> Previous thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/35664501/> 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, and possibly some other past professions as well. At least one of these has been implicitly revealed to your superior, Knight Captain Clarissa, who has already strongly suspected for some time. To your surprise, she appears willing to let you continue as a knight-apprentice.On a coincidentally related note, you have also demonstrated your ability to easily bypass a trained squad of Alvar's palace guards, albeit with the inadvertant assistance of a bit of supernaturally-induced hyperactivity. This has obvious implications for any employer willing to take advantage of your talents, even if they are not very knightly.Clarissa may well be considering these factors, and others besides, such as your stated desire to be a proper knight.But that's a matter for another time. It's late morning, and you are free for the rest of the day. There's something you've been meaning to do ever since your first day in Alvar."If I might ask, Captain," you say, deciding to cut right to the topic, "when will I get paid?">[1/?]
Clarissa's lips twitch, which is promising; if she's trying to suppress a smile, that means she's in a good mood. Which in turn means you might be getting some spending money. "Every two weeks. I assume you're asking for an advance?""Yes, Captain." You're a little tired of having only two sets of clothes, not including the exquisite silk nightgown Clarissa had given you a couple of nights ago. "I do need a watch.""Not that I have any cause for complaint with regards to your punctuality," Clarissa says. "Still, the salary of a squire-""Knight-apprentice.""-knight-apprentice is not especially vast. The rates of pay were set a century ago, and have yet to be changed, despite my best efforts at negotiation. Depending on what you intend to buy, you may need to take a loan."You would rather not add financial debt to your existing mountain of problems."We offer very competitive rates," Clarissa adds dryly. "Speak to Anders for the details, for both your advance and a loan, if need be. You do know where his office is located? The third floor, beside the Duke's rooms. Anders's office doubles as his own quarters, which is convenient for him."This might explain why you haven't seen the palace seneschal around; you haven't had much reason to visit that part of the palace until today."Are you going to see Anders now?" Clarissa asks. "I warn you that he is likely to be quite busy, preparing for the Duke's return.""Maybe after lunch," you decide. "For now, I'll catch up on my studies in the library.""Very well." Clarissa dismisses you with a nod.>[2/3]
The route to the library from the palace is familiar by now, and the guards let you through without comment. Neither of them had been at the little training exercise Clarissa arranged, but you notice one of them covertly check his pockets. Evidently word of your humbling of their colleagues had spread.Katherine is on duty again. You wonder if there are even any other librarians."Good morning," you greet her.She resolutely ignores you, continuing to sew instead.> "I'm interested a book about in the history of Alvar."> "Is there a book for beginners outlining the nobility of the seven kingdoms?"> "I might need a book about fiscal responsibility."> "I'd like to see the map room again."> "What are you sewing, out of interest?"> Give up and try to find your way around the library yourself
>>35722885> "What are you sewing, out of interest?"> "I'm interested a book about in the history of Alvar."
>>35722885> "I might need a book about fiscal responsibility."> "I'm interested a book about in the history of Alvar."Only vote I get to put out. Sorry op It's 4:44 Am here. Looking forward to more when I wake up!
>>35722885>> "What are you sewing, out of interest?"> "I'm interested a book about in the history of Alvar."
>>35722885> "What are you sewing, out of interest?"Followed up with> "I'm interested in a book about in the history of Alvar."It would do well to get some more general information on the history of the place.
>>35722885>> "I'm interested a book about in the history of Alvar.">> "Is there a book for beginners outlining the nobility of the seven kingdoms?">> "I might need a book about fiscal responsibility."Gotta study man.Gotta get smart.Gotta be the best of the best of the best.Gotta work to become the ULTIMATE KNIGHT APPRENTICE!
>>35722885>"Is there a book for beginners outlining the nobility of the seven kingdoms?"We know we're behind on this, so let's focus on that.
>>35722885> "What are you sewing, out of interest?"> "Is there a book for beginners outlining the nobility of the seven kingdoms?"remember: only two books at a time can be check out, and we still have the legal book. of course we could also stay here and study.
>>35722885> "What are you sewing, out of interest?"> "Is there a book for beginners outlining the nobility of the seven kingdoms?"
You are a knight-apprentice of Alvar, and as such you have certain rights and privileges, one of which is to be able to politely request the assistance of the librarian on duty without fear of reprisal.Even so, you have to take a moment to summon up the courage to speak. "I'm interested in a book about the history of Alvar."Katherine sighs as she realizes that she's not going to get rid of you so easily. She puts aside her sewing, and clasps her hands together on the desk. "Just Alvar, or Wellsbet?"You have no idea. "Just Alvar for now.""Any particular focus?"You don't even know where to start. "An overview is fine."Katherine stands, with obvious reluctance."What are you sewing, out of interest?" you ask, in the hopes that this will lighten the mood."A hobby," she says shortly. She glances at you, and relents slightly. "This and that. I've always been good with my hands, and it's not as though I have much to do between the times you arrive to bother me.""Sorry," you mumble.She takes this apology with a fractional nod. "Right now I'm making a dress. Like the one I'm wearing."Which was a dark, frilly combination of velvet and lace. Not the sort of fashion you see very often, but it does look good on her.>[1/2]
Katherine leads you to another section of the library. Judging from the colourful covers of the books around you, you surmise that this is the children's section.As you are trying to decide if Katherine is making a pointed statement about her opinion of your mental capacity, and whether you should feel offended about it, Katherine hands you a book. It's surprisingly thick, and despite the crude illustration on the front cover, it proclaims itself to be a Comprehensive History of Alvar and Surrounding Regions."Alvar doesn't have much history," Katherine notes. "New city and all. This is the usual textbook that is recommended for lessons. It's a little simplistic, but it does the job well enough for a general overview. Which was what you requested."You had indeed. Maybe Katherine wasn't as scary as she tried to act. "Thank you, Katherine."In this lighting, you're not sure if she's blushing slightly at the gratitude. She doesn't reply, anyway.As Katherine returns to the front desk, you move to one of the tables provided for library patrons, and crack open the book.> Read through it from the first page> Check the table of contents for anything interesting
>>35723140>> Read through it from the first page
>>35723140> Read through it from the first page
>>35723140We should ask her if she would to sew something for us since we don't have a lot of clothes. >Check the table of contents for anything interestingAn overview of an overview!
>>35723140> Check the table of contents for anything interestingShe got this shitty book to expand her general knowledge of Alvar, not to drop an afternoon on scumming up all the inane facts and tidbits she could want for a lifetime.
>>35723140> Check the table of contents for anything interesting
The book is a new edition, and quite frank about its purpose as an introduction to the history of Alvar for children, foreigners, and people whose curiosity exceeds their grasp of reading. There is a mention about the Pretender's Revolt that Roderick had brought up yesterday, but the book blandly states that it is not considered history yet, being too recent, and thus not included in the book.The writing is dry but simple, and you skim through it with ease.The city of Alvar was formally recognized just under a hundred years ago, after the extended death throes of the Old Empire. Wellsbet had not declared independence as much as simply neglected and left to its own devices. The eastern city of Gracewell continued its role as the capital, save for a kingdom instead of a province. Alvar served as the western hub of the kingdom, which was just barely large enough to support two major cities and a few scattered minor ones.In the days of the Empire, the region of Alvar gained prominence largely through its proximity to the pre-Empire ruins, the largest of which was the ancient city of Grunmarl. Along with the proximity to the Mistwoods and the Western Mageblight, the region became a trove of research opportunities for scholars, analytical mages, and the sort of people whose reaction to something with too many teeth and claws is to observe its reactions to being poked with a stick.The lucky ones, or at least those who chose a sufficiently long stick, eventually settled in the area. A few centuries ago, a grand cathedral was built in what was essentially the middle of nowhere; the exact rationale for that decision has been lost to time. A village sprung up around the cathedral, and it quickly grew into a large town. Once Wellsbet was declared independent, the city of Alvar was named and turned into a duchy. For most of the residents, it was business as usual.>[1/2]
Thereupon continues a great many pages about the struggles of the early pioneers of the land, and their assorted triumphs and hardiness. You have the distinct feeling that the book is intended to impress upon young minds the importance of hard work, and to be grateful for what they have thanks to the sacrifices of their noble ancestors.You are not going to find much historical nuance in this book. Which is fine, but a quick glance at the contents page also tells you that you are not going to find much about the cathedral that now serves as the ducal palace. There is a substantial section on Grunmarl, however. This might be relevant to your interests.You've made good progress through the history book for now. You're not quite sure what time it is, having lost track somewhere in the chapters about the exploits of the second Duke of Alvar, known to both enemies and allies as the Snake of Alvar. It's probably around lunchtime, though.> Check the book out of the library and go for lunch> Return the book to the shelf and go for lunch> Skip lunch, continue reading
>>35723416> Check the book out of the library and go for lunch
>>35723416>> Check the book out of the library and go for lunchWe finish what we start
>>35723416> Check the book out of the library and go for lunchThis book ain't gripping enough to justify skipping a meal. Save this Grunmarl plot hook for later.
>>35723416>Check the book out of the library and go for lunchPlease say I'm not the only one who wants to ask Katherine about making clothes for us. It'd be cute!
>>35723525not a bad idea, from a practical standpoint. And, I suppose, from a cute standpoint...> Check the book out of the library and go for lunch
Since we need clothing maybe we can ask Katherine. Build friendship and get clothing
As much as you'd like to delve into the mysteries of Grunmarl, you doubt this book is going to help you with that. It's just an overview, and you'd have to look for a more specialized text to get the details you need.Still, history is a mandatory part of your lessons, and you feel significantly less ignorant than you did before you read the book. You're confident you'll be able to follow any history classes about Alvar now, assuming you pay attention.You bring the book to Katherine at the front desk, and undergo the ritual of the library card."That's two books on your account," Katherine says. "Remember to return them if you want to borrow anything else.""Is it possible to borrow more than two books at once?" you ask.Katherine smiles. It looks like an expression she learned by rote. "Not for you. I don't trust you to handle them with the proper care."Implication: it is possible, but only to a select few who meet Katherine's high standards of bibliophilia. You probably don't need to borrow that many books at once to make it worth the effort, or so you hope.Even so, gaining Katherine's trust is a worthy goal to work towards. If nothing else, you could ask her to make an outfit for you. It might be interesting to see what she comes up with to complement your skin tone.After dropping off the book in your room, beside the Useful Manual of Wellsbet Law you have yet to finish reading, you head to the kitchens for lunch.Or at least the leftovers of lunch.You don't think you're late, but the amount of food present seems abnormally low. This, coupled with the presence of a large group of rowdy onlookers around a certain table, makes you wonder if there is some sort of event going on.> Go see what's up> None of your business, and crowds make you uneasy
>>35723670>> Go see what's upWe thrive on trouble
>>35723670>> Go see what's up
>>35723670>be curious or don't be curiousThe duke was coming home, didn't Clarissa say that? We're not even supposed to go near him unattended I think, so let's just eat.>None of your business, and crowds make you uneasy
>>35723709Ooh, someone makes a good point. Switching >>35723697 to > None of your business, and crowds make you uneasy
>>35723670>eat first>Look for any of the authorities allowed to keep tabs on us.
>>35723749You mean everyone?
>>35723771except for the maids and the prince, yes.
>>35723670>> None of your business, and crowds make you uneasyAin't none of our bees wax. Keep our head down and play it safe.
You sidle over to the remains of what looks like it used to be a turkey. You've only had turkey once before, and didn't think much about it, but the palace is giving you room and board; with your own financial situation, it would be churlish to be picky.Besides, you don't eat that much anyway.You slice off the standard small portion for yourself, including some gravy to taste. Then you find a seat far from the action, but with a good view of the proceedings. Which, so far, just looks like a cluster of servants and off-duty guards chattering loudly, with the occasional cheer.You do note with interest the harried-looking maids and manservants in charge of keeping the food in stock. As you watch, they deliver another huge turkey to the table in the midst of the commotion, rather than the common table where everyone is supposed to take their portions.You're also the only person not involved in the crowd, apart from the occasional guardsman dropping by for a takeaway sandwich. Everyone else who enters the kitchens joins the crowd, attracted by the noise and trying to get a better look.You're not going to be able to squeeze through that, now.You finish your lunch, and deliver the used plate and utensils to a distracted scullery maid. Another raucous cheer rises from the crowd, and you can see another turkey being frantically prepared in the cooking area.> Linger until the crowd disperses> Let's get out of here before we get roped in
>>35723844>> Let's get out of here before we get roped in
>>35723844>> Let's get out of here before we get roped inGot things to be doing, no time to dawdle
>>35723844>> Let's get out of here before we get roped inRight now, we're famous for being stealthy, and if we're in the spotlight, that's probably what we'll have to demonstrate.
>>35723844>Let's get out of here before we get roped inShits. We don't give any.
>>35723865We're also famous for tripping magical wards and falling down stairs. They might request either.>>35723844> Let's get out of here before we get roped in
>>35724028>>We're also famous for tripping magical wards and falling down stairs. They might request either.And then Nicole was the court jester. Yay.
Whatever is happening seems like the kind of thing that would lead to further distractions and derailment of plans.And you really, really need to go shopping.You slip back out of the kitchens, and pause for a moment outside to clear your head. You can tolerate noise, and you don't mind the everyday background chatter of life, but that much rowdiness in an enclosed space is less than ideal.Before you can go shopping, you need some money. That means requesting an advance from Anders the seneschal, who presumably also handles the palace's finances.Anders's office is easily located, thanks to the brass nameplate on the door. You knock politely."Enter," Anders announces from within.You open the door about halfway before it bounces off something on the other side."Ah, please do be careful," Anders says, looking up from his work. "I would rather not have to pick up and rearrange all those documents. Good afternoon, Nicole."If Clarissa's office was a bastion of order and neatness, and Elise's laboratory a testament to the forces of chaos and clutter, Anders has made his lair somewhere in between. The office is fairly large, but packed with cabinets and shelves and piles of paperwork hastily gathered on the floor. A hapless assistant is down on his hands and knees placing files and notebooks in some pattern of links known only to himself, while another is seated properly at a desk, sparing you only the briefest of glances before returning to his abacus.Anders himself is half-hidden behind a mound of paperwork, but he has not lost his unflappable calm. "What can I do for you today?""It's about my pay," you explain. "I'd like to go to the city to shop for some essentials. If it's possible, may I ask for an advance?">[1/2]
Anders gives you a smile that you eventually interpret as sympathy. "You don't have to be so nervous, Nicole. I'm not a parent withholding your allowance." He pulls a sheet of paper out from a stack, apparently at random. "Would a fortnight's advance be enough?""I'm not sure how much that would be," you confess.Anders quotes a number, and you do some hasty accounting in your head. Based on what you saw on your first night in the city, before you applied at the palace, the pay of a knight-apprentice is respectable, but not extravagant. You would be able to live a simple but comfortable life with the money, even without the room and board provided by the palace, assuming no sudden major expenses crop up.Unfortunately, a shopping spree to buy essentials is a major expense. A good timepiece would cost almost half your pay, if not more."I will manage," you say, slightly hoarse with worry. "I think.""You can always take out a loan," Anders offers. "We get a special rate from the bank. The interest is negligible, but you'd have to pay out by a year. It shouldn't be any sort of burden, unless you plan to buy a house."> Take a loan> Two weeks' advance in pay is enough
>>35724223>> Two weeks' advance in pay is enough
>>35724223>> Two weeks' advance in pay is enough>taking loans and accumulating debtnot once
>>35724223>Two weeks' advance in pay is enoughWe should be fine...maybe.
>>35724223>Two weeks' advance in pay is enough
>>35724223> Two weeks' advance in pay is enoughWe did spend a few of the days unconscious. Ahaha.
> Two weeks' advance in pay is enoughSo when do we become a sanctioned murderhobo?
You're certainly not planning any major purchases. You'd have to shop around for the cheaper prices, and you're terrible at haggling, but you should be able to manage."The advance is fine," you say.Anders jots down the details on the piece of paper. "Barnes, take this down to the treasury, please. And call the maid up here."The clerk on the floor gets up and takes the note. He waves it in a lazy salute to you before departing.The other clerk continues clacking away at his abacus. Anders simply sits back in his rather comfortable-looking chair, staring at you levelly, and in silence.This is why you're not keen on talking to Anders.Just before you are about to blurt out something inadvisable in an effort to distract Anders from his inspection of you, the clerk returns, with a jingling pouch of coins in his hand, and Lily following behind him.Mental note: apparently Anders just has to mention "the maid" for his assistants to know which maid he meant among the serving staff. Is Lily a favourite of his? From her expression, it looks like Lily is just as puzzled as you are about why she's here."Lily, please show Nicole around town," Anders tells her. "And keep her out of trouble." Barnes the clerk hands you the pouch; you check and confirm the contents, before attaching it to your belt.Lily recovers admirably quickly. "Of course." She gives you a pleasant smile. "Shall we go?">[1/2]
Once you're out of Anders's office and beyond his all-seeing gaze, you force yourself to relax from the tension. "Sorry for taking you from your duties," you say."It's not a problem," Lily assures you. "This is also a part of my duties, after all. And I know some places we can go to get a good bargain. Do you have a list?"You don't, actually. "Er, a timepiece, that's important. Toiletries. More clothes, but I'm not sure what kind." What else? "Pencils and notebooks?"Lily visibly refrains from comment. "We'll just get a few items today, then. We should keep to our budget."Always a good idea.The two of you exit the palace without incident, which seems like a minor achievement in itself. Lily seems to brighten up the moment she steps across the gate and into the city proper.> "Do you feel better out of the palace?"> "How long has it been since you were out in the city?"> "Do you have anything you'd like to buy for yourself?"> "What do you think about Anders?"
>>35724579In decreasing order of importance> "What do you think about Anders?"> "Do you have anything you'd like to buy for yourself?"> "Do you feel better out of the palace?"> "How long has it been since you were out in the city?"Also it is technically possible for Anders to just have said "the maid" instead of "a maid" because he simply didn't care which one it was and Lily was the first one the clerk came across. But then again of course this is fiction so that can't be the case.
>>35724579In decreasing order of importance as well, I guess:>> "How long has it been since you were out in the city?">"Do you know Anders that well?"
>>35724579> "Do you have anything you'd like to buy for yourself?"> "What do you think about Anders?"
>>35724579>"How long has it been since you were out in the city?">"Do you know Anders that well?"If she wants to buy something she wouldn't be able to hide it anyway.>started AAutionyeah captcha, you have right idea.
>>35724767>If she wants to buy something she wouldn't be able to hide it anyway.You're talking about Lily, right? Why would she need to hide anything?Her orders were verbatim>"Lily, please show Nicole around town,">"And keep her out of trouble."No time limit, nothing about not being allowed to do such and such. In this case we can simply have her show us the shop she's "interested" in while she conveniently does whatever she needs to do. Plus it's not like we even need to stretch the logic since Anders can't possibly be sending someone to spy on us. Right?
Hey, this thread. Cool.
>>35723408>the sort of people whose reaction to something with too many teeth and claws is to observe its reactions to being poked with a stick.It's like playing DnD with my old PF group.We all played mages, under the guise of being Mage's College compadres.
So why does Nicole call it knight-apprentice when everyone else calls it squire? So much so that she would even correct a superior. What are the differences implied by the names, if any?
>>35724579Why did Anders staff seek you out in particular? Are you the resident tour-guide and bargain hunter to the Knight-Apprentices of Welsbet?
>>35724927Everyone doesn't, she's been corrected on it as well. Mainly the Knight-Captain tends to slip and everyone else reminds her.
>>35724927People starting to say squire and getting corrected seems to be a running theme, no matter who they are. Think I've seen them both correct people and be corrected, among others.
Now that you're out of the palace, you feel this is an appropriate time to broach the subject. "Do you know Anders well? He seems to know you."Lily shrugs. "To be honest, I only know him as the seneschal. It's not like we're personally acquainted. I don't know why he noticed me, although..."As the only elf maid in the palace, Lily no doubt stood out. Anders didn't seem like the sort to place any importance on that sort of thing, but you haven't really talked with him much, not least because of the way he keeps staring at you."Anders sometimes gets a little intense, though," Lily adds. "If you know what I mean. He works all day and night, and His Grace has to order him to take a break now and again. And the way he's calm all the time is a little... well, that's just the way he is." Lily glances at you. "Are you interested? In him?"More like he's apparently interested in you. And you don't think it has anything to do with romance. "Not as such.""Pity. He's quite handsome." Lily doesn't sound like she's interested in Anders, as much as the prospect of romance happening to other people in her vicinity. "Then again, you haven't met Sir William yet.""Has it been very long since you were out in the city?" you ask, desperate to direct the conversation to something less concerned with pairing you off."It's been a while," Lily admits. "I used to go out every morning for groceries, with some of the other maids. There's also my day off every week. But it's been busy the past week or so, and I've spent most of my time cooped up in the palace. I love the bustle of the city, and being in that palace, all formal and stiff, is a bit heavy, don't you think?">[1/2]
You consider reminding Lily that you've been a knight-apprentice for less than a week, and even less than that awake, but then you remember how you're trying to get everyone to forget your little accident in the wizard's tower. "I suppose. Is there anything you'd like to buy for yourself?"Lily looks abashed. "Well... but that can wait until later. You need a watch, right?" Lily looks around to get her bearings, and then heads down a side street. "This way."It is not long before you reach a winding street with the name of some long-dead king, but which you can't help but think of as the Artificier's Alley. Rows of skinny shops line the street, each one offering a different service involving close work and closer inspection.Lily opens the door to such a shop. "Good afternoon!""Good afternoon," the grizzled old man behind the counter grunts. This is most definitely a horologist's shop: clocks line the walls, and the constant sound of a hundred timepieces ticking and tocking sets you on edge."We're here for a watch," Lily says. "For the young lady here.""A pocketwatch," you clarify, slightly too loudly over the sound of the clocks."Oh?" The shopkeeper leans on the counter. "What sort of watch are you looking for?"> "Something sturdy and long-lasting. It might undergo some rough handling."> "Small and easy to keep. Nothing too bulky."> "Quiet. Very quiet."
>>35725113> "Something sturdy and long-lasting. It might undergo some rough handling."Just wrap it in cloth and it shouldn't make noticeable noise while sneaking. Don't have enough money for more than one attribute.
>>35725113>Something quiet and cheap.
>>35725113>> "Quiet. Very quiet."
>>35725113>"Something sturdy and long-lasting. It might undergo some rough handling."We're trying to go AWAY from sneaky-sneaky.
>>35725113> "Quiet. Very quiet."We'd have a hard time sleeping with all that tick-tock nonsense!
>>35725113Something relatively quiet and sturdy.
>>35725113> "Quiet. Very quiet."Keep to the skill set
>>35725113>> "Small and easy to keep. Nothing too bulky."
>>35725113Priority list (from most to least important):1: > "Quiet. Very quiet."2: > "Small and easy to keep. Nothing too bulky."3: > "Something sturdy and long-lasting. It might undergo some rough handling."
"A quiet watch," you say. It's not as though each individual clock in the shop is loud, but the sheer number of them, all ticking off-time from each other, is very effective at messing with your head. "A very quiet watch. And, uh, not too expensive, please."The shopkeeper grins. "I think I have something like that."The pocketwatch is polished silver, although probably not actually made of silver, given its light weight. Instead of a watch chain, the cord is made of a white material that feels like braided cotton, but much stronger.It also makes so little noise that you have to put the watch directly to your ear just to hear the gears turn. Then again, that might just be the noise of the other clocks in the shop."Newest techniques," the shopkeeper says. "Keeps excellent time, too, as long as you wind it up once a day. Once every two days in a pinch. It's a little pricey, though."You try not to wince at the price the shopkeeper quotes. It's almost exactly half of your budget.Still, this watch seems to fit your requirements. It's a bit larger than you expected, but not enough to be unwieldy; you can keep it in your pocket without problems. "How sturdy is it?"The shopkeeper shrugs. "As much as any other watch. You can drop it a few times, but don't hit it with a hammer or anything. And if it breaks, you'll probably have to get a new one. Even I don't know if I could fix it." He shoots a look at Lily. "And no, little missy, I still don't haggle. The price is what it is; take it or leave it."> "I'll take it."> "Lily, what do you think?"> "I think I'll take another watch."
>>35725535>> "I'll take it."
>>35725535> "I'll take it."
>>35725535>> "I'll take it."Seems a good investment.Take proper care of it and it should hold up well.
>>35725535> "Lily, what do you think?"
>>35725535>ill take it
Despite the price, the watch seems to have everything you're looking for. The case might be a little shiny, but at least it's unornamented, apart from a tiny manufacturer's mark on the inside; you're not sure what it's supposed to be, but modern emblems have been getting steadily more incomprehensible anyway.You quickly pay for the watch, and the shopkeeper wraps it up for you. Then you escape out into the blessed quiet of Artificier's Alley, Lily following demurely behind."Mr. Horton's a good watchmaker," Lily says conversationally. "I got my own watch from him. Hasn't let me down since I bought it, although it's one of the cheap ones."You wave a hand vaguely in the air, to indicate the current absence of noise. "Is it always so noisy in there?"Lily cocks her head to the side, frowning. "Noisy?""All the clocks ticking away. It's not the volume, but the, uh, ticking.""I can't say I've noticed, sorry."How strange.Lily leads you out of Artificier's Alley, and through a significant part of the city, before stopping at what you recognize is a wholesale retailer. There, she haggles for a set of cheap but fresh toiletries and towels. You try to follow the flow of the bargaining, in the hopes that you might pick up some of the skills through osmosis. Most of it seems to be Lily promising future custom and leveraging her position as staff in Alvar's ducal palace, as well as her role in showing around her obviously foreign friend, who would no doubt be expecting only fairness and reasonable prices from the kind people of Alvar. You do your best to look suitably naive, which is not a difficult role to act.With your dwindling supply of money, your clothes are obtained in much the same way; most of them are clean, comfortable, and second-hand. You get a few sets, enough not to have to worry about running out of clothes for a while, but your wardrobe can hardly be considered varied.>[1/2]
Lily looks at your money pouch with some pity. "I'll give you one of my spare notebooks and pencils," she says. "They're not that expensive anyway, but you'll need to save up what you have until you get paid."This is probably true. "Thanks, Lily. I appreciate all your help."Lily smiles slyly. "There's someplace I've been meaning to go, though. Now you get to follow."This turns out to be in the upscale part of town, with shops selling small but expensive items."It's been a while since I've been here, but I've been thinking about this for a long time," Lily says, stopping in front of a store. Through the glass display, you can see exquisite pastries and cakes arranged on silver trays."Isn't this really expensive?" you say."I've been saving up," Lily says. "And it's a treat to myself, too. I love chocolate. I come here to buy some cakes every time I feel down. Cheers me up every time."Which would imply that Lily has been feeling unhappy about something in her life recently. Most probably that letter from home she had mentioned, but did not give the details about."What about you, Nicole?" Lily asks. "Do you want anything from here? My treat."> "Thank you, but no. I've already imposed enough."> Salivate
>>35725959> "Thank you, but no. I've already imposed enough."
>>35725959>SalivateYessss. We need sugar to refuel that high from earlier.
>>35725959> "Thank you, but no. I've already imposed enough."Clothes & stuff > delicious cake. Right?
>>35725959>As long as I get to treat you next time we do this
>>35725959>"I'd like to listen, unless it's a little too personal."
>>35725959Go with this.>>35726061
>>35725959>> SalivateI-it's not like I like s-sweets or anything !
>>35725959I like this one>>35726061
>>35725959Changing vote from>>35726043to>>35726061Also mention>>35726086
>>35725959>Thank you but no i've already imposed enough>But i would listen unless its a little too personal
From Lily's sudden reaction of gulping a breath of air to suppress a giggle, you deduce that your salivation at the thought of a fluffy chocolate cake for yourself has not gone unnoticed."I'll take that as a yes," she says, walking to the shop counter to order."But only if I get to treat you next time," you quickly say, in an effort to salvage some dignity.The two of you take a seat inside the shop while you wait for your order to be ready. After carefully not noticing a few stares from the other clientele, you realize how strange a pair you are: an elf with the maid uniform of the palace, and a human who looks exotic at best, and dangerously foreign otherwise.Lily does not seem to notice the stares. Or maybe she's just used to it.Your cakes finally arrive, and they are just as fluffy and sweet and expensive-tasting as you could have imagined."So worth it," Lily mumbles around a mouthful of cake. "It'll go right to my hips, but still worth it."You wait until the initial rush of guilty pleasure fades into a more sedate contentment before speaking up. "Lily, is there something bothering you?"Lily pokes at her cake with her fork. "You can tell?""You did say you eat cake when you're feeling down. You don't have to tell me if it's too personal," you quickly add. "But, um, I think it might help if you talk about it. Just talk, to someone who listens." If only you could follow your own advice.Lily remains silent for a minute or so, choosing her words with care. "My family wants me to do something," she finally says. "I can't tell you what, but they say it's for everyone's own good. And it really is; if I do it, everyone's happy. But... I don't know if I want to do it."> "Why wouldn't you want to do it?"> "What happens if you don't do it?"> "What's your family like?"
>>35726438>"Why wouldn't you want to do it?"
>>35726438>> "Why wouldn't you want to do it?">> "What happens if you don't do it?"Let's try not too personal
>>35726438> "What happens if you don't do it?"
>>35726438> "Why wouldn't you want to do it?"> "What happens if you don't do it?"
>it's for everyone's own good>if I do it, everyone's happy>I don't know if I want to do itFrom this we can deduce that since Lily does not know if she wants to do "it", "it" does not necessarily make her happy. But everyone wants to be happy. And since she said "it" would make everyone happy, we can conclude thus that Lily is not a person because she isn't included in "everyone".Now what do we know about Lily? That's right, she's an elf. Since Lily is not a person and Lily is an Elf, that must mean that elves are not people.Conclusion: Remove knife ears.
>>35726584Or it could be something that she believes will make her happy, but she's scared to do. Like marriage.
>>35726438"I can't tell you what"She doesn't want to talk about it, but we may circonvent that.> "What's your family like?"
>>35726599I would bet "everbody... outside of me" is implied.But yes, marriage seems to be the best bet.Same issue with our capitan.Wait.
>>35726584>>35726599>>35726607>>35726657All of you are wrongThey are afraid that they might caught by our ULTIMATE KNIGHT APPRENTICE SWAG YURI HAREM
Theories:1. She must kill the duke for the glory of the elven empire2. She must return to elf land2.1 So all elves can leave this cruel planet on their fae spaceship2.2 So they can live in peace in glorious elf-only nation2.3 So she can join the glorious elven army and fight the filthy round-ears3. Parents don't approve of her job as maid and wants her to become an archer or something, but she likes her current job
>>35726438"Who does your family want you to marry?"
>>35726719Lily would spill her cake everywhere.Now I want that.
>>35726438I'll... be going with this.>>35726719
You are definitely no stranger to self-doubt. Your situation is a little unique, however. So is Lily's, come to think of it, but in a different way."Why wouldn't you want to do it, if it would make everyone happy?" you ask.Lily sighs, and muffles her sorrows with another bite of chocolate cake. "I don't know. Maybe I don't think I should, even if it works. Maybe I don't know if my family is telling the truth. Maybe I'm not sure I'll do it right. Maybe it's all of those. Or none."This sounds uncomfortably like the sort of thing you had been asking yourself, before your arrival in Alvar. "What happens if you don't do what your family asks?""Obligations," Lily says. "And duty. I... owe my family. For a lot of things. And they don't usually ask anything in return. But now, well." She chuckles, a sound without much humour. "It's weird. I've been a maid at the palace for only a month, but it feels like it's what I want to stay as. Not what my family wants me to be."You finish your cake without further conversation, as does Lily. You're not sure if the information received about Lily's worries was enough to justify the heavy mood. Maybe her family has set her in an arranged marriage?"Well then," Lily says abruptly, back to bright cheer. "We should be heading back for the palace. It's getting late.""So we should," you say, for lack of anything better. "Thanks for the cake, Lily. And I owe you a treat.""Don't mention it," Lily says. "I was thinking about coming here anyway. And it worked in cheering me up, even though the conversation was a bit..."Ouch.Lily blinks. "I mean, it's not your fault," she says quickly. "Besides, I think you're right. I do feel better, after telling you about it. Lighter, like a weight's been lifted off me. Thanks, Nicole."You don't know what you did to deserve thanks, but Lily does seem happier. "You're welcome.">[1/2]
The walk back to the palace is spent in comfortable silence. You carry your own bags, while Lily has a box of more cakes for the other maids in the palace.Just before you reach the palace gates, Lily pulls you to the side. "Oh dear.""What's happening?"Lily points to the palace entrance, where what looks like five squat metal bollards are converged. You can hear the unmistakeable sound of Clarissa's voice; she does not sound happy, but she is not in full temper yet."Stoneguard," Lily whispers.> "Stone what?"> "The Captain seems angry."> "Why are we hiding?"
>>35726857> "Why are we hiding?"
>>35726857> "Stone what?"> "The Captain seems angry."
>>35726857> "Why are we hiding?"Captain might be angry.. but she's not mad at us.. right?
>>35726857>"Why are we hiding?"
>>35726857>> "Stone what?">> "Why are we hiding?"
>>35726857>"Stone what?"Have I just not been paying attention?
>>35726857> "Stone what?"> "The Capitan seems angry."> "Why are we hiding?"Exposition!
>>35726857>Stone what?>But the captain seems angry>So why are we hiding again?
"Why are we hiding?" you wonder.Because in point of fact you're not. The two of you are still clearly visible from the main city road, but not the approach to the palace. This does not constitute a proper hiding place in your opinion, and any alert sentry from the palace would be able to see you peeking from afar.Besides, this is too far away to eavesdrop, and when whoever Clarissa is speaking to leaves, as they are likely to be barred from entering the palace based on Clarissa's tone, they'll be able to see you anyway.Lily looks embarrassed. "Sorry, reflex. It's a habit from... well, never mind.""Who are these...""Stoneguard. You've never heard of them?"You shake your head."They're the dwarf enforcers," Lily explains. "Or inquisitors, I suppose. Or secret police. They hunt down dwarf criminals. Not that there are many of them; most dwarves don't venture out of the Holds and Outposts. I don't know why they'd be at the palace, but it can't be good."Whatever discussion was happening at the palace entrance must have concluded, becuase the five dwarves all turned as one, clanking in their heavy armour as they marched in step out of the palace grounds. Lily promptly ducked behind you, taking up the pose of the hired help that nobody notices.This works decently enough, up until one of the dwarves in the rear glances in your direction, does a double-take, and barks out a command in a language you do not understand. The other dwarves stop, turn, and stare.>[1/2]
Apart from their full-body armour, the Stoneguard also wear helmets that conceal their faces, with dark goggles over their eyes. They continue staring at you, even as you decide that standing around awkwardly is just going to raise more suspicion. You stroll with what little nonchalance you can muster into the palace grounds, Lily huddling close to your back.You breathe a sigh of relief only when you hear the clanking resume, as the Stoneguards troop off.In comparison, Clarissa is a much friendlier sight. She looks upset, but thankfully not at you."Welcome back, Nicole," she says. "And... Lily, wasn't it?""Yes, Knight Captain," Lily murmurs with a curtsey."You're free to go, Lily.""Yes, Knight Captain." Lily scurries off with her box of cake. You suppress your envy at her escape."You've missed a bit of excitement since this morning, Nicole," Clarissa says.> "What happened?"> "What did the Stoneguard want?"> "Sorry, Captain."
>>35727107> "Sorry, Captain."> "What happened?"
>>35727107what happenlet's find out
>>35727107> "Sorry, Captain.">> "What happened?"
>>35727107>> "What happened?">> "Sorry, Captain."
>>35727107So that's who she was competing with. >"Sorry, Captain. Old habit."
>>35727182For whom? The duke?
>>35727107>> "What happened?"Do you want to know more ?
>>35727236> Slightly Damp @QMdamp>If you're wondering, that was Clarissa in an eating contest.I really wish Damp would just post offhand remarks in the actual thread instead of cluttering his twitter with them.
>>35727259Can be seen as an easter egg / off commentary.I'm fine with it. Not that my opinion matters, anyway.
"Sorry, Captain," you say. You seem to miss a lot of things. You'd like to think this only happened since you reached Alvar, but you know better."Don't apologize," Clarissa says, as the two of you walk back into the palace. The palace guards on duty relax noticeably. "It is not your fault. And I was not expecting you to know about this.""What happened?""Hm, where shall I begin? Donovan was here; I was planning to introduce you to him, but by the time I thought about it, you had already left." Clarissa grimaces, as with some remembered chagrin. "He hasn't changed one bit. Anyway, he has gone back to Grunmarl with the other archaeologists, and I do not know when he will be back. Shouldn't be too long, though; they discovered a new chamber, which is why they were here in the first place."You try not to show any reaction other than polite interest."Anyway, they shifted some artefacts into the vaults in the basement, for temporary storage. And after they left, these dwarves come here demanding to have free run of the place to look for something or other; they would not say what it was. And that was what you saw just now."The progression of logic seems obvious. "Are the dwarves interested in artefacts, Captain?""Who knows? We are under strict orders not to let anyone simply take them, though. And the timing doesn't fit, anyway; those dwarves had to have been travelling for days, if not weeks when you factor in their search time. Donovan and the diggers just came by today. They were also here two weeks ago, but they did not have any artefacts with them then."At least you know you are not a dwarf, so the Stoneguard will hopefully not have jurisdiction over you. You can't shake off the uneasy feeling from their stares, though.>[1/2]
Clarissa holds out a hand. "I'm heading back to our room early. I can take your bags up for you if you'd like.""You're not coming for dinner, Captain?""After today's lunch, I do not think I will be welcome there for a while. I might sneak down at night to have a snack, I suppose."You are suddenly quite glad that you missed whatever was happening during lunchtime.> "Thank you, Captain."> "No need, Captain. I'll carry the bags to the room myself."
>>35727437> "Thank you, Captain.">What was the ruckus in the kitchen anyway?
>>35727437>> "No need, Captain. I'll carry the bags to the room myself."> I have Reading to finish up anyway
>>35727459Sounds good.Should we offer to keep a sneaky eye on the basement? Since that seems to be our skillset
>>35727437> "No need, Captain. I'll carry the bags to the room myself.">What was the ruckus in the kitchen anyway?
>>35727437> "Thank you, Captain.">artefacts> jurisdiction over youleaning golem
>>35727437>"Thank you, Captain, but it would not be knightly of me to let my superior carry my purchases."
>>35727531A Dwarven-made golem, if their stares were any indication.
>>35727603We're flesh and bone though, do dwarfs make fleshgolems?
>>35727603The dwarves made their perfect waifu
You don't think it is especially knightly for your superior to carry your bags for you. In fact, it should be the other way around."No need, Captain," you say, forcing some cheer. "I'll carry the bags to our room myself."Clarissa shrugs. "Suit yourself."The two of you head up to the second floor of the residential wing. Clarissa seems oddly touchy, even considering the stress induced by an unwelcome visit of dwarves. Maybe some conversation would be helpful. "What happened at lunch, by the way? I saw there was a big commotion.""I lost," Clarissa said shortly.That was not helpful.Clarissa is definitely upset about something. Since she's not actually making uncomfortably cutting remarks in your direction, you are not the source of her anger. And considering your first practice swordfight with her, Clarissa can take a loss without sulking.This is something else. You try to think of something that would cause such a reaction in Clarissa.> "What sort of artefacts did the archaeologists bring in today? Were there any problems with them?"> "Was there another letter from home?"> "... did you get the report on your nightmares from Elise?"
>>35727437>"No need, Captain. I'll carry the bags to the room myself."It's not like we have anything else to do now.
>>35727667> "What sort of artefacts did the archaeologists bring in today? Were there any problems with them?"> "... did you get the report on your nightmares from Elise?"
>>35727688Sounds good to me
>>35727667> "... did you get the report on your nightmares from Elise?"
>>35727640The perfect waifu is a little brown girl with white hair? I can honestly say that this is truth.
>>35727737Little brown girls are the best.
>>35727773In which we acknowledge the value of a well-chosen picture in OP.She's [we're] so cute it hurts.
>>35727667>"... did you get the report on your nightmares from Elise?"That is actually our business, unlike the other points.
>>35727831When it comes to ancient artifacts the important thing is to MAKE them your business, Indiana Jones style
>>35727860But not if you're trying to avoid unnecessary attenti-oh who am I kidding, anyway.
>>35727891Well, see, here's the really clever bit - these artifacts are probably if not secret simply unmentioned to most people. If we make our business with things people don't get told about, they won't hear of our hilarious exploits!
"What sort of artefacts did the archaeologists bring in today?" you ask. This might have something to do with Clarissa's foul mood, but you have to admit that you're more interested in the answer for yourself. "Were there any problems with them?"Clarissa huffs in exasperation. "There's a whole catalogue. Most of which is opaque even to the diggers. There are pages of nothing but what amounts to 'weird-looking item' as a descriptor. But no, there were no problems that I am aware of."You really need to inspect the vault one of these days. Probably not possible while you still have to report your whereabouts, which means you have to regain everyone's trust as soon as you can.That, or try to convince your minders that you have a good reason for being in the basement. Given your track record in persuasion, this seems unlikely.There's still a few more possibilities to work through. Family business is probably too personal, and none of your business.And then there's something else that is, in fact, your business.You've reached your room by now. You deposit the bags onto your bed, to sort out later. Clarissa pulls up a chair at her desk, and begins rummaging through her drawers, in keeping with her workaholic nature.You force yourself not to delay asking the question any further. "Captain."Clarissa does not look at you. Maybe she knows. "What is it, Nicole?""... did you get the report on your nightmares from Elise?"This time Clarissa turns to face you, and there is a complicated, unreadable smile on her face. "Go have dinner, Nicole. I shall explain everything when you return."You sense that this is probably a bad time to push the issue. But Clarissa promised an explanation later, and so you will have to wait until then.>[1/2]
Dinner is a simple salad variety. You can hear the grumbling of the other diners, most of whom were hoping for something heartier, but given the heroic efforts of the kitchen staff during lunch, you cannot bring yourself to blame them.You take a bit longer to finish your meal. You're not really hungry; must be the cake you ate.That, or you're dreading what Elise's report will say.Well, it's not as though delaying will change the outcome, whether good or bad. You should go back to your room to face what comes.> Make a sandwich for Clarissa> Make a BIG sandwich for Clarissa> Go back to your room
>>35728124>Make a BIG sammish for Clarissa
>>35728124>> Make a BIG sandwich for ClarissaThe only option.
>>35728124>> Make a BIG sandwich for Clarissa
>>35728124>Make a BIG sandwich for Clarissa
>>35728124> Make a BIG sandwich for Clarissa
>>35728124> Make a BIG sandwich for ClarissaThat way she won't need to sneak around tonight. We're not teaching.
You remember that people often feel better after a good meal. Since Clarissa will effectively be skipping dinner, maybe she'll be more well-disposed towards you if you get her something to eat.Or, considering her usual portion size, if you get her a lot of something to eat.You take a large plate, and cadge some bread from the kitchen staff. This is apparently unusual enough for the head chef herself to poke her head out of the kitchen; you hadn't expected your reputation of eating small portions to be all that well-known. Maybe it's just in comparison to Clarissa.You begin piling up as much salad as you can onto the bread. You get some unexpected help from the chef, who adds in some cold ham cuts and cheese."We're worried about Clarissa," the chef says. She is an older, plump human woman, probably in her fifties; you vaguely recall that one of her sons is a palace guard. "She hasn't been looking well these past few days."That might have been because of the nightmares. And after the nightmares ended, there's still the problem of you. "She thinks she ate too much during lunch, and you're still mad at her.""Ha! Nonsense!" The chef waves a hand dismissively. "They do this every time they meet. Clarissa and Donovan, I mean. It's a challenge, yes, but it's good to see a girl eat so healthily. Not like you," she says, eyeing your figure.You steer the subject back away from yourself. "I think the Captain is stressed out over her work.""Aren't we all, dear. Which is why it's important to eat right." The chef's expression softens. "Give my regards to her, will you?">[1/2]
You carefully transport the tall, wobbling sandwich up the stairs, and to your room. It takes a bit of doing to open the door without spilling everything, but you manage.Clarissa has evidently taken the time to change into her nightgown. Her face lights up when she sees the sandwich."I thought you might be hungry," you say. "And, uh, the kitchen staff is worried about you. They say it's fine if you want to go back there.""Thank you, Nicole." Clarissa starts on the sandwich. You wonder where all that food goes onto her slim body.You arrange your new purchases in your wardrobe while Clarissa eats, as well as changing into your own nightgown. The pocketwatch goes onto your desk; you wind it up just in case, with the suppressed excitement of a child with a new toy.Finally, Clarissa finishes, and pushes the plate away from her on her desk. She looks at you with rather more favour than before; the sandwich was definitely a good idea."I expect you have some questions for me," she says. "Yes, I received Elise's report. It had some... surprising information."> "What were the nightmares doing to you?"> "Do you know who was responsible?"> "Will there be any more nightmares?"
>>35728718>Let her tell it to you in the order she deems suitable>Then ask her questions
>>35728718>Stay silent till prompted for questions
>>35728718>Let her tell it, ask questions after, if necessary
>>35728718either remain silent or ask all the questions
>>35728718This>>35728730> I am all hears, captain
>>35728718>"Will there be any more nightmares?"
Clarissa hasn't called for Elise to come down and dissect you just yet, so whatever you did on that first night with the nightmares has not been discovered. And she doesn't seem curious about your past, which is an even better sign; the report must have focused Clarissa's attention, and more importantly Elise's probably divinations, away from you."First, I must thank you for telling me about the nightmares," Clarissa says. "According to Elise, if they had continued, I would have been significantly more susceptible to outside influences. Implanted suggestions, unconscious actions... the possibilites for espionage are endless. I was already on the brink. The thought of not being able to control my own actions... troubles me."Which would explain why Clarissa was targeted. Being the Knight Captain of Alvar, she would have been a tempting target to anyone with inimical designs upon Alvar.Except you're not sure why anyone would want to destabilize Alvar. A dukedom in a relatively minor kingdom is hardly a prize worth the trouble of casting such mind magics, and risking discovery."The spell used on me makes use of certain connections," Clarissa continues. "It can be cast from any distance away, depending on the strength of those connections. Such as blood; not the actual drawing of blood, but the concept of blood ties. Like family."Family. Oh dear.Clarissa's hand grips the edge of her desk. "Someone in my own family is casting spells on me," she growls. "Spells to make me more suggestible. I do not know why. I do not know who. And thanks to my position and theirs, I cannot accuse them of such in my letters home. And so we write honeyed words to each other, while they hide a dagger behind their backs.">[1/?]
You really should find out who the Ridelham family are, and quite soon. "Can't you do anything about it?" you ask. "Confront them in person?""I am the Knight Captain of Alvar. I have duties here, and I cannot abandon them just to chase down some personal vendetta. The safety of the dukedom is not at stake; my family has no reason to want to see Alvar fall. But me? Oh, some have reason enough, and while I can hardly believe one of my own family is suborned to their cause, I have no choice but to accept the evidence. And yet I can do nothing."Personally you think this has gone far beyond merely personal, but you don't think Clarissa is in the mood to listen right now."Stay out of politics, Nicole," Clarissa says bitterly. "It will be the death of you, and your family."An irrelevant piece of advice, but you nod anyway. Anything to make Clarissa feel better."Do you have any questions for me? You have been fairly quiet so far."Just one. "Does Elise's report say why the nightmares stopped?"Clarissa sighs. "That part of her report is full of jargon that I cannot comprehend. Which is usually a sign that Elise is out of her depth. In other words, she has no idea. She knows that something was done to me, above and beyond the nightmares. She thinks that it stopped the nightmares, at least for now. Exactly what and how is still a mystery."You have your own suspicions, but your secret is safe. So far."I do not know if there will be any more nightmares," Clarissa warns. "According to Elise, whoever is casting this spell might not know about the... whatever was done to stop it. They may try again. They've tried every night for the past month or so; no reason they should stop.">[2/3]
"Should I continue my nightly observation?""And have you out of sorts for the arrival of the Duke? I think not. I admit I'm surprised you're still bright and fresh, despite not sleeping the entire night."You're surprised as well. That surge of energy in the morning must have been something; you haven't even felt any energy crashes."So you are not to stay up tonight to watch over me," Clarissa orders. "In fact, you should have an early night. The Duke's party is scheduled to arrive in the morning."Upon which you will finally meet the Duke of Alvar, and mysteriously handsome yet scary William, knight of Alvar and dance instructor.Clarissa lies down on her bed. "Good night, Nicole.""Good night, Captain." You get onto your bed as well, as Clarissa turns out the lamp.> Go to sleep as ordered> Stay awake to watch Clarissa
>>35729278>> Go to sleep as ordered>But if we feel we're sleeping lightly middle of the night, try and wake up to have a quick check on her
>>35729278> Stay awake to watch ClarissaNot the whole night, but just to make sure she doesn't need our interference again.
>>35729278> Go to sleep as ordered
>>35729278> Stay awake to watch ClarissaShadowrun start
>>35729232>"It can be cast from any distance away, depending on the strength of those connections. Such as blood; not the actual drawing of blood, but the concept of blood ties. Like family."Or... Love?>>35729278> Go to sleep as ordered
>>35729278>Stay awake to watch ClarissaWhat happened last night remains a mystery.Wouldn't it be better to guard the door ?
>>35729278> Stay awake to watch Clarissa
>>35729278> Go to sleep as orderedCaptains orders, y'know.
>>35729278> Stay awake to watch ClarissaJust until we know it's not starting,
>>35729278> Go to sleep as orderedWell, it was an order
>>35729278> Drink some extra water to force yourself up in a few hours.
Clarissa ordered you to go to sleep, and so you shall. You're still keyed up from the day's activities, but you try to calm yourself, secure in the knowledge that you have made it through one more day of knight-apprenticeship without any more unfortunate secrets being discovered than absolutely necessary.Besides, even if Clarissa should receive another nightmare from the as yet unknown spellcaster, you should be able to wake up in time to take care of it; you're a light sleeper, which has served you well on more occasions than you can remember.And if you should receive another burst of hyperactivity instead, you can spend the night watching over Clarissa and be wide awake the next day. You might have to run all over the palace to work off that energy, but it will be worth it. Surely the Duke will understand, since it's for his Knight Captain's sake, after all.From the sound of her breathing, Clarissa is fast asleep.You really should too.Any time now.> roll 1d20, best of three
Rolled 7 (1d10)>>35729747Stay awake
Rolled 16 (1d20)>>35729747good luck nicole
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>35729747
Rolled 16 (1d20)>>35729747sorry my bad>>35729766
Rolled 6 (1d20)>>35729747
>>35730015Is OP dead?
>>35730850Oh well, it had to happen eventually. At least now we know he wasn't a golem.
>>35730850Might be a long post. Op is also UK Time so has been running ALL DAY.
You only realize that you have fallen asleep when you are woken by a sound."Oh, sorry," Clarissa says, momentarily pausing while dressing herself in her formal uniform. "I did not mean to wake you." She glances out the window, where the first rays of dawn are shining through the gap in the blinds. "But it is about time to rise anyhow. Good morning, Nicole."You sit up in your bed, and do a brief check. Arms, legs, all present and accounted for. Energy levels a little low due to having just woken up, but not hyper, which is a good sign. "Good morning, Captain. Did you sleep well?""I do not believe I have been visited by nightmares," Clarissa says. "In any case, I feel fresh and ready."You try to decide if this is a good sign. On the one hand, neither of you are under the influence of mind-affecting magic, which means whoever that spellcaster is, they must have failed or given up.On the other hand, there's nothing stopping the spellcaster from trying again tonight. You do not look forward to keeping vigil over Clarissa for every night from now on, with the attendant side effects of either lack of sleep for either of you, or irritating hyperactivity on your part."I think we need to find some sort of long-term solution for this," you say."Agreed," Clarissa says. "I would rather not spend every night in suspense, wondering if I will wake up in the morning. It does not lend itself to a restful sleep." She fastens the belt on her uniform. "But until Elise comes up with something, I think we just have to carry on as we always have."On Clarissa's advice, you dress yourself in your neatest outfit, which happens to be the one you first arrived in Alvar in. Your uniforms are supposed to arrive soon, but obviously not soon enough.>[1/?]
Breakfast is more hectic than usual, with the palace guards and servants alike rushing to consume their meals while maintaining a level of cleanliness and presentability worthy of the noblest inspection."The Duke does not like grand processions, so he's likely to turn up without much advance warning," Clarissa informs you. "William will try to send word ahead, if only to make things easier for us. But be prepared to form up to greet the Duke at any moment."Hopefully the Duke will have been informed of the new knight-apprentice, instead of being puzzled by the presence of a foreigner in his palace."The Duke will probably retire to his room for the day, to rest from the rigours of the journey," Clarissa continues. "I will give my reports to him there, along with Anders. In the meantime, you will be assigned to William."At this point, you wonder if the real William will ever be able to match the strange and towering reputation built up for him.Clarissa continues instructing you on the points of etiquette specific to the Duke, who is beginning to sound less like a noble and more like someone who would rather the nobility not exist. "His Grace is less concerned with the forms of respect, and more with the substance," Clarissa says. "Don't worry if you make a mistake in his presence, but do not make a big deal out of it. That always annoys him.""Should I just act naturally?" you ask.Clarissa gives you a very long look. "With anyone else, I would say yes. You, on the other hand, are rather more unpredictable."You're quite sure that isn't a compliment.>[2/?]
The arrival of the Duke was as anticlimactic as Clarissa had warned. A runner had been sent ahead to the palace, so everyone was ready in good time to greet the Duke in the Great Hall. This turned out to be yourself, Clarissa, and a very excited Victor."We are his knights, so we should turn out for the Duke," Clarissa explains. "Sister Simone is waiting in the chapel. Anders is in the Duke's room. Elise is excused from these occasions, since she is likely to have stayed up the entire night, and we have long since given up on getting her to stay awake during morning ceremonies."You look at Victor. "Are you happy to see your father again, Victor?"Victor nods, not bothering with the usual studied indifference of excited adolescents. "I've got so many things to tell him! Like, uh, you, for example.""I think your father will be able to work that out for himself," Clarissa says, amused.Victor blushes deeply, and he ducks his head, hiding his grin. "Of course, ma'am."If Clarissa noticed this, she gives no sign.When he does arrive, the Duke strides into the Great Hall like a man who has just returned from a stroll into the city, which he coincidentally happens to rule. "Good morning," he says, nodding casually to Clarissa. "And Victor. How have you been?""Just fine, sir," Victor says happily."And have you been a good boy?""I'm not a child anymore," Victor protests good-naturedly. Evidently this is a long-running exchange between the two.The Duke turns to look at you. "You must be the new knight-apprentice I've heard about."You measure out a bow, as you had practiced. "Knight-Apprentice Nicole, sir.""Nicole." The Duke commits the name to memory. "I'll be expecting great things from you.""Understood, sir. Thank you, sir.""You don't have to be so formal," the Duke says. "I won't bite." You can't help but notice that he remains at a bit over arm's length away from you.>[3/?]
"If you will follow me, your Grace," Clarissa says smoothly, "we will have your reports ready in your chambers.""Reports. Yes." The Duke rolls his eyes. "Ten days at a conference, three days of travel either way, and I have to handle more paperwork when I return." He sighs. "Let's get this over with, Clarissa.""At once, your Grace."Clarissa and the Duke depart, accompanied by Victor. You turn your attention to the tall blond man who had been shadowing the Duke throughout.He is also wearing a rather insufferable smirk. Since you're the only other person left in the Great Hall who isn't busy unloading the Duke's luggage, you're pretty sure this is directed at you.The man bows deeply, with a courtly flourish. "William Desalle, Knight of Alvar, at your service." You can't detect any mockery in his voice, but you can't think of any reason for William to bow to a subordinate.> Introduce yourself again, politely> Bow back> Stand there awkwardly in silence
>>35731184> Introduce yourself again, politely> Bow backWhen in Rome...
>>35731184>> Introduce yourself again, politely>> Bow backThis is what humans do, right?
>>35731184>Introduce yourself again, politely>> Bow back
And with that monster of a post, I am finally going to sleep. I'll probably be back tomorrow; if not, then the next day. (Consecutive days running is a little tough.)Remember to vote here, since I'll be checking the archives to collate for the next thread.Thanks for joining me on this quest.
>>35731225Thanks for running and gnight
>>35731225Thanks for running. Feel free to take a break.
>>35731184>> Bow backP-please to m-meet you.
>>35731184>>35731198seconded>>35731363We an't no weak kneed' milk maid. Harden up.
>>35731225Thanks, good night.
>>35722885> Introduce yourself again, politely> Bow backI don't think I like this man very much.
>>35731469We'll kill him later. He's clearly the individual that's being forced upon the captain.
>>35731469>>35731501We've seen the guy for like less than a minute. A little early to start planning his death.
It is never to early to plot someone's death. Especially someone as smarmy as this guy seems.
>>35731544What kind of Ass- KNIGHT apprentice are you?That sounds like quitter talk to me. After all Captain said that was Knight Apprentice work if we wanted it to be.
>>35731565All he's done is smirk and bow. He might just be a joker and not truly smarmy. Somebody has to be the jester around here, and it's not us. I hope.
>>35731710Currently. Probably BAD people are: Lily - This guy. Possibly Nicole
>>35731734Nicole did basically say this duchy was not really worth the effort for a destabilization campaign. So the chances of her being here to assassinate are rather low. Theft, though...
>>35731784SHE WANTS TO STEAL NICOLE! Also there is always a possibility that the people involved are minor.. and a minor duchy is an improvement. Can't steal what you own.
>>35731734You sayin the Meido is bad? Shame on you.
>>35731143>Duke strides into the Great Hall like a man who has just returned from a stroll into the city, which he coincidentally happens to ruleSounds like a nice guy....I await the day when someone with this description is actually a bad guy.
>>35731184> Introduce yourself again, politely> Bow backwarnicolma santikariya at you serviceI wanna see him say our true name
>>35731784She's here to become a knight. Seriously, that's why she's here. Have you not been paying attention?She's a fallen angel trying to redeem herself through the virtuous life of a knight. It could be going better.
>>35733919>implying the duke isn't a bad guyWho do you think we were sent to assassinate?
>>35741738pshhh, the duke is too small-time to assassinate. Anybody worth killing isn't in Alvar....which, in retrospect, is probably why Nicole hasn't been jailed and questioned yet.
>>35745057We're not an assassin, we're a thief.And if you'll notice, there ARE things worth stealing in Alvar.
Or a very, very bad spy.
You guys know that OP isn't likely to be continuing today otherwise he'd have started hours ago, right? You should really stop bumping this.
>>35747233Nah, if we were a spy, we'd pay more attention to Clarissa's professional life than her personal one, and Lily's issues would be more prevelant.
>>35747287Nicole isn't here to spy, or steal, or kill. She's here to become a knight, that's the one thing we know with certainty and supposedly has reasons for that. Maybe it's just a step in some plan, maybe she's escaping from something, maybe she wants to improve herself, we don't know. Hell, Nicole even suggested she may not be aware of her real motivation herself. But she doesn't have any other visible goals beyond becoming a knight at the moment and if she did have some other goal here OP couldn't really keep it from us because she would have to display an interest in that goal.
>>35747476She's displayed an interest in Grunmarl.Alternatively, she could be on the run for some reason.
>>35747562>"No enemies," you say quickly. None in any condition to track you down, anyway.Of course that's not proof she's hiding or running at all, but it certainly means it's possible.
>>35748305It could be that she's a foreign noble whose family got ganked. She might have spent a few years training on the streets, got her revenge, and then high-tailed it out someplace where she could both be obscure and still have the support of the ruling class if it came to it.
>>35748333Possible, though that does sort of declare the totally-a-human thing nothing more than a red herring. Which it could definitely be.
>>35748490Not necessarily.Who says we're from a human noble house?
>>35748532Well fair enough. It's a viable explanation I think, though it feels a little too easy. Sometimes I wonder if OP even knows or is just dropping hints leading nowhere for fun.
>>35748734The only reason it feels to easy is because of all the exposition done otherwise.Secretly, I think OP hasn't put a damn thing in stone and is waiting for some sort of consensus to be reached.
>>35748755Well in that case I'm definitely sticking to my fallen angel theory. She's definitely cute enough for that!
>>35748806Nah, that just...sounds silly. At least with the runaway noble theory, there's an oppurtunity for political shenanigans in the first season, magical shenanigans in grunmarl for season 2, and season 3 can be a complete war which ends with there not being an Alvar to go back to.
>>35748905>Nah, that just...sounds silly.Now you're just mean! It could work!
>>35749291Fallen angels are demons by definition.
>>35749392I would argue that depends on the mythology of the individual setting, you could also be looking at a fall that stops on earth leaving you more or less human, but it can work either way. It can even account for her seeming uncertainty with what she believes her true motivation to be. It's an extreme option to be sure and hardly the most likely, but I want to put it out there regardless because as far as I can tell it is actually somewhat viable. And that alone says a lot about how little we have to work with. Honestly the most likely case is having some kind of tie to those ruins. Because it's always about the ancient civilizations. Always. But I want to believe they have nothing to do with this and the quest literally is just about learning to be a Knight.
>>35750923Maybe that's all there is to it. We're some street rat, we have a knack for stealing that helped some bigger fish, and we ran off on them the moment the opportunity arose.As for Ander's possible recognition, we mighta stolen something from him at one point.