Sorry for missing a day due to illness. Still woozy (I have a slightly idiosyncratic reaction to medication that May Cause Drowsiness), so please forgive me if I miscount votes or post really weirdly.> Previous thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/35561568/> suptg archive tag: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Lessons%20in%20Knighthood%20Quest> QM Twitter: https://twitter.com/QMdampYou are Nicole, a knight-apprentice of Alvar who has just gone through a harrowing experience that may or may not be your own fault. Given the especially flashy nature of your unintentional antics, and the worrying gap in your memory since then, your hopes of keeping a low profile and completing your apprenticeship without incident have hit a sizeable snag.You have been summoned to the room you share with Knight Captain Clarissa, who has asked to give an account of yourself, starting with who you are.Somehow you think restating your name is not going to help.Who are you, really? Or, more relevant, what are you willing to reveal about yourself? Some things simply should not be said, even if it means the end of your apprenticeship. Some things would raise far too many other questions, which would eventually lead into the things that should not be said.Some things you don't even know yourself.It would probably be difficult to regain the trust of the people around you under these circumstances.Start with the basics. The most important part is who you are, right at this very moment. Who you want to be."I'm your knight-apprentice," you say.>[1/2]
Clarissa, sitting on the edge of her bed, raises an eyebrow. "Are you?"You really, really hope so. "Yes, Captain."Clarissa digests this for a while. You try not to fidget."Sit down," she finally says. "You are not on trial."A promising remark. You take a seat on your own bed, mirroring Clarissa."With your arm in that condition," she says, "the training schedule I drew up is pointless. So from now until your arm heals, you are effectively at leisure, with some restrictions. Remember that you are still only provisionally accepted as a squire-""Knight-apprentice," you say on reflex."... knight-apprentice," Clarissa corrects herself. "So please do not do anything more to embarrass yourself and the Duke's household. You will not go anywhere without personally informing someone in authority: myself, Anders, Elise, Simone, William, or Donovan. And you are most certainly not to be in the Duke's presence without one of us present as well."> "I understand, Captain. I accept those conditions."> "Is this a punishment?"> "What happened to your hand?"
>>35603768> "I understand, Captain. I accept those conditions."> "What happened to your hand?"
>>35603768>> "I understand, Captain. I accept those conditions.">> "What happened to your hand?">"What exactly...happened? Was I not supposed to enter the Wizard's Tower?"
>>35603857sorry, I meant to ask what exactly we did wrong, but I can't word it without sounding rebellious. Were concealed weapons our ONLY infraction?>"Was I not supposed to enter the Wizard's Tower?
>>35603768> "I understand, Captain. I accept those conditions."> "What happened to your hand?"Seems fairly obvious that it's not meant as a punishment.Also morning thread, I just woke up and saw this lovely thing.
"I understand, Captain. I accept those conditions." A relatively light consequence, compared to what you had been expecting."It is as much for your own safety as anything else," Clarissa says. "We are not sure what went wrong with the wards in the tower, but at least now we know there is a certain sort of person who will disregard clear warnings for the sake of their own curiosity. It would make things easier for all of us if you would occasionally consider not prodding dragons with sticks, Nicole."You can recognize a rebuke when you hear one. "My apologies again, Captain." It puts a damper on your urge to explore, but you're not sure how long your luck, such as it is, will hold out. It might be a better idea to meekly follow orders until you are no longer suspected of being incompetent.Besides, there are less risky ways of gathering information."What happened to your hand?" you ask, demonstrating one such method, and conveniently also changing the subject.Clarissa frowns. "You don't remember?"> "I don't remember anything from the tower, sorry."> "I don't remember, but I can guess."
>>35604015>"I don't remember anything from the tower, sorry."
>>35604015> "I don't remember anything from the tower, sorry."
>35604015> "I don't remember anything from the tower, sorry."I'm going to assume that we hurt her, but that wasn't in what we saw from what I remember.
Your impressions of the incident at the tower are unreliable, to say the least. For all you know everything happened exactly as the others said it did, with your fall down the stairs knocking you out and breaking your arm. What you thought you felt and did were just the results of a serious concussion, made less serious by the healing arts of Sister Simone and the foul-tasting concoctions of Elise the as yet unmet court wizard.All those tiny hesitations and uneasy glances whenever you bring up the subject are entirely unrelated, as is the bandage around Clarissa's hand. It would be a very unlikely coincidence, but right now you're not sure you can come up with anything better.Besides, you do not think you should open up that path of questioning just yet, for fear of where it might lead."I don't remember anything from the tower, sorry," you say.Clarissa sighs. "Then I suppose it does not matter." She stands, and walks over to her wardrobe. "While you've been in the infirmary all day, I have been hard at work, and I'd appreciate an early night. For the sake of my peace of mind, please do not leave the room to wander about on your own. Again.""Yes, Captain." Meek is good.Clarissa glances over her shoulder, a nightgown in hand. "Are you going to sleep in that?"You've slept in more uncomfortable clothes. "I don't have pyjamas.""One wonders how you even survived to reach Alvar." Clarissa picks out a spare nightgown and holds it out. "This will do until you get your own."It's silk. Your hypothetical knight-apprentice salary would have to be rather substantial before you could even think about affording something like this.> "Thank you, Captain."> "Thank you, but I'm fine with what I have."
>>35604293> "Thank you, Captain."
>>35604293>> "Thank you, but I can't possibly impose on you after all this."
>>35604293>You've slept in more uncomfortable clothes. "I don't have pyjamas.">"One wonders how you even survived to reach Alvar."I think that our Knight Captain may be marginally overstating the value of PJs.>"Thank you, Captain."
>>35604379I suppose they're the towels of this setting?>>35604293> "Thank you, Captain."
You handle the nightgown as though it is made of gossamer and wishes. Which, considering how much it likely costs, it may as well be. "Thank you, Captain. This is... I don't know what to say.""Is it truly so extravagant?" Clarissa sounds genuinely surprised. "It's just one of my old ones. I was thinking of donating it to one of the churches in the city. You can keep it, if you'd like."You mentally revise your estimation of the Ridelham nobility's prosperity upwards. Clearly Clarissa did not become Alvar's Knight Captain for the pay.The two of you change into your respecting sleeping clothes. You take the opportunity to tidy up your own belongings into your wardrobe, after evicting a small colony of dust bunnies."Sorry about that," Clarissa says. "That half of the room has not been used for a long time. Since before my time, as it happens. I clean the whole room now and again with the help of the maids, but I have been busy. Now you get to do your share of the chores."The knives you place inside your desk, where you also find a few candles and a slightly tarnished holder, along with a box of matchsticks. If you had a book, you could read something before going to bed. Unfortunately, that will have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest, assuming you want to brave Katherine in her lair once more.Clarissa's side of the room has a proper oil lamp, complete with one of those newfangled mechanisms to light and douse the flame with a flick of a switch."Good night," she says, and turns out the lights without checking whether you're ready to sleep in the first place.You lie in your bed and stare at the ceiling. Very soon, you can hear Clarissa's breathing slow; she was as tired as she had claimed.Maybe you should try to get to sleep as well. It couldn't hurt, especially since you're still recovering from that knock on the head, and there's nothing else you plan to do right now.> roll 1d20, best of three
Rolled 13 (1d20)>>35604614
Rolled 16 (1d20)>>35604614>diceI'm suddenly worried.
Rolled 16 (1d20)>>35604614
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>35604614
Rolled 18 (1d20)>>35604635i failed so hard right there
You must have dropped off to sleep without realizing it, thanks to the intense comfort of your new silk nightgown.But now you're awake again. And since it's still dark, you're pretty sure it isn't morning yet.It only takes a moment to figure out what woke you up. Clarissa is tossing and turning in her sleep, and her restlessness seems like the sort that is less to do with physical discomfort, and more about nightmares.> Get up and check on her> Get up, light a candle, and check on her> Ignore it, it's none of your business
>>35604822>> Get up, light a candle, and wait while seated.
>>35604822>> Get up, light a candle, and check on her
>>35604822>Sneak into her bed and hug her nightmares away
>>35604822> Get up, light a candle, and check on her.And maybe wait for a bit as >>35604844 said
>>35604907That is so going to hurt. I like it, just not sure protag would do that with the whole low profile thing.Let's do it anyway!
>>35604936Yeah, she seems adorable enough to consider it though
>>35604936In a way wouldn't it kind of help her whole "totally a normal human that isn't at all suspicious" thing if she just hugged the nightmare away instead of doing suspicious things like watching someone sleep?
>>35605024no, no it wouldn't help
>>35605024Crawling into a stranger's bed is definitely a good way to get yourself noticed more. But then, we've been doing high-profile stuff regardless of the protag's desire to not be noticed.Maybe we're just playing a protag who isn't very smart, and iit might be fun.Plus the anon earlier is probably right and we're the one who attacked her so we might not be as comforting as we look. Double fun.
>>35605024True, but we /are/ supposedly 19. It would be more normal to give them the space in this instance
>>35605052>Double fun.No no it is not.
Your nightvision is quite good, but you have a good idea of the chain of events should Clarissa wake from her nightmare to see you looming over her in the dark.You sit up on your bed, and open the desk beside you. You fumble for the candles and matches very carefully, given that you had also placed sharp objects inside.Trying to light a matchstick in the dark takes a bit of doing, especially with the added challenge of having your arm in a cast. You drop a few before you finally manage to get one lit, blink away the glare from the sudden light, and carefully guide it to the candle wick.Since you have to wait for a while for your eyes to adjust anyway, you remain seated on your bed, watching Clarissa. You can't tell what the problem is, apart from apparently a very bad nightmare, but you can see that she's drenched in a cold sweat.Also, she whispers something occasionally. A few words at a time, at irregular intervals. One of these whispers must have been what woke you up.Now that you can see properly again, you stand and approach her bed. Even at this closer distance, you can't quite make out the words. They don't sound like anything you understand, but something about them is unsettling. Almost as though even if you clearly don't know these words, you also have the vaguest of impressions that Clarissa probably shouldn't either.You're not sure what you can do about it right now, though.> Try to wake her up by calling to her> Try to wake her up by prodding her> Go back to sleep and tell her about it tomorrow> Go back to sleep and forget all about it> Hug the nightmare away (roll 1d20, median of three)
Rolled 14 (1d20)>>35605084>> Hug the nightmare away (roll 1d20, median of three)
Rolled 20 (1d20)>>35605084> Hug the nightmare away (roll 1d20, median of three)Wherever I go, I must also hug.
Rolled 5 (1d20)>>35605084>Hug the nightmare away (roll 1d20, median of three)
Rolled 12 (1d20)> Hug the nightmare away (roll 1d20, median of three)Welp
>>35605084> Try to wake her up by calling to her>>35605092>Rolled 20 (1d20)>median of threeif only anon, if only
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>35605096I think I should just stop rolling, I can't roll anything high in this quest.
im against the whole "crawling under the covers with her" because we're total strangers, she's our superior, and that's not totally normal human behavior.
>>3560509114 isn't too bad.>>35605096Step it up, anon.
>>35605103Needing two 20's to get a 20 are steep odds. I just count it a blessing we got one at allAlthough there was that time last thread with median of three where we got two 1's
>>35605084>> Try to wake her up by prodding herCan we not be a hugMC? I've gone along with it before, but this MC just doesn't seem the type.
>>35605114yep same here, unfortunately our fellow anons are determined to be stupid
>>35605118median a shit
>>35605084> Try to wake her up by calling to her>>35605114forgot to put my vote in.
>>35605084> Hug the nightmare away>>35605114That's reasonable anon.
>>35605114Ah, we're just from a different culture, that's all! Is this not normal here? Very sorry!
>>35605132Better than 29.2% chance for cuhrazy shit
>>35605114I think it's fun. If it was really really bad and out of character, OP can always veto it. QMs do that. That he hasn't vetoed it indicates he can make it work.
>>35605227Well rather tan veto, it was a given option. It's not like anons customed it. Anons still has a point about cons of doing it of course, but OOC it isn't.
This anons about to fall asleep, looking forward to catching up on the thread when I wake up.
How do you rescue someone from a nightmare that might not be their own? Waking them up is always an option, but Clarissa seemed jittery enough as it is during the daytime. Waiting it out would defeat the purpose.Comforting them could work, somehow.You are dimly aware that close contact with another person who visibly cares for them tends to calm people down. You don't remember where you read this from, but it was probably during one of those times when you had nothing better to do and wandered into a library to pick a treatise at random. Probably something in the comparative psychology section of that long-forgotten library. Works on humans and elves, nobody knows about dwarves, and nobody cares about orcs.You don't really do hugs. You're not a huggy type of person. You don't even like most forms of personal contact.But that whispering is really creeping you out, and if it's as unnatural as you suspect, you might not be able to wake Clarissa up until the spell or spirit possession or whatever passes.You place the candle in its holder stand on your desk, and blow it out. A few moments for your eyes to re-adjust; always quicker from light into darkness than the other way around.You place your hand on Clarissa's shoulder. She flinches, and you freeze, waiting to see if she wakes up. If nothing else, you do have an excuse for laying hands on her, viz trying to stop her nightmare.But Clarissa remains in her restless sleep.Her covers are in disarray already, so you don't exactly crawl in under them, which would be difficult to do surreptitiously with your arm in that cast. But you manage to wrap your good arm around Clarissa, who doesn't seem to notice. On the upside, the thrashing seems to have subsided, even if the whispering has not.>[1/?]
>>35603743I was just scrolling past this thread, so forgive me if this is answered further down, but quick question: "knight-apprentice?" Isn't that usually called a "squire?"
>>35605496yes, yes it is. In this case, no.
>>35605496Yep. But not here for some reason. It's absolutely called a knight-apprentice and everybody will correct you if you say squire. Just roll with it.
You lie there for what feels like an eternity, trying not to notice the clammy sweat on Clarissa's skin. Your heart is pounding, even if you can't tell if it's because of the close proximity, or because this would be a very bad idea if Clarissa wakes up and notices you.The minutes pass very slowly, and very, very awkwardly.Just when you think that this was a stupid idea and you should sneak back to your bed and pretend this never happened, you notice that Clarissa has stopped whispering. Or tossing about. Or, indeed, doing anything other than have a deep, restful slumber.... huh. You didn't expect that to work.You extricate yourself just as carefully, and stand beside Clarissa's bed for a moment, waiting for your own heartrate to calm down. On a wild impulse, you lean over and straighten out the covers as best as you can. Which isn't much, but every little bit helps.Quietly, you sneak back into your own bed. You have no idea if your hug stopped the nightmare, or if it was just complete coincidence. You don't even know if you're going to mention any of this tomorrow. You've only been a knight-apprentice for four days, three of which were spent unconscious, but you're pretty sure hugging your commanding officer in her sleep is one of those actions that require a very good reason.Still, at least now Clarissa can get half a night of proper rest, which can only improve her mood tomorrow. Maybe you'll ask her for that advance in pay.You should probably get to sleep yourself. Tomorrow, you can...> ... wake up bright and early> ... wake up REALLY early> ... sleep in
>>35605515>> ... wake up bright and earlyWe can wake up REALLY early AFTER the cast is gone.
>>35605515>... wake up bright and earlyJust like a normal person who isn't doing anything out of the ordinary!
>>35605515> ... wake up bright and earlyLet's get back to not making trouble
>>35605515> ... wake up bright and earlyWe kind of slept a lot already.
>>35605515> ... wake up bright and early
>>35605506>>35605512Cute. Reading backlogs now. Thanks for the help!
Rising at dawn has become a habit for you, and you're already sitting up before your brain registers your awakening.Clarissa's bed is freshly-made, and empty. You notice the rough parts of the bed-making, which implies Clarissa did it herself after waking up.You follow her example, although you have to check every so often that you're doing it right; your own bed-making skills are rudimentary at best, given your life so far. Either there are servants paid to make the bed for you, or you don't have a bed to make.You change back into the clothes you wore when you first arrived in Alvar, for lack any other outfits. The silk nightgown is neatly folded and placed reverentially into the wardrobe.The door opens to admit Clarissa, dressed in a plain yet well-tailored tunic and hose. Her hair is wet and steaming, and she's drying it with an excessively fluffy pink towel."Good morning, Nicole," she says. "The showers are empty, if you'd like to use them."> "Good morning, Captain."> "Did you sleep well?"> "... we have showers?"
>>35605754> "Good morning, Captain."> "... we have showers?">"Wait, what is a shower?"
>>35605754>> "... we have showers? I thought I was supposed to go to the baths...well, that explains the staring.">"...Good morning, Captain. Are you feeling alright?"
>>35605783seconding, this is sufficiently human
>>35605754> "... we have showers?"followed by > "Good morning, Captain."
>>35605783>>35605854Supporting this as well.
>>35605754>> "Good morning, Captain.">...what's a shower?
In hindsight, you should probably have known that the sanitary facilities of the palace would include more than one communal bath for the servants and the private bathrooms for the nobility. The lack of chamberpots was certainly a clue."Good morning, Captain," you say. "We have showers?" That would explain the staring back at the servants' bath.Clarissa rolls her eyes. "And water closets and sinks and running water and all the wonders of civilization and plumbing. You came from a small town or village, I assume?""Er, yes." Not as such, but it would be better for Clarissa to think of you as a country bumpkin rather than... something else."Avail yourself of the luxuries present, then." Clarissa gestures as she gives directions. "Go that way, straight down the corridor, and turn right. Hot water is in limited supply, so try not to use all of it. And do not try to enter any of the clearly-marked doors on the way there," she warns with a glare. "They are marked off-limits for a reason."Given that this is the residential wing, presumably all the doors are to be considered off-limits, save to those whose rooms they are, the cleaning staff, and individuals often in contact with purveyors of small, unmarked, unmissed goods that may or may not be their own. You wonder what is so special about these marked doors.Not that you're planning to break into them, of course."Maybe later," you say. You do still need to get your own personal towels and soap. And given your cast, maybe you'll just have to settle for sponging yourself down. "By the way, are you feeling all right, Captain?"Clarissa blinks. "Why wouldn't I be?"> Tell her about the strange whispering> Tell her she just had a nightmare> Never mind
>>35606041> Tell her about the strange whisperingNothing can go wrong
>>35606041>> Tell her about the strange whispering
>>35606041> Tell her about the strange whispering>"You seemed... uneasy last night. You were, uh, muttering in your sleep. Creepily."
"Last night, there was, uh." You don't quite know how to explain it. "You were really restless in your sleep. And you were saying something. Whispering, I mean. And muttering."Clarissa stares at you. "And what did I say in my sleep?""I don't know. I didn't recognize any of it." Even in the light of day, you can't figure out how you knew that the whispering was unnatural. "It was kind of creepy."Clarissa looks grim as she pulls out the chair to her desk, and sits down. "I assume I stopped at some point?"It would be a very, very bad idea to tell her about the hug. "Yes. I don't know why." Which was part of the truth."How peculiar. I don't remember anything about last night; not even a dream or nightmare. In fact, it's been the best night of sleep I have had in a long time."Conjecture: this has been happening for a while, which explains Clarissa's grumpiness due to lack of sleep. Evidently she also has no recollection of anything happening at night, and the absence of a roommate means it has been undiscovered until now.Something happened last night that dispelled the nightmare, and the one changed variable is your presence. Even so, you do not think it will be a good idea to suggest that Clarissa be hugged by someone every night when she goes to sleep."Is there something I can do to help?" you offer."I doubt it," Clarissa says. "Unless you know enough magic to look into my mind.""I don't," you say, just a little too quickly. "Er. Sorry.""It was a joke, Nicole." Fortunately, Clarissa appears not to have noticed. "Sister Simone might know something, but she might not know the specialist techniques required." She sighs. "I would much rather not have to consult Elise, but it appears I have no choice."> "Mind if I tag along? I might be able to give some more information."> "I hope you find some answers. Before you go, I had a few things to ask you..."
> "Mind if I tag along? I might be able to give some more information.">"Besides, I've got nothing better to do until my arm's all healed up and I've been dying to see that wizard." Near literally.
>>35606349>>35606363I'll go with that as well.
>>35606349>"Mind if I tag along? I might be able to give some more information."Also to make sure the wizard isn't going to rat us out, right? I mean given what happened she could know all kinds of things already, or not even have noticed us yet. But in either case it'd be smart to find out.
Why is Clarissa accepting that "I'm your knight apprentice" bullshit? Nicole might not be as suspicious from her perspective as from ours, but she's still pretty fucking suspicious.
>>35606693Presumably she doesn't think whatever we're hiding is anything too important and so chose to have some tact rather than call us out and make things awkward.
You have yet to meet this mysterious Elise, court wizard of Alvar and perpetrator of the magical wards that had caused you some measure of grief and inconvenience. Normally you would play it safe by avoiding magicians and spellcasters of any stripe, but given that you are still a knight-apprentice of Alvar and not currently being asked uncomfortable questions by people using uncomfortable implements, it is safe to say she is not a threat to your low profile.That, or she is keeping her own counsel for some reason."Would you mind if I tagged along?" you ask. "I might be able to describe things in a bit more detail if I remember them."Clarissa nods. "It's a good idea. We shall go see Elise after breakfast."You do take the opportunity to wash up in the newly-discovered facilities. The aforementioned marked doors were indeed marked, with tragically gaudy signs and symbols warning of dire consequences to anyone who opened the doors, both from the authorities above and the dangers within. Given you recognize the symbols as those used for hazardous waste products, it is very easy to resist the temptation to indulge your curiosity.Clarissa is patient enough to wait for you to return. You cannot yet summon the courage to ask her for help in braiding your hair, and so it goes straight and plain today."What are those marked doors supposed to be?" you ask, as you head to the kitchens.Clarissa purses her lips in irritation. "The living quarters new members of the household administrative staff are supposed to be assigned to," she said. "Including you, as it happens.""Why are they sealed up?""A series of unfortunate plumbing renovations."Some mysteries are best left unexplored.>[1/?]
>>35606693Probably? Because we showed we can fight so she's willing to stretch for the chance to turn us into the well behaved Knight she wants.
>>35606746If so then boy was that 20 lucky.
>>35606693Do you, by any chance, think that beating information out of people is a viable way of interrogation? It's kind of like that, they'll sprout anything they think you want to hear to make it stop; anything except the truth.
>>35606738>"A series of unfortunate plumbing renovations."I...I'm not sure what that means. Like, really, REALLY bad diarrhea?Or is it not funny, and actual renovation accidents that we can bug the senechal about?
>>35606769Doesn't mean she isn't suspecting anything, but it does mean she leaned towards keeping us around for the chance to figure shit out rather than kick us straight out.
Breakfast is a simple affair of bread and a variety of cheeses, most of which you are unfamiliar with. You take your usual small portion with a cheese chosen at random, and Clarissa takes her usual large with all the trimmings. Once again, Clarissa finishes before you do.Clarissa leads you to a mortifyingly familiar location. The stone bridge to the wizard's tower, as well as the stairwell in the tower itself, are now brightly-lit. Nobody is taking any more chances after your mishap.As you follow Clarissa up the stairs, you begin to feel an uneasiness that has nothing to do with magic, and quite a lot to do with the strange fine powder scattered on the stairs, and hastily swept to the sides. The white scarring on the stone walls also appear quite new.You reach the location of your misadventure. Actually you identify it long before you reach the area itself, due to the shapes of the runes used in the words scored deeply into the stonework itself.You don't recognize the specific spells used in the ward, but you've seen the aftermath of a catastrophic magical backlash before. It tends not to leave any survivors, or pieces of non-survivors larger than a pebble."She said she'd be here," Clarissa muttered, not sparing a glance at the walls. She has seen it already, apparently.> "... did I do that?"> "What kind of wards did Elise use?"> "How did I survive something like this?"
>>35606919>> "How did I survive something like this?"
>>35606919> "How did I survive something like this?"
> "How did I survive something like this?"
>>35606919> "... did I do that?"> "How did I survive something like this?"
>>35606919> "... did I do that?"Oops?
>>35606919>"How did I survive something like this?"
>>35606919I was not aware that we were Urkel.
You gingerly touch the scarred stone. It feels like stone always does."How did I survive something like this?" you wonder."Elise said she didn't know either," Clarissa says absently. "Chances are you were out of the blast range when it happened. Elise! Where are you, Elise?""Coming," another voice calls out. The owner of the voice comes into view as they descend the spiral stairs.Elise the court wizard is younger than you expected. Her grandiose and slightly worrying reputation seems a mismatch for the elf in a novice's robe, which is patched up enough to be the one she was probably actually a novice in. She is also carrying a box of undefinable instruments, which she sets down quickly when she sees you."Oh, it's you! I heard you were up and about. Shame about the arm, though." She steps forward to place her arms on your shoulder; you barely succeed in not flinching at the touch. "Rest assured that I am pursuing every effort to uncover this mystery. Of course, I might uncover it rather quicker if I had your cooperation..."Before you can think of an excuse to decline, Clarissa clears her throat. "I need you to check on something for me, Elise."Elise twirls her attention to Clarissa. "But of course, my Captain! Please, tell me what you need.""Not here. It might take some time to explain.""My lab, then? This way," Elise says, beckoning up the stairs. Presumably this laboratory is the one on the middle level of the tower; you're not sure you want to face what the wards for the top level are like, if any."Come along, Nicole," Clarissa says. "And Elise, I hope there will not be a repeat of the last time I was up there.""Perish the thought!" Elise says. "And I'm sure our knight-apprentice has many questions she wishes to ask."> "What have you found out about the wards?"> "Victor mentioned an older court wizard..."> "What happened last time?"> Talking will draw attention, I don't want to get experimented on
> "What happened last time?"Ask questions that aren't about us!
>>35607342>"What happened last time?"Hot lesbian action.
>>35607342>"What happened last time?"
>>35607342> "What happened last time?"
>>35607342>>> "What happened last time?">>35607384I hope that's not it. If Clarissa doesn't want a second go, what would that mean for our prospects?
>>35607655Maybe the wizard just took it to a weird place.
Our real name is Nicholas. We are the son and heir of a noble family, and also secretly a trap. Our father threw us out when we finally blew up about the whole Nicole thing, and we've been living on the street for a while.
>>35607728Our cover would have been blown already then, so i highly dooubt it.
>>35607756>>35607772>>35607773>>35607786>>35607789That family is The Rosentias, it's why we were almost recognized by broknight earlier
You had been trying to think of a way to ask about the wards without drawing attention onto the fact that a large portion of the mystery involves yourself, but Clarissa's comment interrupted your train of thought. "Er... 'last time'? What happened last time?""One of Elise's experiments got loose," Clarissa said shortly. "I had to put it down.""It was not alive," Elise said patiently, in the tones of one who has explained it many times before, probably to an investigative committee. "Well, technically it was, but it was a plant. And you did not put it down, you just chopped it to pieces with your sword.""It was a cucumber the size of a man, Elise.""And I took the pieces and re-planted them and now they're perfectly tiny and docile. The spines are still a problem, but nothing a few more revisions can't solve. You worry too much, Clarissa."You had left your stilettos in your room, but you are carrying your remaining dagger, which is suddenly a very reassuring thought.Once, the court wizard's laboratory had been a vast, arching space, with several open levels allowing for more workspace. While the architectural layout remains the same, the concept of spaciousness and efficiency had long since been conquered by the ever-mighty army of clutter.A quick glance around did not reveal the presence of any feral predatory vegetables. A scrying pedestal in a corner gives you pause, but the pile of oddly-shaped items on top of it suggests that it has been repurposed as a very expensive table, and is certainly no longer in frequent use.>[1/2]
Elise clears out enough space for three objects recognizable as chairs, and gestures for you to sit. "I'm afraid I don't have any tea; I'm not sure where the teapot went."Actually you can see a teapot quite clearly from your current position, but seeing as it is now part of a vast and mysterious assemblage of pipes and beakers, bubbling away ominously, you decide to forgive the lack of tea."And so, my dear Captain," Elise says, leaning forward with interest, "what brings you here to see me?""There has been... something happening to me," Clarissa says. "Last night. According to Nicole, I was visited by some sort of nightmare which causes an uncanny whispering."> Add that you think the whispered words are unnatural> Add your suspicion that this has been happening for some time> Keep silent for now
>>35607853> Add that you think the whispered words are unnatural> Add your suspicion that this has been happening for some time
>>35607853>Add your suspicion that this has been happening for some time
>>35607853>Keep silent for now.We'll talk when we're asked for our opinions.
>>35607853>> Add that you think the whispered words are unnatural>> Add your suspicion that this has been happening for some timebothe
>>35607853>Add that you think the whispered words are unnatural>> Add your suspicion that this has been happening for some time
>>35607853>>Add that you think the whispered words are unnatural>>> Add your suspicion that this has been happening for some time
just a friendly reminder, you are playing a trap
"I have been thinking about it, Captain," you say, "and I think this nightmare of yours has been going on for quite some time."Clarissa looks surprised. "What makes you say that?""You haven't been sleeping well for some time, have you? You told me this morning that last night was the best night of sleep you've had in a while." You'd rather not mention your involvement in any way unless you had to, but if it helps Clarissa... "Maybe my noticing it... drove it away? And let you sleep well for once.""Unless this nightmare is what lets Clarissa feel refreshed and rested," Elise points out. "Somehow. Counter-intuitive though it may seem."You hadn't considered that possibility."If having a nightmare I do not even recall lets me sleep better, I would hardly call that a problem." Clarissa frowns. "I dislike the thought of this being a spell cast upon me, however. And every morning when I wake it's... well, I thought the nights had just been unseasonably warm."They had been, so that wasn't much of a data point. Clarissa waking up in a sweat could mean a nightmare, or just the heat."How long have you been feeling tired?" Elise asks. "When you feel as though you're suffering from a lack of sleep?"Clarissa rubs her face wearily. "By the Brothers, I don't know. A month? Somewhere around a month. It only got worse when the Duke left for Gracewell, and I had to handle William's duties. Not to mention the added work thanks to the marauders, the attacks on villages, and the reports of ghosts or some such nonsense."One month would be a rather eerie coincidence for you. Then again, you have no idea how anything you did would affect Clarissa's sleeping patterns, or why Clarissa in particular, so a coincidence it probably is.>[1/?]
Elise leans back in her chair. "I can't rule out the hypothesis that it's an externally-induced event, so I'll have to run some tests on you. Non-intrusive," she adds quickly, at Clarissa's alarmed look. "Just a bit of... well, it's complicated. But you won't feel a thing.""Fine," Clarissa says. "How long will these tests run?""That depends on what I find," Elise says. "I'll have to build the equipment for it first, so it's not going to be done now. Or today, for that matter. Try tomorrow." She eyes you speculatively. "It'll cut into my investigation of the malfunctioning wards, though."Clarissa looks as though she's wavering, so you speak up. "I think the Knight Captain's case gets priority. The whispering I heard from her last night was... it was odd. Like it was from somewhere else, but using her to say it."Clarissa looks faintly queasy."That doesn't sound good," Elise says."And the Knight Captain is an important person here," you add, a trifle desperately. "Any spell that targets here might be a security risk. I'm just a knight-apprentice." Hopefully you haven't laid it on too thick.Clarissa finally makes a decision. "Investigate the nightmare. If someone is casting a spell on me, I want to know who, and why.""Very well. I make no promises, but I will do my best." Elise's smile grew sly. "It would help if I could observe you while this is happening.""No," Clarissa says."But-""No. You are not coming into my room to watch me sleep." Clarissa glances at you. "And I have a roommate now."> "It's no bother, really. I can find somewhere else to sleep for one night."> "Sorry, Elise, the Captain's right."
>>35608541> "It's no bother, really. I can find somewhere else to sleep for one night."Observation is important.
>>35608541>Remain quiet.They're in the middle of a discussion!
>>35608541>"It's no bother, really. I can find somewhere else to sleep for one night."
>>35608541>Don't state an opinion.I'd rather not contest Clarissa's decision, but speaking up now would be unneeded.
>>35608541>>35608588This. It's not our place.
You don't actually care whether Elise takes over your place for one night to observe Clarissa, or if she is forevermore barred from entering the room. You just don't want her to observe you.Still, this conversation sounds like the extension of a long and venerable tradition of argument between the two women, so you remain silent.Elise pouts at Clarissa's refusal. "It's going to take longer to fix your nightmare problem if I can't see it in action.""I am willing to make that sacrifice," Clarissa says, standing. "Thank you for your assistance, Elise. Let's go, Nicole."Elise turns to you. "Then can I rely on you? To keep notes about whatever happens when Clarissa sleeps."Despite it being an utterly reasonable request given the circumstances, you're not sure Clarissa will appreciate a relative stranger watching her sleep.To your surprise, Clarissa simply shrugs. "I do not mind.""Oh, my Captain," Elise says with a dramatic hand to her forehead, "you'll allow young Nicole a privilege I have never been able to afford?"Clarissa is unimpressed. "You know the reason for that.""Anyway," Elise tells you, as though the previous exchange hadn't happened, "you know the rules. Observe only, and don't interfere. Don't change the variables."> "Wait, I haven't agreed to this yet."> "Understood, Elise. I'll keep watch for you."> "No interference at all?"
>>35608975>"Understood, Elise. I'll keep watch for you.">> "No interference at all?"
>>35608975> "Understood, Elise. I'll keep watch for you."get ready of a spooky night
>>35608975>"What if we already have interfered?"
>>35609025*for a spooky night
>>35607384>"you'll allow young Nicole a privilege I have never been able to afford?">Clarissa is unimpressed. "You know the reason for that."Hm
>>35609129Mage gets fresh.
>>35608975> "Understood, Elise. I'll keep watch for you."
>>35608975>> "Understood, Elise. I'll keep watch for you."
You don't see any way out of this. "I understand.""Good!" Elise says. "Once we've built up a nice collection of data, we'll be able to apply ourselves to solving the mystery. I admit that I'm still not certain whether the nightmare is the cause of Clarissa's sleep or the lack thereof, though. I don't see how Nicole's mere presence could have altered the situation enough for that sort of change."You know the answer to that, of course. Hiding your involvement will keep your low profile, and you're not even sure if what you did had anything to do with quelling the nightmares. There is little to gain by speaking, and quite a lot of risk.But with the nightmares costing Clarissa her sleep at the very least, and dealing real damage to her mind and sanity in the worst case, you're not sure you can remain silent about it.Sometimes, some risks must be taken.You take a deep breath to steady your nerves. "What if... what if I've already interfered?"Both Elise and Clarissa stare at you. You wilt a little under their gazes."Explain yourself," Clarissa orders.You are most certainly not going to tell them about the hug. Tweaking the truth a little is your only chance out of this. "I heard the Captain having her nightmare in the middle of the night. I thought she was suffering, so I wanted to wake her up." All true so far. "When I touched her, though, she seemed to calm down, and the nightmare stopped.">[1/2]
Elise beams. "That explains the latest development. You should have told us this earlier, Nicole.""Yes," Clarissa says, "you should."You manage not to cringe."Still, that allows for another variation in the observation," Elise says. "Tonight, if Clarissa gets another nightmare, do what you did last night, and see if the nightmare stops. Then another night, don't lay a finger on her, and see how long the nightmare lasts.""I am not so certain about the latter part of that plan," Clarissa murmurs."All part of the scientific process, my dear Captain," Elise says cheerfully. "It won't be for another day at least, and maybe the device I'll be setting up will render the whole discussion moot.""I do have a question, Nicole," Clarissa says. "Why did you not mention this earlier?"> "I didn't think it was important."> "It slipped my mind. I'm sorry."> "I thought it was inappropriate of me. I didn't want you to get angry."
>>35609785> "I thought it was inappropriate of me. I didn't want you to get angry."
>>35609785>> "I thought it was inappropriate of me. I didn't want you to get angry."
>>35609785>>> "I thought it was inappropriate of me. I didn't want you to get angry."
>>35609785> "I thought it was inappropriate of me. I didn't want you to get angry."Sorry!
>>35609785>> "I touched you inappropriately. I didn't want you to get angry."
>>35609785>"I thought it was inappropriate of me. I didn't want you to get angry.
"I thought it was inappropriate of me," you say, substituting truth for honesty. "I didn't want you to get angry."To your relief, Clarissa does not take offense at that last. Instead, she just looks at Elise. "Am I truly so intimidating, Elise?""You do frighten the new guard recruits, my dear Captain," Elise says. "Especially recently, when you've been... burdened with many things.""And nobody told me about this?""The recruits are not the only ones you terrify, dear Captain."Clarissa turns back to you. "We will discuss the issue of propriety later," she states. "In the meantime, consider this an order: if there is anything you feel is relevant to the situation at hand, speak up."You'll just have to edit your words more carefully in the future. "Yes, Captain."The two of you take your leave, to Elise's cheery sendoff. You suppress a shudder as you pass by the remains of the wards, and only breathe out in relief when you are back in the safety of the palace."I have to deal with paperwork," Clarissa says. "Including a report about... well, you."You try to look suitably apologetic."You are free to do what you want for the rest of the morning. Meet me in my office at two, though. It's beside the conference room where we first met." Clarissa thinks for a moment. "Oh, and Roderick wants to see you as soon as you're up for it. He wants to take measurements for your armour."Maybe you can pick up another dagger from him to replace the one you lost."So, where are you planning to go now?" Clarissa asks.> "I don't have anything planned for now, so I'll go see Roderick."> "I made an appointment with Sister Simone about healing my arm. Maybe I can push that up."> "I'll be in the library. There are a few things I need to look up."> "Actually, I'd like to ask about my pay. I need to shop for some essentials in the city."
>>35609785what if whoever is channeling weird dreams into clarissa decides that we are being meddling and attacks?
>>35610314>> "I don't have anything planned for now, so I'll go see Roderick."What is a knight-apprentice without armour? Probably a squire.
And that's it for today; medication is catching up to me.I may or may not be around tomorrow, depending on how soon I recover.Thanks for joining me on the quest.
>>35610376Aww, thanks for running
>>35603743>Sorry for missing a day>Implying this is daily questWhoever you are, I owe you a pair of live boobs and a fluffly cuddly cat for bringing me dily entertainment.
>>35610314> "I'll be in the library. There are a few things I need to look up."
>>35610314> "I made an appointment with Sister Simone about healing my arm. Maybe I can push that up."Having two working arms again seems like it'd be handy.
>>35610536We can more easily hug Clarissa at night with both functional
>>35610314> "I'll be in the library. There are a few things I need to look up.">>35610376Thanks for running dude.
>>35610314>>> "I don't have anything planned for now, so I'll go see Roderick.">>35610376This quest is quite charming.
>>35610376Ah dang, missed it. Well, thanks for running anyway, it's oddly good considering the cliché premisse.