>Previous Session: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/491047/>Previous Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Dungeon%20Officer%20Quest>Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaskForceKaz[STATS]>Combat: ++>Social: ++>Knowledge: +++[Abilities/Traits/Perks]>Awakened Spark: [The ability to cast magic has been reawakened within you. Current Tier: 1]>Affinity (Air): [Utilitarian spells come easier to you. Spells cost half as much will to cast.]>Affinity (Quintessence): [All spells you cast receive an additional power modifier.]>Magica Encyvlopediae [Take a +50 to all Knowledge Rolls concerning Magic.]>Monstra Encyclopediae [Take a +50 to all Knowledge Rolls concerning Monsters.]>Phantom Pain: [The ghosts of your limbs eat at your prosthetics. -20 to Combat][Misc.]>Insight: 10>Nglash Words: 8>>Become [cziram]>>Denizen [Ghathak]>>For [aal]>>Gift [ahk’tn]>>Human [anan]>>Messenger [engdiri]>>Receive [ifurg]>>Return [mongaam]=======The forum was a cacophony of arguments and raised voices, but there were seldom times when it was devoid of any sort of noise. Elector counts, draped in the colors of their provinces, bickered or luxuriated from their seats of lacquered wood. It was a tender mercy that the building was open ari, and the gods had seen fit to cast temperate weather for the last few days. Tempers were bad enough without the added difficulty of intolerant weather.This, she noticed with a wary eye. From atop the marble dais and reclined comfortably on the Ivory Throne, the sorceress sipped at a goblet of Eterian Red. When she made her entrance, the session was already at the height of its fervor. The number of people who had disengaged to acknowledge her arrival could be counted on the palm of her ring-covered hands. The rest were too engrossed in their squabbles to even notice, or couldn’t be bothered giving her the time.She smiled thinly at that. How slow were the Vesmana to trust her, even after the last war with the Inalchi. Waving for the maidservant to refill her goblet, Sansal considered how she could press this to her advantage as she watched the procedures bellow.The Elector Count of Detmuld, one Cedric Schwartze, was rapidly approaching the pallor of her wine. Not that she could blame him. Out of all the assembled lords, he was one of a seldom few that she actually had respect for. And today was a particularly bad day, even by the average, daily procedure of deadlock and disagreement. (cont.)
“It was my land that suffered the most when the Inalchi came down from the mountains!” He shouted, slamming his fist down upon the desk before him. The noise was tremendous, the sound of splintering wood underneath adamantine gauntlets ceasing all other arguments. All eyes within the forum immediately focused on the man, pacing and gesticulating wildly. “My soldiers who bled and died to hold the line against the barbarian horde! My people, suffering massacre and pillage, slaughter and rape until the moment when you sought to get off your arses and respond to our pleas for aid!”Schwartze was livid now, moustache quivering with anger as he continued to shout. “You failed to honor the treaties, our calls for aid! You only came only when you were certain that you would suffer minimal loses, when a quarter of my people were either in chains or burning atop pyres to pagan gods! And now that the threat is gone, I find myself besieged with reports of armies from other territories, hosts from Calais and Esparza who encroach on my territory, occupy my cities-”One of the men leapt up from his seat, the symbol on his breastplate that of the fleur-de-lis of Calais. Hemonnet de Brie began to shout with enough vigor to cut off the count of Detumuld. “I will not stand for this, mousier! Those troops are there as per the agreement, for restitutions made to your territory! Yes, your people have suffered greatly, and in the spirit of cooperation, we are stationing armies and providing rations of wheat and other necessities-”“Then why is it,” Schwartze countered, his voice as cold as steel, “That I hear reports of supplies confiscated by soldiers when there are families starving for even the simplest meal, peasants forced to house soldiers and cater to their every need, whether or not it is a hunger of the stomach or of the loins? Or how the slightest offenses are punished harshly, with mutilation or even death? Branding for a loaf of bread, even for a child! Death, for the father who hunts in my own forests without your permission!"The Calaisian faltered, before bristling indignantly. “I…I cannot be expected to be held accountable for the actions of the rank-and-file-”That was the wrong thing to say, and everyone knew it. Even de Brie, from the way his face paled at the sight of Schwartze’s becoming the epitome of rage. The Detmulder roared, drawing the sword at his hip as if to rush across the forum and impale the Calaisian upon the end of it.Within an instant, blades were drawn and shouts flew across the room as elector counts and honor guards made ready to do battle, taking positions and sides for armed conflict here within the heart of the Vesmana Empire.(cont.)
Sansal stood up, languidly like a cat after a long nap. With an irritated sigh, she focused her Spark, drawing within herself the power of the aether. In an instant, a small ball of light appeared at her fingertip, a miniature star no larger than her nail. She threw it into the forum, taking care to shield her eyes with a muttered spell before it detonated upon landing on the floor.The light was searing, and the whole room cried out as one from the sudden radiance filled their vision. Weapons fell to the ground, rattling in a disjointed symphony of metal as their owners groaned and staggered, clutching at their eyes while desperately trying to find a handhold. The few that were quick to recover then turned to her, with incredulous and angry gazes, with the bolder ones aiming bows and spears in her direction.“Restrain yourselves,” She snapped, already forming a barrier of hardened air around herself. With her other hand, she traced a path above her head, and five volatile Chaos Spheres manifested around her like planets around the sun. “Or I shall do it for you. You are the nobility of Vesmana? It is no wonder that our Empire has fallen into disrepute, suffered to the extent that finds us in our current position.”Schwartze was still blind, even as he struggled against his retainers trying to hold him back, but his mouth still worked well enough to shout. “Sorceress! You do not know what it is that we suffer! You are not of Vesmana, let alone of Detmuld or any other province. You only sit upon that throne by the mandate between the Towers of Sorcery and the Great Ancestors of the Empire.”Here, they found a common ground, a rallying flag for all of them, as one by one, Elector Counts and Honor Guard began to shout at her from the floor of the forum. Foolish, but admittedly brave, considering that she had enough power to vaporize a third of them without as much as blinking an eye. Even less so to collapse the pillars holding up the open-aired ceiling.“That’s right! You don’t belong here, not with that skin-” “Once a lapdog of the Tower, always a lapdog of the tower-”“Always interfering whenever you please, never wanted-”The insults and tirades continued for a good moment, and she had to admit impression for the more colorful language that came at her direction. And for the briefest of instants, she considered casting another Flare, just to cover a calculated withdraw from the forum. Then the voice interrupted both her train of thought and the shouts of the forum bellow her with one single word.”Enough.”(cont.)
The baritone of Emperor Tiberius Arlmane preceded the man that came from behind Sansal, the sound of boots striking marble echoing in the silence of the forum. He was still outfitted in his golden armor, the metallic sheen catching the light that came from the hole in the ceiling. His eyes were stony, the grey as fierce as the calm before a storm, as he sat himself down upon the Solar Throne.Even before he had began the motions of sitting down, the whole room had shown immediate deference. Those with weapons still in their hands reversed them, planting them into the ground as they knelt before their regent. Elector Counts, honor guards and servants alike all paid what was due to the man who led them all. Even Sansal was forced to pay fealty, bowing deeply as Arlmane took stock of the situation. “I hope that I wasn’t interrupting something important,” He eventually said, inspecting the bottom of his nails as if discussing the weather. “From outside the room, what little I could make out from the bedlam seemed to be nothing less than the direst circumstance.”There was a silence that proceeded his words. No one dared to speak. Arlmane tilted his head, his crown quivering at the movement. “No? Then if you will not mind my interjection…“de Brie.” The Calaisian stood up like a schoolboy called to task. “Tell me, is what Schwartze says to be true? I am under the impression that your knights and cavaliers operate under five Chivalric Virtues. Such behavior would be most unbecoming of them as knights of the Fleur.”“Ah…” The count struggled for words. “I…I did not mean to…to casually dismiss…”“Correct their behavior,” The Emperor cut in, his voice rumbling deep within his throat. “Do not make me intervene myself. I need not remind you of unnecessary wastes of my time. You among all the others stand on the thinnest ice, as you were the last to muster forces to face the Inalchi..."“…y-yes, my Emperor,” de Brie finished miserably.Schwartze shot his rival a loathsome look before bowing deeply to the Solar Throne. “My Emperor…I am truly grateful-”His voice caught in his throat as the Emperor glared at him. “I should have you horsewhipped for drawing a weapon inside of the Forum. You may have suffered the worst in the last war with the Inalchi, but that does not excuse the breach of protocol. Have I made myself clear?”“Yes, my Emperor. It will not happen again.”“See that it doesn’t. Your passion does you well. Save it for enemies of the Empire.”The tense atmosphere in the room dissipates along with the issue at hand. One by one, the assembled provincial lords take their seats once more, keeping quiet as they gaze up at the dais where the Emperor and the High Sorceress recline.“Now…” The Emperor cleared his throat, gesturing to Sansal. “I believe you had something to share with us…tell us, what is it about the Dungeon that required assembly?”(cont.)
With a knowing smile, Sansal dispelled the magic hovering around her, stepping away from her throne to face the assembled lords of Vesmana.“Tell me, my lords…what do you know of the origins of the Inalchi?”She snapped her fingers, and a team of laborers struggled to move a clothed object into the room. It was apparently large and obtrusive, not conforming to any sort of symmetry Setting it atop a platform with a muffled thump of stone against stone, they bowed before exiting quietly, retreating just as the High Sorceress put gentle hands upon the cloth.“This was recovered from an Inalchi temple, deep within their mountains,” She mused, gently pulling away at the cloth to reveal what lay underneath. The Forum gasped, recoiling violently at the sight of the…of the thing that stood in their midst. “The first of what I believe to be a significant step into understanding the nature of the Dungeon, and why the Inalchi continue to attack us, invade from under the mountain no matter how many times we beat them…”By all means, the sight itself was nothing of note, a simple sculpture hewn from rock, a feat of artistic talent. Yet there was something that they could not explain, a tension and anxiety that burrowed deep within their minds. The image itself was a series of spheroids, rotating on an irregular axis around a core that stared out with an unblinking “eye” of stone.“From what I could extract from their priests…I believe that this particular god of theirs is named Kathgriorg…”========>10:32 AM, Spring 65, Year 591>Healer’s Building, City of EteriaThe first sensation that greets you upon transition into the waking world is the pain, slow and throbbing at the stumps of your limbs.The worst thing is that you cannot even move. It’s a struggle to blink, and even that hurts as you try to move your eyelids. Rheum has fused them together, and it takes you an eternity to wear away the layers before a blurry image forms.You recognize this ceiling easily enough. It’s the same one you woke up to so long ago, in the aftermath of the Thousand Screams. The Healer’s Building, where wounded Adventurers and civilians of Eteria come to receive treatment. Nothing much has changed since then, although that faded splotch of blood wasn’t there thirteen years ago…Shaking your head of useless thought, you rotate your neck, trying to track the source of your pain. The surprise is enough to cause you to choke in an attempt to shout. Where stumps once dangled uselessly in sleeves and breeches, whole limbs have taken their place. A metal port connection drilled into your skin, probably even into your bones, binds stump and metal prosthetic together in a fusion of flesh and machine.(cont.)
The sight of it is enough to bring tears to your eyes, as your voice rasps and hitches in wordless undulation. Whatever is flowing through your body is enough to dull your nerves enough to the point of blocking your movement, but not enough to dilute your thought and mind.Once upon a time, the phantom pain of your limbs being crushed, exploding from within were enough to drive you mad. The pain is something you’ve gotten used to over the years, but now, you find its absence to be discomforting. Once reflectively contorted, clenched tight, the ghosts of your limbs are now as relaxed as the prosthetics that lay on the bed, where a figure lays sleeping as they clutch your hand.Erika, you realize. Her clothes are disheveled, and her hair is an unruly mess. Even as she continues to snore softly, you can see bags under her eyes, and a book on the floor that’s landed upon its spine. All of those facts are enough to confirm that, for however long you’ve been here…She’s been with you as well.An urge wells up inside you. You can’t explain it, but the desire to move fills your body. You somehow manage to push yourself up with your good hand, pressing against the mattress as you struggle to sit up. On instinct you try to push at your right hand and left leg, only for nothing to happen. The limbs remain inert, unmoving as cold pieces of metal.Your eyes narrow, and you squeeze your eyes tight, concentrating as hard as hard as you can. For all you know, there’s no power to the limbs. Your memories of what happened before the pain caused you to pass out are fuzzy, and you can’t recall if Kira mentioned an external power source or not. Kira...you look around. She isn't here. Aside from Erika, there's no one here. Not even a healer or an acolyte of the building. But you honestly don't care. Because right here, right now, for the first time in thirteen years, you feel whole once more.The effort to concentrate is almost painful, and you want to scream as you direct every ounce of your own mental power into your limbs. The desire to see them move is almost enough to cause physical pain, but it would be all worth it...just to see the slightest twitch of movement...just to reach out to touch Erika...>Roll 1d100 + 30 Willpower (+30 for Affinity: Quintessence)>Best of three.
Rolled 29 + 30 (1d100 + 30)>>822119
Rolled 12 + 30 (1d100 + 30)>>822119
Sorry for the long prewrite and delay. Traffic coming back from dinner was abysmal and I got a headache typing on my phone.
Rolled 68 + 30 (1d100 + 30)>>822119Dice gods, grant me the strength of will to touch the waifu
Rolled 96 + 30 (1d100 + 30)>>822119
>>822120>>822122>>822132There.It starts off as a twitch, the lights and gyros within your hand softly humming, blinking, before they fade away with a piteous whine. Then it comes again, along with a redoubled effort of will as you focus your entire mind’s power onto your right arm. This time, the fingertips of your hand twitch in response to the movements of your phantom limb, the finely tooled leather coming to return Erika's grip. Tears run down your eyes. You cannot feel it, cannot feel the sensation of her flesh as you squeeze against the offered limb that binds the two of you together. But the sight of it, the fact that something that has been lost is responding to the commands you give to it…it’s enough to make your heart ache.The effort to lift the limb is painful, the muscles of your right bicep partially atrophied. Your leg could get stimulation with a crude cane and wooden prosthetic, but your arm had remained, for the most part, unexercised. And the limb itself is heavier than your arm. Gears whir and lights flash, mechanical bits magical sinks within glass cases powering the movement of your limbs as they respond to your commands.You will do this on your own, without the aid of your other hand. And it is the sight of your shaking arm, gently running fingers along the waterfall of brown, teasing out the unruly parts and straightening them out, that Erika Stroud awakes to.“Var…” She slurs out, rubbing the dregs of prior dreams out of her eyes before they snap open, touching the limb that caresses her hair. Then, her free hand flies to her mouth. “Varian!”You have only a moment before she flings herself onto your body, knocking the breath out of her lungs upon impact. The scent of strawberries fills your senses where strands of hair brush along your nose, intoxicating and heavy as Erika sobs uncontrollably into your chest. Her arms do the best they can to wrap around you, uncaring of the sight she must be making as she pulls you in closer to you.“I…I thought…” She babbles, hot tears coming down her cheeks, “…they…they said…that you’d die…your heart…the screams…Varian, thank the gods you’re alright!”“…can’t…breathe…” You wheeze, unable to move as the darkness threatens to close on you once more. Already, your vision begins to tunnel as her embrace tightens, almost making it impossible for you to draw enough breath to stay conscious. Although with the two noticeable bulges rubbing against your chest…well, there are worst ways to go out. Being smothered to death by a friend is only slightly better than being crushed by rubble or being eaten alive. Or both. “Erika…”The sound of your salvation comes in the form of the door slamming open, and a creative string of profanities to exit from the mouth of Kira Vilholt. The flowers in her hands drop forgotten, and before they even hit the floor, the rogue is already sprinting up to your bedside.“Boss!”(cont.)
>>822133Damn it. Just a little too late.
>>LaterOnce everyone had calmed down, the whole group filed into the room. Healers arrive, poking and prodding at every inch of your body and then some; the Chevells, short of breath and bleary-eyed from waiting; even Jeanne Montfort, and an unknown lad of about eighteen years and pitch hair that you’ve never met before. But from the low ridge of his brow and the soft green eyes with angular jawline, there is no mistaking this boy for anyone other than Ieyador’s offspring. The lad himself even had his father’s armor, complete with sword and shield. From the letters…you triangulate the age and deduce that this is Mikael, the eldest child of your friend. It is almost scary how much he resembles his father.“I can’t believe it,” Loran mutters, scratching his head at the sight of you. “I don’t know much about these magical limbs of yours, Engel, let alone magical theory, but the fact that you’re already moving around is nothing short of a miracle.”Angelica nods, casting a withering glare towards Kira, who balks at the look the housewife gives her. “Yes, a miracle, considering the fact that what you did was nothing short of attempted suicide. Varian, what on earth were you thinking?”“…I wasn’t,” You admit. “…Angelica…you…I can’t…”She sighs, setting down a basket of fruits at your bedside table. “Honestly, it’s no wonder you’re friends with my husband…”“What’s that supposed to mean?”As Loran bemoans his wife’s harsh words, Kira affixes you with a stern look. “B-b-oss…Var…fuck, Varian, are you alright?”“…never better…” You mutter, coughing as you gingerly sip at the water in your real hand. Erika still clings onto your artificial hand, helping you slowly regain the automatic signals that travel down your nervous system and into the limb. “…I…how long was I out?”“Three days,” She answers, frowning. “…but…you sure you’re okay? I mean…you were…well, the words comin’ out of your mouth…I…didn’t recognize them.”She’s flippant about it, but you can tell that there’s something wrong about how she infers it. Talking in your sleep then? Huh…you’ve never been one for that, and what did come out of your mouth was generally incoherent. Still…“…it wasn’t magic,” She continues, “Nor like anything else I’d heard on the continent…”>Hold your tongue, don’t tell anyone about the vision.>Share your vision with your companions when the healers leave.>Wait for you and Kira to be alone before you tell her.
>>822305>>Wait for you and Kira to be alone before you tell her.
>>822305>>Share your vision with your companions when the healers leave.oh you know, just talking shit to more of those things that I sacrificed my spark to kill
>>822305>Wait for you and Kira to be alone before you tell her.
>>822305>Share your vision with your companions when the healers leave.Maybe with the condition that it only be the ones who already know about the cult stuff going on i.e Kira, Jeanne, and Mikael.No need to involve the others just yet.
>>822305>>Share your vision with your companions when the healers leave.
>>822316>>822328>>822342“…I’ll tell you later,” You answer, making the sign for ‘sensitive’ with the fingers around the cup. She frowns, but acquiesces quickly enough. “With that said…do you have any other useful information about the limbs? Kinda…well, not that I’m ungrateful, but you kinda just grafted them onto me without giving me a full briefing of what they can do.”“Oh…shit, my bad, boss,” The rogue sheepishly rubs the back of her head, offering a weak grin as she sits down next to Erika. “Now, if you’ll excuse me…”Your friend sours, but hands Kira control of your hand. “Okay, see this here? This slot right here is for a Chaos Gem, it’s how you’re gonna conduct magic from your circuits and right out through the arm. That way you aren’t limited to your left hand for casting fireballs or lighting out of it when you reach those tiers for magic.”You nod, taking notes in your head as she continues to point out the other intricacies of the arm. “And the runes? I recognize abjuration and enchantment spells meant to reinforce the metal and leather chasis, but…what’s this one? Here, right at the fingertips, trailing all the way up through the forearm?”To your surprise, she smirks. “Oh…you mean the Kinetic Runes? This one comes from a sorceress in the Empire, a real beauty with a smart head on her shoulders. The runes in your hands build up energy caused by the motions of your hand, you know, like walking or waving? And then, with a spoken command, you can release all that energy in a singular blast that can send enemies flying backwards or flatten goblin mushrooms into mush. It’s a real useful one, recently got popular.”The merging of science and magic…huh…the last time you’d heard of that was…gods, you feel yourself blushing. Kinetic energy was something that she was always fond of in your pillow talk back in your teenage years, basking in the glow of release and kinky lovemaking...You shake your head of unbecoming thoughts before your body produces a discomfiting reaction. You have trousers on, thank the gods, but the fabric isn’t strong enough to hide any slight hint of arousal.“Be that as it may,” The healer interrupts, tapping at the metal foot with a medical tool. “Mister Engel, the limbs are more advanced than your prior prosthetic. I believe that given time, you will be able to walk once again through this…miracle of science and magic. It will be tough, but if you persevere, you’ll no longer need a cane.”Erika beams, squeezing your hand. “That’s wonderful! Varian…”Given time. Time. Your mind flashes back to the Cultists of the Shattered Sun, of the Spheroid Creature that poured Eldritch Knowledge into your mind…time, time, time…Your friends are in danger so as long as the cult remains active.>Choose a focus:>Physical rehabilitation (Eliminates Combat Penalty)>Magical rehabilitation (Spell Repertoire Widens)
>>822421>>Magical rehabilitation (Spell Repertoire Widens)
>>822421>>Magical rehabilitation (Spell Repertoire Widens)Our magic is our everything. It's loss hurt more than the limbs.
Your hand clenches as you focus your Spark, drawing power into yourself and sending it through your body. The gemstone embedded within the hand flares to life with power, sending the room into a quiet silence. It is small, quivering, and it is clear that there is some bleedout and non-conservation of power as it travels from flesh into the machine. But you persevere, just long enough to create the beginnings of a Flare spell.“I think…” you slowly begin, marveling at the orb, “That I will need to use a cane for just a little longer. After all, I already placed an order with Loran for another cane.”It will be a long path before you once again wield the magics that you commanded at the height of your power. But you will persevere, mastering once more the basics of magic, the elementary spells. Flare, Detect Magic, Chaos Orb, Aetheric Armor…so many spells, so little time. “A wise choice,” Jeanne says calmly, hand resting on the hilt of Stormguard. “It will do Mister Engel well in…”The boy standing next to her clears his throat sharply, stepping forward to meet you. “Mister Engel?” His voice is the soft, melodious voice of a young lad from the Northern Shire, the island just off the main continent. “I…I don’t believe that we’ve ever met. You saved my father thirteen years ago.”You grunt. “That’s right. You must be Mikael.”He smiles. “Yes, sir.”“Don’t call me ‘sir’. You’re not one of my clients.”“Ah…right. Well, it is a pleasure to meet you, after so many years and stories my father told.”Ieyador. Kira said that he was still alive, but the situation was complicated. Dammit, you want to know more. You were a self-loathing, alcoholic bastard, but you never stopped caring for Antoine or Ieyador. How is he? Where is he? Where is the rest of the family. But you hold your tongue, smiling as you shake his hand. “The pleasure is mine. And don’t believe all the stories your father told you. They’re all Kira’s fault in some way or another.”“Shove off, boss!”That sends a wave of laughter around your bed, and the overall mood visibly improves. Even the healer sports a smile as he puts his equipment away. “If you’re feeling better, then we can discharge you by the end of the evening. But remember, if you have any adverse affects or illnesses…”“I’ll come to see you,” You finish for him. “Don’t worry. When I was an adventurer, your predecessor used to say that.”Once the healers leave, the Chevells follow suit, citing a need to open the store for the afternoon business. Then…it’s just you, the kids, Kira and Erika, all of whom have expectant looks on their faces. With the latter two practically warring for your attention as they glare at each other from the side-eye.Did something happen between the two of them while you were asleep?>Priority:>Talk with Erika first.>Talk with Kira’s group first.
>>822508>>talk with erika first
Speak with Kira and Jeanne first
>>822508>Talk with Erika first.
>>822508>Talk with Erika first.Reassure her that we're okay before we get down to business.
>>822508>>Talk with Erika first.Get her handled so we can talk with Kira and the others promptly.
>>822508>>Talk with Kira’s group first.
>>822508>>Talk with Erika first.
Kira frowns when you ask for a brief moment with Erika, but she doesn’t seem upset. “Alright, kids,” She says, wrapping an arm around a protesting Mikael and a stoic Jeanne, dragging them out the door and through the exit of the building. “Let’s go get some brunch. It’s Mikael’s turn to pay…”The boy’s protests become cut off within seconds as the doors close. Now, you are truly alone with Erika in the private confines of a healing room. For a moment, there’s a heavy silence in the room as you stare at nothing above her shoulder and she keeps her head down, all the while fiddling with your fingers. Then, just as it becomes unbearable, you break it.“Erika, I…”She holds up a hand. “Varian…I…I just need to…I want to go first, okay?”You nod. “Yeah, yeah, sure…”She takes a deep breath, exhaling heavily as she rubs at the bottom of her eyes. “When I heard that scream…that horrible, horrible scream…” She shudders, clutching herself. “…I…I thought you’d be under attack. That…that whoever came to kill you had actually…d-done the job…”You stay silent. This is not the time for jokes.“…and…well, that got me…I…when I saw the bottles, all that…liquid chaos? I understood. And…” Tears gather in the corner of her eyes as she loses her composure for the second time that day. “I don’t understand, Varian…I don’t…why…you almost died….just so you could get your magic back? Why…is…is having magic so important that you’d risk death for it? Is life without magic that painful to live through?“Please,” She whispers, clutching onto your robes, “I don’t…I don’t understand…why did you go through it?”It takes you a long time to come up with an answer, one that defines your truth but leaves it vague enough for her safety. “…so that I could put my past behind me once for all. If there was any other way…regaining my magic was the way it would go quickest.”Erika sniffles, wiping at the corners of her eyes with her sleeve. “…your…past…adventurer…Guild Amaranthine…” You wince at the drop of the name, and she gently places a hand on your shoulder. “…your eyes, Varian…your eyes…they’re just like…”She pauses, shuddering as she exhales. “The gag order prevents you from talking, and…I’m not going to pry into what’s clearly a private and sensitive matter for you. But…these individuals are arriving, old and new friends who have adventurers’ eyes, seekers of the Dungeon. And it’s faint, but…but I can see it in your eyes as well. You want to go back down to the Dungeon…once more…”>It is none of her gods-damned business.>Only because it is absolutely necessary.>The reason is different from most.
>>822571>Not a matter of wanting too, exactly. But business that I thought was finished on that day isn't and somehow dragged itself out of the depths to threaten me and all my freinds new and old. I need some measure of strength back to end it permanently so you, me and everyone else will not be under threat. That means practicing magic....
>>822571Yeah it's like >>822584>A life without magic wasn't so bad and it could have been bearable. But now dangers coming for my friends make it clear, I have to do something to get power again. Get my magic again.>Do I want to seek the Dungeon? No. But I know I have to.>Only because it is absolutely necessary.
>>822571In the long run magic was more important to me than you. So I took the risk.
>>822571>>Only because it is absolutely necessary.>>The reason is different from most.
goodnight dungeon officer quest.for a time, at least.
>>822571>Some responsibilities shouldn't be just left to others. Not when they could harm friends new and old.
“…a life without magic…” You eventually answer, almost a fragile whisper in the vast space of the infirmary, “…after thirteen years, I’ve gotten used to it. It’s bearable now, and what I lack in sensory experiences…I’ve more than made up for in other ways, compensated for.”The joints of your right hand whir and click as you experimentally flex them. You can only go so far before the motion stops, a half-formed fist that had more in common with a talon than a hand. “What I can tell you past the gag order is that something that I thought finished thirteen years ago has returned. And it’s trying to kill me, and any survivors of Guild Amaranthine.”A quickened breath, a hand to her mouth. Erika’s face is one of fear as you continue, “They already killed Antoine. And it was only through sheer happenstance that Jeanne and I managed to survive that ambush in the alleyway. I was almost powerless before them, barely able to do more than flail Loran’s sword and hope for the best. These dangers will not stop until either they or all my friends lie dead on the ground. And I do not have any intentions to die.”You pause, a grim look on your face. “As far as I know, Jeanne and Mikael never went into the Dungeon, and they certainly weren’t there thirteen years ago. Yet our enemy seeks them out. What’s to stop them when they reach me, from targeting you or the Chevells? These are the kind of people who will stop at nothing to kill me and the people I care about the most.”A faint shade of red appears on her cheeks at your words, words that you sincerely mean from the bottom of your heart. But she looks troubled, lips quivering in an uncertain expression before she ventures. “Have you not informed the Guild? Varian, I believe you, but shouldn’t we take it to the proper authorities-”“No. I don’t trust them. If they already covered up the incident and refuse to speak about it, then I doubt that they would take a more proactive stance against it. So, with only my own allies beside me…that was why I sought power once again.”You place your good hand on her shoulder, your whitewashed blue meeting her own azure in an intense gaze. “I never asked for this,” Your voice rumbles, as your head nods towards the limbs now grafted onto your body. “I’ve made enemies, changed something that wasn’t meant to be changed. Erika…the only reason I went this far is because I can’t bear to lose anyone precious to me ever again. I do not seek the Dungeon for my own self-aggrandizement, nor did I seek to regain my power out of some flight of fancy. I only seek it so that I can permanently put an end to the shadows of my past, so that I have enough power to protect the ones most precious to me.”>Erika sharply approves!
Erika fidgets in her seat, glancing around nervously as she tries to process the information. You give her time. It is a lot to consider, even for someone with her sharp intellect. The circumstances that you find yourself in are certainly ones you’d never thought to be in.When she finally manages to find her voice, she exhales in acceptance, a soft smile playing across her lips. “That is so much like you,” She whispers, a hand over her heart as tears well up in the corners of her eyes. “Varian…I…” She swallows a lump in her throat, and the sight of her neck rising sends a tingle down the length of your spine. “I won’t stop you. Those are good enough reasons. But…”She looks uncertain, as the hand along your prosthetic traces a path along the runes and insignias, the chassis and the lights. “…when this is all over…what will you do? Now that you have these...augmentations…are you going to continue adventuring, when you finally lay to rest the shadows of your past? What is the life that awaits you after you find what you seek in the Dungeon?”>“I’m going to continue adventuring.”>“I’m going back to work for the Guild.”>“I don’t know what I’m going to do.”>“A life with you in it, Erika. You, and only you…”
>This is a choice that will influence how a character will interact with you for the foreseeable future.>Choose your next words with exceptional care.
>>822973>Be someone respectable, not some drunk burden on everyone he knows.>Back in the academe, so much science went into me, I should give it back for others who need it.
>>822977also seriously>I never asked for thisI swear if Varian gets a pair of shades....
>>822977YES THIS QUEST IS ALIVE AGAIN
>>823041you COULD vote, you know
>>822973>Get back in shape.>Train
>>822973>“I don’t know what I’m going to do.”It seems pretty honest.
>>822973>Given how I am rapidly approaching being old, retiring from adventuring, hopefully permanently. Then I'd probably open up a business to teach wet behind the ears magi how to not get dead in the dungeon. Since I imagine the Guild won't want me back and despite there being some great people in it like you, as a whole I can't trust them.
>>822971"I never asked for this"Got me good.
>>822992>>823100>>823141“To be honest, I never really thought about anything beyond ‘settle the accounts from my past,’” You admit, pinching the bridge of your nose with your real hand. “Although the high points would be sobering up and laying off the bottle. That’s gonna be hard, considering the fact that vineyards of Eteria have a lease on my liver and my soul.”That elicits a chortle out of her, a weak and shuddering noise compared to the melodious aria of laughter you’re used to hearing. “Well, we can work on that together. Just…one bottle at the time. We can wean you off of the stronger stuff…”You offer her a smile. “I’d actually appreciate that. It’s only been a few minutes, but I can already feel…just some of my senses returning to what they were prior to the cave-in. I won’t be drinking anymore.“You know, I think I would retire from adventuring. Publish a few books, maybe travel back to the Tower of High Sorcery as a teacher. Maybe open up my own combat school for mages in Eteria. Gods know that too many of them come from pampered, cushioned towers unaccustomed to hard work and the threat of danger.”“…that would require leaving the Guild…” Erika points out, still gently caressing the leather of your right hand. “…I know you aren’t on the best of terms…”That’s right. The only thing that’s got you still on your job is the guilt card that you’ve got dangling over the Explorers’ Guild. And with your limbs and magic back…weren’t there still options open for Guild Officers?But, you digress. “I think that when all this is said and done, Erika, I think the trail of collateral damage is gonna be too much for the Guild to want to hold onto me. There’s some good people in it, and you’re at the top of that list, but…”Your face contorts into a grimace as you recall the memory of Guild Officials and workers fleeing the underground cavern, fully intent on burying you and the other survivors with the Thousand Screams. And even with your new limbs in place, you can still feel a slight crushing pain, and the searing agony of your flesh and soul immolating from aether overload.“…they burned me once already,” You mutter, trying and failing to lift your new leg. All you accomplish is a muffled thump against the mattress. “Some scars and wounds don’t heal as well as others.”(cont.)
There is a moment of silence that settles in the infirmary, before Erika seems to make a resolution. She takes the palm of your left hand, bringing it together with its mechanical counterpart in a gentle grip in her hands. And as if on cue, the sun comes out from behind the mountains, bathing your friend in a halo of light.“Then all there is to do is wait,” She smiles, and it is enough to set all your anxieties, fears and worries to rest. “Wait for your wounds to heal. We’ve all been waiting, Varian, and we will continue to do so. And now, that your mind is set and made up…” She pauses, capturing your gaze as she exhales, “…I’ll wait for your return from the Dungeon, whenever you have to descend. No matter how long it takes…”You could take all of the world’s greatest pieces of art and the venues at which they were displayed. The sculptures of heroes, paintings of distant landscapes, and the sweetest epic sung from the skalds of western Geirland. And they would all fall short before the woman that stands in front of you, promising that there would always be someone to be home to welcome your arrival. “Erika…” Her name is a hoarse whisper from your lips, even as she pulls you into a gentle embrace. Try as you might, you cannot muster the strength in your right arm to completely return the gesture. All you can do is bring your left hand around her, loosing yourself in her arms as silent tears fall down your cheeks. “…Erika…”In the back of your mind, you can hear Bolivar's teasing voice, and Kira's ribbing about your relationship with your best friend. Even the adventurers who leer and question how the two of you became so close...the person who stood by your side for eight long years, who knows you in every way save for that of intimacy....could she really be…?You have to swallow the lump in your throat, and it takes you more than once to get your emotions under control before you can form a coherent sentence. Pulling away from the embrace, you still keep your hand on her shoulder, and she continues to smile with a radiance of the sun."...Erika..." You say her name once more, the words just on the tip of your tongue as you find the nerve to continue. "I...">“...thank you…for everything.”>“...tell me…what am I to you?”>Custom option.
>>823371>>“...thank you…for everything.”>>“...tell me…what am I to you?”
>>823371>“...thank you…for everything.”>“...tell me…what am I to you?”
>>823371>>“...tell me…what am I to you?”
>>823371>>“...thank you…for everything.”Oh goodness, this is getting real mushy, and I think I like it. Gotta find a way to repay her kindness at the end of all this.
>>823371>>“...thank you…for everything
>>823379>>823442>>823446>>823447>>823490“…thank you…for everything…but I need to talk to Kira,” You manage to get out, but you’re quick to recover before a completely disappointed look appears on her face, “A-and the others concerning what we have to do and plan for the days to come. But…but before you go…”She tilts her head, eyebrows furrowing in confusion. “Yes, Varian? What is it?”You take a deep, shuddering breath, and then ask: “Tell me…what am I to you? Erika freezes, her eyes widening and mouth parting slightly to form an incredulous expression on her face. In any other circumstances, it would have been a comical appearance, to see her usually unshakable exterior frozen in shock. All that manages to come out of her throat is a tight, high-pitched “Eh?”…does that mean…no, you can’t say anything yet. You repeat the question once more, a little more insistent than before. “I need to know…what does the existence of Varian Engel mean according to Erika Stroud?”This time, her response is not as restrained. A crimson tide completely engulfs her face and lower neck, even as she tries to form words together. It’s no good. With her expression one of mortified embarrassment, she’s stammering too badly for you to make out anything beyond a few odd phrases. “V-varian…” She chokes on the first syllable of your name, even as she unconsciously grips your hands tighter, pleasure turning into pain. The pressure is enough to even cause you to grunt in pain. It does not go unnoticed by your friend, who yelps and releases your hands as if they are cherry-red coals. “Oh, I-I’m so sorry-” “It’s alright,” You quickly cut her off, pressing a finger to your lips in the universal gesture of silence. “That’s…that’s probably my fault…I should’ve given you…”“Oh…no, no! It’s fine, fine, no really! It’s…it’s all fine, V-varian,” She stammers out, ducking her head as if to disappear behind her bangs. “Just..just...just…”Erika’s next noise is half of a sigh, half of a shriek, causing you to look to the side for anyone to come rushing into room. It is a sound borne both of embarrassment and irritation at one’s self. “Ohhh…gods, I didn’t plan for this!” She moans, covering her face with both of her hands, muffling her voice even further. “There was…was supposed to be…food…wine…a performance…”You let her take her time, gently patting her shoulder as she continues to reprimand herself for muffled faults and failed contingencies. Chivalry gets the better of you, and the cloth and washpan at your bedside are promptly offered for her use. She morosely thanks you, scrubbing vigorously at her face as if to wipe away the events of the last five minutes from her memory.(cont.)I'm very pleased no one wrote-in "I love Kira."
>>823542>"I love Jeanne."
>>823542I do love Kira. I just think I'd get a lot of backlash.
>>823542Really mate, 3rd thread in. I'd like to keep our options open now, especially since we raised so many death flags. All we need is to have Erika as our fiance and retire 3 days from now.
I also agree that I don't want a waifu route lock already. And I will be salty if it comes so early in the game because there weren't that many people in thread.
>>823563>>823582Fair enough. It was a joke for the most part. Still upset about blueberryWriting...
>>823582Or we could roleplay the character instead of worrying about meta bullshit
But she makes a quick enough recovery, offering a weak smile as she returns the towel to you. Her breathing’s evened out enough to prevent hyperventilation, and she’s composed herself well enough. “Ah…I’m sorry, Varian…I really made a fool of myself, didn’t I?”You raise your own fist to your head, miming the gesture of the classical fool whilst sticking out your tongue to create a visage of a child more than two thirds your junior. “Don’t we all?”The effect is immediate. It starts as a hiccup before it turns into a laugh, and before you know it, the two of you are laughing at yourselves. It’s an instant balm against the embarrassment that the two of you went through, and easily dispels the awkward tension in the air. Your gut-clenching laughter matches up with her near-shrieks in a cacophony of amusement.“Oh…oh my gods…wow…we really are such fools, Erika.”“Mmmm,” She hums, and the smile on her face natural. “Yes…I suppose that we are…but…”Here, her voice hardens, shifting from the breathy air of amusement to a more serious tone. “Varian…I will answer your question…” She pauses, closing her eyes and folding her hands over her heart, “…to me…you’re everything…everything that I could ever want in a man…you aren’t afraid to call things as they are, and for all your cynicism and bouts of melancholy…you’re still living as best you can…”The words hit you harder than any falling stalactite ever could, leaving you stunned and speechless as Erika recites your virtues. This…are you still dreaming? It has to be a dream…She continues, “Even when you’re at your worst day, you still make an effort to help others so that they won’t go through what you did. I still remember…the Mundus Incident…you saved an entire guild from going into the Dungeon when a deep wyvern was spotted…even when they called you names and harassed both of us…”Guild Mundus. An otherwise unpleasant lot of bastards that no one would have missed if they all died. You can still feel the rage as their tower mage gave you a nickname to carry through the last few years: “Burnout Engel”. And you’d lost count of the times their leader tried to get underneath Erika’s skirt, trying to poke fun at your expense and status as a cripple in order to do so....but you still blocked their passes, preventing them from going into the Dungeon when an earthquake had occurred. It paid off, as a deep wyvern ran rampant through the halls, easily four times as powerful as those bastards had been. Not that it had helped. They eventually broke up after their leader died of food poisoning, of all things. Still…you try not to think about those days. Especially when Erika’s spilling her guts out for you in the present. “…wow…” You breathe, shaking your head. It’s all you can do to string sentences together. “…this version of me…he seems like a pretty nice guy.”(cont.)
“He is,” She replies, displaying her arms in an offertory gesture, once again taking your hands in hers. “It is who you are, Varian…not a cripple, not a drunkard…but the man that I’ve fallen so desperately in love with…”>“I…I’ve felt the same way for so many years.”>“I…I can’t give you an answer right now.”>Custom option.
>>823721>>“I…I can’t give you an answer right now.”I ain't raising that high of a flag yet, Kaz.
>>823721>>“I…I can’t give you an answer right now.”
>>823721>“I…I’ve felt the same way for so many years.”
>>823723Man its fine if you don't like Erika but at least use in character reasoning to make your decisions instead of "flags"
>>823721>“I…I can’t give you an answer right now.”>“I'm not sure sure that I can properly distinguish all the tangle of emotions I'm feeling right now. Moreover, I have no idea what I'll be facing from now on. Blind as I am now to what will happen next, I could very well be walking into certain death. I can't, in good conscience, give you an answer now, only to leave you with a broken heart.”>“I can only ask that you wait, just long enough that I can give you a sure reply.”
>>823741Dude, I like Erika, but you also to have to think of we're going down the depths of the dungeon where elder gods and the like await Var. I'd rather not get smoochy when it's possible we'll die and Erika lives her life waiting for the "what if he comes back" moment to pop up.Also THIRD THREAD. I'm not waifu locking this early. Cute, yes, supportive, yes, and had his back for all this time, yes. But it's also the third fucking thread. Lots of other waifus, lots of other characters, ect, ect. We have time.
There's three routes, three main waifus. You know two of them, maybe all of them. I made a revision and replaced Jeanne with someone else.Writing...
>>823778I'm not arguing with your vote I'm arguing with using VN logic instead of thinking from the point of view of our MC. I think it's way more fun for everyone involved that way.
>>823778Seconded. In addition, Erika was the under appreciated friend. Varian never noticed how she felt about him, despite the length of their friendship. Actually, she was attracted to him as he was. Not what he could be or had been. I wonder if whatever drew her to him will last with all these dramatic changes he's going through...>>823778Route lock options before showing all the options? I guess that makes sense. /qst/ always waifus the first option anyway. And the masterbation scene clenched it.
>>823723>>823727>>823774“Erika…” You gently remove her hands from your own, setting them gently in her lap. “I…I’m honored, really, that…that you feel this way about me. And…as much as I’d like to give you an answer now…I’m afraid that I…I can’t,” You finish helplessly.“It’s not that I don’t find you attractive, no…you’re a very beautiful woman with a sharp head and sharper tongue with you. I’m not that blind of an individual to deny that you’re both aesthetically and intellectually pleasing to many eligible men. It’s just that…so many things have happened within the last couple of days. The attack…these new limbs…”You grimace as another sensation of phantom pain trails up your arm. “There’s too many emotions that I’m going through right now. I don’t hate you, Erika…as a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s just that in this tangled web of complicated feelings…”Her eyes are only slightly downcast, and from the faint light in them, you can see that she’s picked up on your meaning between-the-lines. You just need time to figure out your emotions. And a little bit of disappointment for not making the move earlier, when things were more certain than they are now.You continue, “And that’s not including the dungeon…that place is a deathtrap all on its own, even without my extenuating circumstances. None of us, even Kira, knows what’s going to come, and it would be…” You shake your head, even as your metallic hand curls into the visage of a fist. “I can’t, in good conscience, give you an answer now, only to leave you with a broken heart if...if something bad happens to me.”Erika nods at that, even as her voice whispers, “That’s…that’s fair enough, Varian….I understand…”But you’re not done yet, and you surprise both of you when your right hand closes around hers in a grip of solidarity, the tooled leather gently interlocking with her fingers. “I know its selfish of me to ask, but…if you would please just wait…wait long enough so that I can give you an answer without any second guesses, no doubts or hesitations.”The expression on her face, one of designated content, is enough to melt your heart. “I’ve already waited for the last five years…” She admits, tittering slightly as she pats your hand. “I think I can wait a few more weeks.”You smile, sighing contently as the two of you lean into each other in a chaste embrace. “…thank you…that’s all I need…”======Once Erika clears the room, departing with a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek, Kira and the kids file into the ward. The rogue’s face betrays nothing, but from the rosy cheeks on Jeanne and Mikael, you have the sinking feeling that you and Erika had an audience when she spilled her heart out to you.(cont.)
“You look happy, Varian,” She points out, sitting upon a nearby chair. The wood creaks under the weight of her arms and armor. “It suits you much better than that scowl you had on yourself a few nights prior.”Admittedly, it does. You’re still in a state of mild euphoria, still riding that emotional high of the fact that someone actually had feelings for you in spite of everything that’s happened. At least you aren’t grinning like an idiot or smiling like the village fool. The extent of your happiness only manifests as the slightest of curves that tug at the corner of your mouth.“Think so?” You retort, gesturing to the limbs. “I feel better than I’ve ever felt in the last thirteen years. You know what, I think that this is the happiest moment of my life!”The rogue grins, even as she starts to dig into her bottomless bag. “Well, we’ll hit up the bar for celebratory drinks later. Right now, we have to get to work.”She tosses a pair of metal cards towards the kids, who fumble at the unexpected projectiles heading in their direction. “I took the liberty of filling out Adventure registration cards for the two of them while you were konked out. I’m still on good enough standing with the Guild to vouch for them so they don’t have to do menial fetch quests or gathering missions. They’ll go straight to combat immediately.”Mikael nods excitedly. “Yes, that would be ideal. I am moderately skilled in fighting men, but monsters will be a new experience. I’m looking forward to it, retracing the steps of my father…”…hold up a moment. “What about a guild? We’d need to sign them up with a guild…and…I need to reapply for a license myself, so I can go back to dungeon diving. These limbs aren’t exactly regulation, you know?”Kira smirks. “It turns out, there’s a revival clause. If for whatever reason two or more members of a formerly and legally disbanded guild come together, they can reopen the guild. Of course, we’d need to get a new Guild Base and file some paperwork, but…”The glint in her eyes is absolutely ferocious. “Guild Amaranthine would live once more.”(cont.)
>>823903>Muffled Can't kill the messiah in background.
The knightess from Calais raises her hand, clearing her throat before speaking. “Miss Kira, would that not be unwise?” Jeanne frowns. “We would be telling the cultists our definite location…”“We’re sending them a message,” Mikael answers, his eyes furrowed in determination. “That they failed to stop us, and that we’ll ultimately stop them.”“Yes, Mikael, that could possibly happen. And it could bring a whole new league of killers right out of the woodwork…”As the two of them bicker, Kira slides you another metal card. An Adventure’s ID, with your name and everything printed onto the platinum tag. “Took the liberty of getting this also. Had to pull a few strings and make a few threats…but it’s yours. Welcome back to the high life of adventuring, Varian.“With that said…” She trails off, cutting Jeanne and Mikael off with a pointed gesture. “We really do need to pick a name. And a leader.” She turns to you, a wry smile on her lips. “Considering the fact that you were among the original three founders, and third in command when everything went to shit…I think you should be the leader. Your image, complete with the magic limbs, would scare the piss outta those cultist bastards!”She’s right. You have seniority, the mantle passed down from Hendrick and Reinwald. Out of the last surviving members of the guild and their surviving members, the onus of leadership falls upon your shoulders.But first thing’s first…You take the quill pen Kira offers you, and dab the tip into a nearby inkpot. Placing the nub at the box for the name of your Guild, you reflect on it all, meditating in the comfortable silence of the room as you decide what to rename this collection of Adventurers.>Guild Amaranthine. Once beaten, you have not bowed. Show your enemies that you do not fear them.>Pick another name. Keep your heads down low, don’t draw attention to yourselves.
>>823920>Guild Amaranthine. Once beaten, you have not bowed. Show your enemies that you do not fear them.
>>823920>>Guild Amaranthine. Once beaten, you have not bowed. Show your enemies that you do not fear them.Not even a choice
>>823920>>Pick another name. Keep your heads down low, don’t draw attention to yourselves.Different people, different name.
>>823920>Guild Amaranthine. Once beaten, you have not bowed. Show your enemies that you do not fear them.We pull in money, recruits, just to combat Kathgriorg. Rubbing our noses in bloody Dungeon dirt. All for revenge.
>>823920>Guild Amaranthine.Not out of pride, but...There could be other people hunted down. Alone, against cultists they know nothing about. We can stand for them to come to us, or at least draw attention away from them.And we need to capitalize on Varian's first kill of an elder one. Did it once, make good on the threat to do it again.
>>823935>>823938>>823964>>823983“As of this moment,” You declare, a fierce grin on your lips as you sign the slip of paper, “Guild Amaranthine is once again in business. We’ll do whatever it takes, pulling in new talent, slaying monsters in the Dungeon, all so we can combat the Cultists of the Shattered Sun. We’ll take the fight to them, certainly, but we’ll first make them come to us.“We already brought down one of their ‘gods’, so we’ll capitalize on that. Our name alone is sure to draw their attention to Eteria, where we stand a stronger chance to fight as opposed to some barren field outside of the city. And unless they have deep connections within the Guild itself, then they’d be hard pressed to ambush us within the Dungeon itself.”With a flourish, you add your name to the roster, and sign the charter as leader of Guild Amaranthine. Kira accepts the document back with a grin of her own. “Does that mean I get to call you ‘boss’ again?”“Damn straight you can. And that goes for you guys as well,” You direct towards Jeanne and Mikael. “I’ll take any variation on that, or just Engel. I’m not too big on ceremony. Call me whatever you want as long as you follow my orders to the letter, do you understand?”They nod briskly, and you return your attention to the rogue. “Anything else you want to share?”“…like I said, I was thinking of taking them into the Dungeon today. Just the first floor, the Crystal Forests, top five floors. Nothing’s changed much, I hope?”The Crystal Forests, the first out of three systems currently accessible within the permits of a Bronze Card. Given your prior status, you and Kira have Platinum Cards, the highest mark for clearance to explore within all points of access. But you’re nowhere near as foolish as to suddenly thrust Jeanne and Mikael into the harshest of what the dungeon has to offer. The name itself is a misnomer of sorts. The only live vegetation within the Crystal Forests are moss and loam, with the trees themelves as giant rock formations of non-valubale crystals. Trunks of quarts and roses of citrine dominated the caverns in an array of multi-colored wonder, shaped like pillars over the long eons. Yet life finds a way, from the normal to the outright strange.“There was recently an ecology report done a month ago,” You recall, accessing the relevant information within the library of your mind. “Goblin Mushrooms are still normal for the season, but Tunnel Chiroptera are having their mating season. And watch out for Quartz Golems and Silver Stags. Blasted F.O.E.’s are the bane of all beginning adventurers…”Jeanne frowns at the acronym. “F.O.E.?”(cont.)
Oh, right. “Sorry, my bad. That’s official designation by the guild for the nastier monsters, real powerful sons-of-bitches that can really ruin your day. The acronym itself is Formidio Oppugnatura Exsequens,” The words roll smoothly off your tongue, even as Kira twitches at the mention of the name. “Well, that’s what official documents will tell you. Everyone you’ll meet is going to call them-”“Fucking-Overpowered-Enemy,” the rogue finishes for you, a sour disposition on her face. “Or in the odd case, Ferocious-Orange-Enemy for that scuzzball of shit that ambushes you in the Sunken City when you make camp for the evening.” “…basically what she said. Monsters you don’t fight unless you’re absolutely ready. Even with Kira, I don’t think you’re going to be ready for even a Quartz Golem. Maybe in two runs, maybe? But do not engage any F.O.E.s, and run if you find yourself attacked. Consider that your first order.”“If you don’t mind me asking, sir,” Mikael politely inquires, “I take it that you are not going to accompany us into the Dungeon today.”You nod. “That’s right. I still have to get used to my new leg and arm, not to mention I need to practice my spellcasting. I’ve got prior experience with a cruder prosthetic, so I shouldn’t be out of the fight for too long.”That seems to put them well enough at ease, before Kira frowns. “Wait. Then you’d be alone. Who’s gonna protect you when all of us are in the Dungeon?”A good point, but one you’ve already taken care of. Or rather, someone else has. “Bolivar is a friend of mine, and a sergeant of the Town Guard. He’s already got a detail protecting me in the event of an attack.”Jeanne looks uncertain, exchanging a look with Mikael before asking, “And do you trust them to do their job in a manner of relative competency?”“Considering how they’ve kept Kira on the ropes ever since she’s been a part of Eteria…yes, I’d say that they do a good enough job.”“Stuff it, boss.”You think that’s everything, and they do to. They pack up their stuff and say their farewells, already discussing strategies and the more efficient ways to kill monsters. Then it hits you. Your visions, and…and the strange words that bounce around in your skull. They don’t quite hurt as much as the words disorient your senses. But, you digress. The fact remains that you haven't told anyone about your contact with something beyond space and time.>Tell them about your vision.>Wish them good luck on their quest.
>>824784>Tell them about your vision.
>>824784>>Tell them about your vision.
>>824784>>Wish them good luck on their quest.Telling them will just generate needless worry at best, suspicions of lunacy at worst.
>>824849>suspicions of lunacywe literally drank bottles of liquid chaos. Lunacy was never in question.
Dinner break, back in a moment.
>>824784>>Tell them about your vision.But do it in Elder God Tongue!
>>824792>>824798>>824805>>824816>>825123“Guys, hold up a moment-!”For a moment, you’re unsure about going through with it, even as they turn around to face you with surprised faces. How on earth would you explain it? The fact that you had made contact with an eldritch being, and that it had imparted forbidden knowledge into your brain? How could you explain it without generating needless worry, or at the worst, compromise?“…I forgot one last thing…” You mutter, gesturing for them to close the door and come close. “Okay, I’m not going to lie. This…this might freak you out. So in the spirit of preemptively preventing a scene, I’m going to have to ask you keep calm.”THAT seemed to have done the opposite of your intentions, but more time gives them the opportunity to adapt wary stances. As soon as you figure that they’re ready, you close your eyes, drawing from that little node of…something deep within your consciousness, selecting the right words and forming a semi-coherent sentence.Then your eyes snap open, and some of the words that come out of your mouth do not belong to any language conceived by man. “I, [human] Varian Engel, [received] a [gift] from [messenger] of [Denizens], [return], [return], [return]…[become]…[messenger] [for] [Denizen]?”The effect is immediate. Kira drops her satchel, the bottomless bag hitting the floor with a loud CRASH. Jeanne recoils, shivering even as the words send a chill down the length of your spine. Mikael’s eyes widen, and for a moment, his hand goes to the sword at his hilt, only stopping a few inches from the pommel.The rogue manages to recover first, staring at you in a new and dangerous light. “Varian…what…what the fuck?”“The language of the cultists,” Mikael whispers. His voice is not fearful as much as it is curious, tempered only by caution. “…how on earth…?”Jeanne is at a loss for words, her mouth moving without any coherent sounds coming out.You sigh, rubbing the back of your head sheepishly. “It’s…kind of a long story.” >You explained to them the details of your vision.>You take care to omit the more visceral details.“…so lemme get this straight,” Kira prefaces, her brow furrowed deep into a grimace. “One of the cult’s gods…made contact with you, demanding your fealty…and you promptly told it to go fuck itself.”You wince. “…in hindsight, it might not have been the best of choices…”“Hindsight? Boss, that’s not stupidity as much as it is insanity! Though I will give you credit for telling it off. You got a real pair on ya. But gods above, I cannot believe you did that…”(cont.)
Jeanne has a sour look on her face, and the gaze from her eyes is heavy. You’ve faced worse women, with Angelica the champion of the withering look, so you manage not to quail underneath her stare. Not that you can entirely blame her. You still lack more details, but you know well enough that Antoine was killed by the cult. No wonder she’d be in a bit of a mood. As he paces the room, Mikael finds the silver lining, only cementing the fact that he is indeed his father’s son. “This means…” He slowly says, “You can understand them? The cultists, and their writings? And...their false gods?”You shrug. “I…I guess so. Although they seemed to be speaking in common for the most part when they tried to kill Jeanne and I a couple of days ago.”Kira grunts. “Well, it wouldn’t do us any good now. As soon as I was finished with the books I looted off of the cult, I torched them. Just looking at them gave me bad feelings, and staring at the letters for too long made the shadows in the room just a little longer.”She shudders. “It’s some really bad shit. Messed me up for a good few days after just a glance of it. But, boss, you’re fine, you said? Nothing bad aside from a mild headache?”You nod. “That’s it. I guess…it’s an effect of the…ah…implantation that I received.”“Were there any names, any useful information that we might possibly get from your exchange?” That is Mikael, who has a bit of parchment and charcoal in his hands, ready to take down notes. “Any particular phrases, words, perhaps?”Just reliving the memory is enough to send gooseflesh crawling along your skin, and both of your hands itch as the sensation of the tentacles binds you in place, pierces your cranium. “…Kathgriorg,” You mutter, “Kathgriorg…it was always repeated the word ‘Kathgriorg’…does that word mean anything to you?”The knight purses his lips, scribbling down the name and annotating pronunciation. “One of their gods, undoubtedly. Or a place of worship, perhaps? Still, we cannot be sure until we find more proof.”“And we’re not gonna find it here,” Kira interjects, pulling the kids up onto their feet. “C’mon. As interesting as this is, there’s still a dungeon to crawl through, and we’re burning daylight. Varian…I’m trusting you to be careful, alright? This…vision….doesn’t change anything. You’re still the boss, no matter what. Got that?”You snort, even as you swivel out of bed. “Yeah. I got it.”"Good," she retorts, even as she drags a protesting Jeanne and Mikael out of the building. "And if you get more visions, report them immediately. Don't do anything stupid while we're out.""That's my line!"(cont.)
>>LaterIt takes the better part of two hours to make it to a limp with your new leg, but the crutch the healer loans you is enough to hobble around the building without too much effort. You find yourself a courtyard, relatively devoid of patients and other invalids. It is small enough to be private while large enough to host a wide variety of activities. Swordplay, magecraft, even a game of chiuwan, as evidenced by the clubs and balls left over on a nearby bench.Perfect.You seat yourself in the shadow of a great oak, leaning against the bark as you focus your Spark. With your senses restored, you can once again make out the subtleties in the wind, the sweet scent of honeysuckle and the soft fragrance of mint leaves. Overhead, birds are singing, a soft breeze is in the air, and the warmth of Koyash bathes you in rays of light.Today is a good day.>Choose a spell to practice:>Aetheric Armor, a basic Defensive spell. An invisible barrier projects itself to shield you from a set amount of damage.>Chaos Orb, a basic Offensive spell. A weak orb of roiling, typeless energy that is hurled towards an enemy.>Detect Magic, a basic Utilitarian spell. Identifies sources of magic within a given radius.>Holdfast, a basic Support spell. Partially negates the effect of mental status ailments induced by monsters (Fear, Frenzy, etc.).
>>825306>>Detect Magic, a basic Utilitarian spell. Identifies sources of magic within a given radius.
>>825174>You explained to them the details of your vision.>>825306>Holdfast, a basic Support spell. Partially negates the effect of mental status ailments induced by monsters (Fear, Frenzy, etc.).we're going to have to evolve/chain this into something stronger
>>825306>>Aetheric Armor, a basic Defensive spell. An invisible barrier projects itself to shield you from a set amount of damage.
>>825306>Holdfast, a basic Support spell. Partially negates the effect of mental status ailments induced by monsters (Fear, Frenzy, etc.).I feel that we're going to need this if we're going up against eldritch cults.
>>825306>Holdfast, a basic Support spell. Partially negates the effect of mental status ailments induced by monsters (Fear, Frenzy, etc.).
>>825306>>Holdfast, a basic Support spell. Partially negates the effect of mental status ailments induced by monsters (Fear, Frenzy, etc.).It's either this or Detect Magic desu. I think our buddies have basic defense and offense covered, but they have yet to deal with the Dungeon. Best be prepared.
>>825330>>825344>>825362>>825382Holdfast. A spell that so many mages choose to forgo in the place of the flashier, more powerful spells. And then it’s those same mages that complain when their companions succumb to the Fear Spores emitted by a Goblin Shroom, or the Frenzy-inducing miasma of a deep wyvern. Those are the kinds of mages that tended to either quit the adventuring business either of their own volition, or because their entrails were strewn across the Dungeon.But enough morbid though. You close your eyes, visualizing the inferno that is the Origin Spark. In your mind’s eye, you can make out the shape of your magic circuits firing up, shining through your body like luminescent blood vessels. The feeling of the aether coursing through your body…it is indescribable. You shudder, and if you were in private, you might have even moaned.You’ve missed that feeling for far too long.Holdfast…you conceptualize the spell, tracing the somatic component with your left hand as you mutter the words in the language of magic. It is a shield of the mind, a barrier against all mental ailments that one could face either from monster or human hands. With the cult and Elder Ones in mind, taking this spell is an absolute necessity. You already know the basics of the spell, its theory and the inner mechanics of how it works. What you lack is practical experience, the actual casting of the spell itself. You’ll need to cast the spell multiple times in succession, pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion before you can say that you’ve completely relearned it. >Roll 1d100 + 40 Magic [+30 Knowledge, + 10 Quintessence]>Best of three.
Rolled 54 + 40 (1d100 + 40)>>825485
Rolled 35 + 40 (1d100 + 40)>>825485
Rolled 81 + 40 (1d100 + 40)>>825485welp
>>825487>>825492>>825568>>Four hours laterBy the time you’ve exhausted your entire will, to the point where your Spark angrily throbs within your soul, you have finished your casting to a satisfactory degree. Panting against the trunk of the oak, tentative fingers reach for a canteen of water, shaking as they unstopper the cork. The progress of time has turned it lukewarm, but to you, it is the best water you have ever tasted. The sun begins to set over the top of Eteria as you begin the long hobble back towards your room. You lose yourself in the steps of your crutch, the loud thuds echoing along hallways of stone. The noise is almost hypnotic, so easy to forget the progress and mark of time as you continue on your journey.You eventually pass a lantern girl, only a few years younger than Jeanne or Mikael, going about her rounds with a stool in one hand and wick in another. She dutifully attends to the many lamps that hang along the walls. But she struggles to reach at a higher one, even with her stool, and you stop to aid her in the task. The lantern flares to life with a soft red flame, and she thanks you with a deep bow, red twintails bobbing in the air with every little motion.“Thank you, sir,” She says, smiling brightly. Her voice is soft, almost waif-like, and you suppose that her voice has yet to adjust to her adolescent changes. “Thank you for lighting the flame.”You can’t be bitter to kids. You offer the girl a smile, and a comforting pat on the shoulder. “No, I should be thanking you. If it gets any darker, I’d have a hard time finding my way back. The lamps are very helpful.”She hums in agreement at that, carefully bringing a hand to shield her flame from a strong gust of wind. Leaves crack and churn at the sudden breeze, whispering through cracks in stone and window. “Yes…for without flame…we all would be so easily lost in the dark…”You nod, offering a final smile and wave as you resume your journey. “I’ll leave you to it then. Perhaps you should ask your master for a higher stool. Good night, and be careful not to trip…”Even as you hobble away, her voice carries through the long hall, as if she’s standing right next to you. “…I will not stumble. I cannot stumble. But humans can so easily stumble through the darkness…for the night is long…long and full of unspeakable, gibbering terrors…”(cont.)
...a tenet of the Church of Light? Those believers are always so fond their ghost stories, whether they are found in scripture or campfire. There have been small pockets of the faith that pop up in every odd gathering or neighborhood. Perhaps this girl belongs to one of the sects that worship fire.Being in your profession, you’ve never really been one for the gods or their worship. But as long as they generally kept their opinions out of your face, you tended to get along with them. Andor was the best example, Amaranthine’s more vocal member when it came to belief in a higher power.Not that it helped him in the end…You shake your head, hoping to rid yourself of even more unpleasant memories as you continue down the hallway. The day’s exercises have really done a number on you. It feels like your circuits are on fire. The promise of a bed, warm and fluffy, is the primary drive behind your staggering pace.But just as you round the corner, the lantern girl speaks once more, this time like a whisper directly into your ear. “…but of course…you know all about what terrors lie in waiting…don’t you…Varian…?”In an instant, you whirl around, heart suddenly racing as you bring your hand up to cast a spell. But there is no girl behind you, no phantom mouth that whispers directly into your ear. All the way down at the far end of the hallway, the lamplighter stands, gently cupping an open flame in the palm of her hands. But that is not what worries you. Behind the girl, in the darkness beyond the hallway, the shadows roil. Tendrils of pitch black flail about, pulling off of the walls with a sound of wet flesh rent from bone. Gaps in the darkness create distinct features. There are too many eyes, too many mouths, too many hands and appendages that writhe and clench at nothing, all drawing closer to the lamplighter.You move forward, pushing off your good foot, mouth already open to shout. Are you going to shout a warning, or a spell? But you are too late. The girl regards you with a sad expression, even as she gently caresses her flame. The shadows are close, too close, as they envelop the girl in billowy tendrils of darkness.The wind outside howls, scrabbling along your clothes and hair. There is nothing outside the windows, nothing save for an impenetrable screen of black. Her mouth moves, but you cannot make out what comes from her mouth over the sound of the wind, and the shadows that slowly pull at her. Yet her lips are unobstructed, gently forming a singular word.“Run.”The shadows lengthen, the wind screams, and just as the flame in her hands, so too is the lamplighter extinguished from the world.(cont.)
>>825919I HOPE this is a nightmare from us passing out.
Then the shadows turn towards you, seemingly content to let the gore on its claws drip down onto the floor. Rows upon rows of sharp, jagged teeth split wide open into a predatory grin, inhumanly wide and deep. There is no end in sight, no clear definition of the mouth.And before it takes a languid step towards you, a keening noise, barely intelligible, pierces the air, and sends a chill straight into your soul.”fOuNd yOouUU----”>Fight it.>Run away.>Custom action.
>>825990>Run away.>Hit it with spells as we run.
>>825990>>Fight it.>>825994That sounds a lot more complex than we can mange at the moment.
>>826014and fighting it with only our bleh magic is suicide.
>>825990>>Fight it.Not like we'll actually get away with a limp.
I'm surprised no one commented on who I used for the lamplighter.Writing....
>>825990>Fight it.We Ain't limpin very far.
>>826081We don't have a weapon or any attack spells either.
>>826088We cause a big enough explosion or cause fire or something, People will come.
>>826094WE HAVE NO ABILITY TO DO SO. We have ONE spell and it's not an attack spell. All we have is our magitech fist and we can barely use it at all because of arm atrophy, and that's IF kinetic force affects a seemingly incorporeal monster.
>>826108RUNNING WON'T DO ANYTHING BUT TURN OUR BACK TO IT. WE HAVE NO CHOICE ANON. DIE AND DIE.
>>826122We might be able to get help running, fighting is literal suicide.
>>826014>>826074>>826081You’re not going anywhere. Not with your leg. And the only spell you have is a support-type that can’t even swat a fly from out of the air. But you’re going to fight, dammit! And not just because you lack the capacity for a strategic withdrawal.Your eyes flicker towards one of the nearby lantern, even as the shadow flies down the long hallway. Protected from the wind behind the glass container, the flame contained within still burns merrily away. You’ve never fought a monster like this before…actually, scratch that. You’re almost entirely sure that you’re the first person to fight a creature of this…caliber. Countless tomes have been consumed in your pursuit for knowledge, and you have no recollection of a monster formed of shadows. It must be a magical construct then…or some unknown spell of the cult. It doesn’t matter. Even if they’ve managed to animate the shadows to do their bidding, they should be still beholden to the natural laws of the universe.You grab your mechanical hand, aiming the foci point directly at the shadow as it shrieks towards you. With wicked claws outstretched and steaming with gore, you send the smallest amount of magical power to activate the spell. The runes flare to life, white and iridescent, and the palm runes discharge the force trapped within the sink. It comes as a surprise, really, how the shadow goes flying back even further from where it started. Then again, without any real control over your arm, any time spent walking probably had the damn thing swinging all over the place. The force itself knocks you flat onto your ass, and your muscles strain from the recoil of your arm. Damn. That actually hurt. In your haste, you probably didn’t position it properly. Something to consider next time.Balancing yourself on your crutch, you grab the lantern from the wall, frantically maneuvering the shutters to let the full radiance of the light shine out from out of the metal. You send a prayer to the lamplighter, an apology and a heartfelt thanks for what she left behind, as you stand your ground against the creature’s position, the light held high like a holy brand.>Charge into the shadows.>Wait for it to come to you.>Custom option.
>>826263>start a slow retreat down the hallway with it
>>826078>Nya-chanYou can never tell what an OP means by using a picture beyond that the image is deemed fitting. Seemed like a jump to conclusions really desu.
>>826263Make some noise
>>826263>Wait for it to come to you>Make some noise
>>826263>Let it come toyouMaybe we can use the lamp as a weapon?
>>826342>>826361>>826320“Alright,” You snarl, brandishing the lantern with a vigorous shake. “I’ve survived worse than whatever the hell you are. You want to try to kill me? Take a number and get in line! No cutting the queue now, because you’re not the first one to make an attempt on my life, and you certainly won’t be the last! So come then, shadow! It is your turn to try!”The shadows boil, tendrils undulating as a hazy outline steps out of the darkness. The mouths within the mass are wide open, all of them combining to form a choir of screams. It is the multitude of thousands of people, men and women and children of all ages. It is the exaltation of a collective entity that wishes death, and the sweet release of oblivion.Then, the creature roars, the hair on your skin raising sharp as a foul breath escapes from its maw, the scent of a hundred open graves. You grit your teeth, hold your bile down, and ready yourself as the creature’s claws raise once more, and the shadow charges at your direction.“fFfffFfffffFFFFffoOoOOoUUuUnNnNnnddDDdDDd yYYyYoOoOOouUUUuuUUuUUU!!!>Roll 1d100 + 10 Combat (+20 Combat, -10 One Arm)>Best of three
Rolled 64 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>826440
Rolled 8 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>826440
Rolled 80 + 10 (1d100 + 10)>>826440welp
>>826461>>826466>>826482“Only in the darkness can the light truly shine.”You barely get the timing right. You duck just as its claws rake over the space where your head would be, showering you with flects of blood. Gritting your teeth, you dig your crutch into the ground and pivot hard, bringing the lantern to bear against the monster in a wicked strike. The sound of shattering glass is immediately followed by the dry wumpf of something catching alight. Flaming oil sprays across the two of you, splattering man and monster in burning liquid. You scream as your flesh withers underneath the burning temperature, desperately rubbing at your skin to put out the fire. But compared to the monster, it is clear that you have it better than he does.The shadow shrieks, falling wildly as the flames around its body grow bigger and burn hotter with every passing second. Tongues of fire consume the monster as if it were doused in alcohol or entirely comprised of the most flammable of clothing, disintegrating underneath the heat of the conflagration. This is a slow death, this is a painful death. You watch, emotionless as the monster writhes and twists upon the ground, every movement becoming feebler with every passing instant. From its body, the fragments that break away take on the aspect of disembodied mouths, faces of people long since dead. They are all strangers to you, their features unrecognizable, but they speak as if they’ve known you for your entire life. And before they finally crumple away into ashes, they repeat two words, over and over again until even that fades away with the soft whisper of the wind.Thank you…Eventually, all of the fragments have long since turned to ash, leaving only an emaciated skeleton behind. You don’t need to cite a textbook to confirm that it’s not human, nor anything documented within known monster textbooks. But you can say that it is dead, truly dead, and that it will harm no other. The lamplighter will be its last victim.(cont.)
“Get back in line and try again,” You mutter, throwing the last bit of the lantern onto its body as you limp away. “One per customer-”Pain suddenly flares up in your head, and the force of it is enough to almost stagger you. Your crutch falls from nerveless fingers as you collapse against the wall, desperately clutching at your head as a vice tightens against your temple. You howl in pain, unable to think of anything other than making it stop, making it all stop……you see a darkened space, lined with eldritch runes and symbols……a cauldron bubbles in the center, purple flames licking along the metal exterior…...a figure has collapsed onto the ground, heavily breathing as they clutch their body……no, it is not pain that ails them, but nothing short of utmost pleasure…...hair as black as night tumbles down a voluptuous figure, a mouth lolled open in unabridged delight……bloodshot eyes glazed over from release, wide and staring at nothing as a smile splits cherry lips…“...I…found…you…”And just like that, everything stops. In the distance, you can hear someone calling your name, even as your eyelids begin to close with the weight of exhaustion. You want to sleep…you want to lay down…whatever it is…it can wait later…much…much…later…========Done for the evening. Will resume on Tuesday afternoon.>Choose one:>The Bulwark>The Sergeant>The Ronin
>>826716>>The SergeantWhere's our protection detail when we need it?
Hey Kaz I thought BRQ was for your suffering boner why do you need TWO grimderp quests?
>>826969Because now he needs two hands for this boner
>>826989Still doesn't explain two quests. Especially when he still has lewd snippets for some of his quests pending.
>>826999One quest = one hand. It's not hard to understand
>>827012problem is switching hands only slows the boner down. Same with quests. Also he needs to stop blue balling the TF666 anons.
>>826999>Kaz>Budgeting his time wellNice trips though.
>>826969Apparently this was supposed to be a one-shot originally.
>>827026The moment Varian survived his sacrifice that went out the window.A good one shot would have been about his party's fight through the dungeon and ultimate demise like we saw.
>>826716 >>The Sergeant
>>826716>Will resume on Tuesday afternoon.LIES
>>832218https://twitter.com/TaskForceKaz/status/798641035073073152?lang=enJust add +2 hours to whenever he says he is going to run and you'll be golden.
>>826723>>826724>>826726>>826909You are Santiago Bolivar de San Martin y Trinidad, Esparzan by way of birth and Eterian by current domicile. The rank of Sergeant is yours within the Guild Knights of the City of Adventures, and you command a total of ten good men, tried and proven against all manner of threats. In an illustrious career spanning a decade in the silver armor, you have made a name for yourself as a reliable soldier.And right now, for the first time in many years, you’re at a complete loss of what to do.“Speak!” Your subordinate accentuates his command with another right hook, gauntlet driving into the side of the prisoner. Flecks of blood splatter out of his mouth, already staining the dirtied trousers they’d left on him with even more human filth. Rows of scars, both faded and fresh, along a series of strange and bizarre tattoos line the man’s flesh, half-obscured by the purpling bruises and broken skin. “I’m not gonna ask again! Who are you, and why did you try to kill Varian Engel?”The only response is a bloodied laugh, gargling and hysterical as it erupts from a mouth full of broken teeth. The chains holding the blood mage up, carefully inscribed with runes to jam magic and Sparks, rattle violently in conjunction with every rasping breath taken. If he even thought of trying to channel aether through his Spark, the chains would cause unimaginable agony. You’ve seen them melt the hands and feet off of the more foolish and stubborn magi.“Yer not gunna git anything out of him, laddie,” Dunnoch argues, flipping a knife between his fingers. “Not with just sheer application of brute force, over and over again. Sergeant, let me take the knife to him! I’ll have him singing like one of them geldling choirboys of Vesmana-”Wallace, the oldest of your men reaching nearly forty years of age, scowls. “And yer an idiot for thinking that’s going ta work, Dunnoch. Do you nae see the bastard, ‘ear what putrid words come from ‘is mouth? ‘ee’s Inalchi, a dirty barbarian not capable of rhyme or reason. It’s better just ta kill ‘im, rid the world of one more festerin’ parasite. The only good Inalchi is a dead one, and not even their women are worth ploughing or a good fuck. Didnja hear that their cunts are ridden with maggots, and are prone to snap up cocks as one might consume cured hagis!”That sets the rest of the men at unease, muttering nervously to themselves as they mill about the dungeon. You try not to shout. No, really, you do. For all their bickering and disagreements on the finer points of torturing a prisoner, they are good men. Comrades that could trust each other, if not agree on many things. Wine, women, methods of torture…they are no better than any other men when it comes to those subjects.(cont.)
But, you digress. You propel yourself from the crate you sat upon, clearing your throat to get their collective attention. “…did anyone think to consult the roster, or put up a bulletin to find someone that could speak Inalchi? A translator?”Thurman, a youth of twenty four summers and a preference for…heavier women, nods briskly. “Aye, sergeant.”“And?”“…eh…no takers. There is no one in the city of Eteria that speaks Inalchi. And if there are…they aren’t willing to come forward. Not with that reward we offered. Even you said it was too small, and we nearly went over our budget.”You sigh. “Pity. Now what are we supposed to do with him? I promised the officials that I would crack the man’s head open…not literally, mind you. He is more valuable to us alive than dead, considering that he is the first barbarian to enter Eteria. And…oh, dear. He’s passed out again. Ah…Dunnoch, if you be so kind as to administer a tonic so that he doesn’t bleed to death?”“Yes, sir.”Even among the choking noises of Dunnoch violently force-feeding the prisoner, the four remaining subordinates rack their brains for a solution to the problem. The other five of your ten have been stationed to protect Varian, not that he knows where they are hiding. Still, it cuts your intellectual power in half. It seemed like a good idea at the time to send young Tomas with the rest of the protection detail.“In any other circumstance,” You mutter, “I would consider sending a letter or magical message to a Tower of High Sorcery. They are vast repositories of knowledge, surely one of them must speak the language of the barbarians.”“Budget, sir.”“Dammit.”Your eyes flicker towards the table where the prisoner’s effects are being kept. A broken mask, the porcelain cracked down the middle where Varian smashed the hilt of his sword. Dirty rags, a journal with more squiggles and diagrams than words, a staff and a wand. The latter of the two you were quick to contain within an anti-magic circle. There was to be no casting of magic other than one employed by the guild knights.“…I would ask Varian,” You consider, “But I think that he is still asleep from that little…accident. I hope he is feeling better. I will check in with him tomorrow. If the prisoner is still alive, I will invite him down into the barracks for an interrogation session. Perhaps he knows Inalchi?”There is an unwholesome noise as the prisoner wakes up, chokes on the bottle Dunnoch has stuffed into his mouth, and promptly regurgitates the tonic.“…I’m not getting paid enough for this.”====
>>Varian“Oi, boss, wake up. You can’t sleep out here. You’ll catch a cold!”The words, accompanied by the sensation of someone lightly slapping your face, gently pull you from out of unconsciousness. What feels like the mother of all hangovers stabs through your cranium, twisting its way around as you try to pull yourself up to your feet. The worst thing is, you’re fairly sure that you didn’t have anything to drink all day.You’re still in the courtyard, with Kira helping you get onto your feet. The sun is setting, casting an orange light just over the tops of the distant roofs and parapets. You rub the front of your face, wincing at the rancid sent on your tongue as you slur out, “You’re…you’re back already?”She nods, grinning. “Yeah. There were some tremors, so we had to hightail it outta there as per the rules of the guild. And the kids…well, you should’ve seen them. The monsters didn’t stand a change. Well, you’ve seen Jeanne, but Mikael? Ieyador trained him well. It’s like watching that mustached man take to the Dungeon once more.” The look on her face is wistful, and you can still recall the moment when she had kissed the knight in a fit of excitement. The thought that she might harbor feelings for him never crossed your mind…no, that’s not it. Ieyador was married, a fact he was sure to announce whenever you went tavern crawling.Then again, if you were out on the field…you’d probably be feeling the same thing she did. The ghost of a friend…wait, Antoine is dead, but Ieador still lives. What was it that she said? “Complicated situation”?“But, enough about the past,” Kira decides, Oi, leader. We got some leaderly things that we need you to take care of.”You raise a tentative eyebrow, dispelling the thoughts of your friend from the front of your mind. “Like…?”She gestures to your leg and arm. “No offense, but…you’re not gonna be good for a fight for a long time.”“…my leg is heavier than my old one, that’s for sure,” You mutter, experimentally moving it with your hamstring and upper thigh. “But all I have to overcome is the weight, and how to run while keeping balanced. I’ve been hobbling on that shitty wooden leg for the last thirteen years at a moderate speed. The leg’s just a new one, something I just need to work the balance out for.”(cont.)
“Huh. Think so?”You nod. “Yeah. Should take…a week, at the least, maybe a month at the most. I can already feel my magic dulling the pain that connects artificial nerves to the docking point in my leg. Can’t do the same for the arm. Just need to rebuild the muscles that have atrophied.“So…where are you going with this?”Kira reaches into her bag, rustling through the depths even as she speaks. “‘Pull recruits’, that’s what you said right? Well, until you’re back in top form, there’s three of us that’s going into the Dungeon at any given moment. I’m sure I can compensate for Jeanne and Mikael’s inexperience, but we’re definitely going to need a healer, and a magic user while you’re recovering.”That’s fair enough, you suppose. And as loathe as you are to drag someone into the dirty business of the cult…you don’t really have a choice. “Alright. How much funds do we have? How many can we afford at a given moment? Come to think of it, we do need to pay the kids…”She freezes, turning to look at you with an awkward smile. “Hehehe…um…that’s where I was hoping for you to come in…”Your eyes narrow. “Kira…”“Uh…all that gold I made off with thirteen years ago? All of that went into your arm and leg, so don’t look to me for funding. Unless you want me to resume my criminal enterprise here in Eteria…”…well, considering the generous amount of funds that the guild has supplied you over the last eight years…it’s just sitting there in the banks, gathering interest and dust. Guess you finally found a way to use it aside from hooch and the occasional splurge of food. Kira already paid for your new life. It's only fair that you contribute your fair share to the campaign against the Cult of the Shattered Sun.“We’ll take on one for now, and expand later,” You conclude. “Give them a trial run at first, just to see if they’re up to snuff. I’m assuming that you’ve got their contracts?”She nods, pulling out rolled papers from her bottomless bag, contracts that hang from the employment board in the lobby of the Guild Hall. “Yep. And these are ones that are really, really desperate to get into a guild. Not that everyone else’s turned them away, but that old thing of training up someone new…”You understand where the other guilds are coming from in that regard. Pouring resources into a recruit that may or may not make it to pay off the time and money spent training them…but you’re not like most guilds. Oh you definitely are not.“Alright, lemme see them.”“You got it, boss.”(cont.)
The scrolls themselves have a crude sketch of their owner, as well as a general background and list of accomplishments and noteworthy powers. They wouldn’t have gotten their Bronze License if their evaluator wasn’t impressed in some way, shape or form. All they needed was to find themselves a guild willing to take them on, definitely easier than just creating one from scratch.Two applicants lay before you, and you consider them carefully. Whoever you pick needs to compliment your current contingent: Mikael’s towering defense, Jeanne’s lightning offense, and Kira’s all-round support. There’s no right answer, and no particularly wrong one either. And, inevitably, you're going to have to break to them the truth of your guild's true intentions. Because judging from the distance that they've traveled to get to Eteria...You're not one to be modest, especially when you say that Amaranthine was a legend in its days. But you would have a hard time believing that the places where they're from even heard of any of the more famous guilds.Hmmm…decisions, decisions…>Choose one:>May Chang, a Water-type alchemist from the Far East who utilizes martial arts and support alkahestry.>Megumin, a Fire-type sorceress from the Crimson Archipelago who specializes solely on offensive magic.>Call off Dungeon Dives until you’ve recovered well enough lead the party yourself.
>>833203>May Chang, a Water-type alchemist from the Far East who utilizes martial arts and support alkahestry.
>>833203>Megumin, >Fire-type>Crimson>solely on offensive magicNot even trying Kaz.>>May Chang, a Water-type alchemist from the Far East who utilizes martial arts and support alkahestry.
>>833203So our choices are too literal Anime characters? >May Chang, a Water-type alchemist from the Far East who utilizes martial arts and support alkahestry.
>>833299...if it's any consolation, they're very plot relevant characters. Just grabbed general templates, but expect their personalities to be very, very different than from what you expect from their regular counterparts. Say...Megumin as 100% serious, no funny business whatsoever. Something like that.I'm partially drunk right now, so it seemed like a good idea at the time.
>>833379DRUNK DMING IS BEST DMING.
>>833203>>May Chang, a Water-type alchemist from the Far East who utilizes martial arts and support alkahestry.We already got offense; Let's get a force multiplier.
>>833379If other Qms can make OC that's coherent while drunk you can too boss.
>>833379>I'm partially drunk right now>herewego.jpg
>>833203>Megumin, a Fire-type sorceress from the Crimson Archipelago who specializes solely on offensive magic.
>>833203 >Megumin, a Fire-type sorceress from the Crimson Archipelago who specializes solely on offensive magic.
>>833203>Water mageNo fun. I wanted nothing but explosions
>>833203>>Megumin, a Fire-type sorceress from the Crimson Archipelago who specializes solely on offensive magic.EXPLOSION
>>833379.....to be honest, a mage who focuses on one spell and ONLY one spell would have reasonable resistance against those screams. It might even compete with more practical builds against these particular foes.>May Chang, a Water-type alchemist from the Far East who utilizes martial arts and support alkahestry.but eh, I want to see some water-elemental moves
>>834538Well to be honest, he's only grabbed templates so we don't know if megumin will be anything beyond offensive only fire user.
>>838649Plus, alkahestry has a large amount of HEALING, which we need.
>>May ChangAlkahestry. A philosophy and sub-school of Water magic from the Far East, almost entirely focused on rear-line support. Flash healing, personal augmentation, and other skills that would best suit in enhancing fellow members of the party and hindering enemies. Or so the stories and rumors go. The Tower was severely lacking in knowledge concerning magic from the other end of the world.One notable tale you've heard is how their healing...hurts. Unlike Western mages, who carefully manipulate the aether to regenerate flesh and repair damaged tissue, healing via Alkahestry is quite painful, as it's done within split seconds. Bones smash back together, flesh knits into knotted scar tissue...yeah. A wholly unpleasant experience. If rumors are to be believed.Regardless, you’ve also heard that the members of their orders trained extensively in hand-to-hand combat. The reason for this stems from both a philosophical ideology of attaining “balance” within the selves, as well as having a second option should an enemy close in. Due to this compensation, their magic would never be as powerful as a true sorcerer. Some have theorized that they are, at the best, only to cast up to Tier 3 spells.But you would have to be an idiot to turn such a golden opportunity down. Kira said that there was no one about to scoop up this potential diamond in the rough? You shake your head, gently folding the applications together. Their stupidity amazes you.This…Megumin could wait, or perhaps she would find her own party, if not a guild, willing to take her on. Even at your reduced power levels, your spells were amplified due to your status as an Origin. At your peak, the weakest Chaos Orb (once remastered) easily dealt three times as damage to enemies. Thus, adding a purely offensive sorcerer to Amaranthine could wait.You pass Kira the selection of your choice. “We’ll take the Easterner. If she’s as good as what the legends are, then she’ll pay off in the long run. How soon can you get her?”The rogue goes over the math. “Ten minute jog to the Guild Hall.”“She’s hired,” You nod, motioning for her to come forward. After fishing out an inkwell and quill from her bottomless bag, you scribble something on a slip of paper before passing it onto her, along with a signet ring. “Take this to the bank. They’ll recognize my ring, and give you permission to withdraw some money from my account. Use it to pay for the girl’s contract.”You pause, frowning as you affix Kira a dour look. “Please get the ring to me by the morning. As loathe as I am to wear those bastards’ symbol…I’m still one of their civilian officers. I’ll have to speak to them tomorrow, let them know that I’m…ah…taking an extended vacation.”(cont.)
“Is that even allowed?” Kira squints, tucking the objects into one of her many pockets. “I mean, they let us reform Amaranthine, but…you’re still marked on the roster as an invalid.”“Kira, I couldn’t give a fuck about what they want. Invalid or not, I’m going to go back into that Dungeon, whether they like it or not.”“…isn’t there a saying about biting the hand that feeds you?”“Not when the hand belongs to assholes who’re willing to sweep what happened thirteen years ago under the rug. Not when they’re willing to pretend that everything’s okay. I checked the news after you left, back a few days to the day after my attack. My ‘mugging’ was a smidgeon underneath the paragraph stating that the price of Goblin Alcohol is going up. Again. With no mention of the fact that they had a goddamn Inalchi blood mage with them.”She frowns. “They’re covering it up…or they could just be downplaying it. But not mentioning the Inalchi…that’s worrisome. Definitely suspicious.”Snorting, you stagger to your feet, wobbling uncertainly as the bottom of your crutch sinks into the soil. “They don’t want to spoil their image any more than it is. Their image is still on shaky ground after that shitty expedition.” Thirteen years is a long time, and just like Vesmana, the citizens and adventurers of Eteria are slow to forget. Even if those guilds were competing against yours, there had definitely been a backlash of disapproval that the Explorers Guild had faced. “But enough about the past,” You mutter, already hobbling out of the courtyard. “I need to practice walking on this leg. Call it a hunch but…”…writhing movement in the darkness…“…you never know when you need to run. And I certainly can’t take this walking stick into the Dungeon,” You finish with a pointed gesture. Huh. Odd. You almost blacked out there for a moment. That’s…not out of the realm of possibility, considering that your Spark is running on fumes.“Boss, considering the fact that you fought off five of the cultists with your cane sword, even with your lesser leg,” She retorts, “That would make quite the sight. An army of the cloaked bastards, fleeing in terror as you raise your crutch, screaming profanities at them like an old man.”“You’re only three years younger than I am, last I checked,” You mutter, escorting her out of the courtyard and down the long hallways of stone. Your metal foot echoes loudly, a sharp contrast to Kira’s flat steps. The noise reverberates along the walls and floor of the building. “If I’m old, then you’re old.”(cont.)
The two of you continue to sling insult and jibe at each other, once again falling into the practiced routine of leader and subordinate the two of you once had. And this time, instead of freaking out about it all…it’s a good feeling. A familiar and nostalgic one that you’ve not felt for a long time.And for the briefest of moments, where she throws her head back and laughs, the two of you are young once more. Hale and whole, unblemished by the ravages of time, and in the presence of your fellow adventurers. Guild Amaranthine, the family of Varian Engel in all but blood.Hendrick’s grinning, clapping you across the shoulder as a drunken Reinwald carries a bawdy tune over Andor’s lecture on moderation. Ieyador is there, exchanging stories about his child with Marsden, who listens with rapt attention. Chihiro protests against Patricia pushing a tankard of ale in her hands, ears burning red along with Antoine’s from a teasing, unscarred Kira. But as quick as a breath, the moment fades, and reality asserts itself once more. The scars return to Kira’s face, the ghosts of your past disappear, and the weight of your arm and leg pull you back down to earth. You bid your friend goodbye, waving at her retreating form as it disappears into the streets of Eteria. And you’re thankful that in the dim lighting of the early twilight, she can’t see the lone tear that trails down your face.========Fucking done. Finally. Sorry for the delays and shit. TF666 in two days.>Pick a spell for Varian to practice:>Aetheric Armor, a basic Defensive spell. An invisible barrier projects itself to shield you from a set amount of damage.>Chaos Orb, a basic Offensive spell. A weak orb of roiling, typeless energy that is hurled towards an enemy.>Detect Magic, a basic Utilitarian spell. Identifies sources of magic within a given radius.>Tratere’s Pull: A basic Support spell. Draws enemy attacks to a designated member of the party.
>>842282>Chaos orbs son
>>842282>>Chaos Orb, a basic Offensive spell. A weak orb of roiling, typeless energy that is hurled towards an enemy.
>>842282>Chaos Orb, a basic Offensive spell. A weak orb of roiling, typeless energy that is hurled towards an enemy.Magic missile is a must for all mages
>>842282>Chaos Orb, a basic Offensive spell. A weak orb of roiling, typeless energy that is hurled towards an enemy.
>>842282>Ball of Chaos