Time to try my hand at questing. Watch me be shit.In this quest, you play the role of the heir to House Valen, dealing with all the traditional P's of noblility: Prophecy, Power, Politics, Peasants, and Pbackstabbing asshole family members. Your initial goal is to become the heir proper to the head of House Valen, If this turns out to not be shit and get some interest, I don't doubt the goal will change wildly. This first thread will be something of a prologue, and I'll be setting some ground rules going forward:1. Lewds will not occur. I do not mind if anons write them, or vote for it, but it will always fade to black. I have no interest in writing that type of story.2. With rare exception, choices are based on majority vote only. Dice may occur, but do not expect them to be relevant often - I will, however, try to work all voted for options into responses if it makes sense.3. Write-in options will be given special consideration, since they often come too late to properly be voted on by the players.4. There is a system in place for conflict resolution and skills, but it's mostly back-end. So the player will mostly just see the narrative results of their choices, rather than the mechanical crunch that went into it occurring.5. I am shit at drawfaggotry.So with that out of the way, here we go I guess.
Where my nubile slave women at
>>40062822"Irue, the rite begins today." A quiet, monotone voice flashes into your consciousness. You can vaguely sense its owner standing in the doorway, awaiting some sign that you had heard it and woken up. "Your aunt and uncle have yet to arrive." it continues, "I will be waiting outside, unless I am needed?"A single slender hand rises from the bedsheets you had entangled yourself within, strands of light blonde hair cascading from it as you blearily open your wine red eyes towards the source of the noise.You are Irue Valen, a proud member of the Valen family line. For as long as you can remember, that name could be found carved into the very foundations of this nation's royalty and society; One of the Noble families whose reach and influence seemed to have been so ancient and well entrenched that it became near self-sustaining. It was almost mindboggling to you that such a state could ever be reached, much less what your ancestors had to have done to achieve it... Nonetheless, that is your lineage - Your direct lineage, actually. You are the heir to your father, the head of House Valen. Everything that comes with such a title would, undeniably, eventually, be yours. ...Or it would have, had your family not died nearly a decade ago on a trip to the southern border.>Wave your hand dismissively and attempt to get up>Request assistance getting up, you're bad at mornings>Ask why your head feels like it has played host to a marauding band of demihuman peasantry in revolt>Ask what she's even talking about
>>40062856>Ask why your head feels like it has played host to a marauding band of demihuman peasantry in revolt
Be dismissive. You are royalty after all.
>>40062856>>Wave your hand dismissively and attempt to get up5 more minutes.
>Ask what she's even talking about
>>40062895Hangover Why>>40063070What is even going on>>40062936>>40062959Dismissive, we don't need help!Alright, Writing!
You wave your hand dismissively as you marshal the effort required to rise. A constant dull throbbing behind your eyes makes your vision explode for the few precious moments it takes you to reconsider having just dismissed your help."...What rite?" you groan out, sitting up gingerly as you try to figure out you had gotten up to last night. A ray of sunlight - the sun was far too bright this morning - cuts through the drawn curtains of your room to alight upon a silver platter with a half-empty bottle of... something. and two glasses. You squint at the bottle irritably, taking particular offense to the image of a drunken fairy hanging from some fancy script you presumed to be its name.Faedka. Not even twice."The rite of passage for your adulthood, Irue." The voice replied, thankfully keeping a soft monotone that was nearly soothing to hear right now. You struggle to try and place what the voice is talking about as you wave her away once more.Slowly, very slowly, you start recalling just what led to this.[1/?]
As the only survivor of the head family, the role of House Valen's leadership naturally fell to you... If you had not, at the time, been an immature child who had just lived through the murder of said family. Unfortunately, that is exactly what you were at the time, and thus your legal guardians - your aunt and uncle - quickly stepped up to take you in. They became a temporary placeholder at the head of House Valen, caretakers who would steward it until you were old enough to take your rightful place.You have since learned that was a lie. Your life took yet another unexpected, and highly unwanted, turn a few months ago when you discovered that your dear aunt and uncle had been quietly planning an arranged marriage for you when you came of age. Whilst you are legally their ward, they are completely entitled to treating you as such and pulling strings to ensure your future... However, none of their little plans particularly matter to you in the face of one specific fact: The head of House Valen goes to the firstborn son, or if failing that, the husband of the firstborn daughter. That is to say, it can only be passed directly to the current you's control whilst you are unmarried. The clamor you raised upon learning of their plans...>Carried enough outraged rancor that a honey badger may well have felt inadequate in its wake. >Was delivered with such a venomous bite that your litany may have been mistaken for a serpent's kiss.>Struck precisely at the most vulnerable pillars of their heavy handed farce.>Failed to quiet for near a week, even in the face of disapproving social pressure.
>>40063513>Struck precisely at the most vulnerable pillars of their heavy handed farce.And after it had all fallen apart:>Was delivered with such a venomous bite that your litany may have been mistaken for a serpent's kiss.
>>40063513>>Struck precisely at the most vulnerable pillars of their heavy handed farce.Straight to the weak point.
>>40063513>Struck precisely at the most vulnerable pillars of their heavy handed farce.>Failed to quiet for near a week, even in the face of disapproving social pressure.Not even the neighbors can believe this shit.
>>40063513>Carried enough outraged rancor that a honey badger may well have felt inadequate in its wake.
>Failed to quiet for near a week, even in the face of disapproving social pressureYou will know my opinion, and you will damn well like it!
>>40063570>>40063651>>40063662Struck precisely>>40063662>>40063697Refused to be silenced>>40063667Fuck everyoneWriting!
You made quick, brutal work of the pathetic laymen's logic that your aunt and uncle had been leveraging to try and slip you into this. While it was legally allowable, you are not simply some orphan peasant child for them to move about in politic as they please.You are the heir of House Valen, and you will be damned before you sit quietly and go along with such tripe! That it would have cheated you out of your inheritance - The inheritance of this entire family's considerable influence and power, was as unforgivable as the notion that your aunt and uncle thought you would even remotely go along with such a thing! They were branch family members, who the hell did they think they were to promise away the head of this kind of nobility out of simple marriage?...Not that you are particularly attached to the family's established power. You have always been of the opinion that power with flaunting is that which you earned yourself.However, you have also always been of the opinion that looking a gift horse (or any horse, really; fuck horses) in the mouth was something the suicidal and stupid did. You refused to quiet your outraged verbal tirade well into the week, and even now, months later, it was still smoldering quietly.[1/?]
Rather than obediently go into such an arrangement, you publicly announced your intent to undergo the rite of passage traditionally handed down in the Valen line; Seceding from the guardianship of your extended family and becoming an independent adult of your own merit. Your aunt and uncle had no ground to stand upon in denial of this, but as your guardians, they are still responsible for helping administrate the test. No doubt they are rather displeased with you at the moment - the feeling being quite mutual - so you do not expect this to go easily. In fact, it would not surprise you if it had been deliberately weighted against your success.Perhaps most frustratingly, however, is the revelation that the head of House Valen undertakes a different rite of passage than the rest. Unable to access those records, you realize you are essentially walking blind into the most important battle of your life thus far... A fact you must simply grit and bear through. You'll definitely...>Think of a way around it. How dare they underestimate your wit?>Crush it under foot. If they think they can stop you, they've another thing coming!>Weather the storm. Minor setbacks are nothing to you, you'll hardly falter at a few surprises.>Adapt and overcome. No plan survives contact with the enemy, you'll tear it to shreds and use the remains to your advantage.
>>40063955>>Adapt and overcome. No plan survives contact with the enemy, you'll tear it to shreds and use the remains to your advantage.
>>40063955>Adapt and overcome. No plan survives contact with the enemy, you'll tear it to shreds and use the remains to your advantage.
>Adapt and overcome. No plan survives contact with the enemy, you'll tear it to shreds and use the remains to your advantage.And if that doesn't work>Crush it under foot. If they think they can stop you, they've another thing coming!Rip and Tear! RIP AND REAL YOUR RITES!
Rip and tear. Fucking autocorrect.
>>40063955>Weather the storm. Minor setbacks are nothing to you, you'll hardly falter at a few surprises.You're nobility. Why would any of this faze you? Be magnanimous, see it through to the end, and>Crush it under foot.
>>40063972>>40064054>>40064102Adapt and overcome!>>40064102>>40064221Stomp all over the lesser folk's plans.>>40064221Give exactly no shits.Writing!
Adapt to whatever trick they have planned. Being flexible is the hallmark of a competent and skilled... Anything. And you aren't just anything, you're the heir of House Valen! Competency and skills flow through your veins almost as thickly as Faedka does this morning.Speaking of which, you take a moment to slide your covers back and make your way over to the window. Opening the curtains properly allows you to greet the bright morning day directly, and the fresh air from the quickly unlatched window is both refreshing and appreciated as it blows back your hair. You take a deep breath of that morning air and exhale vomit into the thankfully empty forestry that surrounds your house for miles upon miles of empty woodland. Your headache is now worse, but your stomach is much better. You're used to having headaches, however, so you bite that down as you draw your curtains once more and prepare to meet the rest of the day in similar dignified fashion.
It only takes a few moments to finish buttoning up the long sleeved silken shirt to the slightly tanned nape of your neck, tapping once upon the garnet set upon the center of your dark brown choker. You run your hands down your ankle-length skirt one last time, smoothing away non-existent wrinkles from its heavy fabric.A strand of light blonde hair slips from behind your ear, eliciting a near subconscious flick of your hand to replace it. With a practiced motion, you pull open the drawer of your desk and try to decide on what color band to hold your stubbornly long hair back today.>Wine Red. It matches your sharp eyes, which you want people to be especially aware of today.>Mud Brown. A solid foundation is important, brown is a reliable and enduring color.>Creamy Pastel Yellow. It'll blend in with your hair, sometimes the best touches are the subtle ones.>Ash Gray. You know someone this will embarrass, what better time to do that than today?
>>40064470>Wine Red. It matches your sharp eyes, which you want people to be especially aware of today.
>>40064470>>Mud Brown. A solid foundation is important, brown is a reliable and enduring color.
>>40064470>Ash Gray. You know someone this will embarrass, what better time to do that than today?
>>40064470>Wine Red. It matches your sharp eyes, which you want people to be especially aware of today.It will also cover the bloodstains if we get stabbed. We have to look good even after being brutally murder.
>>40064470Seconding >>40064578, in case of becoming brutally murder. Or even... committing a brutally murder.
>>40064490>>40064578>>40064639Do these look like the eyes of mercy to you?>>40064564Being reliable and persistent is a virtue.>>40064572Never pass up an opportunity!Righto then, writing!
You slip the red one in place carefully, making sure it's secure for the events of the day. It matches your eyes, and given the indignity you've had to suffer - and the type of seething conflict you expect to see today - you want people to be especially aware of just whose gaze they're under. Eye contact is important in forcing and securing a confrontation, it's primal enough that even the most basic of individuals feel a sense of defeat when they're forced to break the stare first. Also your eyes are attractive. While you are by no means looking for compliments, it helps to remind people that you're prettier than they are. Band in place, you finally take leave of your room. The owner of the quiet voice from earlier is waiting outside your door as she had promised; her messy black hair barely reaching down to obscure the quickly attentive sea-green eyes she directed towards you as you stepped out. She's small, a girl of roughly five foot whose head will only barely reach your collarbone.Presumably born of the lower class, Asche was a street rat your late sister had found and declared 'adopted as handmaiden'. She had no family that you knew of, and questions posed to her in that regard were more often than not simply met with a look of confusion. Even her name was just something your dear sister had just arbitrarily given her, though it was accepted easily.
While you would never tell her this explicitly, she was not a terribly bright person. She barely knew how to speak when you met her, and each lesson she has learned since was a dedicated ordeal to achieve. It is perhaps her saving grace that her memory is exceedingly sharp... When she can manage to commit something to it. Between that, and her nigh-unshakeable loyalty, you find it difficult to imagine a more reliable...>Secretary. She handles almost your entire schedule, and she's damn good at it.>Maid. She's taken to cooking and cleaning ever since then, and is always on hand.>Friend. Asche is probably the only person you implicitly trust these days.>Servant. Loyal as she is, her birth as a plebeian carries fundamental implications that cannot be overlooked in your relationship.
>>40064849>>Secretary. She handles almost your entire schedule, and she's damn good at it.
>>40064849>>Maid. She's taken to cooking and cleaning ever since then, and is always on hand.
>>40064849>>Maid. She's taken to cooking and cleaning ever since then, and is always on hand.Rape the maids
>>40064849>Maid. She's taken to cooking and cleaning ever since then, and is always on hand.>>40064932We just woke up with a hangover at least let her make breakfast first
>Secretary. She handles almost your entire schedule, and she's damn good at it.what fool plans his own day, when he can have people for that?
>>40064890>>40064912>>40065056Sharp secretaries are undefeatable.>>40064919>>40064932>>40064989Maids are fine too.Asche has a lot of duties that she's volunteered for. Writing!
....Secretary? Maid? Now that you think about it, Asche has basically taken charge of almost everything in your life. Cooking, cleaning, estate maintenance, even your own schedule. You'd gotten so used to relying on her that you hadn't even realized what all she was doing for you. Your lips purse as you look at her in a slightly new light, a glance she answered with her own passive stare, and began to wonder just how she found the time to do everything.Asche steps forward to meet you, holding up a bracelet in the palm of her hands with the same passive expression she normally had. It had taken a long time for you to stop being unnerved by it, and even longer before you started being able to kind of work out what she wanted. You recognize the bracelet though, two brightly polished rings crossing each other at an angle; It was an accessory of your late sister's. You glance between it and Asche, her posture giving away as little as usual. You would be lying if you said that you were not consistently in awe of your twin sister, she was the strong one between you - Always there to fight back the monsters under the bed, and telling people what to do. You were meek back then, a thought you are quick to pass over before it can unsettle you; You have become your late-sister in more ways than one, the memories of a weaker you are all in the past now.Still... your fingers trace the cool edges of the rings, a nostalgic warmth swimming up from beneath the metallic circlets.>It would be comforting to have it on.>I don't want to risk it getting damaged.>That belonged to my sister, it's none of my concern.>Why do you still have that?
>It would be comforting to have it on.Old things have a kind of power, even more so if it belonged to someone close. Can't hurt to keep it close.
>>40065284>Ask Asche what her opinion is on wearing the bracelet to the test
>>40065284>>It would be comforting to have it on.Can't half-ass that whole inherited will thingBe the late sister
>>40065370>>40065461You're going to be an adult, but there are still monsters you'd feel more confident facing if your sister were with you.>>40065419Do you want me to wear this?Aight, writing as we accessorize!
>>40065284>>It would be comforting to have it on.Maybe someone will recognize it and get someones sympathy or respect.Maybe someone will fucking steal it.
>>40065553Then we'll rip their arm off and regain it.
Normally she kept this locked away somewhere, that she purposefully brought it out and was presenting it to you was surprising, to say the least. You raise a brow at her, meeting the steady sea-green stare as she watched for your decision. "Why did you bring this out now?" You ask, "Do you think it will be helpful in the rite today?"She blinks once before shaking her head gently, "Ariel gave you confidence." her answering monotone is short and to the point, leaving you to frown lightly at her return to silence. "Are you saying I'm scared?" You demand testily, "I am no longer the child I wa-""You drank two fifths a bottle of Faedka."Your denial is cut short as she bluntly shoots you down, you close your mouth and snort. The notion was ridiculous, and your binge consumption of questionable beverages was an entirely unrelated matter. The two of you stare each other down for several very long moments, the bracelet still innocently being supported by her unwavering hands. Finally you sigh, breaking the staring contest as you slip the dual-ringed accessory onto your wrist; You're going to be an adult soon, but if you're honest with yourself, there are still monsters you'd feel more confident facing if your sister were with you. The coming rite is something you sorely wish she could have been with you for.
With that concluded, you glance down the empty halls around you. You absently note Asche quietly taking place slightly to your left - a position she zealously refuses to relinquish - as you move through the house, footsteps echoing in the perpetually silent building.You were provided an estate, a laughable notion to even call it such, which consisted of a simple mansion and a small courtyard. Hidden away in some remote corner of the lands owned by House Valen, it is where you would have grown up alone had it not been for Asche's stubborn insistence to stay with you. It was not an abandonment, by any means, no. You had but to ask, and any number of book or scholar would be at your doorstep! Fresh foods of a great many varieties as well, were but a message away. Both of these things were privileges you made full use of in the past, having filled at least several of the otherwise empty rooms with shelf upon shelf of books. Though your library is rather vast, you're particularly fond of tomes containing...>Fantasy. >History and Economics>Magic>Philosophy
>>40065758>History and Economics
>>40065758>Magic and Fantasy are separate optionsFuck it, let's also be a part time sorceress>>Magic
>>40062822For any who may know me from the mages guild, this quest is not run by me, and has nothing to do with Mages of Aen as far as I know.-James Valen
FUCK THE PEASANTRY
>>40065814The most vital building blocks of merchanting and politic.>>40065840Stories of fantastic beasts and monsters>>40065863>>40065929Academic tomes of the arcane sort.>>40065934duely noted.Alright, writing!
>become head of house>everyone out to screw you over>don't study economics or historyGenius.
>>40065934ELITE FOR LYFE AMIRITE?(UOY ELUR SYAWLLA LLIW YRTNASAEP EHT)
>>40066165Only one L in always.
Magic. You've filled an entire room with book and book containing things related to the arcane arts and the study of mysticism, and while you lack the innate potential required to put it into practice, the concept has always fascinated you. You've tried, in private of course, nearly every method of coaxing magic out of you that you've discovered... The closest you ever got to success was punching a tree so hard you knocked yourself out.You're pretty sure that's what happened. At any rate, magic in this world could easily be divided into the Mana of Salamander, Gnome, Undine, Jinn, Luna, Wisp and Shade. Each of these classifications referred to the aggregate sentience of that particular mana; In short, they were both the source of the magic, and the magic itself. Each of them had their own documented personality, often reflecting their elements in some manner, but one trait that was expressly shared between them was Jealousy.Your strength in a magic could be easily measured by your affinity with one of those mana, however you could just as easily consider "affinity" to literally be their opinion of, or interest in, you. All mana was sentient, and thus you could completely by whim be born as someone greatly adored by Salamander - Thus, flames themselves would bend and dance around you even without your consent. If you never received training, then it's likely they would do so often without your consent.[1/?]
To be succinct, you did not control magic; Mana simply liked you. It would try to be near, to please you, to protect and play with you. The study of magic was less learning arcane arts, so much as learning how to coerce and commune with mana more clearly. It was not mortal, its morals and values were alien and unique unto themselves, and if you were incapable of making your intent and desires clear then it very commonly could ruin in your life as - in particularly terrible cases - full blown natural disasters erupted into existence around you. Sure, you would be okay. Everything, and everyone else? Not so much. It became more troublesome If you happened to have multiple affinities, or attempted to dabble in a variety of them... Mana were jealously possessive of those it took a shine to. Sharing is not in its nature, and when it isn't in Nature's nature to share, Very Bad Things happen. If you happened to outright offend your Mana....Still, the concept always fascinated you. You suppose having no affinity is preferable to having to deal with the dangers of being part of that world.Thinking of your library, you're glad you took the opportunity to amass what you have long before now.No doubt these 'privileges' will be revoked or restricted not long after this Rite begins. You will have entered a gray area between child-ward and adult, which you do not doubt for a moment they will take advantage of...[2/?]
A twisting in your gut pulls your thoughts from the impending rite and back into the familiar silence of the sun-streamed halls. If the delegate had not arrived to begin your rite yet, then you probably had time for a quick breakfast before that, yes? It wouldn't be particularly pleasant to go into whatever was coming on an empty stomach, after all. An extremely empty stomach, actually... You're kind of hungry, having vacated the previous inhabitants of your gut onto the unblooming rose latices out your window.If you skipped breakfast, however, you could take the time to get in some last minute preparations before they had a chance to arrive. You're not sure what the rite is, exactly, so it's probably better to err on the side of caution and be ready for anything.After a few moments, you realize that you're just frantically trying to think of things you could be doing. You're not nervous about this, that would be ridiculous for someone as well composed as yourself! ...All the same, perhaps talking about it might help? You glance aside to Asche, who had stopped moving as you did. She's looking at you in askance, her impassive expression effectively masking just how alert she likely is.>Breakfast is on the agenda this morning, the delegate can wait if they arrive before I am finished.>I've got some things on my mind I would like to look into before the delegate arrives. (write-in)>Think aloud in Asche's general direction, purely for the thought exercise of doing so. Not because you are nervous.
>>40066457>Breakfast is on the agenda this morning, the delegate can wait if they arrive before I am finished.It's not like the rite's going to be an eating contest. We'll be better off not having to deal with important coming-of-age stuff and family politics on an empty stomach, especially given yesterday's diet.
>>40066457>Have Asche make a quick and simple breakfast, talk to her while she does so
>>40066457>>Breakfast is on the agenda this morning, the delegate can wait if they arrive before I am finished.YEAH, BREAKFAST>>Think aloud in Asche's general direction, purely for the thought exercise of doing so. Not because you are nervous.BREAKFAST WITH SECRE-MAID
>>40066457>Breakfast is on the agenda this morning, the delegate can wait if they arrive before I am finished.
>>40066457>Breakfast is on the agenda this morning, the delegate can wait if they arrive before I am finished.>Read a book on royal customs while you wait for it to be cooked (failing that, magic book)
>>40066489>>40066498>>40066510>>40066521>>40066562We hunger.>>40066498>>40066510We're not nervous.>>40066562We are insatiable readers!Writing.
>>40066702OP, how old are we?
Breakfast was on the agenda this morning! You announce as such to Asche as you make your way towards the kitchen, barely noticing the quiet acknowledgement coming from behind you as you do so. You do not mention that you are famished because whatever last night's dinner was had been fired earlier that morning and found new employment as fertilizer for your flowers, because that would be rude. Asche probably worked hard on whatever it was, and you are confident that it will do its new job just as effectively as it had presumably performed its old job. Perhaps better, even, considering it was forced to change careers.You are marginally certain that is due to the Faedka, however.Not even twice.It doesn't take long before you've found yourself seated some ways behind Asche as she immediately gets to work preparing breakfast. You have a dining room, any civilized noble has a dining room, but considering that the entirety of the mansion was yourself and Asche... In all honesty, the dining room had perhaps been used once for actual dining in the entirety of your life here. The long period of time spent sitting at a table in the empty room, waiting for your maid...secretary... maid? Yes, maid. Note to self, think of better title for Asche.Waiting for your maid to cook and bring the food to you was... disagreeable. You remember the silence being nearly deafening, and the chair at the head of the table being distinctly uncomfortable. You quickly had Asche clear a space for you in the kitchen itself, under the justification that you would be better served to overlook the creation of your meals yourself. She had simply nodded after the ensuing silence.
But that leads you to here, as you take your usual place not far from Ashe's cooking efforts - An exercise in alchemy that was clearly beyond you. Or beneath you. Or both, like some manner of eldritch peasantry. "I would like something light this morning, Asche." you drawled, "My stomach is disagreeable today, and I would rather not be forced to physically present my opinion on someone's choices in fashion later."She nods, the stoic girl quickly turning a bright red tomato into so many thick slices of succulent fruit before she moves onto other ingredients. You let yourself relax in the soft din of her kitchenmancy, closing your eyes with a small sigh. Minutes pass, and the calm begins to gnaw at you. You quickly discover there is no lint to pick off your clothes, a wonder in and of itself, and that the kitchen is as spotless as ever. You would read a book, but they were both rather far from the kitchen, and... Reading at the table was rude. You were the head of the house, of course. You were the heir to House Valen, and this was your house, obviously. You could read where ever you pleased, no matter what you felt like reading. No one was going to tell you 'no', especially not people under your employ. Asche had never once scolded you for reading at the table.She just stared. Quietly.The entire time.
"Has anything of interest happened recently?" You ask absently after a moment, your eyes shifting over to Asche for her response.The chopping of foods persists for several seconds more before pausing."No."Then resuming as if it had been a natural break in the rhythm. Knowing Asche, it actually might have been. You resist the urge to roll your eyes at the expected response, remembering that she was not one for idle chatter.>Remain silent, eat breakfast.>Ask about your affairs outside of the estate>Ask about her thoughts on the rite, and your engagement>Write-in?
>>40066813We are currently 17, on the cusp of turning 18 in about half a year. The engagement was scheduled to be concluded the month after our birthday. Our family died a little over a decade ago.
>>40066875>Ask about her thoughts on the rite, and your engagement
>>40066875>>Ask about her thoughts on the rite, and your engagementIt doesn't sound like she'd have much of an opinion on either topic, but you are going into this thing blind. She could've picked up something about it while you weren't around, or sober.
>>40066914>>40067003Thoughts on this rite business?Writing!
>>40067047Write about rites and rights? Right!
If you wanted conversation out of Asche, you needed more specific questions. That was fine, you weren't quite one for idle chat either exactly... And you really only had one thing on your mind, anyway."What do think about the rite?" you decide to cut directly to the point, "I'm still not sure what my dear aunt and uncle will be planning regarding it." That had been a matter of great stress the past few days, and you vaguely recall it being part of the reason that bottle of Faedka was even by your bed this morning.Probably. Sounds logical enough, anyway."You will face many challenges." Asche replied matter-of-factly, "I will support you through them." She turned, handing you the breakfast she created - A sandwich of freshly cut tomato slices, thickly sliced beef and some manner of sweet, creamy spread. There were some slices of fruit beside it, as well as a glass of chilled juice, but they weren't your focus. You bit into the sandwich, the beef tasting familiar as you tear a bit from the sandwich proper and chew through it. "Would you support me through that farce of an engagement as well?" You grumble, meeting only silence as Asche stares. "It is not my place to think of your nuptial affairs." She finally admits, choosing to seat herself across from you."Did you manage to find anything out about the difference between the main and branch house rites?" You sigh, relishing the taste of the meat on your tongue as you crunch through one of the thicker portions of tomato. You were becoming more awake now, slipping into a far better mood with food once again in your stomach.
Unfortunately, Asche shook her head. "The information was classified beyond my reach." An admission of failure is the closest thing Asche knows to an apology, but frankly if she couldn't get ahold of the information then you doubt it was possible for you to have done so yourself. "What do we know about the branch house rites, then?" You changed the topic quickly, swallowing your food to continue speaking. "They use these rites both for movements of secession from your parents or guardians, but also as actual coming of age ceremonies, correct? Since we're legally under the purview of the branch house currently, we should have plenty of access to that information.""Correct." She affirmed, showing no surprise at the topic switch as she follows your lead with a near recital of the branch house rites information. In summary, the rites were a beast taming test. Participants were to choose from a wild beast presented to them, or seek out their own, and claim it as their own. These beasts were candidates to become the initiate's Testament, proof of their mastery, skill, method and capability. While any Lesser Beast, such as wolves or the larger birds of prey, would suffice as a Testament for simply passing the test... The amount of prestige that came from deliberately choosing a more difficult Testament could be measured proportional to just how difficult your choice was. Some chose multiple beasts, while others simply chose a more majestic type of creature. Your aunt, you remembered, was rumored to have found her selection insufficient and thus journeyed alone into the East Heaven forests, returning nearly four months later atop the back of her Testament; A broken Nightmare, a near fantastical horse like creature with a literal mane of shadow of flame....You have unpleasant memories of your summer with Ser Stomperson.
You've little idea how you could use this information given the unknown nature of the rite they were throwing you into, but every little bit helps. Some rites change through the ages, due to the shifting political climate or temperament of house head at the time. Knowing what something was now could give you a hint of what it used to be, or the original purpose or character of a particular noble family.You swallow the last of your juice, standing smoothly from the chair and declaring your intent to make some final preparations before the delegate arrives. Asche quickly reassumes her position to your left as you exit the kitchen and begin to make your rounds.As you are walking through the front halls of your mansion,m ovement from beyond the window flickers in the corner of your eye as you move, prompting you to brush aside a part of the crimson curtain to get a closer look at what had caught your interest. Your eyes narrow at the sight of the several carriage long train making its way through the barely kept undergrowth of forestry and road which led to the mansion proper.Seems this meant your peaceful morning had come to an end, if the delegate was finally arriving.You had expected a larger group of people, perhaps a committee, but what was approaching now was nothing short of a caravan. More witnesses was not necessarily a bad thing, but an uneasy feeling began to stir in the back of your mind. Wasn't this a little to extravagant? Perhaps lesser branches of the Valen family here to curry favor or shift the proceedings?
"There are at least two parties unrelated to House Valen in their company." Asche speaks up neutrally from your side, having taken the moment to investigate the reason for your pause.You feel yourself nodding, your eyes caught on a covered wagon in the center of the procession. Something completely unrelated to Faedka causes your stomach to twist, a hazy familiarity - as if you should recognize it for something. Your hand drifts to your sister's bracelet briefly."Hmph," you let the curtain fall back into place as you begin to stride confidently towards the main hall. "Prepare to greet our esteemed guests." Your lips tightly curving upwards, "I'll...">Remind them that they come to judge their betters - The heir of House Valen.>Greet them politely. There's no need to muddy the waters of others with your aunt and uncle's scheming.>Have Asche greet and show them in, subtly reminding them of their status as guest. They will not simply walk where they choose.>Other? (write-in)
>>40067356>Have Asche greet and show them in, subtly reminding them of their status as guest. They will not simply walk where they choose.Filthy rabble.
>>40067356>Have Asche greet and show them in, subtly reminding them of their status as guest. They will not simply walk where they choose.So, our relatives try to get us passed off to some moon rabbit to get all our cool shit and they expect us to be nice? Fuck them, hit their pride as hard as we can while maintaining a decorum of a true proper noble.I'd actually have some respect for them if they went for a plan that wasn't retarded, like assassination.
>>40067391You don't know, one of those extra people could well be an assassin. Let's keep our guard up.
>>40067403Full game of thrones huh?This is how we should always thinkI wonder how we will turn out, and if this will end up being more of a political quest rather than an adventure quest.>Have Asche greet and show them in, subtly reminding them of their status as guest. They will not simply walk where they choose.
>>40067403>>40067443I figure we're probably obligated to head out and find our own Testament if that's on our mind, since it seems incredibly straightforward for them to just bring a particularly ill-tempered (or pre-trained) creature to try and have us killed by it in a tragic 'accident'.
>>40067356Did QM fall asleep?
>>40067365>>40067391>>40067443Asche can greet them, you have theatrics to prepare!Writing!
>>40067523Or they've bribed/blackmailed a member of one of the lesser families to kill us in front of all the witnesses. The lesser family secretly gets paid off, and the branch family has plenty of people to say it was a random guest who did it.
>>40067543That one is too obvious. This all raises the question of why the hell are we not dead already - during the ~10 years we've lived with aunty/uncle you have to ask why would they have never tried to have us offed until now? If anything it would have been easier earlier, and more efficient then this marriage bullshit.We're safe for now, save the shadowruns for when we find out what the strange carriage is all about.
>>40067608It's our lovely betrothed, this whole rites thing is a sham for the marriage.
>>40067608Exactly as you said, it was easier to marry us off at first.
"I'll greet them in the main hall," You declare suddenly, "Asche, the procession is yours. Bring them to me when they arrive." You assume she nodded, for she split off from you not long afterwards. You quickly make your way to the main hall, a relatively grand entrance for what otherwise amounts to a small noble's summer home. Wooden floors frame a walkway leading further into the mansion, with two sets of curling stairs leading upwards to the second story loft overlooking the main entrance. It's there that you decide to make your welcome to your guests.Though not necessarily impressive at seventeen years of age, you are the heir to House Valen. You know exactly what is necessary to establish your dominance over lesser, less important nobles. Eye contact is an aggressive tactic, best used for forcing a conflict before someone is mentally ready to carry through - By subtly forcing the issue, you throw someone off balance and make them decide whether they will commit or retreat. If they do commit, then their reasonable mind is often in disarray - If they retreat, no matter how temporary, the first taste of defeat colors them for future altercations.Such a tactic is individualistic, best used for person to person communication. If it's a crowd, then you must look elsewhere; Control on a wider, less personal scale. As population density increases, so to do their capacity for individual thought. They sublimate themselves into a crowd mentality, and become more susceptible to something that will affect the entirety of the crowd over simply themselves. In other words, a less personal and final approach was needed - Something more subtle, less overtly threatening but still capable of instilling a point.
You hear the doors open as Asche's monotone voice is undoubtedly drowned out by the sudden commotion of murmuring nobility. You recognize your uncle Byrn flanking Asche immediately, the large bear of a man meandering forward with a relaxed and amiable expression chatting to some vaguely familiar noble - a distant cousin, perhaps? - and the militaristic woman of steel you know to be your aunt Clara, appearing as unflappable as Asche herself. Though a fair deal less physically imposing than your uncle, her posture is unmistakably self-assured and the length of steel she carries at her side is a tool of warfare that her history assures any that she is well aware of its more violent uses.There are an assortment of other nobles in attendance as well, some you recognize as distant relatives of yours. Others, however, you recognize from less... familial activities you have engaged in over the years. You wonder why someone of that particularly sketchy guild would be in an entourage of the rest of House Valen; Manipulation and scheming between family members is one thing, as far as nobility went it was nearly expected... But there was a certain measure of pride amongst House Valen that you did not expect to include this manner of lesser bornMany more nobles make their way your foyer before Asche shuts the door, the signal you had been waiting for, and you take your step forward to overlook the ground floor from the loft. A confident smile flashes across your face as you come into view.
"Good morning, my most esteemed guests." You announce clearly, eyes twinkling as the crowd - as one - cease their discussion amongst themselves and turn to crane their necks upward to see you. "First, let me welcome you to my home. I understand that is a respectable trip out of the way to actually arrive, so let me also congratulate you on arriving! I hope the sights were pleasant."Your speech ends quickly, more a dramatic welcome than anything else. The important thing was simply to coerce the entirety of the crowd's attention inarguably upon yourself; Once captured, you could begin control. You began to move down the staircase gradually as you spoke, watching with a genuinely pleased smile as the majority of the crowd turned to follow you as you descended. It was a nice start.>Find out who all has come>Cut to the chase and get to the rites>Thank Asche for leading them in>Write-in?
>>40067796>Find out who all has comeDon't call attention to Asche beyond her being a servant.
>>40067796>While maintaining control of the pace of the proceedings, find out who has arrivedBy finding out who is here we find out what our uncle/aunt is trying to display and possibly hints on what the trial will be. Furthermore it might give us knowledge of a contact we can leverage later
>>40067796>>Find out who all has comeIntroductions. It pretty much obligates the people responsible for outside parties being here to introduce them (or those parties would mention at whose behest they're here, since they're probably not gatecrashers), so we can get a handle on who is responsible for what parts of this whole cavalcade of people being here.
>>40067803>>40067824>>40067830This wasn't an open house party, who are these people?Writing!
"I recognize my dear aunt and uncle, but I'm afraid there are many faces here that I've yet to know." You apologize easily, stopping a single stair from the ground floor as you look across the crowd. "I had thought these rites to be something of a private and personal affair, so I am admittedly surprised to see so many people."You look towards said relatives, your aunt Clara's slight smile and nod towards the balcony above a silent compliment to your games. She would, of course, be the one to notice the smaller details - It is a nod you gently return, in thanks for the lack of resistance she put up in allowing you to play the crowd. This silent exchange is interrupted as your uncle steps forward with a broad smile, his arms quickly wrapping around you in near choking hug."Irue, my dear!" He smiled, your own arms snaking around his broad back just barely to pat his shoulderblades, "I apologize for the entourage, but news of your decision spread rather quickly. Whilst attending some of my more private gatherings, several very dear friends of mine expressed their interest in seeing firsthand the path of maturity you had chosen!"
Yes, you imagine it had spread. You were none too subtle in your wrath, after all. The embrace broke, the larger man wrapping his arm around your shoulder and gently - insistently, actually. You could not muster the strength to resist his rigid arm - pulling you from the single stair you had remained upon and into the crowd. This was not your intent, exactly - You had established yourself a notable outsider, something to be watched and paid attention to. To a crowd, outsiders were danger. A crowd would react to the movements of something like that.You resist the urge to scowl, instead adopting a strained smile as he led you into the group. This was integration - Forceful assimilation. Your uncle's approach destroyed that distance you had created, and his grip around your shoulders reeled you into close-quarters, breaking the tension.The bastard just de-clawed you. That's fine, you could adapt. Your mind was already burning as you took in the crowd's reactions, trying to discern how to best regain some semblance of control and advantage. "It's of no concern, dear uncle," you assure him in the meantime, gently extricating yourself from his grasp once you had decided you would definitely be led no further. "I am slightly concerned that I do not recognize as many people here as I should, however. Perhaps you could do me the favor of introductions?" You look from noble to noble as your uncle proceeds to introduce them jovially, recounting some meaningless anecdote of his relation or connection to them. As you suspected, many of them were from lesser branches of House Valen and were of little concern to you - Their presence was almost assuredly meant to be a smokescreen to something more annoying than low-noble gossip.
Something annoying like being introduced to the first cousin of the current royal family's prince. That is quite annoying, and you find yourself becoming increasingly annoyed by his continued existence - He had no sooner met you than knelt amongst the crowd to kiss your hand.Who does that? What era was this? You looked to your aunt and uncle awkwardly as he did this, wondering what exactly their angle here was. "Yes... It's a pleasure to meet you, as well." You choke out in reply. "May I inquire as to what was so interesting about my rite that you chose to attend in this out of the way estate?" "Curiosity, I suppose?" He answered with a rogueish smile, "It is not very often the reclusive princess of Valen makes waves in the community, so I simply had to come and see for myself what kind of interesting things you have planned." You meet his smile, idly marking him as a neutral member in this endeavor - No doubt your aunt and uncle had rigged something to be troublesome, a public embarrassment in front of royalty would be unforgivably mortifying should you fall for it.Withdrawing your hand from his, you nod in understanding. "I hope I do not disappoint."That cleared everyone in the hall for introductions, and with that you nodded to Asche to begin dealing with the guests as you finally find your way to your aunt - She had waited patiently thus far, but you were well aware that wished to speak with you.
"Normally the person taking this rite of passage is aware of what it entails, however due to your unique circumstances, I am quite certain that you are slightly at a disadvantage in that regard?" Your aunt's measured voice cuts through the light din of conversation as you approach her. "As members of the branch family, we were unfortunately unable to acquire the information regarding the main house's Traditional rite of passage until recently ourselves." You can almost feel the bemusement leaking out of her expression as the militaristic woman's discipline prevents her from outright rolling her eyes. "Suffice to say, it was worthless politic my dear. You are aware the branch house is required to demonstrate their ability to tame a beast adequately in order to pass, yes?"You nod. That was, after all, the test you thought you were going to be taking. You had been quite aware of just what it entailed for far longer than you had felt the need to entertain even undergoing such a secession. "The difference between Main and Branch house are minor details," She continues, bringing you out of your reverie, "you will still be responsible for displaying an adequate capability in taming and training." You nod once in acknowledgement, thanking your dear aunt for the trouble she had undoubtedly gone through to learn - and then tell - you of this. "Obstinate ward of mine you may be," the your aunt inclined her head, every inch the unflappable matron of steel that you knew her to be. "I will not have it said that any child of mine was let walk blindly into a battle - Be they blood, or law. You will know exactly what you are getting yourself into." You're... Not sure how to respond to that. For a moment, you are acutely aware of the kind of terrifying charisma this woman has at her beckoning. You swallow thickly...
>Bow your head slightly in acceptance. Even if you are nominally feuding, your aunt deserves respect.>Turn away, acknowledge her efforts with due praise - though it is partially her fault it was necessary.>Attempt to hug. Scheming guardian of yours she may be, but she was looking out for you even now.>Try to charisma back. Two can play this game.
>>40068026>Try to charisma back. Two can play this game.Gotta practice!k
>>40068026>Bow your head slightly in acceptance. Even if you are nominally feuding, your aunt deserves respect.THEN>Try to charisma back. Two can play this game.Even if we dislike her, she still is doing us a favor that she doesn't have to - she could let us walk blind into this at no cost to herself or her claim on the house. We should at least show some respect for her actions while continuing to play the game.Also, rolling dice for shits and giggles.
Rolled 16 (1d100)>>40068090Whoops, fucked up the roll
>>40068026>Turn away, acknowledge her efforts with due praise - though it is partially her fault it was necessary.>Try to charisma back. Two can play this game.
>>40068020>Try to charisma back. Two can play this game.Trying to out-charisma the "unflappable matron of steel" while not too much is at stake would give a good measure of our capability.>>40068090What better show of respect than reciprocation when challenged? I'm not sold on her leaving out these "minor details" with entirely pure intentions.
>>40068026>Try to charisma back. Two can play this game.I generally don't murderhobo, but killing all these filth seems like a good idea. Picking them off one by one at regular intervals, perhaps.
You make your decision and lift your head slightly as well, looking eye to eye with your aunt Clara as you offer her a small, genuine smile. "Thank you, aunt Clara." you speak clearly, drawing the attention of some of the nearby nobility, "I appreciate the trouble you've gone through for me more than I can express on such short notice; Our feud notwithstanding, I will be proud to call on you as one of my most treasured role models when I need advice."Play up and flatter her power and reach, acknowledge your close relation in a pristine and easily notable tone. Make the respect real, make it obvious that you see her as an amazing individual - Only weaklings tear down their opponents in this field of combat... But then set yourself above them. Without demeaning them, put your own presence in a position such that it seems you will do them the favor of praising them in comparison to your own measure.The question should never be about "who was more charismatic" at the time, but "who is more charismatic" period. Only by acknowledging your partner to their utmost can you begin to completely destroy them.
The corner of her lips twitched, her smile softening ever so slightly in reciprocation as she acknowledged your course of action. For a brief moment, you know you saw pride in the woman's eyes. That brief moment passed far too quickly as she light heartedly responded. "My dear Irue, you have but to call. For over a decade now you have been in your uncle Byrn and I's family, and I am not ashamed to claim you as my own child." She placed her hand on your shoulder as she moved past, "If ever you find yourself in dire straits, if it is not presumptuous of me to say so, I will come to your aid as if I were your blood-mother."Her nails lightly gripped your shoulder before the iron-cord of a hand slipped gently from your silken shirt, and you are left feeling rather embarrassed about the whole ordeal. Your head lowers slightly, shoulders sagging as tension you hadn't realized you had been holding drained.One of you was completely destroyed right now, and the woman happily chatting with the first royal cousin certainly did not seem any worse for wear."If all the formalities are out of the way, then I believe it is time we set this rite in motion." Your uncle rumbles a suggestion you are only too happy to agree to, nodding to him as you do so. You have a moment's reprieve as he gestures for you to follow him out towards the caravan procession arranged further out into your courtyard.
You glance over at Asche before following, noting that she seems to have become busy dealing with some foppish looking man that you dimly recall to be related to you in some manner. Rather than get caught up in whatever ridiculousness he was opining over this time, you make a point to catch Asche's attention and nod towards your uncle as you hurry after him. You think she understood. The sound of rocks crunching beneath your feet fill the air between the two of you as you walk. "I must admit that I am surprised at your choice." Your uncle starts, breaking the not-quite comfortable silence, "Your aunt and I had not expected you to be this anxious to become an adult." He scratched his beard in thought as he spoke, the sound of his scraping stubble adding a light static scratch to his words. >Answer bluntly. You will be the head of House Valen soon, it doesn't matter.>Answer politely. Proper manners are befitting a noble, not petty squabbles.>Answer irritably. There is venom in your fangs yet, and acid on your tongue.>Change the subject. You've questions about his company, and this rite itself. (write-in?)
>>40068313>Answer politely. Proper manners are befitting a noble, not petty squabbles.>Then change the subject. There are questions that need to be asked about the rite, and why those sketchy guild people are here.
>>40068313>Answer bluntly. You will be the head of House Valen soon, it doesn't matter.
>>40068313>Answer politely. Proper manners are befitting a noble, not petty squabbles.Mind your p's and q's.
>>40068313>Answer bluntly. You will be the head of House Valen soon, it doesn't matter.Don't let him small-talk us into a corner. Uncle seems like the type to do that if you give him an inch.>Change the subject.Make mention of that prince asshole, try to figure out their intentions bringing someone like him here.
>>40068335>>40068375>>40068373Be polite, you can stand playing nice a little longer.>>40068342>>40068377Don't cut corners, that engagement was unforgivable.We're pretty nice, I guess. Writing!
"I found myself needing to take action in response to certain unexpected events in my life." You answer conversationally, "While I apologize for the surprise, you can imagine my own when I discovered I had been engaged, yes?" A bashful laugh erupted from the man next to you, "True, true! Your aunt and I had thought to surprise you, and in a way I suppose we succeeded!" You resist the urge to question the man as to what exactly he thought you were going to say upon finding out you were engaged. Surely he wasn't so stupid as to legitimately believe you were going to be happy. You know for a fact he's not, actually. "Quite the temper you had, though. Reminds me of my brother-in-law's wife, to be honest; She was quite the spitfire to be around. I'd call her a handful, but.." He held his massive hands up, each one of them dwarfing your own, "I'd need bigger hands! Gahahaha!" Away from the crowd, you groan at your uncle's terrible joke. "While I am always enthused to hear stories of my parents, dear uncle, I must insist you refrain from giving me any more 'surprises' of that sort in the future." You push back onto course, "They are terribly stressful.""Ha, they're spice of life!" He roars, "You should go with the flow a bit more, Irue. Fighting it all the time will just make you tired, you know?" As the two of you begin to slow your walk, you realize with a sinking feeling that your destination from the beginning had been the covered wagon you spotted on their approach. "Even a Valen can't control the world all the time."
Now that you're closer, its trappings appear familiar in a way that sets you distinctly on edge. The slight upward bend of the floor, as well as the dark veil which falls just short of covering the wrought iron bars firmly secured into the wagon from body to top. Vehicles like these were used primarily for the transport of livestock across long distances; A fact you could easily attest to, having seen more than your fair share of normal, and more exotic, creatures contained and shipped within during your less official 'outings'.The air is yet clean, standing even this close to the wagon. Your senses alone are enough to affirm that whatever is within is, at the very least, not some fanciful monster. Thinking back to the conversation with your aunt, you have a rough idea that the Testament chosen for you by your aunt and uncle lay inside, but..."Ah, yes. Yes, yes!" That man from before turns towards you and your Uncle, sporting a pleasant grin which set off the final connections you needed to remember this man. Immaculate formal clothing, with a fresh pair of leather gloves gripping an arm length black lacquered cane. With near shaved red hair, he claps his lanky arms together merrily at your approach. "The rite begins soon, yes? It is an honor to be the one called upon in such a time as to bear witness to the future head of House Valen beginning their rite!"Oh yes, you remember this man. His business made its home in the slums of the marketing district of the capital city, where he could move and sell livestock of more peculiar and exotic sorts without his customer's privacy being violated by such petty things as gossiping tourists. Or armed guards.
He had connections with transporters of goods which were not strictly approved of by the current royal family, as their definition of "livestock" was slightly askew from what one might normally expect in this era."It is an even greater honor, I assure you," he continued heedless of the growing displeasure that you thoroughly stamped down. "To have the great opportunity to provide you with the special selection chosen and rigorously selected at the behest of your esteemed family."The man pulled back the veil covering the wagon in a single sudden motion, revealing its occupants. "The head of House Valen must be able to bend the masses to their whim." Your uncle was scratching at his beard again as your eyes widened. "Taking this rite is something that has somewhat fallen out of style, you see, but since you were quite adamant to take the traditional one... we arranged for it all the same.""As promised sir, for the future heir of House Valen, nothing but the most prestigious options were gathered. Unbroken, wild, and rebellious." The red haired man bowed theatrically, "The finest slaves this humble slavemaster has to offer.">You said you would [Adapt and Overcome], stick to the plan!>New plan required, this was beyond expectation. (write-in)>Screw the plan, what the hell is this?
>>40068603>New plan required, this was beyond expectation. (write-in)I was under the impression the rite would not require breaking the law Uncle. Some traditions have fallen out of favor with good reason. Had you made what the rite entailed I would have adapted and taken a different rite.
>>40068603>You said you would [Adapt and Overcome], stick to the plan!No matter the challenge we must succeed - we will NOT give our estate and title to our uncle and aunt. The easiest and most efficient way to do this is not to demand a new rite, but to overcome the expectations placed on you, to exceed and excel. Asking for a new rite would only bring our abilities and future into question.
>>40068603>>You said you would [Adapt and Overcome], stick to the plan!Don't even flinch. We knew it wouldn't be straightforward, even if it wasn't quite what we guessed. Both aunt and uncle are waiting for us to buckle here, and we can't let them have that before we gain any sort of leverage.
>>40068603>New plan required, this was beyond expectation. (write-in) Thank you for your concern, but I was planning to go and seek out my own, not be stuck with something like these common filth. Or do you think House Valen so low as to not deserve something rarer, and less easily tamed?If they persist, buy all the slaves, then kill the slaves then and there.
>>40068625>>40068718Discard plan. Obtain new plan.>>40068635>>40068687Keikaku will not be denied!Oh boy. Writing.
>>40068760Tied, huh.Well, let's see what magic you can weave with that, OP!
>>40068718Seems pretty desperate of us just to get out of this situation. Do you actually prefer getting mauled by wild animals?
>>40068790Do we really want a (probably) human slave? How do you think that's going to look socially? Our beloved family are quite obviously trying to screw us over, and sucking it up and accepting it won't make it any less of a loss.We need to soundly reject it, make it clear the onus is on them for being tasteless idiots, and acquire some animal that will gain us respect, if not actual approval.
>>40068826So, calling them common filth and killing them out of spite would make us more respectable?If the general consensus is that they're subhuman and "common filth", that works fine, but it would also mean it's not socially reprehensible to own them either.No need to go full murderhobo in front of our esteemed guests.
Rolled 43, 14 + 2 = 59 (2d100 + 2)Do we we roll?
>>40068826> Do we really want a (probably) human slave?Why not? It's more useful than a pet. Let's roll with this: There are clearly social expectations here, and I'm interested in finding out what they are. It'd be damn stupid to go all white-knight.
>>40068907It's more of an extreme statement then just going 'no', certainly but it removes any of their suspicions that we might give a shit about people fellow us (like Asche).>>40068931I don't give a crap about SJ, they're putting us in a bad position. We shouldn't be playing it their way.
Your first thought was lost when it screeched to a halt. Unfortunately, your second and third thoughts similarly joined that trainwreck before the fourth finally came along and made the fiery conflagration that was your mind complete.For a moment, you very seriously contemplated how feasable it would be to just kill everyone here and then leave. It's just your uncle, the slavemaster, and the slaves here after all. You're reasonably sure you could get the slavemaster in a surprise, but that leaves your uncle and-You blink once, your mental OS rebooting in the process. You could handle this still, your plan coming into this wasn't set to begin with - It was a resolve that no matter what happened, you'd find a way to adapt and overcome whatever trick your dear aunt and uncle had set up for you to stumble over.So your plan tentatively remains the same, in so much as you still have your resolve to handle this - Find some way to take their problem and use it to your advantage. Before you can do that, you need to make sure you're sure of everything so far.They tried to engage you with flimsy, but completely legal backing. In order to get out of that engagement, you declared your intent to take the traditional rite of passage into adulthood.As you had been adopted legally by your aunt and uncle, you were considered a branch of House Valen. However, since you were the blood heir to House Valen, your rite of passage had to be of the main house - Taking the branch rite wouldn't suffice....But since you were considered branch house until your rite was complete, you had no way of gaining access to the records of the main house in order to ascertain what it is.
Ah. there it is - That was the mistake that led to this. You declared your intent to take the Traditional rite of passage in order to remove opposition by implying great precedent. To deny you that, would have been to deny the tradition of House Valen entirely - Political suicide. Even the current royal family, who disapproved of slavery openly, hadn't the support to actually make the practice illegal in the face of it having evidently been implicit in House Valen's rites. Most of that is simply conjecture, because there is so much information you don't have due to legally being a branch member of House Valen. It would make sense, but you don't have proof. Even if you did have proof, it doesn't change the fuck up you personally made - You specified the traditional rite. "Traditional" didn't necessarily mean current. Even worse, as it is the one you specifically chose then admitting your ignorance now and backing down would cast doubt on your ability to make decisions - Something you cannot afford as heir of House Valen. Rejecting the rite because it didn't suit you was the same as rejecting adulthood since it didn't suit you.You force yourself to breath. You can adapt to this. You'll need to start making a plan on the fly, some way to turn this on its head and come out of it in a better position without invalidating the rite or tradition. This hesitation is exactly the type of stumbling block you can't afford to get stuck on. It's no doubt what your aunt and uncle planned from the beginning... If you falter here, that engagement is as good as consummated, unless you straight deserted House Valen; Then the position would move to the closest branch family members.... Shit.
Your eyes drift back to the barred wagon, staring past the iron confinement to take a closer look at its inhabitants. If nothing else it seems the commotion had grabbed their attention, which let you take in at least a cursory glance of just what you're dealing with. The slavemaster had specifically said these were, essentially, problem cases... Looking at the group before you, you could see how that might be true for his usual customers.The one furthest to the left stood proudly, even garbed in ratty cloth and chains. Despite the undoubtedly discomfort provided by the manacles latching her wrists to the ceiling, the red haired girl made a point of holding her head high as she looked down from the wagon. There was a flare of rebellion in those eyes; Glassy and hard, in a peculiarly obstinate way. You idly note that the bright crimson of her eyes very nearly matched her hair. For a brief moment your eyes met, and in that instant you swore you sensed a judgment pass over you. She scowled down at you with a glare that would have caused the iron bars between you to wilt, had they the option.To the right, some manner of demihuman hung almost lazily from her manacles. Short and messy black hair very nearly obscured the slitted amber eyes that were half-assedly sweeping across the proceedings as the taller demihuman girl swung back and forth casually from the ceiling. Rather than being indignant, you got the distinct feeling that this one was legitimately bored with the entire ordeal. A shaggy tail tossed back and forth temperamentally behind her as she glances around outside of the wagon. For a moment she stops to look at you, one brow quirking almost curiously before the expression was masked in a lazy yawn. She seemed to go back to humming a little tune to herself shortly afterwards, evidently deciding that the forest around her was a more interesting sight.
Your ego prickled slightly at having been dismissed by something literally subhuman. The dusky skinned demihuman already seemed to get on your nerves.The final Testament candidate hung limply from the ceiling, her frail body causing even the ratty clothing to appear far too large and baggy. She shifted weakly, dull brown eyes wincing slightly as the slave tried to quietly shift her weight from one leg to the other. You catch a flash of the skin hidden beneath her baggy clothes, mottled an ugly yellow and brown in contrast to the rest of her otherwise pale skin, before she notices your attention and... You didn't think it was quite possible for someone to look even more despondent than she had before. She hadn't even bothered to look up at you before her neck slumped downward to hide the rest of her face behind a sheet of filthy, dirt colored hair.You resist the urge to growl at the thought that your aunt and uncle had openly associated with this caliber of merchant... Your eyes narrowed dangerously as you grit your teeth audibly. That's not all they did, is it? You understood now, the purpose of the other nobles accompanying them. Not only did they go so far as to sully the Valen name, it was done in YOUR name. They were using this entire rite as a venue to publically embarrass you; Even if you chose to back down now, you'd come across as indecisive and weak in front of the nobles who came for your rite. Beyond that, it'd drop you right back into that thrice damned engagement as you forfeit your chance to secede their guardianship.
"Well young heir Valen?" The slavemaster breaks away from a hushed conversation with your uncle and approaches you, smiling all the while. "Something that strikes your fancy among the selection? They're masterworks all, you can't go wrong!" He seemed to smile a little wider, laughing silently to himself at some joke you likely missed. This is, you realize, the moment of no return. You've got to make a choice, find some way to salvage this...>Ask for information about the candidates>Ask if this is all he brought.>Ask for a moment alone.>Ask to speak to your uncle alone.>Ask to speak to the slavemaster alone.>Politely mention that he is currently standing to your left.
>>40069096>Ask for information about the candidates>Politely mention that he is currently standing to your left.Geez.
>>40069096>Ask for information about the candidatesWhat kind of merchant doesn't describe their products.
>>40069096>Ask if this is all he brought.Make it clear none of them are up to our standard.QM, if we picked Asche, would she still keep her full rights?
>>40069096>Ask for information about the candidates>Ask if this is all he brought.>Politely mention that he is currently standing to your left.
>>40069061Why are they all young girls? Are we meant to be picking our waifu?
>>40069111That is a terrible fucking idea, and here's why.>The amount of prestige that came from deliberately choosing a more difficult Testament could be measured proportional to just how difficult your choice was.>For as long as you can remember, that name could be found carved into the very foundations of this nation's royalty and society; One of the Noble families whose reach and influence seemed to have been so ancient and well entrenched that it became near self-sustaining.Those two passages illustrate that we must take on a challenge that would be considered of a high enough caliber to take on the Valen name. It is known to our closest living family members that Asche is already loyal to us - making her into a trained slave would be no challenge at all.QED - your plan gets us fucking nowhere
>>40069096>>Ask for information about the candidatesGet straight to the point, no floundering with other questions or leaving the situation. We go at this head on or admit defeat right now.
>>40069118Old crones do not good slaves make.And a selection of male slaves is not advisable given our MC's problems. One does not escape engagement problems by literally owning more males.
>>40069133I know I'm the only one to think so, but I don't give a crap what the witnesses think. We can deal with them later. Plus we have the prince's cousin here and the royals want to ban slavery. Picking a slave isn't going to endear us.
>>40069162I was hoping for an adult, someone with life experience. Captured fighter we could convince to be our bodyguard maybe.
>>40069184One of the options satisfies this condition. They are characters before gender, I ask you to treat them as such.Going to take a few moments to grab something to eat, then I'll tally votes and see what we have.
>>40069111Almost forgot to reply to this, my apologies.Choosing Asche is not an option for the reasons >>40069133 mentions, but also for political reasons.Irue demanded the rite for political reasons and made a crucial mistake in doing so. By rejecting the current selection, it would be openly snubbing your aunt and uncle's efforts to "help" you. While it may be obvious to us/the MC that is bullshit, it is a real political concern that must be taken into consideration.
>>40069166Read the recent passages again: >To deny you that, would have been to deny the tradition of House Valen entirely - Political suicide.> Even worse, as it is the one you specifically chose then admitting your ignorance now and backing down would cast doubt on your ability to make decisions - Something you cannot afford as heir of House Valen. Rejecting the rite because it didn't suit you was the same as rejecting adulthood since it didn't suit you.>You understood now, the purpose of the other nobles accompanying them. Not only did they go so far as to sully the Valen name, it was done in YOUR name. >They were using this entire rite as a venue to publically embarrass you; Even if you chose to back down now, you'd come across as indecisive and weak in front of the nobles who came for your rite. Beyond that, it'd drop you right back into that thrice damned engagement as you forfeit your chance to secede their guardianship.We are already fucked. Either way the Prince (and the royal family) will think badly of us, if that's your angle. Furthermore:> Even the current royal family, who disapproved of slavery openly, hadn't the support to actually make the practice illegal in the face of it having evidently been implicit in House Valen's rites.The Royals can't do shit about this either. Their hands are tied and they already know about this practice - taking up the rite won't put us in a worse position with them.Basically, are options are thus:1) Reject the rite, get married, end quest2) Reject the rite, abandon house Valin, probably end quest3) Accept the right, fuck up by picking our super maid, fail the rite, en quest4) Accept the rite, do well with what is offered, win questNot only are you arguing something already out of character (earning the full title as the leader of House Valen above all else), you're trying to kill the quest in thread 1.
>>40069215Good to hear. I was glad to see no smut, was getting worried this was going to end up as yuri-bait.
>>40069255Ah, missed the part about the royal family lacking support, sorry. Never mind then.
So Damage control?
I guess we should accept, with the notion that this is not what we expected.To pacify the royal family we could accept additional rules on treating the slaves ...I'm sure nobody would turn us down , adding more challange to the trail...on the other hand that would also be showing weakness.Also do we have to make them slaves or just loyal subjects?>Ask for information about the candidates>Ask if this is all he brought.>Politely mention that he is currently standing to your left.Can't go wrong with information.
>>40069387Treating them as more than slaves - at least immediately - would probably be showing a lot of weakness. We could maybe do it once our position is secure, whenever that'll be. Of course, there's probably no law saying you have to whip your slaves or whatever so it's not like we can't treat them fairly humanely. Just gotta make sure we stay in charge, especially around others.
>>40069102>>40069105>>40069143Ask for Information>>40069111>>40069115Ask if this is all he brought>>40069102>>40069115Politely mention he is standing to your left.>>40069387All of these things are possible. Your last question is interesting. I'd suggest reading over the rite instructions outlined so far to see if you can find wiggle room.Food acquired. Writing.
>>40067325Participants were to choose from a wild beast presented to them, or seek out their own, and claim it as their own. These beasts were candidates to become the initiate's Testament, proof of their mastery, skill, method and capability.While any Lesser Beast, such as wolves or the larger birds of prey, would suffice as a Testament for simply passing the test... The amount of prestige that came from deliberately choosing a more difficult Testament could be measured proportional to just how difficult your choice was. Some chose multiple beasts, while others simply chose a more majestic type of creature. >>40068603>"The head of House Valen must be able to bend the masses to their whim.">>40069487that's all i found (relevant)
>>40069568Wait a moment, I think I worked out the optimal path for getting everyone to fuck off and accept us as the rightful heir.>The amount of prestige that came from deliberately choosing a more difficult Testament could be measured proportional to just how difficult your choice was>The head of House Valen must be able to bend the masses to their whim.Well, this is just slapping us in the face - although we could just pick one the correct option is to pick all three. And although they are nominally slaves, the wording just means we have to bend them to our will - so that means anywhere from slaves to loyal skilled retainers. All we have to do is ensure that they will do as we ask without hesitation.Essentially, we have to train 3 more Asches
>>40069669Objective: aquire HaremBrain, why?
>>40069669That could work, the issue is in execution. If we pick all three up, that's probably going to be a lot of work getting them obedient, unless we do a real good job finding out what makes them tick.
You clear your throat pointedly, tearing your eyes from the wagon with a little effort. "Are these all you brought?" You ask, "There isn't, perhaps, another wagon somewhere in this caravan of more interesting candidates?" You glance off to the side, idly wondering just what you would do if there actually WAS another caravan of more slaves. "These are the cream of the crop, I assure you." The slavemaster repeats after a moment, "As per your esteemed family's wishes, we combed our roster from oldest to newest and put together a line up sure to please." He faltered a little as you turned to look him in the eye. "My apologies." You don't so much as blink, "Then I do have some more questions concerning the candidates, but before that - You are standing to my left." Confusion graces the slavemaster's face as he looks down at his feet to verify that, yes, he was standing to your left. You're sure he was about to open his mouth, but a particularly firm grip around his wrist put a stop to that - It also caused him to forcibly switch places with a short black haired girl as she stepped into his previous position. You nod to Asche, who takes a moment to look over first herself, and then the slavemaster, before nodding back. You had expected her to catch up to you shortly, and it was comforting to have her here with you now - Maybe there was a way to salvage this after all.
You turned fully to the Slavemaster, stepping to him as you marshal the confidence that had all but abandoned you from this morning. It took a moment to lock eyes with him, your red hairband making your eyes stand out rather prettily, and in that ephemeral space of time, you felt him buckle under you. This man was a shrewd merchant, yes, but he was not of House Valen.He was no aunt Clara."I want more information about the candidates." You declare, taking strength from the familiar, quiet presence of Asche standing slightly to your left. A smile graces your face, even as the slavemaster's falters. "Now...">Tell me about the Demihuman>Tell me about the Proud One>Tell me about the Despondent One
>>40069854>Tell me about the Proud OneStart from the (probably) most challenging
>>40069854"...please tell me what makes them so uniquely fitted as candidates for my trail"-smug grin
>>40069854>Tell me about the Proud One>>40069913This sounds good too.
>>40069876>>40069939>>40069959She's awfully cheeky for a slave, ain't she?>>40069913>>40069939Okay.Writing!
>>40070056Cheeky lady will either go really well or really badly when it comes to not losing face, methinks.
>>40070097If she shows us up straight away, we'll have to act pleased instead of pissed off, and make a show of how 'untamed' she is.
>>40070139Pretty much. Since we haven't had time to work on her ourself we can't do TOO badly as long as we just don't let her get to us and rise above anything she might have to say.
But guys, harem! Anybody can train one slave, it takes a true master to train 3 completely different slaves simultaneously.
>>40070261is this "slavery is bad" anon
>>40070261>haremplsAnd I don't think anyone's completely excluded the possibility, we gotta inspect them one by one either way.
>>40070261Fantastic, the harem-fetishists have made themselves apparent. Now go away.
>>40070320Where has anyone said it was bad?
>>40070393see >>40068625 and >>40068718
>>40070418I was the second anon quoted, that wasn't anti-slavery. That was anti-our-family-screwing-us-over.Not sure how you got anti-slavery from 'kill all the slaves'.
"Tell me about the proud one." You decide, her demeanor having caught your initial interest. "Pride is an unusual attribute for a slave. Just what exactly makes her so uniquely traited to being a candidate for my Testament?" The slavemaster brightened as he began to tell you her finer points - All of which were effectively lost to the outraged voice from behind you that picked up nearly the moment you had finished speaking. "I am a slave to no one! T'would be a wonder if House Valen last a fortnight abroad if this travesty were made known!"You turn quickly to see the red haired slave positively seething at you, her chains pulled taught in aggravation. "Listen not to that wretched bastard of an undermerch, my name is Rinnier Suriah Lamandra - I am the rightful princess of Southern Teranford! Release me from these bonds!"You stare steadily back at the self named Rinnier Suria- That is a lot of name. You glance at the slavemaster curiously, "That," he smiles broadly, "is why she was chosen for a candidate. Ser Valen, allow me to properly introduce you to the former princess of Southern Teranford, Rinnier Suriah Lamandra." Was Lamandra the name of the royal family down there? You try to remember if you had read anything about it, but all that came to mind was magic.Magic, magic... Lamandra. Right, you remember the country now at least - Southern Teranford was a relatively small nation that was 'graced' with an unbearable heat almost year round. Not quite a desert, not quite a beach - The Mana which the founding family held a particularly strong bond with was richly abundant in that area, and thus it became a popular destination of pilgrimage for fledglings
"Recently their family has fallen out of favor with the Salamander, or so rumor goes." The slavemaster continued regardless, "Perhaps news has not quite reached all the way to the remote estate of the most esteemed Master Valen, but Teranford was conquered recently by a... Shall we say, nomadic army of sorts. Their citizens and royal family alike were sold for a heft penny, and it took quite a few favors for me to acquire this particular gem." Nomadic army. You quirk your brow at that, wondering how such a structure could possibly sustain itself, much less pose an actual thread to an established nation. However, if what he said about the Salamander was true then... No, it was still a farfetched tale. You were missing information - It would even the field from a total impossibility to a tall tale, but there had to be something else. For the first time in years you curse your lack of knowledge regarding current world events."Rest assured, Master Valen, the Lamandra family is no longer in power. Her accusations are as baseless as her claims to royalty." A wordless scream rips out of Rinnier at that, the chain holding her to the ceiling of the wagon clattering violently as she attempted to jerk herself free.>Investigate more. (write-in?)>Ask about the Despondent One>Ask about the Demihuman
>>40070494At least they were conquered so this doesn't go from rite of passage to challenging geopolitical clusterfuck.No doubt a former princess as slave would be a huge boon for our standing though.>Ask about the Despondent One
>>40070494>Despondent oneThis one's probably the combat expert instead of the one who looks like it.
>>40070494>Ask about the Despondent One>Ask about the DemihumanStep one: purchase princess slave.Step two: train princess slave.Step three: conquer country.Step four: insert princess slave as ruler on our behalf taking advantage of her trained upbringing and expertise with the area.Nothing could go wrong!
>Ask about the Despondent One>Ask about the Demihumanit would be a good idea to ask about the rest of the merchandise as well. Perhaps they have some interesting tidbits?
>>40070562>Nothing could go wrong!do you even politics?
>>40070588Gotta have goals and ambitions anon!
Apologies anons, I need to go afk for a few minutes.Will count and write when I return, but it looks like we're asking about the Despondent One next!
>>40062822>Pbackstabbing asshole family members.The word you're looking for is "Perfidious"
>>40070712The word you seem to be missing is "joke", anon
You mentally file away the information for later, motioning towards the despondent brunette in the center as Rinnier's frothing quiets to a more bearable level. "What about this one, then?" You move on with more questions than answers, after finding out one of the slaves was actual royalty - former royalty - your mind is a buzz with the possibilities of others. This one in particular, though..."This is one of our oldest slaves." He explains easily, sliding into what you realize must be a rather common - or rehearsed - explanation. "For nearly a decade she has gone unsold, completely unsuited for the common customer. Far too complicated a purchase for them, far out of the league of the everyday trader, yes." He hazards to move closer, giving Asche a respectable berth as he does so, in order to point out specific details. You suppose it was meant to be an informational dialogue for potential buyers.It looked like he was attempting to sell you meat for the slaughter."No doubt you've seen the marks on her, yes? She is vicious, a very pernicious fighter. It may seem cruel, but we keep this one regularly beaten down in the pits in order to maintain some semblance of docility." His smile never wavers as he speaks, "Do not be mistaken by her appearance, Master Valen, this slave is one truly demanding of one's master. The slightest slip, and you will be taken."
You look up at the despondent slave, her unwashed brown hair hanging frayed and knotted before her. Despite the pitch, she had not so much as twitched during the slavemaster's talk - Perhaps used to the song and dance already. If she had truly been a slave for nearly a decade, then that would make sense then, but... "She barely looks older than I am." you point out skeptically, at least the princess was well into her twenties - This one was almost definitely not. It's difficult to make out her true age due to the malnourishment, but she couldn't possibly have been a slave for over a decade."Your eyes are sharp, Master Valen. This one was taken into our roster when she was barely a child, due to some... unfortunate circumstances with her parents." You wait for a further explanation, but none seems forthcoming - From him, or the girl.>Investigate more (write-in?)>Ask about the Demihuman
>>40071349>Investigate more (write-in?)Regarding her parents.
>>40071349>Ask about the Demihuman
>>40071349>>Ask about the Demihuman
>>40071349>Ask about the DemihumanI'm way late, but oh well.
>>40071453Investigate more>>40071521>>40071665>>40071691Ask about the DemihumanWriting. Trying not to die.
>>40071729NO don't die OP.
>>40071729We all try, OP. We all fail in the end.
>>40071729We'll channel our lifeforce to you!
>>40071729>05/20/15(Wed)13:40:34QM's first post>05/21/15(Thu)03:45:14QM's last postThis thread has had over 14 hours of updates and writing, no wonder they are dying
>>40071912QM is an A.I. QM cannot die.
Rather than questions, you've come away from the middle with purely suspicions. On the surface the explanations were solid, and the slavemaster seemed earnest enough in his explanation, but... Something was wrong. No, a lot of things were wrong in all honesty, but there was a specific thread nagging at you to notice it. You shake your head, making a note to think about it more before this is over."Finally... The demihuman." You turn to the last candidate for Testament, the dusky skinned demihuman who had dismissed you earlier. You would be lying if you said your pride hadn't tweaked at the slight, but something as petty as an irked ego weren't going to get in your way here. "Tell me," her amber eyes seemed to have perked up, carefully paying more attention to the proceedings, "what exactly values this one as a candidate?""As is obvious, you note that one particular difference is the species, yes?" He began, "This one is a demihuman, purebred as far as can be determined and shockingly cunning. It was pure fortune to have it stumble into my ownership - Purchased at a steal, directly from the Capital Guard." Your head tilted at that, "An hoodlum of some sort, we gather. They were rather unfortunate to be one of the ones who did not get away during one of the many Set-Up operations run by the Capital Guard in the past few years."
"Not important enough to warrant a rescue, this demihuman sat in a cell for sometime before the local administration sought to recooperate some of their loss resources in housing and feeding the prisoner by selling them to some associates of mine as slave labor." He slavemaster brushed his hand back over his nearly shaved red hair, the leather glove making a crisp rustling sound as he did so. "Said associate found the demihuman to be particularly potent for it's unlikely stock, and it ended up moving from 'friend' to 'friend' until your esteemed uncle contacted me to make arrangements for this rite of yours."There was a slight twitch of the demihuman's lips at the story, and you're near certain it's amused by the story. This has nothing to do with your inherently superior ability to read people, mind, so much as demihumans of this one's type were notoriously poor at hiding their emotions.As was almost painfully evident, they had no conscious control over what their tail did. The almost celebratory pitter-patter of her black tail was almost depressingly easy to read compared to her carefully distracted expression. "So it's an interesting demihuman. You consider that warrant enough to be a candidate of mine?" You drawled unimpressed, completely not finding issue with this one in particular because she may have snubbed you earlier. That would be petty.
"My apologies, Ser Valen," The slavemaster smiles, "It is difficult to explain. Demihuman are another breed entirely, more bestial, more animalistic. They are simultaneously far less, and far more than human." You had a general idea of what exactly a demihuman was, but crossed your arms and nodded for him to continue regardless; Perhaps he had a point to make of it. "Most never rise above their animalistic stock, prone to becoming feral beasts, you see. They are a regularly reported menace among outlands and slums... Even those who do manage to rise above that, they are simple creatures. The complexities that you and I take for granted are a world beyond a demihuman's capabilities."He turned, pointing towards his particular captive, "This one, however, can very nearly pass as a human - Did pass as a human - for years. Has the crude intelligence to mimic our culture, and think in a similar manner. It is strong, yes. Bestial, of course, but sentient - While retraining the monstrous physical capabilities of its kind.".... That got your attention. You blink at the demihuman once more before adding that bit of information to the ever growing file in your head. Now that you've gotten some information regarding the candidates...>Ask for a moment alone with Asche>Ask to speak to the slavemaster alone>Ask to speak to your uncle alone>Other (Write-in?)Captcha has given up asking me to identify specific food; It just wants me to find food. It's only wanted me to find food for the past 3 hours. Every post. Food.
>>40072300> completely not finding issue with this one in particular because she may have snubbed you earlier. That would be petty.Y-yeah!>Ask for a moment alone with AscheClearly captcha is worried you aren't eating enough.
>>40072322>Ask to speak to the slavemaster aloneLet's intimidate him into telling us everything he knows. Gotta find out what's wrong!
>>40072322>"Two of these slaves have obvious challenging qualities which would make them a worthy for the rite. However, you give me any reason as to why the middle slave qualifies beyond half-hearted assertions. Would you like to try again and explain to me exactly why she would be a challenge?"
>>40072322>>Other (Write-in?)See if we can get some info on the middle one. Somehow the fact the parents died at the same has me wondering.Probably paranoia.
>>40072500Fuck me, typos everywhere. Let me try to clean that up because I didn't set a deletion password.>"Two of these slaves have obvious challenging qualities which would make them worthy for the rite. However, you have failed to give me any reason as to why the middle slave qualifies beyond half-hearted assertions. Would you like to try again and explain to me exactly why she would be a worthy challenge?"
>>40072322>Ask to speak to Asche alone.>Ask to speak to the slavemaster alone
>>40072345>>40072662Consult with Asche>>40072414>>40072662Wring more information out of the slavemaster>>40072500>>40072502There's definitely something you're not telling us about this one.Writing.
>>40072686>There's definitely something you're not telling us about this one.All of these feel like a trap. But I think there is a way to flip it.Bet number 2 is the long thought dead sister, she had more fight then nobles thought. The bracelet we brought if she is will ID us.If that is the case, take all 3, and the sister does the trial at the same time, both pass showing the 2 former slaves, now retainers.
>>40072951That's an...interesting theory. Fits in a way, though it's strange that Irue wouldn't recognize her then. Besides, we have no idea what our protagonist thinks/knows happened to her though, do we? Mightn't she have seen her die or the like?
>>40073081Parents dead at Southern border. Too far to transfer bodies, likely cremated and then transfered to famil crypt. Go missing assumed dead, empty urn in crypt.Also have to woo the masses, plural not singular.10 years is also a long long time, easy to lose track and memories blur. Especially since Irue lived an easier life and she would live a hard life.
>>40073168Those are valid points. Well, we can keep the possibility in mind at least.
You turn to your uncle, lightly inclining your head towards him. "Dear uncle, would you be averse to giving me a moment alone with the slavemaster?" You ask hopefully. In reality, it is less a question as a courtesy. Your uncle has been given his cue to leave this procession to you, as he honestly has no further role to play at the given moment. All the same, you flash him a thankful smile when he hastily agrees with the request and proceeds to engage in some half-hearted parody of running off back to the house.It was hardly what actual running was, more that he put on the show of a hustle for you out of some strange humor. Perhaps the same humor that spawned his earlier handful of jokes. You are not a fan of his humor, though it does rather effectively endear him to you as a well meaning oafish uncle. Almost enough that you might forget exactly which bastard was the reason for your current circumstances.
You let out a sigh, turning back to the slavemaster with a whole new gameface. "I have a few more questions, if you do not mind." You explain, wine red eyes boring into his as your uncle gradually drifts further afield, and finally out of sight. "Perhaps you will be willing to answer them whilst we are alone, yes?" An understanding smile spreads across your face as you speak, idly noting how his attention continues to shift towards Asche. The stoic girl whom, despite your clear request to uncle to have a moment alone with the slavemaster, had not so much as twitched in an effort to move from your side."Of course, Ser Valen." He answers as he takes a slight step back - Barely a shuffle, hidden by his posture straightening. An action you reciprocate by taking a single obvious step towards him as he does so, covering far more distance than had been created. "Pardon my insolence, Ser Valen, but... We are not quite alone... currently?" You wave your hand dismissively, "I am well aware that we are standing in front of my candidates, they are welcome to listen in." There - his eyes flickered again, and you took the opportunity to approach once more in the lapse of attention. When he had refocused on you, the steadily shortening distance forced another slight step backwards. "They are not..." He swallows lightly, "I mean to say your attendant, Ser Valen. She has not left." You blink at him, red eyes wide and innocent as you let his statement hang in the air between you. No doubt, Asche stood in her customary position and was simply watching the ongoing proceedings passively. Her entrance, you noticed some time ago, had ruffled the slavemaster - disturbed him far more than some minor strong arming should have.
"I don't know what you're talking about?" With a thump, the slavemaster realizes he has met the wagon behind him. You take that as a cue to cease your steady advance, crossing one arm over the and idly tapping her finger against your shirt. "I am sure you have realized this by now, dear slavemaster, that your safety is at my discretion in this estate, yes?" You begin to hum, "You're quite used to having protection on hand, but with the kind of opportunity like this, you willingly jumped at the chance to possibly bring in an impressive haul. You believed your business would be your buffer from potential danger." Your finger stopped tapping, and you deliberately let your lips peel back into a smile that offered plenty of teeth. "You were wrong."Yes, there was the reaction you were looking for. He didn't hesitate to break eye contact this time, even as his body stilled in a practiced and experienced manner. This was a man who used to being near danger, being watchful of danger, but never being IN danger. And you were a seventeen year old spoiled noble. Alone, not terribly intimidating, no; However you were a seventeen year old spoiled noble who happened to own the completely private lands he found himself a guest in, surrounded by extremely influential people, none of which would be particularly flattered by the public light his association with them would turn up.
"Dear slavemaster, you are my guest." You gently remind him, "If you begin to look so ill at ease, I will be troubled, yes?" up-talk served its purpose when in a position of power. It allowed the people you spoke to an easy out, a guided route through the conversation that would seem more desirable to a panicked or distracted mind. A route that, if used properly, would consistently lead them to become comfortable agreeing with you. On minor things, at first, and then slightly larger things later. It is by no means brainwashing, but an establishment of pattern. When stressed, people find comfort in familiarity - By lulling them into a pattern of your own creation, you can take advantage of that. If the slightly disbelieving agreement stuttered out is any indication, you are successfully taking advantage of that. In another circumstance, this type of pressure would likely be impossible to leverage onto a man like this. You are simply fortunate that the battlefield is what it is."Good, and you know that I personally mean you no harm, yes? My dear uncle, as you have seen, is also a kind and amiable man. You are quite safe here, yes?" You smile, taking a single step back - one that turns into a light shuffle as you lean back more casually. What was important in this conversation was not that you become a violent aggressor, nor that you allow yourself to simply threaten him. No, what mattered was the possibility. That he become aware, that he stay aware, that he realize just how aware everyone else was... Of just where he stood. "So, slavemaster, shall we answer a few questions?""Yes, of course."You feel a genuine smile stretch across your face."Excellent."
>>40073436Good, things are going well for now.
>Have him explain how he is profiting from this>Pressure him more regarding the Despondent One He has to know more.>Ask his honest opinion of the proceedings. If you feel he's lying, introduce him to your Maid. Secretary. >Think of a better title for Asche.I swear to god I am going to finish this prologue before I sleep.
>>40073537>Ask his honest opinion of the proceedings. If you feel he's lying, introduce him to your Maid. Secretary. Start slow with the most obvious matter. Go for the Despondent One after. Spoiler can wait for when this business is done.
>>40073537>Have him explain how he is profiting from this
>>40073537>>Pressure him more regarding the Despondent One He has to know more.>>Ask his honest opinion of the proceedings. If you feel he's lying, introduce him to your Maid. Secretary. >>Think of a better title for Asche. Chief of Staff
>>40073537>Everything. Eeeeeverything.Steward for Asche? Personal Legbreaker? Henchwoman!Also go the fuck to sleep.
>>40073690How about Majordomo?
>>40073713That works. Need staff though.The princess is likely worth less as a slave. More as a retainer. Most as a free returned ruler in triumph that Irue is owed some favors.Trading house so such things are important.
>>40073564>>40073690>>40073537Ask his opinion on the proceedings>>40073537>>40073622Explain how he profits>>40073537>>40073690Pressure him for more info on the Despondent One.writing!
>>40073829Realized I linked my own post as votes.slightly worried, but still writing since it changes nothing!
>>40073853I appreciate the great beginning to this quest, but please don't die of exhaustion. That would be somewhat bad.
>>40073793>Most as a free returned ruler in triumphOne little issue though.>Their citizens and royal family alike were sold for a heft pennyThere's nobody left to celebrate her triumphant return.That said, she should be a very useful retainer even still.
"To begin with," you start amiably, "you've introduced a selection of merchandise that is undeniably of fine quality." The compliment is answered by Rinnier's plaintive growls from further behind, an answer you choose to duly ignore for the moment. "Somehow I doubt my dear uncle has arranged them to be purchased from you already, each of them must simply be worth a fortune.... So what is the arrangement you have with him?"The slavemaster smiles a little, seemingly more steady on his feet discussing business once more, rather than some noble's rites and his own theoretical safety. "You can consider it an exhibition, Ser Valen." He explains easily, "They are put on display, and the chosen candidate is paid for afterwards. It cost me some coin to acquire the three of them, to be sure, but the profit from selling even one in this particular engagement is... substantial. Business done with House Valen is always good."You smile in response, inwardly your smile takes a more malicious edge. Now you're getting somewhere."And which, if you had to admit, would be the... most expensive?" you query curiously, "The former princess, I imagine?" He simply smiles, "Perhaps less than I think... If they fell from Salamander's favor, and her country is truly in ruin, then her actual worth is probably relatively low... Compared to the demihuman." your eyes flick towards that one, whose tail was still wagging in a half-hearted manner. "A specimen like that is undoubtedly worth its weight in gold, if not more." Again, the slavemaster deigns to not answer directly. Which is fine, as it brought you to the point you particularly wanted to make - "So what is the despondent one even doing in their company?" Ah, his smile froze. "I would like her real story, please."
From there you managed to gently coax out the actual credentials of the singular odd-one-out from the slavemaster. In truth, her parents had presumably died along the southern border as he claimed. She had, in fact, been unsold in slavery for over a decade which... technically did make her his oldest candidate on the roster. She truly was a complicated purchase out of the league of most normal customers...In so much as getting people to purchase her was complicated, because she was far below their standards. For over ten years, even as a slave, the girl had found no buyers - no purpose. She was barely a shell at this point, despondent didn't begin to describe her. Orphaned as a child, worthless even as a slave, the slavemaster's guild had made the decision to simply leave her to the beasts come the end of the month. She was effectively a lost cause to them. That was when your uncle had made contact. Explained the requirement for the rites, and what he was willing to pay. That was when your uncle made an amateur mistake - Much like the one you had made which landed you in this mess.He told the slavemaster to take care of it. The man himself had no knowledge of exactly what was picked in the selection beyond the slavemaster's word and expertise, evidently trusting in the reputation of House Valen and the immense amount of promised resources to assure good results. Byrn hadn't counted on someone looking all of that in the mouth, and then deliberately attempting to sell them a 'dud', so to speak.You have a far better understanding of why this slavemaster was so easily coerced into being fearful. This understanding between you is quite convenient, however. You learned several good things from it.
More pressingly, you gained insight into this slavemaster's opinion on the entire debacle. He wasn't fully aware of the circumstances leading to this, but the man knew schemes when he saw them; In his line of business, it was nearly as par for the course as your own life. Granted your life had been relatively scheme free until recently, but you are obliged to say you completely understand the notion of living such a life.A subtle, unspoken understanding was reached as the involved parties gained perspective on each other's hands. Your uncle wanted you to fail, and thus hired this slavemaster to bring specimens to ensure you did just that.The slavemaster wanted to make a profit, and easily boarded the agreement with that in mind. How the profit gets made matters little to him.And you... You want to tear this plan out from under your aunt and uncle's feet and come out on top of this maddening farce. You're starting to see how you can do that.>Ask for a moment alone with the slaves, have Asche watch the slavemaster.>Tell the slavemaster he is free to go for now, take a moment alone with Asche>Review what you know currently, make a decision from there.
>>40074743>Ask for a moment alone with the slaves, have Asche watch the slavemaster.If we have all of them, do our aunt and uncle pay for them?
>In truth, her parents had presumably died along the southern border as he claimed. She had, in fact, been unsold in slavery for over a decade which... technically did make her his oldest candidate on the roster. She truly was a complicated purchase out of the league of most normal customers...That's he most suspicious thing I've ever read suspiciously.>>40074743>Tell the slavemaster he is free to go for now, take a moment alone with AscheTalking with the slaves afterwards.
>>40074827Tell me about it, although...>>40062856>had your family not died nearly a decade ago on a trip to the southern border>>40066912>Our family died a little over a decade ago.Nearly or over? I guess there's no particular reason to believe this guy knows if she's been a slave for just over or just less than ten years anyway so it matters little for a comparison, but still.>>40074803We could probably haggle the shit out of them anyway. A literally worthless despondent girl, a princess of little value and a wild beast dangerous and tough to maintain? These are hardly A-list slaves here.
>>40074743>>Ask for a moment alone with the slaves, have Asche watch the slavemaster.Bet despondent is sister now. If he was not spinning a second tale.Need to buy all 3, and win that way.
>>40074743>Ask for a moment alone with the slaves, have Asche watch the slavemaster.Good point about the payment. Although if our aunt and uncle pays it'll be quite the dilemma - cause them annoyance by saddling them with a massive bill, but also give a huge payout to this slaver piece of shit? Or pay him as little as possible but let them off the hook?Or pay him as little as possible and scam our aunt/uncle for more money?
>>40074974I don't think money is an issue here.
>>40074958I'm almost considering the idea that this is some random unsold slave whose backstory was fed to the slavemaster by our family in some effort to trick us. But that seems way too convoluted and risky for no obvious gain. Occam's Razor and all. I'd assume coincidence before that.
>>40075005Should have at least two ways on hand to prove it one way or another.
>>40075096Depends on how much stock you put in their reliability. But I guess they'll be good enough.
>>40074958I highly doubt it's our sister.A relative? mayby.But I bet she has seen something...actually i believe she has seen a lot, but thats kind of unrelated to the death of our parents.
>>40075170What other relative would it be?Her story matches our parents word for word so far. I'm not saying it's definitely her because I'm not sure we know if she was with them at the time? But even if we don't, that's still way more than coincidence.
>>40074974>Or pay him as little as possible and scam our aunt/uncle for more money?Seconding this notion. Might as well come out of this with as much as possible, right? While you've got the slavemaster alone and under pressure, it should be easy to arrange such a farce. No mercy, and such.
>>40074803>>40074958>>40074974Moment with slaves>>40074827Moment with AscheWriting!
>>40075598G'night, probably-dead OP.
>>40076526OP writes long posts. He should likely close it after this next post.
>>40076526Rumors of my demise are exaggerated.The update took longer than expected because the demihuman doesn't appreciate the best laid plans of mice and men.
>>40076573Is that the real reason, or did you nap on your keyboard? Hmmm?
After discussing a variety of topics with the slavemaster for some time, you finally decide that you've gotten everything of worth to you from him for the moment. Plans are beginning to form in your mind as the information gradually starts to circulate back and forth, your splitting headache from this morning's Faedka giving way to the more familiar burning ache of watching countless plans come together and fall apart in the duration of a single synapse firing. This is it, you think with a grim chill that slides not-unpleasurably down your spine. This is what you live for, right now. This rush on the edge, with information in your grasp, constructing and destructing everything until a path reveals itself to you.You dismiss the slavemaster with an agreement of mutual silence, bidding Asche to keep an eye on him in case he begins to do something inadvisable. He is not especially pleased in that regard, but his attempts to convince Ashe of the lack of necessity in her presence was going poorly.With both the slavemaster and Asche out of the direct way, you're left alone at the wagon containing the candidates for your Testament. Rinnier glares hotly at you all the same, your casual disregard for her livid litany having evidently earned you a comfy spot directly on her badside. The demihuman had perked up lightly once only you remained, shedding the discarded act of feigned disinterest to focus on you properly - Her tail was wagging cautiously, a sign of interest... Or perhaps curiosity. It was a convenient measure for her thoughts.Well that was all fine and such, but currently you had an aunt and uncle to ruin, and a rite to pass with flying colors. Of all the parties in this game, these three were the ones with, potentially, the most at stake - and the least amount of control. Control you know that the Lamandra princess desperately wants.
The demihuman likely had little interest in such a thing. If her reactions from the conversations thus far meant anything, the demihuman seemed more the type to follow a curiosity over anything else - If you could offer them something they'd never experienced, it wouldn't be odd for the demihuman to be interested right?Which left the brunette. She held no interests, and the value of control to her wasn't even worth speaking of. Perhaps years ago, when a spark remained, but not now. Not anymore. You could see her paying more attention to the proceedings, however, which was a marked improvement over everything else she had done so far.You inhaled the fresh forest air deeply, eyes drifting shut under the near euphoric rush of oxygen to your blood, and then you were once again moving. "My apologies for earlier," you begin with a casual curtsy as one ankle locked behind the other, "Our meeting was spoiled by odd company. Pray we start over?" You raise your face to them, glancing up through the bars with an tentative smile, devoid of mask and measure. "My name is Irue Valen, heir-apparent to the head of House Valen, initiate of the traditional rite of passage for House Valen."
Make apparent your station, your resources, your position. This was not subjugation, not yet. There would be plenty of time for subjugation after the matter was sealed - In far more subtle, lasting and effective ways. This was negotiation. Each of these girls your equal, for the moment, expressly for a single purpose of trade and exchange. More importantly, they were equal to each other.While each of them had the potential to become your Testament, something you sorely needed...You were the only one in this situation who could give any of them what they needed in return. In simplest terms, with this greeting you open the market - You only need to obtain one, but for them, there is only one to obtain. Supply, demand, and politic, all in one lovely bundle."I believe we can help each other."Let the bidding wars begin.
Less than six minutes later, you wondered why exactly you thought this was going to work. Of course Rinnier had caught on and in no uncertain terms stated her conditions for going through with the rite. She was, regardless of current status, the first princess of Teranford. "Even... Even if my nation has fallen to the marauding brutes - I am the princess of Teranford, and my country is more than its land." She choked out wetly, "My people are in slavery through no fault of their own... I will accept slavery of my own, if it means I can help them." The fiery princess had stared had stared you directly in the eye and laid out her ultimatum."In exchange for becoming your testament, promise to help save them." That had been a great start, really, you were quite proud of yourself."Kay." The unexpectedly deep voice of the demihuman pretty much shattered that entire idea with a single syllable. There weren't even any conditions or requests there - She just agreed to do it. Who just agrees to being bought? Who does that?!"S'been boring." You do not stare incredulously at the nonchalant demihuman as she managed to scratch her neck with her foot - Humanoid bodies shouldn't be able to do that. It was disturbing to watch, even more disturbing that you could hear bones popping in and out of socket to do it. But her casual agreement just blew Rinnier out of the water. Pride wouldn't allow her to forfeit her conditions; Indeed, her dedication to her country was admirable when even now she was trying to salvage what remained of its society. You actually doubted anything was left, but actually mentioning that would be in poor form.
Surprisingly, the brunette had even found the strength to lift her eyes and actually look at you for the first time since you arrived. You could see the tip of her tongue tenderly attempt to wet long, unused lips that had become cracked and dry over time. "I..." She croaked out softly, pausing as if to test the sound of her own voice for the first time in years, "I don't.... want to die."It was all she could do to say even that, the effort almost visibly exhausting her, yet she continued to shakily watch you, eyes dipping downward submissively when she accidentally looked too close to your actual face.There was nothing else to go over here, was there? No, this was it. Time to make your choice - You stuck to the plan, you adapted to the bullshit aunt and uncle mounted at you, you're standing here ready to rip their plans to shreds and walk triumphantly down the aisle with its remains as your confetti.What do you want to do?>Be moderate. Choose one and leave the rest to their fates. In the end, they're slaves, and you only needed the one to succeed and move on in your life.>Be merciless. The rite implies you can take multiple Testaments, and your dear aunt and uncle are footing the bill for all three of them. >Be indecisive. Make Asche decide for you, no one will know.
>>40077128Dohohohoho>>40077142>Be merciless. The rite implies you can take multiple Testaments, and your dear aunt and uncle are footing the bill for all three of them.We can find them uses, oh so many uses...starting with spiting our 'dear' relatives.
>>40077142>>Be merciless. The rite implies you can take multiple Testaments, and your dear aunt and uncle are footing the bill for all three of them.
>Be merciless. The rite implies you can take multiple Testaments, and your dear aunt and uncle are footing the bill for all three of them. Uncle and Auntie asked for this, now take'em for a ride.
>>40077142>>Be merciless. The rite implies you can take multiple Testaments, and your dear aunt and uncle are footing the bill for all three of them.There is much to be gained from all of them. Dragging someone who was dead and defeated and bringing them back and higher is just as impressive as merely taming a beast.
>>40077142>Be merciless. The rite implies you can take multiple Testaments, and your dear aunt and uncle are footing the bill for all three of them.
>>40077142How can there be a choice? Indecisive is blatantly out - how can we be a political power if we can't even do our rites on our own? And similarly:>...you only needed the one to succeed and move on in your life.Not nearly as bad or blatant of course, but these are not the thoughts of a leader, of someone who can see potential where it is and wrest it from nothing where there is none.>Be merciless.I'm tempted to wrest control of this sleaze from our family and onto us as well, but frankly I'd not like much to do with petty slavers from now on. They can have their patronage if they so desire it...maybe it'll be what fells them in the end.
Anons so greedy.As befitting a princess.
>>40077161>>40077163>>40077190>>40077207>>40077214>>40077246Be Merciless.Well that seems fairly uniform.This is the end of Valen Quest's prologue/first thread. If anyone knows how to archive stuff and wants it to stick around then that'd be cool.https://twitter.com/Riz_QM - Also made a shitty twitter in case this got any interest. I didn't really expect the result I got, and was kind of amazed at how unanimous most of the decisions made in the quest were. it's been a pretty amazing ride for the last... 19 hours.Legitimately did not expect the involvement and shadowruns to start cropping up at all.I'll be lurking in the thread for a little while longer in case people have questions or something. Otherwise, I guess I could figure out how archiving threads work, or someone could do it for me. I don't really know if this thread constituted a success warranting a continuance or not, so I kinda leave that up to anon.
>>40077383Have only 1 retainer who is loyal. Need to get more. This is as good a start as any.Also good way to learn to win peoples hearts.If he will not be ruthless he has no chance to suceed.
>>40077521Thanks for running!Archiving is really easy if you want to try it.
>>40077521Thanks for running! Are the shadowruns about despondent being related to us(older sister?) worthy of merit?
>>40077521Thanks for the thread. I'm sure anons want to read more of this quest, though guessing 20 hour sessions won't be repeated at least. Would be a shame to stop now! Any kinda schedule you can run with or something?
>>40077556I'm not sure how to start, or what I'd even tag this as. I guess I could give it a shot.>>40077575They were interesting. I will say that there is something to be found in her past, but it's probably not what anon thinks it is.Life isn't that convenient, unfortunately.>>40077618Running a 19-20 hour session was interesting. Offhand I don't have any schedule planned, but I'll be sure to announce on the twitter when it'll boot back up again for the next thread.This doesn't rule out more sessions spanning 14+ hours. Part of my reason for trying my hand at questing was for it to be a writing exercise of seeing how long I could consistently produce quality I found acceptable while developing a coherent plot.
>>40077779Just go to http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html and hit the button under 'Add Thread' at the bottom left. The interface is pretty self-explanatory, just make sure you add Collective Game and Valen Quest as tags (separated by commas as mentioned) plus whichever others you'd want. Maybe fantasy, politics, princess, whatever.
>>40077779alright I'll bookmark your twitter then
>>40077521Thanks for the thread OP, I can finally sleep now.
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Valen+QuestAnd we are archived.Apologies to all anons who participated in Valen Quest but died at their keyboards wondering when QM would finally stop.To those who did not make it to the end, we will never forget your sacrifice.
>>40078068RIP.See you next time then!