What else were you expecting? To reinforce your own sense of self, to close yourself off from the world and assert your presence... Your mind felt clear, unimpeded by the subtle machinations and suggestions which had served to layer detail and meaning onto the shadows around you.
Orange rays from the setting sun pierced the forest canopy as you dismounted Tim's wholly inefficient workbeast. It was rapidly approaching night, and the coming darkness such a time implied could only be a scant few steps behind this warm ambience. "Irue, you want to take it from here?"You had chosen to disregard any attempts to confront the other potential scouts of Luna's Dominion, instead dedicating what little time you had left towards intercepting their main body. It was a gamble; One made with your lives, and theirs. Everything you had experienced in this false world until now told you that these people were anything but your ally. What purported itself as a delegate for the Shrine was little more than a squad tasked with the subjugation of Dryad's Dominion, and all those associated with it. Though you could likely hazard it had something to do with the Dead Zones which had proliferated East Heaven, their motivation towards such a drastic action still eluded you... At this point, you could only spare a moment to wonder if it even mattered. Before you had been drawn into this elaborate lie, the existence of a Shrine to Dryad had been a complete blindspot in your studies - One which only served to widen the gaping void of uncertainty created by the revelation of the 8th Mana itself.. And your apparent connection to it. "Elly, can you keep track of their movements from here?" You turn back to the shy woman who rather uncomfortably wore the title of Dryad's Representative. An individual who stood as a favorite among the favored; Whole heartedly beloved by a Mana whose tenets emphasized its affections. She was..."Yes! I think I can. It will be much easier than searching for them was, at least.... Probably."...Not a reassuring person to rely on, even in the best of circumstances.
"Tell me if you notice anything unusual." A quick acknowledgement is enough to spur the timid representative to work, while you make yourself comfortable in the duskborne shadow of the evening wood, fingers drifting habitually towards the familiar surface of your late sister's bracelet. More than an heirloom, it had proven a powerful relic in its own right... Even if its powers, and indeed even its origin, remained a mystery to you. While you can't claim that your repeated blind usage of it had been without a price, as every time you could recall having invoked its latent abilities inevitably ended in some manner of localized disaster, it had given you at least a passing familiarity with the accessory. Knowledge gained from trial and error, which provided ever more of a foothold onto controlling it.In this fake world, the Mana had responded to you whole heartedly from the moment you had called out to them. A fact which you suppose was a testament to how far this strange place would go to make those who wandered into it believe it was real... And ironically, the one thing which had convinced you more than anything that it wasn't. You had spent no little effort growing up trying to coax a response from the Mana and found only silence to meet your pleas; Cynical though it may be, you held no delusions to their sudden responsiveness being the result of a change of heart.However what you needed now wasn't a hollow imitation. Even on this fictional stage, there was a source to be scoured for a genuine Mana's presence. A tome of memories locked away, and a sickening feeling of self-revulsion. Your every failing, the doubt which accompanied each misstep, and the fear that made you question whether it was worth even trying.You felt your wrist warm as the familiar downward spiral took root, and you offered up a silent apology to the one you had failed. It was a futile gesture, one which garnered no response... For reasons you felt the weight of all too heavily.You inhaled the woodland air, and exhaled Shade.
Shade was many things. Insecurity, fear, trepidation... The incarnation of each and every pitfall within your mind. A nigh invisible and illogical force that could never-the-less render you frozen and impotent. It was brutal, and unforgiving, ever poised with its tendrils wrapped tightly about your throat. It was a test, a trial, and a tribulation... And ultimately, Shade was something which would never abandon you. When you had first arrived, you had thought to marshall Shade's influence to ward off the pressure and headache that had imposed itself upon you. Where before it had lent a gravity to your presence, now you sought more from it. You needed more than weight, more than an insulation from the world attempting to close in around you."Irue?" Tim's voice warbled out, as if muddled through a wall of water. "Do I want to know what you've been up to pick up that trick...?" He continued nervously.You opened your eyes to a world of gray, awash with the silhouettes of people and things which no longer held their features. Shifting and immaterial caricatures that tried to pass themselves off as genuine. "It's not something I like to talk about." You reply shortly, reaching out to take the shadowy limb of who you assumed to be Tim - Only for it to distort around your hand as if you had tried to grasp smoke. You stared at your hand for a few moments in wonder, clenching your fingers tentatively.What else were you expecting? To reinforce your own sense of self, to close yourself off from the world and assert your presence... Your mind felt clear, unimpeded by the subtle machinations and suggestions which had served to layer detail and meaning onto the shadows around you. That disassociation rendered you aware of your status as the sole corporeal actor in this play of shadowy puppets."Have there been any changes?" You set the uneasiness aside while climbing to a stand. "It seems like they're settling down for the night..." Elly reported conservatively, "What should we do?"You were as prepared now as you'd likely ever be.>Confront them on your own>Observe through the night>Send Tim or Elly to talk to them>Other? (write-in)
Previous Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Valen+Quest Where things are said: https://twitter.com/Riz_QMWhere things are asked: http://ask.fm/RizQMAssorted Supplemental:Current Abilities - http://pastebin.com/PchcdWpwA List of Forgotten Things - http://pastebin.com/kPEscJ3hIrue's Memoires - http://pastebin.com/sWnicrK7Write-ups:Kara's Day Out - http://pastebin.com/8ZbiSKLsAdventures with Asche - http://pastebin.com/RNviCBJuThe Reclaimed Doll - http://pastebin.com/n6miP1qTIn Your Shadow - http://pastebin.com/EfeeHFAEFriends Forever - http://pastebin.com/Yn0QaTVBThe Woman Beneath Steel - http://pastebin.com/pMGgiHC3Misc notes:Surprise!Can't believe I fucked up the return thread, though. Memo:1. Get gifts for all our companions. Miniature Oakenrue for Ari, Tellenford Diary for Mim, Choker for Kara, mini-Vacation for Rinnier we can make Priat take her out on a social date. Maybe set up something where the people of Carona can thank her for her work and help remind her WHY she does it.2. Invite Marchovic on adventures next time there's a chance.3. Mim said "When are you going to tell her?" Tell what to whom?
>>1660417>>Observe through the nightAnd I must go now
>>1660461Welcome back anon!The window will stay open a while, since this thread was done without much warning.
>>1660422Hey, glad to see you round here again! I'm gonna go thread diving before making a vote, I'm rusty.
>>1660524Take your time, anon. Because the special forgetting is still coming up, regardless of how much time has passed.
>>1660417>Confront them on your ownI believe we were told Ari was running out of time, so lets go with this.
>>1660417>>Confront them on your ownbrushed up, and my fuzzy memory says the reset happens within a day or two. No sense in dallying.>>1660527Well, looks like I know what I'm doing tomorrow.
pulling from last thread:>Can I have a hint on where I should read if I want to try to be helpful during your forgetting?>2015. That cuts you down to... What, 31 threads?>I will be disappointed if you don't get the special Forgetting, though>Missing that one is 100% disappointment.>Solving this Atelier would be... Interesting. You're missing a fairly important piece of information to even make that a possibility, though.Panic rising...
>>1660630Hiya, anon!Also I don't know who it was, but apologies to the anon who PM'd me on twitter. I sent a reply, but it was... A month or two late. Twitter does not inform me when anyone has mentioned me, or I have received messages, so I wasn't ignoring you; I just didn't know any one tried to contact me.I'll close this voting window in about 2 hours. We're still doing update block experiments, for the record.
>>1660417>Other: try to approch stealthily at first, observe for a few minutes, then confront.>>1660594Worry.jpg.
>>1660405whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatI'm ready for the pain.> MFW when destroyed Okenrue like we did Dopplerue.>>1660417>Confront them on your own
>>1660803This is a happy quest, anon. It's full of hope.Window closes in about 45m. I'll try to get the next update out tonight before I get some rest. I'm sick currently, so it's a pain to stay up for very long at a time.
>>1660814>happy questYou don't need to lie to us Riz, we accepted your ways long ago.
>>1660814I mean.We passed our trial with all three Thralls. They even became friends.But I also yelled at a little girl who wanted to be friends.> It's filled with hopeIt wouldn't hurt so much if it wasn't, Riz.
>>1660814Also>Solving this Atelier would be... Interesting. You're missing a fairly important piece of information to even make that a possibility, though.Didn't you say it was possible to Brute Force Ateliers? Just not, you know, advisable.
>>1660834Yes. There's a distinction to be made, however, between Solving an Atelier and Conquering one.
>>1660841Man. I wonder if we can come to understand Elly. Does she look different from Tim under the influence of Shade?
>>1660843>>1660841oH SHIT. I just realized that removing all the context and shading might have been a bad plan for solving an atelier.
>>1660843She looks vaguely different, in so much as you can discern that her build is much slighter and she isn't as tall.You can still discern the general height and figure of people, but they all mostly resemble pic related.
>>1660803>>1660570>>1660542Confrontation is becoming a strong point of ours.>>1660645Though perhaps we should attempt some tact.>>1660461Patience is a virtue! Pity we're short on both of those.Writing!
>>1660860>Confrontation is becoming a strong point of ours.. . . . . Becoming?
>>1660882'Strong' and 'most used' are different things.
>>1660903I mean. I guess we DO use it often enough we should be getting pretty good at it now.My question is, do they have a small child desperate for companionship that we can yell at?
"Then it's time to introduce myself." you breathe out, feeling a shudder run down your spine as that first step sends a near electrical jolt through your body. Each subsequent step gets a little easier, but you can't bring yourself to fully leave the tension in your muscles behind as you stride away. "You two keep hidden until I return.""Wha- Wait, Ser Valen! Where are you going?" Elly snapped out of her meditation hurriedly, her shadowed body flinching back not long after doing so. "What happened to you...? Please, I'm sure there's a good reason for all of this, I beg you at least give them a chance to explain.""It's just an introduction." You soothe her, "There will be plenty of time for them to explain.""If it's just an introduction, then why do you look like that?" she persisted. Naive as she was, it wasn't as if you had made any effort to disguise your blatant distrust or doubt of the Luna Dominion until now. She had valid reason to doubt that you were doing any less than walking towards a predetermined conflict... And in a way, she was also entirely correct."It's a precaution." You explain, one hand raised in farewell as your Shade obscured form melts into the encroaching night. "I won't start anything; Violence isn't something I'm fond of." Or particularly good at, for that matter... Which was part of the reason you felt nervous going on your own as you were.However, each step is a lengthened stride through the shadows, and the disassociation your Shade given aura provided lends you an absolute silence to your gait. Even to your untrained and clumsy movements, when the ability to interact with the brush, fallen leaves and greenery was removed, it became impossible to not proceed with a sense of stealth bordering criminally on the impossible.
The distinction between light and dark faded away with the features that had adorned Tim and Elly's faces. They weren't real; Merely constructs that you had been led to believe by the world's insistence. The longer you spent suspended from the fantasy that you had been interacting with, the more estranged you began to feel from it all... People you had grown to like, and the relationships that you had felt burgeoning between you - When you looked back at their incoherent forms, it was more and more difficult to think of them as anything but characters made to play out a role. One they couldn't escape, nor hope to deviate from. And to an extent, you began to wonder whether this was any different. As the encampment set by the Luna Dominion came into view, you saw nothing more than a crowd of stick-like figures hazily wavering back and forth. Not one of them was any different from the two you had left behind.They weren't people you knew. They weren't people at all. Their identities meant nothing to you; Everything their paltry existence stood for could be accomplished as a crowd of faceless voices, fit to echo their lines.You came to a stop at the edge of the mist which marked the campfire's light, one hand raised to your forehead as a nagging feeling pulled at you. You were just here to get Ari back, none of this actually mattered, right? Elly's banal concerns, the trite amiability of a man you barely knew, this plot between Luna's Dominion and the Shrine of Dryad... None of this was even your problem, was it?...In your distraction, the stick figures had begun to move. A buzzing noise growning more and more insistent until you realized that it belonged to the guarded figures that had taken up arms against you. Minor, nuisance like whines of things so very far beneath you that it took concentrated effort to resolve it into words.They were communicating with you. The simulacrums thought they were people."Leave us, Shadeborne. You'll find no quarry here. We did not come to intrude on your domain."Shadeborne... They thought you an apparition? Something that wasn't even human had the gall to not recognize the genuine article? It would be almost child's play to reach out and scatter the malformed haze that composed their bodies. >Question them (what?)>Attempt to erase them.>Introduce yourself.>Other? (write-in)
>>1660846But it'll be useful in finding Ari and her oakenrue. Hopefully we can turn it off once we find them.
>>1660927>>Introduce yourself.As the Valen heir. Ask if they are unable to see your eyes perhaps for some reason.
>>1660927>>Question them (what?)Demand to know where Ari and the Oakenrue are. I suppose I'd also like to hear them try to explain their reasons for subduing the Dryad shrine.
>>1660937Oakenrue got eaten by the Fairies bro. We chose that path.
>>1660948Ari had one with her too though, right?
>>1660952Yeah, but not one that we had bonded with through our bracelet.Just another person who we abandoned without a thought.
>>1660962Speaking of, I'd like to ask the Fey for the core from that oakenrue we abandoned if we get the chance.
>>1660927>Try to reconnect with our empathy for the virtual people. It's probably really important for Solving this Atelier, given that Dryad was big on love.>Introduce ourselves>Demand to know why the hell are they creeping on the Dryad Shrine with weapons.
>>1660984Also, >>1660937 we tried this already. They don't know, same as nobody knows who we are. We tried this whole thing before.They're NPCs, but like CRPG NPCs. So this is a silly line of questioning.
>>1660984Aw fuck me. It's probably something like "Dryad is everywhere" so we've already found Ari or something.
>>1660937>>1660927Can we introduce ourselves as the Valen House Head (technically not a lie, accepted by others) and ask them to report on their progress as an acceptable compromise with this persons vote?
>>1661001Sure, I'll go along with that.
>>1661006Less confrontational. Possibly. Might have to de-shade.Which might not be a bad thing.I really wish I knew what we kept missing when meditating on Dryad.
>>1661012>I really wish I knew what we kept missing when meditating on Dryad.We're unable to love, anon.All we can feel is jealousy and possessiveness.
>>1661014Actually.Who even made this atelier? Was it even the Fae? Is Ari even here, or is this just part of the step of finding her, like is Ari somewhere else past it?Maybe she bonded with an Okenrue?
>>1661044In all probability this is Mint's Atelier, where the ghosts/Mana imprints/whatever of deceased House Valen members dwell as a hive mind.
>>1661051So . . . The right answer finally is to just be ourself?
>>1660927>>Introduce yourself.A significant part of Dryad is love and peace and all that, right? And we can always erase them later.>>1661044Who even made this atelier? My guess is Dryad; an Atelier to a dead Mana.
>>1660643Curiously, I didn't have a notification too. A strange way of implementing personal messaging.>>1660927>Introduce yourself.
>>1660930>>1661131>>1661165>>1660984Introductions!>>1660937>>1660984And some questions.Voting window closed! Writing.
You winced as that nagging sensation prodded you once again. This wasn't your first Atelier, and it wasn't the first time you had dealt with things like this before... It was more than just a meaningless play. You shook your head in an attempt to wrest the proud notions from your mind, and felt the tendrils of the world begin tentatively working their subtle suggestions. If you had any hope of solving this place, then you needed to allow it to some extent; Otherwise there would be no way of understanding the meaning behind anything.The aura slipped, thinning the barrier between yourself of self and the world around you, until you could once more view the distorted faces of the Luna Dominion through the shroud of haze. With the world regaining a wash of muted colors, you pushed aside the instinctive ego that demanded they simply be erased. "I've been called a few things since coming here, but 'Shadeborne' is still a first." You deadpanned a response, searching the crowds for someone you recognized... Predictably, you found no one to fit that criteria. "I have questions for the Dò̶m̸i̴͞ń͡io̷n̢ ̡o̕f̶ ̶̕L̢u̧͞n͟á͢... I hope you'll find it in you to provide me with some answers.""... I see." One man stepped forward, looking you over with an almost unsettling curiosity as he lowered his guard. "Fascinating what that relic can accomplish, isn't it?" He chortled lightly to himself, turning to invite your Shade covered form further into camp, and into the throng of people still as of yet decidedly nervous regarding your presence. "Welcome back, I̷̴̶̡r̵̷̡̕͡ú̢͝e̷̷̕ Valen. I had faith you'd return to us eventually."His invitation was sincere, even if his compatriots still edged away from your every step. "You had questions for us, didn't you?" You nodded after a moment's hesitation at simply being accepted so easily. After your identity had been revealed, this man seemed to have simply accepted your appearance and presence as a given. "I'll do my best to answer them for you, of course. Perhaps somewhere more private, however; Our friends are still somewhat unsettled by your... Progress."
He led you further into the encampment, maintaining a bland smile that did little to hide the glint of invasive curiosity which shown in his eyes every time his gaze passed over your body. "You'll forgive their anxiety I true. When you fled that night, many believed you to have gotten cold feet. I suspect more than a few considered your betrayal inevitable, but..." He laughed lightly, humoring a joke that he alone had privilege to, "They don't have the faith that I do."You settled into a tent, though whether it was one for a specific purpose, or just his personal one, was lost on you. He seemed to dismiss the worriers outside as the flaps closed you within, ignoring the troubled whispers of the Luna Dominion as he turned to address you. "I'm sure you have many questions. Ask away, my friend."If he was going to offer, you'd skip the preamble and go straight to the point. "You have scouts further in the woods, armed to the teeth. Why?" You already knew why, but if he was going to offer you a confirmation directly from his mouth... "To ensure no one escapes." He answered readily, "Having come this far, we've already dedicated ourselves to the complete elimination of the Shrine of Dryad. At this point, we can't afford loose ends going unaccounted for.""Then why?" You pressed a point that had bothered you since stumbling upon the 8th Mana. "You can't just remove a Mana, it's integral to... Everything.""Ah... Yes. Yes, you're absolutely right, I̷̴̶̡r̵̷̡̕͡ú̢͝e̷̷̕." He smiled broadly at your hesitation, "Yes, you're certainly a scholar. The ramifications of removing a Mana, we know them well. The Dead Zones they result in... Those are absolutely unacceptable. As someone who was there, I'm sure we can both agree that abominations like that can never be suffered to exist.""Then why the crusade to eliminate the Shrine of Dryad?""Well, let us put aside the dead zones for now." He blinked in surprise, leaning forward with an engaged smile. "In the end, even though we act under the guidance of Luna, we are only human. We can't hope to do something so radical as to completely remove a Mana from the world... The very concept is flawed from the start, you see? The Mana are our world. They are so much greater than you or I.""Then it's only the people you want to eliminate? Is there something wrong with the attendants of this Shrine in particular?""No, no of course not... I suppose you could consider their only sin to be contamination, and it's one spread through their Mana rather than a fault of their own." He waved his hands, "It is, ultimately, the Mana that we are going to oppose... Dryad's favored are, unfortunately, beyond our ability to help. Cleansing them will ultimately be a mercy.">?
>>1661396There's so much we're still missing...Wait, the Dead Zones are are a result of forcibly removing a Mana from an area? Who's doing it, and why? > you could consider their only sin to be contaminationContamination of what? How?> We can't hope to do something so radical as to completely remove a Mana from the world...So, in the real world, what did they do to hide it's existence? It's not dead, or gone, but what? buried? Warped? Folded into something else, another mana maybe?He knows of our bracelet. Didn't our sister originally find it in a ruin or something?>somewhat unsettled by your... Progress."This is a hint, but I can't make out anything useful from it.When/If we get out of this hell of an Atelier, we're going to have to talk to our Luna friend about this.
>>1661423>Didn't our sister originally find it in a ruin or something?You actually have no idea where she found it. You can't really recall a time when she didn't have it, though memories of childhood fade and blur together over the years.
>>1661396. . . . Is this our Sisters Atelier? It seems custom made for Valens. > Do you think the Artifact could help them? Faedeka also removes Mana, no? Cleanses it as it were. Do they have Fae or Faedeka here? > Fae are scared shitless of DryadLike in the ending of The Ring "You weren't supposed to help her!"Just tossing things out.
>>1661396> See if they have Fae or Faedeka to cleanse the people of the taint of Dryads ManaI wonder if required Fae are people who were beloved by Dryad. Got all fucked up.
>>1661423... There were no actual votes here!>>1661497see if the bracelet could help>>1661502ask about faedka to cleanse the contaminated Mana.4 hours or so passed, so closing window and writing.
"You're not making any sense." You scowl as the answers seem to dance around the point. "How do you plan to oppose something you can't do anything against? You said they were contaminated... By what? If it's a fault of Dryad's influence, then can't you just purge the affected's Mana to save them?""Purging their Mana is certainly something we've considered, yes." The man clapped politely, eying you with respect. "Some of our associates have even enlisted East Heaven to aid in research to that effect, but even optimistically speaking, I don't foresee any results coming from that for quite some time. Far too late to be of any use to us, at any rate.""If that's not viable, can't they be flooded by another Mana temporarily?" You press on, "It would take longer maybe, but that effort would save their lives.""Perhaps it would, temporarily." He agreed, "In the long run however, what you suggest would only spread the contamination. First to other adepts, and then to their Mana, and from there..." He shook his head regretfully, clicking his tongue in brief disapproval. "We would be dooming the flock to save the sheep. Unacceptable.""Killing them can't possibly solve the problem. You said yourself that this 'contamination' came from their Mana; Even if we killed those favored by Dryad now, more will inevitably be born. What you're doing...""Is short sighted?" He queried good naturedly. "By all means, we have considered this. You are, of course, quite correct! Even if we went through with our current plan to eliminate all known individuals favoured by Dryad, it would be a temporary solution at best - Assuming that we don't miss some, even. No, what we needed was a more final solution to the problem... Which is precisely where you come in, my friend.""Where... I come in?" You blinked despite yourself."Yes. Given your participation in the events in East Heaven, we decided that your participation would be most appropriate in our final plans. Of course we're still going out on some what of a gamble, but in this case..." He exhaled heavily, lacing his fingers together as he looked you over. "If we fail here, then there likely won't be another chance. We don't have the time to find a way more suited for what we have in mind than that relic."
Your fingers drifted towards the familiar weight on your wrist as he mentioned it, once more feeling its comforting grip press into your skin. He nodded encouragingly at the action, appraising you with an unsettling enthusiasm. "I understand you have a history with the relic... Given your relationship with the late queen, I suppose it was only natural that you were so vehemently against our decision to use it.""And you think... This can help?" You venture uncertainly, feeling a foreign bitterness well up in your throat with each word. It almost felt as if you could spit bile, and the taste was anything but fleeting. "That is our most fervent hope, yes." He acknowledged blithely, "While I can't say we have a full understanding of the relic's capabilities, we believe it may be sufficient to... Lull the contaminated Mana into sleep. If successful, we can begin work on sterilizing its influence as much as possible, and ideally, perhaps even craft something of a 'tomb' for it to occupy.""A... Tomb." You repeat dryly, feeling distinctly as if you had begun to sink into a morass with every moment spent listening."Tomb. Seal. Prison. It all amounts to the same outcome." The man allowed, "Dryad as a Mana represents life itself. It boggles the mind to consider the concept of 'death' ever applying to something like that... So while it cannot die, perhaps it may eternally lie?" He looked up contemplatively, "A Mana's sentience isn't required for its purpose to be fulfilled, or so we have come to suspect from our studies. There is a distinction which can be made between the near arcane personality displayed by the Mana, and their effects on the land. I believe that, by working together, we may consign Dryad's mind to a coma, while its body continues to nourish the land and those who live in it... And, perhaps, one day we may even learn to completely separate the two.">?
>>1662066He skipped answering what the contamination /was/, or /why/ it was bad. You could infect a Mana through their followers? Seems like a fairly major weakness.His line of reasoning here raises an interesting question: If we could lure one Mana to sleep, what's to stop us from luring another one, or even all of them to sleep?I assume that tomb was eventually made. I wonder how they got Dryad in there, or where it even is?Could the Fae be a subconscious or an immune system for Dryad? The manifestation of the dreams of a sleeping God?And the actual thing to ask:>What is this contamination?That all I can think to ask that doesn't give away that we aren't who he thinks we are.
>>1662066We should mention that something has been killing his scouts, that seems like the thread to tug at if we want to find Ari.>>1662296Is that really a concern though? This false world has been going out of its way to accept it as part of it. Even so, I'm of the opinion that Irue is capable of phrasing these questions in such a way that does not arouse suspicion, for example:>Run me through the plan, one more time.He mentioned this was something that we're against and also something that he needs us for so we can frame this in a "try to sell me on doing this" sort of deal. Get him to go over the plan in general then specifically our/the relic's part, followed by inquiring about the repercussions of this final solution, good and bad.We'd just need to act the part of being hesitant, uncertain and stressed. That's pretty much Irue's default state so it shouldn't be hard.
>>1662296> That all I can think to ask that doesn't give away that we aren't who he thinks we are.Dude. They're NPCs they can't think like that.Think "computer game"
>>1662536>>1662296This is an Atelier. A puzzle. We don't have to find "a" solution. We have to figure out "the" solution and understand the person/mana who made it to solve it.
>>1662296>I assume that tomb was eventually made. I wonder how they got Dryad in there, or where it even is?Luna split herself into the Moon. Maybe Dryad became the Valenwood?
>>1662296Tell me about contamination!>>1662536And run me through this plan? I'm not entirely sold.Writing!
Too late to vote, but have some conjectures.We know Fae are scared of Dryad's manifestation (Nymph's Wood)We know they produce the Mana-purging drink.Maybe they aren't on Dryad's side? Despite them dropping us near the Shrine and Elly being all around adorable.
>>1662296Isn't atelier the tomb made by our ancestor?
>>1662762I think so, and fae are its guard.
>>1662775Are they? Or are they guarding Dryad, and they love her but they fear her, and we are the bridge between the two as the heir to house Valen and holder of the Bracelet?What did Luna make us forget, again
>>1662783Maybe Fae are Dryad's (insane) mind, and Nymph's Wood and the Goddess is Dryad's body?But then why would Fae fear Nymph's Wood.
>>1662910Because they get sucked back into the body? Or maybe the Fae are the Beloved of Dryad who are captured and sent to the woods by the Temple and Dryad's mindless body eats them when it finds them?
"You keep mentioning a contamination." It would take some time for what he had just told you to really settle in your mind, and until then, there were still pieces of his explanation that you found suspect. You'd never heard of a Mana getting sick before. In fact, given the weight that their existence had on the state of the world, the notion of one even catching the common cold was frankly terrifying. "What is it, exactly? Is infecting the Mana through their favoured really a possibility?""Sharp aren't you?" He praised you with a smile, but it only made you feel more uncomfortable. "The answer is complicated, though. Perhaps too complicated for me to really explain the details of... Suffice to say, I fear you may have gotten the wrong impression. When I speak of the contamination, I'm referring to a psychological kind, rather than any sort of physical illness.""And this... Mental illness can spread between Adepts and the Mana?" You pose the question tentatively. Admittedly you weren't educated that extensively in regards to medicine and malady, such a thing was reserved for the apothecary and healers who frequented Wisp's halls, but... "You are beginning to understand, yes?" His toothy smile widened as your face grew gaunt. "Doubtless you've already come to this conclusion, but I shall oblige you all the same. The sign of a potent adept is their affinity with their given Mana. Or, in otherwords, how similar they are to the near eldritch mindset of the Mana... That affinity is directly related to the reshaping and cultivation of one's own mind to better reflect that of the Mana itself, and in doing so, coming to understand each other. There for...""...If the Mana is sick, then the Adepts will become contaminated in turn." You spit out your conclusion revoltedly. "But that doesn't explain how it could spread to other Mana if an adept purged them.""It does." He corrected you, "Or it should, at least. It's complicated, and perhaps too far above your understanding of the metaphysical foundation and how its cultivation is affected by meditation and deliberate restructuring... The act of 'purging' someone of a given Mana by 'flooding' them with another has many more intricacies to it than you would likely have a grasp on, even if I were to explain it."Bits and pieces of what he just told you sounded familiar... And that's about as far as you got into pretending you understood where he was going with that. Studied as you were, there was a definitive line between even the greatest of scholars, and those favoured by Luna."You may take my word for it. Or, if that does not suffice, then... In simple terms, just know that a voice, once spoken, will continue to echo. The words it carries are as ideas, and capable of rousing dangerous thoughts in any who have the misfortune to hear them."You really hated that you were getting used to this vague feeling of wretched despair that persistently described your every day life lately.
"Alright." You exhaled tiredly, slumping forward as you tried to take everything in. You had come out here expecting to have to fight them, but... What now? "Let's say that I understand why you're doing this. Where do I fit in? What is your plan out here?""As you mentioned earlier, we have scouts moving ahead of us and ensuring that everything is in place for the elimination." He explained readily, "The operation extends further abroad than this forest, of course... Dryad's favored are being monitored through out the continent, and we have preparations to eliminate all of them as near to simultaneously as we can. With any luck, the entire ordeal should begin and be completed within the space of a single day."That... You had already been against their blaise disregard for the lives of the people at Dryad's Shrine, but only now were you starting to realize just how little the Luna Dominion had left up to chance."Our presence here is legitimate, of course. The Shrine of Dryad is the last destination for our dominion to discuss the effects of the Dead Zones... This was deliberate, of course. We predict the event will cause them to gather at the Shrine of Dryad to receive us, allowing our forces a tangible target to cut down, while our scouts act as a safety net to handle those who try to flee.""...And what if they resist?" You counter dubiously. "You're confronting the Shrine of Dryad in a forest. If they retaliate, how will you handle it?""We have taken this into consideration, and there are several factors to be aware of. First of all is the overall unlikeliness of a violent reaction; They are, ultimately, men and women most favoured by a Mana who emphasizes tolerance and love. Those who are the most likely to fight back are, ironically, also the ones whose affinity with the Mana are the lowest. Following that, those with high affinity are most apt to fall back towards attempting to protect each other. To this end, our goal is to force them into their own Shrine, until they feel pressured enough to seal themselves away inside." He held his hand out as if offering the idea in his palm. "Pursuing and pushing them any further at that point would be unwise, but so long as an apparent threat is maintained outside of their barrier, we suspect it will be simple to starve them out.""You plan to starve the faithful of a Mana that can grow nature's bounty on a whim?""It sounds silly, doesn't it?" He agreed, "But that is also something we have taken into account, and we have a catalyst waiting to be applied to their Shrine. You may consider it a sort of herbicide, but its effects are more akin to a poison. Fruits grown from the affected plants are known to prove fatal if not treated in time. Dysentery, vomiting, a severe thinning of the blood..."
Your stomach turned as the discussion went on. There was little you could do but sit and listen as the man calmly and methodically laid out the considerations that went into what amounted to the genocide of people who were unlikely to even know how to defend themselves."And finally... If, against all predictions, there is a violent reaction, we have you." He concluded with a smile. "While we would prefer to keep your role as simple and uniform as possible, the power of the relic you wear should be more than sufficient to subjugate any Mana based resistance we meet."And that was how it was. In the event that one of them defied all expectation and actually bore fangs, you were to be the one who put them down."At first I recall you expressed a very steadfast refusal to use the relic at all... But in our time apart, I see you've had a change of heart. I have complete faith that despite your ill history with it, you'll be more than capable of fulfilling the tasks ahead of you. And, as promised, the Shrine of Luna will be more than happy to relinquish ownership of the accessory to you after everything is said and done... To prevent future misuses, that you would no doubt also disapprove of.">?
Probably going to rest now. The voting window will close whenever I can pull myself out of bed and take more medicine.
>>1662994> Well. I sure can't use it to you. Tell me, will the justification of "It had to be done" keep the dead from haunting you?> You aren't even solving the problem, just delaying it. Is Luna in the Moon yet?> Finally, Meditate on Dryad. Just try to listen for it, don't even focus on anything in particular. Just be open and receptive to whatever happens.
>>1662994>You still haven't answered what exactly are the adepts "contaminated" with. Which exactly dangerous ideas, and why are they dangerous?I'm liking it less and less. It's implied our ancestors went through with eliminating the Shrine. How did they convince her?
>>1663031There's eliminating, and then there's "eliminating".Maybe we can use the artifact to merge the Beloved of Dryad into Dryad's consciousness directly, and then it'll be a confused fractured schizophrenic mess.Like.The opposite of how we used it to go all Shade. Remember how freaked the guard was by that?> This is what makes Dryad devour the Fae
>>1663031>>1663021OH SHIT. The Plants. Remember, they come from the East? And the East was looking for a way to permanently solve Dryad's beloved? And it could be used to poison OTHER Mana too? And Salamander changed and freaked out?
>>1663021Well he's not going to respond to an emotional argument, not only is he obviously resolved to this act, he's a just a hologram repeating what has already happened. A tool for us to learn from. I'm also against meditating because unlike talking mediation takes hours,we've wasted more than enough time on that and we've been told that Ari had little enough to begin with. We can meditate once we've established her to be either dead or safe.>You aren't even solving the problem, just delaying it. This point has merit, he explained the short term plan of subduing this particular shrine and our role as emergency muscle however he has yet to go into the more interesting points of the plan like how exactly he expects us to lull Dryad to sleep with our relic, how they're going to sterilize its influence exactly and the nature of the "tomb" he's going to contain it in. Where are we going to lull Dryad to sleep? Is Dryad going to manifest here in the Valenwood? The final solution appears to be just an amputation of the infected area. Dryad is infected so just put Dryad to sleep and this will stop the spread of the corruption, fine but where did the corruption come from in the first place and what's to stop another mana becoming infected through means other than Dryad and her followers? How does the corruption manifest exactly?The corruption can spread from mana to follower by restructuring their thought processes to those of these alien gods but is it really true that mana can be infected via their followers? What does that imply? Are mana influenced by the thought processes and/or the perceptions of their followers?This was hastily assembled, sorry I couldn't order it better but I didn't have much time. Back later maybe.
>>1663045And La'Fiel Crown started to clamp down on education. Ideas are transferred via education.
>>1663052And Luna knows whatever it is, and can be assumed to be infected, and I guess the Moon is quarantined.,Can`t the water Mana help out, Undine. They don`t even know themselves right.
>>1663052>>1663050Final shadowrun - if the bracelet is the artifact from the Atelier we're in, doesn't that mean it was ALREADY solved? They can only be solved once, right?
>>1663137It's not an artifact from this Atelier if what we're seeing is true. The bracelet existed before this Atelier was created.
>>1663148Honestly I feel we've learned a lot from this Atelier already. Not even mad if we break it.>>1662994No meditation, ask him how Luna plans to deal with HER knowledge of the infection. Demand he spell out exactly what he expects us to do with the bracelet. Tell him that a smug "you wouldn't understand" answer will result in us beating the answer out of him.
>>1663050>>1662994Just to put my >?into an easier to digest greentext form>Do not meditate>Demand more information on the long term aspects of the plan, including the confrontation with Dryad and the nature of the tomb>Ask him about the origin of the corruption and how it manifests, what does the corrupting knowledge pertain to?>Press him for more information on his implication that followers can infect their manaand just out of morbid curiosity...>What would happen if a corrupted individual constructed a new foundation?
>>1663166I realise I'm already asking a lot but could we also: >Get him to tell us everything he knows about the relic Maybe work it into the question about how he expects us to use it on Dryad. We really need to know more about this thing.How are you finding the update block so far Riz? I remember you had your doubts about it.
>>1662994An idea so terrible those that harbor it must be killed, even the Gods themselves? How did Luna' Dominion learn of it, and its danger, without being infected themselves?I know he's just being practical, but man he is being cruel. Death by slow poison?Luna apparently seriously considers this idea to be a major threat, but I wonder what the other Mana think of this purging? I suspect trickery; Wisp could work on a cure, [WATER] could secret the idea away, Salamander would be an excellent foil if Dryad got rough, etc. Instead Luna is sneaking around, trying to assassinate a Mana. If the cause was just, they'd have to reason to skulk around.Despite all the planning and preparation, we are to be the muscle here?>relinquish ownership of the accessory to you after everything is said and done... To prevent future misuses, that you would no doubt also disapprove of."The bracelet has another piece? Does the bracelet look the same as the real world, or is it missing something? If it looks the same, that suggests our ancestor never went through with this, or wasn't paid after. If it looks different, they did follow through and were paid. Or maybe it's the reward for solving the Atelier.I kinda want to go back and talk to the shrine, try to ferret out this dangerous idea. Don't think we have the time though.>>1663045This makes sense, though it has been a long time. I guess they could have tested it on Salamander, or it got out of control, or someone stole it for their own use?>>1663052This implies the idea itself is loose again. The plants would have been for removing the idea, not planting it. Unless they remove an idea by planting a new one...question:>How did Luna' Dominion learn of it, and its danger, without being infected themselves?
>>1663213>How did Luna' Dominion learn of it, and its danger, without being infected themselves?Lunar took our memories before right? Get Luma to take everyone's memory of Dryad then fuck off to the Moon like she is in our present time. Quarantine bitches. Even fits with the> What am I forgetting? Mechanic that's been thematic through the game.
>>1663292And every time someone learns about Dryad - like we did - she takes their memory - once again like what happened to us.
>>1663021Well I sure can't give*(?) the bracelet to you.>>1663021You're just delaying the problem!>>1663031>>1663166Explain contamination more. Where did it come from, details about the idea that's so dangerous>>1663166Explain the plan more thoroughly, please!>>1663152>>1663213Luna knows things. What are your plans for that Mana?>>1663166What about the implication of a follower infecting the Mana?>>1663166What about a corrupted individual constructing a new foundation? Someone hasn't forgotten, I see.>>1663189Tell me EVERYTHING about the relic!That's... That's a lot. Some of it the man in question won't answer. I'll see what I can do.--->Is Luna in the moon yet?Luna is considered the moon, anon. Like Undine is seen in water, Salamander in flame, and Gnome in earth. >The plants... come from the east?The plants (Nymph's Wood) are foreign. It was first seen on this continent brought by the people who conquered Teranford.>The bracelet has another piece?A bracelet is an accessory, anon. He means he'll relinquish the relic to your custody.>How is update block going?I've set a roughly 4 hour voting window whenever I'm not asleep. There's been a lot more conversation than I recall there ever really being as a result of it, but I'm not sure if it's because of the update block, or because people are happy to be back. Over all it doesn't feel quite as bad as it did initially, so we'll see how it goes and how you guys like it.---Someone remind me at the end of the thread to ask anons why they aren't more worried.
>>1663300>A bracelet is an accessory, anon.So we're just borrowing it then? I guess that answers where it came from.>Someone remind me at the end of the thread to ask anons why they aren't more worried.Depression, acceptance, fuzzy memory...>>1663166>constructed a new foundation?I'm missing something here?
>>1663306>We're borrowing it then?I'll expand on this a little, because that line will likely cause a... Reaction of sorts.>I'm missing something?Or maybe you've forgotten something?
>>1663306A little while after we bonded ourselves to an Oakenrue we decided to use a spider's web on our soul (for some reason) and against all odds we didn't give ourselves a lobotomy, instead managing to reconstruct our Foundation. Since then we've been on a path to becoming an Aeon. Allegedly.Riz expanded a bit on what the fuck a foundation is in an ask.fm question.>>1663300>Someone remind me at the end of the thread to ask anons why they aren't more worried.Has anyone ever accused you of gaslighting?
One thing before I go to bed anons:In the last iteration the Luna delegation was slaughtered and the Dryad Srine left untouched. This means without Irue's (ancestor's) help Lunarians will not succeed. This also means preventing them from succeeding is not what the Atelier wants from us.
>>1663499Stay up a moment, anon! Update is almost done.
"It wasn't yours to begin with." You spat back venomously, words forming on the tip of your tongue before your mind could catch up. "Do you think saying 'it had to be done' is going to keep the dead from haunting you after this? You're planning to poison them, for Wisp's sake!" His eyes dulled as you lashed back out at him, a spark of curiosity and inspiration briefly guttering out as he sat back and listened in silence. "For all your plans, you've still not told me how this does anything but delay the problem. What's to stop another Mana from becoming contaminated like Dryad has? How does lulling Dryad to sleep do anything to solve the contamination?""...Are you done?" He asked calmly after a moment's pause, "You are correct. On all of it. I am confident in the success of our plan, ser Valen, but I am not proud of it. Forgive me if I stray, but did you know that I have a son now?" He offered a faint smile through the glower, "Or I should, at any rate. My wife was late into her pregnancy when I elected to join the L̶͞͠u̴̢̨ņa D͘͝ò͡min̸̛í̡͟o͘n͟ route. I suspect he has been born by now. If you were to ask me if the thought that 'this is necessary' will keep the dead from haunting me, then..." He trailed off, swallowing thickly as he let the question hang. "No, it won't. I have accepted that this will be my sin to bear. When I tell you that it is necessary, my only hope is that if my son ever learns what I have had to do, that explanation will be a comfort to him."Whatever boiling response you had died on your lips, leaving only a stale and rancorous taste in its wake. A sign of resignation, to the act and its consequences. "And even with all of that, you are correct. Ultimately... We are delaying the problem." He sighed heavily, "We are doing what we can to minimize the chance of the contamination spreading, and quarantine Dryad until we can figure out something more final. If it's for months, or years, or centuries. As it stands, the D̴o̶͘m̷̛i̸n̴̡í͟ơn ͘̕o̵f̀͢ ͢͡Lún̡̢͘ą does not have any other answer, and delaying will only give the contamination time to spread its roots even deeper."
From any other source, that admission would have been a cause to lose hope. To hear it from a member of Luna's Dominion, however, was enough to leave you feeling as if you were set adrift in a sea. Without preamble, nor half-hearted attempts to save face... They had no answer."For what it's worth, there is a reason the Shrine of Dryad were the last dominion to be visited by our delegate." He explained soberly, "Our actions are Shrine Sanctioned. We are the instrument of the Shrine's decision.""Just you?" Your fingers clench on thin air. This feeling of helplessnes was all but stifling. "Salamander Adepts, or even Shade Adepts would be more suited to offensive measures. Why rely on me, when you could involve them?""I mentioned it before, didn't I? Our goal is to minimize exposure." He gave you a wry smile, allowing you time for grim implication to sink in. "Though putting that aside, your involvement has always been voluntary, has it not? Given the choice between allowing us to retain ownership of the late queen's relic, and stepping up to reclaim it from us, I believe your presence here speaks for itself. All the same, we do appreciate your aid... Given how short we are on time, we're thankful that the lynchpin of our gamble is being handled by someone already familiar with the tool.""...Right." You agree vaguely, scowl setting more firmly as you begin to piece together how they had acquired the cooperation of your house's founder in this cruel endeavour. "Why do you think it will be capable of lulling Dryad to sleep? From what you've told me, your entire plan is relying on something you're not even sure is possible.""In the sparse amount of time that we've had since reclaiming it from the dead zones, we've come to understand that at the very base, it holds the potential for commanding apparitions." He explained, face animating once more as the spark of his curiosity rose to the front once more. "Naturally they are... The most miniscule fraction imaginable of the Mana itself. Barely even shadows of the great Pillars who spawned them... But if the relic is capable of compelling them then perhaps, if wielded effectively, it could be used to, at the very least, suggest a course of action directly to a Mana.""What.""It is only a theory. We have... Circumstancial evidence which may support the hypothesis, but ultimately it is what we've been forced to place our hopes in. Even if it is successful, we doubt that the effect will last for any appreciable length of time... But that is a problem that we will be using the ensuing time to try and resolve. The tomb, if you'll recall, is one of the potential means we have considered in prolonging the effect of the slumber... And hopefully disorienting Dryad enough that a direct invocation of Ĺ̷̴u̸̕n̕à̀ will be able to handle the rest."
"And Ĺ̷̴u̸̕n̕à̀ is already..." You sigh, closing your eyes as you tried to rub away the building headache. "Then what about you? After everything you're doing to eliminate the Shrine of Dryad, aren't you all just as contaminated?""Yes... And no." He hesitated as he answered, lacing his fingers together once more as he struggled to find the words. "It is likely that we-" He gestured to himself, and sweepingly out towards the tent walls, "-Are contaminated, and simply don't yet realize it. After all, we came came back from the Dead Zones as well. We've come to terms with this, of course... And we are not exempt from the culling. After our duty with Dryad is done, we will end our own lives in turn.""And Ĺ̷̴u̸̕n̕à̀?" You press skeptically, teeth gritting together as you try to suppress the urge to retch."The plan in place to separate Dryad's mind and body has... Empirical proof of concept." He admitted after a fashion. "We don't... We can't begin to understand the process, but Ĺ̷̴u̸̕n̕à̀ has conveyed it a capable measure to buy time... And thus our goal, first and foremost, is to weaken Dryad enough for its celestial sibling to take the final action.""What would happen if a contaminated individual were to reconstruct their Foundation?"The man shrugged, blinking owlishly as if the thought had never occured to him. "Offhand I would think the contamination would become intertwined with their foundation, but I can't imagine what effect such a thing would actually have... I must be honest, the workings of one's development towards the Mana isn't something we entirely understand just yet. The existence of Aeons in specific are a matter of confusing and, frankly, baffling debate and discussion. If I had to venture a guess, I suspect incorporating the contamination into a foundation would all but guarantee a deviation from the Clarity that most seek.""What, exactly, is this contamination?" "I have no answer for that, I'm afraid." He shrugged regretfully, "What I've told you is what we know from Ĺ̷̴u̸̕n̕à's̀ teachings. It is all we have to go on.">?
>>1663516I have no idea what to do.>A strange question, but answer it please: do you know which Mana's favor I hold?>Let me get this straight: the contamination consists of ideas, but you can get it just by visiting a Dead Zone?>Could Luna itself be contaminated?>What are even the signs that one is contaminated?>What exactly is the tomb you're planning to construct and how does it work?>I came to know one of you is the Dryad Representative's brother. Who exactly?>Aren't you afraid the ghosts of the peopkle you kill will return as invisible murderous spirits only scared off by fire or something?
>>1663516Welp, as much as I'd like to sit around and ask this guy hundreds more questions I don't think we're going to get much else more useful info, time to move things forward I suppose. >Are you aware that something in the forest is killing your scouts?>This entire plan is fucked if the net you're using to catch stragglers is full of holes.They were found hanging from vegetation so I imagine the oakenrue is responsible which would make this our best bet for finding Ari.I wonder if it'd be a good idea to take him along on the hunt for whatever is killing his men. On the one hand if he dies we lose, but on the other hand it would be really funny and slightly cruel to make him deceive his sister into helping him manover into a better position to kill her. Also he might prove useful I guess.
>>1663559>all those mistakesTime for bed!Thanks for the surprise return Riz, I've really enjoyed it so far. Don't kill Ari while I'm away!
>>1663578I would never do that, anon.Other anons might, though.
I hope you guys figure something out, cause this time around I've got no idea what we're supposed to do.
>>1663516So I was looking over the Ask.fm and found this:>Honestly it's being done wrong, creating newborn Mana is a misuse of the Relic's intended function. A bug, if you will, and a dangerous one at that.If this guys is familiar with the bracelet, we should try to get some info about it. Other than that though, I think we can stop with the 20 questions.I'm mildly tempted to try and erase this whole group, now that we've gotten some answers.
>>1663606Also, holy crap, Ari could have been dangerous. When/If we get her back, we should lock her up in the mansion or something, so she stops getting lost and so she doesn't become a monster.>>1663583We will never forgive ourself for failing ShadowRue
>>1663606> Wants to erase the group we're supposed to help.> Wants to lock up AriOr we could just not be shit. Normally I would be pissed at a QM that starts a new "chapter" with the MC ducking everything up with no player input. But it seems appropriate here.Because we're shit.But we're going to get better, so no we aren't going to lock Ari up.We'll be the one to kill her if it has to be done, though. >>1663583> What about the Children from the Dead Zones, they're all messed up.MFW "Glad Someone Knows How to use the Artifact"
>>1663796>No player inputPlease don't be mad at me, anon.
>>1663814I meant how it opened up with us having been drunk for a month on Faedeka at the beginning of this arc lol.
>>1663814Which like I said, I'm not mad about. The narrative fashion of the quest is risky because there's the chance the QM could write something that doesn't seem appropriate to other players, or accidentally railroading.But Irue getting frustrated and shitfaced and ruining everything while Rinnier is responsible trying to keep things running, Kara is cheerfully doing her best, and Ari is getting hurt, seems about right.
>>1663814To be super clear. Don't you dare claim to feel too bad to keep writing. We feel TERRIBLE almost all the time and it keeps us coming back for when we finally feel good.I need this.
>>1663929I'm just waiting for the window to close!
>>1663796>the group we're supposed to help.Pretty sure we're supposed to help helping Dryad's Adepts, not Luna's, seeing as we ran away from them before the scenario started.The Ari lockup thing was mostly in jest; she has the potential to be dangerous, and she keeps getting lost.
>>1663956I think we're supposed to complete the Atelier. Which means figuring out the message.Maybe the message is that sometimes you can't fucking win and have to lose as little as possible.Or figuring out what was done to Luna. Apparently something to do with rebuilding your base? I wonder if we use the bracelet to make it so that Dryads Beloved turn into the Fae. It would explain why Ari, who had an affinity with the Oakenrue golem, got called into the Fae Forest.We may have to use the bracelet to rebuild her base to save her, and were sent here to learn how.
>>1663559Your net is shit! SHIIIIT!>>1663796What about all the orphans? Are we killing those too?>>1663542...All of this. Though some of these questions have been addressed already, so I may skip those.Writing!
"I take it that you have come to empathize our cause, then?" He asked as the conversation began to wind down. "I am well aware that it isn't something anyone would be proud to be apart of, but...""I understand." You agreed, reluctantly accepting what you had been told. It was so much to take in at once, and even now you feel like you could sit here and ask him even more, but... "You mentioned that you had hoped to build a tomb later on. Something to seal Dryad's slumbering mind? Can you explain to me how that's supposed to work?""I can certainly try, but that project is meant to be handled by others, so my knowledge of it at the bare minimum. I suspect the actual working theories to be far more indepth than I can... Well, I will do what I can." He nodded apologetically, "While I mentioned that 'tomb' and 'seal', or any other number of similar terms were effectively interchangeable, it is important to understand should Dryad fully rouse, there is precisely nothing that we can do to stop it from doing what it wishes. In the end, we are only mortals, and even our strongest 'chains' would only amuse one of the Pillars. Specifically what we wish to do is help prevent that waking from happening as best we can.""So the tomb isn't to keep Dryad in..." You breath in understanding, watching the man grin in unabashed approval."Yes, yes! Clever. Its primary purpose is not to restrain the Mana from leaving, but to prevent the outside world from stirring Dryad out of its slumber. However... So long as the Mana is kept sufficiently disoriented, there is a chance that we may be able to prevent lesser influences of the Mana from inadvertently leaking out, as well. Ideally we would use a portion of the land in this forest, preferrably one already segregated by some natural topography, which could serve as a border." He shrugged, leaning forward once more as he talked animatedly about the concept. "So you see, it is meant to be a construct to fulfill multiple purposes. First and foremost to create a silent, peaceful space for the sleeping Dryad to occupy, and secondly to curb as much of its subconscious influence as we can.""Subconscious influence... Like apparitions?""Quite so." He clapped proudly, "We cannot rule out... Or rather, we sincerely suspect that even asleep, a Mana would be capable of spawning apparitions. Given that the Shrine will be taking steps to reduce the sphere of that influence as much as can we reasonably can, the ones which are born are predicted to be particularly potent. In the worst case, it is possible for a feedback loop to be established between their primitive senses, and the dormant mind of the Mana.""Feedback... Loop." You repeat slowly.
"The apparitions born would likely have a temperament similar to the subconscious of the Mana, and in turn the experiences of those apparitions would be transmitted back to the sleeping Mana, serving as a stimuli to alter its sleeping state, which would in turn affect the creation and temperament of future apparitions..." He waved his hand dismissively, "In other words, you might consider them born from a dream, and their existence serves to sustain and feed the dream.""And that's... Bad?" You hazard uncertainly, but the man only hummed in response. "If your goal is to keep Dryad's mind as inactive as possible, then a dream would work against that, wouldn't it?""Would it?" He returned curiously, "Objectively speaking, you are, once again, correct. Any form of activity is worse than none at all, for our purposes... But if we assume that such activity may be inevitable, then I believe the content of the dream is the deciding factor. Negative stimuli is certain to pitch the dormant mind further into a frenzy, which would most certainly result in what could coloquially be considered a nightmare... Such a thing is what we wish to avoid at all costs, as that has the greatest chance of causing Dryad to stir.""Then in that case, positive stimuli would affect pleasant dreams for the sleeping Mana?""Theoretically." He agreed, "Something which the Mana could draw comfort from would be best. There is even the possibility that, if exposed to a dream it sincerely enjoys, it may actively resist waking in order to experience it longer. Were there any other questions?""...A few." You sigh, pushing yourself to your feet as you let the Shade-based aura of haze slip around your form. "I heard that the Representative of Dryad had a brother present in this delegate. Could you direct me to them?""I'll refrain from asking where you learned that." He gave you a troubled smile, "May I ask what you want with them?""The Shrine of Dryad has taken to caring for orphans. Survivors found in the dead zones, who have yet to display any favour with the Mana. Given what we've talked about, that would seem to imply they would be clean of contamination, wouldn't they?"He crossed his arms in thought, shaking his head after several moments of silence. "I can't say for certain if they would be or not, but it sounds plausible, yes. What of it?""...If they aren't contaminated, then they have no place in the coming purge. Is it possible for the Shrine to take them in? More over, would it be possible for the Shrine to make a practice of managing others like them?" you swallowed thickly, images of Eleanore's hopeful words echoing through your memories. "I..." Your tongue curled acerbically, "In light of what's to come, I would consider this a dying wish of hers."
"I see." He answered shortly. Pitching his head forward slowly until it rested in the bowl of his hands. "It certainly sounds like Elly. I'll do what I can."Something hollow inside you felt as if it was about to tear itself apart at his complacent answer. His features were beginning to fade away before your eyes, melting dangerously back towards the shadow puppetry you had witnessed earlier.He wasn't human. He didn't deserve to live. She didn't deserve->Confront him on betraying Eleanore.>Erase him.>Dispel your grip on Shade.>Other? (write-in)
>>1664668>Other? (write-in)Remind yourself that these people are already dead and gone and we would be taking revenge on a recording.> Ask him if there's anything to be done to make it easier on her.
>>1664663Also ask> What would Dryad find pleasing? We should ask Elly that too. Remind him that if we are to do this right, we'll need to understand Dryad as much as possible.Maybe Dryad would even be willing to work WITH us to go to sleep, if the alternative was so terrible. They are all about that whole love thing after all.Especially since Elly for one has already seen how bad Dryad can get.In fact. If HE died it could be a catalyst for her to help us, so long as the Children could be saved.
>>1664668Could we get Dryads Beloved to act as players in its dream?
>>1664837There are 3 players, anon.That number can only go down.
>>1664668The Fae are dreams of Dryad then.Confrontation will do nothing; he is aware of the wrongness of this plan, but is doing it anyway. I'm strongly tempted to Erase him, but that'll jack up what we're supposed to be seeing. Which leaves>Dispel your grip on Shade.I would have liked to ask him about the bracelet, but we've asked questions enough.>>1664754> Ask him if there's anything to be done to make it easier on her.A clean kill, but even that will be denied if they wind up in a siege.>Maybe Dryad would even be willing to work WITH us to go to sleepThe Mana's thought process doesn't work like ours; They might as well be aliens. Even if you could establish communication and convey the idea, I doubt they'd go for it.>so long as the Children could be saved.They can't be; they're infected. If left alive they could spread it to other Adepts, and now you have another Mana infected.
>>1664668>Dispel your grip on Shade.
>>1664905Good morning, anon!
>>1664896> They can't be; they're infected. If left alive they could spread it to other Adepts, and now you have another Mana infected.Dude just said they might be saved.> The Mana's thought process doesn't work like ours; They might as well be aliens. Even if you could establish communication and convey the idea, I doubt they'd go for it.My bad, I meant to say the Adepts. Maybe they would be willing to go to sleep with Dryad. Like. If instead of rebuilding their base we just took it apart and injected it into Dryad.
>>1664909Good morning! I'm not sticking around so my earlier request still stands.
>>1664921Oh, oops. I read Children as Dryad's children, as in the Adepts.We could try to convince them to surrender, but it would cost Luna the surprise they've worked so hard to keep. Losing the surprise could turn the coming battle from an instant route to a drawn out fight.unrelated:If everything goes to Luna's plan, the Ancestor was/will be the only one that 'survives'.
>>1664996. . . Not if we hold the Children hostage. Tell them there's a concern about the Children being possibly tainted.Then do the big reveal, and say that if they try to run we won't be able to take care of the children except in only one way.I feel . . . I feel like this is crossing a line maybe though.
>>1664996We know the Fae share a connection with Luna, though. So maybe they're the Guardians? Abandoned by Luna.
>>1664996As for the issue of surprise>>1663559 #> Your net is shit! SHIIIIT!I feel that plan is already moot.
Going to leave voting up over night. I have a vet appointment for a kitten in a few hours, I'm still sick, so I expect I'll be asleep before the window would otherwise close.
>>1665050I would like to note that, based on what we experienced in the ruins of the Dryad's Shrine, it's unlikely our ancestor managed to do anything to help the Dryad's Adepts.
>>1665534Actually, now that I'm rereading the visions, they seem even stranger in the light of what we have learned.I invite everyone to read through them once more. You can find them in http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/41165789/ if you Ctrl+F for "children"
>>1665662It would probably also be good to read Friends Forever (http://pastebin.com/Yn0QaTVB)...
>>1665750Jesus Fucking Christ
>>1664668>Dispel your grip on Shade.>Confront him on betraying Eleanore.
>>1664754It's too late for them now.>>1664754Is there anything we can do to make it easier on Elly?>>1664775What kind of dream would Dryad find pleasant?>>1664896>>1664905>>1665926Dispel your grip on Shade>>1665926Confront him on betraying Elly.Writing!--->>1665778>>1665832It has been... So long in coming. All for this instance, this moment.Oh, precious child...What have you Forgotten?
>>1666184>What have you Forgotten?
>>1666184Today at work, I've spent an inordinate amount of time mulling over this phrase instead of doing what I'm paid to do.What are you doing with my life Riz.
"...Even knowing that you're going to be responsible for her death, you're still dedicated to this?" You can't help but hiss, glaring down at the man before you with a chill of disgust curling along your skin. He knew. He was a fucking Luna Adept, there was no way that he didn't know what position his sister occupied. He knew that she would go out of her way to welcome him, and the delegate, into the heart of the Shrine. "To the end, you've resolved to even abuse your own sister's trust in you just to ensure success?"You had lost Ariel. Spent years trying to recover, only to realize that the gap she had left in your life was never going to fill over time. That the scar which had grown over that loss had only served to cover the hollow. All of that, every day, for months, and years, and yet... He..."I volunteered for this knowing that." He answered dully, refusing to meet your crimson gaze as he did so. "The elimination is scheduled for the night after we arrive. Do you understand what that means, ser Valen?" He had reverted to your family name, shirking away from the familiarity that had been so uncomfortably apparent until now.You had no answer for him. You barely trusted yourself to speak when your own experiences were too close to overflowing. Fuel for Shade's conjured presence, fed heedlessly until the haze likened to an inferno; A blaze that ate at you from the inside out, screaming to beat into this man every mistake and sin you had been incapable of absolving yourself of.What are you doing?You still have time!No matter how you explain it, your resolve is wrong!Yet still he continued, heedless of your silence, or the tumultuous storm of Shade brewing before him. "It means that I will have dinner with my sister one last time, and I will tell her that she is an aunt. I'll tell her about everything she's missed while we've been apart, and I'll have one last chance to listen to everything she's never had a chance to tell me these past years..."You have no idea what you're doing, you've no idea what you're losing!Listen to me!Don't make my mistakes!"...And when it's over, I will be the one responsible for killing her. Because I am her brother, and I won't turn a blind eye as someone else murders my sister, telling myself that at least I didn't plunge the blade myself." You gave up, and revelled in your inability to move on!Shade's aura guttered out in the wake of accusation, hissed to the wind by a voice not unlike your own. One that had cursed and wailed, and now left you bereft of even the heat of indignity that you had bathed in while looking on in disgust. You couldn't understand.Not this man, not his resolve, not the logic. No matter how necessary it was, even if you agreed, you couldn't understand. You couldn't accept it. You wouldn't accept it. Every fibre of your being railed against it.
"You must think me trash." He chuckled humourlessly, finally raising his head to greet your form, for the first time unshrouded by Shade's isolation. Haggard lines born across his face, nails bit to the quick, and a scab of abraised skin along his cuticle which he picked at even now. "Worse than trash. These past few days, I can't say that I even feel human anymore... But knowing what's to come, all I can do is try to make her happy before it all ends."You hated him. Even without Shade's malevolent flames spurring you on, you hated every word that came out of his mouth. Even looking at him made your stomach churn, sickly constricting around the bitter taste of your own bile."I do." You feel strength leaving your muscles with those two simple words. A bland acknowledgement of everything you felt, which very nearly drained you to admit alloud. This man was long gone. Everyone... Everything here had perished long before you ever stepped foot into this cursed place. Every moment spent here only served to further drive home the discomfort and disgust you felt at its existence, and your own trespassing. Even Eleanore, with every nervous laugh and shy smile she had shared... There was no one to save here. Nothing could be saved here.In the end, you only felt cold. "You said that Dryad might be more easily kept dreaming if it found them pleasant." You turned away from him, unable to keep your nausea at bay while looking at the man. "What... Would a Mana consider nice to dream about?""I was hoping Elly might know." He cleared his throat soberly before answering. "It was one of the things I had planned to slip into our conversation.""I see." Even to the end... "About your net-"
You stumbled forward, reflexively catching yourself as the ground tremored violently. Like the calm before the storm, you had only a moment of confusion before the forest howled, and the panicked screams of the Luna Delegate rose to meet its chorus.The span of a breath saw you clearing the tent and staring up at the towering form which had crashed unto the center bonfire, scattering its embers in a cloud of ash and smoke. Even from this distance its size was immense; Blades notched into its twisted and contorted skeleton, woven with veins of luminous amber pulsing grotesquely."Wisp preserve..." Elly's brother staggered from the tent behind you, looking on as if a child lost in the face of a wildfire. "This is wrong... Dryad shouldn't have known we were... No, is it the contamination...?" There was no need to rise, as jagged tendrils like the countless naked branches of an autumn forest expanded of their own accord; An abomination that comported itself as a monster clad in stolen and mottled skin, soaked crimson in blood harvested from the bodies which had become snared in the deadly bramble during its initial appearance. Violence commenced with nary a threat, nor warning. From the moment the monster appeared, it had been driven by nothing but the forceful and desperate need to kill.And as the body unfurled, rivers of molten gold oozed thickly from old wounds; A shattered skull whose face had long since been torn cruelly away raising a voiceless song of hate through amber tears. The Jenseit sibling's hand found your shoulder, fingers digging tightly into your skin as he rushed past you. "I̷̴̶̡r̵̷̡̕͡ú̢͝e̷, hold it off until I can rally the others! If we fall here, then everything is lost!">Flee back to Tim and Elly>Try to get its attention (how?)>Take the opportunity to betray the Luna Delegate>Other? (write-in)
>>1666464I feel the indecisiveness overtaking me. It is not a good pain.
>>1666464>Try to get its attention (by meditating on Salamander)I have no idea if this will work. But I think we need to have the events play out like they did in reality. Simply eradicating the delegation just leads to loop restart.Also, the questions I think we have to learn the answers to are:- What exactly are Fae- Why is Irue so important to them- What is their compact with house ValenAnd the best opportunity to get the answers is to witness the creation of the Fae, which I think will soon occur.Please don't let this kill Ari please please please
>>1666552I'm having the same trouble. Want to talk to the Apparition, but don't know what to say. Fleeing is the coward's option, but is also a betrayal unto itself. Betrayal is my prefered choice, but it risks taking the narrative off track.Screw it.>>1666464>Take the opportunity to betray the Luna Delegate
>>1666464>Try to get its attention (how?)Can we use the relic to just give it commands? I'd rather not bond with this thing like we did the oakenrue but I guess I'll go with that if it's necessary. Come to think of it wasn't that weapon oakenrue we gave Ari all fleshy and corrupted? Did we tell it to protect her or am I remembering incorrectly?
>>1666645It was covered with human skin IIRC.Come to think of it, that Oakenrue did get its face torn off. Could it be the same one somehow?
>>1666464Aw shit his better not be Ari.>Try to get its attention (how?)Use the braclet to re-write it. Fuck solving this place. Let's cheat instead.
>>1666463>Don't actually get around to telling him about the threat until it's right on top of him. This works well dramatically and makes for a good entrance but it is still SLIGHTLY ANNOYING. Not that it really makes much difference, my intent was to convince him to help us find the thing. Mission accomplished I suppose.>>1666719Yeah fuck it, seconded.
>>1666605Meditate to Salamander! To... Get its attention...? >>1666645>>1666719Never a better time to test run this bracelet!>>1666611Betray the Luna delegate!Writing.Sorry about that, laid down to rest and woke up 4 hours later.
>>1667110Actually, going to the hospital instead. One moment.
>>1667114Uh, good luck with whatever the issue is.
>>1667114Uhhhhhhh.Please don't die? I'll pay for your shit? Like. I'm shockingly I won't say rich but I could take a six figure hit?
You stood your ground in front of the carnage, watching on almost detachedly as death came for the members of Luna's delegate. Their shouts were panicked, and although you could pick out the occasional attempt to establish order amongst the scrambling men and women, it was clear that too many would die before any semblance of proper defense could be mounted. Even then, you had seen what an apparition of Dryad could do to infantry once before.It wasn't a matter of numbers. This was what it meant to fight nature; The reality of going toe-to-toe against something which had no understanding of mortality. No matter how they struggled, the closest to victory they could ever hope to achieve would be to weather the storm and survive. Unless you yourself were a monster on a comparable scale...While the role you were supposed to fill was apparently lauded as an accomplished warrior, you... Were less than impressive, personally. Times like these, you missed having Kara around. Even as intimidating as this thing was, it was difficult to not believe she could have just suplexed it in half, or something....But if it was something like this, then maybe you were the best suited to handle it. You raised the bracelet aloft while biting down on your lip. There wasn't time for meditation here, and given the faux-Mana that had answered you last time, you doubted how effective even that would be."Subjugation, huh...?" You exhaled heavily as its attention turned towards you, the very act of raising the bracelet painting you a target in its eyes. Did it know what it was? Could it sense danger from the action? If so, you could only pray that meant it would work. You had done this before; Focused yourself through the bracelet, spinning a web to link you to another apparition of Dryad.The ground shook with every step, but the thundering of your heart as it rushed you drowned out all else. It was too late now. Too late for it to escape, and too late for you to consider another course of action. The distance had evaporated all too quickly, and your mind raced frantically under the pressure to find a link to the monster swiftly looming over you. Was... Was it even real? You had never stopped to wonder if a creation of those faux-Mana would even react to the bracelet. Would it even matter?Molten Amber hung in thick ropes as its arms devoured the remaining distance between you, a faceless head marked with the deep rivets of having had its surface carved and clawed away contorting heedlessly upon the neck of the beast. In an instant, that thread connected, and you could feel the existence towering before you. Its every undulation, and the sharp pin pricks of weapons swung wildly and caught within the broken flesh and riveted wood. The exhaustion that plagued its every move, and the simple commandment which drove its obsessive violence.
'Protect Rinnier and Ari.'>?
>>1668938It's nothing quite that serious, anon. I got back not long ago. The report is: A sinus infection! ... And an ear infection. In both ears. Also heavy congestion. And the lining of my throat has been worn raw from coughing, so I'm spitting up blood with my phlegm.I'm going to leave the thread here for now and go to bed. I've got some antibiotics now.
>>1669255Okay, this really is our Oakenrue, as I suspected... but what is it doing here in the Matrix?And does it mean this is not what really happened in the past?It's that feeling of walking through a minefield again. I'll need to think more on the course of action.
>>1669255>Apologise for burdening it with our responsibility.>Tell it that its job is over, we'll take it from here. Just bring us to Ari and then you can rest.>Hold its hand.We linked with you using the relic, so now you're our friend whether you like it or not!>>1669257I know some of these feels, get well soon Riz!
>>1669257I'm glad you aren't dying.>>1669274> Supporting thisHuzzah for cheating.
>>1669274It would also be a good idea to lead it away from the camp first lest the attendants rally and fuck up our diplomacy with a counterattack.
>>1669257glad to hear it's nothing dangerous. Just incredibly obnoxious.>>1669255oh hey neat, isn't this the finger staff we gave to Ari? that's good in that we have a powerful friend, and bad that it's wrecking Luna's Adepts apparently to fulfill its orders, which means either she's here in the camp, or it's lost her.>>1669274This is a good idea; it gives us some privacy and keeps the Adepts from wrecking it while it's distracted.>>1669260I think the initial conditions are the same as the past, but we, and anyone we bring in, shift it off of a true recounting by interacting with it.
>>1669894Its also likely we also throw off events by failing to interact with the world in the same way as our ancestor, although it seems there's a certain elasticity to things. People appear to either be going out of their way to ignore details that suggests we're not who they think we are or their perception is actively being changed.
>>1669255>>1669274I'll support this because I don't have any better ideas.>Apologise for burdening it with our responsibility.>Tell it that its job is over, we'll take it from here. Just bring us to Ari and then you can rest.>Hold its hand.>Lead it away from the camp
>>1669274>>1669701>>1669894>>1670559You did good, little faggot. Now follow me away from the delegate!Writing!
>>1671604Why do I feel like we fucked up the forgetting, but did the right thing anyways (for the wrong reasons)?
>>1672366There wasn't a Forgetting yet, anon!
"Ha..." A stifled laugh escapes your lips as your outstretched hand brushes against the scarred remains of its head. Even if it wasn't scowling back at you, the link you felt with it through the bracelet wouldn't lie. It had faithfully followed your orders, even until now. "You're here... You're really here." Perhaps it was the connection; Maybe you were being affected by the simple minded and genuine joy all but radiating across to you through that empathic connection. Maybe it was the novelty of finally encountering something real inside of this faux world... "Where is Ari? Is she still safe?"It looked at you with a level of blankness only accomplishable by having literally no face at all. A thick drop of blood fell off one of its tendrils, mixing with the flowing amber that oozed freely along its body, and reminding you that it still had a handful of corpses impaled along its body. "For... Ĺ̷unà̴̢!"...Or perhaps they weren't corpses just yet. You're not sure what the owner of that voice had been trying to accomplish, but you felt a brief spike of tired wrath from the wooden golem before it tossed him dismissively aside and returned its focus to you. Perhaps now wasn't the time for a reunion. You may have discovered an ally in the golem, but the delegate would still be using this time to prepare a counter attack.Gears in your mind spun to life as you took in the slowly organizing shouts around you, and the circumstance you found yourself in. Why was it attacking? Where was Ari? How did it get here? You had so many questions, but you needed time. Time and privacy. You needed... Distance. In a second you had decided your course of action and grasped onto one of the branches protuding from its body as you heaved yourself onto the golem's side. A swift empathic order amounting to 'run' pulsed through the connection as you climbed. Reflexively it had taken the first step to obey almost immediately as you gave the thought... But it hesitated. There was a lingering hate in its mind, and the ever present dedication to its single given job. A reluctance to just leave...But your order was absolute, and another more insistent prod convinced the dedicated treant to flee obediently. You weren't keen on finding out if the Luna delegate had anything in store that could potentially harm the first sign of Ari you had found since coming inside. Once spurred to action, it moved with a swiftness that belied its lumbering frame; A fluid elongation as it all but erupted from the ground in a monstrous leap that sent it hurdling from the center of the camp and into the trees above, a litany of hand-like branches grasping effortlessly between limbs and trunks as it propelled itself further and further away.
The initial shock had nearly dislodged you from your hastily gained footholds, but each new jump became smoother than the last, until finally you could split your attention between maintaing your balance and taking a closer look at the golem.It had changed in the time you'd been apart. Where once it was similar to its wooden cousins, it had taken to covering itself in a thin layer of clammy flesh... Which now extended across even more of its body than before. No matter how unnatural the frame of broken limbs and notched wooden edges were, they remained concealed beneath a shroud of what could only be described as human skin that grew upon every visible surface like a mold. Weapons that bore the insignia of Luna marked its body periodically; Trophies inadvertantly retained from the systematic slaughter of the scouts you suspect it had been engaging in before finding you... Blows which may have inconvenienced a creature of flesh and bone true, but remained now only as a black testament to how futile their efforts to fight it off had been.Friendly or not, it was a creature that had slaughtered relentlessly in pursuit of its duty. Never stopping to rest, nor question.However more concerning to you were the veins of amber which split the flesh apart. Like pus filled lesions that ate away skin and revealed the infection festering beneath. It bulged up grotesquely, bubbling up fist sized globules of sap which smeared along the pale flesh and mixed with freshly spilled blood that had sprinkled along its limbs. Through the light yellowish liquid, you could glimpse the depths of the gouging ravines which issued forth the discharge.They stretched along its arm, carved open without uniform or measure. Deep trench-like rivets that feebly leaked the golden golden fluid which smelled so sweetly of alcohol. Similar wounds adorned its chest and torso, creating a melancholic visage of luminous lines that throbbed with the weakening pulse of a failing heart."You've had it rough too, huh..." You run your hand along its cold, lifeless skin. While the intention was to comfort, it still felt disconcertingly like touching a corpse... At the very least, it seemed to appreciate the gesture. You murmur a soft apology to it as your ascension slows, the forest floor left far below. You needed to extract as much information from this thing as you could, and for now that started with trying to muddle through this confusing web of empathetic signals.Ari, as far as you could discern, was safe? The golem was tired, but it seemed proud of itself when she was brought up. Well, pride mixed with some persistent feeling of anxiety that made you suspicious as to what details constituted the idea of 'safety' to the golem. You expressed as much with a doubtful frown, gently urging the thing to take you to her. Once you found her, you could start working on getting out of this place for good.
>Ask it something (what?)>Meditate (How?)>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in)>Other? (write-in)
>>1672845>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in)We should really go back for Elly and HunterBro. Let's do that.
>>1672847Is it the Special Forgetting?
>>1673097Nah. You'll know exactly when that one happens. This one is just kind of cute.
>>1672845>Ask it where is Ari>Ask it how did it get here in the Matrix>Ask it why it was attacking the delegation, which is unlikely to have even seen Ari.>Ari's time is running out. We should find her.>But not forget about Elly and TimAlso, it seems that the golem is oozing Faedka (or rather the raw material for it). Was it gouging itself to keep Ari Mana-purged?
>>1672845>>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in)With the last golem the sap stuff only appeared as a consequence of being overwritten by the Fae, but this one doesn't appear to be overwritten. Strange.Or maybe we're forgetting the knights that went missing too?In any case>Ask it something (what?)Ask it where Ari is and what series of events lead from our mansion to here.Ask it where the knights are.Ask if it knows the Luna attendants aren't real and aren't connected to Luna. Ask if its been killing anyone that isn't a Luna attendant.
>>1673143*what series of events lead them both from our mansion to here.
>>1673143You can't actually communicate with it in depth. There's an empathic bond there, so you can get general feelings from it, but if you're looking for a recount of events and details...
>>1673148How are you feeling Riz?
>>1673170My apotheosis into XS is slow in coming. I'm kind of feeling out where would be a good place to end the thread, but also a little scared that if I do, I'll lapse back into not running again and use my sickness as an excuse.So until then, my goal is to find out whether my sickness will break my writing, or vice-versa.
>>1672847Congrats on being able to fill me with dread in 4 words.I wish we could communicate more clearly with Oakenrue, getting useful info out of this thing is going to be a pain.>Ask it something (what?)ask it about what all's happened to it since we saw it last.ask it about what caused all that damage.I know we won't get anything concrete, but maybe we can squeeze out something useful.>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in)>Elly and HunterBro.>The knights that disappeared when Ari did>sap thing mentioned here:>>1673143anyone know what thread number Ari disappeared in, or when we gave Oakenrue the orders? that's my best guess for Forgetting hints.
>>1672847>>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in)Is... is this it?>'A piece of us guards her.'>'Your blood fills its veins.'>'It has become stubborn as well.'>'Sings of selfish bonds.'>'Cradles the blighted child.'>'Begs for more time.'>'It will die.'>'Blood masks the scent.'>'Its veins will soon run dry.'>'Dedicated to its task.'>'Endures our memories alone.'>'We dare not draw their ire.'>'In the end, you are our beloved child.'>'You will protect her.'>'You won't let it hurt her.'>'You will go.'>'You will save her.'>'Because we are not so different.'So it has her right now? Hand her over!Incidentally I'm very worried that our the Fae are referring to this goopy alcoholic sap shit as our blood.>>1673148Yeah, I thought I might be pushing it, worth a try at least.
>>1673189It's not the sap they're referring to. We kinda fed some of our blood to an Oakenrue when we first met one.Now this phrase: 'Endures our memories alone.' makes me wonder. We are basically inside of Fae memories right now. Does it mean we were sent here because the Oakenrue was here? Are you enjoying our helpless floundering Riz?
>>1673230Depending on your point of view, this Forgetting isn't even terribly important! I put it in because it seemed a good time to see if anyone figured this out yet, or not.If I were to give a hint, I'd say that the answer doesn't have any effect on your current circumstances or situation. It would just make you understand the significance of various events from the beginning until now.And depending on how readily you grasp the implications of that, it might also horrify you.But don't worry if you can't figure it out; Consider it a gimme for getting back into practice.
>>1672847>>1673245Okay, I just had a horrifying thought.Irue is "not so different"Oakenrues have Irue's faceThis Oakenrue also seems to be growing human flesh on itself.The Fae have a shine for Irue.Could Irue be just a particularly advanced Oakenrue? Do we have wood instead of bones? Are we an apparition that managed to become a real girl?
>>1673255Back to homonculus theories.
>>1672998>>1673185>>1673116Note to check on Elly and Tim>>1673116>>1673143Asking about Ari>>1673116How did it get here?>>1673185Hell's it been up to? How did it get so hurt?>>1673116Why is it attacking the delegation? They're not even real Luna adepts. >>1673143>>1673185About our knights...The Fae said it'd return these already.---No one got the Forgetting. One of you came close. At this point I'm not sure I can actually hint at this from any more angles than I already have.So either ya'll figured it out already and just assumed it was common knowledge, or you're all going to feel very, very bad when it comes up later.
>>1673289This does not bode well for our chances for the special one.
>>1673289So assuming you stick with the update block format, what will that mean for the schedules of the threads? I mean, you've been at this for 4 days now. Are you just going to keep writing Valen forever?
>>1673333Only unitl we fuck up hard enough
>>1673333Sorry. I laid down to rest and lost more hours of my life. I'll have an update up shortly and then probably give up and crawl back to my bed.As for the thread schedule... Right now the only thing on my mind is that this Atelier arc must end. We're only like... Page 4 right now. I think we have maybe 3 more days of thread life in us? I'll probably try to use as much of that as I can, unless a good spot to end it comes up.As for the starting of new threads, I'm mostly looking for feedback from you guys. Since the voting windows are so long (typically 4 hours, and then however many hours I'm asleep for), I can theoretically keep at it constantly like DLQ. My drug and fever addled mind has been looping over the concerns that it might stress out my (four) anons to constantly be checking back and having to keep up with what was going on.Another possibility I considered was to run for X days at a time, then have a break, then run for X days, etc. Stretches of writing, plenty of time for anons to think, a downtime period every so often to give things time to sink in and settle.Sorry, I think I'm rambling at this point. To reiterate, my only priority right now is ending this arc and listening to you guys. Be as vocal and demanding as you want; I can't promise I'll be able to do everything you want, but at the very least it opens a discourse for me to consider how I can make it more enjoyable for you all.I honestly didn't think I'd have any players when I started this back up, so thank you all again. I'm not sure how many of you have stuck around since the first thread, if any, but you're literally the reason we're still here.
>>1673366>I honestly didn't think I'd have any players when I started this back up,Even with us nagging you in /qtg/?
"Fine, as long as she's safe." Since you couldn't very well drag out why it was anxious, you'd just have to see for yourself. "Where is she now? Can you take me there?"There was a sense of acknowledgement echoed back, and you braced for it to start moving again. Almost thirty seconds later, you were still bracing, as the treant remained perfectly relaxed on the branches. "...?" You frowned and pat its skin encouragingly, question marks liberally echoing across your vague mental link. No need to go- Rather, she was already here? It kept her with it?You squinted into the darkness, trying to decipher what manner of gibberish it was trying to convey. This would be so much easier if it could just... Wait. "Can't you talk?" You leer down at it skeptically, leaves rustling plaintively as its neck twisted back around owlishly to look at you. A featureless slab pocked with splinters marked where its face had once been. "...You never even moved your mouth in the first place!" It proceeded to headbutt you lightly in a vain attempt to nuzzle out an apology.For all its efforts, you received a splinter in your cheek."Fine, whatever." You accepted its plaintive purring, grumpily plucking out the slender wooden shard with a scowl. "If she's already here, then where?"Its torso reared back suddenly, harshly cracking and fragmenting as its solid wooden chest disassembled into a series of jagged, enterlocking teeth. Golden sap slipped from between the fangs, each loosed shard breaking free from the whole and tearing itself further away. It was a grotesque sight, akin to seeing a creature's own ribs tear themselves from the sternum and rip free of the skin.More than a little disconcertingly, you realized you had seen this same thing happen to the last golem you linked with. You hadn't given it any time to finish whatever it was doing, but now you could only peer over its shoulder for a bird's eye view of the flesh covered golem turning its trunk-like chest into a gargantuan gaping maw.Beyond the viscous amber which spilled forth from its many wounds, deep within the gullet of the newly formed jaws - The heart of the golem's body, where wood and vine alike had been carved away - lay a despondent form you'd depressingly recognize anywhere. Clothes worn with dirt and stained in blood, a head of dirty hair slick and knotted with golden amber that oozed from the interior as a thin layer of syrupy mucus."You ate her."
It made... Sense. Sort of. There was no way it could have left her on her own, and if something attacked, she would be in danger. Being inside the fleshy abomination of a wooden golem was possibly the safest place for her.But still. Having been on the receiving end of this once before, you can't help but shiver at the thought of actually being devoured by one of these things... And the copious amount of amber fluid oozing from it was increasingly worrying you. You had seen inside of the other golem when it did this, and there had been nothing but wood. In fact, besides the strange bracelet replica they all seemed to use as their core, you had never seen any amber on the golems until now... At least, not until the last one had become host to the Fae, and its body was consumed by it.Be it blood, infection, or possession, you were reluctant to believe its presence was a sign of anything positive. >Climb down to inspect her>Have it keep holding her for now>'A Spider's Web'>Other? (write-in)
>>1673369While I thought that was just one persistent anon, it was admittedly encouraging.The not having players thing preempts that, though. After the hiatus I took last october for like 3 months, I came back for all of two threads (one of which being an interlude) that month, and then felt like I was missing threads more and more until the thread before this one where I finally just didn't have words anymore, and went on another 3 month long hiatus - Most of which I spent rereading Valen's archives and being frustrated that I couldn't make sentences mean anything.Basically I internalized that I'd have completely understood if the few anons who had stuck it out so far finally got fed up and moved on. It was really common hearing stories about quests taking a month or two off and coming back hemorrhaging. I've been very conscious of the time spent not running, and it mounts up feeling like I was repaying the interest my anons had shown so far with flimsy excuses. It seemed quite understandable that every extra day I couldn't get things working again, would be another reason for them to get fed up.It's probably a much bigger deal to me than anyone else, but it was disconcerting all the same. I started this thread completely expecting to get maybe 1 or 2 anons across a several day period, and then just quietly accepting I screwed up. The turn out has been entirely unexpected on my end, and I'm genuinely thankful for all of you.So accept my thanks and shut up. It's embarrassing if I have to explain it.
>>1673447>>Climb down to inspect her
>>1673444>Freakish plant abomination covered in corpses and blood nuzzling apologetically.We need a good drawfag here pronto.>>1673447>Climb down to inspect herPic related>Signs of our contact look similar to the signs of Fae possessionIs Irue a Fae?>>1673492You have a way of convincing yourself we'll leave you contrary to any evidence.This quest is insanely addictive, you know?Terrifying, but addictive.
>>1673447Oh man, finally. After something like 6 months in game, we've actually found her. Feels good.>corpse-covered faceless abomination nuzzling usI love the Oakenrues.The sap is bothering me, but I don't know what we can do about it.So we pretty much have confirmed the Oakenrues are Dryad apparitions, right? I wonder what our Dryad friend would think of our monstrosity?>inspect her
>>1673447What the fuck, I'm not going in there!>Other>Tell the golem to remove her gently then hand her to us.
>>1673492Its an understandable concern, I remember playing through a quest where that happened. Went from being one of the more popular quests on the board at the time to being a ghost town. I can't fault you for worrying about what seemed to be the most likely outcome from your perspective but the truth is that we're being sincere when we tell you how invested we are in this world you've built. You're stuck with us Riz.
>>1673447> Terrifying, but addictive.If you write I'll play. I don't even fear feeling bad any more. I think this quest has made me better as a player and a person IRL because it's forced me to think out, and be accountable to the actions chosen. Also it got me use to the idea that although failure is bad and hurts, it's not he end of the world. Still.Is something eating our Oakenrue in here? Its amber seepage makes me think about an immune response trying to flush toxins out.
>>1673973>Is something eating our Oakenrue in here?From Friends Forever>That smell will bring our memories to stir, and they are a despicable thing. So drink now, poor child, and lay your fears to rest. This is our blood and our life, and it is all that we can offer you as we are... Yet we give it freely!
>>1673511>>1673529>>1673645Obtained 1x Ari. Added to inventory.>>1673654On second thought, we can inspect her outside of the gargantuan drooling maw of an abominable treant.Writing!
>>1675218>>1675218Could we use A Spiders Web again to communicate with the Golem? Or help Ari?
You slipped down the golem's back as swiftly as you could, navigating footholds wrecklessly in order to meet the branchway quicker. You had finally found her, after what had felt like months of searching, and traipsing through this conviluted and confusing world, something had finally given you a break. You ducked past one of the opened teeth, its length almost dwarfing your entire body in pure jagged edges, and came up infront of the hollowed gut that your Testament was feebly curled within. Getting closer revealed a film of dried sap smeared across her lips, mixing with the filth and blood that had stained her clothes. You found yourself hesitating as you approached the wrenched open gate of jaws, caught between your first instinct to drag her closer, and the natural reluctance that came from literally standing in the mouth of a predator. While you didn't have any particular reason to distrust this golem, it was still...And even besides that, you could hear the weighty strands of amber sap stretching and dripping onto the surrounding branches. It was a minor miracle that your hair had remained unstained by that mess as it was; No amount of care and spacial awareness was going to keep it clean of the sticky discharge if you just climbed in there.You looked up at the golem plaintively, until it finally pitched forward and gently disgorged Ari's limp form from its belly. Her exit started slowly, at first restrained by the adhesive gunk which had built up around her body, but gravity finally took its toll once her slight weight shifted and sent her tumbling out in an almost depressingly comical fashion. Perhaps luckily for her, the sap that had built up around her body from being stuck inside kept her curled together as she plopped onto the ground with a faint squish sound.You grimaced half-heartedly, realizing that short of dunking the poor girl into a river, you wouldn't be able to escape getting your hands dirty after all. "Come on, Ari." You knelt down, gently prying the malnourished Testament out of her safety ball as you nudged her shoulder. She didn't stir, but at the very least you could still see see her breathing softly... It wasn't the most encouraging reunion, but she was alive and safe. Now you just needed to get her out of here.You bit the bullet and scooped your Testament up in your arms. She was as light as ever, and even your wiry arms could hold her without much effort; A minor blessing considering how you were loathe to let her go any time soon. A smile cracked absently as she unconsciously shifted towards your chest and buried her face against your shirt... Smearing it with more of the sap. That was fine. This was fine. Everything was fine.
"The scouts were your doing, right?" You craned your head back to look at the golem as its maw sealed itself shut once more. It echoed back something close to an affirmative once it puzzled out where you were asking it. "Why? Were they attacking you?" ... No? "Was it because of their Mana, then?" It shouldn't have been. They weren't even real, as far as you could tell....And once more, the answer was negative. So why had it been killing them?You sighed, trying to piece together a puzzle you had no context for. Ever since you woke up, you had been running from the Luna delegate, but tonight they welcomed you back as if it were expected. You had spent days welcomed warmly and getting to know the members of Dryad's Dominion, but now you were being told they were contaminated - A casuality already lost to the coming purge. Until recently, Dryad hadn't even existed to you, and from what you could tell, it was fixing to return to being that way if the Luna delegate got their way.This place, these woods, those ruins, and the way the world would shift and rewrite itself to try and tolerate your blind ventures. While there was always the answer of simply trying to force your way out of this Atelier, you had no idea if you'd be able to protect Ari in the process... Which left you in need of an answer for a question no one had bothered to tell you.Gears churned together as you tried to think. This wasn't the first time you had been inadvertently trapped in an Atelier, what had you learned? The atmospheres and forms may have differed, but there were consistencies; Similarities that all Ateliers held.What were you missing? What didn't you understand?You had been in here for so long, why did it still feel as if you had no idea where to start? It was impossible. There was no way that you could have learned nothing after everything you'd experienced here. Think. Think! With Ari back in your arms, this was all you had left before you were free."Help me up, let's go." You nodded to the golem distractedly, folding your thoughts into the back of your mind as you allowed the treant to scoop you onboard. Maybe it was more efficient for it to have kept carrying Ari, but you'd be damned before you let her out of your sight any time soon. "We need to go back down-" The closest simile to an empathic sulk came back through your link. "-No, not to the delegate... We'll leave them be for now. There are others down there that I need to meet."You still hadn't managed to puzzle out an answer from the golem as to why it had been killing the delegate, but it evidently didn't even identify them as aligned to Luna in the first place. You had suspected it might have been fooled by the faux Mana, but it didn't even seem to realize there were any. Still, it had dutifully murdered them, as if their existence alone was some kind of threat to Ari.
>>1675993Using the Web takes hours, and is addictive. Also, I'm slightly suspicious that it's been a listed option quite frequently.Purely as a hypothetical, I don't think so; it's more about observation and manipulation than communication. Though I could easily be wrong.
The descent through the the canopy was far swifter than even your ascent had been, and you spent most of it protectively cradled within the hand of the treant as it rushed the ground. You had little idea where Elly and Tim were from here, but just giving it the general destination seemed to be more than enough for it to track them down on its own.Of course, if you thought about it then there was no reason it wouldn't be capable of that. It had hunted the scouts easily, and you had watched Elly serve as a radar herself. To an apparition, this much was probably child's play. Barely minutes later, it had already proudly alerted you to the fact it found them - And moments after that, two girlish screams testified to the fact that they had been suddenly alerted to that very same fact.The frantic clopping of hooves was all you needed to hear to know that they had fled the moment the treant had descended upon them. Right. No, you knew this would happen. It wasn't as if that stupid horse of Tim's could even hope to outrun the golem, and they were all but incapable of hiding from it... It was just a minor inconvenience.>Order the Oakenrue (what?)>Dismount and wander after them on foot.>Meditate (How?)>'A Spider's Web'>Attempt to Solve>Attempt to Conquer>Other? (write-in)You have acquired enough information to attempt to Solve the Atelier.It will always be an option from here on.
>>1676073What do you mean anon? A spider belongs in its web. You're safe there, and far more capable. If anything, these limited senses you're restraining yourself to are only dragging you down.>>1675993Unfortunately, a web is only for a spider. You are the master of its domain, and where it reaches, your influence shall follow. Everyone else trapped within exist as prey... At your discretion. Your absolute choice and decision.
>>1676100>You have acquired enough information to attempt to Solve the Atelier.>Excitement>Panic>Tension>Despair>Depression>ExhaustionThat was a roller coaster.We should have called out or something before showing Oakenrue off. Ah well.>Order the Oakenrue (what?)Try to circle around in from of them, have Oakenrue drop us off on the ground and hide nearby. Let them see us, we calm them down, then present Oakenrue as a scary monster that doesn't want to eat your face off.Oakenrue was attacking the scouts for a reason; I suspect that reason is important.Conquering seems like a bad idea; we're terrible at fighting, we have no hint on how to attempt a conquer, and we don't have any idea as to what the guardian is. A Spider's Web is right out; it hasn't worked the entire time we've been in here, and takes too long anyway. We have at best some vague options for solving (help Dryad defend, help Luna attack, help Dryad and Luna reconcile). If this one is solved by a phrase like the last one, there isn't a clear spot to voice it. Not sure what possible benefit dismount would have, seems roundly foolish. For now, we catch up to HunterBro and churn through what we know about this scenario. I'm going archive diving.
>>1676239>We should have called out or something before showing Oakenrue offThis is on the Oakenrue. It's well into the night by now, so you really can't see much. It alerted you to finding them, as mentioned, the moment before it dropped out of the canopy on top of them.But it's not like it they can escape anyway. It's probably fortunate it didn't take their flight as a sign it should chase.
>>1676100>Order Oakenrue to follow them>While throwing away the weapons and corpses>Stand tall in its hand to be clearly seen and shout to Tim and Elly that this is not a threat.I'm at work at the moment, and I have much to do today. Please don't put up the special forgetting for 10 or so hours. Pretty please.I'll get fired otherwise.
>>1676100> Attempt to wake up Ari while the Oakenrue chases Elly and Tim.I mean. I thought Ari was a beloved of Luna earlier yeah?
>>1676528Ari showed signs of developing Luna's favor in the past, yes. Mostly due to the fact it was the first Mana you taught her about (and really the first thing you ever taught her about at all).
>>1676669Yeah, wasn't that just lucky?
>>1676669Hrrrrrrrrrmmmmm.I mean. Seems like Meditating on Luna wrecked the place before. Back-up plan?
>>1676695>Let's anger the Atelier Guardians/possible part of a Mana while being completely at their mercy.Maybe not?
>>1676704I said back-up plan.Of course killing them angers them.But RUE SMASH has been an EXCELLENT back up plan so far. I'm just saying. If it comes down to it, let's get Ari to meditate on Luna with us through the bracelet.
>>1676239Circle around and drop us off!>>1676408Let's get those weapons off it while we're at it. Make it look less like a murder monster.>>1676528Attempt to wake up Ari.Writing! Probably going to sleep after this.--->>1676693It is explicitly the reason she was kidnapped in the first place.
>>1676739So. The girl who got lid napped because of her connection to Luna - is being defended from other "Luna" delegates by the Oakenrue, but NOT because it knows they're "Luna Adepts" or even recognizes them as such. Meditating on Luna is bad for us in the Atelier too, and the name itself is corrupted. Or . . . Called something else? What are they really saying when they say Luna. Much like when they say OUR name they're actually saying our ancestors? Shade made everything smoky and puppet like. So they're all the same. So maybe the Atelier itself is somehow dangerous to Ari? We should see if the Oakenrue sees Elly and Tim as dangers.
"Haa..." You let out a breath, absently reassuring the golem that, no, it didn't need to chase them down just because they ran. You can only imagine how the situation would get worse if it did take pursuit, anyway. You'd need to calm them down before you could really 'introduce' the golem... You shifted Ari around in your arms, trying to give yourself some freedom to start plucking out some of the weapons that had been left embedded in its limbs. While you couldn't really do much about it being a hulking abomination covered in flesh, you could at least try to make it not look like it crawled out of a slaughter pit.Speaking of which. You gesture irritably at the corpses hanging from its branches, sending a vague request for it to get rid of them. Even if they weren't real, the smell of blood was still strong, and you doubted Tim or Elly would appreciate you trying to explain to them how no one else here was actually a person anyway. Elly had problems enough accepting that the Luna delegate could betray her. On the off chance she did believe you this time, the existential dread would probably crush the docile woman. You paused a moment just to entertain the idea, before shaking your head with a growing frown. Even now you could remember the statues that littered the Ice Queen's Atelier. Frozen recreations that only existed as placeholders for the people they represented. You never mistook them for anything else. They were exactly the same as every person you'd met since stepping into this place. The fact you were even thinking about treating her like a person... But you had already gotten to know her as a person. She had done her best to nurse you back after your lapse with 'A Spider's Web', and even gone out of her way to try and teach you about Dryad. To say nothing of Tim, and how he had pledged himself to helping you as if it were only natural; Laughed with you, and been the same broad back you held onto while riding for days on end. Even if they weren't the originals... Did it make them any less real, if they belonged only in a memory? Even if... It was only a memory."Sorry..." You utter a despondent prayer to a lost shadow, tossing one final hatchet aside as you climb back into the golem's hand and urge it forward. These were precious memories. Inviolable mementos that you had no right to be intruding on. "I'm starting to understand why you hated it so much."
It had become so dark. Between the time lost talking to Elly's brother, and your reunion with the golem, every last ray of the sun had slipped away into the night. Without a torch to light your way, you were relying entirely on your ride's preternatural way of locating your erstwhile... Companions. It only had to get you close this time. Close enough you could find them, and far enough away that it wouldn't turn this into yet another game of cat and mouse. Fortunately for you, the nightfall was far more of a hindrance to Tim and his incredibly worthless mount than it was to you. Without light to navigate by, there was no way to make full use of its speed without running face first into a tree, or ditch.You ushered the golem into depositing you nearby with these thoughts in mind, having pursued them silently until their panicked flight had slowed to a halt. It was still going to follow you, confined to the canopy of swaying branches that whispered in the night air. When you were ready, you could call it down... But until then->Eavesdrop on Tim and Elly>Call out to them as you approach>Try to sneak up on them>Solve>Other? (write-in)
I fell out half way through writing this. I'm just going to take more medicine and sleep now.
>>1677004>>Eavesdrop on Tim and EllyMore to try and get a sense of their mood than anything. If it sounds like they won't panic,>Call out to them>>1676777>Or . . . Called something else? What are they really saying when they say Luna. Much like when they say OUR name they're actually saying our ancestors? This is a good point. Were the Luna Adepts wearing what we'd recognize as Luna's symbol or garb?I still have no idea how we'd even trigger a formal Solve attempt, even if I had any clue what the solution was.>>1677008Take care of yourself.
>>1677008While we're waiting, what does Irue remember about sentient apparitions?
>>1677035I'm slowing going through what all's happened while we've been in here. I'm going to dump the things I thought were noteworthy, maybe someone will find them useful. I'm still working my way through, but here's what I've got so far:first loop: We didn't know Tim, and so he didn't know us When either of us spoke our name, it wasn't corrupted >Dryad is pretty docile, as far as Mana go. Even if you were praying to other Mana, there's no real danger of a violent reaction >"Even to Luna?" >"B̢e͟caus͡e t̀ḩeý'r͝e̢ ͝ba̢ĺances͟, ̡ŗig̸ht͝?" "͞It̕'́s t͠h͝e ̴o̧p͡p̨o̧sit͜e͟ tho͡ugh,͟ ̧͜D̶͝r̛yad p̸̴ŕ̡͢òb̧̡ably ̴͝ą͘do̵͟rés̴ ̨̀L͜͠͝u͢na͡ m̸̴o̸͜͡͝r͜͝͞e̶͜͢͝͡ ͢͢͡t̶̕͡h̸́a̷͢n̛͘͘ ̴͘͠͝a̕͝͠n̨̕͟y̵̴͢͠t̸̵̴͘h̵̶̶̨̢i͘͡͝n̛͡ǵ̶̛ ̴̵̷̶̢e̸̵̡̢͡l͜͢s̛̀̀͘͜e̸̶̕͠͞.̢̕"̕ after this point, any spoken referense to Luna is corrupted, but the first time we spoke it's name, it wasn't. >"Dryad doesn't really like apparitions." Tim's full name is Timothy Rime We did a quick run through of meditating to 6 Mana, excluding Luna. Shade: "Rather than cause a distortion, you almost felt healed". All others: It was little more than an awareness, however. "Attempts to actually reach out to, or listen to the faint presences of the Mana was... Unsettling, to say the least." Tim was unfamiliar with OakenBears and Nightgaunts >"Shouldn't the Shrine be a place to honor all the Mana?" "...No?" He looked at you strangely, "I've never heard of anything like that." >When you imagined someone favoured by 'Dryad', you thought they'd be more... Prone to unrelenting violence Elly introduced us to the kids as ""Everyone, this is R̷̢ừén̸͠ [Ruen] Valen. You know who that is, right?" >That was a lie. That wasn't your name. "-Is Irue Valen. You know who that is, right?"
>>1677242 Elly: "An-And our goal is to protect Adepts from abuse, isn't it?!" Children couldn't hide anything about themselves. It was almost unfair how simple it was to read their every thought off their expression and body language... ...Which is why you were caught off guard by the accusation and distrust you had seen reflected back at you. Riz, when do you eat dinner? 6pm isn't weird. What happened when we tried to use A Spider's Web in here: >With ease of practice, you coiled yourself unto ̵͘̕͡͝A̴͢ ̢́͘͟͞S̨̧͡ṕ͜i̶̢͜d̀͜͡͞ȩ̴͡ŗ̛͟͝͞'́͢͝͝͡s̀͟͡ ̕W̴͝eb̶̨̧̕͢- ̷́́͜A̛̛͞ ̢S͘͘p̢͜i̶͘͢d͡è̶̡r̵͠'̸̨ş̢̨͘ ̴̴̨͜W̷̨e̷̷b̵̢̧͘ ̞̺̱̗̰̰͔̝̔̈́̀̃̃ͧ̽͐͟͜A̢͕͎̯̪̰̭̖ͧ ̝̩̽̎̀̇ͤ̆̊͊͠Š̛͙̝̗͋͐̋́̾̈̈́p̮̟͎̝̥̬͎̊̑̕͠i̵̛͇̍ͤ̆̋ͯ̚d͙̝͕̝͇̯͈̱̣͂̍e͈͓̗̬̣͕̟̿ͫ̏͆͗ͫr̡̼̤̠̮̀̐ͣ͌'̻̣͓̰̝͈̌͊͋̇ͭș̜͕͖͖͓̿͗͗̕ ͓̞̬̭̪̣̈ͤ̌̎̏W̶̡̥͕̰̙̑ͫͩ̄̄ê̷̡͇̩̻̎ͬ̂̑̂͠b͉̠̝̻͍̗͕̓̏͢͜͞ ̛͟͢͡Á̴̕ ͟Ś̴̢͠p̸͟i͘͡d̴̵̡e̵̡̡̛͝r̶̸̸'̨s̨͟͟ ͜͝W̵͟e̶̸̛͢͞b̢̡ full post: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/1074950/ >>1084514 Meditating to Luna caused this place try and stop us via distraction, and prompted a Forgetting; our resolve broke, and we decided we'd trusted the Fae this far, might as well follow through and see why they wanted us here, instead of trying to break the lie. It was Remembered. Talking about what Dryad is: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/1103706/ >>1104961 Reafirmed Dryad's adoration of Luna Elly indicated that Oakenbears weren't of Dryad because they moved purely on its own single minded hunger or malice, instead of balance The Legend of the Forgotten Dolls >>1112853 >Nymph's Wood is... Well, the name is obvious, isn't it? A Nymph is a spirit of the trees. It's a tree which has been blessed by Dryad, and contains its essence... Most of the time it occurs due to an Adept's intervention, but there are also times when you can find it naturally. It's a sign of Dryad's blessing upon the land." Nymph's Wood repels the Fae, and the Oakenrues detest it. A borrowed name or a change of function? Our "memories" of the East Haven disaster and the Queen we recognized as lies, but it didn't cause corruption. lotta discussion here We Remembered the message left on the family library; Mint the queen single-handedly defeated an Atelier Guardian even more powerful than the Spider We finally asked the mousey attendant's name: Elly, or Eleanore Jenseits Elly's brother (assumed) was brought to the shrine, dead, by another hunter (assumed) while the moon stared down >"By the time we got there..." An attack by Oakenrue? The one we stopped on the most recent loop? Did Oakenrue go through the loops with it's memory intact, doing the same thing every time?--end first loop
I'm rereading the archives, and...You won't believe where the name 'Dryad' first appeared.And several times after that.And we all missed it.Even after Riz told us we knew the name of the eighth Mana already.I had hair on my back stand up when I read it.Look at the beginning of Act 2 anons. Who knows what else we have missed.
>>1677004>Eavesdrop on Tim and Elly>Call out to them as you approach>Ask Elly if there's anything she can do for Ari>>1676100>tfw finally reunited>>1677035>I still have no idea how we'd even trigger a formal Solve attempt, even if I had any clue what the solution was.Tell me about it, it feels like those dreams where you're back in school and you're humiliatingly incompetent in some fashion. This is a feel I have grown used to during my time with Valen>>1677242>>1677245Good stuff anon, I was planning on joining you, on an archive binge but I have just been informed that I have a surprise 12 hour shift tomorrow.Please do your best without me!
>>1677418Looks like it first came up when the forest got angry after we had Kara "knock". Not seeing anything weird there.
>>1677418Why would you not just point it out? It's Monday and I have work dude. Are you trying to make this quest harder? I already come up with terrible plans.
>>1678186>>1677742 has the right idea. But I find the fact that we were directly told Dryad is a hitherto unknown Mana (it created a Simulacra Fragment for Pete's sake) and still managed to miss it horrifying.Riz must be rofl'ing right now.
>>1679238The Fae say weird stuff all the time, I'm not surprised we shrugged off "Divine Dryad" as being relevant to anything.
>>1679238Goddamn. We are going to have some WORDS for our Aunt if she knows about any of this.And words, if she doesn't.But yeah. If Ari dies I'm going to be on the "vengefully lashing out like someone shaved our head" train.
>>1677035>>1677449Eaves dropping!>>1677449>>1677035Then call out afterwards.Writing! ---->>1677228>What does Irue remember about sentient apparitions?All apparitions are sentient, anon. Are you sure this is what you meant to ask?>>1677242>>1677245If I were to go back, I'd probably not do the text corruption again. I felt it would add some flavor to reading it, to help create a more tactile sensation to the distortions created, but keeping track of which topics were taboo and every time they got mentioned is a lot of work. Point in case is that the Luna delegate saying your name shouldn't have necessarily caused a distortion (although the fact that it did isn't irrelevant), but I remembered your initial meeting with Tim causing one with your name, so I went along with it while coming off hiatus.For that instance specifically, I'll clarify: While it's not irrelevant, there's no special meaning to Irue's name being distorted there and nowhere else. It was just me being rusty. Though if you choose to consider it yet another clue, you won't be led astray any.>>1677418>What else we have missedIt always makes me smile when anons go back and realize things they missed. Due to the nature of Valen, I feel it's safe to say its archives probably get a lot more attention than the typical quest, so it's actually fairly important to me that rereading it remains interesting; In a lot of cases, that means you can look back and notice things you missed. Or, see things you had no way of realizing at the time, and understand the implications behind it.Although for the record, I actually expected everyone to understand that one instantly. The existence of a Simulacra Fragment is something you had only encountered once before, after all... And I'd like to that your previous encounter left an impression. Or perhaps it took one.>>1679359>The Fae say weird stuff all the time, I'm not surprised we shrugged [it] as being irrelevant.'We listen.''You do not.''Deaf to our words.''Stubborn rejection.'
Without the aid of Shade's aura isolating you away from this false world, you somewhat doubted you had anything to worry about when it came to accidentally sneaking up Tim and Elly... Though given how startled the golem had left them, it was still probably to err on the side of caution and announce yourself anyway.You kept your ears open as you moved through the night, following the familiar distant murmur of a breathless conversation between Tim and Elly. Quiet as they were, any noise was more than enough to stand out during a silent night, and before long you were close enough to start making out the gist of the conversation. Suffice to say-"W-Wait! Tim please, calm down!""Calm as I'm gonna get."-The contents brought a pause to your stride as you stopped to parse their meaning. You adopted a lighter step as you approached the bickering pair. It wasn't like Tim to be obstinant about something... Or Elly to be argumentative, for that matter."We don't know what that creature was, or what it's capable of! We need to return to the Shrine and tell the others; Get help!""And I told you, I ain't leaving Irue out here!" He snapped back, punctuated by the rustle of leather and buckles. "Take my girl if ya need to, you go get help. Mana knows we're gonna need it.""I..." Elly stuttered uncertainly, "I don't know how to ride a horse. A-And what if that thing finds you? I would be leaving you to die! I can't do that, how do you expect me to live with myself if we returned only to find your corpse? It would be my fault for leaving you!""Ain't nobody gonna blame you for this, lass." He grumped resolutely, lowering his voice in a sober fashion before continuing. "Sides 'at, I've had a bad feeling ever since I heard 'Rue was coming back around these parts..." You hesitated, remembering the silence between you just before you had set off from the Shrine. "Shade take me for a fool, but I ain't letting it end like this." "Wait! Ser Valen's safer with the L̷̢̧ų́ń̕͢a͢͞ ̢dè́le̶ǵa͘t̷́è̀, surely?" Hurried steps accompanied Elly's pleas, "Even if you find Ser Valen, what can you do against something like that?""Something. Anything!" The heat of frustration flared in his baritone, "Believe me, if I could trust someone else to do this, I would!" The growing din of their argument cooled following his outburst, leaving only an uncertain quiet to stretch out beneath the trees. "But I can't, so I ain't. That hornet's not here anymore."
You shifted Ari in your arms awkwardly, tension burning your muscles as you tried to reconcile the uncomfortable pressure in your chest. A deep breath of forest air filled your lungs until they ached, exhaling until you felt the knot in your stomach begin to loosen... "I'm fine!" You called out quickly, flexing your throat nervously afterwards. Your voice hadn't cracked there, you were probably safe. "I ha-augh-" Whatever reassurances you had planned were quite literally crushed out of you as Tim blindly drew you into a rib cracking hug, with Ari trapped awkwardly as a buffer between you. The speed at which he had melted the distance between you belying how large and generally slow he otherwise appeared. "Wait- Let go!" You struggled in his embrace, partially out of concern for Ari, but also out of the startled discomfort of suddenly being held. You didn't have the words to explain the feeling that drove it; Trapped between reflexive fear, and a plaintive wimper that you somehow weren't ready yet.Luckily your entrapment was short lived, as Elly trotted up behind him worriedly, "Irue, you made it! And who... No, how? What happened?""I handled it." You manage to finish your words this time, feeling a smile creep across your face as you held Ari up proudly. "And this is Ari, the friend I came to find.""Oh, I'm so glad." Elly sagged gently, folding her hands against her chest as she closed her eyes, "When that thing attacked the delegate, I thought..." She shook her head, "Dryad guide us, I was so worried. Thanks goodness you're safe.""Aye, but unless Irue took care of that thing in the last few minutes, it's still out there." Tim interrupted, holding his arms out to you, "Hand me the little thing and let's get moving, 'Rue. Longer we stand around, more likely we'll end up having to face that thing again."...Setting aside that it was already above your little gathering, the offer to 'go' raised a good question. You had Ari, and you were finally back together with Elly and Tim, but where did you want to go? The Shrine would give you time to regroup, but did you really want to leave the delegate like this? Especially after you had just found them. Going back to them would be closer, but keeping the golem hidden for an extended period of time could prove difficult... Which was to say nothing of what might happen to Elly. >To the Shrine, it was time to regroup.>Back to the delegate.>Make camp for now, it was time to talk.>Other? (write-in)Regardless of choice, you'll ask Elly to look at Ari afterwards.
>>1679938>Trapped between reflexive fear, and a plaintive wimper that you somehow weren't ready yet.L-lewd>To the Shrine, it was time to regroup.I doubt the delegates will tell us anything new.We need to ask Elly about things. Like what Dryad might like to dream about. Or how can a Mana be lulled to sleep. Or whether she heard about a Goddess.
>>1679938>>Make camp for now, it was time to talk.Gives us time to talk to Elly about Luna's plans and to eventually segway into showing Oakenrue as not a threat.
>>1679963Shrine!>>1680094Camp!Aight, so 3 hours later, we're still tied. I suppose I'll take that as wanting to camp now and return to the Shrine in the morning.Writing!
>>1680250I'll vote for this.Also is Tim a Chekovs Gun?
>>1680850>A Chekov's GunAnton Chekov was a very militant believer that if something existed in a work of literature which held no meaning, then by all rights it should never have appeared in the first place. Or in other words, rather than the idea that something introduced will be used later specifically, the ideology followed was that everything introduced must serve a purpose.So of course Tim is a gun, anon. Look around you, you're standing in an armory. Every step you've ever taken has only led you deeper into a coldwar bunker of firearms and munitions.I'm not sure what you mean exactly, though. You'll have to elaborate.In other news, I returned to the hospital and was informed that my sore throat was, in fact, strep throat. They added more anti-biotics to the bucket list and sent me home, where my power has been out for several hours.Gonna try and salvage that update and then go drown in a tub and contemplate mortality.
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Valen+QuestAnd we are archived.I give up, and we're on page 7 now. Going to just take meds and recooperate until this thread finally falls off the board, and then we'll pick back up. Should be... 3 or 4 days? You'll get a warning on twitter this time!I'll be lurking the thread until it falls off the board though, so I'll answer whatever questions I can whenever I can get to them.Apologies to all anons who participated in Valen Quest but died at their keyboards wondering when QM would finally stop.To those who did not make it to the end, we will never forget your sacrifice.
>>1681170Well, shit. Please hold on there.
>>1682251And the traditional: how badly did we fuck up this thread?
>>1682254You didn't! The closest you came was trying to sic a Salamander apparition on the oakenrue, which had Ari inside it. You'd have been attempting to cook her alive.Nothing else was strictly unrecoverable, though.
>>1682251This seems reasonable.> Apologies to all anons who participated in Valen Quest but died at their keyboards wondering when QM would finally stop.This actually applies more to you this time around lol.
>>1682251Thanks for running. Good luck with your myriad of annoyances.
>>1682337Physically I feel like shit, but I'm happy to be running again.>>1682343Thanks anon, sorry we ended a bit early.
>>1682348I'm happy to have you back!
Oh damn we're back. I'm just gonna go grab a towel so I have something to wipe my tears with when I catch up to the thread and see what has gone tits up.Welcome back riz