>Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Bladebound%20Retainer%20Quest>Previous Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/49262706/>Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaskForceKaz[STATS]>Combat: +++>Social: +>Knowledge: ++[Abilities/Traits/Perks]>Indomitable, Rank 1: Ignore the penalties imposed by Blood Loss. Does not negate health loss. >Atelier of Death: Craft your own Bombs and Poisons>Nimble Fingers: +30 to non-attack actions involving your hands (lockpicking, pickpocketing, etc.).>Specter’s Dream: A technique to allow one to rest while remaining aware of one’s surroundings. (4/8/12 hour intervals each with their own bonuses)>Knowledge: Nobility (Aderaveth): Take a flat 50 to Knowledge rolls concerning this subject. >Knowledge: Underworld (Aderaveth): Take a flat 50 to Knowledge rolls concerning this subject.>The RegentIt is a world of ash and fire.You stand upon the scorched earth, the soft glow of molten stone visible through cracks in the dirt. In the distance, the Wrehlzwth Mountains stir, hellfire and smoke belching from wide gouges in the earth. Old Allant rumbles, the inert volcano active for the first time in hundreds of years. Along the cracks, geysers of magma blast liquid fire into the darkened sky.The clothes you wear, fine silks and leathers, should be little more than cinders, not to speak of the flesh of your body withering under the heat. Yet for every step you take, all that you can feel at the soles of your feet is pulsating warmth, not unlike the beating of a heart. Nothing grows here, no scrap of green or gold, a barren wasteland cleansed of all life. The hot gravel underneath you churns with every step taken.Your steps take you to the base of the mountain, as ash falls like the snows of winter. Fine little particles dust the golden points of the Vethic Crown, black pigments that come to gently rest on your person. They do nothing but stain the white that your beard has become, adding more years to your fifty three seasons. Time has not been kind to you as it has been to Alistair or Kieran. At least they could ride with their men into battle wheras your son had long taken your place.Even before the burning fever laid you low upon the bed, the weight of your years feels heavier than it should be. Inexplicable joint ache had set into your bones, flares of pain that the healers said should not have appeared until you at least passed sixty five. And your hair, once the firm and radiant goldspun yellow of the Crowmonds, bleached away to fragile and dull stocks of white. “The Old Emperor” they called you. Your hearing had not gone with your appearance, and you could hear the concerned whispers about your health, and whether or not Emeron was ready to take the throne. You always hated that, for planting the seeds of loathing in your heart towards your firstborn child. No matter your appearance and aches, you are not about to die just yet.(cont.)
Yet in this delirium, you find yourself as hale and whole as you once were: the youngest Emperor to take the Bladebound Throne of Aderaveth with all the assurance in the realm behind him. The years have been scoured away, the pain vanishing as if it never was there to begin with. And in the place of leathery skin that burns hot with fever, pink flesh suffused with blood and life pokes out occasionally from holes in your clothes.If it were not for the burning landscape, this might have been a pleasurable dream. Gods know that you deserve it more than anyone else in the wake of the latest Vascieli uprising. But that is neither here nor there, and you have little desire to remember those troublesome times.From the base of the slope, the stone peaks of Wrehlzwth loom high above you. Allant still disgorges its deadly breath into the sky as you cast your gaze once more across the area. This is not the first time you have dreamed this dream, but this is the first time you would ever get this far. It would always end prematurely, slipping away from coherency into the fever dreams typical for those with the Burning Plague.But here you stand, at the base of the mountains. There. It is almost hidden among the rocks, a series of stone steps that form a crude stairway. Your eyes can perceive the first hundred, twisting up the mountain’s incline like a serpent’s body, languid and without a care for how disorganized it looked. Not stone, but obsidian, you realize with a tentative step. In spite of the heat, the stone itself is cool to the touch, a jarring contrast to the near-scalding gravel.Your eyes narrow as you stare up the mountain. There is neither rail nor any sort of assistance that the mountain offers save for irregular gouges in the bedrock. And the stairs themselves hold no end in sight, disappearing into a slip between the crags of two smaller peaks. You could very well be climbing these steps for hours without an end in sight. You welcome it, however. As you feel the vigor of your youth giving you strength beyond your years and the debilitation of the plague, so too does determination burn in your heart. With that resolved, you take the first of many steps, and begin your journey up the mountains. And it is only for the briefest of moments, but in the billowing smoke of the sky, you could have sworn you saw something in flight. Something with wings large enough to blot out a blackened sun…>???“Gods help us…your majesty!”“Be quiet. Yaya has only gotten him to sleep, and it would displease me to have him roused back into rambling incoherence.”“I…your grace, I don’t understand…this…this is…”“So you know what this is, Ansell? Good. Then it saves me the time to explain his symptoms.”“Your…your grace, when you asked me to check on His Majesty, I was under the impression that he was awake and ready to converse. You have kept me out of his chambers for so long that-”(cont.)
oh boy this is running again!
Hi Kaz, SMT when?
>>643701“You will have to ratify that assumption, seeing as my husband is deep within a medicine-induced slumber. Undiluted Night’s Kiss.”“Undilute-”“The regular dosage would do little to soothe his rants and ravings. It was for his own safety as much as it was to keep the servants from gossiping. See how he rests peacefully? His repose admittedly has much to be desired, but…this is where you come in, magister.”“Little to be…who knows about this? Any of the healers, servants?”“Four people. You, myself, Lionel’s Crownguard and old Yaya. Her cataracts have all but blinded her, and she can be trusted to hold her tongue. She nursed my husband when he was in swaddling clothes, and Ingulan servants have a reputation for steadfast loyalty to their masters.”“You say this so flippantly, your grace, but…what is this? This is…this is the drip I created for-”“Yes, the device you created for Allanus when he first awakened to his magic. It kept my son nourished while he lay in bed, deep within the Ivory Dream. It seems to have likewise served my husband well, though the effects…are not as pronounced.”“…I’m not going to ask how you snuck this from my laboratory. But what I will ask is how long this has been going on, and why you did not seek to inform me immediately.”“Well learned in medicine you may be, but you are no healer. I only turn to you as all others have failed in your stead. But I would first have you to tell me what ails my husband, your liege lord and emperor.”“If it is what I fear…I must see to him first, just to confirm my suspicions. If I am wrong, then we may breathe easy. But if I am right…”“Explain further before I lose my patience.”“Pardon me for saying this, your grace, but assumptions are the root of all mistakes. It would bode ill to proceed without performing sufficient tests first, just as it has proven to be a mistake for keeping me away from His Highness.”“…I would have Palme cut out your belligerent tongue, magister, if my children did not find you so endearing.”“You can continue to threaten me, or you can summon for help so I can perform a quicker diagnosis. You say she can be trusted, so I will need Yaya’s help. Have her fetch a washpan of boiling water and several clean rags. We will need to disinfect the area...”“…so be it. I will leave you to it, but the instant you finish your little experiments, I want to know immediately what causes this…unnatural withering.”“Yes, yes, I promise to send word…hold a moment, your grace. You mentioned Lionel’s Crownguard…I have, ah, not seen him. Is he nearby? It would be best to station trustworthy guards outside of the door aside from Emeron’s Silver Knights.”(cont.)
“If you have not seen him, then he is succeeding. Ruvel and his child are masters at hiding in the shadows, unseen and unheard. Ellana’s could learn from their example. Work assured that Ruvel is listening, and has no doubt taken your advice under…consideration. He will keep my husband safe.”“…very well. Now, if her grace would please…”“I expect results, magister. Do not forget that. And this will be kept from Emeron, am I understood? The boy has enough to worry about as he stands in his father’s place. We will take care of him, he will take care of the realm.”“Of course, of course. I will run myself to inform you, or give a message to your Crownguard. Whichever travels faster.”“…Yaya? Where is…you, serving girl. Have you seen Yaya? No? What use are you then, get out of my way…Yaya…where is that old woman...”“…no, no. Oh, gods, no. Damnation…this shouldn’t even be happening. We killed them all…why has this returned…Emeron, I’m so sorry. Palme may have been correct after all. Ah, I’m getting too old for this, aren’t I, Max? Always cleaning up after your family’s messes…let us hope I am too late…”>Outskirts of Alnerwich>Winter 54, 238 ACR>Marcus PainelBy the time you made it to Alnerwich, Lord Mazur’s holding, the sun has already set over the Wrehlzwth mountains. The tip of Old Allant casts a long shadow over the valley settlement, driving a wedge of darkness right through the middle of the town. Yet in spite of the early onset of night, the town remains as lively as it would have been in the middle of the day.Street vendors hawking their goods were making the last deals of the day, haggling over children’s toys, roast chickens and craftsman’s tools. Situated next to the Anosar, Mazur’s holdfast served as both a trading hub for goods exported out of the valley, as well as host to a thriving fish market. The smell of salted fish is enough to make even you actively hold your gag reflex in check. But the time spent with the Crowmonds in the wake of your interrogation with the Vascieli scout more than made up for your terrible morning and the beginning of a long night. You made sure to take care of the bloodstains on your armor before relieving Bellatrix from carriage duty. Literally and figuratively, if the appreciative slap on the back was any sort of indication. Your shoulder still hurts from where her gauntlet made contact with your skin.Ellana had been quick to capitalize on your arrival. Scooting over to make room for you adjacent to her, the youngest princess of Aderaveth beamed up as you settled in for the ride to Alnerwich. Allanus could not be roused, nestled comfortably in Adrianna’s lap. She seems nonplussed to see you, but offered a small smile.“Marcus,” Ellana said, tugging at your sleeve, “We’d stopped for a moment earlier. Did something happen?”>Tell her about the Vascieli.>Tell her that it’s nothing.
>>643771Next week, hopefully.
>>643979>>Tell her about the Vascieli.
>>643979>>Tell her that it’s nothing.Some rustling in the woods that turned out to just be animals. Over cautions since the fort was taken and all that
>>643979>let us hope I am too lateI for one, am hoping this ISN'T a typo.>Some bandits. Hopefully there won't be anymore, but we're keeping watch for any of their friends.
>>643979>Tell her about the Vascieli.leave out the torture of course.
>>644018Shit. Yeah, that's a typo. Supposed to be "not too late". Ansell is a loyal servant to the Crown.
>>644040ARE YOU SURE? LET'S SHOOT HIM, JUST TO CHECK. IT'll ONLY HURT THE FIRST 2 HOURS.
>>643979 >>Tell her about the Vascieli.
>Tell her about the VascieliYou had to take a moment to clear your throat. “We encountered two of the Vascieli. Though it was ultimately nothing to worry about,” You quickly reassured them at Adrianna’s alarmed look. “There were only two of them, and we dispatched them without too much trouble.”Ellana’s sigh of relief was apparent, and she sported a pleased smile on her face. “I’m glad that you weren’t hurt.”Your mind went back to the crossbow that nearly put a hole right through your gut. “As am I, milady.”“Do you know what they were doing?” Adrianna inquired, leaning dangerously forward with concern etched on her face. Even though you kept your eyes right at her amethyst pupils, it’s almost impossible to ignore the upper half of her chest hovering at the bottom of your peripheral vision. “Out here, in the wilderness, I mean. What was their purpose?”You made a gesture to convey uncertainty, a shrug as well as a dismissive wave. “The guy we got alive passed out before I could ask that. But Urath and I did find out where his friends are hiding. Lord Kieran told us that his men will take care of them with the aid of Lord Mazur.”The princess smiled. “That’s good to hear. Hopefully they will be the last group to plague him.”You had paused there, musing on a question before you gave it voice. “Tell me about the Vale. Prior to my…arrival to the service of your family, I’d never visited. I know enough about the Vascieli, and a bit about Lord Pullman, but not enough about the overlap between them.”“That’s simple enough, Marcus,” Ellana interjected, putting a hand to her chin in a magister’s thinking pose. “I was still away with Uncle Alister when Emeron and grandfather led their banners into the Aquila Gulch, where the Vascieli had retreated. Their army had routed with the death of their leaders, and they scattered to all corners of the Vale.”Adrianna nodded with approval. “Not to mention that the Vale is dense and large enough to make a concentrated effort to search difficult, even in the spring. There’s so many places where small clusters of them can hide. They’ve been giving Uncle Kieran no small amount of irritation for the last four years.”“The raids,” You said, thinking back to what you knew about the rebels. “I can see why he would be angry. Though, I do recall him saying something else when we captured a few prisoners on the bridge last week…”“Hmm? What did he say?”>“He wasn’t a Tarmund. If I'm not mistaken, the queen is the daughter of the current head?”>“…eh, it's probably nothing. He was just venting after the Midbridge Battle.”
>>644297>>“He wasn’t a Tarmund. If I'm not mistaken, the queen is the daughter of the current head?”
>>644297 >>“He wasn’t a Tarmund. If I'm not mistaken, the queen is the daughter of the current head?”
>>“He wasn’t a Tarmund. If I'm not mistaken, the queen is the daughter of the current head?”You hesitated only for the slightest of moments before continuing. “In the context of taking the prisoners alive, he said that he, and I quote, ‘wasn’t a Tarmund’. If I’m not mistaken, the queen, your mother, is the daughter of the current head...”Your voice trailed off as Adrianna’s face soured, turning from a frown into a fierce scowl. Ellana looked just as confused as you did, looking towards you and her sister with wide, questioning eyes.“Uncle said that, did he?” The eldest princess muttered, pinching the bridge of her nose in consternation. “I suppose he would. Not that I would disagree with him, but I would hope he showed more tact…“How do I explain…” Her voice trailed off before sighing. “Yes, mother is indeed the eldest daughter of the Tarmunds. And you said you’re familiar with a little bit of the other side of the family?”Ansell had taught you well. “One of the great families, they have holds to the northwest, where it’s slightly colder than normal, even for the regular seasons. Crest is that of the Fox, and the words of their words are ‘Cunning is Strength’. Their current head is one Emyrich Tarmund, father to Queen Melianna Tarmund and Lady Kitianna von Roie, and grandfather to the four royal children.”“That much any one can tell you,” She refuted, “But they’ll also tell you that… grandfather is loyal, but his methods of upholding the rule of the realm…can tend to the extreme when it comes to family and order. His forces inflicted the most casualties against the Vascieli. Even when they surrendered. Hence the ‘Massacre at Blood Gulch’.”Ellana looked no small amount of horrified. And you couldn’t blame her either. Still, you responded, “He gave ample reason for his actions, I hope?”“Yes. Something along the lines of ‘weeding the dissenters out by the roots’. ‘Make an example out of them’. He had been angry when father gave the surrendering rebels who had survived lenient punishments, and there’s no love lost between him and the other lords when it comes to ethics. Uncle Alistair is sympathetic, but Uncle Kieran is borderline hostile, even in private company.“But that’s enough about our family’s political differences,” She concludes, tilting her head back against the cushion of her seat. “It’s enough to put all of us in a bad mood. Uncle or not, I’ll speak to Uncle Kieran. It’s unbecoming of him to besmirch a lord, even at our grandfather.”With that, the conversation abruptly died. Ellana looked somewhat sad, subdued at this unexpected revelation of her grandfather before falling asleep. Not that you can exactly blame her. And the remainder of the ride had been an exercise in silence until Adrianna broke it. “I’m honestly surprised that you’re not familiar with the gossip and hearsay about the nobility.”(cont.)
You shrugged. “Never did pay attention to it, that much. Prefer getting information directly from a reliable source. In this case, you’ve validated more than a few rumors I’ve heard now and again.”“I see.” She bit her lips, frowning before she continued on, “I would think that you never had much concern for that when you were not a Crownguard.”When you were still a commoner, is the undertone that comes from her polite subtext. It was not meant to cause offense. Just a statement of facts. Nothing more, nothing less.“I suppose that there wasn’t,” You admitted, shifting in your seat to let Ellana lean better against your shoulder. Neck pain hurts, especially when you fall asleep incorrectly. “We were more focused on our day-to-day living. The lords and nobles could play their games as long as we could go on with our lives.”“And if those games ever spilled out into those lives?”You shrugged. “Then we do our best to find the side and actions that guarantee our survival.” And look how that turned out, you bitterly think, but you quickly step off of that track before your bad mood comes bubbling to the surface.She smiled at that, ignorant of the sour taste that’s now scouring the back of your throat. “But now that you’re a part of the Crownguard now, you must have opinions. Anyone can stand guard over the royalty, but Crownguard are selected because they can think, make opinions.”“I have little doubt about that. Ser Palme was very impressed with what I had to tell him.”“So if you don’t mind me asking, what’s your conclusion about grandfather just from the Massacre?”>Choose one:>A man who’s done the best course of action for the realm's sake.>A man who’s done some questionable things for the sake of order.>A man who’s done inexcusable things, no matter the intention.
>>644672>A man who’s done some questionable things for the sake of order.
>>644672>>A man who’s done some questionable things for the sake of order.
>>644672>>A man who’s done some questionable things for the sake of order."That said, what he does would only work in the short term. Ruling through fear gradually gives way to anger and more revolts. It's a good thing your father and brother are the ones on the throne."
>>644672>>A man who’s done some questionable things for the sake of order.Sup Kaz.
You had to think about this one before giving a final answer. “In my opinion, Lord Tarmund is a man who’s done some morally questionable things for the sake of order. And yes, he did achieve what he was after, but it’s not going to work in the long run.”Adrianna nodded, motioning for you to continue with a wave of her hand. “I didn’t study too much history with Ansell, but the same applies even to life on the streets of Kaithmire, Berulia, or even old Suthyae. Ruling through fear isn’t the way to go about doing things. All it does is cause more anger, which in the case of the Empire, leads to more revolts and sympathizers with the rebels.”Even the Red Snakes had their fair share of infighting. And while most of it was caused by you, it ultimately panned out the same way. Old man Asmodai and his rule of fear kept the bastards in line, as well as a firm grip on the slums of the capital. But none had ever come to his aid, and all had stayed out of your way when you carved your ten pounds of flesh out of their hides.>Adrianna sharply approves.Regardless, the princess seemed pleased with your response. “Very good.”“It’s a good thing that your father and brother are the ones on the throne,” You remarked, stretching a kink that had settled in the lower half of your back. “Most folks I’ve talked to seem to be satisfied, if not happy, with the way he’s cleaning up the Empire.”She smiled at that, but it quickly turns into one of pensive concern. “But there’s something that Palme told me. One day, neutrality was going to cease to have meaning, and we’d all have to pick a side of our own when the time came.”You raised an eyebrow. “And what did he mean by that?”“The day when compromise doesn’t work, and the realm is plunged into war,” She remarked, as if talking about the weather. But it quickly gave way to worry. “Balance is the most desired state in all matters, but there are those that want everything to go their way. A good compromise leaves no one satisfied.”“I would say that the peasantry would disagree,” You smiled, in an effort to lighten the mood. “Because they don’t have to take up arms for a cause they’re not wholeheartedly invested in.”And that was all that you were able to say before a rider calls out that you’d made it to Alnerwich. Not that his call was necessarily needed, per say. The smell hits you just as you open the carriage window to get a better view at the oncoming sight. Adrianna’s composure visibly slips away, and she struggles to hold her gag reflex in. The pungent smell of fish guts and fetid swamp water is enough to even rouse the dead. Allanus and Ellana bolt upright from their slumber to pinch their noses shut and give voice to their disgust at the smell.(cont.)
Urath looks at the three royals in pity as Bellatrix laughs at Silverow, who retches over the side of his horse. He is not alone, and some of the Eagle Knights scramble to pull their helms off to vomit into the snowdrifts. You have to give credit to the people of Alnerwich. It’s even enough to cause you, exposed to so many pungent toxins and poisons, to take momentary pause to fight against the nausea.You offer a strained, conciliatory smile to the three Crowmonds in the carriage as you swiftly close the window. From your satchel, you uncork the bottle of Slennush mushrooms, and let its fragrance spread within the interior. The effect is almost immediate, and the relief on their faces speaks volumes of their gratitude.>8:00 PMLord Adamus Mazur resembles the Osprey of his clan crest: hawkish features and an aquiline nose, all of it tied together with a sharp goatee and a mane to put an eagle to shame. With his appearance, you place him to be at least in his mid-to-late twenties, certainly no more than thirty but no less than twenty five. A sword hangs loosely from underneath his cloak, and a ringed hand holds it steady in its sheath.His honor guard, resplendent in the white and grey colors of his house, stands to attention as the caravan pulls its way into the compound, right past crowds of peasants who whisper at this unexpected arrival. The gate is swift to close shut after the last knight enters, abruptly cutting off any sort of banal chatter from the outside. “It’s good to see you again, Lord Pullman,” He says, his voice smooth as Pullman dismounts from his horse. “Though I wish we were meeting under better circumstances.”“As do I,” The Lord of the Vale rumbles, clapping his fellow nobleman on the shoulders. “But I’ve got some things I want to go over with you about. We found out about a…”His voice fades away into a low sotto, but it’s clear that he’s talking about the Vascieli. That much is obvious, and the fact that he pulls out a map makes it all the more clear. Still, Mazur becomes excited, wearing a grin to match the predatory smirk of Pullman’s. “Finally, good news in the wake of all this snowfall! We shall feast tonight, and make war on the morrow. I’ll have my captains marshal the men. They’ll be ready to go at midday.”“Midday?”“For the hangover, you see. We discovered a rare set of barrels dated 219. A very good year for our vineyards.”“Good man. I hope you’ve managed to get rid of the fishy smell.”“You cannot rush art!”>9:00It’s a relief to be dining on actual food and not impromptu rations cooked over a fire. But, being who you are, you’re once again delegated to picking the scraps after the meal. A sentiment shared by all of the Crownguard as you stand behind your charges.(cont.)
The men of the Vale are exceptionally good at putting away their food. Roast chickens, hand-braised salmon, and bottles upon bottles of wine come out of the kitchen doors to raucous applause. It’s certainly a lively affair, but you make sure that Ellana only gets one cup of wine. You can smell how strong the stuff is, even at a distance.Still, when the feast finishes, everyone’s about ready to tuck in for the night. A quick meal finds you standing guard outside of the room delegated to the royal family. It has its windows, but they’re high enough that it would take a crossbow to get a grappling hook into the sill. Not to mention the fact that the snow had frozen a large portion of the masonry. Any assassin would sooner break their necks than scale more than fifty feet up the wall.“We have a free night,” Urath says, tipping you a wink as he sets the symbol of his office down by a sleeping Allanus. “And both Pullman and Mazur guards will watch over the little ones.”You must have looked more than skeptical, because Bellatrix scoffs and pads over to you, bereft of her armor. In its place, a man’s tunic hangs on her shoulders, it's collar just low enough to reveal the entrance to her cleavage, bound tight by a set of bandages.“Look, we get tired just as much as they do,” She says, dangling a coin purse in front of you. “May as well enjoy what free nights you have. Never know when they come around.”Silverow scowls. “I for one am staying here. Someone has to be responsible.”“Someone can’t get the stick out of their ass.”“Hey!”Chortling to themselves, the Ingulan archer and Eridian knightess meander out the door and into unknown territory. Shaking his head in consternation, Silverow gives you a brisk nod before diving into his novel. Within a few minutes, you’re not even sure if he’s aware that you’re with him, let alone the presence of the nobles.A free night, huh. And your coin purse certainly isn’t hurting…>Explore the castle, general sweep of the area.>Head into town, explore Alnerwich at night.>Stay inside, try reading your books.>Custom options.
>>644976>>Explore the castle, general sweep of the area.
>>644976>Explore the castle, general sweep of the area.
>>644976>>Stay inside, try reading your books.
>>644976>Stay inside, try reading your books.
>>644976>Stay inside, try reading your books.figure out more of the Vascieli cypher. Once we crack it, maybe we'll be able to spot sleeper agents within the town or make them think we're one of them.Or just buy more alchemical supplies.
>>644976 >>Explore the castle, general sweep of the area.
>>644976>Explore the castle, general sweep of the area
SO anyone else think The King is turning into a dragon?
>>645067not our problem.....yet. Painel doesn't seem suited for killing dragons, anyway. Not with the current stances we've been shown.
did kaz fall asleep?
“I’m heading out,” You tell Silverow, checking yourself and the weapons on your person. All your throwing knives are still sharp, and your dagger is right where it’s supposed to be. “I personally won’t be able to relax unless I get a good bearing of our surroundings.”That actually manages to get the mage out of his book. He blinks owlishly at you before responding, “And that entails going out armed to the teeth, ready for a fight?”You give him a wry smile. “Are you familiar with the maidenweed principle?”He shakes his head, indicating that no, he does not.“It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”He muses on that particular aphorism, eventually snorting when he figures out its connotation. “Crude, yet succinctly put. But I see that unlike our erstwhile companions, your outing calls for more of a jaunt through the dark corners of the castle.”“Correct.”Silverow closes his book, turning the full brunt of his attention towards you. “To an extent, Urath and Bellatrix were right. Though our definitions of the action vary, this is a free night, and we should find relaxation in this rare respite.”“I’m only going to relax when I’m sure that this is as secure as things are going to get.”“Fair enough, I suppose. But keep in mind that there is a thin line between our duty and paranoia.”“I would think I do a decent job of straddling that line. And there is nothing wrong with a little paranoia. That’s how I’ve stayed alive all my life.”“…I can’t argue with that.” He eventually capitulates, once again returning to his book. You catch a glimpse of the cover, the ink spelling out a treatise on magic. “Just don’t get caught sneaking about. I would think you’re afforded certain liberties given your station, but I doubt that the Mazurs would be too pleased to have you lurking in the shadows like an assassin. We have been, after all, given free range of the castle. Make use of walking in the open.”You try not to visibly wince at Silverow’s uncomfortably close description of your activities, as well as the choice of word he used. Perhaps in another life, you would be that assassin, but in this one, you are a Crownguard. You do what you have to out of a duty to Ellana, not for some unknown client and a sum of money.“I’ll keep that in mind,” you state as you head out the door. You take one look at the bed, where a sleeping Adrianna hold her two siblings close underneath fur blankets and cotton sheets. Allanus fidgets occasionally, lips twisting in his dreams, and Ellana snores softly against her sister’s side. A soft smile creases your lips before you exit the room. “Good night, Silverow.”(cont.)
Nodding towards the Eagle Knights at the door, you make your way down the hallway of the guest rooms. Cracks in the stone allow cold drafts of air to scramble at your armor, raising gooseflesh along exposed skin. It is not enough to cause any overt physical discomfort, but it is a nuisance. Mortar would have to be reapplied to the seams where stone was laid upon stone.From what you can remember on your way into the interior of the fortress, it’s roughly built in the style of Reconstruction, a style popular in middle of the Age of Fire and the war of the dragons. That meant emphasis on high walls and sturdy parapets, from where the old Dragonator ballistae would rest and teams of archers would fire from.Those don’t concern you as much as what lies behind those walls. The building itself is rather standard for a stronghold, conforming to the conventions of Vethic architecture and design. Sure enough, the layout of the support beams and pillars provide ample space for ducking into corners and leaping up into the darkness should the situation arise.Still, you have all this information, but no straight objective in mind. It would not do to meander about aimlessly like some common castle guard. You should set an objective, a task to accomplish…>Go outside and patrol the parapets. You’re bound to run into something interesting if you’re patient.>Investigate the records. Alnerwich is one of three strongholds capable of producing Alchemist’s Fire.>Stay inside and keep a low profile. It would be unwise to wander too far away from the Crowmonds.>Custom option.Gonna get some more sleep, will resume in a couple of hours.
>>645697>>Go outside and patrol the parapets. You’re bound to run into something interesting if you’re patient.
>>645697>Investigate the records. Alnerwich is one of three strongholds capable of producing Alchemist’s Fire.Our cover can be our rather extensive hobby into......medicine.
>>645697 >>Go outside and patrol the parapets. You’re bound to run into something interesting if you’re patient.
>>645697>Investigate the records. Alnerwich is one of three strongholds capable of producing Alchemist’s Fire.
>>645697>>Stay inside and keep a low profile. It would be unwise to wander too far away from the Crowmonds.
You recall something from earlier, back in Karthmire Keep just before you set off with the caravan. There are only three holdfasts in the Empire capable of producing Alchemist’s Fire, due to their proximity near rare earth minerals and combustion mines. The Mazurs, Hermans and Althans are the lords of these cities, and masters of the domains blessed with the stone’s bounty.The order to investigate these claims had never been explicitly stated. The only responsibility that you were given to by Palme was the protection and safekeeping of Princess Ellana, as well as her siblings by extension. Yet what was it that you swore to the queen, with heated passion and vehemence so many weeks ago? “I will do everything in my power to hunt down and destroy those that would seek her death.”...aye, that is the oath that you made, before all the gods and the blades that you carry. To hunt and kill anyone that would harm the one you have sworn to protect. The irony is not lost upon you, as you loathed everything Lucien tried to turn you into. Yet here you stand, using those very talents that can so easily kill other men. You’re not sure whether or not that bastard would laugh if he could see you now.But there is a difference. You do not kill in cold blood. You do what you have to do out of duty, obligation. A duty to avenge Serena, the oath that binds you to protect Ellana Crowmond and her family. At least, that is what you tell yourself before you initiate the Specter’s Dream. Yet for now, it is good enough, it will suffice.And Queen Melianna in turn turn left you with these words, her own little response to the promise you made. Her eyes weighed you, calm and calculating, as delivered her own declaration.“The Crown calls upon you to perform beyond your capacity, to give everything you have and more. One day, the time may come for a need of additional services, but only in the most desperate of times and circumstances. And I pray that you won’t hesitate to aid us in those critical moments.”You are not blind to what she asked of you. And you have a feeling that you know well enough as to what hid behind her words. To do whatever it takes to protect the Crowmonds. Recalling Adrianna’s words about her grandfather, the Queen’s father, you can see how strongly Emyrich Tarmund’s blood and spirit flows in her veins. Family above all, no matter the cost.You exhale, your breath almost visible in the hallway of stone as you leap up into the rafters. In an instant, you blend into the long shadows that the braziers cast, pulling your cowl over your head. Is this a critical moment? Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. But it cannot be denied that a possible lead into the failed assassination of your ward presents itself before you. The chance is offered, and calls out to you.It would be remiss of you to fail to take it.(cont.)
>Roll for Stealth>1d100 + 30 (Night modifier)>Best of threeBRB, getting lunch.
Rolled 17 + 30 (1d100 + 30)>>647094
Rolled 92 + 30 (1d100 + 30)>>647094
Rolled 98 + 30 (1d100 + 30)>>647094
>>647116bretty gud. We sneaky-beaky now.
>>647103>>647115>>647116>>Late EveningThe records themselves are easy enough to locate. All it takes is the stalking of an initiate of the Viridian order, the green-blue mark of his rank flashing brilliantly against the light from crackling braizers. You follow him deep into the castle, leaping from rafter to rafter, slipping into darkness whenever he turned around, or a patrol came near. The only sign of your presence is a lingering whisper of air that parts as you pursue your quarry.Thankfully, the layout of the castle works well in your favor. It takes little effort to keep yourself affixed to the walls, almost completely invisible save for when you step directly into torchlight. The most difficult trials were those of guards who refused to move, but they were easily overcome. A hushed whisper, the toss of a stone, little things to distract them from the halls they patrolled. Lucien’s teachings come back to you, familiar patterns and movements awakening in your bones.>Trait Unlocked: In Plain Sight>+30 to Disguising/Hiding/Sneaking, Take 75 in non-stressful situationsInevitably, your scholar takes you three flights of stairs down the fortress, where he ends in front of a large door, reinforced with iron bars. There appears to be only one feasible entrance into Lord Mazur’s archives for you to come in through, save for a chimney for a fire place, as well as small gaps in the stone for ventilation. It would take a child to fit in through that tight space, and you have no desire to go outside scald yourself upon the descent of the chimney.But from what you can see, the archives themselves are devoid of any life. In the long hall, only slightly bigger than Lord Mazur’s dining room, tables are clear of books and the only noise is that of the wind and the crackling fire. It would make sense that a lesser family would not have their archives staffed constantly, with only a small collection of books compared to a greater house. Yawning and shifting the heavy tomes in his hand, the initiate reaches for a key that hangs at his belt. It shines dimly in the light, the bronze long tarnished through the ages. You quickly scan around, checking for any other people that might be coming through the hallway. But there are none who enter, no maidservant nor houseguard. At the entrance to the archives, deep within the fortress of Alnerwich, it is only you, Marcus Painel, and this Viridian Initiate.>Knock him out quietly and steal his key.>Wait for him to enter, then try to pick the lock.>Custom option.
>>647314>>Wait for him to enter, then try to pick the lock.Don't want him talking to the guards when ever he wakes up up>>643979>Ruvel and his child are masters at hiding in the shadows, unseen and unheard. Ellana’s could learn from their example.>>647314>>Trait Unlocked: In Plain SightBitch Please
>>647314>>Wait for him to enter, then try to pick the lock.
>>647314 >>Wait for him to enter, then try to pick the lock.
>>647314>Wait for him to enter, then try to pick the lock.
You could easily take him out without too much noise. Hand over the mouth, elbow around the throat, a slight bit of pressure, and the final result is one unconscious initiate. But it does not come without its disadvantages. Even if you were quick in going about it, the risk of an alarm being raised is too great to knock him out. Come morning, he would know that someone had attacked him.So you choose to wait, sitting in your little alcove as the Initiate unlocks the door. Your hands go over the rakes at your belt as you observe the key jiggling within the lock. The mechanism itself is not obtrusively large, only slightly bigger than the standard fare for larder stocks or craftsmen’s stores. It seems pathetically small in comparison to the iron-reinforced doors.But from the landings and projections along the underside of the blade, you can tell that you’re going to have one hell of a time picking this. This is definitely a higher step than the Red Snake locks you’ve been used to picking.The initiate is quick about his task, walking as briskly as he can to drop the tomes on a nearby desk with a profound THUMP. Three minutes don’t even pass by before he enters and exits, shutting the door behind him as quietly as possible. Another yawn echoes along the stone walls of the corridor as he reaches the end of the hall. As the young man disappears up the stairs, you offer him quiet sympathy at the sight of bags underneath his eyes before dropping down to the floor.You quickly move to snuff out the torches, save for one to provide just enough light for you to squint through the hole of the lock. Calloused fingertips brush along the rakes tucked away at your belt, bumping over ridges and protrusions until you find the tool that’s just the right size. You slip out a worn feeler and an iron snake rake, popping smaller tools between your teeth as you squint into the mechanism.It isn’t too different from the ones you’ve picked, both with Lucien and with your years in the Locusts. The only noticeable difference is the ostentatious design of a tower. There’s no cover, and the cylinder is surprisingly roomy, probably a design factor that went into that large, symbolic key of the Viridian order. It would seem foolish to design locks around for a key if it isn't for the fact that you saw a different kind of key hanging from Magister Ansell’s belt when he gave you and Ellana lessons.You insert the feeler inside, counting four pins with the tip of the tool. A tap confirms that the shear line is too ragged to rake open, but it shouldn’t take too long to crack the mechanism open the hard way. The half-diamond and torsion wrench go into your mouth, along with the small and medium pick. They scrape against the insides of your teeth as you clamp down and get to work.(cont.)
As you trap the first pin, you feel a little more spring that you expect. A bad feeling churns to life in the bottom of your gut. And when you tilt your head to let the light shine at a different angle, you realize that you’ve underestimated how far the Viridian Order goes to keep their knowledge safe.The trap slit is in the first place you check, half an inch from the surface in the door frame to your right. A quick check confirms that there are no other places for any nasty surprises to come out of. Inside the slit, the hidden blade, spring-bound and coiled tight, catches the dim lighting. It glistens with a ruddy paste. You can’t recognize the stuff, even though the list of viscous poisons or toxins is limited and only in the double digits. But you have little desire to find out what it is the hard way, especially since you don’t have any countervenom or antidotes prepared. Well, something for next time, you suppose. The hairs on the back of your neck rise as you carefully go about unlocking the door and disarming the trap, ever so slowly, ever so carefully.>Roll 2d100 + 30 Lockpicking/Disable Device>Order is: Door lock, Blade trap>Best of three
Rolled 63, 48 + 30 = 141 (2d100 + 30)>>648324
Rolled 49, 43 + 30 = 122 (2d100 + 30)>>648324Oh dear.
Rolled 29, 58 + 30 = 117 (2d100 + 30)>>648324
Rolled 4, 58 + 30 = 92 (2d100 + 30)>>648324
Rolled 40, 69 + 30 = 139 (2d100 + 30)>>648324
>>648324Question:Cant we just jam a knife in the blade slit to jam the trap?
Rolled 30, 50 + 30 = 110 (2d100 + 30)>>648324benis
Rolled 20, 57 + 30 = 107 (2d100 + 30)>>648324
>>648327>>64833093/88Not bad all told.
>>648337That would just trigger the trap. I have a friend who's into locks, and she told me about how sensitive these things can get and how violent they respond to tampering. While the example she used was crude (she called it a clit) the point remains that tampering with the trap would more than likely trigger it.Be that as it may, you guys rolled pretty good, all things considered.Writing...
>>648351Fair enough.DESU my nomminal approach to locks in games has always been the blunt force application, then again thats mainly due to gaming with murder hobos.
>>648360To be fair in real life most locks fail much more easily and sometimes more quickly depending on how well defended the pins are to brute force. Picking a lock is only really useful if you want to avoid attention, otherwise a a sledgehammer, hacksaw, or drill are pretty solid keys. Locks for the most part are a pretty shit defense system. It's like they say; locks only keep honest people out.
>>648327>>648329>>648330>93, 88You shift your attention to the trap mechanism, retracting the rake and feeler. Those you swap out for the medium and small hooks, coming away from your mouth covered in spit. Probing around the trap’s entrance rewards you with set of wedge points. You take your damn time as you wriggle the hooks into place, making sure that they’re nice and tight within the mechanism before you move back to the lock.With one hand keeping the hooks in place, you use your other to get the snake rake back into the door lock. Going in without a feeler is hard, but you’ve done it before. The only difference between that time and this one is how long you spend jamming it in there, blindly but carefully probing around for the tumblers. Eventually you find them all, and leverage the rake right into the unlocked position. There’s a tense second when you trigger the lock. The small wicket gate swings open an inch, and the hooks tremble as the hold the blade trap in place. You don’t sigh in relief as all the tools in your mouth would clatter onto the floor. Gently extracting the hooks from the blade trap, you wipe them clean with a bit of cloth before returning them into their container. You’ll have ample time to find out what was on the trap.>Nimble Fingers has gained a rank! Choose one upgrade:>The +30 Bonus increases to +40.>Best of three becomes best of four.You check the door for any other surprises, tripwires and the like. Finding none, you push the door open and peer around the entrance. It looks as much the same as it does from the windows close to the ceiling, though you have to make a correction for yourself as to the number of books stored within Lord Mazur’s archives. Hundreds of leather-bound tomes and vellum scrolls are stacked onto the shelves, some locked away behind smaller cabinets. But for the most part, overcoming the little surprise at the door was the hardest task you’d have to do all night. You glide through the tables, reaching the front desk with only a couple of strides. A quick look at the registrar sets you on the path towards the record keeping, specifically that of the businesses owned by Lord Mazur. Since the production of Alchemist’s Fire is strictly mandated by the Empire, there’s no small amount of books on the subject. Some going back as far as the last hundred years. It takes a moment to identify the latest returns, and you pull it off the shelf with little ceremony. Flipping through the book reveals a series of ledgers and contracts, all signed and sealed by Lord Mazur’s name and crest, as well as the supervisor of the Alchemist’s Guild, one Mengus Silvera. Accounts of the quantities of substance produced, as well as any discrepancies and accidents, are meticulously noted. Average across the board.(cont.)
>>648469>The +30 Bonus increases to +40.While best of 4 is potentially better, just being overall more competent would be more useful since the 4th can still roll like shit, but +10 will always be there.
>>648469>>Best of three becomes best of four.only we can't critfail on the fourth die otherwise +40
>>648469>The +30 Bonus increases to +40.For the logic above.
>>648469No, there is one thing that stands out. For the last thirty years, the quantity of the accelerant remains average, never deviating far from its gross outcome. Accounted for these deviances are lab accidents, bad supplies, and, if this report is to be believed, an apprentice sneezing into the syrup. Nothing too dramatic, the differences are minuscule.But last autumn, enough of the substance for five bottles’ worth has inexplicably gone missing. The only excuse offered is a lab accident, but this is the first incident where a comparatively large portion has gone to waste. Hard to notice when the guild produces an average of one-hundred twenty over the course of a year. But on a month-to-month basis, the discrepancy sticks out like a sore thumb.You make a mental note to report this to Palme or Pullman when you can. Hopefully they’ll understand your reasoning behind sneaking around your host’s home. And that’s not even including your inevitable visit to the Alchemist’s Guild. With Pullman and Mazur on the warpath to getting rid of the Vascieli, you expect at least another week here in Alnerwich for them to clear out Silverstone Quarry. Plenty of time to investigate and take care of other miscellaneous matters. Now, it’s best for you to be on your way. It only takes a few minutes, but by the time you make your exit, the archives are just as they once were, complete with lit torches and an unblemished lock. Any thief or assassin can break into a stronghold, but it takes a damn good one to leave without a trace. >Choose one:>The Cleric>The King>The ShadowGetting dinner, BRB
>>648469>>The +30 Bonus increases to +40.>>648532>>The Shadow
>>648532The Shadow.This is Emeron's Crownguard, right?
>>648532>The Marcus cause lets be honest your pacing can't really afford constantly changing to side characters.
>>648532 >>The King
>>648532>The Cleric>>648469>The +30 Bonus increases to +40.
>>648757....actually fuck.Change vote to >>648587
>>648587You actually make a pretty good point.Kaz, can we just stick with Marcus?
>>648532>>648587honestly yea, I really prefer sticking with just main characters. It's usually better to let us learn things in character.
>>649008>>648973>>648775I mean, if he doesn't have anything else prepared for Marcus this session then I'm fine with switching.Otherwise we should honestly keep the ball rolling.
>>648587>>648973>>649008>>649028Okay, having read all of our concerns, I can see why you would be worried. And to an extent, that might be partially my fault. Apparently, I forgot to factor in my new schedule, workload and how both relate to my writing time, as well as my general crap to do. With that said, I'm willing to shift for this quest, and DOQ to an extent since both have significantly different writing styles that require a longer pace. Or I can try to shorten my snips and speed up writing time, but that's gonna take some practice and getting used to.Truth be told, this is the conclusion to the /tg/ thread that got cut off during the Quest purge. I initially meant to have all of this in that prior thread, but due to mod action, we are now here. So, with all this in mind, I was planning to end with a snip, but if you guys insist, I don't mind writing some more for Marcus. If that's the case, then we'll truck on from here. And I will cut back on my POV changes. Might even shorten the introitus. We'll see. We good? If so, I'll start writing up for Marcus.
>>649457Sounds good.ALICE WHEN MOTHERFUCKER
>>649457It's cool.That said, when the thread is over we should have real talk post thread about stuff concerning stuff like this.
>>649457sounds good to me>>649504yea i think that might be a good idea, we can get an idea of what kaz wants out of this quest, what we want, hopefully work out something that leaves everyone satisfied and enjoying themselves.
>>649504>>649545Yeah, that sounds like a good plan. Totally up for that.Almost done writing...
>Alnerwich>Winter 55, 238 ACR>Marcus PainelThe first light of dawn greets you as you step out of the Specter’s Dream, shining brightly through stained glass windows of the guest chambers. You step up from your position, taking only the briefest of moments to wring out the cricks in your neck. One change of clothes later, and you find yourself ready for the new day.Urath and Bellatrix had come back late the night prior, long after you returned from your jaunt into Mazur’s archives. Both of them sported grins and noticeably fatter coin purses, doubtless won from some fishmonger or stablehand. Hopefully they didn’t take too much, but you don’t have much worry about that. The reek of alcohol that clings to their clothes is of higher grade than the watered-down piss commonly found in most taverns.They do a good job of cleaning up, however, and by the time the Crowmonds rise from their slumber at the cock’s crow, their appearance is that of the immaculate Crownguard they are supposed to be.Breakfast is a relatively dull affair in the wake of last night’s feast. Biscuits and bacon, of admittedly high quality, all washed down with a light wine. But there are newcomers as well, notably Mazur’s children. The absence of his lady, their mother, is due to an unfortunate contraction of the Burning Fever, information Silverow whispers to you in a quiet sotto.However, that had been a long time ago, and Mazur’s progeny seem to be just as lively as any other young noble in the middle of their teenage years.Klara and Patryk Mazur are their mother’s children, almost to the point where you yourself question as to whether or not they’re legitimate. The biggest tells are their red hair and their unusually pale skin tone compared to their father. Yet, even as you form the thought, further observation banishes it away. Patryk shares Lord Mazur’s jawline, and while Klara has her father’s eyebrows, both have his lips as well. There are other minute facial similarities, but you put it to rest in favor of concentrating on other things. If the issue of bastardry had not come up in the twins’ sixteen years of life, then there is no need to ponder on that subject.“We did not get the opportunity to talk much last night,” Klara says, her voice soft and lightly accented with the tonality of the Vale. It’s pointed, almost musical, and nuanced when it comes to vowels. Her smile is friendly as she addresses Adrianna. “Your highness, if it pleases you, I have arranged one of our rooms so that you may relax while we speak. Even in the mildest of conditions, the journey from the Midbridge must have been taxing.”There is a moment’s hesitation before she smiles, and accepts the offer. And when they are done, the two ladies follow one of Mazur’s servants up the stairs and onto the higher floors. Bellatrix rolls her eyes, miming a gagging gesture before following her ward into a doom of idle chatter and banal gossip.(cont.)
That is what Adrianna is doing. Silverow takes Allanus to the gardens, for lessons in magic. Urath follows them soon after, trailing dutifully after his charge with a respectful nod to you. And within a span of mere seconds, the last people at the table are you, Ellana, and Patryk Mazur.Patryk smiles. “Father would normally be here to dine with you, but he is busy preparing for a punitive expedition with Lord Pullman. To think that the Vascieli were so close all this time…well, it does not matter. I still find myself in the position of host regardless of the rebel scum. Do not hesitate if there is anything you need, your highness.”She can’t curtsey while she’s sitting down, but Ellana returns the smile and finishes the bit of biscuit in her mouth. “Your hospitality comes greatly appreciated,” she dutifully says in a cheerful tone. “Thank you.”“And…forgive me, I did not catch your name.” This is directed towards you, and young Mazur appreciates you from the bottom up. “Crownguard, am I not correct?”You nod. “Yes, milord.”He muses on that, eyes wandering across your weapons that the cowl that hangs around your neck and chin. “Rest assured that while you are here in Alnerwich, you have nothing to fear. This is a good town, beholden to the Crowmonds and the rule of law. Safety is our watchword.”You’re quite sure how to respond to that, but you incline your head respectfully. “Your words are welcome, milord. But you will have to forgive me if I still remain vigilant on behalf of my lady.”“I cannot fault that logic,” He replies, finishing a small glass of wine before rising from his seat. “The week will be long while my father and your uncle purge the last of the Vascieli. If you wish to do something in particular during your stay, let my servants know, and I will see to it as best I can.”He exits after that, and only when his footsteps fade away does Ellana turn to you and whisper, “Marcus, I want to go outside! Beyond the castle walls, I want to explore Alnerwich. It’s too cooped up in here. Can you…can you accompany me? Please? I'm so bored..."For all her maturity, she does an incredibly good impression of the pleading princess.>“Grab your cloak and we’ll head on out.”>“Only if we receive your sister’s permission.”>“That would be unsafe and dangerous, milady.”>Custom option.
>>649821>>“Only if we receive your sister’s permission.”
>>649821>"One condition: Before you leave, you pick out a book or topic to study here. We'll both go over it after returning from outside, or if circumstances require us to return early."
>>649821"That would be unwise milady, but if you insist, we can ask your sister if you're allowed to leave."
The request takes you off your guard. You cringe internally as the princess’ request throws your plans for the day all out of alignment. Investigate the guild both during the day, and in the night. The evening investigation is still possible, but you want ample time to observe the building where the volatile substance is made. Sure, you can always improvise on the spot, gods know that you’ve done it before, but it’s difficult and hard to adjust on the fly.And that isn’t even going into the fact that you don’t know this town, and you don’t know their people. Sure, it seems well-patrolled and spacious for a trading city, but these kinds of settlements have tendencies to draw undesirables.Still…You give your ward a wry smile. “I seem to recall your sister wanting you to continue your lessons. Was it your handwriting that needed work, or your needle work? Then again, it might have been history.”That elicits a pout. “Marcus…” She draws out your name, slumping against the table. “I’ve studied so much, and I’m tired of sitting around. Please…”You can see her point. Cooped up in the carriage for hours, and studying with the snow available to play with…yeah, the childhood that you’ve never had screams at you to let her indulge. You can’t say no to that face. But, you aren’t about to go down without a fight.“Princess Adrianna will your hide, and my head if you do not do some form of study,” You tell her. “So how about this? I will take you outside under two conditions: your sister’s permission is non-negotiable, as she is second only to your mother in this matter. The second is that when we return, you will study once more but…”Hope fills her faux-despondent eyes. “But…?”You smile. “You can pick the topic. As long as it is of an academic nature, you have free reign to choose.”She sits up, pondering before reaching some kind of conclusion. “Really? I can pick any topic?”“Yeah. You got it.”“Okay…” Ellana’s face scrunches up in concentration, and you can see the gears turning in her head. “Hey, Marcus, do you still have that book about plants? I mean, yes, of course you do, but can we look at that?”Huh. An interesting choice, considering that there’s a whole archive of more interesting subjects for her to choose from. This you can say with absolute confidence. “May I ask why?”She fidgets slightly, seemingly embarrassed before answering, “You were mixing plants together that one time back along the Vethic Road. It was…fascinating. I mean, to turn flower petals and mushrooms into alchemical potions and salves. Alchemy is fascinating to me.”Well, you can see where she’s coming from in that regard. It is truly awesome to watch seemingly useless components and catalysts come together to form the difference between life and death. And you have a small fondness for the explosions that the more volatile ingredients cause. (cont.)
“I hope you know that we’re not going to be mixing anything together,” You point out as you head up towards the room where Adrianna and Klara have vanished to. She has to jump up some of the stairs whereas you have no trouble going up one step at the time. “At least, you aren’t. It isn’t princess-like.”She giggles at that. “You sound just like Adrianna. And I know…but can I watch you if you decide to mix some more things together?”You think about it for a moment. “I don’t see why not.”Ellana beams at that. “Then I promise to study when we get back!” >>10:45 AMAdrianna extracted a promise for the two of you to return two hours after noon, as well as to stick to the safer areas of town. Which ultimately meant the marketplace, as well as the upper end residences of craftsmen and merchants. The dock is included, but the boundary is drawn right at the edge where Alnerwich splits off into the residences for the lower classes. Not serfs or the impoverished, but just the day laborers and fishermen. That, Ellana agrees to with vehemence. It seems that while her dislike for fish isn’t stopping her from exploring, there are just some things that she’s unable to overcome.You’re let out of the wicket gate by a team of Mazur’s guards, who bow respectfully before the princess. Even though her winter cloak hides most of her body, her blue-white hair still marks her as a member of the Crowmonds. Not that most folks would notice, you observe. Ellana had never had her public debut before the public. It was only recently that she came back from the von Roies and back to Karthmire Keep.Now that you’ve gotten used to the smell, you can see that Alnerwich is actually a pleasant place. The snow has turned the some sections of the main road into muddy, half-frozen slush, but that does not seem to detract Ellana in the slightest, The hem of her dress soon becomes splattered with mud as she eagerly walks forward, and you dutifully trail right behind her.“There’s so many places for us to visit, Marcus!” Ellana says, excitedly, eyes darting around from object to object. “But I don’t know where to start…”>The Dragonstooth>The General Marketplace>The Harbor at Anosar>The Oracle’s Alley
>>650183>The Oracle’s Alley
>>650183>>The General MarketplaceSo if Marcus' standard level of paranoia is a level 5 what is it at right now?
>>650198Probably a 7. Passive aura of hostility that flares up at anyone who gets close to Ellana.
>>650214I live for the day we go Defcon 1
Rolled 1 (1d3)Hmmm...three-way tie.1. Oracle's Alley2. Marketplace3. DragonstoothWriting...
“The Oracle’s Alley looks promising,” You say, pointing out the site in question. Alley is the wrong word. Perhaps the better description would be to call it a side-street, as it’s half as big as the main road proper. Tents and pitched canvas run through the street, with attractions running the gamut from tea-readers to crystal ball gazers. “If anything, I can show you how to avoid getting swindled.”Ellana thinks about it, eventually smiling as she tugs you forward. “Okay, we can go there first, but I’m picking the next destination. I’ve never had my fortune read before!”It’s all a bunch of bullshit. At least, that’s what you want to say, but you want to keep her ears devoid of any cursing. And to make it out of the alley without someone trying to get physical for calling out the truth.You’re not one for the gods, but you have nothing against them or the people that worship them. Yet, if there is one belief that you steadfastly deny, it is that of predestined. Things were meant to happen because the gods said so, and man cannot escape his fate. You reject that. Man is free to live his or her life as he or she wishes. Their own actions are their own, and do not belong to some distant god.So maybe that’s why you’re against fortune telling, no matter what form it took. Tarock Cards, trance-inducing, destiny boards, and palm readers alike held your contempt. Bilking money from honest people, just so they could espouse some horseshit about love, a distant, but rich relative, and to be wary of some general fear. Hell, you could do it yourself if you could keep a straight face.It is that kind of conmen that you cannot stand, almost as bad as criminals like the Red Snakes. Or maybe you’re just scared that one day, you’ll find someone who actually has the gift of prophecy.Still, Ellana seems to be enjoying herself. If someone’s going to burst her bubble, it isn’t going to be you.You have the impression that the alley does business better at night, but there’s still a substantial base of customers available. Mostly young women and housewives, as well as few young boys and girls. What coin they have to offer gets what they paid for, whether a cheap divination from a “medium of the dead” to an exotically dressed Ingulan divining something through crystal formations.A wizened man, trying and failing to appear as a sage from the distant subcontinent of Jeraniya, beckons a withered talon towards you and the princess. You can see the cracks in the man’s skin where the brown body paint broke with every twist and turn. You quickly steer Ellana away without looking back. For a moment, you contemplate ducking out and just going somewhere else before the princess tugs at your arm. “Marcus, this one looks interesting!”(cont.)
Out of all the tents, this one has got to be the shabbiest. It barely looks like it could fit three people, let alone a table or an audience. The quilt that covers the entrance is almost threadbare and patched in over a dozen places. And the strong smell of some herbal concoction is enough to make fish palatable in comparison. There is no sign at the entrance, no indication of what lies behind the curtain. You’re about to insist that the tent is probably abandoned before a pair of voices call out behind you. “Yaya will see you now.”It takes every nerve in your body not to whip out a dagger at the source of the noise. Two girls, Ingulans, you realize, stand behind you, unmoving and still like guards at their posts. They are twins, that much you can see, but the one on your right is pale, whereas her sister has the complexion typical of the Children of the Goddess. No more than fourteen years old, their dress is that of Skysingers, the priestesses of the Elder Gods. Even with your troublesome youth, you still have enough propriety to keep your eyes leveled at theirs. Which is a hard feat in of itself when they’re a head and a half shorter than you.“Ah,” you say, scratching the back of your head. “There is someone here? No sign was present…”“You meant to find this place…” The pale twin says.“…drawn like a moth to the flame…” Her brown twin continues.“…brought here to discover the truth of your destiny.” They conclude together.“I am Sarana.”“I am Anuras.”“And we are the attendants to Yaya.”…okay, what the hell? This is...well, it's pretty good as far as authenticity goes. The costumes are accurate, and that cryptic manner of speaking. Top notch to their performance.“Yaya…” Ellana frowns. “The Ingulan word for ‘grandmother’?”“Yes,” The twins reply in unison. A shiver runs down your spine at the eeriness of it all. And now that you notice it, none of the other guests in the alleyway seem to be reacting to the little show they’re putting on. Pedestrians just walk right around the girls without as much as looking down or gawking. Either they’re used to this display…or something’s up. “She is waiting for you, and has been for the longest time.”“Who will go first?” The brown girl asks. “The girl on the cusp of spring?”“Or her guardian who protects from the shadows?” Her sister concludes.They clasp hands, and stare directly at the two of you. “Together you may go, or one by one, or none at all. It is your choice.”>“I’ll go first.”>“She’ll go first.”>“We’re going in together.”>“Ellana, we're leaving, now.”>Custom option.
>>650519>>“We’re going in together.”Hahaha paranoia at 9 now?
>>650519>>“We’re going in together.”No way we're letting her go in there alone.
>>650519>>“We’re going in together.”
>>650519>“Or her guardian who protects from the shadows?”I honestly have to ask what do they mean by that.
>>650519>>“We’re going in together.”>>650572we're the shadow that keeps other shadows away.
Every sense in your body is screaming at you to run, and your paranoia’s at the point where any further would result in lethal retaliation. Unfortunately, Ellana shares none of your trepidation, as she nods excitedly. Ah, the innocence of youth…Hold up a moment. Something that they said grabs your attention. “You said that I was ‘guardian who protects from the shadows’,” You slowly intone, eyes sharp and focused on the Ingulan twins that stand before you. “What did you mean by this?”“Two methods of interpretation,” Saruna whispers. She releases her sister’s arm to point towards your heart. “You are the guardian who is unseen, lurking in the darkness and waiting to strike.”“Or you are that which protects from literal shadow,” Anuras continues. “One could be right, one must be wrong. But both could be true…”Ellana startles you by tugging at your sleeve. “Marcus, let’s go! We’ll get our fortunes read together!”As if there would be any other option. There’s no way you’d go on ahead and leave her outside, and you’d be damned if you let her go on while you stayed inside. If she’s so determined to have her bloody fortune read, then the two of you are going in together. Of course, the option to just grab her and run still remains. But a gnawing feeling in the bottom of your gut tells you that might not be the best of ideas. Not there’s a looming danger, but…a choice you might come later to regret.“Alright,” You say, keeping your breath as easy as you can, “Let’s go see this…Yaya.”>>Yaya’s TentTo your surprise, the tent itself is larger on the inside than it appears on the outside. The wall behind the tent must’ve collapsed some while ago, as the canvas stretches further in by at full ten feet. There’s room for a table, a couple of chairs, and no small amount of aromatic herbs and fetishes that dangle from leather thongs. In the chair opposite of your position, an old woman sits languidly upon the varnished wood. Dressed in the robes typical for a revered elder, complete with all the ornamentation, this woman must be Yaya. And she certainly looks like one, too, with wrinkles, thin white hair and leathery skin. Milky cataracts have all but obscured her pupils, leaving the black a white-wash grey.“Don’t just stand there,” She says, in a voice that’s surprisingly devoid of the dregs and crooning that most people her age would have. “Please, come in. Anyone who finds this place is always welcome to lay and rest a while.”Still apprehensive, you pull out a chair for Ellana before settling down yourself. But before you can say anything, the princess beats you to it. “So are you going to read our fortunes? And how are you going to do it?”(cont.)
The old woman laughs, somehow friendly but haughty, warm but mocking. “Patience, little one. It is a virtue that many do not possess, as they rush about in their lives from one thing to the next.”Chastised, Ellana blushes red, before the woman continues, “But to answer your question, yes, I will read two fortunes today: yours, and your companion’s. And you wish to know how…”Withered talons reach into her belt, and you put yours to your own, a precaution. But it is for naught. From her waist, she pulls a black bag the color of cloudless night. Within it, several objects rattle, hollow and echoing even through the canvas. “Tell me, how familiar are you with our people’s mythology? Do you know the story of how the world was created?”You shake your head, but Ellana nods. “Yes,” She recites, as if giving an answer to Ansell, “The god Ingur and his sister Ingul battled the Beast of Chaos, Aetherion the Devourer, born from the Cosmic Egg at the Beginning of All Things. Aetherion’s firstborn son, Erithi, betrayed it and together, the three of them sundered the Beast. Ingur used Aetherion’s corpse to mold the earth, but even though it was dead, the body still birthed monstrosities, grotesque creatures that had to be killed by Ingulan heroes such as-”Yaya holds out a hand for her to stop, sharp and quick like a magister, and she stops talking immediately. “You are well versed in our history. Who told you all this?”“Our nursemaid…she is Ingulan, just like you.”“…I understand. Little wonder as to your font of knowledge. And you wonder where I go with this?”With an upending gesture, she opens the bag and lets its contents fall loosely onto the table. Rattling and clacking along the wood, a series of white objects fall into random, undecipherable patterns. Bleached white and lighter than a pen, they loll along the wood before coming to a clattering stop.“These are bone fragments taken from Aetherion’s skull,” Yaya intones, running loving hands along the smooth surfaces of the objects. “From where Ingur’s club stove the beast’s head in during the final battle. Harvested from the socked of the Devourer’s third eye, they provide insight into future events and offer advice in troubling times. Passed down my tribe for many generations, long before Eridians and Vethics came to our shores. Thousands have died trying to claim them for themselves, and millions for keeping them safe from those who did not understand.”Ellana’s eyes are wide, and you have a hard time keeping the disbelief off of your face. She means to say that these are the remains of a mythological beast? Unironically, you would better believe her story if she claimed they were dragon bones. At least you know for a fact that dragons existed at one point on Kaithe.(cont.)
Yaya smiles, but not at Ellana. No, she smile at you, and in spite of her cataracts, you know that she’s looking directly at you. “I can sense your doubt. You do not believe?”>“Aetherion and Ingur is a creation story, a myth to explain why the Ingulans exist.” [Reason]>“For a conwoman, you’re doing a really good job at building the story.” [Confront]>“How on earth can fragment of bones tell the future? Looks random to me.” [Question]>“You should’ve tried telling me that they were dragon bones.” [Sarcasm]
>>650896>the three of them sundered the Beast. Ingur used Aetherion’s corpse to mold the earth, but even though it was dead, the body still birthed monstrosities, grotesque creatures that had to be killed by Ingulan heroes such as-”the "monsters" are dragons and other mythic beasts yeah?>>650896>“For a conwoman, you’re doing a really good job at building the story.” [Confront]>“You should’ve tried telling me that they were dragon bones.” [Sarcasm]
>>650896>“You should’ve tried telling me that they were dragon bones.” [Sarcasm]"But continue with the show."
>>650896>"You’re doing a really good job at building the story.” [Resigned]no use in ruining Ellana's fun. And we're just going to get more bullshit whatever we choose.
>>650896>>“How on earth can fragment of bones tell the future? Looks random to me.” [Question]Don't ruin shit for the princess
>>650896>>“How on earth can fragment of bones tell the future? Looks random to me.” [Question]
>>650912>>650914>>650919>>650976“I not very religious,” You answer, watching as Ellana carefully pokes at one of the bone fragments. “So to me, this is a story. A well-crafted story, but a story nonetheless. If you had told me these were dragon bones, I would’ve believed you. But continue, please, by all means. I’m curious to find out how these bones can tell the future.”Yaya cackles, and the sound of her laughter is like nails against your ear. But she seems to be amused, and not offended. Well, you take your blessings where you can.“You will not be disappointed then,” the old woman says, collecting the bones once more into her bag. Once the fragments have been collected into the sack, she offers it to you. “The bones must be imbibed with the spirit of the subject, otherwise it will not work. In the old days, we would cut the subjects’ hand and let their blood smear onto the bones.”Ellana looks horrified, but even as you make a move to shield her, Yaya sighs. “No, we will not be using your blood. Just shaking the bag is enough. I have no desire to clean out the blood from the bones or my sack.”Without too much ceremony, she drops the bag of bones on the table. You and Ellana stare at it, then at each other, then back to the bag. And the princess seems to (finally) be having second thoughts about going into this particular tent. Not that she’d ever voice them out loud.“Someone must go first!” Yaya crows. “Hurry! We do not have all day.”>You will go first.>Ellana will go first.
>>651008>>Ellana will go first.
>>651008>>You will go first.
>>651008>You will go first.Just in case. Anyone else think it would be interesting if we were supposed to die and Ellana somehow rewrote fate to save us?
>>651008>>You will go first.that way if it's to shady we can get the hell out of doge before Ellana is told something weird.>>651036That would be fun.
>>651036I doubt she has that sort of power. Would not be surprised if we absolutely freaked the Seer the fuck out though.
>>651053What?The princess has already saved us from death, she used a rare as shit magical substance when we were in the middle of the street bleeding out.If we follow the characters logic that destiny is mutable, then fate is rewritable.
>tfw the lights start to flicker erratically as I write the sceneWriting...
>>651088Then it would not affect our current reading at all, as it happened already. Furthermore that'd imply she was not fated to save us, as she was in the right spot, at the right time with the necessary item , which as you mentioned is rare as fuck, and we somehow made our way straight to her.
>>651120I would argue the MCs path was anything but direct.And you may have a point. If the yaya wigs out then we are fucking with fate, if she does not then its predestined.The dreams are probably enough to get comment though.
>>651140I meant we made a beeline for her after we finished off the Ingulan twins, from the slums to where she was.
>>651154Pretty sure we just wandered into the streets and then she came to us. I mean i get your point, i just think the phrase "came directly to her/us" is stupid in the context, like, what variety of this scenario would you accept as indirect?
>>651189Not passing out and falling over JUST as we got in front of her for starters.
>>651019>>651036>>651051“I’ll do it,” You quickly say, grabbing the bones before Ellana can make a grab for them. At her uneasy look, you smile, and gently touch the edge of her shoulder. “I’m your Crow…guardian, after all. It’s best that I go first. Remember what I said?”She nods, and the small beginnings of a reassuring smile quirk at her lips. You release her shoulder and begin to shake the bag as vigorously as you can. Imbibe the spirit, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do with the bone fragments. In your mind’s eye, your enemies flash before your eyes: Lucien, Asmodai, and the unknown mastermind that tried to kill Ellana.You shake the bag for a good fifteen seconds before you think you’ve filled the sack with your spirit, your essence. Yaya makes that cackling laugh again as the bones come to a stop, the last bit of noise absorbed by the faded canvas of the tent. You glumly hand the bones back to her before she holds out her hands in front of you. “I cannot touch them now that they are imbibed with your spirit,” She says, gesturing towards the table. “Lest I contaminate the bones and the reading. You alone must open the bag and let them fall to land in the spiral that is your destiny.”…well, that makes enough sense if spend some time puzzling it out. Frowning at the old woman, you tug at the strings holding the bag shut. And in a single motion, you upend the bag and let the bones fall onto the table, clattering and bouncing off of wood and each other. They spin and rattle, going in too many directions for you to keep track of. Yet none of them fall off the table, always finding a place close towards the center before they eventually stop moving.But something is wrong. What little light a nearby lamp casts reveals that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. Ellana’s hands fly straight to her mouth, and for the first time, her eyes are wide and fearful. She is shaking, you realize. You follow her gaze, towards the table, and what lies on the table set that cold, and heavy weight in the pit of your stomach, drives all the warmth out of your body in a single instant.“How interesting,” Yaya croons, rubbing her hands together with maniac glee. She presses herself close towards the table, rubbing one of the bones with an errant talon and squinting through the milky ruin of her eyes. “How very, very interesting…”The bones, and the withered finger that comes away from the table, are stained with blood.(cont.)
Palme investigated our rampage, but what did the average person think of the fact that an entire gang was pretty much murdered and one of their most feared members was found partially flayed and castrated.
>>651205“You didn’t go and cut yourself when I told you not to, did you, boy?” The Seer murmurs as she traces the path where the bones fall. Patterns that don’t make any sense to you, spirals, swirls and twisting shapes spell out the entirety of your past, present and future. “No, I don’t think so. You didn’t have enough time to do that, even with all the knives that hang from your belt.”You reach out to touch Ellana. She flinches slightly, and it takes a firmer grip on her shoulder to get her to even out her breathing, to stop her from shaking any further. It’s just as much for her sake as it is for your own. You’re literally less than thirty seconds from hoisting the princess over your shoulders and getting the hell out the alleyway.“The Ouroboros,” Yaya intones in a voice several times deeper than her high cackle. “The snake that feeds upon itself, the symbol of infinity and wholeness. But to be in the past is unheard of, never before seen. It can be interpreted…the end of infinity, the breaking of the cycle. That which tried to consume in turn became consumed.”Lucien.“In its center, lies the Morning Star, a bright light against the darkness that threatens to consume you. But this too has been snuffed out, shattered and broken beyond repair. It will never grace you with its light ever again, and you had wandered the earth, blind and without purpose.”Serena.Yaya’s hands move from one end of the table to the next, ignoring the blood that smears all over her hands. “Your present…blood that is not your blood. The Crown that crosses with the Spear, twixt split by the Ashen Violet. You find yourself among the company of warriors loyal to great power, siblings in all things save for blood.”The Crownguard.Her smile becomes mischievous, a gesture that would’ve been amusing in any other situation. But now, it only resembles the grimace of a predatory animal. “The Sun mounts the Empty Throne. That which replaced your light is news most precious to you. It is this that you fight for the hardest, that you will give everything for.”You turn to Ellana, who returns your gaze with that same confused, frightened look. The seer shifts in her chair, standing up to move around the table. Ellana moves away, pressing herself into you as much as she can to put as much distance between her and Yaya. “And now…" the Ingulan mutters, placing her hands atop the last set of bones, "For your future.”>Listen to your future.>Scatter the bones.
>>651348>>Listen to your future.
>>651348>>Scatter the bones.Let it be a surprise.
>>651348On one hand, I really want to hear this.On the other, I really want to scatter them and say "I am no slave to fate."Then again, she's been pretty accurate so far.I'll let this play out.>Listen to your future.
>>651348>Listen to your future.As much as i want to scatter the bones, i dont think MC would be adverse to any information, despite its dubiousness.Also little princess getting to know how dark her protector is.
>>651348 >>Listen to your future.
>>651348>Listen to your future.It's not like we can avoid it when it comes even in the Specter's Dream.
Guys, I'm actually starting to get sleepy. Can't concentrate anymore and my eyes are starting to hurt.Gonna have to call it quits for now. See y'all in the morning, where we'll wrap up this fortune telling and have real talk, okay?
>>651475See you in the morning.
>>651475Sorry I haven't been around to participate, just wanted to let you know I am glad this is still running. One of my favorite quests at the moment
You’ve listened to your past and present spelled out with painful accuracy. This shit is the real deal. Out of the hundreds of murmurs that you’ve encountered in your life, you’ve finally met a real diviner. And you’re just as terrified as you thought you would be. You’ve seen magic before, fought against those that could bend the energies of Chaos to their will, but this is magic of a caliber that only exists in stories and legends.The hand that isn’t on Ellana’s shoulder clenches tightly as Yaya moves to the bones that spell out your future. Your ward is brave, adapting a determined front as the divination continues. The seer croons over the patterns, tracing bloody fingers over the bones as milky eyes twitch erratically in their sockets.“Interesting…you don’t run away or scatter the bones,” the old woman murmurs, continuing her ministrations, “Many that have come before choose to flee. They have no desire to see what lies ahead, choosing to reject that which fate has cast.”“Yeah, well guess what?” You growl, and you’re surprised at the ferocity of your own voice. “I’m not one of them. I make my own destiny, no matter what your bones spell out.”Her laugh is dry, rasping, and the smile that accompanies it is missing more than a few teeth. Ellana blanches even as the corner of your mouth twitches nervously at the sight. “Such determination will serve you well in the days to come. Do not lose it, boy. Yet many forget that Aetherion was not perfect. After all, the Devourer was defeated, in spite of his third eye and the divinations it made.”“And that means?”“These events will come to pass, that much is certain. However, how you choose to deal with them is beyond the bones’ ability. Aetherion fell because of its hubris, believing that it was impervious to the attacks of the Elder Gods. Ignoring the visions of attack, it sealed its doom in that instant. Knowledge is useless unless the will to act is present as well.”She pauses, taking a moment to catch her breath before continuing. “Pay attention to this formation. The Crescent Moon symbolizes mystery, intrigue. This is what you seek after, and paired with the sigil of Erithi, Elder God of Animals, you will find what you are looking for. But you must be patient. The Broken Sundial indicates that blundering through the search will result in nothing.”For the briefest of moments, you feel yourself relax. You are no braggart, but you are not being arrogant when you say that you will find the ones who tried to kill Ellana. Lucien taught you too well in that regard, of how to hunt and stalk marks for clues, of how to bide your time until the right moment to strike. In spite of the unease in the air, you feel a sort of vindication at the acknowledgement of your efforts.(cont.)
>>651205I just want to note that Marcus' "spirit" is so metal, blood spontaneously spurts out of nowhere.This quest has never stopped being over the top.
>>656168I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. Two more updates, then we'll have real talk.Writing...
>>656168It's not really over the top. It just plays the themes and tropes straight.
>>656119Yaya moves, pushing herself off from the table. Her steps take her to the next set of bones, their configuration obscured in the dim lighting of the tent. It is these set that take the shortest amount of time for her to read, breaking off too quickly for you to be prepared for her shout of incredulity.“Now, look here!” She cries, surprising the two of you as points to the table. A pile of bones have fallen into a near-perfect spiral, among other formations you cannot even begin to decipher. “The Vortex manifests with the Dragon’s Claw, strangled by the thorns of the Tanglebriar. A disaster of an unprecedented scale is inevitable, and you will find yourself bearing witness to this conflict. How long it will last or how quickly it will spread, and even the nature of this catastrophe is unknown to me. But be on your guard. It is only in the height of despair and tragedy that the true threat will manifest itself.”Prophecies of disaster are not uncommon for the Ingulan. Covering the spectrum from dust tornadoes, festering plague and rises in the wyvern population, the books that Serena had always read were full of them. They run on the scale from the personal to the grand, sometimes affecting thousands, if not millions of people. More often than not, they’ve failed to come to pass. Or happened in a way that was not expected to occur. Wording is critical, and the transitions from Tathal to Westeron don’t always have equivalent words for direct translation. Then again, most of them were probably not recited by a genuine Seer with (supposed) bones from the monster whose corpse is allegedly the bedrock of the planet.You can’t help yourself from feeling a small sliver of fear. And paranoia like nothing you've ever felt before. You never harbored any illusions that life as a Crownguard is an easy job. Yet it is manageable, something within your realm of…expertise. It is easy to prepare for the expected threats nobles face: assassins, boredom, and political intrigue. But you cannot prepare for such a vague description; “disaster” could be anything.“And…what is this?”The old lady moves to a corner of the table, a patch of space barely illuminated by the dim light of the lantern. Running her fingers over them, she hisses in surprise, before staring at you with new consideration.“‘Thief’, the bones call you,” Yaya whispers, “Thief, crossed with the symbol of Tdolok, the Elder God of Death and Shadows. On their own, you steal life from others, as evidenced by your weapons and the blood on the bones. But paired with the Jaws of the Wolf and the Specter’s Hand…”She whets her lips and offers you a grim smile. “That which is Dead Undead will peruse you for what you have stolen. And only when they have claimed what is theirs will you know peace-”(cont.)
>>656360>That which is Dead Undead will peruse you for what you have stolen. And only when they have claimed what is theirs will you know peace-”That which is undead will pursue...?
>>656386...quest is over, BRB, going to commit sudoku. It was fun while it lasted.Writing...
>>656360So the dead will haunt us until we return the life wee're living.
>>656360“I didn’t steal anything!” Your frustration reaches a critical point, and your outburst causes Ellana to jump in her seat. “I don’t have anything of my own. These clothes and weapons were given to me…even my life, milady gave it back to me when I’d almost lost it. I would know if I took something valuable because I have nothing to begin with!”Your outburst draws the attention of the twin sisters, who peer inside with looks of seeming disinterest. Even as Yaya waves for them to stand down, you see Ellana regarding you in a new light. Curiosity tempered with concern and worry, and the slightest bit of fear. In an instant, the rancor flees from your body, and you sink back into your chair, exhausted and weary.“I’m sorry,” You offer to her, trying for a smile. Knowing your luck, it probably comes out as a grimace. “It’s just…like I told you before, mine has not been an easy life. You’ve made it easier, but…memories are hard to let go of. ” That is all you’re willing to say, vague enough to match to the story Palme provided, but true enough to vindicate a past seeped with hardship.She frowns before placing a comforting hand on your arm, squeezing softly around the metal gauntlet. Yaya looks on, an unreadable expression on her face as she gathers the bones into a bowl. “I will require hot water,” The seer rasps to her attendants, “There is a kettle in the back. The bones must be cleansed of the blood before they return to their container.”“Yes, Yaya,” The twins answer in unison, bowing before they disappear to do as their mistress bided.There is a pregnant moment of silence before the crone eventually breaks it. “Out of all the fortunes I have divined, yours certainly stands among the most exciting. Too many come before me with trivialities and banal concerns. I have missed the years of such interesting divinations.” She cackles, and it takes a moment for you to overcome the urge to punch out the last few bits of teeth in her mouth. “I don’t suppose I have to pay you now, do it?” You mutter sarcastically, kicking your feet up on her table. Yaya scowls at that, but you don’t give a shit. You take your small victories where you can, no matter how petty. “Not that I’m without coin.”“No...that will be unnecessary. It would be remiss for me to charge for destiny bringing us together.”“Good,” You declare, pushing your chair away from the table. “Milady, we’re leaving-”“When they are clean, I will cast the bones as well,” Ellana declares, her face set in a fierce determination reminiscent of her mother. You’re not sure who’s more surprised, you or the crone, as your ward settles into her seat. “Both of us came into your tent, Yaya, and I was the one who saw you out of all the others. It is only fair that I also go through that which Marcus has.”(cont.)
A dragon could have appeared outside, and you wouldn’t have given a damn. But Yaya quickly recovers, cackling as the twins return with a washbowl full of boiling water. The Ingulan tips the bones into the liquid, and they hiss as the blood that stains their surface is scoured away.“How interesting…” She muses, a toothless smile playing on her lips as she once again returns to her seat. “How very interesting indeed…”========And now we finish what should've been the whole of Thread 9.Time for real talk. But first, here's my proposal for future installments of BRQ. Introitus, Marcus and only Marcus, and then the Stinger. No more POV shifts between breaks. The only time's we'll change perspective is at the end of the session, where I can freely spread out the writing of the stinger.How's that sound?
>>656822sounds good to me
>>656822>How's that sound?Good, though one suggestion. Finish prewriting the introitus before starting the thread. It's always kind of jarring seeing the thread linked but still having to wait a half hour to an hour for the thread to actually start.>Time for real talk.Alright give me a minute to get my thoughts in order.Also thanks for running.
>>656822Sounds good but please get the intro done all the way before starting.
>>656822That sounds great.
>>656822Alright so being completely honest I think you are making the same mistake Thorn did with P2129. Essentially overreaching and planning for things that are beyond your current ability to accomplish.You are currently running 3 quests on rotation when you barely have enough time to run 1. On top of that when you can run the pacing isn't the best. Now that's an acceptable sacrifice for being able to write well (and you are very good writer), but at the rate you are going it's going to take literal years before any one of your quests are finished.I saw how many TF666 Chapters you had planned when you Tweeted the title cards. But it's been over half a year and we are only on Mission 2.That impulsiveness and 'burning a hole in your pocket' is killing you man. DOQ went from a one shot to a 'I'll run very rarely' to full on quest on rotation.
>>656893For Example look AT headmaster another multi quest runner, He has run maybe 1 quest to completion and dropped 5-7 others, despite this and claiming he does not have a lot of free time, he still is trying to run 4 quests on a weekly rotation.You're a great writing, but at times our pace is fucking glacial even when you can run often.
>>656844>>656852>IntroThat's one of the cardinal sins that I'm facing here, one that I'm trying to overcome. I'll definitely work on that front. I have to juggle my writing-intensive courses with off-the-clock writing.>>656893>>656929I can definitely see where you're coming from. But with you pointing out DOQ, that's going to remain "off the rotation until I get bored of TF666 and BRQ". DOQ comes easier to write since I'm playing with dungeon crawling tropes, so I can afford to push that to the wayside.And for the pacing...well, that's probably my fault. I'm trying to improve my writing without sacrificing the "internal monologue" that comes with the characterization. For example, I've been reading the Witcher novels, and dialogue trumps action, but doesn't sacrifice any of the characterization. I'm gonna try integrating that style in future writing. Sapkowski is a genius in that regard.>Personal musingsI think the jump from /tg/ to /qst/ has had an influence on my writing. On /tg/, I was working under a harsher clock to churn out chapters before they got bumped. I guess with the jump, I've gotten...lazier, for lack of a better word. Or lax. Or too damn creative with a 3000 character limit as opposed to 2000...I kinda go wild with my writing, and it seems to show.Hmmmm...I can limit character count back to what I used to do for /tg/. That's definitely gonna cut the writing time back to an update at every twenty-so minutes.(I'll continue to ramble on on my end, but don't hesitate to respond)
>>656893>>656822There's also the matter of how much content you get out during a thread which ties into pacing.Normally when QMs can only run once a week they need to use that thread to get a lot of content out plot wise else interest wanes. Right now since you have 3 quests on rotation you can only run a certain quest thread once every THREE weeks. At best.Now the edits you just made you BRQ is step in the right direction to getting more content out. I'd suggest you give the same treatment to your other quests as well. I can't really give a shit about the Inquisition TF666 branch if we never get to them in the main story. Sure it helps with worldbuilding but worldbuilding should be done naturally through the eyes of the MC. Not what you did at the start of BRQ thread 9 on /tg/.
>>656822Thanks for running. That sounds good, with the addition of>>656844Does real talk include your other quests? I actually found BRQ and TF666 separately, only to find out the same QM ran them. I enjoy BRQ, but was wondering about your other stuff.Slow pacing isn't a problem (I follow quests that run 2-4 times a year), but you gotta know your limits. You're juggling 3 quests with no time(?) to run them.Some options: keep 1 as your main, hiatus the others until 1 is finished, then restart another. Or run 1 as main, hiatus another, and run the last on occasion when you need a break from the main.
>>656960>Worldbuilding.I'll keep that in mind. More than happy to stop doing that.>>656962Yes, we can also talk about the other shit I run. Because this is our moment to clear the air in that regard. I addressed pacing up in another post, so rotation wise...I'll have to think really hard about that before I make an executive decision. I don't want to screw over the players that've stuck around for TF666, let alone make anyone antsy for another quest.
>>656957>But with you pointing out DOQ, that's going to remain "off the rotation until I get bored of TF666 and BRQ".Ok. That makes things a little less bad. It was just jarring that it was the first thing you came back to after the vacation.>>656962>>656986I think juggling SMT and BRQ is possible. It's mostly the pacing within them that needs to be worked on.Though at the end of the day only you know your personal limits Kaz. IRL will always take priority.
>>656986You did a good job streamlining combat in SMT. Made things go smoother.One suggest I might give to cut out some bullshit:Have us roll to hit and then if we do hit roll for damage immediately afterward.Previously you've done it like this.>Roll to hit>Write update of us hitting.>Roll for damage>Write update showing the damage done.Instead we can do it like this.>Roll to hit>Roll for damage if hit connected>Write update detailing us hitting and the severity of the damage in one part.That way you save yourself an update and you have an extra half and hour of time or more to spend on continuing the story.
>>656957>>656960I agree with this guy a lot. Your prose is actually pretty great, you just need to work on the pacing and try to keep focused on what's important. Something I learned that helped me a lot with writing was to whenever I add a detail I ask myself:will the story or vharacterization suffer if I omit this? Am I repeating previously told information? Like for example earlier in the thread when you entered the Oracle's alley "It’s all a bunch of bullshit. At least, that’s what you want to say, but you want to keep her ears devoid of any cursing. And to make it out of the alley without someone trying to get physical for calling out the truth.You’re not one for the gods, but you have nothing against them or the people that worship them. Yet, if there is one belief that you steadfastly deny, it is that of predestined. Things were meant to happen because the gods said so, and man cannot escape his fate. You reject that. Man is free to live his or her life as he or she wishes. Their own actions are their own, and do not belong to some distant god.So maybe that’s why you’re against fortune telling, no matter what form it took. Tarock Cards, trance-inducing, destiny boards, and palm readers alike held your contempt. Bilking money from honest people, just so they could espouse some horseshit about love, a distant, but rich relative, and to be wary of some general fear. Hell, you could do it yourself if you could keep a straight face.It is that kind of conmen that you cannot stand, almost as bad as criminals like the Red Snakes. Or maybe you’re just scared that one day, you’ll find someone who actually has the gift of prophecy." What purpose do the 2 middle paragraphs serve? In the first you establish that you think it's all bullshit, and the last you mention you don't want to ruin it for a little girl. But the middle is mostly just introspective stuff that repeats the first sentiment. It's all bullshit they're scam artists, but you've already said that. Do you see what I mean.I hope you don't take this too much to heart since again I think your prose is great and the story is interesting. you just need to work on avoiding meaningless filler like that. You aren't charles dickens who got paid by the page, don't try and emulate that style.
>>656960>Normally when QMs can only run once a week they need to use that thread to get a lot of content out plot wise else interest wanes.I'll reinforce this. You do a good job worldbuilding (the extracts thing was neat), but we don't actually spend much time /in/ the world to enjoy it properly. Adding it in through player interactions and dialogue allows us to get the world built without taking time out to write info dumps.tl;dr: When you've got less time, it needs to be budgeted>>656986"Main quest break quests" are something I've seen other QMs do on occasion, thought I'd throw it out there.
>>657009>>657048>JugglingHmm...I can see putting DOQ to once every two months while alternating SMT and BRQ. That should work.>StreamliningI like that. I'll also work that into BRQ whenever damage rolls come up.>>657066>RedundancyYeah, filler is a bad habit of mine that's crossed over from making minimum word requirements for college essays. Something my Creative Writing teacher pointed out. With that said, I fucking love constructive criticism. It's like my drug. Give that shit to me, brah.>>657068See the above for the juggling.
>>657087you really should adhere to K.I.S.S. you sometimes to get needlessly wordy like TT and get too complex.
>>657218> you sometimes to get needlessly wordy like TT and get too complex.I still remember the entire update that could have been summed up as "You ate a cheeseburger"
>>657540Remember when we died but not really.Weeew lad that took awhile.
Thread Archived: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/643686/Orhttp://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=bladebound
>>657087I like fluff bit I do feel you add a bit too much. Keeping some is probably a good idea though. Too little, and the writing feels skeletal.
>>656957It shows, I was reminded multiple times of witcher series when reading BRQ.