You are Irue Valen, blood heir to House Valen, new owner of an incomprehensible wooden abomination, and current participant in an event which is meant to be your rite of initiation into full adulthood to claim your authority! Unfortunately you've really only a vague idea of the conditions to pass this rite, no clue how long you have to complete it, a third of your Testament is miles away, and in the meantime you may have gotten yourself into a potential civil war sparking audience with the dispossessed citizens-turned-brigands over the frankly baffling actions of the crown's policies in the past decade or so.There's also something going on with your cousin regarding some prophet business that you're evidently not supposed to know about. Why wouldn't he want you to know he was foretold to be the champion of a pagan goddess meant to battle great evils and unite the land in a golden age? These seem like things that good friends would tell each other. Perhaps more importantly, what did Ari have to do with it? While it was distressing you were being kept out of the loop, you've recently come to realize that you've been purposefully isolated and kept ignorant of a lot of things. At this point you're just adding new ires to the pile with each new conversation."I've been meaning to ask you about the audience coming up." You step away from the door, silently signalling your consent to leave it be for the moment. That troublesome wench Maran was hiding inside for whatever reason, and despite your aforementioned grievances, you're in too good of a mood after overhearing your dear cousin Caylen declaring his intent to support your audience with the brigands. That he told Maran to get lost was icing on the cake, really. The delicious, delicious cake of spiteful triumph. "The audience..." He replied slowly, "Right. You've been holed up in my library ever since you got here. Have you figured out what you're going to do?"
"I've had a few ideas." You admit, thinking back over the time spent reading through tome after tome of dry and convoluted material. Politics weren't easy to navigate even when you were well versed in them, much less when you were trying to crash-course through history blindly in an attempt to find something to help you solve a problem you didn't fully understand in the first place. To be quite honest, the gravity and scope of the situation you had gotten yourself into was crushingly oppressive and overwhelming to you. Where do you even start?"You know my circumstances." Caylen sighed, "The best I can do is try and support you in this, since it's not something I can set foot in personally without mother and father becoming cross.""They won't be cross when they find out you've indirectly gotten involved?""Mother likely suspects I will do so eventually." He offered a half-hearted grin, "I fear she will be more angry with me if I do not. 'Forsaking my obligation for politic', or some such..." Caylen's shoulders drooped tiredly as he recanted the catch-22 he saw himself in. Told specifically not to do something, then a disappointment if he didn't do that exact thing. Aunt Clara was a difficult woman to please, it appeared. You'd almost pity your cousin, if the thought didn't make you feel a little guilty about being praised by her not a month earlier when her own son was stressing out this much just to figure out which choice would have him bearing the least amount of wrath."So? What were your plans?">Have the audience>Schedule the audience to be held at your aunt and uncle's>Bring the audience to the attention of the Shrine in Carona>Attempt to put off the audience until you can deal with Roderik>Kill the brigands. There would be more like them for you to address later, at a more convenient time.
Previous Threads:https://archive.moe/tg/search/tripcode/!y56qKWqxyc/results/thread/http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?searchall=valen+questWhere things are said:https://twitter.com/Riz_QMPastebin Stuff:Kara's Day Out - http://pastebin.com/8ZbiSKLsAdventures with Asche - http://pastebin.com/RNviCBJuMisc notes:Too bad Ari doesn't get to keep her hat. Or does she?
>>41758401>>Have the audienceGood evening
>>41758401>Schedule the audience to be held at your aunt and uncle's
>>41758401>Schedule the audience to be held at your aunt and uncle'sMay as well face things head on
>>41758599Have the audience>>41758769>>41758814Schedule it at your aunt and uncle's>>41758599Thanks! The sun's down, so it's nice.Writing.
"I was considering scheduling the audience to be held at the House Valen steward's residence." you admit, rolling the idea around in your head. You didn't know the situation well enough to act, even if you spent the next three days studying aimlessly for it, but aunt Clara and uncle Byrn were definitely on top of the matters. Their choice to turn away audiences thus far was an action of non-aggression towards the royal family, a fact you grudgingly understood, but... "They can't turn away an audience I've approved." you explain briefly to your cousin's horror. "There's no way they don't know what's going on, but this ceasefire with the royals isn't going to work. The crown can afford to wait us out, because their only goal is to drain the presiding land owners until they can justify removing the nobility from power.""You want to force a public audience to directly stir the flames of rebellion?" He blurted incredulously, "If it were just us, something kept subtle, I could understand, but this... This is a war declaration, Irue."You wave his concerns off idly, "If the crown were to consider this a war declaration simply by merit of meeting, then we can use that to galvanize the lesser houses into a united front can't we? Use their own twitching trigger finger as a spark to set off the nobility's paranoia.""This is exactly what I mean!" He continued direly, "What you're talking about is liable to force us directly into a civil war between nobility and crown." ...That was kind of the point, yes. The nobility were playing coy, and the crown were abusing their privilege. Who was benefiting from this game continuing? You pointed out as much to your cousin. "Right... No, you're right." He admitted, "But you don't understand. You're right, the people are getting the short end of this deal. I don't believe letting this play out quietly is a good idea either, but think of La'Fiel as a whole. These are internal affairs, between factions of the country."
You nod slowly, encouraging him to continue. "Teranford fell to the invasion of an unknown force that stormed its borders not terribly long ago. East Heaven's borders are closed, and we've cut ties with Ephlesia, do you understand where that leaves us?""...Dangerously close to an obfusicatingly foolish monarchy trying to sabotage its own nation in an attempt to claim power?" You offer pointedly."No- Well, yes." He corrected himself briefly, "But that force is directly to our southern border and has already proven to be hostile. With both nations to our sides cut off one way or another, if we broke into a civil war now, we would be at the mercy of an outside force trying to push their way in." Caylen's explanation helped pull several notions together in your head as the two of you - and Ari, who was quietly clutching Alouette's ill-begotten hat - walked through the halls. "While I hate what's happening, we are still 'united', and thus capable of defending ourselves."Which would potentially explain why your aunt and uncle had refrained from directly opposing the crown? You frown, letting the implications sink in. "Has anyone actually confirmed Teranford's subjugator's intentions?" You mutter, "Or even where they came from? Why they attacked?" You had thought your only 'opposition' was the crown, but if there was an entire extra-national threat to consider, then you were even further out of your depth. "What do we even know about them?""...Very little. With the pressure through La'Fiel, and the crown's decisions regarding Ephlesia, we've been unable to look very far afield. If there is more information about them, I'm not privy to it. The crown are perhaps the only ones who still have the man power and resources to spare abroad." Or, if not them, then something that was already international.
>Stay the course, we're forcing a change of status-quo.>Try to contact the Shrine for outside information.>Try to contact the royal cousin of the first prince.>...Would it be possible to go ourselves?>Change mind about audience scheduling. (What instead?)
>>41759544>Change mind about audience scheduling. Here with the proviso there may be another later at Aunt and Uncle's>Try to contact the Shrine for outside information.
>>41759568>Change mind about audience scheduling. (What instead?)>Try to contact the Shrine for outside information.The shrine may not like us, but maybe we can get info from them under someone else's name, or maybe pull a favor from dear Caylen?
You shake your head, revising your plans. "I still think we would benefit from forcing a conflict with the crown." You insist, "But not while the ensuing conflict would leave us vulnerable. I guess we need to know more about what happened in Teranford before I can go about forcing hands here." Which left you in a conundrum; You still needed to have that audience, but now you needed information from OUTSIDE the country. Why did you always need information? Why don't you have all the information already? Why couldn't you just, for once, encounter a problem that did not necessitate you needing to find out more things before you could solve it? The brief thought of contacting the royal cousin sprang to mind, getting information directly from the crown, but you quash the idea even as it starts to unfurl. While there's a chance he would be willing to help you, you're uneasy about just what you would end up giving up in order to obtain that help... Especially given just who he was affiliated with.But just because you weren't using him, didn't mean you didn't still need the information. That left you where? Going yourself? It had taken you nearly a month to get to Caylen's, and he was practically your neighbour. Crossing the country and going abroad was completely out of the question if you didn't have some kind of transport, connections, or both."About Teranford..." You speak up, breaking the idle conversation of history that had taken root as you walked, "You said the crown likely had information on it, didn't you?""They might." He corrected, "If anyone did, it would be them.""What about something existed internationally from the start?" You counter thoughtfully, "Not beholden to a nation, which would naturally want to keep up with the affairs of its siblings?" Caylen blinked, visibly trying to piece together your meaning.
"...The Shrine?" He breathed finally, "I... suppose it's possible. They aren't beholden to any particular ruling party or nation, so there's a chance they may know something." You sense an objection coming."Well... The force that subjugated Teranford, we don't really know where they came from, right?" He asked, "I mean we're to the north, and Ephlesia isn't a military city. If East Heaven opened their borders for anything, it'd be hot news, which means that these people logically had to have come from further south than Teranford."You squint, "There's nothing further south. It's all ocean." You point out slowly, "Are you suggesting they came from a different continent entirely?""It's the only thing I can think of." He affirmed, seemingly unsure about something as he continued. "There's been an increase in pagan items and notions over the past decade or so, maybe even further back than that. If they're from across the waters, then that would correlate their appearance with the increase.""...And would potentially put them at odds with the Shrine." You frown, "So the Shrine would either definitely know about them, or...""Would have been wiped by them immediately." He confirmed gravely. "Either way, if you had planned on getting information from the Shrine, how do you plan to manage that? You came here because of an incident between you and an attendant, didn't you? Suffice to say, I doubt you're in a position to be requesting favors of them.">I'm not, but you are.>I will be if we spin this Roderick resolution to be in my favor.>Did you have a better idea?>This kind of matter supersedes petty squabbles, wouldn't it?>Other? (write-in)
>>41760469>I will be if we spin this Roderick resolution to be in my favor.
>>41760469>I will be if we spin this Roderick resolution to be in my favor.>Did you have a better idea?and>This kind of matter supersedes petty squabbles, wouldn't it?
>>41760469>This kind of matter supersedes petty squabbles, wouldn't it?I mean , yeah, we may have bitten a guy, but that's not really much compared to an invading pagan horde from across the sea.
>>41760469>>I'm not, but you are.>>This kind of matter supersedes petty squabbles, wouldn't it?To invoke Rinnier, best not to have everything hinge on our success in the petty squabbles category. Let Caylen help out until we can settle our side separately.
>>41760521>>41760646I will be.>>41760646>>41760685>>41760774Just squabbles.>>41760646Better idea?>>41760774I'm not, but you are.Writing.
"This kind of thing is more important than petty squabbles, I would think." You shake your head, "If they're actually opposed to each other, then I don't see a reason why the Shrine would be opposed to sharing information on them with anyone, even those in less than ideal standing with them.""And if they're not purely in opposition, then what?" Caylen retorts, "I'm not sure what the circumstances were around your incident-""Justified." You insist immediately."-But putting yourself at their mercy with even a small slight is just asking for them to try and extract penance from you." He finished undeterred, "If you get offered penance in exchange for the information, simply refusing could compound the issue into something worse."You frown, brushing aside several strands of blonde hair as you think it over. He made a fair point, that putting your hopes purely on 'overlooking squabbles' could backfire. The person who makes a request has, at all times, put themselves at the mercy of those whom they requested something of. Even if you start on equal footing, this is a truth you can't escape. If you wanted to ensure something got done, then like all things, you needed to approach it from a superior position - Such that the request could be more aptly described as a thinly veiled order. Currently, not only were you at-odds with them, you could even go so far as to say you might actually be in an unfavourable position....But that could change."What if they were at my mercy, instead?" You ask, ideas flickering together even as your lips moved. "Right now the the Shrine has reason to demand penance of me, given that the self-important ponce of an attendant has likely swayed them to his side by familiarity," you retch the distaste from your throat as you move into decidedly more malicious tones.
"However, depending on how such an encounter is resolved, could it not be the other way around? Should the Shrine be made to see how justified-" You practically sing the word, "-My actions were, then it is their attendant who has gone out of his way not only to offend me, but to try and connive legal action against me." You serpent's smile towards your cousin as you conclude, "They would be quite apt to provide me a favour at that time, would they not?""...Are you certain this attendant was so deliberately antagonistic?" Caylen asked doubtfully, "N-Not that I doubt you, but isn't it more likely the matter be found void in both respects, and it simply was a mistake made in good intention?"You blink blankly at Caylen, smile falling slightly as you tried to make sense of what he just said. "No? My actions were justified, and I will personally ensure that attendant is bur-" ...Caylen's good natured expression tilted towards you curiously, "-dened with making amends for his mistake?" You amend mid-speech, "But they may attempt to misrepresent certain details to save face, so I feel it only fair that we take an extra effort to ensure the matter is presented in the most fair and unbiased method possible."As long as that method was in your favour and would result in putting the Shrine of Carona at your knee for a favour or two. "Perhaps. It wouldn't be unusual." Caylen admitted after some thought, "I apologize, it seemed I was perhaps being too presumptuous. Even you wouldn't try to blackmail the Shrine."Yes, of course you wouldn't. Does your cousin have any idea just how many tomes of Shrine related material you have stashed away in your private Library? You could practically pass for senior attendant if you ever felt like leaving the life of nobility behind. You may not be a part of the Shrine, but its place in this world was something somewhat sacred to you, and-"What do you mean 'even you'...?" You narrow your eyes suspiciously.
"Er... Even in the face of your adversity, you still want to see things handled fairly?" He half-asked, half-explained, seemingly nodding to himself at the sound of his own words. "As expected of my dear cousin, after all."You continue your side eye for several more moments before letting it be. >Ask about Maran>Ask about the brigands>Ask if he has any ideas you could use to handle the audience>Go see Rinnier/eat>Find Alouette>Check on Tree
>Check on TreeI'd like to press Caylen more an information he has/could offer on the brigands and our upcoming audience, but I'm a little concerned about the tree. Since it keeps coming up as an option. and if possible, after doing so. >Go see Rinnier/eat
>>41761554>Ask if he has any ideas you could use to handle the audiencethen>Check on Treethen>Go see Rinnier/eat
>>41761554>>Ask if he has any ideas you could use to handle the audienceWe need to deal with present business first, but I agree with >>41761640.>>Check on TreeWe haven't seen it since we came in.
>>41761640>>41761686>>41761708Check on Tree>>41761708>>41761686Ideas for audience>>41761640>>41761686Eat/Rinnier.Writing.
"Do you have any ideas for the audience coming up?" You mercifully change the subject, probing Caylen for some kind of direct assistance in handling the brigands. "I've been digging through your library for some historical precedent I could use..." But you weren't even sure what you were looking for. Caylen might, given it WAS his library, but considering the veneer of dust on some of those covers...."What do you mean, exactly?" He asked curiously, "If I can, I'll do my best to help you find what you're looking for." Could he point you towards what you should be looking for? That was your problem here, really. You had no idea what would help. "Never mind." You grumble, "I'm not sure if there had been some obscure ruling or precedent for protecting dispossessed citizens, or dealing with brigands." "...I guess I could look into it." Caylen agrees hesitantly, "I'll get back to you on that."You shrug, bidding him luck as you finally separate at a juncture in the hall. With a deep breath your look over at Ari, and then out one of the nearby windows. You didn't want to return just yet, but the moment had passed for your juvenile ransacking of your cousin's estate. What did you have left to do to occupy time instead of studying in vain for some kernel of useful information?A breeze rustled the leaves of the tree tops surrounding Caylen's estate, pressing against the closed window softly, and with a shock of inspiration, you knew what you could do. "I'm going to check on the wood golem." You told Ari idly, "Do you want me to drop you off with Rinnier, or are you coming?""Coming." She replied softly, clenching her fingers around your sleeve slightly. You shrug, setting off towards the courtyard with your timid Testament in tow.
Outside was warm, unreasonably warm honestly, owing in part to the sun baring down merrily from on high. With little in way of wind within the walled off courtyard, there wasn't much that could alleviate the daylight rays. Admittedly, this wouldn't have been a problem, had there not been a large bonfire flickering long tongues of disturbed flames into the air.You pause at the top of the small set of stairs leading from the house proper and stare in befuddlement at the guards who were frantically attempting to keep the flame lit and growing, in the face of a tree-like wood golem looming over them on the otherside of the flame with a frown carved into its face. The last comment was literal, as its expression was legitimately your own frowning face, and you suppose that's all it had been showing to them since it arrived...But why the fire? The thing was nearly up to the wood golem's waist... trunk... middle? It was pretty high, at least. Something about it caused your skin to prickle, but there wasn't anything overtly obvious that you could discern. You approach one of the guards casually, watching on as the wood golem eyed the fire curiously and would occasionally attempt to stick its finger in. "...Nightgaunt measures?" You venture, receiving only a confused look from the guard. "A Night what?" You gesture towards the fire, and the guard's face lights up in understanding. "Oh no, we've been keeping this fire going to keep that thing pacified."...Pacified?"It didn't seem worried about swords or arrows, and we saw what it did to those brigands." He explained, "So some of the guys thought if we started chopping wood and setting it on fire, it'd get the message across. If it acted up, we'd turn it into kindling."
You stare at him blandly, both of you shifting back to look at the fascinated wood golem poking the fire, causing the distinctly unsettling result of the skin which covered its tendril like fingers to begin curling back and blackening into a pseudo-melted crisp. "It doesn't seem too concerned." You point out. "Oh it is. Until we got that fire going, it kept trying to pick US up, and mumbling something or other." He guard assured you with a frown, "That fire's gotten it on edge, which is where we'd prefer to keep it."Ah... huh.>You're being rather discourteous to my tree>Approach tree to check on it>Ask what's been going on with it>Where's Alouette>...Why would it be worried about swords and arrows?>Leave it be, return to Rinnier>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in)
>>41762777>Approach tree to check on it>Ask what's been going on with it>...Why would it be worried about swords and arrows?>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in)It wants to pick them up to learn about them, it reacts to moonlights and is curious. It's a creature of Luna.
>>41762759>"...They sound fierce." He furrowed his brow, "I think Alouette keeps torches for night patrol, but I'll tell her to ready fires as well. It's fortunate you knew enough about the beasts to handle them." >"A Night what?"...Please don't tell me they wasted all of the wood that Alouette put together for Nightgaunt control duties on spooking our golem friend a bit.
>>41762777>>You're being rather discourteous to my treeThe chopped wood better not have been from treefriend itself.>>Ask what's been going on with it
>>41762777>>41762971>it kept trying to pick US up, and mumbling something or other>Approach tree to check on itAlso it's worth checking on what the golem was trying to say to them. It's hard to figure out what it means sometimes, but despite its limited vocabulary, it usually has had a purpose behind the messages it has tried to get across.
>Ask what's been going on with it>Approach tree to check on it
>>41762777>>41763047Forgot to use reply while trying to think over what Irue forgot. Hah.
>>41762863>>41763002>>41763047Ask what's going on>>41763047>>41763024>>41762863Approach tree>>41763002Discourteous to tree.>>41762863Why would it be worried?Writing.After I stop laughing.
>>41763174>spoilerNot sure if this is good/bad/neutral, but it's bound to be something.
>>41763174Why for are you laughing? We fucked up didn't we?
"So what exactly has been happening since we arrived?" You ask, resisting the urge to comment on how rude Caylen's guards were being to your tree. You'd have said companion, or friend, or pet, or... Or something, but honestly you don't know what it is to you, or vice-versa beyond some odd inclination it has to oblige your orders. As it hadn't gotten berserk and pulped the entire guard, you wagered none of the wood being used for the fire had been harvested directly from it, so you suppose it's really their own business if they wanted to spend all day making a fire in front of a sentient tree. "Well, like I said it was kinda touchy-feely." The guard explained, "Normally not a problem, but... Well, look at it. When that thing picks a guy up, they freak out. Weird fingers are covered in skin, its got this creepy face-" You frown at the guard, just long enough for him to realize what he said. "..." If he had more to say, he was evidently content to shut up now, which merely caused you to frown harder. "I uh... I should get back to my shift." He muttered awkwardly, "Sorry to take up your time, Ser Valen."You watch him go discontendly, turning your attention back to the wood-golem as it inspected its burned finger-tendril curiously. "Hey." You speak up, raising your hand to get its attention as you approach. "Are you behaving yourself?"Its massive form shifts, the ground tremoring slightly under its weight as the wood-golem promptly ignores the fire to frown at you. "Why were you picking the guards up?""Can wrap my hand around." It warbled back, giving you little insight into just what it was trying to accomplish. "...I guess you can." you reply pointlessly. This thing didn't really understand what it was saying, or what it was being told. You'd more or less confirmed this already, you don't know why you had tried to ask it a question. At best, it was just trying to reply to whatever intent it was feeling.You suppose that made it empathic?
"Does the fire bother you any?" You gesture towards the flame, doubtfully remembering how little it had cared about the flames in the brigand siege outside. "Ari?" it warbled back, the same concern vaguely inherent in its replication of your voice as you recall in your own back when you had tried to call out for her. "Okay down there?"You glance at Ari, but the wood golem was staring back towards the fire as it spoke, its burned finger flaking charred skin off to reveal the unblemished wood underneath. "Not going to hurt you...">Try and get clarification>Tell it to behave and leave>Introduce Ari formally>Ask something else? (write-in)>Tell it to do something (write-in)
>>41763583>Try and get clarification>Introduce Ari formally>Tell it to do something (write-in)Turn into stick/get smaller.
Given that there was a evidently a prophecy involving Ari in some manner, you are understandably alert to any unusual mention of her name. While you understand the tree had a severely limited vocabulary, the fact it chose to say that right now got you interested immediately. "What about Ari?" You try and get the tree's attention again, pointing towards Ari as you do so to direct it to the timid Testament. "This is Ari." You point out emphatically, silently apologizing to the Testament as you felt her entire body go rigid at suddenly being thrust into the spotlight between you and the wood golem. "What about her? You said her name just now."It stares down unblinkingly at the two of you, one charred tendril slowly rising towards Ari. She flinches back as it approaches, trying her best to bury herself behind you and failingly miserably. She's not running, she'd much rather stay put and panic than abandon your side, but you can tell the wood golem's inspection is starting to distress her. After several moments, it draws away seemingly satisfied. "This is Ari." It warbles back, "Ari."...You just taught it her name, didn't you. Wasn't that exactly what you had decided you wouldn't do when you met this thing initially? No, no it already knew her name, so you obviously failed at that, but you clarified it this time. What if it managed to recognize Ari as Ari now?"What is Ari?" You ask suspiciously, receiving only the everpresent frown from the wood golem. Before it started to reach for her again. It stops immediately when you interject on Ari's behalf, unconcerned with the odd requests, but confirming that you had just accidentally manage to get it to associate Ari with her name. You're not sure if that's going to be a good thing in the long run, but it did raise a different concern. If it didn't know who, or what, Ari was before this, then what was it talking about?
You sigh heavily, feeling the stress on your shoulders as you try to wrap your mind around this unnatural abomination of a tree. The flames flicker violently beside you, twisting and writhing as they fed upon the wood being funnelled into it to keep the bonfire going. While it wasn't burning you to a charred crisp as it had the wood golem's hand, it WAS making the sunny courtyard unbearably hot for you. This heat was doing nothing for the growing headache of trying to navigate your life lately. ...Maybe they'd get rid of it if the wood golem wasn't here anymore? You couldn't quite tell it to leave, but it was obviously causing a commotion with the guards. "Can you get smaller?" You ask half-heartedly, remembering your initial meeting with the golem where it had been nearly a replica of yourself. "Something less imposing?"It shifted, staring down at you with the frown that was telling you less and less every day. What was it you asked before...? "About as big as me? Something I can wrap my hand around?" You try half-heartedly. "I need a stick."The wood golem stares, slowly bringing its hands together, and finally nods. You blink as it plants one of its fingers in the ground before you, and then... severs it from its body by what could have been it's knuckle. You stare uneasily at the thin tendril-esque finger, realizing it vaguely resembled the stick you had found for Rinnier initially... If said stick was covered in a flame-warmed sheathe of discoloured human skin. You hesitate to take it, glancing up at the remaining tree for an explanation of some sort.It remained still, even the casual twisting and twitching of its roots and hair now having fallen immobile. You wait for several seconds, watching for any kind of reaction, but it no longer responds to you.
Looking back at the stick, you reach out uncertainly and take the fleshy stick in hand - Feeling the hard surface concealed beneath the flesh - and hold it uneasily at arm's length in your left hand....You can feel a pulse; One that immediately begins to try and synchronize with your own as it had when you met, pulsing an unsettling warmth as it did so.>Drop stick>Throw stick in fire>Put stick back in tree somehow>Bring stick with you>Give stick to Ari>Other? (write-in)
>>41764053>Bring stick with you>Ask Maran about Nightgaunts
You've no idea where Maran is. Go look for Maran?
>>41764053>Bring stick with youA little freaky, but I think we've made our peace with the freakiness of it by now. Best case scenario, bringing it around means it gets to pick up a bit more diverse general vocabulary so that we don't have to play 20 Questions every time we want to know what its deal is.>Other? (write-in)Make sure the guards don't decide they should take the opportunity to torch the golem so as to eliminate a source of 'worry'. Even a moderately creepy resource is still a resource.
>>41764053>>Other? (write-in)...Can we try and remove the flesh from itAnd then make sure the guards put out the fire before we head back to Rinnier
>>41764053>Throw stick in fire. Oakenrue sure creeps me out.
>>41764109>>41764123>>41764145Bringing stick.>>41764109>>41764123Looking for Maran.>>41764213Throw stick in fire.>>41764145Don't torch tree.>>41764198Put out fire and attempt to skin the finger.Writing.
You experimentally shift your grip on the flesh covered...stick. Finger? Shade blessed, this wasn't just a stick anymore, it was its actual finger. Was it even a finger anymore? Was it the tree now? Was it a sentient finger? You feel the dull pulse of the finger start to fade, or at least synchronize enough to no longer be noticeable, and you fight off the urge to drop it reflexively and walk away. It hadn't caused you a problem yet, right?Besides that time it went berserk and nearly killed all the brigands in a blind rage, but that worked to your advantage in the end anyway.You idly grab the attention of one of the guards, instructing them in no uncertain terms to NOT burn the tree in your absence. You promised it wouldn't cause any more trouble for them, but if they accidentally set it on fire or broke it, you would be extremely cross. Beyond that - you stopped the guard just as he turned to leave - This fire? This fire had to go. It was unreasonably hot in this courtyard, and they were wasting wood they could have been using to deal with Nightgaunts."Night what?"You frown at having been asked the same question a second time. Hadn't Caylen said he would be telling them about those things? Wasn't Alouette supposed to be getting preparations in order to keep them at bay? ...Where was Alouette, even? You look around the courtyard, but you don't see the stern woman anywhere. You shake your head, the issue of no one knowing what you were talking about starting to crop up again."Just put the fire out, and keep wood ready for fires at night." You start pointing imperiously about the courtyard as you order the guards around. "Er, Ser Valen, we're Caylen's guard, not-" The guard's objection trailed off as you turned a sweet smile towards him.
"I'm sorry, is there a problem?" Your smile widens and the guards glance between each other nervously as you plant the finger into the ground and lean against it curiously. "Were you about to go put that bonfire out and get the wood ready?""Y...Yes, Ser Valen."The guard dispersed not long afterwards, grumbling amongst themselves and leaving you and Ari to yourselves. You glance back at the finger tiredly, several questions rising as you watch the guards sluggishly start to do what you told them. These guards had been here with Caylen, charged with protecting him, and you know he's lived here for just as long as you have, why didn't ANY of them know what Nightgaunts were? Why weren't there provisions about to protect against them?The only person who had even seemed to recognize them had been... Maran.You glance back towards the house proper, wondering just where that troublesome wench had gotten to. Last time you 'saw' her, was when she had been talking to Caylen in that one room, but she wasn't there when the door was opened - Or if she was, she had been hiding. Why would she have been hiding, though? Your brows furrowed in consternation the more you thought about it. More things weren't adding up. Offering a brief mental apology to Rinnier, who at this point was certainly wondering just where you went, you decide you'd try and track down Maran."...Is it real?" Ari's question shocked you out of your reverie, pulling you back to the present as you followed her gaze to the finger in your hand. It was certainly warm enough, but you get the feeling that was just from having been near the fire for so long... Though the other finger had been burned, charring away to reveal the wooden body beneath it. You look the finger over sceptically, digging your thumb nail into the skin and trying to peel it away to confirm just what was under it.
You swallow uneasily at the thick bead of dark yellow-ish red liquid that spills out from under the punctured skin casing. It slowly oozed out onto your fingertip, spreading stickily across it and releasing a sweet, pungent scent. There was a brief moment where you wondered if the wood golem felt that, but it is abandoned rapidly as you watch the unguent droplet begin to scab over the 'wound'.Right, time to find Maran!>Go check the room Caylen had been in, it's the last place you saw her.>Find Caylen and ask him, he'd probably know where she was.>Search for Alouette and ask her, she oversaw anyone coming or going after all.>Wander aimlessly in search.
>>41764692>Search for Alouette and ask her, she oversaw anyone coming or going after all.
>>41764692>>Search for Alouette and ask her, she oversaw anyone coming or going after all.
>>41764718>>41764724but she might make us give back her hat :(
>>41764718>>41764724Finding Alouette.>>41764760You mean you don't like to give Ari things for the express purpose of taking them from her later?Writing.
Hmmm, with this latest information.What if... Nightgaunts are an import of the pagans. And the reason why Maren knows so much about things no one else does is she is an agent of these people. It'd would explain just why she is pressing Caylen to become a champion of a goddess we haven't heard about here.
While Caylen may know where Maran was, you doubt he'd tell you right now... But given that he had told her to leave recently, you don't think he'd even really know that. On that note however, there was one person whose business was knowing about the comings and goings of the visitors to Caylen's estate. If she came in, then Alouette would know about it - And if she left, like Caylen told her to, then she'd definitely know about it.You set off to find the captain of Caylen's guard, eyes combing the courtyard for the shoulder length strawberry blonde woman who had been a staunch and scarily competent warrior in her own right long before she became Caylen's guard captain. Truth be told, you were surprised when she hadn't been personally overseeing the wood golem, but you do recall Caylen objecting to her being a babysitter for it... He probably dismissed her for something? You wonder if she'd even let that kind of unknown out of her sight on direct orders... Had the fire been her idea, maybe? No, couldn't have been. Caylen should have told her about the Nightgaunts, there's no way she'd have simply wasted that much wood on keeping the wood golem uneasy.Raising your eyes from the courtyard, you look over the over watching windows and pavilions. It doesn't take you long to spot a flash of pristine white, Alouette's preferred uniform, turning from the ledge. "Found you." you smirk, nudging Ari back into mobility as the two of you hurry back into the house proper with the finger slung over your shoulder. Your trek through the halls was as hurried as the timid Testament could manage, curving through the vaguely familiar corridors to find stairs to higher levels as you tried to visualize the lay out of the house and put a match to where you currently were in comparison to the ledge Alouette had left earlier. While she probably wasn't still there, you'd have a general idea of where-"No running in the halls, Irue."
You skid to a halt, a chill running down your spine reflexively at the no-nonsense admonishment that caught you from behind. The familiar spotless white vestments laying over a set of chain mail and half-plate leggings that the blue eyed, strawberry blonde seemed to wear as if they were just another set of casual clothes. While hardly the imposing presence of your aunt Clara, 'Sister' Alouette was a knight recognized by the crown for her prowess with the blade at her side, and a former constituent of Wisp in the Shrine of Mana.More terrifyingly, she was also the nanny who had looked after Caylen since he was a child, and you, when you had come to visit or vice-versa. Her word was still tantamount to law, somewhere deep in your soul where the past decade of life and your rebellious courage in being the heir of House Valen refused to tread. "Sorry, Ma'am." You find yourself replying almost automatically to the exasperated guard captain. "I was looking for you, actually.""Oh?" She intoned lightly, moving towards you fluidly with a gait that nearly caused you to take a step back purely on instinct. "You have found me. What can I do for you, Irue?" >Ask about Maran>Ask about Nightgaunts>Ask about Brigands>Other? (write-in)
>>41765094>Ask about Maran>Ask about Nightgaunts
>>41765094>Ask about Maran>Ask about Nightgaunts>Ask about dangers waiting in woods.
>>41765160>dangers waiting in the woodsCan you expand on this, anon?
>>41765159>>41765160About Maran>>41765159>>41765160About Nightgaunts>>41765179Dangers in the woods.I'm not certain what this refers to, so here we go.Writing.
>>41765179Ask her if there are thing in woods we should be wary of, like oakbears.
"I was wondering if you knew anything about Nightgaunts?" You ideally wanted to find out Maran's whereabouts, but asking about her right off the bat might raise some suspicions. Beyond that, you needed to make sure Alouette knew about them and how to deal with them. The last thing you wanted was to wake up one night to another swarm like the one in the brigand camp. "I apologize, but I am unfamiliar with that term." She inclined her head curiously, "For what reason were you trying to find out about them?" You blink, caught flat-footed at that. "Caylen said he'd tell you about them..." You mutter a little confused, "On my way here I ran into a brigand camp that got swarmed by them. All of them seemed to be really on edge about the creatures.""I see." Alouette hummed gently, "Caylen has yet to tell me of these Nightgaunts. Is there a particular reason it was necessary for me to know?"You push your confusion aside in order to tell Alouette everything you knew about the Nightgaunts, regarding the need for flame to ward and reveal them, and retelling the story of what it had been like in the camp during the swarm."I thank you for coming to me regarding this, Irue." She bowed her head lightly, metal clinking softly as she did so. "I will be certain to chastise Caylen for being lax in relaying this information, but..." one lip twitched downward as her eyes bored down onto you, "...Why were you in this brigand camp during a swarm of these beasts?""They kidnapped Ari." You explain quickly, seeing an opportunity to swap topics. "I was just lucky I found Maran when I was rescuing Ari. She was able to make a light to protect us as we made our way out.""...You found Jenseits in the brigand's camp?" Alouette asked curiously, "What was her purpose for being in such a place?""Ah, she..." You draw a blank, trying to remember just why Maran had been in the brigand camp.
Your mouth hangs open for a moment, as if expecting more words to follow, but quietly slips shut as you realize you don't quite have an answer to the question. You met her in the brigand camp while rescuing Ari, she made a light for you to escape... Why was she there?"Prisoner?" Ari whispered cautiously, shrinking back as Alouette turned to her at the timid interjection. You roll the idea around, trying to see if it connected to anything. It sounded... right? Or at least familiar. If Maran had been a prisoner, you would have found her while rescuing Ari, which explains why she'd work with you to help you get out. "..Yeah." You nod slowly, "Jenseits was a prisoner with Ari. I freed her on the way here, trying to get Ari back.""...I see." Alouette acknowledged neutrally. "And Jenseits knew about the Nightgaunts?" You nod a little more surely, "Yeah. She was the one who told me about them, actually, so I was kind of wondering where she was now?""I apologize again, but I do not know that either." Alouette admitted lightly, "You saw her last, between the two of us."You blink, shaking your head slowly, "No.. She came back with us, but refused to follow through the last stretch of our entrance-" You heft the finger absently, bashfully setting it back down when Alouette actually frowned at it. "-So we left her outside.""Then she is perhaps still outside." the strawberry blonde suggested in concern, "She left the estate not long after Caylen returned from your rite initiation, and has not returned since." That wasn't right. You just heard her talking to Caylen not a few hours ago. "Are you certain?" You press, "Maybe she returned today, and you didn't find out yet?"
"It is possible." Alouette allowed after a moment, "I have been preoccupied since the morning. If she entered without my knowledge, then the guard at the gate would be the ones to know and will be obliged to report back to me upon their change of shift." She tilted her head to the side, "You seem certain she has returned however. If you knew, then why ask me?""Er... It was a few hours ago?" You offer, "I haven't seen her since, but I wanted to find her and ask more about the Nightgaunts.""Hmm." Alouette nods seriously, "Given that she seems the authority on these creatures, I too would like to discuss them should you find her. I will pass on your search to Jenseits should I encounter her." Your shoulders droop a little, thanking Alouette for her offer all the same. This was a dead end. "Was there anything else you needed from me, Irue?" Alouette's gentle timbre snagged your attention once more. "Well... Is there anything particularly dangerous in these woods?" You ask after a moment of thought, "I had to walk all the way here from my house, so I figure I'll have to walk back too. A little more information on what to look out for would be helpful, I guess?""Indeed." She closed her eyes with a faint smile gracing her face. "Aside from these Nightgaunt creatures, I assume you are already aware of oakenbear?" You nod with a half-hearted smile, memories of the last two you encountered floating to the surface. "I've had to deal with two of those recently." You admit with a laugh, but your humor drains away at the guard captain's serious expression. "Truly?" She breathed tensely, "Lying is unbecoming of nobility, Irue.""H-Hey, I did!" you defend yourself indignantly, "Rinnier was there for one of them, and... Well, she wasn't there for the other." You trail off briefly, allowing Alouette to pick up the conversation as she heaved a sigh.
"If you are so indomitable as to have encountered and dealt with oakenbear so casually, then I doubt there is much in the forest apt to cause you concern." She shook her head, "Though I advise you stay out of the northern forest depths.""...Alouette, my house is to the north." You point out sceptically, "What's up there?""Further north than your estate, there is a river that marks the boundary between Valen lands and the Lords of the Forest whom allow us patronage."You blink. "The what?""Fae." She reiterated simply. >Shouldn't I have known this before now?>They won't cross it on their own?>Would they have anything to do with the wood golem?>Return to Rinnier>Continue searching for Maran>Other? (write-in)>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in)
>>41765661>Shouldn't I have known this before now?>Would they have anything to do with the wood golem?>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in)Wasn't Maran on her way to Carona? How did she end up so much closer to our house, where the brigands were set up? Isn't Carona in the other direction entirely?Also... Alouette hasn't mentioned her hat. Can Ari keep it
>>41765783As an addendum and clarification...The brigands were set up closer to the juncture where the road to your house, and Caylen's house, join into the road leading to Town.
>>41765919Something like this then? I'd have added in the river too, but not sure where exactly to have put it in.
>>41765982Something to that effect, yes.
>>41765661Has Maran left the estate before siege started?
>>41766137She left shortly before the siege began, yes.
"...Shouldn't I have known about something like that a long time before right now?" You squint at Alouette disbelievingly, trying to find some sign or tell that would reveal the joke. "It is not specifically common knowledge." Alouette responded undeterred by your bafflement, "Naturally I am aware, as are Caylen, the stewards, and your late parents.""Right..." You drawl, "And I am nowhere on that list, despite living just under these forest lords. This doesn't strike you as problematic?" You try to stress your displeasure with evidently being the only person not aware of this. "The information was imparted to your household when you moved in. Did you not receive it?" Alouette wondered aloud, "I am rather certain a message was left to inform you of your living circumstances."You open your mouth to retort that, no, you got no such message! ...But the words didn't quite come. You glance off to the side as you try to dredge up memories of nearly ten years ago, to remember if you had found anything or been told that. Several seconds pass, and you're no closer to remembering anything like that. You had even explored those woods before. You KNEW what river she was talking about. "Well, I suppose it is of little concern now." Alouette dismissed your growing discomfort airily, "You are aware of it now.""It's of great concern, now!" You blanch, "What else am I living near that no one told me about?" You pause, "What do you mean patronage? I thought these were Valen lands. We're just renting it, or something?" One hand moves to scratch agitatedly at the base of your skull, "How did we even get patronage from... Those exist?" you derail in a swerving series of questions, none of which were getting answered by the softly smiling guard captain before you. "There is no need to panic." She hushed your softly, "The history you are looking for is in the Valen archives. There is compact which we hold with them that permits continued relations."
"We have a treaty?" You strain, "Since when? Do we have contracts with anything else I need to know about?""Interrupting someone when they are speaking is unbecoming of nobility, Irue." Alouette answered sternly, receiving only an incredulous look from you in turn. "Much of House Valen's history is contained in the main house archives. I suggest you take the time to peruse it when you get the chance. As for others, you may rest assured that the forest lords would not suffer others in their domain lightly.""Except brigands?" you retort, trying to settle everything straight in your head as you come to terms with what you just learned. "The brigands are south of the river, yes?" Alouette disagreed, "They are of no concern until they cross that line.""Would they have anything to do with wood golems?" You venture uneasily, shifting your grip on the finger held in your hand. Here, Alouette seems to consider the possibility for several moments before finally closing her eyes and shaking her head softly. "I can not say for certain. I have never personally interacted with one, thus I am unfamiliar with their appearance and habits, but..." She glanced at the finger, a frown tugging at her lips, "You have exhibited some manner of control over the thing in question, correct? If so, then I doubt it is related to them."...Well that was encouraging."If that is all Irue?">Return to Rinnier>Keep looking for Maran>Ask Alouette something else (what?)>Other? (write-in)
>>41766165But Caylen said she left after...And why wasn't she locked up whe we found her.And why she left if she knew siege is going to break anyway.
>>41766223In order...1. It is your discretion who you trust, and why.2. She was locked up, she broke out on her own.3. More questions you're left without answers too.Not everyone you meet will tell you the truth.Not everyone who lies to you will be your enemy.
>>41766221>>Keep looking for Maran
>>41766221>Return to Rinnier We should at least check in with her, anyways.
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>417662871. Search for Maran>>417663342. Return to Rinnier.Time to make an offering to the dice gods.Writing.
You nod absently, "Yes. That's everything, thanks Ma'am." You turn to leave her to rounds, only to be stopped by a hand like an iron clamp on your shoulder. You're certain that, perhaps under her gauntlet, the grip may have been soft. Maybe. You could be wrong. You were probably wrong. "Y-Yes, Ma'am?" You turn back slowly to meet her flat stare. "You thought I would let you walk away with it?" "...Kind of?" You admitted, "Maybe you were distracted?""Hm." She hummed non-committally, as Ari looked between the two of you in confusion. Alouette's blue eyes drifted towards the timid Testament at your side, instantly causing the already waifish brunette to visibly wilt under the attention as she tried to back away while still staying close to you. "...You said this one's name was 'Ari', did you not?""Yes Ma'am." You wrap your arm around the flagging Testament to try and reassure her. "An unusually cute name." She commented evenly after staring Ari down for several moments more. "...More familiar than I am comfortable with." She finally admitted, shifting her weight to stand straighter. "I will be distracted with my duties for the rest of the day, at most." She finally declared, nodding farewell to you as she left you to your business.You watch her go, letting out a breath you didn't know you had been holding. You had unexpectedly just gotten permission to keep her hat for the rest of the day, or at least what amounted to that in so many words. You glance down at Ari, Alouette's parting words still flickering through your head. Though there was little resemblance... No, that's right. Alouette had looked after Caylen, and you when you came to visit... Where you were, she was. Of course Alouette would remember. She had watched over the three of you. Back then, wasn't it that these roles had been reversed? You draw in a deep, shuddering breath as your mood is cast into a complicated direction far more quickly than you could have anticipated.
You had resumed your search for Maran not long after that, walking through the halls to busy yourself in an effort to drive yourself out of nostalgic fog that Alouette had left you in upon parting. The last room you had heard her in proved to be a dead end, simply another room as any other. Turning to the guards at the gate, your frustration and confusion was only compounded upon successfully having extracted the information from the guard. Maran had never come back after she left the first time. You wanted to object to this, that you had heard her earlier that day, but the guard's records were plain as day. Your only option at this point was to confront Caylen over it, a choice you were heavily considering given the mysteries that continued to pile up through out the day, but if you tried to bring it up then you'd be practically admitting that you had been eavesdropping on the two of them as well... Did you want to know bad enough to risk offending your dear cousin? It wouldn't cause him to withdraw his support from you, of course, but... The thought left you sick to your stomach.Not offending him, but the idea of him being disappointed. He was hiding things from you, but he didn't know you were hiding things from him now, so only he was feeling guilty about hiding things. Probably. If he knew you had lied, then he'd maybe feel better about having lied, and then he'd lie to you more? No, you definitely needed to make him feel as guilty as possible about all this.Even to your addled state, your logic was starting to sound suspect. Your stomach rumbles as you lean back against one of the walls, staring out at the evening setting sun. You had just spent the entire day running around Caylen's estate with Ari, and you never even got the breakfast you had left for. Neither had Ari, really, but she was either used to it or too shy to bring it up... Ugh, it's still not forgivable to neglect someone's needs just because they don't mention it.
The only person who you actually looked after today was Rinnier... Who you had left in the library all day.She was going to kill you for this.>Confront Caylen about Maran, may as well go for broke.>Return to Rinnier, time to face the music.>Keep playing hooky with Ari the rest of the day.>Other? (write-in)
>>41766676>>Return to Rinnier, time to face the music.Bring food
>>41766676Go tell Caylen, that he should send someone to look for Maran since it seems she still hides in forest.
>>41766688>>41766724Alright, this stuff._____http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Valen+QuestAnd we are archived.We'll pick up from there next time. I'll lurk the thread for a bit to try and answer some questions if I can.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.
>>41766799So what'd we forget that made you laugh so hard? Asking about Marian getting in?
>>41766814This anon >>41762863 had an interesting train of thought. It was not the "Forgetting" I prompted, but had I gone through with it, it would have had... amusing results.Seeing Alouette in action would have been quite a treat, though.
>>41766869So calling it a creature of Luna would have lead to a fight?
>>41766869>>41766869Is it fae? The compact the reason it listens to us?
>>41766906I hesitate to consider it a fight. >>41766952The compact has no inclination towards obedience. Whether it's Fae or not...? Well, Luna would know.
>>41766988What are fae in your world may i ask?
>>41767058Malicious to most everything. The following is a slight spoiler, though rest assured they will be explored more in depth as the quest progresses should you be interested, or plan to look into them.They have deviated from their origin significantly. Or maybe I should say they found their roots when left to in the world, but couldn't escape what gave birth to them? They enjoy trickery and fun, but it is nearly always at someone's expense. Suffering is how they bond, misery is their affection. They are jealously possessive, and dearly wish to shower people in love and fun.The danger of Fae is different from an oakenbear, or political backstabbing. It will simmer and seethe, slowly destroying you until you can't tell their malice from their ill-conveyed attempts at friendship.I think they're cute.