Last Time on Status Quo Quest...http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Status%20Quo%20QuestThread Six: https://archive.moe/tg/thread/39197860/Twitter: https://twitter.com/QuestBakerWhat was that? Over there, by the treeline... Did you see something moving? For all that the Knight was ambushed weeks ago...it can't have actually been too far away from here. There's no way she could have gone very far on that leg.You climb out of the water and pull your gear on, quickly. Something about this is starting to feel off. You rest your hand on the hilt of your sword, eyeing the stand of trees suspiciously. Someone, you're almost certain, is over there.So, naturally, you head over to the trees alone, to investigate with no backup.There's no breeze as you approach the trees, and everything is perfectly still - if it weren't daylight, this would be a bit creepy, you think. What's that smell, though...?It's familiar, but you can't quite place it...And then, as you emerge into a clearing, and almost choke on the cloying scent, you realise what it is.Blood.A pile of dead gnolls has soaked the ground with their blood. There's no signs of a fight, though. They're all lined up, and facing the same direction - this was an execution, and a recent one, at that. Their weapons aren't even drawn - mostly morning stars and other vicious-looking bludgeons....It's a good sign as to who wounded the Knight, but...What happened here?
You steel yourself - there's a chance there's some kind of clue on the gnolls, and just getting that close to them is going to be unpleasant, let alone touching them and going through their things.Gnolls are filthy, outside of the wastelands they call home - probably at least in part due to never using water to wash. You root through their possessions, reluctantly, setting aside the knick-knacks and doodads that the gnolls have collected, and doing your best not to think too much about where their dice came from.Each gnoll does have at least one silver sigil, reminiscent of the rising sun. It bears a close resemblance to the sign decorating the Knight's shield, so you collect them. When you come to the largest gnoll-corpse, you find that it has two of the sigils, in fine gold, that are much more ornate. In all, you gather thirty of the symbols, as well as a large bag of coins, with a note: "For services rendered."It's definitely not a good picture that this is all adding up to. You leave the gold, but take the note - you don't have any desire to earn yourself a curse from the dead, for taking their payment - and turn to head back to camp."...Eh?" You come face-to-face with a black-clothed figure, just entering the clearing. They seem surprised by your sudden appearance, taking a quick step away from you, and going for a dagger, but their heel catches on a tree root, and they go down with a soft curse, weapon flying through the air to land somewhere in the undergrowth, as the skin they were carrying in their other hand tumbles to the ground, miraculously not bursting or popping open despite being obviously quite full of something.You blink down at them, as they scoot away from you. The masked figure on the ground gazes back up at you, brows furrowed, although you couldn't say whether it's simple confusion, or anger, or something else, with their face hidden as it is.>This is too suspicious.>This is too convenient. >Oh, look, a lead.>...?One More Try
>>40160359>Oh, look, a lead.
>>40160359>This is too convenient.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>401604701>>401618332
>>40160359>This is too convenient.sorry about last time, bump shift was off duty
This is entirely too convenient. You lay a hand on the hilt of your sword."Easy, there." You say, approaching the - surprisingly small - masked figure. Your eyes are darting about, watching the trees, warily. "Wouldn't want to get hurt." Your tone is carefully neutral - while you've never liked threats or intimidation as a means of getting your way, you're certainly not above letting them draw their own conclusions. The person comes up against a tree, halting their movement as you close in."I don't suppose..." You question. "That you have any idea just what happened here?" The person doesn't respond. Not that you really expected them to, but it would have been nice. "They were only gnolls." The words are a little bitter in your mouth, but they come out smoothly enough, to your ears. "They won't be missed. But..." You continue, watching the masked person carefully. "Sure would be a shame if they knew something they shouldn't. They might talk..." And when they dive for the dagger desperately, that says something in itself, and you're already on them, with a knee between their shoulderblades and their arm in your grip. It doesn't take much to overpower them, and in a few moments, you have their wrists bound. They struggle fruitlessly for a moment, but finally, they lay still, and this time, it's unquestionable that they're glaring at you. With a short tug - and a quick move to avoid the teeth - the mask comes off, revealing... You frown. "Bit young, for this line of work, aren't you?" You ask. Your response is a glob of spit. It doesn't manage to quite make it to you, but the thought is clear. "Right."
You haul the adolescent to his feet. You won't be waiting around here any longer than you need to. This entire situation stinks, and it's not just the corpses. "Start walking." The push you give them isn't too strong, but it gets the point across. With a growl, the young cutthroat - it's not hard to tell, when you catch them like this, starts moving in the direction you pushed him, back towards your camp. You'll need to be careful, though - you don't want anyone following you, after all. Where exactly your camp is may not be much of a secret, but anyone sneaking around out here in the wilderness probably isn't quite caught up on the goings-on in the city.But then...>You should be wary of magical traps - check the youth for magical traces.>You should be wary of actual traps - search the youth for suspicious devices.>You should check the youth for clues, or hidden objects - a concealed lockpick might not do much for knots, but a little knife, or alchemic tricks...
>>40164229>You should check the youth for clues, or hidden objects - a concealed lockpick might not do much for knots, but a little knife, or alchemic tricks...Or a suicide/execution device that will kill the poor fool without him even knowing.
>>40164229>Check him for EVERYTHINGIt's not paranoia if he was found near a pile of dead bodies and is an obvious cutthroat.And stripping him down won't matter because there's only two females in the camp and I doubt they'd mind.
>>40164229>Check him for EVERYTHINGWe're a hero, but that doesn't mean we're stupid! Not all the time at least.
>>40165190damnit, meant Seconded
But...You have to be cautious. There are any number of things that he could have, any number of of tricks or traps or magics, and you need to be on your guard. The simplest thing you can do is to check for traces of magic - your detection spell serves quite well for that. And your suspicions are only strengthened as you discover a ring on his finger - one that certainly wasn't there when you saw his hands, normally. It's not a powerful device, but it is, you see, meant to communicate - or at the very least, signal. So much of the magic upon is meant to obscure it's very existence that you have trouble deciphering the rest, but the idea is clear - it's something that will have to go. The boy protests, of course when you remove the ring without warning, but when he sees you, any words he might have had die in his throat. Pale faced, he averts his gaze, and you frown, contemplating the ring again. With a shrug, you drop it into one of the pouches on your hip - the magic expanding the interior would certainly confuse any beacon within the ring, and that twisted space would likewise make locating the ring magically very difficult. The spell doesn't reveal anything else, and you let it fade, satisfied. Patting down the young cutthroat provides you with a hollow tube, and a handful of carefully capped darts. Poisoned, you assume. Not a particularly subtle weapon, when he can be seen, nor one that could help him in this situation, but best to be careful. The expected lockpicks are found, and in the hollow heels of his boots are some papery, sulphurous smelling balls.unsure as to their purpose, but familiar enough with what alchemical devices like these can do, you confiscate them as well. You already have his dagger, of course, and his boot knife was easy to find, so you content yourself with that.You're pretty sure you have everything.
The trip back to camp is uneventful, and you turn the prisoner over to the orcs to hold on to, for now. You have no intention of letting him escape while your back is turned - this is your main lead into what happened to the Knight's company. Speaking of the Knight, you should probably go ask her about the sigils you found, on the bodys - or at least, you should warn her not to go wandering around the camp for a while. Whoever attacked her company before clearly didn't intend for there to be a survivor, and if they knew where she was - and that she had survived at all - they'd certainly take steps to correct that.It's probably for the best that you had to remove all of her armour before bringing her to camp, two weeks ago.>Just warn her to stay in the tent, for now. You can have a more thorough discussion after your meeting.>...You have some time. Talk to her about the sigils.>...You should have some time. What exactly was her mission? That might help identify her attackers.>You should have some time. Maybe you should question the youth, first.>...?
>>40168169>...You have some time. Talk to her about the sigils.
>>40168169>>...You have some time. Talk to her about the sigils.>>...You should have some time. What exactly was her mission? That might help identify her attackers.
Since I've been laid up for a couple days, my sleep schedule's pretty messed up - I'll be back in an hour or two, after a quick nap. I shouldn't be this tired, at this time of day, but there's not much I can do about it.
>>40168169>Just warn her to stay in the tent, for now. You can have a more thorough discussion after your meeting.
>>40168169>...You should have some time. What exactly was her mission? That might help identify her attackers.Talk with her! Get to know her!
>>40168169>...You have some time. Talk to her about the sigils.Ask if any orc can do a bit of interrogation. He can be the bad cop and when we come in, we will be the good cop.
Alarms are the most useless things, damn it.I'm back, I'm back, and I'll have the update shortly.
...Well, you have some time. Maybe the Knight will know something about the sigils - they do resemble the device on her shield, so you're pretty sure they have something to do with her knightly order.You make your way over to the Flesh-Mender's tent, where - hopefully - she's still resting. Luckily, it looks like she actually listened to your companion's scolding, the other day, and you find her grumpily reading one of Zviadi's books - it looks like the one he was reading, two weeks ago, small and leather-bound. As you enter the tent, she looks over to you, with an expression of tangible relief, and visibly restrains herself from tossing the text over her shoulder, setting it down on her lap, instead."Oh? Come to visit?" She seems glad to have the company, at least. You feel bad that she's been cooped up for so long, especially since you've been in her position before - even if you recovered much more quickly."I guess you could say that." You acknowledge, reaching into your pouch. "I found something that might be of interest to you, actually." You produce one of the sigils - one of the gold ones, it looks like. "Does this me-" You don't even manage to finish your sentence before she's got her hands fisted in your shirt, kneeling on her bed as she shakes the fabric - not enough strength in her arms to do any more. "Where did you get that?!" She demands, fiercely. You're taken aback by her ferocity. "What is it?" You ask, handing it over - she snatches it away, turning it over and over in her hands. "It's my commander's badge." She tells you. She falls back into a seated position. "...He wouldn't let it out of his possession, if he were alive... So, he's really..." She sighs, but it seems she's already come to terms with it. "I hadn't seen it myself. He was still fighting when I was wounded, but..." You nod, solemnly."Do all the knights of your order carry those signs?" You ask her, untying your pouch from your belt, as she nods.
"...Yes." She tells you, eyes fixed on the sigil. "There are three grades of the badges," She explains. "these gold ones are for Knights of my rank or greater. Silver ones are given to the common knights, and the sergeants of the order receive copper or bronze badges." "That wasn't the only one I found." You tell her, inverting your pouch over the small table at the side of her bed, sliding it across to reveal the other badges you recovered. She stares, eyes darting across each of the badges - each of the symbols of a friend who died. She sags, one shaking hand picking up the other golden badge. She stares at it for a long time. "...But..." She shakes herself. "Where did you find these?" She asks, voice almost a whisper."...Where I found you." She stares at you, for a moment, before you continue. "Someone killed a lot of gnolls there - and not in a fight. The gnolls had these." She nods, absently. "I... I see." One hand grips her thigh, clenching tightly, fingers digging into the fabric. She goes quiet.>...You had a couple more questions.>Now's not the time.>...About your recovery...
>>40176489>Whatever you're thinking, there's noone to reap vengeance upon, so don't throw your life away.>We'll talk more about who killed the gnolls when I get back.
Well, it looks like we're doing a long thread this week - I'll be back in about seven hours, if the thread's still up, and we can get a couple updates out.
>>40176489>...You had a couple more questions.We need to know what her mission was, and why someone would have set gnolls upon her group.Also, it sounds like the one who hired the gnolls wanted to make sure there were no loose ends.
2.5 more hours.
gotta leave, bump.
>>40176489>Now's SERIOUSLY not the time>...About your recovery... (how's it going so far?)I mean, really, you want to interrogate a grieving person?
>>40176489>...You had a couple more questions.
>>40176489>...You had a couple more questions.Curiosity! We need to bring someone to justice, maybe.
You run a hand through your hair, with a sigh. You pull up a camp seat, sitting by the side of her bed, and ask, as gently as you can."...Will you tell what your mission was?" You ask her. "Any information you can give me would help. If we can figure out who might want to stop you..." You trail off. She's still staring at the second golden badge. "...Whose was it?" You ask, softly. This question, at least, manages to stir her to life. She looks up at you, for a moment, before her eyes are drawn back down to the badge. Her mouth works for a moment before she can muster the words to properly answer."...This is..." She turns the badge over in her hands, slowly. "...This badge is mine." The two of you are quiet for a long moment. The first signs of moisture show on her cheeks, as you watch. "...How...?"There aren't many answers for her, here - and none that you'd be willing to tell her, honestly. None of them are anything that anyone would want to hear.---------------------------------I'll be gone for a while - Next thread should come on Friday, if nothing goes wrong this week....Like it has every other week.