You’re being followed. You can’t be sure--perhaps it’s only Toadish paranoia--but that carriage with the rusted spokes has been trailing you since the market. It even followed you through an alleyway nearly opposite your destination. Who could it be? Roche’s men? Maybe he’s keeping tabs on you? In a way that’s almost comforting because it means he doesn’t want you dead like Toad thinks. It could also be Antipater. Maybe he got wind of your activities and wants to make his move. You reach down for the water-pistol hooked to your belt and the feel of its curved leather surface and the knowledge of its contents and the certainty that you will not be surprised again, never again, renews your courage. It’s a good thing you…>Brought your slave with you; better to stay together>Left your slave at the orphanage; she won't be in any danger
>>2781797Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=watdoPastebin: https://pastebin.com/v61nEtny
>>2781797>Left your slave at the orphanage; she won't be in any danger
>>2781813>>2781834It’s a good thing you left your slave at the orphanage; she won’t be in any danger and spending time with the children should get mind off the leeches (which in all probability you’ll have to subject her to again). You hop off the carriage as your apartment comes into view. You’re still a block away and decide to walk the rest, just to see if the carriage with the rusted wheels will stop. It doesn’t. It goes to the end of the block, turns a corner and disappears. Maybe it was your imagination after all. You find Franklin sitting on the stairs leading up to your room. His usually coiffed hair sits on his head, like a deflated kickball and his clothes have wrinkles in them and splotches of ink and mud that indicate he hasn’t washed them for days. He’s absently moving his scepter from one hand to the other. “Franklin?”“Sondheim.” He says, his voice sounds overused. He rubs his eyes with his thumb and sniffs. “I’ve been worried sick.”“I didn’t know you cared.”“Not for you, you dolt. Have you seen Toad anywhere?”>Admit that you met with him this morning>Lie and tell him you haven’t>Change the subject: why is he sitting outside his room?
>>2781882>>Change the subject: why is he sitting outside his room?
>>2781882>He's in some deep shit, same as me....and you, looks like.>We can pass word along, but his hands are probably tied.>Now, would you like to hear a story that could get you killed?
>>2781882Ask why he is worried, and what was his business with Abe. Maintain neutral expression and give him a chance to present his version.
>>2781894>>2781899>>2781903“Toad is--” You almost tell him everything. Roche, the lizard toxin, the conspiracy, Antipater, the leeches, the elf blood, but in the end you bite your tongue and cough. “He’s busy.” You say. “But you have seen him?” He grabs your arms. “Right?”“What were you doing on the stairs? Were you waiting for me?”He blinks and steps back. “No. I was--” He wipes his mouth of nothing and looks behind you. “Where’s your slave?”“She’s not with me.” You don’t tell him where she is, something doesn't feel right. Franklin relaxes and mutters something under his breath. “Is something wrong Franklin? You look terrible.”“It’s Mr. Franklin to you.” He snaps. “I’m fine.”“You want to tell me about Abe then? I know you were at the orphanage. What happened?”He gets the kind of look on his face rabbits get when they spot a fox. Slowly, he begins to inch back toward his room. “Franklin? Where’s Abe?”“He’s fine.” He chokes down on his scepter, readying it as blunt instrument. “He’s fine.” He says. He opens the door to his apartment, glancing inside as if to confirm something. “Let’s talk inside.” He’s never once invited you into his home. “Sondheim. Let’s talk about this inside.” He’s pleading with you. >Go inside, keep on your guard>Refuse and run for the exit>Demand an explanation
>>2781937>>Go inside, keep on your guard
>>2781937>Go inside, keep on your guardGet ready to dodge like a feather on the wind.Or just drop on your butt and draw yer (water)gun.
>>2781937>Go inside, keep on your guard
>>2781937Go inside, keep alert.
>>2781937>Demand an explanationwe already know the classified stuff, so the only thing to do is talk in cipher
>>2781941>>2781969You rest your hand easy on your hip, fingertips brushing the top part of the handle of your gun. Then you go inside. Franklin’s room is surprisingly clean, furnished in much the same way as Nina’s room yet in every way slightly more tasteful in its decor. There’s a coffee table that’s littered with open books and one section of the floor is covered entirely in ritualistic drawings and runes. There are some scrying balls lined up on a shelf and a tacky family portrait of the Franklin men (father and two sons) hanging from the far wall.Of course you have only seconds to absorb all this detail, before your attention is snatched by the two men standing by the door. One of them is enormous and armored head to toe, so that you cannot even see his eyes. But you know who he is.“This him?” He asks Franklin. Franklin nods. “Yeah I seen him before too. Haven’t I?” The armored man turns to you. “At the temple?”The other man, not as big, and chewing spiced tobacco so strong you can smell it, says “Let’s get done with it boss. I’m starving.”“You said you wouldn’t hurt him.” Says Franklin. “You promised.”“We ain’t gonna hurt him.” Says the armored man. “He’ll come quiet won’t he?”>Draw and fire>Ask where you’re going>Ask what happened to Abe
>>2782017>>Draw and fireFranklin, it'd take more than 2 guys to take out Toad.
>>2782017>>Draw and fire
>>2782017Hmm how strong is the stuff we have in the gun? Enough to incapacitate even if fraction comes through helmet and in the eyes? I’m afraid we’ll have to play nice.or perhaps try to get the guy to remove helmet.
>>2782017>Draw and fireAnd book it after hitting them.
>>2782032>>2782036>>2782040The armored man takes a step toward you and there’s only enough time to decide whether to fire or submit. You can’t go along with them now, not when so much is at stake with the lizard toxin and Toad and Roche. You draw your water-pistol and fire. No warning shot, no second chances. >Roll 1d20
Rolled 20 (1d20)>>2782084Time to get beat up.
Rolled 6 (1d20)>>2782087Niice
Rolled 6 (1d20)>>2782084
>>2782087Oh yes baby, Seabass can do work when he feels like it.
>>2782117he is slowly, slowly inching down the path of Git Gud
>>2782087STARTING OFF STRONG>>2782092>>2782098And back to our regular rolls.
>>2782087>>2782092>>2782098>20, 6, 6: 1 successThe noxious combination of failed perfume and solvent squirts into his faceplate, between the lines of his visor and directly into his mouth, eyes and nose. He sputters and doubles over, sneezing and gagging. His partner spits brown matter onto the carpet and charges you. You pump the pistol as fast as you can, trying to pressurize it before the inevitable collision. But he’s just too fast. You’re tackled to the ground, the pistol slides away and the man is on top of you, sitting on your stomach and holding your arms back. “Now we gonna have to cut you.” He says, reaching back for something sharp. You struggle against his hold, twisting your hips, trying to wrench your wrists free of his hand. It’s no use. You regret all the times you declined Toad’s invitations for exercise and self-defense lessons. You regret not tinkering with the water-pistol some more. For some reason you regret not hugging your Elf more. The man draws a sharp curved knife, the kind for butchering and tearing skin and hooks it into your mouth. “Smile.” He says.Then there’s a sound like a ball hitting a catcher’s mitt and the man goes blank-eyed and falls on your chest. Franklin stands above him, holding his bloodied scepter in both hands, shaking like a fish out of water. He rolls the body off of you and helps you to your feet.“Good hit.” You say. “Are you alright?” He looks like he’s about to cry.You nod and grab your gun. The armored man is still buckled over on his knees and clutching his stomach. He’s surrounded an ever growing pool of his own filth. The other is quite possibly dead, a pool of blood collects from the depression in the back of his head. “Oh god.” Says Franklin. “Oh god, oh god. Oh no.” Now he really is crying, little teardrops are falling down his face and he’s biting his fist. He’s still just a child.>Every man for himself; Franklin will be fine, you need to get out>Grab Franklin and get out, you can get the details on the way>Finish off the armored man before you leave
>>2782177didn't 20s give 2 successes?
>>2782177>Grab Franklin and get out, you can get the details on the way
>>2782186OOC: Nope. There was a perk for that, but you guys never took it.
OOC: Gonna take this lull to grab some breakfast brb
last time we actually got a 20 was thread 5 and it possibly gave 2 successes then. DC might have just been really low though; next highest was a 9Toad we know getst 2 successes on 20s, but he's a different character
>>2782177>Grab Franklin and get out, you can get the details on the wayCould we grab that knife from that guy?
>>2782177>Grab Franklin and get out, you can get the details on the wayI don't think seabass is quite hard enough yet to finish off an incapacitated man.
>>2782177>>Grab Franklin and get out, you can get the details on the way>watergun both men again.
>>2782177Maybe finishing the armored guy off would be a good idea... but in any case grab Franklin and book it. Wonder what we’ll do about our tail though.
>>2782177>Finish off the armored man before you leave
>>2782177>Grab Franklin and get out, you can get the details on the wayFranklin you little shit.
>>2782177>Grab Franklin and get out, you can get the details on the wayBet they want to hulk rocks
>>2782191>>2782217>>2782218>>2782219>>2782222>>2782224>>2782290You reach down and pry the knife from the partner’s hand. The armored one has taken his helmet off and is trying to displace the poison in his lungs with fresh air. It only makes him heave the harder. You raise the knife and take two steps in his direction. He’ll call others. You know that, but you’re not a killer and this isn’t self-defense. You put the knife in your belt and you leave both where they lie. Franklin’s in a daze, sobbing idly into his palm. “It’s alright, Frankllin.” You say. “It’ll be alright.” You grab his arm and drag him to the front door. It’s not until you’re outside that he tears himself away from your grip.“Why’d you do that?” He says. “Why’d you do that? They wouldn’t have hurt you. They promised me.”“We don’t have time for this.” You gesture with your hands for a carriage. You’re not sure where you’ll go--maybe back to the hideout. Should you go back to the temple to pick up your slave? Maybe it’s better she doesn’t get involved with this anymore. But then you’ll have to come up with another way to synthesize the cure. You could try plan B, using the troll heart--but you’ll need money for that. Serious cash. You remember the bank note in your breast pocket. 400 sovereigns. More than enough. A carriage pulls over. “Franklin, get in the car. We can talk on the way.”He shakes his head. “No! This is all your fault. You should have just listened to them. Why didn’t you listen to them? My life is ruined because of you! My father, my brother--I’ve failed them. I’ve failed my family.”“Franklin listen to me. What’s done is done. Come with me now, or stay here and face whatever reinforcements they have waiting. Your choice.”“No.” He moans. “No, I can’t.”You grab his shoulders and lean your face close to his. “It’s time to be a man, Franklin. A man faces his decisions head on, he bears the yoke of them without flinching.”He looks up at you, searching for something in your face. He looks away and then back and his mouth is hard. He nods. “Punch me in the face.” He says.“What?”“Just not in the mouth. I don’t want to chip a tooth. Hurry.”“What are you talking about?”He sighs. “I’m going to stay.”“That’s suicide.”“I know Fontain. I’ll tell them you overpowered us. I’ll give them a false lead. Give you some time.”“This is not what I meant by bearing your decisions.”“I accomplish nothing by going with you.”He’s right. He’d be much more useful on their side, free and a double agent. But there are loose ends. “What about the other guy? He’s still--”“I’ll take care of him.”“Franklin--”“That’s Mr. Franklin, to you.” He says, softly. “Now hit me. Make it convincing.”>Hit him>No, he’s coming with you>No, you’ll face this thing together
>>2782405>Hit himIn da face. He deserves it.
>>2782405We’re in this together Franklin. Our odds are shit enough separately, and you know how little shits like these care for loose ends.
>>2782405>Hit himThis is probably the best option all things considered.
>>2782405>Hit himtell him on the count of three, punch him on one
Unless they are retarded they will figure out we could not have hit the other guy from behind even if the boss is unable to fully corroborate the story. Hitting the guy who saved our life twice now won’t help.
>>2782405>Hit himChannel that frustration!
>>2782447He meant to have seabass kidnapped. Hit him
>>2782473It was not exactly his idea desu
>>2782405Hit him in the nose.
>>2782498His idea or not, that's what he was going to do.
>>2782405>Hit himAnd whatever we do we need to get our slave since she will 100% be kidnapped since they already know about the orphanage
>>2782508Well I’d like to see you bravely defy a pair of mafia thugs
>>2782516What? Like shoot them in the face with a water pistol full of failed alchemy? Done.
>>2782535 well he didn’t even have that. Besides we are in shit deeper in than he probably thought he is
>>2782422>>2782431>>2782436“Are you sure about this?”“No. Not at all. But what I don’t see any other way.”The carriage driver yells at you that he’s going to leave if you don’t hurry up and you curse his mother. “You’re a brave man, Mr. Franklin.”He snorts and looks down at his scepter, at the blood dripping from its end and knowing what he has to do. “Do it.” He says. “On the count of three alright?”“Not on the mouth.”“Not on the mouth. I’ll try.”“One--” You take a breath. “Two.”“Hey, Sondheim--Sebastian--Seabass?”“Yeah?” Your fist is cocked, you mind is turning through a highlight reel of Franklin’s worst insults, culminating in his attempt to have you kidnapped. “We’re...we’re friends right? You and me?” He’s showing you a strange vulnerability, like a starleech laid flat on his back, like a maiden in the nude. “Yeah. Of course. We always were.”He gives you a little smile. “I always wanted a friend.” He mutters. And then you punch him in the face. ---
>>2782594>You are now ToadIt took over an hour to lose the tail. Your master would be sick if he saw you now, physically and violently ill. You down the cup of hot tea in one go, letting sweet burn cleanse your throat, your senses, your breath, your mind of the heavy traces of alcohol. You’ll need to be sober for this meeting. You pay the teaseller and make a last sweep around the market. No sign of any guards or hangers-on. You’ve lost them well and good. You slink into a back-alley and make your way to a carriage waiting near a trash mound.“You look like shit.” Says Shortstack. His tapered, pinlike head pops out of the carriage window. You take a seat with the carriage driver in front. “Meyers. How’re the kids.”Meyers chews his tongue and holds one nostril while snorting phlegm into the other. “All good.” he says. “Michaels has got a little boat now. Doing runs on the Mare you know.”“Pure?”“As breastmilk. I set him straight from the beginning, on your word.”“That’s good.” Says Shortstack, peeking his pointy head through the carriage curtains. “Ain’t that good Toad? It’s not for him, this life. Not for anyone.”“You in a spot Toadie?” Whispers Meyers. He pulls away into a main road and glances frequently between the passers-by and your face. “No. Just business.”“He’s in a fucking spot. Course he is. He’s a fucking dalmatian.” Says Shortstack.“You sure there isn’t anything I can do?” Says Meyers. Meyers is a big man, nearly 7 feet, but the way he talks is like a shy child. His voice is slow and quiet and plodding. His eyebrows are fused together in a single thin line and his back is hunched over from habit. He looks like an orangutan, and has the strength of one; you’ve seen him crush men's head’s in his hands like they were tomatoes. But he’s a family man now, wife and two kids and third on the way. He fell to the curse that falls on all men sometimes, which is the powerful bondage of love.“No, old friend.” You pat his calloused hands, clean of blood for 7 years. “Just the ride.”He goes quiet and even Shortstack makes no comment, because he knows how much greater the danger is measured by an omission of help, than by its acceptance. You are stopped three times along the way by patrolling guards, doing “random inspections”. They check the carriage passenger, Shortstack offers them a few choice words and they leave you alone. They don’t bother to check the drivers. They never do. You ride in silence to the gates of Pater manor, an enormous mansion whose grounds alone could encompass a midsize park or shooting range. Cont.
>>2782598The guards open the gate for you as you approach, though you never told them or anyone that you were coming. Meyer’s gives you a look, but you look straight ahead. You reach the doors of the mansion, a white building of marble and alabaster stone and fluted pillars in the southern fashion and stone cut steps that must have cost a fortune just to move. “Wait for me.” You tell Meyers. “I shouldn’t be long.”Shortstack comes out the back toting a crossbow over his shoulder, one almost as big as he is.>No, if he’s coming he comes unarmed>He’s not coming with you either, you don’t want to give the wrong impression>You could use the back-up, let him follow
>>2782594>I just want a friend>so I'm gonna act like a total smug douchebag at every opportunity I get to every person I come across>complete with baiting a person whose life I saved into a forced kidnapping and extortion/tortureFuck him. He doesn't deserve Nina.
>>2782602Cut him some slack, he's only 15. He doesn't know how to be a person yet but sure as fuck thinks he knows everything.
>>2782601>You could use the back-up, let him followUnderstandable to onlookers that someone who's here to meet with someone as """""important""""" as Antipater, would be important enough to have an armed companion with them.
>>2782601>You could use the back-up, let him followI think toad is in danger either way we go. Might as well be completely armed. Roche will kill him. Antipater just might as well. We really don't know who's in on what completely yet. Even if Roche isn't in bed with antipater the tail might have suspected this is where he was going and could be waiting here already.
>>2782601>You could use the back-up, let him follow
>>2782602He's a teenager, they're all idiotsthe fact that he's learning at all puts him over most
>>2782617>>2782633>>2782666>>2782699Shortstack seems to be waiting for the inevitable rejection of his oversized weapon. No doubt he has a hidden spare somewhere. But you won’t tell him off this time. You’d like to test Antipater, to see what he’s going to do when you walk in with an armed guard into his own home. As it turns out, he does nothing. You’re escorted by a houseslave, a pretty little elf without a single mark on her body except for the numbers on her left cheek, her serial, branded with hot iron. She curtsies low to you and asks if you want anything to drink and bears no surprise or fear or ill will at the man who carries a loaded machine of war on his shoulder. She takes you up a curved white staircase, to the oaken double doors of a modest study. You see dozens of other slaves along the way, cleaning, patrolling, just moving from one place to another, each one as pure and markless as the rest, all females, all dressed in plain maid attire, cotton aprons and dresses, no frills, nor silk, just utility. “The master is just finishing up some work. He’ll be with you shortly.” Says the maid, her words only slightly accented. “Are you sure I can’t offer you anything to drink or eat? Tea, juice? Something stronger?”“I’ll have some that pricey wine you guys got.” Says Shortstack, raising his finger. You slap his hand. “Nothing for us, thank you.” You say. The maid bows again and goes. “Might as well indulge ourselves if we’re here.” Shortstack grumbles. “You can get drunk after.”“You’d better be buying.” Shortstack checks the string on his crossbow, making the sure the bolt is set properly. He glances around the hall, half admiring, half gawking at the opulence. “Thrice Great be damned, but these rich folk know how to live. I gotta get me some real estate.”Cont.
>>2782769The door to the study opens before you can reply and there stands Antipater. You recognize him immediately from the scrying balls and the paintings of him that adorn the halls you stand on. He looks cut from stone, chiseled in every feature, chin, nose, forehead. His body is hard and muscular with the strength of years of fieldwork, yard work, hard work. His face is clean shaven and his head full of thick black hair that falls in waves. He has only wrinkles to show the passage of time and they are like layers of sedimentary rock and detract little and maybe nothing from his appearance, and only give him a sense of regality, of the absolute patience of mountains. His eyes however are cold and dead. White-blue as ice in the ocean, but pure of something inhuman. The eyes of a god or perhaps an animal. Maybe both.“You’re Theodore?” He says, smiling. His voice is loud and cheerful. “Well hell, you’re a lot more handsome then I heard. Scars ain’t doing much for you though are they? But don’t mind me, I just like to think out loud. Come on in then. And who’s this?” He looks to Shortstack.“This is my escort.” You say, before Shortstack can answer. Antipater laughs, freely and with his whole body. “I like you already Theo. You know that Theo means ‘god’ in the South?” He rests his hand easy on your shoulder like it had always been there and draws you close. “Theodore literally means, loved by the gods. It’s a bold name, is what I’m trying to say. And you ain’t from the South are you?”Before you can answer he continues, brows furrowed in sudden concentration and thought. “But you know we really should talk in private. I mean we have some sensitive things to discuss, don’t we? Matters that should remain between parties interested?” He looks at you as if to challenge you, as if he knows everything. And he probably does.>He’s right; but at least station Shortstack outside the door>Shortstack is a close friend, he can be privy to your secrets; even the bad ones. He comes.>He’s right, this is between you and him, tell Shortstack to join up with Meyers
>>2782777>He’s right; but at least station Shortstack outside the doorHow does Toad puts it? Minimize risks?
>>2782777>He’s right; but at least station Shortstack outside the door
>>2782864Is splitting up minimizing the risks though? Although hopefully Shortstack can take care of himself. Long as he's aware this is a hostile territory.
>>2782864>>2782872>>2782879>>2782890You nod at Shortstack and he stands down, no argument at all. He can be dependable at times like these. “You want I stay here?” He says. “Yeah. I won’t be long.” “He won’t be long.” Says Antipater, leading you inside. His study is much like his house, brimming with shows of his own wealth and trying hard to be ancient. Everything stone and dust, everything white, like entering into the tomb or temple of a forgotten deity. At the window there is a large brass telescope, pointed at the heavens. Next to it a celestial sphere, showing the positions of the stars with small bronze balls attached by rods to rings. A tool of divination of the most ancient and powerful kind. “Have a seat.” He gestures to the sofa with a low, stone table on it with no cloth and built into the ground itself like an altar. He goes to a small bar beside his desk and makes a drink from three kinds of spirits whose name and label you’ve never heard. “Anything to drink Theo? This here is the good stuff, straight from my plantations in the south. Can’t stand the watered wine up here, just curls my tongue.”“No thank you.” Somehow you can’t make yourself be impolite to this man. You don’t feel yourself, you feel wooden and puppeted. And you wonder if he draws the strings.“Well suit yourself.” He says, sipping at a square cut glass of deep amber fluid. “Now, I suppose we should get straight to business hmm? I think I know why you’re here, but why don’t you start?”He sits across from you and folds his legs, straightening the wrinkles of his robes over his knees. What do you tell him? Where to begin?>Tell him that you want out>Don’t reveal your cards yet, tell him you’re here to make a deal>Be blunt, Roche is playing behind his back and you want certain assurances in exchange for your own services
>>2782937>Be blunt, Roche is playing behind his back and you want certain assurances in exchange for your own services
>>2782937>Don’t reveal your cards yet, tell him you’re here to make a deallets try to fish him for what he knows of the situation first, although he is bound to be a difficult customer. he's a politician after all.
>>2782937Don’t reveal your cards yet, tell him you’re here to make a deal
>>2782937>>Tell him that you want out
>>2782937>Don’t reveal your cards yet, tell him you’re here to make a dealSubtly fish for info. Anything we know about the greater situation as a whole is power we can use to keep ourselves alive
>>2782937>Be blunt, Roche is playing behind his back and you want certain assurances in exchange for your own servicesIt's clear Antipater already knows the score. He's probably playing everyone.
>>2782937>Tell him that you want out
>>2783071>Actually do this.>Don’t reveal your cards yet, tell him you’re here to make a deal
>>2782983>>2782991>>2783012>>2783081You have to be careful. Revealing too much is a mistake and only playing into his game. He’s a politician first, even if he made his fortune through the Trade Authority--and they’re all oily fucks.You reach inside your coat for your pipe and just the mere touch of it knocks you out of whatever spell he might have been working--if only in your imagination. “You mind if I smoke?” He waves his hand as though he’d like nothing better and slides an ashtray across the table.“I’m here to make a deal.” You say. “Sure.” He says. “I know that much. Roche not paying you enough?” “Money’s not the problem.”He scoffs. “Money’s always the problem. And the solution. When you have enough of it.” He sips his drink. “I know who you are, Theo.”“Doesn’t surprise me.”“No, no. I mean I really know. And I ain’t even talking about the stuff you did in Eastmarch. Bravo on that by the way, really saved our skins--and if I might be so bold, damn fine work. I’m an admirer, truly.”“Always nice to have a fan.”“Well you got one.” He raises his drink to you and drains it and places it on the white stone table. “And what you did to her. Well.” He wipes his mouth and you bite down on your pipe as the memory comes unbidden, unwanted. His voice goes quiet. “You showed where your loyalties lie, Theo, and that means much to a man like me. Means everything.”“I know that Roche is working with you.” You say. Anything to change the subject. Anything to draw your mind away from what it now replays.“For me.” Says Antipater. “Big difference. You sure don’t want a drink? You look a little pale. No? Well I think I’ll have another. Doctors say it’s no good for me, but a man must have his vices.” He stands and returns to the bar. “You want a deal. I think I have one.”“I’m listening.”“I don’t like Roche much. I never did, never had much faith in elves in general. I guess you can sympathize.”“You want him gone?”“Yes. And I know you do too and I know what’s keeping your hands tied.” He picks up a folder from his desk and tosses it in front of you. It’s a registry. Detailing your little girl’s activities in the Academy. Her transcripts, her research, her teacher’s personal notes, snippets of interviews from her friends and colleagues, her boyfriend. You didn’t even know she had a boyfriend. You grind the end of the pipe between your teeth. “What is this?”“A little side project of mine.” He says. “She’s doing well, but then, given her background, her heritage, it don’t surprise me.”You close the folder and very slowly, move your hand to your side, where a pair of knives are clasped to your waist. Cont.
>>2783148“Believe me, Theo. If I know, Roche knows.” He says. “Well maybe not the whole story. He knows she’s of his kind yes, but maybe he thinks you were, like we say in the south, a white bird with a brown egg.”Your hand closes around the hilt of the knife. If Antipater is scared, he doesn’t show it. It’s as if he’s running on automatic, like this is a recording of a play on a scrying ball and he’s just reading lines. “I don’t wanna go into any of that. I don’t care for it--I hate violence, everybody knows that. Absolutely hate it. My foster parents beat that into me by accident. Irony by iron.” He chuckles.“Then why?”“Cause I know you, Theo. Really I do. You were the best once upon a time, greatest theurge in twenty generations--they were gonna make you a mageknight, weren’t they?” He’s down to a whisper now and leaning in close, the smell of strong alcohol on his breath yet no buzz or frailty or inaccuracy in any particle of his whole body. “They were gonna bow their heads to you.”“That’s history. It doesn’t matter now.”He sits back. “So it is. But it matters to me.” He closes his eyes and opens them toward the window. “I will help you Theo, I will destroy these enemies for you and secure your weakness. I will. Hell I’d do it for free, just cause I like you, but you have a little something I want--nothing too big, so don’t get riled up now. A small little thing and then you’re out and I really mean out, I’ll take care of it all. Thrice Great alone might touch your daughter then, but nobody with flesh and blood in him.”You lick your lips. “What do you want?”“Well a couple of things. But mostly I wanna know how you did it, Theo. Cause we both you know you ain’t raised no brown egg. She’s white through and through. And as far as I know, as far as the world knows, white birds don’t mix with brown ones. So. How’d you do it?”>Tell him you don’t know what he’s talking about; he’s mistaken>Tell him everything, this is your ticket out and damn the risks>Tell him you didn’t do anything--a half truth, it was your wife after all
OOC: Gotta take a lunch breakChoose wisely
>>2783153>Tell him you didn’t do anything--a half truth, it was your wife after all
>>2783153>Tell him everything, this is your ticket out and damn the risksno half measures
>>2783261freely disgorging only currency we can offer he's interested in, information, is hardly a measureby the way, did seabass tell toad what the elf told him? that this guy was her old master?
>>2783266Nope. At least not that I can recall.
watdo please tell me we went and grabbed our elf. Leaving her at the temple is bad since the people after us know that we went to the temple with the elf in tow already.
>>2783276You'll have a choice to do so once we return to our regularly scheduled programming
goddamn, and our safest place to go with our elf is back to Roche, up until he gets murdered by ToadI fucking love this quest
>>2783277Btw, tell us how the hell you pronounce Antipater. Latin and English dont mix.
>>2783292Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
>>2783299AN-tie-pattah in the south. An-TE-peter everywhere else. Also back and writing for telling him you didn't do nothing.
>>2783369>Also back and writing for telling him you didn't do nothing.>you didn't do nothing.Does that mean we did something?
>>2783382He dindu nuffin, dawg
>>2783382This >>2783400We a stone cold mothafucka. Dis Antipussy is straight busta, ya feel me?
>>2783170>>2783200>>2783226>>2783306You release your hand from the blade and suck slowly at your pipe, deploying the ash in a neat pile on the saucer. Secret’s full out now and it’s almost a relief, like passing something spicy through the colon. “It wasn’t me that did it.” You say. “Really?” He sounds genuinely surprised. “The wife then?”You nod, remembering again the tough things and the sweeter notes of their base and if you had been crueler then, how much more cruelty could have been avoided? Or further back, when you had first seen her in that moonless night and there was only her and the candles and your beating heart and you should have just done your job. And yet, even as that final knife twists forever in your memory you would not change anything. This is the great trick of the Cosmos, who at the last makes slaves of man, and the slave, love his chains. And you laugh. “She didn’t even tell me. She wanted it to be a surprise.” You don’t add that she lied to you. That joyful lie. “But how was it done?” You can see his powerful hands tighten on the table’s hem. You wonder at his purpose--if the world knew of your daughter, even you’re not sure what would happen. Would they kill her? Would they take the pitchfork and flaming cross and burn her in the street square? Or would they hail her as the symbol you secretly wish her to be? That one day she might become? “I only have theories.” You say.“Good enough. More than enough.”You tell him. You’ve never stopped working it out and there are solutions you’ve come to that you will never reveal but you tell him some ways that might work, whose certainty is in doubt, whose necessities are beyond his or anyone’s means to supply (so you hope). His eyes are filled with godless greed, subtly disappointed by the slope’s steepness, yet already in his mind readying the climbing gear, the preparations for the summit. You don’t ask him why wants to know this. You don’t want to know.He listens to all and relaxes. “So it’s as hard as I thought. Good. Well Theo, you kept your end of the bargain and I’ll keep mine. There’s just a few loose ends I’ll need you to handle. I’d do it myself but hell, if you have a professional you might as well use him.”“When and where?”“Not just yet. I want to see where this all goes. But Roche will get his. And his whole little plan busted. Really though, we won’t have to do anything.” He smiles sniffs in a piggish way. “I doubt they have anyone on their side that can match my son.”---
>>2783523>You are now SeabassThe scepter in your hands can’t weight more than a few pounds, yet it feels like all the lead in the world were in it. There’s flecks of brain matter and blood on it which you’ve been trying to scrub off for the last five minutes. “Where to?” Says the cabby. “What?”“I said where to? You didn’t say.”Where indeed? You should head back to the temple first, pick up your slave and then make a beeline to the hideout. It’s the only place that you might be safe. You can wait for Toad there. Hell you’d even take Roche’s help at this point. On the other hand, would Fontain’s men know about your slave? You’re sure that Franklin won’t tell, not now. Maybe the temple is the safest place for her, Fontain won’t risk a scene there and Sarah is sure to stick up for Leia. If so, then you should make for the market. Stop at Gunters to pick up the supplies you need to finish manufacturing the cure. >To the market, Leia stays at the orphanage where she’ll be safe>To the temple, Leia comes with you
>>2783527>To the temple, Leia comes with youthe orphanage isn't safe
>>2783527>To the temple, Leia comes with youThey are going to target her by association and having her at the orphanage is just dragging the kids into the mess alongside us. No, we need to grab her and skedaddle.
>>2783527>>To the temple, Leia comes with you
>>2783527>To the temple, Leia comes with you
>>2783543>>2783548>>2783550>>2783552>>2783575No you can’t leave Leia by herself. She needs you and it’s possible that you need her--for the cure, if the nothing else. You’re still not sure what you’re going to do about Abe, you just hope they don’t hurt him. And if they do--well you'll deal with when you have to. You wonder if you’ve made the right decisions so far, attacking those men, leaving Franklin behind to cover your tracks, entering in this whole mess with Roche and Toad and the lizards. Things were simpler when you were by yourself, just making perfumes. Things were also more lonely. As the rush from the fight finally leaves your body, you fall into a deep sleep. The cabby wakes an hour later, nearly throwing you out of his carriage. Needless to say you skip out on the tip and he rides off cursing.You find your Elf with Sarah, helping her dinner. The smaller children are still asleep from their afternoon nap and the bigger ones are studying their letters. Sarah of course, wants to know where Abe is and what happened and whether you can stay a little longer to have dinner, to see the kids, to stay the night. You cannot do any of these things and you must tell her firmly so that she doesn’t ask again. “I will get Abe back. He’s alright, I just have some other business first. Please don’t ask what it is.”She doesn’t but she is afraid and she blesses you and hopes that the Thrice Great will look out for you. You grab your Elf’s hand and lead her out into the grounds and she makes no effort at all to resist, but rather watches her hand in yours with a flushed delight.“Are we going home master?”“No, we have go to back to the lab. I need to finish the work.”“Will--will you put the leeches on me again?” She's trying to be strong, but her voice still quivers.>Yes. You’ll use the combination of anti-anemiacs and a sedative to mass produce the cure. Cheap, quick and efficient, though it does risk your Elf’s health>No, you’re going to stop by the bank and then Gunters (he should still be open) to pick supplies; you won’t subject her to that again
>>2783624>No, you’re going to stop by the bank and then Gunters (he should still be open) to pick supplies; you won’t subject her to that again
>>2783624>No, you’re going to stop by the bank and then Gunters (he should still be open) to pick supplies; you won’t subject her to that againWe know the basics now, and we need a method to mass produce it anyway.
>>2783636yup, better to synthesize a cure from the lizard's blood rather than our Elf'splus that way you can make different cures for different races, maximising profit
>>2783648>Maximum shekelsThis anon gets it.
>>2783624>No, you’re going to stop by the bank and then Gunters (he should still be open) to pick supplies; you won’t subject her to that againM A X I M U MS H E K E L S
>>2783624>No, you’re going to stop by the bank and then Gunters (he should still be open) to pick supplies; you won’t subject her to that again>>2783648It's frankly unfair how elf blood sidesteps the whole antibody/rejection issue. If we use lizard blood like this, there is the possibility that the cure will only work on family members of the donor. Any more than that will require extensive work studying components smaller than Seabass is even certain exists.
>>2783631>>2783636>>2783639>>2783643It’s strange how much value your slave had suddenly accrued. She was six sovereigns only a few weeks ago and now you’re willing to spend hundreds just to spare her some small grief. “If master wants me to I think I can do it.” She says. “I’m still scared of them but I think if master--that is, if master would...”“What is it?” You humor her. “Maybe if master touched my hand, I wouldn’t be so afraid?”You stop and stare at her. You stare at your hand clasped in hers which you hadn’t even realized till this moment. “Is that so?”“Master doesn’t have to do it.” She blurts out. “I-I was just--it was just something--I didn’t mean it.” She looks at the earth, sneaking glances toward your face to gauge your reaction.“Well I’m not going to use the leeches, so you don’t have to be scared of anything.”“Oh.” She actually sounds a little disappointed. “Then there’s another way after all?”“The blood I took from you should be enough, yes. It’s technically an unproven method, but I’m confident it should work--your blood was “technically unproven” too.” You hail another cab and help her inside. “We’ll use a regenerative culturing method to multiply the blood. For that we’ll need troll hearts--several of them, and some sunflies. It’s expensive, but it should work.”“But if you put the leeches on me, it would be cheaper right?”“That’s right.” You say, automatically. Then realizing its implications, you clear your throat and add, “But, obviously this method has more potential in the long term. I’d rather not rely on you for the entire cure. I have to think about future profits as well.” “Oh.” She says. You try and change the subject to the children and she fills up the silence with a one-sided conversation about how great they are and how she learned their names and how nicely they treated her and how happy they were that she could speak to them now in their own language. She even opens up her precious notebook to show you pictures she drew of them--which are so well done you can scarcely believe they were made with only a piece of charcoal. She flips in series through them: the smaller children playing in the grounds, then eating, then sleeping together, then some individual portraits, then a few of Sarah by herself, which you enjoy a little too much and then she seems to flip too far in and you catch a glimpse of something you were not supposed to because she slams the book shut like she was killing a spider and then clutches it to her chest and trembles and says nothing but just stares at you like a frightened doe.Cont.
>>2783777“What?” You say. “N-nothing.” She says, secretly breathing in relief.“Is that all the ones you drew?”She nods. The cab pulls over at the bank before you can ask (and perhaps tease) her about that last image, which you only saw the idea of. You’re pretty sure it was one of you and her, though you’re not sure what it was depicted. You were sitting on a chair looking up and she was behind you looking down and holding your head in one hand and something else in the other. >Ask her about it; it could be something dangerous>Drop it and just do your business
>>2783782Ask her what that last image was. Was it something that happens or something she would like to do? We might indulge her a bit for being such a trooper with the leeches and kids.
>>2783782>Drop it and just do your businesswas it his dick, drawn suspiciously accurately?I kid, I kid
>>2783782>Drop it and just do your businessTalk later, work NOW
>>2783782>Head pats>Drop it and do your business
>>2783782Remind yourself to ask her about the drawing and possibly helping her overcome her fear of leeches later, but focus on business until we have free time
>>2783782Elf is drawing doujinshi.
>>2783782I'll support >>2783807Bring it up later, during food or while we're waiting for stuff to crystalize or something
>>2783782Briefly express approval of her having a creative hobby, but otherwise drop it.
>>2783795>>2783802You decide to drop it and focus on the task at hand. It takes only a few minutes to confirm the authenticity of the bank note and then a few more minutes to withdraw the necessary amount of gold. Last time you checked, troll hearts cost 40 sovereigns a pop, but their price has been increasing as of late. You’ll need at least 5 hearts to meet the deadline, 6 if you don’t want to cut it close. Assuming a price point of 50 sovereigns a piece (including the sunflies) that comes to 250 to 300 sovereigns.>Withdraw 300, you’ll play it safe; transfer the rest to your own account>Withdraw 250 and transfer the rest>Withdraw everything, you don’t trust the banks anymore
>>2783833>Withdraw 300, you’ll play it safe; transfer the rest to your own account>>2783816bet'cha she's holding a beaker or something. she wants to help Master with alchemy
>>2783833Withdraw the 400, but don't remove anything from our own account.
>>2783833>Withdraw 300, you’ll play it safe; transfer the rest to your own account
>>2783840Nah, she's holding a baby
>>2783833>>Withdraw 300, you’ll play it safe; transfer the rest to your own account
just wondering, are these troll hearts going to expire at some point, or do they just kinda keep on keeping on as long as we give them nutrients?
>>2783833Never!>Withdraw 350 sovergeins, get a lil' extra supply, noodles and a book about blood culturing & troll heart manipulations. Also at the library, buy a new notebook, maybe watercolors and brushes, if they exist.
>>2783833Fuck, changing my vote to >>2783918 on top of transferring the rest to our own account.
>>2783840>>2783841>>2783866>>2783885>>2783899>>2783918You withdraw 300 sovereigns and transfer the rest to your own account. No reason to play with fire when you have the money. You allow yourself to feel slightly giddy at the prospect of so much money in one place.The banker hands you three solid gold bars in a locked case and hopes you’ll continue to do business with their branch. Another carriage, another (more awkward trip) to the market and you’re in front of Gunter’s shop. He not reclined on his hammock like usual, instead he seems to be about ready to close up shop. Makes sense, as the rest of the market is turning in for the evening. “Holy hell, if it ain’t the fishman in the flesh. How the hell are ya Seabass?”He doesn’t let you answer before capturing you in a back-breaking hug. “Do you know what you are Seabass? You’re a fucking miracle, my man. An honest to god act of god.”“Uh. Thanks.”“That fucking paste man. That paste! I need some more of that asap. Sold faster than whore at a monastery, I shit you not.”“Really? How much did it make--ah, actually nevermind. I’m here on some other business.”He puts down 13 sovereigns. “That’s your cut, after deducting for all the equipment and all.”“Hold on to it. I’m here to buy.”He’s taken aback. “Oh? And what the fuck are you buying?”“Troll hearts.” You point to the one on display. “No shit.” He laughs. “How many? You want me to gift wrap it too? Fuckin’ a, you’re funny guy Seabass.”“All of them.” You say.He stops laughing. “What?”You lay the three bricks of gold on his table and he lets out a flurry of curses so obscene that a passer-by actually picks up her child and starts running in the opposite direction. “All of them.” You say.SESSION ENDOOC: Next session is next Saturday 8 AM PST as usual. Thanks for playing (and posting and reading and lurking). I hope you're all enjoying the quest!The posts were a lot longer this session than I like but hopefully things will move a little quicker in the coming sessions. I think we're reaching the end of this arc soon, at which point I'll decide whether to continue with multiple arcs or just epilogue it. Either way, I want to run another quest I've been working on.
>>2783959Good shit Watdo. Running two quests as a QM is asking to be broken by real life, man. Speaking of which, don't give up on life or an hero or anything like that. Hang in there, get shit done, finish your master's, and L I V E.
>>2783959good run Watdo see ya next time
>>2783959Loved the run man, great time as always!
Wait a secondLeia really liked the troll hearts the first time she saw them right?Are we going to have to stop her from messing around with the spare organs?
>>2783975>master'sI wish I was doing a master's then I'd be out of this in maximum 2 years. But I'm not. I'm here forever.Also I wouldn't be running two quests at the same time. I'd be putting this one hold while running the other one.
>>2784105>that spoilerFuck no. 4chan is the only play you're here forever. You'll be free from your pain eventually, just hang in there, do your work, refuse to fuck up, refuse to give in, and you'll clear it and feel better afterward.
>>2784105Thanks for running, Watdo.Having finished my Master's just last year, I can say for certain I never want to go back. You have my sympathy.
>>2783782Looking up she has something in her hand. I'm calling it now the object is the razor. However this does go against my previous theory that she was hiding your razor because it is made of iron and she has bad memories of iron blades
>>2784346 calling it now not looking it up
>>2783959Good run boss, shame I missed it at the start. if ya gotta end it after this arc, so be it but god damn I actually enjoy this. You're good at writing and being a QM.
>>2784105Your quest inspires me to fight against english and revive mine
I'm excited for the day that Francis, Rose, or Gunther makes fun of us for being tsundere for our elf, and then her asking us what they mean
Remind me what was the paste about
I'm pretty stoked at the idea of a quest actually finishing.
>>2785151It's nicebut...so soon? There's so much more in this setting I want to explore, so much more character development I want to seeSo much more money I want Seabass to roll in
We're rewarding Leia with handholding from now on, right?
>>2785170This.So soon? Feels bad man. We still have more cute elf shenanigans to explore.
>>2785201That, and now I want to know what's going on with Toads daughter. Because it sounds like some kind of hidden-away part-elf Chosen one or something
>>2785191And run the risk of her wanting to touch us more and more, maybe even forgetting her place and asking to be held somewhere that other people can see or hear us?Because yes I want that
>>2785742>tfw no brunette elf gf
>>2785794We can get one though, get a brown brunette not broken elfu, see how the old and used one freaks out, how she will feel we are replacing her, how she will try and touch us more and more, trying to get more reassurance that we are not throwing her out or anything.
>>2785798no bully the Leia
>>2785206Fairly certain shes a hybrid.
>>2785794I'm happy with our blonde haired green eyed elf, thanks.>>2785798Don't do that.
>>2785798>>2785839I meant irl, not in the quest
>>2785802That's a really good wa to reward our elf
>>2786040and that's how we learn that elves' ears are erogenous zones
>>2785129The healing salve Seabass developed from the margin notes. Meant to be more effective/faster acting than the traditional healing potion.
>Antipater:"nobody in Roche's employ can match my son">Seabass: yo, watch me make infinite AIDs-curong blood with a heart factory
>>2786167I just don't want this quest to end, but I also don't want Watdo to an hero or fuck over his chance at surviving whatever he's going through. If he absolutely needs to focus on IRL shit, he should just pull the hiatus card and put everything to that.
>>2786224Yes. God bless OP for delivering what he did. Don’t get hurt OP.
>>2783624>You grab your Elf’s hand and lead her out into the grounds and she makes no effort at all to resist, but rather watches her hand in yours with a flushed delight.Damn is that adorable.
>>2783959Seabass suddenly a high roller, look at him.
I can't believe my eyesI thought i would never see the day this glorious quest would come back
>>2786446You missed a thread.
>>2786582I noticed, I just happened to post on the thread I saw first
>>2784105RIP. Years ago, I convinced myself that my purpose in life was furthering research in dialogue & knowledge representation systems along with general machine learning stuff. 3 years in I realized that I had no talent/willpower and in general, serious lack of mathematical prowess. While it hadn't stopped me before, if I kept going, I'd have a career hopping around as a postdoc/lecturer, probably never getting tenure. Now I'm working a deadend se job at a startup where I'm criminally underpaid, making a bit more than minimum wage, due to having a 4.5 year gap on my resume. At least I'm not burning money that wasn't covered through fellowships, grants, and as a teaching assistant anymore.Best of luck to you. Hopefully you'll end up better than I did.
>>2786790I sympathize with you man, those are basically my worst fears actualized. I honestly feel like I wouldn't even be able get a job if I dropped out either. I think I need to start working on a plan B. Any advice? (I'm in a similar field, though not hardcore math/stat/cs)
>>2786892Keeping monthly appointments with psychologist has helped me through it and more. So I'd recommend that if you can afford it and aren't already doing so. As for a plan B, consider reaching out to your friends/family/acquaintances. From what I've seen with others who have gaps in employment, it seems to help a lot to have someone on the inside. I basically isolated myself after highschool though, so I didn't have any options aside from cold calling and throwing my resume blindly.
I just finished reading through the archives of this quest and it's great.
>>2786892perhaps you should consider buying an elf slave, at least until you're on your feet.
>>2786999>I basically isolated myself after highschool thoughAre you me? Shit man I don't think I've had anything close to a friend in almost 6 years. The only thing that's helped has honestly been writing this silly quest and meditation practice (still can't tell if its just a placebo but I'd recommend it) I guess I better start looking into internships and networking or something. Thanks for the advice man and I really hope everything works out for you.>>2788606>tfw ywn have private property make you breakfast in the morning
>>2788685>The only thing that's helped has honestly been writing this silly quest and meditation practiceFor what?>meditation practice (still can't tell if its just a placebo but I'd recommend it) IIt works, but some parts under the same principles that placebo does. It affects subjective or qualitative feelings like pain and emotion.
>>2788685>Shit man I don't think I've had anything close to a friend in almost 6 years.Oh fuck, same for me. Weird, man.
>>2788685 well you have friends here watdo. Even if we're just anons.
This whole conversation makes me very sad because I relate to all of it but just have a bachelors degree and a 2 year work gap, no PhD.I hope everyone finds their happiness.
>>2788685>>2788767>>2788779>>2788803Well platitudes notwithstanding, at least we can all take solace that none of us is truly ever alone.Stay strong friends. The light shines in the darkness but the darkness does not overcome it.
Comfy alchemy quest has returned! Fuck yeah!
>>2789745well given present state of affairs the comfy is probably not the term I'd use to describe it
>>2790136Interactions with our elf are still comfy at least
>>2790302Tell her that and watch her be adorable
>>2790340Our elf is too precious.
>>2790476That is a nice picture anon.
New thread: >>2798354