Your return to the estate wasn't unlike a storm rolling over the horizon. What merriment had filled its halls before you left fled quickly in the wake of purposeful strides, and the aimless glare that had affixed itself upon your face as you heard Dullem calling out orders and warnings to the still sobering knights. Having the entirety of the forest attempt to rush you was an experience that had left your knight captain deeply shaken; If you were being honest, it had shaken you as well... For a variety of reasons. You had spent the better part of ten years learning about the seven Mana. Had strived for a decade to try and build an affinity with one of them, and committed their quirks and peculiarities to heart. You knew their personalities, you knew their territories, their many forms and their names.How Salamander burned with passion.The cool detachment of Undine's depths.Gnome's steadfast deliberation.Of the flighty Jinn.How Wisp was ever disappointed with those it nurtured.The mindboggling expansiveness of Luna's knowledge....And of course, you were more familiar with the excited claws of Shade more than any else."Rinnier, I'm leaving."You announced your presence distractedly as you ignored your red haired Testament in order to quickly comb the shelves of your library. You scanned title after title, a frustrated scowl growing to accompany your glare as you did so. "Leaving? To Carona?" Nothing. There was nothing here. You discarded one of the books in your hand carelessly, letting it drop to the floor without a second thought as you paced away rapidly to find a different title. "Wha- Irue, what are you doing?" Its spine cracks slightly as you open it, skimming its index and pages at a feverish pace. You move to drop even this volume, an action preceded by Rinnier managing to catch said book not long after it left your hands. "Slow down, what's going on?""Ari's gone." You had too many thoughts trying to be processed, a sign your mind distantly noted was a clear symptom of panic. "Gone?" Rinnier's voice hedged with concern as she stooped to retrieve another of your discarded books, "You couldn't find her?""No, I did." You nearly toss another book away, only stopping once you catch sight of Rinnier's exasperation out of the corner of your eye; It seemed to have grown in proportion with the amount of books she was carrying. "She didn't wander off, something took her.""...Took?" That brought her to a stop as her own eyes narrowed in thought. "Why? Is she alright? You said you found her, is she-""She's fine." You interrupt quickly, not wanting to entertain the thought of otherwise. "I think. She might be hurt, but she should be fine.""You think?"
"Have you ever heard of a Dryad?" You disregard her question, giving up on your impromptu library search. Seeing the confusion on her face, you press on unabated. "Alouette told me that Fae lived in the forest behind my house; Beyond the river, specifically. She called them 'Lords of the Forest', and said that House Valen has some kind of compact with them.""Fae?" Rinnier made a face, "Like Faedka? Is that where all the alcohol has been coming from?"You open your mouth to respond, but find yourself standing there wordlessly as your already overstimulated mind finally screeched to a halt. "Irue?"There was some manner of blindly white, hot rage inside of you. It was distant, like a star twinkling beautifully in the sky for you to admire. An entire celestial body of hate. It concerned you how far away it seemed."Yes." You answered blankly, "That's probably... Yes. Asche." You glanced back, finding your m/aid carrying a stack of books tall enough to cover her face; Another victim of your mad dash through the library. "I want all Faedka removed from the house.""Yes.""No, I said that last time. I want it gone permanently." "..." She hesitated briefly before answering, "Yes."You massaged your temples after receiving the dispassionate answer from behind her stack of carried books. Why had they been filling your house with alcohol in the first place? What even was Faedka? For that matter, what were Fae?!"What's this about a Dryad?" Rinnier nudged you back into movement.You take a steadying breath as you tell the former princess of what had happened, and the way you had been forced to retreat as the entire forest seemed to come alive after you. The way it had been contained to what you assumed to be Fae lands, and the appearance of the wooden golems not long after. "Ari is still in there, and I have no idea what it wants or why it took her.""...Or what it is." She finished gravely. "You said you were leaving, what are you planning?">To meet with the Shrine.>To the family archives>To attack the forest head on.>Other? (write-in)
>>170279>To the family archives
Previous Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Valen+Quest (1-43)http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Valen%20Quest (44+)Where things are said: https://twitter.com/Riz_QMWhere things are asked: http://ask.fm/RizQMAssorted Supplemental:Current Abilities - http://pastebin.com/PchcdWpwBasics of Mana - http://pastebin.com/V9b1DMrSA List of Forgotten Things - http://pastebin.com/kPEscJ3hWrite-ups:Kara's Day Out - http://pastebin.com/8ZbiSKLsAdventures with Asche - http://pastebin.com/RNviCBJuThe Reclaimed Doll - http://pastebin.com/n6miP1qTIn Your Shadow - http://pastebin.com/EfeeHFAEMisc notes:Today I learned a friend of mine has never bookmarked anything. They make PDFs containing the URL, and store it in a folder.
>To attack the forest head on
...Rinnier knew.>>170279>>To meet with the Shrine.
>>170279>To attack the forest head on.
>>170282>>170317To the archives!>>170323To the shrine!>>170363>>170315....Fuck trees?I'll roll in 5m, unless there's a tiebreaker.
>>170315>>170363We should probably go in with more info, or backup. Trees ain't going anywhere, it's a forest.
>>170395Fuck it. Changing my vote >>170323 to>To the family archives
Rolled 2 (1d2)1. Archives!2. Fuck Trees!Dice gods guide us, this might be hilariou->>170420Oh. Alright. Writing, then.
"I need to know what I'm dealing with, and the best place I can think of to find that out would be our archives." You sigh, taking a book off Asche's stack and putting away absently. "I can access it now that I've finished my Rite, and if there's information anywhere regarding the Fae and house Valen's pact with them, it would be in there somewhere.""Won't that took you a while?" Rinnier frowned, "I half expected you to try declaring war on trees, to be honest."You make a face at that, but considering the possibility had strongly crossed your mind, you can't actually say anything about the way she had expected you to react. "It shouldn't take me more than a week or so to get there... Hopefully I can find something quickly.""A week there and a week back?" Rinnier slid a book back onto the shelf as the two of you walked, "Not counting how long you'll be searching...""I know." You grumbled an affirmation towards her unspoken concern over Ari, "It's the best I've got though.""Where are your family's archives, anyway?""They're kept at the main house, so that the current leaders have ready access to them." You notice Rinnier putting more books away, "Are you sure you know where those go?""They certainly don't go on the floor." You frown at her lighthearted musing, "Yes, I know roughly where they go. I've spent more time in here lately than you have." She slid another book away just as the two of you came back upon the tables she had claimed during the past month as her domain, now covered in a litanty of papers that you had seen not hours ago.At the very least, it looked a little cleaner. Seemed she had been making some progress."I doubt it takes precedence, but Carona is still relying on you." She spoke up neutrally, turning back to you. "I can hold down the base here if you need to go, but I can't be in two places at once.""You're not going to try and talk me out of this?" You pause for a moment, glancing suspiciously towards the crimson haired Testament."I should." She answered after a moment's deliberation, "...But I think you've made it clear where your priorities are, regarding your Testament. I'll do what I can to support you."That..."However, I still think the well being of an entire town is more important than one girl, Testament or no." She continued resignedly, "That's my opinion, as former royalty."Who will be in your party?>Kara>Dullem>Rinnier>Maro>Raid>Go Solo
>>170568>Kara>Maro>RaidWalk the dogs
>>170585>>170601Kara!>>170601And the doges.Hm...? Writing.
"I'll keep it in mind." Your lips thin, "I'd appreciate it if you can keep things with Carona handled while I'm gone. I'll take Kara with me, so hopefully it doesn't take me as long to get there and back.""I hope you find something." She nodded, one hand drifting towards the table of papers next to her, "I'll do what I can here. I was just filling in, but if you're putting me in charge of it then I'll try and move things through."You tilt your head in askance, catching the thoughtful look on her face as her eyes strayed back towards the papers. "Did you think of something?""No, just remembering something you told me." She answered distantly, seemingly coming to a conclusion as she nodded. "Things will be alright here, no need to worry."You nod after a moment, leaving Rinnier behind in the library. You already had a rough idea of who you planned on bringing with you, and that list was mercifully short... In fact, it consisted of exactly one person: Kara.Normally getting to the main family's house would have taken you at least a week, but with Kara's speed, who knows how much she could cut that down by. Right now, that speed was exactly what you needed; The less time you left Ari in there, the better. When you finally found Kara, she was standing in front of the rest of the demihumans she had left to squat in the backyard wagon. Your words died in your throat as you started to approach her, realizing that she actually had her little brother outside with her as well... And directly under her foot was Maro's neck."N'so, now I'm gonna be the leader!"Her crowd of perhaps six or so drunken demihumans just stared at her, most of them plopped onto the ground and only half-sober at best. There didn't seem to be any objections being raised, but these were the same group who were prone to kill themselves out of suicidal depression; You doubted any of them would have complained anyway."Sis, why're you doing this?" Except Raid evidently, who had chosen to speak up almost reluctantly towards his boisterous sibling. An act which earned him ruffled hair - Which in turn nearly shook him back and forth like a ragdoll. "I don' want th'rest of you t'end up like the ones in the wagon." She jerked a thumb over to aforementioned wagon of dead demihumans... And you're forced to wonder if maybe she had just physically dragged all the living ones out into the yard, because the dead ones were now tossed into a haphazard pile inside....Had she just been sorting them?"The weak die, Sis." Raid struggled to extricate himself from her grasp, "Why do you keep trying to help them?""They don't have to die." She corrected him with a frown, "I don't wanna lose my family jus' cause Maro said so.""Maro's the Alpha-""Nope!" Kara chirped up, interrupting her little brother cheerily, "That's me now! I'm Alpha!""I don't think it works like-"Alpha." She jabbed a thumb at her own chest pointedly. "I say it does.""..."
You share a glance with Asche as you listen to them bicker over things, their audience seemingly only slightly beginning to come around from their drunken stupor as Kara continued her explanation of new leadership among the demihumans. It seemed like Raid was of the opinion it didn't work like that, but was being duly ignored... And given his enthusiasm levels, it wasn't as if he was going to press the point.You admit to having no actual idea how demihuman packs worked, so the idea that Kara might have just actually stubborned herself into being leader due to a drunken, apathetic following was a little concerning.Perhaps more concerning was the fact that she had acted this quickly on your advice. She had always been pretty keen on just immediately doing things, so it wasn't terribly surprising, but... How were you going to take just Kara with you now? The specifics of demihumans aside, no one can just declare themselves 'leader' of anything, then leave, and expect good results."Yo, 'Rue!" Kara waved at you energetically, a beaming smile across her face. "I did it! M'Alpha now!""...Good." You answer awkwardly, "Get ready though, we're leaving to find information to help Ari soon.""Aye!" Her salute was a little relieving, as you had expected complaints or objections. However... "Everyone get ready, we're going walking!" She just turned to the rest of the pack and relayed the orders on her own....Shade preserve, were you actually going to go to the main house of your family with a small pack of demihumans in tow?>Yes.>No.>Other?
>>170985>>YesBut don't actually let the others in the house.
>>170985>>Yes.But give them lessons on etiquette as we go.
As you stood there, you realized this wasn't actually the worst thing you'd probably done. For that matter, if Kara really was going to bullhead her way into becoming the Alpha of this little pack, that meant they would probably be sticking around for the foreseeable future...Framing it like that, maybe this was a good opportunity to get them used to doing things? You had only really met them once, but the group of them seemed more at home stalking alleyways than moving through high society. While they weren't characteristically thuggish persay, they certainly weren't sophisticated. Demihumans were supposed to be sociopathic in nature, excellent at learning and mimicing social cues that they didn't necessarily need to feel or understand in earnest in order to fake. If you gave it some thought, did that mean they could be taught things like formal etiquette easily?"Rue?" Kara pulled you out of your thoughts, only reluctantly pulling your eyes off of the confused and partially sober handful of demihumans. "Somethin' wrong?""No, just thinking." You shake your head, "Are you sure they'll be alright to travel?""They can do it!" She pumped her fist confidently, a fanged smile beaming at you. "We'll be ready to go in no time!"You spare her a dubious look, unsure if Kara had a proper grasp on their condition, but nodded regardless. "Meet up in the front, then. The more time we waste here, the more time Ari stays in that forest."Maro groaned something from the ground as Kara went back towards the confused pack - You suppose it was her confused pack now, though - And you watched as he managed to pry his battered from off the ground. It wasn't as if he had a great of bruises, but the drunken demihuman looked as if he just got hit by a cannon... And if his position when you arrived was any indication, you don't think that comparison is too far off. He sent a single, withering glare your way as he spat upon the ground and pulled himself to his knees.You had given Kara the nudge she needed to actually try and change the status quo of her estranged 'family', but you can't help but worry you may have offered unnecessary advice. However, the state of the demihuman pack took backseat to your current crisis with Ari; As long as they didn't cause trouble, it wasn't your problem.With these thoughts in mind, you made your way back to the front of your house with Asche, only fleetingly catching Raid's lingering gaze upon you out of the corner of your eye.
Eight demihumans stood aimlessly around the front of your house not long after, all of them dripping wet and soaked to the bone with scraps of waterlogged clothes. Their expressions were still primarily listless, though you could faintly catch signs of attentiveness in their posture as an ear would twitch in reaction to Kara's footsteps as she excitedly walked back and forth in front of them with a rapidly wagging tail.The exception to this being Raid's resigned annoyance as he tried to shake the water from his hair, and Maro's grit teeth. This was, you realized, the only survivors of her pack now. Six that you had never personally interacted with, her little brother Raid, and Maro were all that were left of the group that had tried to attack you in Carona."Ready t'go, 'Rue!" Kara turned towards you with a sloppy salute, one that you're relatively sure she was just copying from having seen Dullem do it... A fact further exasperated by the fact that Dullem himself didn't actually know how to salute, it was just something he had copied from his brief time around Alouette and her group.The amount of things being lost in translation were approaching the point of the action becoming its own thing, at this point."Right, lets move. Kara, we're heading towards the Valen family's main house, if we stick to the roads then I can give you directions.""We gotta stay on th'roads?" Kara blinked, "Y'sure?""...Yes? Why wouldn't we?""Demihumans." Maro grunted roughly, "I'm sure you've seen enough during your time with the welp? Taking us through public is asking for trouble."...Thinking back, that prejudice had been strong in Carona with just Kara. You can only imagine what the reaction of people just travelling the roads would be to come across a group of eight or so demihumans, not counting your Testament herself, just casually wandering down it.Then again, you passed the Rite of Initiation. You were officially an adult, and heir House Valen. Was it safe to assume that meant your authority, or at least personage, was public knowledge now? You were the mayor of Carona, after all.>Stay with the roads>Travel off the roads>Try to disguise them as normal humans>Other? (write-in)
>>171244>>Try to disguise them as normal humans
>>171244>>Try to disguise them as normal humans>>Other? (write-in)Failing that, have some of them travel a ways off the road near us, so we aren't such a large group.
>>171252>>171272Disguise!>>171272And splitting up, to appear less conspicuous. Writing!
You could always try and disguise them as humans. It wasn't as if demihumans were wildly dissimilar in the first place... But a large group would probably give something away regardless. Splitting them could work as well? Have most of them travel off the road, to avoid drawing attention?"Alright, which one of you is the best at disguising themselves?" There is, as expected, a mostly listless reaction. "Raid's your best bet." Maro volunteered after a moment, jerking a thumb towards the younger demihuman. "People don't pay much attention to kids."You look over at the kid in question, receiving a nod in confirmation after he glanced between Maro, Kara and yourself in turn. "I can do it.""Good. Kara, I want you to keep the pack together and follow us from off the road." You turned to your Testament as you laid out your travelling plans. The goal was simple enough, and only required Raid disguise himself as a human to keep up with you on the road. It would serve the dual purpose of not drawing attention to a larger group, and giving you less people to keep an eye on if you needed to draw someone's attention away from careful inspection."Everyone understand?""Aye!"You'd say it was a resounding chorus, but it was really just Kara shouting and a few grunts. "Let's go!"And this was how your trek started. It wasn't going to be as fast as you had hoped, given that Kara wasn't just going to be carrying you at ridiculous speeds across the countryside, but there was little you could do about that when it would also involve leaving her demihuman pack behind as well. It would take you at least a week to get there, maybe a day or two less if you kept pushing longer than necessary.It was a mostly silent journey as well, one that had made you wonder whether Kara and the others were actually still following you from time to time... But when you had idly mentioned this, Raid had assured you she was nearby.However, that left you with multiple days worth of silent travel alongside Kara's little brother, who was hardly talkative. You don't know if he had been like this before the incident with the Revenant, but it certainly hadn't helped any. "Do any of the rest of your pack have experience with nobles?" You had tried a couple times to start a conversation with him, because it had been exceedingly obvious to you that the younger demihuman had been keeping an eye on you through out the trip, but direct interaction had been..."Maro killed one, once."...Difficult. "So you've never talked to one before? Or learned how to behave around them?" He looked at you, the full implication of how stupid a question he thought that was reflecting in his eyes. "You are the first." He humored you a few minutes of walking later, "...Though you barely seem human."You snort, grabbing onto the first voluntarily offered conversation from Kara's little brother in the past two days of travel. "Should I be offended?"
He seemed to realize he had accidentally spoken more than necessary, hesitating slightly as he worked to think of an answer. "You are... Similar to my sister." He finally answered, the words struggling to roll off his tongue before he seemed to become resigned. "I don't think she realizes that you are closer to us than she is.""I don't recall being close to anyone in your pack." You observe flatly, exchanging a brief look with Raid. "...I had thought you close to my sister?""Last I checked, she wasn't actually part of your pack.""Last I checked, she was our new Alpha."...You continued to walk, not responding to that particular statement immediately. For his part, Raid was content to let the thread hang, and you were both fully aware it would continue in due time... And given the large expanse of beaten road and green fields that twisted through your sight, the two of you had little more to look forward to for the next few days but having said due time.Oddly, the thought was almost enjoyable. It had been a long time since you had been able to just talk with someone without it devolving into being stabbed in the stomach.>Ask why you're similar>Change topics (to what?)>Ask about what being an Alpha implies>Other? (write-in)Do note that it is possible to 'lose' in this conversation. You can also technically 'win' though, so do your best?
>>171426>>Ask why you're similar
>>171426>Other? (write-in)"If the Alpha listens to me, does that make me the actual Alpha." *wink*wink*Also,>Ask about what being an Alpha implies
>>171472So let me get this straight. Kara's strength and strategical mobility isn't typical of demihumans?
>>171545I think it's that she's stronger than most, but more potato then most.
>>171545It is not! The average demihuman is stronger than a human by a fair margin, but Kara herself is a monster, even to them.One demihuman could out muscle two or three full grown men in a fight. Kara, on the other hand... Well, you've seen what she's capable of.The only thing capable of facing off against her on even ground in the quest thus far was a Wisp adept.
>>171550We shouldn't have brought the rest of the pack then.
>>171579Because Kara alone would have transported us in a day instead of a week.
"You don't seem to support your big sister's new status." You muse, "Wouldn't that make things more convenient for you?""I worry about the influences that led her to doing something like this." He admitted quietly, "She is too simple to understand what she's doing.""From where I'm standing, she's done a better job than your old one." You crack your neck, tossing your memories back to the way they had been slowly killing themselves in a wagon. "The weak follow the strong, don't they? No one's stronger.""There's more than one kind of strength." Raid frowned, looking at you irritably. "She's weak where it matters.""The weak die." You echo back one of his own lines, "Your entire pack seemed to have been 'weak where it mattered'." You only smile slightly at the way his skin bristled, a slight misstep the only other outward sign of reaction."The survivors will be stronger for it.""Because you survived?""Yes.""Then if it happened again, could you survive?"You adjusted your bracelet briefly, allowing the light to reflect off its dual rings and flash across Raid's eyes. It was enough to make him hesitate, a cloud of doubt and reflexive aversion painting his features before he looked away quietly."She'll make a good alpha." You continued in the lull, "She was already the strongest where it mattered.""That was... Not what I meant." He groused, "The alpha is our leader. They make the plans, and keep us organized. They make the deals. You we're not animals, it's not something you can just muscle declare yourself."Your brows raise marginally as you discover that the position of Alpha was actually closer to a democratic one... In the sense that it was a communal agreement secured by the potential threat of being ostracized or backstabbed. The 'fittest' leader was one who could navigate the motives of the others and keep the pack itself sated and agreeable enough to operate fluidly on larger scales.When every demihuman was out for themselves, teamwork became a complicated prospect... Much less one of any appreciable size. "She doesn't understand that. She's never understood that." Raid frowned, "My sister actually cares about them. She's the easiest to fool, and the easiest to hurt." He glowered at you half-heartedly, "She should have never tried to step up to that role. She'd be too afraid of failing if no one pushed her."You arch a brow, "Maybe she's exactly what you need right now."
"No one will respect her." Raid disagreed, his eyes lingering doubtfully on you as you talked. "When they recover, they'll realize who is making the deals.""You think they'll split then?" You run your fingers through your long, golden hair; Watching the sunlight glint along its strands. It was hot, and the road was long... While you had always worn it free, was a braid maybe worth it? That other face had worn it."I don't know." Raid answered eventually, "Maro isn't happy to be working for a human.""I'm human again, now?""You look the part, at least." Raid laughed shallowly, tracing the bandana he had taken to wearing to hide his ears, "But looks can be deceiving. It depends on whether the rest of the pack is fooled or not."After that day, conversation seemed to come a little easier between the two of you.You spent the remaining few days of travel...>Talking to Raid (about what?)>Practicing with A Spider's Web>Learning how to use your Bracelet from Asche>Other? (write-in)
>>171598Awww, Raid actually cares about his sister!>Learning how to use your Bracelet from AscheIf we actually took her along, which I don't remember us doing. If not,>Practicing with A Spider's Web
>>171598>Practicing with A Spider's Weband>Talking to Raid (about what?)Hey Raid, how were you born? Are you born like humans? Just asking out of curiosity. Eugenics never entered my mind.
>>171607Bracelet!>>171607>>171608Spider's Web!>>171608Raid!Writing.As I'm writing though, there are a couple ways to handle this. Would you prefer I try to combine the three of them? It would strain Irue, and may result in backlash.Otherwise, I can safely combine the web and talking to Raid.
>>171620Raid the web. I think we should stop relying on the unreliable bracelet.
>>171620Web and Raid. We can train with the bracelet on the way back.
Experimenting with A Spider's Web. The ability you had gained from Solving the Ice Queen's Atelier, alongside Jinn Calls Me, and the yet unused Home Is Where The Heart Is. While the latter two seemed to offer you forms of fixed teleportation, it was A Spider's Web which you had used most often, and honestly the one you saw the most value in so far.It had been a pain to use it initially, but now it almost felt rote as you let thing threads of awareness begin to trickle down to your fingertips and spool onto the ground invisibly. It used to take you time to even gather yourself enough to begin the web, but now it was something you could manage while walking..."Did you step on something?"...Slowly. "No, just checking something." You take a moment to ease yourself into a state of split attention, part of your mind segregating itself to maintain conversation autonomously while another began to play with the threads that were begin haphazardly left along the ground as you moved.Webs, you quickly realized, were things that were meant to be spun and then stayed inside of. By nature, they weren't things which were mobile. What were you even going to do with these threads as you walked?"How were you born, Raid?" Your awareness of the world around you isn't entirely removed, as even now you're reluctant to give in to the siren song which beckoned you to submerge your mind entirely into the web's expanse, but your senses felt muted and muffled all the same. You only barely hear Raid's response, a casual joke which offered no real answer. "Not you specifically, demihumans in general." It was odd listening to your own voice through the web. You became very acutely aware that your words were composed of vibrations through the air, as it was that reverberation that transmitted across your web's phantom senses and somehow translated itself back into tangible understanding.All spoken word was vibration, with meanings attached."-humans." You catch the tail-end response from Raid as you begin to shift your threads around your own body to try and wrap yourself within a slowly forming mesh of webbing. "Sex happens, if we're lucky during the mating period then it takes. Nothing else to it.""...You mate with humans?" The thought gives you pause briefly, and you see Raid's blurring form give a vague shrugging motion. He was barely ten strides in front of you and already it felt like looking into a mosaic as you struggled to find some balance between web and your own eyes and ears."We can, but normally no one does. It gets messy, and sometimes the welp is too weak.""...Weak?" You frown, soaking in the half-hearted lecture of demihuman eugenics from Kara's little brother.
"Stillborns. Weak constitutions. They die to disease more often, or so I've heard." Raid recited his knowledge as you experimented with different ways of weaving your bodily mesh. It... It was disorienting. Your entire body had become sensitive, in more ways than one. If language was vibration with meaning, then there was so much in this world you were missing out on. Every foot step, every brush of wind, your own breathing, the way your heart beat and blood pulsed."Then depending on which side was human, there's other ways they can end up dying. It's pretty common for demihuman children to tear their way out of a human's womb too early, just because their bodies aren't strong enough to hold us in."...You're the one who missteps this time, letting that information sink in as you work on unravelling your body-web before the vibrations start to force you into sensory overload."So it's safe for the female to carry, then?" You push the thought aside briefly, only to receive another ill wanted answer. "It's harder for the seed to catch, I think, but if it does then it's safer until they're about to be born... Then it's usually fatal.""...Demihuman women have it hard.""I meant for the welp." Raid corrected wryly, "Their demihuman blood is still weak when the half-boods are born, I told you they were born weaker didn't I?"You file away the mention of demihuman blood as something to ask about later, nodding along to keep him talking as you finally finish removing the webbing from yourself and start thinking of something else to do with it.>Ensnare Raid>Thread it from your hair>Weave it into a coil>Other? (Write-in)
>>171690>>Thread it from your hair
>>171704Hair!>>171710Raid!flipping 5m if there's no tiebreak.There won't be one, will there?
>>171715>RaidI've got your back Riz
Writing for Raid then.And being surprised I didn't have to flip.
>>171726The lengths we are willing to go for you.
You act quickly, senses beginning to wane the moment your jury-rigged mesh had unravelled, and concentrate on the fuzzy blur that is Raid's form. When it comes down to it, a body is just like any other object; All it takes a direction for your webbing......Or so you thought. Coming close to Raid wasn't an issue, nor was touching him with your thread persay, but there was something about his body that seemed to try and reject the thread's presence. You found it difficult to 'stick' to him, and the sensation was unusual."When the female gives birth, the welp tends to die on the way out." Though you had enough threads encircling him in an effort to find a way to attach to him that it didn't prove impossible for you to catch up on his explanation. "They're too weak, and get crushed inside as they're forced from the womb.""You said the demihuman blood is weak at birth. If they survive, do they stay weak? As half-bloods?" The image was gruesome in your mind, and you devote more of your mind to working with the threads of your web as you give up trying to force your threads to stick to him in favour of a more heavy handed method of weaving."There are no half-bloods." Raid scratched at his bandana, and you can briefly feel his ears twitch irritably underneath as he did so thanks to the beginnings of a small net above him. "Demihuman blood is strong, and it makes the welps grow faster than you humans. In a few months, they're capable of wandering around and learning to mimic words." Your rush-job at weaving resulted in a thin net that you just let plop over Raid experimentally.It wasn't sticking to him, but it could hang just fi- Wait, no. That resistance was starting to shred your webbing."Even if they were born half-blood, they'll grow into a full demihuman soon."What was the difference here? Between now and back in the courtyard? Was it just Raid? You had been able to wrap yourself up just fine...You mentally feel out Asche's presence, actually one step back and to your left, and begin to thread your web back towards her experimentally."Why the sudden interest in welps? I heard your 'knights'-" The way he says the word almost feels mocking, "-Mentioning that our kind are pretty exotic. You been thinking something taboo?"You open your mouth to retort just as one of your threads finds its way onto Asche's skin.Yes?
Your world shakes with that single word, like a titanic howl had just been funnelled directly into your brain; Body hitching up reflexively, causing you to nearly fall flat on your face in a stumble. You absently feel the thread sever without your input not long after as Asche quickly stepped forward to offer her hand during your stagger.It took you a moment to pull the web back into you, clearing the blurriness from your eyes as you rubbed quickly to wipe it away and ignored Raid's laughter at what he assumed to have been your overly dramatic reaction to his jibe. "Oh dear, what would my sister think of that?"Doubtless from his tone, it seemed that Raid felt like he had just stumbled across some interesting blackmail material, but you were too busy looking down at Asche's concerned sea-green eyes to correct him. "What in Shade's name was that?""You called; I answered.""What."Her blank expression told you nothing more, and you decided that was enough playing with webs for one day.>You learned how to weave cocoons. Life is expansive, and your pitiable eyes and ears can only glimpse so much; Let your body experience the world.You shake your head, muttering a thanks to your m/aid as she nodded silently and slid back to her customary position behind and to your left. You're not certain just how flexible this A Spider's Web was supposed to be, but you get the feeling you'd spent more time just tinkering with it than anything else. Maybe it was a good thing you had never really had any affinity for Mana, if it meant you'd have just spent your life trying to play with it....Those thoughts felt traitorously foreign to you, for some reason.The last thing that happened of note before you actually arrived at the Valen family's main house was...>Another conversation with Raid (about what?)>Setting up camp with the demihumans.>Encountering a travelling merchant.>Chance encounter with a courier.
>>171837>Encountering a travelling merchant.Sure, why not?
>>171837>>Encountering a travelling merchant.
"We'll be approaching the main house soon." You stretch your arms out exhaustedly, feeling a familiar burn in your calves as you thrust your chest out and arch your back until it cracks pleasantly. "It's been a pretty quiet trip so far, but I think we'll start running into more people soon.""Guards?" Raid perked up, glancing back at you for confirmation. "No, those tend to stay closer to the family grounds." You shake your head, "We might see some messengers or a few wayward merchants, though. Valen gets most of its supplies from merchants directly, by dealing with the nearby towns or our retaining families.""...Then why would we run into a travelling merchant?""Because there's always a a couple of them who didn't get the memo when entering the area, or thought they'd try their luck." You roll your eyes, something halfway between a grimace and your customary smirk working across your face. "They get turned away at the gate. Or at least, they did as far back as I could remember.""So they're unwanted?" Raid hummed, "Do your guards not see them back to town?""Of course not, we're not running an escort business." You snort, "But it's not as if there are any bandits to worry about this close to our house, aunt Clara would have driven them away before they set foot anywhere near the main house."And, true to form, by midday Raid's attention perked up as he reported a wagon approaching. It took you a few more minutes of walking before you were able to confirm that claim, and by that time you had crested a hill and were able to look down on the approaching vehicle.Pulled by a single, well travelled horse, was a beat up wooden wagon that had likely seen more of the La'Fielan country side that you had your entire life. It was rattled down the road, wheels turning at a steady and lazy pace as it carried its tarped cargo and single driver back along the way they had come."Lo!" Said driver, a young man with lightly colored hair who looked far too young for his ride, called a friendly greeting across the slowly lessening gap. The wagon slowly creaked to a halt as Raid and you approached, giving the snorting horse a healthy berth as it stamped its hooves in disgruntlement.You weren't sure if this was a reaction to Raid, yourself, or just that all horses were just naturally awnry and miserable creatures. Regardless, you were more than glad to give it the space it so decidedly seemed to demand as you stopped briefly to hear the merchant out. There wasn't a great deal of time you were willing to spend on him, or his words, given the reason you were even out this far in the first place... But your position, at the very least, dictated you offer some polite interest in him before sending him on his way.This was, after all, technically your house. Or would be your house, eventually.
"Didn't expect to see siblings out this far!" He smiled, a warm and amiable thing that spoke of good intentions and friendly relations. Traveling merchants, you remember, were often like this. Whether it was a disposition which was required to travel, or simply a skill one picked up to make sales more easily as they peddled their wares, was anyone's guess. That didn't mean the warmth in his eyes and posture weren't genuine however. "We're not..." You began immediately, stopping to glance at Raid's unruffled smile as he nodded along. "...Siblings." You decide to finish, watching the younger demihuman dubiously even as the merchant looks between the two of you in slight unbalance.Even though you had just casually disowned the smiling young demihuman, he didn't seem phased by it. For that matter, you had spent nearly a week travelling and talking with him... You got the feeling his smile was fake, but it concerned you that you weren't sure of it.>Ask where he's from.>What is he selling?>Did he get turned away?>Introduce self as Heir to House Valen.>Other? (write-in)
>>171986>Ask where he's from.and>What is he selling?
>>171986>>What is he selling?
>>171999>>172014Selling!>>171999But also from!Writing.
"Well, whatever you may be, it's good to see some friendly faces I suppose." He shook it off after a few seconds, twisting in his seat to look at the two of you properly. "Name's Yuri, travelling merchant! Though I guess that's kinda obvious, huh?" the three of you share a laugh, one which is arguably genuine from him and definitely fake from Raid and yourself.Asche simply continues to stare. Yuri's laughter peters out awkwardly after he noticed her standing slightly behind you, leading to an eventual cough. "At any rate, I don't suppose you fancy taking a look at some of my wares?" He peeled back part of the tarp covering his wagon.You expected food, or perhaps furs and metalworks. Leathers, even."...What are these?" A satisfied smile finds its way onto the merchant's face as he withdrew one of the strange looking saplings. You had seen young saplings placed into pots before, but these truly diminutive; Counting the pot, it fit neatly in his two hands. "Neat, isn't it?" His gloved hand gingerly brushed aside some of the fine leaves which hung delicately from the small sapling's frame, revealing a pure white flower beneath. "Far as I can tell, these trees aren't native to La'Fiel.""So you're... selling potted saplings?" You squint at him briefly, attentioning returning to the small tree as you tilt your head and catch hint of a subdued, elusive scent from its singular blossom. "I don't know if there even is a market for trees in La'Fiel." You motion vaguely in some direction, pointing out that looking far enough in almost any direction would eventually lead you to the silhouettes of forests. "Do they bear fruit? Is their wood strong?""Ah... Haha, I don't think these bear fruit, no." He laughed easily, setting the small sapling down affectionately, "Back home we called it Nymph's Wood. It's actually something of a fickle pet.""...A pet tree?" Your own experiences on the matter of sentient trees lately did not lend good feelings to his description, even if he was laughing. "Yes, something like that. It requires daily, constant care - Even when it gets older. Back home there was a superstition about how they would bring you good luck and protection if you took good enough care of 'em.""What happens if you don't take care of it?" You look the sapling over skeptically, "Does it attack?""...Fierce trees you've got in these parts." He deadpanned in amusement, "No, nothing so savage. If you pamper and spoil them, then they'll bloom for you year-round; Neglecting them, though, will cause the blooms to wilt and fall off.""And the flowers are for?" You paid a second glance to the singular bloom hiding beneath the sapling's leaves, "Do they have any medicinal properties?""I don't think so." He shrugged, "I guess there's a bit of a culture gap though, didn't think it would be that hard to sell these."
"Where did you say you were from?" You spare a glance towards the rest of his covered wagon catching a glimpse of similar saplings not far from where he had pulled the first. "I'm a travelling merchant, we're not from anywhere." He shrugged, "I've been all over the place though, crossed the border from Teranford not long ago."You blink at that. "How is it down there?""I'd say it was beautiful." He grimaced, "But to be honest, I was glad to leave. There was too much violence down in that region for me, and I couldn't even get camp fires to spark.""I'm surprised you made it across the border." You comment dubiously, "I didn't the crown were letting people come and go from that direction.""That would explain why it was so hard to get through, haha." He gently set the Nymph's Wood back into the wagon, pulling the tarp back over with a fair degree of care. "Well, I guess I should get going, then. You wouldn't happen to know any nearby towns I could drop in and try to sell these things, would you?"Putting aside whether there was even a market for novelty trees in La'Fiel at all, the only town you actually knew of 'nearby' was Carona.>Direct him to Carona>Give him general directions to the closest trade city>Offer to buy one>Shrug, you barely know your backyard.>Other? (write-in)
>>172077Direct him to our mansion for Rinnier to pry as much info out of hin as she can. We wouldn't even know what to ask.Also maybe she'd like a pet tree.
>>172077>>172087This, but also>Direct him to CaronaTo bad he doesn't sell vodka.
>>172107Truly, selling all that Faedka would be better than just removing it.Devastated towns usually have great demand for strong spirits.
>>172115If we ever meet the Fae, the first thing we're asking is how they make Faedka.
You debate on what you could actually tell him before realizing that you knew someone who would probably love to know more about what was going on south of the La'Fiel-Teranford border. "There's a town about a week's travel from here called Carona." You point needlessly back down the extremely long road you had just traversed by foot, explaining to him the state the town was in. "I doubt anyone there would be interested in buying your trees right now, but if you ask to send a message to the mayor there, it shouldn't be hard to arrange a meeting.""That's great!" He smiled gratefully, blinking once as the smile partially fell. "But if I'm not going to be able to sell there, why would I want to meet their mayor?""Because there's value in more things than goods." You grin at his confused expression. "There's someone there who would be interested in hearing any stories you have to tell about Teranford.""...I don't know." He wrapped his gloved hands around his horse's reigns doubtfully. "I appreciate the advice, but it doesn't really sound profitable."Your lips press together in some mixture of thought and exasperation. Why wasn't this guy nodding along with your life lessons? You suffered for months to learn that, and here he was just shrugging and saying 'no'? This was bullshit."Would you go if I could guarantee you a profit?" You weigh the options in your mind and come to the conclusion that first-hand reports of Teranford were too much to pass up for Rinnier. If he was just going to waffle about because of his purse, you could make arrangements for that."I'd certainly feel a bit better about going a week there and back out of my way." He smiled tentatively, trying to ensure his words were taken as jest. "What did you have in mind?""When you go that way, do what I told you to and ask to meet with the Mayor. Tell your stories, and then tell them that the heir to House Valen requested you be compensated."His face held straight for one full second before the grin split, and peals of laughter burst forth. "That's a big claim! I thank you for the laugh friend, but I guess I should be going."You stare at him blankly, an expression mirrored by your m/aid, as he pulls on the reigns and the wagon began to slowly creak away from you. He had just laughed it off. In your face, even. Directly in front of your eventual house. "I guess nobles have their problems too." Raid snorted from your side, the only one of your trio not currently staring blankly into space.>Screw it, not worth it. >Yell for Kara.>Catch up and bribe him to go anyway.>Other? (write-in)
>>172130>Catch up and bribe him to go anyway.With a party of cheap Faedka to sell.Also remember his name to take revenge later. No way it could go wrong and cause untold collateral damage.
>>172130>>Catch up and bribe him to go anyway.
>>172130>Yell for Kara.Oh no you don't! You are going to get a profit using our advice! Come hell or high water!
"Stop!" You ignore Raid's laugh as you jog after the creaking wagon, catching up to Yuri at a light trot. "You're not going to Carona, are you?""I probably won't, no." He admitted with an apologetic smile, "Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your advice, but I've got to keep myself fed, and I don't see any profit for my goods in a destroyed town." That was a fair point, and one you didn't quite have a riposte for, but you did have a Plan B forming on your lips as you kept pace with him. "What if you had alcohol? The strong kind." You fell back a few steps, taking in a breath as you realized that talking while jogging wasn't a good combination for long periods of time. "Carona is ruins, if they need anything, it would be strong spirits!"Luckily for you, that proposition was enough for him to slow his wagon once more, allowing you to pace back up to him. "That's true, and I'd probably make quite a profit like that." He admitted with a sceptical look, "But I'm dealing in trees here, and not the alcoholic kind.""No, but I have it on good record that the mayor of Carona has a surplus of strong alcohol that they're looking to get rid of." You succeed in not grimacing as you remember the countless bottles of Faedka just laying around your estate. "Let me guess, to get it I just have to go tell them about Teranford, right?"Oh? Was he actually starting to catch on? You bite back the urge to insult him, as that would just eliminate the meager progress you were making with this stubborn.... Nobody. When were people just going to listen to you because you were Irue Valen?"And tell them that Irue sent you to take care of the Faedka, yes." You scowl, giving him your name to drop later. "So I'll just be able to walk in and be handed a cart full of goods, right next to a town that conveniently needs them, completely for free?" He repeated with a half-lidded gaze. "Friend, it was funny at first, but though I don't know why you are so insistent on me going to this 'Carona', I'm reaching the end of my patience."Him? He's reaching the end?Don't-Don't even-You are the one reaching the ends of their patience.You were so close right now to just calling Kara in to force this shit to do what you wanted... But no. You weren't going to loser your temper over some no-name travelling merchant. "It isn't for free, you're trading information for it." You take a breath to calm yourself before beginning to correct him. "What is it going to take to get you to take my advice and go trade that information?"
"..." He frowned, staring in what you imagine he must have hoped was an intimidating manner at you. Unfortunately for him, he was quite literally a peasant on a wagon who just admitted to trying to sell trees in a nation of forests. "Let's say that I do go that way, what's to say there won't simply be bandits or brigands waiting for me as I approach?"They work for you.That's what to say."The Mayor of Carona has a sect of knights that work in tandem with the Shrine to try and keep the area peaceful." You successfully manage to alter your drippingly acidic reply into something reassuring. "And until this past month, the son of the current Valen stewards had been staying nearby. There is likely no safer place than there, and these roads."That said, you had recruited the brigands that had set up camp outside of Caylen's house, and were currently travelling with an entire pack of demihumans ready to pounce on call... You were probably the closest thing to 'bandit lord' in the place by now, if you actually thought about it."Alright..." He fished out some aged papers from his pack with a reluctant sigh, "I don't suppose it makes a difference, but if I could get your voucher in writing, then I'd humor you and head that way.">Sign a voucher proving you sent him.>Just leave.
>>172228>Sign a voucher proving you sent him.HA! All we do is win, baby! Woohoo!
>>172228>Write a voucher proving you sent him for a very specific purpose so that he couldn't use it to do anything else.
>>172248ThisAlso holy shit you're still running.
>>172243>>172248Alright! I'll keep this in mind, but I'm falling asleep as it is, so I'll have to write the post after I wake up.>>172255 I usually try to run 10-12 hours! Sometimes it can get up to 16 or 18 hours on exciting nights, but those are rare lately.----http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Valen+QuestAnd we are archived.I'll catch the questions and answer what I can in this thread later tonight.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.
>>172264When will FoxFire run and what were the Drastic Measures planned for it?
>>172264Gah! I'm awake! Didn't fall asleep at all!But yeah, the Demihumans continue to be interesting. Do we still have the bodies of the dead ones, or were they already disposed of?
Taking the pen from his hand, you look over the paper for anything strange. There weren't any terms already written on it, and in fact it honestly just seemed to be some scrap of unused paper he had been toting around; No doubt more of its kind occupied his bag as well. "And you want this voucher for what, exactly?" You set the paper against the raised seat of his wagon, fiddling with the grip of the much abused pen between your fingers."That you sent me there to pick up whatever this alcohol is, and promised recompense for me telling the mayor some stories." Yuri explained with a touch of resignation, "Can't say I thought I'd ever be adding 'bard' to my resume, but I'll give it a shot."You spare him a glance that could have wilted the little trees he so preciously kept in his wagon as you work out the wordings to it. You, Irue Valen, had sent this merchant, Yuri- ... Did he even have a last name? Whatever. - Yuri, to pick up any and all remaining bottles of Faedka on the premises."Is this good enough for you?" You handed the voucher back over to Yuri to look over, noting the way his eyes widened marginally at the sight of your script. "You've got some fancy handwriting, friend." The merchant's low whistle of appreciation was lost on you, but he nodded regardless and tucked it back away into his pouch. "Alright, with this I'm willing to humor ya. I'll make my way towards Carona next up.""Safe travels." You deadpan, unable to feel any sense of victory at having convinced this awnry peasant to go where you wanted him to. "Don't take too long, the longer out of date that information is, the less it's worth.""Am I also going to take penalties for being a bad storyteller?" He laughed lightly, one that died almost immediatley upon realizing it wasn't lightening the mood at all. "Haa... Ah, well. Ahem." He coughed a few times, hemming and hawing to clear his throat. "I'll be on my way then. Best of luck with requesting help for your town.""What?" You pause to look at each other, feeling as if something had been missed. "Ah, was I wrong? You seemed familiar with Carona, and given what you said, I thought you might be here to beg help from the Valens to restore it.""..." You really needed to talk to your aunt and uncle about no one knowing who you were. "My mistake then, but best of luck regardless, friend."
You watched Yuri's wagon creak further down the road, absently noting Raid's approach. "I don't think we'll find any more merchants this close. Are you sure you're going to let him go?""...What else would I want with him?" You turn back to Raid curiously. "He's going where I want, and I'm not the one who needs to hear him, anyway.""Hear him...?" Raid frowned, "No one would hear him out here." You feel like a vital piece of the conversation is missing, and the two of you stare at each other in confusion for several seconds. "Were you expecting me to mug him?""That was the plan wasn't it?"You stare at him blankly as Kara's younger brother explained the traditional Demihuman method of street brigandry that his pack had practiced: Disguising the youngest of the pack as humans in order to bring merchant caravans to a halt long enough for the rest of the stalking pack to ambush them."You've been waiting for a week for me to give this signal, haven't you?""Not just me, everyone!""We're not here to mug people!"You closed your eyes and turned away, resuming the last stretch of your journey towards the main house with a wear headache brewing from thoughts of how you were going to handle these demihumans going forward.
>>172292I plan for FoxFire to resume sometime this week, actually. As for Drastic Measures... Well, they're not as drastic as they seem, just something new for me. I don't have the time to run FoxFire full time in concert with Valen, at least not for the lengths I want to. So in response to that, I considered making use of /qst/'s slow board speed to do something sort of like Vox, and just let the thread stay up and update when I have time through-out the day. I don't know how effective that would turn out though...I worry that doing that would make the quest lose some of its IC momentum, but then again, I take like an hour for updates anyway. Who knows? Any thoughts or opinions on it would be welcomed, I'm open to ideas and feedback.>>175750Kara tossed all the dead ones onto a pile in the wagon while she was sorting the living (which she also threw into a pile). They were in the wagon still when you left, but I recall you wanting to give Dullem orders to have their corpses taken care of to prevent diseases and oakenbear problems.I doubt they'll still be around when you get back, as that would take another week at the fastest. The good news is that you can always get like six or seven more!
>>176133I generally try and work in whatever write-in prompts show up anyway, if they're remotely feasible for the MC to do. I think that if any of my players have gone out of their way to think of a write-in, then it typically shows they care enough about what's going on to try and influence it personally - So I make it a priority to incorporate as many of them as I can to reflect that! Occasionally much to the detriment of my already abysmal update speed.Harder decisions and more thought, though? I'll keep it in mind. I didn't realize that the choice spread in Valen/FoxFire had possibly been too simple/bland, so I can definitely work on that!
>>176094It takes forever for a thread to die on /qst/, so you can go ahead and take advantage of it. It will also give us time think on hard decisions, and you can also add more write-in prompts. Maybe you can also make longer updates to make up for the slowness of the updates? Though that would make the updates slower, so I don't know. But yeah I'm okay with you updating it throughout the day. Maybe even throughout multiple days considering the lifespan of most /qst/ threads I've seen.
>>176192Sorry 'bout that. I just made a few minor adjustments 'cause I though no one saw the post yet. Anyway, I really do like it when we, the audience, have to use our heads. Also, can you make a post bin of things we know and have learned so far? It could help during rememberings.
>>176230>pastebin of things we know and learned so far?The short answer is "No".The long answer is that the category of what you know is kind of nebulous. If it's something Irue can remember offhand, then it's something I don't include in Forgettings in the first place, and just include in the options or have it mentioned as internal dialogue for consideration. The things you have been exposed to before, but can't remember IC offhand, are the things that are typically given to Forgettings for anons to step in and remember. Because of this, any list of things you know would be kind of moot. The closest thing to it would, perhaps, be a collection of lore pastebins about "demihumans!" or "organizations!" or the like. While those are possible, they would also be a lot of work to keep updated, not even to speak of compiling. Beyond that, a lot of times the answer to Forgettings revolve around the value of details you may have just overlooked. For example, the Fae->Faedka, and the polearm you found.I understand the desire to have a pool to look through in cases like that, mind you, but it's not something I would personally provide.As for using your heads to solve things, I really enjoy seeing you guys become engaged enough to try and solve stuff or talk about things to do. I've mentioned this before, but write-ins are almost ALWAYS an option, and you're all welcome to suggest different things for Irue to try. The prompts are there as default choices, but if you don't like them or think you've a better idea, then I'm always happy to try and incorporate them.I tend to turn over complete control to you in regards to solving puzzles or reacting to things when the stakes are very high, though. Those are times when you're typically just given "?" responses, or the Atelier, where you had to provide an answer.
>>176482>post binJesus fucking Christ me, what were you even typing? What I was trying to say was can we get some kind of pastebin with general information on the lore. To be honest I it didn't immediately realize that the merchant being from Teranford was important because I didn't immediately remember what Teranford was. It'd be nice if I didn't have to skim the archives every time I want to review basic information. It's a minor complaint though, so It's alright if you don't want one.
>>176667...I think that sounds doable. I'm not sure how I'd organize that just yet, but if nothing gets in my way then I might be able to have something up before next session.If there are specific things you would like at your finger tips for easy reviewing, feel free to mention them so I can factor their inclusion into the construction.Can't promise it'll all be in there, but I'll do what I can.
>>176679Thank you! A list of countries, different mana, and important characters would be nice to have.