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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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Merry Christmas to all you Elegan/tg/entlemen and Intelligen/tg/irls out there this fine Christmas Day! I come to you bearing the gift of gobs upon gobs of Writefaggotry! This past January, there were a series of approximately seven threads, over the course of a few weeks, themed upon magical mishaps, transformations, and other such happenstances in your tabletop campaigns. There were tears, there were trolls, there were laughs, and there was fun to be had.

Among these threads came the origin of I. Dryadfag. Tripfagged so because I wrote a story of a Dryad. Namely a Fighter, who died, and then was reincarnated into a Dryad. People loved it, people hated it, people accused me of being a fetishistic /d/eviant and told me to GTFO. But I return, and I have for /tg/ the continuation and reboot of Maple's Story. Before I begin though, I come to you with but a humble request, /tg/.

For the past week I have spent every possible moment of my free time working on this story. I'm currently in between jobs and quite broke, and the time I should have spent job hunting was instead spent honing my craft and talent for writing and finishing a story I started. I really hate buttcoining. Really I do. But I have no dosh whatsoever. So /tg/ if you can find it in your heart, below is a link to both my paypal and steam account, I ask not for much, any money you might be able to spare will be greatly appreciated.

Paypal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=JG53X9STBM8HA&lc=US&item_n

Steam: theonlyren

Right then! With that mushyness done! Sit back and prepare yourself for Maple!
Markus Bladerunner hated many things, but among the primary things he hated at this moment were hangovers and traveling. So, understandably, when one finds that he had to combine the two, one would understand that Markus at that precise moment was very grumpy that particular morning. He was stuck at the back of a wagon with a headache screaming at him, telling him that yesterday’s drinking binge was very much a bad idea. However, in his head he was also smiling, because yesterday was very fun indeed. His traveling companions had stopped in the elven town of Verdabore, located at the northern edge of the Crystalmist Forest, through which they were traveling. During their stay, Markus decided to test just how potent the elves could make their wine, and found that they could absolutely brew a strong vintage. He wasn’t exactly sure, but he thought he even managed to bed a fine elven lass back in town, and judging by the way Aerlissa was glaring at him every time he looked her way, he grew more and more sure that such was the case.
Such was the life of Markus Bladerunner, sell-sword, bodyguard, and treasure hunter. Though if one were to accuse him and his party of being treasure hunters, they would be offended, but the accusation would remain very much true, as that was exactly what they were doing in the forest that particular morning. They were being commissioned by a very wealthy museum owner in the grand city of Imperium to search the forest for an entrance to a passage, leading to the ruins of some abandoned and supposedly dwarven or gnomish outpost, and return to the museum with whatever they could find that would be worth any value. A routine mission, similar to ones that the party has been on many times before, though it was their first time they had to search for ruins in the Crystalmist Forest. Most of the time they went to the Feltian Mountains or further south to the Crimson Expanse or even Sandspire Desert, passing the forest completely. Searching for ruins this close to home was actually quite refreshing, as Imperium was only three days away.
Markus looked blearily to the rest of his companions, who all had a different response to his ogling. He started again with Aerlissa, the druid, master and overseer of the forces of nature and the wild world. Aerlissa was an elf of fair, brass hair and deep, piercing blue eyes, she wore the tanned hides and leathers of various woodland animals, likely those she had hunted herself, Markus could make out a wolf hide, a bear hide turned into boots, bracers, and vest, and fox leather for various straps and fittings. Next to her was her longbow with quiver and a longsword, leaning against her seat, not typically druidic weapons, but more of the kind that stem from elven training. At her feet was Leah, her cougar, well trained and open to others stroking her fur and feeding her, but absolutely vicious in combat. Aerlissa shot Markus another glare and he moved on to his next companion.
Fijit the gnome laid spread eagled on the floor of the caravan, nursing a comparatively minor hangover. Her vibrant green hair was splayed about her head, decorated with various adornments, accessories, and styles. A braid here, a small bow there, beads on the other side, and so on. To Markus, the location and styles of her hair seemed to change slightly every time he looked at her. That’s a gnome for you. Her eyes were closed, but Markus knew from memory that the curtains matched the windows, and should Fijit decide to open up, green eyes more vibrant than her hair would look back at him. Fijit was a thief and a rogue, and made no efforts to disguise this, wearing dark, tanned leather armor with mythril studs and wielding a short sword and rapier at her side, both of which she knew how to use to most deadly effect.

Markus turned next to Devain, a half-elf and a wizard, one of the brightest masters of the arcane arts he knew. Indeed, Devain was the only wizard he knew, and likely the only wizard he’d actually get along with. Devain was dressed in a simple traveling coat with breeches and shin-high boots. Young and handsome, by wizard standards, with unkempt black hair and dull, green eyes. Leaning on his shoulder was his staff. His arcane focus and sometimes-emergency weapon, though he usually hung back in combat to sling scorching rays and fireballs at whatever enemies presented themselves. He saw Markus staring at him and rolled his eyes at his hung-over companion, turning his attention back to the road ahead.
Driving the wagon was Alec, the party’s de facto leader and human ranger, a skilled hunter and tracker. His hands were idly on the reins, making sure the horse didn’t steer off course and too close to the roadside. Alec’s short hair was dark brown and his eyes were a simple gray, ever scanning the road ahead. He wore comfortable and sturdy traveling clothes and a jacket under which was a chain shirt made from mythril. Alec was not a very talkative or cheerful man, but he knew what he was doing, where he was going, and how to safely get the party there. His skill with a bow was enough to make elves widen their eyes in shock, and he wasn’t so bad with an arming sword either. Flying above him, above the trees, was his hunting hawk, Sorin, even more distant and aloof than Alec was, but always alerting the party of incoming danger or company. Alec checked back to the party and saw that Markus was making movements that somewhat resembled cohesive thought, and called back to him.

“Ah, the prodigal steel wall awakens,” he said with a smug smile.
Markus groaned, looking down at himself. Next to him was his claymore, easily a yard and a half of nothing but enchanted, sharpened, cold iron death. He was wearing his full-plate armor, polished to a sheen, which only made the nicks and scratches on it all the more visible. The armor didn’t come with a helmet, as Markus prized his peripheral vision more than protecting his head, and the rest of the party liked to joke that his head was hard enough on its own anyway. Markus was a simple looking man of equally simple tastes. He had medium length, brown hair, similarly brown eyes, a good tan on his skin, and stubble on his face’s strong, masculine jaw. He was boisterous, outgoing, and loved music, ale and sex more than even satyrs do and almost as much, he liked to joke, as Cayden Cailean does. He responded to Alec’s comment with a grunt and looked at the road behind him, disappearing into the fogs for which the Crystalmist Forest was famous. How long had they been traveling? The forest looked much less inviting or lively than it did when they arrived in Verdabore.

Alec ground the wagon to a halt, jostling the party and causing Fijit to snap her head up. The party looked at the leader in unison.

“We’re here,” he grunted.
Markus hopped off of the wagon, almost immediately regretting the action as vertigo overcame him and he stumbled forward, clutching his head. He looked around, seeing nothing even resembling ancient structures or partially collapsed passageways. In fact, all he saw were fog and trees.

Devain, Aerlissa, and Fijit clambered out of the wagon after him, similarly looking confused.

“You, uh… You sure you got the right directions?” Fijit asked, looking back to Alec.

The ranger pointed to the side of the road, where an animal trail barely made itself visible through the underbrush.

“Wagon won’t fit through there,” he said, “we’re walking the rest of the way.” Alec grabbed the horse’s reins and led the stallion and the wagon off the road and out of sight to a patch of grass and a berry bush, where the horse happily started grazing.

Markus flared his nostrils, steeling himself for the walk; hopefully it would help him cope with his hangover. The air was fresh, cool, and misty, almost hydrating him as he simply breathed in. The sun was not visible through the fog, telling Markus that it was either overcast today or too early for the rays to pierce the fog. Once the party made sure they gathered everything they needed from the wagon, they set off on the animal trail, with Alec in the lead, Markus right behind him, Fijit, Devain, Aerlissa and Leah bringing up the rear.
Not too much longer later, Markus slowed down to where he was adjacent to Fijit and spoke up in a low voice. “What happened last night?” he asked.

Fijit responded with a knowing smile, “drank too much wine, sang, danced, and had sex with an elf chick. Who I THINK was Aerlissa’s cousin.”

“That would explain why she’s been glaring at me,” Markus commented, “I mean, she’s usually not too open to anyone, but I know a mean look when I see one.”

“I don’t think she wants to be related to your silly ass,” Fijit said, “And this is coming from me.”

“She should be so lucky,” Markus boasted quietly, “cousin got to sleep with a dashing man such as I, and she doesn’t have the courtesy to be happy for the potential addition to her family.”

“I think she more concerned about her cousin’s potential addition of the herpes,” Fijit snickered back.

“That’s a lie and you know it!” Markus shot back through gritted teeth, trying to keep his voice down so as not to have Aerlissa hear hi-

“I can hear you, you know,” Aerlissa called from behind Devain, causing the wizard to smirk as Markus rushed back ahead into his spot behind Alec. The ranger shook his head.
“You have a problem, you know that, right, Markus?” He asked. Markus shrugged, an action that was harder to do than it sounds when wearing full-plate armor.

“I’ll apologize to her later,” He said in the vain hope that a simple apology will get Aerlissa to tolerate him again.

“You’ll need more than an apology,” Alec replied wisely. Markus didn’t respond, instead focusing on the road ahead.

The party continued in silence for a good while longer. Eventually, Markus started getting footsore and his headache refused to leave him, but he remained quiet, toughing it out.
The sun eventually decided to show itself after a few hours, casting fluorescent beams of light through both the canopy of the forest and the slowly dispersing fog. The mossy, leaf covered path yielding ahead to what appeared more and more to be an actual, abandoned, overgrown road, with patches of moss covering the telltale flag and cobblestone of an ancient highway.

Aerlissa looked about, uncertain. Markus penetrating her cousin was the last thing on her mind right now, because something was amiss. All along the road when they were on the wagon the forest was active. She was able to hear the occasional birdsong, bush rustle, or twig snap, but here, it was silent. The only bird in the sky was Sorin, no bushes moved at all, and the only twigs that were snapping were the ones the party moved over. The hawk cried out from above and banked out of view, at the same time, Aerlissa called out to the front, “Alec!”

“I know,” the ranger responded, “weapons out.”
In unison, the party drew and made ready their weapons. Alec and Aerlissa both readying their bows, Fijit drawing both her swords, Devain readying his staff and pulling out a wand, and Markus hefting his claymore, holding it vertically in front of him and trying his best to ignore the burning pain in his head. Whatever that was ahead, the party was ready for it, mostly.

From out of the fog, a clearing with half collapsed, ancient stone pillars came into view, arranged in front of a large mound where a square passageway descended into the earth below. A figure was lying down on top of this mound, large and clearly bestial, but still and obscured by the fog. Alec raised an arrow clenching fist, signaling the party to stop as he crouched down slightly and crept forward, attempting to get closer to identify the beast that lay on top of the passage. A loud, guttural snore sounded from the creature as it stirred, lifting a long, sinewy neck to check its surroundings. Immediately the party leaped behind trees, pillars, and down under logs, hiding from view. Markus made the most noise while doing so, crashing down behind a fallen log with a loud clanking noise.

Alec dared not peek from his spot behind the pillar he had hopped behind. His body was as stiff and as straight as he could possibly make it. His breathing was low and concentrated. He heard the beast get up and jump down from its place on top of the hill, walking forward toward where Markus had dived down. Slowly, he sidled quietly around the pillar, keeping out of view of the beast’s head, and chancing a glance around to identify it.
It was a dragon. Green in coloration, and quite a good deal larger than a horse, but not a gargantuan monstrosity. Its wings were tucked against its side, but if the beast wished, it could probably spread them apart and take to the air in a great beat of wind and air. A single, large horn jutted from the end of its snout, and small scale covered, bony ridges trailed all along its neck and spine, ending at the tip of its tail. Alec felt a tinge of fear as his heart started racing, never had he fought a dragon before. He took his chance to get a good look at it before tucking his head out of view as it tilted its head slightly, sniffing the air. The ranger prayed it didn’t see him.

“I smell the flesh of humans…” The beast said, its voice a deep pitch and echoing with slight reverberations through the air, “you wake me with from my slumber, and then insult me with your hiding games? Hrm…”

All around the clearing, the group tightened their grips on their weapons. Why isn’t it ever just a wild bear, or a wolf pack? Why did it have to be a dragon?

“Show yourselves now and I will be merciful. Or shall I start with the one under the log? Or maybe behind the pillar?” it said, making it clearly known that attempting to hide from a dragon is generally a bad idea.
With a slow sigh, Alec was the first to show himself, pulling back his bow and keeping it trained on the beast. Across the clearing, Aerlissa stepped out from behind her tree and pointed her drawn bow at the dragon as well. Devain stood up from behind a bush and pointed his wand while Markus stood up, propping his great sword against the ground and brushing the dirt off of his armor. Fijit made herself visible as well; she was great at stealth, but not great enough to consider herself beyond the senses of dragons.

“Aaaah,” the beast growled, “another band of would be treasure hunters and adventurers.” Alec grimaced; they were not treasure hunters.

“Intelligent of you to keep your admittedly worthless weapons trained on me, but futile in the long run. If you feel you must keep them ready, then so be it, but I am not in the mood to deal with your trifles, leave me now, and I will not pursue,” the beast stated.

Alec calmed down slightly, it was in an agreeable mood, for now, but they now had quite the conundrum. The dragon evidently had either made its lair in the passageway or was resting there to get ready to delve down into the depths itself. Alec dared not try diplomacy with it, instead looking at Devain with a nod.

The wizard nodded back. As an expert on arcane lore, he was the most prepared to try and negotiate with a dragon. He knew greens were generally the easiest to try and persuade or reason with, as it made evident not ten seconds prior, and planned to use this to his advantage.
“Noble dragon,” he began, “We come here seeking to venture into the passageway you made your rest on there. We want no quarrel with you and plan only to investigate the ruins within, will you allow us by?”

The dragon chuckled, a drawn out, unsettling noise, before answering. “No,” it stated back, “I have claimed these ruins under the name Garsithran, know it well. They will be my new lair, and the ruins and relics within my discoveries. I will not allow humans or elves or their arrogant offspring passage through my home, nor will I repeat myself once more when I tell you to leave.”

Devain pursed his lips, so much for that approach. The wizard did note that this dragon seemed to be relatively young, as it was just claiming a lair and likely had little in the way of a hoard. He shot a glance to Alec; it was now his call. The ranger took a deep breath and pulled back his arrow tight. Markus narrowed his eyes, this dragon didn’t scare him, and if anything it was more annoying him. He was already dealing with a hangover and now there was a dragon in their way. Its neck was just thin enough that one good chop with his claymore could decapitate it.
“Garsithran, right?” Alec started, “listen, we came a fair ways to these ruins and I’m not returning to my employer empty handed, nor do I wish to fight you.”

“You would stand no chance,” Garsithran responded.

“Debatable,” Alec whispered quietly to himself, five on one dragon seemed like reasonable odds, and most of the party’s weapons were enchanted and likely sharp enough to pierce the dragon’s hide. “So I state again for my friend, let us enter the ruins and at the least inspect what is inside.”

“And I answer again with no, you try my patience mortals, and I grow hungry,” Garsithran answered, voice beginning to brim with the slight tone of anger. Alec looked to his allies, who were all in turn looking at him. He held his ground, quickly thinking of a course of action, for now it would probably be best to leave and come back later after-

“Then chew on this,” Markus quipped before stepping on the log he was previously hiding behind and used it as a platform to jump at Garsithran, screaming a battle cry and raising his sword to strike.

Damn it, Markus.
And I stop for a break here to allow people to catch up and gain interest. And to mingle with family. Be back shortly /tg/!
Go on.

I like that we get an actual description of the party this time.
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The dragon leaped back as Markus swung at the space it was just occupying. The fighter landed on the ground and rushing forward, ready to test his mettle against a bona fide dragon. The rest of the party jumped to action, Alec stepping back and loosing arrows into the beast while Aerlissa let an arrow fly as well, commanding Leah to jump into the fray whilst beginning to cast a spell, speaking in the druidic tongue. Devain immediately let loose a scorching ray from his wand whilst moving away from the clearing into the surrounding wood, keeping as far away from melee as he could. Fijit darted across the clearing, quickly moving in an attempt to flank the beast.

Alec’s arrows struck true, piercing the beast’s flank while Aerlissa’s arrow simply bounced off its hide. Garsithran took to the air immediately, taking a chance to impale Markus on his snout-horn before taking off. Markus took the blow, gaining a nice gash across his midsection for his troubles. The dragon was in the air swiftly, and began circling the clearing while gazing down at the party below. Alec continued to fire arrows at it while Aerlissa cast her spell, enveloping herself in a soft green glow, looking for Leah, who was at the edge of the clearing, ready to pounce the dragon should it land again. Devain grunted as the dragon flew out of the range of his rays and put his wand away, recognizing Aerlissa’s spell and casting it himself. Protection from Acid would probably be very handy for the two of them.

“Coward!” Markus taunted from the clearing, “Come down and fight!”
The dragon swooped in from over the passage and unleashed a vitriolic spray of corrosive acid from its mouth, attempting to coat the party in it and melt their skins off. Fijit and Alec handily dove out of the way while Aerlissa and Devain let their protection spells speak for themselves. Markus was less fortunate, turning his back to the spray and using his claymore to try and cover his head. The acid poured right into his armor and burned away at his skin, leaving horrible red burns and blisters wherever it made contact. The fighter screamed in pain, shaking off the acid and glaring at the dragon. That really burned.

Alec continued to fire arrows at it, most of them hitting true and piercing right through its armored hide. He was shooting holes into its wings and chest, trying to get it to land. Aerlissa tossed her bow to the ground and threw up her arms, chanting in druidic. Fijit paced through the clearing, keeping an eye on the dragon and really wishing she had invested in a short bow. Markus fought through the pain and his headache, looking up at the dragon through gritted teeth. Devain chanced throwing a fireball at it, hitting home and piercing Garsithran’s inherit resistance to spells, searing the beast badly and with enough force that it staggered in the air.

“Come on!” Markus yelled again, foolhardy as ever.
Garsithran had had just about enough of the human in the plate armor, and decided to silence him for good. The beast landed right in the center of the clearing, almost on top of Markus. “I will eat well this day! Your possessions will be an excellent addition to my new horde!” It boasted as it opened its mouth wide and snapped at the fighter. Markus responded in kind by bringing his great sword up and swinging it directly at its open mouth. Garsithran chomped down on the blade, grasping it in its mouth as the sword grinded against its teeth. Fijit saw her chance and darted under the dragon, using her rapier to pierce its stomach and cause serious damage while Leah leaped from the edge of the clearing and onto Garsithran’s back, clawing away. Aerlissa finished casting her spell and immediately a bolt of lighting, clear from the blue sky, came down upon the dragon.

Markus grunted under the strength of the dragon, keeping his sword firmly in its mouth and Garsithran’s horn away from him. It was a valiant effort on the fighter’s part, but the dragon yanked the sword away from the fighter’s hands and tossed it right to the edge of the clearing. Markus gazed at his now empty hands before looking back up at the dragon. He barely had time to utter a soft “shit,” before Garsithran swiftly brought its head around and impaled Markus through his chest, directly on its horn.

The fighter’s mouth opened wide, but no scream issued forth. Tears of pain welled up in his eyes as the dragon lifted him off of the ground and jerks its head to the side, sending Markus flying. He heard his companions scream out his name as he crashed into a pillar, crumpling to the ground in a heap.
Alec screamed in rage, knocking an arrow and aiming for the dragon’s head. With supreme skill, he let loose. His arrow whipped through the air and struck the dragon directly in its eye as it turned to face the ranger. Garsithran screamed in agony, raising a claw to clutch at the arrow that was now very painfully buried in his eye.

Markus looked at the hole in his chest, barely alive, and up at the dragon, writhing in pain, past it was his sword. If he could just reach his sword… Markus crawled forward, gritting his teeth in pain, blood gushing from his wound. His lung was perforated and flooding, causing Markus to spit blood from his mouth. Alec saw him moving and called out to Aerlissa, “Heal him!”

Aerlissa looked at Markus and then the dragon next to him, assessing the situation. Fijit was busily working at the dragon’s underbelly while it advanced, enraged, toward Alec, who was backing away from the clearing. She saw her chance and took it. Rushing forward to heal the fighter. She grasped Markus and laid a hand on his bloodied chest, reciting a soft prayer as the wound healed. The fighter took in a deep breath as his lung was repaired, and looked at the druid. She looked back with a blank stare and nodded. Markus nodded back, now was not the time to let family matters interfere. He got up and started limping toward his sword, not fully healed but able enough to keep fighting.
Alec soon found Garsithran upon him and attempted to run for it, but the dragon was faster. It brought its claws forward and viciously raked Alec across the chest, causing him to stagger before getting a good distance away. Meanwhile, Leah continued to claw fruitlessly at the dragon’s back. Garsithran reached up with his claw and grabbed the cougar, pulling her off and tossing her aside. Aerlissa saw her companion get thrown away like an old, used doll and responded with yet another blast of deafening lightning. This was coupled with another scorching ray from Devain. A worthless effort, though, as the bolt and ray failed to affect the dragon, who decided to turn his attention to the annoying little gnome following its tail and trying to get a good stab wound in. Fijit yelped as she saw Garsithran look down at her and dashed from out of under him, the dragon slapped her with its tail as she did so, knocking the wind out of Fijit.


A call came from the edge of the clearing. It was Markus, he had gained his sword and had it poised to strike. “I’m the only one who’s allowed to knock the gnome around!” He protested.

The dragon roared in rage and charged forward. Markus grinned like a madman and lurched forward as well, bringing his sword around for the strike. Garsithran snapped forward with vicious teeth, but Markus was ready, and leaned to the side, throwing himself off balance and bringing his claymore along the dragon’s neck. It roared in pain and swiftly countered with a claw, catching the fighter square on his recently sealed wound and sending him over to the ground once more.
Meanwhile, Alec had rushed to the top of the mound where Garsithran was resting moments before and took aim. One good shot, that was all he needed. The dragon was already in unbearable pain from the various wounds and spells that had been inflicted on it. The green-scaled dragon looked to see the Ranger aiming and opened wide, readying its breath attack. Alec didn’t let that happen. He loosed the bowstring and let the arrow fly.
In one swift motion it left the ranger’s bow and entered the open maw of Garsithran, piercing the dragon’s throat and going deep into its spine. The dragon recoiled back in shock, choking on the arrow that now found itself in its gullet. It spasmed briefly, before wavering and falling to the ground. Dead.
Alec lowered his bow, panting and clutching the wound on his chest. Fijit got up from the ground, looking at it and Aerlissa and Devain stared from the edge of the clearing.
That fight lasted longer than it needed to.

And there's the end of part one! I'll be taking another break to help prep for christmas dinner with the family, and continue with part two! Be Back Later /tg/!
Time for Part 2! Which is mostly just the original story with a few grammar/setting tweaks. Here we go!
The entire group stood there for a moment more, processing what had just occurred. They took on a dragon; a living, breathing, grown dragon, and won. An accomplishment that none of them would soon forget.
“Is everyone alright?” Alec spoke first, looking around to see who was still standing. He saw that Devain and Aerlissa were relatively untouched. Fijit took a nasty blow from the tail, but was very much still alive and well. All that was left was…
“Markus,” Alec saw the fighter lying on the ground next to the dragon, his was claymore next him, and he was still and unmoving. He remembered seeing him take a nasty claw swipe right across his chest when the beast charged him, and had hoped Markus would just get back up and keep swinging. Evidently such was not the case.
“Markus!” he called his name again, hoping the wind was knocked out of him. No response. Alec looked to Aerlissa with a panicked countenance and rushed forward, jumping off of the mound and toward his fallen comrade. Aerlissa was right behind him.
The ranger put a finger to his friend’s neck, hoping to feel a pulse while Aerlissa put an ear to his chest, praying to hear the same thing.
“Erastil’s horns, you are not dying on me today, damn you!” Alec swore through gritted teeth, “damn it! Aerlissa! Heal him!”

The elf, ever the silent one, nodded and grasped Markus’ bicep. She muttered praise to nature as a familiar soft glow enveloped her hands and spread onto the fighter. His chest wound sealed, but breath did not return to the warrior’s lungs. Aerlissa looked at Alec with shocked and crestfallen look on her face, and slowly shook her head.

“He’s gone, Alec…” Devain spoke up, having had walked behind the two to get a better look at the scene. Fijit was watching from afar, a genuine look of grief and sadness on her face. The world would be a much more dull place without Markus.

“DAMN IT!” Alec jumped up from the corpse rather suddenly in a fit, “DAMN IT! YOU STUPID, RECKLESS, FOOL!”

He kicked the dragon’s corpse in anger, screaming, “IF YOU HAD JUST WAITED ONE MORE GODS DAMNED MINUTE…”
The party was silent. To see Alec, their normally calm and collected leader, break down like this was shattering to their morale. Their adventure’s would be much more solemn from now on without Markus there to be loud and obnoxious. They knew the fighter’s invincible and reckless attitude would get him in trouble, it always had, but never before had they considered his death to come as a result of it. Markus was well trained and able bodied. He had always strong-armed his way out of trouble before, but this time, against a dragon…

Aerlissa knelt down at his body, in her thoughts she was back at last night, after discovering that Markus had lain with her cousin. The elf had little in the way of extended family, and was a purebred elven line, not once had her family intermingled with humans before. So when Aerlissa discovered that Markus managed to have sex with a member of her family, she was understandably agitated by this, but didn’t act on it. Aerlissa was not her cousin nor was she responsible for her choices. But of all the elves in Verdabore to sleep with…

The druid stood up, looking down at the corpse and thinking about the spell she had prepared this morning. She bought the oils and herbs needed for it back in Verdabore, just in case she needed them. But didn’t expect to need them this quickly. She looked at Alec. The good of the party came before her personal vices, and with that in her mind, she spoke.

“I can still save him.”
The ranger stopped storming around in anger and turned to the druid, startled at her words. The rest of the party gave her their undivided attention.

“He’ll… have a new body… But he’ll be alive,” she explained, looking this way and that, as though the subject made her uncomfortable.

“Explain ‘new body,’” Devain said, crossing his arms with a serious look on his face. He had a feeling he knew exactly what Aerlissa was talking about.

The druid shuffled her feet; continuing, “he could come back as an elf… or an orc… or any number of possible things. Maybe even a female. My… communion with nature has granted me the ability to reincarnate the dead and fallen into a new form. To give them a new life. I won’t be able to decide the new body, but he’ll be saved and we’ll be able to venture into the ruins.”

Alec crossed his arms, deep in thought. The nearest town to even consider hiring a priest to revive him was back in Verdabore, almost a day away, and they couldn’t afford such a detour when the ruins were right in front of them. Besides that there was know way of knowing for sure if the elves there would be able to revive him. If Markus were still alive, he would probably be all for the idea. Alec looked at Devain and Fijit. Devain shrugged nonchalantly, Fijit nodded furiously. Alec then looked at Aerlissa, and nodded.

“Do it.”
Silver. That’s all Markus could see. Floating above him, below him, and all around him was nothing but silver. There was a light in the distance. He was floating toward it. Was he dead? He heard Devain talking about souls traveling through an “Astral Plain” or whatever it was when they died. He didn’t particularly care and was quite drunk at the time. Of course, now he wished he was paying more attention back then, because the fighter wasn’t ready to toast pints with Cayden Cailean quite yet. He had a mission to complete and was definitely not about to give up the weekly bar visit with his friends, Fijit would just be torn apart.

He looked back at the light. Where those his grandparents? Where they… where they waving at him? Oh no. If his final reward was an eternity with his grandparents, he’ll pass. Markus desperately looked around; maybe there was a way out of this? He flailed about, trying to “swim” through the void, but in reality only made himself look like a fool. His grandparents smiled. Markus looked terrified.

Suddenly, he felt something tug at him, like a tendril or rope around his leg. A lifeline, thank the gods. It pulled at him with a tug, yanking him away from the light and his deceased family members. The tendril wrapped around him as it pulled him away, completely enwrapping his soul… body… projection, whatever. Markus didn’t care, what he did care about was that the tendril seemed to be digging into him, changing some fundamental aspect of his being. What was happening to him? Was he being dragged to the Nine Hells and cursed into some demonic form? Was this punishment for not wanting to spend eternity with his grandparents? Was it too late to take it back? Was this normally how resurrections went? All he could do was wait and see.
The preparation for the ritual was done. Markus’s armor and pack were removed from his body, leaving him in a simple, bloody and torn tunic and breeches. The druidic symbols were carved into the dirt around him and the valuable oils that Aerlissa had acquired in Verdabore were applied to his body. With both hands on the body, the druid began chanting in her mysterious tongue, praying, begging nature to return Markus’ soul in a new body.

The rest of the party gave Aerlissa her space and looked on with bated breath, anticipating, watching, waiting, and praying that Aerlissa’s spell would work.

The divine symbols started glowing with an earthly, green light. Root-like tendrils started to emerge from the ground and wrap around Markus’ body. The tightened and dug into him, seemingly pulling him into the ground just a tad. A bright glow started to shine forth through the spaces between the roots as the spell worked it’s magic. Even the sunlight in the general area started to feel and look brighter than it usually should have been.

Under the roots, Markus’ body started to deteriorate and fade away; crumbling into dust and giving the roots the essence and raw material they needed to form a new body for the fighter. A frame was made, starting at first as nothing but a vaguely humanoid shape but then slowly starting to take a more solid form. No one could see the entirety of new body quite yet. But they could see it forming under the tendrils. Nearby, a sapling sprouted from the ground. No one noticed it.

In one final flash of light, the roots retreated back into the ground, the symbols disappeared, and the entire party looked away as the light momentarily blinded them.
When they could see again, there before them lied a slender, female, elven body, with skin composed of fine, maple wood colored bark and hair seeming to consist of vibrant, healthy, deciduous leaves.

Aerlissa looked at the body, supposedly that of Markus, and said, “It is done.” She walked away, toward Leah. She recognized what the body was, but hardly believed it. She didn’t dare speak up of it, not at this moment. Markus needed to awaken before that happened.

The rest of the group: Alec, Devain, and Fijit all rushed to the body, skidding to a halt over it and staring down intently at its face. They looked over the new body, lying were Markus was not minutes ago. They said nothing, but saw that the body was breathing.

There was a moment of nothing but silence.

Devain was the first to speak up. “By Nethys, what did you do to him?” he asked, glancing at Aerlissa.

“I reincarnated him,” she responded, unsure, “it worked… I believe.”
Markus breathed slowly, trying to remember what was happening. The thoughts and memories were coming slowly. He was with Alec and the others. They were going to some ancient ruins deep in the Crystalmist Forest. He had a nasty hangover, he still the damn thing. There was a dragon waiting at the ruins entrance. He remembered being the first to attack it. The party fought it; he took some nasty injuries, a horn through his chest, but Aerlissa healed that. He goaded the dragon on and got it good along its neck, but he took a nasty claw swipe. And now he was just waking up. So why did something feel completely and utterly wrong here?

He felt something, a soft hum. A resonating connection to some new life nearby, it was almost like he had a child. A lonely, vulnerable, child that needed to be protected at all costs… Where did that though come from? Markus didn’t have children, at least none he was aware of.

There was a weight on his chest. Not his armor, no. It felt much more intimate than his armor, but oddly solid. What was it? His hair felt weird too, he felt the sunlight much more in his hair than he did on his skin, if that was at all possible. That was weird. He needed to see what was happening, what was weighing him down. He opened his eyes.

His friends were the first things he saw, standing over him, looking with concerned and worried countenances. Alec nearly reeled back when he saw that Markus’ normally deep brown eyes were now replaced with scintillating, solid gold ones with naught but black pupils.

“Markus?” The ranger asked, hoping that his friend was behind those unfamiliar eyes.
The newly formed, undressed female sat up and shook her head, suddenly dizzy and realizing that her body was telling her in no uncertain terms than it needed to lie the hell down again. She clutched her head, and, upon feeling the weight on her chest shift ever so slightly, but not go away, she looked down and simply stared at what she was seeing.

The party waited, holding their breaths without realizing it, hoping that the first words to come out of this dryad’s mouth would be something that codified her as Markus.

“…I have boobs,” was the first thing she said.
The party sighed in unison with relief. That was definitely Markus. The female stood and gazed at her hand, unfamiliar with the texture. She placed the unfamiliar hand to her forehead, nursing a headache that she wasn’t so sure was a hangover anymore. Fijit was stifling a laugh while Devain simply gawked at the figure in front of him. Aerlissa tried her best not to look, a thousand conflicting thoughts running through her head at that precise moment.

The girl repeated herself, “I have… Boobs. Wooden. Boobs.”

“Y-…Yeah. We… We can see that, Markus,” Alec said, rubbing his forehead. Of all the things to reincarnate to…
Fijit could contain herself no longer; and burst out into pure, unadulterated laughter, doubling over. Part of her laughter came from the joy of seeing her friend come back from the dead, and another part came from the absurdity of what he came back as. This was one for the books, to be sure.

Markus resisted every emerging urge to grope the new assets and got straight to the point, “What the hell happened?” he demanded, “please tell me I‘m drunk or dreaming.”

“The dragon over there killed you. Aerlissa reincarnated you into this body. No dream, and no one spiked your drink,” Devain said, realizing that he was staring and turning away, slightly embarrassed, “And… please… put a shirt on.”
The female that Markus was in finally gave in and grasped her new breasts, gently lifting them and simply feeling them. Her flesh felt firm and hard, yet still flexible, perhaps even more so than it was before. She felt as though she could simply spring up and cartwheel, roll, and generally be quite acrobatic. She leaned forward, looking down to her nether regions and groaned when she realized that her manhood was no longer there, replaced with the slit that marked the vagina. The girl decided she would focus more on that later and moved her hands up to her hair, pulling at the long, leafy strands, and realizing that they were taking in energy from the sun above, helping to curb the resurrection sickness that was making her feel dizzy and weak. At least she didn’t have to cope with any new limbs. The female also felt the energy and life of nature flowing through her veins. A new energy that she had never felt before, alien and strange, yet, at the same time, it felt natural and pure. She heard the trees around her whispering, curious of the new creature that had entered their forest. Even the dirt and leaves under her had a voice. She looked around; every color of the forest seemed more vivid and beautiful. Every tree seemed more alive to her than ever before. What she used to think was simply wood, ready to be used to build the next house back home, were now living and thinking creatures. They were talking about her, ever the more curious. One in particular was calling out to her, louder than the others.

The sapling. The girl that was Markus looked directly at it and immediately felt the hum again, stronger than ever, blocking out every voice, whisper, and presence around her. Almost without thinking, she shifted forward and crawled over directly to it, staring intently at it, losing herself in its call.

Hi, It said, projecting the thought into Markus’ mind.

“What in the…” Markus responded, trailing off.
“That’s your tree,” a voice snapped her out of her trance. She tore her vision from the sapling and looked around to see who spoke. It was Aerlissa.

“What?” Markus asked, coming to her senses.

“You’re a dryad now,” she said, sitting atop the mound in the center of the clearing, looking down at Markus and the party with the most serious face she had mustered in a long time. Aerlissa could hardly believe the words that came from her mouth. Markus Bladerunner, city boy, sell-sword, drunkard, defiler of her family, and most certainly not one who much appreciated the forest and its splendors, was now in the body of, to the druid, a sacred tree-fey and revered protector of the woodlands. There was so much wrong with this situation that the very concept disgusted her beyond measure. She should be groveling at a dryad’s feet, ecstatic at the very idea of meeting such a creature. Now she couldn’t tell if the dryad in front of her should be respected or considered an abomination.

Aerlissa jumped down from the mound, landing on the moss-covered stones and approaching Markus.

“You’re connected to one sole tree that is your life bond,” She explained tersely, “that sapling dies. You die. And I don’t have the means to cast that spell again.” She stepped forward and sat down in the dirt next to Markus, focused more on the unfortunate sapling that was bonded to the newly-formed dryad.
The rest of the party stood back, Fijit had finished laughing by now. “Oh, this is just too good,” she commented quietly, provoking a brief glare from Alec.

“You… turned me into a dryad!? Like, one of those tree ladies!?” Markus asked, stunned.

“Yes… Tree lady,” Aerlissa responded, vehemence leaking out of her words, “I’m a little…” she couldn’t find the word, “conflicted, really-“

“Conflicted!?” Markus barked (ha ha) back, “Cayden save me, I’m a chick, Aerlissa! A bark-skinned, green-haired chick!”

Fijit burst out laughing once more. Devain rolled his eyes and walked over to the dragon’s corpse. Knowing that Markus was back, he could now see if he could possibly collect a few scales for spell components and raw materials. Alec began rummaging through Markus’ Handy Haversack, looking for a spare shirt.

“Can I even hold my sword anymore? I don’t feel nearly as strong as I used to...” Markus mused, examining her hands, shutting out the voices from the trees and shrubs and focusing on the matter at hand.

“Is it reversible?” she asked, “can it be changed?”

Aerlissa shook her head.

“Oh, no…” came the response. The dryad grabbed her legs and buried her head in them, this was not happening, this could not be happening.
“Hey! Cheer up!” Fijit chimed, “at least you’re alive and not dragon chow!”

Alec tossed a shirt and some pants onto the collapsed Markus, taking the situation as seriously as he possibly could.

“Dress up,” he said, “try and get used to the body. Your armor’s magic right? It should shift to fit the new body. If not, well. I’m sure the wooden skin will come in handy then.”

“He won’t be able to travel very far from the sapling,” Aerlissa said, “the resurrection sickness itself is bad enough, but if he… she… travels more than half a mile from that sapling, then he’ll… she’ll only get worse.”

Fijit shook her head, stifling a chuckle. This just keeps getting better. Alec sighed, thinking.
“…Dig up the sapling then. We’ll take it with us. You can put it in your tankard, Markus,” he concluded. Aerlissa looked at him, not sure whether to be offended or impressed.

Markus got out of the fetal position and grabbed the shirt and trousers, quickly putting them on when she realized that she was quite exposed. She walked toward her gear, picking up her great sword and giving it a few test swings. It was indeed a little heavier than she was used to. She’d need to get used to that quite quickly. She stuck the blade into the ground with a sigh and went to her armor. It was indeed magical, as Alec said. Devain enchanted it himself; he had imbued it with simple enchantments to make the armor stronger and pliable, able to fit the form of whoever wore it, and, hopefully, so that it would automatically resize itself to fit Markus’ new, female form. Devain had already mended the hole in the chest plate with magic.
“Um…” she began, embarrassed, “someone help me with my armor?”

“I’ll do it,” Aerlissa answered, rather suddenly, causing Fijit to laugh once more.

“What?” Aerlissa asked, genuinely taken aback, “I’ve always wanted to meet a dryad. Even if it’s… him.”

“Well, since you are the regional expert on them, I suppose you can help me figure out why the hell I hear the bloody trees talking to me,” Markus responded. Alec smiled; he was indeed still the same old Markus.

“I’ll start digging up the sapling, Markus,” he said, pulling out a knife and heading toward it.

Markus had the sudden urge to stop him from even getting anywhere near the tree, but contained the urge and let Aerlissa strap on the armor, which did indeed silently resize itself to suit the new form.

“What gives?” Markus asked to Aerlissa, perplexed about her sudden change of heart.

“You are my ally,” she answered simply, “and you need help.”

“But… your cousin…” Markus responded.

“You are my ally,” Aerlissa repeated, “and you need help.”
“We need a new name for you! Markus will just sound weird!” Fijit interrupted, peppy as ever.

“Oh gods…” Markus groaned.

“Hm… Margaret?” Fijit suggested.

“Margaret?” Markus shot back as she slid on her gauntlets. Her armor felt strange and unnatural to her. Which conflicted with her experience of having worn this armor for months.

“That’s my grandmother’s name. I will not take her name,” she said.

“Michelle then?” Fijit offered next.

“I had a crush on a girl named Michelle…” Markus said as Aerlissa strapped on the chest piece, not unconvinced that the druid was taking ever opportunity she could to simply feel Markus’ new skin.

“She died of the plague,” Markus said flatly.

“Oooh, that won’t work then,” Fijit said, quite uncomfortable.

“How about Maple?” Alec chimed in, approaching Markus with the sapling in his tankard, “because I do believe this is a maple tree sapling.”

Fijit looked at the small plant, then at Markus, nodding happily, “that works!”

Markus finished putting on his boots and took the tankard with her tree in it.

“Maple, hunh?” She said, looking the plant over.

“…Maple it is.”

And once more another break to give people a chance to catch up. See ya later /tg/!
The newly named Maple sat in the dirt, fully armored, tankard with sapling in front of her, and still taking in the new sensations that came with her body. Nearby, the party was setting up camp. After the fight with the green dragon, there was no way the party was quite ready to delve into the ruins just yet. Devain and Aerlissa had expended their most powerful spells on the dragon and Alec had sustained some serious injuries. Aerlissa was not happy that he refused to be treated for the aforementioned injuries until after Maple was reincarnated, but he cared for his teammates more than he did himself.

Maple stared into the dark passage of the ruins, thoroughly uninviting. She was trying her best to process everything that had happened to her. The dryad recalled her purpose in the party, and wondered if she’d still be able to do her job with this weak, small body. She was there to simply handle any and all physical threats that presented themselves. She’d handled everything from goblins to kobolds to skeletons to mummies and even a golem here and there, but no dragons before. She didn’t feel all too happy about being slain in her first encounter with one, and then being reincarnated as a dryad. But she knew going out that adventuring was a dangerous and sometimes very strange business. One of the foremost thoughts on her mind was how on earth she would approach her parents like this. Along with the countless suitors she had back in Imperium. Her parents may be able to accept that their son was now a daughter, and a dryad, at that. But all of the girls that she had once dated, how would they respond upon finding that the studly, handsome, battle worn warrior that was once Markus was now the dainty, little dryad Maple? Who would Maple go out with? Did dryads even have sex? Did she now prefer men instead of woman? Her sex did change, after all, would her sexual preference have done so as well? She could never be sure with magic.
“It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it?” Aerlissa sat down next to Maple, resting on her shins and leaning to the side away from Maple. She lacked a tent or bedroll, and instead preferred sleeping under the stars above, sometimes in a blanket if the weather was unpleasant. As such she had a considerable amount of free time as far as setting up camp went for the party. She usually spent this time securing a perimeter, but instead figured she’d better clear the air with the reincarnated fighter.

“You’re awfully talkative around me now, aren’t you, Aerlissa?” Maple asked, deadpan. She was still getting used to the change in her voice’s pitch. Having gone from a rather handsome baritone to an alto suddenly. Her voice also seemed to resonate slightly with an earthly echo, as if it always rang through the forest, though it was no louder than normal speaking.

“I knew that the spell would bring you back in a new body. But I was expecting something more along the lines of a humanoid like an elf or a dwarf, but never a dryad. Dryads are fey, not humans,” she explained.

“So this isn’t some nefarious scheme, lesson, or revenge to get back at me for plowing your cousin?” Maple asked, ever the straightforward one.

“Of course not. I’m not my cousin, Marku-…Maple. That was her decision and not mine. You’re still you. If anything, the body is a blessing, not a curse,” Aerlissa responded with the edge of a smile on her face.
“I do feel a lot more… magical… than I used to,” Maple commented.

“In tune with nature?” Aerlissa prodded.

“The trees are talking to me, Aerlissa,” Maple snarked.

“They’re excited,” she observed, “there probably hasn’t been a dryad around these parts for ages. Likely due to the ruins, even I’m getting a bad vibe from them, as it were.”

“I am too,” Maple added, “which is funny because I wasn’t back when I was still a man.”

“I have a feeling these ruins will test us more than the others,” Aerlissa warned, looking at the still-new dryad.

“So,” the druid said, changing the subject, “What’s it like? The new body, I mean? Do you think you can use your powers?”

“What powers are there?” Maple asked, standing and grabbing her great sword.

“Well… from what I’ve learned from my circle. Back when I was still young, for an elf, I believe dryads can use powers related mainly to using the forest around them to attack. You know that spell I use occasionally that summons plants and roots to entangle our enemies?” Aerlissa asked.

Maple nodded. “You should be able to use that now, along with a myriad of other abilities. They should be instinctual to you, though, whereas I have to meditate for my powers,” Aerlissa finished, “here.”

The druid stood and stepped into the forest away from the camp, turning to Maple. Aerlissa nodded, and spoke, “entangle me.”
“What,” Maple responded flatly.

“Don’t worry, the spell doesn’t actually hurt. It just makes it rather difficult to move. You need to get used to using your powers, especially considering how useful they’ll be in a fight,” Aerlissa said, throwing her arms up briefly.

Maple bit her lip, noting how it tasted like syrup. “Are you sure now’s the best time to do this? I’ve never cast a spell in my life!” she protested.

“We have all night to practice. And for you it won’t be like casting a spell. It’ll just come naturally. Just think and focus, instinct will take care of the rest,” the druid tutored.

By this point the rest of the party had finished setting up camp and started a campfire, they had now gathered behind Maple to watch the fighter cast her first spell. Well, spell-like ability. Even Leah and Sorin were watching from the edge of the clearing.

Maple saw the party behind her and shook her head. It was now or never. She closed her eyes and focused. She concentrated on the foreign, yet inherent energy within her. The energy swirled at her feet and down in her legs, yet couldn’t quite be released. Maple opened her eyes, confused. She looked down to the boots she was wearing, they were encasing the energy, blocking it from being released. Without a second thought she crouched down and took off the boots, letting her bare, wood-skinned feet touch the earth and dirt below her. The party watched on, curious and interested.

She felt a lot more comfortable with this, feeling the dirt under her feet with her naturally wooden toes, wiggling them down into the earth. She knew why most fey creatures typically didn’t wear shoes now. She closed her eyes and focused once more, feeling the energy underneath her. With next to no effort, it was released.
Maple sent the energy of the forest flying to Aerlissa, immediately, the ground underneath her stirred to life. Weeds, roots, and grass twisted and turned and erupted from the ground. Aerlissa couldn’t help but yelp in shock as a root twisted around her leg. Caught off guard, she tripped and fell over, immediately the grass and roots wrapped around her arms and other leg. Struggling, Aerlissa, started to wriggle free of the entangling vines, crawling and eventually standing to get out of the spell’s area as the plants of the ground reached forth to try and keep her pinned.

Once she was free, she panted, looking at the plant-life behind her still trying to reach out and pull her back in. Maple had both of her hands curled over her mouth in shock.

“Awesome!” she cried in glee. Aerlissa simply shook her head. Dryad or no, Maple was still Markus, and was just as excitable as ever when she wasn’t lamenting her new body.

Alec shook his head, smiling. “I think you’ll get used to the new body, Markus- er… Maple,” he said.

“Yeah,” Maple responded, “I think I’ll get used to it too.”
It was a lie. The warrior who was once Markus never much cared for the ways of nature. To him a forest was a forest, a place of resources and lumber. Sure, people lived in the forest, hunters, rangers, and druids. But he was none of those things. Markus was a sell-sword. He was a man of steel and a soldier of fortune. He revered Cayden Cailean, the god of freedom, ale, and bravery, and followed in his footsteps. He was born and raised in Imperium and only occasionally visited the forests outside of the city that lined the plains. His parents hired the best soldiers and teachers to teach him the way of the sword. He had learned from one of the countless blacksmiths of the city to craft a blade. A forge fire was his second home.

The way Maple saw it, a dryad wasn’t meant to work the forge or even live in a city. But she would keep up the cheerful and grateful façade for now. She was at least still alive, and even if it came with having to live near a certain tree for the rest of her life and deal with flowers “talking” to her, then it was a price she’d have to pay. That, or die again and risk being reborn into an even weirder body. She pushed the thought from her mind. Maple did not actively seek death, and besides, Aerlissa didn’t have the oils needed anyways. She would simply have to deal with it for now. Focus on the mission. She was getting contractually paid for this. Get in, swipe any valuables they can find, get out. The dryad issue could be handled later.

“We should get to sleep,” Alec said, having been impressed with the entangle display earlier, “you’ll need plenty of rest, Maple, to curb off the resurrection sickness. Once we get back to town, we can probably hire a priest to remove the sickness entirely. For now, rest up; we’ll be up bright and early tomorrow to take on the ruins. I’ll take first watch.”
One would think an average male, at this point, would still be in denial. "Nah, we'll fix this when we get back to town, call me Markus." instead of "Awww yeah, I better change the name I've used since birth to accommodate this unfamiliar new form." Your story though.
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Aerlissa finished brushing herself off and went to her cougar, lying down to use her downy fur as a pillow, a role the large cat was more than willing to play to keep her companion safe. The rest of the party retreated to their respective tents. Maple looked at the druid and back to her tree, not feeling all that different from the cougar.

Maple picked up her boots, looking at them and then down at her bare feet, staring thoughtfully at her skin’s new texture. She’d never understand how a wooden epidermis could possible be so malleable and agile like this. The fact that going barefoot was more comfortable to her instead of wearing boots was already such an alien feeling to her. She went into her tent and dropped the boots near the entrance flap. She was able to take off her armor by herself, unsure why exactly she put it all on in the first place if the party was simply going to set up camp.

Maple quickly realized that her sapling was not in sight and burst outside, sighing in relief to see it sitting in the dirt, undisturbed and forgotten. She lightly beat herself over the head for forgetting about it, and had an urge to apologize to the plant, before fighting it back, realizing how stupid it was to apologize to a tree. She stepped up to the tankard and carefully picked it up. Almost unconsciously, a silent “sorry,” escaped her lips. When she realized that she apologized anyways, she sighed, shaking her head, and put the sapling down right at the entrance of her tent before going inside and squeezing into her bedroll.
She was more tired than she had realized, and fell asleep almost immediately. In her dreams, she was wandering through a thick forest with a dark, heavy canopy above her, yet the forest was brightly lit, as though the leaves were transparent. She was almost completely naked, wearing a bra and loincloth made from leaves and twigs. She emerged out of the tree line into a large clearing, a hill. Atop this hill was a large maple tree. Her tree. Maple jogged up the hill and slowed into a walk when she was underneath its leaves. It was happy to see her again, and wondered how her waltz through the forest was. She smiled, placing a hand on the trunk. She leaned in close to the tree, placing her head against it and closing her eyes. The tree responded by softening to the consistency of water, at least to Maple’s senses. The tree still stood, tall and resolute, as she sank completely into it.

A brief moment of panic filled Maple as she tried to comprehend what was happening, but she was calmed when her tree told her not to panic. She couldn’t see anything, but she could feel everything that the maple was feeling. She felt the roots burrowing and twisting into the ground below, drawing moisture and nutrients, the leaves basking in the glorious light of the sun, drawing in energy and life. It was an invigorating and uplifting feeling, like taking a hot bath at the end of a long day and feeling the life return to your body. She felt at home, home like she hadn’t been there for ages. Her maple tree comforted her and protected her, and nothing, absolutely nothing, would be able to harm her.

Except for waking up.
Maple slowly blinked open her eyes to see Fijit gently shaking her awake, “your turn for watch, tree girl.”

Maple breathed in harshly and snapped wide-awake, sitting straight up with a panicked movement.

“Bad dream?” Fijit queried.

“No…” Maple responded, “just… A weird one.”

“Riiiight, well, I’m going to bed, unless you need help with your armor,” Fijit stated.

“Nah,” Maple responded, “the dragon corpse is still there, right? I doubt anything will bother with us when they see that there.”

“Your call, bark-tits,” Fijit teased, leaving the tent. Maple sighed; the gnome had already come up with multiple derogatory nicknames for Maple. First it was “overcompensater,” as a human, now it was “bark-tits.” Fantastic.

Maple went outside in her nightshift and held her great sword over her shoulder, still more comfortable barefoot than with shoes. She looked around. Fijit crawled into her child-sized tent, the fireplace burning with fresh logs. She could feel their pain. She looked away from the fire and looked instead at her sapling, small and dainty, and happy to see her. A slight frown graced her lips as she walked away from the camp and towards the nearest tree, a common oak.

Nearby, Aerlissa breathed softly against the coat of Leah, the cougar’s body slowly rising and falling as they slept in the enclave of a tree’s trunk. Maple looked at them briefly and then back at the oak. Slowly, she raised her hand, wooden fingers outstretched. The oak tree seemed to be inviting her, saying she was more than welcome inside. She ignored its voice and stopped her hand less than an inch from the wooden surface of the oak.

“This is stupid,” she quietly told herself before pushing her hand against the oak.
At first, nothing happened. Then her hand “connected” to the tree, adhering to it as though there was glue on the spot where she touched it. Maple went wide-eyed in shock, her lips thinned and mouth stretched, both horrified and awed at what precisely was happening. Breathing sharply through her nose and fighting back every instinct to pry her hand loose, she pushed in. Her hand sank further into the tree until half of her arm was in the trunk, threatening to emerge from the other side. Deciding enough was enough; she yanked her arm out, staring at it in disbelief and flexing her fingers, making sure each digit still worked and were all there. So, maybe the dream wasn’t so weird after all.

She turned away and briskly walked back to her tent, sitting down next to the sapling and keeping a watch out for trouble.
The night passed without incident. Maple spent the entirety of her watch doing two things. One was trying not to think about the wood burning in the fire, and the other was continuing to think about what her new body would mean for her. Never mind the fact that Maple had to deal with being a chick. But she’d be attached to a single tree for the rest of her natural life. Speaking of her natural life, how long would she live now? Would she grow and die at the same rate as her tree? Trees live for a long time, right? Would her friends grow old and die while she remained spry and young? She held up her hand in front of her face, looking it over, she still had to get used to her skin having the consistency of wood and bark, yet still be as flexible, if not more so, than her old, human hand. She curled her fingers over and over, marveling at how the wood silently stretched like rubber with each contraction and still remain as hard a bark no matter what. She wondered if she could give people splinters with just a handshake. She also wondered if you could cut off an arm and count the rings to see how old she was. With that thought, she wondered if she still bled red blood, or if she bled tree sap or even syrup instead, and if she bled syrup, could she put it on pancakes?

A few silent hours of her silly and inane wandering thoughts passed, and Aerlissa woke up and approached Maple, sitting down in front of the dryad.

“Here to tutor me some more?” Maple asked dryly. Aerlissa shook her head.

“Do you hate me?” the druid asked.
Maple looked directly at her, pure, golden eyes meeting her deep, blue ones. She hadn’t really thought about what Aerlissa did. She thought for a moment. Why would she hate the druid? She saved her life, after all, even if it cost Maple her manhood and she could talk to plants now. She shook her head.

“Of course not, Aerlissa,” the dryad said, “It’s just… A lot to take in. You know, considering my life will never be the same. I’m still getting used to the boobs.”

The elf smiled. “I was expecting a lot of possibilities when I reincarnated you, Markus… Dryad was not one of them. I’m not trying to teach you a lesson or to get you to convert to revering nature as I do. It’s just… Dryads are the sort of fey who have that sort of thing come naturally to them.”

“No kidding,” Maple snarked, “I’ll have you know that I just put half of my arm into a tree. I just really want a drink right now, Aerlissa, and I don’t even know if I have to eat anymore, considering that my hair takes in energy from the damn Sun.”

“You can still eat…I think. And you’ll need water, of course. Though as a Dryad, you can just turn into a tree and sap in water from the ground,” Aerlissa said, prompting Maple to roll her eyes.

“Oh, wonderful, I can turn into a tree. I can go into trees. I can make tree roots come up and grab at people. I can talk to trees. Any other tree related powers I should know about while we’re at it?” Maple asked, deadpan.
Aerlissa let out a genuine giggle. “Well, you’re a dryad. Tree powers are what you do best. If I recall correctly, you can also use trees as a medium of travel. Warping from one to the next. It has to be generally the same tree, though. And, of course, you can’t go very far from your sapling, there.”

Maple looked at the aforementioned plant and sighed, “remind me again, what happens when I do get too far from this thing?”

“You get sick,” Aerlissa answered, “really sick. Then you start to wither away much like a plant would die when it’s separated from the ground and water. It will eventually kill you the further you remain away from it.”

“Good to know,” Maple said, feeling suddenly a little sick herself.

“You can bond with different trees though, leaving your sapling behind and binding yourself to another tree. Alternatively, I know a member of my circle who can grant regular trees and animals sentience, this will allow your tree to travel and move with you. That way you’d be able to travel a little more easily and have your own bodyguard, I don’t know the spell myself, but one day,” Aerlissa mused.
Maple raised her eyebrows. The idea of her tree following her around did much to curb the idea of eventually being stuck in one place for the rest of her life. Carrying the sapling around in her tankard, while it would work for now, was not something that would last forever. She’d have to eventually get a proper pot for it as it grew. She then came up with the possibility of filling one of her Handy Haversack compartments with dirt and planting her tree in that, having it come out of the top of her backpack. Silly as it would look, it would actually most likely be one of the best ways for her to move around. Though doors would become a problem.

“Anyway,” Aerlissa interrupted Maple’s thoughts, “I have watch for the rest of the night. You get some sleep. We tackle the ruins tomorrow, after all.”

Maple stood up and turned to enter her tent with a nod.

“Oh and uh… Maple,” Aerlissa said.

Maple stopped and turned around, listening.

“If it helps. After our adventurers are done, and if you wind up settling down somewhere with your tree, um… I’ll be glad to stay with you and watch out for you. I really never meant for this to happen, so it’s the least I could do,” she said, a little bashful at the offer.

Maple didn’t say anything for a while, then shook her head, “I think I’ll be fine Aerlissa. But um, if that’s what you want to do, then I won’t say no, and… thanks.”
Maple went into her tent, smiling, and crawled into her bedroll once more. A tear of happiness rolled down her cheek as she went to sleep.


Morning came for our intrepid band of adventurers, and Maple slept a little more comfortably knowing that, even with her new body, her companions, at least one of them, still cared for her. One sign of such care was no one else coming in to disturb the dryad until she woke up on her own.

The dryad who was once Markus was a notorious over sleeper. This reputation stemmed mainly from his rowdy nights of drink and the occasionally bedding with fine female company. Even as a dryad and sober, Maple slept in a little later than Alec cared for. When the dryad awoke, she poked her leafy head out of the tent to see that the rest of the party had already assembled their tents and were waiting patiently for Maple.

“Mornin’ gents,” the dryad said drowsily.

Alec, who was leaning against a nearby tree, acknowledged her with, “sleep well? I wanted to be in those ruins an hour ago.”
Maple shook her head, disappearing into her tent to grab her things and stuffed everything back into her Handy Haversack, which well lived up to its name with its interspatial, huge compartments. Once the dryad put her tent into the pack, she looked at her armor, piled before her, and called out, “who’s helping with my armor today?”

She looked at Aerlissa, who was eager to do it last time, however, the druid shook her head. This prompted Maple to look to the rest of the party. Alec looked at Devain, who looked at Fijit, who was looking back at Alec, who turned his attention to Fijit, who looked at Devain, who looked to Alec, who looked back at Devain. Devain, sensing he lost the mental round of Rock-Paper-Scissors, sighed and approached Maple.

“Looks like we have a volunteer, now you know how to handle armor, right? Wouldn’t want you to pinch a finger or get a splinter now, I’d imagine it’d interfere with your light shows,” Maple joked.

Devain snorted and rolled his eyes, “just tell me what I need to strap on.”
“There’s quite a bit, magic man. After I get my hauberk on, you’ll need to strap the cuirass on, and then we move to the pauldrons, which will be all you. After that we…” Maple ran the instructions by Devain, who set to work getting the armor on. The wizard wouldn’t admit it, but he almost enjoyed the process. Instructions and delicate placing were no strangers to the wizard. That and he never expected to help put armor on for a female. Even if said female used to be Markus and had skin made of bark. A wizard’s work was often lonely, studying and scribing spells; he understood why most wizards had familiars. Devain opted instead to use his staff for his arcane bond. He wasn’t good with animals, unlike Alec or Aerlissa.

“Hey, don’t get to close now, I’m still Markus under all this bark,” Maple chastised when Devain snapped on his fauld and had to hug the dryad to reach around her to do so. He got close enough to her that he couldn’t help but sniff in Maple’s scent. She smelled like a blossom in spring, particularly after a rainfall, a heavenly, relaxing, natural smell.

The wizard silently helped with the rest of Maple’s armor. When they were done, there stood a dryad covered completely in full plate, save for a helmet.
She was wearing her boots again, and again, they felt uncomfortable for her. But she still needed the protection that they offered, barefoot or no, helmet or no, full plate was not full plate if the legs weren’t totally protected. Maple mused for a moment, before looking at Alec.

“Alec, can you pass me a dagger for a moment?” she asked. Alec nodded and abandoned his spot on the tree, approaching Maple and pulling out his hunting dagger.

“What do you need it for?” the ranger asked. Maple gingerly took the dagger from him and crouched down, a difficult thing to do in full plate. She briefly inspected her boots, noting that while the top of her foot and shins were covered in plate, the soles of her boots were made of leather.

“Just a minor modification,” Maple said. Directly afterwards, she carefully started carving away at the bottom of her boots, cutting away the leather soles and being careful not to cut her own feet, though given their consistency she had little reason to worry about it from a simple knife.

One minute later, she was done, soles discarded into the dirt. “Much better,” she said, standing and handing the dagger back to Alec.

Alec took the dagger and put it away, single eyebrow raised. “Sort of defeats the purpose of shoes, don’t you think?” he queried.
“I dunno,” Maple responded, hefting her great sword, “I just feel better barefoot now.” Her tankard hung strapped to her side, sapling jostling lightly with every movement. Barefoot was an understatement. She felt entirely uncomfortable in all of her armor. It felt much too restricting instead of protective. It also felt unnatural to her, a concept that would have made the Markus of yesterday laugh and scoff in condescending amusement. To Maple, though, it was just another thing on the list of things that she would have to change around. She’d have to ask Aerlissa how to best approach the situation, most likely, images of her fashioning armor out of wood entered her head. They didn’t seem all that ludicrous to her.

Maple exhaled, curling her mouth into a grin and standing straight up, “well, what are we standing around for? We’ve ancient ruins to raid, do we not? Let’s get to it.”

Alec nodded and started leading the party to the still present remains of the ancient civilization, staring into the underground depths. “Right,” Alec began, “We all know the drill, Fijit in first, followed by Mark-MAPLE, then me, Aerlissa, and Devain. Keep an eye out for trouble and treasure. Sorin, stay.” The falcon perched atop a nearby pillar, obeying its master. Fijit danced in front of the party and gleefully stepped into the ruins, the rest of the party in tow and disappeared into its depths.
And I break once more. Happy Holidays /tg/! I'll be back to continue later.
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Popping back in real quick to thank the anon who donated to my paypal. Figured this image would be appropiate in response! Thank you all and Merry Christmas!
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A sense of déjà vu enveloped the party as they delved into the darkness. This was a situation they had all been in before. Unknown depths and tombs before them, darkness all they saw down the hall, that tense feeling of anticipation, wondering what lied in wait at the end of the hall. That feeling of adventure that Maple, Alec, and the rest had felt for the past eight seasons of their career.

“Can I get a light?” Fijit asked from ahead of the party, “kind of hard to find traps in the dark.”

Devain tapped his staff against the ground, instantly, it’s tip started to glow with a white, bright light. “Thank you~” Fijit responded.

The corridor descended for what seemed like forever, eventually, the entrance to the ruins became naught but a distant point of light in the distance, the walls dimly reflecting the passing light, carved of simple cobblestone. Loose pebbles rolled down the stairs with each passing step. Ahead of the group, Fijit slowly padded down, keeping an eye out for tripwires, pressure plates, and other such oddities in the stonework. No such oddity presented themselves, however. The gnome was expecting such an occurrence. Most places start presenting traps only when treasure was nearby, and not in the entrance.
Maple shivered slightly more with each step, she didn’t like this, not one bit. Every step forward was a step away from the warmth of the sun and the cool dirt below her. She felt her sapling, she felt how cold and scared it was and how it wanted nothing more to go back up to the sun so it could grow. It pleaded with Maple to stop and turn around, going back up. It begged her to return to the forest, where it could commune with the other trees and hear the sounds of the woodlands.

Deep down, Maple wanted to do it too. But she had a mission to do. As much as she wanted to listen to her sapling and turn around, returning to the peaceful, serene forest, she had to press on with her allies. Even if she died not twenty-four hours ago, the mission came first. Even if she was no longer human, she had a job to do and would do it, no matter what. The ever-continuing descent did little to help steel her resolve. Eventually she had to speak up or she would risk snapping, running and screaming to the surface again.

“Bloody hell,” Maple said, “How the fuck deep are we going? The Darkreach?”

Devain answered her, “it certainly seems that way. Have we stumbled into a passage leading to the vast caverns beneath the world? What did The Collector know about this place, Alec?”
The Collector was the alias of the man who was the party’s client. He gave them the locations of every ruin and tomb they have ever been to, and pays the party frankly ludicrous amounts of money to delve into them and return with any valuables and relics they could find. He then adds the most significant artifacts they find to his collection, guised as a well-guarded and very large museum. The minor ones he sells away, and offers the party a choice of a single relic to keep of the loot they find. Alec’s bow was one such relic, recovered from the ruins of an Elven City. More than one of Fijit’s daggers was a prize from tomb raiding as well. The rest of the party simply bought their gear from the countless vendors and suppliers of Imperium, out of which they operated.

Alec was silent for a moment before answering Devain’s questions, “I remember him saying the ruins were supposedly an entrance to a dwarven outpost or an old tunnel. Going as deep as the Darkreach is a very real possibility, though. Be on your guard.”

Eventually the light from the entrance had disappeared entirely, prompting Devain to speak once more, “I think it’s safe to assume that we’re heading for the Darkreach. This might be a drow outpost.”

“If it is, I pray to Erastil it’s abandoned,” Alec responded.
“Looks like it is,” Fijit answered from the final bottom of the stairs. She stood before what seemed to be a doorway, but the doors were long since bashed from their hinges and whisked away. The party entered a vast hall, ancient pillars of solid, carved stone held the massive hallway up. Maple could barely see the ceiling of the place from Devain’s light. Past the pillars, smoothly carved buildings of curved and elegant stone protruded forth from the rough, cave walls. Further in, large, luminescent fungi glowed softly in the caves, providing a soft light for the party to see further. They stood briefly in awe, taking in the impressive sight.

Maple felt the cold stone beneath her feet; no plant from the surface could even hope to draw life from this rock. She felt it and sighed, uncomfortable. Then scoffed when she remembered the Markus of yesterday would not be fazed at all by such a thought. It was amazing how much she changed in just one day. The shock of changing from male to female was bad enough, there was absolutely no getting used to the weight of her own breasts, but the fact that this body came pretty much part and parcel with a tie, nay, reliance on the natural world was a concept almost entirely foreign to Markus. He was a city boy, not some froofy tree hugger. To him, a forest was just some place that occurred when you weren’t in the city, no different from a mountain or desert.
But to feel the energy enter your leaves, to know how much life lived in the soil beneath your feet alone, to bask in the simple, glorious warmth of the sun, Maple had only briefly experienced such sensations, and not one hour from leaving it behind she already missed it all. She wanted to leave this dark, unwelcoming place and return to the light. She wanted to-

“Are you okay, Maple?” Aerlissa gently touched the dryad on the shoulder, “you’re shaking.”

Maple jostled her head, regaining focus. Was she going soft? Markus was a fearless, foolhardy, and brave warrior. Hell, when the green dragon presented itself to the party yesterday, he was the first to charge into the fray. Now the dryad called Maple was scared of the dark, of all things. Aerlissa’s concern boosted her morale. She nodded, “I’m fine.”
“Not scared of the dark, are you?” Fijit teased.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” She rebuffed immediately.

“Miss the sun? Wanna photosynthesize?” She continued.

“Fijit, I will smack you with the flat of my blade. And when I do-“ Maple started.

“Alright ladies, settled down and lets get moving. Stick together, we’re not going to do our usual ‘split up and search for treasure’ routine, not down here. Devain, any idea what kind of settlement this is?” Alec responded, starting to do that leader thing and give orders.

Devain approached one of the nearby pillars, inspecting the runes on the carvings inside. “Aye, this is a Drow outpost. Be on your guard. The inhabitants might still be around. Drow are a sneaky lot,” he clarified, raising his staff.

The party continued together, avoiding the main path so as to not paint themselves as a target. Alec and Fijit took point, moving to the nearest house. Fijit tested the door and smiled, it was good to know that the Drow where civilized enough to use them. She was, however, saddened when it was not locked. She cracked it open and rolled inside, quickly looking left and right for any signs of trouble.
There was nothing but cobwebs and small spiders inside. Alec and the rest of the party followed. They had entered what looked like a small office, there was a desk and chair, carved smoothly but covered in webs, a cabinet, table, the works, but nothing particularly valuable. The desk and cabinet were empty, seemingly abandoned for ages and those that did the abandoning took everything that was light and not nailed down or carved out of the stone with them.

“Looks like no one’s home,” Fijit said.

“Keep an eye out anyway. This many webs and spiders can’t be a good thing,” Alec responded.

Maple looked around, only slightly happier knowing that the place was indeed abandoned of Drow. She followed the rest of the party as they slowly checked the rest of the houses. They were all empty, eerily so.

“Wonder what drove off the inhabitants,” Devain pondered.

“Let’s hope we don’t find out,” Alec responded.

Eventually the party found themselves at the central building of the ruins. A large, monastery-like building stood before them, impressive in its design and reaching to the unseen ceiling above.

“Okay, if there’s nothing valuable in here, I’m going to stab someone just on principle,” Fijit said, frustrated that the party had spent an hour down here and came up empty handed.
Alec rolled his eyes and helped the gnome open the large, stonework doors. The interior appeared as a large church or cathedral, lacking in windows, but the far end consisted of a large wall, with a huge bas-relief of an ancient, spiderlike goddess with an elven upper body.

“Who is-“ Maple started.

“Calistria,” Devain answered, “at least, according to the way the Drow see her.”

“I thought Calistria’s thing was bees. Not spiders,” Alec observed.

“Wasps, technically. And Drow believe otherwise. Calistria reveres all insects, wasps are just her favorite. It’s the poison that’s important,” Devain explained.

“Regardless, a place like this is bound to have something valuable. Keep an eye out,” Alec said.

The party split up and searched around the cathedral, sliding through the pews and looking for anything of value. Maple walked right down the middle, heading straight for the podium. She stood behind it, looking at the cathedral before her. She set her hands down and felt an odd protrusion on the right side of the podium. Toying with it, she felt it slide down and click.
Suddenly, the entire building began to shake and rumble. The main aisle of the church shook and began to descend. The rest of the party glared daggers at Maple, who responded by rolling her eyes. Not the first time she accidently discovered a secret passage; she has a knack for that sort of thing.

When the building stopped shaking, there in the center of the church was a stairway, descending into a hidden basement.

“Well,” Maple said, “looks like we may have hit our jackpot.”

The party regrouped at the top of these new stairs and looked down into the darkness below. Peering deeply within.

“Something’s wrong,” Alec said, “do you hear that?”

Aerlissa tilted her head to the side, listening closely, “yeah… clicking. I think-”

“Something’s coming,” Fijit said, swords ready.

“I hope it’s something I can kill, I need a good fight,” Maple said, giving her great sword a practice swing.

“Down here. I won’t be surprised if it is,” Devain said, free hand at the ready to weave a spell.
The clicking got progressively louder and heavier, transferring into a series of thuds. Out of the shadows, illuminated by Devain’s staff light, emerged a giant, hairy, insect leg, followed by another, and one more, and one more, and eventually a large, hairy body. The party readied their weapons as before them, a gargantuan and starving spider presented itself.

The party wasted no time in acting. Alec immediately pulled back his bow and began launching arrows into the spider’s face firing at least one arrow every two seconds. Aerlissa had Leah circle around the spider to flank it while she conjured a blade of pure flame into her hand, proceeding to try and hack at one of the spider’s legs. Fijit also circled around, dodging spider legs as they tried to impale her, and went for the beast’s abdomen. Devain opened up with a fireball, sending the flaming bead to the base of the stairs, where it erupted into a gloriously blazing explosion, badly searing the spider’s backside.

All of this served to merely make it angrier.
Maple went straight for the mandibles, meeting the oversized vermin face-to-face and bringing down her great sword upon it. Her blade struck true, and the beast recoiled in pain before lunging back forward to crush the dryad between its fangs.

Maple let her armor speak for her as the spider brought its jaws onto her shoulder, with a minor grunt; she yanked her arm free and swung once more at the beast. A dragon’s fang and claws might pierce the metal, no problem. A giant spider’s maw? Not so much. Alec’s arrows shot true; after all, it’s hard to miss such a large target and the spider’s hide was much less durable than a dragon’s scales. Leah leaped onto the beast and started biting and clawing away at its thorax. Fijit was underneath the beast, slashing away at the vulnerable abdomen.

Devain finished the job with a casting of Scorching Ray. Two beams of searing hot heat blasted forth from both his outstretched finger and the tip of his staff. Both beams struck true and pierced the giant spider’s entire body. With a shriek and a shudder, the vermin curled over to its side, dead. Leah leapt off of the body and returned to Aerlissa’s side. Fijit poked at a leg with her rapier.

“Yeah, I think it’s dead,” she commented.
“An Ogre Spider,” Devain observed, looking at the spider’s vaguely human-like face, “cute.”

“After a Desna-damned dragon?” Fijit remarked, “This was almost insulting.”

“You alright, Maple? I saw that thing bite you,” Alec asked, concerned.

“I’m fine,” Maple said, examining her shoulder, “couldn’t get past the pauldron.”

“Right,” Alec nodded, “let’s see what this thing was guarding, and why it was alive to begin with.”

The group descended into the hidden stairway, finding themselves in a web covered secret basement. The smell of rotted and stinking flesh greeted the party, a smell that they, unfortunately, were used to. Regular sized spiders skittered about the webs. Running away from the light of Devain’s staff. Wrapped about in the webs were large cocoons, human-sized. Maple leaned in close to one, trying to make out the figure in it before the room started shaking and trembling once more as the stairs quickly ascended once more, blocking the party in.

“Fuck,” Alec cursed, rather appropriately given that they were trapped.
“Hey guys,” Fijit called from the other side of the hidden room, “check this out.”

The party followed her voice and found her looking up at a table, whereupon it had a few rows of vials and bottles of various colorations. Devain took one of them and jostled it, hearing and feeling that there was still liquid inside. Brushing the dust away, he read the label. It was spider poison.

“Hm,” the wizard hummed, sweeping away the rest of the dust on the bottles with a quick casting of Prestidigitation. The spell also cleaned off the dust on a book, it’s title written thankfully in elven. The wizard picked up the book and cracked it open, quickly skimming through the contents.

After a moment, Alec spoke up, “it doesn’t contain instructions for a way out of here, by any chance, does it?”

“I doubt it,” Aerlissa spoke up, “but I think this switch over here might do the trick.”

The party looked over, seeing the druid standing in front of a rather obvious lever sticking out of the wall. She pulled it, and the stairs presented themselves again, rocking the room as usual.
Around the basement, iron-barred cells occasionally broke into the walls, the cells were empty, and Maple didn’t particularly wish to know what once held them, though she did remember the cocoons.

“Think we should cut these open?” The dryad asked.

“Worth a shot, “ Alec responded, pulling out his trusty dagger once more and moving to a nearby cocoon, getting to work. He pulled out a desiccated and half-consumed body, whichever race it was, the person was no longer identifiable, though it still wore tattered leather armor and had a knapsack on it. Alec pulled off the knapsack, brushing away spiders that attempted to crawl up his arm.

Maple pursed her lips. She never really liked spiders.

“Fascinating,” Devain said, nose still in the book, “evidently, these poisons and elixirs over here were used in the process of fleshwarping and converting a Drow into a Drider.”

“Drider?” Maple asked.

“Half-Drow Half-Spiders. Like centaurs, except with oversized spider lower halves,” Devain explained.

“They worth anything?” Alec asked, opening up the knapsack.
“Definitely to the Drow, yes. I’d imagine the Collector would be satisfied with this alone. Oh, and there’s a couple of healing potions over here too, and some neutralize poison ones,” Devain responded.

“Neutralize poison?” Aerlissa responded, “Looks like someone down here was a druid. Only we can make those sort of potions.”

“Regardless,” Alec said, pulling out an old coin purse and spider eggs, “let’s grab everything worth something and get out.”

Aside from the Drider lab, the cocoons held the remains of some explorers who weren’t so lucky in being able to take out the Ogre Spider. They had mundane gear on them, mostly worthless, but still some spare coins and weapons to sell. The party grabbed what they could and returned to the abandoned outpost, noting the presence of a tunnel that lead deeper into the Darkreach.

“We aren’t here to explore the Darkreach,” Alec said, “It’s about time we headed back to Imperium and show the Drider lab to the Collector, see how much we can get off of it.”
Maple sighed in relief, finally, back to the surface. She could see the sun again and relax in its warmth. “Well, let’s get moving then,” she said, “I want to get out of here.”

“Aw, been away too long from the sun, bark-tits? Afraid you’ll wither and die?” Fijit teased.

“I have a sword,” Maple bluntly threatened. Fijit giggled.

“Alright, ladies,” Alec chastised the two, “let’s get moving.”

The party moved down the central road, exiting the abandoned outpost and beginning the long climb back to the surface.

And breaking again to focus more on Christmas Dinner and mingle with family. Be back soon, /tg/.
Don't feel discouraged, man. I'd wager most folks are waiting for you to finish storytiming before commenting.
Not discouraged at all! I'm actually happy to see that old fans and new fans are taking interest and the trolls are staying away/remaining unfed.

Anyways I was storytiming, lemme get back to that.
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Never had Maple believed that she would ever feel so ecstatic to simply see the sun again, but there it was. Before the party even made it out of the tunnel, Maple couldn’t stand it anymore and rushed the rest of the way up the stairs, tiring climb be damned. She felt the cool summer dirt beneath her and the warm sun on her head, her leaves taking in the energy they desperately missed. She closed her eyes, basking in the radiance of the surface and exhaled, feeling naught but pure joy. Her sapling shared the emotions, overwhelmed with the ecstasy of being in the sun again and feeling the emotions of its life mate.

The rest of the party emerged from the ruins with quizzical and somewhat concerned looks on their faces, even Fijit seemed a little put off by Maple’s attitude and behavior.

“Um… Maple?” Alec called from the ruins entrance, raising his arm to let Sorin flap down and rest on it.

“Hunh?” Maple asked, opening her eyes and turning to the party.

“You alright?” The ranger asked, starting to wonder if it was still Markus in there.

Maple was quiet, how could she respond to that? She just dashed out of a tunnel and into the sun like she hadn’t seen it in years as opposed to just a few hours. She genuinely enjoyed feeling the sunlight when yesterday she didn’t even care about the sun and just took it for granted. She looked at the ground, embarrassed and bashful. The last day had felt like a dream to her. A large part of her was wishing it were one.
The rest of the party exchanged concerned glances with each other, ending with them staring at Aerlissa. She was the one who reincarnated Markus, after all. The druid sighed, shaking her head, and approached the dryad.

The sapling still hung at her side, eagerly taking in sunlight after being underground for those few hours. Maple tried not to look directly at it.

“Markus?” Aerlissa called, using the name she had before the reincarnation.

The dryad looked at the druid. Her eyes narrowed, she did this. She’s why she’s acting so strange and unlike herself. Last night Maple didn’t mind so much, being focused more on the mission, but the mission was pretty much over now, and Maple had to deal with her reincarnation in full. She realized now that she wouldn’t be able to just walk this off and keep living life the way she did when she was Markus. The dryad curled her hands into a fist.

“What did you do to me.”

The words came like ice.

Aerlissa felt her stomach drop. That was no question, she knew exactly what Maple was feeling and had been hoping all of last night that this moment would not come. She had hoped wrong.

Maple was angry with her.

Just a much as Aerlissa was angry with Markus.
“I saved your life,” Aerlissa responded just as coolly, keeping her emotions in check.

“You turned me into… into this!” Maple shot back, gesturing at her body, “some crazy, tree-loving, plant chick!”

“I could not choose what you came back as. Markus please-“

“NO!” Maple jerked forward, pointing a ligneous finger accusingly at the druid. The trees nearby creaked and swayed.

“There was always a choice! I had the money, WE had the money, and Verdabore was close enough! A priest there could have just revived me in my own body! Not like this!” She screamed. Aerlissa stepped back.

“We don’t know that. We aren’t in Imperium, Markus, we can’t just head to a cathedral and pay for a priest to revive you,” Aerlissa tried to reason.

“You could have tried!” Maple rebuked.

“You’re the one who charged at the dragon, Markus,” Alec called from the edge of the ruins, “and we weren’t going to take what would have been a two day long detour to travel back to Verdabore to see if we even could have revived you, and then find our way back here.”

Maple looked at the day old corpse of Garsithran. Charging enemies when they presented themselves was always how she engaged combat, she probably should have known better concerning a dragon, but she had a hangover and was not in a mood to negotiate.
“Then why didn’t you just leave me and explore the ruins!? Then revive me when you got back!?” She demanded.

“We needed our fighter,” Alec responded simply.

Maple was silent for a moment. She knew that the party revived her like this out of not only need but also concern for their friend. She could have broke free from the tendril that brought her back in the first place; it didn’t hold her than firmly when it grabbed her. But she came back anyways. Maple had a feeling that if she had known what she’d come back as, she would have broke free.

“But…” She stammered, “A dryad?”

“That was not my choice,” Aerlissa responded.

“THEN WHOSE WAS IT!?” Maple screamed.

“I’d say ‘fate’, but you’d likely just scoff at that answer,” Aerlissa answered.

Maple scoffed.

Aerlissa shrugged.

“You came back like this for a reason, Markus. Some cosmic dice roll didn’t determine your new form. Reincarnation gives you a new body based on what you did with your previous one, and fate deemed you needed to live the rest of your life as a dryad,” the druid said.
Maple shook her head, “you say it was fate. Bah. It was still magic. I knew there was a reason I don’t like it.”

“Hey, now that’s uncalled for,” Devain interjected.

“It’s true! Your blasted magic made me into this! And now you’re telling me you can’t undo it! I can’t live my life like this! Bound to this retarded tree! Forget the fact that I have breasts now – wooden ones, even! – And I can barely swing my sword!” Maple rebuked. She felt her sapling cowering, sad that it couldn’t do anything to make her feel better.

“Markus…” Aerlissa pleaded.

“No. Forget this. I’m leaving,” Maple turned and started to storm off into the forest.

“Markus!” Aerlissa called, starting after her, along with the rest of the party.

Maple snapped around, fury in her eyes as the forest sympathized with her rage and reacted. Roots and weeds sprang forth from the ground, grabbing at and wrapping around the legs of the party. Caught off guard by the sudden spell, everyone found themselves effectively entangled by the vines, even the spry and nimble Fijit found herself bound and unable to efficiently chase after her best friend.

By the time the party managed to struggle free of the vines. Maple had disappeared into a tree and out of sight completely.

Maple slid down, concealed in a large oak tree. Was this it then? Was she doomed to live out the rest of her life in need of the sun and living in the forest? That was not a life she could live. The man who was once Markus was born and bred for the city life, hell, if it weren’t for Alec and Aerlissa, he never would have found a way through this damn forest.

Maple just wanted to get away though, right now she didn’t care for her friends nor did she want to continue being with them. Outside of the tree, she heard their muffled cries, trying to find her. She shook her head. Sadly, wood was not soundproof. She needed to get away even further, but knew not how.

The tree she was in answered. It felt her need for escape and instantly showed the dryad a connection to every oak tree within half a mile, telling her that it could jump to one if she so desired. Maple’s heart soared, while she didn’t care for being intrinsically connected to the forest, at least the forest itself was kind enough to empathize with her and help in whichever way it could.

She choose the connection to the furthest tree she could feel within the network, she felt herself move, as if being jostled about by a creaky lift, and the voices of her friends were silent. Maple still felt a connection to further trees out, though, still wanting to run, she followed this connection once more, and then again. She continued for two more times before stepping outside of the particular tree she was in to gather what little bearings she could.
All around her the forest stood, pristine and peaceful, quiet save for the occasional twitter of birds and rustling of some small woodland creature in the undergrowth. Maple fell onto her rear, leaning back against the oak tree she had just stepped out of and putting her head onto her knees. Alone, she finally had the opportunity to release her emotions. A tear formed on her eye, and fell. Even as a dryad, her tears still felt human. And so, Maple wept, alone, and of her own volition. She did not wish for her friends to see her cry.

“Damnit! Did anyone see where she went?” Alec barked, looking at the group, behind them, the ground still lashed out at them, vines and weeds still threatening to grasp and hold them.

“I think she walked into a tree or something,” Fijit said, pulling off a stem that was still around her leg.

“Damnit, Devain, you have that tracking spell ready? I’m good, but I can’t find a dryad in a tree,” Alec turned to the wizard.

“Of course,” The wizard answered. After they got separated in a tomb in The Dragonheart Desert, Devain always had at least one scroll of Locate Creature on him at all times. Immediately, he reached into his pack and spell components pouch, pulling out a bit of dog fur and unfurling the scroll, releasing the arcane energies inscribed within. After the spell was cast, Devain slowly turned about, before stopping, facing north, past the ruins.
“She went that way,” He said, pointing. The party immediately stirred into action and dashed into the woods.

Maple was mulling over thoughts of what she could do in this accursed body to try and cope. Only coming up with rage against her situation. Of all things, a dryad? Why? She couldn’t possibly comprehend it. Aerlissa told her that when someone is reincarnated, his or her new body is based on her past actions in life, supposedly. Maple never really hated nature, she just never thought about it. Didn’t particularly care for it or magic. She was just a city boy looking for adventure. Now she’s a forest-bound girl who can’t travel more than three hundred paces away from a stupid sapling. Did Shelyn make a bet with Cayden Cailean? Was Maple’s god using her as an example, just to prove to Shelyn or some other comely goddess of nature that he could appreciate nature as well? No, that was stupid.

Maple slammed the back of her head against the oak she sat against. She was rewarded with a throbbing headache. She stood up. How long was she there for, a minute, an hour? Maple melded back into the tree, her crying spell done. She remembered the general direction she traveled in and was about to once again use her ability to warp between trees when she felt a connection with on of the oaks suddenly snap away. Curious, she waited to see if it would come back.
Instead another one of the links disappeared. Concerned, Maple warped to one of the nearby oaks where the last one faded. Before stepping outside of the tree though, she stopped when she heard a voice. It was a familiar language, one she didn’t understand, but one she recognized. Goblin.

A sudden thud against the tree almost caused Maple to fall right out of it. The oak she was in relayed the pain from it to her. Another thud. More pain. She couldn’t stay in the tree, and stepped out of it, away from where the thuds were coming from.

She stepped right into the midst of a logging operation. Large, ugly, grayish-red skinned abominations were cleaving into the trees all around Maple. Hobgoblins.

The one who was chopping down the tree Maple was just in leaned over to look past it and at the dryad. He grunted. Another dryad tree, go figure, what was that, the third one this week? He continued chopping; knowing that removing a dryad’s tree would make the dryad less of a threat.

Maple looked around her in horror. The trees were screaming, dying all around her as the large contingent of Hobgoblin loggers cleaved their way through the forest, gathering lumber for some large invasion.
“Aw, wot’s dis? Another dryad? Oi! Gib! Come’ere. Take a look at dis!” Another Hobgoblin walked past and saw Maple, calling a friend over.

“Dere’s another one of ‘em. Heh, love the look on dere faces when we disturb ‘em. Priceless,” the beast said.

The hobgoblin called Gib walked up behind her, axe in hand and immediately going for the tree she stepped out of.

“Yeah, yeah. Just chop down ‘er tree and then chop ‘er down after it,” it said.

“Dis one’s in armor tho, dem others just had dere skivvies.” The goblinoid commented, his friend grunted and continued chopping, not concerned in the slightest. The tree creaked and cracked, giving in to the axes and, with one desperate scream to Maple, came crashing to the ground. Maple watched in horror, still caught off guard and distracted by the entire scene. The hobgoblins scratched their heads, confused.

“Hunh, she ain’t doin’ that witherin’ thing they usually do,” The first hobgoblin said, the one who was first chopping down the tree. Maple narrowed her eyes and hefted her claymore.

“That wasn’t my tree,” She said, “But you’re about to wish it was.”
The fighter cleaved right into the first hobgoblin and followed through with her swing into the other. In one fell swing; Gib and his friend were bloody heaps on the ground. The original hobgoblin that was cutting down the tree Maple was in not thirty seconds prior simply stared as his colleagues were cut down before him. All around the dryad, the rest of the hobgoblins stopped and watched on, partly in shock and partly out of being impressed. This moment of silence lasted for approximately six seconds before the rest of the hobgoblins in the area hefted their axes and began to charge at Maple.

“Shit,” The dryad cursed under her breath, she may have been a good fighter, but a dozen Hobgoblins armed with axes against a lone dryad was not a fight in the dryad’s favor. Thankfully Maple was less alone than she gave herself credit for.

Almost on reflex in response to the twelve angry hobgoblins, Maple used her entangle ability to call the undergrowth and grass around her into action. Once more the familiar sight of weeds and tangle stirring to life at Maple’s whim greeted her eyes and a large chunk of the goblinoid forces found themselves going from a charge to nearly tripping over as vines started entwining themselves around their legs and lower bodies. A few of them managed to break free of such bonds, and found themselves quickly surrounding the dryad.
A dozen of them Maple knew she couldn’t handle. Four, on the other hand, didn’t seem so impossible to her. They all swung their axes in unison at the dryad. One, Maple simply sidestepped, the rest she’d leave her armor to shrug off. Regardless, three axes swung by burly goblinoids hitting in tandem is hard to simply shrug off, and Maple grunted in pain and discomfort as the force of the blows nearly caused her to buckle. Her sapling, still at her side, jostled violently, a not-insignificant amount of soil flying from the tankard in which it sat.

Maple twisted out of the axe blows and used her momentum to bring her sword around. She quickly taught the hobgoblins a valuable lesson in showing them just how effective padded leather armor was against four feet of enchanted steel when compared to magical full-plate versus three woodsman axes. The first hobgoblin to be struck by the sword fell instantly, the second recoiled from the blow, but was still left standing, a rather gruesome, but not quite fatal gash across his chest gained from the lesson.

The next hobgoblin went for a swing to Maple’s exposed head. Seeing the attack coming from her peripheral, she brought her great sword around and deflected the blow, countering with a diagonal slash at the shoulder. The hobgoblin screamed in pain as the sword absolutely crushed the bone and sinew attaching his arm to his body, and crumpled to a heap before the fighter, who yanked the sword from the shoulder and watched, satisfied, as the beast fell.
The satisfaction was short lived, however, as Maple felt another blow ring right across her backside. The fourth hobgoblin who had attacked her previously and she had sidestepped had found a brief opening and exploited it, striking the dryad right at the spine. Gasping in shock and feeling the adrenaline rushing through her, she furrowed her brow in pain and retaliated, spinning right around and bringing her sword up and across. Thus, another one fell before her. She pivoted to the hobgoblin she had injured previously, who was right in the middle of lining up a shot, and brought her sword down overhead, cleaving the monster right in the skull. Blood and small chunks of grey matter splattered against the blade and onto Maple’s armor. A small bit of it splashed onto her sapling, which feared for its own and its soul mate’s life. Maple ignored it and moved onto the next of the hobgoblins.

They proved far easier to eliminate than the first four that had come at her, mainly because they were still struggling with the weeds that held them fast, and partly because they had just seen four of their comrades fall to a single, dainty, dryad. Such a thing did not do much to bolster morale.

Maple stormed through the area of entanglement, the undergrowth parting away as she move by, with one swing, she beheaded one goblinoid. With another swing, she did it again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

In less than sixty seconds, one lone dryad had killed twelve hobgoblins.
Unfortunately that was not the extent of them. A quick glance around told Maple that she was dealing with a rather large warband of hobgoblins. The other dozen woodcutters and warriors and rushed off back into the forest, likely to alert the rest of the tribe that there was a quite fearsome dryad fighter impeding their progress of logging the forest. Maple let them run. She killed the twelve alone just to let off steam. She saw no need in pursuing the rest further, not without her friends.

Her friends! With a horrifying realization, Maple realized that in all the fighting, she had completely lost her bearings and had no idea which direction she needed to go to in order to get back to them. With a frustrated scream, she planted her sword into the corpse of one of the hobgoblins, causing blood to spatter and seep out from the body, spilling onto the forest floor and onto her greaves. She stepped back, recoiling from the feel of the mixture of blood and dirt on her feet.

As she listened to the noise of the rest of the hobgoblins fleeing into the forest, she heard a screech from behind her. Recognizing it, she turned to see Sorin flying right toward her. She couldn’t help but smile at the sight. Her friends were nothing if not dedicated to finding her, if a little late to the party. Sorin flapped around her and gently landed on one of her bloodied pauldrons. The falcon tilted its head around, looking at the dryad with its scrutinizing gaze before playfully pecking at the side of her head twice. Maple was not amused when the sound of Sorin pecking at her sounded similar to the thudding noise that she heard when the hobgoblins were chopping at their trees, if a softer version of it.
Maple brought her other arm around to shoo the falcon off of her as the sight of the rest of the party entered her version. Alec, Aerlissa, and Leah leading the pack, with Fijit and Devain trailing behind.

“Markus!” Alec yelled, having given up on trying to differentiate between the dryad’s new name and her old one, “bloody hell. What happened here?”

Maple looked at the corpses and back at the party. She shrugged.

Aerlissa looked with horror and sadness at the nearby fallen trees and stumps, then at the corpses. The druid quickly put two and two together and responded, “Looks like she interfered with a logging operation.”

Alec looked down at the corpses and the axes next to them. “You took on all these hobgoblins by yourself? Are you okay?” He pried, genuinely concerned.

“I’m fine,” Maple responded as Fijit and Devain finally caught up, both completely out of breath.

“Your sapling looks like it would say otherwise,” Aerlissa said, pointing at the dryad’s waist where the tankard hung.

Maple looked down, concern evident in her countenance, and groaned in horror when she saw her sapling.
In all the violence, a stray axe swing found itself connecting with the sapling. The plant had lost one of its three leaves, and the second leaf was cut in half. The little sapling was wilting over, damaged but not entirely beyond hope.

“Oh, that can not be good,” Maple groaned.

“Let me see it,” Aerlissa said, “I’ll see if I can’t save it. But it is likely a bad idea to remain her for long.”

Maple untied the tankard from her waist and handed it to the druid.

“Agreed,” Alec responded, “Let’s head back north to town, we should probably let the guards there know that there’s hobgoblins operating a day south of them. Markus… I trust you won’t run again?”

Maple was silent, a little ashamed by that act of immaturity. She nodded her head, “let’s go.”

Alec and Aerlissa nodded and disappeared back into the woods, going past Fijit and Devain and running back the way they came. The rogue and wizard groaned in unison, only having just caught their respective breaths. Maple chuckled and ran off after them, happy that her friends had so skillfully and expediently found her, and dashed off into the woods after them.

And that marks the end of the reboot and rewrite of the story. Not much changed, again, just facts and figures. But everything after this is entirely new content as far as Maple's tale goes! Never before seen! I hope your bodies are ready!

In the meantime, I'mma break and allow erryone to catch up. BRB /tg/

Am I to assume that you will be continuing on from here? Or is this all that you've written.
Of course! In fact! I'm continuing.

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“All I’m saying is that there has to be a way to undo the magic, if there’s potions that can turn dark elves into spider people, why isn’t there one out there that can redo my reincarnation?”

The party had made it back to their wagon and was once again heading back north to Verdabore. It would take them three days of travel to get back to Imperium, one day to travel through Verdabore and out of the forest. Another day to traverse the Imperial Mountain range, and the final day to cross the Imperial Plains and make it to the sprawling metropolis that was Imperium. Plenty of time for Maple to get fully accustomed to her new body and come to terms with what it would mean for the fighter.

She was asking no one in particular when she spoke, trying to reason with the party to find a way to undo the magic that gave her the new body. Alec dumped off his pack in the wagon and shook his head, grabbing the reins of the horse and sitting at the fore of the wagon, ready to go when the party was.

Devain rolled his eyes once more, “there might be a way, but it will be costly and expensive. Try and be frugal, Maple.”

Maple let out a single laugh, “it’s not like we don’t have a few thousand gold in our bank at Imperium. Who knows how much more we’ll be paid once we return the lab to the Collector.”
“Why don’t you give the body a chance, Maple?” Aerlissa asked, helping Leah into the wagon and sitting down.

“I did. My armor is uncomfortable, my sword is heavy, and really I don’t want to make friends with the trees,” Maple answered, “also, I’m a female. How am I supposed to adjust to how you girls work?”

Fijit rolled her eyes, “it’s not that bad, yanno? The power of the boob will have men at your beck and call. And you’re a very pretty female, for being made of wood and having leaves for hair.”

“Yes, because that makes me feel so much better,” Maple retorted, voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Oh, yes, I’m sure you’ll find a great man to settle down with,” Devain joked, giving Maple a playful nudge, “one who’ll take care of you, give you everything you ever could want. Settle down in a nice cabin in the forest, and make friends with all of the wildlife.”

If Maple could kill with a stare, Devain would be a pile of ash. The wizard grinned.

“If we’re ready,” Alec called from the front of the wagon, quite done with listening in on the jokes. Maple sighed, thankful that Alec was able to call off the party’s pestering. They all loaded into the wagon wordlessly and set off, heading north to Verdabore. Maple mulled over her groups words in her head; they made some very valid points. Maple needed time to acclimate to her body, because she would still, at the very least, be stuck in it for three more days. She looked at her sapling, still in Aerlissa’s possession. The druid had restored the sapling’s cut leaf to full health, but the missing leaf was still absent, but the young plant seemed healthy and fine. It projected a feeling of minor joy to Maple, like a soft smile, a puppy wagging its tail when its owner looks its way.

The dryad slid to the end of the wagon, away from the plant.
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Looking forward to it. :3
“It’s not healthy to deny that which is a part of you,” Aerlissa said, staring off into space. Without even looking at the dryad, she picked up the tankard and handed the sapling to its owner.

Maple sighed and gingerly took the tankard, putting it down at her side. The happy feeling that radiated from the plant intensified, only serving to make Maple feel even more uncomfortable.

“I did what I could, the missing leaf will re-grow in time, but the sapling is healthy and happy,” The druid continued, “You should probably commune with it, you’d be surprised at how helpful and friendly the local flora can be.”

Maple stared at the druid, expressionless. She saw no point in communicating with a plant she’d no longer be attached to in the coming future, at least in her eyes. Hell, she saw no point in communicating with a plant, period. She looked at the sapling, and was assailed with thoughts of comfort, peace, and happiness. It was like a mother looking at and listening to her child, the child making promises of being big and strong and taking care of mommy when it grew old enough. Maple smiled, relaxing. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad?
She snapped her eyes open and pushed the tankard away from her. No. This wasn’t right. Maple was Markus Bladerunner. She was an adventurer and a warrior, not some dainty mother who would settle down and never leave home. She craved excitement and adventure, and would not give that up for the sake of some tree. She looked at the sapling again, thinking. If worst comes to worst and she has to stay stuck as a dryad, she figured she still had a few years of traveling left before the tree grew too large to travel with. It wasn’t like trees grew overnight. And Aerlissa said that the druids could grant her tree sentience and mobility, meaning it might eventually be able to follow her around. She took comfort in knowing that she wouldn’t HAVE to be bound to one spot for the rest of her life. Just bound to one tree, following her around…

She really needed to get out of this body.

The sun was high in the sky when the party entered the elven town of Verdabore once more, they didn’t plan on staying for long, but Maple did insist on swinging by a bar or winery for a drink, praying that she could still get drunk as a dryad. She poked her head every now and then to get a look at the townsfolk; she drew a few second glances, but otherwise went unremarked and drew no attention. She guessed the elves of Verdabore were used to dryads wandering around. Alec stopped the wagon near the same bar that Markus got drunk at two days prior and let the dryad enter to pick up some wine.

She stepped inside and was met with the stares of almost every patron in the room.

Most of whom were male.
Markus was not usually a man who blushed; generally the only red that entered his face and cheeks happened when he was rip-roaring drunk. But alas, Maple had been sober for two days, so the flush of red that graced her cheeks as she rushed to the bar was entirely from embarrassment. Of course she would draw looks when entering a bar. She was a – according to Fijit – very pretty dryad, decked out in full plate armor, who had just wandered into a bar and was about to order probably about 10 bottles of the strongest vintage they had.

She leaned against the bar, glancing around and-oh gods there she was.

Sitting down just four stools away was her, Aerlissa’s cousin, and damn if Maple could remember her name, but she knew a face when she saw one, shining blonde hair, full, endlessly deep eyes of gray, and a perfect, lissome, elven body. The bartender, an aged and serious elf, came to the dryad and scrutinized her for a moment, before asking, “What may I get for you today, ma’am?”

Maple looked at the shelves of wine behind the bartender and quickly made a decision.

“The Feltian vintage. One crate. Double time.”

The bartender’s eyes went wide. The dryad had just ordered a full crate of their most expensive wine.

“That’s… a hundred and twenty… gold…” The bartender said, stunned.

Maple reached into her haversack and pulled out a pouch of coins, pulling out a dozen, large, shining pieces of platinum. She swore the bartender near fainted.
“I’ll bring up the crate right away,” he said, abandoning the bar and heading into the back of the building.

The stares had begun to accumulate. And now Aerlissa’s cousin was staring, impressed at the order. A look of curious recognition appeared on her face and she stood. Maple immediately stopped glancing down her way and looked away, waiting and hoping for the bartender to come back with the crate.

She sat down in the empty stool next to the dryad, directly in front of where she was looking.

Fuck, Maple thought.

“You seem familiar,” she said, being uncomfortably direct, “have we met before?”

“Um… No I don’t thinks so,” Maple lied, looking away from her. Where was that damn bartender?

“No… I’m pretty sure, your armor looks familiar, that knapsack, too,” she pressed on.

“Coincidence? I’m fairly sure I never met you before,” she said, beads of sweat forming on her brow.

The elf raised her eyebrow. Before she could say anything, though, the bartender returned with the crate of wine in his arms. He put it down on the table and swept the platinum into his hand, carefully examining each piece to make sure they were genuine, putting them away in a safe when he saw that they were. By the time he turned around, Maple had left with the crate in her arms and was loading it onto the cart.
Aerlissa’s cousin followed after him, and her eyes went wide when she saw Aerlissa and the rest of the party.

“Oh, hi, Lilliana,” the druid said casually. Maple literally dove into the wagon.

Lilliana looked at the group, flabbergasted, “Aerlissa!? Back so soon? I thought you-“

“Ruins were just south of town, led to an abandoned Drow outpost. I take it you saw Markus?” Aerlissa interrupted.

“That was Markus!?” She shouted.

Maple beat her head against the seats in the wagon, then slowly poked her head outside, nervously staring at Lilliana.

“Uh… Hi… Lilliana? Was it?” She said, looking away. Aerlissa leaned against a wagon wheel, smug smile on her face. Fijit and Devain were trying their damnedest not to laugh, and settled for beaming like idiots at the entire scene. Alec tried to pay attention.

“Well! You um… certainly look… different, than you did a few days ago…” Lilliana said, now clearly uncomfortable.

“He was killed by a dragon, I reincarnated him, now he’s a dryad. Do you want to see his tree?” Aerlissa asked, gesturing to the back of the wagon.

Lilliana stepped forward to look. Bashfully, Maple moved aside, bringing the sapling into clear view. Lilliana’s mouth went ajar, shocked that the adventurer that she laid with was now the dryad sitting in front of her. The poor elf seemed to shut down for a moment, brain trying, and failing to process the scene in front of her. Fijit saw the look on her face and could hold it in no longer, bursting out into laughter once more. It was settled; there was no way the gnome would ever leave this party. Devain couldn’t help but chuckle himself. Maple pulled off the crate’s lid and grabbed a bottle of wine, uncorking it and immediately downing as much as she could. The alcohol burned at her throat and immediately made her feel woozy.
Lilliana looked away. “You should… probably leave,” she said, crossing her arms and getting off of the road. Aerlissa smiled even more and walked to the back of the wagon, “maybe now you won’t be so much of a bottle fairy, hm?”

The elf looked at her cousin pleadingly, this was entirely too awkward for the girl.

“Off we go, Alec,” The druid said once the party had loaded on.

The ranger snapped the reins and the party continued forward. Maple looked back at Lilliana, waving lightly at her with the fakest smile on her face that she could muster. The elf looked away, going back into the bar. Maple wasn’t entirely sure she wouldn’t see her again.

The party stopped by the town hall and waited as Alec went inside to warn the guard about the hobgoblins operating south of them, after which they continued north to the mountains. Maple never finished the bottle she opened, disgusted with the drink after the scene with Lilliana. She swore Aerlissa didn’t stop smiling for hours, pleased with how the scene turned out. Maple knew the druid wouldn’t let her live down the sex with Lilliana she had prior, and she was probably looking out for her cousin when they entered Verdabore. The fact that she was in the bar Maple swung into was just a bonus, and now she couldn’t even finish her wine.

Flawless victory.

Fijit crept up to the dryad, who had been holding the wine for the past few hours without taking a single sip, and quietly palmed the booze from her hand.

“You satisfied?” Maple asked the druid, voice dripping with anger.

“Very much so,” came her response, “perhaps now we can properly address the issue of your reincarnation.”

Maple shook her head; “it won’t stay that way for long.”

Aerlissa contained her chuckle, “you never know. Reincarnation is not easy to reverse.”

“I’ll have to head to the Library Arcana to look up the spell,” Devain said, “See if there’s a way to bring you back to your old body, though I make no promises.”
Maple nodded, the Library Arcana was the largest collection of books in the continent, tomes on nearly every spell known were available in that library, as well as books of lore and bestiaries for practically every beast and monster known to man. If Devain couldn’t find a book there to help Maple, she’d eat her sapling.

The plant sent her a terrified feeling, begging her not to eat it.

Maple rolled her eyes. That was a joke.


“So what if there isn’t a way to return you to humanity? What will you do if you have to live the rest of your life as a dryad?” Aerlissa queried.

“That won’t happen,” Maple answered.

“Humor me,” she retorted.

Maple was silent for a moment, what would she do if she were stuck like this? It was a while before she answered.
“I’m still Markus under all this bark,” she began, slowly, “far as I’m concerned, I’ll keep traveling with you lot. Pay’s good, and the fights and sights are fun. I don’t care if I have to fill my haversack with dirt and stuff my tree in it to travel with you all, I’ll do it.”

“We won’t be able to journey together forever. I plan on retiring, eventually,” Alec said from the front of the wagon, enjoying the forest around him.

“Then I guess I’ll have to settle down also,” Maple responded, “let’s at least get rich before that happens.”

“You just spent a hundred and twenty gold on wine,” Fijit remarked, taking a sip from the bottle she stole from the dryad.

“Richer, then,” Maple added.

“Someone’s greedy,” Devain commented.

“You should settle with my druidic circle,” Aerlissa offered, “they’ll see to it you remain taken care of.”

“And probably try and get me to convert to your silly, tree-hugging ways,” Maple teased.

“Those ‘silly, tree-hugging ways’ are the reason you’re alive,” the druid shot back.

Maple pursed her lips; she hated it when Aerlissa was right. Which was always.
The party set up camp at the foot of the grand Imperial Mountains, a range of rocky, but relatively short mountains that separated the Crystalmist Forest from the Imperial Plains. Maple was in bed relatively quickly, and dreamed the same dream she had last night. Running, almost naked, through the forest and taking cover in her fully grown tree. Fijit once again woke her for the watch, and once again she jumped awake.

That night she wondered if there truly was a way out of this.

The next morning the party got ready to traverse the valleys and hills of the Imperial Mountains. Maple was happy to be out of the forest and into the much less sparsely forested mountains. Finally, she didn’t have to listen to the trees anymore. Their travels continued northward without incident and they were able to set up camp on the opposite end of the mountain range. Maple stared onto the vast, golden prairie and farmlands of the Imperial Plains. Home. She smiled with content, barely a tree in sight.

The next morning they resumed their journey, crossing the fields and plains at a much faster pace than they were through the forest and mountains. There were no hills or trees to get in the way. Eventually, the soaring, pristine spires of Imperium came into view. The city was the largest on the continent, and the seat of King Aldias, ruler of the land, collectively known as Palagaia.

And Maple’s home.
Soon enough, the party was entering the walls of the grand, sprawling metropolis and amidst the hustle and bustle of the city and its inhabitants. No one was even sparing Maple a second glance, they were far too busy with their own business and many strange sights wandered and inhabited the streets of the city to begin with. Tieflings, Fey, Extraplanar beings and their offspring, and all manner of civilized and exotic creatures roamed the streets. A dryad like Maple was not out of place in these walls.

The party stopped at their client’s museum, “The Museum of Remnants.” They parked the wagon on the side of the road and entered the stately building; built of smooth, marble walls and tiling, with lavish carpets and tapestries hugging the walls and ceilings. The teller nodded at the five, recognizing Alec on sight and swiftly stepped aside, only giving Maple a second glance as she walked by. She ignored the man and stayed close to her allies.

They traveled up the stairs and into the offices, a secretary greeted them and went back to inform the Collector that his party had successfully returned. A moment later she was back and invited the group to the office. Alec nodded and led them back. Maple smiled, another payday for them.
The party stepped through a pair of exquisitely carved, oak double doors. Entering an office with an elegantly designed rug, sofa, and desk, lit by lamplight, candles, and a fireplace behind the desk. The desk was littered with various papers, folders, and a few display cases; inside of which sat the preserved and delicate remains of various insects and spiders. Sitting at the desk was an older gentleman, human, with combed back, salt and pepper hair and wearing a dark, embroidered noble’s outfit that spoke of wealth and taste. His name may have been anonymous, but his fame and persona was evident enough. In his mouth was a cigar, lit and smoking and filling the room with an earthly scent. He gestured his arms wide and welcomingly and called out to the group.

“Alec! Back so soon! A pleasure to see you! I take it your excursion was a success?” He asked, voice bold and boisterous.

The ranger nodded, taking a seat from across the desk and taking off his knapsack. He slowly and carefully placed each and every vial, potion, tool, poison and piece of the lab they had found in front of the man, who watched eagerly and intensely.

“What have we got here…” The Collector asked, taking a handkerchief and lightly picking up one of the vials.

“Ruins led to an old Drow outpost, on the surface of the Darkreach,” Alec answered, “Not dwarven or ancient fey. Place was abandoned and empty, save for this lab, and the ogre spider guarding it.”

“Looks to be bits and pieces Drow used in the fleshwarping process to create Driders. Rest of the place was empty, save for webs and skeletons,” Devain added.
“Marvelous…” The Collector said, placing the vial back down, “A splendid addition for the collection. Yes, I think I shall pay you handsomely for this set. I’ll make the deposit in your bank tomorrow.”

Alec nodded, business as usual, no numbers for them until the deposit was made, no announcing the number aloud, just an anonymous deposit into the party funds from a friend and business partner. The ranger stood and nodded to the group, walking past them and out of the door. The Collector looked up from his prize and looked at the party, quizzical.

“Where’s Markus?” he asked, “and who’s the leaf girl?”

Alec stopped and stood up straight, taking a long, drawn out breath. Maple had an uneasy look on her face. It begins.

“I forgot to mention,” the ranger began, “there was a green dragon waiting for us at the ruins. There was a… minor scuffle, and it kind of killed Markus. Aerlissa reincarnated him, and he came back as… that.”
“Oh, alright then,” the Collector said, apparently satisfied.

“…That’s it?” Maple asked, surprised.

“Markus, lad… lass, in this city, anything goes. You learn to start taking things at face value. Good luck with the new body,” he answered, smiling at the dryad.
The party politely excused themselves and left the Collector to do his work, finding themselves on the streets of Imperium once more. The clambered into the wagon and looked at each other, their evening was free for the first time in a while. Maple looked at Devain, reminding the wizard with a look the promise he had made.

“Right,” Devain said, “Looks like I’m off to the library. I take it we’re all staying at my house again?”

The group nodded in unison. It had been that way for the past two years they had been traveling together, and there was no reason now to change anything up. They each had their separate homes, of course. Aerlissa lived with her druid circle in Crystalmist. Alec had a cabin out in the plains. Devain had his manor in town. Maple lived with her parents before she started adventuring. Fijit… no one really knew, but she was certainly well enough on her own before the party met her. But for now, the group agreed that staying in Devain’s manor when on the job and adventuring was the best for them.

The wizard had a ludicrously large manor in the wealthy district of Imperium. Wizards are paid well for their services in the big city, and Devain was no exception. He often sold scrolls and spell crafting services to make a living, such as lighting lanterns that would never go out, fixing broken items, casting the odd spell to solve a random problem, and so on. As a result, he had a fair bit of money to toss around, and spent most of it purchasing and furnishing a lavish home. The party crossed the threshold of the manor and made themselves at home. Markus immediately made for his room, wanting to get out of his armor. Not a notion that stemmed from his reincarnation, though it was a factor that aided in her desire. Maple just wanted to relax and settle in. She was happy to be home, out of the forest, out of the ruins, and out of the nightmare.
She stepped into her room and immediately set to removing her full plate, tossing it into a corner, putting her sapling on her bedside table, and heading for her wardrobe. She grimaced at the selection, all of these clothes were meant for a burlier, bulkier fighter, and not the slender, smaller form that she was in now. All of her trousers would fall straight off of her. Regardless, stripped naked, save for a simple loincloth, and turned to the polished steel mirror on the wall, finally getting a chance to look herself over.

Sweet Cayden, she was hot.

Maple leaned forward, looking in disbelief at the face that was mimicking her motions. Her face was perfectly round, her nose small and cute, her eyes large and vibrant, lips containing the barest hint of a pout. Her leafy hair cascaded around her head, vines and stems replacing the strands of hair that Markus used to have. The rest of her body was the milky brown color of maple bark, and contained the lines and creases that marked normal wood, yet her skin felt smooth as polished wood, and as pliable as rubber. Gone were the muscles and scars, replaced by curves and beauty. The fighter stared down at her breasts, resisting the urge to grope them. She pegged them at around a b-cup, perky, but not large.

Maple turned and went back to the wardrobe, putting on the tightest pair of trousers she could find and strapping on a belt to keep them up. She then tossed on a simple linen shirt and left her room, deciding to remain barefoot. She headed to the kitchen, starving and aching for some quality food.
When she got there, she found Aerlissa walking out with a fresh bowl of salad and loaf of bread.

“Hungry?” the druid asked, handing Maple the loaf. She nodded and took the bread eagerly, heading to the table.

“Where’s your sapling?” Aerlissa asked, concerned.

“Upstairs,” Maple answered, biting off a chunk of bread.

“Devain already left for the library, he should be back later tonight with an answer for you, though I don’t suspect you’ll like it.”

“We’ll have to see,” the fighter said, swallowing her bread chunk, happy to know that her taste buds still functioned after almost a week of trail rations.

Fijit walked out of the kitchen with a bottle of Feltian Wine in hand and a few wine glasses. She passed a glass to Maple and Aerlissa, hopping on a chair to pour the drinks, sitting on the table’s edge.

“I, for one, like the new Markus!” the gnome chirped, “no offense, Aerlissa, but you aren’t the best gal pal. Now with Maple we can get into all sorts of hijinks!”
Both Aerlissa and Maple rolled their eyes. Maple grabbed a glass of wine and drank deep, enjoying the flavor and burning sensation.

Alec walked by in the hall, stopping briefly to look at the three, “I’m heading up to my room and going to sleep. Been a long trip, nice to be home.”

“I’ll drink to that!” Fijit said, chugging her wine. Aerlissa and Maple smiled, taking sips from their respective glasses.

“Yeah. It is nice to be home,” Maple said, looking out the window into the city street in front of the manor, smiling. At the end of the day, nothing had changed. She had her friends, she had her life, and that was good enough for her.

Back at the museum, the Collector sat at the freshly cleaned and pristine vials and tools of the lab that the party had brought to him. The sun had long since set on the city, and next to him were a few open bestiaries and texts, namely on the Drow, Driders, and the goddesses Calistria and Lamashtu. A foreboding smile was on the man’s face. Standing across from him was his secretary, waiting.

“Tell me, dear,” the Collector began, “the basement still has the alchemy lab set up, correct? With the vat?”

“Yes sir,” the woman answered.

“Excellent… I’ll be down there for the rest of the night. You can go home…”

The woman bowed, “Have a nice evening sir.”

The Collector nodded as the secretary took her leave. He leaned back in his chair, closing the texts and looking out into the moonlit city. Tonight would be a long night indeed…

And so ends book one of the Dryad series! Will Maple ever undo the reincarnation? Will she grow to accept accept her body? What is the collector going to do with the lab?

Find out all this and more in Book Two! Drider! Coming 2013!

This is Dryadfag, signing off and wishing all of the elegan/tg/entlemen of 4chan a very merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
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Thank you very much for continuing this. I was wondering if you'd forgotten about it, but this was a wonderful suprise to see.

I hope you also have yourself a very merry Christmas, as well as a happy new year.
Seconded. Amusing story.
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Thank you! And a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too. It was my pleasure to revive Maple for christmas and finish that which I started almost a year ago. The fact that people genuinely enjoy what I write (and are willing to pay me money for it) is enough to raise my Christmas spirits and keep my at the keyboard. I'm not kidding when i say Maple's story will continue in 2013 with "Drider."

For now, I'm just going to enjoy my Christmas.

To become a drider, obviousy
Cool Story, Bro! I look forward to reading more next year! I hope the little donations you recieved help.

Shhhhhhh! You'll spoil it!
Sup Dryadfag? How you doing?
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Just finished christmas dinner with the family.
There was a pot roast.
It was delicious.
No Pocket Dimension Tree :(
I am happy to see more Maple, just a shame we'll have to wait another year to get more.

I kinda want to write something for you in return for this. Anything transformation-related you'd like to see that ISN'T maple?
What haven't I seen before?
Hm, how about this. I'll just leave the floor open for someone else to decide what they want to see. I'll likely be happy with whatever comes up.
Haven't seen something with kythons before, book of vile darkness
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>Googles Kythons.
>pic MFW.
I know right, theres even a semi-plausible way via an item in the Book. Kython armor, page 118.

I look forward to it.
I read that as Kryptonians
Nah, turning into superman would be a boring TF.
agreed to mary sue, kythons bring about a wide array of possibilities. Such as a character infilitrating the brood to spy on the slaughterking. But then something goes wonky with whatever made them a kython and their stuck. Bar polymorph/permanency combos.

The Xenomorphs? Nothing sexy about those. Now KYTONS on the other hand...
That would end up way too BDSM and fetishy.

Durr. it's fapfiction anyway
Transformation isn't necessarily fapfiction, to some its a mental intrigue. Such as how the character reacts to the situation and what mental changes occur as a result of new instincts and such.
This man has it down.
I'm in it for the mental intrigue. Always was, always will be.
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Also pic-related is what the other guy wanted, can't even argue that it isn't fetishy.
Unless she is being made to produce syrup in a lewd manner, not fetishy

Still, I was looking for something more cute.

Transformation without cute or sexy is just body horror.
No sometimes its badass or sad depressing and tear inducing. Also the only other thing I will agree to is a flumph.
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I thought that was established canon... Why else would she be a maple?
Maple Brew
Imperium's sweetest beer with a delicious syrupy taste and a hint of tree bark.
Nope, your the only one who thought of that. Not everyone is a hormone drowned psycho like you. Some of us are still trying to achieve 40 years so we can become wizards.
I did it for the sake of the joke when she was thinking about the TF. Not so that it'd actually happen.

If you want it to in your head, go for it. I won't stop you bro.
>This man has it down.
>I'm in it for the mental intrigue. Always was, always will be.

Yeah. Sure you are. You're jerking the meat to Maple and we all know it. Your old version of the story was more explicitly porny too.

I keep running into this image I made around here and it always throws me off.
Are you retarded? Did you not read this? The old version was essentially copy/paste in the middle of this.

Hell. This is actually more porny, because sex is explicitly mentioned.

Get out of here Matt

fetishfaggotry is drowning /tg/ lately, but actually begging for money in return for it is a new low. seriously. what's next, "ELF SLAVE WAT DO PLS DONATE 5BUXX THNX"?
Maple syrup?

Okay, now I gotta know who you are. Sate my curiousity.
Any petty or stubborn person would take that as an invitation not to.

Hey, I'm just curious, that's all. Besides, some people know I come here.
And somehow Fenoxo makes a living off of exactly this. Dryadfag didn't even have sex scenes in the story and made some money.

And hey, it's Christmas. Where's your spirit man?
I'm just good at math, friend.

Well, go post in Changeling if you are what I think you are at this time of night, I'm just waiting for /co/ to finish storytiming something before I get to bed.

Who the hell is Fenoxo?
>Dryadfag didn't even have sex scenes in the story and made some money.
>And hey, it's Christmas. Where's your spirit man?

I'm honestly puzzled by that. It's a fetish story that tries to stay "clean" to a large degree, and there's millions of those already. Dunno why people would feel like donating for that, when there's more explicit stuff available.
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>I dont get why people are generous on Christmas
Down that path lies madness friend.

first of all, creating separate threads for this. for DAYS. he's been posting about it constantly without adding jack shit except another topic to the board. it's a common dirty marketing trick to make people notice him.

and now, it's just straight-up whining. "between jobs and low on cash"? Who the fuck ISN'T between jobs and low on cash? as for generosity, there's a gift exchange thread up on the board RIGHT NOW. if the dude hadn't been here to get quick money off of people he would have signed up for that instead of making his own threads and bumping them for days.

and I can't believe people are saying this is a good thing, that this is what you want to have on the board.
Not madness, Corruption.

third, fetishfaggotry. not explicit enough to be deleted, but still. writefaggotry about fetishfaggotry based vaguely on traditional games feels like it's way beyond what the board should embrace. isn't there a writing forum? if not, there's /d/ for fetish stuff.
I don't care, this is 4chan not exactly the best place to expect perfect and upright citizens.
It's writefaggotry on a highly dungeons and dragons topic.
A: I don't write sex. I enjoy smut as much as the next person, but as far as my writing and creative works goes, it's a nono for me. I'll use it for plot and drama purposes, sure. But I'll gloss over the fact that it happened at best.

B: As I said in OP. I really hate buttcoining. I get that people do it because they want shit in return for the work they do when it was originally free to begin with. But I literally had 76 cents in my bank account this morning (it has now shot up by a CONSIDERABLE number, in comparison. Seriously /tg/, you guys are so ridiculously awesome I can't even begin to describe how humbled I am). The paypal will not be there the next thread I post. It was there today because it's christmas and I needed money.
>A: I don't write sex. I enjoy smut as much as the next person, but as far as my writing and creative works goes, it's a nono for me. I'll use it for plot and drama purposes, sure. But I'll gloss over the fact that it happened at best.

that is as may be, but everything you write about Maple is still fetishfaggotry. it's about a guy transforming into a dryad and dealing with mental and physical changes. it's even got the hallmarks of transformation fetish fics in how the character reacts, and believe me I've read a lot of them. you can claim whatever you want about it. it's a fetishfic. most people who posted excitedly in here read it because it gives them something to fap to. let's drop the pretense it isn't.

i also understand why it's a fetishfic rather than something vanilla, namely because the more narrow and unconventional, the less writing there is for it, and the more people into the fetish will be willing to give out money in return. girl on guy? everywhere. lesbians? can't throw a fucking rock without hitting a fic. yaoi? etc.

>B: As I said in OP. I really hate buttcoining. I get that people do it because they want shit in return for the work they do when it was originally free to begin with. But I literally had 76 cents in my bank account this morning (it has now shot up by a CONSIDERABLE number, in comparison. Seriously /tg/, you guys are so ridiculously awesome I can't even begin to describe how humbled I am). The paypal will not be there the next thread I post. It was there today because it's christmas and I needed money.

you have been posting "preparation" threads for this for what, a week now? two? it's a carefully calculated scheme to exploit /tg/ for personal gain. and I was under the impression that begging or marketing was still frowned on by people here.
Think of it as this way- as uncondoneable as it may be, it will still be gone in not too long. Look at what has gone on-

>Some broke idiot advertises his stuff, asks for monies
>Throws a fetishy story up
>No longer as broke as before

It is what it is. There's other bullshit to complain about then one random dude writing something for fun and being given some random bits of money. As beggary and wrong, shameful as it may be, as poorly veiled fetishy as the story is, it's not hurting anyone. Or wholly against the rules. Sage and move on.
Nope, It's encouraged.
>that is as may be, but everything you write about Maple is still fetishfaggotry.

Yes. It was. I have a thing for people being transformed into other things. And evidently so do a lot of people on /tg/. I don't make a habit of getting off to it though (that would require sex to happen). So for me it's more of a fascination. But I won't deny that it can be called a fetishfic. So there, caught me red handed.

Be that as it may, It is still perfectly /tg/ related. Last I checked, writefags are/used to be a big thing here and about half of the story revolves around a D&D/Pathfinder party and their adventures.

>you have been posting "preparation" threads for this for what, a week now?

One week, nice to know you've been following. And I did that because I had literally disappeared off of /tg/ for damn near a year. I did a few archive searches and saw that people were still occasionally looking for me and wondering what happened, down to the point where some thought I was banned. I posted the prep threads to give people a heads up. The decision to add my paypal to the OP was made literally this morning, because it was christmas and if people wanted to be generous to me, figured I may as well give them a way. And it's not like I was planning on forcing people to pay before showing them the story. That's typically known as a "dick move," and I don't want to be known as a person who engages in dick moves.
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Oh God yeah, this is the one which leads to the dryad girl making syrup, right? That brings back so many memories of Old /tg/.

Culexus did the best softcore shit.
Hey, Dryadfag. Congratulations on finally getting this finished. I wondered where you went for a long time after you vanished, but since the threads at that time drew a lot of extremely angry protests, I figured you'd just decided to seek other venues.

Still, good work. Your writing has certainly improved!

I also deeply regret not having eaten your brain and stolen this idea from you earlier. You're not the only dude who's broke and present-free on christmas. But your story did cheer me up a bit.

Happy holidays, dude from the guy who started the "transformations in fantasy" thread which gave birth to Maple (and wrote some shit form them like the Hydra story).
Hey Hydrawriter! Good to see you again! Stick around on /tg/ for the next few months and you'll get to see the next book. XD

Still getting a bit of protests, but I think those guys are beginning to realize that there's nothing really they can do about it next to saging. Not that I mind. People have different opinions and I can respect that.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, mate!

I'm pretty sure the only connection is that they're both maple-based dryads.
Thank you, Dryadfag. I highly enjoyed this. I have a thing for transformation myself, but you managed to keep it PG and give a good perspective on not only the gender swap, but also the situation of being an entirely different class of being: fey.

Don't be brought down by the haters; this is as /tg/ related as any DnD writefaggotry.

I don't have any money to give, unfortunately, bu good luck.
Your kind words are money enough, my friend.

The haters will hate, you know how it is.

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.
Alright /tg/. Giving this one little bamp before heading off to bed. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for your support and you are welcome for all the writefaggotry! Stay awesome! Because I do not need the other boards anymore!
Seriously, why are people whining so much about him asking for a donation?

I gave him some money, it was my choice. How does it in any way trouble you what I do with my money?
If you're worried about people trying to turn /tg/ into the own little money-scam they'll just get banned for thread-spam/stop once they don't get anything because they're just begging for money.

Yes, my gift was partly in the spirit of the season, but mostly it's just because I like the story. (I don't even have a TF fetish, I just like it for everything else. As dryadfag said, it's the "mental intrigue" that's fun, not "lol big burly fighter now has tits fap fap fap".)

What's wrong with just encouraging an author I like?

>$22-27K hgTndigh
Captcha also like Maple, apparently. Quite a lot, too.
Woah, I love you OP. I must read the original maple story first (I just can't remember the plot) but it was one of the best pieces of writefaggotry I have ever seen.

>bump for justice
Why do you hate fun?
This guy...

has it right
are there any maps for this setting?
Most likely, since it's the default Pathfinder setting IIRC.
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I can't find Verdabore nor Crystal whatever and that Imperium city.

Found this. Not sure if related
You know, what bothers me most about this isn't the fetishy nature of the story or the begging, but rather the fact that a dryad is named Maple. I know it's a genderbent formerly-human dryad, but still. /tg/ kinda sucks with names.

The name change was done really shittily in the story as well. The dude would really just be going with "Markus" permanently.
Not necessarily. To me it seems that Markus is still thinking of himself as Markus, but of his new abilities and body as Maple. He's keeping the situation as far away from himself as possible, denying any changes that might have already happened to his character.
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OP, I loved your tale. You have done a good job. It's one of those stories that make you want to live in fantasy worlds. I look forward to read your second book.

Calling him Maple isn't that shity. I do belive OP went too quick with the "lets name you Maple, yo" "Oh, thats cool". Maybe calling him Maple as a joke between friends (and eventualy adopting the name) could have been a better way.

The part that I don't really like is when they return to the elf place. I just don't see the point on meeting the cousin again.
Also I don't like how people react to Maple, they kind of assume transformations and dryads are something common you can see every day.
I can't wait for the milking to begin!
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Ah shit. Looks like /tg/ found my Deviantart Account.

Yeah, I sometimes drawfag, but I haven't actually really drawn anything in a while.

Ignoring the fact that Palagaia very clearly looks like it was ripped off from Azeroth (that was unintentional, I don't play WoW and know jack shit about the setting). The pic I have here is a map of the whole setting. Catheridge. It's been one that I'm working on myself and have been for a while, couple of years. It's the setting that my Pathfinder group has been playing for the last 2 years. It's pretty well fleshed out, just working on better detailing the countries and making custom deities for the setting and whatnot.

Thanks for the critique. I was rushing to get the story ready for Christmas and would have liked to gone a bit deeper into detail, but alas. I've never been really good with names. I like them simple and easy to remember, not really flowery and long. Hell, it took me a while to come up with the dragon's name. Garsithran.
I'd like to see more development with the name too. It can show us how his thoughts about his new form change, and how other people change how they see him.
the party seem like typical murderhobos
The narrator can use it too, to indicate Maple's mood or when she's come to terms with who she is now.

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