyone after me. I wish for no more needless deaths. I will resolve this in my own way.Go to the tournament Will. I’m confident you’ll do well, you won’t need much help for the hunt and its not as important as the duels anyway. I did want us to hunt together, at least once but, I suppose that ship has sailed.In the event of my death, I want to you to return to Silvale, to my estate. There is a compartment in the wine cellar, under the barrel with the fungus in the back--you won’t miss it. In that compartment you’ll find an updated will. I wrote it soon after I met you. I always had a good feeling about you, maybe just because of your name. Well I won’t get into that now, but I can’t let those blue-blooded softskins bark over my lands, they must pass to you William. I ask that you take care of my wife--I think she’s quite fond of you and may not mind remarrying, if you are willing. She can be a handful, but try to make her happy if you can--I’ve failed in that regard. At least, do not cast her out into the street. Finally, thank you. There is much more I wanted to tell you and teach you but I suppose in the end, I was being selfish. I meant what I said, Will, you are destined for greatness but it will be a destiny you must fashion with your own hands. A hard path, but a better one. A noble one.I just wish I could’ve been there to see it--Lem Lazar You run your eyes over the letter several times until your tears start to blot out the ink and you must fold it away and wipe your face.>Do as you’ve been instructed, return home>Follow the Count’s tracks into the forest, get him back alive>Ride to Silvale, maybe there’s still time to muster his forces and support this suicide mission
>>2303159>Ride to Silvale, maybe there’s still time to muster his forces and support this suicide mission
>>2303159>>Follow the Count’s tracks into the forest, get him back alivealso he might be lying
>>2303159>>Do as you’ve been instructed, return home
>>2303159>Do as you’ve been instructed, return home
>>2303159>>Ride to Silvale, maybe there’s still time to muster his forces and support this suicide missionPeople are gonna question the legitimacy of the will. We should at least try to help the Count.
>>2303159ARGH WHY IS THIS MAN THE ULTIMATE BRO?!
>>2303159Crap.One thought keeps running through my head here: He fought that one elf before and was utterly outclassed.If we follow the Count’s tracks into the forest, there is little we could do to get him back alive aside from perhaps spying his location and avoiding detection before we ran for help.And as far as running for help goes, if we ride to Silvale all we have to muster his forces and support this suicide mission is a letter written without mention of his destination or any elves.If by some miracle, we are able to rouse his forces in time and they both listen to us and believe us, there is no gaurantee that any force we bring will achieve the goal of saving Lazar, saving ourselves, and saving the village.We might just get others killed.Ultimately, in the end, he seemed be genuinely swayed to act honorably, or at least act to save us and ours.He has a plan.I can only imagine it will end in his death.I would choose to honor him by sparing him that death.Failing that, as we don't seem to be in the position to save him, I would honor him by listening to our instructor one last time.Do not move at regular speed.We are not ready.Move at the the tortuously slow speed.>>Do as you’ve been instructed, return home
>>2303159>>Do as you’ve been instructed, return homeGah. Sucks, but.>>2303977 has the right of it.
>>2304006We gotta let him go, he’s being the Dad we should have had
>>2304200The annoying thing about it?If he dies and we get his stuff, we have no damn reason to ignore Ophelia now. I just don't like her as a character. Too pushy and needy, and she was trying to cheat on her husband, basically. I prefer Miriam, personally, but now it seems like the beat just goes on in this cycle of unrequited love.
>>2303159>Follow the Count’s tracks into the forest, get him back aliveFuck you dad you don't get to tell me what to do.