After a good night spent in the Azure Haven and with its mistress and owner, Arras Sahlak, you and Tia emerge from that particular district of Gem on your way back to the safehouse you agreed on, provided by Nerus Dell, in the low quarter of the city."I still feel like you're the one who got played." Tia doesn't seem in a good mood, but you can't figure out why."Well, you give some and take some." You justify yourself. "I can't ask house Sahlak to put their neck on the line for my sake.""Why not?" She growls. "I thought you were the queen.""Princess." You correct her with a smile. "And it's not that easy. In Gem, the noble trade houses have a lot of political and economic power, and no one can sit in the Despot's throne without their approval. Not having house Sahlak as an enemy is already enough.""You're being too cautious." She's still grumbling. "We should just kick the palace doors down and paint it with blood.""If the Realm figures out that a bunch of Anathema is taking over Gem, they're going to cut the food shipments from the Lap and just starve the city out." You remind her."...Maybe people shouldn't build cities where there's no food." She shrugs. "Sometimes I think that the elder Lunars ARE right and civilization IS dumb.""Or we could just be careful." You get the final word in before reaching Nerus's safehouse. You knock seven times and receive one knock in response before the door opens.Inside, huddled around a table with only two candles for light, is your little team of co-conspirators: Zareen, Radiant Starfall, Talon, Aexel, Lynne, Karas, Mikahil and Valeriana."Nerus' not here?" You wonder, tossing your white cloak aside.Radiant Starfall shakes her head. "He needs to show his face around or people will get suspicious.""Well, he already helped us more than enough, we can't really ask more of him." Mikahil adds. "He's been great help."You sit down at the table. "So, progress report."Aexel and Valeriana shake their heads in unison. "We've tried the libraries and did some research, but we couldn't find anything particularly relative to recent events." The Twilight explains.You turn to Karas."Rankar didn't just enlist the Flying Blade's help. He's offered to employ some of the city's martial arts masters and teachers, and several bore got their schools and dojos closed." He notes. "I don't know how much of this is part of a specific plan, and how much of it is just paranoia and making sure that no one's gonna set up an organized, armed resistance to his rule.""I've been to the market, and it's bustling. Economically, Gem is doing amazingly well. I've got to hand it to this Rankar guy, he's got decent business sense. Still, I didn't see anything particularly suspicious there, except maybe...""What?""Tax breaks and lower tariffs and higher incentives for Realm traders. I think Rankar is subtly trying to butter them up. Maybe he's trying to strengthen his ties with the Realm."(cont.)
"...I see. Zareen?" You ask."Rankar has a lot of mercenaries on his payroll. I've never seen anyone have so many mobilized armed forced during peacetime." She folds her arms and frowns. "It doesn't make much sense. It feels like Rankar's preparing Gem for a war, but subtly, without alerting the population.""He knows something's up, but doesn't want people to panic." You ponder, before turning to Radiant Starfall. "What about Arbani Halan?""I managed to deliver your letter." She explains. "It took a while.""He can be a difficult man sometimes." Karas grins.She hands you a small piece of paper, with a few lines of notes in her own handwriting. "He wants to meet with you. He said you should see him in his villa. He suggests dressing up as a servant and walking through the front door. He warned his staff and guards that a new lady will start working today, called Hilda Aveno. That's your cover identity." She sums it up. "What about you?" Karas wonders. "What did you find out in your investigation? Where have you been?""Oh, I've been at the Red Stone district." You explain.He rolls his eyes. "Figures.""Hey, I did my job!" You complain. "Word on the street is that Rankar is also employing a lot of thaumaturges, diviners and other specialists in the supernatural. Whatever he's afraid of, it's clearly something magical, and not a purely physical threat.""He's trying to cover all his bases.""Exactly." You nod. "Also, I met with the Sahlak's daughter.""The one that's rumored to have Exalted?" Mikahil wonders. "What did you find out?""First of all, she's definitely Exalted, even though I couldn't find out more specific details. And, she'll stay out of our way and not interfere with us or Rankar.""Well, one less problem to worry about." Karas sighs in relief. "What do we do now?">I'll go and meet with old man Arbani right now, you guys wait for me here.>I'll go and meet with old man Arbani right now, you guys wait for me outside his villa in case things go south.>I'll go and meet with old man Arbani right now, you guys keep investigating.>I'll go and meet with old man Arbani right now, you guys try and get the remaining noble houses on our side or at least ensure their neutrality in the meanwhile.>I'll go and meet with old man Arbani later. Right now, there's another thing we must take care of: the mysterious sightings in the tunnels and mines.>I'll go and meet with old man Arbani later. Right now, there's another thing we must take care of: figuring out how the Realm fits in all this.>I'll go and meet with old man Arbani later. Right now, there's another thing we must take care of: figuring out what's the deal with Rekka, the Flying Blade.>(Other?)
>>479292>I'll go and meet with old man Arbani right now, you guys try and get the remaining noble houses on our side or at least ensure their neutrality in the meanwhile.>And figuring out what's the deal with Rekka, the Flying Blade.
>>479292>I'll go and meet with old man Arbani later. Right now, there's another thing we must take care of: the mysterious sightings in the tunnels and mines.Maybe he's gearing up to take on some alchemicals or the ghost problem we heard about back when, have they heard anything about weird ghost activity?Nice to have you back EF.
>>479292>>I'll go and meet with old man Arbani right now, you guys try and get the remaining noble houses on our side or at least ensure their neutrality in the meanwhile.
>>479292Also: yay Exalted Quest!
You stand up."Well, I'll go and meet with old man Arbani right now, you guys try and get the remaining noble houses on our side.... or at least ensure their neutrality in the meanwhile.""Who should we start with?" Talon wonders."I've had a talk with some people working for house Trasti yesterday." Mikahil puts on his cloak. "And i think we can start with them. I've already got a foot in the door, so to speak. I'll need a bit of help, though.""I'll see what I can do with house Circla." Karas adds. "Maybe I can get to meet a senior gladiator trainer and get to someone inside the house through him.""Be careful." You warn him."Ain't I always?" He jokes.Bit by bit, your team disperses, leaving you and Tia."Do you even have clothes to dress up like a servant?" She wonders. She doesn't seem to like, or approve of, this sneaking around business, judging by the face she's making, and the tone of voice with which she said the word "servant"."Mhhh." You ponder, making a mental inventory of the outfits you keep in your Kaleidoscopic Garment Dance. "I might have?...">Put on a dress from Kaleidoscopic Garment Dance. (which one?)>You don't have anything appropriate. You'll have to procure one somehow. Let's try hitting a clothing store.>You don't have anything appropriate. You'll have to procure one somehow. Let's try sneaking into a house and stealing one.>You don't have anything appropriate. You'll have to procure one somehow. Fortunately, you have a plan. (what?)>You don't have anything appropriate. Send out Tia to procure you something appropriate.>(Other?)
>>479400Modest house clothes, #9, maybe?
>>479400>Put on a dress from Kaleidoscopic Garment Dance. (which one?)I think #9 with our shawl would work well enough.Also, can Tia turn into something really small to go in with us, like a fly?
>>479400>>Put on a dress from Kaleidoscopic Garment Dance. (which one?)Sure, #9 and maybe a shawl or 1's headress
>>479400>You don't have anything appropriate. Send out Tia to procure you something appropriate.If we switch to one of ours, I'd say #23 is good for a "servant". Easier to disguise as a hot whore than a hot servant.
>>479400>You don't have anything appropriate. You'll have to procure one somehow. Let's try hitting a clothing store.
>>479400>You don't have anything appropriate. You'll have to procure one somehow. Let's try hitting a clothing store.Unless we're actually applying to be a "servant." In that case, #16 should be fine.
>>479400>You don't have anything appropriate. You'll have to procure one somehow. Let's try hitting a clothing store.>>479415>>479432Yeah, If we need to pass ourselves off as a servamt without current wardrobe, we'd have a much easier time going with the bedroom servant than the more traditional type. The only outfit of the latter style we have is 9, and that isn't really a Gem style outfit at all.
>>479447>without current wardrobeWith OUR current wardrobe
"Mhh. I don't really have any appropriate clothes." You ponder."Of course you don't." Tia replies. "You're not meant to be a servant.""Well, still, I need to meet him, and it's actually not a bad idea to dress up as someone inconspicuous.""It's unusual for you to NOT WANT to be noticed." She pokes you."Sometimes you gotta take one for the team." You put your cloak back on and head outside. "I remember seeing a clothing store just outside of this quarter of the city, from the way we came, Let's try asking there."It's not a long way from your safehouse, and you reach the store in question in a few minutes. It's clearly not a high class shop, but it's pretty obviously large and well-stocked. A young man behind the counter welcomes you, as two slaves in black outfits, one man and one woman, are putting their merchandise back in order. There isn't anyone in the shop right now, fortunately, but it's clear they're done dealing with some customer who just left before you arrived."Greetings! Welcome to Erral Clothes. What can we help you with?"Last time you were in this situation, you had some fun causing a bit of a scene, but maybe it's best if you try and control yourself this time."Oh, I was looking for a set of clothes appropriate for a house servant that would fit me.""That... sounds..." As the shopkeeper takes in your figure after you remove your cloak and hand it to one of the slaves, you hear him grow hesitant. He finishes his sentence by murmuring "difficult" under his breath. "...What kind of outfit are we talking, here? Forgive me for stating the obvious, but you do not seem to be a servant, miss...?""...Hilda." you bow slightly. His eyes dart to Tia, who is standing to the side with a quiet air of disapproval. "Oh, she's just accompanying me, don't mind her." You jump in the middle, trying to defuse the situation. "...I see." He mumbles, and for a moment you have to wonder if he's recognized you, with the way he's looking at your face. Fortunately, he's rather easy to distract."So... for those clothes, I was thinking...">Something simple, like a common house servant's clothes.>Something classy, like a maid outfit.>Something sophisticated, like an entertainer's dress.>Something cultured, like an outfit fit for a teacher, librarian or a house accountant.>(Other?)
>>479487>>Something cultured, like an outfit fit for a teacher, librarian or a house accountant.Gimme dat librarian Maka
>>479487>>Something cultured, like an outfit fit for a teacher, librarian or a house accountant.
>>479487>"That... sounds..." As the shopkeeper takes in your figure after you remove your cloak and hand it to one of the slaves, you hear him grow hesitant. He finishes his sentence by murmuring "difficult" under his breath.Maka is impressive.
>>479487>Something classy, like a maid outfit.Guys, guys! Maka in a maid uniform, it'd be the first time ever!
>>479487>Something sophisticated, like an entertainer's dress.
>>479503I think Amata forced her into a maid uniform way back at the start of the quest.
>>479487>>Something sophisticated, like an entertainer's dress.Best stick to our strengths, incase we actually need to act in character in front of someone.
>>479505Oh, true, second time then. Did we even keep that uniform? I don't think Maka ever put it on again.
>>479512If I remember correctly, Amata was kinda a jerk about it, in her usual way, so we never wore it again to punish her for her jerkishness.Of course, it's possible I'm misremembering this whole thing and it never happened, but I'm 99% sure it did.
>>479503I'll change to entertainer's dress to break any ties.
>>479520Amata was punishing Maka because like usual, we did something dumb after we said we wouldn't.
>>479531No, it was to help rebuild tianna and seem submissive to the DB rulers.
>>479542Except what ended up happening was we scared everyone with sights of another anathema after they were just attacked by them.
"I'd like something with a bit of a classy tone to it, you know." You explain. "Like something like an accountant or librarian's uniform. Something that means business, but that's also nice.""...We might have something appropriate." He lifts a finger. "Let's see if it'll fit you well."He dispatches his slave, and after a few minutes of searching he presents you with a very stylish white and gold jacket and skirt, complete with a little black ribbon to tie it around the neck, and a small cap. You try it on in the dressing room. "It's a bit small, and tight on the chest and hips." You point out the obvious."I, uh, I thought so. We can adjust it a bit." He offers.The alterations that are required end up being pretty dramatic and take the better part of two hours, but in the end you're presented with the finished version. It's still uncomfortable and very tight in a lot of places, being still clearly too small for you. Seams and buttons are pretty tense, and you definitely feel like you need to be careful moving your arms if you don't want to rip it."I'm sorry, this is the best we have." The shopkeeper apologizes. >I'll take it.>I'll take something else if you have it, less fancy but more comfortable or closer to my size.>(Other?)
>>479552>I'll take it.I'll always take some houtengeki, plus it'll be a cool party trick to take a deep breath and pop out some cleavage
>>479552>I'll take it.I was about to say change it, but>>479552>plus it'll be a cool party trick to take a deep breath and pop out some cleavageconvinced me.
>>479552>>I'll take it.
>>479552>change it>can you make it shorter?
>>479552>I'll take it.>>479563>>479561Or innocently leaning over someone from behind and all they hear is the ripping sound of our clothing failing to contain our figure
"I'll take it, thank you." He did his best, after all.After paying a really quite cheap price (85 Dinars), you can walk out of the shop in your new attire."So, what do you think?" You tease Tia."You'd look better out of it." She replies, deadpan.Without drawing much attention, you make your way back to the Arbani family villa, and stop for a moment behind a street corner."Alright, Tia. Are you going to come with me?""Like this?" She wonders."I was thinking that it would be better if you could come along in some sort of small animal form, something that isn't going to be noticed. Can you turn into a fly?""No." She shrugs. "I'd feel dumb, hunting a fly for several hours.""...I can see that, but still, it'd be useful sometimes."She groans, and, under your eyes, transforms in her totem shape: an unassuming praying mantis, its carapace green and streaked with silver.Well, unassuming anywhere else. Mantises are actually a bit rare in Gem.Besides, she's not a particularly TINY mantis."They're still going to see you like that." You point out. "You could get a broom to the head."Well, not that that's going to hurt her, but her cover might be blown.Insect-Tia, and leaps onto your back. She crawls up, and tries to burrow under your collar and down your back, but the fabric is way too tight there.So, instead, she crawls around and burrows in the front, where, even though the fabric is pulled taut, there's still a lot of space under your shirt. It makes you feel a bit ticklish, but you can endure."Don't distract me at important times." You warn her, and the mantis nods its little green head.You march inside, and give your name as Hilda Aveno to the guards standing in front of the gate. They consult a written list and let you inside when you seem to check out.The inside of the villa is as well-furnished as you remember, being the headquarters of one of the richest families in Gem. Beautiful pictures, carved chairs and tables constructed by master artisans, colorful and elaborate carpets, mounted heads of exotic animals... but, most importantly, the pride and joy of House Arbani, their prized and masterfully-designed firewands hanging from wall-mounted displays.Working off your memory, you make your way to where you remember Old Man Arbani's study to be. Trying not to feel too nervous, you knock."Come in." He says. Did he always sound so... tired and old?Inside, Arbani Halan is sitting at his desk, clearly waiting for you. The room is spotlessly clean. A bookcase covers the wall behind him, but the room feels more like an armory, with the other three walls festooned with polished, perfectly-arranged weapons of exquisite quality, some so finely decorated that they are probably more art than weapon.He nods quietly and gestures to you that you should close the door and sit down. You do so.(cont.)
Halan seems to relax a bit once the door is closed, letting his hair a bit down. His hair got a lot grayer, and his skin paler, since the last time you've seen him."Maka. I'm glad to see that you're doing fine." He smiles pleasantly. "And you seem to be growing up nicely." He adds, with a sly grin. "Your mom would've been proud of you.""...Do you know what happened to her?" You ask, reflexively.He sighs, pursing his lips, as if regretting ever mentioning her. "Not precisely. But... we don't have news of Elenia since Rankar seized power. You're a grown-up now. You need to be strong."A few seconds of empty silence go by."...Is Karas with you, too?" He tries to change the subject."He is." You nod. "We're here to take back Gem and put my dad back on the throne.""That much was obvious." He nods. "You're certainly not here as a tourist! And... I imagine you must have powerful friends and allies, or you wouldn't be risking your life by being here if you didn't have a plan.">Tell him everything about your circlemates and your Exaltation.>Let him know that you're Exalted, but stay vague with the details.>Tell him that you're very confident you can take Rankar out, but give him no details.>Tell him nothing.>(Other?)
>>479660>>Let him know that you're Exalted, but stay vague with the details.Also, Tia can come out if she wants to.Given her location, I doubt she wants to.
>>479660>>Let him know that you're Exalted, but stay vague with the details.
>>479660>Let him know that you're Exalted, but stay vague with the details.
>>479660>Tell him everything about your circlemates and your Exaltation.Be sure to assure him that any rumors of us being demons is just shit the Realm made up to support their rule. It's not like tinkering with the past is unknown to Gem
>>479660>Let him know that you're Exalted, but stay vague with the details.I'm not actually against telling him more, but for now should we pop JET just in case?>>479667Let's keep her in our tits, that way our party trick has an unexpected edge
>>479682>but for now should we pop JET just in case?Sure.We probably should have poped it before asking about mom.Finding out if someone is hiding that information from us is basically finding out that person is completely untrustworthy.
>>479693I think JET works backwards for a scene, that is, if we pop it now we'll now if what he said at the start of the conversation is true or not. I think.
>>479660>Let him know that you're Exalted, but stay vague with the details.>>479673He's a friend of the family, so I'm tempted at full disclosure. This whole mission is supposed to be a careful one, though.That said, would SRB help us with the noble houses, since convincing them seems mostly politics?
>>479705SRB or TGP, either way we're pretty covered for dice adders.
>>479705>That said, would SRB help us with the noble houses, since convincing them seems mostly politics?SRB helps with Eclipse rolls in the same way TGP helps with social or SHS helps with Dawn.
>>479712>TGP helps with socialZenith I meantSRB and TGP are both Social.
[JUDGE'S EAR TECHNIQUE]You take a deep breath."Listen, Halan, I need to tell you something."He just nods and waits silently."I'm Exalted."Pause. You can almost hear the gears in his head turning."Your family doesn't have Dragon blood.""Not that kind of Exalted."Some more gear turning, then he lifts an eyebrow."...Maybe I should go and send a messenger to the Realm ambassador.""You and I both know that you're not going to do that." You smile tiredly. "You were always the first to chew out my dad anytime he's had to rely on the Realm's assistance for anything. You're the strongest believer in Gem independence I know.""As long as it's something we can handle.""Halan. It's me, Maka. I'm not a monster or anything."He takes a very long sigh, sinking deeper in his chair. "Does your father know?""Not yet. I didn't make contact with him or my sister yet.""Smart move. They're very well-guarded. It would take little to make Rankar suspicious, and, even if you're Exalted, he has hostages.""I don't want the situation to get out of hand and the Realm to find out that I'm behind this. It could get the entire city in trouble."He nods thoughtfully. "So you need the Houses to support you,m or the entire thing will fold like a card castle."You lean closer, across the desk. "Will you help me?"He slouches a bit deeper in the chair. "Don't take what I'm about to say badly, but... I'll be on your side only because of the friendship between me and your dad." He pulls himself up. "From a purely practical point of view, it makes more sense for me to support Rankar. He's invested way more money in house Arbani than your family ever did. ...Of course, it's not all about money. But still.""...The Sahlaks said the same thing, more or less. He's employing Rakka and a lot of mercenaries, even a few dragon-blooded, and cut down taxes on top of that." The pieces of the puzzle are fitting together. "Where is he getting all the money from?""I don't know." Halan replies, scratching his chin. "Good point. Is he burning through the treasury?""That's unsustainable." You reply. "And he doesn't seem that dumb. Did he hit some new vein of gemstones or ore, or anything like that?""Not that I know of." He replies, tapping on his desk. "So, what do you expect me to do?">I need money.>I need troops.>I need weapons.>I just need to ask a few questions. (what?)>All I ask is that you withdraw support from Rankar when the time comes.>(Other?)
>>479739>All I ask is that you withdraw support from Rankar when the time comes.>And anything you know about Rakka and the troubles Gem's facing below
>>479739>I need weapons.We were going to approach one of the other houses for money, and hire mercenaries for troops, but if we want to avoid running around with Orichalcum and Moonsilver we need the best weapons mortals can provide.
>>479739>All I ask is that you withdraw support from Rankar when the time comes.>What do you know about the trouble in the mines? Or anything unusual that's happened since Rankar took the throne? He's scared of something, and I don't think it's a coup.
>>479739>>I need troops.>>I need weapons.We do want to do this as bloodlessly as possible, but we will need men at least as a show of force when the time comes.
>>479739>>I just need to ask a few questions. (what?)Oh, you know. Everything we're wondering about, which amounts to what's got Rankar spooked.>>All I ask is that you withdraw support from Rankar when the time comes.
>>479771Damn. That's a good point. I forgot that not everyone is punchy like us.
>>479783Even then out variety of punchy is pretty magical
>>479783Plus, firewands are awesome.They are like a flamethrower in the shape of a rifle or pistol.We totally need some.
>>479792They always sounded incredibly inefficient to me, given that I know about real world firearms.
>>479799>given that I know about real world firearms.>real world>ExaltedI'm sorry, but if the idea of a flamethrower pistol doesn't appeal to you at least a little, this may not be the right game for you.
>>479807I like the other things better. I just can't mentally picture how a firewand could do anywhere close to as much damage as a bullet, and that ruins them for me.And it's not just real world firearms, it's also real world flamethrowers. Those work by pouring gallons of flaming liquid onto something, not by doing a fiery fart at it.
>>479816Firedust can't propel a bullet.
>>479822Sure, we're talking if they're awesome or not, not if we should be using them in-setting or not.
>>479739>>479779>I just need to ask a few questions. (what?)Adding to ask if he knows what's up with the stick up rankar's butt
>>479816>And it's not just real world firearms, it's also real world flamethrowers.again>real world>ExaltedYou need to stop using logic from the former to try and explain things in the latter. It doesn't work.
>>479824Well, it would be an obvious sign of support from his house. Which could send a powerful message about our legitimacy. Or, if we don't want to involve him too much, we could just get mundane (though Perfect) weapons.
>>479828I can't enjoy things that don't work that way. There has to be suspension of disbelief. When things are too similar to their real-world counterparts but act completely differently, then that becomes completely unenjoyable to me.>>479831That's not really relevant to this conversation. We don't need to think they're awesome to ask him to lend them to us.
>>479822But can it melt steel beams?
>>479835Sorry, just trying to get the discussion back to the quest itself.
>>479839I don't think that's an issue ever since we're on /qst/, as long as it doesn't become a huge thing. This thread will probably be up for more than a week again.
"We're going to move soon, before Rankar can marry his son to my sister Eskarin.""It's almost a pity. I've already prepared their wedding gift." Halan smiles.You glare at him. "...Plus, I'll need to ask you if you can spare any weapons.""How many are we talking about here?""Not a lot. For now, enough for about a dozen people or so. Normal stuff that wouldn't draw a lot of attention.""That's easy. I'll get you some anonymous-looking stuff that can't be traced." But he sounds worried. "Just a dozen, though?""It'll be enough.""I thought you had an army, or something to that effect.""It's to that effect, it's just not very numerous. I assure you it makes up for its lack of numbers in effectiveness. But still, we're still working on this. I might ask you some more stuff later, if we manage to get the help of some local mercenaries.""I'd advise against it." He informs you. "Rankar has sunken a lot of money in many mercenary companies. I wouldn't trust them much.""Speaking of Rankar, do you have any idea what's going on with him?" You wonder."Not a clue." He shakes his head. "He's obviously paranoid about something, but I have no idea what it could be. Well, on one side I can't complain, since it led him to buy a massive amount of weapons from my house, but on the other I'm worried that he might be on his way to bankrupting Gem, with the way he's spending money.""I hope that's not what is happening." You mumble."...So do I, Maka... anyway, I'll be grateful if you can get your dad out of trouble and back on the throne.""And I guess you'll be even more grateful if we keep sending cash your way like Rankar is doing." You continue."Well, I can't deny that, but." Arbani Halan grabs your hand, looks straight in your eyes with a very serious expression, and continues. "I'll help you and your dad, but in exchange, I need you to do something for me. Something personal, not as the Princess of Gem, or as an Exalted with great powers - even though maybe the latter will be of help. But as a family friend. And I'm feeling very ashamed to ask.""...What is it, Halan?""I'll need your help to save the future of my family."(I have to AFK for a little bit, will continue later.)
>>479864"I'm flattered, Halan, but I'm afraid I already have some buns in the oven."
>>479864>"I'll need your help to save the future of my family."Oh right, his sons are kinda shit aren't they?Does he want a Maka baby? He'll have to wait his turn unfortunately, not that I mind, more Maka kid's running things in Gem would be great.If we work out our essence-in-a-can maybe he can take one of those to increase his lifespan for a short term solution.
>>479896Even if he specifically wants a kid, he doesn't necessarily need Maka's kid. We have plenty of other options, both inside our family and even outside.
>>479909Maka is confirmed fertile~Ok, seriously, can we ask someone to have a baby for us?
>>479909Sure it doesn't NEED to be Maka, but Maka is probably the best option. She's a noble from Gem, and a Solar Half-Caste would be a perfect house head.As long as he didn't get any delusions of grandeur and try and take of the city.Okay so there are some flaws to this plan, but mostly upsides.
>>479909Maybe start a DB line with him?I don't know who would be up for it though, Zareen is here now, but I can't help thinking the man who makes the best guns in the world might appeal more to our magitech nerd.
>>479923>>479921>>479926Putting that aside, we don't know he actually wants a kid right now. He may want a marriage for one of his descendants or something of that sort, which could turn out very differently.
>>479930Well yes, but of course the lewdest option is the one Maka's mind goes to first.
>>479926He also has daughters as I just read in the CoTD: the South. So we could marry one of them to one of our guys. Hey, Karaaas.Is it bad form to post book content? It always feels weird to me.
>>479947>Is it bad form to post book content? It always feels weird to me.Doesn't seem that way to me, as long as you remember and acknowledge that details like this may be different here than in the books.
>>479947Did he have daughters? I was sure it was only sons. Also yes it's fine-ish to post from the book, but be aware that EF is willing and has changed fluff before to suit the quests needs.
>>479947I don't think so.Just keep in mind, EF has the right to change stuff without any warning, so basing actions on book content not confirmed in quest could lead to bad things happening.
A few more seconds of silence."...I'm flattered, Halan, but...""No, no, hear me out. You remember my sons, right?""Kash, Veriz and Ikar? It's been years. Are they doing fine?""They're doing a bit too fine, that's the problem.""...I'm sorry, I don't follow."Halan slams his forehead on the desk before continuing. "I'm saying that my three sons are useless, all three of them." He growls. "And after I die House Arbani is going to end up a smoking crater by the end of the year."You try and cheer him up. "...I'm sure they have their good points-""They don't. Or at least I can't see them. They're my only heirs, and they're all useless. They're stupid, uneducated, uncultured, weak-willed, dissolute, egotistical, spoiled brats and my greatest failure and regret." he slams his head on the desk again. "And they're on me. It's my fault. I wasn't there when they needed me the most. I was a distant father at best, always too busy with my craft or with running the house, micromanaging everything that required my attention." He groans. "And before you realize it, they've all grown up into horrible people."Well, how do you follow up on that? "...I'm sorry to hear that.""Follow my advice, Maka." Halan continues, now almost seeming to be in physical pain. "If you'll ever have kids - and I mean heirs, not bastards from one-night stands or with servants or whatnot, those generally learn to take care of themselves - always be there for them. Make sure they grow up right. Don't repeat my mistakes."You smile patiently. "I'm sorry for your situation, Halan, but - how can I help? You're not seriously suggesting that you and I-""-What? Oh, no! Heavens, no. Maka! There's like... forty years? Fifty? Between us? You're the most beautiful young lady I've ever seen, and I'm just a sad old man. Besides, your father would have me hanged, drawn, quartered, and my head mounted on a pike."You feel something nestled between your breasts quietly shivering in nervous fear.He takes another deep breath. "...Let's be honest, Maka. I know you. You're very similar to my sons. You have never made a secret of enjoying, er, the pleasures of the flesh, if we want to be rather poetic about it. But unlike them, you, well, didn't manage to grow up to be a complete idiot.""I like to think of myself that way, yes." You concede yourself a smile. "I know I've got weak points, but-""But you're not RULED by them." He slaps his hand on the desk. "You're not a slave to your passions. You don't piss away your family's fortune, not to mention its fame and good name, in brothels and dream parlors and opium dens like there's no tomorrow, ignoring your duties. The very fact that you're here in Gem is proof of that. If it was any of my sons, they'd only show up to ask for more money.""...You DO sound like you're having a hard time, but how could I help?"(cont.)
>>479999>You feel something nestled between your breasts quietly shivering in nervous fear.Tia finally meeting dad is going to be the best thing.
>>479999>There's like... forty years? Fifty? Between us?Pshh, just wait till we have a thousand years on everyone else, Maka will be the queen of /ss/.
>>479999Is it bad that I want to introduce them to Nysla?
He groans, and nearly collapses on the desk. "I don't know. You probably have a better chance than I do. You could try and straighten one of them. Any one of them, I don't care. I'm desperate. Or, I could designate one of my daughters as the heir of the family estate, provided that she's married to someone who will actually care for the good of the family and not just use her as a stepping stone to the Arbani name and fortune. Or, I don't know, if you have any other idea...? I could go and fish in the farthest corners of my family tree for someone appropriate, or legitimize one of my bastard sons, but I'd do that as a very last resort. That would turn half of the family against me...">I'm sorry, I can't help you.>I'm sorry, I have no idea how I could help you.>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best to straighten your sons.>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best to find a suitable husband for one of your daughters.>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best, though I have no idea how right now.>We should talk about this once Rankar is dealt with. For now, let's postpone this. It's not urgent.>(Other?)
>>480022See, it's times like this when we need You Can Be More.
>>480022>>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best, though I have no idea how right now.I mean we'd have to meet the guys to know if they can even BE straightened out.
>>480022>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best to give you a new sonWhat, 40 years is nothing now.
>>480022>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best to give you a better son
>>480018We could just have Millian whip them into shape. Or ooh, Silk.>>480022>>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best, though I have no idea how right now.
>>480022>>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best to straighten your sons.>>480037>>480036Oh shut up.
>>480022>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best, though I have no idea how right now.We'll follow up in the mean time though, see if Karas has had any interest in his daughters and we'll meet his sons to see if we can work with them, then we can decide what the best option will be. For now let's just get Papa back on the throne.
>>480042>>480037>>480036this desu, meme-tier possibilities are fine to joke about but shouldn't be put into votes
>>480022>>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best to find a suitable husband for one of your daughters.What's his face. That Merchant in Mining.
>>480022>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best to straighten your sons.>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best, though I have no idea how right now.>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best to find a suitable husband for one of your daughters.>>480036>>480037Cmon dont cheat on our wives.
>>480022>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best, though I have no idea how right now.Reforming one of the son seems to be the best bet with marrying a daughter off as a close second.
>>480049I'll vote for whatever grabs my attention. You're free to not follow suit and let me be the only one.
>>480055I mean I'm not against have his kids or really anyone else's in general, I'm sure both Tia and Amata wouldn't mind us having kids with other people, but if he already said no then that's fine.
>>480022>>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best, though I have no idea how right now."I do have a few vague ideas in my head but I need to consult with my compatriots first."Ensuring the future of House Arbani is loyal to our family is very useful in maintaining stability in Gem.
>>480055Tia still wants Maka to seduce the world and I'm sure Amata would understand the necessities of compromising in politics.
>>480033>You Can Be MoreI wonder if that's a charm option here, it under Presence normally right?
>>480022>or legitimize one of my bastard sons, but I'd do that as a very last resort. That would turn half of the family against me..."I do get the feeling like one of his bastards is going to be this amazing Solar worthy guy though
>>480022>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best, though I have no idea how right now.We'll have to meet the sons first, obviously. And who knows, maybe one of the daughters will impress us enough to want her as the heir. Our circle and wives might have good ideas, too. But we will help him.
(i'll be AFK for a bit more now, but I'll be back)
>>480022>>Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best to straighten your sons.>>480055>Cmon dont cheat on our wives.Tia doesn't care, and in fact encourages it, and Amata doesn't mind as long as we don't start any city-wide orgies she has to deal with the fallout of.
>>480081Yup. Abyssal Mirror, looks like. As per the book: >(Charisma + Presence)-based attacks to build or repair Intimacies that the Lawgiver shares with her target. Success enables the Solar to achieve the desired effect instantly. With Essence 4+, a mortal’s Motivation may be “attacked” in order to confer a new and more heroic Motivation (chosen by the mortal’s player). Mortals are explicitly not forced to resist this effect. Success also transforms an extra into a heroic mortal.Only Presence 4, Essence 3.
>>480018Well, she probably has something like Legendary Solar Curriculum which allows training Virtues.>>480041Now THAT would be funny. Scary little maid that can bench press them ordering them around.
(I'm still around and will begin writing my next posts, but keep in mind that I'm going to be multitasking for a while so I'll be really slow)
"Once I get my father back on the throne, I'll try my best." You promise to him. "I owe you that much. Actually, I owe you a lot more. And... as you've said, I have powers. And I know powerful people. I'll move my weight around for you and find a solution. ...though I have no idea what that might be, right now. It'll take time we don't have right now.""Thank you." He lifts his head. "I don't want the Arbani family to disappear. It means too much to me.""We'll solve this together." You reassure him.>Say goodbye and return to the safehouse>Say goodbye and venture somewhere else in Gem (where?)>I still have something to ask you before I leave (what?)>(Other?)
>>480511>>Say goodbye and return to the safehouse
>>480511>>I still have something to ask you before I leave (what?)Any idea who else would be easy to sway onto our side or is everyone else too deep in Rankar's pockets?
>>480511>I still have something to ask you before I leave (what?)>Ask if Gem is having any supernatural trouble or rumours about what's going on below the city
>>480546>>Ask if Gem is having any supernatural trouble or rumours about what's going on below the cityThis too, ghosts or such, maybe about the stuff happening in the tunnels
>>480555Wouldn't it make more sense to go to the House that controls mining to get that information? We can learn what we can from miners or mercenaries who provide security there.
"There's a few more things I'd like to ask." You continue. "I've been out of town for a while, and I might've missed something.""Sure, what do you need?""Is there any one who could be easy to get on my side? Someone who isn't way deep into Rankar's pockets despite his shopping spree?""Mh. Nerus Dell?""Already got to him." You nod. "Anyone else?"He thinks about it. "Probably someone, but no one I know of. Rankar has been VERY generous lately.""What about the rumors about strange events and disappearances in the tunnels?""I'm not sure when they started happening... but it was definitely after Rankar took power. No idea if there's any connection, but I can't think of any reason there would be." He explains his thoughts. "A lot of people think it's just normal incidents in the dark that get bigger and scarier with word of mouth, or that it's, in any case, nothing to be worried about, but Rankar is taking these strange accidents quite seriously. More guards, more shamans and exorcists and investigators...""Rankar?" You lift an eyebrow. "Not House Iblan?""No, these mines were the Despot's, not Iblan's." He confirms. "No trouble of the sort happened in Iblan's mines.""Coincidence?" You wonder."...Maybe? they're in different sections of the mountain, so it might as well be.">More questions>Leave>(other?)
>>480810>More questionsKnow anything about Rekka the not!Exalted?
>>480583That doesn't mean we shouldn't ask.Halan is probably the person we can trust most here, at least until we pull off our coup. Any information he CAN provide us will probably be more reliable than what we get from the other house heads.
>>480810>>480814Rekka then we can go I think.
>>480810>Know anything about why Rekka's here?
"Oh, one last thing: what do you know about Rekka?""Oh, the Flying Blade. He's sort of a personal bodyguard for Rankar lately. And Rankar clearly has something Rekka wants beyond money, to hold over him.""That much is obvious, yes. Do you know anything about him, personally?""Only what people say. That he's the strongest swordsman of the South." He shrugs. "Never met him personally, or wondered much about it.""I see." You shake his hand. "Once again, thank you for everything.""Be careful out there." He says, sounding genuinely worried. "And tell your dad I miss him."(I'll stop the thread here, but I'll see if I can continue it tomorrow. For now, good night and sorry for the slow updates!)
>>481204>(I'll stop the thread here, but I'll see if I can continue it tomorrow. For now, good night and sorry for the slow updates!)Don't worry about it EF, it's pretty slow on our side too it looks.We'll hold it 'til you get back.
>>481204>good nightWhat time zone are you in again?
>>481773He's in Italy iirc
New post soon.
After exchanging pleasantries and saying goodbye to old man Arbani, you quietly leave his villa. Officially, Hilda Aveno was so nervous on her first day on the job that she accidentally toppled an entire rifle rack in his private rooms, and caused a huge mess. She was sent back home.Once you're out of range, you put on some more comfortable clothes (which ones?) and consult with Tia."We just got the rest of today and tomorrow before the wedding." You consider. "I still have no idea why you're being so cautious." She complains, eyeing the palace shining in the distance under the dull ambient light of Gem. "We're ten Exalted. We can do this. Plus, you have me."You can't help but smile at that cockiness. "You're absolutely right. But there might be something fishy going on, and my dad and sis are on the line. I want to be sure that nothing goes wrong.""Even a careful tiger has to leap in the end." She says, making it sound like some sort of proverb or figure of speech badly translated from some other language."I guess." You note. "I imagine the others must still be at work with the other Houses." It should be about midday, leaving you half a day before dusk, when you'll meet again at the safehouse.>Try and meet with Rekka.>Pay a visit to the Realm Satrapy offices.>Head to the suspicious mines and tunnels.>Meet up with Mikahil at House Trasti, in case he needs help.>Meet up with Karas at House Circla, in case he needs help.>Return to the Red Stone District.>Head to the Sunken Bazaar.>Visit the Mercenary Market.>Wander around, wasting time until dusk.>Return to the safehouse early and wait.>Ask Tia what she wants to do.>(other?)
>>483164>>Head to the suspicious mines and tunnels.Damn you EF I need to get some sleep...Ask some miners what's up.
>>483164>Head to the suspicious mines and tunnels.More information about what migh cause Rankar's current behaviour. Plus Tia might get to punch something in the snout to establish superiority.
>>483164>Head to the suspicious mines and tunnels.
>>483164>>Head to the suspicious mines and tunnels.Let's try to get some idea if what's going on in Gem, rather than be blindsided by it later.
With Tia still in Tow, you discreetly head down to the lowest levels of Gem, where the underground layers of the city give way to the mining tunnels snaking deep, deep, deep in the dark volcanic rock below.About half of the mines down here belong to House Iblan, and those are generally the ones all around the outer layer of the city, where the mountain is richest in gold and silver ore. But the mines under the core of the city closest to the smoldering heart of the volcano, have always belonged to the Despot. Because the Despot has the monopoly of Gem's gems, of course.Needless to say, security is extremely tight. Most of the work is done by slaves, and, out of all the places a slave might end up working in Gem, the central mines are the worst.The heat is intolerable, the spaces minuscule. Safety seldom is a concern, and the well-being of the diggers a passing afterthought. After all, a personal slave who lives under your roof, cooks your meals and cleans your house is practically a family member to some, and even an uncaring master will still treat him with a minimum amount of innate humanity. But in the mines, the slaves are numbers on a ledger, to be accounted for, checked for productivity, and replaced when needed. In all honesty, it's one of the things you tried not to think about while you were still living here. Because you knew you couldn't do anything to change it. Not even your father could, after all....It's the first time you actually venture this down under Gem. You've never been here. The tunnels are narrow and jagged, with pickaxe and scalpel marks clearly denting every surface of the porous black rock. Few, large, powerful light crystals shed a harsh light on everything, too bright when they're close and too dim when they're distant, and the shadows feel long and frightening, even to you.There's quite some traffic here.Mercenary soldiers are everywhere, cordoning off the access to this or that mining tunnel or shaft, guarding slave pens and office buildings and storehouses, or searching anyone walking out of a restricted area, such as the numerous freemen workers and specialists in the employ of the mining companies as planners, architects, consultants, scribes and accountants, cooks and smiths and jewelers and more.From what you see, it seems like you have several possible avenues of investigation.>Try and sneak into a mine gallery undetected. (p+n)>Try and bluff your way into a mine gallery undetected. (s+z)>Try and sneak into a mining company's office. (p+n)>Try and bluff your way into a mining company's office. (s+z)>Question some of the workers passing by. (s+z)>Approach the slave pens and ask the slaves some questions. (s+z)>(Other?)(also, you should pick an outfit now)
Rolled 4, 2 = 6 (2d10)>>483250>Try and bluff your way into a mining company's office. (s+z)#12. Act like we are representing someone whose dissatisfied with the mining company and the recent events.Commit TGP and Burn TTH
>>483250>Try and bluff your way into a mining company's office. (s+z)Let's go with #07 this time
Rolled 7, 5 = 12 (2d10)>>483250>Try and bluff your way into a mining company's office. (s+z)
Rolled 10, 1 = 11 (2d10)>>483250>Try and bluff your way into a mining company's office. (s+z)Number 14, 7 or 6, please.
Rolled 10, 8 = 18 (2d10)>>483261Dice
Rolled 5, 9 = 14 (2d10)>>483250>Question some of the workers passing by. (s+z)>Approach the slave pens and ask the slaves some questions. (s+z)Let's put on #9. It's the least conspicuous outfit and we don't wear it often.
Rolled 3, 1 = 4 (2d10)>>483250>Try and bluff your way into a mining company's office. (s+z)I'll second #09
>>483269We wore it more than plenty other outfits, and it isn't even gem fashion.
>>483276To be fair bit many of our outfits are Gem fashion.
>>483279But is #09 gem fashion?
Did someone say Gem fashion?http://blog-imgs-89.fc2.com/m/a/n/maniakar/sample-d49c776849050d11bab260cd3aae3185.jpg
Rolled 6, 4 = 10 (2d10)>>483250>>Try and bluff your way into a mining company's office. (s+z)And I'll vote for #07. Any thing but #09, I hate that one. It doesn't fit Maka's style OR Gem fashion.>>483264#14 Would be even better than #7, but no one else has voted for it.
>>483291>>483264I'm fine with both. I can change to #14 if you're both voting for #14 first
[TERRIFYING GLORIOUS PRESENCE][TALKING TO THE HEART][s+z=4 2 7 5 10 1 10 8 5 9 3 1 6 4 = 7+1=8 successes]With a flourish you change out of those excessively tight clothes and into something far more comfortable and less restraining, and make your way towards a nearby administrative office looking like you mean business. You instruct Tia to follow you and play along.You make it up to the door before being challenged, as one of the soldiers mounting guard moves in your way. "I'm sorry, this area is reserved. You can't-" He informs you, doing a double-take on his second glance. The background chatter among the dozen or so soldiers scattered around the mining company's courtyard slowly dies out."We're here for the inspection." You reply, flashing in front of his eyes the piece of paper Radiant Starfall handed you earlier, too quickly to let him actually read it. "We're behind schedule.""I-inspection?" He stammers, caught entirely by surprise. He can't bring himself to look at your face."For the new law. Come on, I haven't got all day.""I, uh." He glances at the other soldiers mounting guard nearby, but receives no answer in response. "...I'll have to ask the boss.""Don't waste his time." You roll your eyes, stopping him just in time before he can walk into the office ahead of you. "I'll speak with him myself."Clearly having no idea how to handle you, and probably reasoning that he's paid to be a bodyguard and not a secretary, the soldier moves aside, and you and Tia barge into the office.The room, even if wide, is rather spartan, with two desks with simple chairs, a file cabinet and a very large map to the mines pinned to the wall, clearly edited multiple times. Two men inside are caught by surprise as you enter so suddenly.The first, judging by his busy desk, abacus, and open ledger, is probably the accountant here, while the foreman, a massive, muscular man in his late 40s wearing a pair of reading glasses that do not fit the rest of his buff body image in the slightest, immediately stands up and addresses you."Hey! What the hell. Who are you? This is restricted-" He briefly pauses, and then smiles. "Is this a joke? Did chief Arage send you here?""I'm afraid it's no joke. Hilda Aveno, special inspector by appointment of Rankar VII." You explain calmly, sitting down on the empty chair opposite him. Tia stands behind you, and you gesture at her. "My assistant, Ermina Kazz."He takes off his reading glasses and gives you a second look. "...Mine inspectors don't dress like hookers." He states, bluntly."How I dress is not your concern." You respond. "The inspection is.""There's nothing to inspect here, ladies." He orders you out with a dismissive gesture."Oh, then you're denying the rumors of slaves disappearing and ghostly sightings in-" You glance at the map hanging on the wall "-branch A of your main mine?"(cont.)
>>483300>He can't bring himself to look at your face.Heh
"U- B-but they've been in branch B-" He mumbles.You smile in response. "Then you don't deny it. Excellent." You pretend to read something from the piece of paper in your hands, as you see the foreman's discomfort quickly growing. "Why didn't you present a report to the Central Mining Coordination Authority?""I- it was nothing, really! We've had greater disruptions of productivity when gallery C-9 collapsed last month. All we lost this time is-" he glances sideways to the accountant, who shows him an open hand with fingers extended. "-five slaves and some tools. Nothing major."You groan, pretending to be annoyed. "But to WHAT did you lose them?""I, uh-" He glances at the accountant again, who just shrugs and pretends to go back to his calculations."You're not the only mine that reported these accidents, and the Coordination Authority wants to know what's going on, and possibly to stop it before it gets out of hand."He falls silent for a few seconds. "...I heard that the Authority sent exorcists and thaumaturges into other people's mines-""That doesn't concern you, does it? We're here to know what went on on YOUR mine." You insist. "If it's as serious as what went on elsewhere, we might consider sending you thaumaturges too."He frowns. "What IS happening?""You tell me." You make yourself comfortable. "Start from the beginning. Tell us what you know."He takes a deep breath. "...There have been stories of strange sightings from the slaves and overseers for a while now.""How long?""A month or so. Just rumors. Nothing serious. We barely paid them attention. If we had to stop work anytime some strange story-""Yeah, I get it." You cut him short. "Continue.""Lately they've been more common. Strange apparitions, generally in the low tunnels, but without a clear source of pattern. More or less all over the place. Something very stealthy and silent... the men can usually only catch a glimpse of it. Then, things started disappearing.""The gems?""That's the strange thing." He massages his eyes, tiredly, before continuing. "A few gems disappear, but most are left there. But a lot of tools vanished with every sighting. Shovels, pickaxes, hammers, even rails and minecarts. At first we suspected that some other corporation was sabotaging us, but... It didn't make much sense anyway."You nod. "There are better ways to sabotage a rival than to steal his pickaxe.""We were worried that the slaves were the ones hiding the tools, maybe in preparation for a revolt, to use them as weapons. We had a few of them, the ones we suspected of being the ringleaders, interrogated, but got nothing from them."(cont.)
"Then, the slaves stared disappearing as well." You conclude."Yes, well, we've just had one episode. Five of them were tasked with clearing a minor collapse in gallery B-15.""Without oversight?""It was a small work detail, and not very urgent. One of the overseers went to check on them and reported them as missing. No signs of struggle or violence.""Were they chained?" You wonder."To each other, and to a heavy iron ball. They couldn't have disappeared. But we searched for them and couldn't find them. It's as if they vanished, including the chains and the ball for some reason. Which is why this doesn't feel like an evasion. "You nod slowly. "I'm inclined to agree. Did you search your entire mine?""No, only the vicinities where they could reasonably be hiding. I'm not going to shut down my entire mine over five disappeared slaves." He scoffs at you. "Since then, we didn't have another disappearance or incident.""But your men keep seeing these... ghosts.""Sometimes." He shrugs. >Excellent. Thanks for your collaboration, and good day.>Bring me to gallery B-15. I want to see with my own eyes.>I want to speak with the overseer you mentioned earlier, in charge of that work detail.>I want to speak with someone who has seen these ghosts.>I want to inspect all of your mine personally.>You'll have to shut down extraction and perform a complete sweep of your entire mine. (s+z)>(Other?)
>>483326>Bring me to gallery B-15. I want to see with my own eyes.>I want to speak with someone who has seen these ghosts.
>>483326>I want to speak with the overseer you mentioned earlier, in charge of that work detail.>I want to speak with someone who has seen these ghosts.>I want to inspect all of your mine personally.
>>483326>>Bring me to gallery B-15. I want to see with my own eyes.Did we just psychic paper these guys?
>>483326>Bring me to gallery B-15. I want to see with my own eyes.>I want to speak with someone who has seen these ghosts.Let's not spend too much time here.
>>483326>Bring me to gallery B-15. I want to see with my own eyes.>I want to speak with someone who has seen these ghosts.Whatever happens, let's NOT shut the whole mine down with that last choice. This is one of Rankar's mines, which means a major disruption like that may well reach his ears, and since we claimed to be a personal appointment of his, he's going to know immediately that someone's working behind the scenes.
"I'd like to speak with someone who has seen these... "ghosts" of yours. And I need to inspect gallery B-15."The second part of your request astonishes him."You would want to enter the mines?" He asks again."What, wasn't that clear?""I'm afraid that's not quite possible." He mumbles, after giving you another long look."Give me a good reason." You stomp your feet."You wouldn't fit." He explains.You blink. "I wouldn't... fit? Are you calling me fat?"He stares at you for a few seconds more, dumbfounded, before finally putting together an answer: "O-of course not! But those tunnels are very narrow and you're fairly... er, big.""I still want to go down there and see. I'll worry about the tunnels." You roll your eyes."...I'll send someone to call Ulak. He's one of our junior overseers, and he claims to have seen these "ghosts" pretty well. He'll accompany you to tunnel B-15. You, uhh." He scratches his chin. "You should probably put on a helmet and some, uh, protective clothing, and leave your jewelry in storage here. The mines can be rough.">Very well, I will.>I'll be fine like this, don't worry.>(Other?)
>>483345>I'll be fine like this, don't worry.Pff, we're fine
>>483345>I'll be fine like this, don't worry.Maybe we can attract the ghosts' attention like this.
>>483345>>I'll be fine like this, don't worry.#14 has it's own helmet, we'll be fine.Though maybe we should Commit the first level of AoDJ to be safe.
>>483351Let's just hope Ulak doesn't see a razor-sharp shard of gem bounce off our skin and start asking questions.
We could pass off as an eccentric mortal who's going nuts with the money she's being paid. It's not secret the despot is spending loads and loads of money...
"I'll be fine like this, don't worry." You smile smugly."But-""Get on with it." You command.The foreman goes on to call for this Ulak fellow, a young man in helmet and heavy clothing, evidently taking his job quite seriously. He's quite amazed at your presence, and clearly intimidated by you. He accompanies you and Tia down the mines, clearly having memorized the layout, but doesn't speak much.The tunnels are clumsy, narrow and claustrophobic. Chain gangs of dirty, rags-clothed slaves scalpel on the sides or in branch tunnels with simple tools. No helmets for them, it seems. On the way down, you come across a slave being carried upwards, the opposite way, his skull gruesomely caved in by a falling rock. Most of these slaves are small and short, from probably a mix of malnutrition and young age: Few of them seem older than 18. The further down you go, the narrower the passages are. You need to move with your head bowed, then all hunched up, then, past a certain point, you're really better off getting on your knees and elbows and crawling. The foreman wasn't kidding.Even moving carefully, you bump your head several times, and your arms and legs would've been raw and bleeding by now if you weren't particularly tough. Still, you feel like you're drawing way too much attention from the slaves and overseers you come across in the junctions and few larger chambers and natural caves the mine breaks into. Fortunately, Ulak seems too distracted by your bare chest to pay too much attention to the rest. He tries his best to not look at you at all.On her part, Tia seems to not care particularly much. Her dress must be clumsy to move in in these narrow spaces, but she doesn't seem bothered by it in the least, and she just follows you silently.Once the tunnels get narrow enough, you begin to come across the Djala slaves.You've seen them working in other environments, and you remember you had a phase, when you were very young, when you asked your dad to buy you a Djala as a maid. You still remember his answer: "slaves are not playthings".Their abundance in this level of the mines doesn't surprise you in the least: they are small, agile and flexible. It makes perfect sense. Still, you never thought about it. You didn't ask the foreman if the slaves who disappeared were Djala or normal humans, either."...Were they Djala?" You ask to Ulak."Beg your pardon?""The slaves that disappeared. Were they Djala or not?""No, they were normal people." He answers, moving on. Together, you reach a large intersection. From one of the passages, fortunately larger than the one you had to crawl through to get here, hangs a small wooden sign: "B-15". "So, you've seen these "ghosts" everyone's talking about?" You start your conversation, as the three of you shuffle into tunnel B-15. It seems deserted."Yes." He explains. "I'm not sure they are actually ghosts. If they are, they're not how I imagined ghosts to be.""Why?"(cont.)
"I thought ghosts were bright and glowed and, well. Looked like people, you know?""These ones didn't?""I don't know. I've only seen a glimpse. But they were a dull black, except for eyes glowing green. They seemed smooth and metallic.""Like people in armor?" You wonder."I don't know if they were people." He continues. "They had three eyes, that's for sure. I couldn't tell where was the torso, or the arms or the legs... It was all too dark. But they didn't SOUND metallic. They were silent as ghosts. Not a sound they made.""How many did you see?""Three sets of eyes. Maybe there were more and I didn't quite spot them. They seemed as afraid of me as I was of them. As soon as they realized I had seen them, they disappeared."Finally, you get to a point where the tunnel has partially collapsed on the right side. The rest of the passage is still accessible, but so fight and narrow that you'd have to squeeze through- no, actually, thinking about it, Tia and Ulak could probably squeeze through, but there's no way you're going to fit in there."No one's beyond that?" You ask."It's a spent vein." Ulak explains.Well, the foreman did inform you that it was a low priority work detail.>Send Ulak back, thank him.>Send Tia to inspect the rest of the tunnel.>Ask Tia to clear the tunnel.>Clear the tunnel (p+n).>Investigate the area (m+t).>Go back.>(Other?)
>>483383>Send Tia to inspect the rest of the tunnel.>Investigate the area (m+t).
Rolled 5, 3 = 8 (2d10)>>483383>Ask Tia to clear the tunnel.>Investigate the area (m+t).
Rolled 3, 7 = 10 (2d10)>>483383>Ask Tia to clear the tunnel.>Investigate the area (m+t).
Rolled 3, 6 = 9 (2d10)>>483383>Send Tia to inspect the rest of the tunnel.>Investigate the area (m+t).Actually wait, does Tia have charms to let her see dematerialized spirits? If not, sending her ahead might do nothing.
Rolled 10, 3 = 13 (2d10)>>483383>Investigate the area (m+t).
Rolled 9, 7 = 16 (2d10)>>483388
>>483383>Send Ulak back, thank him.>Ask Tia to clear the tunnel.
"Tia, be a dear and check a bit ahead, will you?" "Alright." She replies, trying to sneak past you and Ulak and into the narrow passageway. She manages to do that, but not particularly easily. (Well, she COULD have transformed, or smashed up everything, but you're grateful that she didn't.)While she moves on ahead, you spend some time searching the area.(m+t=5 3 3 7 3 6 10 = 3 successes)After about ten minutes, you draw your conclusions.As far as you can tell, there hasn't been any sort of fight or violence here. Unfortunately, people don't leave tracks on stone, so there aren't many traces left here. But even the complete lack of clues is a clue: the people who were working here disappeared entirely, together with their chains and all of their tools.Why the tools? Why the chains? If someone wanted to free the slaves, he'd cut the chains and just leave them there. Same with the tools. So, the slaves clearly did not "escape".This doesn't make sense to you. Why would these "ghosts" take away slaves, chains, and tools all together?Searching better, you find small scrapes in the rock that are too small to have been done by pickaxe digging or other heavy work. A few traces on the ground seem to suggest..."They were really wearing armor." You mumble to Ulak. "See here?" You point. "These are the spikes of an iron-plated boot.""You're right." He mumbles. "None of us have these boots. Not even the soldiers, I think.""They're not ghosts." You nod. "They're perfectly physical beings like me and you. They just look spooky."Tia returns, shaking her head. "The tunnel continues for a while and then ends in a small natural cave with a pool. There's nothing there.""That's where our vein ended." Ulak confirms.You glance at the scene once more. You're not going to get anything more out of this, you're pretty sure. And it's starting to get late.>Return.>Have Tia clear the tunnel>Clear the tunnel yourself. (p+n).>(Other?)
>>483411>>Return.we can deal with alchies later
>>483411>Have Tia clear the tunnelKeep pushing.
Rolled 8, 4 = 12 (2d10)>>483411>Have Tia clear the tunnel>Clear the tunnel yourself. (p+n).>(Other?)Have Ulak head back.
>>483411>>Have Tia clear the tunnelThe Alchemicals would be a good edge to have
>>483411Dive into the pool.
As much as this mystery intrigues you, you don't think the solution might like just ahead. besides, it IS getting late, and tomorrow is your final day before the wedding.Thanking Ulak for his time, you depart the mine and return to the safehouse.[SESSION END]
Base: +2 XPBringing you at 5 XP, still a bit low for any serious expense.That said, thank you for playing! I'll be hanging around this thread for a while.
>>483465>[SESSION END]It's over!Thanks for the thread as always.
>>483474Thanks for running, mate. Good to have back too.
>>483465Thanks for the run exaltedfag
A thought occurs. Or half of one anyway.Can we use Phantom-Conjuring Performance to flare our anima without activating our caste mark?Because if we could, we could pass ourselves off as a fire aspect Dragon-Blooded. Not here in Gem where everyone knows our ancestry, but in other places where we need to be on the lookout for the realm.
One of these I'm going to catch up on this thing so I can join in, mark my words.Thanks for running it, though. Exalted Quest has been fun to read even if I'm just catching a random session here and there.
>>483618>Can we use Phantom-Conjuring Performance to flare our anima without activating our caste mark?No, unfortunately. Manifestations of visible Essence ALWAYS flare the Castemark.
>>483749Do we still have our new super tight disguise?I'm a little sad we didn't get the chance to use our party trick
>>483752You have it, but you have to be very careful with it if you want to keep it. It's very tight, and it's not been enchanted with Valeriana's strengthening charms.>>483630You're welcome! Thank you for reading Exalted Quest.
>>483788>It's very tight, and it's not been enchanted with Valeriana's strengthening charms.Exactly, the trick he was talking about was a deep breath or sudden moment cause Maka to burst out of the whole thing.Making it looser or strengthens the material would ruin it.
>>483975Yeah, but it's a trick you can do only once.
so exalted fag, how about we offer to knock up Arbani's daughters if he's so concerned about his bloodline, just tell him its some exalted magicneed more hunk maka
>>484263As per the traditions of inheritance in Gem, children born outside of a monogamous wedding are considered bastards and thus are not legitimates heirs to the family title or estate.
>>484389>monogamous weddingDoes that mean with the current Gem policies none of Maka's kids could ever inherit the throne?
>>484389How easily can we change that once we retake the city?
>>484396Those rules are not really strictly codified, honestly. They're there to make sure that the inheritance is not split between multiple heirs, or torn in fights when multiple individuals show up with legitimate claims on the title.Which is why I said "traditions" and not "laws". It's not a strict rule, but it's "what everyone does".This is why the Trading Noble Houses are so obsessed with having the title passed only to legitimate children and requiring monogamous relationships: it cuts down on the number of people you have to knife in the back in order to ensure your inheritance, and makes the entire house stronger and more united.These traditions are not quite so strong in regards to the office of Despot because, generally, the office of Despot is "inherited" via coup or assassination. (Whereas succession within the Houses is generally A BIT more peaceful.)Your grandfather dying peacefully and leaving the throne to your father is actually pretty unusual for the standards of Gem. Generally, the accepted method of becoming Despot of Gem is "I killed everyone who disagreed with me, and I'm going to kill everyone who isn't ok with that."(So, yes, by Gem standards, Rankar's coup was VERY bloodless and peaceful.)In any case, considering a Solar Exalted's life expectancy, I'd say that most of Maka's kids are unlikely to outlive her (unless something terrible happens), so the point is kind of moot.>>484585It'd need some serious use of Wise-Eyed Courtier Method, because (like said above) it's more of a custom than a law.The Noble Houses would see removing this rule an attempt at muddling their lines of succession and destabilizing them from the inside, in order to weaken the Houses and strengthen the Despot. It's definitely not impossible, especially not for an Exalted, but you can be sure that the Houses will oppose it.
>>485020>weaken the Houses and strengthen the DespotI'm actually fine with this, specially since we're putting dad back on the throne.
I hope we get the chance to talk with our sister and father before the coup. I really want to know their opinion on this whole situation, especially before the killing starts.
>>485087I know, I'm just saying that the Houses won't like it (obviously).
>>485020>unless something terrible happensWell, something awesome could happen too. It's staggeringly unlikely, but it's possible for our kids to Exalt.
>>485487Honestly, I hope we get a chance to talk with Rankar before the coup.He seems to be pretty darn close to the most merciful and humane a mortal could manage to be, in managing a situation as difficult as Gem. An bureaucracy solar exalt could do better, but that's really not his fault.
>>485684>He seems to be pretty darn close to the most merciful and humane a mortal could manage to beNo, he's just not a retard with a murderhobo boner
>>485689We've been told over and over that "this was a relatively bloodless transition" and he doesn't seem to be making things any worse than they were under our father.
>>485689Also, not being a retard with a murderhobo boner is a great quality for a leader that seems relatively rare.
>>485700That's not being merciful or humane, that's politics. He has a plan and is trying to stick with it.>he doesn't seem to be making things any worse than they were under our father.Except he's bankrupting Gem and/or kissing the realm's ass harder than ever.>>485701Yes, but I don't see reports of Maka's family being ruthless or bloodthirsty. Just because he has a goal in mind that doesn't allow for much violence doesn't mean he's such a great mortal.
so, OOC anyone have any ideas who these people might be?My gut instinct says death knights. First and Forsaken Lion supporting Renkar would make sense as he builds up gem to be massacred and create new shadowlands in the south for his armies to pour out of
>>486829It could be anything at this point. Something to do with the underworld, not necessarily deathknighs (I mean, seriously, they wouldn't be spotted by mortals if they were sneaking around and if they somehow were they'd just kill the witnesses). Then it could be something to do with fair folk. Or even Autochthonia.
>>486829If I were a gamblin' man i'd say they aren't death knights. It stands to reason that if an abyssal infiltrator got discovered they wouldn't let their discoverer escape, they'd kill them and get rid of the body. That doesn't automatically rule out their working for the FaFL though, they could be some lower level mooks sent by him to scout shit out.At the very least we know they aren't fae though, because they were wearing iron boots, and thus probably iron armor.
>>486829Tunnel guys?Rankar wouldn't be buttering up the Realm if he were teaming up with a Deathlord. Considering how much EF loves them, this is probably the alchemical subplot from the books, my guess at the guys are probably just regular dudes in basic power armor, something like Zareen's scout armor would explain the silent movement and the three glowing eyes if they come with night vision.
>>486866This, Autochthonian Locust Crusaders in the tunnels are a common plot device.
>>486829>so, OOC anyone have any ideas who these people might be?They're Alchemicals. Visors with three glowing eyes, stealing anything not nailed down and occasionally people, and disappearing without a trace? They're the forward scouts of the Locust Crusade.
I'm surprised mortals have enough self control to not jump at Maka's feet whenever she appears. Just staring must cost them a WP or something.
>>488162Especially now that Maka's face and depictions thereof are now automatic social attacks.
>>488162>>488286Maka's not quite that pretty yet.If we assume we need at least a small intimacy to get people worshiping Maka on sight, then we need to be at Soc/Zen 8 to start landing those on everyone. Assuming max mortal stats at least.With a total of sixteen dice, we would get 8 successes on average with Horizon to Horizon, beating the highest mortal MDV of 3 by 5. Add those extra successes to our then base damage of 8 for 13 Social Damage. Subtract their Social Soak which maxes out at 3 for mortals, leaving us with a neat 10 Social Damage or one small intimacy. Obviously we need less for those of a weaker self control, currently we can get that much from someone that has the lowest possible stats, 1 MDV and 1 Soak.
So the first thing we should talk to our dad about after he's the ruler again is widening those tunnels. I mean really, having to crawl through? That's terribly inefficient.
>>488656children and malnutrition slaves are cheap
>>488809Djala are neither children nor malnourished. BWell they CAN be, but by default they're just really tiny.Not to say they are probably particularly well-fed or anything, they are still slaves, but they probably aren't any worse off than the average slave is.
>>488809So? It would still slow them down, and limits how much of the stuff they mine they can bring back at a time.
>>489058We should buy a Djala and maidify her
>>489194We need more combat maids!
>>489194>>489200Listen to dad, slaves are not playthings!
>>489218Fine. We should *hire* a Djala to be our plaything.
>>489218Yea, thats why we wont keep slaves just employees
>>489096>So? It would still slow them down, and limits how much of the stuff they mine they can bring back at a time.Why waste time removing plain rock? The slaves should apply themselves a little more and focus on the gems
>>488646>Maka's not quite that pretty yetHow much xp will it cost to get to Social 10?
>>488646>Maka's not quite that pretty yet.It's not about her being pretty, it's about Horizon to Horizon literally hitting 100% of people with an automatic social attack the first time they see her (or depictions of her).
>>4903556x5 (30) to get to level 77x5 (35) to get to level 88x5 (40) to get tot level 99x5 (45) to get to level 10So unless I fucked up basic addition with a calculator, which I have done before, that is 150 xp. Plus waiting till we're old enough for those levels unlock, or finding a way around that limitation like with the Crown of Thunders.The real question is, how big will Maka's makas be by then? I'm hoping big enough that they can rest on her lap when she sits in a chair, that is the best "go big or go home" size.
>>490531Don't plan for that, the only reason we're above 5 now is Special Circumstances, notably the Crown.
>>490531>spoiler >dick status: muh
>>490531The second pic is already quite enough
>>491187Says you.And in case you couldn't tell, the implication is that what you're saying is wrong.
>>491316Why? The thread is on it's slow, inevitable march to page ten. It can't be bumped anymore, so who cares what gets posted at this point?
>>491330I do, and I'm sure EF does too. He has shown to read threads even after the session has ended and its falling off the board. And even if the thread is dying, it's still being archived, so any shitpost will be preserved with the threads.Besides, we all know that when it comes to fetishes and appearance, it never goes anywhere beyond shitposting. Neither of you would compromise or resign.
>>491376>when it comes to fetishes and appearance, it never goes anywhere beyond shitpostingIsn't that a given?
>>491382So we're gonna have Maka wear that at some point, right?
>>491330I agree with him, which was I didn't post that maka is supposed to be attractive instead of grotesquely ugly like you want her to be the first time. But alright, if you insist.
>>490531>The real question is, how big will Maka's makas be by then? I'm hoping big enough that they can rest on her lap when she sits in a chair, that is the best "go big or go home" size.Literally disgusting. She'd look like a deformed, mutant freak, with grotesque tumors, if that happened, rather than just a sexy lady with very big tits.
>>491573>>491576Well seeing as we're unlikely to hit Social 10 before the quest ends, it's more likely for you two to get you wish then me to get mine.As long as they continue to get bigger if we DO have a chance to up our Social and take it, I'll be happy with any size. Consistency is important.
>>491623It's not about wishes, it's about sanity.
Fucking stop, you faggots.
>>491692Sanity is overrated.>>491720Nah.
>>491767Sanity is having things make sense. You can't have a character become uglier and uglier until she's a circus freak to the fourth power and call that pretty.
>>491808You think it's ugly, I think it's hot.It's called "not everyone's fetishes match up with yours."
>>492037It's not about fetishes, that's the point. It's supposed to be sane before we get into fetishes.
>>493592Why do you keep bringing up sanity? The discussion we're having is "I think Maka's boobs would be hotter at X size." It is entirely about fetishes.
>>493605Because it's about the sane place that the character takes up in the world. You're the only one bringing a fetish outlook into the conversation. You're the only one who thinks fetishes are more important than sanity. Instead of a reasonable outcome from causes to events, you just want an easy fap.
>>493623I literally have no idea what the fuck you're talking about.I made a half-serious comment in a spoiler block that amounted to "I think Maka's would be hotter if her breasts were bigger," and it got you and a several other people completely up in arms.
>>493638I'm replying to the post I replied to.
You're going in circles now. I told you guys to not be faggots.
>>493658Hey, don't look at me, I'm challenging his disgusting fetishes and telling him to got masturbate somewhere else instead of this thread.
>>493672I think you should chill and stop trying to be the moral police, no one asked it of you.
>>494166>moral policeThat would make sense if this had anything to do with morality.
Not sure if you're still checking this EF, but I'm glad you're okay.Hope you or anyone you know weren't hurt or lost anything irreplaceable.
>>502979What happened?I've been out and about all day, I haven't had the chance to check any news.
>>503072There was an earthquake in Italy.EF said he was okay on twitter, but still a little worrying to hear.