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    73 KB Kobold Sorcerer Quest Chapter 2, Part 5 VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)20:48 No.15201896  
    You are Mynthar, kobold magistrate of the Crystal Caverns. You are watching the final tests for the sorcerers of the Academy to become full fledged sorcerers. Those who fail are sent to other occupations, usually not involving magic, and those who succeed have their careers set ahead of them in the mage's workshops or the military.

    The testing grounds are a flat, open ground with a thin layer of packed dirt over the bare rock. Mage workers are moving about the area busily, moving the remaining obstacles from the last test, and cleaning out the temporary pools of water that were made to cushion any of the student's falls on the beams or rocks.

    You secretly came here to see Turen's progress. He seems to be doing alright, but obviously his running ability was hampered by his recent surgery. Despite his heroic effort to help out Ghaon's son, you know how slow his time was. You can only hope the overseers of the test can understand his circumstances and allow for a pass.

    Especially since the next test is the one where the most fail.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)21:01 No.15202040
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    You can already see the military sorcerers, the greenhorns from last year, walking out to a small section of detailed circles. They chat amongst one another, some bearing fresh scars or tattooes from their brief service. A few of them remove their coats, shaking out their arms and stretching their legs.

    Spell duels are a long-time tradition amongst kobold sorcerers. They have been used to settle disagreements, succession, even exhibition to gather new followers. The students will each face off against one opponent. Failure is expected. They are graded on their performance, and most are expected to last at least one exchange.

    You remember your own spell duel quite well, to tell the truth...

    (Previous Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/15130024/)
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)21:32 No.15202404
    It was against a viciously scarred 15 year old named Karsh. Nowadays, you've seen him walking with a cane, with many more scars than he had back then, but the same fierce look in his eye. His tattooes were of various ferocious beasts, like purple worms, cave badgers, dragons, and hooked horrors. The two of you squared off in separate circles, the judge in gray and white robes between the two of you looking at each of you in turn.

    You remember your voice cracking slightly as you told him you were ready, and your confidence shaking for a moment. Karsh answered with a grunt, his hands raised wide. You realized he was looking to change into some manner of creature, and immediately began greasing the ground beneath him as he finished his incantation. The scarred wolverine he had become snarled in a horrifying manner as it began to dig down past the grease, and you pelted it with a magic missile, barely affecting it. It went below the earth, and you warded yourself with a phantasmal shield and armor as he came back up, finally charging your hand with a shocking grasp as he came at you. The wardings protected you, but he was ultimately declared the winner.

    A few weeks later, you saw him at the barracks, getting his tattooes worked on. He grinned at you, complimenting you on the ones you were given. You looked up to him when you were younger, seeing him on occasion, around until you were 14 and he was deployed to the advanced scouts. By that time, you were dating as well, but that's an entirely separate tale.

    You come out of your reminiscent haze via the elbow of the kobold next to you in your right upper arm. He nurses his elbow and apologizes gruffly. You tell him it's alright, and try to explain that you barely felt anything before you are interrupted by the announcer.

    "Combatants, please step forward."

    The first two warriors, a thin-nosed student against a small, but spry looking soldier, are each looking for a hole in the other's defenses.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)22:29 No.15202991
    The two wait in silence for a while, each waiting for the other to make his move. The soldier rubs a finger across his nose, still appearing ready. The student takes the sign as him being unready, and lets loose a missile of blue force from his finger...

    Which sails through the student harmlessly. As he gawks at this, the soldier charges out from his duplicate, ducked low against the ground, and disappears once again. The student readies another missile before the soldier appears behind him, making a takedown with his legs on the unsuspecting student's head. The judge shouts for a halt, and the soldier pats the prone student on the head as he stands up.

    The other students who are waiting look on in shock. Turen is among them. He looks on quietly, much the way you once did. You can still remember the words of your old teacher.

    "The purpose of this final exercise is to see how you deal with overwhelming foes. To see how well you fight back against certain death. Because, like a dragon's scales, if even one of you break, it could mean the whole of us will die."

    You wonder how many of them realize that their foes are sparing them, and the true purpose of this test. Telling them is discouraged. You can see the look of concern on the face of the kobold next to you. The rumors from days long past of deaths during this portion of the exam lie like a forgotten serpent in the minds of your people, springing only when their child, their family is on the line, infecting the minds of the people with the poison of doubt. This is for a very good reason.

    Because the rumors are true.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)22:45 No.15203141
    You were present for a portion of the exam. A kobold who was much stronger in his blood than your peers. He always talked of voices, they said. You left the tests after your requisite was filled, because you were afraid too many might fail unnecessarily if you were to keep it up. The amount you had improved in a year's work was so great that you could see every mistake, every doubt in the mind of your opponents. So, they put that kobold in as your replacement, despite his insistence that he not go.

    Your sergeant talked to you the following morning, telling you not to blame yourself. You didn't even know what had occurred until midday, when your squad told you of the horrible fire, the unreal madness in his eyes.

    Later on, that man had his powers voluntarily sealed by none other than your brother, Yuune. Despite that, he committed suicide two years later, after expressing his apologies to the kobold's family and the community as a whole.

    The kobold's daughters both go by unscathed, as does his son. All lose. The few winners are either lucky, quick or both.

    You see Ghaon's son and Turen walk up to the ready areas. Both look nervous as the thin sorcerer in the ring expertly deflects each of his opponent's spells before immobilizing him and pushing him over.

    “Next.” The judge says, with no inflection.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)23:02 No.15203307
    >> Anonymous 06/08/11(Wed)23:08 No.15203370
    Still here. Just not seeing anything to do until the examinations are finished.
    As much as we may want Turen to succeed, we must not interfere with his examination.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)23:10 No.15203401

    Yeah, I thought that might be a problem. Reactions, inner monologues and witty banter are all still allowed, though!
    >> Anonymous 06/08/11(Wed)23:27 No.15203595
    We watch Turen and Ghaon's son, steeling ourself to not show any outward emotion except intense concentration.
    We are the Magistrate; we are the office personified. In public we cannot be just Mynthar, another kobold here to support the students. We must be Magistrate Mynthar, here to examine each student, examine them like a jewelcrafter would a gem, identifying every flaw and shortcoming, mentally pigeonholing them into positions and roles in the Crystal Caverns.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)23:32 No.15203678
    Ghaon's son steps forward. The soldier who meets him is a kobold about a half-foot taller than him, with a hefty looking metal club. Only the patterned black marks on his skin identify him as anything other than a huge soldier. You think you hear Ghaon gulp from the lower section.

    The fight is tense for a long time, each combatant quickly throwing their required spell and shrugging off the subsequent hits as they charge in, smashing at one another with brute force not often seen among kobolds. The two's blunted weapons clash off of one another, Ghaon's son knocked off balance despite his girth. The larger kobold is forced back, parrying attacks and turning aside blows that very well might have laid you or Ghaon out, unconscious. He finally lunges inside of the taller kobold's range, blocking the club with his left forearm, and letting out a loud shout as he brings his weapon around to his opponent's head, not stopping. The crack rings out through the area, and all is quiet for a moment before the soldier headbutts Ghaon's son, the blood from the wound flying out past the large kobold as he falls to the ground.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)23:39 No.15203776
    The judge quickly calls off the contest as the soldier starts towards his downed opponent, his club raised high. He jerks like a dog on a chain at the judge's words, seeming unaware of the wound in the side of his head. Ghaon stands, nearly leaping out of the stands before the judge stops the soldier, an unsettling fear in his eyes. Ghaon's son has a similar expression on his face, and you can tell from his posture on the ground that he is ready to fight to the death. The assistants help the boy up and dismiss the soldier, who seems to react slowly to the orders.

    You feel your heart in your throat as Turen steps up, his opponent nowhere in sight. That was nearly another of the same incident, right there. "What the hell are they doing in the military?" The kobold next to you says to no one in particular.

    An uneasy air hangs over the crowd as the final soldier makes his way over. And his appearance only compounds it.

    He is dark-scaled, his skin nearly black with a reddish tinge. The deep kobolds who joined the Crystal Caverns nearly fifteen years ago had at long last produced someone whose demeanor and instinct to act with tremendous aggression did not get him dismissed from the academy. Despite your urgings that they simply need to be treated with respect, their ferocity has earned them the fear of most of the other citizens. This individual is covered in straight, slender scars along the insides of his thighs, backs of his forearms, and around his neck. He wears a moss-woven loincloth, his people's preferred garment, and his only other ornamentation is a slender brass ring.

    Turen stands resolute, bracing himself on his cane.

    You know even if he was to lose, no one would blame him. You give a silent cheer.

    "Combatants ready."
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/08/11(Wed)23:50 No.15203892
    "Ready." Turen says quietly, his voice clear of doubt or fear.

    The deep kobold simply nods.

    "Begin." The judge says, moving back.

    The deep kobold goes low to the ground, his lengthy tail stretching out ot balance him as he nearly parallels the ground. You recall the first sighting of the deep kobolds as they hunted with handaxes after cave crawlers, brutally maiming their foes when they made a move towards another of their number. The same kind of stalking is taking place here.

    Turen remains still, his cane at one side in his left hand. His right hand twitches, ready to twist the symbols of creation and destruction in the air. Both know the deep kobold will make the first move, Turen's injury leaving him slower.

    With a staccato whisper and a flash of one hand, the deep kobold is gone. Turen casts a single spell on himself, standing quite still.

    The tension in the room grows, as the onlookers realize that Turen's spell has had no visible effect. Only you and the other magicians have a guess as to what has occurred.

    Turen glances around, seemingly looking for his target. Then, from the left, on Turen's blind side, comes a sudden blur of scales and teeth, bearing him to the ground as the deep kobold's teeth wrap around his throat.

    But the judge does not call off the contest. And both you and your larger neighbor, as well as any other kobold in the stands not gasping in horror, know why.
    >> Anonymous 06/08/11(Wed)23:51 No.15203900
    The deep kobolds; great shock troopers, unequaled stormtroopers, and yet the aggressiveness so prized amongst them is the same thing holding them back. While they made a great contribution to the military, they've been no end of headache when it came to regular civilian matters.
    Perhaps with the looming war, they can find the outlet for their aggression that they need.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)00:00 No.15203996
    The deep kobold makes a clicking sound with his tongue as he stands up, the body of Turen lying motionless on the ground. You note that no blood comes from the wounds, nor is on the kobold himself.

    A black ray fires from near the deep kobold, and despite his agile spring, strikes him in the leg. You hear him hiss in pain as his muscles are bound by strips of negative energy, and Turen ceases concentrating on the illusion. He appears not ten feet away, his right hand still stretched out as he brings it back with a flick of his elbow and starts a second spell, as his opponent begins a spell of his own, realizing melee combat will now be a fool's errand, even against a far less experienced opponent.

    The energy of the spells twists, the smoke conjured by the deep kobold's tribal movements and quick words dispersed by a burst of wind from Turen's hand. The two begin a quick flurry, Turen blocking a blast of magic missiles with a ghostly blue shield, the deep kobold evading a blazing red ray of heat, and the two's spells countering one another between every exchange.

    The deep kobold spits in his hand, pitching a black gunk at Turen with surprising accuracy. The gunk lands in his good eye, and he stumbles as the air around his feet lets out a lightning crack. The deep kobold stalks quietly around his blinded foe, black drool dribbling down onto the ground as he draws closer and closer, Turen hobbling backwards in a sudden panic.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)00:09 No.15204100

    Indeed. Though from what you've heard of the deep earth, their aggression may have been the only thing keeping them alive.

    This one seems cautious, prodding the area near Turen, who keeps his cane at the ready. You can see smears around hi right eye where he has tried to wipe away the spell, but despite its resemblance to a regular liquid, that spittle will stay affixed to its target's face for quite some time. He scrambles for something to do, some way to act. You think, foolishly, for a moment he looks to you. But, that would be impossible.

    Despite the deep one's obvious advantage, the two seem to be at a standoff. Turen has expended a great deal of his strength, but he has proven to be a tricky adversary. The deep kobold stalks slowly, his body moving in slow motion as he gets a hand hold, a foot hold, his tail swaying as he moves. Turen's breathing is audible, his chest heaving with exertion.

    Finally, he drops his cane. The judge moves to end the competition, but then he does the unthinkable.

    He begins casting a spell.

    The deep kobold lunges.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)00:58 No.15204632
    Turen moves out to one side, away from the deep kobold as he lands, then fires his hand. The mechanical hand falls off to the left of the deep kobold, who tenses his legs for another leap.

    Turen grabs the cable in his forearm with his right hand, swinging his body to the left. The hand soon follows suit, zapping the deep kobold as it makes contact with him. The deep kobold hisses, then lunges, getting Turen on his back. The judge calls off the contest, but the deep kobold does not move. The audience begins talking amongst themselves.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)01:08 No.15204725
    Tense, to see what the deep kobold will do next.
    The judge is probably in a much better position to stop him if he tries to finish Turen, but it pays to be prepared.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)01:12 No.15204765
    You see the judge walk over as the deep kobold gets off of Turen, your hands tensed and ready to strike. Turen reaches down, bracing himself, and stands up. The judge speaks with the deep kobold, whose posture betrays nothing aside from some slight injury. Turen dusts himself off. The judge turns to address the tense crowd.

    "He got the gunk out of his eye." He says, pointing to the deep kobold and then to Turen. The crowd breathes a sigh of relief, with one person letting out a loud "HA!"

    The arena is cleared up again. You and the kobold next to you chat for a while, and he says a few more things about his children, as well as Turen. Apparently his children and Turen studied together, and fed him a few times.

    "My son was protecting him in school, from what he tells me. Though after that performance I can't understand why." He laughs. "I wish I'd been as creative as any of those kids at that age."
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)01:17 No.15204808
    "Innovation is where the young excel at, eh? But that still isn't a substitute for experience; it's our job as their elders to keep a few tricks up our sleeves to keep them from getting too full of themselves."

    Alright, let's see what the results of the examinations were.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)01:24 No.15204846

    "Innovation is where the young excel at, eh? But that still isn't a substitute for experience; it's our job as their elders to keep a few tricks up our sleeves to keep them from getting too full of themselves." You say, crossing your arms.

    "Agreed." The larger kobold says. "I'd've burnt my nose off by now if I thought otherwise. Let alone the ones who were in my squad before.

    "Name's Ton, by the way." He says. "Lieutenant Ton."

    "A pleasure, Lieutennant." You say, shaking his hand.

    You and Ton hush as the heads walk out, with scrolls in their hands. The students walk out after them, in order of placement.

    Now, perhaps more harrowing than the exams, the students stand in a line, as the head examiner walks past each, publicly announcing if they failed or succeeded.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)01:51 No.15205036
    Lean forward in our seat a little.
    It is permissible for the Magistrate to appear highly interested in the results.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)01:55 No.15205068

    You learn forward in your seat, watching a few of the kobolds break rank and congratulate their neighbors after the head examiner has passed significantly far away.

    Ton's children all pass, and he seems ready to burst with cheer as he grins, waving in a not terribly subtle manner to his children. You can see that he also waits on Turen's fate, however, as he leans over when the examiner comes closer to Turen and Ghaon's boy. Their faces are blank, but their bodies are tense, ready for the verdict.

    "Both of you fail." The examiner says plainly.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)02:03 No.15205130
    What? This does not make sense. They completed all components of the examination, and their ability to work to their strengths in the final part was exemplary.
    We will need to hear the reasoning for such a judgement.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)02:11 No.15205211
    You feel anger grip your chest as Turen looks down at the ground, along with Ghaon's boy. You think you hear a growl from down below as well.

    "Step forward please." The examiner says.

    The two hesitate, but step forward. You see the examiner make a small symbol with his hand, and his voice becomes louder, carrying over the murmur of the stands.

    "These two are an example to all of us here in the Crystal Caverns." The examiner says. You hear Ghaon's voice from the stands, with a "WHAT?!" and the sound of scrambling.

    "Today, both of these boys failed the field portion of the exam." The examiner continues, either not hearing or not caring about Ghaon's outburst. "Two of the lowest scores I personally have every seen."

    "YOU BETTER LOCK YOUR DOOR WHEN YOU SLE-" You hear the sound of Ghaon being muffled, presumably by his wife. You silently thank your ancestors that she made it here in time.

    "But they failed for all the right reasons." The examiner says, patting Ghaon's son on the shoulder. "Neither was physically fit enough to complete their time, but when one was in trouble, the other helped him. That kind of unspoken teamwork in the face of hardship is something that we try to teach for years here that only a few can learn." He looks over to the stands, seeming to lock eyes with each person in just a few seconds. "That is as good as any test to me. Therefore, though it is unusual, I will allow them a second chance at the test in one year's time. In the meantime, they may find employment as their guardians designate."
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)02:11 No.15205212
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    Okay, with that, I must go to sleep. See you in a couple hours, where you will explain this bullshit.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)02:12 No.15205223
    You are surprised to hear a shout from next to you, and Ton stands, and begins applauding. The people around him soon join in, a thunderous applause echoing through the caverns. You hear Ghaon shouting loudest through the people, and his boy smiles, the examiner shaking both of their hands. You stand as well, Turen seeming to spot you immediately and giving a short wave amidst the chaos. You simply nod to him. Ton waves back.

    After a short time, the announced sorcerers come forward and receive recognition from the head sorcerer, a kobold named Lythes, who places his hand atop each of their heads, saying "The Ancestors' spirit within you." A loud applause roars once again, with some of the kobolds near you shaking out their hands when it is all over.

    The people begin filing out of the stands. The parents are going over to see their children. You stand as well, stretching after the long sit.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)02:16 No.15205258
    Well shit. Guess I should have F5ed first.
    Looks like intensive physical therapy and conditioning will be in Turen's immediate future, with employment either under Yuune or Dalak.

    Mynthar releases a breath he hadn't noticed he was holding, and relaxes back into his seat.

    And with that, I'm out.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)05:09 No.15206531
    I will be around tomorrow. So if you see this, do not despair, dear viewer.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)09:11 No.15207697
    It may be a good idea to go down and congratulate Ghaon on his son's performance.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)13:34 No.15209547


    Bump for when I get out of class.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)15:09 No.15210297
    So yeah, go down congratulate Ghaon and his son, and Turen, but don't blow our cover. Congratulate some of the other students who caught our eye for exceptional performance.

    "Well done to you both. Give how you handled yourselves in the combat and magic portions of the examination, redoing the physical part should be of no problem. I look forward to seeing you both pass next year."

    "Your kid has good sense there, Ghaon. I suspect you'll be putting him through military physical training to get him ready to retake the examination next year?"
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)15:13 No.15210334

    You exhale shortly afterwards, and chuckle to yourself with relief. You hadn't even realized you were holding your breath. What are you, 5?

    You head down, seeing Ghaon amongst the crowd, proudly patting his son on the shoulder, while nursing his own left shoulder. He turns to his wife, a much smaller kobold with a firm frown. "You didn't have to be so hard, dear." He says quietly to her as you approach. He looks surprised. "Uh, Mynthar." He manages what passes for a greeting.

    "I wanted to congratulate your son on getting a second chance." You say. Ghaon's son nods, and begins to open his mouth before his father interrupts.

    "Well, we had our doubts. Especially when I found out he was- well, like you." You feel one of your eyebrows raise reflexively. "But he worked hard at school and at home." He says, putting an arm around his son's neck. "Just need to get that running stamina up a bit better."

    "Or I could learn expeditious retreat." Ghaon's son mumbles.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)15:17 No.15210372
    "I'm sure next year you will ace the test no problem."
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)15:22 No.15210432
    "Magic is always a good thing to have, but physical stamina won't get negated by anti-magic fields. Better to have both, rather than depend on just one."

    Turn to Turen.
    "Nice trick with the illusion. Also with the grappling hook."
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)16:03 No.15210862

    "I'm sure next year you will ace the test no problem." You say to him.

    "Of course he will! He's my son, after all!" Ghaon says, almost accusingly.

    You see Turen walk over out of the crowd to Ghaon's son, looking up at him.

    "Uh, thanks Mirdik," Turen says, quietly.

    "Hey, it was no problem." Mirdik answers, looking around somewhat awkwardly.

    "Magic is always a good thing to have, but physical stamina won't get negated by anti-magic fields. Better to have both, rather than depend on just one." You say to Ghaon. He nods, so as not to appear stupid.

    You turn to Turen. "Nice trick with the illusion. Also with the grappling hook."

    "Oh, thank you, magistrate!" Turen grins. "I don't know what came over me. To be honest, I was just scared of that other guy."
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)16:11 No.15210918
    "Fear is a healthy reaction. It keeps us from doing stupid things... well, most of the time."
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)16:17 No.15210967
    "Fear is a natural reaction. It is what we do in spite of that fear, that separates us from mere animals. Courage is not the absence of fear, but being afraid and yet still doing what needs to be done."
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)16:25 No.15211035

    You nod to him. "Fear is a healthy reaction. It keeps us from doing stupid things... Well, most of the time."

    Turen laughs, quietly. "I guess I did put up a fight for a while. But all the same, that took about all that I had." He looks out at the crowd.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)16:29 No.15211061
    "It was very courageous of you. You were afraid, and you still fought back anyway." You say, and Turen turns back to look at you. "That's what courage is. Even though you're afraid, you do what needs to be done."

    "Thank you, magistrate." Turen says, nodding.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)16:35 No.15211109
    "We were thinking," You hear Ton's voice yell from behind you in the crowd. "We were thinking that perhaps we would catch a bite. As celebration for all of the young ones getting by." You turn, seeing him with his youngest girl up on one shoulder. "General Ghaon's family, you and Turen can come along, if you'd like!"

    "Well, I'd rather have my wife's -Ehhk!" Ghaon starts, stopping as his wife twists one of his fingers in a direction it probably shouldn't go.

    "Sure. Mirdik can see all of his friends and we can get out of the house." She says, smiling as Ghaon tries futily to get away.

    "Heh, friends. Right..." Mirdik says, looking over at Turen.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)16:37 No.15211127
    As much as it might do them good, our presence might make things awkward.
    It might be better to bow out, citing work that needs to be done and that we have to attend to.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)17:16 No.15211497

    "I'm afraid I'll have to decline this time." You say to him. "I still have a great deal of work to do."

    "Oh. Well, I suppose some other time, then." Ton says, looking a bit disappointed.

    "We will see you at the dinner next week, then, I suppose." Ghaon's wife says, pulling her husband towards the family. "Come along then, dear."

    "I'm afraid I don't know much about job openings, sir." Turen says to you as the others dissipate. "What kind of a position can I qualify for that won't take too much lifting?"
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)17:33 No.15211675
    You think to yourself for a moment. Jobs in the clergy, or as a clerk or attendant are where a lot of injured veterans get stuck. You managed to fight your way out of it tooth and nail as soon as you heard it was a cushy position.

    The mage's guild could accept him as any of those. Any bureaucrat could take him as well as an attendant. His knowledge of magic and intellect would make him a welcome addition to any group dealing with such topics.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)17:50 No.15211902
    "You've proven that you have talent. I'll talk with Yuune if there's an opening amongst the Mages Guild."
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)17:55 No.15211964
    With his injuries, not to mention the missing eye, he'd not be of much good mining or in the military, at least not at present. And, unless you're sincerely mistaken, the boy has probably never held a plow.

    Perhaps as a mechanic? You admit that soon after getting your arm replaced, you had a spurt where you tried working at some simple machines. But, in the end, you'd have to work for a year or more to understand how your arm works, let alone repair it. Maybe with Dalak? But with the rehabilitation, as well as the other trainees he has to deal with, Dalak might get a bit more of the kid than he can handle.

    But still, it is easy to see the boy as a clerk, sorting through scrolls and order forms. You had a job like that for about a month. It was relaxing, but you envied the attendants who got to do more than simply retrieve things, file them, and work with accounts.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)17:56 No.15211973
    "I'll also see if Dalak could use an assistant. But for now, enjoy yourself. I'll be in touch."

    Now let's get all of our presentation material ready for the Council meeting, and see what business has cropped up in our office while we were here.
    We need to know if any new intel has arrived concerning the trog threat, as well as progress reports concerning our trog allies.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)17:58 No.15211990

    You would put him in the magic and science guild...

    Except that he's not a licensed magician or engineer. He'd effectively be a scroll runner or a wrench holder. The kind of jobs that apprentices shove off on those younger than them.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)18:03 No.15212039
    Oh right, the licensing thing.

    Could he be given a desk job dealing with forms and reports in the magic and science guild? Being a clerk rather than an actual researcher?
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)18:06 No.15212075

    "I'll also see if Dalak could use an assistant." You tell him, looking over your shoulder at his friends. "But for now, enjoy yourself. I'll be in touch."

    "Yessir." Turen grins. "I may as well ask him myself. Going to have the eye installed in a few days. But, yes, I'm sure you've got tons of important stuff to get back to." He rubs the back of his head. "Thanks for, uh, well, everything I guess."

    "It's the least I can do." You say to him. "Keep up the rehabilitation."

    You leave the academy, organizing your notes in preparation as you return to your apartment. You notice a small slip of parchment in an envelope placed on the doorstep. Curiously, it is unmarked.

    You open it, and you feel your already cold blood chill.

    "A troglodyte chieftain from the north would like to have a meeting. Says he's been asked to join the "Empire"."
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)18:09 No.15212115

    Indeed he could. Somewhat boring work, but educational.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)18:12 No.15212154
    Then we'll ask Yuune about it, so that Turen has options open to him.

    This...hmm...does it say anything more, like where to meet?
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)18:16 No.15212198

    It's written in Yuune's precise calligraphy. You assume this is something to bring up at the meeting. Possibly even to talk about with your current troglodyte allies.

    Sometimes, you hate how concise your brother is. A little bit of a hint might be nice once in a while
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)18:20 No.15212234
    We will need to add it to list of topics to discuss.

    So for our Military Intelligence Office, we have Lt. Soth as a field team leader. Was there anyone we found who could work in an analyst role?
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)18:25 No.15212278

    There are a few good candidates from the mage's division. Kerril, a divination specialist from the mage's guild, Aiken, a political analyst from the same, and Polk, a linguist who works as a teacher in the Academy
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)18:35 No.15212356
    As far as scouts and field mages go, you have no shortage of them, either. How big did you want this group to be?
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)18:36 No.15212362
    We put Kerril and Aiken down as two initial analysts, and Polk as a consultant on languages, unless we can get him full-time.
    The MIO will probably be doing a lot of fieldwork for the military in the beginning, as our intel assets are trained and gain experience.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)18:39 No.15212384
    Support personnel of 10 (including analysts and logistics), with 4 field teams of 10 agents each.
    I'm willing to cut it down to 4 teams of 5 agents each if the Council balks at the high number.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)18:39 No.15212385

    Alright. Do you want to look through any other candidates for any other positions?
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)18:40 No.15212404
    Get someone who's good at logistics. A quartermaster for specialist equipment. As we develop the Agency, I'm sure we'll start to get operatives that can operate solo.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)18:43 No.15212437
         File1307659393.gif-(2.89 MB, 220x124, Operators Gonna Operate.gif)
    2.89 MB
    >Put together fantasy-GRU and CIA
    >Get military spooks and operators
    >Lagomorphic operators gonna operate
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)18:52 No.15212523

    You do have one name on file in your quarters.

    Noxax, a kobold from the Brotherhood who comes from a family of inventors. He's something of a fanatic for collapsible equipment, traps, and efficiency. The downside is that he's so fanatical he once made his boss' house collapsible and transported it, then reassembled it on the other side of the caverns during a working lunch.

    So, he's available.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)18:58 No.15212576
    Perfect! Put him on the list.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)19:04 No.15212623

    You add the crazy man to your list.

    So, what's next for today? You can present your idea to the council, maybe see what's up with the trogs, or whatever else your scaly little heart desires.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)19:05 No.15212636
    Do we have time to meet with Yuune, and then the trogs, to discuss this northern chieftain before the Council meeting?
    If so, I'd prefer to do that so we have more stuff to go over during the Council meeting.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)19:11 No.15212676

    You could indeed meet with them both. Because teleport, bitches.

    Though you'd prefer to walk to where the trogs are. You'd also prefer not to have to call the mining team to dig your tail out of a wall if the viewed area isn't spot on as you remember it.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)19:17 No.15212728
    Alright, let's meet with Yuune first, to get some background info on this trog chieftain.
    Also, mental note: prepare teleportation platform at trog encampment for better troop movement.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)19:22 No.15212771
    You meet with Yuune first. He tells you the northern trog chieftain's name is Fremron, a shaman warrior whose rule began around five years ago. They are closer to the feudalist drow than you are. Their tribe is known as the Spiderblood clan, due to odd mutations that some of them receive that gives them the abilities of a spider. Your people have had no contact with them, as in order to reach them they would have would have to travel through the lich's domain. As such, they are neutral towards you.

    (And with that, I'm done for three hours.)
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)22:36 No.15214238
    Fremron is kind of a big deal. He has his followers believing he is protecting them from the venomous creatures of the deep through a special formula shown to him by the deep gods.

    Actually, deep gods... You don't now much about the deep gods. Not that you know a lot about any gods.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)22:49 No.15214333
    So this Fremron; he's not allied with Magnerass?
    Did he receive an invitation to join the Trog Horde, and he's considering who to side with?
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)22:50 No.15214345

    Bingo. He said he's like a meeting with you, according to Yuune's notes.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)22:52 No.15214363
    Alright. I think that's enough info that we can ask some intelligent questions of our trog allies. Let's go to them, and ask them about Fremron and his tribe, what they're like and about their powers.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)23:07 No.15214456
    Actually, he might be telling the truth. Maybe he stumbled upon an ancient troglodyte biochemical formula for a broad spectrum anti-toxin.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)23:22 No.15214553

    You head off quickly into the lower caverns, meeting quickly with a group of troglodyte scouts with lineguns slung over their shoulders, and some leather armor around their shoulders and forearms. They bring you to their leader, Klisszag looking as surprised as half of his face will allow.

    "Orange Metal, I had not expected a visit ssso sssoon."

    "I hadn't expected a need to visit so soon." You respond. "Magnerass has apparently proposed a deal to the Spiderblood clan." You see the trog's eyebrow raise in recognition. "Fremron has asked to meet with me."

    "Yesss. We have hardly kept our alliansse a sssecret." Klisszag answers. "I sssussspect they would like a sssimilar deal. Perhapsss more."

    "What do you think it is? We've never had any contact with the Spiderbloods." You ask him.

    "The Ssspiderbloods and the White Eyesss have a bit of a hissstory." He grins a bit at his pun. "We were allied many yearsss ago, before my father'sss father, when both of usss lived in the deep cavesss." His tail swishes off to one side, and he waves his guards away. "We ended the alliansse when the leech-bats found usss, and both of usss were forced to flee to a higher place."

    "We're not on bad termsss, we just haven't talked directly in around a generation'sss time." He adds.
    >> Anonymous 06/09/11(Thu)23:34 No.15214649
    "Leech-bats...what can you tell me of the deep gods that Chief Fremron apparently received his formula for an anti-venom from?"
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/09/11(Thu)23:52 No.15214759

    "Leech-bats..." You say, with some hesitation. "What can you tell me of the deep gods that Chief Fremron apparently received his formula for an anti-venom from?"

    "Ah yesss, the old godsss. There are four main onesss we worshipped. Pthulax, the Melding Stone, Sht'eneman, goddess of Air and Death, Ghogthoug, God of flame and song, and Kortanhemer, the God of plants, poison and healing." Klisszag bridges his fingers, looking over them at you. "Take a guessss as to which he sssaw thisss visssion from."

    "I'd like to know more about Kortanhemer then. Poison and healing seems like an odd pairing." You say.

    "Not entirely. There are far more poisssonousss plants in the deep caves then there are good onesss." Klisszag explains, frowning a bit. "Kortanhemer wasss a troglodyte gardener whossse desssire wasss to let plant life overwhelm thossse who mocked hisss professsion. He used select plantsss with mindsss of their own, from which he extracted hissss divine power. He was ssshorn in half in a dispute with his fellows, and was thought dead. Hisss upper body grew vinesss and leavess to replace hisss legs and tail, and hisss lower body wass consssumed by a fungus. The two began to change plants according to their wills, hisss top half making healthy gardened goods, and hisss lower half breeding with mushrooms and fungus, giving them hiss divine fertility. Thisss isss why mussshrooms can breed sso quickly." He stands before continuing.

    "When the two joined again after many years, he realized what his lower half had done, and he marked the dangerous fungusssess with bright colors to indicate their poison." He makes a motion of his top and bottom half sliding back together. "We harvest on that day, and ssspread the new sssporess and ssseedsss. That isss the duality of Kortanhemer."
    >> Anonymous 06/10/11(Fri)00:10 No.15214867
    "Interesting. So it's possible that an anti-venom isn't the only gift that Fremron may have received. Considering who his benefactor is, the Spiderblood may have put more effort into poisons and fungus of various types. Something to think about.
    "How are your people taking to the lineguns we've provided?"
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/10/11(Fri)00:23 No.15214987

    "Interesting. So it's possible that an anti-venom isn't the only gift that Fremron may have received. Considering who his benefactor is, the Spiderblood may have put more effort into poisons and fungus of various types. Something to think about." You muse.

    Klisszag grins. "Most of the fungusssess that were weaponss of war were lossst with the ancient citiesss. Now the worssst isss green ssslime and brown mold. That isss what you call them, I believe?"

    You acknowledge him with a simple nod. "How are your people taking to the lineguns we've provided?"

    "Whoever made thessse new, larger oness sshould be commended. They could barely get their fingersss in the triggersss of the firsst batch, but the new ssset isss perfect." He gestures to the mouth of his home. Outside of it, you can see a few trogs handing the guns to trog children about your size. "We will be usssing the firsst batch for training."
    >> Anonymous 06/10/11(Fri)00:40 No.15215135
    "Good. Magnerass will likely come into conflict with the Drow Empire before he gets to us. Finally, those drow will be useful for something. It will give our trap teams more time to prepare our tunnels.
    "I will try to meet with Chief Fremron and the Spiderbloods, and sway them to our alliance. Is there anything that I should know about them, or how I should act in front of them, when I meet them?
    "You have been separated by a generation or two, but that shouldn't be enough to make any too drastic changes in how his tribe acts."
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/10/11(Fri)00:54 No.15215291
    "Good. Magnerass will likely come into conflict with the Drow Empire before he gets to us. Finally, those drow will be useful for something. It will give our trap teams more time to prepare our tunnels." You say to him.

    "Take thossse of our tribe you deem ready. My warriorsss' hidesss itch with the desssire for battle." Klisszag gestures out to his people again, more firmly.

    "Very well." You agree. "I will try to meet with Chief Fremron and the Spiderbloods, and sway them to our alliance. Is there anything that I should know about them, or how I should act in front of them, when I meet them?" You ask.

    "Yesss. Their 'blessed', sssome have the ability to poison with a touch. Fortunately, most have very obviousss ssignss of change. Be on the lookout for black ssscaless, hairsss on the handsss and feet, bow-legsss, and beady eyesss." The trog hisses a bit as a sort of trog expletive. "Inbreeding, sssorcery, I know not what causssesss it. But we are by no meansss comfortable with sssuch creaturess, and neither ssshould you be. They do not know the ssslightesst of empathy for even their own kind.

    "Assss far assss your actionsss in the tribe, it isss rude to turn down hossspitality, or to correct your hossst in front of othersss." He says, gesturing down. "We only obssserve the firssst rule, anymore. Too many foolisssh decissions on my predecesssorsss part, his sssoul ressst."

    "You have been separated by a generation or two, but that shouldn't be enough to make any too drastic changes in how his tribe acts." You say.

    "They have alwaysss been different. Refuse to marry with outsssiderss. Very devout. I ssssay they may have changed a great deal. A ssshow of force they may not resspect asss much asss we do."
    >> Anonymous 06/10/11(Fri)01:06 No.15215412
    "So a show of force would not be well received...Perhaps gifts would work better?
    "Do you know anything about Chief Fremron, what kind of troglodyte he is?"

    Also, in case there's anyone else here, I'm thinking about introducing the Death's Guardians to simple grenades. Chief Klisszag has been very forthcoming with all of this valuable information, and we should show our appreciation in a tangible way.
    We won't give them the flash grenades, or the napalm grenades, but simple frag grenades of the potato masher type. Besides, it will complement them well with their role as our heavy stormtroopers in this alliance.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/10/11(Fri)01:20 No.15215530
    "So a show of force would not be well received... Perhaps gifts would work better?" You posit to the chief.

    "Perhapsss. Thisss tribe sssoundsss like the more religious type. I would not fight againssst their beliefss. It would only make them sstronger." Klisszag drags his hand across his left jaw. You think you see a small amount of moisture on the back of his hand.

    "Do you know anything about Chief Fremron, what kind of troglodyte he is?" You ask.

    "I have heard that he is a sscion of hisss people. Whatever that meansss." The chief waves his hand. "I sssussspect that like other religiousss typesss, he isss tied up with tradition and pleasssing hisss godsss. A rare plant might give him sssome pleasssure." Klisszag suggests after a moment's deliberation.

    "Perhapsss thisss would be a good time to asssk for an increassse in food shipmentss. Our sstoress were lower than I previousssly let on." The chieftain says. "At leassst, until we get our farms reessstablished."
    >> Anonymous 06/10/11(Fri)01:26 No.15215587
    "Of course. I shall speak with our farmers to have the food shipments increased. Have you given more thought to allowing our nutritionists to monitor the diet of your children?"
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/10/11(Fri)01:38 No.15215706

    "Of course. I shall speak with our farmers to have the food shipments increased. Have you given more thought to allowing our nutritionists to monitor the diet of your children?" You ask him.

    He pauses for a moment. "I dissslike the idea of sssuch a new ally tampering with our children." He walks across the room. "But we have grown to become quite large, and with this new invessstment, I cannot sssee even the rich Cryssstal Cavernsss being willing to part with ssso much to kill petty thievesss." Before you have a chance to refute his accusations, he turns back to you with half a glower on his face. "I will allow it. But keep in mind we ssshall be monitoring your monitorss."
    >> Anonymous 06/10/11(Fri)01:46 No.15215764
    "Of course. But do not expect results quickly. It took us 200 years for our efforts to bear fruit.
    "Thank you for the information, Chief Klisszag. I shall see to it that the food shipments are not delayed."
    >> Anonymous 06/10/11(Fri)01:57 No.15215862
    Alright, VKO, I'm out. Thanks for running this for two days.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/10/11(Fri)02:07 No.15215939

    "Of course. But do not expect results quickly. It took us 200 years for our efforts to bear fruit." You tell him.

    "In a way, I think I prefer that." He responds, his left eye twitching.

    "Thank you for the information, Chief Klisszag. I shall see to it that the food shipments are not delayed." You say to him.

    "Very well. May your diplomatic effortsss not go unheard." He responds, walking back to his throne.
    >> VKO !qw2cdBTZAc 06/10/11(Fri)02:58 No.15216315
         File1307689119.png-(813 KB, 1200x885, 1302993691690.png)
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    Next week, we head deep into trog civilization. Remember your clothespins!

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