> Previous thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/35807005/> 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 have been for a full week now. Admittedly you spent half that time unconscious, not including regular sleep cycles, but it's the thought that counts.Things are looking up. You've met the Duke of Alvar, and you think he likes you, or at least tolerates you enough to let you continue being part of his staff. You've gained a few points for preventing your commanding officer from passing out drunk while having dinner with the Duke, although she had a decent reason for doing so that you'll need to help her with sooner or later.You're still on probation, requiring you to report to authorized superiors whenever you want to go anywhere, but that's largely for your own safety. And at the rate things are going, you might be able to regain freedom of movement quite soon.Your immediate superior is still indescribably annoying, though. And he seems to have trouble with the notion of propriety, especially in the company of women. Nothing you can point to as being particularly incriminating, but it's probably only a matter of time before he goes too far, or your patience snaps and you do something that would make Knight Captain Clarissa frown at you.But that is still in the indefinite future. Right now, you have to decide how you want to spend your day. Going out for a good time on the town is not an option, seeing as you have no money, and will not be able to get more until the end of the month.Given the conversation the previous night about Clarissa burying herself in her work, you're curious to see what form this can take. And with the mention of her father during dinner sending her into a black depression, you're a little worried about whether Clarissa might go too far.>[1/3]
"I'd love to help with your work, Captain," you say. "If you don't mind."Clarissa looks skeptical. "It would be convenient for keeping an eye on you, but I must warn you that there is little for you to do.""For all you complain about your workload, Clarissa," William says, "you don't seem to like delegating.""Nicole has only been in Alvar for a week. I hardly think she is qualified to make the decisions necessary regarding the proper running of the city.""So give her the ledgers to work on. Anders will double-check them anyway; he always does."You finish off your breakfast in silence, content to let others talk about you as though you aren't there. It's a useful way of gaining information; even if Clarissa and William haven't actually forgotten about your presence, it's still a good habit to cultivate."You have shown your competence in arithmetic, Nicole," Clarissa concedes. "I suppose I can find something for you to do.""Thank you, Captain." You rise, and collect your plate. William stuffs the last of his breakfast into his mouth, and follows you to the washing-up area."We'll start off with something slow," he says. "Give a little time for everything to settle down. You don't eat much, do you?""No, sir." Surely having a small appetite is not all that unusual? Or is this William's idea of making small talk?"Doesn't eat much," William muses. "Exotically foreign. Shy."You're not shy; you just don't like being around other people you don't know well. "Will that be a problem, sir?""Oh, no problem at all. Quite the opposite, in fact." William raps the table where Clarissa is seated. "We'll see you later, Clarissa."Clarissa nods her acknowledgement. "Try not to overdo it, William. This is supposed to be a rest day, after all.""Says the woman who intends to spend the entire day in her office," William says, sotto voce.>[2/3]
The palace is quieter than yesterday; you are reminded of the first day you arrived, when the Duke was not in residence. Most of the staff have taken advantage of the rest day to go out into the city, with only those few unfortunates who pulled duty still around.Roderick is in his usual spot, reading his usual book. "The fox cares not for the farmer, only his produce," he quotes. You don't know this one."Good morning, Roderick," William greets him."Training again today, William?""The kitten could use it." William collects two wooden training swords from the rack, and hands one to you. "I'm surprised you're still here. Don't you have plenty of rest days in lieu stored up?""I like it here," Roderick says. "And being out in the city is not as relaxing for me as it is for you humans. I get tired of all the stares, sometimes." He looks at you. "Don't you feel the same, Nicole?"> "I'm afraid I haven't noticed anything like that, sorry."> "It gets a little unsettling, sometimes."> "You've probably had it much worse than me. Only my skin colour is different."
>>35827757>> "It gets a little unsettling, sometimes."
>>35827757> "I'm afraid I haven't noticed anything like that, sorry."
>>35827757> "It gets a little unsettling, sometimes."> "But I would have thought if you've been here a long while the people would get more comfortable with your presence. Have they not? "
>>35827757 > "It gets a little unsettling, sometimes." > "But I would have thought if you've been here a long while the people would get more comfortable with your presence. Have they not? "
>>35827757> "It gets a little unsettling, sometimes."
You've definitely been stared at, ever since you came to Alvar. Of the human population of Wellsbet, most of the immigrants end up in the capital Gracewell and its surrounding areas. This far west, most humans are either Wellsbet natives, who tend towards fair skin and blond or red hair, or scholars passing by on the way to the Grunmarl ruins."It gets a little unsettling, sometimes," you admit. At least you obviously look human, as opposed to Roderick the orc."I've gotten good at ignoring the stares," Roderick continues. "But when shopkeepers hide their breakable inventory when I enter the store, that gets depressing after the first few times. Not to mention the toughs who think to make a name for themselves by harrassing an easy target."Hasn't Roderick been in Alvar most of his life? And certainly more than the lives of many others, given his age. "I'd have thought people would get more comfortable with your presence, over time," you say. "Haven't they?""People come and go," Roderick says. "And most see orcs as brutes and thieves. A new shopkeeper might not recognize me, and children hear stories about rampaging orcs sacking cities and despoiling the land."Even you can detect the bitterness in his voice."I apologize for my countrymen, Roderick," William says, uncharacteristically serious.Roderick waves a hand in dismissal, all friendly again. "I'm used to it. Have to be, or I wouldn't have stayed. I know most people are just curious; they don't mean anything by it.""Whereas you, Nicole," William says, as he leads you out to the training yard, "are the focus of attention thanks to your stunning beauty. Bask in those stares, for they are a testament to your loveliness."You do not feel the need to dignify this with a response. Instead, you salute with your sword.>[1/2]
"Elbows up a bit," William advises, as he returns your salute. "Too much. Right, that's good. Straighten your back." He drops into a stance, ready to meet your attacks.True to William's prediction, the first few exchanges are slow and easy. Once he's satisfied with your handling, William increases the pace bit by bit."Clarissa seems rather distracted today," he says, demonstrating a strike that would have pinned your arm if he hadn't slowed it down for you. "Did something happen yesterday?"> "I shouldn't say. You should ask her, if you're that concerned."> "It's a family matter. Quite personal, I think."> "I'm surprised you can tell."> "Do you always go around without a shirt?"
>>35828058> "I shouldn't say. You should ask her, if you're that concerned."He'll get around to asking her on his own if he cares enough.
>>35828058> "I shouldn't say. You should ask her, if you're that concerned."Nicole keeps all of the secrets, hers and others.
>>35828058>> "I'm surprised you can tell."
>>35828058> "I shouldn't say. You should ask her, if you're that concerned."
Far be it for you to reveal the secrets of others, even if the secrecy is only implied. "I shouldn't say, sir. You should ask the Captain yourself, if you're that concerned," you suggest."I might," William says, "once I'm sure she won't bite my head off."You suspect this is a joke; Clarissa seems accustomed to William's antics. Still, William is right to be cautious, since any negative impressions towards him are most probably his own fault.Conversation pauses for a minute, as William suddenly unleashes a flurry of attacks that you can barely block. Given his near-constant smirk, he isn't even close to exerting himself yet. "I'm guessing Clarissa's mood has something to do with the Duke's dinner yesterday. Since it's the only substantive thing that might have caused such a change."You also gave Clarissa a back massage that wasn't very good, but that was not for anyone else to know about. Besides, it's clear that Clarissa is troubled by mention of her father.You really should look up Clarissa's father once you have the time. You have the name of "Ridelham" to start with, wherever that is."Did Victor finally make a move?" William guesses. "But wait, that's probably not it. The news would be all over the palace by now; the Duke would not be able to keep that juicy development to himself."> "How long has Victor been... you know. Towards the Captain."> "As I said, you should ask the Captain yourself."> "Why do you always keep gossiping in the middle of training?"> Distract William by impressing him (roll 1d20, best of three)
Rolled 20 (1d20)>>35828219> Distract William by impressing him (roll 1d20, best of three)
>>35828219> "How long has Victor been... you know. Towards the Captain.Time for gossip
>>35828219>Distract William by impressing him (roll 1d20, best of three)Conversation is nice, but I really don't want to betray the Captain's trust. God knows she has given us more than we deserve.
Rolled 3 (1d20)>>35828219> Distract William by impressing him (roll 1d20, best of three)
Rolled 20 (1d20)>>35828219 >Distract William by impressing him (roll 1d20, best of three)
>>35828257>>35828238The dice really do know what they want Nicole to be good at and not good at.
>>35828219Well, that's settled.>>35828238>>35828257> Distract William by impressing him (roll 1d20, best of three)But we lost an opportunity to hear more gossip about Victor.
We are the best at combat and sneaking.... It's no wonder they think us an assassin.
Normally you wouldn't be averse to a bit of gossip, especially if it lets you glean more information about the people around you, without having to reveal more about yourself than you're comfortable with. However, Clarissa has been your staunchest ally in the palace ever since your arrival, and to speak of her personal matters when she's not around would be a betrayal of that trust. A trust she has placed in you, and far more than you know you deserve.Besides, you're tired of William chattering away in the middle of training.Time slows again, as you hunch down in preparation. You can see William's expression change, into puzzlement, at this unorthodox change in tactics. You see his sword arm rise, in preparation to meet this clumsy strike.You don't let him finish.You burst into action, lunging forward, knocking his sword wide and off-target. The clatter of wood on wood sounds strange, in this odd realm where you can sense every move your opponent makes, consider it at leisure, and intercept it before they can finish. William looks like he is about to say something, but you drive the heel of your palm into his stomach, nowhere near hard enough to cause injury, but still enough to drive the breath out of him and stun him for the briefest of moments.Which is all you need to dart behind him, twisting his sword arm with a jerk, causing him to drop his sword. William begins turning to face you, but you stamp lightly at the back of his knee, causing him to buckle. You stop his fall by holding his arm behind his back; painful, but still not serious enough to cause injury.The wooden training sword is longer and more unwieldy than you're used to, but you manage to bring it up to William's throat, where the non-existent edge would have been a clear and obvious threat.Time returns to normal.>[1/2]
There is a moment of silence as William considers his position. He takes the risk of clearing his throat. "Well, this is-"You kick his knees again, and hook your leg under his, knocking him off-balance. The free arm William had been quietly bringing up to disarm you goes out reflexively to break his fall, and you use the arm you hold as leverage to spin him around, ending with William on the ground facing you, your sword at his throat.Another silent moment."All right," William wheezes. "I get the point."He holds out his hand, and you take it, helping him up. He is still your instructor, after all.William holds up a hand for a time-out, as he catches his breath. "The kitten definitely has claws," he says. "Are you sure you need me to train you?"> "It was just a fluke."> "I saw an opening and took it."> "You were distracted, sir. From talking all the time."> "Stop calling me a kitten. My name is Nicole."
>>35828410>> "I saw an opening and took it.">> "You were distracted, sir. From talking all the time."
>>35828410> "You were distracted, sir. From talking all the time."
>>35828410> "I saw an opening and took it."
>>35828410>> "You were distracted, sir. From talking all the time."
>>35828410> "Stop calling me a kitten. My name is Nicole."> "You were distracted, sir. From talking all the time."
>>35828410> "You were distracted, sir. From talking all the time."Not only claws - bite too.
>>35828410>"You were distracted, sir. From talking all the time."
>>35828219> "Why do you always keep gossiping in the middle of training?"
Now that you're not as worried about standing out too much and arousing suspicion too early, you can use this opportunity to make a point. You've already proven your skills to Clarissa, and she hasn't kicked you out or turned you over to Elise to dissect, so you should be safe on this front."You were distracted, sir," you say. "From talking all the time."William chuckles ruefully, picking up his fallen sword. "I was going to say that training you was simple enough that I had to make light conversation to keep myself awake. Obviously I was mistaken." He bows. "For that, I apologize."You wait patiently until William straightens again. As a bow of apology, you can't detect any mockery or sarcasm here, but that does not mean it isn't there.William tilts his head quizzically. "Have I given offense of some sort? Would humbling me again in combat be therapeutic?"He has been offensive, but it's not like a few knocks around the head will correct that. It's not your job to fix William's personality, anyway. "I just don't like talking about other people, sir." Which will hopefully be a good excuse for not talking about yourself either."Hm." William returns to his ready stance. "I'm not going to ask you where you learned how to do that. Clarissa thinks you're trustworthy, and I'll defer to her judgment. Not to mention you haven't done anything to break that trust, which speaks well of you."You like to think so. "Are we continuing with the training, sir?""Yes. I'd like to watch you in action for a while longer. It might help me in the future, should you get annoyed with me again."Personally you doubt that, but you don't need to shatter his assumptions.>[1/2]
Training resumes with a minimum of further incident or conversation. For all his faults, William is a competent instructor, limiting his words to advice and encouragement relevant to swordplay. You do notice that he does not give you easy demonstrations anymore; the default pace has increased, and it is a healthy challenge to keep up.William finally calls for a halt. To your secret glee, he is breathing heavily. "That's enough for today," he announces. "It's time for lunch."Actually it's a bit after time for lunch, but you eat quickly enough that it doesn't matter.The two of you return your training swords, bid farewell to Roderick, and head back to the palace. "Now that we are free from the strictures of martial competition, would you care to join me for lunch?" William says. "I'd love to hear more about you."> "Yes, sir."> "Actually, I'd prefer to eat alone. Sorry, sir."> "Actually, I'd prefer to eat alone."
>>35828703You meant dinner for the last sentence right?
>>35828703> "Yes, sir."
>>35828703> "Actually, I'd prefer to eat alone. Sorry, sir."
>>35828703>"Yes, sir."No need to be rude, Will seems like a nice guy.
>>35828703>"Yes, sir."Turning him down probably would just get him even more on our case.
>>35828703> "Yes, sir."He may be annoying to us but at least he seems like a good guy.
>>35828703Everone's going "Yes, sir.".. He asked a lot of questions Nicole wasn't exactly prepared for last time.
Nicole eats very little. She can probably be finished in five minutes and use that as an excuse to escape if he gets pushy with the questions.Plus running away isn't going to work every time. We do have to take sword lessons from the man.
William is only going to get more insistent, sooner if not later. You've built up a reasonably robust history for yourself which should stand up to casual inquiry: a small town or village in Silden nobody has ever heard of, found by a wandering retired paladin, recommended to be a knight of Alvar, largely seen as a simple posting with little risk or reward.Unfortunately, William is either going to ask you about your past in more detail than you've thought up so far, or he's using the opportunity to get to know you better as a person, with an end goal you're not sure you're ready for just yet. Both prospects are daunting, and you don't know which one you fear more."Yes, sir," you say reluctantly."Have I told you yet that you may call me William?""Yes, sir.""Just checking."Lunch is cold cuts on a choice of either salad or bread. You take the salad, while William goes for bread. It doesn't look like there was much food prepared in the first place, and the majority of it is already gone, despite the kitchens being empty."I see Clarissa has come and gone," William comments."Is everyone else out in the city?" you ask, taking a seat."It is a rest day," William says. "Most applicants to be a knight come with rather more than just the clothes on their backs, so your situation is not common. Would you be out in the city as well, if you had the money?"You don't like crowds, but being cooped up in the palace can get a little confined. Especially when you're not allowed to explore by yourself. "Probably, sir.""What would you do there?" William gestures expansively with a hand. "Your first time in the big city. If you could do anything you wanted to, what would it be? What hobbies do you have, Nicole?"> "I like to read."> "I haven't explored the city much, so I don't know what's available."> "Being a knight is my priority right now, sir."> "I'm a little restricted in my movements right now, so I can't really indulge."
> "I like to read."
>>35828999> "Being a knight is my priority right now, sir."But with a bit of> "I like to read."
>>35828999> "Being a knight is my priority right now, sir."> "I like to read."> "I haven't explored the city much, so I don't know what's available."
>>35828999> "I like to read."> "I haven't explored the city much, so I don't know what's available."So probably locate a bookstore and then explore to see if there's anything of interest I'm guessing.
>>35828999> "I like to read."> "I'm a little restricted in my movements right now, so I can't really indulge."
>>35829027I think I'll add> "Being a knight is my priority right now, sir." to my vote.
>>35828999> "I haven't explored the city much, so I don't know what's available."> "I like to read."
>>35828999>> "I haven't explored the city much, so I don't know what's available."
>>35828999>> "I haven't explored the city much, so I don't know what's available.">"I mean, what CAN you do in a big city?"
You've never thought about your hobbies before. Based on the definition that it's something you prefer doing when you have free time, the primary candidate would probably be exploration. Since you're not allowed to do that anymore, though, you've been trying to learn about your surroundings via the old-fashioned method of reading about them."I like to read," you say. A safe, common answer. A bit sedate for a warrior knight, but eminently suitable for the cultured version."Yes, you do try to be that sort," William says mysteriously. "Commendable, but, er, not very exciting, is it?""I'm not a very exciting person, sir," you say, with as much sincerity as you can manage. Not being exciting means being able to keep a lower profile. Never mind that you just handily beat your instructor in a practice fight.William expresses his opinion of this statement by raising his eyebrows. Well, it was a long shot anyway. "Had a lot of books in the town where you grew up? Didn't you do anything else for fun, as a child?"This was getting far too close to the parts of your history you'd rather not anyone know about. "Being a knight is my priority right now, sir."William sighs. "Look, I know Clarissa has an excuse. I don't think it's a very good excuse, but it's the way she is. You, on the other hand, don't seem like the type of person who'd follow in her workaholic footsteps."You wonder what sort of person you seem like. You may not want to know the answer."I respect Clarissa, and I like her dearly as a friend and as my commander, but she is not a good role model for aspiring knights." William quirks a smile. "I've said as much to her plenty of times, so feel free to report this; she's used to it. If you try to be like her, you will break. I'm sure Clarissa will agree with me on this.">[1/3]
An unexpected torrent of advice, technically unsolicited, but you're sure William means well. You don't consciously intend to be like Clarissa, but you did think emulating her wasn't such a bad idea. Well, except for her massive appetite. And her mood swings. And her overwhelming obsession with neatness. And...... you kind of understand William's advice now, once you think about it.William still seems to be in an advice-giving mood, which should be cultivated; if he's giving advice, he's not asking about your past. "Then what would you suggest, sir?""Go out into the city. You don't have to buy anything or spend any money, but you can see the sights. Make some new friends. You're close with that elf maid, aren't you?"Lily did buy you cake, and you do still owe her for that. And she offered to tutor you in the subjects you need help in. You don't remember seeing her around today; she was here last week when you first arrived, so it's not her weekly scheduled free day, but maybe she took the day off anyway."I haven't explored the city much," you say, "so I don't know what's available." Playing up the country bumpkin from a foreign land. "It's my first time in a large city." Which was true; you had taken a brief tour of the city of Alvar on your first night here, before you reported to the palace, but brief it was, and you know you've only explored a tiny slice of the city.William frowns in thought. "It would not be useful to explain without showing you the sights themselves. We are both bespoke for this afternoon, though, so I have to respectfully request an alternative."And that smirk is on his face again.>[2/3]
"Nicole, would you do me the pleasure of accompanying me on a pleasant exploration of the fine city of Alvar? The time and day will be of your choosing, of course; I would not presume to distract you from your duties. But a beautiful woman such as yourself should not be caged in the palace for lack of an escort."> "Of course. I'll let you know when I'm free."> "I don't think that will be appropriate, sir."> "I think it's time for me to go. I'll give you an answer next time."> "No. Definitely not."
>>35829369>> "Of course. I'll let you know when I'm free."
>>35829362> "No. Definitely not."Whomever we ultimately decide on... not William.
>>35829369"I guess I could use a proper tour of the city..."
>>35829369I'm torn~> "I think it's time for me to go. I'll give you an answer next time."Thankfully there was an indecisive/shy-ish option.
>>35829362> "No. Definitely not."
>>35829378Ewwww, no, lets never get romantic with Willian. We could still let him show us around town.
>>35829369>"Maybe. I'll let you know if I'm free."
It would be hilarious if we take him up on his offer and then when on what he thinks is a date, we tell him we're not interested in men, instead, we fuck dragons.
>>35829369> "I think it's time for me to go. I'll give you an answer next time."I think it'd be pretty interesting for Nicole but it seems a bit out of character to accept, at least for now.
>>35829385I agree that we will need a proper tour at some point, though William isn't the only choice of escort. We could explore with someone else.
>>35829426I don't see why we shouldn't take him up on his offer as long as we let him know we're not interested in him that way.
>>35829369>> "I think it's time for me to go. I'll give you an answer next time."This guy is an aspiring Don Juan, a predator.Let's not fall for his shemes.Time for a brave retreat run to Clarissa. She would know what to do. Maybe. Or not.
>>35829369> "I think it's time for me to go. I'll give you an answer next time."He's playing with us. Play the game, make him wait for us for no reason.
Jesus christ is this another GOD ROLLS on this thread? >tfw just in time for live quest>>35829369> "I don't think that will be appropriate, sir."We have lily> "I think it's time for me to go. I'll give you an answer next time."dodging would be fine but he will expect something
>>35829369>"I don't think that will be appropriate, sir.""Not in the way that you suggested it."
You reflect that you might actually be tempted, if William hadn't suddenly reverted back to his rather embarrassingly foppish persona.Still, William might know of some interesting places to go in the city. You recall that he was the one who introduced Clarissa to aromatherapy, even if it hadn't worked. Then again, it's not like William is your only option for someone to show you around the city. There's Lily, and...... you probably should make some more friends.You'll have to think about this for a bit more."I think it's time for me to go," you say, making a show of checking your pocketwatch. "I'll give you an answer next time."William accepts this with a more natural smile. You wonder why he doesn't let that be his usual self, instead of the smirk. "Then I'll be waiting for your reply."One more reckoning you've managed to delay. More time to think of excuses, and more time to accomplish your more immediate goals.You deliver your plate to the washing-up area without looking back, and scurry out of the kitchens. You cross the Great Hall, and stop at the door to Clarissa's office."Come in," Clarissa calls from within, in response to your polite knock.Clarissa is engrossed in her work, looking harried. "Good afternoon, Nicole. Please have a seat."Normally Clarissa's desk is the only one in the room, but you notice another desk from the classroom on the upper floors had been brought down for your use. You carry it over beside Clarissa's desk, and sit."I confess I am not sure what work to give you," Clarissa says. "For now, could you check the numbers on the requisition ledger? It should be accurate, but it does not hurt to confirm it once again.">[1/2]
This turns out to be a large, heavy book, filled with closely-written lines of just about everything that can and has been requisitioned from the quartermaster, viz Roderick. The ledger is to be checked against an intimidatingly tall pile of requisition forms, an activity that involves much flipping back and forth of pages and close scrutiny of numbers.Clarissa probably needs a secretary or adjutant of some sort."How was practice with William today?" Clarissa asks conversationally, still focused on her own work.> "I demonstrated some of my skills to him. He seemed impressed."> "William seems concerned about you, Captain."> "I think William asked me out on a date."> "Nothing of note happened, Captain."
>>35829736> "I think William asked me out on a date."We need to report this to our dear captain
>>35829736>"I think William asked me out on a date."time to see Nicole's secretary powers.
>>35829736> "I think William asked me out on a date."> "I kicked his ass."
>>35829736> "William seems concerned about you, Captain."> "I think William asked me out on a date.
>>35829736>"I think William asked me out on a date."Nicole is confused.
>>35829736> "I demonstrated some of my skills to him. He seemed impressed."> "William seems concerned about you, Captain."
>>35829736> "I think William asked me out on a date."This is too tempting.
>>35829736> "I demonstrated some of my skills to him. He seemed impressed."> "I think William asked me out on a date."> "I kicked his ass."also, activate secretary mode.
>>35829736> "I demonstrated some of my skills to him. He seemed impressed."> "William seems concerned about you, Captain."> "I think William asked me out on a date."
You get to work on the ledger. You have a good head for numbers, and most of the work is done for you already; Clarissa's handwriting is as neat as the rest of her habits, making it easy to read. Certainly more than Roderick, who has obviously tried his very best, but normal pencils are still too small for his orcish hands.Maybe the next time you go out to the city, you can see if there are any larger pencils you can give him as a present.Speaking of which."I think William asked me out on a date." It had taken you a while to put together the clues, based on what you've heard about romantic outings between a pair of lovers. You're not sure that this is what William had intended, but it fits all the criteria.You're not sure how you feel about that. Certainly not romance, but not abject disgust either. At least not yet, for either case.Clarissa actually stops writing upon hearing this. "He did?""Yes, Captain." You reconsider. "At least, I think so. I'm not sure."Clarissa leans back in her chair, looking speculatively at you. She's not angry, or outraged. Instead, Clarissa just looks amused. "Did you accept?""I told him I'll give him an answer next time," you say."I see." Clarissa returns to her work. "Progress, at the least. Although I should have a word in his ear; I had not expected William to, ah, focus on you."You feel that some clarification might be in order, lest Clarissa get the wrong impression about this as yet unconfirmed date. "He offered to take me around the city, on my next free day. I am not sure if this counts as a date.""Oh, it does." Clarissa purses her lips, hiding a smile. "But let's just say I know William's secret. Which is not mine to give away, so you would have to get it out of him yourself."Not likely. Asking about William's secrets would just give him leeway to ask about yours. No hidden revelation is worth risking your efforts here.>[1/2]
"In any case," Clarissa continues, "I was asking about practice because I believe I heard some interesting sounds this morning."The window of Clarissa's office had a view of the training yard, but from this angle your training session with William would have been out of view, if not out of earshot. "I demonstrated some of my skills to William," you say. "He seemed impressed.""And how did it go?"You kicked his arse. You're not sure you can repeat that performance, but it felt good to do it even once. "Remember the first time you wanted to test my sword skills, Captain?""Ah. One wonders if you do need to be trained, considering you've bested both myself and William. Especially William; he's my better at the sword in every way.""I still have much to learn, Captain." Such as the rest of being a knight. Just because you can surprise your instructors in training doesn't mean you're a better knight than they are.Back to the ledger. You find no mistakes as you go, and you're quite sure this means there are none.You're not sure how much time passes in companionable silence, each of you absorbed in your own work, before Clarissa speaks up. "What sort of knight do you want to be, Nicole?" she asks, apropos of nothing you can see.> "In shining armour. Righting wrongs and protecting the helpless."> "The kind that slays dragons."> "A courtly knight. Chivalry and nobility and camaraderie."> "I don't really know."> "What sort of knight should I be, Captain?"
>>35830019>> "In shining armour. Righting wrongs and protecting the helpless."Why, what kind of knight should I become, Captain?
>>35830019> "A brave one, who protects the innocent."
>>35830019Can I vote for all of the above, except don't know? They're all part of knightliness-chivalry, courage, charisma, duty
>>35830019> "In shining armour. Righting wrongs and protecting the helpless."
>>35830019> "I don't really know."> "What sort of knight should I be, Captain?"
>>35830048Make a writein that includes all of them
>>35830019>"Righting wrongs and protecting the helpless. Although I know well enough that it may end up being a thankless job."
>>35830019> "I don't really know."> "What sort of knight should I be, Captain?"I don't think courtly is believable, and shining armor or slaying dragons sounds embarrassing to say
>>35830019> "Just a knight, why do I have to be a specific kind of knight?"
>>35830019>> "I don't really know."Dragons aren't real.
>>35830123this is good too.
>>35830019>Just a knight"I want to help the people of the country I live in. Isn't that what knights do?"
>>35830019This is good.did >>35830123
>>35830123This anon has the right of it
>>35830019>"In shining armour. Righting wrongs and protecting the helpless."> "What sort of knight should I be, Captain?"Her opinion would be interesting.
>>35830019>> "Just a knight, why do I have to be a specific kind of knight?"Why indeed.
You'd like to be a knight in shining armour. Righting wrongs and protecting those who need it, giving people hope whenever they see you. A much better purpose in life for you, and a much better life than the one you are supposed to lead.But you've only read about it in storybooks. Stories are not reality.After all, Clarissa is a Knight Captain, but she spends her time in her office by preference, sorting out paperwork. You're sure she'd cut a dashing figure as a protector of the helpless, but her duties obviously consist of much more besides."Are there many sorts of knights?" you ask.Clarissa takes a moment to collect her thoughts. "Yes and no. There are many ways a knight may serve. It depends on a variety of factors, but given your rather unique situation, Nicole, I thought it best that I assign you a role you believe represents the concept of knighthood."Meaning Clarissa wants to know just what version of storybook knighthood is in your head, so she can tailor your tasks to match it. Maybe she doesn't want to disillusion you too quickly, given your vehemence in wanting to be a knight-apprentice, and the mention during the dinner with the Duke about how you were inspired by a story."So what sort of knight do you think I should be, Captain?" you ask.By way of answer, Clarissa hands you the piece of paper she had been reading. This turns out to be a report from one Guard Commander Alain Hendersworth, on the disappointing lack of progress in some investigation or other. Apparently murders are being committed in the city, mostly of known thieves, cutpurses, and other members of the lower strata of Alvar's underworld. You didn't know Alvar had an underworld before now, but it stands to reason.>[1/3]
"Alain says he needs help in solving this case," Clarissa says. "I do not know the details, but it seems he needs someone suited for the shadows. To observe and eavesdrop, and, if necessary, to deal with any unexpected obstacles that may arise. I hope you understand why I believe this may be a good fit for your talents."You're not sure you like the idea of skulking in the shadows again. It's certainly what you do best, but it's not very knightly. But if it helps solve murders, surely that lends some nobility to the cause?"That is not your only option, of course." Clarissa picks up two more reports. "The archaeological team at Grunmarl has been requesting for someone to liaison between them and the palace. Bring back messages, urgent requests, and any uncovered artefacts they feel is too important to be left at the dig site. You will be spending a lot of time travelling back and forth between Grunmarl and Alvar, every day. It is rather thankless, but you've shown that you can handle yourself on the road."And it would give you a chance to explore Grunmarl. There probably won't be anything interesting left at the dig site, but if you can explore a little deeper into the ruins, you might find something unexpected. The travelling would quickly get tiresome, though. You don't expect much trouble on the road that you cannot deal with, but every hour spent in transit is an hour spent unproductively.>[2/3]
Clarissa glances at the last piece of paper, grimaces, and puts it back down. "This one is probably best left for another time," she says, which just piques your curiosity further. "You do not have to decide immediately. Even if you choose a job, I might ask you to help out with the others from time to time. And you are still expected to attend lessons and training as usual, when you are not on the job."> "What was that last report about, Captain?"> "These murders sound serious. I'll help the Guard Commander."> "I don't mind a bit of travel, and I've been interested in seeing Grunmarl for myself."> "Actually, given the amount of paperwork you have, I'd like to be your adjutant, Captain."> "Could I have some time to think about it?"
>>35830569>"The murders suit my skills best. I'll help the guard commander."
>>35830569>> "These murders sound serious. I'll help the Guard Commander.">> "But I'd still like to help you with your paperwork, Captain."We might not necessarily want to do skulking, but it IS what we're suited for. That said, someone needs to watch over the Captain.
>>35830569> "I don't like the idea if sneaking around in the shadows anymore, but..."> "These murders sound serious. I'll help the Guard Commander."
>>35830569>> "What was that last report about, Captain?"> "Could I have some time to think about it?"I'm very tempted to go adjutant
>>35830606I second this.
>>35830569I'll second >>35830610 & >>35830606
>>35830569>"These murders sound serious. I'll help the Guard Commander."Just once, to see what it's like.> "What was that last report about, Captain?"
>>35830569> "What was that last report about, Captain?"> "These murders sound serious. I'll help the Guard Commander."
>>35830569>> "These murders sound serious. I'll help the Guard Commander."
>>35830569> "These murders sound serious. I'll help the Guard Commander."> "What was that last report about, Captain?"
>>35830610>> "I don't like the idea if sneaking around in the shadows anymore, but...">>35830606>>> "But I'd still like to help you with your paperwork, Captain."we should say these
>>35830569> "These murders sound serious. I'll help the Guard Commander."> "But are you sure that's... well, knightly?
>>35830716>"Was what I did truly part of my knight-apprentice training? It doesn't seem like the sort of things knights are supposed to do.">Clarissa takes a moment to answer, during which you try and fail not to squirm. "If you believe it is part of your knight-apprentice training, then it is."
You can't say you're thrilled with the idea of lurking in the shadows once more. But it's for a worthy cause, and you cannot deny that it fits your skillset almost perfectly."These murders sound serious," you decide. "I'll help the Guard Commander."Clarissa nods. "So far the victims have all been criminals. But even they still deserve protection under the law."The Useful Manual of Wellsbet Law, sitting on your desk in your room, was silent on whether those who committed lesser crimes had the legal protection of other citizens. This is probably one of the areas open to interpretation. "But is skulking around in the darkness, well, knightly?""Not all knights wear armour and stride the land finding wrongs to right, Nicole," Clarissa says. "Some of us help in other ways. I understand that you've come to Alvar to be a more storybook knight. But this is a chance to do something worthwhile, with your talents. And that is no small thing." She smiles. "I would say it is very knightly."When she puts it like that, it really does sound so."I shall inform Alain about your decision," Clarissa continues. "You should meet him tomorrow, but he probably will not put you on the job for a while. From what I understand, he has run out of leads. The last murder was a month and a half ago, and little to no progress has been made since then."A good opportunity for you. "In that case, I would like to continue helping you with your paperwork, Captain."Clarissa glances at her desk, still piled high with work. "Thank you for your offer, but I can manage by myself, Nicole."And Clarissa will probably overwork herself and ruin her health, simply because she doesn't want to face her other problems. "I don't think that's a good idea, Captain."Clarissa cocks her head. "If you are that insistent, I suppose I can let you handle a few items.">[1/2]
It's a start. "By the way, what was that last report about, Captain?"Clarissa sighs. "The Duke wants you, and specifically you, to be a bodyguard for his son. I hope you can understand why I am reluctant to acquiesce."Apart from your undeniably shady talents, which are suited for nefarious deeds ranging from assassination to kidnapping, you also know nothing about being a bodyguard. And you'll be stuck at Victor's side, which will limit your exploration. On the upside, you could mitigate Victor's enthusiasm for delving into the dangers of magic. "Does Victor have a bodyguard now?""William is Victor's de facto bodyguard. We never did get around to making it formal, but he has been doing the job since his induction as a knight, and neither William nor Victor have made any complaints about it."> "Do they spend a lot of time together?"> "Does Victor have many friends?"> Get back to work
>>35831103>> Get back to workThey're happy with it, don't see any reason to change things.
>>35831103> "Do they spend a lot of time together?"
>>35831103>"I should find out if William would miss being his bodyguard then. What, no no, no particular reason."
>>35831103> "Does Victor have many friends?">"But William has only returned recently, how could he protect him? Is a bodyguard merely a formality, and Victor more than capable at defending himself?"
>>35831103> "Does Victor have many friends?"We're not really suited to being a bodyguard nor for being a friend, but still probably better than nothing.
>>35831103> does Victor love you?
>>35831103>> "Do they spend a lot of time together?"
Just caught up with this thread, I don't suppose it's possible to juggle being a sleuthassassin with visiting ancient ruins is it? Surely Alvar can't have such an extensive underground crime scene that we'll always be on the job.If it was the journeying that turned people away from ancient artefact duty, surely that's just the best time to read books? Aside from the use of expanding our mundane knowledge it'd be neat if we could find time to learn magic at some point.
>>35831311We could get potential access to the vaults as well. I think murders are the biggest priority right now though. Plus it'd get us some trust. Imagine all the objections Mr snooty pants would have
>>35831348>objections Mr snooty pants would haveWait, who? William?I don't see what objections he'd have to us catching murderers
>>35831361No the tall dude who told the duke we might be here as an assassin. Then again showcasing our sneak might do the same
>>35831423Oh, whatshisname, I know the one you mean
>>35831311>sleuthassassin with visiting ancient ruinsOne involves being on the road for days or weeks at the time. In that amount of time, a trail can go cold, and a case unsolved.
You haven't seen much of Victor in your time as a knight-apprentice. Apart from that conversation on the first day, you've not been allowed to be alone with him, which is inconvenient for discussing matters that the others in authority probably do not need to know about.Even so, you've not seen him interact much with anyone other than his father and Clarissa."Do Victor and William spend a lot of time together?" you ask."Only when Victor wishes to go out of the palace alone," Clarissa says. "When he is in the palace, it is assumed that the guards are enough security. And Elise has passive alarm spells set up around Victor's room anyway, although the Duke refused to have them installed on his."A good thing your explorations had not encountered those."Part of your little training exercise against the guards was to emphasize that responsibility," Clarissa continues. "In any case, William is also often assigned to the Duke, when his Grace travels out of the city. During those times, such as this recent trip to Gracewell, I take over William's duty as a bodyguard to Victor." Clarissa looks thoughtful. "He tends to keep to himself inside the palace, though. The last time he asked to go out while I was on duty was a few months ago. I do not think I did such an abysmal job as a bodyguard, but Victor did not say much during the trip. Kept avoiding looking me in the eye, too. It was rather awkward."You really have no idea if you should tell Clarissa about Victor. William definitely knows about it, but has kept it secret from Clarissa for his own reasons. It's probably not your place to involve yourself in this byplay.In addition, it sounds a lot like Victor doesn't have very many friends. You wonder if you could be one."Have you finished with that ledger yet?" Clarissa asks.>[1/2]
>>35831539I don't suppose Elise could set us up with an emergency teleporter or something perhaps...?;_;
As a matter of fact, you have. "No errors found, Captain. Everything is in order.""Good. That was refreshingly quick." Clarissa gives you a multi-page form. "Please fill this in, and I will sign it. It's the report to Anders about the ledger being clean."As you get to work on the form, Clarissa gathers some of the papers on her desk, and puts them in a folder. You recognize it as the one she uses when she brings her work back to her room. "Thank you for your help, Nicole. It saved me quite a bit of time.""I'm glad to help, Captain." You return the form to Clarissa, who takes the time to read through it one more time, before signing at the bottom."You can go ahead for dinner," Clarissa says. "I should finish up a few more things."You suspect this will probably extend much later than Clarissa implied.> "Are you feeling all right, Captain?"> "Remember what we talked about last night? About working too hard?"> "Let's go together, Captain. Your work can wait until tomorrow."> Leave without comment
>>35831561> "Let's go together, Captain. Your work can wait until tomorrow."
>>35831539Clarification: Grunmarl is about three hours' brisk ride from Alvar. This assumes a decent pace on horseback, ie you don't have anything fragile to take care of like relics.
>>35831561> "Remember what we talked about last night? About working too hard?">"Tut tut Clarissa"
>>35831561>"Remember what we talked about last night? Why don't you ask Victor if he wants to play music with you?
>>35831561> "Remember what we talked about last night? About working too hard?"> "Let's go together, Captain. Your work can wait until tomorrow."
>>35831561> "Are you feeling all right, Captain?"> "Remember what we talked about last night? About working too hard?"> "Let's go together, Captain. Your work can wait until tomorrow."
>>35831561 > "Let's go together, Captain. Your work can wait until tomorrow."
>>35831561> "Are you feeling all right, Captain?"> "Remember what we talked about last night? About working too hard?"> "Let's go together, Captain. Your work can wait until tomorrow."In this order
>>35831582huh. The point stands, though. When something urgent happens for either job, you don't want to be in the middle of the other.
>>35831600Even assuming we'd need someone to ride to us with a message that's 7hours response time tops, should be more than adequate since we were working more on the basis of clue trailing than sprinting after a culprit, no?
>>35831728>7hours response time topswhat if we're currently carrying a high value artifact?But the bad outweigh the good. There's no reason to make someone juggle two completely unrelated jobs. Even if they're short on men, there's probably some other work Nicole can do at Grunmarl than investigating crimes.
You are normally reluctant to involve yourself more than necessary, but you are very much involved in this particular case. And Clarissa most definitely needs an intervention."Remember what we talked about last night, Captain?" you say quietly. "About working too hard?""It is all right, Nicole," Clarissa says, hunching over her work. "I will just be a moment longer-""Captain."Clarissa leans back in her chair. "You're right. I should not be running away from this. It is cowardly and irresponsible... to use your terms, it is not knightly."You've never thought of it that way, but if it gets Clarissa out of her mood, whatever works. "Let's go, Captain. Your work can wait until tomorrow."Clarissa stands. After a brief hesitation, she leaves the folder of extra work on her desk, although she does take the time to square it neatly with the rest of her paperwork. "Thank you once again, Nicole. How can you stand me when I am like this?""The same way you can stand me, I suppose," you say. You doubt any other commanding officer will have been as patient with your own idiosyncracies as Clarissa. Lending a listening ear from time to time and prodding her out of her moods is a very small price in comparison. "If I haven't said it enough, Captain, I'm always willing to listen to your troubles.""And I should return the favour," Clarissa says. "I will not pry, but anything you wish to tell me..."You firmly ignore the pangs of guilt that stab through you. "I'll keep that in mind, Captain."Dinner consists of various parts of at least two pigs. The kitchens have begun to fill up again, as the palace staff return from their day off in the city, happily tired and hungry.Clarissa's appetite is undaunted by her worries, as usual. "You really should eat more," she says.You've been hearing that a lot recently. "I'm fine with this, Captain.">[1/2]
Dinner is consumed in silence. Evidently despite the promises to listen to each other, neither of you are prepared to actually say anything about your troubles.Clarissa finishes only a few seconds before you do, which is always impressive. You are about to make a comment to that effect, just to break the awkward silence, when a nervous guard approaches your table. "Knight Captain Clarissa?""What is it, Marcus?" Clarissa says. You recognize the guard as the male half of the pair that had guarded the gate on your first day here, and who obviously drew guard duty yet again today."Sir William wants to see you at the vault. Says it's not urgent, but you should come and see."Clarissa glances at you. "Looks like work will follow me no matter what I intend," she says. "I shan't be long. I will meet you in our room, Nicole."> "Let me come along too, Captain. Maybe I can help."> "Yes, Captain."
>>35832103> "Let me come along too, Captain. Maybe I can help."
>>35832103>"Let me come along too, Captain. Maybe I can help."Even if Will is there... artifacts! Exciting!
>>35832103>"Let me come along too, Captain. Maybe I can help."Least we can do is suffer work along with her.
>>35832103> "Let me come along too, Captain. Maybe I can help."Artifacts!
>>35832103> "Let me come along too, Captain. Maybe I can help."A way to scout out the vault without raising too much suspicion? Got to do it.
>>35832103>> "Let me come along too, Captain. Maybe I can help."Muh artefacts!
>>35832103>> "Let me come along too, Captain. Maybe I can help."Knoledge left by our ancestors! I mean, um, artifacts!>captcha: enjoy rityuionwhatever you say captcha.
>>35832103>> "Let me come along too, Captain. Maybe I can help."Artifacts ! Mysterious shadow ! Action !
>>35832123>>35832131>>35832146>>35832154>>35832163>>35832171>>35832212>>35832249>>35832257We know what we want
"Let me come along too, Captain," you say, standing to join Clarissa. "Maybe I can help."Clarissa stares at you for a few seconds, no doubt wondering how exactly a knight-apprentice can help in this unconfirmed situation involving the palace vault. Despite this, she nods sharply. "All right."You follow her to the stairs leading to the basement of the palace. You've never been down here before."Keep behind me," Clarissa instructs you, as you descend. "Do not touch anything. If anything seems to react to your presence, inform me immediately. No, belay that. If anything seems to react to your presence, retreat to the stairs, then inform me. By shouting, if necessary.""Are the items in the vault that dangerous?""As far as we know, the items in the vault are inert hunks of interestingly-shaped rocks," Clarissa says shortly. "However, given your experience in the wizard's tower, I would rather be cautious."The palace basement is quite well-lit, and fairly clean. The maids must come down here regularly, despite the sinister reputation the basement had garnered in your mind.The vault is located near the far end from the single staircase to the basement. You pass by a series of storerooms, which fit the definition of rooms only through not being part of the corridor. They were essentially cuboid hollows cut into the walls, sharp-edged and disconcerting."These used to be the palace dungeons," Clarissa says as you pass. "Up until the expansion of the City Watch. Now we use them to store goods. Nice and dry and cool down here." She indicates a few hollows which have their iron bars still installed, and racks of bottles within. "Like the wine cellar, for instance.">[1/3]
From Alvar's lack of history, not many people had ever been imprisoned here, unless the previous Duke had gone been a power-mad tyrant who threw everyone into the dungeons at the slightest provocation. Roderick had spoken fondly of the Snake of Alvar, but you have to wonder about a man with that nickname.The vault itself lives up to the name, being large, filled with mysterious crates, and normally secured with a set of heavy iron-banded double doors. The doors are now wide open, and much attention is being paid to a crate that had been dragged out of the vault.William is standing nonchalantly near the vault entrance, watching Elise poke around inside the crate."Once again, William, I have never seen any of these things before," Elise is saying, with more than a little acerbation. "I have no idea what they're doing. And I'm not taking any of these things up to my lab until I do."William spots the two of you. "Clarissa. Nicole. Glad you could make it." He does eye you a little skeptically; you ignore this lack of confidence in your ability to stay out of trouble."Oh! Hang on, something's happening." Elise straightens up, holding a large cube in her hands. It is probably the sole occupant of the crate, given its size and the cotton padding still adhering to it. The cube is about as long as a man's chest on each side, marked with strange whorls and circles.Some of the circles are glowing, a glittering green. As you watch, the glowing circles flicker into another configuration."Report," Clarissa orders.>[2/3]
"Guard on patrol saw that the vault doors were ajar," William says. "This crate was the only thing that was opened. Nothing else seems to be amiss." He waves a sheaf of paper, likely the inventory of the vault. "I can't make heads or tails of some of these descriptions, but the numbers match up, so nothing else was stolen.""And with the number of people that come down here to clean," Elise adds, putting the cube on the floor, "it's impossible to find out who the culprit might be. And without knowing who the culprit is, we don't know what they were after."The glowing circles flicker into a different pattern again.Clarissa frowns. "We need the duty roster for the day. Anders should have it.""We told the guard to go inform Anders and the Duke," William says.Something about those circles vaguely tickles your memory. You might have seen these patterns before, or you might not. It's certainly not enough recognition to mention, even if you wanted to.> Check your pocketwatch to time the pattern changes> Back away slowly> Approach the cube> "Was that cube found in Grunmarl?"
>>35832706> Check your pocketwatch to time the pattern changes> "Was that cube found in Grunmarl?"
>>35832706> Approach the cube
>>35832706>Check your pocketwatch to time the pattern changes
>>35832706> Check your pocketwatch to time the pattern changes> "Was that cube found in Grunmarl?"Gather more information, while keeping safe distance.
>List of magical cubes in fiction that are not evil:>
>>35832688> Check your pocketwatch to time the pattern changes> Approach the cubeMaybe we can ask it to stop?
>>35832819There must be at least one neutral magic cube in the entirety of fiction. I can't think of a single one, but I'm sure there is one.
>>35832706>Back away slowly
>>35832706> Back away slowlyWe were told to not 5 minutes ago, weren't we?>If anything seems to react to your presence, retreat to the stairs, then inform me. By shouting, if necessary.Even if it's the other way around.
>>35832830Heh I kinda wanna se this just to see if it would even respond or if we'd look crazy
>>35832706>Check your pocketwatch to time the pattern changesIf it doesn't change, try:>Back away slowlyMaybe it does change due to our presence.
>>35832839It activated shortly after we arrived with Clarissa. If we leave alone and it deactivates, well, it wouldn't take much brainpower for one of the three to get suspicious about that.
>>35832894>"As far as we know, the items in the vault are inert hunks of interestingly-shaped rocks...">"However, given your experience in the wizard's tower, I would rather be cautious."There's already some sort of suspicion, even if minor. I just want us to actually follow instructions.
>>35832706>> Check your pocketwatch to time the pattern changes> Approach the cube> "Was that cube found in Grunmarl?"no risk, no reward.
>>35832706> Check your pocketwatch to time the pattern changes> "Was that cube found in Grunmarl?"A bit late
>>35832706>> Check your pocketwatch to time the pattern changes>> "Was that cube found in Grunmarl?"
You quietly check your equally quiet pocketwatch, counting the seconds between pattern changes. "Was that cube found in Grunmarl?"William checks his inventory list. "Actually, no," he says, with some surprise. "This pre-dates them by quite a long time. A few years. I don't see any additional notes on where it came from, though.""Probably buried deep inside Anders's files," Clarissa mutters. "It would take forever to locate it."How peculiar. "Where was the crate found?" you ask. "When you found it was opened, I mean."Elise gives you a strange look. "In the vault?""Near the front of the vault," William says, with growing realization."Older items tend to be pushed back towards the rear," Clarissa says. "Which means whoever opened the crate moved it near the front. Perhaps they wanted it to be found.""About forty seconds," you murmur."Beg pardon?""The patterns change every forty seconds or so," you clarify. "I counted forty seconds, then forty-one seconds. So it should be somewhere between that.""Why would the patterns change every forty seconds?" Elise wonders."Elise, when the the cube start glowing?" Clarissa asks."Oh, it was glowing ever since we discovered it, dear Captain. But it started changing its patterns only after you arrived."Clarissa nods, as though she expected this. "Nicole, please-""What's going on here?">[1/2]
You can see Clarissa bite back a sigh of exasperation as she turns around. "Good evening, your Grace."The Duke of Alvar is trailed as usual by Anders, who is holding an open folder. "I hope there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for that," the Duke says, staring at the cube. "Although quite frankly I doubt it."Clarissa clears her throat. "We found the vault containing the artefacts broken into, your Grace. As far as we know, this is the only item disturbed. We are still trying to determine the nature of the cube.""Trying, and failing," Elise chirps, looking up from her examination of the cube."Thank you, Elise," both Clarissa and the Duke say in unison, with exactly the same tone.You spot Victor peeking at the scene from the stairs. He's probably curious about why his dinner with his father was interrupted, but is not technically supposed to be here.> Go talk to Victor, incidentally also moving away from the cube> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns before> Wait quietly for further instructions
>>35833405> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns before
>>35833405> Go talk to Victor, incidentally also moving away from the cube> Try to remember where you've seen the patterns beforeWe're a girl, we can multi-task, right?
>>35833405> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns before> Wait quietly for further instructions..We don't have to speak in order to watch it, do we?
>>35833405> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns before> Wait quietly for further instructions
>>35833405>Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns beforeWe need someone to move away with us.
>>35833405>> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns before>> Wait quietly for further instructions
>>35833382>But it started changing its patterns only after you arrived.Reacting to Nicole, of course.>>35833405> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns before
>>35833405> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen theinstructions patterns before
>>35833405> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns before> Wait quietly for further instructionsIt could be reacting to Clarissa, r-right?
>>35833405>Get a closer look at the cube>Continue trying to remember where you've seen the patterns before
>>35833405> Go talk to Victor, incidentally also moving away from the cubeIts worth testing if it reacts to this.
>>35833405>> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns before
>>35833405>> Continue watching the cube, trying to remember where you've seen the patterns beforeIntent staring mode: Activate
>>35833646Best way to receive all programming instructions after all.
>>35833658Heh heh. Heh.Just like a perfectly normal human, r-right?
>>35833677To receive instructions while waiting patiently and paying rapt attention? Yes.
Clarissa never did get around to telling you to move away from the cube. And moving towards Victor would also technically violate your probation of not being around the Duke or his family without another person of authority present.Therefore, until such time as someone directly orders you to move, you are staying where you are. Besides, you need to have a good view of the cube, in order to continue wracking your memory for any clues on the patterns.Something so naggingly familiar has to have been something you've seen before, a long time ago in passing."I have a list of the people on duty here," Anders is saying, tapping the papers in the folder. "I doubt any of them have the capability to activate an unknown artifact of unknown provenance." He spares the briefest of glances at you.Well, you were with William or Clarissa for the entire day, so it's definitely not your fault."This thing has been sitting inert for years," Elise says, still inspecting the cube. "I don't think anyone just dusting it by accident would have set it off.""So what did?" the Duke demands."Er, I'm still working on that, Pierre."William smoothly steps towards the Duke. "I think you should let Elise handle the situation, your Grace," he says. "We don't know what the cube will do, so for your own safety, I strongly suggest that we vacate the basement.">[1/2]
"If it's a bomb, I don't think being anywhere in the palace is safe," the Duke grumbles. "Shouldn't we remove the cube from the premises first?""It's not a bomb," Elise says. "Or if it is, it's a very inefficient one. It's emitting some kind magical power, but I'm not sure what. Nowhere near enough to cause an explosion, though.""It would still be a good idea to take the cube elsewhere, though," Anders says. "Perhaps the training courtyard? It's an open area, and if all else fails, we can channel the excess energy up into the skies harmlessly.""Good idea," Elise says. "I'll need to get some materials from my lab first.""Please do," Clarissa says. She begins walking towards the cube to pick it up. "William, please escort the Duke to safety. Nicole, follow them."You nod, still staring at the cube's patterns.> roll 1d20, best of three
Rolled 14 (1d20)>>35833995
Rolled 13 (1d20)>>35833995
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>35833995
Rolled 2 (1d20)>>35833995Gog og go
Rolled 11 (1d20)>>35834002>>35834004>>35834011These could have been better, but at least there wasn't a one.
>>35834002>>35834004>>35834011 Decent, but 1's and 20's are more fun.
Rolled 17 (1d20)>>35834002>>35834004>>35834011Do we get something for a straight?
Rolled 18 (1d20)>>35833995
>>35834002>>35834004>>35834011>Notice how it is counting down?[Slight panic]
Rolled 18 (1d20)>>35833995Roll.
>>35834091Yay! We're getting a firmware reset!
>>35834091Aye. Hoping for something neat. But sadly we'll probably just tell her yes and follow orders.
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>35834075Strangely enough I got both odd numbers in that.
>>35834091Duke: It is a bomb?Elise: Naaaaaah14, 13, 12, 12...
>>35834050Maybe it was a roll to resist? Maybe the DC was high? I hope for shenanigans.
>>35834190Maybe the run counts as a run-on into the next rolls, thereby landing us the 2, 11, 17 for rolls, thereby landing us the 17...I can hope
>>3583411912, 12, 12, 12....And they just never figure out it's a bomb till thread 34
>>35834248I'm sorry, I typoed the 11I found the source of the ticking sound! It's a pipe bomb, yaaaay!
>>35834275Did damp vanish? Must've passed out from exhaustion, the big lug.
>>35834338Probably just writing using the first three rolls as per normal
>>35834248Tic... Tic... TIC...
>>35834364Dudes a machine. I went to sleep as the quest started, woke up, went to university classes, came back and hes still chugging.Props.
>>35834422Ikr, major kudos to Damp's stamina. It's not like he's been running infrequently either.
>>35834422Exact same scenario here.
You still can't remember where you saw the patterns before.But you've been staring so hard at the cube that you can pretty much predict when the patterns will change, and so when the patterns change a full ten seconds ahead of schedule, all your senses go on high alert.Which means you are already moving when Clarissa reaches down to pick up the cube, and the cube glows brighter.Which means Clarissa never touches the cube, because you tackled her away from it at full speed just before she could.As befits a Knight Captain, Clarissa's reflexes are superb. Faced with this unexpected attack, she twists on landing, and pulls you under her, slamming you onto the floor and grabbing and twisting your arm painfully, before her conscious mind registers what she is doing."Ouch," you say eloquently."Nicole? What are you-" Clarissa stops, staring at the cube, as does everyone else.The cube flares for a bright, glaring moment, before its glow fades entirely and it is inert once more.You take a few moments to clear your head from Clarissa's counter. "Um. I think that cube was reacting to you, Captain."Clarissa releases you, and you roll over onto your back, until the pain in your arm fades. You really should ask her to teach you that move one day."Me?" she says. She sounds like she is in shock. "Why me?"The cube starts glowing again. The same strange green glow, the same odd circles and whorls. You think the pattern changes a bit quicker than forty seconds this time, though.Clarissa backs away from the cube. The cube stops shifting patterns.You can hear the Duke clear his throat. "I believe Nicole just saved your life, Clarissa."Clarissa moves further away from the cube, and out of your range of vision from the floor. You hear a loud thump; Clarissa has punched the wall in sheer fury.> "Are you all right, Captain?"> "Elise, could you please get Orby from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic."> "Still ouch."
>>35834493>> "Elise, could you please get Orby from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic.">> "Still ouch."Good job, Nicole, you saved the day.
>>35833595Your own gif suits you.>>35834493> "Elise, could you please get Orby from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic."> "Are you all right, Captain?"
>>35834493> "Elise, could you please get the orb from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic."> "Still ouch."
>>35834493>> "Elise, could you please get Orby from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic."> "Are you all right, Captain?"Don't mention that she hurt us, it'd only make her feel bad.
>>35834493> "Are you all right, Captain?"> "Elise, could you please get Orby from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic."Holy crap I was right. It DID respond to Clarissa.
>>35834493> "Are you all right, Captain?"> "Elise, could you please get Orby from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic."
>>35834493>"Elise, could you please get Orby from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic."I'm sure at least Elise will approve of the nickname.
>>35834493> "Elise, could you please get Orby from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic."> "Are you all right, Captain?"Her family is fucked up. Im not sure we can spend time away from her. Christ what if we had not come...
>>35834609That or it's Vincent if it's that little shit I'm not sure what we'll need to do.
>>35834628Who the hell is Vincent?
>>35834628I'm thinking about the shadowy figures.
>>35834628Nah, he's here right now. He'd have given himself away somehow by this point if he was involved
Guys.I know who's responsible for Clarissa's sleeping problems.The Duke's son was trying out a love spell.
>>35834673>>35834661Oh. Okay.Nah this seems out of his league by a fair bit, don't you think? Stray spells, fine, but whatever this cube is? Probably not.We should still talk to him about that some time though.
>>35834765Someone whispering to him that it could help... he's afraid to tell anyone what he's actually doing with magic.>>35834735Yeah we're assuming that or her family.
>>35834493> "Are you all right, Captain?"> "Elise, could you please get Orby from my room? Maybe it might help drain the magic.">>35834735Didn't we already discuss that? Well now may be a good time to bring up vics workshop and the shadow we saw in the building
>>35834765They said the cube's been here for ages, it's not gonna be Victor's meddling this time.
>>35834785>Magic love spell didn't work>Know you have a vault of artifacts>It's for love!
>>35834783Good point, we have multiple accounts of the shadow figure, the maids and our own experience.This is a pretty good cause for investigation.
>>35834778>>35834783>>35834785>>35834765You guys forgot about that thing covered in shadows and that dwarf inquisitor that just came about?
>>35834864Shadow thing is better at hiding than nicole. It's only natural to forget about it.
>>35834910We should ask Lily. Clearly it can't be her.
>>35834836We might want to ask Vic about what exactly he's been doing in private, no need to out him in front of everyone.
You guys think it was the shadow thing that was trying to break into our room to get to clarissa that night?
>>35835028Possibly. Didn't Lily say a shadow thing was lurking near the vaults when she saw it?
>>35835028Not sure.. but doujbitng.
>>35835070Something like that, I think. We probably are at the point where we should mention this to Clarissa.
Anyone else think we should probably be the Captains body guard at this point?
>>35835129She just demonstrated that she can protect herself.
>>35835146You mean After we saved her? Threats that are after her are not physical they're magical. Maybe she should carry the orb with her constantly.
>>35835129If anyone should be the Captain's bodyguard, it's Orby. Get him in a sack and clip him to her belt.
>>35835163Because the staff wasn't quite afraid enough of her. Orby should fix that.
>>35835195Yes the staff's peace of mind is more important than her having control of her own actions.
>>35835195Why would the staff be afraid of a black opaque sack holding a sphere-shaped object?
>>35835239Because it's a brand name sack from a higher end shop in town, and it's clashing with the Captain's uniform. Such a fashion travesty is horrifying to behold.
>>35835239Cause i guess she is considered to be a death knight by the staff?
Nothing seems sprained, dislocated, or broken, so you gingerly sit up. "Elise, could you please get Orby from my room?"Elise, who had frozen in surprise, unfroze. "Orby?""Uh, the night- I mean the thing you made for me." You still don't know if it's safe to talk about Clarissa's nightmares now; William may not know, the Duke probably doesn't, and Anders and Victor definitely don't. If the nightmare spell does not get revealed to at least one other person present in the basement by the end of the day, though, you may have to buy a hat for yourself just to eat it."I didn't make anything for- oh. Oh, yes." Elise backs away. "I'll be right back."Clarissa is still hunched over near the end of the basement corridor, a fist resting on the wall. She is breathing hard, although you're not sure whether this is due to her anger, or because she just punched a solid stone wall with her bare fist. "Are you all right, Captain?"Clarissa just shakes her head silently.You have no idea how to deal with this, so you turn to look at the cube, which William is picking up."Are you sure that's safe?" the Duke asks."Elise was poking it earlier without any consequences," William says. "So I think it's only meant to react to, uh." He tactfully withdraws with the offending cube before he says something impolitic.At the stairs, Victor scrambles up and out of sight. You have no idea what he thinks of this entire episode, but he looks like he's in shock as well.Clarissa finally straightens. Her face is unreadable. "Your Grace."The Duke looks apprehensive. "Clarissa?" He furtively signals Anders to his side, and whispers quickly to him. Anders nods, and darts away."Your Grace, I apologize most profoundly for bringing danger onto you and yours," Clarissa says formally. "My letter of resignation will be on your desk by the end of the day, and I will pack my belongings post-haste.">[1/2]
>>35835239Because oh god what is in the sack and why does she always carry it is it for capturing and torturing our souls if we don't do our jobs oh god please I don't want to be here anymore.
"Your resignation is denied," the Duke says crisply. "Hang it all, don't be so melodramatic, Clarissa. You're the finest Knight Captain I've ever had, and this is in no way your fault.""But-""That's final, Clarissa. Get some sleep. In fact, I order you to get some sleep, and take the day off tomorrow. I'll have William take over your duties for once."You can't wait to see how William would react to that one."When you're feeling more like yourself," the Duke continues, "you can come and confess everything unto me. Or not, as you so choose. I will not force you to reveal anything you do not wish to. But it's clear you need to speak to someone about this, and as your Duke, I get to order you to do so." You notice the Duke try very hard not to glance behind him, and you are unsurprised to hear him grumble under his breath. "Where the blazes is Anders?""Nicole knows the details, your Grace," Clarissa says stiffly. "I will submit a full report as soon as I can."Anders finally returns, with a wineglass and an open bottle. The Duke pastes a smile onto his face, pouring out a generous measure of wine for Clarissa. "Here, have something to calm your nerves. It's quite good."Clarissa looks doubtful. "Your Grace," she says plaintively.> "Drink up, Captain. I'll carry you to bed."> "Are you sure about this, sir? The Captain's reaction to alcohol is a bit severe."> Quietly get up and leave the scene
>>35835296> "Are you sure about this, sir? The Captain's reaction to alcohol is a bit severe."If there's no refuting it.> "Drink up, Captain. I'll carry you to bed."
>>35835296>> "Are you sure about this, sir? The Captain's reaction to alcohol is a bit severe."
>>35835296>> Quietly get up and leave the scene
>>35835296>"Drink up, Captain. I'll carry you to bed.">>35835298I like how the Duke's reaction was the same.
>>35835320This. I also think we should talk to Elise somewhat about these events in general.
>>35835296>>35835320Seconded We are the best kight squire apprentice
>>35835296> "Drink up, Captain. I'll carry you to bed."
>>35835296>"Are you sure about this, sir? The Captain's reaction to alcohol is a bit severe."We need to talk to Victor, he's seen a glimpse of (possibly) dangerous magic might be enough to deter his solo studies.We may even have to sneak out to do so.
>>35835296> "Drink up, Captain. I'll carry you to bed."Special stressful situation, she needs this.
>>35835296>> "Drink up, Captain. I'll carry you to bed."
>>35835320This is a good point.
>>35835296> "Drink up, Captain. I'll carry you to bed."Man, now that they know this failed, they'll probably try harder with their other attempts. Gotta stay on the lookout.
If she gets smashed even with the orb I don' think she's safe on her own. Alcohol will fuck up her physical defenses...
You stand, a bit wobbly, but quickly find your balance. "Are you sure about this, sir? The Captain's reaction to alcohol is a bit, er." You've never actually seen this happen yourself, but Clarissa's behaviour during the dinner with the Duke was quite illustrative. "Severe.""Yes, I'm sure," the Duke says serenely. "Now be quiet and let me knock her out."Fair enough.Clarissa is still reluctant, but the Duke presses the wineglass into her hands, and more or less forces her to take the first sip."Your Grace, this is really not necessary," Clarissa protests."Drink up, Captain," you say encouragingly. "I'll carry you to bed.""That seems very unlikely," Clarissa mutters, but continues drinking anyway.Midway through the second glass, Clarissa is slumped against the wall. She is still holding the wineglass upright, with remarkable control."I apologize, your Grace," Clarissa says, with exceedingly precise diction. "I apologize for wasting your wine.""If it gets me my Knight Captain back, I consider my entire wine cellar at your disposal, and a bargain to boot," the Duke says.Glass number four seems to be the limit, as Clarissa's eyes droop closed, and stay closed.The Duke lets out a sigh of relief. "Finally. Normally I would not recommend wine as a way to escape your troubles, but I think this is an exceptional situation.""Thank you for your help, sir." You don't know what you would have done if Clarissa had truly resigned her post. For one thing, her successor might not be as tolerant of your quirks as a knight-apprentice."Keep me posted on her condition, Nicole," the Duke says. "And please don't keep your feelings bottled up as well. I'd rather not have to do this again.">[1/2]
You are about to give a few hasty reassurances that you may or may not be sincere about, when the sound of someone else coming down the stairs catches your attention.Orcs are by no means the stealthiest of beings, and Roderick is no exception. He stumps towards the three of you; with a start, you realize that while you had been getting Clarissa drunk, Anders had disappeared, no doubt to handle the fallout of this mess."William told me what happened," Roderick says. "Not like I could ignore what was happening outside my armoury. Elise and Anders are doing some sort of ritual spell with this box or something in the training yard.""Good to see you, Roderick." The Duke nods at Clarissa's unconscious form. "We had to knock her out. Emergency situation.""Huh. I'm sure there's a reason why you couldn't just talk her down, Pierre.""I may have had a few too many glasses myself," the Duke admits.Roderick picks Clarissa up gently. "Someone should keep watch over her. Make sure she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night with a splitting hangover."> "I'll do it. We're in the same room, anyway."> "Could you stay with her, Roderick? I'm not sure I know what to do if she wakes up."
>>35835988> "I'll do it. We're in the same room, anyway."
>>35835988>>"I'll do it. We're in the same room, anyway."This whole thing of magic with Clarissa reeks of Victor trying to love spell her, and it's backfiring horribly onto anything and everything remotely magical.
>>35835988> "I'll do it. We're in the same room, anyway.">"But could you stay with her for the moment, Roderick? I'd like to talk to Elise about what just happened."
>>35835988>> "I'll do it. We're in the same room, anyway."
>>35835988>> "Could you stay with her, Roderick? I'm not sure I know what to do if she wakes up."It's true. I'm not.
>>35835988>"I'll do it. We're in the same room, anyway."
>>35835988> "I'll do it. We're in the same room, anyway."Elise should bring Orby back as soon as she finishes with it.Why is the Duke so based?
>>35835988> I'll do it.
>>35836083Seconding talking to Elise about what's going on. Also a good opportunity to find Victor after talking to Elise but before heading to look after Clarissa
>>35836083This is good.
>>35836369Oops, meant these two:>>35836083>>35836252
>>35836083I probably got here too late but this looks best option.
"I'll do it," you volunteer. "We're in the same room anyway." And Clarissa might need a familiar environment to wake up to. It would certainly be comforting to you. "But I'd like to speak to Elise about this. So could you stay with her while I'm gone?" The first priority is to get Clarissa into a warm bed, so you can't leave her in the basement.Roderick nods. "Lead the way.""I'll head back to my rooms," the Duke says. "I do not ask that you report to me first thing in the morning, but, well. We're all worried about Clarissa, right?" He gives you a worried smile."I'll inform you as soon as anything happens, sir," you promise. After making sure Clarissa is feeling better, of course; you'd hate to leave her to report to the Duke, only to find that she did something foolish once you were gone.You lead Roderick to your room, opening the door for him. He lays out Clarissa onto her bed, and you carefully tuck her in. Clarissa gives no sign of being aware of any of this.Roderick takes the seat from Clarissa's desk and sits on it; it creaks under his weight. "I'll stay here," he says. "I've done this before, remember?"Hopefully this does not become a habit. You give Roderick a grateful smile. "Thank you. Uh, give me one moment, please."You open Clarissa's wardrobe, and quickly locate the cloth bag Elise had given you to hold the nightmare-absorber. Despite all that's happened, you would still rather not touch that thing with your bare hands.With a suitable carrying container obtained, you hurry back down the stairs, and out into the courtyard. Anders is nowhere to be seen, and Elise is sitting on the cube, now inert.>[1/2]
"Oh, Nicole," she says. "How's Clarissa?""Sleeping," you say. Which is perfectly true. "I'll watch over her tonight. Don't worry about it." You look warily at the cube. "Is it safe now?""As safe as I can make it," Elise says. "I'm just resting a moment. I'd like to draw up some wards around the cube, in case it activates again. I'm afraid the training courtyard is going to be a bit more cramped. Creating the wards is going to take most of the night, though."Good thing you arrived before Elise started. "Could I have Orby back? I'm not sure we should let our guards down about the nightmares.""Hm, I don't know. It would be helpful if I had the orb- I mean, if I had Orby. But Clarissa's safety comes first." Elise holds out the nightmare-absorber.> "On second thoughts, the sooner you get those wards up, the better. You can drop Orby off at my room once you're done."> Take Orby and go back to your room
>>35836570>> "On second thoughts, the sooner you get those wards up, the better. You can drop Orby off at my room once you're done.">"I'll come straight back here if she seems to start suffering from the nightmares before you've dropped Orby back off">Find Victor for a little chat
>>35836570> Take Orby and go back to your room
>>35836570>> "On second thoughts, the sooner you get those wards up, the better. You can drop Orby off at my room once you're done."Didn't we need to test and see if the nightmares returned when Orby wasn't there, to see if she was still being targetted?Also, we're no longer going to bump, maybe if QM wants to continue along this more, we do a part 2 of thread 9?
>>35836570> "On second thoughts, the sooner you get those wards up, the better. You can drop Orby off at my room once you're done."
>>35836570> Take Orby and go back to your room>>35836641He's been at it all day. I doubt he'll last longer than the thread.
>>35836570>> "On second thoughts, the sooner you get those wards up, the better. You can drop Orby off at my room once you're done."
>>35836570> "On second thoughts, the sooner you get those wards up, the better. You can drop Orby off at my room once you're done."If she's not targeted this night it may truly have been Victor.
>>35836641Actually I am seriously starting to fade out, and have been hoping to at least complete a full day before ending the thread.So I'll just call the thread here, and deal with the votes (and write-ins, since I was railroading a bit due to wanting to get to sleep) the next thread. Which is probably going to be the day after tomorrow, unless I feel really good.Anyway, thanks for joining me on the quest. I think we accomplished something today.Oh gods I still have to archive this.
>>35836570>> Take Orby and go back to your roomEnough for this night.Keep a low profile.And talk to Roderick.
>>35836707That's fine, I thought you might crash soon anyway. Nice job so far with the questing, definitely one of the better ones I've seen/read/participated in.
>>35836707We got plenty done already, knocked William down a peg, possibly saved Clarissa's life.Fine work.
>>35836570> Take Orby and go back to your roomshe can get the wards up when the captain is not in a venerable state.
>>35836729Op so good at railroading it feels natural
>>35836729Probably the Duke nearly ordering Clarissa to drink enough wine to pass out.
>>35836707Dude what time zone are you in? You started the thread when I was going to sleep and I come back at midday here and you are still running.
>>35836707Thanks for running.
>>35836805damp ! ovrrworks himself... like Clarissa
>>35836570>> "On second thoughts, the sooner you get those wards up, the better. You can drop Orby off at my room once you're done.">>35836707Good night and thanks for running.
>>35836805Appears to Europe possibly U.K.
>>35836804Ah could be. I just felt that it was the in the Duke's character to do that regardless, is it really railroading if characters behave as they would?Either way, good night damp, thanks for running
>>35836570>> Take Orby and go back to your room
>>35836805He starts when I wake up and quit when I go to sleep. So he's either European or British.
>>35836900I believe damp said he was UK based somewhere