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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.
>>
>>3069367
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OuroQM
Ask: https://ask.fm/OuroQM

Archives: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Court%20of%20Swords%20Quest
>>
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>>3069367
Your sabre, tinted blue and dressed in gold, sat atop the workshop bench in a vice. One vice clamped around the handle, the other around the end of the debole, holding it up so that it’s edge was facing you. The polisher pulls a small sheet of silk from a pocket in his apron and, after a moment’s calibration, lets it fall.
It hits the table in two seperate pieces.

“You’ve been keeping it sharp,” he notes. He’s a large man, shaggy haired and well, hairy all over. And beneath that, his olive skin is bronzed in a way that suggests he spends a lot of time in the sun. This suggestion would be a lie. His name is, as far as you’re concerned, Signore Selvaggi and he’s the only man you’d trust your sword to.

“I’ve been sharpening it on the dawn, just as you said!”
And then there’s you, looking as out of place in this workshop as ever. Your name is Sofia Pseudonym and you are a duellist by trade. You live by the sword but you can’t be expected to actually maintain the bloody thing. That’s the job for an expert and for you, this man has always been that expert. He once sold you this very sword, back when you had a different name.

“Exemplary, as can only be expected of you. But you’ve picked up a lot of chips down the edge. That’ll cost you.”

This is your fault presumably, probably for using the edge to parry so many times. You don’t try to dispute the price or haggle. Not that it would be rude, in fact it’s rather expected around here. You don’t haggle because you don’t want to force him to give it to you for free. And in exchange, he doesn’t lead off with the absurd prices he does for others. You feel, or at least you hope, that the two of you have an understanding, even if your curse means that neither of you can ever say what it is.
“Are any of them serious?”

“No. Give me a day with this girl and I’ll have her edge smoothed down to perfection again. Was there anything else?”

“Ah, yes actually. It’s about the decoration. The gold inlay down the forte? It’s gotten very scratched since I started my career.”


“Hrmph. The entire purpose of making it an inlay was that so it wouldn’t get scratched.”

“Well it has! Can’t explain it. Can you touch it up?”

“Easily. Are you willing to supply the gold?”

You pull a gold coin from your handbag and flip it over. He catches it out of the air and inspects it, rubbing his thumb over the faint image of some foreign despot.
“That’ll do. Have you been to visit a coiner lately, Sofia? Not often you see someone with a gold coin.”

1/2
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>>3069370
“Something very like that, yes.”
Due to certain circumstances, you’d come into possession of a large stock of gold coins. And while Signor Selvaggi is right to be surprised, since gold coins are inconvenient, soft, heavy and mostly only useful for trade with foreigners (who value the stuff stupidly high for some reason), it is still coin. Beggars can’t be choosers.
“Will it be ready by the day’s end?”

“Yes. But come back before I close, alright? Otherwise I’ll have to reopen the workshop especially for you.”
As you said, Signor Selvaggi understands you. He knows how pointless it is to threaten you with something as mundane as ‘business hours’.

With that settled, you step out of the polisher’s workshop and back onto the canal, surrounded by the omnipresent hustle and bustle of Il Grande Mercato. A rather simple name for a rather unsimple place but it lives up to it. One of the largest marketplaces in the City, this massive square grid of crisscrossing canals in the middle of Somn has been all but taken over by what could only be called some kind of urban cyst of mercantile achievement.
They say you can buy just about anything here and while that’s a vast overstatement, it’s still more true than not.

And you’re not just here to get your sword maintained, though that was well overdue. Recently...things haven’t been great for you. Your last duel was an embarrassment and you can’t even distract yourself with puzzles anymore. The joy in that is gone.
So instead you’ve come to drown yourself in the tawdry joys of consumerism. You’ve got money, the gold coins you liberated from a client who turned out to be guilty of theft all along. When you took them, you told yourself that you were going to spend them on you.

And how best are you going to go about doing that first?

>Dresses and fancy outfits! Maybe not dresses actually.

> Books, puzzles and other sorely needed entertainment.

>Shop around for a new hobby that contains slightly less existential guilt.

>Body treatment. When you said you were spending it on you, you were being very literal. Don't you deserve to feel good for once?

>Humours and other devices that entertain and entrap the mind.

>Nothing. This was a mistake. You should just save it in case you need it later.
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>>3069383
>Body treatment. When you said you were spending it on you, you were being very literal. Don't you deserve to feel good for once?
>>
>>3069383
>>Body treatment. When you said you were spending it on you, you were being very literal. Don't you deserve to feel good for once?

Hey, (Fae) Court of Swords is back. Neat.
>>
Vote called, writing.
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>>3069383
>Shop around for a new hobby that contains slightly less existential guilt.
we need more games to challenge people with
>>
>Body treatment. When you said you were spending it on you, you were being very literal. Don't you deserve to feel good for once?

To tell the truth, you can’t think of many of your hobbies that feel right to you right now. What would buying those or shopping around for new clothes really do for you? No, instead, you’ve decided to be extremely literal. And don’t you deserve to just feel good every once and a while? So that’s what you’ll do. You’ll find a good body tailor or masseuse and have them remove all the stress and the frustration that’s been coiling up inside of you.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a little time and money to be nice to yourself every now and then.

Your travel through the Mercato is slow, hindered by the flows of people going every which way all around you. It is crowded with stalls and people of every possible kind. Not just the olive tanned skin of Cityfolk, oh no, not here. Amidst them you catch the occasional glimpse of what can only be foreigners, be they unnaturally pale or unnaturally dark. Some of them are dressed in local styles, others prefer to be barbarians. All are accompanied by local guides and many of them are wearing lenses of smoked glass and paper masks across their mouths.
A lot of foreigners will do anything to stop themselves from taking in the City. That’s how much they fear it. They say the colours here blind them and to eat or drink to lose yourself. That the air itself is sickly sweet and enchants the mind. And maybe it is for them, who live in the Lesser Realms, further away from the Truth of things. It must be like travelling to the Wake.

You wonder if they know how laughable people find their absurd caution here, how many jokes foreign merchants like them are the brunt of. Why cling to their old way of things if their lives back home are so pale that the City’s mere existence can shred them? They should strip themselves of their glasses and their masks and partake freely and in doing so, be liberated. And once done, they will never go home again.

And rarer still, there are things in the crowd that are less human than even the denizens of the Lesser Realms. Living sculptures not unlike the the peacocks around the Magisterium can be seen darting here and there, running errands and messages. Urchins too, little tatterdemalion bundles without substance, tumbleweeds of urban detritus with glinting black eyes. And everywhere, probably outnumbering the actual people, the Mercato is full of the painted.

1/2
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>>3069592
Every available surface is home to some mural, some painting, some crude sketch or other splash of colour. Most of them are purely ornamental but a few have been recruited into business. You pass a painted wall with a stand and a paintbrush sitting next to it. Painted on the side is a beautiful woman at a desk, fidgeting and staring at a blank white square positioned next to the stand. It’s an ordering system. Using the little paintbrush and the black paint provided, people can paint their order for a stall further down the wall and the painted woman, seeing it materialize from nowhere, will run it down and display it for the stallowner to see. Useful, though you have to wonder how she feels, receiving and running commands from something she can’t even perceive.

Later you pass a similar setup only this one has been vandalized and not yet repaired. The woman’s face has been covered over in crude black paint and instead of dutifully attending the orders, she just lies in a corner perpetually struggling to breathe through a face that no longer exists.

But none of this is what you’re looking for. What you’re looking for is...ah! There! The bathhouses and body tailors. An apt enough place to spend your money on.

You choose one of the more luxurious looking ones and walk in, your handbag full of stolen coin. You nod at the woman at the desk. She's tall and dark-haired and the way she wears her robe, almost tantalisingly close to open, hints that this establishment offers services beyond 'massage'.
“I’d like a proper treatment thanks. Clothes and body. I’ve got time too, it can take a while.”

You slap a good dozen coins upon the table and she curtsies, more to them than you.
“Right this way signorina. And what treatment would you like exactly?”

“Huh?”
You haven’t been to one of these places since you were just a girl, due to them being expensive as all fuck. And back then your parents had arranged everything for you.

“Would you just liked to be bathed and relaxed in the skin-deep treatment or would you prefer the extensive body massage treatment? And if so, would you like any alterations? And furthermore, which attendants would you prefer?”


>Just skin-deep, thanks. You have other things you want to do.

>Extensive! You’re here to treat yourself. If you just wanted a bath, you could do that at home.

And

>No alterations to either clothes or body. If you’re going for skin-deep, you have to choose this.

>Some physical alterations while you’re here.

>You’d like them to work on your duelling outfit.

And

>Male attendants.

>Female attendants.

>”Can I ask for you, specifically?”
>>
>>3069604
>>Extensive! You’re here to treat yourself. If you just wanted a bath, you could do that at home.
>Some physical alterations while you’re here.
>You’d like them to work on your duelling outfit.
>mix of both attendants
>>
>>3069604
>Extensive! You’re here to treat yourself. If you just wanted a bath, you could do that at home.

>No alterations to either clothes or body. If you’re going for skin-deep, you have to choose this.

>”Can I ask for you, specifically?”
>>
>>3069604
>Extensive! You’re here to treat yourself. If you just wanted a bath, you could do that at home.
>You’d like them to work on your duelling outfit.

>Mix of both

>Casual fleshwarping
I need an adult
>>
>>3069604
>Extensive! You’re here to treat yourself. If you just wanted a bath, you could do that at home.

>You’d like them to work on your duelling outfit.

>mix of both
>>
>>3069760
Fae care about appearance only as far as they can magnify it.
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>>3069604
>Extensive! You’re here to treat yourself. If you just wanted a bath, you could do that at home.
>You’d like them to work on your duelling outfit.
>"Both, both is good."

I'll reign in the temptation to both get a three number measurement for Sofia and adjust it to suit a decidedly unsubtle taste. I'm not against it if anyone else gets excited over it though.
>>
Vote called, writing.
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>>3069604


>>3069816

I'm going to second with this, if only because if we feel the need to bolster our... presence, I specifically want it in the form of one last ribbon.
>>
>>3069604
>>Extensive! You’re here to treat yourself. If you just wanted a bath, you could do that at home.
>You’d like them to work on your duelling outfit.
>Either/both. If not both, female.
>>
>Extensive! You’re here to treat yourself. If you just wanted a bath, you could do that at home.
>You’d like them to work on your duelling outfit.
>A mix of both.

“Extensive, please! I want to feel like a princess, you know. Not that that should be hard. So I’ll take the deep bath and massage. All the way down. But I don’t want any alterations while you’re all working there, I’m pretty happy with my body is it is.”
A lie but one you are forced to tell.
“But hey, could you do some work on my outfit while I’m being serviced? Thanks.”

“Of course. And what attendants would you prefer?”

“For what?”

“Men or women? We offer an array of specialists of either gender.”

“Can I get a mix of both? It won’t make me uncomfortable.”

“Very well. Right this way then.”
She takes a key off the wall behind her and opens the door to a small wooden hallway.
“This key is for Chamber 43. It’s down the hallway, past the first five corners, on the right. Please enter when you are ready.”

“Thanks!”
You pad down the hall, following her directions. The chambers are not numbered sequentially and each stretch of hall seems to be the exact same length and each corner the exact same angle. Logic would thus dictate that you’d arrive back where you started after just three corners but you are in the presence of some obscure architecture. They must have paid a lot for this.

You find Chamber 43 and without waiting, you unlock the door and throw it open. The room beyond is small but airy and most of the floor is hollowed out to form a tub full of steaming hot water. The air is thick with the steam and it’s not just from your own. The walls don’t go all the way up to the ceiling, allowing the smells, sounds and vapors from the adjacent chambers to mix decadently in the space above.
Waiting for you are two men and two women, all absolutely adorable and all dressed in the same scanty bathrobe that ends mid-thigh.

“I’m not here for small talk,” you announce, spreading your arms. “Let’s get to work.”

Your clothes are quickly stripped from you, roaming hands removing your jacket, unbuttoning your waistcoat, pulling off your boots, tugging at your pants...well, you’ll spare the exact details. They are stolen from you in less than a minute, without you even having to lift a finger, bundled up and carried through a side-door. You are offered a bathrobe of a similar cut to your attendants but you don’t need it for now. Because, for now, you are lead into the bath by gentle hands.

What follows is actually surprisingly unerotic. The scrubbing is extensive, thorough and pleasurable purely in an ascetic sense. They don’t have the time to waste being gentle with your mere skin, do they? You paid for the deep treatment.

1/2
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>>3069990
Your attendants rescue you from the bath shortly afterwards and lay you out upon a bench, face-down. The massage that follows is as pleasurable as the bath wasn’t. Strict fingers knead your flesh and rip your muscles and though it may be painful, it comes with a sense of euphoric delight that easily matches any humour Leonarda has ever given you, any puzzle or tempting book. It must be like what you imagine sex is like.
You’re unable to stay quiet but it’s fine. There’s a joyous buzz in your ears that makes you unable to even hear your own moans.

After an unknowable amount of time has passed, you are flipped over and introduced to a whole new world of joy.

*****

You are drowsily lying in your bath some time later, still being worked on, when the receptionist enters the room. High in the clouds of bliss, you slur out a greeting.

“They told me you were lucid. How would you like your outfit to be tailored?”

You drag yourself up into some approximation of consciousness as you consider your question. You don’t want to move too much though. Your arms are skinless, bloody apparitions of raw meat and muscle. One of your legs is the same, being kneaded by bloody hands. The other leg is still being stripped, the skin being pulled away from a seam high in your inner thigh. They’ve degloved it to the knee but they haven’t worked it all the way off yet.
The bathwater runs red with your sanguine essence and you don’t dare disturb the process too much. Not when it feels this good.


>Just clean it and make it look a bit fancier. Nothing too different. Practicality is important.

>Lacier! Frillier!

>Perhaps it could be cut to be a little more daring…?

>You’d like to make a significant change to how the entire thing is shaped.

>Other (Specify)
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>>3069998
>Just clean it and make it look a bit fancier. Nothing too different. Practicality is important.
>>
...ew.
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I'm not even surprised
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>>3069998
Make it a little more daring, but also make it more impressive and powerful. All while allowing it to be accessorized easily.
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>>3069998

>Daring

I'm not sure if I hate this city, or if I'm simply too simple to appreciate the finer points of therapeutic flaying.
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>>3069998
>Other

We've taken on a tendency to borrow other people's clothes and I don't see that changing any time soon; I recommend a more versatile coat that can be worn on either shoulder, draped, tied or worn neatly may be a tall order, but nevertheless may be vital for better coordination with trophies.

Secondarily? I I vote for lace, but not TOO much lace.
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>>3070058
this was sort of what I was wanting with my vote too.

Cept more daring than lacy.
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>>3070080

Changing my vote to mirror this tasteful gentleman.
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Vote called, writing.
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>Other

“Hrmm,” you say slowly, sounding out the words with a barely responding tongue. “I think I need a few practical changes. I have a habit of taking other people’s clothes, you see? So can you make my coat a little more versatile?”

“Of course. How so?”

“Give it loops or something, I don’t know. I leave the details to you. But it needs to be able to worn on either shoulder, draped, tied and be easy to affix various tokens to. I collect a lot of those. And..and could you make it a little more daring?”

“Daring? How-”

Her voice fades out as you sink once more back down into bliss. It’s not your fault. How can you possibly keep your head in the face of such a deep massage? Probing fingers reach into every inch of your being. Anything as shallow as skin is no obstacle.

You are dimly aware of them degloving you. With your limbs done, they are free to move up, to pass their hands over your loosened skin and to pull it free. For a moment you are blind as they drag up the skin from your torso and your face. It’s like having your shirt pulled up over your head.
And then it is off and you are unclothed both in fabric and in skin.

Still deep in your stupor, you watch them fold your skin up and set it aside. And then to get to work upon your musculature, kneading it free from your body in long crooked ropes. They don’t break any of it, nor do they tear anything free. It just dissociates from you in beautiful streamers of flesh. It’s like pulling a thread free from a ball of yarn.
Little by little, they untangle you. Far upon the mountaintops of euphoria, you watch them scoop out your internals with gentle hands. They have a knack for it and things come free that shouldn’t. Your teeth are scooped out without resistance, your skinned lipless mouth hanging open helplessly. Even if you wanted to shut it, you couldn't. They pulled those ligaments free a while ago.

Your teeth are left to float in a little glass tube of saline fluid. Your nails join them soonly afterwards. Then they come for your eyes…

When your eyes move, so do ‘you’. That is to say, the ‘you’ from which you see. You get a good look at the beautiful palms of your attendants as they pull your eyes out and leave them to float in another tube. From here, eyes swivelling freely without a skull to constrain them, you can get a good look at the whole situation.

The bathchamber has become a slaughterhouse. Resting in the bloody water is a skeleton and nothing more, a skeleton wrapped in free-floating veins and nerves. And as you watch, they begin to even spool those way, veins and nerves being wrapped up in spindles.
1/2
>>
>>3070304
And all around, there is you. Your skin is stretched out in great sheets where two of the attendants are massaging it, loosening it, cleaning it from both sides. The third attendant, a woman, has your hair spread out on a rack and is vigorously combing it, running it through her hands until it is far straighter and brighter than it ever could be on a human head. The last attendant is polishing your errant fingernails one by one.

After the skin is cleansed to their satisfaction, it is stretched out upon a rack and left to dry. The two that had been washing it turn their attention to your skeleton instead, the only part of you still left sitting in the bath. You watch from a distance as they start to scrub it.
You half expect for the stripping to continue. For them to pull the skeleton apart as well. For them to take off every single aspect of your physicality until the only thing in the bath is the very essence of Sofia. But that would be silly.

This is...this is not unlike ego death. You are no longer yourself. You are a disparate being, a drifting network staring at herself through eyes that are literally several feet away from the rest of you. This entire room is full of you and your substance. Your skin and bone and muscle and fat, all being washed and massaged and in the case of the little vat that contains the sum total of all your body fat, being dissolved.
You are something so much more and so much less. And it is all beautiful. You are being made beautiful, across every inch. Inside and out.

But you are not one who is prone to ego death. So despite your body being so thoroughly dismantled, the ‘I’ of you still bellows strong. From your heart? From your brain? Can’t be, both of those are being tended to separately and away from you. But still!

And because of that, you return to yourself. You return to higher thought, a brief island in a sea of pleasure. And sitting upon that shore, beholding the blood and bile and unrestrained meat that is you, you have one thought.

Fuck. you didn’t get to tell her what kind of ‘daring’ alteration you wanted to be made to your outfit.


>To the waistcoat’s neckline, obviously.

>To how low your trousers go.

>To how high your stockings reach.

>Other (Specify)
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>>3070313
>>To how low your trousers go.

Our chest is nothing special, but our legs are pretty damn good from what I hear.


Also ouro this is fucked up.
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>>3070253
Thanks! This is a really cool pic.
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>>3070313
>To how low your trousers go.
Maybe we can hang streamer trophies from them like a false skirt/tasset
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>>3070313
>To how low your trousers go.
>To how high your stockings reach.
>>
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>>3070313
>Other (Specify)
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>>3070387
>>3070313
+1
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>>3070387

This man gets it. Seconded..

Trousers and Stockings should work in tandem.
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>>3070326
I'm not joking when I say 'I think of her and everyone in this city as Fae creatures and explicitly NOT human.' It REALLY helps with calming your head down about it all. They're alien creatures, despite their looks.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
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This update is late for stupid reasons.

>Trousers and stockings.

Yeah, you could get away with a little something like that, couldn’t you? Make the stockings just an inch lower and your pants perhaps just an inch higher? It’d certainly help people remember you! And if you’re going to be looking so radiant after this massage, you’ll want to show off at least a little.
And if you don’t like it, it won’t be such a big deal. You have a spare ensemble back home.

So, after you’ve recovered a little more, and they’ve put you back together enough that you have lips, teeth, a tongue, vocal cords and conscious control over all four, you request the required change.

That done, you just relax and let them slowly reassemble you. There’s no pain. You watch with detached fascination as your innards are all rewound back within you, your eyes popped back in their sockets just in time for you to look down into your own exposed ribcage. They’ve put back your heart and your lungs but not the rest of the meat so for now the ribcage cavity is packed with straw to ensure that they stay in place.

“You have a very strong heart,” one of the women says flirtatiously.

“Thanks.”
You can watch your lungs swell and deflate as you talk.

“Now hold still. We need to put your veins back. Where are the nerves?”

“I’ve got them right here,” a man says, hefting something that looks like a bundle of wires. “Very loose, very supple, very sexy.”

They keep putting you back together, piece by piece. Wrapping your intestines back together, now clean and vacant, clipping your fingernails back into place, thoroughly de-strawing you and filling your cavities with the appropriate meat.
When your skin comes, it is like a shroud, wrapped around you and tightened, adjusted along various seams. And it is unblemished and unmarked.

*****

You spend the next hour or so in pure relaxation, being waited on hand and foot as your massage is continued, this time on a body now conditioned to be perfect for it. Those hands have touched every inch of you and you mean that in the cubic sense.

But you can’t just sit around forever, you know! You paid for a certain amount of time and that time is up. And so you find yourself out on the street once more, wearing a body that feels so refreshed and powerful that it practically feels brand new! All the little knots, the little issues and imperfections, they’ve been ironed out in an extremely thorough sense. You feel like you’ve got iron muscle and elastic bones but in a good way. Full of vim and vigor!
And your clothes are much the same way. They’ve been cleaned, fixed up and altered just slightly to now show two inches of skin on your legs. Not a very respectable look, you know but since when have you had to care about that anyway? You’ll be fine.

You feel too good to worry about anything right now.

1/2
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>>3070716
And on top of all that, you’ve still got time before your sword should be ready. Odd to think that you can be disassembled and put back together before a sword can get some nicks done but life is a curious thing.
So when musing on how best to spend your time, you happen upon an idea. There’s a person you haven’t seen for a few days, since at least the Handprint incident that left you so distraught and paranoid. Why don’t you go see how they’re doing? Impose yourself on them?


>Leonarda

>Maccio

>Vesper and Adriana.

>Giuseppina.

>Sabino.

>Lanzo

>Gloriana

>Someone else (More options)
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>>3070722
>Vesper and Adriana.
See how she is settling in.
>>
Oh whoops, that's Vespa not Vesper. My bad.
>>
>>3070722
>Vesper and Adriana.
>>
>>3070763
>>3070722

>Vespa and Adriana

2nded.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Maccio
>>
>Vespa and Adriana

Apocalypsis isn’t too far from the Somn, is it? It’s one of its neighboring districts. You’ll be able to head there and back with plenty of time left before you begin to bother Signore Selvaggi. You head off with a spring in your step, a spring in your heart and just about everywhere else throughout your entire body. It’s a good day, the clouds are mostly unreadable and you’re off to visit some friends. What more could you want?

Coming here was the right choice. You feel reborn.

*****

Apocalypsis is as queer as ever, perhaps more so considering its new inhabitant. The eyes painted on the walls still stare blindly, oddities and fascina things are on display on the street and people dressed like Lapo are commonplace. This is, after all, the district of fascination and revelation. It is steeped in fascina.

But despite that, they’re not all bad. It’s a fascina whom you’re going to visit now. Vespa. The former wasp turned woman and sole survivor of her people. This had left her with an entire empty neighborhood that everyone else just seems to ignore. An excellent place, don’t you think, to hide a person with nine bodies?
You hope everything has gone well between the two of them. If you show up and Adriana has ten bodies...well, that better not happen. You trust her.

The little row of houses are as dreary as ever, disconnected from the main canal. But there’s obvious signs of activity and, most noticeably, the dust is gone. The street is sparkling clean, the house’s facades have all been repainted and the windows cleaned. It looks like a place for humans to live instead of a place for wasps to die.
As you walk down the street, you notice the curtains of a house on the left flick, someone watching you through them. A moment later, the door to a house on the right opens and Adriana steps out. She’s still the same, though her dress is now a little more practical. Her pale blonde hair is done up in a bun behind her head. You don’t meet her piercing green eyes and you hope she doesn’t judge you for it.

“Good afternoon,” you say cheerily. “That you up in the windows too?”

“Yes. Good day, Sofia. You are looking particularly radiant.”

“Aw thanks! How can you tell?”

“It’s obvious to anyone with eyes and I have a great many. How are you?”

“Like you don’t already know how I am, Adriana.”

She smiles and tilts her head to the side just a little in acquiescence. You guess she isn’t used to having her condition referred to openly. Not used to it being something that can be spoken of with a smile.
“That is true. But I don’t know why you’re here.”


>”Do I even need a reason? I just want to see how you’re settling in.”

>”I want to return that kiss you gave me before.”

>”Just making sure that you haven’t killed Vespa, haha. Where is she by the way?”

>”Sabino invited me to his Ring acceptance. Do you want to come too?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3070912
>>”Do I even need a reason? I just want to see how you’re settling in.”
>How is your neighbor treating you?
>>
>>3070912
>>”I want to return that kiss you gave me before.”
>>
>>3070912
>”Do I even need a reason? I just want to see how you’re settling in.”
>How is your neighbor treating you?
>>
>>3070912

>”Do I even need a reason? I just want to see how you’re settling in.”
>How is your neighbor treating you?
>>
>>3070912
>”Do I even need a reason? I just want to see how you’re settling in.”
>>
>>3070912
>”Do I even need a reason? I just want to see how you’re settling in.”
>>How is your neighbor treating you?
>Any of the police drop by to harass you?
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”Do I even need a reason? I just want to see how you’re settling in.”
>”How is your neighbour treating you?”

“Blunt, I like it. But do I even need a reason? I just want to see how you’re settling in. How’s that going?”

“Ah, it’s been going splendidly. I’ve never had so much space all to myself before.”

“I can see you’ve been cleaning. A lot. It’s only been a few days!”
You realise how stupid of an observation that is a moment after you say it.

“I like to clean. Some part of me has been cleaning continuously since I arrived. Fortunately, I am very good at multitasking.”

“...Was that a joke?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, good. And it’s all gone well?”
Hopefully all this has distracted her from thinking about Eduardo’s death.

“Not in that sense, no. Some thoughts are inescapable, Sofia. Fortunately I am also very good at compartmentalizing. I’ve dedicated one body to mourning.”

“Oh. And uh, how are you in that regard?”
You don’t want to think about one part of Adriana left in an attic anywhere, constantly crying and freaking out. You’d say it’s not healthy for her to do that but to be frank, you have no fucking clue what is and isn’t ‘healthy’ for a person like her.

“Inconsolable.”

“Right. And uh, how is your neighbour treating you? Looks like you got her permission.”

“I think we’re getting along pretty good.”
This voice is new, startling you just a little as you spin around. Standing behind you is Vespa, her blonde hair somehow conspiring to be an even brighter yellow in comparison to Adriana’s ash-blonde shade. She’s clad in her work overalls though as usual, that hasn’t stopped her from painting her lips and fingernails black. And of course, she’s still wearing her black glasses. A girl with compound eyes has needs, after all.
Beside her, another of Adriana’s bodies is walking. She puts her hands over her mouth as she approaches.
“She told me her business. And I don’t have a problem with it, not really. It’s...it’s pretty nice to see lights in these windows again, you know?”

Adriana nods two heads.
“Signorina Delicato has been exceptionally gracious for letting me stay here, considering the circumstances. I’ve been doing my best not to disrespect the dead.”

“It’s fine,” Vespa says and then gives you a look. “After all, the disease is long gone. She’ll be perfectly safe.”

Disease? Has Vespa told Adriana that a disease is what cleared out these homes? Has she not told Adriana the truth?


>”Haven’t you told her yet?”

>”Adriana, could Vespa and I speak in private for a moment?”


>It’s none of your business anymore.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3071071
>>It’s none of your business anymore.

Because it isn't.
>>
>>3071071
>It’s none of your business anymore.

No need digging it up I guess.
>>
>>3071071
>Remind Vespa that Adriana might attract a lawyer to come visit, so some details may get....revealed.
>>
>>3071071

>It's none of your business anymore.

The only possible hangup is if Vespa and Adriana become an item, which doesn't seem to be an immediate concern. Hopefully one of them would contact us before that ends poorly.
>>
>>3071103
Adriana won't get intimate with anyone I imagine due to the fact she'd kill them on accident.
>>
>>3071109

I'm more concerned with Vespa dying of her circumstances than Adriana harming her.
>>
Vote called, writing
>>
>It's none of your business anymore.

You do your best to drive the thought from your head before Adriana can see it. It’s none of your business anymore what Vespa does and it’s her right to tell or not tell whoever she wants. She’s certainly not obligated to do so. It’s her life that’s on the line here after all, not yours.

“Oh right,” you say, “that old thing. It’s not a threat anymore, Adriana. You’ll not get infected with anything.”

Adriana just clamps her hands over her mouth. Well used to this by now, both you and Vespa turn to where she’s standing behind you. That body is the next to speak.
“I put some tea on when I saw you arrive so it should be ready very soon. If the two of you would like…”

“Oh sure!”
“Thank you Adriana.”

Adriana beckons you towards one of the houses, whose front door opens seemingly of its own accord.
“Right this way please.”

“She certainly seems to have settled in quickly,” you say to Vespa as the two of you walk across the street. “And you’re okay with it?”

“How could I not? She’s so nice and helpful. I’d never be able to get this place clean and she always lends a hand or four to help me weave and she even makes tea...it’s like I’ve picked up my own personal maidstaff.”

“That’s a good observation. She used to be a maid up until recently. Or...a housekeeper I guess. Same thing almost. I think she genuinely enjoys the work.”

“Of course,” Adriana says as the two of you go through the door. She’s standing in the entry with a tray in her hands. It has a large teapot and five cups on it. “I have never enjoyed idle hands and I have so many hands to be idle with.”
Adriana is also standing behind you. Twice. Judging by the number of cups, it looks like she’s pretty thirsty.

“It’s good to see you can be so open about yourself,” you say, following her to a table and sitting down.

“It’s good to…”

“...be so open,” she replies, using two mouths by accident.

“Where did all this stuff come from, by the way?”
You wave your hands to encompass the teapot, cups and table.

“She’s very good at shopping,” Vespa says. “I don’t even know where she got the money from.”

“I have my ways.”

You try to think of how Adriana might be able to afford enough to furnish nine small houses but give up. Truth be told, there’s too many possibilities. Having nine bodies and nine minds opens up a lot of avenues for revenue.
You take a sip from the cup and you can’t stop yourself from smiling. Of course she makes fantastic tea. Why would you ever think otherwise?

“Thank you.”

“Hey, I thought I told you not to go that deep into me again.”

“I didn’t. I just had to look at your face.”

“I’ve yet to find anything she’s particularly bad at,” Vespa says. “Can you believe it? It’s like she knows how to do everything.”

1/2
>>
>>3071207

“That’s not true,” Adriana says. “I certainly can’t knit as well as you.”

“Oh stop, you’ve helped plenty.”

“As for what you’ve said, it’s true and I can’t be humble about it. I am a very quick learner.”
Her three bodies sit down all at once, raising a cup to their lips in perfect synchronicity.
“That is to say,” she says after lowering the cup and covering the mouths of two of her bodies, “I learn as fast as anyone else. I just have a lot more time to do it in.”

Huh. You hadn’t thought of it that way. She probably won’t live any longer than anyone else but for every second that passes for all of you, she experiences it in nine different ways. She could learn nine things in the time it takes you to learn one.

Vespa finishes her tea.
“It’s kind of scary actually and don’t worry Adriana, I’m joking, I’m joking. You have all this power that makes everyone so scared but even under all of that, I’m constantly discovering extraordinary new things about you. She’s absolutely unique, Sofia.”

“Yes,” the former housekeeper replies. “After all, how many people do you know that have a certificate saying they’re human? Hahaha.”
You get the feeling she is becoming uncomfortable about being under so much scrutiny in the conversation. It’s just an inkling, based on that brittle remark and what you know of her but it makes sense. After all, wouldn’t she want you all to act as if she was normal?


>Ask Vespa about her job.

>Ask Vespa about her old relationship.

>Ask Vespa about ambisilk specifically.

>”Do you mind if we talk in private, Adriana?” This might give her an excuse to excuse herself.

>Affectionately embarrass Adriana a little more.

>Ask if either of them want to accompany you to Sabino’s ceremony.

>Talk about yourself. The best subject.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3071208
>Ask if either of them are getting up to anything in the near future, then talk about what we'll be doing, test the waters and see if they want to come before asking.
>>
>>3071208
>>Affectionately embarrass Adriana a little more.
>>
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I'm going to rest for a few hours or so. Vote will remain open until I return.
>>
>>3071208
>>3071231
Plus this
>>Ask if either of them want to accompany you to Sabino’s ceremony.
>>
>>3071208
>>Ask Vespa about her job.
>>Ask Vespa about ambisilk specifically.
>>
>>3071208
>Ask Vespa about her job.
Let's not invite Vespa to the ceremony. She might end up falling for Sabino, and that's dangerous.
>>
Alright I'm back. Vote called and writing!
>>
Actually wait nevermind I didn't notice it was a tie. The vote continues.
>>
>>3071208
>Ask Vespa about her job.
I still haven't caught up with my Ouro backlog (still stuck on last thread or maybe even two, sheeeit) but here's a tiebreaker for you
>>
>>3071208
>>Ask Vespa about her job.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3070304
>>3070313
Jeez ouro, what the fuck did I just read
>>
>>3071444
Lighter tone slice-of-life shenanigans.
>>
>Ask Vespa about her job.

Responding to what may or may not be Adriana’s silent plea, you decide to shift the conversation away from her. For a moment you consider inviting them to Sabino’s little ceremony but ultimately decline. You know Adriana detests crowds and the less people Vespa meets, the better. Thanks to your godmother, love can be all but fatal to her.
So instead, you fish around for another topic, staring idly at the living crowd and the former wasp. What else is there to talk about? Former client or not, you don’t really have much common ground with Vespa. You both got fucked over by the same lawyer, you suppose.

Oh!

Should you tell her that you know the lawyer responsible for her predicament? When you and Vespa first spoke of it you didn’t know but your meeting with Giuseppina after the duel over the stolen gold confirmed to you that you and Vespa share a godmother in common. It is by Giuseppina’s hand that Vespa exists at all and yet it is also thanks to her that she is forever close to death. And while Vespa has never seemed particularly spiteful about it, would she change if she knew that you could arrange a meeting between her and her creator?
That’s a heavy thought. Too heavy to throw around without thinking about it further.

“So Vespa, how’s work been going? Have you still been getting commissions after all that ugliness with the contract?”
You take refuge in a safe harbour.

“Well enough to live by,” she says. “My reputation’s been hurt but some customers stay loyal. There’s a lot of dedicated cloudreaders around these parts and they’re always in need of a good pattern. I’ve even got in a request for ambisilk, would you believe it?”

“Oh?”

“Just a little purse with an ambisilk bottom, barely more than a scrap. Fairly simple pattern too so it won’t hold much. Why the sudden interest?”

“Oh it’s nothing much. I don’t know what Adriana’s told you but we recently shared an escapade involving the stuff.”

“I, among other things, was briefly trapped in a pair of drapes,” Adriana supplies.

“Do go on.”
Vespa reaches for the teapot only to find it empty. Wordlessly, Adriana picks it up and walks off into the kitchen to brew some more. As she does this, Adriana stays behind to answer Vespa’s questions about the curtains.
You are interested in the conversation at first but it quickly becomes apparent that Vespa’s interest in the pattern is wholly that of a craftsman, asking questions about the particular style and material of the ambisilk pattern. Questions that you can’t follow.

1/2
>>
>>3071482
But this all stops when Adriana holds up a hand.
“Something has come up. The kitchen was out of water so I was pulling some up out of the well in order to brew the tea. And...it would appear Sofia has a message.”

You groan and then, as Adriana walks out of the kitchen with a bucket in one hand and a scroll in the other, you groan louder. But you reserve the third and final groan for when the scroll wriggles its way out of her hands and flies straight in for your face!

You catch it in mid-air before it can strike you, breaking the seal and unrolling it in a single motion. You give it a quick scan to confirm that it is what you think it is and you shrug.
“Well, at least it’s a good time for it. My sword’s probably done by now and I’m still feeling pretty great. Sorry ladies.”

Vespa frowns.
“Do you have to leave right now?”
It is a testament to how good the deep treatment has left you feeling that someone expressing, unprompted, a desire to be in your company doesn't render you desperately, pathetically happy.


>”Yes. The official time for negotiations isn’t for a while but it’s best to be there early. Don’t want anyone talking to my client beforehand.”

>”It can wait a little while. Another cup please Adriana.”

>”No, I can keep this waiting until dusk. Shall we talk some more?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3071485
>”Yes. The official time for negotiations isn’t for a while but it’s best to be there early. Don’t want anyone talking to my client beforehand.”

>I always try to get there ahead of time, and I still need to pick up my sword. Point of professional pride and all that. Sorry the visit was cut short maybe we can catch up again later.
>>
>>3071485
>”Yes. The official time for negotiations isn’t for a while but it’s best to be there early. Don’t want anyone talking to my client beforehand.”
Also we want enough time to properly research our next opponent. No more going in blind and getting our ass handed to us.
>>
>>3071485
>>”Yes. The official time for negotiations isn’t for a while but it’s best to be there early. Don’t want anyone talking to my client beforehand.”
>Oh, how so many more things could go wrong the past few days if I didn't come early....
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”Yes. The official time for negotiations isn’t for a while but it’s best to be there early. Don’t want anyone talking to my client beforehand.”

“I’m afraid so. The official time for negotiating isn’t for a while but it’s still best to be there early. The more time the better, eh?”
And maybe this time you won’t have your own ass served to you on a silver platter.
“Not to mention that this address is right out on the other side of town. It’s going to take me a while to just get over there. So I’ll be off. I was just stopping by to make sure you two were doing alright anyway. Ciao!”

You walk out and make your way down the street, only to find Adriana waiting for you by the corner.
“Goodbye again, Adriana! Didn’t know you were out here also.”

“I know you didn’t. I have a question, Sofia, if you have the time.”

“Shoot.”

“What isn’t Signorina Delicato telling me?”

“Eh?”

“I thought I could see it in her but I wasn’t sure, I didn’t want to trespass. But when you spoke to her earlier, I could tell. You were surprised about something that hasn’t been said.”

You ponder the futility of secrecy for a moment.


>”It’s not mine to give. Don’t ask about it.”

>”Are you implying that I would do such a thing? That I am a liar?”

>Maybe you can distract her with a decoy secret that is also true. “There’s something about my godmother that I’m still thinking about. It’s really not something you need to know.”

>Tell her the truth.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3071537
>”It’s not mine to give. If she chooses not to tell, then it is with your sake in mind. Try not to broach the subject if a Lawyer comes by.”
>>
>>3071537
>"It's not my secret to give Adriana. She may tell you someday, but until then don't let it eat at you."
>>
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I'm gonna go to sleep. I'll call the vote and resume updating when I wake.
>>
>>3071537
>If she isn't telling you, then I won't either. Please don't even try to obtain this knowledge. There's lawyer shenanigans involved, and Vespa will literally die if a wrong person somehow finds out.
Because of your employer, you should know how information has its ways to spread even unintentionally. Me knowing is already a liability. It's better if you don't even let anyone infer that Vespa has a secret.
>>
>>3071537
>Not my secret to tell. It’s something to do with lawyers and won’t harm you, only her.

>Make very sure to think of something else so she can’t suss it out.
>>
I'm awake. Vote called and writing!
>>
Whoops, sorry about the delay.

>”It’s not my secret to give.”

“If she won’t tell you, I’m not going to to either. That’s just how it is because it’s not my secret to give. And don’t ask her about it either. If she wants to say, she will. And if she doesn’t, that’s her choice.”

“Right.”

“Try not to be so forceful about it, eh? You could stand to respect other people’s privacy a bit more. But I can tell you that it has nothing to do with you so you don’t have to worry about it.”

“I can’t help but do it.”

“Okay I’ll give you that but just because you know it’s there doesn’t mean you have to follow up on it so directly. Or at all.”

She has the good grace to look ashamed. She looks like she’s been scolded, which was not your intention.
“I’m sorry.”

“It’s not that bad. Now if you don’t mind, I have to go poke my nose in someone else’s business and fight a stranger for a stranger.

******

The Suffitus District is not one you’ve ever stepped foot in before. And why would you? The only reason you’d come here is for a client. It’s one of the outermost districts, adjacent to the Foreign Quarter. It has two main features of note: Slums and industry. And of course, the industry is all about making and preparing things for people much richer than anyone actually living or working here.

The canal here is crowded with impromptu shelters and the buildings, while as colourful as the rest of the City, are faded and cracked. The usual murals are cracked into incomprehensibility and have been replaced by neon graffiti, most of which blinked owlishly or made rude gestures at passersby.
And the canal is thick with a flow of urchins, so many that they practically outnumber the residents, the animate detritus of the City itself.

You keep a hand on your sabre as you walk but not because you fear for your safety. The people of this District aren’t bad people. If anything, they’re victims. It’s people like this that you became a public defender to help. But urchins are another matter and you don’t want any of them grabbing hold of your sword as they seep past you. They’re always on the lookout for something shiny to incorporate into themselves.
Knowing your luck, you’ll probably be called on to defend one next week.

You didn’t have any trouble retrieving your sword and you hope that Signore Selvaggi is grateful for you arriving before he closed. But the detour back to the Somn District to do so had cost you a lot of time.

Your client’s home actually reminds you a good deal of yours. A tall purple townhouse, paint cracked and peeling, subdivided into a dozen different homes. You get the feeling that everything here is smaller and shittier though. That’s just the way of things.

1/2
>>
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>>3072291

You use your reflection in the canal to inspect yourself briefly before entering. You look great. Your outfit is still almost the same but the coat has become much more adaptable and you now have those daring two inches of skin on your legs. And thanks to the deep treatment, you look absolutely fantastic. They didn’t change anything about you, per se, but every aspect of you has been refreshed, cleaned, purged of minor impurities. For once you actually look pretty presentable.

With that in mind, you head inside. Your client is up on the top floor and when you arrive you can tell that it used to be the roof but someone had then constructed walls and a rickety ceiling atop it. The floor is unfurnished brick and the walls and roof are flimsy wood. There are holes in the walls.
This ‘floor’ has been split into at least seven different homes, all connected by a snaking little corridor between them. And the part set aside for your client is...rather busy. Too busy. Who are all these people?

You watch for a moment, looking at the people crowding in and around the doorway. Some of them are constables. Oh dear. Whatever this is, it doesn’t bode well.


>Approach and ask a few questions of the crowd. What’s going on here exactly?

>Wade in hard and fast. This is your client and whatever it is they’re doing, they’re not allowed to do it!

>Just hang back and wait for a moment. See if everything dies down a little.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3072294
>>Approach and ask a few questions of the crowd. What’s going on here exactly?
>>
>>3072294
>Approach and ask a few questions of the crowd. What’s going on here exactly?
>>
>>3072294
>>Approach and ask a few questions of the crowd. What’s going on here exactly?
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Approach and ask a few questions of the crowd. What’s going on here exactly?

Well, there’s no need to be forceful just yet. But why the presence of the constabulary? Sword Law governs purely civil matters, peer-to-peer from one citizen from another. Crimes of honour aren’t the jurisdiction of the police. And this can’t be a Sword-over-Street jurisdiction error like with the case of the stolen gold...if it was, your client would have already been arrested. \
So what the fuck are they doing here?

You sidle up to one of the peripheral members of the crowd, a man who doesn’t look like he belongs here. He’s tall and well-built, his sleeves rolled up to display an impressively well-defined set of arms. He’s got his legs on display as well, that sly dog, with those tight leggings. They’re somewhat of an outdated fashion these days but you wish they weren’t. With all that, you have trouble looking him in the face for almost a few minute. When you do, you discover that he’s looking down at you sternly. The droopy black moustache sort of ruins the effect.
“...Can I help you, signorina?”

“Don’t mind me, don’t mind me. What’s going on here?”

“Now I can’t just be saying that-”

“Yes you can. What, are you going to tell me that I don’t deserve to know? ...I’m a duellist, public defender. My client lives here.”
Oh dear. You jumped ahead into leaning on him with your curse before you even knew what you were doing. Hopefully the bit about being a duellist that you appended lamely onto your sentence afterwards is enough to give you actual legitimacy. Be nice, Sofia.

“Your client? Would that be one Frederigo Porcero?”

“The very same.”

“You do deserve it then. I mean, you would have deserved it regardless, I’m sure.”
He leans back against the rickety wall. He probably thinks it makes him look cool.
“Do you know your client’s job? Former job?”

“No. Look buddy, that’s not how public defenders work. Their job doesn’t matter.”

“He worked over at the abattoir, the pighouse.”

“He does have the surname for it. Something to be proud of. But what of it?”
Working with pork, huh? You’ve heard that meat like pork and beef is commonplace down below in the Lesser Realms but up here, with barely any land to keep animals that don’t fly or swim, it’s quite the luxury good. Of course, as you noted earlier, the people in this district who work the slaughterhouses aren’t actually the people who buy the product. That’s much too expensive for them.
The pighouses are part sty and part abbatoir, the animals spending their whole lives in little cages and enclosures in the shadow of the building where they go to die. It’s a grim place and the constant smell and flow of waste into the canals means they can only be kept in Suffitus.

“What of it? What do you think? If he was just filching pork or something you wouldn’t be here. We’ve got a quickpig situation.”

1/2
>>
>>3072389

“Oh fuck. Really?”

“Really. Some fascina cult, they reckon, infiltrated the pighouse and started feeding them quicksilver. They’ve destroyed most of the results, thankfully, but this one got away.”

A quickpig would certainly explain the crowd and the constables.
“What’s this got to do with my client exactly?”

“He sheltered the thing.”

“He did?”
Your immediate reflex is to say ‘you can’t prove that’ but he’d be forced to agree and you wouldn’t learn the actual truth. You bite your lip.

“Got evidence for it and everything. He’s going to trial for that, believe you me. That’s a settled matter.”

“That’s not right. It can’t be! If it was, I wouldn’t be here!”

“Beats me. I’ve got no idea why you’re here, signorina.”


>”Whatever. Let me through, I’m going to speak to the client myself.”

>A quickpig? Maybe it’d be best for you to take your time, come back later…

>”Who are you? You’re strangely knowledgeable about all this, signore.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3072390
>”Who are you? You’re strangely knowledgeable about all this, signore.”
>>
>>3072390

Hang on, if this situation is true who challenged our client to a duel?

>”Who are you? You’re strangely knowledgeable about all this, signore.”
>>
Requesting details on what a quickpig situation is before I vote.
>>
>>3072390

>”Who are you? You’re strangely knowledgeable about all this, signore.”
And
>"With all this, who would challenge my client for a duel then?"

>>3072401
also like to know this.
>>
>>3072401
It's very gross. Quickpigs are malfunctioning pigs.
>>
>>3072405
Okay? Malfunctioning HOW? Like, just crapping everywhere 24/7, or is it a unique "Ouro-brand" gross that defies innate understanding?
>>
>>3072405
Man if you say it's gross it must be incredibly disgusting for the rest of us.

;^)
>>
>>3072408
Quickpigs are pigs that have been fed quicksilver. This is a bad idea as it stains the inside of a pig and grants them increased intellect and capacity. Quickpigs rapidly mutate and change and can quickly be far smarter than actual people. Their final form is inimical to all life.
>>
>>3072418
Ah. Thank you.

fucking fae, man...

>>3072390
>”Who are you? You’re strangely knowledgeable about all this, signore.”

I don't know if risking going to talk to him is smart right this second.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
We're here for the fucking pig aren't we.
>>
>>3072433
Probably
>>
>>3072433
...No.

NO.

If we are, fuck that, I REFUSE. It's one thing to fight for something that theoretically has life similar to another human fae.

It's another to fight for fucking BREAKFAST. Nah son, hunny ain't 'bout that.
>>
>”Who are you? You’re strangely knowledgeable about all this, signore.”

“Hrm. You’re strangely knowledgeable about all this, Signore. Just who are you?”
He doesn’t strike you as just a regular bystander.

“I’m off-duty right now so I’m not wearing anything that’d give me away. But I still wanted to get a looksee, no?”

“Off-duty? Are you a constable?.”

He smiles laconically.
“Guilty as charged. Senior Sergeant Terenzi at your service.”

Fuck. You can’t believe you were scoping out a constable. They’re your enemy! What’s he really doing here?
“At my service, huh?,” you say coldly, “Then step aside. I’m going to speak to my client.”

“Just remember, he’s going to be arrested no matter what. Whatever this Sword Law dispute is, he can’t be saved.”

“I can do what I want. Try and say I can’t.”
And with those words, you step past him and start working your way through the crowd. The sight of your sheathed sword does wonders for clearing people out of your way.

The apartment beyond is, as you expected, rather small and dilapidated. There’s two rooms, one of which has a closed door and is clustered with huddled constables. Off to the side is the man who can only be your client. He’s short but thick, leathery skin bunched up around fatty muscle. His head’s shaved, a choice that makes him look like a particularly stubbled potato.
“Signore Porcero, I assume?”

“Aye that’s me. Just call me Frederigo.”
His voice is dull, dead even. He doesn’t lift his eyes.

“My name is Sofia Pseudonym. I’m your public defender.”

“I thought so.”

“So…”

“So?”

“So what’s wrong? What am I here to address? I heard about the quickpig but that’s not really in my area of expertise. What are you being challenged about?”

“It’s Signore d’Lalla. The boss.”

“Ah, the owner of the abbatoir?”
d’Lalla? The name doesn’t ring a bell. Considering the circumstances, it’s likely just one merchant prince whose bought a d’ to his name. Certainly no noble family you’ve ever heard of. But owning a few pighouses would make one rather wealthy…

“What is it about? The quickpig?”

“No. I’m already going to be arrested for that.”
Ah, so that prick outside was right. No wonder Frederigo looks so down.

“So it’s about your job then?”

“I’ve already been fired just a few hours ago. But the boss wants me to pay him for it.”

“What?”

1/2
>>
>>3072498
“He reckons I was part of those fuckwits going around with the ‘silver. But I wasn’t! And he can’t prove it!”

“So instead he’s insisting that you pay for the damages caused by this fascina? The loss of production and all that?”
Well, this man did shelter one of the ensuing...products.

“I can’t afford it. I don’t even have the job anymore, how’m I expected to have the coin?”

The hopelessness of your client’s situation takes a moment to settle in. He’s already going to face punishment for sheltering the quickpig, he’s already lost his job and any respectability he might have had and they want him to pay more?
What could they hope to get from this, to squeeze blood from a stone? Why aren’t they trying to extract compensation from the fascina involved?

But none of those questions actually concern you. You’re here to fight and you shall fight.


>”Sounds like baseless harassment to me. I’ll have them paying for the privilege!”

>”You don’t have to worry about this, at least. I never lose.”

>”I realise this has little to do with me but...can I see it? The pig in question?”

>”Why did you do it? Why shelter such a thing?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
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Sorry for being so slow with the updates today guys, it's just been rather hot and lethargic. And unfortunately I have work now so I'm going to be absent for a few hours.
The vote will remain open until I get back from work, at which point the session will resume.
>>
>>3072501
>”Sounds like baseless harassment to me. I’ll have them paying for the privilege!”
>>
>>3072501

>>”Sounds like baseless harassment to me. I’ll have them paying for the privilege!”

although

>>”Why did you do it? Why shelter such a thing?”
>>
>>3072501
>>”Sounds like baseless harassment to me. I’ll have them paying for the privilege!”
>>
>>3072501
>”Sounds like baseless harassment to me. I’ll have them paying for the privilege!”

>”Why did you do it? Why shelter such a thing?”
>>
Alright I'm back and writing. Vote called.
>>
>”Sounds like baseless harassment to me. I’ll have them paying for the privilege!”

“Frederigo, to me it sounds like you’re the victim of textbook duel harassment. They’re just trying to recoup whatever they can to make up for all the business they must have lost.”
After all, not only will this incident have slowed productivity, people are likely going to be wary buying from a pighouse known to be tainted.
“I doubt they actually think you had anything to do with it. You’re just an easy target ‘cause of what you’ve done. Does that make sense?”

“Aye.”
Your explanation has not lifted his spirits.

“Don’t worry, this is good. Come the negotiation, I’ll slap them with some terms for recompense. This kind of harassment never flies!”
Unless you lose. Again.
“I’ll admit though, you’ve made it easy for them with this. Why did you do it?”

“Do what?”

“You know what I’m talking about. The pig. You’ve got it in that other room, right? I’ve been told that you sheltered it. Tried to hide it.”

“I’m sure there’s no issue telling such a nice girl,” he says, a quizzical look on his face. “I smuggled her out because I didn’t want her to die. That’s all there is to it.”

“But it’s a quickpig. It has to die.”

“I don’t know why. She whispered, you know, back when I was tending to the slops. And then she spoke. And sung. She’s just as smart as we are.”

You can’t help but frown.
“She?”

“It’s a breeding sow. We name all the pigs, you know. Even before she was quick, we called her Crocetta.”

“And it spoke to you?”

“Yes? Everyone knows they can do that if they’re quick. And I just couldn’t see why she deserved to die.”
He slumps back down.
“Of course, now it’s going to happen anyway. All I did was get myself in trouble.”


>”Well, it’s none of my business.”

>”Could I see it?”

>”What kind of things did it say?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3072791
>”Could I see it?”
>>
>>3072791
>”Well, it’s none of my business.”
We'll only get ourselves in trouble. We already have to care for three reflections.

>>3072498
>Shabby ghetto communal shack
>Inhabitant still has two rooms
This highlights the alienness of the City at least as much as the deep massage.
Fucking Fae.
>>
>>3072791
>Tell him why she deserves to die.
>>
>>3072791
>>”Could I see it?”
>>
Alright I'm back. Vote called and writing.
>>
>”Could I see it?”

“Could I see it?”

“What? Sure. But why would you want to?”

You’re not entirely sure yourself. It probably has nothing to do with you. You’re just here to defend him from the challenge, all this quickpig business is the jurisdiction of constables and later, lawyers. You wonder, will it get its own trial in High Court? You don’t actually know how things work for quickpigs. Maybe they’ll just destroy it.
But fuck, you’ve got little else to do since you arrived so early. You suppose you can go stare at a crime against nature.
“What did you say its name was? Crocetta? Well believe it or not Frederigo, I actually have a bit of a tradition of nonhuman clients. And even if it isn’t my client, it’s related. I’d just like know all the facts.”

“I was hoping you’d understand. Just because it’s not human doesn’t mean it’s not a person, right?”

“I’m afraid it does.”
You see him look confused so you explain.
“I have a little grounding in High Law and that’s one of the most fundamental laws. Only humans are people. It doesn’t seem too useful but it’s not really a practicing law as a foundational one, written in the very Founding. If we didn’t have that legal definition, how we would go on to classify stuff like citizenship or the value of a person’s life? So maybe you’re right and this Crocetta really is a person. Don’t you get what that means? It’s very existence is illegal. It’s better this way. It just is.”

With those words, you leave him alone to ponder his ruined life. You’ve got the other room in mind. You worm your way in amongst the constables and, brandishing the sheath, declare that everything here is relevant to your duel. You need to be allowed time to inspect everything without interruption. Get out!

Unsurprisingly, nobody objects.

******

You sit in one corner of the room. Crocetta covers the other three. Despite what your client said, it doesn’t look either in the mood or condition to exchange words. This is...this is a pretty late-stage quickpig.

How to describe it? It’s as if most of the room has been painted with pig. And not in a gory sense, not in the way you painted the walls of the bathhouse earlier today. There’s just...pig. And while you’ve never actually seen a pig in the flesh before, you’re pretty sure they’re not supposed to look like this.
It’s as if you’d asked an artist who could only paint landscapes to design an animal.

You can still identify the head, crowned by the nineteen eerily human eyes circling around its throat. Fine bristling hairs cover the snout, sprouting from the eyes and from the inside of the mouth. The whole head projects up from some sort of...flange? ...Ruff?
1/2
>>
>>3072996
Much like the rest of it, the head swells and deflates as the creature breathes, all internal structure lost as it deflates into a crumpled nub periodically. Said breaths also don’t seem to be from the mouth. You’d wager that it’s from the massive set of gills set halfway down the thing’s bulk, opening and shutting like vents.

There’s very little light in here, Crocetta is blocking most of the windows. But even if it was pitchblack you would still be able to see. The transparent flesh of the quickpig is shot through with flecks of glowing silver, mere motes of the larger mineral deposits that can be seen clustered up within the pig’s core.

You idly try to count the legs but give up when you realise that you can’t tell what is a leg anymore.

“Hello? I can’t help but notice that you’re not talking. I thought you things were supposed to talk.”

The quickpig shifts a little, moving in the same way a plant would grow, exposing a vast and pallid belly bristling with stubby hairs and strange little ridges of flesh. Upon closer inspection, those ridges are human lips. Not attached to a mouth or paired properly or anything. Just...sprouting there.

This pig is definitely malfunctioning.

A vast seam, longer than you are tall, runs down the massive belly. It widens as you watch, becoming a crescent moon slit into the deeper workings of the quickpig. It opens and closes like a mouth, exposing a cavity from which looping intestines hang like tongues. And as you watch, Crocetta begins to speak, its words coming out several seconds after the appropriate movements of the pseudomouth.

It’s voice is light and breathy and sounds like it is from very far away.
“Another visitor? Another slaughter-man? I’ve nothing to say.”

“I’m not a slaughter-man! And if that was to stop you, why did you talk to Frederigo? He works for an abattoir.”

“That place is small, too small, I refer to the City. I escaped the butcher’s knife and for my efforts I am here, in the largest of all pighouses. The knives are still being sharpened.”

“The City is not a pighouse. We actually have very few pigs.”

“If that is what you think.”

“What.”

“You are still in your sty. Still being fattened. You have yet to enter the slaughterhouse.”


>”...I’m not a constable, if that’s what you mean by slaughter-man in this context. I’m not here to destroy you.”

>”Look buddy I’m just here to help your friend. Can you stop being so cryptic?”

>”So...uh...what’s it like?”

>”What does that mean? What does any of this mean?”

>”I heard you could sing.”

>Leave. You do not like this thing.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3072999
>>”What does that mean? What does any of this mean?”
>>
>>3072999
>”Look buddy I’m just here to help your friend. Can you stop being so cryptic?”

Goddammit Ouro. How do you come up with this stuff?
>>
>>3072999
>”Look buddy I’m just here to help your friend. Can you stop being so cryptic?”
>>
>>3072999
>And so? Are you going to ask me for help, or do you have a plan to save yourself?
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”Look buddy I’m just here to help your friend. Can you stop being so cryptic?”

You cross your arms.
“Look buddy, I’m just here to help your friend. Can you stop being so cryptic?”

The pseudomouth yawns wide. The inside of the quickpig is wholly devoid of blood. Or any bodily fluid in fact. It looks completely dry inside.
“What can I have to say? I was born to die.”

“That’s…”
Well actually, you suppose that’s entirely true. That’s the life of any pig, quick or not.
“So you know then?”

“Yes.”

“...It if it helps, I haven’t eaten pork for a long time.”

“They call me Crocetta. I am mother, grandmother and further. I have fed more children then I could count back then. I can count them now. Over and over, I have brought life into the world. I didn’t know what it was for. I existed to give babies to knives.”

“You can be more cryptic again, if you want. I really am here just to try and help Frederigo though. You know him, don’t you? He tried to hide you.”

“He rescued me from one slaughterhouse and unwittingly brought me to another. And I am still grateful. And what help am I supposed to offer?”

“I don’t know. Knowing that is your job. You things are supposed to be so bloody smart..”
You don’t sound like yourself. In truth, you’re feeling pretty off-balance. Words are just sliding off your brain without impact. What were you hoping to get out of this again?

“You came seeking commonality.”

“...No I didn’t.”

“You wanted to put a face to the meat. Does it suit you? I have grown beyond faces. Have you ever supplied the knives?”

“Pardon?”

“Have you ever been a mother?”

“N-no. Isn’t that obvious?”

A single gooey rope of quicksilver slowly dangles down from the upper ‘jaw’ of the ever-distorting maw, pooling into the quickpig’s amorphous body cavity.
“Why not?”

“That’s a bit of a personal question…”

“Why hasn’t anything made you?”

“Why the fuck would anything do that? I-I’m not some pig like you!”
Except, that’s not entirely true, is it? Somebody did try to make you. You spent a good portion of your life defined by...breeding. The memories rise to the surface unbidden, summoned up by the heady smell of mercury.


>”It’s not a choice of mine or anyone else, not anymore. I can’t.”

>”I got free of it.”

>”That’s none of your business. Is breeding the only thing you can think of? Is it your only deal?”

>”No seriously, explain what you meant about slaughterhouses.”

>”I’m sorry for, well, your life. You couldn’t have known what those babies were for.”

>Stop.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3073068
>”No seriously, explain what you meant about slaughterhouses.”
>>
>>3073068
>>”I got free of it.”
Are same sex babies possible in City?
>>
>>3073068
>”It’s not a choice of mine or anyone else, not anymore. I can’t.”
>”No seriously, explain what you meant about slaughterhouses.”
>”I’m sorry for, well, your life. You couldn’t have known what those babies were for.”
>>
>>3073097
Given she’s Bloodless with a capital B I doubt she can have kids at all in anyway whatsoever.
>>
>>3073068
>”I got free of it.”
>....free-er. It's a work in progress.
>>
>>3073068
>Can't, I'm Bloodless.
>>
>>3073097
>>3073115
You do realize this is implied she’s bloodless because she never wanted kids.
>>
>>3073126
sure? "got free of it" implies that being a mother is restricting
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3073127
>>3073126
She got 'free of it' means she got free of being a breeder like her parents wanted.
>>
>Bloodless

The air is thick with fumes. It smells like...pig sweat, you suppose, not that you know what that is. You don’t know where it’s coming from though. It smells like metal, like hot tin or something. There’s a fecund warmth here, radiating from the thing spread out across the room. You can see clouds of vapor but only ever at the corner of your eyes.
You feel a little weak but thankfully you’re already sitting down. There’s a prickling in your hands and feets that doesn’t want to leave.

But you can talk. You’re good at that.
“And I’ll never know either. I got free of that. Because we’re not like you. Some of us have a choice.”
A choice to scar yourself forever. Though to tell the truth, you’ve never much regretted it yet.

“The machine is ever wanting more,” the quickpig says, like the asshole it is. “What did it think of that choice.”

You feel light-headed.
“I-It’s really none of your business but fine, if you must know, I don’t think they approved. Of course they never told me as such but…”
It had gotten very bad after your parents had found out what you’d done. They’d learned, you know. After years of having a tyrant as a daughter, they knew all the tricks. Though ‘trick’ might be gifting the title with a little more subtlety than it deserved. ‘Trick’ makes it sound cunning. There’s nothing cunning about a grown man belting his fifteen year old daughter across the face and locking her up in the ‘special’ bedroom, the only room in the whole mansion with bars across the windows.
The day they’d found out about the bloodlessness had been the worst of them.

But for some reason, even here half-added by the quickpig’s presence, none of those memories of fists and silence hurt as much as just recalling the one time you’d broken down and cried alone in a market because the vendor didn’t have any Imma novels left. You couldn’t tell them it was because your mother had thrown your entire collection into the fireplace.
Maybe that sounds silly but it had been important at the time.

“So maybe you were right,” you say, words beginning to slush together. “Some folks were really intent on me being a mother. It was kind of what they made me to do, you know? But not because I was a pig but because I was a noble. Same thing maybe. ‘Cause bloodline and doing the right marriage is soooo important. They wanted me to be their way back up. But I wasn’t and I didn’t. I took it away from them. I took me away from them.”
Everyone knows what the best use of a noble daughter is. Everyone but the daughter herself, apparently. And you had been wilful, arrogant and defiant, drunk on your own tyranny. You’d refused to be anything but who you’d wanted to be and fuck, you don’t regret it. Your younger self had been a cruel idiot but at least she hadn’t been weak.

1/2
>>
>>3073183

You’re a bloodless woman and one of the many benefits of your curse is that you don’t catch any of the shit other people typically sling at them. Becoming one had been easy enough. Everyone knows about the Sangadonna, the black fountain with the water that stilled the woman’s blood.
For you, it had started as merely a form of relief. You had been young and unused to the monthly pain that the blood had brought about. But drink from the Sangadonna and for the rest of that month, you will be inhospitable. The blood is stilled, the cramps never happen and no child can grow within you. At first it had just been occasional trips for you. It’s not the easiest fountain for young women to drink from, there are a lot of ‘concerned citizens’ patrolling around it at odd hours. But you had been both unable and unwilling to deal with the pain and you’d found excuses to drink more and more, to spend more months with your blood stilled and your body barren than it was in its natural state.

But therein lay the issue. What the Sangadonna is most famous and most controversial for is a certain side-effect it can have on those who overdose, who drink too deep. Nobody is sure what amount it needs or how regular and it seems to differ from woman to woman but still, it is known. Return to the Sangadonna often enough and its water will seep into your very bones and become permanent. You become a bloodless woman, incurably free of both the monthly blood and pregnancy.
There are some who’d say that you stop being a woman at all. Needless to say, none of those people would ever say that to you.

That invisible line of no return marked the day that, in your parents eyes, you’d stopped being a flawed prospect with potential to a downright bad investment.

Crocetta groans something inaudible for a moment. You wonder if it envies you. You know, for a reason besides the fact that you will continue to live while it will not.
“Why?”


>”It’d had been an accident but who cares? I’m not depriving myself of anything I WANT.”

>”I did it on purpose. And the main reason was well, fuck, it really hurts. Any month that goes past without me being stabbed in the gut by my own body is a blessed one.”

>”I didn’t want to have children and I really, really wanted to stick it to my parents. Had to show them who wore the pants here. And it’s me. It’s my pants.”

>”Look, it’s surprisingly practical for being a duellist. I can’t expect a quickpig to understand but when they tell you that any sort of bleeding can disqualify you, they mean it.”

>”I didn’t mean to. But I’ve gotten used to it.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3073184
>”I didn’t mean to. But I’ve gotten used to it.”
>"It's the hand I dealt myself, no choice but to play it. It got me my freedom in a sense so I can't complain too much. The alternative my parents had in store for me probably would have been much worse."
>>
>>3073184
>”I didn’t want to have children and I really, really wanted to stick it to my parents. Had to show them who wore the pants here. And it’s me. It’s my pants.”
>>
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Alright, I'm off to bed. Again, very sorry about how sporadic updates have been.
Vote will be called when I wake up!
>>
>>3073184
>It was an accident. Periods hurt a lot and I kept drinking to keep them gone, and at some point I had just taken too much.
>>
>>3073184
>”I didn’t want to have children and I really, really wanted to stick it to my parents. Had to show them who wore the pants here. And it’s me. It’s my pants.”

Liiighteeer toooooone!
>>
Actually nevermind, I'm here and I'm still awake. It's too hot for even me to sleep. The heat binds me to this wretched waking world for at least one more update.

Vote called, writing.
>>
>”I didn’t want to have children and I really, really wanted to stick it to my parents. Had to show them who wore the pants here. And it’s me. It’s my pants.”

“Believe it or not, getting rid of the pain and the inconvenience was entirely secondary. I just really wanted to not be what my parents wanted me to be. Had to show them who wore the pants around there, you know? And it’s me. It’s my pants. And since it’s my pants, I better well be the one deciding what goes on inside them!”
The vapor is rising. You can see it with your regular vision now. You feel rather heavy.
“So nah, I’ve never offered up a baby to the knife or wherever you’re going with your metaphor. Never will. And as long as I get to be the person I choose to be, I don’t really mind. Sorry about, well, your whole life I guess. You didn’t know what they were going to do with your children.”

“And yet,” the thing gurgles, “I do not regret even a single one. Even if they were all meant for the knife.”

“Oh?”
It might be the delirium talking but you feel an odd sense of kinship with this gross flesh monster.
“I think I’ve got a minute or so before I pass out so go ahead and tell me.”
Why are you fine with this? Why is your brain dying and why aren’t you even stressed about it a little? Why can’t you do anything? Why do none of these thoughts disturb you?

“Each got to live and though it was all for slaughter’s sake, none of them knew it. I wish I too could be unaware.”

“We all die.”

“I wish it were not so now. It may seem trivial to you but I wish I will live one more day, that I will bring forth one more life. I want to hoard every second of existence.”

“There’s not much I can do about that. They’ll drag you up to High Court probably. Your existence violates some pretty important laws.”

“In the end, nobody can escape the abattoir.”

“Yeah alright you keep saying that but you’ve yet to actually explain it. Is there a practical thing here or is it purely an existential statement? The City is not literally or metaphorically a slaughterhouse.”

“I once thought the same of the other place. We didn’t know. None in the stys ever know. There is only ever one truth.”

“What truth?”
Your head is swimming. You’re finding it hard to think, let alone talk.

“That the inhabitants of the pighouse never know that they live within a pighouse.”

And with that baffling statement that fails to explain shit, you fall over and strike your head on the ground like a puppet whose strings have been cut. Everything goes black immediately.

******

When you come to, you’re lying on the floor of Frederigo’s dilapidated apartment. You’re back in the other room. As you open your eyes, the first thing you see is the not entirely unpleasant face of Senior Sergeant Terenzi, off-duty. You groan.
“Wha?”

1/2
>>
>>3073335

“Are you alright? A late-stage quickpig will do that to you if you spend too much time in an enclosed space with it. It’s what’s making it such a pain to move it.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Helping you, of course.”

“No, I mean, what are you doing? You just told me you were off-duty. Are you some kind of quickpig specialist for the constabulary or something?”

“Not even remotely.”

You think briefly about the other factors in the situation.
“Some kind of duel specialist?”

“That’s much more accurate.”

You stop, take a deep breath and then consider the worst possible scenario. Yep. That’s it alright.
“Are you, somehow, despite also being a constable, the representative of Signore d’Lallo and my upcoming opponent?”

“Oh, not just lucid but perceptive. You’ve got it exactly right.”

“It wasn’t hard. Now take your hand off my arm.”
You sit up groggily.

“How did you like your time with the quickpig? You’ll probably not see a thing like it again.”


>”No comment.”

>”I can only hope. It’s awful and I hate it.”

>”They’re supposed to be smart, aren’t they? So what does it mean that I understood nothing about what it said?”

>”It’s a person. That’s all there is to it. You can’t say it isn’t.”

>”Found some common ground in the weirdest place. Don’t ask.”

>”Don’t care enough about you to answer that. How are you a duellist?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3073336
>>”Don’t care enough about you to answer that. How are you a duellist?”
>>
>>3073336
>>”Found some common ground in the weirdest place. Don’t ask.”
>>
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alright i have to sleep for reals now or else i will die
>>
>>3073101
Probably because she renounced her family name, losing ownership of her blood.
>>
>>3073355
It literally just got explained.
>>
>>3073355
Keep reading.

>>3073336
>”Don’t care enough about you to answer that. How are you a duellist?”
>>
>>3073355
Guess not.
>>
>>3073364
>>3073343
>inb4 he says he doesn't care enough about us to answer that.

Act like a cunt, be treated like one.
>>
>>3073336
>"It's a person. That's all there is to it."

>>3073380
Birthright. He can't say that. We can treat others like shit and they have to be perfectly polite back.
>>
>>3073336
>”Found some common ground in the weirdest place. Don’t ask.”
>How are you a duellist?”
>>
>>3073336
>”Found some common ground in the weirdest place. Don’t ask.”
>How are you a duellist?”
>>
Sorry guys, I just woke up after a few hours sleep and I feel like shit. No questing right now, alright?
>>
>>3073650
That's okay. Go get some help while you aren't questing, okay?
>>
>>3073650
Your continued existence is a miracle dude. I tried to run a quest once and it was hell even though I was a literal no-responsibilities neet living with my parents.
>>
>>3073336
>>”No comment.”
Seriously don't want to run into it again
>>
Also, is it me or does Sophia kind of look like Touko Aozaki from Kara No Kyoukai a bit?
>>
>>3074070
Just you, also the fact the quest pic involves her being in the wake which makes colors weird.
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>>3074070
I can see it
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>>3074077
It's probably the red hair the pony tail but I can't help but imagine she sort of looks like Touko
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>>3074126
I don't remember her being blonde
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>>3074133
Does it matter? we had some relaxing massage flaying. I bet we could purchase different hair at the same time if we were tired of the color and wanted a change.
This fucking fae city.
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>>3074146
>>3074126
First colored portrait of her in the first thread. She's a redhead
>>
Sorry about being absent a day. Vote called, writing.
>>
>”Found some common ground in the weirdest place. Don’t ask.”
>How are you a duellist?”

Your head hurts but you suppose you should have expected that. You’d just been breathing in quickpig fumes, after all. Your eyes refocus on Terenzi and you frown.
“I found some common ground in the weirdest place. Don’t ask. Anyway, how the fuck are you a duellist?”

“What, a man can’t have two jobs?”

“Not like that, no!”
Anyone can be a professional duellist of course but it’s not...a hobby. To be the kind of duellist who’d get hired by this ‘d’Lallo’, you’d have have some serious record. And as much as you personally dislike them, you must admit that being a constable carries with it some hectic hours. Both of these describe jobs that’d eat away your entire life if you let them.

“I put in the effort. It’s not that hard. Now, have you spoken with your client?”

You spare a glance for Frederigo, still sitting gloomily off in the corner, and feel a little embarrassed. You haven’t exactly made a good showing for yourself. And even if nobody else can ever say anything about it, you know.
“Yes. But where’s yours? This can’t start until Signore d’Lallo deigns to visit us, you know. You’re not good enough by yourself.”

“I’ve been given the right to fully represent him. Do you think a gentleman like him is going to come here? He has better things to do with his time.”

Huh. That’s unusual. And it’s also a little aggravating. Your client has spent his life producing something that he’s not even wealthy enough to partake in and while he ruined his own life, his boss is trying to dig their heels in and make it worse for a quick profit...and they won’t even meet him face to face to do so. When was the last time d’Lallo was even in Suffitus?


>”That’s fine. Let’s just get this over with.”

>”Unacceptable. Tell him that unless he comes down here personally, he can’t pursue the duel. I have the right to refuse proxies.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3075209
>>”Unacceptable. Tell him that unless he comes down here personally, he can’t pursue the duel. I have the right to refuse proxies.”
>>
>>3075209
>>”That’s fine. Let’s just get this over with.”
Whatever
>>
>>3075209
>That’s fine. Let’s just get this over with.”
We can fuck up this d'Lallo perfectly fine through a proxy.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”That’s fine. Let’s just get this over with.”

Maybe a little aggravating but not enough to deter you. If this idiot wants to lend all of his legal rights to an agent, he can. And you can still hold him just as accountable. No doubt d’Lallo thinks that he’s sure to win, that whatever public defender your client got would be no match against an actual professional.
And considering your last duel...maybe he’s right.
“Well then, let’s just get this over with.”

“How gracious of you, Signorina. Frederigo! My client has made the following demands-”

“I didn’t do it,” your client bellows. “Aren’t I fucked enough? Why doesn’t he go after the people who did it?”

Acting quickly, you put a hand on his shoulder.
“Just calm down Signore. Let me handle this. At the very least, this won’t be something you have to worry about.”

“Clients are to stay silent,” Terenzi adds. “That’s just how it is. Now, these are the demands. You are to pay recompense to equal a day’s loss of production at the facility you helped sabotage. There will also be an additional fee to cover the damage to commercial repute that you have caused. Failure to pay will lead to additional charges being levied against you in High Court.”

“But I can’t-”

Please be quiet,” you say. “It won’t come to that. I accept your client’s terms, Signore Terenzi. Now hear my own. This is blatant duel harassment and a stronger example of a bull challenger I’ve not seen since my debut case! As recompense, when I win, I demand the following from your client…”


>”He must pay my client financial recompense, equal to the amount of pay lost by his firing and the days spent sorting this situation out.”

>”He must pay my client’s legal fees for his other charges, namely quickpig possession, including any potential release funds.”

>”He will surrender a small portion of his slaughterhouse, namely three living, untainted pigs, to my client as recompense.”

>”He will refrain from contacting or approaching my client, whether personally or through proxy, for the rest of his natural life.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3075325
>>>”He must pay my client’s legal fees for his other charges, namely quickpig possession, including any potential release funds.”
>>
For the record, 'release funds' are for when the High Court judges you basically undeserving of punishment but still more or less guilty. You have to pay up to make up for wasting the Court's time.
>>
>>3075336

Seconding.

If you want to nail our client for the whole slaughter house, we're going to nail you for the whole trial.

If repute is on the line as well, then perhaps a public apology and recompense from D'Lallo would be in order? Despite his other circumstances, blaming him for the sabotage is slanderous.
>>
>>3075325
>”He must pay my client’s legal fees for his other charges, namely quickpig possession, including any potential release funds.”
>>
>>3075325
>"Pay all legal fees and potential release funds."
>>
>>3075325
>”He must pay my client’s legal fees for his other charges, namely quickpig possession, including any potential release funds.”
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”He must pay my client’s legal fees for his other charges, namely quickpig possession, including any potential release funds.”

“As recompense, when I win, I demand the following from your client: He will pay my client’s legal fees for his other charges, namely quickpig possession, including any potential release funds. Is that fair? Is that adequate? If you’re intent on sticking my client with the blame for the entire pighouse, I’ll do the same with his upcoming trial.”

He gives it just a moment’s thought. But you already know his answer. If he wants to squeeze in any more terms he’s going to have a hard time. Your terms are extremely equivalent.
“That’s acceptable,” he eventually says. “There’s certainly very little value in trying to extract anything else from this man. He’s got nothing. ”

“If you know that, why are you trying to do it?”

“It’s not me doing it, it’s my client. I’m just doing my job. And getting paid quite well for it, I might add. So when’s the place and time?”

You wish you could have found someone else’s legs to ogle. Something about this man just rubs you the wrong way. And it’s not just because he’s apparently a constable.


>”Right now. I don’t see a sword on you but you better get one quick.”

>”After the second sunset.” That should give both of you a bit of time to prepare.

>”Tomorrow morning.” This will give you a lot of time to prepare but it’ll be the same for him.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3075514
>>”After the second sunset.” That should give both of you a bit of time to prepare.
>>
>>3075514
>>”After the second sunset.” That should give both of you a bit of time to prepare.
>>
>>3075514
>>”After the second sunset.” That should give both of you a bit of time to prepare.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>”After the second sunset.” That should give both of you a bit of time to prepare.

“Let’s say...after the sun goes down a second time. Shouldn’t need longer than that. We’ll meet on the canal outside. Will your client at least deign to visit that?”

“Can’t rightly say. Well I’m done here. But don’t get too comfortable, Frederigo. There’s some constables out in the hall that want to talk to you. You’ll be staying in the Magisterium tonight.”
And with that, he’s gone.

Your client just sighs.
“It’s no good. You’ll win but nothing else will go right.”

“Don’t say that. You could easily get off with nothing but release fees, right? It’s not like they can prove you did anything more than harbour the thing for a day. You didn’t create it and you didn’t try to spread it. They’ll just destroy Crocetta and charge you for taking their time, which d’Lallo will be paying for!”

“She’s still going to die.”

You’re not sure what to think of the quickpig. It’s...it’s probably a person. But other than that it’s a little hard to empathize with something so grotesque.
“Yes. There’s nothing either of us can do about that. Right now, you just need to focus on surviving and getting yourself back together. You’ve got a life that survives past your work, you just need to find it. I’m sure you’ll find another job.”

And no matter how awkward your attempt at advice is, they can’t tell you it’s wrong.
“Thanks.”

*****

And with that, you’re back out on the streets. Surrounded by dilapidated houses, creaking shelters and a crowd of people who must be painfully aware you don’t belong here. The water of the canal runs turgid beneath your feet, cloudy with...something. This district is where everything that nobody else wants near their homes winds up. Facilities that spit filth into the water, consume labour like a man dying of thirst and churn out products that the people they dirty mostly can’t afford. Slaughterhouses, tanners, dye-makers and waxers.
But it could be worse. They’re still better off here than they are in the Lesser Realms. To some foreigners, even the least and filthiest part of the City must still be a paradise. You’d do well to remember that.

Now, through your own design, you have some time to prepare. How are you going to go about that?


>Follow your prospective opponent and ask around. Ask him even, you can make him answer.

>Visit the Court of Swords to peruse his record.

>Visit Lanzo again, ask if he knows anything about this strange confluence of jobs and the man who holds them.

>Do you have anyone who might have polizia contacts enough to find about Terenzi?

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3075625
which is closest Lanzo or the court?
>>
>>3075631
Lanzo. You have the time to travel though.
>>
>>3075625
>>Visit the Court of Swords to peruse his record.
>>
>>3075633
Hit lanzo first then.
>>
>>3075643
>first
Do we even have time to do both
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>>3075651
we might, and frankly I would rather know about how he fights than his record.
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>>3075653
Uh, we can watch how he fights.
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>>3075657
assuming the court will let us access that level of info,
>>
>>3075659
>The Court of Swords stores the record of every duellist to ever fight. Throw a coin in and say a name and you will receive a scroll with that duellist’s record. But it goes deeper than that. Throw a coin and name a specific duel and you will, to a limited extent, be able to spectate that duel itself. How you do it depends on your actions. Either you gaze into the basin’s surface or you collect or drink the water itself. The duel can be played out in the form of a reflection upon the surface of the water. But drinking water from the Court will plunge you into a dream-state, placing you directly into the duel itself.
Needless to say, this kind of hallucination is rather popular. A lot of people partake occasionally and of course, you have the fanatics who probably spend more time in Court-induced dreams than they do in the waking world.
It sounds like anyone can see them. Where are you getting this idea from?
>>
>>3075663
Sofia being poor.
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>>3075665
Thread literally started with
>Due to certain circumstances, you’d come into possession of a large stock of gold coins.
Try a little harder.
>>
>>3075671
We spent most if not all of them on casual flaying dude.
>>
>>3075625
>>Visit Lanzo again, ask if he knows anything about this strange confluence of jobs and the man who holds them.
>>
>>3075674
Are you just straight up making stuff up now
>>
>>3075678
No, we spent a lot of our money on that, it was expensive.
>>
>>3075682
So you're making shit up, got it.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Visit Lanzo again, ask if he knows anything about this strange confluence of jobs and the man who holds them.

You briefly entertain asking Adriana to shadow him and to get into his head but that’d be rather hypocritical of you, wouldn’t it? And you likely don’t have the time to do so. So instead, you should just head down to the Court of Swords or your old instructor.
After a moment’s thought, you choose Lanzo. Imago isn’t too far from here, after all.

And while he’s just a public defender now thanks to his injury, he was a bit of a bigshot back in the day and he knew all kinds of duellists. It’s possible that he might know exactly how Terenzi fights. And to be honest? You need the info. The last time you went into a duel without appropriate study you got your own ass served to you on a silver platter.
Now to be fair, you didn’t have the opportunity to really do any study but still…

It won’t happen again.

*****

Lanzo lives out in a little island in the end of a cul de sac, not too far from your own lodgings. His house is small and humble and in danger of overflowing into the canal but it’s well kept and clean at all times. He’s a fastidious man or at least, he is whenever his condition allows it. He’d have to be, considering that he’s one of the very few people who actually successfully taught you anything.

You knock on the door.
“Signore Croce? Lanzo? It’s me, Sofia!”

Lanzo is a little better dressed this time than he was the last time you visited. He’s actually wearing clothes, for one. As soon as he opens the door you, with the ease of long practice, look him straight in his pale yellow eyes and don’t even glance at his leg-stump.
He really hates being reminded about that, especially since his phantom limb stops working the moment he remembers. You have a suspicion that you earned more than a few smacks with the measuring stick during your training because of that.

“Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
You pull him into an embrace. He doesn’t struggle or push you away. He’s learned.

“Good evening, Sofia. Is it another duel?”

“Huh? You don’t know that! What if I’m just here to chat to my dear old instructor?”
You owe Lanzo Croce a lot. If it hadn’t been for him...you might never have existed. Or at least, not the you that stands here today. Not Sofia, the you you chose to be. And yet you rarely visit him. Ever since that certain awkward moment...well, that and because you have a suspicion that you cost him his career as a private swordsmanship instructor for noble families. You don’t like to think about that so you don’t visit often.
And he seems to feel the same way, though the void your curse has dropped you in prevents you from ever knowing the truth. Why else would he never come to see you duel?

“Sorry,” he says, forced to apologize. “It was crude of me to say that. You’re welcome anytime.”

1/2
>>
>>3075799
>”I am here about a duellist though.”

>”I don’t know if you’ve heard but, through no fault of my own, random chance really, I allowed my opponent to win my last duel.”

>Reminisce with him for a while.

>”Notice anything different about me? Huh?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3075802
>Reminisce with him for a while.
>”I am here about a duellist though.”
>>
>>3075802
>>Reminisce with him for a while.
>”I am here about a duellist though.”
>Given he's an officer too, could he stop me from using the court of blades?
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3075802
>>Reminisce with him for a while.
>”I don’t know if you’ve heard but, through no fault of my own, random chance really, I allowed my opponent to win my last duel.”
>”I am here about a duellist though.”
>>
Sorry about the delay on this one.

>Reminisce with him for a while.
>”I am here about a duellist though.

“Maybe I just wanted to see how you were doing. I haven’t spoken to you since...my duel for Signorina Delicato, wasn’t it? And that was just a sparring session. When was the last time we really just hung out?”

He is silent for a long moment.
“Never. It’s always been sword this, duel that with you. Not that that’s anything bad, it was my job. And your job now too.”

Well there was that other time...But you guess that he doesn’t want to bring it up. And that’s fine, because you sure as fuck don’t. That had been an awful moment for you and, you can only presume, him as well.
Maybe it was because of that that you never really tried to spend time outside of training with him again.
“Can I come in?”

You step inside before he can say yes. You already knew he was going to say, you were just giving him advance warning to step aside. You follow him to a small table and, after you sit, he starts to busy himself with a dented tin teapot.
“As luck would have it, I just had this on the boil already. Would you like some tea?”

“Please.”
You gratefully accept the hot mug but don’t actually drink any. Your old instructor has some odd ideas about what constitutes ‘tea’. As far as you’ve ever been able to tell, this is just hot water with salt in it.

He takes a long sip of his own and, as usual, somehow seems to enjoy it. But that’s just his way. You’ve never seen him to eat or drink anything that wasn’t supremely bland. You still remember his boiled chicken, the kind he’d near-exclusively cooked for you during your training. It had been the most tasteless thing you’d ever experienced.
“Do you want anything to eat?”

“No thanks. Say, have you noticed anything different about me? I just splurged on myself, went for a deep tailoring this morning. Doesn’t it show?”

“You’re as beautiful as ever.”

“Hrmph.”
What’s the point of having a treatment like that if everyone says that to you anyway?

“It’s a good practice, though. A good masseuse can get your muscles into prime and proper order. Perfect after a good workout. Not that it was anything I could afford back then, let alone now.”

1/3
>>
>>3075997
When you first met Lanzo Croce, his glory days had already been behind him. An aging cripple, he’d left his professional duellist career behind him to become a public defender and had supplemented that meagre income by trading on his formerly impressive name to teach swordcraft to the sons of minor nobles. He’d been your brother’s teacher.
But you suppose he’s just a public defender now. It was because of the whole debacle over you that he’d been forced to stop teaching. And even after you’d disowned yourself, he still taught you. And more importantly, he gave you the tools to teach yourself. Every single aspect of your exercise regime, for example, came from him. And even though you’ve begun to diversify your combat style, how often do you still try to mimic the same Elegance that had once been his signature?
“It was worth it for the feeling, honestly. I won’t be able to afford another for some time I’d say. So how have you been? Had any good duels lately?”

“A few. I lost my last however, even though it was against some surly amateur less than half my age. No, don’t look like that. I’ve gotten well and truly used to it by now. Take good care of your body while you can, that’s all I can say.”

The idea of your old master struggling in the Wake, supported by a leg that’s only sometimes there just makes you feel bad. You want to apologize to him, to tell him that you’re sorry for making him retire from being an instructor. But you can’t. You just have to hope that deep within his heart, he’s being charitable to you and knows you feel it.
“That’s too bad.”
Now you just sound insincere.

“It’s the life we chose. Public defenders don’t get to pick and choose their battles. To tell the truth, I mostly just feel worse for the poor fools who were assigned me.”

“Were they innocent?”

“No. My last client was obviously guilty of what he was accused of. But I still regret not being able to give my all to fight for him.”

You think back to your own reaction to a guilty client, back in the duel over the stolen gold, and sigh. Lanzo is so much more a pure duellist than you are, even now. You bet he wouldn’t have felt bad or if he did, he wouldn’t have complained. Maybe it theoretically makes you a better person but you’re a worse duellist.
“But you’ve got to keep going, right?”

“Not me. I’m thinking it might be finally time to sheathe the sabre. It might not look like it but I do have some coin saved away. Old funds and suchlike. It’s just not fair to the people who need public defenders to have me in the system anymore.”

“And that’d be enough to support you?”

“...Maybe.”

Jumping on the chance to offer a pseudo-apology, you speak quickly.
“What if you could start teaching people again?”

“No. I don’t think I’d be very good at that. My lessons were just me playing with pampered brats.”

2/3
>>
>>3075998

“You taught me just fine!”

He chuckles.
“Yes but that method isn’t anything people would want to buy. I was cruel to you.”

You think back to his training regime, the exercise, the sparring, the constant pain of the stick…
“I don’t think it was cruel, it was just discipline. I didn’t think it was back then either. I barely noticed it!”
That’s true enough. It wasn’t until you accidentally said too much to Maccio that you realised that, obviously, most people learned swordcraft without being beaten.

“With all due respect Sofia, you didn’t notice it because...of unfortunate circumstances. Most of my students aren’t so used to being beaten.”

“I know you had to do it. How else could tell me that I was doing something wrong?”

He looks away.
“It wasn’t just because of that.”

“Huh?”

“That was an easy lie to tell myself. I’m glad you thought the best of me but in truth…”
His fingers tighten around the mug.
“Your instructor is a cruel man with a lot of problems. Problems that aren’t anything to do with you or anyone else. And I knew that. But I still took it out on people like you. Most of it wasn’t training, it just a...a temper. A loss of control on my part. And when you came and threw yourself at my mercy...and accepted every task and hardship I put on you, it was just too easy to forget myself. You never complained no matter what I did because you were so desperate to be like me. But I’m not anything to emulate. I even came to the defence life late and only because I was forced to. That’s why I knew I couldn’t teach again. It wasn’t because of your family. It was because training you showed me that I wasn’t anyone suited to to have anyone in their care.”

“But none of that ever mattered to me!”

“...You’re a girl with an amazing set of priorities. But most people aren’t like that and shouldn’t be.”


>”Well, what’s so wrong with babysitting pampered brats?”

>Respect his wishes.

>”I believe in you! You don’t have to do to them what you did to me. I think you should give it another try.”

>”What if I said I might have a customer?” Surely there’s someone you know who’d be interested in this kind of stuff.

>Other (Specify)
>>
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I know I only got a few updates in but I've got work and I still feel like garbage. I'll be back later tonight.
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>>3076000
>You may lack faith in your ability to be a good person, and I will staunchly disagree on that count. However despite the unfortunate injury, you are still one of the best swordsmen I know. You trained someone most would, due to their own inadequacies, consider untrainable.

Instead of trying to train a bunch of hoity toity snot nosed noble brats, why not have a class en masse for the working man and woman. Not every can afford to hire a duelist, but you might be able tot rain them into defending themselves.
>>
>>3076014

lets leave him some fucking agency.

>Respect his Wishes.
>>
>>3076020
…. this won't take away any agency.
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>>3076024

look me in the eye and say Sofia doesn't have a 40% chance of pinning him to a "great" idea.
>>
>>3076020
Those who know about the curse are aware of their mind being manipulated and won't believe it's 'their' idea. He might say 'That's a good idea' but won't act on it unlike someone who is unaware of the curse and believes their change of mind.
>>
>>3076028
She does not have a 40% chance to pinning him to a great idea.
>>
>>3076000
>>Respect his wishes.
>>
>>3076000
> Other
Offer him some of our leftover gold
>>
>>3076000
This >>3076014, but without mass training. Those who can't afford to hire a duelist get a public one, like us. And even though public defenders are generally shit, they're still better than part-time trained amateurs.
>>
Alright I'm feeling good enough to do some late-night updates. But it seems we have a tie. Evens for respect, odds for the training plan.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d6)

>>3076607
One day I will remember to roll the goddamn dice.
>>
>Training plan.

It shouldn’t have to be this way. But at the same time, you can sympathize with his desire to not wind up working for more families like yours. But what if he instructed people a little bit more down to earth? People in genuine need of knowing how to swing a sword? Because, let’s face it, most noble heirs don’t actually need lessons in swordcraft. They pay other people for that. The more you think about it, the more this seems like it’s been backwards all along!
“Maybe you lack faith in your ability to be a good person but I will staunchly disagree on that count. And even with your injury, you’re still one of the best swordsmen I know. After all, you trained someone whom most would, due to their own inadequacies, consider untrainable. You can teach anyone!”

“As I said, babysitt-”

“I didn’t say you should train the rich Lanzo. To be honest, they get more than enough in life already. Why not offer your instruction to regular folks? The working man and woman?”

“That won’t make any of them a match for a proper duellist.”

“It’s not all about duelling! There are plenty of reasons to want to know how to use a blade.”

“You’re right. But there’s a reason this hasn’t been done. The kind of people you’re talking about don’t have the coin to make it worth a living.”

“So how many would you need to add up to one session with a noble? What if you trained people en masse? If you have them all together as one big class that you train all at once, it’ll still be the time of a single session but you’ll have enough people to make money!”

“That...that actually might work. But it would be flawed. When people hire an instructor, they’re expecting a certain level of care and attention.”

“Not these people! They won’t be expecting it because they never hired a personal instructor, they paid money to be shouted at while they run through practice drills. Just don’t market yourself the way you did before and it’ll be fine!”

“And none of this changes the fact that I shouldn’t take another student. Listen to me on this, Sofia, please. I can’t trust myself to have someone under my power like that again. I am not a kind man and it hurts more than it helps.”

“This is where having to spread your attention across a whole group is actually a good thing. That and...just don’t bring the stick? Just don’t use it, Lanzo. It can’t be that hard.”
He’s overstating how much he hurt you. Even when you were still a girl, a little stick like that could never hurt you in a way that you hadn’t been hurt already.

1/2
>>
>>3076622
“It’s a good idea,” he admits. He has to admit it. Your curse has his heart in thrall. But at least he has experience with you. He knows all about your birthright and he knows that his words aren’t necessarily his own. If he truly doesn’t want to do it, he won’t be confused into doing it anyway by your curse. And it’s because you know that that you even feel comfortable being so forceful with him in the first place.
“It’ll-”

“Don’t tell me that you’ll do it or that you’ll think about it or that, well, whatever. Any of that. We both know that whatever it is, you won’t mean it. Just...just remember the idea, alright? And do it if you want to. I won’t ask so don’t answer.”
It’s like feeling your way in the dark. Only your hands never brush against anything. It’s just you. It’s always just you.
“The other reason I don’t want to get too into discussing it is...I’m not just here for you. I have a duel pretty soon, at the second sunset. I was hoping you could provide me with some particular wisdom?”

“Of course I will,” he says and you have no way of knowing if he’s disappointed with your or not. “Who is the duellist?”

“I didn’t catch his first name but his last name is Terenzi. He’s in the constabulary as well as being a pro. That should be enough information I think, there can’t be too many people like that around.”
Also he has really nice looking legs and his leggings are tight enough to see the muscle tone but you’re not going to mention that.

“Doesn’t ring a bell.”

“Really?”

“Really. I’m afraid I can’t help you there. But I think I might be able to put you onto someone who can. Tell me, have you ever heard of Vertonelli’s?”

“Not in the slightest. Sounds like a bar though.”

“Apt because it is one. More to the point, it’s a duellist bar. A lot of professionals pass through its doors and they have a lot to say.”

“Okay. So why haven’t I heard of this place before?”

“You can only enter with a master key. Members can give them out but only rarely. And they’ve never had a public defender as a member.”
He fishes for something in a drawer and, a moment later, pulls out a small silver key.
“But I got one, back in the day. You can hitch a ride with me.”

“Sounds like a place full of stuck-up assholes.”

“More or less.”


>”Sounds perfect. Let’s go.” Maybe you can torment a few.

>”I’d rather not rely on a bunch of elitists for information. Those kinds of deals have a way of coming back.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3076623
>”I’d rather not rely on a bunch of elitists for information. Those kinds of deals have a way of coming back.”
Also we don't know how much time getting info will take.
Just go to the Sword Court fountain
>>
>>3076623
>Stick around with the old man, maybe train a bit.
I like him, want to reassure him that he's an okay teacher.
>>
>>3076623
>>”I’d rather not rely on a bunch of elitists for information. Those kinds of deals have a way of coming back.”
>>
>>3076623
>”I’d rather not rely on a bunch of elitists for information. Those kinds of deals have a way of coming back.”


It was good seeing you Lanzo. Take care of yourself.
>>
>>3076623
>Other (Specify)
Go only to check out how they even allowed a constabulary to be a duelist at the same time. Which ring actually let that happen?
>>
>>3076715

He's off duty.

My guess is that its an "There ain't no law" kinda thing, only quite literally. As long as he works his beat, he can spend all the free time he likes dueling.
>>
>>3076623
>>”I’d rather not rely on a bunch of elitists for information. Those kinds of deals have a way of coming back.”
>>
I'm awake. Vote called and writing.
>>
>>3076715
>>3076789

You don't have to join a ring to be a duelist. Like other anon said, nothing stops him from working as a professional duelist in his free time. Pretty respectable honestly.
>>
>”I’d rather not rely on a bunch of elitists for information. Those kinds of deals have a way of coming back.”

You shake your head.
“I appreciate your offer but no thanks. I’d rather not rely on a bunch of elitists for information. Those kinds of deals have a way of coming back, even for me.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. It was good seeing you Lanzo. Take care of yourself.”

*****

By the time you reach the Court of Swords, you don’t have time to fuck around. You’re running out of time! You’re going to have to spend some coin and fast. You start dumping coins and requesting battle records. But you just don’t have enough time to analyze everything. You can watch as much as you can afford in the reflection upon the fountain but to really get in there, to drink the water and dream of elsewhere, which is what you need to really see how things work, well, you don’t have anywhere near the time to do that to each of his battles. So you need to just focus on one aspect.

From a quick browse, you can see that he’s a quick no-nonsense duellist with a tendency towards flourishes and building up to powerful attacks. And he’s good at it. But that’s not at all. A good amount of it relies on his ability to completely avoid enemy strikes, building up momentum the longer he deters their blade. And sometimes...sometimes the duels end in a bizarre attack that seems somewhat familiar.
He might not be a fancy Ring member but he’s definitely a pro.

What part do you choose to study?


>His no-nonsense core style.

>How he takes and keeps momentum as long as he can defend.

>The sudden finisher you occasionally see.
>>
>>3077046
>How he takes and keeps momentum as long as he can defend.
>>
>>3077046
>How he takes and keeps momentum as long as he can defend.
We need to figure out how to deal damage, so he can't build too much.
>>
>>3077046
>>>How he takes and keeps momentum as long as he can defend.
>>
>>3077046
>>How he takes and keeps momentum as long as he can defend.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>How he takes and keeps momentum as long as he can defend.

You decide to spend the rest of the time you have left reliving the moments specifically in previous duels where he danced away from his opponent, keeping them at bay until he was ready to swoop in with an attack that was impossible to stop.
Sometimes it’s only for a moment but in some duels he retreats into a seemingly impassable defence, his opponent unable to break through until it’s too late.

You recognise some of these!

>Due to your study, you’ve learned of two Techniques that your opponent possesses!

>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.

>Spotless Footwork: [STANCE] Every time a queue finishes without you losing any dice from your Composure pool, generate a d4 into your Strike pool. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.

As the hour rapidly approaches, you look up from the fountain and idly gaze across it. The Court of Swords is crowded even now. And yet you see him almost immediately, just further down the rim enough that he isn’t obscured by the continuous waterfall.

Signore Terenzi matches your gaze, sitting on the edge of the fountain with a bottle of water in his hand. He winks. You stick your tongue out at him.

Knowing what you now know, it’s time to choose what trophies you’ll adorn yourself with. Your new coat will be perfect for that. And now that you know one of his secrets, you should know exactly how to beat it.
>>
>>3077091
Choose your loadout! Choose six Techniques and one Ability. You can opt to take no Ability if you choose. A loadout with no Ability selected will be treated as a vote for having none.

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 die 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 die in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)

TECHNIQUES

>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 die 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 die 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 die 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.
>>
>>3077092
>>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 die 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 die in their Composure Pool is moved to their Technique Pool instead.)
Tis free

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

Since his footwork will let him get lots of dice.
>>
>>3077091
>>Spotless Footwork: [STANCE] Every time a queue finishes without you losing any dice from your Composure pool, generate a d4 into your Strike pool. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.
This is the sort of thing Maccio's Ability would really help us with.
>>
>>3077092
>>Professional Provocateur:
>Focussed Blow:
>Counting Coup:
>Elegance:
>Underhanded Deflection:
>Crushing Grip:
>Circle Guard:
>>
It's in our best interests to break Terenzi's d6 as quickly as possible. We can do it in two ways, Counting Coup or whittling away with Professional Provocateur. We should get a free shot with PP on the first turn.

Ouro, does the first turn count as a complete queue?


Generally duelists have more than one d4, it's probably quicker for us to try to break them through CC. On the other hand, if we wait until we can break his composure, Spotless Footwork might proc a couple of times.
>>
>>3077091

Copying >>3077114 and >>3077102,

WITHOUT Professional Provocateur.

This guy's siphoning d4's into strike with his stance. That buildup is a part of his strategy, and I'd prefer not to add more to his pile of small dice.
>>
>>3077139
>Ouro, does the first turn count as a complete queue?

No.
>>
>>3077092
>>3077114
But without PP, his own moves put dice right into his strike pool and I don't want to help that along.
>>
>>3077143
>>3077153
>>
>>3077156
Sorry, somehow posted before typing.
What about Spotless Footwork? If we don't remove his Comp, he'll spawn dice.
>>
>>3077158

For the sake of argument, I'll remind you the last time we saw a duelist with a stance integral to their build, they had the ability to refresh the requirement.

Not saying that this guy's going to be the same, but if Spotless Footwork is integral, he's going to protect it.

It's more or less a bet on if Spotless is a toy to keep his engine going when he doesn't get to do his schtick, an integral part of his kit or a bait tool to encourage us to make weak strikes to end his d6.
>>
>>3077164
>Not saying that this guy's going to be the same, but if Spotless Footwork is integral, he's going to protect it.
PP would have worked on the other Stance Regens we've seen. When small dice are regenned, they're low and single, the next target for PP if we can ruin the opponent's Tech Pool.
>>
>>3077175

Up to you. I've said my piece on it. I am concerned that PP will cripple our tricks by making them play into his strike engine.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
PP and CG look disgusting together.
>>
>>3077181
>I am concerned that PP will cripple our tricks by making them play into his strike engine.
It's a very fair concern!
I'm mostly going for PP because we haven't tried it before and to put pressure on the other guy. Circle Guard becomes dangerous for him because it doesn't gen tech dice, so it loses him comp dice. With a very good defense like Circle Guard, I want another way to attack his Comp.

>>3077190
We haven't decided on PP or no PP yet. It's two against two.
>>
>>3077195
Yup!
>>
>>3077197
Oh my bad. Carry on then. Vote uncalled.
>>
>>3077201
Voting for peepee
>>
Alright, vote called again.
>>
>Professional Provocateur:
>Focussed Blow:
>Counting Coup:
>Elegance:
>Underhanded Deflection:
>Crushing Grip:
>Circle Guard:

You lock eyes with him across the fountain as the two of you rise. The appointed hour is nigh. The sun has set over the City but it has yet to sink low enough to set for the Lesser Realms. Because of this, the horizon is ringed with flame even though the sky above is dark. The stars are coming out, both in the sky above and in the water below.

Keeping an eye on him, you start to walk. He matches you pace for pace, keeping the same distance. It’s a tense moment and you’d like to say it continued all the way to the duelling ground but...Suffitus is a fair distance away. The two of you aren’t going to do this shit the whole way, no matter how cool it is.
Instead the two of you take a ferry, one of the larger boats that cruise down the canal and part the crowds of people. It’s harder to keep the tension when you’re sitting next to each other awkwardly for a fair few minutes.

*****

The ferry stops a few streets from the actual Suffitus District so the two of you have to walk the rest of the way. The streets are crowded with people returning from wherever they spent the day so the process isn’t particularly dignified.

But as the two of you approach the street, just before you round the corner, you spontaneously separate again until you’re both on the other side of the canal. So that as you approach the site, the two of you can match pace from across the canal from one another, a hand on your respective hilts. You’re sure it looks very impressive to the onlookers.
Your willing to tolerate Terenzi’s unspoken insistence on this, despite your personal discomfort with the man. Not counting Sabino, and you don’t count him because you lost, he’s your first truly professional opponent. And besides, it is pretty cool.

The crowd sieves away as the two of you come to a stop outside your client’s ramshackle home, leaving nothing but empty water between the two of you. ...There’s a lot of people here. There’s still a lot of constables around, stopping from their task of extricating the quickpig to watch the duel. You can see your own client, Frederigo Porcero, off in the background. He sinks into the shadows even now. He doesn’t look very confident.
And behind the crowd, a respectable distance away, you spot a black shrouded gondola. The curtains stir for just a moment. Signore d’Lallo, you assume?

Terenzi turns, clearly intending to go straight into the duel ceremony.You guess he really enjoys this kind of solemn, impressive lead-up. Certainly makes him look good to the public. And thus far, you’ve been humouring him on it.

Thus far.


>Might as well to the end. Begin the duel.

>Leave him halfway to go speak to your client. You want to try and reassure him.

>Leave him halfway to go speak to HIS client. You want to try and fuck with him.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3077263
>>Might as well to the end. Begin the duel.
Stay cool, Sophia!
>>
>>3077263

>Leave him halfway to go speak to HIS client. You want to try and fuck with him.

I want to know why he's nailing Porcero to the wall here.
>>
>>3077263
>>Might as well to the end. Begin the duel.
>>
>>3077263
>Talk to him
>"Hey, which of my duels did you watch? Not the ones against Gloriana or Sabino, right?"
>>
>>3077263
>Might as well to the end. Begin the duel.
Unless we've got a particular thing to do to get a better grasp of his skills, doing it solemn will help Sofia too.
>>
wait, we didn't get unassailable rookie? That was the only way we had to weaken dice already in the strike pool.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3077319

We can't hold it. we don't have GSD to refresh it, and the only way to restore a D4 is CC into Gritted Teeth
>>
>>3077328
we don't need to. We only need to keep it up long enough to generate 4d4 or 3d4 +1d6.
>>
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Some delay on this one.

>Might as well to the end. Begin the duel.

No, you’ll not cause any trouble. You might not like him but you should at least respect his professionalism. If you don’t, you might wind up losing. You’ve got to take him at least a little seriously. And part of that means waiting until after the duel to badger his client, alright?

The two of you close the distance in silence, the shape of the crowd deforming as people shuffle back in a circle to give you room. Terenzi has his sword hanging from his side in a plain white scabbard and as he draws it, he reveals a blade that has been streaked white almost to the tip. Along the forte, something has been etched in pure black. A tally.
It’s a remarkably spotless blade. You wonder if he chose it for that.

Your own sword looks especially gaudy in comparison but that’s fine. It’s meant to be. It matches the colours of your coat. The newly repaired gold shines in the dying light of the horizon. Your blades kiss, as per the ceremony, remembering one another to each other and to the City itself. They will persist in the Wake.

>Sofia’s Composure: 3d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12

>Terenzi’s Composure: 3d6, ???

You catch a glimpse of one another. He just smirks.
“So...are you doing anything after this or…?”

“I beg your pardon?”

But he’s already turning away and you must also, marching back to your original position with your backs turned to one another. Somewhere behind you, he turns. You can see it by the ripples in the filthy water beneath you.
“Representing the challenger, I claim rights to offence! Should I win, the challenged must admit culpability and pay my client appropriate compensation for the lost productivity and repute of his facility! Should he fail to comply, he will be punished under High Law!”

You turn the moment he finishes, your own sword raised high. You briefly lock eyes with your client. He looks despondent. He doesn’t believe in you.
“Representing the challenged, I claim right to redress! When I win, the challenger must pay for all other legal expenses that my client will experience regarding this incident! This includes any potential High Court release fees! The challenger will be bound to this until every aspect is judged appropriately resolved and should he fail to pay recompense, he will be punished under High Law!”
It’s okay if your client doesn’t believe in you. You can do that enough for the both of you.

With both your parts done, the two of you bring your sabres back across your face and chant in unison:
“See and be unseen!”

1/2
>>
>>3077447
You See.

The City is plunged into darkness as the light of the second sunset fades. All that is left is the night sky above and the night sky below reflected in the water, the two meeting seamlessly as if it were the cold void itself. Against this backdrop of starlight, all else are nothing but temporary shadows. They can obscure the cold light for but a moment and then they pass.
And up above, or maybe below, there is a thing behind the backdrop. The night ripples, perforated with rays of invisible light. You cannot sense it, only Know it.

You are Unseen.

Dwarfed by this enormity and surrounded by the barely visible shadows that were once people, streets and houses, are two sparks of light. One is a pure and blazing white, the other a vile and liquid shadow that, nevertheless, shines with a black light that drowns out the eye. The white figure is a man and where he walks, the water ripples and briefly reveals the invisible point where sky ends and world begins. The dark thing is a woman and where she passes, stars die. There is a scar upon her head, a cross that glows a dull and sullen red. The man is unmarked and pure.
You would, if you had the choice, rather be the man.

*!

You confront ego death and flee from it, wrapping yourself in your identity once more. You are Sofia! Sofia Pseudonym! You are who you are by your own choice, each and every time. And in this whirling starscape, you will fight.
>>
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>>3077451
It's time to commit to your opening strike! This single round should give you some idea of what to expect, after which the queues will be used as normal.

In addition, I have put the rules in a clearer and hopefully easier to understand form! This should make the duel more accessible from now on. It is available here:
https://pastebin.com/6eTp737y


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.

>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.

>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 die of equal value to the lowest value dice 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 die in your opponent’s Technique Pool.
>>
>>3077455
>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 die of equal value to the lowest value dice in your Composure Pool.

Flourish
>>
>>3077455
>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.
>>
>>3077455
>>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.
>>
Big Brain Anon bless us with your powers, I don't want to lose three times in a row.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3077455
>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.

Lets get our d4 CC out of the way now, cause we're going to need those d6 and higher sooner rather than later if we don't want to be getting a taste of the canal.
>>
>>3077455
wait, really? Not Elegance Stance?
>>
>>3077533

He has no reason to stance: He doesn't get the bonus in the initial move, so he doesn't need it up until the first real round.
>>
>>3077533
no point using it until we go into rounds, and frankly it's better tog et some dice up just in case first.


hence why I called for elegance flourish to build of his build, but eh. seems anons are set on not using it.
>>
>>3077536
>>3077537
True, I guess it could just as easily be in the first actual queue
>>
>Counting Coup

Eying him off, or at least as best you can without getting blinded, you keep one eye on what is possibly the water (or the sky above you), watching for ripples. They’re one of the more noticeable things in this part of the Wake, even when your opponent is otherwise too bright to watch. Your eyes will probably adjust shortly. It rarely takes you longer than a few seconds to become accustomed to the features of the Wake.

You move a fraction of a second after he does, both of you spiralling inward into a clash of blades! He parries your lunge and by the time he prepares a counter, you’ve already pulled the distance and stepped back. And as you do, you’re shrugging your coat off with ease, the new modifications letting it just slide down your arm.
You flick it out towards him with your free hand, hoping to catch him in the face!

>COUNTING COUP

>Signore Terenzi uses Counting Coup!’

It does but you’re unable to appropriately capitalize on it as he reacts immediately! His free hand twists, something falling from his sleeve into his hand. You step back once and then twice as his hand blurs out, trying to catch you with the knife he’d had hidden away! It’s a plain and unadorned blade but you recognise the purpose of the too-wide and upturned hilt. It’s a sword-catcher.

“What, don’t you trust your free hand? Do you need a second blade?”

“It’s better than a coat.”

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

>Terenzi’s Technique Pool: 1d4

You’ll have to figure out some other way to upset things in your favour, all the while staying careful of that dagger.
>>
>>3077542
fucking called it!
>>
>>3077542

>Duel Status: https://pastebin.com/J0HKdbJc

It's time to start choosing in queues. 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.

>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.

>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 die of equal value to the lowest value dice 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 die in your opponent’s Technique Pool.
>>
>>3077548
Elegance flourish
Crushing grip
Circle guard
>>
Anyway I'm off to work. Vote will remain until I return tonight.
>>
>>3077548
>Elegance Flourish
>Elegance Flourish
>Counting Coup

He could place the stance anywhere, but I doubt he'll do a strike until the next queue.
>>
>>3077548
>Counting Coup
>Crushing Grip
>Circle Guard

This is a game of building and kicking sandcastles and the last thing we need is him building up a good base. 1d4 and 1d6 in our pool is a good start and we can see if he has more up his sleeve (snrk).

If he starts building up though we're going to have to Underhanded Deflection him hard.
>>
>>3077566

Seconding
>>
I'm back from work! Vote called and writing.
>>
>Counting Coup
>Crushing Grip
>Circle Guard

He makes a quick jab, keeping his dagger up to parry while advancing rather recklessly. But you can see through him. He wants you to match him blade for blade, so that he can trap your sabre upon the forte of his own, slide it out to the side and then dance forward and stab you in the chest! It’s literally the first move anyone who fights with a dagger thinks of.
So instead you just take another step back and trap his sword-arm with your coat instead!

>COUNTING COUP

>Signore Terenzi is using a Stance called Spotless Footwork!

>Spotless Footwork: [STANCE] Every time a queue finishes without you losing any dice from your Composure pool, generate a d4 into your Strike pool. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.

You flummox his attack but your own counterattack is stopped in turn as he slides his dagger into your blade, catching your sabre within its oversized hilt! And before you can break free, he’s stepped off to the side, circling you and getting out of reach!
You still have the advantage but you’ve failed to dent his defence.

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d6

And before you can quite pull back your coat, he’s circled all the way round and is back on the offense! He’s fast, taking small but quick steps to get around your side and taking advantage of his longer reach to wear you down!
Or at least, such is his intent.

>Signore Terenzi uses Counting Coup!
>CRUSHING GRIP

His reach may outstrip yours but even as you parry his strike, your lash out with your free hand and, with a strength you learned from Maccio, grab hold of his sword-arm! You feel his wrist creak beneath your grip and he winces, all advantages he might have gained from that ploy now nullified.

>Signore Terenzi’s Technique Pool: 1d4

And with his sword-arm trapped, he’s wide-open for your sword! But you hold back and, using what you remember from a prior duel, stay on the defence, knowing that the moment your sword moves is the moment he’s going to try and slash your free hand with his dagger!

What results is a brief awkward moment where none of you dare move,

>CIRCLE GUARD

But he sees through your plan a moment later and knowing that you won’t threaten his off-hand with the sabre, he drives your own off-hand off of his wrist with his dagger. You are forced to let go and forgo your control in order to keep yourself from immediately losing the duel.

>Signore Terenzi uses Counting Coup!

>Signore Terenzi’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d8

You disengage quickly, well aware that you’ve come out on the losing side of that little exchange but he follows, his quick little steps somehow eating up the distance and keeping you within his reach. The momentum of the duel is now well and truly his and he’s not about to just let you go!

>Spotless Footwork Bonus: 1d4

>Signore Terenzi’s Technique Pool: 2d4, 1d8
>>
>>3077869
Duel Status: https://pastebin.com/60q5EcHG

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.

>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.

>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 die of equal value to the lowest value dice 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 die in your opponent’s Technique Pool.
>>
Oh whoops. A small error on my part. Terenzi has 1d4 and 1d8 in his Tech pool and 1d4 in his Strike Pool. This will be fixed in later posts!
>>
>>3077872
Elegance flourish
Circle guard
Underhanded
>>
>>3077872
I really dont know why eeveryone is insisting on circle guard when we can just crushing grip. We literally cant touch the strike pool, so our only option is to break the stance.

Counting coup
Focused blow
Crushing grip
>>
>>3077874
Actually a large error on my part. You guys took ProPro so that Circle Guard knocked his other 1d4 into his Strike Pool. So he has 2d4 in Strike and 1d8 in Tech.
>>
>>3077900

Crushing Grip
Counting Coup
Focused Blow
>>
>>3077263
Damn, you managed to vote for probably the worst loadout possible. Circle Guard is downright detrimental to us when Professional Provocateur is active. It's a waste of a slot.

>>3077195
>>3077204
>PP and CG look disgusting together.
>Voting for PP
What did you mean by this, anon?
>>
I've been a bit clumsy 'cause I'm tired. I'm gonna go nap for a few hours more. Vote will remain open.
>>
>>3077904

I'm not sure what you mean; the combination means that a proper circle guard leaves the opponent splitting their dice, since their low dice are sitting in the strike pool and their high dice are getting locked down and chewed up by CG.

Granted, we actually have to deploy CG properly.
>>
>>3077872
All we can do now is try to break his d6
>Crushing Grip
>Counting Coup
>Focused Blow
>>
>>3073184
Is pregnancy horrible for whatever creature our character is? Or was she literally just a bitchy teenager who hated cramps and killed her ovaries?
>>
>>3077910
It's not splitting the dice, anon. The dice in Strike and Tech aren't really split, because any strike will combine them back anyway.
And catching an attack with CG perfectly is impossible. We're bound to miss some CGs, and each one pumps his Strike more.
>>
>>3077925

You misunderstand me.

There's a handful of low dice in strike due to PP. The opponent tries to strike. CG prevents the siphon, but does not prevent the attack.

The opponent swings with the low dice PP put into their strike pool and fails to reach critical mass. He loses one dice in his tech pool. He's now down whatever chaff PP put into his strike pool, down once dice...

And his second lowest dice now moves to strike because PP procs.
>>
>>3077929
I unterstand you. But all he has to do to counter that is not strike until we pump his strike high enough.
>>
>>3077933

That's true, but while he's stuck doing that, we can underhanded deflection his technique pool, sticking him with d3 and d2's for strike, which we can tank a bunch of with good odds.
>>
>>3077938

His stance puts d4 into strike every queue he doesn't take damage.
>>
>>3077934
But we won't know whether he's stuck doing that. Once he has some Tech we'll have to expect a strike constantly, because if we miss even one, we instantly lose.
>>
>>3077872
I don't like Signore Terenzi building all these dice so quickly; I propose:
>Counting Coup
>Focused Blow
>Crushing Grip

With the caveat that if we whiff, we should probably Underhanded Deflection first next queue to neutralize the 3d4 minimum he'll be holding on to. 3d3 is still scary, so maybe we even UD twice.

We have very good odds of hitting a 6 with 1d4+1d6+1d8. I say we go for it instead of waiting to find out exactly how many D4s he can throw our way.
>>
>>3077934
Also, 9d2 beats 12 with 91% probability.
>>
>>3078014

That's 4+ turns of his stance and PP.

If we let him go 4 turns using UD twice without punishing him at all, we deserve to lose
>>
>>3078011

Changing mine to this one.
>>
>>3078018
Did you mean queues, not turns?
>>
>>3078035

Yes. I fixed it once and lost the post.
>>
>>3078040
How do you suggest we punish him?
>>
>>3078058

It hurts me physically to say this sentence, so bear with me.

We start by breaking his stance.

That gives us 3-4 additional queues to play with. Then we have to literally OHKO him to avoid allowing him to use any toys he may have.

Frankly, our kit lacks any cohesive strategy beyond Lucky Elegances and Circle guards coupled with constant punishing with crushing grip. We don't have many offensive synergies to play with.

Our best bet comes down to out econing him, and that mostly comes from counting coup constantly, UDing his technique dice and hoping he doesn't have any toys to make us regret it.
>>
>>3078061
Breaking his stance is a no-brainer, but can we really out-econ him? We can't break his dice with CG faster than he's gaining them, and constant UD will just move them to his Strike where he wants them to be.
>>
>>3078064

His dice are going to strike anyways. Our only hard defensive option is to fake him out with circle guard and get him to make a non-critical strike. Our soft options are UD for large numbers of dice and CG for small, big dice.

UR would have been excellent if we were only letting him strike with small dice, but we don't have the necessary synergy to keep UR up.

Since he also has CC, this whole thing is just a game of chicken, and we haven't seen any of the other toys he can play with.

God help us if his ability fucks up our econ or boosts his.
>>
>>3078068
What incenses me most is that we knew from the fountain that his style is the worst to use Professional Provocateur against, and people voted for it anyway.
>>
I'm awake. Calling the vote.
>>
>Counting Coup
>Focussed Blow
>Crushing Grip

You can’t help but panic just a little as you turn to see him still right by your side! And though you quash the feeling a moment later, it leaves an opening for him to exploit. His next stride is long as he leans his whole body into it and brings his sabre down right upon your head!

You catch the blow with your sword but the impact alone makes you shudder, your dark sabre giving way before his blinding bright one. You just need to take it! If you can take it and catch his blade with your forte, you can seize the advantage!

You just need to…

>COUNTING COUP

>Signore Terenzi uses Focussed Blow!

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

...hold out.

>Roll 2d4 and 1d8 for Terenzi’s damage!
>>
Rolled 2, 2 = 4 (2d4)

>>3078148
>inb4 8
>>
Rolled 3 (1d8)

>>3078148
>>
>7 damage

You manage to parry the downward strike and in doing so, push his sword up and away! You aren’t even shaken by all that at all! ...Well, maybe a little. Just a little.

>Sofia’s Composure: 3d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d12
>7 damage destroys 3d4 and 1d6!
>Sofia’s Composure: 1d8, 1d12

And now that you’re repelled him, you’ve wrestled back control! So why does he only seem more confident than he was before?

>Signore Terenzi’s Ability, Nerves of Steel, has activated!

>Nerves of Steel: [ABILITY]Even when you fail, your heart never skips a beat.Whenever you roll at least one Strike die but fail to break Composure, take the single lowest of the dice you rolled and add it to your Composure Pool.

>Terenzi’s Composure: 1d4, 3d6, ???

You don’t have time to celebrate though, as even before his sword has finished being swept to the side, he’s pivoted on his side and is lunging forward with his dagger! You pull the distance but it’s enough to give him some serious ground back.
But that’s fine. You’re about to rattle his confidence.

>Signore Terenzi uses Counting Coup!
>FOCUSSED BLOW

>Terenzi’s Technique Pool: 1d10

His little trick with the dagger might have forced you to concede ground but it’s also exposed his arm! As you retreat, you bring your sword down and, resting on a heel, spring right back forward at him! It’s rather unorthodox form for a lunge but he sure as fuck didn’t expect it!

You feel some give beneath your sabre as you swing it and he disengages immedately, his sleeve cut wide open and trailing in the breeze. Did it work? Did you do it?

>Roll 1d4, 1d6 and 1d8 for Sofia’s strike!
>>
Rolled 4 (1d4)

>>3078162
>>
Rolled 3 (1d6)

>>3078162
>>
>>3078166
At least we've broke his d6
>>
Rolled 1 (1d4)

>>3078162
I'll do a d4 for you
>>
>>3078168
Not sure I want you to roll th d8 now...
>>
Rolled 2 (1d8)

>>3078162
Hm, someone already did the d4. I guess d8 then.
>>
>>3078171
That anon was right.
>>
>>3078173
TOO LATE!!!
>>
Writing.
>>
>9 damage.

>Signore Terenzi’s Composure: 1d4, 3d6, ???

>9 damage destroys 1d4, 3d6 and 1d8!

>Signore Terenzi’s Composure: 2d10

There’s no blood. He must have darted back just in time and your sabre only cut cloth. But there’s more where that came from and next time he might not be so lucky. You know it, he knows it and you both know the either know it. And the same applies for the other side of the coin as well. You could be the one being cut just as easily.
Together, the two of you dance upon a razor’s edge.

>CRUSHING GRIP
>Signore Terenzi uses Counting Coup!

He attempts to fend you off as you advance but you will not be denied! You bat his sword aside with your own, avoid his fancy dagger tricks and, while both of your sword-arms are occupied, punch him square in the jaw!
Your swords break contact a moment later and you both disengage. He’s a little worse for wear but hey, so are you.

>Signore Terenzi’s Technique Pool: 1d4

“You like to fight dirty, don’t you?”

“Says the man with a dagger up his sleeve. But yeah, if you’re going to let me just lay hands on you like this, I’m going to win.”

“Hrmph.”
>>
>>3078181
Duel Status: https://pastebin.com/shxTVWsR

Choose three moves for your next queue:

>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.

>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.

>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 die of equal value to the lowest value dice 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 die in your opponent’s Technique Pool.
>>
>>3078182
>Elegance(Flourish)
>Elegance(Strike)
>Counting Coup

If I was in Terenzi's place, I would do a CC to get a d6 followed by a FB to trigger his ability and put this d6 into his Comp to enable his stance once more.
But since his highest Comp die is d10, we have an advantage in a simple Tech race. If I predicted his action correctly, we will have him on the ropes the next queue with 4d4+1d10. If not, we'll have him almost on the ropes with 2d4+1d10.

I'm open to discussion though, if you have a better idea.
>>
>>3078190
We’ve only seen 4 of his 6. Assuming 1 is his finisher, he still has one more. Given that he’s not used a trick yet, I am assuming he’ll use it now.
>>
>>3078190
>If I was in Terenzi's place, I would do a CC to get a d6 followed by a FB to trigger his ability and put this d6 into his Comp to enable his stance once more.

This would put a d4 into his pool for the record, not a d6.
>>
>>3078192
>>3078182
Damn, you're right. Thank you.

Switching my vote to

>Elegance(Flourish)
>Elegance(Trick)
>Counting Coup
because I'm thinking he could have Gritted Teeth.
>>
Holy crap, 4channel just got blocked at my work.
It only blocks loading new pages, so I should be fine for now, but...
>>
>>3078190

Solid logic, but next CC is a d8, which makes it about even with a successful Elegance in terms of dice gen. Might be the safer choice to take the d8 and d10 next time we use it rather than gamble when our best case of that is a d4+d8 currently.

Can’t do much currently as I’m at work, but just something to keep in mind.
>>
>>3078197
Sofia's CC is up to d10 actually.
>>
>>3078182
Counting Coup
Counting Coup
Crushing Grip

I also think he has gritted teeth, but there's a strong possibility that he has Brute Strike.

If he does Brute strike now, he would still have 1d10 composure, and he would even add 1d10 to his tech pool.

But if he DOESNT have brute strike, than my elegance prediction would be all wrong.
>>
>>3078199

Gotcha, I’ll throw in with that anon then.
>>
>>3078201
>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.
BS doesn't add anything to Tech. He would be rolling a single 1d10 which wouldn't even scratch us.
>>
>>3078202
>>3078162
>Nerves of Steel: [ABILITY]Even when you fail, your heart never skips a beat.Whenever you roll at least one Strike die but fail to break Composure, take the single lowest of the dice you rolled and add it to your Composure Pool.
>>
>>3078203
>>3078205
whoops
>>
>>3078182
This is rough because we don’t know his last two moves. One is likely that executioner Blade we nearly got hit with last time, and the other is likely some sort of trick. The issue is which trick.

The issue is if he has something like get some distance>>3078194 is totally useless for a guess. If not this is likely spot on.


I am going to guess his trick isn’t gritted teeth though. Too little utility and would not let him set up his stance easily.


Elegance trick
Elegance flourish
Counting coup
>>
>>3078205
So he would've taken a d10 out of his Comp and put it right back again without it doing anything.
I can only surmise you thought NoS adds the die to Tech.
>>
Btw, Terenzi has a 100% effective strategy of defeating us available. I only hope Ouro won't use it.
>>
>>3078209
Well, it's not 100% effective _now_, but still.
>>
>>3078208
....whoops, you're right. My bad.

Gain some distance only gives a d4, and he needs a d6 to activate stance.

....would it be possible for him to have unassailable?
>>
>>3078210
Of what, getting his Stance back up and then using Circle Guard x3 every turn until he eventually gets a ball of d4s to block out the sun? He does that sometimes, after he knows an opponent can't stop it.

Anyway, vote called.
>>
>>3078212
>He does that sometime
Welp.
>>
>>3078212
but PP prevents that, and-huh. Guess we're safe. ish.
>>
>>3078214
It's useless against Crushing Grip however and he knows you have it.
>>
Actually nevermind about the vote being called, I just recounted the votes because I was suspicious and one of you cheeky little devils voted twice (or at least made it look that way when I was counting).
The vote's still deadlocked and after what happened in the last duel, I'm not comfortable calling it to a dice roll. Vote is re-opened!
>>
I must admit that I was wrong when saying this was the worst fight to take PP into. It's still an ability that hinders us instead of helping, but PP+CG is the only thing we could've done if Terenzi decided to to go full Circle Guard.
>>
>>3078224
If you mean >>3078194 and >>3078190, I switched my vote, not voted twice. Anyway,

>Elegance(Flourish)
>Elegance(Trick)
>Counting Coup
>>
>>3078224
>>3078182
I'll change >>3078201 to

>Elegance Trick
>Elegance Flourish
>Counting Coup

he could throw that Gritted Teeth anywhere, and that's if the trick is Gritted Teeth in the first place.
>>
>>3078229
For him GT only makes sense to get a d6 into Comp to reenable his stance, so he wouldn't throw it when he has only a d4 in Tech
>>
>>3078227
It wasn't you.
>>
>>3078226
>I'm mostly going for PP because we haven't tried it before and to put pressure on the other guy. Circle Guard becomes dangerous for him because it doesn't gen tech dice, so it loses him comp dice.
>With a very good defense like Circle Guard, I want another way to attack his Comp.
:)
>>
>>3078233
You assume he has GT


>>3078234
I deleted my vote. Refresh.
>>
>>3078236
You deleted one of them anyway. But I'm going to take you saying this to me as an indication that you don't want your other one to count either.

Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3078237
No. I deleted the one I did not want to count. Given that was the only multivite.

>>3078194
>>3078202
2votes

>>3078207
>>3078227
2 votes
>>
>>3078239
Oh, I misunderstood your intent. I thought you were saying that to me in response to the new tie that got made in response to the old tie and that you wanted to do that to break it.

In that case, the new tie continues.
>>
>>3078240
There wasn’t really a tie even until you got scared because I deleted my old vote.

It’s tied now though.


I was just trying to clear up the two vote issue.
>>
>>3078244
No, I thought it wasn't tied because I saw both your posts and counted both of them automatically. It was after I realised you had two that I said it was a tie again.
It was always a tie.
>>
>Elegance(Flourish)
>Elegance(Strike)
>Counting Coup
>>
>>3078245
Before>>3078229 Changed his vote due to tie

>>3078194
>>3078202
Was at 2 votes and winning
>>
>>3078246
Literally a vote that does nothing, strike would be useless for him now unless he has a really ducky one in addition to his finisher.
>>
>>3078247
No it wasn't. >>3078202 asks to throw in with the post he'd been responding to but that anon had already changed their vote to a different one.
>>
>>3078249
In that case it’s not tied now is it? Unless you count the late vote it’s 2-1-1 with two being
>>3078229
>>3078207
>>
>>3078248
Good point. I'm getting messed up with the back and forth.
Changing >>3078246 to
>Elegance(Flourish)
>Elegance(Flourish)
>Counting Coup
At least one will hit.
>>
>>3078253
I see the issue now. The whole reason I thought we had a 2-2 tie was because of >>3078227 saying their vote twice. It's past 1 am and I am not looking at people's IDs enough.

VOTE CALLED. fucking hell
>>
>>3078239
Also for the record, this is wrong. It's got posts of two different votes as one group. I think this is doing everyone's head in.
>>
>>3078260
....both are the same vote

Namely

Elegance trick
Elegance flourish
Counting coup


You might want to get some sleep dude.
>>
>>3078270
No, it's got E:f, E:t, CC and E:t, E:f, CC.
>>
>>3078260
>>3078258
let's add in more confusion

change >>3078229
to

>Elegance Flourish
>Elegance Trick
>Counting Coup

man, my brain is fried too
>>
This post is late because of my brain digesting itself.

>Elegance trick
>Elegance flourish
>Counting coup

“It’s your own fault you know,” you say as you pace backwards, ignoring the stars underfoot. The lock of hair you took from Gloriana must be having an effect even when you’re not trying to use it, you’re not normally this rude.
“You had the upper hand and you could have kept it and won!. But you threw it away on that attack. You blew it all way too early!”

“You think so?”
He doesn’t sound fazed.
“I changed my plans after you grabbed me the first time. And we’ll see.”

You dart in, making a feint in expectation of trying to catch out something tricky, something new he hasn’t shown you yet. He has to, right? If ever he was going to unveil a new part of his dueling style, now would be the time wouldn’t it? You withdraw the feint as he attacks just in time for him to do the same. Dual feints!
But you were right.

>ELEGANCE: Trick

>Signore Terenzi uses Fool’s Guillotine: Counting Coup!

>Fool’s Guillotine: [TRICK] Name a Technique. If your opponent uses the named Technique on the same round, negate that Technique and generate an Execution Token. At any point when you have three Execution Tokens, you may use Executioner’s Blade without meeting its usual conditions. Doing this consumes all Execution Tokens.

>Executioner’s Blade: [STRIKE]Wait. Wait. Wait. Generate a d20 in your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. This Technique can only be used if your opponent’s Composure has been broken previously in the duel.

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4

But in the battle of the blind, the one-eyed woman rules. At least you had the right sort of expectation, even if it hadn’t been this. He’d been expecting something completely different out of you by the looks! So in the end, he’s the one who has to give ground to you as you advance!

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: 1d8

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d8

Let’s see, what would you do if you were in his shoes right now? Build up and regain yourself, right? Right? He’d try something with that silly dagger of his, that’s what you’d do. So with that in mind, you try and bait it by taking a swing and missing, angling it down towards his off-hand!

>ELEGANCE: Flourish

>Signore Terenzi uses Counting Coup!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4, 1d8

Turns out you don’t need to be Adriana to get into someone else’s head. He catches your sabre on his dagger hilt and as he’s about to take advantage of your trapped sword to slash at you, you kick him in the shin as hard as you can. He grunts and you pivot, dropping into an extremely low squat as his return strike sails overhead.

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4, 2d8

>Signore Terenzi’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d6

1/2
>>
>>3078286
You rise and advance, your opponent falling back before. The darkness is overtaking the light. A quick exchange of several blows then takes place as you jockey for position!

>COUNTING COUP

>Signore Terenzi uses Counting Coup!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4, 2d8, 1d10

>Signore Terenzi’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d6, 1d8

He’s not giving way easily but oh, how has the tide turned! He could have turned his early dominance into a quick victory but now? The now belongs to you!
>>
>>3078288
Duel Status: https://pastebin.com/GyCbBtVM

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.

>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.

>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 die of equal value to the lowest value dice 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 die in your opponent’s Technique Pool.
>>
>>3078292
>Crushing Grip
>Focused Blow
>Crushing Grip
>>
Good job catching his trick, anons.
Will vote later, not enough time right now.
>>
Should we go for Focussed Blow immediately? He's going to have 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10 next round.
>>
>>3078301
He will definitely Circle Guard. Heck, he could just spam CG right now.

So we should start whittling away those tech die to finish off his composure with PP.
>>
>>3078301
He can catch it with FG. We need to outwit him.
>>
>>3078292
>>Crushing Grip
>>Focused Blow
>>Crushing Grip
>>
Ouro, do we need Executioner's Blade and Fool's Guillotine equipped to use FG?

>>3078303
We could use FB twice in a row we can afford to lose one or two d4s.
Won't help if he spams CG, but if you think he'll spam CG, might as well go for Flourish.
>>
>>3078297
>>3078304
If he just goes FB immediately he'll attack us before we can destroy his tech dice.
>>
>>3078308
You need to have Fool's Guillotine equipped to use it, yes. You don't need Executioner's Blade equipped though, it just means FG's back half doesn't do anything.
>>
>>3078310
Don't think it works that way. I think CG will get in his way, we're both Striking and one affects the other.
>>
>>3078310
if we spam Focused blow, he could spam either Circle Guard or Fool's Guillotine.

We're both faking each other out now, the trick is figuring out what he'll actually do.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d3)

wait. We just need to pick the one time he doesn't think we're going to strike, right?

Should we just roll where in the queue we place this strike?
>>
>Focused Blow
>Focused Blow
>Elegance: Trick
Reasoning: If he's not spamming Circle Guard or Fool's Guillotine, he'll die. If he is, we lose 2d4 or earn him two Execution Tokens, and gain 1d4+1d8.
>>
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Blegh, I wanted to do more updates than this tonight. But now it's 2am so I'm off to sleep. Will resume tomorrow, vote will remain open until then!
>>
>>3078292
changing >>3078297
to support >>3078331

Even if in total the prediction is wrong and we lose 1d4, it's more than enough to win.
>>
>>3078292
>Focused Blow
>Focused Blow
>Crushing Grip
If he doesn't CG or FG our first strike, we win.
If he does, we hopefully win on our second strike
>>
If we win this, what should we take?
>Nerves of Steel: [ABILITY]Even when you fail, your heart never skips a beat. Whenever you roll at least one Strike die but fail to break Composure, take the single lowest of the dice you rolled and add it to your Composure Pool.
>Spotless Footwork: [STANCE] Every time a queue finishes without you losing any dice from your Composure pool, generate a d4 into your Strike pool. Can only be active while you have a d6 in your Composure Pool.
>Fool’s Guillotine: [TRICK] Name a Technique. If your opponent uses the named Technique on the same round, negate that Technique and generate an Execution Token. At any point when you have three Execution Tokens, you may use Executioner’s Blade without meeting its usual conditions. Doing this consumes all Execution Tokens.
>Executioner’s Blade: [STRIKE]Wait. Wait. Wait. Generate a d20 in your Strike Pool. Roll all dice in your Strike Pool to inflict damage. This Technique can only be used if your opponent’s Composure has been broken previously in the duel.

I think Nerves of Steel is bad for our current Elegance-based build, we're always most dangerous with high lowest Comp Dice.
Spotless Footwork is good. Especially for breaking Stances.
I really want Fool's Guillotine, even if we can't get Executioner's Blade right now. It fits well with our predictive style.

Hopefully we get ability that can seal opponents' abilities so that our predictions become more precise. PP does good work for that, but it's double-bladed.
>>
>>3078463
We're splitting the hide of a still alive bear, but alright.
Spotless Footwork is good.
But Fool's Guillotine can be better. Even without Executioner's blade. Because it's a better defence from Strikes than Circle Guard.

Our opponents so far had two strikes at most, and even then one of them a niche one. This means in situation where we would use Circle Guard, we can use Fools Guillotine with the same success. It also has good synergy with Professional Provocateur, because it triggers it and protects us from the Strike dice it'll generate.

On the other hand, it depends on the opponent's build and our predictive ability, which has been consictently shown to be unreliable. If we want reliability, Spotless Footwork is the choice for us.
>>
>>3078292
>Elegance Flourish
He knows we know he has two guard techniques to null ours, but to have any real chance he'll need to CC up. So he'll use Flourish under the assumption we will not attack due to his guard.
>Crushing Grip
is next move will HAVE to be a defense, so I assume it'll be circle guard, which means yeah we might lose the d10, but if the above is right we have the make up easily. This will eat his d10 too.
Focused blow
He's going to go for the throat after we did, so now we hit tahtt he same time and with his d10 down, he's got slim chances to nail us, while even if I guessed wrong we'll have 3d4 +2d8 minimum to hit him with.
>>
>>3078474

Speaking of Fool’s Guilitine, I just realized that he can just call our Focused Blow and completely negate the attack.
>>
>>3078668
But if you think that he'll CC, why not FB him now, try to end it?
Also: Circle Guard destroys the lowest die in Tech, not the highest. He'll take our d4, not the d10.

>>3078681
Yep. He's got two ways of blocking if he thinks we'll go for the kill. If we think he'll anticipate us attacking, meaning he'll go for Circle Guard or Fool's Guillotine, we can either go for Crushing Grip or Flourish:Trick.
>>
>>3078715
Because if I am wrong and he C guards, we'll still get an extra d4
>>
>>3078717
We don't need an extra d4. We have enough dice to just FB twice in a row. If he CGs the first one, the second will get him.
>>
I'm awake! And it's a tie.
>>
>>3078732
Wait, no it's not. Vote called!
>>
>Focused Blow
>Focused Blow
>Elegance: Trick

And with this, the duel shall end! Swapping your feet around, you advance in a quick fleche, outspeeding him and slashing at his side as you pass! You don’t stop, immediately avoiding any counter-attack through the usual means of continuing to advance straight past him!
The moment you know you’re out of his reach, you spin around and look back.

>FOCUSSED BLOW

>Signore Terenzi uses Fool’s Guillotine: Focussed Blow

>Execution: 1

He’s unharmed, blast it! He must have avoided your strike but that’s fine. It’s still fine. Because you’re not going to stop just yet! Before he can react, you are driving your protesting legs forward once more in another fleche just mere moments after ending your first one. Fully reversing your momentum, you pass him once more in the opposite direction!

>FOCUSSED BLOW

>Signore Terenzi uses Circle Guard!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 2d8, 1d10

This time you feel your sabre meet metal and bounce off but you don’t react. You just continue your advance past him until you’re out of reach. Now, you just need to turn and punish that dumb counter he likes so much and-

This time Terenzi has followed you and when you pull the distance away from his swinging sword, he follows it up by closing the distance to mere inches and jamming the knife right up in your face!

>ELEGANCE: Trick!

>Signore Terenzi uses Counting Coup!

>Sofia’s Technique Pool: 2d4,. 2d8, 1d10

>Signore Terenzi’s Technique Pool: 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10

You avoid it but only just and just like that, he has you on the defensive again!

>Elegance Prediction Bonus: No.


“I can keep this up all day,” he pants. And you’ll admit, seeing two of your finest attempts at ending the duel just bouncing off of him makes you believe it.

“That was pretty ballsy of you. But you know how it really is. You can’t just clam up in your shell forever, right? That’d just let me do whatever I want.”

“We’ll see.”

You know you’re right. But the same also applies just as equally to you. The two of you are duelling on a tight-rope, each of you fragile enough to be instantly eradicated by the other should you suffer even the faintest misstep. It’s a guessing game, a prediction game, a game where the first one to guess wrong loses.
In all your limited experience, you’ve never felt it draw so close before!
>>
Duel Status: https://pastebin.com/6zwHkWij

Choose three Techniques:

>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.

>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.

>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 die of equal value to the lowest value dice 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 die in your opponent’s Technique Pool.
>>
>>3078833
>Crushing Grip x3

Put pressure on him to keep filling up Tech.
>>
Or we could just keep going, pick a spot or three for a Focused Blow.
>>
>>3078833
FBx3

>>3078845
At this point if he attacks on any of those CrG rounds he'll get most of the damage.
>>
>>3078833
>Focussed Blow
>Crushing Grip
>Underhanded Deflection
>>
>>3078862
>UD
Do you just throw random things out there and hope they work?
>>
>>3078859

>Crushing Grip
>Focused Blow
>Focused Blow

He knows he can end it, We know we can end it. It's whoever strikes first without getting CG'ed.

CG is first to prevent an expected Fool's Guillotine

Ouro? Can he theoretically queue "Fool's Guillotine, Fool's Guillotine, Executioner's Blade?"
>>
>>3078877
Yeah. You can always queue the Blade even if you can't use it. It'll just do nothing if its circumstances haven't been met by the time it's used.
>>
>>3078877
Alright I'll second this instead
>>
>>3078866
Underhanded with PP completes the same functions as Crushing Grip: puts one dice out of his Tech Pool.

We have two possible win conditions: Focused Blow, or using PP to move Composure into his Tech Pool. We need to create threat of both to bait him to lower his guard against focused blow.
>>
>>3078877
>Ouro? Can he theoretically queue "Fool's Guillotine, Fool's Guillotine, Executioner's Blade?"
Yes. Sabino tried to use Executioner's Blade on us even though its prerequisites weren't fulfilled.

>At any point when you have three Execution Tokens, you may use Executioner’s Blade without meeting its usual conditions.
I'm wondering if this means that he could use Executioner's Blade at any point even if he didn't put it in the queue.
>>
>>3078894
>I'm wondering if this means that he could use Executioner's Blade at any point even if he didn't put it in the queue.

Oh no, it still has to be queued.
>>
>>3078891
>Underhanded with PP completes the same functions as Crushing Grip: puts one dice out of his Tech Pool.
>We have two possible win conditions: Focused Blow, or using PP to move Composure into his Tech Pool. We need to create threat of both to bait him to lower his guard against focused blow.

Probably better to lose his d8 than his d4, but we do want to threaten him with Provocateur, he doesn't know we have it yet.
>>
It's been like six threads now and I still don't have a feel for dueling strategy
>>
>>3078903
He does, we procced it when we tried to Circle Guard up above.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Crushing Grip
>Focused Blow
>Focused Blow

So with that in mind, you’re going to be bold! You’ll grab hold of him and once you’ve got control of his sword-arm, you’ll finish the duel! So when he makes another advance, you, fully expecting it to be a feint, slide around to the side and grab him by the shoulder!

It’s not a feint.

>CRUSHING GRIP

>Signore Terenzi uses Focussed Blow!

You’ve got hold of his shoulder but all you’ve done is make it easier for him to hit you! Facing no other option you let go of him and desperately disengage! The descending sabre seems to fill the entire world with its light. You can’t look away.

>Crushing Grip destroys dice in Step 3. Focussed Blow rolls damage in Step 2.

>Roll 1d4, 1d6, 1d8 and 1d10 for Terenzi’s damage!
>>
>>3078909
Flail around like the rest of us.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d6)

>>3078950
Since it's an NPC and there's a lot of dice, I'll roll one of them.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d10)

>>3078950
pfft
>>
Rolled 4 (1d4)

>>3078950
>>Crushing Grip destroys dice in Step 3. Focussed Blow rolls damage in Step 2.
SurprisedPikachu.jpg
>>
Rolled 2 (1d6)

Fuck I should've been here earlier to vote for circle guard
>>
>>3078959
wrong die, try a d8
>>
>>3078950
called it. And we only lose our d8.

WHICH COINCIDENTALLY TRIGGERS RATTLE, ELIMINATING OUR FOCUSED BLOWS
>>
Rolled 3 (1d8)

>>3078959
Aaand I rolled the wrong dice.
>>
>>3078962
>WHICH COINCIDENTALLY TRIGGERS RATTLE, ELIMINATING OUR FOCUSED BLOWS
Shouldn't it only eliminate other Strikes?

Man, I really thought Crushing Grip would activate before Focused Blow.
>>
>>3078969
Focused Blow is a strike

We had already seen in previous fights that Crushing Grip activates later than other strikes

>>3078965
and we ded
>>
>>3078969
>I really thought Crushing Grip would activate before Focused Blow.
???? The same thing happened before
>>
I literally used Crushing Grip vs Focussed Blow as my example for the Step system in the new, easier-to-read rules doc.

Anyway, writing.
>>
Shouldn't have seconded guessed myself.

Odds we are going to get a hat trick on losing?
>>
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>>3069998
>You drag yourself up into some approximation of consciousness as you consider your question. You don’t want to move too much though. Your arms are skinless, bloody apparitions of raw meat and muscle. One of your legs is the same, being kneaded by bloody hands. The other leg is still being stripped, the skin being pulled away from a seam high in your inner thigh. They’ve degloved it to the knee but they haven’t worked it all the way off yet.
>The bathwater runs red with your sanguine essence and you don’t dare disturb the process too much. Not when it feels this good.
Ayo bitch timeout hol up
>>
God this sucks. What happened to the textwall posting anon that always knew what the hell was going on from the earlier threads? We've been fucking backsliding since the Gloriana debacle.
>>
>>3078989
Up to those two rounds we're rattled out of; if we come out and he didn't build dice, we've got a slim shot. Broken is not bleeding.
>>
>>3078997
Not him but I'll pretend to be him, but I had stuff to do for a bit. My obsession is now firmly focused on suplexing the man in tights.
>>
>>3078997
Probably gave up. The Gloriana fight can do that.
>>
>>3078998
>>3078998
>Up to those two rounds we're rattled out of; if we come out and he didn't build dice, we've got a slim shot. Broken is not bleeding.
Doesn't matter if he has dice or not, a Strike will bleed us even without damage.
Even Circle Guard won't save us.
>Broken is a status effect that automatically applies when a duellist has no Composure dice left. Their Composure Pool will no longer display dice and instead simply read 'BROKEN'. A duellist with broken Composure no longer has the nerve to adequately defend themselves. A Strike used against a duellist in this state will automatically bleed them, even if the Strike's damage is zero. If Step by Step priority is required to resolve the Strike, the Strike bleeds them at Step 1. Once bled, the duel is over and the duellist loses. If the Broken duellist adds dice to their Composure Pool by any means before this can take place, they have regained their nerve and must have this status re-applied before they can be defeated.

>>3078997
He was very angry all the time. He probaably popped.
>>
>>3078997
more than one of us assumed that everyone learned their lesson on crushing grip.

As a short primer:
Crushing Grip is strong, but slow. It is effectively a stance in terms of priority. This doesn't change much, since most high value dice techs are consistently high value.

Except Counting Coup.

With the buildup of Counting Coup, you don't care about using it again after getting that 1d10. And if you know about crushing grip, you'll know to strike immediately, while you still have your dice.

So Crushing Grip against Counting Coup is mainly a tactic used when the buildup is still at 1d6 or 1d8. This is mainly a thing when speed is the priority, like as a 1st action.

In this queue where we lost, we should either have Underhanded Deflection, not great but at least it would do SOMETHING, or strike. That's pretty much it, unless you're so ballsy you want to Circle Guard.
>>
-RATTLED
Rattled is a status effect that automatically applies when a duellist loses one or more Composure dice all of the same size due to damage. Their Technique for this round is immediately cancelled if it hasn't already activated. This will cancel Techniques mid-Step if needed. Additionally, the type of Technique they were using during the turn they get Rattled is recorded and any time the duellist attempts to use a Technique of the same type during the rest of the queue, that Technique is automatically cancelled. If a duellist is Rattled in the last turn of a queue, this restriction instead applies to the first turn of the next queue (but not the second and third turn of that queue).
NOTE: Rattled will not apply if you lose more than one type of dice to the damage. Rattled will also not apply if the Composure dice is removed through non-damage means.
What does that second-to-last sentence mean?
>>
>>3079014
addendum, although this is a bit presumptuous and assumes I actually know what I'm doing:

I picked specifically Focused then Grip because here is the only situation where Grip is fast. When finishing off a broken opponent, Grip rolls for damage faster than most other strikes, since it doesn't stop to siphon die.

The underhanded was there because Grip still loses out on tech die against Circle Guard, and we don't want to be too predictable with Crushing Grip, as well. (Which, apparently we are)
>>
>13 damage.

Strands of dark hair fly past your face as you reel back, the sword passing by your face close enough to sever a lock. And just like that, the panic is upon you again and this time you can’t quash it. Your body is aching, your heart is racing and your mind feels split in two. You can’t do it. You can’t win. You can’t fight. This was a mistake. Your life is a mistake.

>Sofia’s Composure: 1d8. 1d12

>13 damage destroys 1d8 and 1d12.

>Sofia’s Composure: BROKEN

No! Nononononono! Not again! You can’t let this happen to you again, not so soon! Weren’t you winning? Weren’t you going to make the right choice? That’s how it was supposed to happen, wasn’t it? So why is it like this? Why are you about to lose again?

You charge with a wild scream!

>FOCUSSED BLOW

>Signore Terenzi uses Fool’s Guillotine: Focussed Blow!

His sword catches yours and turns it away. You stumble and he doesn’t even try to take advantage of it.

>Execution: 2

But you can’t give up! You didn’t come all this way just to keep losing! You rise and as you turn to face him, make a desperate swing!

>FOCUSSED BLOW

>Signore Terenzi uses Fool’s Guillotine: Focussed Blow!

>Execution: 3

But you can’t do it. You can’t break his guard. You can’t win. You can’t even calm down. Does it even matter what you choose to do next?
The answer is no. It doesn’t.

>Sofia has no means to regain Composure in her current build and no Techniques that will stop an immediate Strike from defeating her on Step 1 of the first round. In order to save time, no vote will be called.


He presses on and you fall back. With your nerve broken, you’re unable to stop him from just doing whatever the fuck he wants. You parry but not well and your legs give out from underneath you as you do. You land on your knees atop the water and as you stare hopelessly down into the starry depths, you see the reflection of your opponent raise his sword once more.

>Signore Terenzi uses Executioner’s Blade!

The sabre strikes right through your exposed neck, running clean through it and striking the bloody water below you. But you won’t die, you’re in the Wake. So instead you’re treated to a personal view of what it is to be decapitated. You catch sight of your body for a moment as your head spins in the air. It’s still kneeling.

And then you hit the water and you feel them close over you as you sink into the depths. The sight of your corpse and your executioner recede as you drift down and down and down away from it all…

*****

You come to back in your usual world. You’re lying on your back in the middle of the canal, a dull pain across your neck. You can hear the roar of the crowd but it, like every other sensation, seems to come from another place. It’s detached, dissociated.

1/2
>>
>>3079052
You roll over and rise into a crouch, staring down at your own reflection. She looks she’s about to cry. And at her neck, your neck, is a clean but visible scar. It goes all the way around your neck. You’ve been marked.
You don’t even try to look for Frederigo’s face in the crowd. You told him that everything was going to be alright. But in the end you were nothing more than what he expected.

“So,” Terenzi says as he helps pull you up. “Now that the work is done, do you want to go get dinner together? I haven’t eaten yet you see…”
You are not particularly in the mood to be courted by the man who just executed you. Or to do anything at all really. But you can’t just stand here like a corpse.


>Flee.

>No, it’s fine. Go through all the requisite ceremonies. Speak to your client. Don’t accept Terenzi’s offer though. If Lanzo can live through this, so can you.

>Beg d’Lallo to go easy on your client.

>Resolve to get better. You need to spar more with more people. You need to get more trophies. Moping will do nothing.

>”Sure, why not?”

>Crush him.

>Other (Specify)
>>
Anyway, something's come up and I'll be gone for a few hours. Vote will remain open until I return.
>>
>>3079056
>Other: It would be improper to leave without speaking to your client and completing your duties as a public defender, but Terenzi has been nothing but professional and gracious. If he's willing to wait, there's some to be learned from him if he doesn't mind talking shop over dinner.

It would also do well for our temperament; we are not a spoiled child struck with a stick because we weren't holding our arm high enough; we're a professional and we were bested. The first things that we should hold in our head aren't "No way" and "Screw you", they should be "Why?" and "How not again?".
>>
>>3079125
Voting for this
>>
We played LITERALLY right into his hands and guess what, it bit us. Great job guys being utterly predictable cost us the match we should have had when I called his trick flourish with elegance. And now we ahve a huge scar that likely cannot get removed ever cause of Wake shit because hey we acted like retards.
FMl I had to leave and cost us the match.


>>3079056

>No, it’s fine. Go through all the requisite ceremonies. Speak to your client. Don’t accept Terenzi’s offer though. If Lanzo can live through this, so can you.


>>3079125
We are going to keep losing not because we are bad at dueling, but because we are utterly predictable and cannot win without an utterly overwhelming cheat ability because anons do not want to try and outthink their opponent.
>>
>>3079130
I wasn't here either and I would have played it differently, but when I said 'we' I didn't mean Sofia.

gitwe have to think about our loadout more carefully and know how our combos and interactions workgud
>>
>>3079139
The irritating thing was if my option which I had posted before I left had one we'd have won, but anons were so happy to swing dice away until they lost, it was useless.
And that will never change, ever, mobs of people not paying attention or caring will always fuck us over. Why sofia will never get gud, because unless ouro hands us a op lmao hax ability we'll piss away every lead and fuck up every prediction.
>>
>>3079153
If people explained their choices briefly instead of giving 3 line queues, maybe we wouldn't have to constantly herd cats. A lot of our good choices this duel were seconded off of an explained queue.
>>
>>3079156
I actually did explain my votes, for all the good it did.
>>
>>3079156
Someone needs to start giving us multiple paragraphs of explanation behind their choices. We were winning when that was happening because we could see the thoughts behind why someone wanted to do something.
>>
>>3079162
Issue is unless someone posts early, no one will read it and then boom same issue happens.


Any part of the quest requiring critical thinking typically fucks us over, just like in ouro's other quests.
>>
>>3079125
>>3079128
Also given the guy just executed us when there was no need too, I doubt his intentions. He's not going to help us, just going to stroke his own ego like he's been doing this entire time.
>>
>>3079153

If our strategy relies on accurately predicting the behavior of the enemy duelist, then it is only going to function when the best players are online.

I will acknowledge that my queue was the failing one, and after further analysis, it was mistaken.

Unless you can bring up the average competence of the players in system or husband perfect queues, the elegance build will always break down: Only one queue presented had any opportunity to break even in the final queue, and the only thing it did right was start with focused blow.

Which we could only tie with by the way; since we'd be forced next round to both activate Focused Blow for the kill on queue 1. The only possible winning move was to Circle guard on the proper timing.
>>
>>3079213
This is more or less my complaint, that this quest is utterly doomed to failure because it's run by committee and the committee don't even fully understand ouro's system.

Prediction based builds, which are literally our only way to win means we will always lose.

I am just annoyed after basically giving people the peak set up, we pissed away 2 rounds, when the first of said rounds I presented a plan that would have handed us the win and was ignored.

I am also annoyed that people want to kiss up to a showboating glory hound who wants us as another notch on his bedpost.
>>
>>3079130
I think we're also bad at dueling. I feel like it's mostly guesswork (which is why I don't participate in duels).

That said...I dunno, I'm deriving a sort of twisted enjoyment from Sofia getting thrashed. Probably because the character herself. I feel like she still has way too much pride and bravado to really be a good duelist. It's clear in the fights that she's still inwardly haughty at times, and disparaging of her opponents. She needs to (continue) detox of her superiority complex even with her curse, and in general needs to just...I dunno, fucking stop being a fae. Maybe some time in the so-called Lesser Realms would do her some good if she really wants to be the swordiest.

I say that because maybe it's just me, but I feel like even with the training and possibilities up here that if Sofia were to get into a fight with someone from the 'Lesser Realms' with decent training (like, even a squire or knight-in-training) she'd get bodied super hard. People who have to worry about things like mortality by sword tend to train harder in being able to out-sword other people, in very efficient and brutal ways.
>>
>>3079237
>I feel like she still has way too much pride and bravado to really be a good duelist.

Literally dales, every single good duelist is a proud arrogant asshole. Case in point? the guy who beat us who wants us as nothing more than a piece of ass and did this entire thing as a glory hounding venture.

Literally every good duelist is going to be just as bad if not worse as Sofia, because barring a lawyer smacking them the fuck down, they can get away with highway robbery via duel bullying.
>>
>>3079244
Dales? Never heard that one before.
>>
>>3079250
false, fucking autocorrect.
>>
>>3079253
Ah. At any rate, you raise an honest point, but I still think that being a bit more focused on her own ability and not worrying about her ego or how great she is would help elevate her skills even beyond then exactly because of that fact, simply by devoting more brainpower towards analyzing her opponent and less towards mental grandstanding. Do you get my logic?
>>
>>3079234

Well. I'm a bad duelist, but...

>>3079056

>Complete all requisite ceremonies
>Crush him

"You already got your score."
>>
>>3079259
That's true, but she often only does the latter when she guesses wrong, which has happened a lot more lately. She's doing nothing that many successful duelists and unsuccessful ones are doing. You HAVE to have a strong ego to enter the wake after all, otherwise? You die. You wanting her to have no ego means she will get stuck in the wake and never come back.
>>
>>3079266
Really? When that word was used, I was interpreting 'ego' in the classic sense of 'sense of being/self awareness', not the colloquial use of 'inflated opinion of yourself. ' Our
>>
>>3079275
*Ouro had struck me as the sort to use the word like that.

(Sorry, auto posted by accident.)
>>
>>3079275
In this case you need both. Because to use the wake successfully, you need to love yourself enough that the call of nothingness is overcome. Duelists have to be at least a little narcissistic to not an hero on duel start.

The wake wants you to not be you, to be nothing, it tries to press that onto you until you do not exist. The only way to beat it is too love yourself so much that shit is told to fuck off.


>>3079125
>>3079128
>kissing up to an asshole you has tallies on his blade of wins, set this entire charade up to showboat as much as possible, and left a permanent scar on us that will likely never fade, quite possibly crippling us for future duels, for maximum glory. Dude will daterape us as soon as we drink something and then use his police contacts and dueling acumen to make sure we cannot do shit about it.
>>
>>3079056


>>3079130
change this

to this

>Complete all requisite ceremonies
>Crush him
>>
>>3079293
Huh. Don't recall that being inferred, but it DOES make sense.

...I still say she'd get roflstomped in a straight fight against anyone with even basic practical 'fight to kill' experience. *grumblegrumblegoddamnedfaegrumble*
>>
>>3079213
Crushing grip also beats a broken opponent
>>
>>3079056
>No, it’s fine. Go through all the requisite ceremonies. Speak to your client. Don’t accept Terenzi’s offer though. If Lanzo can live through this, so can you.
>Resolve to get better. You need to spar more with more people. You need to get more trophies. Moping will do nothing.
>>
>>3079305

Crushing grip deals damage on the same step that Focused blow deals damage.

The only way to win that scenario is if he showboats and insists on his execution.
>>
>>3079302
Maybe, maybe not, the issue is as she is from the city, she is likely stronger, faster, and tougher than a normal man.


Given that the city can kill normal people with it's air and color.
>>
>>3079312
Huh. Again, I had interpreted that differently, like how if a different race was used to breathing a different chemical makeup of air that just so happens to be poisonous to humans. Made them different, not necessarily superior.
>>
>>3079311
Im not really sure what youre on about any more.

In the final exchange, a strike would have broken both sides. A crushing grip immediately after that would have bypassed fools guillotine.
>>
>>3079370

I see what you mean, I thought you were referring to the next queue.
>>
>>3079130
I don't know how the dueling system works at all. I don't suggest actions, I leave it all to you guys.
>>
>>3079056
>No, it’s fine. Go through all the requisite ceremonies. Speak to your client. Don’t accept Terenzi’s offer though. If Lanzo can live through this, so can you.
>Crush him.
>>
>>3079260

I'm going to add to this slightly: Not changing the vote, but being more explicit.

This isn't for losing. Losing is acceptable. The theater is also fine. We played along with him earlier.

It's for the scar: Not for vanity mind. When he had Sofia utterly in his power, he did not think twice about putting his mark on her.

For professional duelists, it's an occupational hazard and to be expected in the course of one's career.

It will be a reminder of failure, as it should be: but it is also a symbol of what type of man Terenzi is.

I do not speak for anyone else's vote, but I personally do not want to know this man beyond professional courtesy, and I think it's beyond the pale to request our company after such a power move.
>>
Never did vote, I just realized. But what does 'Crush him', mean, exactly?
>>
>>3079056
>No, it’s fine. Go through all the requisite ceremonies. Speak to your client. Don’t accept Terenzi’s offer though. If Lanzo can live through this, so can you.
>Resolve to get better. You need to spar more with more people. You need to get more trophies. Moping will do nothing.
>>
And just because I can, here's the list of the major misconceptions anons seemed to have in this fight:

>Crushing Grip is not a protection from strikes
It destroys a Tech die only after most strikes syphon it away.

>Professional Provocateur doesn't always remove Comp dice
When the opponent has any Tech, a Tech die gets moved into strike instead. I feel like many anons forgot about it judging by the attempts to trigger PP when Terenzi had a ton of tech dice.

>To break the opponent is not enough, you need to strike him again to win
The anons who voted for attacking mostly didn't vote for a followup attack to finish him off.
>>
Alright I'm back.

>>3079312
>>3079327

Sofia is not particularly physically superior to anyone from the Lesser Realms beyond the fact that she keeps to a pretty good training regime.
The City's reality is hallucinogenic to foreigners but it's not because they're weaker, it's because they're not used to it.
>>
You guys suck but I guess it's hard to win when opponent knows your every move.
>>
Vote called, writing.

>>3080158
That's been the phrasing Sofia generally uses in her head to refer to using her curse to just walk all over someone.
>>
>No, it’s fine. Go through all the requisite ceremonies. Speak to your client. Don’t accept Terenzi’s offer though. If Lanzo can live through this, so can you.
>Crush him.

You look him in the eye. They’re a glittering silver, not unlike mercury. Fitting for the circumstances you suppose. But what does he expect you to say? For you to thank him for the offer? After he just unnecessarily did that to you? You’re no stranger to violent finishing strikes yourself but you’ve never done it to that extent. He marked you, left something permanent behind and he did it on purpose when he didn’t have to.
And now what? He wants to ask you out? To make you his conquest both figuratively as well as literally?

“I’m sorry,” you say sweetly, “I’m not cheap. And I like to think I keep to higher standards than you.”

“Hold on j-”

“Nah. Or will you really stand here and tell me that you deserve even a single moment more of my attention? Is my time worth that little?”

“Of course it isn’t, you could do so much better than me!”
For just a moment, you see a crack in his facade. Looks like he didn’t do any studying up on you save the Court itself. If that’s the case, he’s overlooked something very important.

“No shit idiot. I mean, congratulations on your victory all the same but can you really call it that?”

“What?”

“Just think about it,” you say, pitching your voice louder so that the crowd may hear. “Did you deserve to beat me?”

He tries to answer the question earnestly and walks right into your curse.
“No. Wait, no I mean...no!”

“And why not?”

“It’s plain to see you’re a better duellist than I.”

“Did you hear that, everyone? Please give a big hand to our lucky victor here! No, no, even louder than that! And thank me as well, for letting him do it! Sorry, sorry, I know I shouldn’t but I couldn’t help but go a little easy on someone so obviously challenged. And for that magnanimity, I paid the price.”
You get the exact response from the crowd that you want. It’s not like they can yell out anything that contradicts it.

“I-”

“Yes, yes, you did very good. But you have to admit, it was basically luck right? Go on, tell the crowd.”

His face red, clearly intending to say something else, Terenzi speaks loudly.
“I didn’t deserve this victory!”

“But I’ll let you have it. You did win after all. Don’t be so hard on yourself, alright?”
And he’ll never ever be able to tell anyone the truth. His tongue will swallow his words, his ink will turn against him and the truth of things will forever be held in the thrall of the tyrant. The same goes for the crowd as well. And perhaps they will even come to believe it themselves.

You pat him on the shoulder as you walk past the extremely confused man.
“That’s still a no on the dinner though. You look like the kind of guy with a small dick. Just ask anyone!”

1/2
>>
>>3080337

He doesn’t say anything in response. Probably his best move yet.

Well, that solved exactly nothing. You still lost. But you feel a little better now and your funk has drifted away in the night breeze. You can do this just fine. Didn’t Lanzo just regale you with a much more worse experience? And yet he kept his cool and didn’t mind. Losing is something every duellist becomes well-acquainted with.
And you’ll keep getting better, no matter how long it takes. You’ll train harder, take more trophies and win in the end.

And that thought gives you the strength to approach your client.

Frederigo is sitting on a crate by the side of the street, teetering close to the edge of the canal. And at least he doesn’t look much worse off than he did before! Probably because he didn’t expect much of it and got exactly what he suspected would happen. Why would he expect anything of a public defender?

“It’s done,” you say. You want to apologise but you know you can’t. “I’m afraid you’ll be facing these charges in addition to everything else.”

“...What do they do to people who can’t pay? Because you know as well as I do that I can’t fucking pay this.”

You don’t want to answer.
“The High Court will decide a fitting punishment.”
And while he might have gotten off with a mere release fee for sheltering the quickpig, this was more serious. There would be an actual punishment.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll still be you. They’ll just figure out a way for you to offer appropriate payment to d’Lallo.”
You try not to think about your godmother turning that bartender into a tree.
“Just try to be respectful. Don’t give them a reason to be vindictive.”

“Right. And thank you, you tried your best.”
He slouches off and you wonder what he really meant to say.


>That’s that then. You don’t need to hang around here any longer.

>Say goodbye to Crocetta before they drag her out and destroy her.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3080340
>>That’s that then. You don’t need to hang around here any longer.
>>
>>3080340
>That’s that then. You don’t need to hang around here any longer.
>>
>>3080340
>>That’s that then. You don’t need to hang around here any longer.
>>
Dammit, I want another duel soon. I want to try and win!
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>That’s that then. You don’t need to hang around here any longer.

You have nothing more you need to do here. You certaihly don’t need to see the quickpig again. You’d rather forget about it, to tell the truth. And the fate of Frederigo? You tried. Past this, it’s no longer your business.

*****

The trip back to Imago is uneventful, during which the veil of true night settles over the City. The bright painted colours fade without light to be seen by and, once out of Suffitus, the canals are filled with floating lanterns bobbing along the water. It does your heart good to see such outward peace. If there can be peace without, surely there can be peace within?

And all of that is broken when you open the door and see your godmother in your home.

Giuseppina is sitting at the table, a perfect picture of how she always is. Anyone gazing upon her unknowingly would call her a rather young woman, slightly younger than you. But if that is true, it is only because she has been young a long time. You can remember her from when you were but a child and she’s still exactly the same, both in appearance and in clothing. She never changes.
And so, like always, she’s wearing that same huge coat that threatens to swallow her and though you can’t see beneath it, you’d wager she’s still wearing the exact same white blouse, red necktie and high-waisted long skirt tucked into a tight cumberbund. You know this because she is changeless. \

And right now she’s sitting at the table, a bottle of wine and two glasses sitting beside her. Beside her is a large briefcase.
“There you are, FiFi! I was wondering when you were going to show up!”
Her voice is a deep contralto and, well it’s hard to describe but she makes words sound like they do in your head when you read them. Perfect, articulate and thus subtly disjointed. Only lawyers talk like that.

“Giuseppina. I..I wasn’t expecting you.”
You’re thankful that the mirror is tucked away, hidden inside the pile of ambisilk in the corner of your room. You did that to prevent them from starving to death or from ensmaring anyone else but it’s really paying off now. You don’t want to see a berserk Giuseppina reflection.

“You look tired, dearie. Have you had, as they say, quite a day?”

“You don’t even know the half of it. What’s with the wine?”

“Oh that, nothing special. I just thought to myself, wow Juicy, the drinking really helped your goddaughter reconnect with you! You better bring it again!”

“...Juicy?”

“You didn’t like Gooey so I’ve introduced another cute nickname for you to use! It’ll make the heart grow fonder.”

You don’t want to associate your godmother with literally any connotation of the term ‘juicy’.
“I see.”

1/2
>>
>>3080387
“I see.”

Giuseppina rises as you approach, towering over you by a full eight inches. She smiles and it’s a little different from the cutesy grin she bears near-constantly. She reaches out to tousle your hair but you dodge to the side, swaying away from the blue-nailed hand.
“Come! Sit! Drink! We have much to talk about!”


>”Is this about the birthright change I asked you about? Is it ready?”

>Drink a little. You don’t want to be rude.

>Tell her about your day.

>”What do you think of my new look?”

>”I’m still having a little trouble getting used to having you back in my life.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3080389
>>Drink a little. You don’t want to be rude.
>>”What do you think of my new look?”
>>
>>3080389
>Drink a little. You don’t want to be rude.
>”What do you think of my new look?”
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Drink a little. You don’t want to be rude.
>”What do you think of my new look?”

You sit down beside her and watch as she pours white wine into each glass.
“I hear this is quite good, FiFi. It has a crisp acidity and a subdued flavour.”

“I’m not much of a connoisseur…”

“Neither am I! I’m just saying what I heard about it.”

“Really? I got the impression from our last meeting that you were rather the expert in this stuff.”
You take a sip. It is nice. There’s a fruity aftertaste you can’t quite place.

“Only in drinking it. Now, how was your day?”

“I’d rather not say right now. But speaking of, what do you think of my new look?”

She adjusts her glasses and peers closer. The eyes behind the lenses are a dark and pure blue. But move the spectacles slightly, you know, and you’ll find quite the different view. Giuseppina keeps her eyes in her glasses.
“Is it the outfit? The coat’s...different and so are your trousers. Just a little bit racier, huh?”

“That was my intention. But can’t you tell I also got my body tailored?”

“I’m your godmotehr FiFi, I’m not interested in your body. And as for these other changes….well, I can’t say I approve of showing skin. But I want to be supportive of your decisions. Just tell me what kind of appropriately god-parental thing you want me to say that’ll warm your heart and I will.”

“You don’t need to do that, really. Are you already drunk by the way?”
It can be hard to tell, her diction never changes.

“What a rude question! No and unfortunately, I won’t be able to drink as much here with you as I did last time. For you see, I have a new responsibility to take care of.”

“What is it?”

“Do you remember that bartender? The one who I gave the tree license to? And then ,specifically, turned into a seed?”

“Yeah I remember you stuffing it down your bra. What o-oh no. What did you do?”

She looks a little flustered.
“Did I perchance say that I would remember to turn the seed back into a tree before revoking his tree license or waiting for it to run out?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Well I didn’t!”
She cracks open the suitcase and the moment she does, you hear the sound of a something wailing. She reaches inside and pulls out...a baby.
“I just plain forgot about him! And then the license wore off while he was still a seed and well...you get this.”

“Can’t you just turn him back into an adult.”

“It’s not that simple. There’s not much cognitive difference between a seed and a tree, you know. They aren’t great thinkers. But between an adult and an infant? The life he’s lived has basically been erased. This little kid is their own person.”

You don’t know what to say as you stare at the baby that once used to be an adult man. So you settle for the safest response.
“I don’t understand.”

1/2
>>
>>3080441

“Oh, the Court could restore him! But then they’d know about this big mistake! I can’t let that happen!”

“Why didn’t you just hand him into the Magistratum like you said you were going to?”

“I just forgot, like I said. It’s so easy to misplace a tiny little seed...And now I’ve got this on my hands. I don’t know how to take care of a baby. So far, I’ve just been letting my rats raise him.”
She wipes her brow with the baby.
“So things have been pretty hectic, dear. I have to find a way to hide all this without any of the Partners or the Tribune finding out. Otherwise I’ll get so many demerits…”


>Offer to help.

>She’s killed this man. Doesn’t she understand how serious that is?

>Tell her that she needs to just tell them the truth so that they can fix it.

>”How are they going to know?”

>”This is too fucked up, sorry.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3080444
>She’s killed this man. Doesn’t she understand how serious that is?
A rhetoric question, really
>”How are they going to know?”
>>
>>3080444
>>Tell her that she needs to just tell them the truth so that they can fix it.
>>
>>3080444
>>3080453
Supporting. Pretty much what I was thinking.
>>
Anyhoo, I'm going to sleep. Vote will remain open until the morning. Goodnight.
>>
>>3080444
>"Good luck, mommy"
>>
>>3080444
god damn these 2 are too similar than is safe for the world

>She’s killed this man. Doesn’t she understand how serious that is?
>Tell her that she needs to just tell them the truth so that they can-
>Nah, who are we kidding, Sofia isn't responsible either. Offer to help.

Maternal love doesn't count, right? Adriana and Vespa are still okay with kids?
>>
Reminder that Sabino used the same skill on us and had it worked we would have been scarred by him as well, but it's okay because it's Sabino.

Also thank you all for reminding me why I don't play the combat. You all are insufferable during and after it.
>>
>>3080489
Sabino didn't get to use it. We didn't know what it does. You can't say we would've been okay with it.

And judging by the fact there's only a single post by your ID, you don't play the non-combat either and just come here to whine.
>>
>>3080489
>Reminder that Sabino used the same skill on us and had it worked we would have been scarred by him as well, but it's okay because it's Sabino.
Well yeah, how could we be mad at Sabino?
>>
>>3080489
For him it was a way to win. It was a shot in the dark. It’s not that he used it like Sabino, it’s that he used it on us while we were defenseless and it was utterly unnecessary to finish us off. He marked us and very well might have crippled us in every subsequent duel not to win, like Sabino did which is understandable, but because he could. Because he’s an egomaniac who wants to showboat and gloryhound.
>>
>>3080489

Sabino had the skill as an option against an opponent that had the ability to escape pile of tiny dice. If we had a set like Gloriana, or some form of composure regeneration, we could constantly put him back on his d4's.

Executioner's strike permits him to finish what he's started. It's covering a glaring flaw in his kit.

Terenzi has it for Fool's Guillotine,which is another very effective synergy to break through an opponent who turtles up against him: It ensures we can't just circle guard him forever.

But it was entirely unnecessary after we were broken. Not only that, it was technically a risk: Ouro skipped because we physically could not win the fight, but we could still have Focused Blowed on the top of our queue, and had a good chance of breaking him as he takes our head.

He was showboating, he scarred us and then immediately ignored the fact that he just used us for his impressive climax to see if he could get us to participate in another.
>>
>>3080444
>>She’s killed this man. Doesn’t she understand how serious that is?
>”How are they going to know?”
>She has two options, one come clean now, frame it in the best way possible, and pray the courts are lenient, or bury is super deeply and pray no enemy of hers finds out and sues it as a piece to screw her over.
>We can look after it for a few days, but anything more is beyond our means, given our schedule and lifestyle.
>>
>>3080756
I would agree, except for the fact he'd already cued up two fools guillotines in the queue and he'd already blown his dice.

The fastest way for him to win was to use executioner's strike. He wasn't here to play and he wasn't about to give us a chance to use the dice we failed to use the previous turn.
>>
>>3080899
a normal focused blow without dice would be enough.


We've won off of an unload crushing grip before.
>>
>>3080899
You don't need dice to finish off a broken opponent. Any Strike will do.
>>
>>3080899

0 damage strikes still finish duels.

He chose to delay two lines to get his execution off. If Ouro permitted us to play though, we would have had a ~85% chance of breaking his composure before our defeat.

Which means Executioner's strike was a poor move. It was even possible that we had a toy that could defeat him since he did not see our entire moveset.
>>
>>3080918
What part of "two fools guillotines were in his cue after he merked our ass the first time"? was difficult to understand? If he's operating under the cue system we are, he doesn't have a choice to change that just because he wrecked us round one. He delayed nothing.
>>
>>3080918
Oh, I misread what you were saying; on the other hand he optimally could have just filled his queue with strikes, and, you know, not do the thing we were told he does like every single duel he's in.
>>
>>3080938
Does the fact that he does it every time make it any more palatable?
>>
>>3080938

He gets to do his thing: Surely the tally is worth more to him than Sofia ever could be.

That's the whole point. He got his scar. If he wanted a date, it might have been prudent to let it go.

Instead, he got to do his thing, and we got to do ours.
>>
>>3080938
>not do the thing we were told he does like every single duel he's in.

He doesn't, normally he finishes them off normally, executioner's normally a move he pulls of rarely. Regardless he set up this entire duel as a thing to be a masturbatory session for his ego, which we have literally every indication is bigger than Sofia's. Furthermore he deliberately CHOSE to fuck us up and then basically went , "Hey you should fuck me too." Given all that, Sofia acting like she did was in character, because I sincerely doubt most people would accept the invitation of someone who could have very well crippled them at their vocation, all for the sake of their own ego stroking.
>>
>>3080949
Why does everyone think the reason I want us to take him up on the dinner is because I want us to fuck the guy who, figuratively speaking, already has?

A professional duelist is asking us out, if he's a gentleman, he will pay, and if he doesn't want to talk shop he will make an exception for the polite sophomore that asks really nicely.

Everybody wants to waste that to spit on the guy's shoes; that's ultimately their choice.
>>
>>3080962
What, do you think we could learn a secret trick from him in between the main course and the wine? Just so, without training and instruction?
>>
>>3080962
>A professional duelist is asking us out, if he's a gentleman, he will pay.

Given he fucked us over deliberately to stroke his own ego, I doubt it. He's stomping on little people because he can. I can absolutely see him making us pay for it.

>and if he doesn't want to talk shop he will make an exception for the polite sophomore that asks really nicely.

Or just constantly try to get into our pants and utterly ignore our questions, assuming he doesn't have his boys in his favorite restaurant roofie us. He's a duelist which means he's basically untouchable by ANYONE other than a lawyer or cops. He's also a Cop. Unless a lawyer comes in a kicks his shit in over a matter of high law, he can get away with even more shit than Sofia can.

Regardless his insights are largely useless, as we know his set and there's nothing wrong with our abilities, we're just shit at using them because anons are predictable as the sunrise and idiots.
>>
>>3080962

Sophia cannot effectively learn skills she doesn't take through conquest. The fishing thing was meant to highlight that.

Dinner with Terenzi would be "pleasant" and pointless unless we can drink him under the table and take something from him in that contest.
>>
>>3080978
Also, you have to remember, he knew the circumstances surrounding our client.
The guy was already fucked with the quickpig already.
He went and took a job that added a shitload more of crap on top of it.
He took a job to kick a man who was already down.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>She’s killed this man. Doesn’t she understand how serious that is?
>”How are they going to know?”

You stare at the crying infant for a few seconds, watching it struggle to escape your godmother’s grasp. That’s a person. That’s a man who is now effectively dead. And here she is, talking about herself and demerits. Doesn’t she understand how serious this is?
But that’s a rhetorical question. You won’t bother trying to ask it.

“How are they even going to know?”

Giuseppina cradles the baby in her arms, rocking it back and forth.
“I used a license for all this, remember? Every license is recorded, FiFi, it has to be. They’ve got paper trails as long as my arm if my arm was about as long as this street. It’s only a matter of time before someone checks it and realizes that the recipient no longer exists!”

“How often do they check them?”

“Not very often but this man had a family. They’ve already started talking about him going missing! At this point it’s only a matter of time before his legal history is pulled up and checked. Oooh, this has been really stressful for me. Especially since I have to take care of a baby!”

“Oh yeah, how are you feeding it? You know, with…”

“Milk? How am I nursing it?”

“Yeah.”

“I can’t. First of all, I’ve never been pregnant and never will. And even if I was...I’m full of ink! I don’t have any other bodily fluids or humours.”

“What have you been feeding it then?”

“I’ve just been temporarily been turning one of my rats into a woman so she can be a wet nurse. She’s had dozens of children, you know. But that’s not ideal! It’s just creating even more of a paper trail for other people to find!”
She grimaces and pours another glass of wine.
“And now I don’t dare snap my fingers either. That rat is too useful.”


>You might know some people who might take care of it for her…

>”You want me to babysit, don’t you?”

>Ask her about the birthright.

>”How do you possibly intend to cover this up without getting caught?”

>”You should just turn yourself in.”

>”Are you going to curse him too or do you only do that to babies who are me?”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3081346
>Ask her about the birthright.
I'm just going to ignore all this insanity.
>>
>>3081346
>>”How do you possibly intend to cover this up without getting caught?”
>And before you ask, me taking care of the baby would not take care of the paper trail, and it is known I am bloodless. Furthermore I cannot take care of it, because I am a city duelist and that takes precedence. I'd come clean, and frame it in way that is least harmful before they figure it out themselves.
>>
>”How do you possibly intend to cover this up without getting caught?”

I hate/love Giuseppina and want less/more of her.
>>
>>3081346
>Can't you use his records to put him back together?
>>
>>3081360
>>3081375
also this needs to be added in
>>
>>3081346
>Can't you use his records to put him back together?
>”How do you possibly intend to cover this up without getting caught?”
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Can't you use his records to put him back together?
>”How do you possibly intend to cover this up without getting caught?”

“Can’t you use his records to put him back together?”

“I’m afraid not. Even if I could get the authorization to dig around in someone’s bureaucracy like that, the result would be improper. Or do you think there’s paperwork recording people’s thoughts? Their will? Their hopes and dreams? No, all of that exists in spite of us. He’d just be a shell.”

“This whole thing is sort of horrifying.”

“Don’t you think I know that? I get enough trouble as it is...and now this? I’m never going to be made partner or promoted into the judiciary because of discrimination against my conditions. I’ve already resigned myself to being a Senior Associate forever. But with this? I could lose some of my certifications!”

You try not to give voice for the idea that a Giuseppina with less power is probably a safer world for all concerned.
“Then what are you going to do? It doesn’t seem like something you can cover up.”

“I’ve got a few options,” she says, starting to rock back and forward. “Maybe if nobody thinks he’s missing...yeah, maybe then nobody will read up about his licenses! I would have to make a fetch or a changeling. Something to fool his family into thinking he’s still alive. But that’s a lot of work. I’m sorry FiFi, I haven’t had much time to work on your birthright situation.”

“So what are you going to do with the baby in the meantime?”

“I don’t know! I can’t keep giving him to the rat nurse, she tries to eat him when I’m not looking. And I can’t have it sitting around my house all day, visitors might see him!”

“So discreetly find another nurse. Though it’ll need to be someone whose body is ready to actually feed him.”

“Oh that last part isn’t an issue. I’m certified to hand out wet nurses licenses, you know. One of those can make anyone lactate.”

“Please don’t, that’s extremely weird.”


>”Have you made any progress on it?”


>”Do you need any help making the fetch?”

>”...What discrimination?”

>”I think I know some people who might keep a baby.”

>Ask her about certain legal situations regarding past duels.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3081507
>>Ask her about certain legal situations regarding past duels.
>>
>>3081507
>>”I think I know some people who might keep a baby.”

.>..wait. What discrimination?”
>>
>>3081507
>>”...What discrimination?”
>Ask her about certain legal situations regarding past duels.
>”I think I know some people who might keep a baby. MAYBE, but you'll have to ask nicely,to have a shot."
>>
Probably discrimination against flighty airheads.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>>3081507
>Or do you think there’s paperwork recording people’s thoughts? Their will? Their hopes and dreams?
Uh, yeah.
>>
>”...What discrimination?”
>”I think I know some people who might keep a baby. MAYBE, but you'll have to ask nicely,to have a shot."

You stop for a moment and thinking, running the conversation back through your head. There was something strange there, wasn’t it? Why did she say that?
“What ‘discrimination’ are you talking about?”

“It’s really not that important, FiFi. In fact it’s a little embarrassing. I don’t want to tarnish your perfect image of me.”

“Consider it tarnished already.”

“There’s a rule, you see. If you ever want to be promoted past Senior Associate you need to match a few requirements. You have to have a record of excellent conduct, you have to trustworthy, you have to be demonstrably free of ascension psychosis, yo-”

“What?”

“I haven’t finished listing all the reasons they’re discriminating against me yet.”

“What’s ascension psychosis?”

“Oh that? It’s really nothing worth worrying about. Just a bit of an occupational risk. But I do have it and I’ve had it it for years. And because of that I’ll never be promoted again.”
She starts on her third glass of wine.
“It’s just...sometimes you say things and they just come true, you know. It happens to everyone. But it happens to your dear godmother Juicy a little more often than most. And apparently that makes me ‘unreliable’ and ‘a danger to everyone around me’. But there’s nothing wrong with being a little psychotic! In fact, is it really psychosis if your delusions are real? This is just one aspect of the constant pushback I have to deal with everyday.”

“I can’t fathom why they won’t admit you into the judiciary.”

“I know, right! Thank you sweetie. Here, have some more wine. I need to stop now since I’m apparently a parent.”

“I thought you wanted to know what having a family was like.”

“Not like this! If I’d wanted this I would have just turned something into a baby ages ago. But no, this just sucks. He cries all the time, he constantly needs to be fed, he is crapping all over my house and getting into fights with my lovely rats! Ugh! My nerves are fraying at the edges.”

You get the feeling that you probably shouldn’t aid this. But nevertheless, she is your godmother, the only member of your family that you can stand. Your feelings about her are complicated. You don’t want to be around her and yet you hate that she left you.
“I might know some people who’d be willing to take care of him for the meanwhile. But only maybe and you’ll have to ask them nicely.”

“You do! Oh thank goodness! Sofia, you’ve saved your darling godmother’s life!”

“What, literally?”

1/2
>>
>>3081742

“Didn’t you know? I’ve got a nasty allergy to babies. Just touching them makes me break out in a rash.”
And sure enough, her hands are suddenly covered in nasty red blotches. They spread fast enough to see, swarming up over her wrists and forearms.
“Oh no! Here, please take it!”

You have no choice but to take the baby. The moment you do so, he stops crying. Your curse holds dominion over even the youngest.


>”I have someone in mind” (Specify)

>”I’ll do it.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
Okay, so...who can we actually give this kid to? If Vespa takes it, if it comes to love her and knows her identity, she dies. If the maid learns it, it may get mind/body jacked. Who else do we know?
>>
>>3081747
>>”I have someone in mind” (Specify)
Adriana
>>
>>3081747
>>”I have someone in mind” (Specify)
Adrianna, however ASK her first.
Also tell juicy she might want to be VERY careful with this, because we're putting our but on the line trying to help her.
>>
>>3081881
Also tell her that if this is permanent she'll likely need to do favors for the person that does it if they accept.
>>
Vote called, writing.
>>
>Adriana

You sigh as you set the baby down on the bed. This isn’t how you’d been planning on spending your night. You’d wanted to just relax, to wash off all the nastiness of today’s duel. But it would seem your godmother had other plans.
“I think I know someone who might be able to help you. Her name’s Adriana and she’s certainly very capable. It also wouldn’t be much of a burden on her either.”
As long as Adriana doesn’t accidentally kill the little thing…

“Adriana? Doesn’t ring a bell. Does she have a surname?”

“I don’t know it. But you’re going to have to ask her first and you’ll need to be very careful. Because if she agrees, and only if she agrees mind you, we’ll all be putting our butts on the line to help you.”

“I know, I know, I’m ever so grateful. And woah! Keep an eye on it!”
She grabs hold of the baby just as it is about to crawl off the edge of your bed. Her rash spreads right before your very eyes and she winces in pain before passing it back to you.
“As you can see, I am plainly incapable of caring for it any longer, even with the rat nurse. I’m depending on you and your friends.”

You inspect the baby a little closer, frowning as you see a few little scabs and scars along the legs and arms.
“What are these?”

“Rat bites.”

“Of course. Where has he been sleeping by the way? Besides your suitcase?”

She gives a helpless shrug.
“On the ground?”

“Oh. I don’t think you’re supposed to do that.”

“Well I can’t let her sleep with the nurse, she’ll try to eat him. Anyway, thank you so much FiFi! Here, I’ve prepared something to help me show my gratitude!”
She pulls a wad of paper out of her briefcase and, after a few more seconds of fishing around unsuccessfully, unbuttons her blouse just enough to pull a small metal pen out from within her bra. She twirls it on a finger and it keeps spinning, even after she moves her hand.
“Even with all this absolute chaos, I’ve had a little time to look into your request.”

“You mean my birthright?”
Is it finally time?

“Yes! But there’s no such thing as free lunch dearie. I can’t just erase something etched upon the Noumenon. But perhaps I can vandalize it just a little. Your birthright will be changed so that anyone will be able to say all the horrible things about you that they want!”

You don’t dare let yourself hope.
“And what’s the catch?”

Giuseppina mumbles something about contract law, breach of trust and ‘reversing polarities’.

“Pardon?”

“With the time I’ve had thus far, I can turn it the other way round. You’ve had enough good things said about you for a whole lifetime, right? So now I have to redress that balance before it’ll even out. People will only be able to say pale words about you.”
She looks downcast.
“But that won’t be very fun. I don’t think you should take this offer. Just keep the birthright I gave you, alright?”

1/2
>>
>>3082049

“Can it be reversed afterwards?”

“Yes…?”


>”Then do it. Do it right now.”

>”No, you’re right. This won’t help anything. We can do this when you’ve had a little more time to prepare a better alternative.”

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3082055
>”No, you’re right. This won’t help anything. We can do this when you’ve had a little more time to prepare a better alternative.”
>>
>>3082055

>”No, you’re right. This won’t help anything. We can do this when you’ve had a little more time to prepare a better alternative.”
>>
>>3082126
Also, I'd like to comment that a solution where everyone says everything nasty is absolutely pointless. We want people to be able to freely say whatever the fuck they want to us. Not be compelled to be 100% nice or 100% nasty.
>>
>>3082055
>”No, you’re right. This won’t help anything. We can do this when you’ve had a little more time to prepare a better alternative.”
>>
>>3082055
>”No, you’re right. This won’t help anything. We can do this when you’ve had a little more time to prepare a better alternative.”
that is an insanely bad idea
>>
Also, how are we going to propose this to Adriana without manipulating her unintentionally? Force our Godmother to do the negotiating while we're sitting in the room just in case, so that we can put a stop to any deaththreats the psychopath might make when Adriana's hashing out a deal?
>>
>>3082485
Pretty much like you suggested. And Adriana gets the final say. If she isn't about it then our godmother is shit outta luck.
>>
Sorry, I dozed off a little. Vote called and writing.
>>
>>3082490
Actually, Vespa is an alternative too. If she has Adriana helping out, it should be easy
>>
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>”No, you’re right. This won’t help anything. We can do this when you’ve had a little more time to prepare a better alternative.”

“Even then though, what would that actually accomplish? People still won’t be free to say what they want and I still won’t know how people feel about me. That’d only make things worse for me. Can’t you do literally anything else?”

“I haven’t had much time to work, you know! My hands have been full with this baby nonsense. And all because I forgot about one lousy little seed.”

“That seed was a person,” you say. “You shouldn’t forget it too easily.”

“I know it’s my fault FiFi. But now that I’ve developed this allergy, I can’t be the one to handle it anymore. Thank you so much for literally taking it off my hands.”

You can’t help but notice that she spontaneously developed that condition the instant it became viable to force you to take the baby. You can’t do anything about it though.
“What’s his name?”

“I haven’t named him yet.”

“No, that’s not your choice. What was his name before you did this to him?”

“Oh...uh...well, they’re not the same person anymore!”

“...You don’t remember, do you?”

“I’ve had a lot on my plate.”
She sits back down, eyeing the wine bottle dejectedly.
“Are you happy to see me?”

“What?”
The question had come out of nowhere.

“You always seems so upset with me. And I know, I left you with your family. I gave you all those nightmares that one time. And I blessed you unto Law. But there’s really nothing more I want right now than to know you think well of me. You’re my god-daughter, dear. I just want to help you.”

Does she really think saddling you with a fucking baby helps you with anything?


>Tell her that you’re happy she’s here.

>Tell her that you’re not happy.

Additionally,

>Get her into some sort of contest or game, something you can win. You can spend the rest of the night that way.

>Why don’t the two of you go speak to Adriana right now?

>Ask to visit her home.

>”You can drink as much as you want. This baby’s out of your hands right now.”

>Suggest she disguise the baby in some way to make it harder to link back.

>Reminisce about old times.

>Other (Specify)
>>
>>3082736
>Tell her that you’re happy she’s here.
>Get her into some sort of contest or game, something you can win. You can spend the rest of the night that way.
I wish to perform a puzzle with our god-mother.
>>
>>3082736
>>Tell her that you’re happy she is thinking about this.

>Get her into some sort of contest or game, something you can win. You can spend the rest of the night that way.
>>