> Previous thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/35766755/> 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 feeling quite good about it. You are technically on probation through an early mis-step on your part, but with some luck and keeping a low profile, you might be on track to have it lifted before long. Your commanding officer is the target of a hostile mind-affecting spell, but with the help of the court wizard, this should no longer be an issue. Your new instructor is a bit of a fop and deliberately tweaks at your patience, but you can tolerate him enough not to punch his nose in.You think.More importantly, the Duke has invited you to dinner. It's a relatively informal occasion, since the Duke has just returned from a major conference in the capital, and the last thing he wants is more formality. So it's just a small gathering of four: the Duke, his son, Knight Captain Clarissa, and your lowly self.But he's still the Duke of Alvar, and you have to be on your best behaviour. Which means not speaking until spoken to, which solves the problem of having to make scintillating dinner conversation, but does not help with trying to avoid personal questions about your past and motivations. This was why you had declined the invitation at first, but changed your mind at the last moment; this might be a good opportunity to catch some high-level gossip, once everyone else at the table forgets your presence.Oddly enough, the Duke had instructed the servants to prepare four places at the table, rather than the expected three. You're not sure whether this uncanny foresight is significant.The dinner conversation begins auspiciously. Fortunately, the Duke has started with an easy question, regarding your full name.>[1/3]
"Warnicolma Santikariya, sir," you say. You enunciate it clearly, but without particular emphasis; you do not want to insult the Duke by making implied commentary about his ability to adapt to foreign names.To his credit, the Duke gracefully accepts his shortcomings in that regard. "I will stick to 'Nicole', if it's all right with you." He does smile at you, to remove any implied offense.You're not offended. It would be irrelevant, anyway. "'Nicole' is fine, sir.""Does it mean anything?" Victor asks. You can just about see him try manfully not to voice out the question of how so much name can get attached to one girl.You actually know this, having looked it up out of sheer curiosity one day. "It's not very complicated, although it's a little embarrassing. 'Warni' means beautiful, as in a beautiful woman. 'Colma' refers to a certain flower. I think it's known as the hibiscus, here."Clarissa and the Duke nod. Victor tries to remember what a hibiscus looks like."So your name means 'beautiful flower'?" Clarissa says. There is a tone of amusement in her voice you are unaccustomed to hearing; you brace yourself for endless teasing about your name much later, when you least expect it. Hopefully William never hears of this.>[2/3]
You press on. "'Santikariya' most probably refers to, uh, I think her name was Saint Caroline. From the early days of the Old Empire, when they were still doing missionary work.""I might have heard of Saint Caroline," the Duke muses. "From my early lessons, during my mis-spent days as a youth. I couldn't tell you what she was the saint of, though."Redemption and guidance of lost souls. The irony was not lost on you. "I'm afraid I don't know either, sir. It's just my surname.""Did you pick the name 'Nicole' yourself?"No. "Yes, sir. It seemed easier."A maid drifts forward to pour your wine. You realize that everyone else has already had their glasses filled. Victor gets what looks like grape juice.> "No, thank you. I'll just have water."> Silently accept the wine, drink it> Silently accept the wine, don't drink it
Derp, forgot my trip.>>35807019>>35807032These are mine.
>>35807032> Silently accept the wine, drink it slowly
>>35807032> Silently accept the wine, drink it
>>35807032Thirded >>35807068Gotta be polite but at the same time not do things too fast, ya know.
>>35807032>Silently accept the wine, drink itAre you afraid of wine, Nicole?
The only alcohol you've ever had before this was ale, and not very good ale at that. Or maybe you just don't like ale. You didn't have more than a few sips before discreetly pouring the rest into a nearby potted plant.You didn't feel any after-effects from that ale, so you know you're not going to keel over drunk immediately. And you have good reason to suspect that due to certain factors, you can definitely hold your drink.Still, it's a good idea not to over-imbibe, just in case. You intend to take small, slow sips, making one glass of wine extend throughout the entire dinner.You do keep an eye on Clarissa, though. She's also taking small sips, but you're not sure how long she'll last."So where did your name come from?" Victor asks. "It's kind of, uh...""Exotic," Clarissa murmurs."Exotic." Victor blinks. "Uh, no offense meant."You know this one as well. "Karugia. My name comes from the original Karugian dialect." The southernmost province of the Old Empire, a moderately-sized archipelago of islands, and now a constitutional monarchy in its own right. "But I've never been there myself.""That's right, you're from Silden, aren't you?" The Duke takes a moment to nod thanks at the maids bringing in the next course, a peppery cream soup of some kind. Oysters, you think. The Duke and Clarissa have finished off their salads; Victor left half of his. You barely touched yours; this dinner was likely to take some time."A small village," you recite. "Not important, sir.""It's a long way to Wellsbet," the Duke says. "And Alvar. But then Sir Bernhard does get around, for a retired paladin."You can easily guess what's coming next."What made you decide to become a knight, Nicole?"> "I wanted a new start in life."> "I didn't have any other goals."> "I read this storybook, once."> "It's a long story, sir. Not suitable for dinner."
>>35807397> "It's been my dream since childhood."> "I may have picked it up from a storybook or fairy tale."
>>35807397> "I wanted a new start in life.">> "I read this storybook, once."
>>35807397> "I read this storybook, once."
All these lies from our protagonist, for reasons that are never explained. Sheesh.
>>35807397> "I wanted a new start in life."
> "I read this storybook, once."
> "I read this storybook, once."> "I didn't have any other goals."in that order
>>35807397> "I wanted a new start in life."> "I read this storybook, once."These both fit well with what we've told people so far.
>>35807514I like it
>>35807397>"I wanted a new start in life."This might be good? Should let us lean more on the 'I don't want to talk about that because it's unpleasant' defense.
"It's... a bit embarrassing." You quickly run through the version of events in your head, ruthlessly editing out everything that nobody else needs to know. "There was this storybook. It was about, well, knights and heroes. And rescuing princesses from dragons.""Ah." There was something in the Duke's smile that confirmed you were on the right track. Tolerance, amusement, and a sizable measure of sympathy for the obvious naivete of his newest knight-apprentice."And, er, I wanted..." You take a deep breath. "I wanted a new start in life. Something more than what I had before. I know it's not a very inspirational story, sir, but, well." It was true enough.The Duke takes a sip of his wine, as the soup is carted away for the next course. Roast chicken, exquisitely broiled. You try not to notice Clarissa's eyes light up."The concepts of knighthood have undergone some changes, since the days of the Empire," the Duke says. "It is surprising, but rather gratifying, to know that despite what the Iron Knights had descended into, there is still the core of the ideals that remain untainted. A spark that inspires dreams."You keep your expression polite, with a shade of agreement. Not quite what had made you decide to become a knight, but it's a good excuse to remember for future questioning."There aren't any princesses around here, though," Victor points out. "Or dragons to save them from.""I'm sure Nicole knows that dragons don't exist, Victor." Clarissa tilts her head. "We might be able to arrange for a princess or two, though."You eye Clarissa's glass, which is only a quarter full now.> Quickly change the subject> Nudge Clarissa under the table> Do not speak unless spoken to
> Nudge Clarissa under the table
>>35807699> Do not speak unless spoken to
>>35807699>> Nudge Clarissa under the table
>>35807699>Nudge Clarissa under the table
>>35807699>> Quickly change the subjectI'm not sure that nudging Clarissa would have the right effect
> Nudge Clarissa under the tabletry and give her a look that says you starting to get real uncomfortable. if she likes us as much as we think she does, maybe she'll pull us out of this situation.
>>35807699>Drink some wine
>>35807699 > Nudge Clarissa under the table
You've been wondering what sort of drunk Clarissa is. Apparently she just loosens her tongue considerably, with only a slightly more precise diction to show for it.You hope she'll be able to make it through dinner without falling unconscious, for both your sakes.Victor has a blank look on his face, as he tries to figure out whether Clarissa's words are a rebuke or a joke. You're not sure how he'll react if he decides on the former.Very carefully, you reach out beside you with your foot and tap Clarissa's leg lightly.Clarissa glances at you, and you shake your head slightly, mugging desperately. You'd rather not speak out of turn, but you're not sure how obvious you need to be to penetrate her alcoholic haze.The Duke is talking to Victor now, a continuation of a long-running conversation about introducing Victor to other nobility at various formal affairs. He doesn't seem to have noticed your attempts to signal Clarissa.Victor snaps out of his thoughts. "But all those balls are boring," he complains."They're a good opportunity for you to meet people, Victor. Make a few acquaintances." A glint of mischief in the Duke's eye. "Especially female ones.""I thought you said you weren't going to push this," Victor says accusingly.The Duke holds up a hand in surrender. "I did promise that," he says. "But I'd have thought you've grown out of that phase by now. And into a new one."Victor blushes deeply. You notice his furtive glance at Clarissa only because you were watching for it."Let's talk about something else," Victor says.Clarissa has completely missed all this. Instead, she gives you a thankful nod, and signals to a maid. "Just water for me from now on, thanks," she tells the maid.> Take the opportunity to ask for water too> Bring up a new subject yourself> Wait for someone else to bring up a new subject
>>35807905> Wait for someone else to bring up a new subject
>>35807905> Wait for someone else to bring up a new subject> Speak when spoken to
>>35807905>Wait for someone else to bring up a new subjectAs long as we just sip, we should be fine, maybe.
>>35807905>> Wait for someone else to bring up a new subject
Late night 'Keep a Low Profile' quest. Aww yeah.
>> Wait for someone else to bring up a new subject
>>35807905> Wait for someone else to bring up a new subjectWe are so adorable, in an awkward sort of way.
Your job as Clarissa's impromptu chaperone accomplished, you return to your chicken, barely-touched. Hopefully the ensuing dinner conversation will not involve you further in any way."So how is Sir Bernhard?" the Duke asks you.So much for hope. "Uh." You try to keep the panic out of your voice. "He's doing fine, sir, last I saw him.""Any clue on where he's going? He always said he wanted to explore the other continent."You have no idea. "No, sir. He didn't tell me.""Pity. But Bernhard's always been energetic, so it's not surprising that he hasn't settled down even now.""How was the conference at Gracewell?" Clarissa suddenly interjects. An unexpected saviour, but you'll take what you can get.The Duke groans theatrically. "It was a disaster. Half the ambassadors refused to talk to the other half. The kings all expect to be waited on hand and foot, apart from poor Louis, who's running around trying to calm everyone down. The Lusean contingent threatened to walk out if the Esterian elves didn't, the Esterians were all high-and-mighty and offended, and I just kept my head down and counted the days until I could come home.""I'm sorry to hear that, your Grace," Clarissa says politely."Oh, your father sends his regards, by the way."Clarissa stops eating, which is an obvious sign of distress. "I see," she says mildly. "Thank you for the message, your Grace. I will write to him with my reply."Even the Duke notices this. "Did something happen between you and your father, Clarissa? I've always thought you two are on good terms.""It's nothing important, your Grace."Obviously the mysterious spellcaster in Clarissa's family is still weighing on her mind. You hope Elise will be able to achieve some sort of breakthrough on that front very soon.>[1/2]
"If you'll take my advice, Clarissa," the Duke says seriously, "don't let it fester. There is little more tragic, yet avoidable, than a rift between parent and child.""I understand, your Grace," Clarissa says by rote.A sombre silence passes over the table, during which time the others finish their food, or as much of it as they can stomach. Victor, the Duke, and Clarissa cleaned their plates; you left half of your portion, and don't think you can stuff in any more."You don't eat much, Nicole," the Duke notes.Not much you can say to that. "No, sir. I'm fine with smaller portions.""You should have said something. I thought you'd be like Clarissa and Donovan. Much of my kitchen bills are thanks to their appetite," the Duke says, with obvious forced cheer.Dessert is a platter of fresh fruits. You doubt you can eat much more, but you take a piece of apple and nibble on it to show willing."Speaking of family, Nicole," the Duke begins.You are about to prepare your usual evasive denials, when you see Clarissa surreptitiously reaching for your own wineglass, still mostly full. You are almost completely unversed in table etiquette, but you're pretty sure this is not acceptable.> Try to move the wineglass out of her reach> Grab the wineglass yourself and take a sip> Let her take it
>>35808239> Grab the wineglass yourself and take a sip
>>35808239> Try to move the wineglass out of her reach
>>35808239 > Grab the wineglass yourself and take a sipShe's upset over her father. Shouldn't let her drink her troubles away, that never works.
>>35808239>Try to move the wineglass out of her reach
>>35808239>Grab the wineglass yourself and take a sip
>>35808239>Let her take itWhats the worst that could happen
>>35808348We could use this is an opportunity to ask about what happened to her arm, after we get back to our room.
>Grab the wineglass yourself and take a sipFor her own good.
Quite apart from the obvious inadvisability of letting Clarissa drown her troubles in wine, you do not want to see her pass out in front of the Duke. You're not sure how to move the glass out of her reach without being obvious about it, so you grab it instead, bringing it to your lips.Clarissa lets out a small sigh, and goes for her water instead."Do you have anyone waiting for you back home?" the Duke finishes his question. "Or, well, a special someone."On the upside, taking a sip of wine gives you an excuse to delay your answer, as you formulate a reply. You've never had wine before, so the taste is a little unexpected. You assume this is considered good wine, simply because the Duke hasn't complained about it. It's not unpleasant, but certainly an acquired taste.In any case, you should avoid pinning yourself down with specifics. "My family situation is rather complicated, sir." That should be vague enough to imply that further inquiries are unwelcome. It also has the advantage of being technically true, from certain points of view."I see. And, ah, nobody in particular you miss?"You do not feel your powers of invention are up to the task of creating a lover of either gender. "No, sir.""Anyone you're interested in?" Victor asks.What is it with this palace and people asking about romance? "Nobody right now.""Don't waste your youth, Nicole," the Duke advises. "Being a knight is a heavy responsibility, true, but we've long learned the dangers of relying on tradition for tradition's sake. As long as you don't let it interfere with your work, of course.">[1/2]
"You could get married," Victor says hopefully. "And settle down here in Alvar."All those stories about the knight saving the princess tended to end right after they married. You've never figured out if this was an inevitability or a dire warning. "It's a little early for me to be thinking about marriage," you say."This is true," the Duke admits. "But don't bury yourself in your work." He gives Clarissa a significant look. Clarissa returns it blandly.The plates of fruit are taken away. Once again, Clarissa polished hers off, Victor was not far behind, the Duke left a third uneaten, and you had half a slice of apple."This is traditionally the time for after-dinner sherries," the Duke says. "But I'm not sure I should do that to Clarissa."So the Duke noticed after all."Besides, it's just about Victor's bedtime," the Duke continues, to Victor's minor protest. "You will see Clarissa back to her room safely, won't you, Nicole?""I can take care of myself, your Grace," Clarissa says stiffly.> "Yes, sir. Good night, Victor."> "It's all right, Captain. We should head back to our room anyway."> Let Clarissa do what she wants
>>35808535>>35808541Why is this Duke so awesome? He's like a rockin Uncle.> "Yes, sir. Good night, Victor."
>>35808239>tap her foot again.or either of the first two options.Alcohol won't make the problem go away, Clarissa.
>>35808541> "Yes, sir. Good night, Victor."The "yes sir" is addressed to the duke and not Clarissa right?
>>35808541>> "Yes, sir. Good night, Victor."
> "It's all right, Captain. We should head back to our room anyway."
>>35808558Thats what I assumed. I figure this the "formal acknowledgment" reply and will have us get Clarissa back to her room.
>>35808541> "It's all right, Captain. We should head back to our room anyway."This is probably the best, since the Duke doesn't like formality.
>>35808541> "It's all right, Captain. We should head back to our room anyway."
>>35808541> "Yes, sir. Good night, Victor."offer an arm if she gets wobly.
>>35808575Forgot about that.> "It's all right, Captain. We should head back to our room anyway."
>>35808541> "It's all right, Captain. We should head back to our room anyway." retire for the evening, THEN get drunk.
>>35808585Clarissa would be too proud for that. That also might send the wrong message, especially after all that go get married already stuff.
>>35808541> "It's all right, Captain. We should head back to our room anyway."> "Yes, sir. Good night, Victor."
>>35808575good point. Let's still say our goodbyes and wish them good night.
>>35808613point. I guess she isn't drunk enough where she's at risk of falling over anyway.
You have no idea how to handle Clarissa's thorny pride, but you'll handle that later, when she's not sulking in the Duke's presence. "Yes, sir."Clarissa grumbles under her breath, but stands and bows respectfully to the Duke. You don't notice any wobble. "This is not necessary," she says."It's all right, Captain," you say. "We should head back to our room anyway." And then you can be her helpful listening ear for whatever complaints she might unload about her family. You smile brightly at Victor. "Good night, Victor.""Do you need some help?" Victor asks, his expression a mix of worry and hope."No," Clarissa snaps. Victor flinches, and she softens. "But thank you for offering, Victor.""Uh, right. Good night, Clarissa, Nicole." Victor scurries to his father's side. You wonder if the Duke has noticed how his son acts around Clarissa; it's not as though Victor is very good at hiding it.The Duke dismisses you with a nod and a suitably ducal smile, and you follow Clarissa out of the dining hall.She is silent all the way until you reach your room, at which point she sighs deeply. "I apologize for my temper, Nicole.""It's fine, Captain." You open the door, let Clarissa in first, and then shut it behind you. "You were, uh, distracted by something."With your help, Clarissa sheds her uniform, and changes into her nightgown. "I do not generally act like that. Normally I can concentrate on work, but that wasn't an available option."And so she tried another means of escape. "Has this happened before?""A few more times than I care to admit, yes." Clarissa sits on her bed. "This matter with my family is affecting me more than I thought. I did not expect the mere mention of my father to poison my mood so deeply."> "Are you and your father close?"> "There must be a better way to channel your frustrations than work and alcohol."> Change the subject
> "There must be a better way to channel your frustrations than work and alcohol."
>>35808799> "There must be a better way to channel your frustrations than work and alcohol."
>>35808799> "Are you and your father close?"> "There must be a better way to channel your frustrations than work and alcohol."
>>35808799>"There must be a better way to channel your frustrations than work and alcohol."The question is how willing Clarissa is of imposing on the Duke.
>>35808799> "There must be a better way to channel your frustrations than work and alcohol."Give her a back massage, a skill we mysteriously picked up in our travels
>>35808833>Give her a back massageOh yes, nothing lewd, just sisterly
>>35808799> "There must be a better way to channel your frustrations than work and alcohol.">"I'm here if you ever feel like talking about it, but I understand if you don't."
>>35808799> "Are you and your father close?"
>>35808833>Give her a back massageabsolutely. She'll be to relaxed to question it.
>>35808799I'll second >>35808833 and backrubs
>>35808833>Give her a back massageYes... It will make her malleable and easy to interrogate
>>358088331 vote against it, because if hugging someone needed a research paper, massaging someone probably isn't in her skillset.
>>35808799 > "There must be a better way to channel your frustrations than work and alcohol."
>>35808799About time for another update
You are aware of Clarissa's workaholic streak, but you did not know about the reasons behind it. This cannot be healthy, especially if she supplements that with drinking herself into a stupor, even if it takes less than a glass of wine to make her tipsy."There must be a better way to channel your frustrations," you say. "Other than work and alcohol."Clarissa shrugs. "Sometimes I go to the training yard and destroy a dummy or two. I have been busy lately, which serves the same purpose."You try a different tack. "Do you have a hobby? Something you do to relax?" Even you have...... come to think of it, you don't really have anything you do when you're worried, except panicking quietly. But that's beside the point."My work takes up most of my time," Clarissa says. "Hobbies tend to fall by the wayside. I used to play the flute, though," she adds thoughtfully. "Haven't done it in years, of course.""Maybe you could pick it up again," you suggest, with a moderate helping of desperation. "Music is supposed to be calming, right?" At least that's what you've read."To what end? I don't like playing alone, William is tone-deaf, and I have seen Donovan try to dance; his sense of rhythm is nonexistent.""There has to be something else. Maybe in the city." Which has rather more possible activities than you've thought existed. Something to offer every taste, and that's just in Alvar.Clarissa gives you a crooked smile. "William took me down to an aromatherapy place in the city once. Forced me there, is more like it. I was bored out of my mind, and could not wait to get back to work.""Long hot baths? Light exercise? Cake?" You are running out of ideas. "Back massage?""I could not impose on the staff. Unless you're offering," Clarissa says lightly.> "Uh, sure. How hard could it be?" (roll 1d20, median of three)> "I have no idea how to do it, sorry."
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>35809128> "Uh, sure. How hard could it be?" (roll 1d20, median of three)
>>35809152I really want to see this through, now
Rolled 4 (1d20)>>35809128> "Uh, sure. How hard could it be?" (roll 1d20, median of three)She's the one reason we haven't been kicked out of this place. Getting closer to her would be helpful, even if it's embarrassing!
>>35809128>"I could not impose on the staff.yes, you can. It's not the hardest thing to ask for, and EVERYONE is worried about you at this point.>"To what end? I don't like playing alone, William is tone-deaf, and I have seen Donovan try to dance; his sense of rhythm is nonexistent."what about Victor? Surely he plays music, and even if he doesn't, spending some time with Victor would be a nice change of pace while still technically being work.
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>35809128> "Uh, sure. How hard could it be?" (roll 1d20, median of three)
Rolled 2 (1d20)>>35809128>> "Uh, sure. How hard could it be?" (roll 1d20, median of three)
>>35809128>I don't like playing alone, William is tone-deaf, and I have seen Donovan try to dance; his sense of rhythm is nonexistent....is it time to put those totally human ears to work? Hopefully it's easier than massages.
>>35809152>>35809165>>35809173We are not good at massages apparently. One more confirmed fact about Nicole.Practice makes perfect? *awkward grin*
Rolled 14 (1d20)>>35809128>> "Uh, sure. How hard could it be?" (roll 1d20, median of three)
Rolled 13 (1d20)> "Uh, sure. How hard could it be?" (roll 1d20, median of three)
>>35809205At least we tried.
"Uh, sure." You stand, and approach Clarissa's bed.Clarissa blinks. "It was a joke, Nicole."You hold out your hands. "I'm still offering.""Have you ever done this before?""No," you admit. "But how hard could it be?" Quite hard indeed, but you're trying to cheer Clarissa up."This is not a promising start," Clarissa sighs, but she lies flat on her stomach anyway. "Go on, do your worst."You try leaning over Clarissa modestly, and kneading her shoulderblades, on a wild guess that it's a good place to experiment."Put more muscle into it," Clarissa suggests.Can't do that well in this position. You clear your throat delicately. "Permission to-""Just do it," Clarissa says. "And get it over with."You assume that counts as permission. You hop lightly onto Clarissa's bed, and straddle her back.Clarissa's muscles do feel rather stiff, under your fingers. Unfortunately, you're not sure if anything you're doing has any effect, or if this coiled tension is considered normal for someone as fit as her."Nicole," Clarissa says, after a thousand years of awkwardness."Yes, Captain.""This isn't working.""I know, Captain." You don't know why you even offered in the first place. You don't like personal contact, after all.You get off Clarissa's bed, as she sits up again, rotating her shoulder with a grimace. "I do not feel any different from before, I'm afraid.""Sorry, Captain.""Not your fault." Clarissa puts on a brief smile. "You tried your best."Actually, you do know why you offered. You don't like personal contact, but you dislike seeing Clarissa so stressed out even more. For one thing, it would impinge on her interactions with you sooner or later, and you'd much rather deal with a happy Clarissa than a grumpy one.Which is a useful excuse to yourself for wanting to make Clarissa feel better. You should remember that one.>[1/2]
"Anyhow," Clarissa says, "with that piece of embarrassment behind us, we should turn in for the night.""Is there something important happening tomorrow, Captain?" You do still have the history textbook to work through."Not as such. There are no classes tomorrow, since it's a rest day. William will probably spend the day training your swordwork."You can feel your motivation drain away already."And the library will be closed, so you do not have to rush through your books. Why not go out to the city?"You'd love to, but you have no money. "I think it would be more economical for me to spend the day in the palace, Captain."Clarissa's mouth frames an "oh" of understanding. "I apologize. I was not aware."Why would she apologize for your financial situation? "It's all right, Captain.""Well, I'm sure you will find something to occupy your time tomorrow." Clarissa prepares to turn off the lamp.> Stay up reading> Go to sleep
>>35809395>> Go to sleep
>>35809395> Poke orb> Go to sleep
>>35809395>Stay up readingJust a bit, worth to see if the orb works at least.
>>35809395> Stay up readingWe'll try hobbys tomorrow I suppose.
>>35809395"Uhm... Captain? Was it me who wounded your arm?"
>>35809395>Stay up reading>watch orbjust to see how the orb works. And if it'll explode.
>>35809426*hobbiesI don't know what happe de to my grammatical all of the sudden.
>>35809395>> Stay up readingmaybe we can get a book on how to do back massages properlyI'll also second >>35809429>>35809434>>watch orbwe should do that too
>>35809434I'll second it
>>35809395>>35809429This then >>35809434
>>35809395>>35809434Might as well
>>35809429It most likely was. Their concerns about us being an assassin most likely didn't come just from a sparring match with her... But is it a good idea to bring it up at all? We don't gain much from knowing. I suppose building trust is the gain, assuming it does that anyway?
>>35809481It doesn't feel like an unnatural thing to ask about, and now that she is slightly intoxicated it seems the perfect time.
>>35809446We WILL succeed in giving her a relaxing massage one day.ON MY HONOR AS A KNIGHT(-apprentice), THIS I SWEAR.
>>35809493It's not. But if it really was us, they deliberately kept it from us. It may be more advantageous to let her think we don't suspect since that also implies we remember more of the incident than we let on. And that might imply things about us that she and Elise could home in on.So it's a risky question, in my eyes. It might be worth it if we want to build a stronger trust between her and us by working towards a position as her confidant. That would definitely be a good thing. And of all the things we've fucked up, I think she does at least still have the impression that we can keep a secret.So we could try for it.
>>35809638It's more suspicious that we don't ask since anyone with double digit IQ points would put two and two together since Clarissa had a desk job the whole time so they'd think we're deliberately not asking and pretending to be retarded for a reason, ie have something to hide. Clarissa hasn't underestimated us after that 20 on the sword practice.You could take it another step and argue that they might reason that we would think of the above paragraph and so actually asking in the end would be the "natural" response, but then the next step would be the reverse, ad infinitum.
"Give me a moment, Captain." You quickly light a candle for yourself, and pick up the history textbook."Your diligence does you credit," Clarissa says. She shuts off the lamp, and the room's light dims to just your reading candle. "Don't stay up too late.""Of course, Captain."Clarissa turns on her side, facing the wall away from you. You turn a few pages on the textbook. Disappointingly, there is little about Grunmarl's history itself prior to its rediscovery.Clarissa still isn't asleep yet. She might also still be slightly tipsy from the wine earlier, which makes it a good opportunity to ask something that has been bothering you for some time. "Captain.""Yes, Nicole." Clarissa doesn't turn back to face you. She might be waiting until you've exhausted your need for conversation, so that she can finally go to sleep."When I woke up after the incident at the wizard's tower."A sigh. "What is it now, Nicole?"You press on. "I noticed your hand was bandaged." The bandage had stayed for a day before being removed, of course. Sister Simone is a very good healer. "I have to know. Did I hurt you? Was it me who wounded your hand?""What do you think?" No accusation or sarcasm. Just a quiet statement, almost philosophical.Which was an answer in itself. "Why did you let me stay after that, Captain?""You cut my hand. I broke your arm. I would say we're even.""Captain." You feel you have a right to sound reproachful.Clarissa sighs again. "I had three days to consider it, Nicole. I was still undecided, the day you woke up. But you told me you wanted to be my sq- knight-apprentice. And you saved me from the nightmares."Elise did most of the work, though. And you told Clarissa that you were her knight-apprentice because you didn't want her to know about your true purpose, and...... and you really did want to be a knight-apprentice. To be a knight, just like the ones in the storybooks.>[1/2]
"By the way, Nicole," Clarissa says."Captain?""Congratulations on making it to a week as a squire.""Knight-apprentice," you say on reflex, before realizing that Clarissa had to have used the incorrect term on purpose. "Thank you, Captain.""And maybe by next week, I will be able to get you to call me by my name," Clarissa says dryly.You don't think you're quite ready for that yet.You try to return your attention to the textbook once again. The flickering candlelight seems much less steady now, casting odd shadows over the page, and making the words dance. Or maybe you're just tired.Except you glance up at the candle, its flame still burning steadily and calmly.Your eyes are drawn to the nightmare-absorber. The darkness within is roiling with slightly more activity than before, and you think you see some kind of flicker around the edges.> Blow out the candle to get a better look> Dark orb is scary, more light is good
>>35809702>Blow out the candle to get a better lookmuuuust...knooooowww....
>>35809702Blow out candle, so when daddy looks through the orb he can't see anythingRuminate silently on our true purpose
>>35809702> Blow out the candle to get a better lookCuriosity killed the cat. 8 lives left.
> Blow out the candle to get a better look
>>35809702> Blow out the candle to get a better lookFortune favors the bold, but curiosity killed the cat.So let's be curios, since we're human.
>>35809702> Blow out the candle to get a better lookNo touching but lets see.
>>35809702> Blow out the candle> Got to sleep
>>35809702>Blow out the candle to get a better lookNo harm in just looking, also damn, I thought we broke our arm while falling down down down the stairs.
>>35809715He mustn't know that we are sleeping with his daughter.on opposite sides of the room that is.
>>35809702> Blow out the candle to get a better look
>>35809702>> Dark orb is scary, more light is good
>>35809702 > Blow out the candle to get a better look
You close your eyes to get them accustomed to the darkness quicker, and blow out the candle.Your preparation turns out to be unnecessary. Now that the room did not have other, non-supernatural sources of illumination, you can see the nightmare-absorber glow with an unsteady aura, a white ethereal fire outlining the inky blackness of the orb itself.You see Clarissa's silhouette sit up halfway, supporting herself on her elbows, staring at the orb. "That," she says, "is creepy.""I guess that means it's working," you say uneasily.Clarissa continues watching the orb for a few moments more. "It is a strange sensation to know that the spell intended to do me harm is being diverted into that sphere. I feel exposed as a target, even though I know I am no longer one."You'd rather not have Clarissa start gnawing on her worries once more, just when she's about to go to sleep. "You're safe now, Captain. We'll find out who's behind this.""Mm. More work to be done." Clarissa lies back down. "But tomorrow. Good night, Nicole," she says firmly.A good idea. You lie down on your own bed, and close your eyes.You can't sleep.The nightmare-absorber is definitely interfering. Something about the way the light flickers puts you on edge, although after a bit of inner contemplation, you realize that the feeling is not supernatural in any way, and you just don't like that particular shade of light. Whatever the case, it's really, really distracting.> Try to go to sleep anyway> Find something to cover the orb> "Hey, stop that."
>>35809834>Try to go to sleep anywayno touchingmaybe think if the light reminds us of anything.
>>35809834> Find something to cover the orb
>>35809834Put a sock over it, roll over.Ruminate silently on our purpose as we drift off to sleep.
>>35809834> Try to go to sleep anywayand if that doesn't work then> "Hey, stop that."> Find something to cover the orb
>>35809834> "Hey, stop that."from one construct to another
>>35809834>Find something to cover the orbI'm not so sure we should be talking to the magic vacuum, at least not while the captain is awake.
>>35809834Contemplate on our purpose here.A trip down memory lane should help calm us down a bit.
>>35809873supporting. Don't think I've ever seen such an open-ended response before
>>35809834>Bury head under pillow. Resolve to pester Elise tomorrow about why this stupid thing has to glow creepily.Don't mess with the orb while it's doing its thing; we don't know whether or not it'll interrupt its function (and if it does, it could tip off whoever is responsible that something is amiss.)Cover the stupid thing in advance tomorrow night, or stash it in a cabinet. It shouldn't throw off the absorption if it starts out that way in the first place. (And it's not like our furniture is magic-proof, or we could've just slapped a drawer over the Captain's head as she slept and called it a day.)
>>35809834> "Hey, stop that."Be sure to whisper.
>>35809834> "Hey, stop that."
>>35809834> Try to go to sleep anywayTelling it to stop might just get it to turn off. Magic is dumb.
Just windering, damp, are you intending on getting your twitter into the directory?
You sit up, glaring at the nightmare-absorber. This is not going to work.Maybe covering it will help. Your usual outfit has a small cape, which should be sufficient. If all else fails, you could hunt down Katherine tomorrow and ask her to knit something sufficiently opaque. You're not sure what to tell her, though; you find yourself imagining having to explain how you are particularly enamoured of a specific excessively round grapefruit that you wish to protect and keep cozy, before you realize that sheer irritation is making you think in odd ways.Quietly, you pick up your cape, and lay it over the orb, careful not to make any direct contact with it. This helps a bit; the glow is much more muted, barely visible through the cape.Clarissa is, if not already deep in sleep, then clearly on the way there. Her breathing is slow and relaxed.You lean down towards the orb. "Hey," you whisper. "Stop that."It might be your imagination, but you think the glow fades slightly further. Well, you didn't expect that to work anyway. Maybe you're still being loopy.Back to your bed, and the glow is definitely suppressed enough for you to try going to sleep again.> Wake up early> Sleep in, it's a rest day
>>35810045>Wake up earlyIf we stop now, we might not be able to when time comes.
>>35810045Wake up early, never underestimate a good sleep cycle
> Wake up early> When you wake up, thank the orb.
>>35810045>Sleep in, it's a rest dayIf nothing else then to show that sometimes we actually do need to sleep.
>>35810045> Wake up early
>>35810045>Wake up earlyMy god we're the magic whisperer.
>>35810045>Wake up earlyalways. Would it be weird to practicing forms/darts this way everyday?>>35810074sure, why not?
>>35810045> Wake up early>implying /tg/ would ever choose to not wake up early for maxmium powergaming
>>35810074>Give the orb headpats
>>35809989I keep meaning to, I keep forgetting about it. Maybe soon. I just have to mention it in the Quest Thread General thread, right?Also all this writing about going to sleep is Dischism, I might be fading out early.
>>35810045> Sleep in, it's a rest day
>>35810045We should check with the captain to see if Orby worked.Would be a load of our mind.
>>35810129don't even joke about that
>>35810131And be noticed by the twitter vampire. I can say from experience that isn't always easy.
>>35810131Yeah. Not advocating the horror of cutie-gee, but I only got here at the 130 posts mark, rather than the first post. There's a qtg up now, and that eisenstern guy always either lurks or archives, so post it there
>>35810045> Wake up early>>35810074No
>>35810074Sure. this. can't hurt even if it looks a bit weird.
Morning arrives, as it is wont to do.You rise from your bed, noting once more that Clarissa has woken up before you again. From the state of her nightgown, thrown carelessly across her bed, you know that she has not been gone for long; she would never leave her living space without making sure that it is exactingly neat.You change out of your own nightgown. You retrieve your cape from on top of the orb; it does not look any worse for wear, and despite your apprehension, your cape does not feel warmer to the touch.You had not awoken in the middle of the night to Clarissa's unnatural whispers, so presumably the nightmare-absorber worked."Thank you," you say, and then feel silly for doing so.Clarissa returns soon after, towelling off her hair. "Good morning, Nicole.""Good morning, Captain. Did you sleep well?""I did, thank you."You glance at the nightmare-absorber. "Looks like Orby worked as Elise said it would."Clarissa looks levelly at you. "'Orby'?""I figured giving it a name would make it less, uh, creepy." You're familiar with the underlying theory of names having power, but you're not sure this is an applicable situation. Would be worth a try, though.Clarissa shakes her head. "'Orby'."You head out for a quick shower. On the way, you meet William coming back, wearing nothing but his trousers and a towel around his shoulders."Good morning, Nicole," he says.> "Please go put on some clothes, sir."> "Good morning, sir."> Stare silently
>>35810221"Sir, is this going to be a regular occurence? My expectations on casual decorum were...a tad different."
>>35810221>, and then feel silly for doing so.There. Talking to magic objects is not something we do.Now can we stop doing it? Please?
>>35810221> "Good morning, sir."
>>35810221Avert your eyes, tell him to wear a shirt
>>35810221>> "Please go put on some clothes, sir.">"The captain has already been through, sir. You're a tad late."
>>35810221> "Good morning, sir."> "Please go put on some clothes."
>>35810221> "Please go put on some clothes, sir."
>>35810263Supporting for giggles.
>>35810221>"Good morning, sir.">"Please go put on some clothes, sir."Sure the Duke isn't keen on formalities but...>OrbyI should perhaps have kept that to myself.
>>35810244>>35810317It's a fine line between weird stuff that's okay for SoL laughs and choices that portray the MC as a manic pixie.
>>35810330Well, there's a good place to look if you want the perpetrator of these choices. >>35809860
>>35810330>30 threads from now.>We are fighting an actual assassin.>They have us dead to rights.>But suddenly Orby, remembering our words of thanks and how we treated it as a sentient being rather than as a tool, leaps into action.>It konks the assassin in the back of the head and saves our lives.>players suddenly vote to talk to every magical item just in case.>The maids think Nicole is absolutely bonkers.>I forgot where I was going with this.
>>35810045Didn't the orb come with an opaque sack? We got one because we were scared of touching it.
She's named after a flower. Homunculus.
>>35810417That sounds absolutely retarded and you should feel just as bad for typing that out as I should for bothering responding to you.
>>35810487It's cute. But Nicole seems too stoic for that.
>>35810473IIRC yeah it did
>>35810353well I'm going to sleep, so good luck keeping Nicole's "intrusive thoughts" in check.
>>35810516That explosion of glass shards thing alone is enough reason to keep it in the sack constantly.
>>35810540I've just about given up...seriously hope Damp comes out with her story soon so we can stop doing stupid shit under the assumption of 'Maybe she's a golem!'
>>35810550All she did was tell it to stop, then off handedly and not seriously thank it in the morning when she was still half asleep. That's more eccentric and silly then crazy or anything else, stop being a goober about it.
>>35810550We know we have already guessed pretty much all of it. Now we just have to look back and filter out the retarded theories.
You refuse to let William provoke you into doing something unbecoming of a knight-apprentice, although you can't decide in this instance if you want to punch him or tickle him. Besides, you're more confused by his callous disregard for decorum than outraged."Good morning, sir," you say, mustering up as much calmness as you can manage.If William is disappointed that his toned body received little to no response, he does not show it. "Is Clarissa awake yet?""Yes, sir." You are the epitome of calm. Calmness fills you throughout. "She has already been through. You are a little late.""I have no idea what you're talking about," William says, with a grin that implies precisely the opposite."Please go put on some clothes. Sir.""As you command, Nicole." William saunters away to his own room.As you enter the showers, you give thanks to the architects that be that they are gender-segregated.When you return, Clarissa is carefully folding a set of uniforms on your bed."These were just sent up for you," she says, before you ask. "Check the fit."Five sets of uniforms, as Roderick had mentioned. Two of them were similar to the fancy one Clarissa wore yesterday evening for dinner, albeit in your smaller size and with a different colour of braid, which would make sense given your different ranks.The other three are more workaday ones, nowhere near as fancy. They are very slightly loose on you."I don't think I will be growing into these, Captain.""You never know," Clarissa says. "With the quality of the food here, you might be letting out that belt sooner than you think."It does make it a little more difficult to sneak around in, but you doubt that's what the uniform designers had in mind.Your cape does go well enough with it. Clarissa makes no comment either way, which means it's an approved variation on the uniform.>[1/2]
Breakfast is another instance of bread, this time with berry jam. Both you and Clarissa take your usual portions. After you find a seat, you are soon rejoined by William, whose portion size is quite normal."What is it?" he asks, noticing your surprise.You try to think of a way to phrase it without offending either William or Clarissa. "I just thought knights usually ate more," you finally say, giving up."I am not Clarissa or Donovan," William says gravely. "If I ate as much, I would explode.""Hush, William," Clarissa says, efficiently demolishing her pile of bread."What is my timetable for today?" you ask, to maintain the peace within the knighthood."Practice until lunchtime," William says. "Then more practice if you wish, or you could help Clarissa with her paperwork. I hear our Captain has been neglecting her responsibility to teach Victor how to dance, so I'll be holding a make-up lesson for him.""I do not like dancing," Clarissa mutters.> "I do. I'd like to sit in on the dance lesson."> "I could always use more practice in the yard."> "I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind."> "I'll be in my room, studying."
>>35810664> "I could always use more practice in the yard."
>>35810664>> "I could always use more practice in the yard.">> "I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind."Whichever you think is best, Captain.
>>35810664> "I could always use more practice in the yard."Begin training a respectable skill with knightly weaponary!
>>35810664> "Do you think I should get the extra practice or help you out with your work, Captain?"
>>35810664> "I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind."
>>35810664> "I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind.">"I don't think I will be growing into these, Captain.">"I don't think I will be growing into these, Captain."Golem confirmed.
>>35810621When he said that some of our theories were correct, we hadn't confirmed that Nicole was why Clarissa's hand was hurt. He could have been talking about that. Don't assume any of the origin theories are correct.
Apologies for the shorter thread today, but I'm a little more tired than I thought.In compensation, I will try my absolute best to have a thread tomorrow, rather than force myself today and end up utterly drained. Pessimistically, if not tomorrow, then the day after (making it a thread every other day).Please keep voting in this thread, so I can check the archives when I wake up.Thanks for joining me on this quest.
>>35810723Thanks for running! Care to comment on this >>35810711 before you leave?
>>35810664> "I could always use more practice in the yard."Best sq-knight apprentice!
>>35810664> "I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind."I think we should keep an eye on her..
>>35810723Please, please, PLEASE force the reveal. People are choosing stupid things for stupid reasons and it's starting to hurt the narrative.
>>35810664>"I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind.">"I do. I'd like to sit in on the dance lesson.">>35810723Thanks for running.
>>35810723Thanks for running damp
>>35810723Thanks for running dude.
>>35810723Thanks for running. can't wait for the next thread.
>>35810745I don't want OP to force the reveal, but I wouldn't mind if he ignored some of the completely out-of-character votes.Too bad that would cause a shitstorm.
>>35810664>> "I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind."There's a chance we could get more information on those artifacts from Grunmarl. Maybe.
>>35810745Oh no, the person of unknown origin, who at the very least seems uncertain of what normal human behavior is, talked to an orb. What a terrible breach of narrative.
>>35810778>Talked to the orb that obviously scared her and that she wanted nothing to do with.Yeah, makes complete sense, doesn't it?
>>35810745It's a legitimate concern. When not given enough to work with, people will reach on any sort of tangent to try and get more info. This character seems to go out of her way to give the audience as little as possible to work with.
>>35810664 > "I do. I'd like to sit in on the dance lesson."
>>35810664>> "I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind."Let's observe workaholic in natural habitat.
>>35810795Yes, actually. Personifying scary or otherwise unsettling objects and ideas and a multitude of other things is something people do all the time. It lessons the tension. It's like humming a light hearted tune when you had to dash across the pitch black hall at 3 am to take a leak.
>>35810795She was worried about touching it directly.
>>35810853And the fact that 50% of the votes for it were 'muh golem' had no effect on it?
>>35810745>>35810723Damp, don't force a reveal and ruin whatever narrative you got going in the background, thanks. Just do your thing.
>>35810864Not really because most of the people going "golem" are only doing it as a joke. And because it annoys you. As the other guy stated anthromorphizing unsettling things is common human behavior. With how often 4chan in general does this, I'd think you'd be familiar with the concept
>>35810864It was a silly little thing wasn't out of character for Nicole, why are you getting your panties in a knot over it? Whether or not people are tossing around ideas of her being a golem, it was still in character enough for it to get played out.
>>35810745I hope he doesn't force shit. It's one of the unique features of this quest, and I and others think it makes it more fun and interesting.
>>35810923It's hardly the only thing that makes this fun and interesting, though. If other characters force the issue, fine.
>>35810745>Force the revealThough the major appeal of this quest is that we don't now who we are ? Because of that, there is a little game between the players, the GM, and Nicole. As an exemple: Nicole being bad at massages. It has been decided by dice, and would be a very minor point.But right now it is a new clue that Nicole is definitively not human... or an awkward human. In fact we don't know, but mundane facts become important because of this mystery.On the other hand, we indeed lack facts to help us play Nicole, but it's the price to pay.So, the more the mystery lasts, the less I want to know, like a forever avoided pleasure. Think "How I met your mother" kind of mystery.My 2cents.
>>35810745>>35810723Please do not force the reveal, I love how this is going and while it is slightly awkward at times, Damp, you have been a great QM and I trust you to either comment on or veto the completely stupid choices and help us to get to an appropriate reveal time.
>>35810883What this guy said
>>35810664>"I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind."Why not? It's not sucking up to the boss if we do it because we like her.We do like her, don't we?
>>35811727>>Why not? It's not sucking up to the boss if we do it because we like her.>>We do like her, don't we?>Actually, you do know why you offered. You don't like personal contact, but you dislike seeing Clarissa so stressed out even more. For one thing, it would impinge on her interactions with you sooner or later, and you'd much rather deal with a happy Clarissa than a grumpy one.>Which is a useful excuse to yourself for wanting to make Clarissa feel better. You should remember that one.
>>35811922So we like her, but think we shouldn't or don't want to admit it to ourselves?
>>35811973Personally I think Nicole doesn't want to admit she is forming personal connections to the people she have met at the castle.
>>35811994Or maybe she just doesn't understand it. I mean if you had to read out of a book that physical contact can soothe people and you're surprised that people you know will dig at your romantic life as if it was the only known source of unobtainium in the universe, then you've probably never been close to anyone before.
>>35811973looks like it.But it's only going to get harder for Nicole to deny being close to someone.
>>35810664>> "I'd love to help with your work, Captain. If you don't mind."