You are roused awake by sudden turbulence: a shift in the temperature of the air, or some whimsy in the ether that shakes the whole of the aircraft around you. It unnerves you a bit to sit so high above the lands below, and though you’ve been assured small things like this are nothing to be afraid of, you yet hope it is not an ill omen of things to come. The sun’s light washes over your face from the window opposite your seat, and you squint, turning away instinctively and twisting a tad awkwardly in place; your gaze glosses over the window behind you in time to see the floating city bloom into view as you push through the clouds.There’s quiet murmuring from around you. Many, like you, are witnessing Reíve’s beauty for the first time; you can see the Ampitheater’s great marble colonnades and the Capitol spire rising above the residential sprawl, and further beneath, magitecture lattices and flagstone roads are woven so intricately as to barely kiss rocky downward swaths, lowest reaches of the enclave disappearing into the clouds underneath.Many will never return to the lands below. For those without the means, it is a one-way trip; an eleventh-hour grasp at opportunity, wealth, and glory. Many – among them, the most ambitious – will be buried here. The rumbling of the engine underneath you, and the way it warms your feet, distracts you from your anticipation and the sensations of yourself An illusory orb is projected over the Ampitheater, flickering intermittently, and though you cannot see it so clearly from here you can glimpse the image envisaged within: a beast with scales of bronze carries a golden-armored halberdier on its back, weaving between columns with sinuous grace unbelievable for a creature of its size. Its prey is a woman clad in blue, with a flashing silver ponytail and a rapier on her hip; it lurches towards her, claws outstretched, and she dives backwards, narrowly-avoiding.With the flick of her wrist, flares of light obscure the image. You see smoke blooming within the orb. Though you’re thousands of paces of clouds and empty air away, you’d swear you could hear cheering.Reíve, the City of Games, awaits. It will be your turn before you know it: off the boat, and into the clutches of war. May it be a noble pursuit.
>>2948613You tune into the murmuring: a quiet discussion of the events. A young man beside you chuckles; though his sharp features remind you of an East court denizen, his dusky skin suggests he is mountain-born or of mixed descent.“Listen to these upstarts.” He says, smiling. “They haven’t seen a thing yet. First time in the lands above? What’re you in for?”> Knight-Errant. You are a deserter or a veteran of war. In a golden era, the lands below have no further need of someone like you, who knows little more than how to shed blood. You seek belonging, or perhaps just a chance to rightfully kill again.> Scholar. You are a student of magic who failed to become a member of the Court or otherwise integrate into society. Education has left you with great debts, and circumstances have rendered you without means; be your debts be of blood or gold, they must be repaid. This is your last hope.> Prisoner. You are befallen by ill fortune or burdened by wrongdoing. By the recent law of your own home Court, condemned men may be transferred to Reíve to compete; those who become Arena Champions may walk free – though none have yet succeeded.> Tourist. A commoner or wanderer from the lands below, you have gathered the means to sojourn to Reíve of your own volition, and seek deviant thrills in the arena. Fear not: all avenues within the City of Games welcome all challengers.> Speak openly of your history.> Offer a cryptic remark.> Only a fool would chat at this time and place.
>>2948615>Knight-Errant. You are a deserter or a veteran of war. In a golden era, the lands below have no further need of someone like you, who knows little more than how to shed blood. You seek belonging, or perhaps just a chance to rightfully kill again.> Offer a cryptic remark.
>>2948615> Scholar. You are a student of magic who failed to become a member of the Court or otherwise integrate into society. Education has left you with great debts, and circumstances have rendered you without means; be your debts be of blood or gold, they must be repaid. This is your last hope.> Offer a cryptic remark
>>2948615> Scholar. You are a student of magic who failed to become a member of the Court or otherwise integrate into society. Education has left you with great debts, and circumstances have rendered you without means; be your debts be of blood or gold, they must be repaid. This is your last hope.
>>2948622>>2948686>>2948691“What can I say? Heard this would be an honest living.” You shrug. “Just looking to make something of myself. I can handle a blade – we’ll see if I’m still sharp as I used to be.”“Aah, I see. Well, I’ve been up once – when I was young, my father saved up for ages so we could see the third crown tournament together. Let me assure you, there’s no living more honest than the arena; they say it makes short work of the cheats.” He nods, then leans back with a nostalgic sort-of dreamy smile. “Haven’t wanted anything for years but to come back. Name’s Yvestyre. You could say I’m an alchemist, hoping to learn a few things. No point speaking at length if we might not meet again, though, right?”You nod; you suppose he’s right.While you linger in the cabin, your gaze drifts to your armaments. Though you don’t have a full ensemble in your possession, the implements you do carry were with you during the hardest of times. You differ from your old comrades-in-arms in that you suffer no permanent wounds of the body, yet there are no unwounded soldiers in war. The discord of combined longing and remorse hangs over you as you look over a scant few things emblematic of your home.> Roshar. You were born within a city of steel, enshrined by walls of marble. Though you know of swords and armor and halberdiers and cavalry, the most renowned Roshari heroes wielded combat magic in a single hand.> Nazcal. The people of your home were hardened beast-slayers, using a hunter’s tools as true martial implements. Some invoked shamanic prayers and used natural medicines as part of their regimen.> Devimor. Hailing from beneath the bladed mountain spire, you once sought death in battle but failed to meet your purpose. By a sharpened edge and a flame burning bright within, go bravely to your end.
>>2948758> Devimor. Hailing from beneath the bladed mountain spire, you once sought death in battle but failed to meet your purpose. By a sharpened edge and a flame burning bright within, go bravely to your end.RIP Ashe
>>2948758> Devimor. Hailing from beneath the bladed mountain spire, you once sought death in battle but failed to meet your purpose. By a sharpened edge and a flame burning bright within, go bravely to your end.
>>2948758>> Roshar. You were born within a city of steel, enshrined by walls of marble. Though you know of swords and armor and halberdiers and cavalry, the most renowned Roshari heroes wielded combat magic in a single hand.
>>2948758>> Devimor. Hailing from beneath the bladed mountain spire, you once sought death in battle but failed to meet your purpose. By a sharpened edge and a flame burning bright within, go bravely to your end.
>>2948758>Roshar. You were born within a city of steel, enshrined by walls of marble. Though you know of swords and armor and halberdiers and cavalry, the most renowned Roshari heroes wielded combat magic in a single hand.
>>2948758>> Nazcal. The people of your home were hardened beast-slayers, using a hunter’s tools as true martial implements. Some invoked shamanic prayers and used natural medicines as part of their regimen.
>>2948827>>2948804>>2948772>>2948766In war you wore no armor but a fur-lined leathern harness, relying instead on your uncanny speed and flesh hardened by glorious purpose and inner fire; knee-length faulds and belt-supported rawhide tassets dome out from the ensemble’s waist. It has been a time since you readied your axes for battle, but you can feel their thirst. To seek a proper end in combat is a troublesome affair; without rising through Reíve’s ranks, your death will surely be ignoble, though without a challenge there is no purpose.You steady your discordant thoughts, idly watching Yvestyre meander about and strike up conversations with others in the cabin; some look to be mere pedestrians while others afford the appearance of duelists and warriors from beneath various banners. Some, you imagine, are like you; as you push toward the skyborne city they seat themselves away from conversation or speak little. Others, you know, are held in chains in a compartment below the deck – perhaps for their own good, and perhaps for the good of others. Where such complicated circumstances are concerned, who are you to judge?The craft lurches. You’re approaching the harbor.“We’ll be docking promptly. I’m told most of you are bound for the arena – which means you’re in luck.” A long-haired woman – dressed in captain’s regalia with a flair for security – speaks authoritatively, heels clicking as she strides across the metal floor. “I’ve just been informed that placement matches for newcomers in the upcoming season will be held in all leagues today, in full effects and open to spectators. Goes without saying that your continued presence as a viable competitor depends on your performance here. Those of you who come to Reíve seeking competition: there’ll be a small caravan proceeding to the Ampitheater once we’re cleared at the harbor. Wait at the northernmost gate to proceed if you’re not sure where to go. Those of you who can read should follow the signs; those that can’t should find someone that can.”> [ Continued ]
>>2948898“There’s only a single group bound for the Ampitheater, correct?” A hooded man asks, speaking over the brief murmur among the passengers. He steps forward to put himself in front of the group, squinting at the speaker. “What then for those of us who don’t yet know the city and don't want to travel among prisoners?”The woman scoffs, shaking her head; her eyes flutter closed, lips curling into a smile. “You may be better than them by the laws of the lands below, but here you’re expected to prove your worth before you claim as much. Be you man, beast, or held in chains – from the time you step off this vessel to the moment a victor is crowned in the arena, you are equals.”The man grits his teeth, proceeding prematurely out of the cabin toward the upper deck with an audible snort. A subdued sort-of commotion evolves around you as others rise and begin to gather their effects.> Ask the admiral something before proceeding. (Write-in.)> Separate from the group and proceed to the proving grounds alone.> Follow the caravan, maintaining your comfortable solitude.> Follow the caravan in Yvestyre’s company.
>>2948903>> Follow the caravan, maintaining your comfortable solitude.
>>2948903>Follow the caravan, maintaining your comfortable solitude.
>>2948903>Follow the caravan, maintaining your comfortable solitude.is there a moody corner somewhere, or are they all taken?
>>2948927>>2949000>>2949067The streets are clear enough of civilian traffic that it’s comfortable to maneuver, even as part of a somewhat sizeable company. Rather than socialize or ask too many foolish questions, you muse about the ways of Reíve, regarding the streets and their accoutrements – decorative tree lawns and fountains, plaques memorializing arena marshals and important events, statues depicting distinguished individuals in everlasting stone effigy – as you make your way north and further upward. Merchant stalls on the borderline streets between residential and commerce districts peddle merchandise: replica uniforms and apparently-real weapons of dubious quality; the distant scent of whole-roasted meat reminds you of home cuisine.Illusory crystal orbs stand on plinths in parks and as permanent street-side fixtures, reflecting the scene yet underway in the Ampitheater; cheering radiates throughout the city in waves, echoing between tightly-zoned homesteads and over flagstone roads to celebrate power plays, underdog victories, and devastating comebacks. At once, you know with certainty, and wonder how it is possible that this place lives and breathes by the meter of ceremonial combat. That, more than anything, is what speaks to you, and for a moment you feel as though this could be your new home.> [ Continued ]
>>2949085You are still resourceless, having staked it all on a single chance in battle in which you must not fail; you gather from the conversation of those around you, and from the admiral who leads the traveling group with heavy footfalls, that to acquire a dormitory among the competitor’s lodgings you will be required to place at all. At the height of the myriad approaches, you push ahead, having traveled here on the outskirts of the group; ascending the stairs, you pass between colonnade columns and beneath archways into the heart of the City of Games. The cheering persists. You imagine it is for you.“There are simply too many competitors, milady.” As you pass into the substructure amidst a brief lull in the traffic, you see an aged man with regal jewelry behind a desk; he frantically pours over a veritable archive of competitors listed by book and on parchment. “I urge we consider closing registration for the time being; we can take names and proceed to a more organized spectacle tomorrow. I don't wish to be disrespectful in suggesting that established tradition dictates....”> [ Continued ]
>>2949087“Aah, hush. We’ll take them four at a time starting… now, mhm? That will be a true spectacle: self-promoted in the streets. The upcoming season will be this city’s finest hour.” Passing from the archway ahead, you recognize the silver-haired woman in blue from the earlier projection you saw; she speaks with a singsong lilt in her voice, and gestures to you casually as she departs. “Look alive, Wilhelm. You’ve challengers waiting on you now, and I know exactly how they feel.”The man huffs, but turns to you after a shake of the head to clear his frustrated thoughts, taking his ornate fountain pen in hand. “Well, challenger.” He nods, crestfallen in tone. ”You’re in luck, provided you’re here to compete – and I gauge you are, judging by the look of you. Yes, courtesy of a recent executive order I’ll be able to write you in for... right now. All I’ll need from you at this point in time is a name, if that’s alright?”> Write-in.
Apologies for the awful turnaround time tonight - it's going to take me a while to get back into the swing of things! I'll be particularly slow for a bit as I hope to actually sleep at some point; we'll come to a selection when I come around.As for where we're going with this: I'm hoping to actually finish something for once in my life, but in keeping with tradition I can't help but start projects that are orders of magnitude too ambitious for my own good. At the moment I mostly just feel like writing, which happens to be doing me some good already - so as ever, I appreciate everyone for reading.
>>2949110Seems neat so far but what about BSO?
Oh you still are a alive.
>>2949088Since it's tied I'll change my vote to this>>2949112
Back in a bit: gotta get a meal first. I'll see where we're at when I get to writing.
>>2949112>>2949144>>2949789>>2950391>>2950445“That’s – Elodie, correct?” He asks, as if the sound of it doesn’t match with the rather rough look of you; you nod, and he merely sighs, shaking his head. “Well, who am I to judge. You’ll be taking the, uhm, fourth corner, I suppose; follow the hallways ahead to the archway painted with a red lion and head up the stairs. Do mind the guards, and for the sake of me and everyone overhead: no sorcery until you enter the amphitheater proper.”“Probably don’t have to worry about that from me. That all?”He bats his hand as if to shoo you away, gaze drifting back down to the register. You turn and make your way into the passageways, following the symbols on the stone walls as you pass beneath witch-fire lanterns.---The Amphitheater floor is much larger than expected; the white noise you familiarized yourself with while wandering briefly in the tunnels blossoms into cheering as you make your way back into the light of day. To witness the setting sun from such a great height is different than anything you’ve yet experienced, even upon Devimor’s highest mountain blades; at once, this opulent city of glory and pleasure is gilded and cast in shadow. A sort-of moat rings the perimeter; outside it, you can see magi – presumably abjurers – spaced evenly apart and dressed in ceremonial garb decorated with the skyborne capital’s colors. Tiered seating stretches further skyward, starting beyond the thick-walled boundary; the audience is ceaselessly packed.“Citizens of Reíve! Your Grand Champion and the Arena Marshals welcome you to a convocation most astonishing: behold, the qualifying matches for the upcoming arena season – and the fifth crown tournament – are presently in effect!” The woman with the silver ponytail – this is the third time you’ve seen her, now – stands beside a veritable throne on a raised platform amidst the audience seating, and her speech is somehow glamoured as to carry across the whole of the arena. There are seats similar to hers behind the throne and spaced along the platform’s length. The first two are tended by sorcerers; one pairs a dark iron mask with his hooded ensemble, while the other wears a perpetual smirk, a pointed hat, and flowing robes of alabaster. The third chair is seated awkwardly on-edge by a bronze-skinned wall of a man – scarcely human, as he meets your eye – who carries an axe the size of your torso on either side of his hip; in the final chair, a waifish and fair East-court woman sits demurely with an ornamented dao in her lap.> [ Continued ]
>>2950908You are a stranger here, and know neither of this place nor of lot, but in your mind the woman in blue is as some manner of arena matriarch; she is far from what you believe is the consummate image of a warrior, yet commands the crowd's respect regardless. Your gaze drifts back to the ring, and the competition therein; a drawbridge recedes behind you as you cross the moat. It’s more than a hundred paces across, though the floor is mere dirt without visible obstacles; you gauge it would take a minute and a half at a commoner’s walking pace, but full tilt at your speed it could be managed in under fifteen seconds. It isn’t the tightest space by any account, but martial conflict has a way of hemming things in. Still, close-quarters is what you’re most comfortable with.“For the first time in a great many challenges, we present: a battle royale! Four will enter the arena, while only one will be crowned victorious; still, the top two competitors will be considered for advancement into the league… provided they are left in fighting condition. Preliminary matches will not be fought to yield: defeat your opponents by ring out, incapacitation – or death, should you be decisive. Mercy is a luxury on the proving ground.” The woman’s voice echoes, and each subsequent introduction is met with waves of applause. “Your competitors: the fugitive wizard Ardan Kan! Beast hunter Trova, and his terrifying Nazcalan Zrut! A masked enigma, the Red Exile – and a warrior fresh off the boat: the equally mysterious Elodie!”> [ Continued ]
>>2950915“By the Marshals’ Decree: Let this battlefield take shape! May the battle commence, and may it end in glory!” The mage in alabaster adds, as what feels like an afterthought. Though his words seem to be an invocation of the coming combat, he pairs them with arcane gestures from raised hands; the magi surrounding the arena assist in the ritual, and the dirt underfoot gradually gives way to grass and a field of trees: a large simulated forest grove with a plateaued rocky spire in the center. That the arena can be shaped so doubtlessly bolsters its standing as an apparently-endless source of entertainment.You briefly glimpse your competitors. In one quadrant, a lithe and shifty-looking mage. In the next, an imposing man sits on the back of a small western wyvern, heat haze rising off its nostrils with its snorting breath – is that even allowed? Across from you, you spy a scarlet-clad masked figure with stature similar to yours. They ready themselves, and vanish behind the rising foliage and arena fixtures the very next moment.The cheering is distracting, now, more than anything. This just got complicated.> Head towards the man on the Zrut. Two against you sounds like a fair fight.> Even the brutish folk of Devimor know to kill sorcerers first. Hunt down Ardan Kan.> Seek the mysterious exile in red; this surely promises a battle of skill.> Stay concealed until a fight breaks out and observe your competition.
>>2950926> Seek the mysterious exile in red; this surely promises a battle of skill.Elodie is an objectively shitty name for the background we chose
>>2950926>> Even the brutish folk of Devimor know to kill sorcerers first. Hunt down Ardan Kan.
>>2950926>Even the brutish folk of Devimor know to kill sorcerers first. Hunt down Ardan Kan.
>>2950945>>2950950>>2951203With a wicked war-axe readied in either hand, you dart into the trees the moment invocation gives way to battle proper, heading for where you last saw the so-called fugitive wizard. You recall the matriarch’s words: only two of the four competitors here, provided two are even left standing when a victor is determined, will be worth consideration after the battle ends. You aren’t certain why it is, but it makes sense that each individual’s best chance would then be to pursue a target who’s already distracted with another opponent.Your warleader once told you that no amount of strife could make an eagle of a vulture. It would become you to be ever vigilant.A strange sort of seeming settles in the air – an uncanny feeling, a faint blue glow shining through the trees, a sudden chill – as you proceed through the simulated forest grove. Kan has a charlatan’s tongue; his voice is somehow stirring despite the audible rough edge of it. The hem of his jacket flutters gently in the artificial breeze. A shimmer like mirrored glass briefly affects his body as he walks forward, scanning the brush for targets.“Come out,” He says, words lilting between spoken spells. “Wherever you are.”> Reveal yourself and challenge him.> Throw an axe.> Charge full-tilt and attack.> Write-in.
>>2951217>Bend a tree and use the flex to slingshot into the mage
>>2951217> Charge full-tilt and attack.
>>2951217>Charge full-tilt and attack.
>>2951217>Throw a rock or branch somewhere out of his line of sight- distract him or make him think you're somewhere you aren't.
>>2951432>>2951289>>2951265Writing this in just a moment. I'll be figuring out how the dice are going to work in this Quest as I go, aside - we'll play it loose for a bit and get some simple mechanics sorted before so long.
>>2951452Your footfalls are swift, your twin-bladed charge an exquisite marriage of savagery and grace. Sprinting strides carry you across the grass, speed honed by myriad battles past. Axe-heads gleam as you charge headlong toward Kan, who spins and steps away, weight settling on his back foot as he faces you with an arm outstretched.Eldritch syllables breathe the fighting will from his mind – “Avavoces xead!” – as his swinging wrist leaves an arc of freezing air in its wake. The frost propagates toward you in a wave visible only by its effects on the environment: the wisps of moisture condensing in the suddenly-chilled air, the grass underneath promptly freezing and wilting aside. Though the wind carries little force, it strikes you with a terrible chill that’s almost enough to stop your charge within the length of a single step.Almost.Your eyes and your cheeks sting, and you can feel the burn on your stomach, fingertips numbing as you spring forward through the cloud, committed to your onslaught by momentum alone. You raise your right axe and swing downward through the space Kan’s shoulder occupied a mere instant ago as you draw within proximity, landing and skidding in the grass; you glimpse the flash of metal in his other hand as you pass beside him and lean instinctively to avoid a hidden dagger’s fading strike, then bear into him and swing sideways. He yelps as the flat of your axe bats sharply against the side of his head, which feels and sounds like striking glass, mage’s armor giving way to cold steel.“You bitch! Don’t count me out—I’ll make you pay!” Kan is wincing, blood streaking down the side of his face. He’s making a commotion, hands moving in practiced and measured patterns as he draws away, creating distance between the two of you without letting his gaze stray from you and your steel. You’re starting to develop a new hatred for sorcerers.You won’t dwell on it, nor will you let up. Pupils dilate, breath and heartbeat quickening alike as you feel the rush of cherished adrenaline.» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ As you recall the sensations of battle, a heat blooms inside of you… ]> Use an axe as a ranged attack before closing the gap.> Fight recklessly by nature. Charge in and keep up the pressure.> Evasive approach. See what’s brewing and try to bait it out.> Wait him out. He’s bound to draw one of the other combatants in like this.
>>2951571>> Use an axe as a ranged attack before closing the gap.Break his concentration
>>2951571>Use an axe as a ranged attack before closing the gap.Are we a girl
>>2951571>Use an axe as a ranged attack before closing the gap.
>>2951571>> Fight recklessly by nature. Charge in and keep up the pressure.
>>2951571>> Use an axe as a ranged attack before closing the gap.
>>2951613>>2951615>>2951617You haven’t since stopped moving completely; wasted motion loses battles. No, one attack is a seamless link to the very next. Armed with an equally-lethal weapon in each hand, you can unleash a veritable tide of metal, axe-swings followed by axe-swings. You waste no motion, thus; arm quickly lifts back before flicking forward, sending a weapon spinning from your non-dominant hand. You sprint in the weapon’s wake, remaining vigilant; the sorcerer’s eyes widen, subdued and steady chant interrupted by the axe flying towards his face.Kan lifts a hand defensively, wearing an expression that looks like sudden shock at your continued ferocity; a motion of his fingers stays your weapon in the air and sends it spinning backwards towards you as you run. Teeth grit, you go low beneath it, warpath-sprint transitioning into a knee-slide. You feel the tailwind as your weapon passes over your head. It’s the distraction, you think that’s most important; anything you can do to keep him from casting another powerful sorcery will be to your benefit. You carry forward, free hand clawing at the earth beneath you as some manner of three-legged beast; leaping ahead, a low swing of your axe bites into the fugitive wizard’s calf. His persistent defensive spell is no match for your strength, it seems, but it slows your blade before impact regardless; a strike like that should have cut clean through the limb.Kan falls to the ground as quickly as he can attempt to turn and run. He curses under his breath as he attempts to scramble away from you. Through the forest grove, drawing nearby, you can hear the rustling of leaves, earth gently rumbling with the plodding footsteps of an imposing beast.» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ …persistent, a smoldering fire, an everlasting sunset… ]> Knock Kan out and retreat to throw him out of the ring. Not even healing sorcery will put him back on the circuit soon enough to be competition – and you’d rather fight the Zrut and its rider on your terms.> Deliver a killing blow and eagerly await your next opponent. This battlefield has treated you well so far; why change the venue?> Retreat into the woods, leaving Kan to the pseudo-dragon. That should be more entertaining than whatever you had in mind.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2951681>> Retreat into the woods, leaving Kan to the pseudo-dragon. That should be more entertaining than whatever you had in mind.
>>2951681>Retreat into the woods, leaving Kan to the pseudo-dragon. That should be more entertaining than whatever you had in mind.>retrieve the axe and start chopping a tree to smash into someone
>>2951731>>2951697>>2951692You turn and dart away, quick as your foremost charge, leaning to one side and bringing your arm low to scoop up your axe as you pass. Disengaging, you think, seems both a wise choice and an entertaining one in light of what’s about to happen.“Y-you’re running after that!? C-coward! You’ll never win, you know! You’ll – a-aaah!” Kan’s voice follows you through the trees as though he seems keen on betraying your location to his new assailant as a last-ditch survival tactic. It’s too soon to look over your shoulder and see exactly what happens afterward, but his words quickly give way to incoherent screaming, then brief, pained wailing punctuated by a wyverine roar and the sound of a tree falling.From an unseen perimeter, the crowd goes wild. You imagine the cheering is yours, in part, but mostly to do with the vicious spectacle you leave in your wake. Even when he was introduced as a fugitive, you expected a measure of honor from your first opponent in Reíve, but he instead revealed only cowardice in his hour of defeat – and he dared call you a coward for your next winning move. Hypocrisy and fear alike: the proclivities of the weak.You look up in hopes of catching a glimpse of your opponents’ activities and their locations, but the orb cast overhead can’t be seen from directly underneath. You wonder if you could see a bit of the projection from the perimeter, but merely being there would invite a risk of being knocked out of the ring on a battlefield where such a risk isn’t normally present. You wonder if that’s just part of the game. It leaves you with an uncanny feeling; the combat you are used to has no such nuance and no strange rules. You wonder if any such rules could be broken, or played to your advantage.» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ …retreating within, anticipating the brightest instant before its glorious end… ]> Conceal yourself and see if Trova is on your trail.> Make your way to the plateau to observe the arena from elevation.> Wait in the wooded area and weaken a tree as a trap for the next to find you.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2951742>> Wait in the wooded area and weaken a tree as a trap for the next to find you.
>>2951742>Wait in the wooded area and weaken a tree as a trap for the next to find you.
>>2951742>> Conceal yourself and see if Trova is on your trail.
>>2951746>>2951745A cheat. The word comes back to you, after a bit, as a fine descriptor for Ardan Kan, though you know not why; what rules did he break, after all, if the arena’s tradition holds no restrictions against beguiling one’s own true nature? Yvestyre told you that the arena makes short work of cheats. Having fulfilled this by your own hand, you believe it even though you do not know its true meaning and are quite aware of as much.You ruminate on all this as you score a tree on either side of the clearest path to set a makeshift trap for whoever is unfortunate enough to come by you next. You have never cut wood with an axe, as there are very few trees in Devimor; you have seen a Roshari lumberyard, once, and wonder if this is anything like that. Thoughts race, busying your mind as a distraction from an adrenaline rush you have seldom felt in so long. Your grip on your weapons is painfully tight; the skin of your cheeks is cracked by frostbite’s burn. You are ready for more.The pseudodragon’s footfalls are nearby; a large shadow passes through the distant brush. You could lure them to your position, but a thrown weapon from this distance would be questionable, and an ambush difficult; a properly trained war animal and its trainer can act as a unit, compensating one another’s weaknesses. Zrut, you have faced and seen killed in the wild; such monsters can be tamed, but not domesticated. They are blood-hungry beasts with searing breath and wings useful only for short glides and long jumps.Such a battle will surely be difficult. Could this make Trova a cheat as well?» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ …born by the link to one’s own life-force. May it shine as blood spills… ]> Taunt the duo to lure them toward you.> Feign a loud escape through the brush and see if they follow.> Move in and attack as quickly as you can. You’ll let the fight guide you back here.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2951787>Leave a pool of blood where the tree can fall
>>2951787>> Feign a loud escape through the brush and see if they follow.
>>2951787We've since trended down. Gonna break for the night here. I'll say as much in the usual spots before I start posting again.
>>2951787>Feign a loud escape through the brush and see if they follow.
Holy fuck thanks for reminding me how much I miss BSO. This seems cool but fuck, I just wanna fight that dragon after this insane hiatus
>>2951797>>2951869>>2952978Your retreat carries you further into the simulated forest grove. Normally, you’re careful enough despite your fierce bearing to avoid making noise excessively, but you deliberately leave the brush rustling in your wake, pushing through a woody shrub, leaves shaking behind you as you take cover behind another cluster of trees and look back the way you came. It’s following you, or at least moving in your direction. You can hear the wyvern’s stomping, and even make out its snarling and snorting as it follows you into the wood by sound and scent. But the beast isn’t following the path. The partially-concealed forms of Trova and his companion pass near the trap you laid, though not maneuvering deliberately around it. As long as you haven’t been found out – and it doesn’t seem like you have – you’re in a better position than you were, even if you’re going to have to get up close and personal with a Zrut to put your plan into action.There’s a moment of calm.You exhale the breath you’ve been holding, and are forced to subdue a battle shout as you suddenly spin around and swing your axe through the air behind you. The strike is fast and wide, blade whistling; it takes a moment for you to register the image of the figure behind you as the Red Exile, who leans lithely away from the strike to let it pass inches beneath an impassive ceramic mask. The Exile’s movements are phantasmal, scarcely in contact with the ground, seeming to glide backward across the grass and away from you. You grit your teeth and fortify yourself in a battle stance, feet spreading apart, axe at the ready in each hand. There’s an opponent on either side of you now, one hundred and eighty degrees apart; this is certainly a suboptimal situation.The Exile holds a hand out as if to stay you in place, index finger of the other lifting gently to the approximate location of lips behind the visage to indicate “quiet”. A pause, before the scarlet apparition points to the pseudodragon’s shadow through the distant brush, then offers a slow nod of understanding followed by an inquisitive tilt of the head.» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ …so that our glory may be seen true… ]> Wait for the Exile’s move.> Nod and circle back to attack Trova, making sure to clear the Exile’s range in case of a backstab.> Rush the Exile.> Say something. [ Write-in. ]
>>2953142> Nod and circle back to attack Trova, making sure to clear the Exile’s range in case of a backstab.
>>2953142>> Nod and circle back to attack Trova, making sure to clear the Exile’s range in case of a backstab.
>>2953561>>2953148You exchange no words. With a nod as your response, you turn – remaining cautious, still suspicious this could be an attempt to lure you into a trap – away from the Exile and jump through the brush. You can see Trova through the trees, seated atop his mount; he wears ornamented garb, clothing himself in the skins and hides of beasts. He is tattooed across his chest, jagged jewelry of bone ringing his earlobes and his nostrils. His skin is darkened by the western sun, muscles poised to move. You imagine he is a skilled hunter; unfortunately for him, you are no mere animal. A long spear is ready at his side, and you can see a heavy crossbow like an arbalest in his hands; such a weapon is certainly not from his place of origin, but you imagine it serves well in the arena. Atop a zrut, maintaining a comfortable firing distance indefinitely is no challenge. You wouldn’t dare challenge your own endurance against that beast’s; over a vast enough empty stretch, you might consider it, but in this confined space?Trova turns, gaze narrowing, and the pseudodragon snorts. You’re spotted, and the trap you’ve set is still a measure behind him. You could close in and get behind him, but once that crossbow’s trained on you? From this far, you won’t be able to…You hear the crowd gasp, muted by the abjurers’ barrier except for their very loudest moments. A crimson blur whips out of the treetops adjacent; the Exile emerges, running along branches and leaping from the side of a tree with gleaming longsword drawn, striking from altitude as to lash out at the rider rather than the beast. The wyvern is quick to react, and its roar shakes the trees; it jumps to the side, wing and claw swinging upward as if to swat a fly from the air. The sudden action manages to protect Trova, though the beast flails as the blade slashes across the membrane of its wing. Exile lands gracefully beside zrut, carried backward by another characteristic ghostly step. There’s a pronounced *shunk* as the crossbow fires, bolt striking the ground where the masked figure’s feet last touched, kicking up a divot of earth and little dusty cloud. Wyvern and rider move to close the distance. They’re headed toward the trap you’ve set, but only just…» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ …from the killing fields where scarlet swatches stain the desert sands… ]> Attack Trova’s wyvern from behind. Try to push the fight toward the scored trees.> Wait on the outskirts of the battle for a chance to spring your trap.> Use the treetops to attack from above while the Exile continues on the ground.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2953639> Use the treetops to attack from above while the Exile continues on the ground.
>>2953639>Use the treetops to attack from above while the Exile continues on the ground.
>>2953639>> Attack Trova’s wyvern from behind. Try to push the fight toward the scored trees.
>>2953639>Attack Trova’s wyvern from behind. Try to push the fight toward the scored trees.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>2953697>>29537861>>2953810>>29538742
>>2954138…which opens you up to the perfect opportunity to engage and take the fight exactly where you want it to go. On the battlefield you are always in a rush, moving perpetually with urgency; you lunge forward and emerge from your location in the wooded grove to launch an assault from the duo’s blind spot. It won’t be particularly easy, bar a risky attempt to mount the creature from behind, to inflict critical damage from this direction, but your goal is to apply pressure, escalating toward a single decisive and premeditated strike that will surely end the fight. You draw within proximity swinging axe over axe, striking squarely and reaping backwards as the creature moves to adjust from the sudden shock; deep scarlet blood spills from twin gashes across a flank and the squamous flesh of a thick tail. Opposite you, the Exile dances between claw and swinging spear alike, gracefully back-stepping from within the massive reptile’s reach as it moves closer in its attempt to get further away from you. Your blade swings down as though to sever the creature’s tail—which flicks up in an instant and smacks your hand away. Pain shoots through your wrist, axe flying skyward; the mounted hunter takes a quick look over his shoulder and leans aside, zrut managing a dragging step in the same direction and away to avoid the spinning blade.The axe lands embedded in the dirt at the retreating Exile’s feet. It’s recovered and thrown back at the zrut in a single graceful motion, but Trova guides the pseudodragon into a mighty leap that nearly pushes you backward – and carries the pair up and over the axe, leaving it flying right at you. There’s a part of you that expected as much, fortunately; your stumble turns into a sideways dodge and your weapon passes beside you, blade landing buried in a tree just behind. You grab the axe and whip back around in time to see the Exile avoid the downward strike with a side-roll, earth underfoot shaking as Trova makes a magnificent landing; wyvern’s claws only nearly miss, but the spear-point sparks as it glances across the surface of the mask.You can’t help but smirk—they’re in range.» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ …to the ancestral mountain's blades where red rivers carry the stench of battle… ]> A well-placed axe throw will fell a scored tree directly on top of them – a decisive strike without sacrificing your advantageous position.> Circle into the brush, using the Exile as a distraction, and smash the tree down. You’ll strike again from concealment, just so.> Try and lure the pair into knocking the tree onto themselves.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2954195>> A well-placed axe throw will fell a scored tree directly on top of them – a decisive strike without sacrificing your advantageous position.
>>2954195> A well-placed axe throw will fell a scored tree directly on top of them – a decisive strike without sacrificing your advantageous position.
>>2954195>A well-placed axe throw will fell a scored tree directly on top of them – a decisive strike without sacrificing your advantageous position.
>>2954195>> Circle into the brush, using the Exile as a distraction, and smash the tree down. You’ll strike again from concealment, just so.
>>2954198>>2954314>>2954368You afford a subdued laugh, beneath your breath. This moment of cooperation in the battle royale has maximized your chance of victory—though there’s a lingering thought that suggests the Exile would only extend such an offer in confidence that they might defeat you in single combat.You’ll take your chances then. For now? You casually flip your axe in hand, and then, reaching forward with a single step to build momentum, hurl the weapon through the air yet again. Weapon spins end-over-end, blade embedding in the bark opposite the hidden cleft that’s compromised the tree’s integrity. You hear wood splintering, cracking growing louder as the thick tree begins to lean and fall, and the Exile seems to catch on. Trova does as well, sudden sound distracting him from his flurry of spear-strikes, but with his mount on the warpath it’s almost entirely too late to correct. Wyvern’s dive turns into an uncontrolled skid, claws digging into the ground as if it can’t decide whether to power through or try and stop before impact; the moment of indecision, of course, leaves it right in the path of the falling tree. A pained shout is paired with a brief ensemble of sickening sounds as Trova disappears beneath the foliage. The Exile remains within the zrut’s reach as it begins to adjust and lift the tree off of itself; gleaming longsword is turned downward and planted firmly through the beast’s snout, piercing serpent tongue and jaws alike. Its head droops, landing flat against the ground, breath weak and frightened and shuddering.The Exile turns to you, pulling the sword free from a scabbard of scaled and bloodied flesh, then makes a running leap into the trees, circling back toward the center of the ring. For what purpose? You’re the only opponent left! A growl escapes your throat as you recover your weapon.» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ …to the depths of the land wherein we are absolved. Glory be… ]> Give chase and keep pace.> The Exile should have to come to you, if you aren’t mistaken. Wait it out.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2955166>Give chase and keep pace.
>>2955166>Give chase and keep pace.Either we're putting on a show or doing something that allows us both to advance.
>>2955178>>2955181The scarlet warrior is fleet of foot, but can’t cover ground much faster than you. You follow the trail, led by the rustling of leaves and glimpses of red running ahead until you reach the center. The Exile ascends the tall rocky fixture that marks the heart of the arena via a series of graceful leaps and bounds, and you aren’t far behind; stashing your axes at your waist, one to a side, you run up the slanted surface for the handful of steps before the rock grows too steep, then grab on and pull yourself hand-over-hand to the plateau.Masked combatant waits at the top, longsword at the ready in one hand; this is at once an attempt to bring the battle into close-quarters and present a spectacle for the audience beyond. The Exile begins to strafe the perimeter of the small, round stone plateau, and you continue in the same direction at the same speed as to remain a half-circle apart, eyeing your opponent. There is a distinct readiness to the calm of their movements; though the gashed ceramic mask affects no emotion, you know they’re trying to get a read on you. But taking a neutral position – or starting on the defensive – comes with the disadvantage of leaving the first move to one’s opponent. When your every strike can end a fight, such a thing might well be a grave mistake.» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ …—O, Niai, may we find glory in victory… ]> You’ve seen those dodges. Feint with one hand and strike with the other.> All-out aggression. Force the Exile into a defense and overpower them.> Maintain maximum distance. Try to land a strike without overcommitting.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2955242> You’ve seen those dodges. Feint with one hand and strike with the other.
>>2955242>You’ve seen those dodges. Feint with one hand and strike with the other.
>>2955248>>2955292You can feel the Exile’s stillness, adrenaline and battle-trance joining to skew your perception of time as you lunge forward; the duration of a single strike is stretched over what feels like many seconds. Fighting reactively shouldn’t give the apparition enough time to evade your true strike, but they *wait* for the slightest indication of a motion to reveal your intent. Your left hand prepares a false strike, axe poised to swing horizontally from the right side to misdirect from a right hand held back in anticipation of a vertical swing; the masked figure meets the sight of your incoming attack without visible fear or hesitation, swirling down and to your left. Your swing comes down a near-miss, and you struggle not to overcommit for fear of exposing yourself to a counterattack.Your momentum is bringing you low, and the Exile is crouched as well; your left side is passing by the swordsman’s right. That sword is swinging wide at you, but wielding two weapons means all’s not lost from a failed feint; with the swing of your arm, that false strike can now become real…» [ LIFE ] : 87%» [ …—O, Akiyah, may we find glory in death… ]> Swing horizontally and try to be the first to connect.> Get closer. You’re ready to block that strike from the arm and disarm the sword.> Hit the ground swinging. Go under the sword and keep moving.
>>2955362> Get closer. You’re ready to block that strike from the arm and disarm the sword.
> Get closer. You’re ready to block that strike from the arm and disarm the sword.
>>2955376>>2955571A sidestep: you lunge inward, far faster than the Exile is expecting. Closing in at such speed, this war-dance could quickly become a bloody, twisted tangle; your collective skill and balance is what makes the difference, and no doubt keeps the members of the audience on the edges of their seats. You close with the apparition, too close for the wide sword-slash to strike you. You could throw an elbow, or try to use your blade to make space; instead, you bring your arm over your opponent’s, wrenching it to lock it in place, and bring your other weapon back around to swing at the cinched limb. The Exile yanks their arm back to avoid losing it, but can’t fit a sword through the gap; you feel the metal on your shoulder, but there’s not nearly enough leverage to cause you harm. You’re moving forward to deliver a punishing strike; the blade tumbles away behind you as the Exile reels back, but a hidden dagger flashes in their other hand with a flick of the wrist.Your opponent darts one way, then the other, eluding your follow-up – and lashes out like a viper, driving the knife toward your chest with impressive force. It’s like being slugged, foremost, but the sensation is chased by a rippling pain that stays you momentarily in place; it’s a sharp and sudden agony that affords new depth of character to the familiar burning inside. You grimace, stumbling backward with the Exile pressing into you; the blade grinds against your ribs, and your next breath comes shallow.» [ …—in the moment the flame burns brightest, heralding the very end. ]The blade twists, sharp edge digging into the furnace between your ribs. Blood surges from the deep wound, painting a red swatch up your opponent’s hand.You hear sizzling. The Exile affords a pained grunt as a vocalization—feminine in timbre—and reels back, clutching her hand and leaving the knife in your chest. There’s smoke coming off of it; you catch a whiff of seared flesh. Your opponent’s head tilts as she looks back at you. There is heat haze rising from your skin.» [ As LIFE ebbs, the INNER FLAME grows stronger. INNER FLAME improves resistance to further damage. ]» [ Consume INNER FLAME as a resource to unleash supernatural abilities; such is the strength of the warriors of the Devil’s Chapter. ]» [ LIFE ] : 49%» [ INNER FLAME ] : 35%» [ Abilities ] : Warcry (1x/Battle, -20% INNER FLAME)> Make some noise and turn this around. [ Warcry ]> Pull the knife out, throw the longsword from the plateau, and continue the onslaught.> Wait her out. Even in this state, you can defeat an unarmed opponent by counterattack.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2955713> Make some noise and turn this around. [ Warcry ]
>>2955717>> Pull the knife out, throw the longsword from the plateau, and continue the onslaught.
>>2955717>Make some noise and turn this around. [ Warcry ]Do not pull the knife out, it just leads to exsanguination.
>>2955717>> Make some noise and turn this around. [ Warcry ]
>>2955824>>2955910>>2955718Heat from your core suffuses the breath left in your lungs. You stomp forward, throwing your arms behind you, and bellow with the strength you can gather in a mere moment.“Aa-ki-yah!”The earth beneath your feet rumbles, dust and stray bits of broken rock issued outward in a single wave from where you stand. The call echoes, but trends away, crossfading into a discordant tone; it fades from your hearing not for lack of volume but because of the supernatural force shunting away the very air that carries it.Your opponent reels as if battered by the force, spiderweb cracks blooming out from the gash in her ceramic faceplate. You hear the whistling of the wind, rushing back in to fill the dead space, and see the Exile clutch her head as she attempts to recover. Her recovery won’t come quickly enough. Your breath is hot, skin faintly blurred by the inner flame’s heat haze; strained muscles of your calves are poised to move, blades ready to strike yet again. Best make this count.» [ LIFE ] : 48%» [ INNER FLAME ] : 15%» [ Abilities ] : Warcry (Unavailable)> She’s close to the edge—close enough for a flying finish. Charge forward and tackle her from the rocks.> Try to close from range with a thrown axe to the head.> Leap in with a finisher: a double overhead strike.> Other [ Write-in. ]
>>2955915>> She’s close to the edge—close enough for a flying finish. Charge forward and tackle her from the rocks.>Tackle, flip, POWERBOMB
>>2955915>> She’s close to the edge—close enough for a flying finish. Charge forward and tackle her from the rocks.
The question? What's different about this girl. She seems singularly unpredictable and most strategic moves are getting shut down.
>>2955915>She’s close to the edge—close enough for a flying finish. Charge forward and tackle her from the rocks.throwing the axe would give her a weapon. double overhead could easily end in the knife being dragged out our gut and stabbed back in. If we had a fire chest beam that would be great, but falling off the plateau doesn't sound too bad.
>>2955915>> She’s close to the edge—close enough for a flying finish. Charge forward and tackle her from the rocks.>>2956155If her name holds true, she's likely picked up most of tricks the hard way.
>>2956782>>2956160>>2956031>>2955916It’s becoming unusual—how frequently you charge forward fearlessly into battle, with no regards save for the very next moment, which you believe will without a doubt be your finest.Rock shifts under your feet as you spring toward your opponent. Your elbow clobbers her jaw – you can hear the ceramic cracking as the force of the impact propagates through – and when you land, pushing against the stunned Exile, you lift her into a running leap that carries you a step ahead, then a pace. The ground disappears beneath you, and you shift; you are pressed against her, careening forward into a flip that will land with your arm bearing into her neck from a great height.Your eye twitches, and you sputter. You feel pulses of rippling pain from a series of palm-strikes that buffet your chest as the Red Exile comes to her senses, hitting hard despite the miniscule distance available over which to gain leverage. You bash the splintering visage with the handle of your axe once, then again as your own form of demanding surrender, hearing a dizzied and muffled grunt of distress – “—ngh!” – from underneath. The two of you are upside-down, then right-side-up; the ground is racing towards you. The Exile recovers her weapon. You feel heat and wetness as it drags against bone on the way out and plunges back in nearby the site of impact. From the position she’s found, she can wound you again and again……but you have chosen a tenacious attack. Your outcome was determined the moment you set yourself along this path. You hit the earth skidding on top of the Exile, reverberations of the uneven ground beneath shocking your hands and knees as you bear down on her with a devastating blow and slide a considerable distance. Her ensemble is designed to affect no expression, even in the worst of times; the mask keeps cold vigil, the scarlet color of her clothing disguising the color of your blood and hers. You roll off of her, and look over through bleary eyes to see her still and silent. Your hearing is dulled; there’s a white noise coming through the trees that might be the wind or the crowd’s applause. Lying on your back, you begin to stand, but your eyes betray you in fluttering closed instead.> [ Continued ]
>>2957046You awaken to the flickering of an oil lamp, in a small and unfamiliar place with walls of stone brick. It’s a little cold for your liking; a cot, rather than a proper bed, allows air to pass beneath you. Your harness and axes are piled on the floor beside you; your chest is bound and bandaged, while your faulds and sash still ring your waist, sticking out from beneath a linen blanket that barely covers your torso. There’s the sound of metal clinking and rattling nearby, and you bolt up and reach for steel despite the soreness in your shoulders...“Hey—relax.” Cast in shadow, it takes a moment for you to recognize the other as Yvestyre, especially because he doesn't turn all the way to face you. He looms over the table – your only other piece of furniture – and looks to be working with a number of tin cups, as well as the contents of vials and pouches on his belt, by the light of your lamp. “Haven’t had enough fighting for today?” He asks, sounding a bit tired himself.> “Did I win?”> “Where are we?”> “What are you doing?”> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2957048>> “Did I win?”
>>2957048>“Did I win?”
>>2957048>> “Did I win?”>> “Where are we?”
>>2957048>Of course not>Did I win?
>>2957059>>2957337>>2957363>>2957396>>2957674“…the match.” Fighting, you recall. Have you had enough for one day? There’s a part of you that wants to say ’of course not’, and another… Regardless, it takes a moment for you to come back around, before you swivel to face Yvestyre, legs hanging off the cot. “Were you at the Amphitheater? Did I win?”Yvestyre shrugs. “You tied.”“For first place.” You respond flatly.“For second,” Yvestyre says. “With a mysterious challenger in red, if I’m not mistaken? I wasn’t able to see the bout, but that’s unfortunately how that works—if there isn’t a challenger left standing, then…”“Mmn.” You pause and sink a bit in place, unsure of what to think.Yvestyre is swirling a little vial of cloudy liquid, holding it to the light and squinting as if to inspect the contents; your silence persists for long enough after your evidently-disappointed vocalization that he turns to face you. “You’re disappointed? You understand this means you’ve advanced to become a proper challenger, correct? There’ll be plenty of chances for you to win after today—good ones, if you truly do fight like I’ve heard you did.”“You heard?” You ask, quirking a brow. You start to stand, but your chest and legs ache. “From who, if you didn’t see?”“People talk—and I do my fair share of talking to people. You’re due to become a fast favorite. They say you felled a tree just by throwing an axe at it—with no sorcery to be seen. Giantsblood, they’ve said. Or godborn.” Yvestyre smirks. “I’m curious, but I won’t ask your secrets. There’s still a chance we meet in the ring, after all?”It dawns on you that most of the audience probably didn’t see you set your trap; most probably only observed you spring it. It seems unlikely that many would believe as much, but rumors do spread; likewise, sorcery and the aberrant arts have grown diverse enough that stranger things have most certainly happened. You scoff beneath your breath at the idea of inadvertently creating your own myth.“So,” You ask. “Where are we, then?”“This is your room.” Yvestyre looks back to his work, but gestures to the small chest that contains the remainder of your belongings by tapping it with his foot. “Competitors who can’t pay their own way are lodged here. There are more pleasant venues, of course: residences in the city, and luxury suites for the champions and for those that can afford them. I asked for you—said you’re a friend from mountainhome. There are guards, of course, but they seemed rather… lax, I suppose.”> “What are you brewing?”> “You’re a challenger now as well, then?”> “Have you heard anything about the Red Exile?”> “How did they reckon it was a tie?”> “You’re from Devimor?”> Other [ Write-in. ]
>>2957680>"Thank you">> “You’re from Devimor?”> “What are you brewing?”> “Have you heard anything about the Red Exile?”
>>2957680>> “Have you heard anything about the Red Exile?”
>>2957680> “Have you heard anything about the Red Exile?”> “How did they reckon it was a tie?”
>>2957816>>2957706>>2957688“The Red Exile—do you know anything of her?” You ask. You’re keen to know what became of your opponent. You aren’t sure what strikes you as most unusual, though it might be her unpredictability. By her defensive nature she seemed to deflect your very strategy rather than parry your blades.“Her? That’s a surprise.” Yvestyre muses. “Less than I thought, I suppose. Only that she moves with premeditated purpose. There’s talk of some sinister motivation, certainly, but spectators simply love a story. She was quite injured from her bout, but did not remain overlong in the medical ward. They say her mask is from the East court, though her weapons suggest she’s from elsewhere. Is there something on your mind?”“Sort of.” You shake your head. “My mind is always on the fight. You said they called it a tie because neither of us stood afterward?”“The marshals call the match to a vote if all surviving participants are incapacitated. A tie is presently impossible by that measure, normally—but for some reason, Ferox abstained to vote. That is what confused me most. It seems absurd, but she has the right, and neither does she owe us an explanation.” The young alchemist pauses from his work; he looks blankly over, speaking matter-of-factly. “Just be glad you’re here, I suppose. If you’re anything like myself and the other challengers – and I get the sense that you are – you don’t have much to your name. All that’s worse than a loser is an injured one without a place to lay their head.”“Ferox is the woman in blue?” You ask.Yvestyre nods. “She is the Grand Champion of Reíve. As the ruler of the arena, she holds preeminent power here in the city.”“Mmn.” You afford a vocalization of acknowledgement. There’s another moment of soreness; you reach back to rub your neck. “What are you brewing over there?”“Just something for the wounds. Challengers are afforded essential care, but I imagine just being able to stand isn’t enough to keep you competitive, mm?” The alchemist says, though you grin at the thought; he clearly doesn’t know you well. “More thorough treatment extracts a price—like most everything in the city of games. That said, I don’t have proper glassware of my own just yet, but I can make do…”> [ Continued ]
>>2958054You’re partway to formulating another question when you catch a familiar bitterness in the air. There’s a peroxide-sizzling sound accompanying the swishing of liquid in a small flask.“Snapcobra oil.” You say; you exhale, then swallow, hands settling on your knees.“Oh? I didn’t take you for an alchemist.” Yvestyre quirks a brow, looking at you out of the corner of his eye. “You know it?”“Well.” You respond, and subdue a faint sniff.“Aah, well - to me, it's just another memento from mountainhome. Some used it for wounds, a time ago; mostly soldiers, I imagine, or footpads from the lowland canyons. It’s quite potent, so they say, but invites a terribly early grave without proper measure. If we dilute down just a drop – perhaps with some baron’s blood – we’ll make a fine ingredient for a healing tincture…”Your attention drifts in and out, fingers digging into your own flesh. Thoughts drift away from your soreness; your mouth dries and a lump forms in your throat as a fleeting scent becomes a craving. Just a little of that extract will get you back on your feet. You can promise yourself it’ll be the last time—and it’ll surely be better than some alchemist’s poison regardless, right?> Force yourself to your feet and beckon for the flask. You’re more imposing than him standing.> Ask to see the flask for a moment.> Distract yourself. Lay down and ask Yvestyre about his origins.> Distract yourself. Lay down and ask Yvestyre about Ferox or the Marshals.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2958055>> Distract yourself. Lay down and ask Yvestyre about Ferox or the Marshals.
>>2958055>Distract yourself. Lay down and ask Yvestyre about Ferox or the Marshals.
>>2958055> Distract yourself. Lay down and ask Yvestyre about Ferox or the Marshals.
>>2958055>Distract yourself. Lay down and ask Yvestyre about his origins.
>>2958055>> Distract yourself. Lay down and ask Yvestyre about his origins.
>>2958077>>2958093>>2958116>>2958202You swivel back around and collapse into the cot; Yvestyre gives you a curious look, but shrugs it off. It dawns on you that you probably look a bit ridiculous, all details aside, but you scarcely care about the way you look. Memories of terrible suffering and of glorious battle descend relentlessly upon you; they are tarnished, though, details unclear as viewed through the blurry window of past drug-addled euphoria. It’s your reptilian brain, now, rather than just your aching wounds, that yearns for the extract. You sweep the thoughts away, wishing there were another way to heal yourself just as quickly, and sink into the surface beneath you, formulating another question.“You said a tie should be impossible. Why is that the case?” You ask.“Weren’t paying attention?” Yvestyre asks, intoned with a hint of sarcasm. “There’s one Grand Champion and four Marshals. Assuming they all vote one way or the other…”“Right.” You nod—that’s clear enough. The scene at the arena was a lot to take in; if you understand enough to make a proper inference at this point, the current ‘fifth crown’ season should yield a fifth Marshal. “Do you know anything about them?”“When I was here years ago I watched the crowning ceremony of the third.” Yvestyre says. “He is called Krodius—allegedly, a half-troll, unusual as that might seem. He fought like a gladiator with indomitable strength, and his wounds healed as quickly as they could be inflicted upon him. It was certainly... a pleasure to watch, we’ll say.”“The others?” You ask.“The Marshal after him—the woman in white, I’m afraid I don’t know anything about. The two before him, though, are magi. The man in white robes that aids in shaping the arena is Beldox al-Kjeleseth. My father knew of him well; he was a sorcerer of considerable power who sought rebellion against the traditions of the Sanctum. Roshar’s own court of magi eventually fell upon him, but he fled the political jurisdiction and became a gladiator here, to rise to the top of Reíve. The other is called Veight. I have never seen him speak or enter the ring; allegedly, he is a powerful necromancer with his own means of surveilling the city. His own council is particularly small—I imagine he answers to none bar Ferox herself.”“How can someone like her control this city?” You ask. She seemed capricious, when you saw her in the tunnels; a whimsical sort-of damsel playing at splitting mountains with a rapier.“You ask so many questions.” Yvestyre frowns. “What makes you think I know?”“You’ve known everything so far.” You pull the linen around your shoulders. “Well?”Yvestyre sighs. “Licia Ferox cannot be defeated.”> [ Continued ]
>>2959602“What do you mean?” You ask.“There isn’t a recorded loss in her history. In the final rounds of single combat leading to her crowning, competitors selected the battlefield by coin flip; she won every coin flip as well.” Yvestyre manages a little scoff. “At the taverns in Reíve, many play games to celebrate major events, victories, and holidays in town. She occasionally joined in those; it’s said that she didn’t lose a single one, regardless of whether or not skill was involved.”“That can’t be correct.” You quirk a brow.“I get the feeling you’ll find yourself saying that frequently here.” Yvestyre says. He slides one of the tin cups on the table toward you; there’s more quiet clinking as he collects his personal effects. “I'm done. This will heat itself up in a few minutes. You’ll want to consume it while it’s still warm; you’ll find yourself in fighting condition again sooner than you might expect.”“Thanks,” You nod. “For all this. What do I owe you?”“Nothing but to remember this.” Yvestyre runs a hand through the fringe of his white hair, then shrugs. “I’ll be around. Perhaps another time, you’ll tell me about yourself?”“Mmn.” The sound of approval is rather impassive. “Where are you off to?”“Champion’s Revel. Finest tavern in town, for challengers and their colleagues. There’ll be drink and merriment if you find you’re suddenly in the mood for a public appearance tonight.” He gives a little bit of a laugh, then departs with a wave, letting the door close behind him. “’Till so long.”You sit up after a moment, gaze drifting to the cup on the table. It smells of an unusually-pleasant sweetness, though there’s a certain tone beneath it that sends yet another shiver down your spine.> Wait for the tincture to warm and consume it before considering your next move.> Channel lifeforce to boil the extract to a paste. The snapcobra oil should come out as a thin residue on top.> Discard the tincture and move on. You appreciate Yvestyre’s gesture, but you’ll stick to what you know.
>>2959606>> Wait for the tincture to warm and consume it before considering your next move.We've no real reason to mistrust him, might as well.
>>2959606>Wait for the tincture to warm and consume it before considering your next move.
>>2959606>> Discard the tincture and move on. You appreciate Yvestyre’s gesture, but you’ll stick to what you know.
>>2959606>> Wait for the tincture to warm and consume it before considering your next move.
>>2959656>>2959682>>2959713>>2959971You observe the liquid as it hisses, bubbling to a brief roil before settling like a steaming herbal tea. As long as you’re doing this, you decide it’s probably best to follow Yvestyre’s instructions as closely as can be; others might wait for the elixir to cool some, but the heat of it doesn’t terribly bother you. It’s thick, syrupy—coating tongue and warming throat, leaving a curious aftertaste that tingles the whole way down. You become faintly aware of your wounds, closed earlier by the medical ward’s rudimentary healing magic, and feel somehow more whole. Though prepared in questionable conditions, it should suffice; it’ll take a bit for this medicine to take full effect, though the soreness of the day slowly abates within just a few minutes. You sigh, satisfied with a moment of quiet to rein your thoughts back in. It’s a damn shame, though, to waste snapcobra like this; the pure extract would have healed you by now, though you’ve no doubt the alchemist would have talked you to death about ‘side effects’.You rise, set the empty cup back on the table, and stretch for the first time in what feels like too long.> Rest for the night. You’ll take stock and figure out how you factor into the arena’s traditions tomorrow.> Explore. See if you can’t familiarize yourself with Reíve and the Amphitheater a little more.> Seek out the Champion’s Revel.> Other. [ Write-in. ]
>>2960152>> Explore. See if you can’t familiarize yourself with Reíve and the Amphitheater a little more.We're going to be here a while, best we get acquainted with the place.
>>2960152>> Explore. See if you can’t familiarize yourself with Reíve and the Amphitheater a little more.Gotta start hunting down CGs
>>2960152>> Seek out the Champion’s Revel.
Gonna be spotty this next couple of days - not sure when autosage kicks in, too. Plan is to reach a stopping point in this thread before rolling over to another but we'll see how that goes.
>>2962098Autosage is 300(?) posts or 72 hours from OP.Threads last weeks on /qst/, don't worry about keeping a fresh thread up.
>>2960152>> Explore. See if you can’t familiarize yourself with Reíve and the Amphitheater a little more.
>>2960163>>2960219>>2970596You depart from your quarters for the moment and wander into the networked passageways beneath the Amphitheater. Though there’s no natural light to be seen, you presume based on your conversation it’s much later in the same day, likely well into the night if there’s some form of tavern carousing underway. It’s not quite as closely-packed down here as you would have imagined, though you can only imagine what luxuries are present elsewhere for higher-ranking challengers to avail themselves of—never mind the Marshals, who you’ve come to vaguely understand play the role of both political leaders and arena celebrities within the City of Games. You explore the areas that you can access, and take note of those that are currently closed to you; in addition to the Amphitheater’s archives, you come across areas for meetings, training, and exercise, as well as a particularly impressive kitchen. You also come by the precise location of the medical ward, higher up in the underground area; individuals in hooded robes staff the place, icons of serpents entwined around Reíve’s crossed swords adorning their colors.You imagine there must be some manner of armory somewhere—if anything, there must be somewhere for the guard detail assigned to the arena itself to rest and equip themselves. You wonder, too, if the abjurers are lodged here or make their homes among the city. They are surely compensated well—this place fuels itself by luxury and by craftsmanship, manufacturing commodities, deviant spectacles, and rare delights for accomplished challengers and wealthy sojourners from the lands below—but you can’t possibly imagine how well, and how the most accomplished among them measure up to the few that achieve renown in the arena. You aren’t sure what the story is for this lot, but you hope this place is secure; on your level, it doesn’t seem terribly so if you could be found so easily, and if you plan to stay here you’d like nothing more than to sleep in peace.As you make your way to the surface and outward to the amphitheater’s colonnade, there’s a snapcobra-tingling in your throat. Your eye twitches, and you shudder a bit, though you promptly shake your head to clear your thoughts. Most of you feels much better now, but there’s a part of you that wishes Yvestyre had just let you bleed.> [ Continued ]
>>2971878Briefly, you look outward to the city. At higher elevation than the Amphitheater is Reíve’s Capitol, core of the city’s legislative activities; though you have only seen the building from afar you know it is as magnificent as the arena if not nearly as large. You crossed briefly through the market district on your way here, but didn’t get an opportunity to look; you could check things out, but most of the facilities would be closed by now and it’d make more sense to do so after you get some rest and accord your belongings regardless. You aren’t certain if there’s anything left to explore on this level of the Amphitheater, though you suppose you’ve only seen the interior from one point of view.> Investigate the market district.> See if you can access the arena proper and the stands.> Return to your quarters and get to bed.> Seek out the Champion’s Revel.
>>2971881>> Investigate the market district.Might as well see what's on offer, and how steep prices are.
>>2971881>> Investigate the market district.
>>2971881> Seek out the Champion’s Revel.
So I don't wanna be that guy but are you gonna keep being maddeningly vague/silent on whether you'll ever return to BSO? I know being vague is one of your favorite things but I just thought I'd ask if the quest is still alive at all.