As you walked through the bustling market to sell some of your stuff you pondered over Szikras words.A well paying job that nobody is willing to accept in a place full of adventurers.At first you assumed it was something so dangerous no sane man would willingly to accept it.The implications were so worrying you hardly even paid attention to the blacksmith to whom you were selling the body parts of the kobold."So... what is this job exactly?I hope you didn't accept a demon hunt or something...""I take offense to that!Don't you trust me?""No.""Fine! Then I won't tell you if you're like that!"You frowned at her."Alright alright!Well here's the deal.It's easy work, an escort mission of sorts... and we get paid a fixed amount per day.""Caravan guarding?I don't buy it.People always jump on those.""Not... quite.""Hmmm?"She nudged toward the blacksmith and swiped in front of her own throat, signaling you to keep quiet.Then the merchant grunted in your general direction."I SAID 30 COPPER!Are you daft?"Placing down the skin and horns on his table you beckoned him to give you your coin already.After putting the pouch in your backpack you walked away from the gruff man you looked at Szikra."Okay... what's this about?"She looked around for a bit to see if someone was listening to you or not."It's a... shall we say unconventional job?And the locals aren't too happy about it.Nobody wants to accept it because of their views."Now that was interesting."Okay... You've got my attention now.Did you already accept it?""Not quite.There is something else you should know.Though the guild is handling it they specifically told me we have to consult with the one who put in the request to sign our contract.We could still go to the guild if you want to know more but I'm sure the man could tell us everything."You grimaced at that.Though people often post bounties for ambitious adventurers it's almost always an impersonal thing.The scribes of the guild handle the contracts, the payment and give the job details to the guild members.Very rarely is it required to actually visit your employer. You can do it if you need more information but it's not necessary.But this...Receiving your contract directly from the one who hires you is almost unheard of.You can't even think of a reason why someone would want to do such a thing when leaving it up to the guild is so much more convenient."So?What do you think Zsold?">Let's visit the guild first.>I'm curious. Let's meet this mysterious person.>Ask the locals what's all this about. They seem to know something you don't>Other? (write-in)
>>2713384>I'm curious. Let's meet this mysterious person.
Also apologies if I don't respond in time.Captcha is still a bitch and refuses to behaveI keep getting these shitty ones where the pictures fade away and new ones come in.And 50% of the time it says I "mistyped" it somehow.Anyone knows how to fix this?Or is it just shagged?
>I'm curious. Let's meet this mysterious person.
I think you might wanna start the update spooky.
>>2713561Yeah sorryGot a call from work that I needed to take>writing
"Very well...Let's see this mysterious contractor of yours.""Heh. I knew you'd be interested!Come, it's not far away!"Leading you out of the thickest of crowds and towards the villages borders Szikra practically dragged you behind her.Upon getting past the last of the larger houses your eyes widened at what you've seen and started wondering how you didn't notice this before.Perhaps your intense focus on harvesting the fruits of 8 years of labor has given you temporary tunnel vision."What in hells name is this?!"Your eyes drifted upwards, following the shaft of a pole.Hoisted atop it was a flag.Its heralrdry is well known even for someone like you who has never seen it before.An unmistakable white castle in a blue circle.Stopping in your tracks you started raising your voice."An Imperial flag?!"Seeing you standing there and glaring at the flag Szikra dropped her shoulders and sighed."You are one of them patriotic people aren'tcha?Now you know why everyone refused to accept the bounty.""I couldn't care less about Midland!""Oh?A West boy then?How odd.""I despise both of them!"The Empire of the East and the Kingdom of the West.Two arch enemies that existed since time immemorial. Endlessly struggling against one another, their wars tearing the world and families apart.Midland exists solely to separate the two of them.A neutral zone that neither can claim without sparking an all out war from the other one.They say that peace can never exist between them, only prolonged cold war.Lead by an iron fisted tyrant and an idealistic fool respectively, the West is a cruel meritocracy where ones worth is determined by them and what they achieve while the East has a more traditional system with nobles and commoners separated, their Empress leading alongside a parliament divided between the two social groups.Many people have different opinions regarding the two states.But everyone agrees that both are inherently flawed.
In the Midlands where there is no centralized government, where independent towns are usually governed by an elected individual with only the holds of noblemen being an exception to this, people typically favor one side regarding them as saviors while demonizing the other.But most often people would hate both, claiming that their endless bickering is destroying even the neutral Midland.So it is not surprising why nobody would want to willingly aid Eastern soldiers.What's surprising is that they are here in the first place.Under normal circumstances the armies of both nation remain within their borders as to not agitate anyone.The presence of this battalion is indeed worrying.Gritting your teeth you spoke to Szikra."Let's just get this over with...""Oh come on! Don't be like that!They are paying Really well!"And the promise of good coin was just about the only thing keeping you from turning around on your heel and never looking back.Upon attempting to enter the perimeter you were stopped by the guards stationed there."Halt!What business do you have?"In response to that Szikra flashed her blank contract and the guards reeled back for a moment."My apologies my lady!Please allow us to escort you to the Captain!"As you followed the slowly marching soldiers you attempted to examine their camp but only caught a few glimpses of their inner workings.They appeared to be standard Imperial troops, nothing fancy and certainly no elites to be found either.Having said that, they were still better equipped than the average adventurer, having their standardized gear given to them by the empire.But these were still just average men who got drafted or joined up willingly. Well equipped commoners with enough military training so they could kinda move in formation and enough swordsmanship skills not to cut themselves. Nothing more.The soldier then lead you to the largest tent, even though it wasn't that much bigger than the rest.He pulled the blanket serving as a door aside and allowed you in.Upon entry you received your second great surprise: A Gierig.
>>2713740QM did you archive previous thread?
>>2713772Yes,I always archive each thread at the starthttp://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=wars+of+the+free
>>2713791thanks, I really like this story and want to see it till the end.
A Gierig.You never thought you'd ever see one in your life.And here he was, leading an Imperial warband.The Gierig are typically found in the East and rarely leave their home country. And for good reason.Not only are their mutations more radical than that of the elves but they also possess an almost insatiable greed that manages to anger many who do not share their world views.Their entire culture revolves around the acquisition of coin by any means necessary as they think it to be a measurement of ones capabilities and by extension... worth.Whether accumulated through stealing or hard work matters not, for all these things require skill of some sorts.Some radical Gierig took this so far that they willingly give away all their wealth upon death just so their children would have to accumulate their own fortune.And the terrifying part is that they can easily do so.Their skin is perfectly smooth, glistening and almost rubbery on touch.Its color can be anything from pitch black to bright pink, always perfectly unanimous without any blemishes or stronger pigmentation in certain areas.They also lost their nose and mouth as part of their mutation, meaning they don't need to eat, drink or breathe like most other creatures instead they subsist solely on aether.And in exchange of these two orifices their eyes enlarged and changed to a great extent.Instead of regular eyeballs they have sacks filled with gel that serve as their primary method of navigating the world.With their great sight and exceptional dexterity they are without a doubt the greatest craftsmans in the land, not to mention thieves."Ah... So you are the ones the guild notified me about.I must say I-"He paused."I've given up hope to ever receive any aid as the locals were... less than kind to us.I was worried I'd have to embark without any aide."He then invited you to sit down in front of his desk.Upon being seated he extended a hand to you."Captain Braham of Her Majesty, the Empress' military.I am the one in charge of this brigade and the one who requested your help.Is there anything you'd like to know before we depart or do you just want to get your paper signed?">Return the gesture and introduce yourself>Ask him what's the Empire doing so far from their territory>Ask him about the pay>Other? (write-in)
>>2713821>Return the gesture and introduce yourselfHe has connections, we don't want to burn this bridge yet. I think Szikra can handle the gesture and introduce ourselves to him and we do the deal and tactics.
>>2713821>>Return the gesture and introduce yourself
"I-"You spoke up but Szikra quickly reached out and stopped you."My name is Szikra.This charming fellow is Zsold.Nice to meet you Captain.""Likewise."The imperial nodded."I assume you know the terms of our contract?I'm sorry for the inconvenience by the way but due to our... unique situation I had to request your guild to allow me to take care of the paperwork.""Let's go through it once just for clarities sake!""As you wish.But before I say anything I must ask you to keep the information you are about to hear to yourselves.Even though your guild isn't as popular at home as it is here I know your reputation and trust that you'll handle this professionally.Now then... onto business."He reached under his table and took out a parchment with a face on it and a rather ominous message:"Wanted: DeadCrime: Treason""This-"The captain spoke up."Is the reason why me and my men are here.To hunt down a traitor to the crown and a deserter by the name of Julian Ogen.This man has abandoned his duties to the Empire and deserted, becoming a common brigand raiding Midland settlements.We've been tracking him for months now and we have a pretty good idea where he is.Unfortunately for us that place just so happens to be several day long walk away from here with a mountain in the way for good measure.""And how do you exactly know that?"You asked him."I've sent a team of scouts ahead to keep track of him and his little warband.We receive constant reports of Julians whereabouts whenever they decide to move.Luckily for us they seem to have found a place that they've grown attached to."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCt4aLirnrkListening to all of this Szikra has grabbed her chin and started thinking."So...A squad of imperial soldiers decided to become raiders.If someone were to find out...""You seem to be clever Miss.Indeed you are correct.If the wrong people got wind of this... If someone recognized their stolen imperial gear...This whole thing could result in another great War between East and West breaking out.And given how the last one ended mere years ago I'd say it's best if we avoided that outcome.""Then why did you bring only about 20 people?"You asked him in a harsh tone.Then you saw the veins on the Gierigs hand swell as he tightened his fist."You are... correct.If we included myself then we have exactly 21 soldiers available.But there is a good reason for that. A horrid... but good reason."Making a sound resembling a sigh the man continued."As you might imagine nobody wants to risk a big incident with the West.My superiors would rather swipe all of this under the rug and hope that Julian and his men fall prey to some wild beast.So I... can't expect much support from them."
Something is clearly off here, why would the local adventurers not take out raiders? Sure the job comes from the empire to take out some former empire men but not dealing with raiders seems stupid.
"Makes sense."Szikra nodded."If someone were to see their imperial armaments their first thought wouldn't be "Oh these must be deserters".It'd be "Oh... they robbed the Empire".""That may be so."The captain continued."But I'm afraid I can't do that.You see I..."He hesitated for a moment as if he needed to come up with a good reason."I can not allow a man like that to exist.He is the Empires responsibility and if we do not fix this mistake then all the blood Julian spilled will be on our hands.And I may not have the support of my superiors I have the support of the Empire itself.So do not worry.If you decide to help us then you shall receive the same service pay as my own soldiers.300 copper coins per day.We'll have to march for approximately three days before we reach Julians forces.That means 6 days worth of payment."1 silver and 800 copper coins.In the past you made that much in months and not in a week.Suffice to say this almost shocked you enough to make you fall out of your chair.But you managed to get a grip on yourself and calm down."But... you said something about crossing over a mountain."You speak after clearing your throat."You expect a band of warriors in heavy plate armor to climb a mountain?I know there aren't that many mountains where you come from captain but that's still a bad idea.""There is no need to worry about that.According to locals there is a tunnel going straight through the mountain which should help us immensely.Apparently it has been derelict for quite some time now. Some local superstition about a curse or something.So that won't be a problem...No what we should worry about are the bandits surrounding said mountain.Given how a major trade route leads through the mountains it has become an area favored by bandits and brigands.So we'll certainly have to fight a lot. But once we reach the tunnel we should be good."Then the captain retrieved an ink well and a quill from his drawer."Well then?Can I count on your assistance adventurers?">Accept the contract>Refuse. It sounds too risky>He seems desperate for help. Haggle>Other? (write-in)
>>2714004DoshMaybe we should look up that tunnel, though.
On one hand I am not against helping them on the other, possibly cursed tunnel, if we could gather some information on it before we make our choice that would be grand.
>>2714009Okay now we got his side of the story, lets go to the local and ask them about this.1 silver and 800 copper coins; seems he has something so precious to the empire or to Captain Braham. If all they care about money why pay us this much.He probably stole something so expensive from Captain Braham, but what is it?
>>2714026This is standard Imperial wage for conscripts.There is just one catch with it.Normally a citizen only gets his if he successfully completes his service.You can get it because you are just a "temporary soldier"
>>2714041ooh, well fuck we could buy upgrades and stuff after this mission is complete.
Can we request he give us time to think on it?
>>2714058No.He'll tell you the reason why.Though even if you agree they'll need a couple minutes to pack up and get ready for departure
>>2714041What, so the amount is credited to each soldier (conscript?) at the end of their service, up till which point they're fed and housed at the Empire's expense in (I assume) military barracks?How long is their usual term of service?
>>2714068Could he give us more info in this curse he talked about then?
>>2714071Two years.And yes they get their full wage at the end of their service, minus the cost of their equipment, stuff they broke and other penalties for not following orders.Also you obviously get nothing if you leave early.And here's the catch.They rarely make it that far.>>2714074Yes.But I'd like some actual votes now with green text.And if you have other questions or things you want to say to the captain put it under the arrow as>Other
>Refuse. It sounds too riskyIdeally I would like to but we aren't exactly that strong, rather just pick another job that pays less but we know we can do without too much trouble,
>>2714083It will be a 3 day trip.You can practice magic when the army is taking a break
>>2714081>Other>Are the men under his command entirely comprised of warriors (and hopefully trackers), or does he have men with other skill sets (for instance, mages - no, we don't count; we only just got this book)? How skilled are they at fighting in tunnels?>Superstitions are often just that, but they sometimes hold a grain of truth to them. It's better to be prepared and not need than the other way around; what has he heard of this curse, and what countermeasures can he field should those superstitions prove true?>Does he have an armorer whose services we can take advantage of while we work in his employ?
Only 2 votes?Do you guys want more information or did you just forget to vote?If you need more time I'm giving you 10 more minutes to vote
>>2714116More info, seems like to much money>And here's the catch.>They rarely make it that far.This worries me alot.
>>2714116More information would be nice. You probably should have told us it all before you gave us the chance to accept rather than just tell us bits and ask if you accept the job.
>>2714122It just means that the average joes who make up the bulk of the army seldom survive encounters with beings of even a bit of actual power.But this goes for every farmer and commoner who doesn't know how to fight.And such threats are the main thing that the eastern armies fightIn truth not even Zsold has encountered anything truly dangerous.Kobolds and Goblins are a threat only in big numbers.
Okay thenMore info it is>writing
"Just a moment..."You spoke up."You seem awfully invested in all of this.What's your real aim, given how you are willing to pay us so much for something "so simple"..."The captain paused for a moment, his large eyes opened completely and aimed at you.After a few seconds his vision narrowed and he put down the quill in his hand."You're right... I-I wasn't entirely truthful about my intentions. I'm sorry.But I had a good reason.You see... I didn't lie when I said I want to protect the innocent.But my involvement in this is much more... personal.Julian... wasn't only my colleague, he was my close friend. One whom I trusted greatly.After his betrayal however I was broken. He turned his back on everything I valued.That day I realized that he was never my friend.You are right in one thing... I have my own reasons for hunting him down.But don't think for a second that I'm influenced by my own feelings.Julian must die. Not because of how he betrayed me but because that's the right thing to do!""I see...I just hope that when it comes down to it your emotions won't influence your choices Captain!""Zsold!""What?You were thinking about it as well.In truth I get why he didn't want to tell us thatBut that doesn't change the fact how he might be a liability."At that the captain stood up, swiftly drew his rapier and pointed it at your throat."It is fine for you to doubt me.It's fine for you to insult me.What I won't forget is you insulting an officer of the Empire!I know my duty! I know my role!And I'll not tolerate a glorified mercenary questioning my abilities as a Captain of Her Majesties army!"Calmly you grabbed his sword and pointed it away from your jugular."Noted.""Good."The man then sheathed his sword and sat back."And I'd like to ask you to refrain from questioning my authority in the future.If keeping you will cost me the obedience of my men then I'll kick you out without hesitation! Do you understand?""Yes sir...""Good.Now, any other questions?""What kind of men do you have?From what I've seen they aren't exactly your elite troops.""You are correct.Most of them are standard conscripts.We also have one quartermaster who is responsible for distributing our provisions and maintaining our equipment on the field.And one... special case.""Go on.""His name is Kibo.An exceptional young man who is the youngest graduate of the military academy.But given his young age he was not given an official rank upon graduation.Instead it was deemed fitting for him to serve some time amongst the troops so he can earn himself some prestige.Nobody would want to follow a childs orders but if that child was a veteran who knew how the common soldiers worked...So I guess his presence should be proof of my capabilities Mister Zsold!"
>>2714253They feel comfortable letting such a prodigy serve with a judicial force acting in neutral territory at a young age? They must have a lot of faith in his loyalty.
"Anyway even with such low numbers we should still outnumber Julians band 2 to 1.And the typical brigands in the mountains won't have high numbers either.Splitting such meager treasure so many ways always ends these bands quickly.So you shouldn't worry about that.""You mentioned the quartermaster.I assume we can use his services.""Naturally.But don't expect more than some maintenance from him.We don't exactly carry forges around."You started tapping your sword angrily.Not that you expected much but it'd be nice to replace this broken piece of garbage already."And one more thing...That tunnel. What was that about a curse?"It's not exactly easy to tell what a Gierig is thinking by his expressions but now you could clearly see how annoyed he was by his frown."Don't tell me you believe such nonsense!""I don't.Curses may not exist... but such rumors exist for a reason."The captain started rubbing his eyes and you could see how he was thinking "I can't believe this.""It's nothing but a folk tale by the locals who are afraid of black cats because they think they attract dragons!Apparently it was used as a shortcut by caravans a long time ago but after a series of unfortunate accidents nobody went there.So rumors started to spread how nobody took that road, which turned into no living being going there, which turned into "the place is cursed".Given the thriving bandit population and how it was a remarkably convenient shortcut some thieves decided to rob the traveling merchants in there.After the traders started taking the longer road the bandits followed them!"Finally the captain slammed his hand on the table and spoke in a much stricter tone."Now are you going to accept this contract or are you planning on wasting my time some more?Because I'm going with or without you."Szikra then turned to you with an annoyed expression on her face."Come oooon Zsold! Don't ruin this!That's a lot of money! "She whispered.>You have a deal>No thanks
>>2714298Or he stepped on some toes during his time in training, and his superiors saw fit to give him an assignment in some neutral territory in the middle of nowhere (as opposed to, say, near the front lines) that would hardly ever see battle and would hinder his chances for promotion.
>>2714316>You have a dealSure
>>2714316>You have a deal"Just stay on guard once we enter the caves. Decent chance the rumors of the curse being spread by bandits warding off the unwelcome from their hidden caches of stolen goods. That being the case, those caves may well be infested by those same bandits, who will likely employ guerrilla tactics utilizing their greater familiarity with the terrain against us once we enter."
>>2714316>>You have a deal
>>2714316>>You have a deal>They also lost their nose and mouth as part of their mutationhow do they speak?
>>2714344Basically they are capable of broadcasting their thoughts at will.This is much like speaking as in they can't direct their thoughts to just one person rather to everyone in the vicinityAlso>writing
>>2714317Or... you know.They don't want to send the literal child to be butchered at the front lines before he'd grow up to be a military asset
>>2714402Mentally he is mature.Not physically
>>2714383>>2714415It's just that's rather different from the conclusion I would have drawn judging by his situation, but I'll take your word for it, since you are the person writing this and all, and there isn't really any point going against your word of all people's.
>>2714422Don't worry.I'll try to do this properly. But it's weird talking about things I haven't written yet
You then looked at the contract and stared at it for a while.Then back at the Captain, then back at the contract.Finally you spoke up after making the decision."Very well Captain.We'll lend our aid to you."With what sounded like a sigh of relief the Captain became much less tense as he sat back in his chair and got to writing your contract.Once he finished he handed the piece of paper back to you."Here... both of you should sign it.As far as I know that will make the contract complete."You were the first to sign it with the only name you have: Zsold.After handing the paper over to your partner however you noticed something which managed to completely surprise you but did not get a reaction out of the captain."Szikra Grimen"Her signature read.Grimen.A name you and many other midlanders are familiar with.When she claimed to be of noble descent you didn't exactly expect this.But now that you think about it it makes sense.For a second you almost spoke up about it but quickly shut your own mouth.If she didn't mention it up until now then you don't want to force her to speak about it."And that should do it."The Captain observed."I... I must apologize for my earlier outburst.Given my situation I am under a lot of pressure as of late.Let's put what happened behind us and focus on the task at hand.You'll get your coin and I'll complete my task. There is no need to make this harder for either of us.So... I'd like to ask you a favor, not as a captain but as a man.Since you are technically civilians I can't command you like a part of my unit.But please... at least pretend to do as I say. Loosing prestige with my troops would be terribly inconvenient.And... please ignore my men and their eccentric behavior.They are good men but a tad bit simple.""We'll try out best Captain!Right Zsold?""Don't worry.We'll do what needs to be done.""Thank you.Oh and... it'll take us a while to pack things up.Feel free to mingle with the troops.Or don't."
Standing up you headed for the exit but you stopped before stepping outside and turned back."Captain...""Yes?""Since you asked a favor from us... I have something you could do in turn.""I'll not guarantee anything...""No need.Just stay on guard once we enter the caves. Decent chance the rumors of the curse being spread by bandits warding off the unwelcome from their hidden caches of stolen goods. That being the case, those caves may well be infested by those same bandits, who will likely employ guerrilla tactics utilizing their greater familiarity with the terrain against us once we enter."He paused for a moment.Sadly you aren't too good at reading his expressions so you are not sure if he is amazed by your train of thought or surprised by your paranoia."I'll make sure to notify my men.Thank you for your advice adventurer."Shortly after leaving the tent the captain gave his men their orders and like busy ants they started dismantling their camp with surprising speed.Since neither of you felt like packing things you went to the camps border and started talking things through."So... what was that?"Szikra asked you."What was what?""That whole exchange!Why do you have to be so negative?""Because it works.""Huh?""Being careful works."She shrugged."You say that...But I never a situation that couldn't be solved with enough force."You didn't want to say that you don't yet have the force required to do that.Much like how you didn't want to mention how you are not the descendant of a lord who is renowned for his battle prowess.But you didn't even have to as something quickly interrupted your conversation."Whew lads! Look at that!Cap'n finally got us a new cook!And what a fine piece of ass she got!What's wrong lass? Supporting that spear so it doesn't fall over?"Some of the packing soldiers mocked Szikra.Surprisingly she didn't even get angry at the comments and instead twirled her spear around and slammed its flat end into the gut of the soldier, knocking him over."Oh shit, I'm sorry!I just thought I'd make space for the meal I'm about to cook for you!It's called a knuckle sandwich!""Lads! I think I'm in love!"The man groaned as he curled into the fetal position.Szikra then turned back to you."So as I was saying...Wait.What were we talking about again?">Nothing>About that Kibo kid>About this Captain Braham>Other? (write-in)
>>2714499>You were criticising my negative view point.
>>2714499>>About this Captain Braham
>>2714499>Can't remember. Still too amazed by how you can spin that thing around so casually.>Anyway, what do you think of this Captain Braham?
>writingOh and do me a favor and roll 3d10 real quickDC: 20 no critBest of 3And don't worry there are no bad consequences for failing
Rolled 6, 7, 2 = 15 (3d10)>>2714542Hopefully just hilarious consequences for failing?
Rolled 1, 3, 5 = 9 (3d10)
Rolled 3, 5, 9 = 17 (3d10)>>2714542
By the way, why is the DC for nearly everything so far 20?
>>2714555Because 20 is nice and challenging without being completely unfair.
>>2714566You think maybe you could save that shit for when we are more than 10 threads into you're fucking quest tho, I fucking dread the mid game with DC's of 25 every fucking turn.
>>2714592You mean the time you'll get considerably more powerful?Also you need to chill
>>2714596You mean when things escalate with us and we start encountering things like mythical beast I just don;t wanna see you become sominus lite.
>>2714592Chillax m8Finale of GHQ showed that spooky knows how to handle DCs. Even the whacky ass 24+ DCs of the final boss rush felt relatively fair
>>2714592this isn't the QM's first quest with this dice system. I'm confident he has enough experience to scale DCs, reward for succes and penalties for failure appropriatly.
"Can't remember.Still too amazed by how you can spin that thing around so effortlessly.""Hmmm? Oh this?Why?You have spears too."You look at your back and tug at the quiver full of throwing spears that you took from the kobold hunter."Oh yeah...Still. These are made of wood.Not solid steel.""Want to give it a try?"She then extended her arm to you with the spear in it."What the hell...Give it here."Placing both hands under the thing you urged Szikra to let go of her weapon.To say that you couldn't lift the damn thing was an understatement.As it hit you, since that couldn't be called a mere 'landing', the things weight carried it out of your hands and almost dragged you down with it.With a heavy thud the thing hit the ground and almost your toes as well.Looking down in embarrassment you didn't dare to avert your gaze from it, let alone look at Szikra.Crouching down she picked it up with one hand and extended it once more."Butterfingers?Care to try again?""Erm... no thank you.But say... what was your impression of this Braham character?"You attempted to quickly change the subject which luckily seemed to work out.You aren't sure if this girl is just a monster or someone with an uncanny amount of control over her aether."The captain?He seemed okay.Kinda a goody two shoes if you ask me.""If his story checks out.""Seriously Zsold you need to loose that paranoia.Not everything is a big conspiracy meant to destroy you personally!""Perhaps.But if I'm right then it's good that I'm prepared.If I'm wrong I'll just be pleasantly surprised.However my cautiousness has an upside.""Really? Do tell.""I can come up with some good methods to confirm my suspicions.What do you say we ask some of these grunts about their beloved captain?Then we'll see what his deal is.""Hmmmm.That's not actually a bad idea."Turning to the guy still on the ground she raised him by his collar."Hi there!Me and my friend would like to ask you some questions.""A-Anything!""Good.Say...Can you tell us more about Captain Braham?He seems like an interesting sort!""T-The Cap'n?W-What do you want to know about him?""Oh I dunno.Like what kind of a guy he is.""Oh he's excellent!There are some real dirtbags in imperial command but he's not one of them!He's an old veteran with several engagements behind him and a true patriot!No matter who he receives he treats them fairly! And unlike those scumfucks who send their men out to die he actually takes care of his troops!I guarantee that everyone in his unit would say the same!""Well Zsold?Happy?""It'll do.""Thanks for helping!"As she let go of the man he fell back to the ground in an awkward confusion.
You've done this with two more random soldiers you could safely pester for a minute.All of them said pretty much the same thing with slight variations.Apparently this guy is demanding but incredibly fair.But perhaps most important of them all was your brief encounter with that apparent wonderchild Kibo.True to the captains word he was just a boy.Szikra may not be exactly tall but he was even smaller than her.With his weak musculature he could barely help with the packing of the heavier stuff, relying on his more grown up comrades for help.But everyone and by that you mean everyone was more than eager to lend a hand to him and he thanked them properly each time.In all honesty you had no idea what a child was doing in the military anyway but here he was.After the soldiers were done loading their supplies onto horse drawn carts they were ready for departure.On Captain Brahams orders you all moved out and began marching towards the north where your destination was.Luckily for you none of the bandits that the easterners were afraid of showed themselves... yet.But with the sun setting and the mountains visible in the distance you were sure that wouldn't last too long."STOP!Begin erecting the tents!We'll camp here for the night!"Then with the same speed they showed earlier the soldiers set up camp once more while you watched.Szikra sat down on a rock and let out a pained groan."Uuuuuuugh...So much marching... with no rest! I'm hungry!I hate the military...Zsold! Where's the food?""They are about to make a fire.Once done I'll ask them if I can cook up something or if we'll get rations like they do.Until then... try to occupy yourself.""Ohkay!"With renewed vigor at the mere mention of food she sprung back up."Imma go and train some.Wanna join?""Not today."You patted your backpack."I have other plans.""Oh... well. Good luck then."She then left.Now... you were left alone.Slowly you pulled out the spherical crystal from your sack and placed it in front of you as you sat on the ground."Now then...How the hell does this work?"
>>2714687Poke it with a stick.
Staring at the ball you began to wonder how to approach activating it.In truth you had no idea how to even begin.You attempted poking it with a stick but it yielded no results.You were so absorbed by this conundrum that you didn't even feel your consciousness slipping as you stared at the orb.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqSSzXCy4f0Finally you felt something.A nudge. An instinct. An inclination.A pull.Extending your hand you placed your open palm on the crystal and immediately upon contact felt your essence being ejected out of your body and thrust into the sky.At the speed of thought you flew towards the cosmos, passing the moon and the city of heaven constructed far above it.Even though you only saw the white celestial body and the golden city constructed on the shell surrounding the planet you comprehended what you've seen perfectly.But now as you passed the realm of the angels you were finally out there.The Radiant Cosmos.The endless, ever changing cavalcade of color which filled out the void between planets.You were there. And this time not in a dream.You were perfectly lucid.Looking around you could hardly make sense of the dancing energy, the raw aether filling this place.But one thing was certain. This place was big, bigger than you thought possible.Normally you'd be terrified by that but lacking the ability to comprehend its sheer size you felt next to nothing.Only a profound emptiness as you realized just how small you were.However before existential dread could set in you received what you came for.The five headed star. The symbol of magic.A gift from the First. The father of mages. Vylon.Your guiding darkness in this world of drowning light.Touching it you felt something.It could show you the way. Where you needed to go to learn certain things.The schools of magic.All you had to do is choose.>Elemental>Abstract>Blood>Raw>Outernote that you won't get perma locked to any one of themthis is just for now
>>2714726>BloodWhilst I am tempted to go for outer I would rather not risk it, plus we can go an snag like a spell or two from it later on like other mages do.
>>2714726>BloodIf only for the healing aspect. After that, outer all day baby.
>>2714726>>OuterWhich school is the closest to Outer?
>>2714756it goes like this>Low magic: Elemental, Abstract>High magic: Blood, Raw>Outer
>>2714759So either Blood or Raw is closest to Outer on the same level? Or Raw is closest to Outer since it's the 2nd hardest? I'm referring to translatable training.
By the way are there things like bags of holding in this setting?
>>2714765From the sounds of it they're nothing like outer. Like if elemental and abstract are level 1, blood and raw are level 2, then outer is stage orange.
>>2714726>BloodGotta go for it
>>2714778You mean Octarine
>>2714766No>>2714765They are about the same.There is a reason why they are represented by the five headed star.It's just that their difficulty lies elsewhere.Raw is difficult to use in a way that doesn't harm you the user.While blood is just harder to control>>2714778This is trueAnd by the looks of it Blood won>writing
You slide your hand to the upper left point: Blood Magic.Suddenly you are violently yanked away and thrust into a crimson cloud far away from your home.This is the crystals only function. It does not give you power, it does not teach you anything.It simply shows you where you can learn.Looking up you saw the only warning you'll ever receive from the device."Go forth and decipher the mysteries of the universe.But don't forget to stop."As the letters faded from the sky you realized that the rumors were true.Many who choose the path of magic choose to do so in order to learn. To figure out and understand how the world works.Those enthralled by the boundless knowledge found within the Radiant Cosmos often loose themselves in their efforts to uncover all of its secrets.Only to realize that their bodies have long since died while their soul was drifting in the infinite ocean of light.Luckily such a thing won't affect you.You don't care about the scholars ways, nor their pursuits.You want one thing: Power.Power you intend to use in your own body.But as you look around in this sanguine mist you found yourself a bit lost as to how to do that.There is so much to take in.So many things to learn and unlearn.You will have to change in order to grasp the truth.Flesh, bone, skin, blood...All fluid. Shaped like clay.What's it made of? How does it function? What part do you have to alter and how to achieve the desired effect?You need to not only know but understand all that and more.It's a daunting task to be sure.But you must start somewhere.>Just the basics. How do you even use magic?>Lay down the foundations. Learn the basics of blood magic>Delve deep into the pool of knowledge. Draw on it. Learn from it.>Other? (write-in)
Is there a cool down period to using this thing like when we messed up with our aether gland?
>>2714829>>Just the basics. How do you even use magic?We barely even know how to use magic without harming ourself.
>>2714829>Just the basics. How do you even use magic?>>2714844Completely correct
>>2714829>Just the basics. How do you even use magic?The highest towers must be built on the strongest foundations.
>>2714829>Just the basics. How do you even use magic?Gonna be travailing with these guys for a few days, so we should have a little more time after this to try again.
Baby steps thenRoll 3d10DC: 16 Crit: 22Best of 3>writing
Rolled 9, 4, 10 = 23 (3d10)
Rolled 8, 9, 2 = 19 (3d10)>>2714856
>>2714862.....I am not sorry for this spooky.
>>2714862>>2714868You don't have to be
Rolled 3, 3, 5 = 11 (3d10)>>2714856
First off you need to know how to even use aether before you start thinking about actual magic.The problem is that you don't know if that's possible here.Then you remembered: The aether gland is an organ.If this place is all about understanding the bodies function then you don't have to look anywhere else for the answers you seek."Why stop there?"You think out loud.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zidGo704SvIPractically tearing into the fabric of the universe you attempted to rip out the knowledge you sought.The knowledge was there. All you had to do is look for it.And sure enough you found it.You saw it all spread out in front of you.An aether gland just like all those that you've seen previously.Slowly a slit formed on it and like the pages of a book it unfolded before you.Still beating, still living the semi transparent image continued to work as you observed it.The normally invisible waves of cosmic energy were plainly visible for you.With each pulse the little organ hungrily lapped it up and you saw how it secreted liquid aether.Reaching in with a pull you started removing the parts that made up the tumor like organ and watched as the individual fragments performed their tasks.It was not enough!You prodded and tinkered with it. Seeking a suitable reaction from your test subject.Suddenly you found it.An area when stimulated forced the organ to release the built up aether into the bodies circulatory system.Reaching behind your neck you slid your finger across the nape of your neck until you felt a slight tingle.You closed your eye and focused.Finally a blazing star was born.A certain vigor filled every cell of your body.It felt like all this time in your life you were drowning but did not realize it.But now... now you could breathe.And so you did.Slowly you took in the air and exhaled.A rush passed through your body as your entire soul tingled, brimming with newfound power.You let out an honest to god smile.Then... you opened your eyes.
When you came to you found both Szikra and Captain Braham rushing to you.As they stared at you amazement and fear were visible in their eyes respectively."Whoa Zsold!Did it work?!"Szikra spoke while the captain was speechless.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2HsVzdA8dkInstead of responding you raised your hand and attempted to replicate what you learned.This time you felt the aether coursing through your veins.With but one thought you managed to send it to your hand and from your open palm a myriad colored mist came forth as the aether left your body through your pores.With a smirk you spoke."I guess so!"Turning to Szikra you beckoned her to throw her spear at you.She smiled with her fang sticking out of her mouth and then threw the heavy hunk of iron at you sideways.Grabbing the spear you held it with a firm grip.After giving it a twirl it fell out of your hand and landed in the ground tip first."Guess I have to still practice that."She pulled it out as she laughed."HAHHA!Maybe I'll give you some tips."You looked back at your palm as it still radiated with power.Closing it into a fist you began contemplating something.Despite offering you great power it felt like attempting to walk on eggshells.One wrong move and it could end up horribly.But for now... you are in control.And as a plus now you understand where you went wrong oh so many times.Proper control.Your gland is scarred and wounded.Without knowing how to do it properly you forced your gland to perform at its maximum capacity, causing it to rupture over and over again."W-Who are you?!"Captain Braham finally managed to speak up.Szikra only felt your sudden spike in power but him...He saw your power finally surfacing with his special eyes. And it terrified him.Drawing your knife you gave your index finger a shallow cut.From the wound a single drop of blood emerged and began floating in front of your face."I... am a blood mage!"
Aaaand that about does it for this session.Thank you for sticking with me.Archive's up as always.And you know the rest.If you have any questions feel free to ask them.Also... I'm not making any promises but I might make something special during the week.So keep checking on the thread for when I post it.See you guys next week
>>2715026Fuck, blueballed again.
So I take it the crit gave us better control over our power but why is zsold making his aether gland rupture over and over again?
>>2715042Think of it like this.It was like fully opening a tap that had a balloon strapped to it.He was unable to release the built up aether so his gland just popped
>>2715065>BrahamWhat do you're special eyes see that makes you so terrified?>>2715065So how will it effect is aether gland? I remember you saying something like putting it under a small amount a stress often will strengthen it.
Whoops, looks like I missed the magic school vote.Not that my vote would have mattered; I would have voted for Abstract.Now that we're chosen Blood for our starter, I have to wonder if there are cross-school spells that combine aspects of the individual schools? For instance, a Raw/Blood hybrid spell that draws from Raw magic's energy rather than the body's flesh and blood to fuel Blood magic's healing?
>>2715084>BrahamHave you ever seen a light shining in darkness?It's... beautiful.But blinding.>Aether glandBasically...It's still heavily wounded from Zsolds last "attempt" at using it.For now you should put as little strain on it as possible so the wounds don't open up.You'll see the rest afterwards>>2715180Technically it's possible.But mixing two schools together usually means one can't progress too much down any one given path
>>2716219How long will it take the aether gland to heal up?
>>2716293It varies depending on how much stress you put on it.A week or two with no exertion what so ever should be enough for the scarring to complete
>>2716315Can we handle that during a tiny time skip? I don't wanna have to go through each individual day voting to not use magic.
>>2716317There are other things we can do while not studying magic. I imagine we won't be voting specifically not to use magic so much as voting what activity to spend each rest period doing.For instance: training in close combat with Szkira; mingling with the rank-and-file soldiers; mingling with the actually-important soldiers (the ones you can tell will be important because they have names, and other characters talk about them).
>>2716330I was under the impression we could study magic without putting strain on our gland. To study magic we can just use our relic and that didn't require us to even know how to use it.
>>2716335Fair point. But then what would be the purpose of doing a time skip?
>>2716342Because frankly playing out ever individual day trying not to reopen a healing wound is annoying as all hell. Rather just have a time skip of it healing.
So... I probably won't be able to do it today HOWEVER! Tomorrow I most likely will have enough free time to get working on that thing I mentioned.Namely: Some pastebins.That's right.The official character sheet and the Social Links for Wars of the Free will be out tomorrow once I organize the ones from my previous quest
>>2718088Do you think you could include other factions opinions of us in it?
>>2718410Naturally.That's what the Social Links are for.While the Character sheet is as the name implies a character sheet.It contains your abilities, a brief description and whatever else I might come up with
Here it is!If you feel like I missed something then feel free to speak up.Obviously this is still a work in progress thing as more content will be added to it over the course of the questhttps://pastebin.com/xFSNJwHp
>>2720019Whats the German Hollow quest about?
>>2720909Being a hollow in Ww2, fucking up the plot, and banging a shark. Featuring Dante from the devil may cry series!
>>2720963it finished, or is it in hiatus?
>>2720984Finished! I actually didn't read it until it was done myself.
>>2720909It's kinda hard to describe.I wrote that thing for over a year and over its course it was about a lot of things.Originally it was meant to be a shonen fan fiction.But it started out a tad bit grimdark with people dying left and right coupled with copious amounts of depression.That is until the MC finally had enough and refused to let people he cared about die.Then it switched to the MC brutally rampaging through a nazi death camp.Then it turned into a band of misfits wandering the wasteland which made the anons want to play sim city for a while. So they erected a small town and managed it until it became a proper city.Then when a big dicked scumbag showed up it turned into a game of "how fast can we undermine this asshole".And the list goes on.It ended up as a dad simulator which would've made Kratos from the new god of war game look tame in comparison.Oh and it also had some politics where the MC negotiated with the local world police stuck both in style and mentality in feudal Japan.But that pretty much boiled down to the MC pointing at the ever growing pile of corpses and his expanding circle of friends and told them that they can belong to either of them.It culminated in the murder of God and an all out war against the fourth fucking reich
>>2720909Oh and I also could link you a pic about the MC because some wonderful drawfag made some sweet OC of him but you can look those up if you type "German Hollow Quest" into google image search.Instead I think I'll just link this image because in truth this is what the whole quest was about
>>2721885>>2721890You've sold it! I can't believe its that long... QM, I now have high expectations of you. Hope this quest journey turns out somewhat like your previous one.
>>2726845I can only promise to try
The floating drop of blood fell lifelessly to the ground and in response you quickly applied some healing powder to the wound and bandaged it to avoid infection.Captain Braham meanwhile stared at you slack-jawed if indeed he had one."A... blood mage?I'm sorry but I didn't take you for a practitioner of the arcane arts...""Why?Does every mage in the East wear robes and big, silly hats?""Point taken.But if indeed nothing is wrong I'll just leave you to it.Oh and please... next time do not scare me like that.Good night."With that the leader of the imperial soldiers retreated back to his already erected tent.His sudden appearance was rather odd for you.You could understand Szikra noticing you to a degree but you did not expect the Captain to rush to you like this.But now that he was gone you could get back to testing out this new addition to your arsenal.By repeatedly turning your glands production on and off you attempted to gauge your current limits.Letting out an audible hiss as you felt a sting in your neck you unfortunately had to conclude that at this moment you couldn't use much aether without seriously hurting yourself.Not that you couldn't do it...If you had to guess you could maybe squeeze out enough energy to use it once every 5 attacks.As you kept on trying out your newfound powers however you failed to notice time quickly passing."Ugh...I think I might have pulled something."Szikra spoke up behind you as she finished her training, snapping you out of your trance."Ooooh! Looks like the boys finally finished with the camp!I think I'm gonna go grab some grub.Wanna join?""In a minute..."You speak up as you finally squeeze your hand into a fist.It felt surprisingly good finally making some progress.Like living your entire life blind only to realize you can actually open your eyes and see."Okie."She then left for the campfire while you lost yourself in this sensation.Only the sound of the nearby commotion managed to finally drag you back to reality."Oi!Fuck off you mercenary bitch!Who do you think you are, trying to steal our food like that?!""Come on Thomas!There is no need for that!""Stay out of this Kibo!It's enough that these two mercenaries are here sullying the reputation of the Empress' army!But now she tries to take our rations as well?!""Okay okay! Sheesh!I was just askin'. No need to get angry!"Szikra took a step back from the rude man in an attempt to avoid further trouble.Then she turned in your direction and started shouting."ZSOLD! FOOD!"You stood up from your rock and prepared to leap into action.>It's time to make some food>Someone needs to be taught some manners...>Other? (write-in)
>>2727295>It's time to make some food
Might wanna just start writing.
>>2727295>It's time to make some foodShouldn't serve it to her until she says please. Just to fuck with her.
>writing>>2727546notedAlso roll 3d10 just for shits and giggles.Best of 3, if nobody rolls I will.DC:10 Crit:14
Rolled 8, 10, 8 = 26 (3d10)
>>2727569Would rather have had this on a magic roll but okay then.
The word "mercenary" is often used as an insult against adventurers.Though similar in nature the two of them are clearly distinct in a few ways.Most often mercenaries are seen as little more than bandits for hire and not many people are willing to employ them for a couple of reasons.Firstly, the famous "noble mercenary" is not a thing that actually exists.The tale of bands of sellswords refusing to betray their contractor for the higher bidder for the sake of "honor" is just that... a tale.When things come down to it these brigands can and WILL sell out their previous contractor as there is always someone dumb or desperate enough to hire them no matter how bad of a reputation they may have... or because of it.Fighting not for ones country, for their own land or for their loved ones but for mere coin also means there is little reason for these marauders to not simply run away once their lives are at risk.So calling an adventurer a mercenary is extremely offensive.In essence they are similar, yes but adventurers are hired either individually or in small groups.And not only does their livelihood depend on their success but abandoning a contract in such a manner can also earn one the ire of the guild.A thing that even halfwits know to avoid like the plague.But the irritation of the rude man can also be understood.It is true that the imperial guard receive a rather handsome pay but once someone does a bit of calculation they'll realize just how desperate they are.A typical soldier receives 300 copper coins daily.Meaning they earn roughly 1 silver every three days...Without taxes.Troops are provided enough portioned out rations so they could eat twice every day.The average soldier consumes around 3000 calories each day to remain in proper fighting shape.It is estimated that about 90% of their supply weight revolved around eating.This however costs... one hundred and fifty coppers per day to be exact.Add to that about 10 coppers per day which is set aside for the soldiers funeral and they earn about 140 coppers each day, only above the income of the common peasant.Their provisions consist of a variety of foodstuffs, mostly grains.Non grain rations consisted of vegetables, meat, cheese, oil or fat and wine.Rations are supplied on a regular basis according to their rank and status.In addition to these rations the army was required to supplement their meals by procuring supplies either from the locals or by foraging.
>>2727576At the rate our food is going we will end up becoming the party cook or get a job offering from a noble.
Rolled 8, 9, 7 = 24 (3d10)>>2727558
But none of that really matters now.You could teach the ill mannered man a lesson...Unfortunately for him though you have a better idea.Looking up at the tree under which you were sitting and swiftly climbed up onto one of its branches.Quickly shooing away the nesting bird on the tree and snatched its eggs for yourself.Jumping down you made your way to the campfire and promptly whipped out your cooking apparatus and got to work.Breaking the eggs and beating them thoroughly you added to it a variety of chopped vegetables, plenty of seasoning and mushrooms.Using some fat you got to making your omelet and consciously made an effort to show off your skills to the local soldiers by flipping the egg in the air.The tantalizing aromas of your dinner quickly filled the camp and the sound of the eggs frying attracted the attention of all the soldiers around you.They looked at your creation with eyes full of craving.You suppressed a smile as the soldiers began drooling.Unfortunately for them even mildly gourmet cooking like yours was regarded as unsoldierly.Once your meal was done you cut it in half and offered one serving to your companion.Giddy with anticipation she reached for the plate in your hand but you quickly yanked it away."Hey!""Say please."She pouted for a moment before giving in."Pleease feed me!"Giving her portion to Szikra you spoke up."Dig in."As you took the first bite of your dinner you made sure to further torture the rude soldier by savoring every bite thoroughly.Szikra also noticed what you were doing and quickly joined you by hitting one of the soldiers in the side with her elbow."Pssst... I'll let you have a bit for a slice of bread..."Naturally the man agrees and the deal is made.After taking a bite of your cooking he moaned loudly and that Thomas fellow trampled away in his rage.Szikra watched this with glee and then proceeded to tear her bread in half and sharing it with you.As you were busy devouring your food you started noticing how most anyone not occupied by their own meals are now staring at you in silence.The awkwardness was palpable.>So... is that guy always such an asshole? (address the soldiers)>So Szikra... how was your training?>Other? (write-in)
>>2727661>So Szikra... how was your training?Really couldn't give a shit about these soldiers right now.
>>2727661>>So Szikra... how was your training?>>2727682Same here.
Okay it's unlikely at this point that the vote will change.So I'll get to it>writing
"So... how did your training go?"You asked the girl who was too busy scarfing down on her meal to pay attention to you.She makes noises that sound like she's choking on her food but then she swallows the mouthful of food and pats her stomach."Oh gods that was sooo fucking good!"She then looks at you."Oh sorry did you say something?""I just asked how your training went.""Shite."Szikra began moving her shoulder around stiffly."I think I pulled something.Yours?"You shrugged."I think I got the hang of it.Now I think I'm ready to start learning magic properly."The little boy across the campfire spoke up."I'm sorry but... did you say magic?"Turning to the boy you looked at him."Yeah.Is that a problem?""Nono!I just... took you for the sword and shield type mister."You frowned at that."Boy... how old are you?""Thirteen sir!""Then don't call me 'Sir' or 'Mister'.I'm only 17 myself. That's not much ahead you.Call me Zsold.""O-Oh... Certainly S-Erm... Zsold.I'm-""I'm well aware who you are.You're that Kibo right?""Yes!Erm... do you mind if I join you?""Knock yourself out."Then you turned to Szikra and her empty bowl."You consumed it already?What kind of a stomach do you have?""A hungry one."Setting the remainder of your dinner aside you asked Szikra to show her back to you.For a moment she froze in place and then asked you."Why?!""Just do it."Shrugging she did as you asked and you reached forward.Luckily for you she keeps her hair in two buns so you didn't have to do anything about them.Prodding the shoulder she complained about you asked her if that was the place where it hurt.After a bit you manage to find a big clump in her shoulder and go to work.Pressing on it hard you started massaging the area and Szikra let out noises that probably chased away all nocturnal predators skulking around the encampment as it sounded like a dragon in heat mating. Hard.She moaned and screamed like a banshee begging you to keep going.By the time you kneaded the knot out of her shoulder she was practically drooling at the mouth.Panting and exhausted she fell on all four and looked up at you."What the fuck-*pant* *pant*was that?!"Not showing any emotion you urged her to try her shoulder now.To her utter shock the pain was all but gone from her."Holy... shit..."
"Where... did you... learn that?"She asked."A brothel.""Aren't... you... a village boy?""I am.And?"Finally managing to gather herself she sat back up and dusted her clothes off.*ahem*"You are a strange one Zsold. Useful. But so fucking strange...And thanks."Then she punched your shoulder."But next time warn me if you are going to do something like that!"Letting out an audible 'oof' you rubbed your shoulder just to make sure it didn't get dislocated.Luckily for you her hit wasn't quite that serious.But as all of this went down the boy next to you was probably scarred to life."I'm... not sure I wanted to see that."Turning to him you looked at the young blonde boy."This was nothing.I couldn't do it properly through her armor.""A-Are you sure you are both adventurers?""Yeah. Why?"Szikra asked him."Well... just...You are not exactly how I imagined adventurers to be.You look like two people on a trip, having a good laugh.Not as warriors."He then seemed to realize how that sentence sounded."B-But I didn't mean any offense by that!"You shrugged at that and so did your companion."It's okay.I'm not sure we are normal either.""On that we agree."Szikra continued."But believe it or not we just met a couple days ago.""T-Truly?You look like you two have been together forever!""HaHHA!I'll take that as a compliment!But really big boy over there has MANY uses.I only regret not meeting him sooner! Now I can hot meals every day!""Is that all you can think of?"You grumbled.But Kibo stood up and waved at you."Anyway. It's been nice meeting you but I gotta get back to my tent.I hope we can talk some more tomorrow because this was pleasant.Oh... and I apologize for what Thomas did.He wasn't speaking for all of us. I for one am glad you are here to back us up!Have a good night!"With that he took his leave and the two of you also agreed to leave camp and get some rest.Unfortunately the only roof over your head were the Heavens themselves, your bed was the hard soil and your only cover was the shroud on your back.
The next day the soldiers packed up their equipment just as fast as they unpacked it and you were on your way.Marching behind the main army you were left with Szikra and the ever growing image of the mountain in front of you."Hey... Zsold.I didn't notice your little pet yesterday.Think it left?""Something tells me it didn't.Probably the soldiers just made it cautious."But as if they heard you mention them the troops suddenly stopped as the captain raised his hand in the air.You started wondering what was going on and judging by the murmurs of the imperial guard they also had no idea.Out of nowhere the captain then shouted."SHIELDS MEN!"At his command the soldiers raised their defenses and got into formation, defending each others back.The woods around you were quiet, unusually quiet.Drawing your sword you readied yourself for what spooked Braham.Suddenly you heard a loud snap and the sound of an arrow darting past your head.One of the soldiers screamed."BANDITS!"More and more arrows began to shower you.The soldiers hunkered down behind their barriers while the two of you were stranded and had to dodge them.Luckily they either ran out of things to throw at you or they stopped as to not accidentally shoot their axe wielding mates who charged you from all sides.It was a fight.>Stick with Szikra and cover her back>They must not encircle you. Charge their lines>The archers must be dealt with.>Other? (write-in)
>>2728009>The archers must be dealt with.I don't feel confident enough to cover Szirkas back without us hitting each other. Should probably train on fighting together.
>>2728009>>The archers must be dealt with.
Okay thenThat's 3 for 3Please roll the dice.DC: 15 Crit: 20>writing
Rolled 1, 4, 6 = 11 (3d10)>>2728124
Rolled 2, 2, 4 = 8 (3d10)
>>2728128>>2728134This bodes poorly.
Rolled 1, 6, 5 = 12 (3d10)>>2728124>>2728139
>>2728145Like I said.
Is this just for us dealing with them or the whole group?
Rolled 7, 8, 5 = 20 (3d10)>>2728124
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr6BMiHMPtIYou don't really like your odds.Lacking any archers of your own the enemy has you beaten on one front already.This needs to change.As the axe wielding maniacs closed in you raised your sword in an attempt to block his swing.You put your practice to the test and begin pumping aether into your system.The briggands eyes open wide as his massive axe blade bounces off of your tiny, broken blade.With that power leaving your arm and you spun around your foes side and using one of the spears tied to your back you stabbed him in the side.With a loud thud he fell down while your spear was still stuck in him.Now with him down you had an opening and you attempted to dash through it.But when the arrows started to rain down you had to take a step back and use the corpse of your foe as a shield.His back was so riddled with sticks that he looked like a hedgehog.Once more you attempted to run towards the trees but this time you saw something else that completely caught your attention.By the virtue of sheer overwhelming numbers these thieving barbarians managed to break through the lines of the soldiers.To their credit the armored knights fought valiantly against their assailants. All except one.That Kibo kid.Waving a short sword around, which was nothing more than a regular sword in his small hands he attempted to fight down the enemy.But since the enemies were quite often twice his size he struggled just to defend himself.In the thick of battle however things like morality loose all meaning.Like hungry wolves going for the weakest member of the pack the brutes began encircling around him.You cursed loudly as you dashed out from behind your impromptu cover and to the kid.Using your dagger you stabbed one of the bandits in the back and rushed forward.But you were too late.You had no other choice.Leaping forward you stood between the boy and the blade.
>>2728271quest end, thanks for playing!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HUwGFVeN04Blood splattered on the battlefield, on you and Kibo as well.The axeblade cut through your pauldron and into your left shoulder.But you still had your arm.Gritting your teeth you used all your willpower to ignore the heavy steel stuck in you and lashed out.Luckily your assailant was so shocked by your sudden entrance that he had no chance to protect himself.Driving your dagger into his heart you took his life while bloodlust clouded your vision.Trembling behind you Kibo struggled to find the right words to say.But you turned around and looked him in the eye, making that fact pointless."STUPID KID!DON'T JUST STAND THERE!FIGHT!"Still shaking he nodded as you turned back forward.Pulling out the weapon from your shoulder caused blood to gush from your wound.You'll have to treat that and quickThat means you have to end even faster.>Consume some aether to dull the pain>Try to give the soldiers some breathing room and clear out these savages>Return to the archers. They still need to be dealt with>Other? (write-in)
>>2728315>>Try to give the soldiers some breathing room and clear out these savages
>>2728315>Return to the archers. They still need to be dealt withThe formation has been (presumably) broken, slay the archers so they cannot capitalise on it.
>>2728315>>Return to the archers. They still need to be dealt with
archers it is>writingOh and roll the dice again.best of 3DC: 13 Crit: 19
Rolled 9, 7, 6 = 22 (3d10)>>2728413How can this go wrong this time?
Rolled 8, 2, 2 = 12 (3d10)>>2728413
>>2728421Foot meet mouth apparently.
>>2728421With rolls like these?It can't
You looked down at the axe that was inside of you just mere moments ago.Picking it up you twirled it around and observed it with great focus.It was heavy and bore many scars from many battles.Feeling your blood thicken around your wrist as it trickled down its handle.It will do.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKr9zwS41MsCracking your neck you dropped your shattered blade and tightened your grip around your new acquisition.Another mountainman charged you screaming and flailing wildly.As his blade came you took a step back, easily avoiding his strike and with great fury you swung your own weapon upward.His flesh was torn apart and his bones shattered as you cut him open from the crotch up.Blood spilled everywhere as life left him and he fell to the side.Taking a deep breath you felt strange as the sanguine vapors filled your lungs.Twirling the axe around once more you dashed forward.Stepping over the still corpse of your opponent you ran to the trees.Once they saw your move the bandits attempted to stand in your way.This time two of the giant men raised their weapons in unison.But you did not feel like wasting your time on them.As adrenaline flooded your system you started to loose all sensation of pain and made a risky decision.With a deep breath you conjured up more of the arcane energies and channeled it all into your left arm.The energy used your blood as a conduit and through the blood on your arm made its way to the axe.Only one swing.With just that the mace and greatsword of the enemy shattered like glass, alongside their arms.They screamed and fell on their backs as you ran past them.Still filled with a strange vigor you reached the trees that the archers use.This time however you were not in the mood play around.Screaming with fury you chopped the tree in half with one swing.With loud screaming accompanying it the tree fell and for a moment after it landed the entire fight just stopped.The bandits and the soldiers stared at you, a maniac soaked in blood who just sliced an entire tree in half.Suffice to say the enemy lost some nerve after this.But as the enemy ran away in a fit of panic and the archers jumped off the trees so they could escape you were much too obsessed with your axe.Looking at it intently you saw that the blood covering it was practically boiling.Making your way to the tree you found one archer who was still alive.His body was crushed from the waist down... but alive.He looked at you and his expressions quickly shifted.At first it felt like he was about to beg you to kill him.Then he saw your wide grin under all that blood and screamed for help.You placed the edge of your new weapon on his head and slowly but surely kept putting more weight behind it.Needless to say he died screaming.
By the time his head got crushed whatever came over you faded away.Pain returned to you and it dragged you back into reality now that you weren't bloodcrazed.Falling onto your ass you started panting and heaving as you quickly rummaged through your backpack.Taking out some healing powder into your hand you spat on it before rubbing it deep into the wound.Then using some bandages you attempted to seal up the gash and rolled it around your shoulder a few times.You hissed as the medicinal herbs stung you and made you feel like your blood was on fire.But even with that nasty wound sealed up you still couldn't move around. Both because of exhaustion and because you didn't want to put too much strain on it.So you sat there observing the aftermath of the battle.The soldiers looked at you completely dumbfounded about what just happened.But the confusion quickly settled down as they started turning their attention to the wounded.One man in particular, the man who addressed Szikra so rudely yesterday was in a particularly bad shape."Kibo! Kibo you gotta help me!"He begged his comrade."Y-You know what to do kid! Please!"The kid sobbed almost as much as the man who seems to be crippled from the waist down.Using his shortsword he freed the man of his agony by cutting his throat.Meanwhile your compatriot also made her way to you."Nice performance Zsold...Wanna tell me what that was about?"You looked at the tree and the four people you savagely murdered, then you took a long look at the axe in your hand.It all seemed so surreal in retrospect."I'm going to be honest...I have no clue."But that was a bold faced lie.You know exactly what happened.In your life something similar happened twice already.You lost control.And despite remembering everything completely it still felt like it was someone else who did all of that.But regardless of what it was or what might've triggered it, that thing probably just saved your skin.So you aren't complaining.As you were discoursing with Szikra however Captain Braham found you."I see you got hurt pretty badly.Are you two alright?""More or less.""Shouldn't you worry about your own men?""We had two fatalities...All others managed to get away with only minor injuries.So it's up to you. Can you keep moving or should we call it a day?">I'd like some time for my arm to heal>One day won't do much. Let's keep going>Other? (write-in)
>>2728663>>I'd like some time for my arm to heal
Touching your shoulder you wince in pain and speak up."If it's okay I'd like some time... at least until the wound closes up somewhat."The captain nodded."Understandable.I'd offer you the services of our apothecary but you seem to have the situation under control.And I'm afraid we don't have any access to magical restoration.""That's alright Captain and...Thank you.""You don't need to thank me.After all you helped us a great deal.But I'd like to continue tomorrow first thing in the morning.Get ready."After returning Braham ordered his men to set up a temporary encampment.Meanwhile Szikra looked at you and spoke up."You look like shit.""I had an axe lodged into my shoulder...""I gathered as much."She looked down at the weapon in question."That all yours? The blood I mean.""Mostly.""Ouch....Do you need something?""Nothing that you could get.I don't suppose you know where we can get clean water or strong alcohol like spirits from?""Nope.""Figures...Oh and one more thing.You are the one who'll have to make dinner.""Well then we're not eating I guess!""Great..."In the end you couldn't do much with that grievous wound on your shoulder.Lying on the grass you were just glad that you could still feel at least something with your left arm.That means it's still functional.But the pain was a bit too much to take so you had to consume some aether just to bear with it.When wide awake the mind expanding drugs effects are quite different.Instead of receiving wild visions your senses are dulled causing you to see the world in a different light.Colors get more vibrant, the harshest sound becomes as smooth as a melody and even the smell of grass is enough to make you dizzy.In this state of half euphoria you barely even noticed the passage of time.The soldiers erected their tents and you were once more beyond its borders.If there was any upside to this it's that Szikra, bored as she may be, remained by your side and watched so you didn't just keel over on the spot.Her stomach growled as she sighed."They are cooking dinner over there...""Then why aren't you doing the same?""I'm telling you.If I do that then none of us will eat.And I'd rather not waste our food like that.""Point...Taken...""You seem to be enjoying yourself...""Shut up.I don't like using aether while awake.Makes everything so... fuzzy."
"Erm... Zsold?I think we got company.""Wha-Oh...It's just you."Kibo, the young protege of the Empire has made his way to you.Sitting down beside you with a bowl full of roasted meat and vegetables.It seemed like he wanted to speak but couldn't."What do you want kid?"You asked him."If I were you I wouldn't stay here for long.Unless you want to get the attention of your comrades by speaking with us.""Erm..."He extended his arm and looked down at the ground in shame."I BROUGHT SOME FOOD!I'D LIKE YOU TO HAVE IT!"You raised an eyebrow at that."I don't need your charity boy.Even with this injury I'd-""N-No! That's not it!Please... Take it.It's the least I can do. To thank you I mean.""You don't owe me anything boy.But if you're so keen on giving away your ration, give it to her."After the transaction has been made Szikra wasted no time devouring her meal.Then the boy turned back to you and you continued."Good.Now you can get back to your garrison.""I don't care about what they think of me.W-Would it be okay if I stayed with you for a while?"You looked at your partner who simply shrugged at this."Thank you!"He sat down and carefully looked both of you over.His eyes lingered on your wound for a while before he spoke up."I am... so... sorry."You look at your arm then back at him."Is this what this is about?I told you. You don't owe me anything.Least of all your pity.""That's what I'm confused about!You... saved me... you threw yourself into danger to save my life.And in turn you don't want anything.Why?""I made a stupid move and I paid the price for it.You aren't the one who caused this. I did."The boy was left speechless by this."You know...Back at home people don't care too much about adventurers because of the Imperial Guard.But you two... you are amazing!Both of you fought valiantly and displayed bravery that I've only heard of in legends!So... I suppose I'm curious.What drives you? What made you become adventurers in the first place?"Szikra then smiled."What's this? Could it be you're interested?"The boy the blushed as he tried to explain himself."Nonono! That's not it!I uh... I joined the army for a reason.And I don't want to quit it at all.It's just... I've seen the two of you fight and yet you're so... admirable!I suppose I'm just curious.">You might as well get it out of your system and tell them your story.>Just tell him that you care about money and power>Other? (write-in)
>>2728967>>You might as well get it out of your system and tell them your story.
>>2728967>You might as well get it out of your system and tell them your story.Exposistion time!
You looked at Kibo with a sinister look.For a moment you considered why you'd tell him about this.Ignoring the fact that the drugs might have something to do with it you spoke up."I...Was born in a small town called Moons Harvest-"You began telling the two of them about the town.How you were born and raised there... and how it was destroyed.It all happened nine years ago at the height of the last great war between East and West.Despite it being half your lifetime ago you still remembered it very clearly.An 8 year old boy washed his face at the nearby stream.Cupping his hands together he splashed the water on his face and winced.When the water stopped dripping from him and back into the small stream his reflection became clear.He could see black, purple, yellow and red on his face.The painful reminders of how life is around there.Even the slightest touch or the most gentle wind ached on those unsightly wounds.As he prodded them however he heard a voice call out to him."Xan?Where are you Xan?""Over here..."The boy answered to the girls.Happily skipping over the girl knelt down next to him and found her smile quickly disappear as she saw his face.She said nothing. For there was nothing to say.Both of them understood their situation fully. Only she could not wholly understand his situation.Being a girl had its perks sometimes."Were you looking for me Yana?"She nodded."Mother was asking for you brother.You should see her when you get the chance."He patted the head of his little sister."Will do. Thanks."He smiled but it was a pained one.Even that little motion caused his black eye to hurt.She was the youngest of four children at the age of five.While Alexander was the third at eight.And while the two of them loved each other dearly and shared each others burden there were those that did not look so kindly at their younger siblings.Kazan and Jagar.The eldest of the four.Twins at birth. But they looked almost nothing like each other.Except one small but not insignificant detail.Both of them had what their youngest siblings did not.The reason for all their torment. For why even their father hated them from the bottom of his heart and as such did not care how Kazan and Jagar tormented them.They had blonde hair and blue eyes, much like their father and mother.While Alexander had black hair with green eyes and Yana had red hair with green eyes.
Their father used to be an adventurer who happened to court their mother once.But after one tragic misstep one of his knees were shattered and ever since then he had a limp.His dreams of grandeur and his bright future as an up and coming adventurer shattered he had to settle down and live the rest of his life as an average farmer.Of course he resented his fate and became incredibly bitter as a result.So it did not matter how he could prove nothing. His suspicion was all he needed to believe his wife was unfaithful.But even though he himself rarely did anything excessive to his children he actively encouraged his first born to do as they pleased.Needless to say the life of these two kids was full of misery and physical abuse.These recent injuries were but one of many.Young Alexander in particular received the beatings of two people since his brothers didn't have what it takes to punch a little girl... yet.But in turn Yana was practically worked to the bone alongside her mother.If there was any consolation in any of this it's that his two brothers have grown old enough to be a burden on the house.So at the behest of their father the two boys have decided to move out and find their futures.Kazan the smarter of the two who usually just observed his less intelligent brother beat the ever loving shit out of Alexander aimed towards the East.His dream was to join the Imperial Guard and work his way up into a nice office where he could make a living by barely lifting a finger and of course... far from the front lines.Meanwhile the brash and incredibly aggressive Jagar wished to go Westward.Hoping that he'd fit right in with the bloodthirsty savages of the western horde.They are scheduled to leave tomorrow.And this recent beating was their "goodbye gift".He could hardly wait.But now his mother requested his help.And that's what he must focus on.>Go there as is. (shameless)>Attempt to cover the wound. (ashamed)>Other? (write-in)
>>2729134>>Go there as is. (shameless)How strong are zsolds brothers now?
>>2729161I can't say but they are both in the armies of East and West.And they are not just footsoldiers
>>2729175You better not try and pull a but they've changed and know better on us spooky.
>>2729134>Go there as is.Rather than pure shamelessness, perhaps some part of the motivation here may be filial love for his mother? 'Mother was calling for me, therefore I should go see her without delay.'
>>2729183That is happening either way.The shameless part is for something else
Okay... it doesn't look like I'll be getting more votes>writing
Sighing the boy stood up and went back into the house where his mother was making dinner.Upon entry he could already smell the sweet scent of the stew."Mother?"He called out for her."Oh Xan!I was wondering where y-Oh no..."She dropped the wooden spoon in her hand and quickly rushed to her son.Though she had little to no medical knowledge she tried her best to see how bad the damage was.Using her knowledge of some home made remedies she took a piece of cloth, drenched it in vinegar and slowly cleaned the wounds.Alexander hissed and his mother quickly got to comforting him."I know sweetheart. I know it stings.Just close your eyes for a bit.Everything will be fine."He did not feel much changing thanks to his mothers care but he still appreciated it dearly.Even though his brothers were bastards and his father was no better he still loved his little sister and his mother deeply."Did you ask for me mother?"She looked around to make sure nobody was near and began whispering in her sons ear."Since your brothers will be gone tomorrow I was thinking we could celebrate a bit!"She then slipped a few coins to her son."Tomorrow you go into the town and buy some sugar and milk and I'll bake a cake!Just for the three of us!What do you say?"But he didn't have to say anything.The gleaming in his eyes was enough to tell his mother his feelings."Excellent!Now go and clean yourself.Dinner is almost ready!"Alexander then turned around and ran out of the room, happy that this isn't in fact a dream.The boys family lived a fair bit away from Moons Harvest on a small farm.And though they had almost anything they'd need sometimes Xan was sent to the town market to buy some necessities.Other than working on the fields or with the animals that was his only job at home and he loved it.It meant he got as far away from his brothers as boyishly possible.But his happiness didn't last long.Upon leaving the house he bumped into something and fell backwards.It was his fathers darkened silhouette that sent shivers along the young boys spine."Alexander..."He spoke as he came in with his cane."I see your brothers said the truth."The man looked at Xans injuries."No...""To think you'd be stupid enough to pick a fight with them.You got what you deserved.""Nonono!""But don't think you'll get away with just that."His father then removed the belt from his pants."Get on your knees boy...By the Dead Gods rotting cock I'll beat this wickedness out of you sooner or later.Now... on your knees!""NO!"
Aaaaand that's as far as I can go for today.I hope you enjoyed yourselves.And I suppose you already know how this goes so...Go nuts?Oh and one more thing.I scored myself a new job so I don't know how I'll be available next week.If I can run the quest then it can only happen on Saturday.Maybe Friday.So... see you guys then
If zsold has lost control twice in his life and done something why hasn't he done it to his other siblings or farther?
>>2729267Well as the name suggests it's not something he has control over.It just tends to happen.And why it didn't happen to his father or brothers? Mostly fear.He lived his entire life being abused by them so he doesn't exactly have what it takes to stand up and fight against them.But it will become clear in time.And by time I mean next session
>>2731464Okay, also how does the captain feel about us being correct on the bandits?
>>2732431You're not at the tunnel yet.These were the bandits the captain warned you about, those that wander the surrounding area looking for merchants to raid.