> Previous thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/36405550/> suptg archive tag: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Lessons%20in%20Knighthood%20Quest> QM Twitter: https://twitter.com/QMdamp> QM Ask: http://ask.fm/qmdampYou are Nicole, a knight-apprentice of Alvar, and you have had a rather exciting night, which additionally promises to segue into an equally interesting day. The long, varied saga of the inimical nightmare spell targeting your commanding officer, as well as its assorted consequences and effects, has meant you have not actually had very many normal days as a knight-apprentice thus far.Which might well be in the job description itself. Knights are supposed to save hapless royalty and slay great evils, according to the storybooks you've read. Peaceful monotony might be the exception.You have just finished briefing Knight Captain Clarissa on the night's events, beginning with the discovery of the shadowy figure apparently tampering with the equally mysterious cube that was the conduit for the nightmare spell, and culminating in the conclusion of the rain-soaked chase across the city rooftops and the sudden evaporation of the intruder. Eventually this had also resulted in your wearing a yellow dress you really don't think suits you very well, but that is irrelevant.More importantly, the aftermath of the night's events are being set into motion, thanks to your report. Clarissa is looking suitably grim, but William still has a bit of trouble keeping a straight face after seeing you in that dress. You steadfastly ignore him.>[1/3]
"I think we should have Elise take a look at that cube," you say, in an attempt to contribute. "Maybe the shadow did something to it."Clarissa gives you a distracted nod. "I shall contact her in a moment. In fact, meet us in the training courtyard after your breakfast, Nicole.""It's a convenient place to be, anyhow," William adds. "You do need to work on your swordsmanship."You hadn't really done any consistent martial training ever since you became a knight-apprentice, due to various circumstances, most of which were actually outside your control. "Will we have time for that, sir?""It depends on what Elise can find out, but I don't think she'll uncover any answers so soon," William says. "Besides, you'll be better served improving your own skills for the long-term, unless you have further hidden talents that may be relevant."You'd like to be involved in solving the mystery of that conduit cube, but you can't quite think of a good way to insinuate yourself into this particular investigation. Maybe you'll come up with a suitable excuse by the time you actually head to the courtyard.One minor drawback of waking later than usual is that while the showers are empty, most of the hot water has already been used up. You make it quick, but even then Clarissa and William have already departed by the time you return to your room to change into your uniform.>[2/3]
You don't remember much of what breakfast offered, save for the small half-loaf of bread and dollop of jam you scarf down. You stride briskly to the training courtyard, where Roderick is in his usual seat, and William is loitering by the armoury, picking out training weapons.Neither Clarissa nor Elise are present. The conduit cube is still sitting demurely in its corner, silent and inert."It takes but a spark to light a candle," Roderick greets you. "I hear I missed some excitement last night, Nicole."> "And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit. Good morning, Roderick."> "Did you notice anything last night or this morning?"> "Elise and the Captain aren't here yet?"I'll probably be slow and short today. I'm not really feeling like questing, but I'll try not to have it interfere too much with the thread. Apologies in advance.
>>36658276>> "And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit. Good morning, Roderick."Go away you fucking captcha. You a shit fucking up my posting workflow.
>>36658276>I'm not really feeling like questingnigga take a breakthat said, > "And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit. Good morning, Roderick."> "Did you notice anything last night or this morning?"be polite yet inquisitive. thats basically three-quarters of our Knight-Apprentice personality
>>36658276>"And a thunderous gale to blow it out."
>>36658276>> "And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit. Good morning, Roderick."
>>36658276> "And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit. Good morning, Roderick."> "Did you notice anything last night or this morning?"Yay new captcha, hope 4chanx gets updated soon.
>>36658276> "And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit. Good morning, Roderick."As long as you like what you do or are doing, I'm down with it. Good to have you again.
>>36658276>"And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit. Good morning, Roderick."
I've gotta ask: Where do you find all these sayings?
>>36658276> "And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit. Good morning, Roderick."> "Elise and the Captain aren't here yet?"> "Did you notice anything last night or this morning?"In that order.
>>36658276> "And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit. Good morning, Roderick."
>>36658360I come up with them on the spot, which unfortunately does delay posting.>>36658305I hear tell that the captchas are acting up; I got a 4chan pass a while ago, so I don't know how bad they are. Is it going to be an issue with playing the quest?Yes, I spent actual money just to run the quest, which is a sign of how obsessed I am over this.
>>36658405I really don't see the problem.It effectively kills posting with only a keyboard, but that's the only reasonable complaint I've heard.
>>36658405It shouldn't be a problem for players.
>>36658405>Is it going to be an issue with playing the quest?nah, just a mild annoyance and inconvinience, just means an extra mouse click or two to post
>>36658405>actual money just to run the questnigs i bought one when they were first available. did you not 4chan before LiKQ? if so, how did you discover it?
>>36658405More of an inconvenience IMO. First you click a box, then type Captcha, then verify it via "Enter Key" and then "Click Post"
>>36658405They're not acting up so much as they've been fundamentally changed in structure. Now you just select a checkbox that says "I'm not a robot" and you're good to post. If the system still isn't convinced, it'll ask you to fill a more conventional captcha.
>>36658405No. No it will not. I just do not like adding an extra step to verify and be forced to use the mouse.Also.Why did you give the cuckmaster cash.Moot a fagot, sjw and a shit.
>>36658429if you use 4chan X, ccd0's fork just updated so you only have to click to open the box first, then when you've verified the captcha you just hit enter again to post
>>36658437That's the thing, How do we make it convincing that we are not robots so we don't have to do Captcha? Do we have to limit the number of posts we do?
>>36658437>and you're good to postI'm not, I still have to enter in a captcha
>>36658456>If the system still isn't convinced, it'll ask you to fill a more conventional captcha.duderead further
We should probably cut the meta talk.
>>36658462its not even trying to be convinced, how many captchas do I need to enter for it to think I'm not a robot?>>36658470indeed we should
>>36658485Just one?I've always just had to enter one.
>>36658497Every post I've made today I've needed to.
>>36658470Seeing as there's no /qtg/ for it to go in...
>>36658508There is actually, go find the latest ghost /qtg/
>>36658485>being a robotI've yet to need to enter a captcha since the change.
>>36658503god damn thats shitty.Hmm. I ran into that problem with the previous version of captcha.When you get the word verification, try refreshing the word image requested. I think its a problem where the first one is no longer valid.
>>36658531Thats because its linked to google+ and it knows you're no bot
"And from that one candle, hundreds more may be lit," you recite. Given Roderick's lack of note-taking, you assume the saying has not changed much between here and where you're from. "Good morning, Roderick."William hands you a wooden sword. "We'll work through the basics again today. You're still a little wobbly on your sidesteps. We can't really do any intense training today, anyway; Divine only knows how long we'll have the training yard to ourselves."You can only assume that Elise picked the training courtyard as the primary location to experiment on the conduit cube because Roderick will restrict his protests to mere grumbling. The palace gardeners must be fearsome indeed. "Did you notice anything last night, Roderick? Or this morning?""Slept like a log," Roderick says. "I didn't hear about it until William told me. Jumped over the wall again, did you?"You had not detailed the exact method of your egress from the palace during your report to Clarissa. From the widening of William's eyes, this is the first he's heard of your minor capability to surmount tall structures.You don't think this is that remarkable, in your opinion. The shadow had cleard the wall surrounding the courtyard in a single bound, which is far more than you've ever been able to do. You'd have cited that as circumstantial proof of its magical nature, if its disappearance hadn't been a far clearer example.Also, you should probably be careful in accusing others of being magical.William starts off with a few easy thrusts and parries. "Are you certain you want to be a knight of Alvar?" he asks.You should keep a log of the sheer number of times you've been asked this question. "Yes, sir. I want to be a knight." Preferably a storybook one, but your conversations with Clarissa had given you much to think on about the ideals of knighthood.>[1/2]
"That's not what I meant." William steps up the training a notch, and you match his pace. "Why Alvar? I love this place as my home, but it is not the most exciting locale. Thanks to the Pretender's Revolt, our numbers are down to three; four now, including yourself. All this business with Clarissa and the cube has been the most excitement we've seen in years."There was that letter of recommendation from Sir Bernhard. You've wondered yourself why a retired paladin would be so interested in rebuilding the ranks of the knighthood of a secondary city in a minor kingdom. Maybe Sir Bernhard is also a native of Alvar. It's not like you can ask, of course."If you perform well in your knight-apprenticeship," William continues, "you could transfer to Gracewell. Much more important posting."> "I like it here. The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing."> "I prefer it quiet. Despite all that's been happening."> "Given the past few days, I think it's better if there are as many knights and apprentices available here."> "It's an option, sir."> "What about you, sir?"> "What about the Captain, sir?"
>>36658665> "I like it here. The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing."> "What about you, sir?"Think it'd be rude to talk about Clarissa when she's not around.
>>36658665>"I like it here. The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing.">"I'd be imprisoned or worse by now in most other places."
>>36658665>> "Given the past few days, I think it's better if there are as many knights and apprentices available here."> "What about the Captain, sir?"blur these two, suggest we enjoy the company of the people we know, and like the quiet of the place. not to mention the potential for promotion and respect
>>36658665>> "I like it here. The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing."No captcha, I am not a crook.
>>36658665>"I like it here. The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing."
>>36658665> "I like it here. The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing."> "What about the you and the Captain, sir?"
>>36658665>> "I like it here. The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing."> "What about you, sir?"
>>36658665> "I like it here. The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing."
>>36658665> "I like it here. The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing."> "What about the Captain, sir?"
>>36658665>"I prefer it quiet. Despite all that's been happening.">"What about the Captain, sir?"I just had to check twitter before going to sleep If you don't feel like questing, then take a break. Breaks are better than burnout.
>>36658681>"I'd be imprisoned or worse by now in most other places."Awkward Nicole humor time?
"I like it here," you say, with more truth than you expected. "The people are friendly, and I don't have to worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing.""Interesting set of criteria you have," William notes. "But understandable, given your hometown is a village in Silden we've never heard of. Proper noble etiquette must be a trial and hardship to learn."You don't know if William is mocking you. He always sounds like that anyway."We're much less concerned with that sort of thing, I agree," William continues. "You should probably brush up on your etiquette lessons, however. Whiteford is not the most uptight place in the seven kingdoms, but it's definitely not somewhere you will want to make a mistake. I won't be there to smooth over any ruffled diplomatic feathers, after all."This is, in hindsight, something that should not have come as a surprise. If Clarissa is invited to join the delegation to Whiteford, some other knight has to remain behind to take care of the paperwork. From the last time William took over Clarissa's job, efficiency will probably take a dip, but there should be more than enough buffer for that.Speaking of Whiteford. "What about the Captain, sir?" Clarissa is, from your reading of Whiteford's peerage, a member of a fairly important family in that kingdom. Her presence in Alvar, instead of her home of Ridelham in Whiteford, hints at a story you can vaguely guess at."Clarissa Natalia ain Ridelham," William says, "is just such an example. You can ask her about the details if you'd like, but Alvar is an attractive destination for those who, for some reason or other, wish to distance themselves from... well, from whatever may be holding them back. Not too remote as to be considered abandonment of their responsibilities, but far enough to make constant contact from outseide Wellsbet safely infrequent.">[1/2]
And yet Clarissa insists on overworking herself after choosing an allegedly quiet posting. Old habits are difficult to change."The obligations of noble families is not an uncommon excuse to escape," William continues, "but it is not the only one. Those looking for a new life, yet not adventurous enough to cut all ties. People seeking something new, but with the conveniences of civilization." He gives you a blatantly significant look. "Questionable characters, who wish to step into the light, away from the shadow of their past."You refuse to rise to the bait, keeping your face as blankly neutral as you can. William gives a small sigh of faint disappointment, but drops the matter.A brief interlude, as William segues the training into proper stance and form, pitting you against a dummy target. You brace yourself for inappropriate contact, as William shifts your limbs into the positions more in line with some textbook of weapon-mastery somewhere, but William remains a perfect gentleman throughout."You're making good progress," he says. "Keep this up, and I might give you a reward. A new dress, perhaps."You wish he wouldn't do that.> "Please don't do that, sir."> "And how well do I have to do to earn that dress?"> "Do you buy dresses often, sir?"> "I'd prefer a reward of respect, but I'll settle for some chocolate."
>>36659014> "I'd prefer a reward of respect, but I'll settle for some chocolate."
>>36659014> "Do you buy dresses often, sir?"
>>36659014>"Do you buy dresses often, sir?"
>"And how well do I have to do to earn that dress?"
>>36659014>"Do you buy dresses often, sir?"> "I'd prefer a reward of respect, but I AM sorely lacking in clothes. I've been meaning to ask [librarian person], but..."yesssss
>>36659014>> other"not cat ears and a tail?"
>>36659014 >"Do you buy dresses often, sir?">"Meow."
>"No frills, please."
You muse that you'd prefer a reward of some respect, but you'll settle for a chocolate cake instead. You like chocolate, and you know which one you're more likely to get."Do you buy dresses often, sir?" you ask.You did not expect William's reaction, as he turns a fascinating shade of pink. On further consideration, you decide that you may not be the only woman to feel William's habits to be distinctly unromantic, despite his apparent belief otherwise. It is faintly reassuring to receive circumstantial evidence that your reactions are quite normal.Which is a pity, because if William acted more naturally, he would probably get over that particular issue."I am not entirely unversed in women's fashions," he says, a little too loudly, possibly to drown out the snickering clearly audible from Roderick's direction. "But that remains a matter for another time."If he wants to drop the subject, you can gracefully accept that conversational retreat.William shakes his head ruefully. "You've developed quite a tongue on you, kitten. I should learn to watch my own."With these little steps, progress is made. "Meow.""As you say."Further embarrassment is avoided by the arrival of Clarissa, who is stoically supporting a very unsteady Elise. Trailing a short distance behind them is Victor, holding the book of magic that he had been studying until recently."Good morning," Elise greets the world in general, stifling a yawn. "I heard the news from our dear Captain. So! Just give me some coffee and I'll be fine.""Obviously the two cups you already had were insufficient," Clarissa mutters.Coffee is relatively expensive in Alvar, thanks to its distance from Silden. "Do you need some more sleep?" you inquire delicately."No, no, it's all right!" Elise detaches herself from Clarissa, and wobbles slightly. "I need to check on the cube before all the clues disappear. I might need a few more details from you, Nicole. Come along, Victor.">[1/2]
Victor does not appear filled with confidence in his magical teacher's state, but restricts himself to a quick beseeching look in your direction, even as he follows Elise obediently to the cube.Clarissa sidles over to William and yourself. "And now we wait," she says quietly."I take it we'll not see any progress soon," William says. "What with Elise's condition.""Likely not." Clarissa pauses for a moment in thought. "William, how would you feel about a trip to Grunmarl today?"From his expression, William obviously feels unhappy about it, but he nods anyway. "I'll get the horses ready, and set out by lunch.""Thank you. I think we need David's expertise in this matter. Elise is doing the best she can, but." Clarissa shrugs.William collects your wooden training sword. "That completes today's training. Elise probably won't keep you for very long, so you should decide what you want to do this afternoon."Probably because Elise looks like she's on the verge of keeling over to sleep at any moment now. "What are my options, sir?""The same as always. You could continue working with the City Watch, or you could remain at the palace. What are the subjects today, Clarissa?""Law and Oratory," Clarissa replies. "I suppose being with the City Watch counts as practical training for Law, and Oratory is quite specific to Victor."From your recollection of the timetable, Law is taught by Clarissa, while Oratory is Anders's class.> "I'd like to return to my studies and attend the lessons. It's been a while."> "I could ask the City Watch to help find that small object from last night."> "Maybe I should just remain near Elise, in case she needs me."> "Actually, I'd like to follow Sir William to Grunmarl."
AFK for an hour or so for dinner.
> "I'd like to return to my studies and attend the lessons. It's been a while."Especially since we've been chided several times about etiquette.
>>36659440>"Maybe I should just remain near Elise, in case she needs me."Yes! Perfect excuse to stick close to the project! For completely human reasons.
>>36659440>> "Maybe I should just remain near Elise, in case she needs me."Aha, the perfect cover! What a helpful person we are!
>>36659440>"I'd like to return to my studies and attend the lessons. It's been a while."ettiquete
>>36659440>> "Maybe I should just remain near Elise, in case she needs me."
>>36659440> "I'd like to return to my studies and attend the lessons. It's been a while."
>>36659440> "I'd like to return to my studies and attend the lessons. It's been a while."Knowing some etiquette should help. Assuming that's what oratory is related to, unless they want Nichole to sing.
>>36659547>Assuming that's what oratory is related tIT really isn't at all.
"Maybe I should just remain near Elise, in case she needs me."
>>36659440>> "I'd like to return to my studies and attend the lessons. It's been a while.I'm probably the only one but the idea of Nicole with William seems fun.
>>36659571Honestly the most fun idea seems going with the city watch, but nobody is voting for it except the one person who deleted the vote afterwards.
>>36659576That or maybe finally checking out grunmarl.
>>36659576Yeah. It wasn't gaining any traction so I deleted it.
>>36659440>"I could ask the City Watch to help find that small object from last night."
Now that you think about it, you've only attended one day's worth of lessons so far. Events since your provisional acceptance into Alvar's knighthood had superseded the theoretical routine of daily life as a knight-apprentice.With the upcoming trip to Whiteford, though, you should definitely brush up on your studies, particularly on the etiquette of nobility. You do not want to embarrass Clarissa, and cause her even the slightest bit of further grief with her family. Clarissa has more than enough problems to deal with as it is.And being in the palace would help you be easily locatable should Elise require your testimony once more."I'd like to return to my studies and attend the lessons," you decide. "It has been a while."Clarissa nods. "I will see you after lunch, then.""What does Oratory cover?" you wonder."Primarily speaking to the public," Clarissa explains. "Essential for the Duke's heir. Body language, posture, rhetoric. Just the theory for now, of course, until Victor comes of age.""There's also the groundwork for other occasions where some verbal dexterity might be called for," William adds. "Again, not until Victor comes of age, but eventually he will, and it would make it easier to impress a certain half of the other nobles he might meet.""That will come in its own time," Clarissa says primly.You quash the temptation to suggest that Victor practice his speechcraft on Clarissa. "Should I attend that lesson?""It is not mandatory," Clarissa says. "I leave the decision up to you."Given William's twisted sense of what constitutes appopriate conversation, it is quite clear that knights of Alvar do not actually need to learn how to talk to other people. Your own social shortcomings may not be so dire in comparison. Still, it wouldn't hurt to listen in.>[1/3]
"I will compose a few messages for David's crew at the dig site," Clarissa tells William. "David's return is not urgent, but the sooner we unravel the mystery of the cube, the safer we will all feel.""Understood," William says, bringing his fist to his chest in a lazy salute. "I look forward to sitting in the saddle for far too many hours.""You could always swap with Donovan," Clarissa suggests."I like the city very much, thank you," William says quickly, as he follows Clarissa to her office. "It's less dusty, has more shops, and has a great deal fewer goblin raiding parties."You weren't aware that the region around Alvar had a goblin problem. It must not be as bad as William makes it sound, considering the Grunmarl archaeologists have been assigned a single knight to protect them.You make your way to Elise, who is bent over, using the cube as a makeshift table for the book of magic. Victor is standing nervously outside the warded area. You join him, on the basis that whether or not the cube is a danger to you, you do not have an exemplary history with wards in general."What did the shadow look like?" Elise says, without looking up from her perusal of the book."About the same size and shape as a person," you reply. "Not too tall or broad, so it could have been a man or a woman." Or a human or elf. Probably not an orc or a dwarf."And it disappeared?"Right out of your grasp. It wasn't a formless illusion; the cloak had felt slick and slippery, but definitely solid. "In mid-air. I don't know how.">[2/3]
"Hm." Elise straightens, and taps her foot contemplatively on the soggy ground. "The wards weren't disturbed that I can see, but they were meant to be keeping the cube's energies in, rather than keeping intruders out. You say the shadow, uh." She blinks owlishly. "What was it again?"You said a lot of things about the shadow in your report to Clarissa. You're not sure which of them Elise is referring to."The shadow was near the cube," Victor recites. "It jumped over the wall when Nicole approached. It looked like it didn't like the rain. It disappeared when Nicole grabbed it. Something small and shiny fell from it. I think that's all Clarissa told us.""Ah, that one!" Elise says triumphantly. "The bit where the shadow, er." She gestures vaguely. "Jumped. Yes, jumped. How did it jump?"> "In one bound, over the wall. It looked like it was floating in the air."> "Did something come to mind?"> "Elise, are you sure you're all right?"
>>36659961> "In one bound, over the wall. It looked like it was floating in the air."> "Elise, are you sure you're all right?"
>>36659961>"In one bound, over the wall. It looked like it was floating in the air."just...let's just give her a break AFTER this.
>>36659961> "In one bound, over the wall. It looked like it was floating in the air."> "Did something come to mind?"> "Elise, are you sure you're all right?"Really, all three of these work together. They don't need to be long or anything.
>>36659961>"In one bound, over the wall. It looked like it was floating in the air."
>>36659997 here, I should mention that I think the first one is the most important though.
Have we mentioned that we might have seen the shadow before? Should we?
>>36660112maybe, but who we should tell that to would be the more important question
>>36660112We told the duke and the elf guy. I'm not sure who else we've told.
>>36660125Why is that important? We can just tell everyone involved.
"In one bound, over the wall," you report. You suspect it will be best to use short and simple words, to penetrate through Elise's sleep-deprived state. You wonder what she had been doing the previous night; even on the night of the cube's initial discovery, Elise hadn't been this unfocused. Then again, you weren't exactly paying much attention yourself back then.Elise hums softly in thought."It looked like it was floating in the air," you add."And you chased after it?" Victor asks.You wonder if you'll have to perform another demonstration in front of the whole palace staff, just so you don't have to keep repeating the same thing. "It nearly got away from me, but the rain helped."Victor glances down at the wards. "Running water like rain messes up spells cast at a long distance," he says. "The more complicated the magic, the more likely it'll go wrong. But only the really simple magic should have made it through these wards, I think. Right, Elise?""Observation," Elise intones.You wait patiently as Elise retrieves the book of magic from the cube, and staggers over to you. "Did something come to mind?""Observation," Elise repeats. "Some sort of entity familiar for the purpose of observation.""You mean it was just here to look?" Victor interprets."As far as I can tell." Elise yawns. "It didn't do anything to the cube. I think I might be able to find out the exact spell that was powering it, but it'll take some time to pin down.""Is Clarissa in danger?" Victor asks urgently."Hm? Oh, no, the dear Captain is fine." Elise blinks again. "Well, as fine as she can be with all of this... this-ness. But the shadow isn't here for her."Elise sounds certain enough of that to easily dismiss the potential threat to Clarissa's well-being, which means she is very certain indeed.>[1/2]
"Oh, and the wards couldn't keep out a rat," Elise adds. "Or a magical rat. It's much easier to disrupt long-distance magic than it is to prevent passage to something physically present. Which is probably why whoever it is sent that shadow, rather than scry from safety."Victor looks as though he is considering taking a step past the wards surrounding the cube, just to test that assertion. Personally you find the temptation very easy to resist."I'll go browse my collection of books for more research," Elise says, trudging back towards the palace. "There's still the original mystery of the cube in the first place. To, uh." She pauses. "What was I saying?""Are you sure you're all right?" you ask, concerned."Just need some coffee," Elise reassures you. "Well, some more coffee. Or sleep. But I can sleep later. Was there anything else you wanted to know, Nicole?"> "I think I've seen the shadow before. Before last night, I mean."> "How can you be so sure the Captain isn't in danger?"> "What were you doing last night, if I may ask?"> "Nothing that needs to be handled immediately, Elise. Thank you for your help."
>>36660231> "What were you doing last night, if I may ask?"> "I think I've seen the shadow before. Before last night, I mean."
>>36660231>> "I think I've seen the shadow before. Before last night, I mean."
>>36660231>"I think I've seen the shadow before. Before last night, I mean."
>>36660231>"I think I've seen the shadow before. Before last night, I mean.">"One of the maids, named Lily, can corroborate this. The shadow was typically seen around the underground vault."
>>36660231>"Go. To. Sleep."If the shadow is not an immediate problem, then Elise shouldn't be overworking herself.We can handle the investigations on the shadow.
>>36660231>>36660297 here, adding my support to >>36660277
Shouldnt we mention the shiny it dropped?It might be essential as a magical item and she might know what it might have been.
>>36660676It was in the report Victor just recited to her.
Apologies for the lateness; dozed off.If Elise doesn't think the shadow represents a further danger to Clarissa, you don't think anything else you can contribute to the investigation is important enough to keep Elise from getting her rest.There is still that one further piece of information that might be of use, though.With Victor's help, you prevent Elise from falling over right then and there. "I think I've seen the shadow before," you say. "Before last night, I mean."Elise attempts to focus on you."When I first arrived in Alvar," you say, "I saw something that looked like a shadow moving about. And then later, I saw a movement heading into the basement." You did not see either of those clearly enough to be able to tell what shape they were, much less if they were the same shadow. But the sheer number of spooky incidents in recent days is too unlikely to be a coincidence.Both Elise and Victor treat you to equally blank looks."Lily can corroborate this," you say, slightly desperately. "She says she also saw some sort of shadow. Down in the basement, where the vault is.""The vault," Elise mutters. "It is far too early in the morning to be thinking about the vault."Actually you guess that it's late enough in the morning to serve the first early lunches, but Elise is clearly operating on a different clock."And Lily said she saw this shadow?" Elise continues. "Lily, the Esterian?"You never did find out where Lily came from, but Esteria is the largest elf nation, so it is not outside the realm of possibility. "Lily the maid," you clarify."The elf maid?" Victor asks."Lily the Esterian elf maid," Elise says. "As if things weren't complicated enough."You feel more than a little lost at the meaningful tones in which Elise restates Lily's status; at least Victor sounds as confused as you are. "Is there something we should know?">[1/2]
"Well," Elise says slowly, "I'd have to look up a few more things, such as the differences between, uh." She trails off once more."I think it would be better if you got some rest," you say firmly. "Whatever it is, if the Captain isn't in danger, it can wait.""I didn't say Clarissa isn't in danger," Elise says. "Just not from the shadowy figure you saw. Possibly. Probably."You can understand that much. If the conduit cube and the nightmare-absorber had not reacted the previous night, and the cube had not been tampered with, the logical explanation would be that the hostile spellcaster had decided to try another tactic. You do not think someone who had been casting nightmare spells for a month would give up so easily once thwarted."In the meantime," Elise says, with another yawn, "my books, my tower, my research.""Your bed," Victor says. "Nicole, could you help me get Elise up to the tower?"Elise isn't exactly heavy, but you can see that Victor is trying to be gentlemanly with where he is supporting her. He seems more concerned with avoiding impropriety as explained in his etiquette lessons than any inappropriate thoughts, though. Not too surprising, given his rather single-minded crush on Clarissa.> "All right."> "I'll do it myself, Victor."> "Actually, could you manage on your own? I'd like to check on the cube a bit more."
>>36660748>> "All right."
>>36660748>"I'll do it myself, Victor."Maybe we can pump some more info on Lily from her when we're alone.
>>36660748>"I'll do it myself, Victor."It's kinda awkward carrying someone with two people and I reckon Nicole is strong enough to do it by herself.
>>36660748> "All right."Get some sleep, Elise.
>>36660748>"I'll do it myself, Victor."
>>36660748>>36660792Yeah, this sounds good.
>>36660748> "All right."
You'd like to know why both Elise and Anders seem to react to any mention of Lily, while Lily herself seems not to know the reason. You briefly consider bringing up Lily in conversation with Katherine, just to complete the elven set.You don't really feel up to fielding an endless array of questions from Victor, though. Not when you probably won't know the answers yourself, and the person who might is dozing off on her feet.Besides, you're curious about what Elise has been up to the previous night to make her so exhausted this morning. You'd probably get a quicker answer by seeing for yourself."I'll do it myself, Victor," you say. "Thank you."Victor looks momentarily uncertain, but he relinquishes his hold on Elise quickly enough. He does keep the book of magic. "Are you sure you can manage?""Quite sure," you say. "I'll take things from here, so you can go back to, er." You realize that you have no idea what Victor does in the mornings."I pulled him out of Pierre's office," Elise murmurs. "Learning how to manage the dukedom. He's better at that grimoire than I am, but I'm not going to let him loose alone to do Weaver knows what.""I already promised not to," Victor says, with some irritation.Elise waves a hand. "And I trust you. Go report to Pierre, would you?"Victor touches his forelock in salute, before scurrying away.You take a moment to readjust your grip. "What were you doing last night, anyway?""Long story," Elise says. "Ask William," she adds mysteriously.How curious.>[1/3]
The two of you advance onto the wizard's tower annex of the palace. Elise is technically moving under her own power, but she does require you to guide her steps, and on occasion push her bodily up the stairs. She takes every opportunity she can to lean against you for support, and you begin to wonder if it might not be quicker just to carry her on your back.You find yourself holding your breath as you pass the burned-out remains of the wards in the wizard's tower, but evidently Elise had not replaced them with anything that would react to you.Elise's laboratory has changed yet again since the last time you were here, but the general sense of chaos and clutter remains the same. You carefully guide Elise past several teetering piles of books, and towards a suitable location where Elise may make her usual nest to hibernate within.You spot the high-backed chair from before in a corner, once more attached to what looks like a fearsome engine. An inverted mixing bowl has been repurposed into a peculiar helmet, with wires and antennae protruding from it.On the desk beside the chair are three crystal globes with darkness roiling within each. Since you know you left the nightmare-absorber in your room on Clarissa's desk, these must be its cousins.Elise collapses in a boneless heap among her books, her eyelids slamming closed almost immediately. You spot a rumpled blanket somewhere in the mess. At least Elise does not neglect her personal hygiene and grooming, since you don't smell any rankness of stale and unwashed laundry."Be careful," Elise suddenly says, eyes still shut, in the slurred speech of someone fast on the way to unconsciousness.>[2/3]
You look around yourself, but you don't appear to be in the vicinity of any dangerous-looking magical tools. Of course, wizards being wizardly, you can never be sure. "What should I be careful of?""Elves," Elise says darkly.You keep your voice steady with some effort. "What do you mean?""The shadow familiar spell," Elise replies. "It's elf magic. That's why it can't be after Clarissa. The dear Captain's human, and her family is human, but this is elf magic. So beware elves."You have the uncomfortable sensation of having stumbled upon something you cannot see that is nevertheless quite a lot larger and more complicated than you can safely navigate around. "Are you telling me to be careful of Lily?""And Anders," Elise says. "And Katherine. And me." She chuckles, which sounds disturbingly like a choked sob. "Especially me."You wait for further elaboration, but whatever it is will have to wait until tomorrow; Elise has finally drifted off to sleep.On a hunch, you glance towards the three possible nightmare-absorbers, but they remain unlit. Which is one worrying possibility removed, at least. You're certainly not going to approach them for a closer inspection. In fact, you'll be happier if you're as far away from those things as you can get.> Have an early lunch> Go see what Clarissa is doing> Find William at the stables> Maybe Anders knows what Elise is trying to do
>>36661201>> Have an early lunch
>>36661201> Have an early lunchOh good. Even more mysteries.
>>36661201>Put Elise properly in bed.>Pop up in the canteen and visit Lily, on the pretense of an early lunch.
>>36661201>Early Lunch>Ask William what kind of animal she likes>Report back to Katherine ask a book about Elven magic (if available)If not>go to class
>>36661201> Have an early lunchTime to meet with Lily. And it's just like Nicole to visit an elf right after being warned about them.
>>36661201>"And Anders," Elise says. "And Katherine. And me." She chuckles, which sounds disturbingly like a choked sob. "Especially me."That is so sad.
>>36661201>Find William at the stablesNot that I'm jealous or anything!
>>36661201> Have an early lunch>>36661239Seconded putting her in bed.>>36661324Good because no one else is.
>>36661239Thirding putting to bed
>>36661201>>36661239I suppose I'll also go with this, seems reasonable.
How far away is the nearest bed?
>>36661516That doesn't matter, she's going there.
>>36661574Not if it's not practical. Carrying someone across a large palace, up a tower and then back down again and to another part of the palace is pretty retarded.
With some care, you crouch down, and attempt to tuck Elise in properly. You do not know if Elise prefers sleeping on the floor, or if she lacks a proper bed. Perhaps she does have a bed, but it is buried within the clutter of the rest of her laboratory, repurposed as another flat surface on which more books or magical implements may be placed. You certainly can't see any bed-like piece of furniture in here, which does not mean very much considering the mess.Elise does not react to your ministrations, but she does look far more relaxed in sleep. Whatever worries and desperate experiments had haunted her last night, a proper rest was definitely doing her good. Sleeping on the floor obviously does not noticeably bother her.There is a small moment of breathlessness as an inadvertant tug on the blanket threatens to collapse a tower of books, but the pile stabilizes, and you manage to lay the blanket over Elise.This also uncovers a folder of sketches that had apparently fallen to the floor sometime last night, given the relative positions of the folder, the books, and the blanket.The sketches are of some strange and arcane designs, made largely of circles and spirals. You stare at them for a moment before you recall that these are the patterns that glowed on the conduit cube while it was active. Based on the scratch marks and faint erasures on the paper, these had been drawn from memory.A decent idea, and one you wish you had thought of before. This way, there is a record of the glowing patterns without the need to channel magic through the conduit cube.You tidy the sketches as best as you can, and leave them beside Elise's makeshift nest of books. Maybe you can ask her for a copy later.Exiting the wizard's tower is uneventful, to your continued secret relief. You don't have any immediate plans until lessons begin, since every avenue of inquiry requires the expertise of someone who is likely busier with more important matters.>[1/2]
An early lunch is probably your best option right now. You might even run into Lily, with any luck. Sadly, asking her for her work schedule is probably going a bit beyond what a normal friendship would entail.Lunch is a generous selection of cold cuts on bread and tomatoes and lettuce. Lily is not present; a brief inquiry with the kitchen staff on duty reveals that she is out in the city, buying groceries. From the maid's cheerfully expectant tone, you surmise that this will also include a helping of cake. You wonder if the staff pool their money together for this purpose, or if this is entirely Lily's treat.You have just constructed a small sandwich for yourself when Simone enters the kitchens. The kitchen maid you had been talking to darts into the cooking area, before soon emerging with a covered basket, presumably of similar pre-made sandwiches.Simone spots you, and gives you a friendly wave. "I'm just picking up lunch for the chapel acolytes," she says. "Would you care to join me?"> "I'd love to, Sister Simone."> "Sure. I don't have anything else planned."> "No, thank you."
>>36661679> "Sure. I don't have anything else planned."
>>36661679> "I'd love to, Sister Simone."
> "I'd love to, Sister Simone."
>>36661679>> "No, thank you."
You've not had a proper conversation with Simone in some time, except for the time she helped you convince Victor not to martyr his sanity in his ill-thought plan to help Clarissa. You've always suspected that the subsequent lifting of your probation had been due in large part to Simone's recommendations."I'd love to, Sister Simone," you say. You can eat your sandwich in the chapel as well; the entire point of sandwiches is their portability.Simone opens the basket, and you add your sandwich to those inside. "I heard about the incident last night," she says. "Well done.""I didn't catch the shadow," you say. "And I only discovered it through luck, anyway." And the well-honed minor paranoia that had served you reasonably well ever since you arrived in Alvar."Sometimes, luck is enough," Simone says. "The grace of the Divine can manifest in strange ways. Of course, the trick is learning to tell the difference between holy grace and foolish fortune."You attempt to digest this tidbit of religious wisdom. "I'm not sure I understand the difference.""There may not be one," Simone says slyly. "At least, not for most. Seas of ink have probably been spilled trying to define that subtle distinction, which makes me think it doesn't really matter now, does it?"Clearly a question for better minds than yours to answer.At the chapel, Simone hands off the basket to an acolyte you only vaguely recognize. She extracts your undersized sandwich, giving it a critical glance before handing it over to you. Thankfully, she does not make the obvious comment about small portions.The two of you retire to Simone's office for lunch, where Simone pours you a cup of tea."How are your preparations for the trip to Whiteford going?" Simone asks, settling down for her own lunch.>[1/3]
You didn't know you had to prepare anything. You don't have very many personal belongings, which should probably be of more concern; you seem to recall something about Whiteford having a colder climate than Alvar, which you feel is plenty brisk already. Or maybe Simone is asking about preparing the necessary knowledge. "I've been reading up on Whiteford's peerage," you say."Including Clarissa's family?""Well, yes.""I do worry about her," Simone says. "I'll be coming along, but she barely consults me as it is. We'd have to be stuck in the same carriage for us to have a real conversation, I should think."You wonder if Simone's presence on the delegation is specifically to make sure Clarissa does not engage in any further self-destructive behaviour. "I think it's a good idea if the Captain has someone she can confide in. I'm not sure I qualify." Due to being Clarissa's subordinate, and being more than a little odd at the most inopportune times."You may surprise yourself, Nicole," Simone says. "But no, there is another reason for my presence. Still regarding Clarissa, of course. As a Chosen of the Divine, I am capable of defending her against magical attacks, should it come to that."Simone's magic evidently extends beyond mere healing. "Do you think there will be trouble?">[2/3]
"Let's just say we should not be tempted by complacency," Simone says mildly. "Elise will try her best to keep track of us, but she may not be able to react in time should something untoward occur."You're not sure you like the idea of being scryed upon, but you take some comfort in the fact that Clarissa will be the primary target for this divinatory effort. "Elise isn't coming on the delegation?"Simone raises a finger. "Ah. And here we descend into the murky motives of temporal rulers. Elise, and Anders, usually find it politic to remain in Alvar, rather than follow the Duke on his ambassadorial duties."Due to being elves, you assume. You recall Elise's cryptic warning about such.> "Why are elves not welcome in Whiteford?"> "Elise seems worried about, well, elves. Including herself."> "Do you know anything about Lily the maid?"
>>36662301> "Why are elves not welcome in Whiteford?"The other two might insinuate things.
>>36662301> "Elise seems worried about, well, elves. Including herself."
>>36662301> "Why are elves not welcome in Whiteford?"
>>36662301> "Why are elves not welcome in Whiteford?"> "Elise seems worried about, well, elves. Including herself."
>>36662301>"Elise seems worried about, well, elves. Including herself."
>>36662301> "Why are elves not welcome in Whiteford?"> "Elise seems worried about, well, elves. Including herself."> "Do you know anything about Lily the maid?"
>>36662301> "Why are elves not welcome in Whiteford?"And try to lure in:> "Do you know anything about Lily the maid?"
Really all of this is just dancing around the question of elves being suspiciousSo ask about them.
>>36662301>> "Why are elves not welcome in Whiteford?">> "Elise seems worried about, well, elves. Including herself."
By the way damp, I like your writing. Did you ever write anything else?
"Why are elves not welcome in Whiteford?" you wonder. Clarissa had said something along those lines, about Esteria sending an ambassador simply to tweak the stuffy Whitefordians.Simone shrugs. "Simple prejudice, I would assume. Citing the Great Gift does not heal every wound, ironically enough."You recall reading about the Great Gift of the elves, back in the days of the Old Empire, when the then-new elf nation of Esteria freely gave the human Empire the knowledge of how to eradicate several diseases, including the dreaded pox. This had brought Esteria into conflict with fellow elf nation Crystal Vale, a rift that lasts even to the present day. Elven records guarantee long institutional memories."I assume if Whiteford needs an excuse, they might mention the marauder attacks from out of Ayrich," Simone continues. "Or any one of a hundred other grievances. But they are too polite to outright ban elves from attending their diplomatic events, and so we have to be equally polite in not forcing them into a decision."Politics can get complicated. You do have the sinking feeling that as a knight-apprentice, you are nevertheless expected to be able to read the currents of diplomacy, so as not to dash yourself against the treacherous rocks of international incidents. Storybook knights never had to worry whether the princess they saved was from an allied kingdom.You try another topic, closer to home. "Elise seems worried about, well, elves. Including herself."Simone raises an eyebrow. "Is she, now. I should speak to her soon. If not as a cleric, then as a friend."Elves have their own deities, but the Church of the Divine Aspect seems quite ecumenical. "I'm worried she might be, uh, pushing herself." Following Clarissa's ill-advised path to self-destruction. "Especially since the shadow is elf magic, according to her.""It's surprising to hear that Elise speak in such a way, however," Simone says. "She usually seems more cheerful.">[1/2]
You have a faint speculation about Elise's sudden moody incapacitation, but it is unsupported by anything remotely resembling proof. And even then, you don't think it's your place to crack open this particular secret without permission. "Could you please keep an eye on Elise? I'm afraid I, uh.""You have your hands full with Clarissa," Simone says, amused. "I understand. What about you, Nicole? Do you have anything you'd like to talk about?"You are caught off-guard by the sudden turn in the conversation towards your own personal problems. "Uh, not at the moment. Sorry.""Are you sure? I'm always ready to listen."It would be rude to brush Simone off without at least giving her offer some due consideration. You sift through the possible topics in your mind, searching for something safe.> "Sometimes it gets a little hard to keep up with the pace of events here."> "It feels like there's so much for me to learn, and everything is important for me to know."> "I'm worried I'll mess up some point of etiquette, and cause trouble for the Captain in Whiteford."> "Do you happen to know what William's favourite animal is?"
>>36662915> "I'm worried I'll mess up some point of etiquette, and cause trouble for the Captain in Whiteford."> "Do you happen to know what William's favourite animal is?"
>>36662915> "Sometimes it gets a little hard to keep up with the pace of events here."and then> "Unrelated question: do you happen to know William's favourite animal is? Someone I met at the library wants to know."she'll probably already know who we're talking about.
>>36662915>> "I'm worried I'll mess up some point of etiquette, and cause trouble for the Captain in Whiteford."> "Do you happen to know what William's favourite animal is?"We need that info to mess with him.
>>36662915>"I feel that everywhere I look, someone is sitting on some personal secret that's either going to blow up in their faces and making a wrong move could set them all off in a flash."
>>36662958>We need that info to mess with him.We need that info PRIMARILY to tell Katherine so she can knit him something with them on it.
>>36662899>> "I'm worried I'll mess up some point of etiquette, and cause trouble for the Captain in Whiteford."
>>36662915>> "I'm worried I'll mess up some point of etiquette, and cause trouble for the Captain in Whiteford."
>>36662980Add this to mine>>36662956It's too true.
its getting late here for me so I'm heading to bed, thanks for the thread Damp
>>36662915>> "Do you happen to know what William's favourite animal is?"
>>36663143I'll replace him. I'm just getting up.
>>36662915>"I'm worried I'll mess up some point of etiquette, and cause trouble for the Captain in Whiteford."> "Unrelated question: do you happen to know William's favourite animal is? Someone I met at the library wants to know."
"those this person happen to knit as a hobby?"*raise eyebrow*"Could be. I'm not at liberty to say."
>>36663492Your cellphone is a dick.
You carefully pick out your words. "It can be a little hectic to keep up with the pace of events here. Sometimes it feels like most of the people I know are burdened with some secret or other, and it's all on the edge of exploding."Simone gives you a wry smile. "Well, you're not wrong."A surprising answer, if not very reassuring."I take confessions, in my role as a Chosen of the Divine," Simone explains. "So I am privy to quite a few of those secrets you mention. From a given point of view, some of them are indeed rather volatile, should the secret be handled poorly. I try to give advice the best I can, but much of the time, I can only lend a listening ear."You're certainly not going to share your own secrets with Simone, however trustworthy she might be in not revealing them with others. It has nothing to do with Simone as such; you're simply not ready to accept the likely consequences of telling the truth. Better to bury it deep inside, where nobody else knows. "Is there anything I can do?""I'd tell you to trust the Divine," Simone says, "but that would probably sound trite and false. So I'll just tell you to do the same as I do, and listen to their troubles. Sometimes just talking about it helps to relieve the burden. I'm sure you're already seen this with Clarissa, both for a negative and positive example."The demonstrations had been fairly dramatic. "Speaking of the Captain, I'm worried I'll cause trouble for her, when we go to Whiteford. I'm still new at being a knight-apprentice, and I'm not really versed in all the proper etiquette. If I mess up, it won't just be me who'll get in trouble.""Hm. I suppose I don't have to tell you about the value of self-confidence?"Something you're aware of in theory, but putting it into practice has always been tricky. "I've been meaning to study, but with all that's happened...">[1/3]
"Calm down, Nicole." Simone puts on a reassuring smile. "Everyone has to go through their first time. It's the only way they can have a second time, after all. The Duke will understand, as will Clarissa. As long as you do what you believe is right, there's no cause for complaint.""That sounds like a bit of an over-simplification," you say dubiously."If it helps, you should know that there isn't anything serious anyone in Whiteford can do to us," Simone says. "A few snide looks, a vicious whisper or ten, but that's the extent of it, and once we come home from Whiteford, it'll all be behind us. Just remember the people whose good opinion you want to keep, and act in a way that will maintain that opinion. Don't try to please everyone; only those who are important to you."You make a mental note to formulate a list of such people when you can. Clarissa will probably be near the top, although you can't decide if it's because she's your commanding officer, or if it's something more personal. "Thank you for your advice, Sister Simone.""You're welcome," Simone says. "I'm always here if you have anything else you'd like to talk about. Or any questions you might have."You do have a question, even if it has the faint tinge of gossip. "Do you happen to know what William's favourite animal is?"Simone leans back in her chair, and regards you with more than a modicum of amusement. "I have it on excellent authority that William likes cats. He is particularly taken with young kittens."Obvious in hindsight, but you'd much rather not think about the implications of this revelation now. You'll report this information to Katherine, and continue to ignore William's nicknames for you."Anders has a fondness for small, white, and fluffy things," Simone continues. "Although you'd never hear him admit it. Victor, like his father, loves dogs. Clarissa isn't good with any animals, but she would like to be, so anything small and cute would qualify.">[2/3]
"Thank you," you say quickly, cutting off the stream of rather too much information. "I have no further questions.""Oh? A pity," Simone says. "Thank you for joining me for lunch, Nicole. We should have more talks like this."A tempting offer, but quite risky. When she isn't trying to convert you to the Divine, Simone can certainly listen very well, and it is only a matter of time before you end up saying something you'd rather not have revealed.You head back to the main palace building, checking your pocketwatch on the way. You are a bit early for the day's lessons, but factoring in the time needed to collect your stationery from your room, you don't have a lot of time to do anything else.> Visit Clarissa's office> Wait in the classroom
>>36663846> Visit Clarissa's office
And I have to call the thread here, since I'm also getting sleepy.Expect this general Slower Shorter pace in the future, since apparently I'm getting less able to blitz out updates without burning out.Apologies if my lack of Feeling for running today leaked into the quest.Thanks for joining me on the quest.
>>36663846> Wait in the classroom
>>36663912See ya next time.
>>36663912Your writing is still excellent, don't worry.Thanks for running, OP, it feels like it's been quite a while, but this time of year I can't keep track of anything
>>36663912Thanks for running Damp have a good one.
>>36663846> Visit Clarissa's officeAnd Katherine will make something with fluffy white kittens on it.And we'll commission something with, mmmm, rabbits from her.>>36663912Thanks for running.
>>36663912Thanks for running dude.
>>36663846>Visit Clarissa's office
>>36663846>> Visit Clarissa's office
Just me or are we on course for william to fall for nicole.
>>36669446God I hope not.Now, if that were Clarissa instead of William, I'd be happy.
>>36669570I'd prefer it if Nicole refrained from romance for the duration of the quest.
>>36669446>>36669570does seem to be heading in that direction
>>36669680I wouldn't go that far. I just think we need to know her big secret before engaging in anything personal to Nicole.
>>36669878>Implying the players will be able to keep their dicks in their pantsPeople will jump on the first lesbian relationship offered to them.
>>36670003If it gets offered. Many quests outright shut that down, and with good reason.