> Previous thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/37697647/> 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 in a few minutes, you think you will have recovered enough to walk short distances without your legs giving way under you. This, you firmly assure yourself, is a mere psychosomatic sensation borne from your reluctance in accepting the knowledge that you will have to ride on a horse again.The horse that brought you back to Alvar is now being handled by a young stablehand, who shares the horse's reproachful stare in your direction. The stables outside the west gate of the city of Alvar are intended for travellers who wish to hire one or more horses for their journeys, or who have no further need of their horse upon reaching the city. The stables thus see a brisk trade, sprawling across a sizeable plot of land that includes feeding pastures, exercise yards, farriers, and other such accoutrements of a healthy, well-run facility catering to large and frequently picky animals.Most of the horses here are thus largely interchangeable, being relatively cheap riding and pack horses. It would be a reasonable assumption that the horse Cavie took from Digger's Rest is the same. Based on William's descriptions of the basics of equestrian pursuits, though, you're fairly sure the horse from the Duke's stables which you left at Digger's Rest is of an entirely higher calibre.>[1/3]
You had ridden here clinging to Cavie, formerly known as Escavila the Golden, legendary thief among Alvar's underworld, and possibly other unsavoury reputations besides. Cavie is a much better rider than you are, having made good time from Digger's Rest to Alvar at a full gallop. You are nowhere near as skilled, and travelling back to Digger's Rest to pick up your horse will probably take the rest of the day, especially in the lengthening nights as winter approaches. You don't mind the darkness, but you'd much rather be on foot when it comes.Which means it's best that you get to it as soon as you can.You walk over to the horse with only a very slight wobble, which is a promising sign. The stablehand continues to stare at you, even as you approach to collect the reins of the horse."Go easy on this one," he says. "Not good for the horse to over-exert, eh?"You paste a suitably contrite smile on your face, and make a few noises of acknowledgement to allow that you are adequately chastened. You don't think you feel up to anything more exciting than a walking pace, anyhow. Which makes the horse of questionable utility, but if you're going to have to drag it along, you may as well let it do most of the work.You slip the stablehand a few copper pieces from your meagre supply, and he passes you the reins. The horse suffers itself to let you back on, and you gingerly nudge it back on the road to Digger's Rest.This horse is not as smooth to ride as the one you were assigned. You are bounced about slightly more than would be comfortable, which is not a promising start to the journey of many hours. You steel yourself against the temptation of simply dismounting and walking, and shift as best as you can into the posture you had been taught would minimize the jolting. It does not seem to help very much, but this is probably something that requires practice and experience, which you are certainly obtaining at a respectable rate at the moment, or so you hope.>[2/3]
Also, you should probably find out what your assigned horse is named, if anything. People name horses, don't they? Like they name cats and dogs and hamsters. Then again, some people keep ornamental fish as pets, and those aren't named. You think.It is with such thoughts as the proper and most convenient way to tell one fish from another that you finally arrive back at Digger's Rest, and slide gratefully off the horse. Your own horse is still present, and peacefully chewing something that holds its attention more than your arrival.The streets are beginning to fill with people, scurrying about performing whatever errands they have left for the day, casting long shadows in the late afternoon sun. Within the next few hours, the people who had gone to Alvar for the day will be returning home. You had been overtaken by a few carriages and horses on the way here, containing those who decided to call an early finish to their shopping, and had the luxury of transportation arranged. You had also passed by several pedestrians, although you can't tell if the number is increased over the usual traffic.Best that you complete your business here as soon as you can, if you want to make it back to Alvar yourself before dark.> Maybe David is still waiting for us at the Pick And Shovel> Check the Grunmarl ruins> Forget the Professor, just collect your horse and go back to Alvar before dark
>>37896743> Check the Grunmarl ruinsI.. I wanna do all the things, but they're obviously mutually exclusive.
>>37896743>Maybe David is still waiting for us at the Pick And ShovelI still wanna offer to try and disarm the security system for him
>>37896743> Forget the Professor, just collect your horse and go back to Alvar before darkWe have to get back. Best not to get caught up in yet another ordeal.
>>37896743>> Maybe David is still waiting for us at the Pick And ShovelPoor guy just sitting there all alone
>>37896743>> Maybe David is still waiting for us at the Pick And Shovelthen> Check the Grunmarl ruins
>>37896743>Maybe David is still waiting for us at the Pick And Shovel
>>37896743> Forget the Professor, just collect your horse and go back to Alvar before dark
>>37896743>> Maybe David is still waiting for us at the Pick And ShovelIt's not like we need to do something at palace.
>>37896778He has the master thief as his aide, doubt we can offer any help. Other than unintentionally becoming target for ALL the magical wards.
You owe an explanation to David for your precipitious departure, albeit in hot pursuit of his own assistant. You're still not sure you can explain why you went after Cavie so insistently, but you just know that it was something you felt you had to do.Her obvious agitation may have been a factor. And if Cavie had not bothered to inform David about her plans, you can probably be forgiven for your own actions.Your last lead on David's whereabouts was at the Pick And Shovel tavern. You don't know if David will still be there, several hours after the fact, but if nothing else, he may have left a message for you.The Pick And Shovel is much quieter now, populated by a dour waitress working her way across the floor with a broom, a trio of rough-looking fellows nursing tankards of beer, and a pair of venerable seniors playing some sort of board game in the corner. The bartender, a heavyset man with the greying remains of a receding hairline, looks up at your entrance, and shifts to another position at the bar closer to you."Barlin's party, right?" he grunts.With your obviously foreign skin tone, you suppose you're not very difficult to pick out of a crowd. "Yes. Did the Professor leave any messages for me?"The bartender shook his head. "Just told me to tell you where he lives, if you came back."The directions are not difficult to follow, considering the size of the village. You find David's residence with a minimum of wandering; it is not as large as you expected, but it is just across from what you assume to be the local town hall and mayor's residence, which would imply this location to be the height of respectability.A bell-pull hangs beside the front door, but a scrawled sign claiming that it is Currently Under Repairs is attached. You knock shortly on the door instead."Door's open," David's voice calls from within.>[1/2]
David's residence is tastefully furnished with a variety of expensive-looking trimmings. Dark mahogany bookshelves line the walls, each filled with weighty volumes bound in leather. You suppose the salary of a learned scholar with a title in an established university allows him a fair degree of comfort.David emerges from somewhere to the rear of the house. He is wearing a jolly-looking light brown apron with no evidence of embarrassment; you do not detect any scent of cookery in the air, which probably means he hasn't actually begun making dinner yet."Nicole," David greets you. "How's Cavie?"> "I apologize for leaving so abruptly, Professor."> "Cavie said she had something to do in Alvar. She didn't say when she'll be done."> "Does Cavie take sudden leaves of absence very often?"> "Do you know of any way to contact Cavie when she's in Alvar?"
>>37897117>"I apologize for leaving so abruptly, Professor.">"Cavie said she had something to do in Alvar. She didn't say when she'll be done."
>>37897117> "I apologize for leaving so abruptly, Professor."> "Cavie said she had something to do in Alvar. She didn't say when she'll be done."> "Does Cavie take sudden leaves of absence very often?"> "Do you know of any way to contact Cavie when she's in Alvar?"
>>37897117> "I apologize for leaving so abruptly, Professor."> "Cavie said she had something to do in Alvar. She didn't say when she'll be done."> "Does Cavie take sudden leaves of absence very often?"
>>37897117> "Cavie said she had something to do in Alvar. She didn't say when she'll be done."
>>37897117>"Whatever it is she's dealing with, it appears to be something that I can't help with, if you can glean more from that than what I can."> "Does Cavie take sudden leaves of absence very often?"
First things first. "I apologize for leaving so abruptly, Professor."David waves a hand. "Entirely understandable, in the circumstances. I admit I hadn't expected Cavie to react the way she did at your message. I don't suppose you've had any more insights about its true meaning in the interim?"Evidently David does not know of anything from Cavie's past as Escavila the Golden that may explain her actions. "I'm afraid not, Professor. I can only speculate what the reference to rabbit holes means.""I see." David absently smooths out his apron. "This is the first time Cavie has panicked so, er, dramatically. I know about her past, of course, if only in the broadest of terms. But she never lets it get in the way of her work here, and indeed always seems uninterested by requests from her former associates to perform one last job or to return as a sort of prodigal leader. Or so I deduced, from her own explanations." He shrugs, letting the mystery fall off his own set of everyday concerns. "Did Cavie say when she will be back?""She just said she had something to do in Alvar," you report. "She didn't say when she'll be done." Or if she would ever be done. You wonder if Cavie has her own channels of communication to her boss. Presumably she would not send someone like Hugh the Liar out here to Digger's Rest, but no doubt she has other resources from her days as the Golden allowing her to dispatch someone less conspicuous.David taps a finger on his chin in thought. "Not many people here in Grunmarl know about Cavie's past. Herself, me, and the mayor, who I am confident keeps his own counsel. I suppose I will have to invent some story about her absence, to tell the other assistants and students.""Family matters are always a decent excuse," you suggest. Not that you'd know, personally.>[1/2]
David's lips quirk. "A poorly grandmother? I suppose it will hold up to surface scrutiny. There is a small expatriate community of elves in Alvar, just as in every other human city in the seven kingdoms. Demographically, most of those would be Esterian."Since Esteria is the largest elf nation on the continent by far, and second-place Crystal Vale does not seem as welcome to the idea of emigration. You don't know much about Ayrich, though. "I was thinking more about how the, uh, people that Cavie might have associated with in her past could count as her family, from a certain point of view."David holds a hand up. "I don't intend to elaborate further on our little charade. The more details we conjure up, the more apparent the holes will be."Fair enough. "Would the mayor of Digger's Rest know any more clues about Cavie's past?""Unlikely," David says. "He was informed as a matter of courtesy, and he graciously allowed Cavie to stay in Grunmarl. Other than that, I don't think he really cares, beyond making the occasional routine report to Alvar. You would probably have better chances of finding more information in the city."You'll have to corner Clarissa about this, then. The trip to Whiteford should offer ample opportunity to do so. A pity that Marianne is out of the city right now; you don't have the time to track her down and extract the information from her.David clears his throat. "Would you like to stay for dinner? I'm afraid my meals are simple, but we could discuss the current situation further." Obviously trying to be a good host.> "I'd love to stay. I might have to impose on you further by staying over, though."> "I suppose dinner couldn't hurt. Even at night, the roads to Alvar should be safe, right?"> "Thanks for the offer, but I should get back to Alvar before dark."> "Actually, I'm only here to report in and collect my horse."
>>37897512>> "Thanks for the offer, but I should get back to Alvar before dark."
>>37897512>"I'd love to stay. I might have to impose on you further by staying over, though."
>>37897512> "Thanks for the offer, but I should get back to Alvar before dark."Better to travel during the cold autumn night.
>>37897512> "Thanks for the offer, but I should get back to Alvar before dark."
>>37897512>"I suppose dinner couldn't hurt. Even at night, the roads to Alvar should be safe, right?"Gotta get practice at riding in the night for the infrequent ambush.
>>37897512>> "I suppose dinner couldn't hurt. Even at night, the roads to Alvar should be safe, right?"
>>37897512> > "I'd love to stay. I might have to impose on you further by staying over, though."
>>37897512>"I suppose dinner couldn't hurt. Even at night, the roads to Alvar should be safe, right?"Roads are always safe at night.
"Thanks for the offer," you say, equally politely, "but I should get back to Alvar before dark." A long list of possible hazards to riding a horse in the dark springs up unbidden in your mind. You do not mind the darkness, but you would really rather not have anything happen to the horse due to your inexperience, especially since you will no doubt have to pay for any damages.David accepts this with a nod and a faintly relieved smile. "I wish you luck in your endeavours then, Nicole. You are travelling out of the country in a couple of days, are you not?"The trip to Whiteford is scheduled just before dawn the day after tomorrow, and tomorrow is more or less taken up entirely by last-minute preparations. Clarissa had hinted that you may be roped in to help supervise the loading and packing of the carriages, which will involve a lot of awkward standing around and marking things on slates. "Yes, Professor. I'll try to find out more information about what Cavie is doing, and get word to you if I can."David coughs. "I trust Cavie," he says. You're not sure whom he is trying to reassure. "But, ah, I'm concerned about her, if you understand."It must be a more significant shock than David is letting on, that his trusted assistant had suddenly reverted into a past she claimed she left behind. A worry borne from a lack of answers, and more personal involvement than your own mere curiosity.After bidding farewell to David, you collect your horse from the stables, and head back once again to Alvar. This must be what had been in store for you if you had chosen to help Donovan out at Grunmarl, instead of choosing to investigate the murders with the City Watch. Presumably it would have been much more relaxing, if no less boring.The horse clops on at a relaxed walk, and you do not feel competent enough to hurry it on. It is a much more comfortable ride than the other horse, a fact which you can now truly appreciate.>[1/3]
You consider the horse as you ride. Greyish-white, which fits the usual image of a proper knight's steed, if rather less gleaming, and certainly less active. You can deal with the former, and are intensely grateful for the latter. You can't imagine the horse charging into battle, but you can't imagine yourself charging into battle either, so it is not a high priority.You realize that trying to come up with a name at this juncture is premature, given that you hadn't noticed whether the horse is male or female, and you are not about to dismount right now to check.The skies darken quicker than you would have preferred, at this time of year. You should be able to reach Alvar a bit after sundown. Not many people travel the roads at night; security outside the city is maintained by volunteer militias raised from the surrounding settlements, as well as a contingent of city guards who patrol the immediate surroundings just outside the city. Alvar does not maintain a standing army, although you have yet to learn why, other than simple tradition.Which means travellers at night trust in their luck and judgment to keep themselves safe. Given that they are travelling at night in the first place, luck probably plays a much bigger component.You almost miss the watcher until you are well within range.>[2/3]
If it had been any darker, you would probably have missed him entirely. As it is, he is positioned on a small bluff at the side of the road, looking like a small unassuming boulder, surrounded and camouflaged by other rocks. Only a subtle sense of apprehension made you take another look, at which point you finally recognize what you are looking at.It does not help that you had been expecting any sentries to be human or elf, rather than a dwarf.Now that you know what you are looking for, you can see at least two other dwarves hidden even deeper in the shadows, presumably as back-up. You are certain that there are more you have not spotted yet. You are also quite sure that they were not there on any of your previous trips on this route today.The dwarf sentry notes your presence by the slow tracking of his helmet, but otherwise remains motionless. You cannot make out any features at this distance, but he does not appear to be alarmed or angered by your presence.Given that the dwarf appears to be ignoring all the other traffic streaming by in the other direction, however sparse, you have to assume that you are the most interesting sight in view of his vantage point.> Ride up to the dwarf to greet him> Wave cheerfully as you pass> Ignore the dwarf, ride on to Alvar
AFK an hour or so for dinner.
>>37897937> Wave cheerfully as you passNothing to see here Mr. Dwarf. Just one 100% human.
>>37897937> Ride up to the dwarf to greet himTime to get drunk.
>>37897937>Wave cheerfully as you passStanding watch must be boring work, I don't see a reason to bother them though.
>>37897937>Wave cheerfully as you passA shame we aren't in uniform.
>>37897937>> Wave cheerfully as you pass
>>37897937>> Ride up to the dwarf to greet himSOCIAL LINKS GO
>>37897937> Ride up to the dwarf to greet himFirst time we see a dwarf since that day at the castle's entrance with Lily.
>>37897937> >> Wave cheerfully as you pass
>>37897937How about>wave lightly as you passIn case master dwarf prefers to remain unseen, but might still appreciate the gesture.
>>37897937> Ignore the dwarf, ride on to AlvarSeems like they're trying to not be seen. It's probably best not to indicate their presence.
>>37897937>> Ignore the dwarf, ride on to Alvar
You are not being hailed by this dwarf sentry, nor is he preparing to unleash a volley of whatever ranged weapons dwarves wield in your direction, which means you have no immediate business with the dwarf.You do wonder what the dwarves are doing here, though. They are probably not here as tourists, unless this is their way of seeing the sights, as it were. The nearest major dwarf hold is, as far as you can remember from checking maps in the library, nearer to the capital of Gracewell than it is to Alvar. Griffonpeak Hold borders the neighbouring kingdom of Amberin, but only because just about everything borders Amberin through its sheer size.There was that brief curiosity a few weeks ago when a group of dwarves demanded to check on the relics being held in the Alvar palace's vault. Considering events since then, those dwarves may have been on to something.It's not as though you can ask them, of course. And those dwarves had been covered in head to toe with full concealing armour, so you don't know if this equally covered dwarf is the same one as before. You're not sure you can tell dwarves apart anyway; you've only heard of them until very recently.On impulse, you essay a wave as you ride on past the sentry point. The dwarf does not react, although you can see him continuing to keep you, and specifically you, in his sight. You wonder what he'll put down in his report, if dwarves write reports.You risk a glance behind you just before you turn a bend. The dwarves are still in position.Too many mysteries for today. And none of them are likely to be solved before your trip to Whiteford, where you will no doubt add even more mysteries to your rapidly growing collection.>[1/3]
The torches and lanterns have been lit by the time you reach Alvar's northeast gate, close to the palace proper. The city guards on duty halt you long enough to shine a lantern in your face, which makes you twitch slightly in annoyance. You manage to keep any rude comments to yourself as they wave you through.This performance is repeated at the palace's rear gates, although thankfully without the lantern in your face. The palace guards are well familiar with you by now, and give you a friendly salute as you finally dismount. You return the salute across your chest, and pretend that you do not feel embarrassingly bow-legged from all those hours in the saddle.You lead the horse to the palace stables, where the stablemaster's son is finishing up with whatever horse-related duties stablehands perform every day. You recognize the boy from some of the lessons you attend, mostly in history; he usually stays close to a couple of other boys his age, and apparently sees education as a chance to catch up on his sleep."Did anything interesting happen today?" you ask conversationally, as you hand over the reins.The boy considers this question solemnly. "Big to-do at the yard," he says indifferently. "Spooked the horses.""What sort of to-do?""Lights of some sort. Could be magic." The boy shrugs. "Could be anything. Happened just before dinner, about five of the clock."You are aware of only one light-emitting device in the training yard. "Thank you. I'll have a look at it."The boy shrugs again, and leaves you to do whatever knight-related duties he imagines you to perform every day.>[2/3]
>>37898403Damn creepy dwarves. Don't they know they're scaring the children?
You take a wide detour to the training yard to confirm that the conduit cube is indeed silent and unlit. All the wards surrounding it have also been removed; in their place is a single signboard, requesting that passers-by refrain from touching the cube even in its inert state, and any inquiries are to be directed to the court wizard.Elise must have triggered the conduit cube to mark the unknown spellcaster hurling nightmares at Clarissa. The lack of panic in and around the palace implies that this is a planned event.> See if Clarissa is still in her office> Check in on Elise at the wizard's tower> Wizard's tower at night is scary, have dinner and go to bed
>>37898422>> See if Clarissa is still in her office
>>37898422> See if Clarissa is still in her officeGotta report in!
>>37898422>Wizard's tower at night is scary>See if Clarissa is still in her officeMuh superior officer...
>>37898422> Check in on Elise at the wizard's tower
>>37898422> See if Clarissa is still in her office
So where is the money gents? Elise? Unknown elf? Clarissa's family member? Victor? Other elf? Ork? Elves?Dwarves?
>>37898422>> See if Clarissa is still in her officethen> Check in on Elise at the wizard's tower
>>37898468I guessed Victor but there is a load of bullshit going on and I'm not so sure anymore.
>>37898468Probably those damn dirty elves but who knows anymore?
>>37898468Also have to consider more than that list. Victor or Elise could be a puppet. Especially Victor, what with his mysterious promises and knowledge. Then again maybe he purposefully choose that book to steal and then knew enough about magic by that point that he could recognize with some certainty what was going on. Elise is too obvious. That leaves me with the Duke.Drinking that wine all the time...
>>37898422> See if Clarissa is still in her officeWizard tower at night, Verboten.>>37898468Clarissa sure is involved, against her will, in some political scheming. An old cube in the basement was used against her. So the bad guys knew the cube was here, and above all knew how to use it, which is a performance on its own. Whoever they are, they're very good.Elise's guess is Elves. The shadow was elven magic. But the dwarves were interested in the basement, too. They must know something.Victor does not seem to be good enough at magic to be involved in that, though he mentioned somebody who may have helped him with magic...Things are moving in the shadows. Bad things. At least they have nothing to do with our past. Hopefully.
>>37898422>See if Clarissa is still in her officecomment on the dwarves
>>37898422We need to visit the tower to fight our trauma. Good knight apprentices aren't afraid of getting eviscerated by accidental magic and killing our companions.>>37898623Pretty well summed up. Good thing we can just fly away if things start to target us.
While you have visited the wizard's tower enough times since your first arrival in Alvar for its mystique to fade somewhat, the thought of entering it at night brings certain unpleasant and embarrassing memories to mind. Whatever Elise had done regarding the conduit cube, she will either have left a message for you upon your return, or she will brief you tomorrow.Also, you should probably report to Clarissa about the return of Escavila the Golden inside the Alvar city perimeter.You can't tell if Clarissa's office is occupied from here; she had closed her shutters against the encroaching cold, and you know that the curtains inside are too heavy to let much light through.You make your way into the palace by the proper route, as a normal person would do, and approach the door to Clarissa's office. Before you get as far as knocking, the door opens to reveal Clarissa herself, clutching a bundle of files.She stops short in surprise. "Oh. Nicole." She nods sharply in greeting. "Welcome back."Clarissa seems almost cheerful. There is a certain air of satisfied smugness about her, as with an artisan who is observing their delicate creation running smoothly and without error, which may be a metaphor more accurate than not. "Good evening, Captain. Am I interrupting anything?""Not at all. I was just going for dinner. A trifle late, but there were a few more matters I had to settle." Clarissa ruffles the files in her hands. "Nothing too important. Just confirming some schedules."As Clarissa had been doing for the past week. You console yourself in the knowledge that the addition of Escavila into the workings of the city is not something Clarissa can solve before the trip to Whiteford. You have no compunctions about dumping all the complications into William's lap. "Would you mind if I joined you for dinner, Captain?">[1/2]
"Not at all." Clarissa tucks the files under her arm, leading the way to the kitchens. "So what have you been doing with yourself today, Nicole?""I visited Grunmarl. And Digger's Rest.""Yes, Donovan told me he saw you on the road. In view of the present business with the upcoming journey to Veramar, I decided to forgo our usual competition."Meaning an eating contest. You'd have liked to see Clarissa really cut loose with her appetite, if only to see if there is such a thing as an amount of food that her metabolism cannot burn off. "Is Sir Donovan around?"Clarissa frowns. "William took him out into the city. I gather it is some form of bonding exercise. I chose not to enquire further."Upon reflection, you decide that the less you think about the possibilities, the better you will feel. And William is a native of Alvar, which means he should be able to pick out the appropriate houses of ill yet sufficiently hygienic reputation. Best to assume that alcohol will be the most of it.Dinner is a wide variety of sausages, including something intimidatingly black that you eventually recognize as sliced pork blood sausage. You can understand the principle behind fattening foods served to ward off the chill of winter, but you can only bring yourself to take a few thin slices. Even Clarissa does not pile her plate up as high as usual.The two of you take a seat at an open table. At this time of evening, most of the dinner crowd has already been and left."What were you waiting outside my office for?" Clarissa asks, by way of dinner conversation. "Did you have something you wished to ask me?"> "I must report that archaeological assistant Cavie, formerly known as Escavila the Golden, is back in Alvar."> "Did Elise leave any messages for me?"> "How are preparations for the trip to Whiteford going?"> "Nothing important, Captain."
>>37899019> "Did Elise leave any messages for me?"> "How are preparations for the trip to Whiteford going?"
>>37899019>> "I must report that archaeological assistant Cavie, formerly known as Escavila the Golden, is back in Alvar.">> "Did Elise leave any messages for me?"
>>37899019>> "I must report that archaeological assistant Cavie, formerly known as Escavila the Golden, is back in Alvar."> "Did Elise leave any messages for me?"
>>37899019"Well, I saw dwarven sentries on the way back, and Esc-I mean, 'Cavie' is back in Alvar on a personal matter. Supposedly. Thoughts?
>>37899019> "I must report that archaeological assistant Cavie, formerly known as Escavila the Golden, is back in Alvar."> "Did Elise leave any messages for me?"
>>37899019>"Did Elise leave any messages for me?"We shouldn't say the name "Escavila the Golden" out loud, Cavie seems fine but no more than that.
>>37899019> "Did Elise leave any messages for me?">"Did something happen with the cube while I was away?"And this: >>37899082
>>37899019> "I must report that archaeological assistant Cavie is back in Alvar."> "Did Elise leave any messages for me?"> "I heard there was a bit of a fuss about the cube today from the stablehand, what happened?No need to go spilling that secret in public.
>>37899019>"I met Cavie. Passed on that message inadvertently too, seems she hadn't got your letter yet. She's now back in Alvar."
>>37899019>"I gave the message to Cavie about the rabbit hole, and she urgently left and returned to Alvar."Let's be casual about it.>I also saw some dwarven sentries on the road trying to stay hidden. Is that normal?
>>37899019> "How are preparations for the trip to Whiteford going?"Dinning room is not the best place to reveal secrets. I'm torn apart: let Calvie handle her business by herself, or let our Captain know ?Well, we must be trustworthy, so we'll inform the Captain later, if we can.
>>37899019>"I must report that archaeological assistant Cavie, formerly known as Escavila the Golden, is back in Alvar."> "Did Elise leave any messages for me?"Didn't we tell William something something I'll go on a date with you in town?
>>37899019> > "I must report that archaeological assistant Cavie, formerly known as Escavila the Golden, is back in Alvar."Also mention dwarves.And ask about the big to-do cubie did.
Guys, for the love of fuck, don't mention her being Escavila in public, just say Cavie, Clarissa knows who she is.
>>37899019>>37899088Adding,>Mention the dwarf patrol
Does no one want to ask her about the magical light? Her being cheerful is odd.
>>37899261Some people just breath bureaucracy.Maybe Clarissa finally leveled up in paperwork?
>>37899261We probably should ask Clarissa about it.
>>37899261We did. Asking about the cube covers it.
>>37899019>> "I must report that archaeological assistant Cavie, formerly known as Escavila the Golden, is back in Alvar.">> "Did Elise leave any messages for me?"We should probably also mention the dwarves.
>>37899170I don't think we will be overhead. It's a late dinner.>>37899261Clearly she is in such a good mood because she ran into us anon!
>>37899395It only got two votes. So we didn't ask about it.
You take a deep breath to prepare yourself. "I must report that archaeological assistant Cavie, working under Professor David Barlin, is now back in Alvar."This is enough for Clarissa to put down her fork. She stares into the middle distance for a minute or so, visibly refraining from burying her face in her hands. "Did she give any reason why?" she finally manages."I passed on the message about the rabbit hole to her, Captain," you say stolidly. "About how it is not as deep as she believes, and all that. This seemed to mean something important to her.""Did you find out what?""I did not, Captain. Sorry," you add, insufficiently.With a sigh, Clarissa returns to her food. "Well then. Did Cavie say anything about what she plans to do in Alvar?""Only that she was meeting certain people who do not like strangers. And that there is very little I can do to help.""Oh, you offered to help her?"You hesitate at Clarissa's mild tone. You don't think she is angry, but you've not heard her use that tone before, which is always a great big warning sign. "Yes, Captain. I judged that Cavie means no mischief, and whatever she plans to do is desperate enough that she may require some help. I, uh, got her to say that she'll call for me if she still needs help, after we return from Whiteford."Clarissa gives you a steady look. "And from whence comes this desire to assist?""It seems like the right thing to do, Captain," you say, your voice cracking only slightly.After an eternity, Clarissa releases you from her gaze, and you surreptitiously clutch at the table edge to prevent yourself from deflating in relief. "I will leave a note for William. I pray that he understands its significance by the time he recovers from his revelries tomorrow.">[1/3]
You consider suggesting that Clarissa inform Donovan as well, since you suspect that Donovan may have rather more leverage on Cavie's actions, but you subside. No doubt the hierarchy of command will inform Donovan just as easily."Are there any other peculiar incidents you have also collected?" Clarissa continues.You concede that you seem to be accumulating weirdness around you at an alarming rate. "There were some dwarves on the road between Alvar and Grunmarl. Closer to Alvar, about an hour or so out. I think they were standing sentry."Clarissa raises an eyebrow. "How unusual. Did you recognize them?""They were heavily-armoured," you offer."Mm, not a useful distinguishing feature, but I cannot blame you. Were they causing any trouble to the other travellers?""No, Captain. They were just watching." Watching you, but you're not sure if you should say as much."Then there is not a great deal we can do. I doubt we will be able to apprehend the dwarves, even had we reason to. Anders or the Duke may know more, but until such time as we are ordered to intervene, their presence is merely a curiosity." Clarissa cocks her head to the side. "A compelling curiosity, I admit. I wonder what they are looking for?"At least you can ponder that question together, all the way through the Whiteford interlude. "Did Elise leave any messages for me?""Hm? Oh, yes. An informal message only, though. Victor came by my office to tell me that Elise has achieved some sort of success. And that she wishes to take a nap for a week, although I am certain that is hyperbole." Clarissa's mask drops for a moment; she looks strangely uncertain. "I had hoped... well, never mind.">[2/3]
No mention of the conduit cube, the discharge of which should surely have been visible from Clarissa's office. Maybe the shutters and curtains had been for more than simply keeping out the cold."Speaking of messages, I do have one more for you," Clarissa says. "Katherine the librarian wishes to speak with you at your earliest opportunity tomorrow. She insists that it will not take more than a few minutes; something about a book recommendation."You'd almost forgotten about that. It shouldn't take too long to drop by the library and pick up whatever book about knights and princesses Katherine had found for you. You perk up in anticipation.Clarissa collects her empty plate. "I will see you back in our room," she says. "Unless you wish to settle any other matters? I should advise you to have an early night; it will be a long and busy day tomorrow."> "Nothing else, Captain. I'll see you later."> "There are just a few things I'd like to confirm with Elise before I go to bed."> "Actually, is Victor in his room?"
>>37899540> "There are just a few things I'd like to confirm with Elise before I go to bed."> "Actually, is Victor in his room?">Did I upset you Captain?
>>37899540>"What happened with the cube earlier today? I hear there was a commotion surrounding it from the stablehand."> "There are just a few things I'd like to confirm with Elise before I go to bed."
>>37899540> "Nothing else, Captain. I'll see you later."
>>37899540>>37899556Seconding and also adding,>"What happened with the cube earlier today? I hear there was a commotion surrounding it from the stablehand."
>>37899540> "There are just a few things I'd like to confirm with Elise before I go to bed."
>>37899540>"What happened with the cube earlier today? I hear there was a commotion surrounding it from the stablehand."If she's oblivious to it I'm worried.
>>37899540>> "There are just a few things I'd like to confirm with Elise before I go to bed."> "Actually, is Victor in his room?"
>>37899540>Did I upset you Captain?> "There are just a few things I'd like to confirm with Elise before I go to bed."
>>37899540>Nothing else, Captain. I'll see you laterDo your thing Damp. It's not like we are going to confront anyone with our paranoia.
>>37899540> "Nothing else, Captain. I'll see you later."Enough for today.
This anon has to sign off and head to bed, thanks for the thread Damp.
>>37899540>"What happened with the cube earlier today? I hear there was a commotion surrounding it from the stablehand."
>>37897928>Alvar does not maintain a standing army, although you have yet to learn why, other than simple tradition.>There is only a handful of knights under the duke>While Elven raiders attack at the border and take our jobsWhat's going on here?
"What happened to the cube earlier today?" you ask. "I heard that there was a bit of a commotion surrounding it."Clarissa is facing away from you now, so you cannot see her expression. "Elise went down to do something with it this afternoon," she says neutrally. "It went off. Then Elise went back to her tower."You can detect a tightness in her voice. Clarissa is trying quite hard not to think about the conduit cube, and the eventual end result of Elise's actions, however sanctioned by the Duke and Clarissa herself. No matter how the unknown spellcaster is dealt with, unless the identifying mark turns up on a complete stranger, it now functions as a brand of betrayal."If there is nothing else," Clarissa states. You wince; Clarissa's tone makes it very clear that there had better be nothing else."I, uh." You swallow hard. "I should, er, go confirm a few things with Elise. Before I go to bed.""Very well."And now you've dashed whatever good mood Clarissa had built up during the day. Which, you decide, is not your fault. Sooner or later, Clarissa has to confront the truth, however unpleasant it might be. You should not have to avoid every mention of the cube or the nightmare spell when you're around her, just to avoid fouling her temper. And trying to avoid even thinking about the unpleasant parts of the situation at hand cannot be healthy.Which means you'll have to subject Clarissa to even more of these reminders, and the subsequent cost to her cheer. Maybe you can request for some backup to help you in this endeavour, because you certainly do not feel capable of doing it on your own.You patiently wait for Clarissa to have a significant head start, before exiting the kitchens. Now that you know Elise has had some form of success, you should probably get an update from her, just to make sure you are not caught unawares by some emergency or other.>[1/2]
Also, speaking of confronting unpleasant things, you will have to get over your apprehension over entering the wizard's tower at night.You shouldn't dally, in any case. Clarissa is right in that tomorrow is likely to be very busy, not least because you suspect you will have to take over William's duties after he is incapacitated by the perils of drink.The way to the wizard's tower should be familiar by now, but you still have to suppress a shiver as you approach it in the flickering light of the lamps hung on the walls. You usually come here in the day, and the change in lighting is bringing forth some unwelcome associations.You are a knight-apprentice of Alvar, and you have a right to be here, or so you firmly tell yourself. Also, the wards that protected the wizard's tower are completely burned out, so there should not be any consequences for your presence.Despite this, you only manage to make it past the scored stonework through careful, cautious steps, advancing slowly and timidly and holding your breath so long you probably turned peculiar colours by the time you reach the door to the workshop, wheezing and panting in sheer relief and the dregs of terror.You are, as you check yourself, still in one piece. And you have not lost consciousness and woken up in the infirmary again. So that is a positive step forward.The door to the workshop does not appear locked, but you hesitate before entering. Beyond is a wizard's domain, with all that implies. And while you can see quite well in the darkness, you'd rather not test that in the midst of the clutter of magical contraptions that Elise tends to leave scattered about.> Enter anyway> Hammer loudly on the door> Give up and go to your room
>>37900244> Enter anyway
>>37900244>> Enter anyway
>>37900244>Enter anywayAre we about to walk in on something? I don't see why this would be a choice unless it's important somehow.
Jeez, I wonder how many negative points we've gotten with Clarissa just today?>>37900244>Enter anywayOnwards and Upwards!
>>37899520>You hesitate at Clarissa's mild tone. You don't think she is angry, but you've not heard her use that tone before, which is always a great big warning sign.>After an eternity, Clarissa releases you from her gaze,I'm sorry, I'm rather slow tonight. Could someone explain this to me?
>>37900643Don't know. To me seems like Clarissa's just being bitchy.
>>37900643Clarissa is not happy with Nicole. Not at all. Or at the least she's feeling suspicious.I interpret it as KCQ anons getting really pissy about their waifu going off to help some other woman and not being very nice and supportive of Clarissa.
>>37900643Her suspicion meter just rocketed up to 80/100
>>37900226In Knight Captain Quest Clarissa doesn't want to talk about it since it would probably worry Nicole for all eternity especially when she is ready to introduce her to her parentsOh Clarissa you....
>>37900700>>379007232 KCQ i love you anonsalthough i dont agree with>>37900723 she is just mad about not supporting her with her fragile flower state
Given that the door is unlocked, you are probably allowed to slip inside without fear of official censure. You're not sure if it would be polite, but Elise is loose enough with the concepts of propriety that she will probably forgive you.You open the door, and step into the gloom within. You wait for a moment to let your eyes adjust to the dim light from the lamps in the tower stairwell. You should have brought a lamp of your own up here, but with the lack of safe places to put down a semi-open flame and the large numbers of books around, it is probably just as well that you did not.Elise's workshop is as cluttered as ever, if not more so. You spot a basket from the kitchens balanced precariously on a stack of books; it is open and empty, but you wonder why it has not been cleared away by now. Lily probably has far too many other things to do than to wait hand and foot on a lazy mage.At least Elise is easy enough to locate. Having unearthed her bed some time ago, she has started sleeping in it. Unfortunately, awkward sleeping habits means that Elise is now half out of the bed, body twisted to the side, almost upside down. Still very much asleep, though; nobody awake could fake such an impressive snore.Carefully, you pick your way past the debris, and reach Elise's bed. You pause for a moment, considering how to wake her up without alarming her by the presence of a dark and unfamiliar figure standing by her bed. Mages should best not be alarmed, you feel.>[1/2]
>>37900765>>37900700>>37900723I don't get it... why?
Your attention is caught by a small case on the side table beside Elise's bed. It is open now, and contains a pair of delicate-looking spectacles. You're fairly sure these are not Elise's; hers is haphazardly placed on the floor beside the bed, where they will no doubt be trod upon by accident one day. But Elise's spectacles are made for elven ears, while this extra pair is for humans. Or possibly dwarves, given that you have no idea what dwarf ears look like.A small note is tucked into the case, but it is too dark to read in here.> Try on the glasses> Prod Elise awake> Take the note and read it in a better light> Come back tomorrow
>>37900793> Try on the glasses> Take the note and read it in a better lightProfessor Nicole!
>>37900793> Come back tomorrow
>>37900793>Try on the glasses> Take the note and read it in a better light
>>37900793> Prod Elise awakeDon't mess with the glasses. Probably a gift from Clarissa to her real waifu. Nicole never had a chance.
>>37900788Because we offered our help to a "reformed" member of the criminal underworld. Also the bit where we asked Clarissa to pass a message on and then did it ourselves sorta implies that we don't trust her enough to rely on her.Remember, Clarissa is constantly dealing with her suspicion about us being some assassin or other. Things like this does not help ease said suspicion.
>>37900793>Try on the glasses>Take the note and read it in a better lightCan we summon a drawfag to draw this scenario....
>>37900793>Try on the glasses>Take the note and read it in a better light>Leave a note of thanks to Elise for when she wakes up in a week.
>>37900808Yeah, professor Nicole it is.
>>37900895Make sure to quote the main post and not just me!
>>37900793> Take the note and read it in a better light
>>37900923Too late! I'm quoting just you from now on!
>>37900793> Take the note and read it in a better light To try the glasses is kinda like "there is a point where we needed to stop and we have clearly passed it... "
>>37900793>Take the note and read it in a better light
>>37900793>> Try on the glassesWhy not. This is a bad idea, but life without bad ideas would make us seem less suspicious, and we can't have that.
>Nichole puts on glasses>reads the note>Dear Nichole, before I begin I must warn you NOT to wear these glasses...
*slowspoke*I just understood ! The glasses will be our mean to find the mark on the culprit !Megane Nicole is real... Such a concentrated cuteness might shred the fabric of space and time itself, but I shall not complain.
>>37901049Better yet, we break the glasses once we touch them.
>>37900974..But that probably won't be counted as a vote...
>>37901071Oah yeah, there was that thing...Right. I knew that. Yeah.
>>37901049The hell is this from?
Meanwhile, KCQ anons are going berserk because shadowruns saying that Nicole is only elfsexual and is pursuing a harem of elves and also NTRing Elise from Clarissa. The thread becomes shitstorm central.
>>37901107no idea sadly, feel free to find out for me if you want
No need to panic, we're clearly just picking up the glasses that she made for us and taking the note. We don't even have to wake her up now. Only concern is if thy break when we wear them.
Calling out to Elise to wake her is probably futile; you are not certain you can be heard over Elise's snores. You'd like to rearrange her to some other position that does not obstruct her breathing quite so much, but you can't make out where to start untangling her from her sheets and her own limbs.The spectacles are more interesting. You have a fairly good idea what they actually are, with your instructions to Elise a week ago. If you are to search for magical marks discreetly, a pair of spectacles is innocuous enough to pass casual inspection.On an impulse, you try the spectacles on. They are just a little larger and looser than you had hoped; you will have to push them up occasionally to prevent them from slipping off.The spectacles do not exactly impede your sight, but you quickly pull them off anyway. While you can see as clearly in front of you as you usually can, there is a strange sensation of something creeping in at the periphery of your vision, but disappearing when you try to glance in its direction. Trying to ignore it summons the faintest twinges of what you recognize as an incipient headache.So. A pair of spectacles that are obviously not intended to improve one's eyesight, save in the manner of allowing you to see what is normally not seen.You put the glasses back on, take a breath to steady yourself, and turn your gaze to Elise, still sleeping peacefully. If there is a magical mark on Elise, you do not see it from here.>[1/2]
Maybe the note will explain the situation. You attempt to retrieve it, but it appears to be pinned to the inner lining of the case itself. You simply collect the entire case, note and all, and pick your way back out of the workshop. Halfway through, you push the glasses up onto your forehead, to reduce distractions.Back out into the lit stairwell, you focus on the note. Written in a haphazard scrawl and poor grammar, it confirms your guess that the glasses are intended to ferret out the hostile spellcaster by detecting the mark Elise had set onto them. The mark, according to the note, is a large brightly-glowing diamond-shaped symbol hanging in front of the spellcaster, visible from any angle. An example is included on the note; you recognize it as the old Elvish rune for Elise's own name. A signature, so to speak.No further instructions are given for the spectacles. Elise had run out of space on the tiny slip of paper that was the note, and apparently gave up mid-sentence.> Go back in and put the glasses back where they were> Keep the glasses, explain to Elise tomorrow
>>37901332>> Go back in and put the glasses back where they wereCheck Elise first.
>>37901332> Keep the glasses, leave a note for Elise.
>>37901332>> Keep the glasses, explain to Elise tomorrow
>>37901332>>> Keep the glasses, explain to Elise tomorrow
>>37901332> Go back in and put the glasses back where they were
>>37901332> Go back in and put the glasses back where they wereJust have to remember to fetch them before heading to Nothing-wrong-here-ford. Also would be a good idea what kind of a detection spell the glasses have.
>>37901332> Keep the glasses, explain to Elise tomorrow>Rearrange her to a position that doesn't obstruct her breathingI don't know, walking in on her while she's sleeping and then taking something and leaving is a bit...
>>37901332 > Go back in and put the glasses back where they were
>>37901446>>37901332My mistake, meant to vote to replace the glasses.And guess it wasn't her
>>37901332So the Mark is to make them look like a Sim.
>>37901332>Keep the glasses, leave a note for Elise.
>>37901332> Go back in and put the glasses back where they wereDon't steal things. Everyone hates that.
>>37900842I am cute, /tg ?When no drawfag around, help yourself.Tracing all the way.
>>37901761I love you. Even if it's just tracing. You put forth the effort.
You'd like to leave a note for Elise explaining that you dropped by to take the glasses, but you have no idea where you can find a writing implement and a pad of paper among Elise's clutter. You suspect scribbling in her books will be frowned upon, and forgiving nature or otherwise, you certainly should not use your dagger to carve a message into the woodwork.You will have to return here tomorrow anyway, to give Elise the good news. Unless she had already heard about it from Victor, who may well have tested the glasses for her.Back into the workshop, where you place the spectacle case, spectacles included, onto the side table where you had found them. To your silent relief, Elise has stopped snoring now, having tumbled entirely out of her bed. She does not seem uncomfortable in her new position on the floor, and you can hear her mumble something in her sleep. It sounds vaguely like Elvish, although you can only make out the one word in Empire Common, viz "Captain".Best not to interrupt Elise's slumber for now.Making your way out of the workshop for the final time today, you shut the door quietly behind you, and check your pocketwatch. Time enough for a quick shower before going to bed, in preparation for the next day. You would rather not stay up too late and present a pie-eyed countenance to all and sundry, especially when you have to make sure you have everything you need for the trip to Whiteford.>[1/2]
>>37901761Good job, anon. Props to you.
Nothing more of note occurs on the way back to your room, which is a little disappointing; you had hoped to encounter William and Donovan returning from their alleged bonding exercise, entirely so you can amuse yourself at their dissipated states. They are evidently staying out later than is truly wise, so you will have to delay your prepared commentary for tomorrow.One more day to Whiteford, where you are allowed to stand silently and look ornamental. Hopefully nothing complicated will happen until then, or until you return.Upon entering your room, you see that Clarissa has taken her own advice, and is already in bed. From the sounds of her breathing, you don't think she's asleep.One quick shower later, you return once more. Clarissa is still awake, and pretending not to be.> "Is something the matter, Captain?"> "If I've upset you during dinner, Captain, I apologize."> Go to sleep
>>37901921> "Is something the matter, Captain?"
>>37901921> "If I've upset you during dinner, Captain, I apologize."
>>37901921>"If I've upset you during dinner, Captain, I apologize."
>>37901921> "If I've upset you during dinner, Captain, I apologize."Should totally ask if she wants a hug. We're the best at it, right? Skill rating 100/10
>>37901761You should draw more, man. Tracing's the first step to ETERNAL GLORY.
>>37901921I don't know what to choose, I h-hope Captain isn't too upset...
>>37901921> "If I've upset you during dinner, Captain, I apologize.">If you would like I can sleep somewhere else.
>>37902078Dat guilting. You're a harsh man
>>37901921>> "If I've upset you during dinner, Captain, I apologize."
>>37901921I'm not sure which one of those is my vote so I'm just going to add a seperate one for this.>If you would like I can sleep somewhere else.
>>37902165Grew up with three sisters. It is a weapon I am familiar with.
>>37902078Nicole could probably sleep in the rafters comfortably.
>>37902211Why did this post get deleted? There's nothing wrong with it.
>>37902439I deleted it because I changed my mind. I still agree but don't think we should actually say it.
If you're going to be facing down unpleasant situations for your own good, you probably shouldn't stop now. "If I've upset you during dinner, Captain, I apologize."You wait a very long while for Clarissa's response, which eventually comes in the form of a deep, resigned sigh. "You did, Nicole," Clarissa says, still not turning to face you. "But I am more upset at myself. For losing my temper so easily, at an innocent question."The entire matter is still a raw wound to Clarissa. You don't know if poking at it will make it better, but you don't think absolute avoidance is entirely correct. "It's understandable, Captain.""Is it now?" A faint rustling, as Clarissa fidgets. She still does not face you. "I suppose I am disappointed by my own shortcomings. I had hoped that I would be able to face it all with equanimity, if not courage. Obviously I was mistaken. The revelation is not unexpected, but no less distasteful."You can't think of anything to say to that. Everything that comes to mind feels trite and inadequate to the situation at hand. You don't think Clarissa is going to descend into a black depression, but you'd rather not risk pushing her. You have the strong impression that Clarissa's issues with Whiteford and her family within it run rather deeper than even the acute pain from the betrayal of the nightmare spell.Clarissa sighs once more. "It is not something I may resolve just by thinking about it, I suspect." Another pause, as Clarissa considers and discards further conversational options, before giving up. "Good night, Nicole."A definite note of finality, cutting off further dialogue for the day. "Good night, Captain.">[1/2]
You do wait in patient silence until you hear Clarissa's breathing slow into sleep. Once you are sure that you will not be observed, you crane your head up to check on the nightmare-absorber, still on Clarissa's desk, and still inert.You didn't think anything will happen between now and Whiteford, but it does not hurt to soothe your paranoia now and again.> Check on Elise first thing in the morning, then Katherine whenever you're free> Collect the book from Katherine first, then call on Elise in the afternoon> Go look for someone else tomorrow? (Write-in)
>>37902808>Collect the book from Katherine first, then call on Elise in the afternoon
>>37902808>Collect the book from Katherine first, then call on Elise in the afternoonLet sleeping mages lay
>>37902808> Check on Elise first thing in the morning, then Katherine whenever you're freeDon't want Elise to panic that the glasses vanished. In case she actually wakes up.
Apologies for fizzling out like that, but I am completely wiped for the day, which means I'll have to call the thread here.One thread a week is certainly easier on my schedule, but I do worry about the effects on the pace of the quest. Like Nicole, though, the worries will have to wait until tomorrow, when I can think more clearly.Thanks for joining me on the quest.
>>37902808>Check on Elise first thing in the morning, then Katherine whenever you're freePriorities.
>>37902854Good night, Damp. See you next week.
>>37902808>> Check on Elise first thing in the morning, then Katherine whenever you're free
>>37902808>Collect the book from Katherine first, then call on Elise in the afternoon>>37902854I love you damp.
>>37902808> Collect the book from Katherine first, then call on Elise in the afternoon