> Previous thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/36658249/> 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 for the first time in what feels like a good long while, nothing of import is happening. The sensation is refreshing and mildly worrying, given that your arrival in Alvar seems to have been the catalyst for quite a lot of events to be set in motion, mostly through no fault or interference on your part.Further situations requiring your attention and probably panic will likely develop in the near future. The mysterious cube that was the conduit for a nightmare spell targeting your commanding officer is no longer being used, meaning the hostile spellcaster is attempting another angle of attack. The court wizard is doing some sort of odd experiments, which is not unusual in itself, but it seems to have made her depressed and wary about elves, including herself. There is still a serial murderer at large in the city, burning small holes into the heads of petty criminals and mashing their brains.But for the rest of the day, you have nothing more strenuous to look forward to than sitting in a classroom, listening to a lesson from textbooks and theory and very little practical testing. Today's class schedule promises Law, which you are reasonably familiar with thanks to your own self-study, and Oratory, which does not apply to you.[1/3]
There is still a little time before lessons begin. You make a detour to your room to collect your study materials, which amount to a notebook and a pencil. You have yet to attend enough lessons to require anything more organized, which is probably not a fact that would encourage much confidence in your knight-apprentice training.Having done so, you venture towards Knight Captain Clarissa's office. As the teacher for the Law class, she may have some additional advice for you to help you catch up.Just as you reach the door, it opens, and a thoroughly forgettable man trots out, carrying a stack of documents in one hand and an empty plate in the other. You give him a distracted nod of greeting before you recognize him as Barnes, one of Anders's clerks, temporarily assigned to Clarissa until her workaholic tendencies abate or the city becomes a self-governing utopia, whichever happens first. You would not place any wagers on either."Good afternoon, Nicole," Clarissa says, glancing up from her work. "I am almost done with this report. I shall join you in a moment."You take up a position just inside the door, in the best approximation of a piece of standing furniture you can achieve, as copied from the palace guards you've observed.Clarissa's desk is as neat as ever, but you eventually decide that there is indeed less paperwork than you're used to seeing. The addition of an assistant, however reluctant on the part of Clarissa or Anders, is evidently a good influence.>[2/3]
The report is completed in due time, and Clarissa places it on a pile of similar paperwork. "Just the usual guard rotations," Clarissa says. "Quite routine."You hadn't asked, or even been curious, but maybe this is Clarissa's way of making conversation.Clarissa gathers her teaching materials with the speed of habit. "Have you made your preparations for the journey to Veramar?" she asks.Veramar is the capital of Whiteford, and the alleged site for the ceremony of Saint Walther. Clarissa is obviously continuing her ongoing efforts to present a professionally friendly demeanour to her immediate subordinates. The minor revelation some time ago of her intimidating reputation must still be weighing on her.> "I don't have much to prepare, Captain."> "When are we leaving for Whiteford? How many days will the journey be?"> "Have you, Captain?"
>>36775209> "Have you, Captain?"
>>36775209>> "I don't have much to prepare, Captain."
>>36775209> "I don't have much to prepare, Captain."
>>36775209> "When are we leaving for Whiteford? How many days will the journey be?"> "Have you, Captain?"
>>36775209>> "I don't have much to prepare, Captain.">> "Have you, Captain?"
>>36775209> "When are we leaving for Whiteford? How many days will the journey be?"
>>36775209> "I don't have much to prepare, Captain."Love your stuff damp but i have to sleep.Giod luck anons keep the captain out of trouble if you can.
>>36775209>> "I'm going to class, aren't I?"
Given the status of the delegation to Whiteford as an official diplomatic visit, you will probably be spending most of your time in your uniform, of which you have the standard five sets issued. You should probably requisition a few more, just in case some of them are damaged by the increasingly implausible activities you find yourself engaging in, these past few days.For the purposes of the trip to Whiteford, though, you can't think of very much else to pack. "I don't have much to prepare, Captain." Toiletries, perhaps. Casual clothes, in the unlikely event you are given leisure to explore Veramar outside of diplomatic functions. Something to read."I may draw up a checklist," Clarissa muses. "You should try to leave some space in your luggage for souvenirs, I would suggest. Everyone will be issued a decent sum of spending money, from the Duke's personal purse. I know his Grace intends to return with about twice as much luggage as he set out with; Whiteford wines and silk, for instance, are excellent. The fashions are second only to Amberin."You brighten up. The prospect of spending money without worrying about budgets has a certain appeal, especially when paired with an official order to enjoy yourself. "Will you be getting anything, Captain?""A few snacks and tidbits," Clarissa admits. "Some spices and seasonings, which are difficult to obtain at a fair price here in Wellsbet. The Feast of Saint Walther should also provide an interesting gastronomic experience." She shrugs. "There is little else I miss about Veramar and Ridelham that I would care to bring back with me."You identify that conversational pit for what it is. "What about you, Captain? What are your preparations for the trip to Whiteford?">[1/2]
"Merely the usual. A list of instructions and procedures, of moderate detail, left for William to administrate in my absence. Both he and Alain have standing orders to relay anything important to me by any means possible, including magical sending, and never mind the cost. Apart from that, I believe I shall take advantage of the travelling time to finish some of my own studies as well."One may take Clarissa out of Alvar, but never the workaholism out of her.The two of you reach the classroom, and you take your seat at the back, while Clarissa efficiently sketches out the day's lesson plan on the chalkboard. A few students are already present; unlike the lessons for etiquette and history you had attended, these are an older lot, including a palace guard or two you recognize.Victor arrives not long after, and greets Clarissa with his usual enthusiasm. This morning's activities had not dampened his mood noticeably, in the true habit of adolescent young boys everywhere. You wonder if Elise had told him anything about her non-specific suspicions about elves, or if you are her only confidant. If the latter, you also wonder why.Lily slips in through the classroom door in her inobtrusive way, and gives you a quick smile of greeting. She sits at the desk beside yours, and starts arranging her study materials to her satisfaction.Clarissa hasn't finished with her lesson preparations, not least because Victor is pestering her, but she does not seem to mind. You may have time for a quick chat with Lily before class.> "Good afternoon, Lily."> "Did you hear about the incident last night?"> Quietly wait for the lesson to begin
>>36775752>> "Good afternoon, Lily."
>>36775752>"Good afternoon, Lily.">"Bet you 1 [insert lowest denomination here] that I've been busier than you."
>>36775752>"Kittens. Sir William's favorite animals are kittens."
>>36775773that's for Katherine, not Lily.>>36775752> "Good afternoon, Lily."
>>36775752> "Good afternoon, Lily."
>>36775785Fucking elves, can't remember them all.
>>36775752>> "Good afternoon, Lily.">>36775773Wrong girl.
>>36775785i wonder what she'll think if william falls for nicole
>>36775773>> "Good afternoon, Lily.">>36775785True but she has mentioned how handsome he is before.Maybe he's elf bait?
There are a great many things you wish to ask Lily, and very few polite ways you can think of to broach the subject. You settle for a standard greeting, for now. "Good afternoon, Lily."Lily leans towards you conspiratorially, in the manner of gossip-lovers throughout history. "I saw a lot of commotion around that weird cube in the training courtyard this morning," she murmurs.Not much point in denying this, since there are obviously countless witnesses among the palace staff. "Yes.""I hear you had something to do with whatever is going on," Lily continues. Prodding for more information, which is actually a promising sign; Lily doesn't sound like she has any extra insights into the shadowy figure from the previous night, or even knows of its presence, which means she probably has nothing do with any of it. Which does make Elise's sleepy warning against elves all the more peculiar, but you should learn to handle one mystery at a time.You take a brief moment to edit your words into a more professionally neutral form. "We're still looking into it, but we can't do anything until Elise wakes up. She, uh, had a late night." As did you.Lily looks mildly disappointed. "Oh. Magus Elise keeps weird hours, so it's a pain to clean up her tower. I'm the only one who's allowed to sweep up in there, too."A new data point. "Elise lets you clean her workshop?">[1/2]
Lily nods. "Most of the other maids don't want to, and I'm careful enough with all the magical tools. Well, I say I sweep up in there, but it doesn't seem to do much good." She laughs self-consciously. "And, er, there's always the obvious reason I got picked. Because, well."Because Lily is a fellow elf. You're not sure what Elise's rationale behind this might be, given that everyone else is free to traipse in and out of the wizard's tower when they please, as Clarissa had demonstrated. Your little mishap with the wards at the tower is a special case that is best forgotten by everyone else. Elise might not even have considered Lily's elven status, back then, even if she was acutely aware of it this morning."So what went on with that cube?" Lily persists. "I mean, you don't have to tell me if you're not allowed to, but surely there's something? Everyone's been speculating about it below-stairs."Before you can come up with another evasion, Clarissa raps her knuckles on her desk to signal the start of the lesson.> "I'll tell you later."> "I'll tell you later, but in exchange I'd like to ask a few questions too."> "I'm sorry, but I really couldn't say."> Pretend you didn't hear Lily, and concentrate on the class
>>36776005> Pretend you didn't hear Lily, and concentrate on the class
>>36776005>> "I'll tell you once we narrow it down a bit ourselves"I'm fairly certain Lily's family is involved in this. We can't just up and tell her right now, but we can't just refuse her.
>>36776005> "I'm sorry, but I really couldn't say."
>>36776026This one. It gives us a bit of an out while "intelligence is being gathered."
>>36776005>> "I'll tell you later."
>>36776005> "I'll tell you later."So how is Dry's Knight Captain Quest going?
>>36776165Found our squire wearing a dress she didn't own when she went to bed. She came up with some explanation about following someone, but I think she just had a night out on the town.
>>36776026this is fine, I guess. Noone wants to ask her about the shadow?...also, someone IS searching for the shiny thing, right? RIGHT?
>>36776005>>36776026Best to gather more info before saying anything else.
>>36776199Tried to keep as much work as possible to ourselves and away from the grubby hands of the "assistant."Shipfags got really suspicious and jealous about what the squire was doing last night in that dress.
>>36776249TIE HER DOWN AND RAPE THE DETAILS FROM HER
>>36776257So speaketh the vocal minority.Elisefags and Victorfags take this as a sign to shitpost further.
>>36776334They're just jealous that Clarissa loves Nicole, and only has a place for her in her heart
God dammit, Damp. Tonight was the night I was going to break the cycle of staying up until the wee hours!
>>36776344To be expected. Claricolefags had their faith in their ship bolstered by the discovery of the book on Ridelham nobility that Nicole was reading. Obviously a sign of interest!
>>36776368"She wants to marry us. calling it!""Naw ma. It's the political power she wants.""fucking naysayers. I bet she hugged us in our sleep. Nicole best at cuddling.""get a load of this delusional shipperfag."
You'd rather not shut down Lily's relatively innocent inquisitiveness just yet, since you'd like to ask her more questions of your own, and you do consider her something of a friend. A friend who occasionally acts oddly and is quite secretive about her past, but it is definitely not your place to cast aspersions on others on that front."I'll tell you once we narrow it down a bit more," you say. "I'd rather not say anything until then. There's not much to say other than more speculation, anyway."This seems to appease Lily. "So even the knights are stumped. Uh, sorry if I sounded pushy, but all this sounds like a huge deal. I've only heard rumours, mind."How large a deal this entire incident is probably depends on one's point of view. Put into perspective, you're not sure it changes very much, since the unknown hostile spellcaster has changed their tactics independent of the shadowy figure's actions, as far as you know.More conversation is adjourned for later, as Clarissa begins the lesson. For a change, you can follow the lesson with little trouble, possibly due to your own study of the Useful Manual of Wellsbet Law, which proved as useful as it claimed. The lecture approaches the subject more from the position of adjudicating similar cases in the future, but it covers much of the philosophy behind the laws, and the case studies that illustrate the primary points, as well as the historical context behind the current incarnation in the rulebooks.>[1/3]
The main focus for today are the laws on trespass of property and the proper responses thereof. Civilians are allowed to defend their lives and property, but only to a certain point, beyond which they might be charged with other offences due to disproportionate responses. Guards and other officials have significantly more leeway, although Clarissa emphasises repeatedly that anyone in a uniform of the palace or city guards must behave impeccably, lest they fall foul of their own specific set of rules against petty tyranny.Knights, as Clarissa explains to the class while looking directly at you, have even more freedom to do what they please, simply because there are very few who have the authority to punish their transgressions. This is apparently a relic of the days of the Iron Knights of the Old Empire, and a significant factor in why the reputation of knighthood in the post-Empire kingdoms has had to start from the very bottom. Therefore, while knights are seldom subject to official sanction save for the most egregious offences, the responsibility for them to be on their best behaviour at all times is all the greater.You try to look attentive, although you concede that it is probably impossible to look as attentive as Victor. Nevertheless, you do your best, and scribble down some notes.Clarissa continues on to example cases from history, and you jot down the notes you believe relevant. Glancing to your side, you see Lily just as studiously fill her own notebook with closely-written lines.There are no tests or examinations for these lessons, you recall. You cannot imagine Lily would encounter anything in her daily work that would require the knowledge she has obtained from these lessons, but it's not as though you can criticize anyone's drive for self-improvement. And from what you remember, elf culture places a high priority on education, so maybe Lily is just attending these classes out of habit.>[2/3]
The lesson ends without further incident, and most of the class stands, stretching their limbs and filing out, chattering with each other, albeit more about their plans for the rest of the day and the likely menu for dinner than the concluded lesson. Clarissa dusts off the chalkboard, and tidies up the teacher's desk.A cadaverishly thin old woman with her grey hair in a bun stalks into the classroom, muttering something under her breath. Victor does not look happy to be separated from Clarissa, but obediently trails after the old woman. Clarissa gives this byplay a brief, uninterested glance, being more concerned with the elemental ideal of neatness as applied to her immediate surroundings."That's old Madam Hennsey," Lily informs you, noticing your stare. "She's actually very sweet. Been here forever, I think. She teaches Victor breath control and projecting his voice and all that, in the other room. Looks like today's Oratory lesson is on voice technique. And singing."You don't know how well Victor can sing. His voice hasn't broken yet, which would probably mean a nasty surprise a year or so in the future."I'm going to study a little more," Lily says. "Would you like to join me? There's a great spot I found for it. It's nice and quiet."Meaning another chance to extract more nuggets of gossip from you, but you do have to work on your etiquette lessons, in preparation for the trip to Whiteford. And the flow of information does not have to be in a single direction.> "I'd love to."> "We could head to the library instead."> "Sorry, I'd like to study on my own."> "Sorry, I have other plans."
>>36776502>> "I'd love to."
>>36776502>> "I'd love to.">>36776489>And from what you remember, elf culture places a high priority on educationThis cuts us off from being an elf. There goes my theory.
>>36776502> "I'd love to."
>>36776502> "I'd love to."Though make a note to drop by the library and turn in those books we've finished(?) + tidbit about William.>>36776450>"I bet she hugged us in our sleep.">Implying she would stop there
>>36776517An elf wouldn't have claws, it was a poorly thought out theory
>>36776605Depends on exactly what kind of elf we're speaking of. Some brown elves definitely have more claw-like hands.
>>36776612>Some brown elves definitely have more claw-like hands.In what setting? I can't think if a single one.
>>36776605When did claws come up?
>>36776678I think it was in the first thread.
>>36776678Think it was William or Roderik jokeing about "The Cat [Nicole] having claws", and Nicole had to stop herself from checkin if she had clawed hands, as if afraid her true form was showing.
>>36776615Bits of Norse mythology.
If nothing else, you're curious about this study spot Lily claims to have found. "I'd love to.""It's a bit of a walk, but it'll be worth it," Lily promises.You look to the front of the class, where Clarissa has finally satisfied her particular obsession with order for the moment. "Captain? I'm going with Lily to study."Clarissa cocks her head. "You do remember that you do not have to report your movements to me any longer, right?"You do, but it's only polite to do so anyway. "Force of habit, Captain.""Not a bad one to keep," Clarissa concedes.You follow Lily out of the classroom, and down the stairs to the Great Hall. From there, she leads you towards the servant's quarters, but stops at a narrow door."Watch your step," she warns.The room within contains various cleaning supplies, haphazardly arranged in their racks by tired servants after every shift. There is a very strong smell of soap, with underpinnings of clothes starch."The laundry is just next door," Lily says. "Well, one of them, anyway. For the sheets and towels. Clothes go to the other laundry room, since they need more care." She places her hands on the far wall from the doorway, pats around for a moment, before finding what she was looking for.You watch with fascination as the hidden catch is released, and a section of the wall swings open on well-oiled hinges. "A secret passage?""I suppose you could call it that," Lily says. "The lever is over here, by the way.""Does anyone else know about this?""Uh, everyone, I should think," Lily says slowly. "It's not really that well-hidden; I spotted it when I first came in here. I wasn't exactly keeping it a secret either, when I was busy cleaning it up and making it less, er, creaky.">[1/3]
Reasonable on the face of it, but Lily seems rather too blase about having found a secret passage. Anders had not known where Lily had gone during the initial discovery of the conduit cube, so presumably she hadn't bothered to inform him about this place.You keep close to Lily as she continues leading you through the winding passageway, some parts of which are narrow enough that you have to walk crabwise. Fortunately, Lily has indeed been keeping it clean, and there is none of the dank or musty smell that you associate with ancient forgotten tunnels. As you walk, snatches of sound and conversation from the rest of the palace can be heard, but nothing you can make out without lingering to listen closer."Is this mapped out?" you wonder, as you pass by another branch that Lily ignores, fixed on her destination."Maybe?" Lily sounds unconcerned. "Probably, since they've mapped out all the secret passages they've found already. Anders probably has the full map. Everywhere else is boarded up or walled off into dead ends, anyway; I checked. It's really easy to find your way in here, thanks to that."With all the doubling back and changes in elevation you've gone through, you do not share Lily's confidence in navigation. However, you can vaguely tell that there has been a general upwards trend.>[2/3]
You finally emerge in a small, tidy room, devoid of furniture, and yet tastefully decorated with such objects as Lily could conceivably have carried here with her own hands. A few rugs lie on the stone floor, upon which are a handful of folding stools. A small bookcase sits in the corner, with a set of notebooks arrayed on it.The room is illuminated by a pair of oil lanterns set into the wall, as well as an arrow-slit providing a thin slice of natural sunlight, as well as a view of the city. Lily had made sure the lanterns were well-maintained, and they give off a clear, clean light. The arrow-slit window has also been spruced up by the installation of a hopeful curtain. You can feel a gentle draft from somewhere else, so it is obviously not the sole source of ventilation in this room."Welcome to my study room," Lily says shyly.> "It's very nice. And very impressive."> "Where are we? In relation to the rest of the palace, I mean."> "Did you set all of this up yourself?"> "Do you spend a lot of time here?"
>>36776854> "It's very nice. And very impressive."> "Where are we? In relation to the rest of the palace, I mean."> "Did you set all of this up yourself?"> "Do you spend a lot of time here?"
>>36776854>> "It's very nice. And very impressive.">> "Where are we? In relation to the rest of the palace, I mean.">> "Did you set all of this up yourself?"
>>36776854>> "Did you set all of this up yourself?">> "It's very nice. And very impressive.">> "Where are we? In relation to the rest of the palace, I mean."
>>36776854> "It's very nice. And very impressive."> "Did you set all of this up yourself?"> "Does anyone else come here?"
AFK for an hour for dinner.
>>36776854>"None of the maids ask to bunk with you?"
Rolled 39 (1d100)>>36776854> "Did you set all of this up yourself?"> "Do you spend a lot of time here?"
>>36776854>Have you seen anyone else using these passages?
>>36776854> "It's very nice. And very impressive."> "Where are we? In relation to the rest of the palace, I mean."> "Do you spend a lot of time here?"
Faced with such a stunning display of home improvement, you take a moment to piece together a suitable comment. "It's very nice. And very impressive. Did you set all of this up yourself?""I had a bit of help," Lily says. "Here and there. Mostly finding things second-hand. With a bit of cleaning and mending, everything's good as new, isn't it?"You can recognize an evasion when you hear it. "So does anyone else know about- actually, let me ask again," you interrupt yourself. "Has anyone else been here? Other than me?""Well, no," Lily admits. "I'm the only maid who really studies a lot. And sometimes, well, I kind of need some time to myself." Her hand goes up to touch her pointed ears again, in a quick but deliberate gesture.Lily had insisted that she was not being bullied for her elven heritage, and given what you've seen of her interaction with the other servants, she is well-liked, if only because she is the primary source of delicious chocolate cakes for the staff. "I was curious if anyone else knows about this room. Not just the secret passage, but this room in particular."Lily shrugs. "As I said, I didn't really keep it a secret or anything. I'm sure someone else has seen me carting stuff back and forth from here. Nobody's said anything, though, so it must be fine."Inherent in that statement is the understanding that by not volunteering the information, Lily can avoid any inconvenient instructions explicitly prohibiting her from having this little room for herself. It is not especially large, and even with just the two of you here, it already feels a little cramped; you guess that it was formerly a tiny attic intended for storage. Or, given the arrow-slit window, for the defense of the palace by a single archer.>[1/2]
"Where are we?" you wonder. "In relation to the rest of the palace, I mean.""I'm not really sure," Lily says. "I never did work it out myself. It shouldn't be too difficult, though." She points to the window. "From the view of the city, we should be above the Duke's chambers. Or maybe it's Anders's office. Somewhere in that area, anyway. Of course, we're a lot higher than four storeys up, so there should be other stuff in between."More mysterious architecture to explore, should you feel inclined.Lily hands you a folding stool, and opens one for herself. "Come on, have a seat."You gingerly settle onto the stool. Despite its rickety appearance, it holds your weight. You guess it was chosen more for portability than sturdiness, and while you and Lily would have no issues, someone larger like Roderick would probably snap it into splinters."So!" Lily leans forward eagerly. "What happened this morning? Is something going on with that cube? Is Knight Captain Clarissa all right? Where did Sir William go?"> "The story actually started last night..."> "Like I said, we're still looking into it."> "The Captain is fine, as you saw. And Sir William went to Grunmarl."> "Actually, I was hoping we could go over some of the etiquette classes."> "Where's that draft coming from?"
Rolled 79 (1d100)>>36777398> "Where's that draft coming from?"> "The story actually started last night..."
>>36777398>"Where's that draft coming from?"> "The story actually started last night..."> "Like I said, we're still looking into it."
>>36777398>> "Where's that draft coming from?"> "The story actually started last night..."
>>36777398> "The Captain is fine, as you saw. And Sir William went to Grunmarl."
>>36777398> "The story actually started last night..."> "The Captain is fine, as you saw. And Sir William went to Grunmarl."
>>36777398> "Like I said, we're still looking into it."> "The Captain is fine, as you saw. And Sir William went to Grunmarl.">"Where's that draft coming from?"
>>36777398> "The story actually started last night..."> "The Captain is fine, as you saw. And Sir William went to Grunmarl."> "Where's that draft coming from?"
>>36777398>"I met that shadow, and I came back with nothing but a report and drenched clothes to show for it.">"Actually, I was hoping we could go over some of the etiquette classes.">"Where's that draft coming from?"
If you don't tell her now, Lily will most likely either bug you until you do, or come up with her own interpretations of events.Besides, it's not precisely a secret, since what few glimpses of your nocturnal chase that the citizens of Alvar might have seen will probably have percolated through the populace by now as another spooky ghost story. And as a resident staff of the palace of Alvar, Lily certainly has something of a right to know about sudden shadowy figures that might turn up to intrusively observe whatever they may."The story actually started last night," you say. "I went to check up on the cube, and saw something there." You leave out the details of the nightmare-absorber and the nightmare spells; it's not relevant to the immediate situation, and you're still waiting for Elise to finish investigating that too. "I gave chase to it, got caught in the rain, and lost track of it. So this morning we had Elise take a look at the cube, in case anything had happened to it."Lily looks at you with a gratifying amount of awe. "Who was the person you chased?""I don't know," you say. "I'm not even sure it was a person. It was a dark, shadowy figure. I'm pretty sure it was magical." Elf magic, according to Elise, but you should probably check with her before releasing that information."A shadow?" Lily swallows. "Like the one I... the ones we saw?"A possibility, but so far only a possiblity. "Maybe," you hedge. "It's hard to tell, though. We didn't get a good look at them, so they might be different." You fidget in your seat. "Where's that draft coming from?" It's nowhere near strong enough to be uncomfortable, but not knowing where it comes from makes you feel unaccountably nervous.>[1/2]
"Oh, that? I haven't a clue," Lily says. "It's a pretty old part of the palace, though. It might even be part of the original cathedral construction, so it's no wonder that there are gaps everywhere." She taps a foot on the floor. "I've put the rugs over the more obvious holes I could find on the floor, and I plugged up the others in the walls with sackcloth. I've probably missed others that are too small to see, though."You can see a couple of spots where the sackcloth had been stuffed, now that Lily pointed it out. It still doesn't quite explain the definite draft in the room, but you don't think it is polite to prowl around searching for the source."Still, that's amazing," Lily says. "I didn't know it was all so exciting. Oh, I won't tell anyone else about the details," she hastily assures you. "Now that I know about it. I thought it was just, you know. Something normal."You wish your life as a knight-apprentice here was normal, too. "Anyway, the Captain is fine, as you saw. And Sir William went to Grunmarl."You have gotten into the habit of watching Lily's reactions closely, in case she demonstrates further odd behaviour in conversation. As such, you easily catch the way she freezes for a fraction of a moment, perfectly still, before visibly forcing herself to relax. "Oh," she says. "What is he doing there?""Knight stuff," you say, continuing to watch Lily.Lily is clearly aware of the slip in her control over her emotions, and leaves that topic alone. "Anyway!" she says brightly, with a cheer that sounds only slightly forced. "We've procrastinated long enough. Was there anything in particular you wanted to revise for your studies?"> "Are you all right, Lily?"> "Is there something about Grunmarl I should know?"> "Etiquette. I'll be going to Whiteford with the Duke's delegation, and I don't want to make a fool of myself."
>>36777934>> "Are you all right, Lily?">> "Etiquette. I'll be going to Whiteford with the Duke's delegation, and I don't want to make a fool of myself."
>>36777934> "Are you all right, Lily?"
>>36777934> "Etiquette. I'll be going to Whiteford with the Duke's delegation, and I don't want to make a fool of myself."Best sq- knight apprentice!
>>36777934>"Etiquette. I'll be going to Whiteford with the Duke's delegation, and I don't want to make a fool of myself.">"But if I catch you doing that again, I'm prying."
>>36777934>> "Are you all right, Lily?"> "Etiquette. I'll be going to Whiteford with the Duke's delegation, and I don't want to make a fool of myself."
I caught up! Haha!You're a brutal man who keeps toying with his players with all these secrets and mysteries, Damp. You're a monster!I like it, kind of.
>>36778218>more master, punish and tease me more~
"Are you all right, Lily?" The way she keeps doing that whenever she talks to you feels like it would be faintly impolite in any other company, which is a curiously cheering thought: one definition of friendship you've overheard before is people who feel comfortable being rude to each other.Besides, this time her reaction seems natural, rather than deliberately revealed. Which is a welcome change. Something about the mention of Grunmarl had triggered a chain of thought that Lily did not like."I'm fine," Lily says, still with that forced cheer. "Really. It's nothing important. I was just distracted by a stray thought."Fair enough. But if Lily continues displaying such reactions, you don't think you can stop yourself from prying further. "I was hoping to go through some of the etiquette lessons. I'll be going to Whiteford with the Duke's delegation. I'd rather not make a fool of myself.""Oh yes, I heard about that," Lily says. You can almost detect the relief in her voice from the change in topic. "I'm not involved in the packing, but I'll probably be working to unpack, once you return. The Knight Captain is going too, isn't she? Which means Sir William is going to stay here."It should be common knowledge by now, since the preparations would have required the servants to know which members of the Duke's retinue need assistance in assembling their luggage, among other travel preparations. As a mere knight-apprentice, you evidently do not rate such service just yet."Sir William," Lily repeats slowly and speculatively.You briefly consider telling Lily that William is technically spoken for, but it's not as though Katherine had made her claim known. And it doesn't sound like Lily is personally interested in William either, so maybe she is formulating a scheme to get the two together.>[1/4]
Lily shakes herself out of her thoughts. "Um, I don't have my notes with me here, but I can explain the basics to you if you'd like." She reaches out towards the bookshelf, and picks out a notebook from the other apparently identical ones. A cup sits on the bookshelf as well, serving as both a bookend and a container to hold several pencils, one of which Lily grabs.She opens the notebook to a blank page. You open your own notebook, ready your pencil, and wait attentively.When next your awareness returns to you, you blearily look down at your notebook to see a mass of undecipherable squiggles and lines, surrounding equally unreadable scrawls of what may or may not be names and titles. Here and there some clarity surfaces in the form of a familiar arrangement of letters spelling out part of a name you may have heard of, only for the text to be swallowed by the swamp of incomprehension.Lily looks at you with something very close to sympathetic pity. "I had the same problems when I first started," she says.You remind yourself that Lily has been a maid at the palace of Alvar for just over a month. This is your second week as a knight-apprentice, and you have a long way to go."I think it would be simpler if we concentrated just on the most important people you should know," Lily says, turning to a new page. With careful strokes, she sketches out a quick tree of hierchies and relationships. "This isn't the most detailed chart, but you should be all right if you can follow it. It should help you with the underlying principles, too." She tears out the page, and gives it to you.>[2/4]
"Thanks, Lily." You see the Ridelham name immediately, and their political rivals Lyseille is also easily spotted. Clarissa's name is listed without comment, under the Ridelham branch. The current monarch, Queen Janessa the Fourth, is nominally of the ruling Veramar nobility, but thanks to all the intermarriages and alliances and assorted interactions of that strata of civilization, she can trace her ancestry to the Ridelhams, the Lyseilles, and three other noble houses besides.Lily's notes do not go into detail, and rightly so; the intricacies of Whiteford's history as applied to their ruling classes are not as important as knowing how to address them in the present time.You check around Clarissa's name, and learn that her brother is one Martin Lenn ain Ridelham. Curiously, there is another entry which is a simple question mark, along with "Not Important" written beside it."I don't actually know what many of these people look like," Lily warns. "They're all just names and titles to me. So, uh, be careful, all right?""I will." You have long since resolved to stay close to Clarissa or Simone, and follow their cues in greeting others. As a knight-apprentice, you will hopefully be forgiven for keeping your mouth shut and looking ornamental. "I appreciate the help, Lily.""You're welcome." Lily checks her pocketwatch. "I'm afraid I have to go. I'm on duty at the baths, so I'll have to have a late dinner."And you'd rather not have to make your way back to the palace proper by yourself, lest you lose your way and be cursed to wander the secret passageways of Alvar palace for eternity. "Thank you for inviting me to your study-room, Lily. And for the helping me in my studies.">[3/4]
Lily leads you back with a minimum of conversation. Once you are out of the passageways, she bobs a quick curtsy, and trots off to the public baths, after picking up a scrubbing broom and a bucket from the cleaning supplies room you conveniently exit the secret doorway in.You wander back out to the Great Hall, just in time to see Clarissa head up the stairs to your room on the second floor. She does not see you.It is just before dinnertime proper, so unless Clarissa has had an early dinner, she probably has other plans.> Head to the kitchens for your own dinner> Go see what Clarissa has planned
>>36778378> Go see what Clarissa has planned
>>36778378>> Go see what Clarissa has planned
>>36778378>Go see what Clarissa has planned
>>36778378> Go see what Clarissa has plannedcue "It's happening!" from Nicolefags in KCQ
>>36778378> Go see what Clarissa has planned>>36778410KCQ?
>>36778414Knight Captain Quest. It's an in-joke.
>>36778414Knight Captain Quest, it's run by Dry
>>36778414Knight Captain Quest
>>36778414It's not a real quest.
>>36778378>Go see what Clarissa has plannedNicole needs some meat on her bones. she has those, right?
>>36778478I'm bad at in-jokes, even though I followed this from thread 1
>>36778564I was confused the first time I saw it too.
>>36778564If you never read or participate in any player discussion it is understandable, if not shame on you.
You are not particularly hungry, and you need to drop off your study stationery anyway. This is sufficient excuse to satisfy your curiosity on what Clarissa is up to.After reaching your room, you knock on the door out of habit. This is fortunate, as it allows Clarissa to shift behind her wardrobe door when you enter, and thus prevent any minor embarrassment."Good evening, Nicole," Clarissa greets you evenly. Since she has doffed her day clothes and is changing into her fancy formal uniform, the conclusion is obvious.You deposit your study materials on your desk, beside the big book of Whiteford's peerage. "Are you going to have dinner with the Duke, Captain?""His Grace invited me, yes," Clarissa says. "He also asked me to pass the same invitation on to you, should I see you before dinner."From the last time you had dinner with the Duke, you may expect more than a simple meal. "Did the Duke say what this was about?""Presumably he intends to engage us in scintillating conversation." Clarissa straightens a seam with exaggerated care.So Clarissa is not entirely happy about this, but she is not yet in the sort of mood that may result in having to spend another nightly vigil over her inebriation. She may need an impromptu chaperone to prevent her from over-imbibing, but she might not appreciate the implications of your presence for that purpose. "Should I accept the invitation, Captain?"Clarissa sighs. "Nicole, you are a squire-""Knight-apprentice.""A knight-apprentice of Alvar. Have more confidence in your own judgment, for good or ill." She glances at you. "By the way, where were you after class? I did not see you in the library."> "Lily took me to her study spot. It's a little secluded."> "Lily took me to her study spot. It's a room at the end of a secret passageway."> "Just studying, Captain."> "I accept the Duke's invitation, Captain. I'll just need a moment to change."> "I think I'll have dinner myself. Please give the Duke my apologies."
>>36778626>"Lily took me to her study spot. It's a little secluded.">"I accept the Duke's invitation, Captain. I'll just need a moment to change."Gotta get used to this sometime.
>>36778626>> "Lily took me to her study spot. It's a little secluded."> "I accept the Duke's invitation, Captain. I'll just need a moment to change."we have to keep Clarissa from getting drunk afterallmeanwhile in KCQ nicolefags are squeeing at the prospect of her taking care of a drunk Clarissa
>>36778626> "Lily took me to her study spot. It's a little secluded."> "I accept the Duke's invitation, Captain. I'll just need a moment to change.Hivemind on~
>>36778626> "Lily took me to her study spot. It's a little secluded."> "I accept the Duke's invitation, Captain. I'll just need a moment to change."
>>36778643>>36778648>>36778659>>36778673>>36778674I love you all
>>36778686Loving the hivemind is mandatory.
>>36778430>run by DryHa!
>>36778626>"Lily took me to her study spot. It's a little secluded."> "I accept the Duke's invitation, Captain. I'll just need a moment to change."
>>36778813There are parallel universes were different quests by different people are run. It is through these quests that our universes interact.When our their dice gods give us 20s, theirs give them 1s.
If Lily is carefully not mentioning the secret passage to anyone else, it is hardly your place to smash the facade. "Lily took me to her study spot," you say. "It's a little secluded."Clarissa gives you a level look, but does not comment further.You open your wardrobe as well. "And I'm accepting the Duke's invitation, Captain. I'll just need a moment to change.""Understood," Clarissa says. She does not sound displeased, which is a positive point. "Have you worn your formal uniform before?"You've tried, once, but gotten confused by all the buttons and braids. "I might need a little help, Captain.""Here, allow me." Clarissa, now fully-dressed, reaches out to you. "Fold the cuffs here, like this. Straighten your collar. Do not leave the braid tangled. No, doing it that way is unsightly; try it this way. Suck in your stomach, and stand up straight. Button that, there." She steps back to give you a once-over, and brushes some lint off your shoulder. "Try not to spill any food on your uniform.""Yes, Captain." You look down at yourself. The uniform is a lot stiffer than you're accustomed to, with far more dangly bits which seem like they'd be easily torn off should they be caught in anything inconvenient. Which might be the point for these uniforms; wearing them may be a declaration to the world that you do not expect any trouble that would result in rapid action.At least as a knight-apprentice, you are expected to fade into the background beside the higher-ranking knights. Clarissa's uniform, apart from the different braid and stripe colours, has far more dangly string bits. You can only be thankful the uniform does not include headwear; you do not think either of you will look very good with plumes.>[1/2]
"Are there any others who have been invited?" you ask, patiently waiting as Clarissa makes yet another final adjustment to your uniform."I hear Elise has been summoned," Clarissa says.Dinner conversation will certainly be fraught, tonight.Clarissa leads the way to the Duke's dining hall, pausing outside the double doors, where a pair of palace guards stand at attention. She murmurs into the ear of the nearer one, who glances at you, and nods in acknowledgement. He lightly taps a short rhythm on the door, which opens just enough for a maid to poke her head out. The guard passes on the message, and the maid ducks back inside."Setting your place at the table," Clarissa murmurs. "Nobody could locate you, you understand."Lily's secret study spot might be more secret than is convenient.The two of you are finally admitted into the dining hall. The Duke is already there, seated at the head of the table. Around him, you count three other places."Victor will be having dinner in his room," the Duke says, noticing your gaze. He is dressed in his normal workday clothes, and you feel slightly overdressed, even with Clarissa beside you. "Please, take a seat."Clarissa takes her seat at the Duke's right side, and you sit down the table beside her. Clarissa stares professionally ahead at a distant spot on the wall directly opposite, while the Duke rests his chin in his hands, elbows on the table, waiting patiently for the last member of the dinner party.> "Good evening, sir."> "I apologize for my late notice, sir."> "Did something happen, sir?"> Silently wait for Elise to arrive
>>36779080> "Did something happen, sir?"> Wait for Elise to arrive
>>36779083I'm okay with this. Clarissa can be hyper formal around the Duke all she wants.
>>36779080>>36779083wasn't there something about not speaking unless talked to?
>>36779292It doesn't feel like just a dinner, probably just a pretense to discuss the recent things that've been happening.
>>36779292Not like the duke's formal. I mean his elbows are on the tablet. That alone is against the most basic etiquette.
You do not feel the urge to stare at an equally non-fascinating point on the opposite wall. This dinner has the air of a war conference rather than a relaxing meal."Did something happen, sir?" you ask. Beside you, Clarissa twitches, but calms herself before scolding you for speaking without being prompted.The Duke leans back in his chair, taking a few moments to collect his thoughts. "Certain things have happened, yes. I apologize for using your dinnertime like this, but we must all make allowances."You are about to ask for what purpose allowances must be made, when the doors open once again, and Elise staggers inside.Elise looks like she has not had the full benefit of the sleep you had given her. Dark circles lie under her eyes, and her complexion is pale and sickly. To her credit, she does seem to have made some effort to clean up for the dinner, and she is wearing what is probably her ceremonial court wizard's robe, which unfortunately does not fit her very well.She manages a smile as she settles into her seat. "Good evening, Pierre. Nicole. Dear Captain." You notice that she is shivering slightly.The Duke looks at her in alarm. "Elise, when you said you would talk about this during dinner, you didn't say you were in this bad a condition. Do you need more time?""No, no, I'm fine," Elise assures him. "I just need some coffee. Where's Victor?""Victor is in his room," the Duke says, as coffee is brought forth for Elise. You get a glass of wine, while Clarissa blinks at the glass of water poured for her. "As an apology and compensation, I promised to buy him that coat he's been asking for, and spend at least a full day with him in Veramar. But I do not think this is a discussion that suits his young mind."You recall Victor with an empty water-glass on the night the conduit cube was discovered. He may well be eavesdropping even now, which you decide is not your concern to raise.>[1/2]
Elise ponders this. "I'd like his insights on a few details, but you're right. We can tell him, and everyone else, when the official report comes out." She takes a deep, shuddering breath. "So. Where do I begin?""With dinner," the Duke says firmly. "Get something to eat, Elise. You too, Clarissa. You'll feel better with something in your stomach, before we talk about what you've discovered."Elise shrugs. Clarissa looks like she intends to speak, but remains silent.Dinner at the Duke's table is goose. You get only a small portion, which suits you quite well. Both Elise and Clarissa get a whole goose each, which, from what you can see, also suits them quite well. The Duke has a more reasonable portion, which is probably the same bird your cut was taken from. Evidently the chefs and servants have been given quite specific instructions on your respective culinary preferences."I have received certain missives," the Duke says, looking straight at you. "I'm afraid I'm going to be making your life more complicated, Nicole."This does not sound promising."It's couched in quite a lot of diplomatic claptrap," the Duke continues. "But the gist is that the elven nation of Crystal Vale wishes to send a team here to Alvar to interview you. Specifically you, Nicole."Clarissa chokes on her goose.> "Why me, sir?"> "I would really rather not, sir."> "Is this about the shadow I chased down?"> Slap Clarissa on the back
>>36779725> Slap Clarissa on the back> "Is this about the shadow I chased down?"Can't resist the slap
>>36779725> "Why me, sir?"> "Is this about the shadow I chased down?"
>>36779725>"Is this about the shadow I chased down?">Slap Clarissa on the backHeheh, always watchin' out for our Knight Captain
>>36779725> "Why me, sir?"> "Is this about the shadow I chased down?"Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck
>>36779725>> Slap Clarissa on the back>> "Why me, sir?">> "Is this about the shadow I chased down?"
>>36779725> Slap Clarissa on the back> "Why me, sir?"> "Is this about the shadow I chased down?"Have to make sure. Maybe a bit embarrassing, but a woman of her stature choking to death on dinner is just insulting.
>>36779725>"Then it appears that I am even further behind on studies than I thought. I don't know a lot about elves, and I certainly don't know a thing about how I should act."
>>36779725>> "Why me, sir?"> "Is this about the shadow I chased down?"
>>36779725>> "Why me, sir?"obviously they are curious about the elven magical shadow, but this answer would be my prime reaction
>>36779822We should request that Elise and Lily accompany us.
>>36779904I'm 100% behind you on Elise but Lily - while being an elf with a mysterious past - is just a maid and not supposed to be privy to these things (yet).
You watch Clarissa with concern, but she recovers enough to drink a gulp of water, which clears the obstruction. She catches her breath, before finally emitting a growl. "What.""Why me?" you ask the Duke, allowing your genuine panic to leak into your voice. Surely it would be normal for anyone to panic in this situation. "Is this about the shadow I chased down?""Given the nature of the letter, which has all the hallmarks of one composed in a great hurry, I believe so," the Duke says. "I cannot imagine any other reason for the Vale to be interested in you."You can think of several reasons, none of them suitable for dinner conversation, or indeed any conversation."There are certain indications based on the description of the shadow you chased down," Elise says. "Especially the small object you say was lost when it disappeared. Without any more evidence I can't be sure, but the shadow familiar you saw is probably from a Vale elf mage. Esterian pseudo-familiars are usually less conspicuous, and Ayrich doesn't have a magical tradition to speak of, so they borrow mostly from Esteria." She takes a vicious bite of goose, and swallows it without chewing much. "Of course, the mage probably has accomplices in the city, to help relay the spell. It's a long way to Crystal Vale, and there aren't many mages who can cast a familiar spell with that level of skill, much less at a distance."You consider this. "Are there any mages from Crystal Vale with that ability, already in the city?""Me," Elise says.Oops.>[1/3]
"In any case, I am not inclined to grant their request," the Duke says briskly. "Anders has advised me against it in the strongest possible terms, and I do not appreciate one of my staff being interrogated by a foreign delegation. I am informing you of this, Nicole, because I do not think this is the last we will hear of this matter. I will protect you as best as I can from inquiries on official channels, but as you have experienced first-hand, unofficial channels may be an issue."At least you're used to avoiding answering questions. One more source of inquiries will probably not be too difficult a burden to bear. "Thank you, sir. But doesn't this mean they admit sending a shadow familiar to spy on us?""Officially, they did nothing of the sort," the Duke says. "And without evidence, I cannot accuse them of such a heavy crime as espionage. A reply letter refusing their request to interview you is the best I can do, sent to the Crystal Vale embassy in Gracewell. But I do agree that it places their interest in a very suspicious light."Yet the question of what a faraway nation of elves would want with the conduit cube remains a mystery. "I apologize for not finding the small object left by the shadow, sir.""Don't be," the Duke says. "You've done exceptionally well. I'm not sure I can believe the accounts of your ability to traverse the city so quickly, but perhaps you can dispel all doubts one day with a demonstration."You fix a polite smile on your face."Besides, I hear the city guards have been searching for that item as well," the Duke continues. "Especially that one constable, er...""Constable Marianne Farnston," Clarissa supplies. "Who has sent a report up the chain of command to my desk, along with a note of rather fulsome apology addressed specifically to you, Nicole. Remind me to pass it along to you later.">[2/3]
You're not sure what you're supposed to do with Marianne's apology note, apart from file it away with awkward sentiments. "Thank you, Captain.""We don't have a lot to work with, anyway," Elise says. "The entire point of the shadow familiars is that they can be discarded should they be discovered and trapped. Any residue they leave will have evaporated almost immediately, and even finding their core focus is no guarantee of proof. After less than a day, the focus becomes inert and useless for scrying.""What does this focus look like?" the Duke asks, curious.Elise takes a lengthy draught of coffee, in preparation for a brief lecture. "It doesn't have to be very large. In fact, it's often tiny. The form is almost as important as the material. Since crystals and gemstones are difficult to work with, usually metals are used, especially non-reactive ones like gold. There are many different forms the focus can take, but for a long-distance spell, the most efficient is usually a circle."> "Like a small gold ring?"> "If I bring you another example, could you confirm whether it was used as a focus?"> Choke> Remain silent
>>36780544> "Like a small gold ring?"> Fidget
>>36780544> "Like a small gold ring?"
>>36780544Why would she choke?
>>36780588I too feel like I've missed something here. Is it just a reaction to Elise perfectly describing the shiny thing we saw fall or is there another golden circle we're aware of?
>>36780643Perhaps the coffee is just that bad in Nicole's opinion?
>>36780588Could someone shed some light on this? We're all playing the same game. We might as well help each other out.
Wait, didn't Lily have a gold ring?!Hahah, just messing with y'all
>>36780588>>36780643Clarissa choked in reaction to hearing that the knife eared fuckers want to interrogate us because their shitty spy got caught.>>36780544> "Like a small gold ring?"
>>36780728We're referring to the> Chokeoption, ya dingus.
Worst spy quest? Well>Choke
>>36780750ah, didn't see that, it is odd
>>36780544> Choke> "Like a small gold ring?">>36780588>>36780643>>36780663>>36780706 one of the murdered thieves had a gold ring in his pocket...
>>36780842>one of the murdered thieves had a gold ring in his pocket...GodDAMN someone's on the ball today, thanks anon.
>>36780842Finally. Thanks for answering.
>>36780842I missed that. Thanks.
>>36780842Nice catch>36780544Going with>choke>"Like a small gold ring?"
HOLY CRAP!! That long week hiatus really forgot something that is very importantdice+20d3>say something about the investigation
>>36780842But was he an elf?
Rolled 4 + 3 (1d20 + 3)>>36780911
Rolled 3 + 3 (1d20 + 3)>>36780911detective Nicole is on the case.I don't care if it's not QM, I love dice rolling.
Rolled 4 + 3 (1d20 + 3)>>36780911third times the charm.
>>36780937doesn't need to be, if he stole the ring, like a thief would, then they would be panicking to get back the focus for shadow spy>>36780544> Choke> "Like a small gold ring?">say something about the investigation
>>36780544> Choke> "Like a small gold ring?"> "If I bring you another example, could you confirm whether it was used as a focus?"
>>36780956>>36780967>>36780981...Why are you guys rolling?
>>36781020They're doing it for the fun of it.
Rolled 18 + 3 (1d20 + 3)>>36781048They're also doing a piss poor job of it.Now this? THIS is how you roll!
>>36781067Teach me master...
>>36781067>18+3Well, got to agree with you there, buddy, even if it's not 20.
>>36781020For complete humanity investigation....and for the worst spy
You picture this hypothetical focus, and the result makes you twitch hard enough for a piece of goose to attempt going down the wrong way.Fortunately, you manage not to make more of a scene than necessary, and Clarissa's meaty thump on your back dislodges the food. "I'm all right," you croak. A deep breath, to collect yourself. "This focus. It's like a small gold ring?"Elise blinks. "I suppose so. I've never thought about it that way, but it would resemble a gold ring. In fact, it would probably be mistaken for a gold ring by anyone unversed in elf magic."Elves do not traditionally wear rings, or indeed any jewelry made of metals or gemstones. This has obviously changed after contact with humans, whose high-end fashion lifestyles revolve almost entirely around jewelry of precious metals, and the inter-mixing of humans and elves ever since the days of the Old Empire and the Great Gift has led to a similar mixing of fashions and cultures.But to a traditional elf, as the elves of Crystal Vale tend to be, a small circle of gold is primarily a potential magical focus first, and a valuable item of jewelry only after long consideration of other cultures.You take a sip of your wine to soothe your throat. It's not as though all gold rings are potential focuses for elven magic, and you need to be very careful in not jumping to convenient conclusions.But you cannot help but think of the plain, unadorned, unmarked gold ring found in the belongings of the first discovered victim of the mysterious murderer at large in Alvar. As far as anyone knows, Freddy the unfortunate pickpocket had been on his way to fence this gold ring.You'd need to get approval to bring the gold ring in the evidence room to Elise, or Elise to the evidence room. You're not sure which is less trouble.>[1/3]
In any case, it can wait, likely at the speed of bureaucracy. That ring is not going anywhere; if it hasn't retrieved by another shadowy figure by now, it has probably been missed. Or it might not even be a focus, which would be disappointing, but safe. Having an outside influence involved in what were just a few murders in Alvar up until now would definitely complicate matters immensely.The others at the table evidently take your subsequent thoughtful silence to be the end of the topic, as the Duke places his knife and fork on his empty plate, and clasps his hands together on the table. "Now then, Elise. You have reached some conclusions about the cube?"Clarissa's expression turns stony. Elise glances worriedly at her, but forges on. "Yes, Pierre. I think I've worked out most of the details of how the nightmare spell interacts with it."The Duke opens his hand, inviting her to continue."To begin with," Elise says, pushing her plate away, "the cube is definitely a pre-Empire artefact, as we've all guessed. I don't know how it works on the inside, but that doesn't really matter, since all we're concerned about is what goes in, and what goes out. And what I've learned is that the cube is not just a conduit to relay a spell over long distances. It's also an amplifier and catalyst, changing the spell and making it more potent, mutating it in the process."The Duke frowns. "Do you mean the nightmare spell might not be a nightmare spell in the first place?""There is a possibility of that," Elise says. She rubs at her eyes. "I suspect the original spell was a suggestion spell utilizing a blood or relationship link. Not too difficult to cast for the right person, but nowhere near as effective as it, er, turned out to be." Another nervous glance at Clarissa, and another gulp of coffee. "The cube turned it into the nightmare spell we've been struggling with.">[2/3]
"Did the spellcaster know about the cube?" the Duke asks."Absolutely. The cube had to be used deliberately. The initial spell had to be modified with a certain sequence, which unlocks the potential of the cube, letting it alter the spell as it was designed to do." Elise pauses. "Or not. The cube could have a completely different purpose, and maybe the amplification is just a side effect.""So why did the spellcaster stop using the cube?""I don't think they planned to," Elise says. "Something happened to the cube that changed its sequence. Changed its lock, so to speak, meaning the key doesn't work anymore. I'm still working on what it was, but I don't think it's important; maybe the wards I put up around it triggered something."Or maybe the shadow familiar sent by Crystal Vale was doing more than merely observing."Anyway, the point is." Elise leans forward, her eyes bright despite her fatigue. "I think I can crack the cube's code, with some help. I just need a bit more information before I can get started.""To what end?" the Duke says."Thanks to the book of magic old Javers left me, and which Victor appropriated, I might be able to turn the spellcaster's magic against them. Not a tracking spell, but it should cause them some inconvenience, burning out their magical ability." Elise grins, without humour. "Or scramble their brains. I'm hoping for the latter."> "Is that what you've been working on all night?"> "Will it be dangerous?"> "How did the spellcaster get the cube's code in the first place?"> "How long will this take to set up?"> "... Captain?"
>>36781390> Remain quiet
>>36781390> "Will it be dangerous?"> "How did the spellcaster get the cube's code in the first place?"
>>36781390> "Will it be dangerous?"> "How did the spellcaster get the cube's code in the first place?"Wouldn't knowing something about the cube imply involvement with the Grunmarl expedition?
>>36781390>> "How did the spellcaster get the cube's code in the first place?"
>>36781390>"Is that what you've been working on all night?"
Despite the major breakthrough implied by Elise's offer to hoist the hostile spellcaster by their own mystical petard, you do have a few questions of your own, which might be of more relevance to your own situation. You take a moment to double-check that your question is worded in a way so as not to arouse undue suspicion. "How did the spellcaster get the cube's code in the first place?"Elise shrugs. "I have no idea. That's for far better minds than mine to work out."You hadn't expected an answer anyway, but had hoped to be pleasantly surprised.The cube was from Amberin, rather than Whiteford. If a member of Clarissa's family had indeed planted the cube in Alvar palace specifically to send nightmares to Clarissa, they had to have done so in Amberin, which would require a level of complexity in organization that beggars belief. Alternately, they could have somehow learned of the cube's existence here in Alvar, and then discovered its code, which would require a spy with a great deal of magical aptitude, certain requirements of which would disqualify you from suspicion, should it come to that.The spy hypothesis gains some surprising momentum, given the method of the cube's discovery in the first place. You wonder if shadows are responsible for this as well, but dismiss the idea as unsupported by any real proof. There might be some elven interest in this whole affair, but speculating without proof would just lead to paranoid fantasies, which are not proper thoughts for a knight-apprentice to have."Will the procedure be dangerous?" you ask.Elise waggles a hand. "No more than any other spell. Don't worry, Pierre, I won't let Victor anywhere near the practical aspects of this. He can help me with the theory, but this is not something for beginners. I'll tell him he needs to work on his control more, which is even partly true.""Much appreciated," the Duke murmurs.>[1/2]
"Also, the earliest I can do this is next week," Elise says. "Which should be when you're all in Whiteford."Meaning if the hostile spellcaster is indeed a member of the Ridelham family, who will likely all be attending the Feast of Saint Walther in Veramar, you may have the opportunity to see their head explode in person.As would Clarissa.You eye her with some worry, as do both the Duke and Elise. Clarissa, for her part, remains impassive.The Duke clears his throat. "We'll make a decision on that after giving it some thought," he declares, standing. "Elise, go get some rest. And I mean real rest. No experiments or research for the next day."You rise as well, following Clarissa's lead. Elise is slightly late, as she takes the opportunity to drain her coffee before standing as well. "All right, Pierre," she says. "I've gotten what I need, anyway."Clarissa stares fixedly at a point in front and slightly above the middle distance.The Duke looks between Elise and Clarissa. After a lengthy pause, he sighs, and shakes his head. "Nicole.""Yes, sir?""Good luck."Not many ways you can respond to that. "Yes, sir."The Duke's departure is the cue for the three of you to leave. Clarissa leads the way, with you following close behind. Elise trails along, despite her tower being in a different direction.No conversation is had until you reach your room. Clarissa stops outside the door, standing silently."Dear Captain," Elise tries.> roll 1d20, best of three
Rolled 10 (1d20)>>36781959Hope this is something good
Rolled 6 (1d20)>>36781959Here goes nothing
Rolled 7 (1d20)>>36781959
Rolled 4 (1d20)>>36781970Nah, you gotta roll like this...
Rolled 9 (1d20)>>36781959
Rolled 20 (1d20)These rolls are just sad.
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>36781967>>36781970>>36781982Failures.
Rolled 13 (1d20)>>36782002We're doing best of 7, right?
>Not a single roll above 10How decidedly average. That said, a fair number of GM think anything that isn't 15+ is a failure automatically.
Rolled 14 (1d20)>>36782002Hahah, nice roll
>>36782018We don't stop the assassin from killing Elise.Or we're asked to leave while plot bomb is dropped.Or she uses a word to command magical constructs and we obey.
Poor Elise, she is doomed.
>>36782074If we find out what Nicole is I'm totally fine with that. Or if they do and wont tell her... that'd be awesome as well. Watching them react strangely to objects/items keeping Nicole away from things and we're never sure why.
>>36782145That shouldn't be revealed until arc 3 iirc.
>>36782145Ah! Nicole why don't we step away from the fireplace?Oh.. Nicole.. I'll take care of that just set the vase down slowly.
>>36782195Iwe can also find out early iirc. But we get bad ended if we don't have enough social points before we find out.
>>36782074>"I've gotten what I need, anyway."What does Elise means ? The Duke seems to know.I have a bad feeling about that.Did she do something to our beloved captain ?Did Elise put something in our captain's water, or oursand our captain will suddenly fall asleep ?Or will Damp write "you sense nothing in particular" >>36782145Now I want that. Everyone but the players knows the secret, that would be glorious. "I'm glad you never touched the nightmare absorber, Nicole" "How do you know ?" *awkward silence from Elise and Clarissa*
>>36782285>"Dear Captain," Elise tries.She taught victor the spell to influence Clarissa incorrectly so it would be affection for her. When the whole thing backfires it will nuke victor and Clarissa will be totally enamored with Elise.He's the scapegoat.
Does damp make a post when they start writing?
Clarissa's hand flashes out, but you are faster.You dart between Clarissa and Elise, and fling up your hands to catch Clarissa's arm. You hadn't expected the sheer force Clarissa put behind the blow, which is certainly surprising considering her target, and you are rocked back on your feet. However, you just barely manage to stop the slap from impacting on Elise, who understandably flinches.You make sure you catch Clarissa's gaze. "Please don't do this, Captain."Clarissa deflates. You definitely did not expect this, but Elise evidently did, rushing in to help you support Clarissa, who is obviously trying very hard not to let her tears show."You utter, utter idiot," Clarissa mumbles."I know, dear Captain," Elise says. She wobbles slightly, and you shift more of Clarissa's weight to your side. "And after I scolded Victor for much the same.""Why would you do something so terribly stupid?"Elise does not answer this, as the three of you push into your room. Elise and Clarissa thump down onto Clarissa's bed; now it is Clarissa's turn to sit upright, letting Elise sag against her in sheer exhaustion.You let them sit there in silence, carefully not looking at them. Partly because interrupting the mood would be impolite, and mostly to let Clarissa compose herself. When you judge them to be sufficiently calm, you give voice to a nagging suspicion from earlier, based on Elise's condition. "Elise, did you redirect the nightmare spell onto yourself?""I did not," Elise protests, still leaning against Clarissa. "Well, not precisely. I just... partook of it. Slightly. From the residual spell energy left in the cube. There were safety precautions," she adds quickly.You remember the three dark orbs arrayed in Elise's workshop. You're also fairly sure she's not revealing everything about her experiments and the reasons behind them, even now.>[1/2]
"There had to be better ways," Clarissa says. "More difficult, but less painful.""There was some discomfort," Elise concedes, "but I wasn't in pain, as such.""I was not speaking of your pain, Elise." Clarissa takes Elise's shoulders and holds her steady. "Elise, please promise me that you will never go that far ever again. Even for me.""Dear Captain...""Promise me," Clarissa insists.Elise swallows. "I promise," she says."And never break that promise," Clarissa says. "Or I will order Nicole to stand aside next time."You never knew your job description as a knight-apprentice would involve solving interpersonal relationships between your superiors, but you give Elise an encouraging smile anyway.Clarissa releases Elise. "His Grace is right; you do look as though you could use some proper rest. You should go to bed, Elise."Elise smiles, letting her exhaustion seep through. "Is that an invitation, dear Captain?""Just go," Clarissa says, but sharing the smile. "It has been a long day. I should prepare for bed as well."Elise stands, wobbles, and steadies herself. "Of course, dear Captain." She shuffles to the door, but pauses. "Nicole, a word?"> "Of course, Elise."> "Sorry, Elise. I should have an early night as well."
>>36782522> "Of course, Elise."
>>36782522>"Of course, Elise."
And if I want to do justice to the Further Revelations coming up, I should go to bed myself, since it's very late and I'm sleepy. So I'm calling the thread here.Again, I'm not sure when I'll be able to run again, but hopefully it won't be as rare as once a week like this time.Thanks for joining me on the quest.
>>36782522>Of course, EliseEven with the low rolls we are good in agility which is OK for meAnd we might have anger points now from Clarissa herseld WHAT YOU GONNA DO NOW CLARICOLE SHIPPERS!!
>>36782576Thanks for running! Hope you've been feeling better than you were the other day.
So wait, I missed it. Clarissa was about to slap the shit out of Elise because she found out somehow that Elise was taking on the nightmare spell herself?
>>36782576The thread's been up for over 12 hours. You've done plenty.
>>36782576Thanks for runningAnd>Of course Elise
>>36782597And she slapped the shit out of Nicole instead.
>>36782576Thanks Damp. Was a fun ride.I'm discovering quests with yours, almost since the first chapter.Maybe it's the "secret in a secret" appeal, maybe the slice of life shenanigans, but I did grew somehow attached to this story.I'm sure you could re-use it in another medium, maybe a short novel with a few cute drawings, I would like to have it on my bookshelf. tl;dr: great job.
>>36782576Thanks for running!