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It is said everywhere, from trade-chatter in the Unfree Cities in the east to the Hoppalon Archipelagos in the west, that all rivers in the world share the same source. This is demonstrably untrue but nevertheless, if you know the right way, you can follow any river deeper and deeper inland up towards a single point. And rising there higher than any mountain, atop an aquatic plateau whose edges are perpetual waterfalls, is the city. It stands between the bickering central nations but obeys, respects and recognises none of them.
It has a name, Aquitae Cogituum, but this name barely matters as its citizens simply call it the City. For only rarely would they ever see another. And why would they? It is the grandest city in all the world. It sits close to the heart of all things, above the Font and is both above and separate from all the Lesser Realms. To the city, the matters of the world outside...don’t.

Down below, prophets dream of walking its streets and wars are fought and kings slain for their meagrest treasure. For here it is said that all magic is born. This is something only said by those of the Lesser Realms of course, as it is a statement that would only invite scorn above. Magic is a foreign word. The people of the city above have no word for magic in the same sense that fish would have no word for water. Of course you could say that a fish doesn’t have a word for anything but in the city it just might.

It is the City of Dreams, the City of Reflections and the City of Revelation. It is also, rather more relevantly, the City of Duels.
>>
>>2948098
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OuroQM
Ask: https://ask.fm/OuroQM

Archives: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Court%20of%20Swords%20Quest
>>
>>2948098
It’s a beautiful day outside as always, the morning fog having receded and the deep water chill that rises from the canals every night has been banished. The sky is mostly clear and that’s hardly unusual. Most clouds don’t rise as high as the City. The light from the sky above meets the light reflected up from the water below and Aquitae Cogituum is painted every shade of daylight.
It is a perfect day for relaxation, rest and romance.

Currently you are doing none of those things.

You wipe the sweat from your face as you ready yourself into an en garde position once more, one foot in front of the other. You lift your front foot up and keep it a few inches above the ground. And then, using only your back leg, you jump as far forward as you can. The distance isn’t quite as important as the direction and you land balanced on the same back foot with your front still held up off the ground.

...Bah. A full foot off your personal best. You give your leg a shake and try to keep count. That’s been...what? A full fifteen broad jumps off your left leg? A good time to switch as ever. You take up the en garde position once more but this time with your left leg forward. Another fifteen jumps in this position and then maybe another fifteen of jumps with mixed footings and you’ll be ready to stop. After that you can move to standing long jumps and then after that, reverse long jumps.
The most important aspect in duelling isn’t prolonged strength or endurance, it’s being able to summon up brief but explosive bursts of power. The duels themselves are rarely long but they tax every single part of your body. You do these jumps nearly every day to ensure that when the day comes, you’ll be able to lunge, pull distance and disengage from nearly any position with as much speed as possible.

And once you’re done with all these jumps, you’ll have almost finished the legs portion of your training regime!

You make another jump and in doing so, slam your foot up against the weighted ball left rolling around from your previous exercises. The ball is covered in tattered leather and looks deceptively light, though anyone picking it up would soon find that it’s stuffed with weights. It was one of the first things your instructor ever gave to you.
“Toss this as hard and as fast as you can.” Lanzo had said after you had complained about the initial lack of swords in your fencing training. “If you can do that fifteen times in a row, you can thrust a sword at the speeds you’ll need.”

You did it sixty times earlier this morning. You’ve sure come a long way since then! And the ball itself, once seen by you as an instrument of some ghastly torture, has become as a treasured companion since. You’ve known this ball longer than you’ve known most of your friends.
And that’s why you don’t swear at it when you trip over it mid-landing and tumble face first into the ground.

1/2
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>>2948104
You hit the floor hard enough to split the skin of your nose and for a few moments you just sort of...lie there in a small pool of your own blood. Ah, is this it? Has death finally come to release you from the torture called life? But it is not so.

Your name is Sofia Pseudonym and you are a duellist employed by the City, paid a monthly salary to defend those who cannot afford a professional to represent them in the trials by combat. It’s been almost a week since you defeated Signore Albero and saved a woman from transforming into a wasp and dying. You are invincible and undefeated and you really don’t feel like finishing your training regime anymore.

A large raven, one of the City’s excruciatingly temporary birds, flies in through your open window and starts to investigate your prone form. It pecks you in the head, no doubt checking to see if it can begin to eat you and you don’t respond. Your muscles ache, your head hurts and you feel like becoming a lump of inanimate matter.

But as much as you might wish, you’re a person. And so you have to do something eventually.


>Grab the raven. After what happened to your fishing attempt, you’ll gladly take any meat you don’t have to buy.

>Momentary doldrums are no excuse. If you finish your training for the day you’ll feel better.

>It’s been seven days without a summons. There isn’t going to be one today. You can just curl up in bed and spend the day reading.

>Stagger out into the street below. You need to get out of your room, you’ve been cooped up in here long enough that you’ve started to go weird.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2948108
>Grab the raven

Into the pot it goes.
>>
>>2948108
>>Momentary doldrums are no excuse. If you finish your training for the day you’ll feel better.

Lanzo didn't raise no quitter. Except for that time we quit fishing.
>>
>>2948108
>>Grab the raven. After what happened to your fishing attempt, you’ll gladly take any meat you don’t have to buy.
>>Momentary doldrums are no excuse. If you finish your training for the day you’ll feel better.

Wrong house fool
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Grab the raven. After what happened to your fishing attempt, you’ll gladly take any meat you don’t have to buy.
>Momentary doldrums are no excuse. If you finish your training for the day you’ll feel better.

Well, it’s settled. You can’t let post-training doldrums get the best of you! Just because you’ve had nothing to do for almost a week now doesn’t mean you can just sit around and let yourself get slack! You’re going to finish your training. You’re not going to get dissuaded by just a little nosebleed.

But before you do any of that…

Your hand snakes out as quick as blinking, grabbing the raven by the throat! The large and ragged bird screams out but you pull it close. It’s a writhing bundle of feathers and sharp edges but you keep it hugged tight to your chest to make sure that even if it squirms out of your hands, it won’t get away.
“Wrong house buddy!”

Looks like you’ve got your hands on some free meat. You’ve eaten raven before, though you’ve never personally prepared it. But if you’re going to kill it, you’ll have to do it quickly before it vanishes. You rise to your feet and, protesting bird still entombed within your grasp, hobble over to the table upon which your sword is resting. It’s finished its daily sharpening.
You don’t own a knife so it’s going to have to be this!

The raven gazes up at you with its adorable little eyes, beady little ptis of seething hatred and fear. Can you really do this to an adorable little animal?


>Yes.

>Yes but you should probably let someone else pluck it and prepare it. Maybe one of the street vendors down below can do it?

>Maybe you could keep it as a temporary pet instead.
>>
>>2948213
>Cage it and sell it as a pet.
>>
>>2948226
Supporting
>>
>>2948213
>>Yes but you should probably let someone else pluck it and prepare it. Maybe one of the street vendors down below can do it?
Girl's gotta eat.
>>
Vote called, writing!
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>>2948213
>Maybe you could keep it as a temporary pet instead.
>>
>Cage it and try to sell it as a pet.

No, the way it’s desperately trying to escape from your hug is simply too adorable. You can’t eat it! And besides, you’ve never plucked and cooked a bird on your own before. You’d have to ask someone to do it for you or otherwise tempt disaster.
No, it’d be better to keep this little thing as a temporary pet. Or better yet...maybe you can’t save money on it but you just [/i]might[/i] be able to make money from it instead.

You have an empty birdcage sitting in the corner of your cluttered and messy apartment, a leftover relic from a time when you had ambushed birds beforehand. It hadn’t been so much to capture them back then of course, just to keep them here until they disappeared.
Still clutching the struggling bird to your chest with one hand, you open the birdcage with the other. It takes a bit of work but you eventually push the raven inside.

And there you have it! A reasonably exotic bird with a majestic black plumage and a sour expression. You don’t see too many ravens around here so someone probably wants one. But there’s just one problem. Everyone knows that most birds are temporary. So how the shit are you going to trick anyone into paying you money for it?


>You have your ways. And byways, you mean that you can bully anyone reasonably polite into doing a lot of various things. You don’t even need to think of any elaborate lie.

>Maybe you can claim that it’s a genuine travelling bird that’s flown up from the Lesser Realms all by itself. It’s not a temporary bird!

>You can say that you got it from a merchant from the Lesser Realms. It’s a real bird they physically brought up with them.

>They’d be suspicious of a bird but what if you told them that it was originally a fish or an eel or a person that a passing lawyer had decreed to be a raven instead?

>Surely nobody is immune to your seductive wiles…

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2948272
>Talk the bird, see if it knows any tricks.
if not

>You can say that you got it from a merchant from the Lesser Realms. It’s a real bird they physically brought up with them.
>>
>>2948272
This bird is going to be temporary anyways right? It's just going to poof away after an amount of time after we sell it?
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>>2948283
Yes. Hopefully after you get money for it.
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>>2948272
>They’d be suspicious of a bird but what if you told them that it was originally a fish or an eel or a person that a passing lawyer had decreed to be a raven instead?

I don't approve of this you swindlers. Could've just ate the thing.
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>>2948272
>You can say that you got it from a merchant from the Lesser Realms. It’s a real bird they physically brought up with them.
>>
If the bird is temporary one you kill it it won't disappear?
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>>2948298
Nah, dead birds are permanent.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>You can say that you got it from a merchant from the Lesser Realms. It’s a real bird they physically brought up with them.

So you’re committed to it then. You’re going to try and trick someone out of their money in order to get this bird off your hands. As long as you can sell it before the raven vanishes, you should be able to get a coin or two out of this!
But you can’t let on that it’s a temporary bird. But you’re pretty sure ravens don’t fly this high so it’d be hard to say it came here naturally. So what if you just tell them that you bought it off a traveller from the Lesser Realms? You might be able to do something with that.

But you’ll need to do it quick. This bird is liable to evaporate if you spend too much time dawdling.

“Sorry about the cage little guy,” you say absent mindedly as you pick the birdcage up and walk towards the door. “But I’m not, not really. You’re just a bird.”

You’re already out on the street before you realize that you’re still in your training outfit, barefoot with loose breeches and an equally loose blouse with only a jockbra beneath. You forgot to get changed! Not to mention that you’re absolutely drenched in sweat and there may or may not be at least one raven feather sticking out of the tousled mess that is your hair.
But if you’re only going to be in and out, you suppose it doesn’t matter. Who’s going to say you ever looked anything but radiant? It might be a little scandalous but you are, quite comprehensively so, immune to scandal.

You’re sure nobody you care about will see you.

You wander out onto the canal, caged raven in hand, probably looking like some flavour of tired insanity. You must look so fearsome that not even Greta approaches you for her usual godjob and the crowd thins as you move through it.
“Bird! I’ve got a bird to sell! Keep it, eat it, do whatever you want with it! It’s a raven, a real one, fresh from a foreign merchant! If it disappears, your money back!”
It will disappear of course! But it’s not like anyone can ever demand a refund from you. And while those who are aware of your condition would never take you up on the offer, there’s a lot of people who have no idea about your pale words or lack thereof.

“Good morning, Signorina,” an older man says. He looks you up and down with a leer. “I’ll give you three coins for the genuine raven.”

That stops you. Three coins? Surely that’s too much. What’s his deal? Hrmph. Looking at the way he’s looking at you, he probably plans on buying it and then pretending that it disappeared to try and fleece you for a bigger refund. You’re aware of the scam. No genuine feather-seller wants to be tarred with the accusation of selling native birds after all, just holding that over their head can be enough to make more than you paid.
And, quite evidently, he also musn’t know who you are. If he did know, he wouldn’t have even dared.

1/2
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>>2948369
>It’s not worth getting involved with an actual criminal.

>Do it. He thinks he's going to con the conner but little does he know that there's a third layer to this recursive mess of a cheat.
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>>2948369
>It’s not worth getting involved with an actual criminal.
>>
>>2948369
>>It’s not worth getting involved with an actual criminal.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
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>It’s not worth getting involved with an actual criminal.

On the other hand, is it worth getting involved with an actual criminal? He might not be someone who only relies on words after all and while your curse is adept at crushing any purely social situation, it doesn’t stop someone from trying to steal your stuff or even just hitting you. Of course, if they wanted to get violent you’d have a surprise for them. But wouldn’t it be better to just avoid that situation altogether?

“No,” you tell him bluntly and drag the cage away from him, the raven still screaming constantly. “I uh, only sell birds to enthusiasts.”

“You do?”

“And I can’t tell you’re not one! So please kind Signore, emulate the birds of our fine city and disappear.”

Selling the raven to someone who isn’t try to cheat the cheater is actually pretty hard! No matter what people say, it seems like they’re not buying your lie, especially when it’s spoken by someone as disreputable looking as you. Now you could lean on them a little and start phrasing your offers in stricter terms...After all, nobody is capable of actually telling you ‘No’. As long as people are willing to stand by their words, you can force a lot of things on them.
But you’re not here to be a tyrant. You’re here to sell this fucking bird. And you’re going to do honestly! Mostly honestly.

“Genuine raven here! Fresh import from the Lesser Realms. These eyes have seen witness to all kinds of exotic battlefields! It has tasted the blood of me-”

“Sofia? Is that you?”

“Eh?”

You turn as someone calls out to you and you instantly see a man through the crowd. There are a few reasons you see him so easily. He’s pretty distinctive! Is it because of the cloak he’s wearing, a spotless red contraption of silk that looks elegant and beautiful and entirely useless as an actual cloak? Is it the gloriously ruffled shirt that hangs off a thick and superbly muscled chest? Is it his hair, a black mane tied into a low ponytail that puts your own hasty assemblage to shame? Is it the face, a wide-jawed and aquiline visage dominated by a pair of almost comically undersized spectacles?
No. Of course it’s not any of those things. You pick him out from the crowd immediately because he’s seven and a fucking half feet tall.

“Maccio?”
Why the shit is he here? You thought you’d never see him again!

The crowd parts for him, if only because the alternative would be to be pushed aside as water is pushed before a boat. You barely notice the crow sticking its head through the bars to try and eat your nose as you take a step back.
It’s not like you’re afraid of Maccio or anything, at least, not anymore! But his stature is such that it’s a primal instinct to back away. It’s like you’re afraid of being stood on.
1/2
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>>2948520
You catch yourself and stand your ground as he approaches, the two of you standing in the middle of the canal. You do your best to look resolute and, in a desire not to acknowledge the absurd difference between the two of you, look straight ahead instead of craning your neck up. You end up staring him firmly in the abdomen as a result.

“Sofia, it is good to see you again.”

“Ah yeah, same.”
You wonder if he means it.
“But what’s a man like you doing in a place like this?”

“Why else? I’ve come to visit you.”

He has? Really? Out of his own free will? Then does that mean...he actually likes you as a person? If he had just been forced to lie the whole time, he would have never sought you out, right? So what if he really actually likes you? Or...what if he likes you?
Have all your coins in the D’Amare fountain finally paid off? Has Maccio come to court you, to lay siege to your heart? Is this the start of a whirlwind romance?

And you’re dressed...like this.


>”Excuse me for a moment. I need to go change.”

>”You came back! Come on, let’s go to my room.”

>”I’m sorry Maccio. My heart is promised to another.”

>”So why are you here?” Maybe you should keep your feet on the ground.

>Ask about his brothers.

>"Do you want me to kick your butt again?"

>”Maccio! My proud yet shackled lion!”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2948522
>”Maccio! My proud yet shackled lion!”
>>
>>2948522
>>”Excuse me for a moment. I need to go change.”
>>
>>2948522
"How have you been?"
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>>2948522
>”You came back! Come on, let’s go to my room.”
>Walk and talk, apologize to the state of our dress and ask if his brother has been not blabbing secrets.
>Also ask why he came in particular, does he need something?
>>
>If you want a date, you'll have to defeat this raven to get it.
>>
Hrm, it's still kind of a tie but it's been almost an hour so I'll call it regardless. Writing.
>>
Whoops, I dozed off for a few minutes there. My bad.

>Babble.

You don’t know what to say. No seriously, you’re so gobsmacked by the sheer possibility that you can’t think of what to say. The idea of being courted by Maccio is so shocking and yet...so alluring. Isn’t he a true gentleman? A paragon of physicality and education and wealthy to boot. And to top it all off, you can beat him in a swordfight rather easily so with that and your curse, you’d always be wearing the breeches in the relationship. Yes, no matter how tempting it would be to succumb to his bestial advances…
If you open your mouth right now, you’re just going to spew a flood of nonsense. And damn it, that’s just what you’re going to do.

“Maccio! My proud yet shackled lion?”

He stops, looking a little puzzled. Or you think he is. You don’t really have a very good angle to see his face when he’s this close.
“I beg your pardon?”

“Oh, sorry, I need to go change. Excuse me.”
A devilish idea sparks itself in your mind.
“Actually, you can come with me back up to my room. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Of course not.”
What else can he say?

And so once more, Maccio finds himself locked in your bedroom with you. This could get risque. Maybe...you could even do another puzzle together.

“So how have you been?,” you say, searching through your piles of clean clothing strewn about the floor. “Has Ormanno kept his side of our little bargain?”

“All has been well, thank you for asking. Why are you carrying around a caged crow?”

“It’s a raven actually. And…”
For some reason you don’t want to admit your true intentions with the bird to Maccio. Wouldn’t that make him think less of you? Here he is, ready to admit his love, and you want to tell him you were planning on grifting someone with a temporary bird? He would absolutely think ill of you and...and you’d never be able to tell. Your destined romance would be poisoned before it ever began.
“”And it’s mine. It’s my pet. My guardian actually,” you say, stringing words together hopelessly. “If you want to date me, you must defeat him!”

Why did you say that?

Maccio just chuckles softly.
“I didn’t come here to ask you on a date, Sofia, as pleasurable as that would be.”

“Oh?”

“It’s a little bit of an embarrassing question actually. Did you know that I consider myself a bit of an aspiring artist?”

“Really? That’s nice. Me too.”

“Well I would never be able to match your skill,” he says, staring at your jumbled up pictures. “But I have a liking for portraits. Sofia, would you do me the honor of being my model?”

Ah. Well...that’s still romantic, isn’t it?

1/2
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>>2948824
>”Admit it. You’re here to court me with this offer. And I accept!”

>”It’s not going to involve any artistic nudity, is it?”

>”No thanks. Pictures of myself make me uncomfortable.” Decline.

>”Is there some sort of ulterior motive I should know about this?”

>Accept. Why would you refuse?

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2948824
>”No thanks. Pictures of myself make me uncomfortable.” Decline.
>>
>>2948834
>I am flattered, may I ask why?
>As long as I can veto any poses I am uncomfortable with and meet my requirements as a official duelist for the court? I Agree.
>>
>>2948834
>Accept. Why would you refuse?
"I'm guessing you want me in the duel attire yeah?"
>>
>>2948834
>Accept. Why would you refuse?
>>
>>2948834
>>Accept. Why would you refuse?
What could go wrong? Don't answer that.
>>
>>2948834
>>”No thanks. Pictures of myself make me uncomfortable.” Decline.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Accept. Why would you refuse?

Why would you refuse? It might not have been exactly what you had been hoping for but you won’t force the issue. And you know you could force it. For all his bulk and brains and physical power, you could easily back Maccio into a corner and make him admit that he has come to ask for your hand. You could even, with some considerable effort, make him uphold it. You could have him or indeed, almost any man or woman in the City, and it wouldn’t even be all that difficult. What would he do? Tell people that you made him do it?
But those are tyrant thoughts and above that, you want to be one swept off her feet here. It wouldn’t be the same at all. You’re not ready to abandon reality to live purely within the lie just yet.

“Of course, I’d be flattered! As long as you don’t want anything weird, of course!”
You have a bit of an aversion to pictures of yourself, you admit, but that’s fine. You’re happy to do it for Maccio.

“I just want a picture of you in your duelling outfit with your sword. The first sitting shouldn’t take too long.”

“The...first?”

“Naturally. I’m not going to finish the painting all at once, you’ll have to come in for multiple sessions.”

“Oh, that’s even better! But just know that any scheduling comes second to my job, alright? And I have another question. Can I ask why?”

Maccio bends down a little so that he’s closer to your eye-level. He’s still much taller than you.
“I simply had the inspiration for it after our duel. Does there need to be another reason? d’Vallerno once said that it comes and goes as a mistress in the night, leaving neither explanation or intent. The creative urge is a blind and witless thing. And, of course, I certainly had nothing against seeing you more.”

Well, you suppose that’s sweet in its own right. But is he being honest with you? Is the world being honest with you? Is inspiration all there is? Do you put faith in the lie that he truly wants to see you again?

>Believe.

>Disbelieve.
>>
>>2948932
>>Disbelieve.
>>
>>2948932
>Believe
>>But ask what form his inspiration will take.
>>
>>2948932
>Disbelieve.
>Think he has to have fallen for us instead.
>>
>>2948932
>>Disbelieve.
>>Think he has to have fallen for us instead.
>>
>>2948988
>>2948993
ok samefag, the fuck are you doing?
>>
>>2948996
Rude, I just have the same opinion as his.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>2949001
>Both were 1uid votes
>Within a minute of each other


what's worse is that you're turning disbelieve into an option it wasn't.
>>
Well if it's a matter of consternation, I'll settle this with a second vote to elaborate on things in just a moment.
>>
>Disbelieve

No. You don’t believe this. You’re initially not sure why you don’t but after a moment, it occurs to you. Despite your confessions to the contrary, you’ve never been the creative type. After all you’re only good at tyranny and the sword, everything else you’ve taken from people. If inspiration really works like that...well, you wouldn’t know it because you’ve never felt it.

But would he really come all the way to you just for that? Just to satisfy an errant whim? You can’t really believe that and more importantly, you don’t want to. You want to think that you’re more important than that.
As you think it over, the crow in the cage vanishes in a puff of light. Your dreams of grifting have gone the way of your dreams of fishing.

“I don’t believe you,” you say.


>”Has my curse forced you into this somehow? Is your true purpose something you cannot say?”

>”I understand, you’re too embarrassed to say because it’s not what your family would want. You’ve fallen for me haven’t you?”

>”I can believe you about the painting. But I think you’re getting something out of this painting than just creative satisfaction.”

>”I don’t think my curse would force this. But is it about the curse regardless?” After all besides the duels, the curse is your only notable feature.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2949035
>>”I understand, you’re too embarrassed to say because it’s not what your family would want. You’ve fallen for me haven’t you?”
>>
>>2949035
>>”Has my curse forced you into this somehow? Is your true purpose something you cannot say?”
>>2949038
In all likelihood he's gay as fuck dude. That'd be one of a handful of secrets his brother would use on him. Doubly likely because he's an artist.
>>
>>2949035
>>>”Has my curse forced you into this somehow? Is your true purpose something you cannot say?”
>>
>>2949035
>>”I understand, you’re too embarrassed to say because it’s not what your family would want. You’ve fallen for me haven’t you?”
>>
>>2949035
>>”Has my curse forced you into this somehow? Is your true purpose something you cannot say?”
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”Has my curse forced you into this somehow? Is your true purpose something you cannot say?”

“Something’s wrong about this,” you continue. “I’m more important than some mere whim and we both know that. I’ll believe you about inspiration. But I don’t think that’s all there is.”

Maccio takes his spectacles off and, clutching them gently in a massive hand, begins to polish them with an embroidered handkerchief.
“Is that so? I didn’t come here with an ulterior motive. Do you think I only want to see you because of your birthright? That’s not how it works.”

“I know that,” you say. “But if you want something that’s derogatory or harmful to me, it would be hard for you to tell me. I mean, am I not the most beautiful woman in the City?”

“You are.”

“And the wittiest?”

“Correct.”

“And utterly invincible in contests of the blade?”

“Yes.”

“If your purpose runs counter to any of those statements, you wouldn’t be able to tell me unless you found a really inventive way to phrase it. The same goes for anything that would imply that I’m dishonest, disreputable or in any way deserving of doubt. Which, fortunately, you should never need to say anyway since I am none of those things.”
Your own words are shackled almost as tightly as his are. You feel a little bad about that small display of power but you’ll never apologize or even imply that it discomforts you.

Maccio takes deep breath and then sits down in front of you.
“I want to make use of a talent that only you have,” he says cautiously.

“Oh?”

“As you said, your unmatched beauty.”
Now that’s odd. You might both be forced to say it but you both know that you’re hardly the prettiest of women.
“There is an upcoming symposium of certain artistic gentlemen within whose circles I have been known to move. I will be attending and if all goes well and you are willing, I will have my portrait of you in tow. Everyone will be presenting a piece for display and judgement among their peers. And this time, if I may be so bold, I would like to be the one who comes out on top. And I know that a painting of you, with your peerless elegance, poise and splendour, will surely sway their hearts.”

Ah. Ah, you see. So that’s how it is.
“You have certainly done your research,” you say, a touch coldly.

“My brother did, he simply told me. I am sorry for trying to mislead you and I hope there aren’t any hard feelings. Sofia, I am truly thankful for what you did for me and I really did want to see you again. That wasn’t a lie.”

He wants to use you. He knows that an image of you, should it definitely be of you, is above reproach. No pale word can touch the subject of his portrait and by extension, the portrait itself. Any insult on it would be an insult on an image of Sofia Pseudonym. He wants to use you to make a painting that nobody can deny.
This is why you don’t like pictures of yourself.

1/2
>>
>>2949109

And why did you expect anything different? Shouldn't you know by now? You are a tyrant first and foremost. And no matter how you try to act, in the eyes of everyone around you, that is forever how they'll define you.
Maccio wants you for that, not for anyone about yourself.

>”...Fine but I am expecting compensation, both immediate and in the future.”

>”And to think I judged you better. Get out.”
>>
>>2949111
>>”And to think I judged you better. Get out.”
>>
>>2949111
>"Maccio I detest people (trying) using me. The prison in my own head is bad enough. Now a man I had thought if not a paragon of virtue, but at least one who tries to do right by people, does what all the rest come to do. Leave now before I rescind my threat to your brother about your secret.
>>
>>2949010
It was a 1uid vote because it's just morning for me, anon.

>>2949109
I'm disappointed in you, Maccio

>>2949111
Seconding >>2949123
>>
>>2949111
>>”...Fine but I am expecting compensation, both immediate and in the future.”
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
Alright, I’ve finished eating dinner.

>”And to think I judged you better. Get out.”

He didn’t want you, he just wanted the tyrant. Most people do. When your parents had your judicial godmother give her blessing, the tyrant had been what they’d been picturing. And when Sofia had grown up different from that, she hadn’t been good enough. Even Lea, in your last outing, she’d wanted to know your power secondhand. It must seem so seductive to other people, enough to eclipse you completely. In the eyes of others, the tyrant looms large and how could it not? You hold them all in chains. And they’re all too busy looking at the tyrant that Sofia escapes notice.

Well you’re sick of it. You want it to stop and you don’t have the faintest clue how.
“Maccio,” you say. “I detest people trying to use me. Isn’t every heart a prison bad enough? I thought you a good man but you’re just here to do what everyone else does. Get out. Leave before I change my mind about Ormanno.”
If your voice was any colder the canals below would freeze.

“I’m sorry,” Maccio says but he’s already turning to leave. Maybe he wants to protest, to make a claim or to tell you once again that he wants you. Maybe he just wants to curse your name. But whether through his own heart or through your curse, no such thing comes. He just takes up his cloak, gives you one last sad look and then steps out of your room. Steps out of your life, perhaps.
And you are left standing there, hair twisted, skin sweaty, still dressed in your training outfit. Queen of all you survey.

Alone once again. You had started this morning alone and you are ending it no less but somehow it feels worse. You could have believed the lie. You could have gone along with him and had fun and felt wanted. You could have fooled yourself into thinking you were loved. Even now, if you run after him, you can force yourself into his company and blind yourself. All of that is still there for whenever you want it.
But standing here with your fists clenched, you will not abandon yourself to the dream. Lies are pretty and you’ve never known a truth that didn’t hurt you but still you choose to uncover it everytime. How could you not?

The day stretching ahead of you, which had just before seemed exciting and full of potential misadventures with a friend, has fallen fallow. You’ve nothing to do with yourself.


>Run after Maccio. Maybe he meant his apology. Maybe you can overlook it just this once. Maybe you can make it work.


>Drown yourself in humours.

>Visit a hospital. You’re sick of this feeling, you’re happy to donate it all away.

>Throw yourself into your training.

>Speak to someone you can trust.

>You are going to beat the shit out of that fucking romance fountain.

>Visit yourself upon the courts of High Law and heckle the shit out of some lawyers.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2949167
>Run after Maccio. Maybe he meant his apology. Maybe you can overlook it just this once. Maybe you can make it work.
>>
>>2949167
>>Run after Maccio. Maybe he meant his apology. Maybe you can overlook it just this once. Maybe you can make it work
Give him one final chance
>>
>>2949167
>>Throw yourself into your training.
>>
>>2949167
>>Throw yourself into your training.
>>
>>2949167
>Run after Maccio. Maybe he meant his apology. Maybe you can overlook it just this once. Maybe you can make it work.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>2949167
>Throw yourself into your training.
>Visit a hospital. You’re sick of this feeling, you’re happy to donate it all away.
I wanted to husbando Maccio, but after this...
>>
>>2949208
Damn you, captcha!
>>
>Run after Maccio. Maybe he meant his apology. Maybe you can overlook it just this once. Maybe you can make it work.

Wait, what was that thought you just had? That even now you could still run after him and no matter his feelings, you could return everything to how it was. Everyone else has to go along with you after all, they don’t have a say in the matter. So because of that, the only person you really need to fool is yourself. You are the only person who has to believe anything you say. After all, what everyone else says is just fiction either way.
So maybe you can do that. Just this once, you can let yourself be fooled.

And maybe Maccio means well. Maybe his apology was well-meant. Maybe he was simply thoughtless and had no idea what such behaviour meant to you. You can’t tell. He will say sorry no matter his true feelings on the matter. Whether he thinks of you as a friend or as a tool, your curse dictates that both possible Maccio’s say the same things.
This mystery will never be solved. It can’t be solved. But when faced with the void, you can close your eyes and trick yourself into thinking that it can.

He’s still out there, you know. Nothing is beyond the grasp of the tyrant. You can reach out and have him. If you’re alone it’s by your own choice.

You catch him in the stairwell. He stops as he hears you run down the stairs. You haven’t gotten changed, you’re still the same as you ever was. In clothes and in person.
“Maccio!”

“Sofia! I really am sorr-”

“Be quiet.”
You stop when you’re several stairs above him so that you can finally look him in the eye. You wonder, what does he see when he looks into your eyes? Can he see anything beyond the pale pink irises? Can he see how desperate you feel?
“You have apologised. You don’t have to say it more than once. Now just listen to me. I’m willing to overlook this. But…”


>Exert your authority. You don’t want to do this but if you are to remain friends, he needs to understand who makes the decisions here.

>”You need to tell me everything. And that includes that secret of yours. If you can do this, I’ll trust you.”

>”I expect compensation. I’ll do the damn painting and you can even do with it whatever you want but you will pay me.”

>”If you ever try anything like that again, I will be very upset. It’ll make my threat against your brother look like nothing.”

>”I want to believe you. I don’t need anything more. No conditions.”


>”...I’m sick of talking. Come train with me.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2949230
>>>”If you ever try anything like that again, I will be very upset. It’ll make my threat against your brother look like nothing.”
>>
I understand people that want nothing to do with him not voting, but what happened to the rest?
>>
>>2949258
Well, these are pretty bad hours for most of the world, it's usually a dead zone at this time every night. I'm going to rest for a few hours myself and come back in a bit.
Vote will remain open until then.
>>
>>2949230
>you must be honest about your intentions. I´m not my curse and you need to understand that. Everyone needs people to believe in and I´m no exception. Do you undestand?

Follow it with:

Now, I was thinking of training, together perhaps, but if you want we could go along your idea of the portrait. What would you prefer?
>>
>>2949230
Seconding >>2949314
>>
>>2949230
>”If you ever try anything like that again, I will be very upset. It’ll make my threat against your brother look like nothing.”
>>
>>2949230
>I am not my curse, people using me for it hurts. Now, i am going to train. While I am you can tell me why this is so important to you and perhaps train with me.
>>
Alright, I'm back. Vote called and writing.
>>
>>2949258
I just woke up
>>
>>2949383
>>2949230
I'll second this even though I know I'm too late
>>
>”I am not my curse.”

“But you must be honest about your intentions from now on. I’m not my curse and people like you using me for it hurts. Everyone needs people to believe in and not even I am entirely without need of that. Do you understand?”

He’s still meeting your gaze, his face the very image of contrition.
“I am. I didn’t mean to do that, I just didn’t consider how you might have felt.”

“That’s fine.”
You won’t say you might have overreacted and this time not just because your curse would stop you. He needed to be shown just how much of an issue this is to you.
“Just don’t say sorry about it again. It’s in the past. Now I was thinking of training, together perhaps, but if you want we could go along with your idea about the portrait.”

“No,” he says abruptly. “The symposium isn’t that important. But I’d be very interested in seeing a duellist’s training regime.”

“I thought you had some training.”

“I do. But to be honest, I’ve never had to try particularly hard at anything related to the body. Out fight last week was a real wake-up call. So I’d like to see what an authentic duellist does with her training.”

“I thought you didn’t want to pursue this little hobby of yours.”

“Barely a hobby even. But you opened my eyes that I can’t just rely on my size for everything. It’d be irresponsible of me not to take an opportunity to improve.”

By this point, the two of you are standing in front of your door and you slide it open once more, Maccio hunching down just to fit through. So that’s it, huh? You’re going to be training together? Isn’t that roman-Wait no! You’re still mad at him!

By the time you recover your thoughts and step inside, Maccio has stripped down to the waist. That sure isn’t helping.

“I’ve already done a lot of mine,” you say, picking up the weighted ball and tossing it to him. That’s not something you’d normally do to someone but he catches it in one hand easily. “But I guess I can do an extra long training session, maybe even a full day. Why don’t you show me what you’ve got with that ball?”

Maccio has the good grace to look embarrassed as he bounces the ball from hand to hand as if it weighed nothing at all.
“I remember using some of these but mine were…considerably heavier.”

Oh right.
“Well, scratch the strength stuff I guess. But check this out.”
You balance on one leg and do a slow one-legged squat, doing your best to maintain a perfect angle throughout both descent and ascent. \
“I noticed during our duel that you had trouble moving as best as you should be able to. I mean, look at your legs! You should be rocketing around but you were stumbling instead. The key to this type of squat is technique, not leg strength, so give it a go. Give me ten per leg to start off so I can tell you what you’re doing wrong.”

1/3
>>
>>2949427
Maccio begins but pauses when he sees you pull out a thin willow switch. Long and springy, just holding it brings back memories of aching muscles and lashing pain.
“What is the purpose of that?”

“It’s the measurement stick. Every time you get the angle of your back wrong, I prod you with it.”

“...Is that how your instructor taught you?”

You flush bright red. Oh no, you just did something weird didn’t you? Come to think of it, Lanzo used to lash you because he was incapable of pointing out improper form to you. He did that as a substitute, so you’d know to correct your technique every time he hit you. But you can just tell Maccio, can’t you?
You put the switch away and try to pretend that you never pulled it out.
“Never mind.”

“Why is the angle so important in this anyway?”

“The purpose of this squat,” you say, happier to be back on safer ground, “is to make sure that you can go from a one-legged stand to a quick squat and back without losing balance! Since you’re always moving in a duel, odds are that you’ll only have firm footing with one leg when the time comes for you to pull distance or lunge. And both of these are helped by a squat! It’s the perfect launching position to maximize your leg muscles! Now, don’t try to do what I did right away, I do mine really deep. You can start shallow.”

People put a lot of stock in the arms since they’re what propels the sabre but as far as you’re concerned? The true power of a duellist is in the legs and thighs.

*****

As your training continues, a single unexpected emotion begins to crystallize. It’s not something you were expecting to feel but you guess if it’s Maccio it makes sense. And what is that emotion, pray tell? Jealousy. You’re not sure when it set in. Was it when you had to stop the vertical jumps lest he hit the roof each time? Was it when he broke one of your training bands? Or maybe it was back when he took your old nemesis/companion, the weighted ball, and tossed it around as if it was a child’s toy.
The truth is, no matter how much trouble Maccio has some of your exercises, he never seems to truly tire. You’re more tired than he is and you’re only acting as example and instructor, though at least you have the excuse of having already gone through this regime just a little earlier.
But isn’t it a little bit unfair? Maccio is a learned man and apparently an artist but in addition to that he was born absolutely fucking massive, with reserves no ordinary person can hope to challenge. And he was born rich on top of everything else! It feels like he’s not even really human and you have to admit, despite your own considerable advantages and your victory over him, you are envious of just how easy every aspect of life must be for him. Physical, mental, financial, he has it all.

2/3
>>
>>2949430
“This doesn’t seem possible,” you say, huffing as you collapse out of your plank pose while he remains as still as ever. Granted, he’s using both his arms while you only used one but it’s not like you stopped because of a balance issue. “Even for a big guy like you, this is a bit silly.”

“I wasn’t just born this way,” Maccio admits. “But as Toxilus says in his Treatise On The Spirit, we are defined by nothing more than habit. We are our actions. We are what we repeatedly do. And though he was talking about moral virtue, it’s just as applicable to the body. So I do my very best to keep every aspect of myself in shape.”

You let your eyes roam across his back. It’s still a little shock every now and then how big he is, as if your mind is fooled into thinking he’s simply very far away or the like. But while your gaze is hungry, it is not in the way you’d think it is.
Watching this, muscles aching and head swimming, you are filled with a want. You want a scrap of his power. You want to take it.

“I still have your doublet,” you say. “I wore it in my last duel.”

“What about it?”

“I was just wondering if I could make you give up anything else.”


>Challenge him to a contest of some sort. You want another trophy!

>”I want your money. Give me some and I’ll even sit for that painting.”

>”Never mind. Just this is fine for now.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2949432
>Challenge him to a contest of some sort. You want another trophy!
Puzzles! I'm partially kidding.
>>
>>2949432
>Well for one, it was my first duel against an actual duelist for the court, one I won handily.
>Two, care for another duel? Your size strength and Stamina are unreal, so I want to see how much of this stuck.
>>
>>2949432
>>Challenge him to a contest of some sort. You want another trophy!
>A race to a particular fountain...

I'm thinking of either the d'Amore (hint hint) or some other interesting fountain Ouro comes up with.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Challenge him to a contest of some sort. You want another trophy!

“That’s it,” you declare. “I want to learn more from you. So I’m going to take another trophy now.”

Maccio relaxes, lying down just a few feet from your seated form.
“How does that work?”

“I can learn anything if I have a trophy. But it has to be fairly won in some sort of contest. You can’t give it to me. So Maccio, I want you to give this your all.”

>Sofia’s Monkey Sight allows her to emulate skills, techniques, talents, physical attributes and metaphysical qualities. They are generally related to either the contest in question or to the trophy she takes. Duelling Techniques can only be taken as trophies from duels.


>A swordfight. You’re a little tired but you should be fine!

>A race to a fountain of your choice. The workout has left you tired but you’re still confident in your speed, if nothing else.

>A picture puzzle! Shouldn’t this truly be your element?

>You know a nearby park with a lot of gameboards set up near-constantly. Wouldn’t one of those be fun?

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2949432
One second. If we take that from him, can he still use it?
>>
>>2949470
>A race to a fountain of your choice. The workout has left you tired but you’re still confident in your speed, if nothing else.

Well we wanted his stamina right?
>>
>>2949474
Of course! Sofia phrases it as 'taking' a lot since that's how she sees the world and because she takes a trophy but the actual Monkey Sight is just her copying what she sees. Monkey see, Monkey do.
>>
>>2949432
>”Never mind. Just this is fine for now.”
>It was quite helpful though. Kinda hard to explain.
>>
>>2949470
>You know a nearby park with a lot of gameboards set up near-constantly. Wouldn’t one of those be fun?
>>
>>2949470
>Fishing! WITH SWORDS
>>
File: fleksnek.png (13 KB, 400x400)
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13 KB PNG
Anyway, I'm gonna go to sleep now. Vote will remain open until I wake in the morning, at which point I will resume the session.
I hope you all had fun!
>>
>>2949470
>You know a nearby park with a lot of gameboards set up near-constantly. Wouldn’t one of those be fun?
>>
>>2949470
>A race to a fountain of your choice. The workout has left you tired but you’re still confident in your speed, if nothing else.
He'll likely defeat us in games. He's a learned man, after all.
>>
>>2949470
>A race to a fountain of your choice. The workout has left you tired but you’re still confident in your speed, if nothing else.
>>
I'm stuck between gaming and running.

Let's go with running, it was my idea.

>>2949470
>Run!
>>
Whoops, I overslept a little! Vote called, thread will resume soon.
>>
>A race to a fountain of your choice. The workout has left you tired but you’re still confident in your speed, if nothing else.

“Another duel?,” Maccio asks. “I’m afraid you’d beat me rather easily.”
You agree but you wonder if he actually means that or if it’s just your curse. He has to see how tired you are, right?


“No,” you tell him. “Outside of the Wake? Perish the thought. It’d be unseemly. So instead I’m going to beat you in a footrace!”
It was either that or a game but you guess you’re more confident in your speed. Maccio should be pretty fast too but his size means he won’t be able to get through the places that you can easily.

“Interesting. Where to?”

“A fountain of course. It’ll be like a miniature version of the Fontana Loop!”
Every year, aspirants with too much time on their hands run the streets from fountain to fountain, collecting blessings and coins from passersby. The last fountain is the D’Avvocatto, the central fountain below the High Courts themselves. Whoever finishes it first gets to beg a boon of their choice from the lawyers within.

“Which fountain?”

“Oh…,” you say, not having thought that far ahead.


>D’Amare. It’s just down the road so it’ll be a short run. And maybe Maccio will get the hint…

>The June Moneta. It’s not payday but it’s a medium distance away, it’d be a good urn.

>The Sangadonna, fountain of the bloodless women. It’s a nice long distance and you have a lot of personal history with it.

>The Court of Swords. It’s a very long way away.

>The Augustus Matrimon. It’s all the way across the city, right near the Foreign Circles, but they say that two people who wish upon it together will be legally married.
>>
>>2950628
>>The Sangadonna, fountain of the bloodless women. It’s a nice long distance and you have a lot of personal history with it.

I'm curious about this history.
>>
>>2950628
>D’Amare. It’s just down the road so it’ll be a short run. And maybe Maccio will get the hint…
>>
>>2950628
>>D’Amare. It’s just down the road so it’ll be a short run. And maybe Maccio will get the hint…
or
>The June Moneta. It’s not payday but it’s a medium distance away, it’d be a good urn.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>D’Amare. It’s just down the road so it’ll be a short run. And maybe Maccio will get the hint…

The two of you are standing outside your boarding house. Maccio’s put his shirt back on but you’re still in your increasingly sweaty and dirty training outfit.
“Right down the street,” you say, pointing to the dingy fountain at the corner of the block. “Real close. Are you ready?”

“Whenever you are.”

“Heh. Hey Maccio, do you think you can win?”

“Of course not.”

“Good to see we’re both on the same page. So let’s go….now!”

You start running!

The first and only real obstacle is the crowd. The canal is packed full of people! How are you going to get your way through? Hopefully it slows Maccio down real good because otherwise the advantage in a sprint is all his.


>Just barge your way through like Maccio does!

>Get around the side and try to squirm past along the edge.

>Just follow in Maccio’s wake, let him clear the way for you.

>Pull yourself up onto the awning of a building and run along the top.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2950802
>>Pull yourself up onto the awning of a building and run along the top.
>>
>>2950802
>Pull yourself up onto the awning of a building and run along the top.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Pull yourself up onto the awning of a building and run along the top.

“Ciao bella!,” you call out to Maccio as you take a running leap and grab hold of the awning of a street vendor. You pull yourself up atop it while your opponent struggles his way through the crowd. The vendor below you screams but can only shout encouragement to you.

You run along the top of the stretched canvas, knowing that it’ll likely collapse if you spend too much time upon it. And the moment your lead foot feels the reliable weight of the wooden support beam at the end beneath it, you jump forward towards the side of the building with your arms spinning. One of your hand slaps onto the railing of a balcony and you instantly grab hold, dangling from the railing just above the crowd. So close, in fact, that you have to keep your lower half curled to stop anyone from grabbing hold of your leg.
You don’t bother to try and pull yourself up, it’d just waste time. Instead you nimbly pull yourself forward along the bottom of the railing, one hand after the other as swiftly as you can. Your arms, already strained from all the training, protest with lancing jabs of pain but you ignore them.

Once you reach the end of the balcony, you swing there for a moment, building up momentum. You’re not bad at it! But then again, Lanzo once referred to your duelling style as ‘like a monkey’ and you know he didn’t mean it as an insult. If you believed in such a foreign things as emblematic beasts, which you don’t, you’ve always thought that yours would be a monkey.

Using your swing, you let go and let yourself fall towards the water. It propels you past the bulk of the crowd but you don’t quick stick the landing. You hit the surface of the canal and bounce, skimming across the water like a particularly awkward and ungainly stone.
The moment you stop, you drive a foot into the water hard enough that you actually break the surface for just a moment, just an inch and pull yourself up into a squat. Glancing back, you see Maccio is still having trouble with the crowd. Everyone stopped to watch you so he’s having a hard time.

Good. Because now there’s nothing but a relatively open stretch of water between you and the D’Amare and if all else was equal, Maccio would beat you in a sprint every single time. His legs are just that much longer. You’ll take as much of a headstart as you can get.

You ignore the burning in your knees and thighs as you rise and start to run. Your breath is already coming up short, stabbing bursts of pain digging into your stomach and chest. Considering how much you’ve already done this morning, this final run might get...painful.


>Take it slowly. You have a headstart.

>Full speed ahead! You just have to fight through it.

>Wait insolently for Maccio to get his way through the crowd. You’ll be able to get your breath back and be insulting about it to boot.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2950951
>Full speed ahead! You just have to fight through it.
>>
>>2950951
>Take it slowly. You have a headstart.
>>
>>2950951
>Take it slowly. You have a headstart.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Take it slowly. You have a headstart.

You don’t have to bust your gut just to win a trophy. Maccio’s still tied up in the crowd so you have time. You can just take it slow and jog your way to the D’Amare. There’s no need for anything more than what you’ve already accomplished.

Or so you thought.

You’re a little over halfway to the fountain when you look back and see something terrifying. Maccio has finally won his way free of the crowd and he’s barreling down the canal at top speed! And though he might be large, he’s a lot faster in a straight line than you are.
Even if you start running for real now, he’s still probably going to overtake you!

You may have to resort to trickery.


>Fake an injury and fall over. Come help me, Maccio!

>”Stop!”

>Push someone or something into his path.

>No tricks. Just run for it!

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2951051
>No tricks. Just run for it!
>>
>>2951051
>No tricks. Just run for it!
>>
>>2951051
>No tricks. Just run for it!
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>No tricks. Just run for it!

No, you’re not going to resort to base trickery just for a footrace! You’ll save that for the duels.Instead you just ignore the pain and break into a sprint, racing down the canal towards the dingy little fountain. You don’t look back again but you know Maccio is gaining on you.
It’s just unfair, how fast he gets to be! And that’s why you have to win!

There’s nothing else to be said about it really. You’re closing in on the fountain and you can practically feel Maccio pass you. He draws level with you and with just seconds left, pulls ahead of you with one enormous arm outstretched!

>Roll 1d6. The first 1d6 will be for Sofia, the next two will be for Maccio.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d6)

>>2951143
>>
Rolled 4 (1d6)

>>2951143
>>
Rolled 1 (1d6)

>>2951143
>>
>Sofia: 3
>Maccio: 5

You’re not going to make it. The world seems to slow as you run your last few steps but it’s too late. Maccio isn’t just faster than you, his arms are much longer and he’s already reaching for the fountain’s rim. You can’t win. You can’t beat him. You can’t claim his strength for his own.

Unless...you dig deep. You’re not going to let yourself lose, are you?


>When confronted with a physical or mental challenge beyond her prowess, Sofia may sacrifice Composure dice from her upcoming duel in order to help overcome them.
>Her current Composure pool is as follows: 3d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12


>Use a d4.

>Use a d6.

>Use a d8.

>Use a d12
>>
>>2951202
>>Use a d8.
this is so stupid. Sofia, you're so SMART, with GREAT FORESIGHT
>>
>>2951202
>Don't sacrifice a Composure Die
>>
>>2951219
Oh yeah, this is also an option.
>>
>>2951202
>Use a d4.
I'm just gonna pretend to understand this system
>>
>>2951202
>>Use a d4.
Coin flip
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>2951202
>Use a d4.
>>
>Use a d4.

You push forward with a brief burst of speed and as accidentally as you can manage, jab your elbow into Maccio’s side as you try to fight your way past him. Or well, you elbow him in the thigh. You’d have to put in some considerable effort to actually do that to his gut.
But surely that’s good enough, right?

>Sofia has lost 1d4 from her Composure for the duration of this thread!

>Roll 1d4.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d4)

>>2951317
>>
>Sofia: 6
>Maccio: 5

You drive your elbow into his thigh, slowing him just enough for you to scramble beneath his arm and dive for the fountain! You hit the rim and roll over, resting atop the water’s surface as you come to a rather languorous stop.
Maccio slaps the side of the D’Amare a moment later but it’s too late, you’re already lounging within the basin of the fountain itself.

“Well well well,” you say, sitting up and leaning your back against the crusty old dove sculpture. “Looks like romance will have its way regardless.”
You’re just going to ignore the stitch in your stomach.

“Are you saying the fountain wanted you to win?”

“Aren’t all things the will of the City?” That’s the basis of your very profession, though it’s not something you actually believe in. “The fountains are its conduits. Perhaps D’Amare is rewarding me for all the coins I’ve given it.”

Maccio raises an eyebrow.
“...You come here a lot then?”

“Of course.”
There’s a long silence as you sit there before him, blessed by the waters of love itself. Surely this is when he takes you into his tender but firm embrace? If Maccio is getting the hint, he’s not doing anything about it.
“Whatever,” you eventually say. “I’m going to take something from you now. I won, i deserve a prize.”

“Whatever you want,” he replies, unable to deny you.


>”Give me your shirt.”

>Take his belt for your own.

>You’ll have those spectacles, thanks. He can afford a lot more.

>He left his fancy red cloak in your room. It can stay there.
>>
>>2951349
>He left his fancy red cloak in your room. It can stay there.
>>
>>2951349
>”Give me your shirt.”
>>
>>2951349
>Take a kiss
I-I mean
>spectacles
>>
>>2951349
You’ll have those spectacles, thanks. He can afford a lot more.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>You’ll have those spectacles, thanks. He can afford a lot more.

You drag yourself up and sit on the rim of the little fountain, letting your feet dangle just above the pavement. You beckon Maccio over, your face still red and panting from exertion, his so effortlessly and irritatingly pure.
“I would have something of you,” you say. “Kneel.”

“If you insist.”

He gallantly takes a knee before you and with you sitting on the fountain’s rim, your faces are nearly aligned. You reach up and run a hand down the side of his face for but a moment before gently plucking his spectacles from his face.
The wire-rimmed glasses are surprisingly small in your hands. Shit, they could even fit you.

You put them on and see the world as Maccio does.

>Monkey Sight allows Sofia to copy a trait of her opponent for as long as she wears the trophy in question. And though you cannot take duel techniques from non-duel contests, you can copy all kinds of non-duel abilities, some of which might have duel relevance.

>Choose one:


>Size Difference: Everytime you perform a Strike but before calculating damage, destroy one of the lowest value of your opponent’s Composure Dice, provided that said Dice is smaller than the lowest of your remaining Composure Dice. Has plenty of practical usage outside of duels too of course.

>An Artistic Eye: The ways of semblance and pigment suddenly make sense to you now. You can paint as well as Maccio can.

>Long Stride: You had to try your best to best Maccio in a sprint. But if you see things this way, you can pace yourself as if your strides were longer than they truly are.

>Well of Scholarship: As long as you wear these spectacles, you can summon up a piece of academic knowledge or historical quotation relevant to your current situation.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2951464
>An Artistic Eye: The ways of semblance and pigment suddenly make sense to you now. You can paint as well as Maccio can.
>>
>>2951464
The question is, how well can Maccio paint? We haven't seen his work.
>>
>>2951497
Sofia has no idea!
>>
>>2951464
>An Artistic Eye: The ways of semblance and pigment suddenly make sense to you now. You can paint as well as Maccio can.

Fuck it, why not.
>>
>>2951464
>Well of Scholarship: As long as you wear these spectacles, you can summon up a piece of academic knowledge or historical quotation relevant to your current situation.
and a kiss
>>
>>2951464
>Long Stride: You had to try your best to best Maccio in a sprint. But if you see things this way, you can pace yourself as if your strides were longer than they truly are.
Apparently Sofia isn't too special in the looks department, so the only option is to get legs for days
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>2951464
>Well of Scholarship: As long as you wear these spectacles, you can summon up a piece of academic knowledge or historical quotation relevant to your current situation.
Glasses of nerdyness
>>
>>2951464
damn would have gotten
>Size Difference: Everytime you perform a Strike but before calculating damage, destroy one of the lowest value of your opponent’s Composure Dice, provided that said Dice is smaller than the lowest of your remaining Composure Dice. Has plenty of practical usage outside of duels too of course.

Just to see how everyone reacted to huge Sofia
>>
>An Artistic Eye: The ways of semblance and pigment suddenly make sense to you now. You can paint as well as Maccio can.

Seeing the world as Maccio does could have a multitude of different meanings. After all, doesn’t perception define reality? You could have just as easily taken the original source of your jealousy, his physical prowess, through mere sight alone. All you have to do is figure out how Maccio sees the world from his...elevated vantage point and through his glasses, replicate it. Alter your perception, alter yourself.
But thinking over it, you’re not sure if you really want to be seven and a half feet tall every time you wear his spectacles. Sure it’d be fun and it’d have some use but you wouldn’t really change. You’d just be Big Sofia, as Sofia as you ever were but just bigger in every direction.

Or you could peered through his lenses and seen with eyes of history, with eyes that can dig deep into memory and academia and assign a meaning to everything they see. You wouldn’t have the memory yourself but in the actual substance of it, there’d be no difference. You’d certainly come off as a well-educated girl.

But instead, inspired by your recent topic of controversy, you see the world the way Maccio sees it in terms of creation. When you think about it, an artist has to see things differently than you do. To you, things are just as they are and that is all. You don’t see how the contours flow, you don’t watch the colours with the eye of replication, you don’t behold with the intent of creating your own image to behold. But as long as you wear these spectacles, you can.
You still don’t know the first thing about painting but sit you down in front of an easel and your eyes and hands could do it without the brain needing to work.

You’ve done it! You’ve become an artist without having to bother with all that nonsense about creativity or inspiration. Like you said, you’re a damn good learner when the time is right. You can learn art without ever engaging with the things that sit behind it. As for the other things you could have been? Maybe you can take them too later on.

The world around you is like a different place now, even though nothing has changed but you. It’s a very different thing to look out at everything with the knowledge of how the whole visual flows together. There is a beauty in everything.
Is this how a foreigner feels when they first set foot in the City? You understand that they can become intoxicated on simply the reality of it all, that even a single bite of food or sip of drink can make them lost forever. Maybe this kind of beauty is why they use such fanciful terms as magic or fae to describe Aquitae Cogituum and its inhabitants.

“Are you alright, Sofia?”

“I think I can paint!”

“It’s just that your eyes have changed colour.”

1/2
>>
>>2951638
“They have?”
You take off the spectacles and then examine your reflection in the fountain’s basis, waiting until she replicates your actions a few more times. As the lenses pass over your eyes, pink gives way to green. The same shade of green as Maccio’s.
“Oh, I accidentally learned your eye colour as well. Don’t worry about it.”
It’s never perfect.
“Though Maccio,” you add, “I’m surprised you can see the colour so easily. Don’t you need these to see?”

“Only things that are far away,” he says, leaning in closer.

With the glasses balanced uncomfortably on the bridge of your nose, you lean in to match him. Together, the two of yo-

A rolled up scroll bursts free of the fountain and strikes you across the face, knocking your trophy off! You catch the glasses before they can fall into the water, snatching the scroll out of the air with your other hand.
“Oh what now?

You unroll the scroll and give it a quick scan, sighing.
“Duty calls, Maccio. And this one’s a little strange. Apparently I’m to meet my client at...the Polizia Magistratum. He’s in custody of the constabulary!”

“Is that unusual?”

“Damn straight it is, they’ve got nothing to do with Sword Law! They should keep to their own damn business!”


>You should get over there right away! What if your client talks to them? The only reason they would have him is if they were trying to shift him from the jurisdiction of Sword Law to Street Law.

>You’re tired and gross. You should spend at least a few hours resting and rejuvenating. This is a bad day for an assignment. Hopefully you can get the duel itself moved to tomorrow.

>It’s in a few hours. Don’t you want to spend more time with Maccio in between?
>>
>>2951642
>>You should get over there right away! What if your client talks to them? The only reason they would have him is if they were trying to shift him from the jurisdiction of Sword Law to Street Law.
>>
>>2951642
>Get changed into a proper uniform and get a bath. Look presentable
>Send a message to our client (via fountain) to NOT TALK to the police until we get there. We will get there as soon as we are able to without impropriety.
>While we're getting ready, tell Maccio we might agree to being a model, but we would prefer if he kept it different/ abstract enough he would not need to rely on our curse. Improving without criticism is.. difficult, and his fellows would likely be put out if they figure out his trick, not too mention be upset at us too.
>>
>>2951642
>You should get over there right away! What if your client talks to them? The only reason they would have him is if they were trying to shift him from the jurisdiction of Sword Law to Street Law.

>Thank Maccio for hanging out with us for a bit
>>
>>2951642
>Take a bath first
>Invite Maccio back to your room
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>You should get over there right away! What if your client talks to them? The only reason they would have him is if they were trying to shift him from the jurisdiction of Sword Law to Street Law.

Oh no. If he’s in their custody it means that Street Law is trying to get their grubby little fingers all over him. And either it’s for something else and that it’s a big coincidence that your client would be challenged during all this or it’s the result of a classic Sword-Over-Street jurisdiction error. You know how those work, at least in theory, Lanzo told you all about them. And the most important thing he said was to never let your client to talk to the constabulary.
Because, as counter-intuitive as it might seem to some people, the polizia do not have your best interests in mind.

Not to mention, you have somewhat of a professional rivalry with them. It’s just how it works. The City is governed under three Laws and each resents the other two. Especially since you’re a public defender. You’ll never defend a member of the constabulary, they have their own duellists on retainer. When it comes to your professional life, at the very least, they will only ever be obstacles and enemies.

You need to get dressed and head over there right away but first...you should probably take an extra measure. You’ve never had to actually send a message back before but as a servant in the City’s direct employ, the secret ways should be open to you.
“Do you have anything I can use to write? This is urgent!”

“It’s not an issue,” Maccio says, pulling out a gold-filigree fountain pen with pearl plating down the sides. It probably costs more than your rooms.

You grab it out of his hands and hastily scribble down the following:

don’t talk to anyone!!!Just sit down, shut up and wait!

After rolling the scroll back up and giving it a quick lick to restore the wax seal, you spike the scroll back down into the fountain. By the time the water clears, there is no scroll sitting on the bottom with the scattered coins.
“Sorry Maccio, it was nice seeing you. But I’ve got to get going.”

“That’s fine,” he says. “But if you want, I could accompany you. I already had my schedule cleared for the painting, you see.”

Huh. Now there’s a thought. And here’s another one: You’re certainly going to get changed into your proper attire before you leave but are you going to bother with the time to bathe? You don’t actually owe your client a reputable appearance after all.

You have two choices to make.

>Maccio can accompany you.

>Decline. It wouldn’t be fair to your client or anyone else involved to drag in strangers.

And

>Just get changed. Time is of the essence.

>It’s been a very sweaty day. You should at least bathe first.
>>
>>2951695
>Maccio can accompany you.
>It’s been a very sweaty day. You should at least bathe first.

Just because we can doesn't mean we should not make ourself presentable.
>>
>>2951695
>>Decline. It wouldn’t be fair to your client or anyone else involved to drag in strangers.
>Just get changed. Time is of the essence.
>>
>>2951695
>Decline. It wouldn’t be fair to your client or anyone else involved to drag in strangers.
>but thank him for the offer, and tell him we'll let him know when we're free again.

>Bathe and off Maccio the use of it after we are done, assuming he wants to try and fit in it. It's not quite sized to his frame.
>>
>>2951695
>Decline. It wouldn’t be fair to your client or anyone else involved to drag in strangers.
>It’s been a very sweaty day. You should at least bathe first
Spend some more time with him though by dismissing him in our room after the bath.
>>
>>2951642
>With the glasses balanced uncomfortably on the bridge of your nose, you lean in to match him. Together, the two of yo-
>A rolled up scroll bursts free of the fountain and strikes you across the face, knocking your trophy off!
Damn you, City, you @$#!-ing cockblocker!

>>2951695
>don’t talk to anyone!!!Just sit down, shut up and wait!
>After rolling the scroll back up and giving it a quick lick to restore the wax seal, you spike the scroll back down into the fountain.
I'm expecting slapstick. The client tries to talk and the scroll nails them in the head.

>Maccio can accompany you.
>It’s been a very sweaty day. You should at least bathe first.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Decline. It wouldn’t be fair to your client or anyone else involved to drag in strangers.
>It’s been a very sweaty day. You should at least bathe first.

“No thanks Maccio but it wouldn’t be very fair to anyone else involved if I just pulled in a stranger. These are usually private affairs for the people concerned.”

“Would they object to you doing so?”

“Well...no, but I don’t want to be that kind of person. Now, maybe I can see you after this duel business is over. We can paint together.”

Only after Maccio has left that do you wonder if he’ll have any troubles getting home with his spectacles missing. Oh well, not your problem anymore!

******

You keep your bath short and cold. You don’t have time to heat the water. You don’t own your own tub but your boarding house has a communal arrangement involving a small room with a tub and an open window. Just outside that open window is a pulley to which you attach a rope loop strung with buckets. After making sure that nobody is passing directly below, you let it drop so that the bottom buckets are dragging through the canal below.
As long as you sit in the tub by the window and keep the pulley going, you can get a steady supply of buckets filled with water coming up past the window. You only need a few, it’s a quick bath.

You don’t even bother filling the tub, resorting to just splashing yourself with the buckets and scrubbing as best you can. Time is of the essence!

You’ve got your wet hair tied back into a ponytail before you even leave the tub. It’ll mean that it won’t dry out for ages but is that really important right now? You struggle into your duelling outfit, making extra sure that you haven’t put your coat on backwards or some other catastrophe.
You can let everything else fall away into chaos but your outfit as a duellist and the sword that comes with it are your pride and joy. You will not fail to look impressive.

******

The Polizia Magistratum towers over the other nearby buildings, taking up a small block all to itself. Calling it a ‘block’ might be misleading however. It is as an island, floating in the middle of an intersection of a dozen different canals. A large square tower built from quartzlike bricks that shine like rainbows when the light reflects off of them. You recognize the stone. It’s what allows the Magistratum to be bigger on the inside.
And laid out before the shining tower is a long walkway that all visitors to the Magistratum must pass through. The pathway was a river, a straight line of water rushing in towards the Magistratum before disappearing into grilles at the base of the tower’s grand stairs. The river passes through a number of arches on its way up to the tower and is surrounded on both sides by a small park’s worth of beautiful grassland. The grass is emerald green, dotted with the occasional tree and stalked throughout by small packs of brightly coloured peacocks.

1/2
>>
>>2951790
You could be mistaken for thinking it beautiful. You know the truth of it however. As you walk down the river, you spy a metallic gleam as the light dances across the blades of grass to either side of you. It’s just as you were told then. Each blade of ‘grass’ is made of something not quite glass or steel but deadly sharp either way. Anyone setting foot on them, that is to say, anyone trying to approach the Polizia Magistratum through a means other than official walkway, would have their feet reduced to mince.
And while the peacocks stalk through it without trouble, you’re pretty sure they’re not flesh or blood either. Beautifully painted and jeweled sculptures, crafted from organic metal and stone. If you were to stray off the path, they would surely descend upon you.

You walk down the river, the speed of the water having no effect on your ability to use its surface. And as you pass through each arch, you hear or feel something wrong with the world. A buzzing or a squeaking or a scratching upon the inside of your skull. Though you don’t know the means of it, each archway along the river is a trap or a seer of some kind. Perhaps similar to the one that surrounds the City as a whole, to prevent anyone with malicious intent from ever entering the tower. It’s all hostile architecture, that particular school of crafting that uses precise geometries and unseen maths to make constructions that loathe, bar and limit humanity.
The cherubic sculptures adorning each arch turn and watch you as you pass.

You don’t know what the arches see but you can hazard a guess at what would happen to you if they didn’t like it. You’d likely have your water-walking privileges temporarily revoked, dropping you helplessly into the river which would sweep you through the grille and into the spaces below. The constabulary can do that, if all circumstances align.

You keep a careful eye on your reflection on the river’s surface as you walk. And just as you guessed, once you pass through the last archway, there are reflections of things waiting for you that have no counterpart above water. The errant reflections seize your own and stop her at the final archway. All you feel is a mild tingle.
While you are in the Magistratum you will cast no reflection and have no shadow. The instructions of the worlds below are not permitted.

This is the stronghold of Street Law and one of the grander and most secure public buildings in the City. Now that you are past the final arch and are staring up at the stairs towards the door, all of which are bare save for the occasional stray peacock, you begin to feel small. Like you don’t matter. What could you possibly do that would go against the will of this mighty fortress?
There’s no use, you feel. You just need to acquiesce to the Law.


>Believe

>Disbelieve
>>
>>2951792
>>Disbelieve
>>
>>2951792
>Disbelieve
Piss off pigs, we're the law too
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
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>Disbelieve

No, this feeling isn’t yours! It’s been given to you. You gaze back up at the tower in front of you, the quartz bricks appearing white until the light occasionally catches them, giving rise to rainbow sheens glistening up and down the edifice. The entire thing is slanted forward at least a little, especially over the stairs.
You’d bet anything that it’s all intentional. More hostile architecture, this one designed to incept feelings of intimidation and obedience.
You’re not sure how you feel about that, besides what it’s telling you to feel. Private use of psychological architecture is forbidden by High Law, thus restricting it to only the rich. And that’s because the feelings radiated by such hateful buildings can persist and cause lasting harm. A little irresponsible for the constabulary to have such a forceful display of it then.

But then again, when did they ever care about the people dragged through those doors?

You don’t have a particular fondness for the constabulary. Part of it is, as previously stated, a purely professional rivalry. Another part is, though you’re loath to admit, is part of your own noble upbringing. Your old family had been the kind of people to make constables use the servant’s door and had generally regarded them as a lesser sort of criminal best used to keep the other criminals in line. It is the nature of Street Law to ever seek to increase its authority and the nature of noblemen to detest them for it the moment said authority could ever be applied to them.

The grand doors at the end of the stairs are attended to by a single man in a dark black uniform with a shining steel breastplate worn over the top of it. He peers at you suspiciously from out underneath his helmet.
“What’s yer name?”

“Sofia Pseudonym.”

“What’s yer business?”

You pull your still-sheathed sword free from your belt and hold it up.
“Public defender. You’ve got one of my clients. Now piss off and open the door because I know you can’t stop me.”


“Hold up,” he says. “You can say whatever you want and you’re right. Terribly sorry, signorina.”

1/3
>>
>>2951849
You soak in his confusion as he lets you through. What he’d intended to say was likely a good deal more rude. But that was the way of things. There’s been pale feelings between Sword and Street ever since both Laws had been born.
It had all started with High Law of course. The inviolable and arcane stuff of lawyers and judges. But there were some things, you were told, that High Law could not handle. The first had been what would become Street Law, the protection of the public peace and the investigation and punishment of petty crimes. High Law applied to such a subject was grotesque, impractical and violently impinging upon the principle of liberty, to which all proper citizens can aspire. So the constabulary had been made and a section of Law split off and given to them. Members of the polizia can wield vast legal powers over the citizenry but the same High Law that grants them these powers also restricts and prevents them from abusing them. Nobody wanted the constabulary becoming the new rulers of the City after all.

Nobody save the constables themselves, it seems sometimes.

The other malfunction of High Law had been with crimes of honor and personal redress between citizens. And this was simply because there had been too many cases. The High Court would have choked to death. That had been given over to the trials by combat, the duels. For sword and wit and City to settle. The right to duel is integral to every citizen but the rise of people like you quickly made it unwise in the extreme.

So beyond occasional little scuffles of jurisdiction, why would either Law have reason to dislike the other? Because, in a strange and twisted way, Street Law is subservient to Sword Law. For while the constables are held accountable to High Law should they overstep their bounds, matters of personal misconduct towards other citizens is often a duelling offence. Misbehaving constables can, should they offend the wrong person, be challenged under Sword Law and as far as you can tell, they hate this.

And they, in turn, do little stunts like this.

You sigh as you start filling out the paperwork in the lobby, a room too large to fit into the tower’s ground floor. You can feel the stares on your back and you can imagine what they’re thinking. Another vacuous full-of-herself duellist here to complicate matters when they’re the ones risking their lives to protect the people. Why can’t people be more grateful?

So there’s rivalry and pale feelings between Sword and Street. Street dislikes High because of the restrictions imposed upon them and is forever lobbying to have them reduced or replaced. Sword dislikes High because actually getting one of your terms challenged and having to take it to High Court is a pain in the arse and also fuck lawyers. And High...who knows what they think? Fuck lawyers.
You’re all a big happy family united under Law, that’s the point.

2/3
>>
>>2951852
******

Your client is waiting for you in a cell that you only had to climb seven flights of cells to reach. He’s a lithe man of thirty or forty, his head covered in a mop of curly black hair and the only slightest hints of gray. His skin is weathered and cracked by sunlight and hard toil, the kind of deep tan you only get from working outside in the Aquitae sun every day of your life. Not that you see a lot of it because he’s exceptionally hirsute.

“Are you Signore Potinza?”

“Yes?”
He looks up, the glint of his eyes almost obscured by his hair.
“Are you my-”

“Yes. Did you get my note? And more importantly, have you been talking to the polizia? Oh, that reminds me. Hey you.”
That last remark was pointed at the guard patrolling the cells.
“Yeah you. Buzz off. You’re not allowed within thirty feet of me when I’m talking to a client.”

“I said a little,” he said. “But it’s alright because it wasn’t me! I didn’t do it!”

“Hold on,” you say. “My name is Sofia Pseudonym by the way. Now what exactly didn’t you do?”

“I didn’t steal what they say I did. The coiners are accusing me of making off with a stash but I don’t have anything!”

“Wait, wait, wait, coiners? You mean the people out around d’Oro? That fountain?

“Yes! I work as a gardener for some of them in the area but-”

“I’m interrupting you again,” you say. “Were you initially placed under arrest for this?”

“Yes.”

“And yet you still talked to them?”

“Yes?”

“Look, uh, Orso, do you mind if I call you Orso? How do I explain this to you?”


>Sit down and walk him through a polite explanation of Sword-over-Street jurisdiction errors and what that means for him.

>The same as above but significantly less polite. You are tired and angry.

>”Just take my word for it and don’t fucking talk to them! They’re not your friends!”

>Other (Specify)
>>
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>>2951849
Ah fuck I used the wrong outfit sketch. This one was a dropped concept art. Sofia wears trousers, I swear.
>>
>>2951854
>>”Just take my word for it and don’t fucking talk to them! They’re not your friends!”
>>
>>2951856
so what you're saying is that if we got Long Stride her legs would burst out of her trousers

>Sit down and walk him through a polite explanation of Sword-over-Street jurisdiction errors and what that means for him.
>>
>>2951861
Nah, for the same reason taking Size Difference wouldn't cause her to burst out of her everything. Stuff scales up.
>>
>>2951854
>>The same as above but significantly less polite. You are tired and angry.
>>
>>2951854
>>”Just take my word for it and don’t fucking talk to them! They’re not your friends!”
>>
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I'm going to rest for an hour or so. Vote will remain open until then.
>>
>>2951856
>tfw we could've had a Zettai Ryouiki Sophia
>>
>>2951854
>Sit down and walk him through a polite explanation of Sword-over-Street jurisdiction errors and what that means for him.
We need to maintain decorum as a public defender.
>>
>>2951897
Public defenders don't have decorum.
>>
>>2951923
Then we'll be the first.
We'll show them all.
>>
>>2951854
>>”Just take my word for it and don’t fucking talk to them! They’re not your friends!”
>>
Alright, I'm awake again. Vote called and writing.
>>
>”Just take my word for it and don’t fucking talk to them! They’re not your friends!”

You’re already testy and uncomfortable enough with having to be in this damn place, you are not going to waste time explaining a simple concept to him. Instead you settle for slamming your hand on the cell bars.
“Just take my word for it and don’t fucking talk to them! They’re not your friends!”

“Why not?”

You take a deep breath.
“Alright Orso...Signore Potinza, why are you here?”

“Because I got arrested because they think I stole the coins but I didn’t!”

“And why am I here?”

“Because the family challenged me over the theft I didn’t do.”

“Good, good. So why are you still in jail?”

“What?”

“If this ‘crime’ is a matter of Sword Law, it means that the constabulary can’t prove anything. If they can’t prove anything, they don’t get to use their power over you. It’s how we stop them from just doing whatever they want. If they could prove anything, the family wouldn’t need to challenge you because you’d already be getting your hand chopped off! Stealing from coiners is a big fucking deal! If they had anything on you we wouldn’t be having this meeting!”
You take a deep breath and try to calm down.
“They’re keeping you here for now because they’re allowed to, they can detain someone without authority for three days and three nights. Any more than that and the officers involved start losing their jurisdiction. Now, since this has gone to Sword Law we know they can’t prove anything so why are they still keeping you here? Can you tell me why?”
You’ve let yourself slip to an extremely condescending tone but that’s fine. You don’t care.

“Why?”

“Because they still want to get you! It doesn’t matter if you did it or not, Orso! They are not on your side, they are not your friends! They are keeping you here because they want to trick you into implicating yourself somehow before the duel happens and settles the issue one way or another! It’s called a Sword-over-Street jurisdiction error, you idiot, they’re trying to cheat you out of your right to a trial by combat! So don’t! Fucking! Talk!”

He sits back a little, staring at you in surprise.
“Thanks,” he eventually says. You wonder what words your curse just swallowed there. Not that he’d know, of course. To his mind, he’s just being very nice to this duellist lady for some reason.

1/2
>>
>>2951978
“Now listen up dipshit! I’m going to fight whatever duellist this family has hired and I’m going to win. I’m going to clear your name. I’m going to make you a free man. But I can’t get out out of here until the three days and three nights pass. So you really just have to stay quiet. It doesn’t matter if they threaten you, they can’t actually do whatever they say they can. If they come in and say that they’ve found evidence and that it doesn’t matter anymore, don’t respond. Don’t say yes or no. Don’t tell them anything about anyone. Don’t fucking talk to anyone unless I’m here!”

You sigh. That felt good.


>”...Now give me the details.”

>Confront the guard about this jurisdiction ‘error’. You have no power here but you can kick up a stink since everyone knows that they do this shit on purpose. And what are they going to do, tell you to leave?

>”So did you do it or not?”

>You’ve got some time before your actual appointment starts. Maybe you can work on your newfound art skills.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2951979
>You’ve got some time before your actual appointment starts. Maybe you can work on your newfound art skills.
>>
>>2951979
>”...Now give me the details.”
>>
>>2951979
>”...Now give me the details.”
>>
>>2951979
>”...Now give me the details.”
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”...Now give me the details.”

An awkward silence descends, you having made quite the impression on your client. It persists for as long as you permit it to.

“...Now, give me the details. In your own words, if you please.”

Orso clears his throat uncertainly.
“Alright. My name is Orso Potinza. I live up along Speculo way.”

“That’s a pretty swanky area. Surprised you couldn’t afford a pro.”

“I live in a shed,” he says bluntly. “It’s a good shed but still. I’m a gardener to a lot of people with townhouses in Speculo, since my family was living there before it became all rich. And that includes around D’Oro.”

You nod.
“So coiners then.”
D’Oro was a known enough fountain, a large double decker in the middle of a square. Any coin you dropped into is transformed into pure gold. This was, for the most part, totally useless. It was still just a coin, all coins are worth the same. And what value does gold have? It’s decorative and nothing more.
But that’s just in the City. Apparently the people of the Lesser Realms hold the metal in quite some esteem and so the coiner trade had sprung up. People who would buy up or collect coins and wash them in D’Oro, transforming them into the kind of coins that foreign merchants loved so much. Without them, trade with the rest of the world would not be anywhere near as lucrative.
“Unwise enemies to make.”

“I said, I didn’t steal it! It’s this one family, they’re down on their luck, oldschool coiner family that can’t compete with the new folk who have moved in lately. The Antonelli’s. I do some garden work for them. And they’ve got a stash of stuff they skimmed off the top apparently. Or they had.”

“Is that...allowed?”

“All the coiners do it. But yeah, the old man who ran the family, Leo Antonelli. Real hardass. Everyone knew he had a stash, it was all that was keeping him and his kids and his grandkids in business. He died a few days ago and when they go to check, everything’s gone!”
He scrunches his face up.
“Or so I’m told. First I heard of it is when the constables broke my door down. They said they’d figured out the window for when it must have been taken and that it could only have been me. But I just trimmed some hedges!”

“Relax,” you say, feeling calmer now. “They haven’t found anything or else we wouldn’t be talking and you’d be down a hand by now. They probably ransacked your home though.”

“They did,” he says morosely. “I was there.”

“I think I can figure the rest out from here. So they took you away preemptively but ultimately didn’t find the evidence required to grant them jurisdiction. You know constables, if they act outside their jurisdiction they fall ill. So they just held you in here to do their oldest trick in the book and after they told the Antonelli family that they can’t pin it on you, the family challenged you to a duel over it. Do I understand?”

1/2
>>
>>2952020
“Yes, that’s more or less it. I don’t get it. This isn’t a ‘crime of honor’ or anything, why do they get to challenge me for anything?”

“Well the duels don’t just cover crimes against honor, that’s just the most famous part of it. It’s the one that shows up in all the books and plays. But people are allowed to challenge over street crime that can’t be proven.”

“That doesn’t seem right.”

“It’s not something to be invoked frivolously. Depending on what you want, I can demand pretty extensive terms.”

“You can?”

“Signore Potinza, they are almost literally asking for a pound of flesh from you. A hand, specifically. Either that or for you to pay off a debt for the rest of your life. Those are the only outcomes of using a duel to determine that the constables can punish you. As the challenged, you have the right to demand compensation and redress for this risk.”
You pause for a moment and then hurriedly add
“You can’t ask for their hands to be cut off though.”

“I just want to get out of here.”

“Hrm, yes. Say, how much coin would you make in three days and three nights of your usual routine?”

“Why do ya ask?”

“I’m just figuring out what I can name as acceptable damages for my victory terms. They’ve deprived you of that, at the very least. Maybe add a little more because this place has such oppressive psychological architecture, that counts as damages probably. Failing that, is there anything you want from the family themselves?”

He gives you a slow look.
“Their house.”

“Pardon?”

“I maintain most of the bloody thing already. And I know they’re probably moving out soon enough since they’re out of money. So I want the deed for it. It’s better than a shed.”

“And what would you do with it?”

“Live? Who knows, maybe get in the coiner business myself then. Or at least stop being a gardener.”


>Accept. People shouldn’t make frivolous challenges.

>Decline. Let’s not get too vindictive.
>>
>>2952021
>Hold that idea on your head. Perhaps we could make them lower their terms as well if we strive for a too hard of a bargain.

>Still, if you want to go for it, you could risk your hand, which would endanger your livehood if you lost. Tell me, do you know what sort of duellist they usually employ?
>>
>>2952021
>Decline. Let’s not get too vindictive
No way this won't give them cause to demand something more. How about asking for part of its sale worth?
>>
>>2952021
>>Accept. People shouldn’t make frivolous challenges
>>
>>2952021
>We don't know how valuable this house is, so warn him that if his demands are too high the challenger can up their demands as well.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Question this.

“Hold onto that idea, Signore. We don’t know just how valuable that is so you might be driving too hard of a bargain. If you do that, the challenger gets to up their demands. Now, I know I’ll beat whoever they send but let’s not be too hasty.”

“How can it’s value matter? One way or the other, either my hand or my life is riding on this!”

“Not necessarily. It’s possible that I could talk to their duellist beforehand and try to get them to lower their terms. I understand that’s common in jurisdiction issues like this one. They’re probably willing to settle for something less.”

“You sure?”

“We shall see. But if you insist on going ahead with this idea, I will just have to win. It should be of little difficulty for a duellist like me.”

“So you’re good.”
It had probably been originally meant as a question.

“The best! I am undefeated! So don’t you worry. Just leave it to me and think of this as a small vacation from your usual life. A vacation where you don’t talk to anyone.”

“You were right to treat me like that,” he says, looking a little puzzled. “I can tell you’re a damn fine girl and I wouldn’t have anyone else.”

“Thank you! But while we’re on the subject of my many virtues and my certain victory, do you have any idea what kind of duellist I might be defeating shortly?

He shakes his head, sending his hair this way and that.
“None. But I doubt they have much coin left so it can’t be anyone good. Certainly not as good as you.”

“A gutter duellist, eh?”
You wonder if they’ll be anything like the old Signore Albero. Shit, it might actually be him again. You’re not sure how you’d feel about that.
“Shouldn’t be an issue.”

“What does that word mean anyway?”

“What word?”

“Gutter.”

“No idea.”

Alright, so that’s all well and resolved. But now, thanks to your early arrival, you have some time to kill. How best to do it?

>Go home and take the opportunity to ready yourself properly to make sure you look as good as possible.

>A short visit to a friend may be helpful.

>You’ve got some more questions for Orso here. (Specify)

>Time to do your best to make a fuss and try to get him out of jail early. Surely they KNOW this won’t work anymore.

>Explore the Polizia Magistratum.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2952048
>>Explore the Polizia Magistratum.
>>
>>2952048
>Time to do your best to make a fuss
Sofia of all people can get them to admit the real reason why they haven't released Orso yet. Lean on them.
>>
>>2952048
>>Explore the Polizia Magistratum
>>
>>Explore the Polizia Magistratum
>Capture a policeman and make him give you a tour.
>>
>>2952048
>Go home and take the opportunity to ready yourself properly to make sure you look as good as possible.
>>
>>2952048
>>Go home and take the opportunity to ready yourself properly to make sure you look as good as possible.
>>
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Sorry guys, I'm going to sleep. Vote will remain open until the morning.
>>
>>2952113
Thanks for running and good night!
>>
>>2952113
Ouro. What if Sophia painted a portrait of a hot woman then somehow got it legally recognized as her depiction? Would it make us hot?
>>
>>2952233
Wouldn't it be better to just beat up a hot person?
>>
>>2952415
Maccio was hot and we didn't even get the option to copy his hotness.
>>
>>2952233
Yes.

>>2952415
Yes.

I'm awake, vote called and writing.
>>
>>2953051
If we just beat up someone hot though, our newly acquired hotness will depend on us carrying the trophy. I think this is too inconvenient.
>>
>>2953090
I think we should start unifying our trophies. Take the same thing every time. Hair or a strip of cloth. Get a theme.

And there's nothing wrong with putting on your best face before going out.
>>
>>2953090
Just take a convenient trophy. Also why did you guys not take size difference?
>>
Whoops this took way too long.


>Explore the Polizia Magistratum.

Having been assured of your client’s determination not to speak to anyone else, you take your leave of his cell block and wander out into the corridor beyond. The interior walls are surprisingly mundane compared to the Magistratum’s incredible exterior, whitewashed and plain.
You yourself must stand out like a sore thumb compared to everyone else. The constabulary insist on the drabbest, darkest uniform possible. It’s an aesthetic you’d call almost foreign if you were aiming to offend. They bear none of the usual colours of the City’s populace.

As some small vengeance for this Sword-over-Street ‘error’, you’ve decided to ambush an officer. You’ll be assigning them a new job: Tour guide. But you need to ensure that they don’t just walk away from you…

The next time a constable passes down the hall, you snake out an arm to the opposing wall and stretch out across the entire hallway in an exaggerated lean. It’s an effective blockade.
“Hello!,” you trill. “I’ve been looking for someone who might be able to show me around.”

He tries. He really does.
“I have something else that needs do-”

“What, so you’re not going to help me?”

“I-”

“Is your business more important than me?”

“No, of course it isn’t.”
He looks surprised at himself for saying that.

“To be honest constable, I’m the best possible use of your time.”

“Yes.”

“I mean, what would your bosses do if they found out that you didn’t do exactly everything I told you to?”

“They’d be...angry?”
He mustn’t be sure why he’s acquiescing to you but in his mind at least, all of this is his own decision.
“You are extraordinary.”

“Yes, I know. It’s a curse.”

Well. you’ve wrangled yourself a constable. Now you could just use him as a tour guide or ...you could abuse your newfound position.


>Just a look around is fine.

>Use him to drag some constables into a contest of some sort.

>Use him to show you some of the more secret places.

>Use him to get access to whoever’s in charge around here.

>He’s not bad looking, honestly…

>Other (specify)
>>
>>2953275
>Use him to drag some constables into a contest of some sort.

I'm up for stealing more techniques
>>
>>2953275
>HE'S LOOKIN PRETTY FINE, ESPECIALLY IN THAT UNIFORM
>>
>>2953275
>Use him to drag some constables into a contest of some sort.
>>
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>>2953275
>Use him to show you some of the more secret places.
also, ask him invasive questions
>>
Vote called, writing
>>
>Use him to drag some constables into a contest of some sort.

You still have time before you’re scheduled to meet with your opposite number. And if the polizia thought they were profiting from this attempted trick of theirs, it’s time to cruelly dissuade them of the notion. By trying to coerce information out of your client, all they have accomplished was to invite you into their stronghold. And you’ll take full advantage of that.

“My name is Sofia by the way,” you say, safe in the knowledge that he can never report it. “Thank you for agreeing to show me around!”

“..Sure.”
He knows he made no such agreement of course but look at him, he’s saying he did for some reason! This generally makes people ignorant of you comply. After all, he must be thinking, didn’t he just agree then?

Your morning with Maccio has awakened a hunger in you. He wasn’t enough. You need more. Oh, how easy it is to slip back into your conquering ways!
“Take me to the barracks or whatever you may call them. The break room? Wherever you people sit around when you’re not doing anything.”

“Absolutely, since you’re so beautiful and all. But why?”

“I’m bored. I’d like to play a little game or so while waiting for my client.Oh, is something wrong? Is it that citizens aren’t allowed in there? Don’t worry, my good constable, I’m practically a sister in arms. Are you going to tell me I shouldn’t? Would you bar my way?”

“Never! ...Fine, I guess it’s fine. Right this way, Signorina.”

“Please, call me Sofia.”

*******

The little room, apparently the break room for this particular floor, is...lived in. It’s squalid, to be less charitable. Personal belongings, food, weapons and what looks like various forms of evidence are strewn out around the table. There’s a few constables here, two men and one woman, though she isn’t wearing the armour of the other two? Some sort of desk job? Does the Magistratum have bureaucrats? They must, you just never really thought about it before. They’re playing cards.

One of them rises as you walk in.
“Who are you?”

“I’m Sofia Pseudonym, duellist. I’m just visiting a client that you’ve wrongfully imprisoned in an attempt to coerce him back into your jurisdiction.”

“Oh, that’s alright then. Come on in.”

“Civilians aren’t allowed,” the woman says. “But we can make an exception for you.”

“Thank you,” you say with the grace of someone for whom exceptions are often made. “I just wanted to see how the other half lived. Mind if I join in your game?”

“Not at all,” they lie.

You recognise the painted cards spread out upon the table. It’s a pretty basic gambling game, a little bit judgement but mostly luck. It’s called Auction.
“I won’t be betting any money by the way. Do you mind if we just play a few rounds for nothing?”
You get the predictable response and the others slowly put their stakes back in their pockets.

1/2
>>
>>2953491
Auction is all about making a bid and trying to match it with the cards you’re constantly being dealt. You’ll start the bidding of course. But how risky should you go?

>For the sake of the thread, several rounds of Auction are abstracted into a dice game. You must choose a number between 5 and 9 and try to use two dice to win with it. Some numbers will cause you to lose. Some numbers will prolong the game. It’s awfully random but that’s card games for you! Poker this ain’t.

>Choose a bid:


>5: Rolling a 5 wins. 2, 3, 11 and 12 lose. Anything else gives you an extra chance.

>6: Rolling a 6 or a 12 wins. 2, 3 and 11 lose. Anything else gives you an extra chance.

>7: Rolling a 7 or an 11 wins. 2, 3 and 12 lose. Anything else gives you an extra chance.

>8: Rolling an 8 or a 12 wins. 2, 3 and 11 lose. Anything else gives you an extra chance.

>9: Rolling a 9 wins. 2, 3, 11 and 12 lose. Anything else gives you an extra chance.
>>
>>2953494
>7: Rolling a 7 or an 11 wins. 2, 3 and 12 lose. Anything else gives you an extra chance.
>>
Rolled 1, 6 = 7 (2d6)

>>2953494
8
>>
>>2953494
>>7: Rolling a 7 or an 11 wins. 2, 3 and 12 lose. Anything else gives you an extra chance.
>>
Vote called.
>>
>7: Rolling a 7 or an 11 wins. 2, 3 and 12 lose. Anything else gives you an extra chance.

Auction is a somewhat complex game. You make a bid and then everyone tries to match it first, all drawing wildly from the same deck in an attempt to sculpt their hand, one card of which is always visible to the others. There are cards that are worth counting towards your bid and cards that are worth nothing but can be used for specific things, like looking at an opponent’s hand or for reordering the top of the deck. Most dreaded of these is the Chester, a card that will lose the game for whoever has it in the end. There are a few ways to offload the Chester once you’ve drawn it but...who cares?
Ultimately, for all the funny little rules Auction has, it really just comes down to luck and judgement. It’s a game that pretends to be complex.

The pictures are pretty though. The cards are painted with grisly and lurid scenes, the people within moving and enacting them without any awareness that they are but cards in a game. But you don’t let them distract you. The rounds drag on and you must do your best to match your own bid. It’s time to test your luck.

>Roll 1d6. Only the first 2 rolls will be counted.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d6)

>>2953538
>>
Rolled 2 (1d6)

>>2953538
>>
Well that was quick
>>
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>1, 2
>3

You draw your next card and ah shit. There he is, the painted foreign man standing at the gates to the City wearing an absurd outfit and with an expression of stupid awe. The Chester. When the time comes to lay your cards down, the hand with this in will lose. You’re doomed!

...But you don’t have to be. You have a certain special technique for card games, one you’ve often used before. It’s called cheating. You’re not particularly good at it but you don’t have to be. After all, if someone sees you concealing a card, what are they going to say? The best they could do is imply that you did so through some innocent accident but that kind of word wrangling generally requires an awareness of your curse.
These chumps on the other hand will just try to accuse you if they see you and get their words all mixed up forever. What are they going to do about it? Maybe it was just a trick of the light. And it’s not like there’s any stakes involved!

With that in mind, you hold your hand up high as if to inspect the cards and when nobody is looking, you let the Chester fall down and wedge itself in your collar, from where you can just nudge it down further and into the inside of your bodice.
They’re welcome to check that all they want.

You draw another card…

>Through the magic of cheating, Sofia can roll one extra dice and replace one of her previous rolls with its result. Roll 1d6.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d6)

>>2953562
>>
>Replace the 1 with the 2
>4

Nobody points out your cheat and while your replacement card isn’t enough to win, the game goes on. Or at least it does until the woman opposite you lays down her cards and reveals her perfect Seven.
“Any challenges?”

It’s possible to steal a win from someone else if you can just manage a reverse bid with your next draw and show it to her before everyone else lays down their hands. With a little card-fiddling, you’re sure you can do that.

>Roll 2d6. In order to steal the win, you must wind up with a result equal to any of the numbers not mentioned as a victory or a failure for the 7 bid.
>>
Rolled 6, 2 = 8 (2d6)

>>2953575
>>
>>2953580
Alright. Thanks for tolerating my descent into random dicegame territory.
>>
>8

Turns out that when you’re playing a casual game for no stakes, full of people whose hearts are held in thrall by yours and while you’re constantly cheating...it’s pretty easy to have just assembled a perfect reverse bid hand! Whoopsy daisy!

“Read them and weep, ladies and gentlemen,” you say, spreading them out.

“We weren’t playing for anything,” one of them says.

“Oh, I was, even if you didn’t know it. Here, I don’t think I’ll have the time to play another ten rounds but let me just take a souvenir…”


>Pick up the entire deck.

>You’ve already taken one! The Chester in your blouse will be more than enough.

>Snag a uniform button.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2953597
>Snag a uniform button.
>>
>>2953597
examine aforementioned pieces of evidence laying around. is there any in particular that looks interesting or is it all random junk?
>>
>>2953607
It's all random junk, Sofia is just assuming it's evidence. In addition, Sofia can still be arrested.
>>
Oi, can we take a badge or whatever passes as one for these guys?
>>
>>2953616
Yes.
>>
>>2953597
>Snag a uniform button.
>>
>>2953618
will we be arrested for it?
>>
>>2953622
Probably not. Sofia can push her luck pretty far with petty crime.
>>
>>2953625
Then I vote badge
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>2953275
> “You are extraordinary.”
> “Yes, I know. It’s a curse.”
Damn it, Sofia, you're killing me here.
>>
>Snag a uniform button.

As you rise to your feet, you lean out across the table and run your fingers along the woman’s collar. It’s awfully stiff. They must really starch this thing.

“Hey! What are-”

“Oh nothing.”
You pull your hand back, her top button now secure between your fingers.
“You don’t need to button yourself all the way up, do you?”

You pin the button to your lapel as if it was a badge or a medal. It glints in the light, polished enough for you to see your own reflection in it. You’ve learned something today, something only these people could have taught you. What was it?
You don’t really know anything about her save her appearance and that she’s a constable. It’ll have to be one those:


>Stolen Authority: You can act with all the powers of a constables, provided you remain within all the limits and boundaries of them too. While you wear this button, you are a creature like them. The assumption of these powers could have long-term consequences however…

>Unlimited Access: Constables can go anywhere and now, so can you. This will let you sink beneath the surface of public waterways and open locks with a touch. But as with all things Street Law, power comes with restriction.

>Constabulary Wages: She doesn’t get paid by the city directly through the June Moneta. She is paid a wage by her bosses, who do. But now so can you! Be careful about using this too often though.

>Going Bust: The uniform hides it well but now that you’ve taken her top button, you think she’s actually pretty well-endowed. Certainly more so than you. Wouldn’t that be a fun skill to learn?

>Dour Gaze: As long as you wear this button, you can remain stoic and unimpressed no matter what happens. No matter what.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2953702
>Constabulary Wages: She doesn’t get paid by the city directly through the June Moneta. She is paid a wage by her bosses, who do. But now so can you! Be careful about using this too often though.
>Going Bust: The uniform hides it well but now that you’ve taken her top button, you think she’s actually pretty well-endowed. Certainly more so than you. Wouldn’t that be a fun skill to learn?
>Dour Gaze: As long as you wear this button, you can remain stoic and unimpressed no matter what happens. No matter what.

One of these three, the others while useful would likely get Lawyers involved personally. The first will too, but only if we use it more than once in a blue moon.
>>
>>2953702
>Unlimited Access: Constables can go anywhere and now, so can you. This will let you sink beneath the surface of public waterways and open locks with a touch. But as with all things Street Law, power comes with restriction.
>>
>>2953702
>Unlimited Access
might come in handy, but lets not abuse it
>>
>>2953702
>Unlimited Access: Constables can go anywhere and now, so can you. This will let you sink beneath the surface of public waterways and open locks with a touch. But as with all things Street Law, power comes with restriction.
>>
I've finished eating. Vote is called and writing.
>>
Funny how we can't really influence how much Sofia actually uses her abilities any more. She just kinda does it or doesn't.

Y'know what?

I'm just willing to acquiesce to the storyline of Sofia the Deluded Conqueror and make something interesting happen that way. I dunno, the quest is kind of boring to read when Sofia can literally almost do no wrong outside of a fight, and throwing fights for the sake of something happening doesn't appeal to me.
>>
>Unlimited Access: Constables can go anywhere and now, so can you. This will let you sink beneath the surface of public waterways and open locks with a touch. But as with all things Street Law, power comes with restriction.

You don’t feel any different, which is a bit of a letdown but that’s fine. You’ve learned a little smidge of the constabulary’s authority. Enough to go wherever you want. But you can’t use it wantonly or without suspicion or due cause. If you accept their power, you accept their bans as well.
And hopefully nobody will look too hard and see that you’re not a member at all.

This could have consequences. But not here and not right now.

You flash them all your best smile and, with the button firmly pinned upon your lapel, you turn and leave.
“That was fun,” you tell your guide. “But for now I must be on my way back to my client. I sure hope you lot haven’t tried anything untoward with him while I was gone!”

****

Oh someone is trying something untoward alright but as far as you can tell, it’s not the polizia for once. The hallway outside the little cell block is crowded with people! You count at least seven of them, men and women of varying ages. It looks like they’re trying to get to the cells but the door is closed and the guard isn’t letting them in.
“As I said,” you catch him saying, with a hard edge in his voice, “You can’t see him until-”

“Until I’m here,” you say loudly, speaking over him. Everyone swivels to look at you.
“Hi, my name is Sofia Pseudonym and I’m Signore Potinza’s representative. I assume you are the Antonelli family?”

An older man steps forward, stern and foreboding.
“Yes. Now-”

“I don’t care. It’s time for negotiations. We’ll be having in the cell since my client has to be present and well...can’t leave it. I will speak to your representative. The rest of you...there’s no room! Just put your faith in your duellist to argue terms and wait outside. Capiche?”

They probably try to dissent.
“Seems good.”
“Acceptable.”
“Fine.”
“You are a fine young woman.”

“Good,” you say faux-pleasantly and don’t bother to hide the faux. “I’ll go inside and wait.”

*****

There’s nowhere to sit so you lean against the bars of Orso’s cell, draping your arms across and through the bars. You think it looks pretty cool! It gives an impression of a devil-may-care duellist with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Who knows the story of the mysterious and romantic Sofia Pseudonym.

You get your arm stuck between two of the bars.

1/3
>>
>>2953871
You aren’t ready for who walks in. She’s...well, she’s a girl but that’s not the important part. She’s a weird girl. Standing about three inches taller than you, she’s tall and slender with an athletic build not all that different from your own. But her brown hair is shorn crudely around the neck and shot through with streaks of a green so artificial that it might glow in the dark.
You take a lot of pride in your duelling outfit but this girl, if she really is one,...does not. She’s wearing an armless vest tied together with ribbons, her otherwise bare biceps wrapped up in strips of protective cloth. And she’s wearing, of all things, a skirt! A scandalous one at that, a short and high-waisted affair that stops just above the knee. It gives you a good view of her legs and while you wouldn’t necessarily be against either, it also lets you see the scars that run up and down them. Short and shallow nicks, one after the other. Duelling scars and most likely the outcome of duelling without even a modicum of protective clothing. There’s a reason why you wear pants!

“Ave,” she says, looking straight past you.

“Who are you supposed to be?”

“Oh right. I’m Gloriana Morello. Charmed, I’m sure.”

Gloriana? That’s...that’s not a City name. It sounds foreign. And while you recognise Morello, that’s half the problem. Everyone knows that name.
“No relation to the Morello family, I assume?”

“Actually I’m the don’s daughter.”
She doesn’t seem to be lying. Or if she, she’s very good at it.

“And you’re a duellist? A-A professional one?”

“Why not? It’s fun! I’m the gutterest gutter duellist there ever is! An unreliable rookie who loses more than she wins! But…”
She winks conspiratorially.
“Since I’m just in it for the laughs, I’m very cheap. Practically free.”

“So that’s how you find work then?”
You don’t know how to react to this.

“Well it’s not like these people have all that much money left. I feel bad for them but not bad enough to actually do anything about it. Besides my job.”

“And you can afford to be so cheap because it’s all just fun to you, huh?”

“You got it!”

“...This isn’t a game, Gloriana.”
The foreign sounding name doesn’t come easy to your lips.
“This is a serious profession and you should treat it with a little decorum.”

“I should, I should! But isn’t it all a bit stupid?”

“Pardon?”

“Duelling that is. It’s all very dumb and yet everyone here takes it all so seriously. You seem great but so many duellists are uptight and concerned with things like ‘image’ or ‘honour’.”
She says those two words with a mocking tone.
“I think everyone needs someone to remind them that this whole business is nonsense. So that’s me, the jester of the duelling arena! I devalue the reputations of everyone who fights me, even if they win!"

2/3
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>>2953872
“Can’t you have a little respect?”

“For what? You? I do respect you Sofia, you’re awesome. You’re totally going to beat me! And hell, with you as my opponent maybe not even I will be able to make the duel dreary, weary and long! Because that’s my speciality, you know, I drag...things...out.”

‘Hell’. Another foreign word. And you are left adrift, unsure on what to say. How old is she? Around your age? A little younger? She’s not a child. And yet she doesn’t seem to care at all. She’s a travesty in human form.
“Look,” you manage to say. “Let’s get down to business then. I would like to raise the issue of lower stakes. Surely you don’t need to go through with handing him over to the constabulary.”

“Yes we do! I want to see him get his hand lopped right off!”
You’d told Orso before that such circumstances usually allowed to a lessening of terms. But you hadn’t been anticipating your opponent to be this ...this spoiled mafia brat.
“So what say you, Sophie? Can I call you that? I want to call you that. Give me your terms. They can be whatever, my heart’s not really in this.”

“Why would anyone hire you?”

“When they have no choice!”
She says it like it’s something be to proud of.


>Fine. Go for the damn house.

>Just the money for his missed work and possible mental damages from the architecture.

>A portion of the house’s selling price.

>Other (Specify)
>>
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>>2953870
I'm not sure what you mean by this but I'm interested in critique. If you're referring to Monkey Sight, I thought that was implicit in the contest choice.
If you have things you'd like to see or not see going forth, please feel free to offer and I'll take them into consideration.


...But I can't read them right now because I'm already late for work! Sorry folks, the vote will remain open until I return!
>>
>>2953877
>>Fine. Go for the damn house
thanks for running
>>
>>2953877
>You're just like I was before I got a clue. Wow.
>Ask her how much the house is valued at.
>3 days of wages, money to make up and repair anything lost and/or broken by the constabulary, cessation of all charges, threats, and slander, and punitive damage equal to ten times the actual rate. This can be paid for in coin, or in goods/land of equal value.
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>>2953877
>>A portion of the house’s selling price.
>>
>>2953883
I think he's referring to how the curse makes her unable to do wrong, which is simultaneously kind of missing the point of the curse and also a valid complaint. Sure she CAN be a horrible person, but no one is ever going to call her out on it, so it feels like there's no real repercussions. Especially since they're likely to praise us for it. Sofia angsts about this from time to time, but also turns around and indulges in it gleefully. He could also be referring to how things like the race with Maccio popped up and it felt like we were forced into taking more things from him just because we could.

Even if that's the whole point of her curse and she's just supposed to live with it, it gets old quickly when every conversation is just the same rehash of:
>"Hello, I'm amazing."
>"You are."
>"And nothing you say matters."
>"That's correct."
>"Now let us fight, where you will surely lose!"
>"Absolutely."
But I'd say that even if we lost, it wouldn't change anything. Our clients would be forced to claim they forgave us and that we tried our best, etc. The fact that most of her personality is that of a pushy, horrible person predisposed to abusing the curse she apparently hates in order to get her way is also a bit grating.

I don't know. It's a shitty situation and the more you pay attention to it, the less fun it is. There's no struggle, no progress to be made towards fixing or removing it. You just have to kind of ignore anything you might have wanted to do and zone out until a duel comes up, or we chase a waifu/husbando.... Which I guess is how Sofia's daily life is, but y'know. Doesn't make it any more interesting.
>>
>>2954100
You honestly kinda nailed it. Thank you.

I didn't miss the point of the curse, the point of the curse is the entire problem. Well, that, and the fact that, like you said, we can't really choose to deny the curse as much as she claims to dislike it. Sofia's a hypocrite due to that, and like you said, the loop becomes boring.

She could literally waltz into the center of power, say 'I'm going to take over the city now,' and everyone would be like 'yeah okay'. Quest over, or maybe just shift it to Tyrant Swordswoman Quest or something.

That's why I'm saying if thing are to get any interesting we might as well lean into it, ignore the characterization we tried to give her earlier, and just make her a massive shitheel of a person with wicked goals, because that's sounding more interesting than what we're doing now.
>>
>>2954105
>>2954100

It's why earlier I was hoping there was a way to break or at least mitigate the curse, since it was sounding initially like that'd be a goal of the quest, but then the QM shot down literally every feasible method of bypassing it or otherwise doing something interesting with the curse, so it's like. Fuck. She's literally got two/three options in life:

1: Pick a thing she wants to do, literally doesn't matter. Do it in public and become the most famous and liked X ever literally and specifically 'because Sofia says so'.

2: Kill herself to end the curse.

3: Sequester herself away in solitude, having no contact with anyone ever unless they want a fight. IIRC, even written material is afflicted by the curse, so she can't even communicate by letter since they'll be compelled to write ONLY nice things about it. She resigns herself to being not a person, but a goal, an obstacle for other individuals to face, surmount, and, ideally, forget about aside from idle dinner conversation after improving themselves.
>>
>>2954105
>She could literally waltz into the center of power, say 'I'm going to take over the city now,' and everyone would be like 'yeah okay'.
The curse also seems like it only takes effect as little or as much Ouro wants it to at the time, which makes it kind of frustrating to deal with. Like we threatened the guy in the first thread with showing up to every single one of his family gatherings and pointed out that there would be no way to keep Sofia out since the guards would be forced to let her pass, but later we learned that she can be physically rejected from sexual or romantic advances and it's just more confusing because the curse doesn't make the person aware it's working to dissuade them from that. So why can't people stop her entry to places if physical rejection is fine?

It feels icky to deal with because there doesn't seem to be any consistent usage of how it will take effect, so the example of walking into some center of power could work, or it could just get shot down for some reason, and we have no idea which is more likely. It just shows up to force us through one scene or another.
>>
>>2954111
I mean, the worst part about it is that this curse could've EASILY been an interesting narrative hook/obstacle if it wasn't so ABSOLUTE. Just keep it down to 'they can't ORALLY SAY anything bad about her', and bam. You've got something that's hard, but not literally impossible to surmount, and you have to get creative with how you approach individuals, and have them approach you.
>>
>>2953877
>Fine. Go for the damn house.
>>
Actually, this whole issue reminds me- what's the City's rules on deathmatches? Non-duel killings/murder? Or assassinations? Is there just a magic 'No, you're not allowed to inflict violence outside of duels or else the City Itself kills you' rule, or is that something that's doable?

I say that because that's really the only other interesting thing I can think of- Sofia turns into a 'Deathmatch Only', Akuma from Street Fighter kind of fighter because fuck, that's literally the only thing she can do that could theoretically have a negative outcome for her post fight that STICKS.
>>
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Just popping in to say that I've finished work and I've seen this critique. I have a response I want to write for it but I'm currently too tired to do so.

But soon.
>>
>>2953877
>Fine. Go for the damn house.
>>
>>2954176
I hope it's not just a defensive statement- I'm saying all this because your world REALLY INTRIGUES ME. I think it's an interesting setting, but the MC is just...dull, in terms of interaction with other individuals. Not that she says things with a dull tone, but like the other anon said, the conversational loop is basically the same with different window dressing, and it gets old fast because there's no consequence that we don't self-inflict. And that's not something I'd suggest relying on.

I WANT to like this quest. I really do. But Sofia isn't really, IMO, a good MC. Her attitude, skillset, and general disposition/place in life makes me see her more like a major NPC/rival/antagonist that the MC of another quest has to deal with here and there- appearing enough that you dislike her and want her gone, but she poses a particular threat that you can't just ignore and have to work around. Like, 'Okay, so although you can't think/say/do anything negative about/to her, you CAN maybe try to make your star shine brighter than hers in the one area that you can actually affect by defeating her in a duel.' Although even that would be iffy like was said...

Ugh. See? I'm trying, but it's hard to make an interesting challenge around someone who literally has an 'I win in the court of public perception always and forever' power, since that can be abused to kingdom come beyond just what it sounds like.
>>
>>2954100
>Sofia angsts about this from time to time, but also turns around and indulges in it gleefully.
This is true. The amount of it in this thread is because of Sofia's distaste for what happened with her client but it is a little much. Sofia wants to eschew her curse but this is a relatively recent phenomenon for her. She's spent a majority of her life relying on her birthright for a lot and it's left bad habits.

>Even if that's the whole point of her curse and she's just supposed to live with it, it gets old quickly when every conversation is just the same rehash of:

This is true. Only Sofia can judge Sofia, she's never going to get a wake-up call from an outside source. To be honest, a lot of those cycles are stuff I put in there for humorous purposes but it obviously isn't landing.
I'll try to do more with conversations in the future.

>I don't know. It's a shitty situation and the more you pay attention to it, the less fun it is. There's no struggle, no progress to be made towards fixing or removing it. You just have to kind of ignore anything you might have wanted to do and zone out until a duel comes up, or we chase a waifu/husbando.... Which I guess is how Sofia's daily life is, but y'know. Doesn't make it any more interesting.

This is true and partially intended. This quest is meant to be episodic with a lot of slice of life content. There isn't a huge overarching goal by design.
That isn't everyone's cup of tea, especially when Sofia's holding the cup. But I think I've got an idea to improve the stakes and I'll start implementing that idea soon. Probably in the next thread.

>>2954105
>Sofia's a hypocrite due to that.

This is somewhat of a mistake on my part. Because of her attitude towards the polizia, I let her be too free with herself during this thread. I should have called it up to a vote.

>She could literally waltz into the center of power, say 'I'm going to take over the city now,' and everyone would be like 'yeah okay'. Quest over, or maybe just shift it to Tyrant Swordswoman Quest or something.

That's not quite how it works though. Sofia's birthright does nothing to stop violence. If she attempted this, everyone would just be very polite to her while she was being executed.
Sofia trying to force or crush people to her will relies on them not escalating the situation beyond social. If they do, she has a problem. People ignorant of her birthright probably won't escalate because they don't know what's going on.

>That's why I'm saying if thing are to get any interesting we might as well lean into it, ignore the characterization we tried to give her earlier, and just make her a massive shitheel of a person with wicked goals, because that's sounding more interesting than what we're doing now.

This is a player choice, I can't comment on this. But I did want you to know that I didn't miss it and will be thinking on it in future.

1/2
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>>2954110
In regards to goals, my original plan for this quest was to include a lot of SoL content regarding other characters, relationships and whatnot. I liked the idea of the birthright here because it was like a veil over the whole process. The players get to choose time with whoever they want but it's forever uncertain regarding the truth of the matter. I thought it would play well with the general unreal/illusory nature of everything else going on in the City.

That said, I am willing to include quest-related goals that may extend beyond one thread. I don't want the quest to stop being episodic, being episodic is part of what makes it so easy and relaxing to run. But removing it should be possible in the long run, if you want to try at it.

>>2954111
>The curse also seems like it only takes effect as little or as much Ouro wants it to at the time, which makes it kind of frustrating to deal with. Like we threatened the guy in the first thread with showing up to every single one of his family gatherings and pointed out that there would be no way to keep Sofia out since the guards would be forced to let her pass, but later we learned that she can be physically rejected from sexual or romantic advances and it's just more confusing because the curse doesn't make the person aware it's working to dissuade them from that. So why can't people stop her entry to places if physical rejection is fine?

I've been trying to keep it consistent. Sofia's threat to Ormanno about his guards being unable to stop her was based on the idea that he would never able to tell them to keep her out specifically and if they ever asked about her, he'd have to tell them that she's welcome. But if they're there to keep out everyone or whatnot, it's not like she can force her way past them. Physical rejection is fine, it's just that Sofia relies on the situation not escalating to use of physical force in the first place.
Also she was making a threat to try and keep him in line, giving him an accurate portrayal of her limits was not her priority.

>It feels icky to deal with because there doesn't seem to be any consistent usage of how it will take effect, so the example of walking into some center of power could work, or it could just get shot down for some reason, and we have no idea which is more likely. It just shows up to force us through one scene or another.

I'm not sure what exactly you mean by this so I'd like you to elaborate. You don't have to of course.

>>2954114
I thought that keeping it oral only would make it really easy to surpass to the point of not being an obstacle at all. Sofia would have just carried a notepad with her everywhere.

2/3
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>>2954158
>Actually, this whole issue reminds me- what's the City's rules on deathmatches? Non-duel killings/murder? Or assassinations? Is there just a magic 'No, you're not allowed to inflict violence outside of duels or else the City Itself kills you' rule, or is that something that's doable?

As referenced earlier in this thread, they try not to use High Law to bind people's behaviour in such broad ways. It would make it impossible to hurt anyone but it would be a blanket rule and a massive restriction on people's freedom if High Law was put in place for petty crime.

That's why Street Law exists, stuff like murder is for the constables to deal with.

It might seem odd that personal liberty for every citizen would be a political issue in non-modern state but it stems from the City's pseudo-italian roots. Personal freedom (for roman citizens specifically) was a big issue for the Roman Republic and I wanted Aquitae Cogituum to be a bit like that.

>>2954190
Thanks! I'm glad you like the setting, I wanted to do something a little more surreal than previous. And I hope this megapost doesn't come across as defensive but if it does it does I suppose.

Regarding your comment about Sofia here, that's an interesting thing to say because originally back when I was thinking this place up, before any idea for a MC existed at all, Sofia or at least the idea of her general deal, was an NPC. I wanted a good example for how birthrights could go wrong and why it wasn't done very often anymore. (The base idea for her birthright was actually suggested to me by Riz)
But after coming up with all that stuff about her, there still wasn't an MC and I'd decided that all this curse business was actually very interesting to me and I wanted her to do it. I thought it'd be something new.

So in summary, I'll see what I can do about reducing the hypocrisy, unless people choose to do hypocritical things. I'll bring in some things for stakes and the possibility of getting rid of the curse in the long-term while still trying to keep the threads slice of lifey.
Of course, if you don't like slice of life stuff that's your prerogative but it's not going to stop.
>>
Oh yeah, might as well bump this triplepost up to a quadruple post and call the vote. The update will probably not be as long as all this.
>>
>>2954218
I like this quest the way it is.
>>
>>2954212

>a lot of those cycles are stuff I put in there for humorous purposes but it obviously isn't landing.

Like a lead balloon, I'm afraid. Absolutely no conversations in this quest so far have ever really struck me as funny, just desperate for companionship or demanding and abusing her 'curse'.

>my original plan for this quest was to include a lot of SoL content regarding other characters, relationships and whatnot. I liked the idea of the birthright here because it was like a veil over the whole process. The players get to choose time with whoever they want but it's forever uncertain regarding the truth of the matter. I thought it would play well with the general unreal/illusory nature of everything else going on in the City.

That...is unfortunately very offputting, at least for me, as the idea of 'we're never certain of our actions and choices or issues actually being truthful or honest' really makes me think along the lines of 'the choices don't much matter since there's no real resolution', which in turn kinda makes me feel like it's a very aimless, meaningless quest, for me. So maybe this is just a quest that I might have to sadly accept isn't really my bag. We'll see. It's less that it's SoL, more that it seemed to be AIMLESS SoL. Even SoL quests generally have a 'task' in mind, something long-term to look forward to, y'know? Whether it's just 'make sure the crops come in well by winter' or 'get enough money to start your own restaurant chain eventually', most SoL quests can answer that fundamental question: 'Okay, what's the Big Thing That Needs Doing?' I've yet to really understand an answer to that for this quest.

>Sofia would have just carried a notepad with her everywhere.

Which by itself is at least more interesting to have to do than just 'absolutely nothing works ever even beyond her visual range or when not even talking to her directly.' It's us having to CHOOSE TO DO something to communicate as we like rather than just shutting down the avenue of possibility entirely.

>Thanks, etc etc.

Appreciate it, and I'm glad you're taking it to heart. (It's not defensive to me, just explanatory.) I don't know how I'll be voting now, come the future, but at least I'll be sure to keep reading and participating, if only to see how the adjustments take.
>>
>>2954111
>to let her pass, but later we learned that she can be physically rejected from sexual or romantic advances and it's just more confusing because the curse doesn't make the person aware it's working to dissuade them from that.
Wait what? I'm pretty sure Sophia can't be rejected.
>>
>>2954221
I also like the quest the way it is. It's comfy.
>>
>Fine. Go for the damn house.

You’re struggling to keep your cool but you don’t want to get too frustrated before you’ve even given her terms. There’s something about this girl though...she just slides right under your skin. You’ve known her for all of two minutes and you can already tell that she must be infuriating. What is it about her exactly? Is it because this is all just a game to her? People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake on every duel but to her, a child of wealth who can go back any time she pleases, what could it matter to her? Even if everything goes bad she’ll never suffer the consequences. She’s slumming, just playing at being poor. And because of that detachment, she just thinks she can do whatever she wants. And the kind of people who need her are, because of that need, never able to take her to task.


The combination of it all is...irritating. Particularly so to you because it’s like looking in a mirror. It is only through self-control that you aren’t exactly like her. And even then, maybe it’s still closer than you’d like. No! You’re much better than her! You at least understand the idea of social responsibility. It’s why you do what you do. You help people.
But you sure aren’t above using the circumstances of birth to bully whoever you please. But that’s different. You’re different. You only do that to bad people like...like people you don’t like. Uh.

“Demanding the full price gives me quite a lot of leniency in my terms,” you manage to say.

“Whatever. It’s not like I’m the one who has to pay it either way.”

“When I win, my client gets the deed and ownership of the Antonelli’s current house. It’s adjacent to D’Oro. He has full legitimate rights to it and they all have to clear out. So are you still sure about that?”

“Sounds good to me,” she says cheerfully, not skipping a beat.

You can’t hold it in anymore. Maybe you’re a bully after all. But this girl deserves to be bullied.
“You’re a disgrace, you know that right? A pathetic wannabe with shit for brains and an awful fashion sense. You’re playing games with people’s lives and why? Because you’re the daughter of a murderer? What are you?”

“A daughter of a murderer?”

And? What else did I say?”

“I’m a disgrace, I’ve got shit for brains, bad clothes and I’m a pathetic wannabe?”

“Am I wrong?”

“Nope! You’re absolutely correct. I’m the absolute fucking scum of the earth and I don’t even deserve to be in your presence.”
Hrmph. This doesn’t feel right. She’s still smiling, she’s still got that cheerful tone.
“I’m real bad and I’ll never be as good as you. We’re still gonna fight though!”

“Are you...alright?”

1/2
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>>2954232
Gloriana just laughs.
“Why are you concerned about someone like me? I’m the most gutter duellist around. And words are just words. Someone as idiotic, as despicable, as filthy as me...can’t really get upset about what people say about her. Now where did you want the time?”

“Huh? Time of what?”
She just let you take control, she didn’t bother to even try resisting. And it seems to have done precisely nothing.

“Time for the duel, you masterpiece of nature! You’re the challenged, you get to choose!”


>Right now!

>In a few hours from now (This will give you some time for research)

>Tomorrow. (This will give you a lot of time for research and maybe for other stuff as well.)

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2954233
>>In a few hours from now (This will give you some time for research)
>>
>>2954221
>>2954231
I will be presenting the options to change things. It'll still be up to a vote.

>>2954227
>That...is unfortunately very offputting, at least for me, as the idea of 'we're never certain of our actions and choices or issues actually being truthful or honest' really makes me think along the lines of 'the choices don't much matter since there's no real resolution', which in turn kinda makes me feel like it's a very aimless, meaningless quest, for me. So maybe this is just a quest that I might have to sadly accept isn't really my bag. We'll see. It's less that it's SoL, more that it seemed to be AIMLESS SoL. Even SoL quests generally have a 'task' in mind, something long-term to look forward to, y'know? Whether it's just 'make sure the crops come in well by winter' or 'get enough money to start your own restaurant chain eventually', most SoL quests can answer that fundamental question: 'Okay, what's the Big Thing That Needs Doing?' I've yet to really understand an answer to that for this quest.

We'll see how things change. And if you don't like them well, that's not ideal but I can't exactly demand it. It is what it is.

>>2954228
You can't tell her no or likewise. You can shove her away though.
>>
>>2954233
>Right now!
>>
>>2954233
>>Right now!
Grrrr
>>
Vote called, writing.
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>>2954227
>Even SoL quests generally have a 'task' in mind, something long-term to look forward to
I thought it's pretty obvious that Sophia's long-term goal was to find some real friends and a husbando.
>>
>Right now!

“Right here, right now!”

“Here?”

“Outside the Magistratum of course. Where people can see. I want there to be a crowd to see me crush you.”

“Really?,” she asks excitedly. “So do I! I bet you’re just going to devastate me with that sabre of yours.”

“Yes.”

“I’m gonna be impaled. Buried to the hilt. You’re going to eviscerate me. You’re going to just get down and straight up fuck me with it.”

“Yes?”
How is she still so revolting?

“I can’t believe I’m about to get so thoroughly penetrated with everyone watching. Am I going to have to marry you after I lose?”

“I…”
People aren’t allowed to mock you. Not even kind words in mocking intent survive your curse. So that means Gloriana is being 100% serious right now. This is just...innate. Her normal self. You walk out of the cell but she follows you.

The Antonelli family is still out there but Gloriana just waves at them.
“No fear folks! We’re having the duel right now and right outside! I hope you’re all ready to see Sophie have her way with me!”

“That’s not what’s happening!”

“Of course. I’m so sorry, please forgive this hideous bitch. But I am so ready to get reamed. I’m excited to lose to such an honorable opponent. Ooh, I can’t wait!”

“Stop following me!”

“Sure.”
She says that, unable to say anything else but to agree with you. However...she still keeps following you. Through the hallways, down the stairs…

“Stop it!”

“Okay! Stopping right this instant!”
She does not.

“We’ll meet outside! Get away from me!”

“Anything for you!”
She does not comply.

As you stomp down the spiral staircase that extends both up and down as far as the eye can see, certainly further than the outside of the Magistratum itself, someone taps you on the shoulder. You turn, already shouting.
“I said FUCK OFF!”

But it’s not here, it’s a short blonde woman around your age. She’s short too, almost as short as Leonarda. You vaguely recognise her as a face in the Antontelli crowd.
“I’m sorry!,” she pleads.

“You should be,” you tell her, meaning to apologize but unable to. “What do you want?”

“Are you really going to fight for Sign-...for Orso, considering his history?”

“His what?”

“Why do you think he was the first suspect? Everyone knows he’s done it before, even if nobody can prove anything.”

“Well you shouldn’t have hired him as your gardener then.”

“My family is ruined!,” her pleas drive up in both pitch and volume. “Without grandpapa’s coin, we’re going to have to sell the house, leave the coining, it’s our whole life! He did it! Everyone knows he did it! You seem like...such a nice and compassionate person. Can you really stand there and fight for him? Even if it means it's ruining sixteen lives?"

1/2
>>
>>2954263
>”About that house thing. He’s going to get it by the way.”

>”Maybe you should have found the money to hire a better duellist.”

>”It’s my job. I have to do it.”

>”Easily.”

>”The City will judge who is right and who is wrong.”

>”I’m not unsympathetic. But I am here for my client. Anything else would be impossible.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>2954264
>>”I’m not unsympathetic. But I am here for my client. Anything else would be impossible.”
>>
>>2954264
>”It’s my job. I have to do it.”
>>
>>2954264
>Sorry, I won't let down my client because of gossip and hearsay.
>>
>>2954264
>”About that house thing. He’s going to get it by the way.”
Come on, they knew it was a risk and they should have thought about before hiring à duellist.
Besides, asking for our client's severed hand isn't gonna bring back the money.
>>
>>2954264
>it’s my job
>if you have no proof that he did it I have to give him the best defense I can
>You have my sympathies but the law is clear
>Additionally our defensive terms are the House
Something stinks about this. Ten bucks girly’s dad made a deal with the gardener and she’s gonna throw the match blatantly.
>>
>>2954253
Exactly.

>>2954264
>If they think they have a case, they can ask for a City Duellist after this duel.

I get the feeling the girl gets off on losing public duels...
>>
Vote called, writing.

>>2954284
They can't actually. The duellists retained by the City are only for people who have been challenged and are unable or unwilling to acquire a representative. The logic goes that people wishing to make a challenge but can't afford it can just suck it up while people who are challenged don't have a choice.
>>
>Explain.

“Do you think I’d let down my client because of gossip and hearsay? It’s my job. Even if I agreed with you, I’d still have to do it. ...It’s not that I’m unsympathetic. But it’s impossible for me not to give the best defence I can. If a public defender could be swayed by personal preference, what would be the point of having them?”

“You’re right,” she says.

“And I’ve named your family home as my client’s terms by the way. Trying to force him into Street Law even after they couldn’t touch him comes with consequences.”

She starts to tear up.
“But-”

“My client’s punishment was never in question. I’m going to win this duel. So please make sure your family is ready to leave. After this, failing to surrender it will be answerable to the High Court.”
You want to say something nicer. But what you said is truth. You turn and keep walking, leaving her behind. Gloriana’s already gone on ahead while you were talking.

“My name is Fiorella Antonelli!,” she cries out after you.

“Nice to meet you. What about it?”

“A-and my little sister’s name is Corinna Antonelli! And my father, he’s Nicolao Antonelli! He works hard, even though all the new coiners can do it better.”
Is her hope that putting names to faces will make them people in your eyes and slow your blade? It...it might work. After all, you’ve never had a duel to determine the fates of so many before. Your only option is to close yourself to it.
Your loyalty to your client is a thing above sentimentality.

Gloriana is waiting for you on the steps outside, flanked on either side by the Magistratum’s ornamental (and deadly) peacocks.
“They can probably smell my bloodline,” she says. “They like to keep an eye on me. So where are we doing it?”

“Didn’t you hear me? On the water outside the Magistratum.”

“I hear, I hear. But which water? Do you mean out there…”
She waves her hand out at the intersection of canals that rings the Magistratum’s artificial island. That had indeed been what you meant. What else was there?
“...Or here?”
She points down to the raging river that splits the tower’s deadly gardens. A single narrow strip flanked on either side by razor-sharp grass.
“Could be exciting, no?”


>”Out there, on the canals.” There’s no need to take risks. Not for this girl.

>”The river sounds good to me.” What better place to crush the polizia’s foolish attempt to cheat you out of your client then on their land? You’ve never fought in such a dangerous arena before but maybe it’ll be different in the Wake...
>>
>>2954294
>”Out there, on the canals.” There’s no need to take risks. Not for this girl.
>>
>>2954294
>”Out there, on the canals.” There’s no need to take risks. Not for this girl.
I suspect Sophia just wants to be done with all this as soon as possible.
>>
>>2954294
>>”Out there, on the canals.” There’s no need to take risks. Not for this girl.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
LIGHTHEARTED

QUEST
>>
>”Out there, on the canals.” There’s no need to take risks. Not for this girl.

As if you’re going to take any sort of risk on Gloriana’s behalf. It’s amazing what a talent she has, that you can already be so sick of her after such a short time.
“No. We’re fighting out there and that’s final.”

“Oh Sophie, you’re so wise!”

...You might have a hard time keeping your composure against this girl.

The two of you walk down the river side by side, your reflection finally rejoining you as you do so. The arches watch as you pass through them and the peacocks trail after you in a bizarre procession. You keep your eyes fixed forward, away from Gloriana.

“Hey Sophie, I have a question for you, if you’d be so gracious to indulge me.”
And then before you can reply, she barrels on anyway.
“Are you magic?”

“Magic?”
You don’t know the word. Once again, it sounds foreign.

“You strike me as being very magical. I can’t think of any other way to explain what’s happening to me so consistently. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, you already have so many other good qualities.”

“What does ‘being magical’ entail?”
Has she figured out your birthright? You suppose she certainly looks like someone with a very foul mouth. If that’s the case, she’s probably feeling very peculiar about the way she decides to keep talking to you.

“It’s hard to explain. Either you know what magic is or you don’t! You people especially never seem to get it.”

“You people?”
Curiosity overrides your basic desire to not speak to Gloriana any more than required.
“Are you a foreigner?”

“No! I told you, my father is the big man of the Morello family himself. But my mother was from the Lower Realms and she spent a lot more time raising me than he did.”
You notice that she uses the term ‘Lower Realms’ instead of ‘Lesser’.
“I don’t belong anywhere! But it does let me see a lot of stupid thing that cityfolk don’t seem to realize is stupid.”


“I can’t imagine the ‘wisdom’ of a foreigner has anything relevant on us.”

“You’re right, you’re always so right. Mama was just a dumb foreigner who filled my head up with nonsense. She wouldn’t have been worth even a single inch of you, Sophie. And you’re definitely magical. You’ve more magic than anything else about you.”

The two of you come to a stop on the water of the ringed canal, a small lake of sorts surrounded by canals tracing in from all over the city. The crowd is giving you plenty of room. You draw your sword, a familiar blue and gold beauty. Not forged from the coins of the Court of Swords but almost as good.

1/3
>>
>>2954316
And then Gloriana draws her sword. The forte is green but not through the usual way. It’s painted, thick and heavy with obvious brush-strokes still adorning it. It’s the tackiest thing you’ve ever seen.
“I hope it doesn’t upset you, to match wits against such a disreputable sabre. I don’t mean to insult you.”

Almost unwillingly, you let her drag her blade down the length of yours, sealing them together with the ‘kiss’. Your swords will know each other now, even through the Wake. And what’s more, you’ve both gotten a little insight on the person behind them.
And she is as hopeless and shallow as you thought she would be. It’s almost disappointing.

>Sofia’s Composure: 2d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12

>Gloriana’s Composure: 4d4, ?

“Let me lead with the words!”
She...she has to. The challenger always starts. You don’t even bother responding at this point.
‘Representing the challengers, I claim right to offense! Should I triumph, the challenged must submit to the harsh rule of Street Law immediately and be judged guilty!! Should they neglect this, I defer rights to punishment to the constabulary!”

She almost sounds like a different person. Not willing to be shown up by her of all people, you shout at the top of your lungs.
“Representing the challenged, I claim right to redress! Should I triumph, the challengers must give up this claim and their property to the challenged! Should they fail to comply, I claim the right to punishment under High Law!”

The sky ripples but only for you. The eye of the City is opening. All that is left are the final words.

“Shall we seal the spell Sophie?”

“I don’t know what a spell is but no. Just say the words with me and set us aWake already. The sooner this is over, the better.”

You both raise your swords and in the flat of your blade, you gaze upon your reflection. You close your eyes, knowing that she will keep hers open.
“See and be unseen!”

You See.

The Wake is beautiful today. The grasslands behind you are as a forest, immense stalks of grass bending like old men over the canals and nearly touching the shadowy remnants of the buildings on the far side. How did they get so big? Or perhaps you are the one who has become small? The shadows that were once people loom as high as the sky, far larger than the two-dimensional outlines of the buildings they should be living in.
The curving grass towering above it all obscures the sky and thankfully so because all who could see the thing above, which cannot be seen, would be forever marked.

2/3
>>
>>2954317
You are Unseen.

Down below, far below, skipping over the water beneath the blades of grass, between the feet of the shadow people, are two tiny creatures. Two girls, each one a technicolour marvel. One has skin the dull red of hot iron and dark blue hair tied in a ponytail behind her. The other is bright pulsing pink and green, a strobing girl of bright lights and darkest shadow.

But who can say who is who? Actually...do those two even matter? They’re so tiny. So insignificant. If you even blink just once you will lose sight of them and never see them ag-

*!

You snap out of the ego death with lights dancing behind your eyes. And in front of them too. You are surrounded by a dozen motes circling your blue hair like a halo.

"Wow!"
Gloriana is even more of an eyesore in the Wake than she was before.
"I've never gone Woke so close to the Magistratum! I didn't know it did this!"

To tell the truth, neither did you. The gardens did not fade away in the Wake. Instead they had only became more and more important, to the point where you and Gloriana have shrunk to insignificant specks.
You stare up uneasily at the massive shadows moving past the two of you. Are those really people?
"I don't understand what could effect the Wake like this."

"Well if you don't, I certainly can't! Now! En garde!"
Gloriana charges forward!
>>
It's alright. You prepared for this. You've got all the trophies you need!

>What are they then? Choose six techniques from the following list:

>Brute Strike: [STRIKE]Siphon the lowest value dice from your Composure Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

>Underhanded Deflection: [TRICK]Lower the sides of all the dice currently in your opponent’s Technique pool by 1.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2954321
>Focused Blow
>Crushing Blow
>Counting Coup
>Circle Guard
>Elegance
>Gritted Teeth
>>
>>2954321
I have a suspicion this girl is geared to irritate her opponents into trying to destroy her as soon as possible to lead them into some sort of trap. Unfortunately, it doesn't inform the technique selection very much.


>Focussed Blow
>Counting Coup
>Elegance
>Crushing Grip
Our BnBs.
>Circle Guard
Let's give it a test ride.
>Gritted Teeth
Ouro did say we might lose composure easily.
>>
>>2954321
>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
Vote called! Writing.
>>
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>Loadout

You raise your blade to parry and Gloriana abruptly reverses her advance, skidding to a halt on the water just out of your reach. You lean forward to strike her but she pulls the distance enough that your swing falls short.

She steps back, a giant shadowy foot passing through her and briefly obscuring her from view.
“Isn’t this weird?,” she says. “Do you think our bodies in the old world are still normal?”

It’s all just perception of course. But you’re not going to waste words when steel is an option. You’ve got Signore Albero’s empty scabbard hanging from one side of your belt, you’re wearing Maccio’s torn doublet as a coat beneath your usual one and the button still shines upon your multicoloured lapel. You are ready.
>>
>>2954344
It’s time to commit to your opening strike! This single round should give you an idea of what to expect, after which the queue system will begin as normal.

Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 4d6, ?
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Unknown

Techniques: Unknpwn.


Sofia
Composure Pool: 2d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose one)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2954344
Can we get Albero's scabbard remade to fit our saber? I don't want us to look stupid toting around an empty scabbard all the time.

>>2954345
>Counting Coup
>>
>>2954345
>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.
Part of me wants to Crushing Grip, but my suspicion is that her ability involves us losing composure whenever we fail to remove any of hers.
>>
>>2954360
Remember the ability to be absolutely calm that we could've taken from Maccio?
That option had a reason for existing.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Counting Coup

You let your coat slowly slip off your back as you circle Gloriana, passing from light to shadow as the grass cover moves overhead. And there! An opening! You roll your coat around your arm and advance, ready to whip it forward and-

Gloriana retreats, far faster than you can advance. At first she just steps backwards but she follows it with a graceful fall a moment later, a fall that transforms into a cartwheel. A highly inadvisable cartwheel, considering her outfit. But regardless of the means, she jumps back and leaves you biting at nothing.

>Gloriana uses a Trick called Gain Some Distance!

>Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

>Gloriana’s Composure Pool: 5d4, ?

“Ohoh,” she says as she stares at you. “A lot of people try and hit me right away after we kiss swords. Do I come off as fragile?”
She holds her sword aloft, her feet spread. A basic defensive stance but with surprising determination behind it.

>Gloriana activates Unassailable Rookie!

‘Still,” she says. “I bet I looked goo-argh!”

Clinging on tightly to one end, you whip her in the face with your coat.

>COUNTING COUP

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

You don’t know how she does it but every word and action she takes gets to you. She’s really going to make you lose your cool soon!

>Gloriana’s Ability, Professional Provocateur, has been revealed!

>Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

“Are you feeling alright, Sophie?”

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: Empty

>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d4.
>>
Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 5d4, ?
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

Techniques:

Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.


Sofia
Composure Pool: 2d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: 1d4

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose one)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2954375
Crushing grip
Circle guard
Counting coup
>>
>>2954375
>Elegance [Trick]
>Elegance [Trick]
>Elegance [Trick]

Let's see what else she can do first.
By the way, Elegance [Trick] counters Gain Some Distance, since it generates two dice.
>>
>>2954383
I meant it counters Professional Provocateur.
>>
>>2954375
Elegance : trick
Counting coup
Focused blow
Also I posted a way to potentially get rid of the curse in thread 2, for all the complainers.
>>
>>2954386
What was that way, for the people who have suptg blocked at work?
>>
>>2954387
Make the terms of our next duel that the client of the loser has to insult or say a pale word about us. They can't, it gets kicked up to High Law, a lawyer hopefully rescinds the curse to let terms be fulfilled. Yes, it also risks them turning us into a newt or something, but some people might want to take that risk considering other suggested solutions were suicide or being a mountain hermit.
>>
>>2954396
Can we even put forward terms that don't benefit our client?
>>
>>2954397
Haven't seen anything saying we can't. At worst I'm sure we could lean in a client with our power one last time, and have them ask us to impose those terms.
>>
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Alright guys, it's well past midnight and there's no consensus so I'm going to go to sleep. Vote will remain open until I call it.

Additionally, I'm going to be busy tomorrow morning. If I wake early enough I might have enough time to do an update or two but I might not have the time at all. In which case, tomorrow's session might start a few hours later than normal.
>>
Ouro I really like this quest. The setting is cool and I like Sophia, her whole package. I enjoy the quips and dialogues where she just bulldoze over people. Still I do get that there are people who simply don't.

>>2954386
Since early on I was thinking that the natural course of the quest would be to let Sophia indulge in her attempt at leading a fulfilling and worthwhile life, and get increasingly frustrated that it's simply impossible. When everything's truly gone to shit and she has enjoyable and encouraging anxiety attacks she says fuck it and leaves the city, just to see if the judge's powers and the curse still work in the Lesser Realms.

And then she is ensnared by the first abusive man who is able to manipulate and prey on her insecurities and predisposition to believe that all critique and insults are true and genuine.It'll be like a vacation, but instead of seeking nice experiences she'll get insulted for a week until she's had her fill and then she goes back home to the City!
>>
>>2954375
>Counting Coup
>Elegance [Trick]
>Counting Coup
she intends to drag this fight out, so I'm digging in.
>>
>>2954375
>Counting Coup
>Elegance Trick
>Elegance Trick
>>
>>2954375
>Counting coup
>Counting coup
>Circle guard
she can't use gain some distance until she loses her stance, so let's build up some dice and let her goof around for this round, use her provocateur ability to fill up the strike pool, then fuck her up with crushing grip in the next one
>>
>>2954379
opening with crushing grip does nothing because we only have 1d4 in the strike pool and her stance makes it so that our max roll will be 3
>>
>>2954957
We can't use Circle Guard either because have nothing in our technique pool. i'm not sure what that anon was thinking.
>>
I'm awake though as I mentioned, I can only be around for a short period of time before I have to leave again. I'd like to call the vote and write but there is no clear winner. Even doing the queue vote mentioned last thread leaves the third choice tied.

So I'll be off for another few hours again, as I said I would. Vote will remain open until then.
>>
>>2954960
Shit I didn't realize we couldn't use it either. This system is too complicated for my pea sized brain
>>
>>2954375
>Counting Coup
>Elegance Trick
>Elegance Trick
>>
>>2955050
No your method works cause it assumes Counting Coup will give us the Tech dice and Circle guard goes last

The Crushing grip guy's Circle guard wouldn't have any Tech die until after the guard.
>>
Just caught up and I might have an idea on how to take a bit of the bite out of the curse.

From what I've read thus far, the general idea has been to try to trick the terms of the curse into allowing Pale Words to be said about Sofia in order to allow the speaker's 'true' thoughts to be heard.

But, instead of that, what if we came up with something simple, a hand gesture or a token or something else of the like that can be easily performed or shown, that confirmed that what was being said was the speaker's true thoughts? Now this wouldn't work in the case of Pale Words, but it should definitely work in the case of truthful, positive words.

It's not a true solution to the curse, but if it works it would allow Sofia to know when someone she is directly talking to is truthfully speaking well of her. Of course, the curse could also force the speaker to perform the gesture while speaking under its effects, but if its something like tossing a coin up in the air over and over again and they suddenly drop it we can assume the last statement way affected.
>>
>>2955138
Thought about something similar, but wouldn't her telling people to signal when they are genuine force them to signal every time anyway? Not signalling means it's not true which let's Sophia know they meant something bad which would trigger the curse. There is no harm in trying, every experiment is one step closer
>>
>>2955195

At least from how Ouro worded it, if its not a deliberate and distinct hand signal or body language that's conveying ill thoughts of her the curse can't directly make anyone talking about Sofia do something. So long as its not conveying ill intentions, rather it would be conveying 'I'm telling the truth', it should work.

Like I said though, the curse could pick up on this and force the speaker to perform the action, but the only reason that Ouro's given for how the curse indirectly forcing people to do things they wouldn't normally is through social interaction and peer pressure neither of which really apply to something like flipping a coin or just holding it up in the air.
>>
>>2955206

I was under the impression that the cursed detected intent which would naturally cause any attempted hand gestures are the like to be cursed. It had struck me as if anything could be interpreted as particularly negative, then the curse won't let it go through.
>>
After OP's blurb I realize that the birthright isn't supposed to be overcome, but a feature of the quest. Sorry OP, but I want to overcome it, I'm disgusted on a visceral level by how it limits people. Just mention to our friends and people we trust that it can't stop something like a shove to the shoulder, and I'm sure eventually we'll work out a system where they shove us whenever we bother them. It's partially why I can't get into the idea that hanging out with our mentor of all people is supposed to be ambiguous about whether he actually wants us around or not, because he already figured out a way around the birthright. If we were truly bothering him, he'd just get the training stick and whack us until we left.
>>
>>2955467
>>2954434
LIGHT

HEARTED
>>
>>2955515
How can a quest be light hearted if every relationship she has is a lie?
>>
>>2955520
What if Ouros is lying to us, and the duels themselves are but a Pale Word against her? And thus are fated to be thrown in her favor?
After all, actions speak louder than mere words.
What if we were to deafen the birthright? So that itself cannot hear?
>>
>>2955382

That's correct, which is why my idea only works when the speaker says something positive/complimentary to Sofia. Part of the issue that she's having is that she's unable to determine if a compliment is being said because the individual in question is speaking honestly or their words are being twisted by the curse; an issue I'm trying to rectify here.
>>
>>2955649
Yeah, my point wasn't on the part of Sofia, it was on the part of the other speaker. I figured that if the speaker said or did anything THEY intended as rude/negative, it'd be nulled.
>>
>>2955672

We’re speaking past one another a bit here.

Either way, from what we know of the curse currently I can’t see any way of someone voicing their displeasure to Sofia given how it’s worded. It’s something to look into later, but for now we’re just going to have to deal with it.
>>
Alright I'm finally back! Vote called and writing.
>>
>Counting Coup
>Elegance Trick
>Elegance Trick

You step forward, hoping to capitalize on her misstep. It doesn’t matter what she says to you! You’re still going to be the one who fucking wins this duel! If you can just work your way around the side here…

She does the exact same thing. Your blades clash and the two of you part, backing away. But you’ve got a slight upper hand. You’re forcing her back towards the enormous wall of grass. ‘

>COUNTING COUP

>Gloriana uses Counting Coup!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d6

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool: 1d4

“Is that all we’re going to do?,” Gloriana asks. “Push our swords together for a bit? I could have done that at home!”

You think you’ve got a pretty good idea of Gloriana and just what she tries to do. She’s going to try some sort of underhanded trick so if you just counter with a straightforward offensive you should just about crush her!
You whip your coat forward again, hoping to distract her attention.

She catches it.

You barely have time to react before she snatches it out of your hands, unrolling it from your arm with a twist that nearly sends you spinning!

>ELEGANCE: Trick

>Gloriana uses Counting Coup!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4. 1d6

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d6

“I’m more than just cheap tricks you know. I’m also expensive tricks. And now I’ve got your coat!”

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: N/A.

That had been a bad read on your part. Fine. It’s happened before. But she’s absolutely going for something devious now. You hang back and sure enough, she darts forward in an obvious feint! You spring to the side, ready to set up your counterattack.
Only it wasn’t a feint!

Against all wisdom, Gloriana is attacking for real! She bursts forward in a quick flurry of nonsensical swings, driving you back through sheer volume alone! You can practically feel your momentum bleed away as she batters at your defenses. You’re not in danger of being cut but it feels like you can’t get a strike in edgewise!

>ELEGANCE: Trick

>Gloriana uses a Strike called Flashing Steel!

Flashing Steel: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. Damage from this Technique is dealt first to your opponent’s Strike Pool, treating the dice within as if they were Composure dice for the purposes of destruction. The difference between the highest dice value in the Strike Pool and the damage rolled is then dealt to the Technique Pool in the same fashion. And if the damage continues to overflow, the remainder is inflicted upon the Composure Pool in the same way.

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4, 1d6

>Roll 1d4 and 1d6 to determine Gloriana’s damage!
>>
Rolled 3 (1d6)

I like her.
>>
What are the technique speeds again?
>>
Rolled 4 (1d4)

>>
>>2955907
Trick>Strikes=Flourishes>Stances.
>>
>7

Your charge stalls but Gloriana barely capitalises on it. Instead it feels as if she has you locked in a never-ending exchange of blows where both of you are whittled down to nothing. Is this what she meant by mocking the duels?

>Sofia’s Strike Pool is emptied by the damage!

>The overflowing 3 damage has no effect on Sofia’s Technique Pool.

“I like to take things slow,” Gloriana says. “I’m a big fan of...the grind. If you were thinking that this was going to be a cool duel or that other people will enjoy watching it, you’re alllll wrong!”

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: N/A
>>
>>2955912

Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 5d4, ?
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

Techniques:

Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

Flashing Steel: See above.


Sofia
Composure Pool: 2d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: 2d4, 1d6
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose one)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2955913
Did Gloriana drop Unassailable Rookie?
>>
>>2955914
No? Why would she have?
>>
>>2955917
To use Gain Some Distance again
>>
>Counting Coup
>Elegance (Flourish)
>Circle Guard
>>
>>2955918
Oh. No, she can't do that.
>>
...Question.

Is there any way we could work a chokeslam into this whole fight? She seems like she deserves a good chokeslam.
>>
>>2955921
It's called Crushing Grip.
>>
>>2955913
>Elegance (Flourish)
>Circle Guard
>Counting Coup
>>
>>2955922
When does stance deactivates?
>>
>>2955941
All Stances need a certain dice type in their owner's Composure Pool. When that gets knocked free, the Stance is broken.
>>
>>2955913
>Counting Coup
>Elegance (Flourish)
>Circle Guard
>>
>>2955946
Can Gain Some Distance be used when there's no valid stance to assume?
>>
>>2955954
No. If a Stance isn't assumed at the end, none of it has any effect.
>>
>>2955958
So Gain Some Distance is basically only usable once, unless she has another stance to assume after we break her d4s.
A thing to remember.
>>
>>2955965
Wait no, GSD adds a d4 into Composure so she can use UR again. That's how it functions.
>>
>Counting Coup
>Elegance (Flourish)
>Circle Guard

“This is no way to duel!” you spit, unable to resist responding any longer. But it’s not just because you’re losing your cool. Hopefully it distracts her enough for you to catch her next strike square on the forte of your own sabre. If you can ensnare the debole of her sabre with the forte of your own, you should be able to try and twist it out of her hands!

“I hope you’re read-fah? Hey!”

Got her. But while you’re pushing her blade to the side, she’s reaching out with her offhand! But whatever it is, you’re ready for it! You make use of your own off-hand, catching her hand in yours. At which point, she works it slightly free, digs her fingers into the web between your thumb and forefinger and twists.

“Fuck!”
You pull back, Gloriana pulling her sword back as well.
“How dare you?”

“Oh did I do something wrong?”

>COUNTING COUP

>Gloriana uses Crushing Grip!

>Due to how two actions moving at priority resolve sentence by sentence, the Coup generates it’s dice before the Grip’s dice destruction activates.

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4, 1d6, 1d8

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4, 1d6.


“Bitch!,” you snarl, keeping yourself constrained only through pure force of will. No, you need to calm down. You need to be ready for her. She’s going to do something with your stolen coat, probably to try and obscure your vision. You need to keep your blade ready to knock it aside.

She rolls your coat around her off-hand as the two of you keep pace with each other….and as she leans forward as if to use it, rolls back her head and spits right in your face!

>Gloriana uses Underhanded Deflection!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d3, 1d5.

You splutter but keep your defence up so you still have the advantage...but holy shit is it hard to tell yourself that. You just want to chokeslam that smirking atrocity straight through the canal!

>ELEGANCE: Trick

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d3. 1d4. 1d5

“You’ve hurt my feelings! Oh, I know I’m just garbage but I have dreams too you know!”

You see red.

>Gloriana’s ability, Professional Provocateur activates!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d5
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d3

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: N/A

Why the fuck can’t she just move in the way you expect her to! Why does she have to be such a...such a performance? Yes, that’s what it is. What’s going on here isn’t duelling.

Gloriana looks up as if panicked and yelps.
“Look out Sophie!”

“As if!”
You’re not going to fall for that one!

And that’s how you nearly got stood on by a peacock as it waded through the grass canopy, a burning thing of stone and flame that stands, compared to you, hundreds of feet high. Its feathers are fire and it’s leg an implacable black pillar dragging through the water.

1/2
>>
>>2955972
You stumble away from it. Wasn’t the Wake already strange enough here? Why do Magistratum’s peacocks have a presence in it? They should be shadows like everything else!

“Weird huh?”

You whirl to see Gloriana taking cover behind a giant empty seed almost twice her size. You react immediately, pulling out the stolen scabbard at your side and guarding with both it and your sword! With this, you should be able to punish her the moment she tries anything!

>CIRCLE GUARD

“Oh come along now,” she says with her sword lowered. She tosses your own balled up cloak back at you and as you dodge around to the side to stop it from obscuring your vision, you find that she’s already there, dancing around the side of you as if she knew where you were going to be!

You catch her incoming sabre but that’s just a distraction! Her off-hand is next, grabbing hold of your sword-arm by the back of your elbow and ramming her fingers into the joint!

>Gloriana uses Crushing Grip!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d3

You've got tears in your eyes from the sudden pain. She's already leaned away to avoid your counter-attack, taking one step outside of your reach.

“Isn’t it wonderful? How we’re going absolutely nowhere? But I’m having fun and you’re not.”
>>
Buh? I thought nothing could the duelists during a duel. That's odd and a half.
>>
>>2955973
Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 5d4, ?
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

Techniques:

Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

Flashing Steel: See above for example.

Crushing Grip: See above for example.

Sofia
Composure Pool: 2d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: 1d4
Strike Pool: 1d3

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose three)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
Also, honestly, the way to beat her isn't to just fight her straight up- that's been made clear. She's a madwoman, and doesn't fight in regards to obvious tactics most times. We need to out crazy the crazy. She wants to draw it out, make it unfun and stupid. How can we counteract that, not just in action, but in feeling?
>>
I'm clearly tired from what I've been busy with today, I'm making a ton of errors. Like for example:

>>2955975
Underhanded Deflection should also be included in Gloriana's six Techniques.

>>2955972
Sofia uses an Elegance: Flourish here but I accidentally refer to it as an Elegance: Trick once.

>>2955974
This wasn't a mistake though. There's something very odd about this area of the Wake in general.
>>
>>2955976
Gritted Teeth might get Sophia to calm down.

Duel:
Focussed Strike to try to stun her?
We could use Elegance(Strike) when we think she'll go after our Tech dice.
>>
>>2955976
Get her stepped on by a peacock?
>>
>>2955984
We won't be able to hurt her with Focused Strike right now.
>>
>>2955975
>>Counting Coup
>Crushing grip
>counting coup
>>
Actually, maybe 'counteract' is the wrong word.

How do we work AROUND that?
>>
>>2955975
She can only remove one Technique die an a time, so every time we get an Elegance right we outpace her by one die. With patience, we can get enough to crush her.

>Elegance: Strike
>Elegance: Flourish
>Elegance: Trick
>>
>>2955990
Good point. Unassailable Rookie reduces damage by two. If she uses Underhanded Deflection, that would save her. We would have a 1d3 and a 1d2.
>>
>>2955996
Good call. I'll support your plan later, once we've lost some Composure. Trying to win this with d4s will be a pain.
So, I'm voting for things that won't boost our tech dice or our strike dice, so she can siphon our lower comp dice.

>Focussed Blow
>Crushing Grip
>Crushing Grip

And after we lose this round, we'll go Elegance all the way.
>>
>>2955977
Can a die be reduced to less than 1d1?
>>
>>2955991
We're up to Counting Coup generating 1d8. If we use it twice, it'll go down to 1d4. Save the 1d10 CC until we actually use it. If you want to generate it now, you should use it immediately and hope she doesn't use Crushing Grip.
>>
>>2956016
This might be a good plan.
>>
>>2956019
Yes. Down to 1d0.
>>
>>2956024
That's bad.
She can destroy all we have with Underhanded Deflection.
>>
That's what we get for fighting her without prior research anons. Brute Strike would've been great here, but we didn't know to take it.
>>
>>2956026
Yup. Once we're up to d6s, d8s, Underhanded Deflection will matter much less.

>>2956027
I'd like to start taking more tricks and stuff, less high-powered stuff. I want to be able to shuffle dice, play with the combos.
>>
Since I want Ouro to close and write the next section, do you want to vote for me, or should I vote for you?
>>
>>2956035
Let's go with your plan.

>>2955975
Changing >>2955996 to

>Focussed Blow
>Crushing Grip
>Crushing Grip
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Focussed Blow
>Crushing Grip
>Crushing Grip

It’s about time you knocked some sense into this painful girl. You ready yourself, aiming to at least show her that she has to take this seriously. She just matches you step to step, garish sword at the ready and her off-hand at her hip. Neither of you are in one another’s range just yet but you can settle that with a good lunge.
She probably thinks she’s even out of your lunging range. And normally she’d be right. But you’re ready to take some risks. You’ve got to take her by surprise, it’s the only way.

You draw yourself back and just as you do, Gloriana’s off-hand darts into a pocket of her vest. A moment later and something bounces off your forehead hard enough to sting. Really sting! The projectile falls into the water as you reel back and it takes your mind a moment to catch up.
Was that a nail? A nail?

“Oh no,I was trying to see if I could make you bleed there and then. Whoopsy.”

>Gloriana uses Underhanded Deflection.

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d3
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d3

And that’s more than enough. You advance, one step after the other, your sabre pulled back with your offhand held in front...and just as you lean forward, eating up distance in a very risky maneuver, you pivot yourself around to bring your sword forward with all the movement of your body behind it!
Doing this drives you into a leaning squat, all just to gain a few more inches of reach as your sweep your sword forward and up towards her abdomen!

>Roll 2d3 for Sofia’s strike. Gloriana’s Unassailable Rookie will apply a -1 modifier to both these dice.
>>
Rolled 1, 3 = 4 (2d3)

>>2956050
>>
>>2956059
Oh well, it was a long shot anyway.
>>
>1, 3
>0, 2
>2

>2 damage fails to damage Gloriana’s Composure!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: Empty
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: Empty

And it fails miserably. She brings her sword down immediately to guard herself, catching yours and driving it down the length so that your lunge is diverted to flounder just past her knee! You’re stumbling back, still in a half-squat half-crouch when she, pushing your sword further and further to the side before you can retract it, raises her leg high enough to give you an unfortunate view before driving her boot down upon the flat of your trapped sword!

You’re yanked forward automatically as she stomps your sword into the water, trying to push it below the surface. But you won’t let go! If you do, your sword will be lost to the bottom of the canal! So you keep your grip, even as it forces you into a crouch before a triumphant Gloriana.

>Gloriana uses Underhanded Deflection!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool is already empty!

And with you trapped, the green and purple shaded sprite brings her own sword straight down upon your head!

Unable to look up, you use your own reflection as a guard and grab her sabre by the forte just inches above your forehead! It hurts but that’s fine. You push the blade away and release your grip for a moment before taking advantage of her now flailing arm and seizing her by the wrist instead! She winces as you grab hold of her with all your strength.
This is a much easier way to control her sword.

>CRUSHING GRIP

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool is already empty!

For a moment the two of you are frozen like that. You, crouched down ignobly at Gloriana’s feet, your own sabre pinned beneath her boot and kept afloat only by your iron grip. She, half-bent and with her own sword held hostage by your hand around her wrist. Both of your swords are trapped. Neither of you can move without breaking the other’s grip, either of your hand around her wrist or her foot upon your blade.

You gaze up at her, watching her off-hand rarily. She just pokes her tongue out at you.

>Gloriana’s ability, Professional Provocateur, activates.

>Sofia’s Composure Pool: 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

The moment ends as she spikes her free palm straight into your face! But you were ready for this and you take the stinging slap to the cheek, letting go of her sword-arm in the same instant! You sweep your hand to the side and grab the hand that just slapped you before she can react, her sword-arm dangling uselessly. Before she can bring it down to strike you, you’ve used your grip on her other hand to pull her forward and into you.

>CRUSHING GRIP

>Gloriana uses Counting Coup!

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool: 1d8

1/2
>>
>>2956077
She collides with you, kneeing you in the neck quite badly but ultimately follows the rule of anything tall smacking into anything short. She topples over, catching herself by grabbing hold of her shoulder before she can face-down in the canal! You push her away, pulling your own sword free in the process!

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool: Empty.

The two of you are sprawled half-crouched on the ground with no more than four feet of distance between you, red-faced and sweating.
“...Ow,” Gloriana eventually says. You don’t say anything. You’re not sure if you can. You’re having a little trouble breathing after she hit you in the neck like that.

And so it must begin again.
>>
Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 5d4, ?
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

Techniques:

Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

Flashing Steel: See above for example.

Crushing Grip: See above for example.

Underhanded Deflection: See above.

Sofia
Composure Pool: 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: 1d4
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose three)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2956080
Flashing Steel: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. Damage from this Technique is dealt first to your opponent’s Strike Pool, treating the dice within as if they were Composure dice for the purposes of destruction. The difference between the highest dice value in the Strike Pool and the damage rolled is then dealt to the Technique Pool in the same fashion. And if the damage continues to overflow, the remainder is inflicted upon the Composure Pool in the same way.

Underhanded Deflection: [TRICK]Lower the sides of all the dice currently in your opponent’s Technique pool by 1.
>>
>>2956080
Let's continue trying to dump our Composition
>Counting Coup
>Focussed Blow
>Crushing Grip
>>
>>2956080
>Elegance: strike
>Counting Coup
>Focussed Blow
>>
>>2956088
I'd rather not use Counting Coup right now.

If we fill up our Technique pool, our Composure won't be drained. Then the next turn, if we make her lose Composure, her ability won't activate.

We also want to keep an eye on her own CC, if she uses Flashing Swords she might get us down to few enough dice to let her ability finish us off.
>>
>>2956095
I want to destroy her d4s to neutralize Unassailable Rookie.

But you're right about Flashing Steel. If she goes Counting Coup - Counting Coup - Flashing Steel she could really hurt us. We need to mix in a Crushing Grip every round. So I'd like to change my vote.

>>2956080
change >>2956088 to
>Focussed Blow
>Crushing Grip
>Elegance: Trick
>>
>>2956080
Elegance flourish
Counting coup
Focused blow
>>
>>2956097
She’s going to need a flourish to build dice.
This is a lock.


Coup was to try and build some dice to deal with her own


Strike was to neut rookie
>>
>>2956096
Supporting.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>2956096
We can’t rven use focused blow to neut rookie. This was a waste. Are you trying to make us lose?
>>
>>2956104
I can't say for sure myself but I think they're trying to get Gloriana's ability to strip your Composure until Elegance starts being better.
>>
>>2956105
Issue is focused blow does nothing.

Nothing. We get 3 points damage at best. It was a wasted effort


Now she has dice adavantage again.
>>
>>2956107
She can set up Rookie again with Gain Some Distance anyway.

Ouro has it right here >>2956105
Focused Blow was just to empty our Technique pool, not to deal damage. We need to start pulling in bigger dice, or she will nullify all we have with Underhanded Deflection.
>>
>>2956104
Not trying to neut Rookie. Trying to lose d4s so that Flourish matters more.

Didn't vote for you because I thought she could do CC then FS to take out our d8.

Didn't realize that Flourish's d4s would protect it.
>>
>>2956110
Dumping dice isn’t building the answer. You essentially gave her a free move. We know she’s going to flourish to build dice move 1 either trick or coup again turn 2 then strike turn 3


Our best best was either striking as she did whil predicting her moves and counting coup ourselves or tocircle guard her on turn 3.
>>
>>2956110
She can't. She needs d4s in Composure to set up Rookie. I think she has another stance though. Not much point in Gain Distance if it can only be used once.
>>
>>2956112
I don't think we can expect her to build dice with any certainty. She doesn't need dice to fuck with us.
And anyway, I put a Crushing Grip in case she does build dice.
>>
>>2956113
Gain Some Distance generates a d4 into Composure. I missed it too at first.
>>
>>2956115
Oooooh. Nice move.
>>
>>2956113
We’ve seen all 6 of her moves

>>2956114
She has no dice. If she wants to beat us she’ll need too, also right now we literally cannot hurt her so it’s the best time for her to do so.
>>
>Focussed Blow
>Crushing Grip
>Elegance: Trick

You get to your feet, water wobbling beneath you and across from you, Gloriana does the same. This has become less of a duel and more of a squabble, a petty fight lacking entirely in honor and dignity. This is what she has done to the job you’ve dedicated your life to. This is what she’s done to you.
The Wake might be exceptionally strange today but it’s apt. This fight is lower than grass. It makes you feel smaller than a speck.
How much more of this humiliation do you need to endure?

And Gloriana’s not as foolish as she makes herself seem. She wants to do nothing more than chip you away. To swallow every attack you make until you are worn down to nothing. And to think, back when you kissed swords, you thought she was fragile! You’re going to have to fight her on her terms.

And if that means being a little crazy yourself, so be it.

You both advance at the same time but as you lash out, she spins to the side, not even trying to cut you in return. Instead she pulls one of the ribbons tying her vest together free with her off-hand! You barely have time to comprehend it before she swings the weighted ribbon right up into your face!
You duck to the side and then catch it. The damn thing’s got metal wire going all the way through it! If it had struck you there’s a chance it could have broke the skin and ended everything!

And while you’re holding onto it, she gives her end a short, sharp tug and pulls you off-balance!

>Gloriana uses Underhanded Deflection!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d3

“Enough!,” you croak. You let go of it and as she’s pulling back, you lean forward and make a diagonal slash across her torso!

>FOCUSSED BLOW

>With 1d3 and Unassailable Rookie, maximum possible damage is 2. The attack fails without a roll.

She doesn’t even move, letting the misaimed sword sweep past just inches from her chest.

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: Empty

“Are we just playing now? I’m sorry Sophie but I came here to duel.”
She goes to bisect you but you pull the distance and knock her blade aside with yours. Fah! She’s one to talk! How does she intend to win with tricks? Just wait until you die of stress? Because right now it’s starting to feel like a real possibility.

“Why don’t you DO something?”

>Gloriana’s ability, Professional Provocateur, activates!

>Sofia’s Composure Pool: 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

You close the distance once more but she just tosses the weighted ribbon into your path as you do so, forcing you to bat it away with your free hand. It stings!

1/2
>>
>>2956120
>Gloriana uses Underhanded Deflection!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d3

“It’s not that I’m scared,” Gloriana says as she makes a half-hearted attempt to stab your outstretched arm. “Normally I’m happy to finish people off but the way you manhandle me around...well, firstly, you copied it off me. And secondly, it makes uneasy to waste the crest of my p-”

Her sword meets yours, driving both blades up and away for just long enough for you to punch her in the chest as hard as you can!

>CRUSHING GRIP

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool is already empty!

The two of you separate a moment later, both trying to avoid an attack that doesn’t come. Gloriana just sighs and slowly shakes her head.
“But I don’t need a big decisive strike to win.”

>Gloriana’s ability, Professional Provocateur, activates!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: Empty
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d3

You dart in, acting as if you’re ready for another lunge but it’s just a faint. You pull yourself up out of the squat the moment you do so, angling around her side! If she’s trying something like that ribbon bullshit again, she’ll have made a mistake! She’s doing something weird with her sword so you best be quick!

>ELEGANCE: Trick!

>Gloriana uses Crushing Grip!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

Gloriana lets your blade slide down hers to the forte, twisting it before you can retract it and thus controlling your sabre down and to the side.And she does, she pivots, using the momentum to swing her free hand straight towards your neck!
You drop your chin and so she only manages to gouge at your cheek and only for less than a second. But it still fucking hurts!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: Empty

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: N/A
>>
>>2956122
Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 5d4, ?
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

Techniques:

Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

Flashing Steel: See above for example.

Crushing Grip: See above for example.

Underhanded Deflection: See above.

Sofia
Composure Pool: 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: 1d3

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose three)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2956124
That was close to what I was expecting.
Now I think we need to start accumulating dice. I don't want to risk dropping our d6 as well.

Btw, Gloriana's next Counting Coup will be 1d10. Be mindful of that.
>>
>Flourish x3
Even if she pulls off CCx2 and FS, she'll have a hard time getting past both our Strike and Tech pools.
>>
>>2956124
Now we need to aim to always have a die in our Technique pool.
>Elegance: Flourish
>Elegance: Trick
>Circle Guard
>>
>>2956127
Meant Elegance.
>>
>>2956127
If you meant Elegance you have to specify what we're expecting
>>
>>2956124
>Elegance Flourish
>Elegance Flourish
>Elegance Trick
I expect the second or third to be another crushing grip, but let's just go with the safer option already.
>>
>>2956124
>>2956128
This
>>
>>2956124
>>2956127
Changing to

>Elegance (Flourish)
vs Counting Coup
>Crushing Grip
To ruin her d10, she's likely to want to ruin our Strike and Tech dice with Flashing Swords.
>Flourish (Trick)
vs Underhanded Deflection.
>>
Vote called. Writing.
>>
>>2956161
>>2956124
Second
>>
Meant Elegance (Trick)

Crushing Grip is better than Circle Guard, since even though it makes us lose a d3, it will be replaced with a d4 because of Provocateur. We won't be able to keep our Strike Dice in the face of Flashing Swords, a d3+d4 aren't much better than a d4 if you're not attacking before a FS. There's no reassurance she'll use FS on her third turn, which CG will only defend against, and let her keep using her d10 if she did Counting Coup twice. Crushing Grip will take out her d10, giving us a couple of turns of safety, and if we use it on our second turn it will defend us on our second and third.
Good Guy Crushing Grip always arrives in time.
>>
Worst case scenario, she does CC, FS(taking out our d3 in our Strike Pool and our d6 in our Composure Pool, then UD+PP to shuffle our d8.
>>
>Elegance: Flourish
>Elegance: Trick
>Circle Guard

You lash out as she pulls away, her free hand still curled up in a claw from where she tried to crush your windpipe. Your slash starts high and swings low, aiming to slice her along the legs or the abdomen. She responds by falling over, a sharp and angular drop as if her strings had just been cut. She lands on her back with an arm propping her up. This avoids what should have sliced her belly open and a quick kick leads to your sword bouncing off the metal soles of her boots.

Stylish, sure, in a trashy sort of way. But it lets you kick her in the ribs, something you do with gusto! She wheezes, rolling with the blow to avoid the sabre that slices through the water a moment later. The moment you see your sword miss, you tense up and spring backwards. Just in time to avoid the sabre that comes scything through the spray at knee-height.

Gloriana gets to her feet and mimics you, springing backwards without even turning her head. She steps back as you step forward, driving her ever closer and closer towards the grassy banks. Massive blades of grass lie submerged in the water below you, some of their edges barely poking up through the surface like lurking razor blades. If razor blades were bigger than you were, that is.

As soon as she gets a little distance, Gloriana pulls another ribbon binding her vest together free. Judging by the way it swings, it’s another weighted little monstrosity.
“Careful now,” she warns. “Make me pull out another three of these things and it could get indecent.”

She whips it out ahead of you and you sigh, ready for the trick this time. But what aren’t you ready is for her to immediately drop it into the water and lunge! You pull the distance and keep her from touching you. You don’t even lose ground. What’s the point of that?

>Gloriana uses Underhanded Deflection!

>Sofia has no dice in her Technique Pool!

Unfortunately your own predictions come up short. Maybe she didn’t diminish you there but you certainly aren’t doing a whole lot yourself.

>ELEGANCE: Flourish!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d3

“I can tell what you’re thinking,” she says. “And yes, I had these ribbons tailor made! Have you ever visited one before? Do you know what it is?”

>Gloriana’s ability, Professional Provocateur, activates!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: Empty
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d3, 1d4.

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: N/A

You draw the scabbard you took from Signore Albero once more and jab it forward, hoping to catch her offguard. The first jab just misses her and while it herds her closer to the path of your blade, she catches the second with her free hand!
She takes advantage and pulls you forward towards her sword but narrowly avoid it, swinging your own sword around to intercept her! She parries and with both of both your hands briefly occupied, she takes another step forward and steps on your foot!

1/2
>>
>>2956195
You pull back, avoiding her attempt to trap her but those damn boots still hurt like anything. Do they really have metal soles? How much weight is this girl carrying at any given time?

>ELEGANCE: Trick!

>Gloriana uses Crushing Grip!

>Sofia Technique Pool: 1d4

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: Empty.

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: N/A

Alright, that’s enough! You’re sick of all this nonsense! You can see her going for a fleche in just a moment, as clear as daylight. Well you’ll have a surprise waiting for her!

>CIRCLE GUARD

>Gloriana uses Counting Coup!

...Or you would, if your arm wasn’t feeling so limp. You just don’t have the speed to do the guard correctly and though you catch Gloriana’s sword, she keeps advancing, sliding her sabre up against yours. And with barely a feet between you, she front-kicks you in the stomach!

The sudden impact knocks you off your feet, the metal sole of the boot feeling as if it drives straight through you. You hit the water and roll, praying that no submerged blades are poking up behind you. You manage to rise before Gloriana catches up but it only takes a cursory glance to see that she’s got you right where she wants you.
You’ve been pushed over to the edge of the canal. Errant blades of glass loom silently to either side, edges glinting with the promise of bloodshed.

“Ah! The final act!”

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool: 1d10
>>
>>2956197
Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 5d4, ?
Technique Pool: 1d10
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

Techniques:

Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

Flashing Steel: See above for example.

Crushing Grip: See above for example.

Underhanded Deflection: See above.

Sofia
Composure Pool: 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: 1d3, 1d4

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose three)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2956198
>Circle Guard
>Counting Coup
>Focused Blow
>>
>>2956198
I don't know why you all keep trying to Circle Guard when it's costing us more than the dice we would lose from a flashing steel.

>Counting Coup
>Focused Blow
>Elegance: Trick
>>
Crushing Grip first, I think. However, if she does an Underhanded Flourish in the first turn, she'll take our d6 from Composure. Might be better to just let her use Flashing Swords while we generate more Tech dice.
>>
>>2956198
>Elegance: Strike
>Counting Coup
>Focused Strike
>>
>>2956203
I didn't vote for it before, but I want it right now to counter flashing steel.
>>
>>2956210
We need technique dice to do it, though
>>
>>2956213
Ah crap, I mixed up our strike and technique pools. I'll back >>2956209
then. Thanks anon.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
If we lose, I'm going to spend a bit moping about our loss.
>>
>Elegance: Strike
>Counting Coup
>Focused Strike

Judging by what she just said, there’s no doubt that she’s about to try and bleed you! This is the perfect situation for her, with you hemmed in on either side with sharp edges that’d slice you as quick as blinking. It doesn’t matter to the City what spills the blood after all. Only that it is spilt.

So as she closes in, you prepare your riposte. Whether you can stop her or not is up in the air. But if you do, your counter-attack should be excellent.

Gloriana comes to a stop with you just outside her reach. And then she does fuck all.

“What, were you expecting me to try and stab you? Didn’t I just tell you that I don’t need a big decisive strike to win?”

“What?”

>ELEGANCE: Strike!

>Gloriana uses Counting Coup!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d10

“But thanks! You got all defensive so you didn’t actually try to get out of your little prison. And…”

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: N/A

“That’s great because I lied!”
She suddenly springs forward, trapping you between the grass blades and her own! You were right! You just had the timing all wrong. Did you really let her do this to you again?

>Gloriana uses Flashing Steel!

>COUNTING COUP

But her charge has lead her into the same situation as you, with razors at every angle. You can exploit this, you know you can! You just have to endure her own first.

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d10

You catch her sabre at an angle and it just swoops along the length of your blade, arcing down towards your face!

>Roll 1d4 and 1d10 for Gloriana’s damage!
>>
Rolled 1 (1d10)

>>2956244
>>
Rolled 2 (1d4)

>>2956244
>>
>>2956252
>>2956253

Jeez, you guys really have it out for poor Gloriana.
>>
>>2956256
We got real lucky
>>
>Elegance Prediction Bonus: N/A

So, if the Focus Strike falls through, are we going to keep doing Elegance? And seriously, this girl is hard to predict. We've been wrong literally every time we played Elegance. 0/7.
>>
>3

You catch her blade on your hilt and knock it aside. Child’s play. You barely even felt it this time. What was that supposed to be again? The final act?

>Sofia loses 1d3 from her Strike Pool!

“Oh come on!,” Gloriana screams. “That’s real unlikely!”

You pull your sword back before she does, meaning she’s wide open. She steps back but she can’t get too far, not without risking running into one of the blades of grass sticking out from the water. Lacking any other means of defence, she kicks the canal beneath her and sprays water right up into your face!

>Gloriana uses Underhanded Deflection!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d3, 1d9

But you just close your eyes and swing straight through it. Your sword will slice water, flesh and the grass behind if need be.

>Roll 2d3, 1d4 and 1d9 for Sofia’s attack!
>>
>>2956256
>>2956259

Unless our Focused Blow gets fucked over in the next action we might be able to one-shot her with the 1d4+1d10 we’ve got built up.
>>
Rolled 3, 2 = 5 (2d3)

>>2956275
KIIIILL!
>>
Oh, a small error on my part. Sofia's attack involves *one* 1d3, not 2. The second one actually got broken by the Flashing Steel.
>>
Rolled 4 (1d4)

>>2956275
>>
Rolled 2 (1d9)

>>2956275
>>
>>2956276
Remember that destroying all Composition is not enough, we need to damage her again afterwards. And she can generate Composition with GSD. She will be tricky to put down.
>>
>>2956280

Well shit that’s a bad roll. A 7 overall, but still.
>>
>>2956277
I'll just count the first of these. So a 3, 4 and a 2. Writing.
>>
>>2956280
Well, at least we should break her d4s
>>
Rolled 3 (1d3)

>>2956275
>>
>>2956281
Wai, I'm wrong. We don't have to damage her again, we only have to make a Strike.
Which is moot right now because she's gonna GSD anyway next action.
>>
>>2956281

This attack should Rattle her, which might give us the chance to switch things around plus it’ll break her Stance.
>>
>>2956288
Rattle only works if we do it on the first or second action, and it wouldn't work anyway since none of her actions are the same category.

The only thing that will happen is stance break.
>>
Soo, back to the grinding now that we've blown our load. Time to do Flourishes all over again, and our Counting Coup d10 has been used up.
>>
>>2956295
Hers too
>>
>>2956297
Her next CC will be d6
Actually, I think we should track it in posts.
>>
>3, 4, 2
>Unassailable Rookie reduces them to 2, 3 and 1.
>6 damage.

When you open your eyes you find an unwelcome sight. Gloriana’s sword has been abandoned, impaled through a stalk of grass right next to her. Instead she is using both her hands to stop your sabre, one wrapped around the forte and the other precariously pinching the flat less than an inch away from the edge. She’s leaning forward into the swing, one of her legs braced against the same stalk.
“Hold on,” she says.

“This disgrace is over.”

“Oh no it ain’t! This fight’s not over! This fight’s never over!”

>6 damage has destroyed 5d4 from Gloriana’s Composure Pool!

>Gloriana’s Composure: 1d10

“We’re only just beginning!”
>>
>>2956297
Would have been better if we'd used Crushing Grip when we only had the d3.
>>
>>2956301
Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 1d10
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

Techniques:

Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

Flashing Steel: See above for example.

Crushing Grip: See above for example.

Underhanded Deflection: See above.

Sofia
Composure Pool: 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose three)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2956301
....uhoh. Is she going to start unarmed brawling us? Smashing us into those bladed stalks?

>Elegance Flourish
>Elegance Flourish
>Elegance Trick

She could pull out another stance. She could throw more grips at us. I don't care. Just build more dice.
>>
>>2956295

We gotta seriously figure out what her options are for this coming round so we can plan accordingly.

Do we gamble on the chance that she’s got another Stance besides Unassailable Rookie that she’ll use her GSD to activate? Or will she stand her ground and start building herself back up with Counting Chop? I’m not too sure what other options she’s got considering her dice pools.
>>
>>2956304
>Elegance: Trick
>Elegance: Stance
>Counting Coup

I've got a good feeling about these Elegances, even if we're 0/7
>>
>>2956304
>Elegance (Flourish)
>Elegance (Trick)
>Elegance (Trick)
>>
>>2956311
Anon, she will literally never use a Stance. She will just use GSD.
>>
>>2956310
Nope, she's got her ability, Counting Coup, Gain Some Distance, Unassailable Rookie, Crushing Grip, Underhanded Deflection, Flashing Steel. That's six + ability.
>>
>>2956311
I don't think we should bother raising Counting Coup. We want to gain more dice more than we want to gain higher numbers.
>>
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Oh and needless to say, Unassailable Rookie has been broken by that attack.

Anyway, I'm going to bed. I'll be back once I wake and I'll call the vote then. Thank you all for playing!
>>
>>2956319

Alright, so no other Stances but she can still use GSD here to get a 1d4 back which’ll allow her to use UR again.

Other than that, her pools are completely empty besides composure, which rules out Crushing Grip and Flashing Steel.

All things considered, she’ll probably try GSD to start things off, but beyond that I’m not sure.
>>
>>2956331
It doesn't rule out Crushing Grip
>>
>>2956331
GSD+UR can only be used if we've got no Strike Dice. Means that if she wants to use it, it had better be on the first turn, or after a FS.
>>
>>2956337

CG needs Strike Dice to inflict damage despite that it doesn’t siphon them. Unless the fact is that because it does 0 damage it automatically destroys our highest technique dice, which would be a bit BS.
>>
>>2956314
Pretty sure gsd requires her to use a stance after doing it.

>>2956324
Except her underhanded deflection drains all dice, so a bunch of small ones will get sapped to nothing.
>>
>>2956344
That's exactly how it works, anon.

>>2956350
She will assume the stance in the same action
>>
>>2956343

Beginning of the fight she went GSD, then Counting Coup at the start of her next turn. I’m thinking she’ll go GSD, CC, then Crushing Grip for this round all things considered.
>>
>>2956304
Now let's see.

Gloriana can either use GSD right away, or defer it to later knowing that without Technique dice we can't hurt her and use CG, expecting us to try and raise Tech.

If she opens with CG, I'd expect her to use UD to move a die from our Comp to Tech then CG again to destroy it. If she opens with GSD, I expect a CG immediately after.

I propose we go
>Elegance: Strike
>Crushing Grip
>Elegance: Strike

It guarantees us a couple of dice in our Tech and Strike pool. the CG is there in case she goes for CC-CC-FS.
>>
>>2956368

I’d say go for Elegace: Trick first because she’s going to want to get her Stance back up, but other than that I’ll throw my hat in with you.
>>
>>2956401
I just think a GSD on the first turn is a bit predictable, especially since she knows we can't actually hurt her.
>>
>>2956368
This is a good plan. I just don't think she'll go for Crushing Grip off the bat. She's never gone for CG when we've got no dice.

I actually think she might go for a Trick. We've got no dice in our Tech Pool, which means she knocks off another Composure, since Tricks go first, before we can score another Tech Die.
>>
>>2956412
That will give us a d6 in Tech, which is dangerous for her. If we went Elegance: Trick then Focused Strike, she'd get rattled again.
>>
>>2956416
We could bet on 2d6+1d4 (-3) getting higher than a 10, but I wouldn't want to.
>>
>>2956405

She’s also clean out of dice and considering we’re also on empty if she opens with Crushing Grip the most it could do is destroy the d4 we’d get from opening with Elegance. Counting Coup’s probably more likely than CG for an opening move.
>>
>>2956435
It put in a CG as the second move exactly in case she opens with CC. I don't think it's too likely though.
>>
>>2956439

Fair enough. Still think we should go for Elegance: Trick first though, considering what >>2956412 says is true about her Ability. Other than that, your plan is solid.
>>
>>2956304
>Elegance: Trick
>Counting Coup
>Counting Coup

Maybe just put all known techniques into pastebin or something?
>>
>>2956304
>Elegance Trick
>Counting Coup
>Counting Coup

We just need to keep grinding Tech dice so we can beat that 10.

Can she use Gain Some Distance indefinitely now?
>>
>>2956450

Just to make it easy to count votes, I’ll reiterate here:

> Elegance: Trick
> Crushing Grip
> Elegance: Strike
>>
>>2956490
No, she can only use it again after we break her stance once more.
>>
>>2956506
She can't use Rookie again since she doesn't have a d4 in Composure.
>>
>>2956507
GSD generates a d4 if our Strike pool was empty.
>>
>>2956511
Right my bad
>>
>>2956304
Elegance trick
Elegance Strike
Counting coup
>>
>>2956490
>Can she use Gain Some Distance indefinitely now?
Only when we have no Strike Dice.

>>2956304
Changing from >>2956312 to
>Elegance (Trick)
She'll likely do GSD. This will make our Tech Pool 2d6 +1d4.

>Elegance (Trick)
She's almost never gone a round without a UD.
>Crushing Grip
In case she's doing a CC CC FS combo, she'll only be rolling a d6.


Gloriana's Moves so far:
>GSD
>CC, CC, FS
>CG, UD, CG
>UD, UD, CC
>UD, UD, CG
>UD, CG, CC
>CC, FS, UD
Every damn time she has a die, she then goes on to do CC again and then a FS.
Every round, she does at least one UD.
>>
>By Full Turn:
Elegance (Trick), Coup, Coup has two votes.

>By Round:
1. Elegance (Trick) is almost unanimous.
2. Elegance (X) wins, no consensus whatsoever what type. Coup has two votes.
3. Counting Coup wins 4:3.
>>
Didn't count >>2956368, didn't realize 'I propose we go' a vote. If it does, Crushing Grip also has two votes in 2.
>>
I'm awake. Thank you for counting the votes anon! Vote called, writing.
>>
>Elegance: Trick
>Counting Coup
>Counting Coup

You pull your sword back, trying to run it through her hands and slice her palms but she lets go immediately. But the moment your sword is up, she twists into a roundhouse kick! Her boot angles high, barely skimming past a grass edge, trying to bring it’s metal studded weight straight into the side of your head!
You don’t bother even trying to block it with your off-hand and pull the distance instead, backing up. You have to be cautious not to run into the back of a blade of grass.

You bring your sword down on her outstretched leg, intent on adding yet another notch to her scarred legs! She parries you at the last moment, pulling her awful sword free and holding it at both ends like a bar. After that, you both take another step back, suspicious of the other!

>ELEGANCE: Trick!

>Gloriana uses Counting Coup!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool: 1d6

“I get it,” she chirps. “You expected me to do something tricky right? But now I’ve got my sword back. Thaaaanks.”

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: N/A

The moment she seems sure you can’t just step forward and spit her immediately, she turns and spins, bringing her sabre around in a wide arc. You advance to capitalize on the opening but the giant blade of grass poking through the water behind her begins to fall as she backs away, sliced through by her sword! With the falling stalk between the two of you, you’ve no choice but to let her flee!

And flee she does, running back out towards the middle of the canal. Looks like that once her plan to trap you failed, she has even less desire to fight amidst the grass than you do!

>Gloriana uses Gain Some Distance!

>Sofia has no dice in her Strike Pool. Gain Some Distance gives Gloriana a d4 Composure dice instead and locks Sofia’s Strike Pool for this round.

>Gloriana’s Composure: 1d4, 1d10

By the time you reach her, she’s resumed her defensive stance.
“I hope this doesn’t seem too familiar.”

>Gloriana uses the d4 generated by Gain Some Distance to re-activate Unassailable Rookie!

You step out from around the fallen titan and follow her out amongst the giant flickering shadows once more. Once you close the distance you go on the attack, not really trying to bleed her but trying to weather her down, forcing her to give up more and more ground as she avoids your strikes!

>COUNTING COUP

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4

“Oh nooo, I guess have garbage luck as well as garbage everything else. Are you at least having fun with this garbage?”

You are not.

>Gloriana’s ability, Professional Provocateur, activates!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d4

What follows is a furious flurry of pure swordwork on both your parts, the two of you slowly drawing closer and closer together. Steel matches steel and paint chips fly as the two of you jockey for position!

1/2
>>
>>2957084
>COUNTING COUP

>Gloriana uses Counting Coup!

...You get the feeling that she might be getting the better deal out of it.

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d6
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d4

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool: 1d6, 1d8

This can’t go on for much longer. One of you has to break.
>>
>>2957087
Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 1d4, 1d10
Technique Pool: 1d6, 1d8
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

Techniques:

Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

Flashing Steel: See above for example.

Crushing Grip: See above for example.

Underhanded Deflection: See above.

Sofia
Composure Pool: 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d6
Strike Pool: 1d4

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose three)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2957090
Ok, this is it.

>Circle Guard
>Elegance: Trick
>Focused Blow
>>
>>2957090

> Circle Guard
> Crushing Grip
> Focused Strike
>>
>>2957096

She’s only got one trick and it can’t be used now that she’s got her Stance back up.
>>
>>2957112
While I'm not saying she'll use it...
>What is Underhanded Deflection for 300, Alex?
it's cool how few people read skills in this quest.
>>
>>2957090
>circle guard
>Elegance: flourish
>counting coup
Flashing steel starting to look a little scary with all those technique dice
Hey ouro do we have any way to protect ourselves from tricks?
>>
>>2957118

Fair enough.

I’ll switch over in the interest of keeping things moving.
>>
>>2957096
>>2957101
She does CC and FS, boom, you're dead. Game Over.

>>2957090
>Circle Guard
>Circle Guard
>Circle Guard
Because fuck you, you don't deserve any dice.
>>
>>2957124

Wouldn’t Circle Guard, as it lasts for a round rather than just that part of it, into two Crushing Grips be better for destroying her Technique pool?
>>
>>2957124
She does CC and FS, boom, you're dead. Game Over.
She'd have 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, and would use them before you attack. If she gets a 22, 23, 24, game over.

>>2957132
>Wouldn’t Circle Guard, as it lasts for a round rather than just that part of it, into two Crushing Grips be better for destroying her Technique pool?
No, because she might attack on the second round. Or the third. We have a d4, we might accidentally break her d4 instead of crushing a die. Better to do it slow and steady.
>>
>>2957139

She’s got her Stance back up, so all our Strike rolls are at a -1. We’ve only got a d4, so no chance of CG breaking her composure.
>>
>>2957151

Also, Ouro, can we get a clarification on whether a ‘round’ counts as a single action or for all three?
>>
>>2957161
The single action.
>>
>>2957132
>>2957139
Actually, yeah, you have a point. We can't touch her with a d4. Even so, we'd be wasting the d4. Circle Guard x3 will get the job done without blowing our Strike Pool that she'll be busy siphoning dice into.
>>
>>2957164

Alright thanks.

Changing to:
> Circle Guard x3
>>
>>2957168
>>2957174
Why are you dumb? Do you understand how Crushing Grip works? Do you understand what Circle Guard does? Do any of you actually read these skills?
>>
Can we talk to her? I want to ask her why does she puts so much effort into dueling if she thinks it's so stupid, can't she just laugh about it with her friends, like normal people?
>>
Vote called for triple guard. Writing.
>>
>>2957176
Circle Guard removes the lowest of her technique pool. Crushing Grip triggers our strike pool. If we have more dice than we want to get rid of in our strike pool thanks to provocateur, crushing grip will get rid of them anyway.
If you want to conserve dice, use Circle Guard, which will keep her from using Flashing Steel.
>>
>>2957186
She's a troll anon. She's trolling us hard, it's how she gets her kicks.
>>
>>2957192
>Circle Guard
>1. Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round.
>2. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool.

>Crushing Grip
>1.Siphon no dice.
>2. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.
At least it does prevent her from using Flashing Steel. Congratulations.
>>
>>2957186
She gets off to pissing people off. That's her real reason.
>>
>>2957191
Just end the fight Ouro. We can’t beat her.
>>
>>2957203
>>2957208
Trolling takes no effort and never has any consequences. She's taking it a bit too far for it to be just something she does for shits and giggles.
Anyway, I was thinking of this:
>You notice that she uses the term ‘Lower Realms’ instead of ‘Lesser’.
I want to get her to open up and try some psy ops. She doesn't care about what we say to her, but she does care about her mom. Maybe we can push her buttons with her and the lesser realms, piss her off and make her stupid.
>>
Are you guys nuts? There are only two ways she can kill us: Flashing Steel really, REALLY hard when we have neither strike nor technique dice, or slowly weathering us down with tricks.

It is sooooo much easier to win with her ability than with Flashing Steel. Why are you all so insistent on Circle Guard? All we have to do is raise up enough enough dice from Elegance Flourish/Trick to punch through a d10, stance or no stance.

Circle Guard gets us nothing, and DOES nothing against the slow march towards losing our composure to that ability. It doesn't even stop the killing blow once we're out of composure!
>>
>>2957229
Additionally, we can abuse the curse to make her agree with whatever shit we say about her mom or the lesser realms. If she cares about either of those that should be enough to rile her up.
>>
>>2957229
No people can get pretty dedicated to their hobby.
>>
>Circle Guard
>Circle Guard
>Circle Guard

You keep careful watch on her legs as you contest one another. This time you won’t be caught off-guard! The moment you see her so much as twitch in your direction, you’ll parry! It doesn’t matter what she tries to do.

>CIRCLE GUARD

And right on cue, Gloriana lunges! Interesting. You genuinely weren’t sure whether she’d go for it so early. She’s surprised you before after all.

>Gloriana uses Flashing Steel!

You bring your blade around in a circular motion, twisting your grip on it in order to do so. You catch her sabre easily and send it off to the side!

>Gloriana’s Technique Pool: 1d8

“Oh!,” she says as she immediately disengages. “So that fancy guard of yours actually does something after all!”
She advances once again!

>CIRCLE GUARD

>Gloriana uses Crushing Grip!

She lets you trap her sword again but this time she pivots, swinging her off-hand around to grab hold of your collar! She jerks your head forward, trying to pull you into the edge of either your sword or hers. You disengage as best you can, allowing her to break free!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d6

You back up as quickly as you can, keeping your sword ready to stop another attack. Instead you just watch as she pulls another ribbon free from her vest. You expect her to either whip it forward at your face or to use it purely as a distraction but instead she steps forward, steps back, steps forward and then crouches, whipping it out at your legs!

With your trousers there’s no chance that the ribbon, lined with heavy metal wiring or not, will actually draw blood. But it sure as fuck stings! You yelp involuntarily and even though you quickly advance to try and eviscerate her, she rises and pulls the distance just enough to send your sabre whistling past her shoulder.

>CIRCLE GUARD

>Gloriana uses Underhanded Deflection!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d5

Gloriana makes a quick slash in a half-hearted attempt to punish your advance and then disengages, sword in one hand, weighted ribbon in the other.
“Whoops,” she says. “Just two more of these and my vest is gonna be undone! You aren’t just toying with me in hopes of getting to see that, are you?”

>Gloriana’s Ability, Professional Provocateur, activates!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: Empty
>Sofia’s Strike Pool: 1d4, 1d5
>>
>>2957237
Not while we're dueling. Wake is different.
>>
Gloriana Morello
Composure Pool: 1d4, 1d10
Technique Pool: 1d8
Strike Pool: Empty

Abilities: Professional Provocateur: [ABILITY]At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool is moved to their Strike Pool. If there are no dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool, the lowest dice in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

Techniques:

Gain Some Distance: [TRICK]Destroy all dice in your opponent’s Strike Pool. If it was already empty, generate a d4 in your Composure Pool and your opponent is prevented from siphoning dice to their Strike Pool this round. You must then activate a valid Stance in this same action. You cannot use this Technique if you already have a Stance active.

Unassailable Rookie: [STANCE]Once this Stance is active, all dice that your opponent rolls out of their Strike Pool take a -1 penalty to their final result. Can only be active while you have a d4 in your Composure Pool.

Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

Flashing Steel: See above for example.

Crushing Grip: See above for example.

Underhanded Deflection: See above.

Sofia
Composure Pool: 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
Technique Pool: Empty
Strike Pool: 1d4, 1d5

Abilities: Monkey Sight, Never A Pale Word, Unlimited Access (None of which are relevant to this duel)

CURRENT TECHNIQUES (Choose three)

>Focussed Blow: [STRIKE]Siphon all dice from your Technique Pool to your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.

>Counting Coup: [FLOURISH]Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. Next time you use this in the same duel, upgrade it by 2 sides. This caps at d10 and if done again afterwards, resets back to d4.

>Gritted Teeth: [TRICK]Move the highest value dice from your Technique Pool to your Composure Pool.

>Elegance: [FLOURISH] Declare either Strike, Flourish, Trick or Stance. Generate a d4 into your Technique Pool. When your opponent makes their next move, if it is the same category of move as declared, generate a dice of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. If no Composure dice are destroyed as a result of this, whether through damage or through an ability, destroy the single highest value dice in your opponent’s Technique Pool.

>Circle Guard: [TRICK]Your opponent cannot siphon dice into their Strike Pool this round. If they attempt to, destroy the single lowest die in their Technique Pool. This Technique cannot be used if your Technique Pool is empty.
>>
>>2957246
Elegance trick
Counting coup
Circle Guard
>>
>>2957241
>Crushing Grip
>Elegance (Trick)
>Elegance (Trick)
>>
>>2957255
>Crushing Grip: [STRIKE]Siphon no dice. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage.
Why are you dumb, anon? Why do you want to waste the only chance there is to turn this around in order to remove one of her technique pool dice? Please explain your thoughts to the class.
>>
>>2957255
wasting our dice with crushing grip.
Dumping our strike dice does not actually help us deal with the hits from flashing, and crushing grip is just as likely to break her guard as it is to kill her tech dice.
>>
>>2957263
Good catch, I'm going to sleep. Disregard dumb vote.
>>
>>2957246
>Counting coup
>Elegance: strike
>Focussed blow
>>
>>2957246
>Elegance Flourish
>Counting Coup
>Elegance Trick
>>
>>2957246
>Counting Coup
>Counting Coup
>Elegance: Trick
>>
Reminder: When she's out of tech die or stances, she knows that we won't instantly attack her to punish for it, so she can afford to do something else with one turn like Counting Coup.

Underhanded is only happening when we actually have tech die to degrade, she might Crushing Grip if she thinks we'll Counting Coup.

And any dice moved to our strike pool is safe from Underhanded. Take advantage of that. If she wants to charge up a Flashing Steel when we have both strike and tech die, it only means we have a chance to generate enough safe dice to end her even past Unassailable.
>>
>>2957246
Counting Coup
Counting Coup
Focussed blow
>>
No offense guys but why are we being fancy with Elegance when we can just generate Tech dice and kill her?
>>
>>2957304
>>2957312
She negates with UH and rookie and grip
>>
>>2957313
Well we can't really stop UH and Rookie so we have to power through it. I can understand generating a d4 first for fodder for grip but we should just kill her,
>>
>>2957312
We need to generate more dice per round, that's all. Even if we fail, multiple d4s are not entirely bad.

If we committed entirely to counting coup, then she would know to use Crushing Grip more often instead of Tricks, and that would drag out the fight even longer. Not an entirely BAD way of doing things though, compared to all the Circle Guards that have happened.
>>
I'm gonna be honest- the dice mechanics for this quest absolutely baffle me and I've tried multiple times to figure out the logic and gotten nothing. That's why I tend to speak up the most during the non-combat bits. Anything I suggest would literally be me just guessing or otherwise choosing what looks thematically appropriate instead of mechanically sound.

...Still an interesting setting, though.
>>
>>2957313
That's not how it works. UH puts our tech dice into the strike pool, so a CC vs UH is a win for us, as it banks it for later. Crushing Grip would just destroy our CC and make the exchange null. Do you read these skills? Do you understand how they work?
>>
>>2957327
Yeah, it's actually reminding me of Sigil from Planescape, with how weird it is and how it has it's own set of rules that defy all expectations.
>>
>>2957330
Deflection reduces our dice not moves to strike, idiot.

So you need to learn the techniques.


Regardless she can stall out single dice gains indefinitely and then we lose due to tricks.
>>
>>2957312
I'm determined to get at least one right.
>>
>>2957340
>Professional Provocateur
>1. At the end of each round, if you have successfully performed a Trick and have not lost any Composure dice, the single lowest dice in your opponent’s Techn