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/qst/ - Quests

File: drowned quest 3.jpg (126 KB, 564x846)
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>|Mind: 43/100|
>|Blood: 100/100|

"So," Arledge says. "I lost track of what we were planning on doing. I... -shit!"

You're propelled out of your thoughts and into reality with his shove-- it hits your ribcage and sends you stumbling backwards. In the same motion, he grabs his pole from... you didn't think he had it with him, but from somewhere, and holds it tightly. You'd be looking equally as cool if only your knife was in your hand and not your bucket.

The man behind you both bursts into laughter.

>Random Event - 35

He's... well, he's shirtless, confusingly, save for a long, unbuttoned black duster. You trace heavy scars up his chest to his face, which is bearded and wild-eyed.

Arledge lets out a held breath, though he keeps his grip on the pole. "......," he starts to sign, but the man inturrupts him with a nasty hack and the unceremonious thwap of his spittled hand on your face. You should probably be reeling in disgust right now, but it's fine! It's fine.

His deep voice crackles with static. "For fucks' sake, Graves, you're jumpy as a fucking... jumpy thing. I almost had ya."

"Lorne." Arledge isn't pleased. "What are you doing here?"

"This is where I fucking live, as you well know. Arent'cha gonna introduce me to your friend? Is he mute? They're always cuter when they don't talk." He leers.

You attempt to pick yourself up. "Hi, uh, I'm, um, Ellery. Um, Routh." Shit. You attempt to salvage it with a handshake.

He takes your hand and pumps it vigerously. "It's, uh, um, uh, a pleasure, Routh. I'm Lorne Tracey, and you better fucking remember that. Now, what's wrong with you?"

"Um, nothing, I-"

Simultaneously, Arledge chimes in with a stern "Lorne."

"Fuck that. Graves wouldn't be all the way out here with a normal person. What, did he say he'd help?"


"He's not gonna help. He's gonna pin ya like a dragonfly to a wall and look you all over with a fucking magnifying glass. Do you even know what that is?"



"You're not part of this conversation, Graves. I bet he's told you absolutely squat, huh? Didja know you're dead?"

Arlege had been picking at threads at the hem of his shirt, but he stiffens to full attention and stares, alarmed, right at Lorne. "Not now-!"

Hahaha. Oh gods. What?

>|Mind: 38/100|

>[1] "Wait, so Visco was right?"
>[2] "Did I hear that correctly? Dead? Not... shed? Dread?"
>[3] "I don't feel super dead."
>[4] "What the shit, Arledge? Is that right?"
>[5] "Who are you, anyways? Why should I believe anything you say?"
>[6] "Write-in."
>Previously on: Drowned Quest

You entered your first day of downtime, and decided to spend it being bounced around various surrealities including, but not limited to: being a different person, being two different people at the same time, accidentally entering someone else's head, being on a ton of drugs and metaphorically snapping that someone else's neck, and capping it off by gaining temporary amnesia. You are surprisingly calm after all of this, and have had only two minor breakdowns.

You're currently on an extended detour with the magician Arledge, who's decided to babysit you for the next few days so you don't go totally nuts. Technically, you're on your way to visit crab people known only as "crabs", who have requested your help against "incursors".


- Voting windows are 10-20 minutes. If only one vote comes in after ~20 minutes, I'll take it. If there's a tie, I'll roll for it.
- Unless it's a choice strictly between offered options (ex: loot, chargen), write-ins are always open and acceptable.
- I'll always take questions, comments, critiques, requests for infodumps, etc. etc.

>Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=drowned%20quest

>Twitter: https://twitter.com/BathicQM

>Pastebins: https://pastebin.com/u/bathicqm
3. Smartass option.
>I don't feel super dead.

There's no reason to panic. You trust yourself more than you trust this random guy, and you're definitely not going to show him any weakness.

>|Mind: 40/100|

"Um," you say. "I don't feel super dead."

Arledge inturrupts Lorne, who opens his mouth, and puts a hand on your shoulder. "No, um... can we just talk-- let's talk privately about this. You don't need Lorne being tactless."

"Oh! So you're going to beat around the bush instead of telling this poor fucking kid the truth. Great. Go ahead."

You shrug off the hand. "Well, is he lying?"

"I wouldn't... it's not a lie, but it's not the truth, either. Please."

He's been, well, kind of helpful, ish. And you trust Lorne Tracey about as far as you can throw him. "Fine. But seriously, I don't feel dead. That feels like something I would know about."

"Um, here. He gestures for you to sit down on an outcropping tuft of grass. You stare at it for a second, determine it's not likely to stab you, and sit. He crouches down to meet you.

"Look... okay, firstly, this was going to be one of the Secrets, or uh, Truths, or whatnot, so you can't say I was being withholding." He shoots a backwards glance towards Lorne, who's grinning and still bizarrely lacking a shirt. Is he cold?

"And secondly, I guess I should put it out there. Uh. You are dead- IN A SENSE. IN A SENSE, Lorne, seriously."

Lorne flips him off.

"Under Sea. What do you know about capital-w Worship?"

"Human sacrifice?"

Arledge shifts on his haunches and scratches the back of his head. "No, not at all-- no! No. Who told you that?"

"Everybody told me that."

"Skientists. Dammit. Um, no. I guess... one of the core beliefs is that the gods are, of course, of and in the sea."

"It's in their names. Could've figured."

"Um, okay. And so drowning is effectively offering yourself to the gods."

You've heard of the loons jumping off, of course. "Okay? Not seeing the relevancy."

"And the gods transmute you into something more with their blood, seawater... uh, I'm rushing."

"Get the fuck on with it," Lorne barks.

"You're not a part of this conversation."

"So, what, then, I've been 'transmuted'? I don't know what that means, and I also don't think so."

"No. Nobody has, because the gods are dead-"


"Semantics. But, uh, our working theory is that... you still change, because you're still immersed in the saltwater. So, in a way... you're dead."

"But I wouldn't be dead, just different. And also, not dead."

"It doesn't work that way. The you, whoever you were on the surface... he's dead. You're fundamentally a different person than he was, but you've been reconstructed so that everything looks and feels the same. If it helps, so has everybody, we think."


"Lorne, and I, and, uh, others. I'm sorry."

He stands.

"That was supposed to be tactful, Graves? That was fucking awful."

You don't feel great.

>|Mind: 33/100|

(Votes next post)
> "Is this hell?"
> "Is this heaven?"
> "Can I meet my [insert favorite pet here]?"
> "Uhhhhhh that sounds like bullshit. Not buying it."
> "Wait Lorne where did you even come from? We're in an open field with nothing but grass, really sharp grass sometimes too. Did you crawl along the ground?"
>[1] "How do you two... know each other?"
>[2] "Am I a real person?"
>[3] "How do you know this is true? How could you know?"
>[4] "That was super misleading. I'm not dead, just someone who used to be me."
>[5] Write-in.

>post update
>check it for votes
>nobody votes. wtf
>realize you never posted the vote options
>[3] "How do you know this is true? How could you know?"

also none of yall niggas got stone lungs or python throats so I'm clearly different

So while this was a vote option, since we're at a 3 way tie..

Changing to

They probably arent outright lying to fuck with us. Maybe.
>"How do you know this is true? How could you know?"
>"That was super misleading. I'm not dead, just someone who used to be me."
>"But I'm different."
>Miscellaneous other questions.

You let this stew.

"Um," you say, finally, and both Lorne and Arledge look up. "How do you know?"

"It doesn't matter how we fucking know. You need to get over it as fast as possible so we can move on to everything else Graves 'hasn't around gotten to yet.'"

"I- listen, there's no way to know. But it's the best we have, I guess, and I haven't seen any alternate explanations."

That doesn't sit right with you, period. "That's gull."


"That's gullshit! You just told me you were gonna prank me, and this feels exactly like a prank. 'Oooh, you're dead, and by the way I don't actually have any proof.' Gullshit."

Arledge didn't appear to be expecting this reaction. Lorne laughs again.

"Hah! You're got fucking guts. Good on you. But you're wrong."

"I- yeah. Sorry, Ellery, but this isn't something I'd joke about."

You eye both with suspicion. "I've known you for, like, three days, and I've known you for maybe ten minutes. How am I supposed to know that?"

"Do you trust me?"

"Um. Maybe, like, a little bit."

"Fair enough." "You shouldn't fucking trust him at all! Look at the guy!"

"Lorne. Take it as you wish, I guess. But is it the worst thing you've heard all day?"

"Um, probably, yeah. Does that make this hell?"



"...Maybe it used to be. But the inmates are thouroughly running the asylum, so to speak." "That's offensive to crazy people, Graves."

You're still trying to churn through all of this. "So, if you're not yanking my chain... I'm still not dead. Or, I guess it depends on what you mean by 'I', or, or something. What makes someone themselves. If you take someone, and you make a copy of them, and you put the original person in the copy, is the copy the same person?"

"Yeah." "No. Seriously, Lorne?"

"But that's not all of it, I guess. If you then kill the original, is the person dead? I guess it depends on your first answer, but, um, I don't think so."

"That's pretty fucking heady stuff, man, and my general response is 'I don't give a shit.' It helps if you face the issue head-on instead of trying to weasel your way around it, you know. Arledge sure tried."

"Ignore him. That's a good attitude to take."

"Thanks?" You stand awkwardly. "Say, Lorne, where, um, did you come from? There's no cover..."

"What the fuck are you saying? There's rocks everywhere. I walked."

"No, there aren't... oh."

You recall your hand vanishing behind the nothing-tower.

"Uh huh. Why aren't you breathing?"

You'd forgotten. "Um, I don't know. My lungs don't work."

"Ah." For the first time, Lorne looks concerned. "Explain."

"That's it. you know, I kinda, uh... fished around in there, and they were hard, I guess. Sort of slippery."

"I fucking called it. I said you were a weird one, and what do you know? Weird one. You owe me, Graves."

"We never made a bet."

"Does it look like it fucking matters?" It does not.

"No! And it's fine, he's stable. Don't know what it is, though."

"You fished around?"

Arledge looks a little embarrassed. "He just fell, it might've been..."

"No! You what, stuck your arm down your fuckin'... I have to see this."

"Uh." You wilt under his incredulous gaze. "I don't know if I can do it."


>Roll me 3 1d100s+10 (=10 Clouded Mind) vs. DC 70 (+30 Self-Doubt)
Rolled 83 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

Rolled 36 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

oh shit DC 70
at least it isn't a crit fail
Rolled 80 (1d100)

Rolling the last.
oh shit we even passed
>Stick your hand down your throat, again.

You look for an out. "You heard him, maybe it was just because--"

"Don't gullshit me, Routh. Worst case is, you fail. I don't give a single fuck. He might give a fuck, I don't know, but I doubt it. You're gonna look stupid either way, so might as well get it over with, huh?"

"Um." There's not a lot you can say to that. "Do you have to watch?"

"Yeah-" "-Not if it will help. Just let us know when." Arledge closes his eyes and warningly nudges Lorne, who raises his eyebrows in annoyance but follows.

Experimentally, you open your mouth and try to fit your hand in. You barely manage three fingers.

What had happened the first time? You can't remember. It was late, and you were stressed, and you weren't thinking-

You weren't thinking-

But how do you not think when that's what you're trying not to think about-

You have stuck your hand into your mouth. It is warm, and wet.

Lorne's obviously looking at you, but he's trying to hide it. The corners of his mouth are twitching upwards.

Can your... can he see this? Or know about it, at least? Is he yelling at Arledge to stop it? You hope so, honestly, because you sort of want to rub it into his smug face. Who knew you could look so punchable?

You tap the inside of your throat. Tink. Lorne twitches. This feels brutally familiar, but you're powerless to stop it-- a fly in amber. Keep going...

Down, further. You reach a juncture. You plunge. You can't stop to consider it, can you?

It's cold, hard, slick: it's wet, wetter than the water outside. You freeze. You don't want to look down.

Lorne has dropped any pretense of not looking, but Arledge holds steadfast. "Um," you say, and are grateful it's not coming out of your mouth. "Please look, quick."

"Hah! Ha ha ha ha." Lorne is laughing except for his eyes. "Fuck. That's gnarly."


"C-close your eyes," Arledge instructs in a wavery voice. "We'll be... quiet. Lorne."

You think they advance, but you can't tell. Your hand is throbbing. Your lung is so wet.

Finally, indeterminately, you hear Lorne. "Take it out."

You remove your hand from your mouth and return it to its normal... don't think about it.

>|Mind: 38/40|

Arledge lets out a great sigh. "Ooohkay. Um. That's something."

"He's being polite. That's fucking something."


"Dunno if it's a good thing, honestly. It's... I don't know. How does your arm feel?"

"Like normal."

"That's positive. Do you want to know what it looks like from the outside?"

"Not really-"

"I have a headache, Ellery. That's what it looks like. You do conciously understand that... you can't do what you just did, right?"

"Um, I guess."

"He fucking guesses. Watch."

Lorne gets two fingers in before stopping. Arledge has his hands to his temples.

>[1] "Do you have any, um, theories?"
>[2] "Am I magic?"
>[3] "I'm guessing this isn't normal, then."
>[4] Write-in.
"Actually, what does it look like? Does my throat get all stretchy around my arm or does it look like I'm fecking with physics? Also why does Lorne call you Graves?"
>"What does it look like?"
>"Why Graves?"

You have to know. You don't want to know. You have to know.

"Uh, what does it look like?"

"Fucked up!"

"That's not constructive. Um." Arledge chews the inside of his lip. "I don't have a good way to describe it. Have you ever had your portrait painted?"


"Okay. But you know the concept, right?"

"I don't like where you're going with this."

"Do you?"


"Great, then. It looks like someone took a knife to a portrait of you and cut out your arm, and then pasted it onto your face. But in real life."

You can't even begin to imagine what that looks like, and you don't have any desire to find out. "Uh, sorry."

"It's not your fault! It's-- you didn't intend this, right? You've just, I don't know, taken reality and beaten it senseless with a hammer." "With a fucking tomohawk, more like. There has to be repercussions for this."

You protest. "You were the one who asked me to-"

"Not from me! Look. You did something that isn't supposed to happen. You get that? You stretched actuality and it will snap back like a rubber band. Tell him, Graves."

"I don't get it: Graves?"

"Lorne likes to call people by their last name. He thinks it makes him cool. But yeah, um, I agree. Did anything strange happen after the first time?"


The answer feels fairly obvious. "I don't know how you'd define strange, I guess."

"...I see what you mean. So... maybe. Maybe."

Lorne has firmly crossed his arms over his bare, bare chest. You fervently hope that he just lost his shirt. "You gonna leave me out of the loop, then? It fucking figures! You drag a weirdo straight to my doorstep, and you don't even let me at him."

"Look, I'm right here. I can hear you-" Arledge talks right over you. "Lorne! He's right here. Be nice."

"You're not nice, you're a fucking liar. You brought him to see me and you didn't bother to tell either of us? Good fucking job, Graves. You're just bleeding nice."

"I don't have contact with you, and what, I was gonna tell him we were coming to see a, a fecking disgraced magician with no shirt? Why don't you have a shirt on?!"

"I wasn't expecting visitors! It's not fair to me and it's especially not fair to him. Look at the fucking guy, he's just staring at us! You'd think he just learned to see!"

...Oh shit, you were blind.

"See. Less than an hour, even. I think you got spooked out of it--"

"He was blind? What kind of sideshow operation are you running, Graves? Admit it, you have no clue how to handle tough cases--"


You had to say something. They look at you.

>[1] "What the feck is going on?!"
>[2] Side with Arledge. You think he's trying his best.
>[3] Side with Lorne. Arledge has... mostly gotten you into trouble, now that you think about it.
>[4] Write-in.
>[1] "What the feck is going on?!"
>[1] "What the feck is going on?!"
I am not a tough case!
I'm charmingly unique
>I resent this!
>Sorry, what the feck?
>I'm charmingly eccentric!

"Um, yes, hi. I don't know what the feck either of you are talking about. Am I going to be out of the loop here, or would you like to explain?"

Arledge throws his hands up in an "I told you so" gesture. "Well, gods, I don't know, Lorne. Would you like to explain?"

"Would I? I would not fucking like to explain. He's your guy. You're nice."

"Godsdamnit." You are so tired of things being complicated. "I don't care who explains what. Someone, please-- I don't know, let's start with who you are, okay? Because all I know is your name and that Arledge knows you somehow, and that is rapidly becoming not enough context."

"He's a fecking--"

"Don't talk for me! I'm a fucking magician, and this guy waltzed in here a decade ago and plopped down his fancy little tower in the middle of my stuff."

"It was already in the middle of your stuff! It just happened to not exist yet."

"The amount of fucks I give is staggeringly small. So we're neighbors. And because we share a mutual interest in it, if literally fuck all else: he drags over charity cases he finds and we check 'em out. He has apparently not told you about this, or helped you in any way."

"Um." You have to put it out there. "I don't really like the use of 'charity case'. Or 'weirdo'. I don't think I'm-- uh, I'm charmingly... eccentric. And self-sufficient."

"Did you or did you not just chuck a tomohawk into the back of reality's head?"


"That's fucking that, then. You're lucky you were caught early."

"That's not..." Arledge mutters. "That's not the half of it. Um..."

Lorne has a wicked smile on his face. "OH?!" He's practically shouting. You wince. "What the FUCK else is there?!"

"We can go over it later. But, uh, it's serious."

"More serious than--"

"No. Entirely different."

"I'm still here." You're growing impatient. "Are we just going to argue about me? Because I have a tent, with, um, pillows and everything."

"What?" Lorne is confused-mad. "Did you fuckers set up camp under my nose? If you thought I wasn't going to find you, Graves--"

"Uh, no. It's--"

Arledge jumps in. "He was trying to construct without anything to construct on. I'm told it's, uh, in his head."

"That's fucking extraordinary. Is it behind your eyes?" He grasps your face and turns it up, down, side-to-side. "Talking to you, Routh."

"Uh, yes."

"Even better. You-" He takes your arm. "-are coming with me."


"He can do what he wants. I need to look at you."

>[1] He wants to take a look at you. You want to be taken, uh, a look at. Go for it.
>[2] You have questions first. Sorry-- Arledge said you were a *disgraced* magician? How do I know you're not gonna human sacrifice me?
>[3] You have questions first. What does "take a look" entail? It's vague enough to be ominous.
>[4] Refuse. You don't know if you trust Arledge, but you trust this guy far less.
>[5] Write-in.
>[3] You have questions first. What does "take a look" entail? It's vague enough to be ominous.
Writing. Likely last update of the night.
File: that guy, scarred.jpg (79 KB, 564x670)
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>[3] You have questions first. What does "take a look" entail? It's vague enough to be ominous.

"Pardon," you say. "Take a look?"

This could mean any number of things, and a whole lot of them fall under "not good".

"Mostly just watch while you do your thing, whatever that thing is. I don't fucking know. I might run some tests. Pick your brain, probably. It's gonna be a blast."

"Don't pick his brain," Arledge says, and looks like he regrets it.

"Oh yeah? Alright, wise guy, who should I talk to? Don't say you."

"This falls under the 'later' category, Lorne, please."

"Nope! We're doing this right the fuck now. Who should I be talking to?"

You hope to avoid dragging this out. "Gods. He's apparently kept my, I don't know, my double in his head after-"

"Your double."

"Uh, I don't know what else to call him."

"He looks like you? And Arledge Graves has... him, right now."

"Yes and yes?"

A storm is brewing. Lorne cracks his neck. "Thank you."

"Lorne, he tried to murder me." Arledge takes a few steps back.

"Did he?!"

"I'm not gonna dignify that with-"

"You absolute MOTHERFUCKER, Arledge Graves. You're holding this guy's FUCKING eidolon hostage? You're what, you're fucking INTERROGATING him?! In what universe could you possibly consider that okay?! No wonder he's such a fucking CHARMING ECCENTRIC; half of his head is fucking elsewhere! This is so far beyond the pale... holy shit! Give him back!"

Ruffled but unbowed, Arledge fires back. "He tried to murder me."

"This charming guy right here? No, he didn't."

"Gods complex, Lorne."

"Oh. Oh ho ho. FUCK. You shot him up?"


"So, you're saying... you gave Mr. Routh here a knife, said 'please hold this knife to my throat', and then called the cops and had him arrested for fucking attempted murder."

"Get off your high horse, Lorne. Do you think I had any idea what to do?!"

"You're incompetent! You're a fucking joke, Arledge, and the only reason I'm letting you slide is because you had the presence of mind to come crawling here. Give him his fucking eidolon back."

Arledge's foot thumps, muted, on the sand. Finally: "I reserve a right to say 'I told you so'."

"Do it!"

Something floods back that you didn't know was missing. You stand a little straighter. You have an urge to comb your hair down.


He looks the same: cleaner, taller, blue-eyed. Except-- a scar runs across the bridge of his nose.

That was hell. What's with the tent?

That's all for now! Hope you enjoyed. Welcome back to the guy who puts "First." on his rolls-- I appreciate your dedication.

Sorry for the slow updates. I had about 5 and a half hours of sleep last night, so not exactly brimming with spit and vinegar. Oh well.

Questions/comments/concerns/critiques always appreciated and welcomed.

Likely running Sunday and probably Monday as well.

Good night!
I have been here since the start B. I never left.
Oh, no, I'm well aware! Welcome back (to the new thread), and thanks for reading. I really appreciate it.
Thanks for running!

Arledge scarred our double? Time to be mad at him next thread.
Damn I need to participate more often this is some good stuff op.
File: lorne tracey.jpg (254 KB, 688x1060)
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Obligatory Lorne sketch. Next run late morning tomorrow, probably ~10:30 AM PST.
I see he found a shirt.

He looks kinda like Ellery, if Ellery was even lazier about his appearance.
>|Blood: 100/100|
>|Mind: 38/100|

Did you miss him? It's complicated. You sure don't miss him, but at the same time you feel... better. Wholer.

>|Mind: 48/100|

This place, he proclaims, is a *dump*.

No, okay, you didn't miss him.

Seriously. Listen, I always thought-- I always pretty much figured it was a dump. But I now have perspective on the matter, and I can state with absolute assurance: it's a fecking dump.

Welcome back.

You know what would be a better welcome? Listening to me.

It would be easier to listen if there were less insults--

You have some serious self-reflection to do, then, because I have no choice in what I say! I'm not a person, even though it makes you feel better to think that--

But it doesn't make you feel better to think that. How is "oops, I peeled a bit of my mind off and made it into someone else" better than... not that? It appears to be true, but that's not better...

Because that explanation doesn't blame you. Because you can sit here and think 'ooh, that guy is being a bit of a jerk' again instead of addressing that something may be wrong with you or that you may be doing the wrong thing. You never want to face any consequences, Ellery, and the consequences physically staring you in the face just makes it worse.

Ooh. That guy is being a bit of a jerk again.

Go sit on a rusty nail. You wanna know why this place is a dump? It's because of that. You think things, and then you don't want to think about why you thought them! You think things, and then you attempt to tamp them down until they go away. But they don't go away! They're just lying around here in big fecking piles of insecurities, and, and self-doubts! Does that sound healthy?!

You were waiting for him to finish, but actually: is he talking, like, physical piles? You'd like to know how they look. It's interesting.

Probably about as physical as this tent, which is absolutely something we're getting back to. But you know what? Arledge was clean as a whistle-

Whistles don't strike you as all that clean. Speaking from experience, they usually have kids' spit on them...

-which is probably because he has the decency to shove his dirty laundry in a closet. Yours is lying on the dinner table, Ellery, and you know what?

You have a horrible feeling that you know what.

We are going to be doing some spring cleaning in here.

Your undoubtedly devastating retort is inturrupted by a bray from Lorne, who'd you'd honestly forgotten was even here. "Hah! Look at that. His eyes are fucking vibrating."

"Lorne!" They're both standing much closer than they were before. Arledge is on his tiptoes in an attempt to match your eye level. "Excellent. He stopped."

"Fuck off. Hey, listen. What were you talking about?"

Who is this? I don't like him.

"Uh... hold on. You're looking into this? Why?"

"Why the fuck would we not?"

"Well." You don't actually know about Lorne, but- "I thought you knew about this, um, Arledge?"

"Not in-depth. I'd like to ask the same thing, if that's okay."

>[1] It's not really any of their business.
>[2] He comes in here and immediately starts with the insults. Can you believe it!
>[3] You know, the usual. 'Oh I'm not a *real person*'. 'Oh I'm just a *vector for your pessimistic feelings/thoughts you want to ignore*.'
>[4] Do you keep your dirty laundry in a closet? Just asking.
>[5] Write-in.
And if Ellery could grow a proper beard, which he absolutely cannot.
I'd like #3 with a small hint of 4 please. Maybe also ask what tje benefits of a clean head are. Sure, it may look nice, but while yours seems messy everything you need is within arms reach, so to speak.
>[5] What's so bad about that, anyways?
>You know, the usual. 'Oh I'm not a *real person*'. 'Oh I'm just a *vector for your pessimistic feelings/thoughts you want to ignore*.'
>Do you keep your dirty laundry in a closet? Just asking.
>Get defensive about the state of your head.

"You know, the usual." You do your best impression of him, which-- wow, okay, that's a really good impression. File that away in 'skills you didn't think you had.' "'Uhhhhhh, I'm not a real person. Uhhhhh, I'm actually your weirdly successful attempt to ignore things you don't want to confront. Uhhhhhh, your head is a dump.' Hey, is it true that you stuff all your dirty laundry into a closet, ooor..."

Arledge is giving you a quizzical look.

"...oooor that was probably not literal. Um. He says your head is very clean, I guess, by the way."

Wow, okay. You're just gonna lay it all out in the open. Great.

"Thank you." He sounds pleased. "Now, I-"

"Don't give him your fucking pansy-ass questions, Graves. What were you gonna say, 'oh, that's very interesting'. It is super interesting, but- look, can he talk?"

"Sure, all the time. I wish he'd stop-"

Feeling the love.

Feck him. What's wrong with your head being a dump? It's easy to find things. It's comfortable.

Really. What even is this?

You guess he pulls something out from a stack, because you recieve a grainy memory of times long gone. It's, uh, that's Dale's drinking trophy. He won, you got something like tenth.

Fine. Or this?

It's the weird transparent vial you and Madrigal drank from--

Okay. What are you doing drinking mysterious vials?! Is that what happens without me? And what is it doing in here?!

It made an impression, you guess.

"Ellery. You got distracted." "Fucking vibrating, again. I wish I had a mirror."


"Can he..." Arledge waves for Lorne to finish.

"Can he talk to us?"

"I don't think so, if you aren't hearing anything."

"Just transfer the fucking connection. I've seen it done."

Do you have any idea how to do that? A - I don't really want to talk to him. B - This feels dangerously close to, you know, uh, s...


I think that's a dumb name, okay.

It does, but also-- that's something you (sort of, ish) know how to do. And it would probably blow Lorne's mind, which is something you want to see.

>[1] Attempt to transfer the connection.
>[2] Attempt to switch.
>[3] This is more hassle than it's worth. Just translate.
>[4] This is more hassle than it's worth. Do we even have to talk to him? Why would you want to, anyways?
>[5] Write-in.

>"As a heads up, this doesn't always go well and sometimes I end up in other people's heads and kill them and then they have trouble giving me back. But I do love trying new things so here goes nothing."

Also eidolus just proved us right. Those memories were right there, he didn't have to search for them or anything.
Peeling garlic cloves for jerk chicken. I need a few minutes.
Rolled 2 (1d2)

Rolling. You'll give a heads-up either way.
You are going to switch!

>Roll me 3 1d100s+6 (+5 To Thine Own Self, +1 Clouded Mind) vs. DC 40 (+40 Stage Fright).

No Passes - Critical Failure
One Pass - Failure
Two Passes - Success
Three Passes - Critical Success
Rolled 95 + 6 (1d100 + 6)

We need to trade Arledge something for his hair band. Or get over our nerves with alcohol.
Rolled 18, 49 + 6 = 73 (2d100 + 6)

Rolling the other two.
>102, 55, 24 vs. DC 40 - Success.

It's probably a bad idea. But to see the look-


"Um. I can probably do you one better."

Arledge understands. His eyes narrow. He rubs his shoulder. But he doesn't speak.

"What's one better than fucking talking to him?"

"Well..." You're at a loss on how to explain it. "Looking at him, I guess. I can try and, um..."

"Fuck. A full-body... did you know about this, Graves? Fuck! That's- do it!"

Seriously! No! After how it went...

"Right now?"

"Why not! This is-- I've never gotten to see it. I didn't think... honestly, did you know about this?"

"Yes." Arledge has his arms crossed.

"And you didn't bother to tell me?! You had one fucking job. One-"

"I didn't think it was prudent, considering the last time..."

"So he killed you for a bit! Who gives a fuck."

"AND dislocated my shoulder."

"Is it relocated?"


"Then who gives a fuck! Don't ruin this for me. Get on with it!"

I don't support this!

You shift uneasily from one foot to the other. "Um, I don't... I don't really know how this works. And yeah, uh, last time it didn't, uh, go so hot. So, you know."

"I'm a grown man! Stop stalling."

You close your eyes.

Shit, the tent is still there. It's radiant in its absolute pinkness.

Where did it come from!

You turn around so you can't see it.

It's very dark. It's very-- is it wet? You can't feel it anymore, but you suppose it has to be. That's all you are, the darkness and the probable wetness. You are the ocean...

You are-

>[1] Ellery Routh, in a place.
>[2] Not Ellery Routh, incredibly annoyed.

We need a name for eidolus. I propose Ellery 2 : Electric Boogaloo.
>Be yourself.

It's funny, not being in control of anything. You take it for granted. You assume that when you want something to happen, it will happen.

That's not really how it works, though, is it?

You ache all over. You shouldn't be, because there really shouldn't be anything to ache. You ponder: what am I right now? A ghost? An idea? A reflection? And you sigh, because you've pondered the same thing both times before, and have forgotten.

Is this what it's like all the time for him? No wonder he's so crabby.

You are slowly sinking. The water isn't very good: it's far too viscous. Where had that idea come from? Still, it's not unpleasant, and there seems to be no end to the air trickling out of your nose and mouth.

Can you move? Of course you can move. You twitch an experimental finger, kick an experimental leg. You stop sinking, though the bubbles won't stop slinking upwards. You try to hold your breath, and can't.

Well. You are somewhere you probably aren't supposed to be. What will you do about that?

>[1] Swim upwards to the light.
>[2] Swim downwards to the darkness.
>[3] There aren't any rules here. There aren't any rules!
>[4] Write-in.
1 is prudent but I can't resist
>Go mad with power.
What will you do about that? What can you do about that?

What can't you do about that? No, really. You're not- you're not bound to anything, are you? You have no obligations to how things are. You're a fake person in a faker place, and it's no use trying to pretend otherwise.

That's not a path you should go down, something says. There's nothing good down that path. You are a real person, whether you like it or not, and this place is real to you. You should keep it that way.

Just sink, or swim...


No! This is your head, or, or, it used to be. You are staying right here, and you are going to do whatever you feel like doing for however long you feel like doing it.

It is dark, and it is wet.

>[WRITE-IN] what you're trying.
>Let there be light

Try making this place bright and dry and warm, if it's all inside your head.
>Let there be light!

But does it have to be?

You don't really have any issues with the darkness. You're used to the wetness, by now. No, your main issue is the cold. You haven't felt sun on your face for five straight days.

That can be changed, can't it?

You know what the sun looks like, what it feels like. You just have to find it, to grasp it, to bring it here...

You have it right here. Of course you have it. It burns like a hot penny in your palm, and you yelp, and drop it-- it steams, and sinks, and you await light and warmth.

>|Mind: 47/100|

Instead, there's a wild rushing, and swirling, and a rather indistinct 'pop!'. You fold in on yourself, and out again, and you are elsewhere. You're also soaking wet.

It's a soft night, and crickets chirp from within heaps of rubble and twisted scrap. Dale warms his gloved hands over a trash-can fire you'd managed to light. He looks up, but doesn't seem surprised.

"Hi, Ell," he comments. "Don't think you're supposed to be here. Take a dip?"

You are absolutely sodden. A puddle is starting to form around your feet.

"Um." You make a sad attempt to wring out your shirt. "I set that fire, because you're too much of an asshole to bother. Of course I'm supposed to be here."

"You didn't, Ell. He did." Dale jerks his hand to his right. A figure in a worn brown coat hunches over the fire, too. You can't see his face. Of course, of course. "Sorry. Hey, there's no harm in sticking around, though. Warm up a little."

>[A1] Thanks, you think you will. You're so cold.
>[A2] No, this isn't right. Move along. (To where?)

IF [A1]:
>[B1] Engage Dale(?) in conversation.
>[B2] Engage your memory-self in conversation.
>[B3] Take a stroll around. These were good days.
>[B4] Write-in.

>[A1] Thanks, you think you will. You're so cold.

>[B2] Engage your memory-self in conversation.

Hopefully talking to ourself doesn't do too much of a number on the old mind stat.
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>Stick around.
>Have a chat with your memory-self.

It's hard to say no. "Thanks, Dale."

"No problemo. It's real nice to see you, Ell. Ought to come around more often."

You take a soggy step towards the fire, sending little droplets flying to sizzle on the hot metal. "I don't know about that. These are kind of special circumstances."

"Oh yeah? What'd you get yourself into?"

You hesitate. "It's kind of a long story-"

"It's alright, I already know. He does, too, he's just... here, give me a sec." Dale takes "your" shoulder and gives it a shake. "C'mon, Ell. Up and at 'em."

"You don't have to..."

It's too late: he lifts his head stiffly, and turns it towards you.

"Oh, shit. Hey." He's younger, which you probably should've expected-- this was six years ago? Seven? You can't say you remembered the shirt, but this was your "bad taste" phase, anyways. He looks surprised, but only mildly. "You don't look that great."


"Well, I don't know. I expected more. And also, less wet."

Boy, you were kind of snotty. "Sorry to disappoint."

"Hey, don't blame me: it's you talking. Stand up straight, will you?"

You sigh heavily, but comply. It's no more than a second before a godsawful twisting sensation makes itself known in your forehead. "Shit!" You grip onto Dale, who's reasurringly solid, for balance. "What's that!?"

>|Mind: 37/100|

"Um." Dale's hooked his thumbs to the outside of his pockets, which is never a good sign. "Went off-script, I think. Go check."

"Check what!"

"The ol' think tank. The ol' head case. The ol'-- check this memory, please."

"But I'm in..."

"Please, Ellery."

Nice spring night. Crickets. Chatting with Dale over the fire, when- "OW!" The something twists tighter. -When you showed up, sopping wet, and-

>|Mind: 32/100|

"Okay, okay! Don't... don't go through it, or we're going to get another one of you here. One's bad enough, okay? Here, just..."

"Gee, thanks," you and memory-you say in unison, and you both scowl at saying something in unison.

>[1] This is a bad thing! You need to get out before this destabilizes.
>[2] This is a good thing! You have a lot of things you wish you could change. Okay, they won't actually change, but it's basically the same thing.
>[3] You don't really care! You're curious about this whole set-up. It's not really you here, and it's not really Dale, so what are they?
>[4] Write-in.

Our head is messed up enough without screwing with our memories. Time to bail.
>This is a bad thing! Get out!

"It's fine. Do you know this never actually happened?"


"Then what's the difference?"

"Thanks, but um... I think I'm better off not, um, messing with anything too much. How do I leave?"

"You really don't know? You really do need to vist more, Ell. Alrighty, uh, look. Where do you want to go?"

"Somewhere that won't wreck my head, I guess."

"That's going to be tricky, I'm gonna give it to you straight. Behind your eyes is probably safest, but it's a big hike. Skipping through your memories would probably be fine if you were quick or stealthy. Ocean's close, but it's tricky to break into. What do you think, Ell?"


"Not you." He elbows your memory-self.

"Gods, I dunno. Sounds about right. I can't follow directions worth a damn, though, so probably needs a map."

"Sure, sure. Later." Dale turns back to you. "Whaddya think?"

>[1] Skip through your memories.
>[2] Trek up to behind your eyes.
>[3] Break back into the ocean.
>[4] Write-in.

Ok so memories are mind, behind the eyes are body, and ocean is ??? spirit ???

As always, deep confusion
This is going to take a little while longer so I can draw up a map!
>Trek up to behind your eyes.

"I think safe is probably best. What do you mean, 'behind my eyes'?"

"What do you see when you close your eyes?"

"My eyelids?"

"Well..." That seems to stump him. "I guess. But not really, okay? It's complicated. But it's dark, it's quiet, and you have a tent there. You might be able to figure out what's going on outside. Seems like a good bet."

"Great. Do you have a map, or...?"

"Oh, sure." He pulls out a crumpled piece of paper from nowhere and pushes it into your hands. "I gotcha covered."

You squint at it. "Why is there a frowny face next to 'Bad Stuff :('?"

"It's bad."

"Okay. Um. How is this supposed to help me at all? It's just... there's an arrow where I am, and then there's an arrow to where I'm supposed to go, and that's it. That's not going to help at all."

"I guess you're just not good at making maps, then. We all have our weaknesses. Anyways, um, I can drop you out of here into the whole conscious area. You gotta find your way down from there. Feel free to ask for help if you need it."


"Here goes nothing. Three, two, one-"

You fall before you can protest, through a tunnel or a tube or somewhere dark. Your jacket billows in dramatic fashion. You're still cold, unfortunately.

You land with a splorch and a groan.

Your memory was in technicolor, but this place is overridingly a dull grey. The only things breaking up the monotony are a faded red-brick wall and the heaping piles of junk lined up against it.


Here's what I have right now, but I have to go! Second half posted when I get back.
I gotta sleep soon as an EST boi OP, will warmly anticipate that map in my dreams.
The brick wall spans as far as you can see in either direction and is intermittently splatted with messy words in white paint. "OH SHIT," reads the line closest to you. "THAT'S WHAT I'M THINKING RIGHT NOW-"

Oh, shit. That's what you're...


You decide to skip the formality of actually thinking that and instead look for This Guy, who turns out to be perched on top of the wall and wearing a pretty cool hat.

"That's a pretty cool hat."

"Yessir," he says.

"Where'd you get that hat?"

"Um," he says, and his eyes dart from side to side. "I don't know, sir. I think I just came with it."

It's good enough for you. "Cool. So, uh, what do you do?" ("I'M COLD," the wall says. "THAT FIRE WAS SUPER USELESS.")

"I..." They dart more. "I work here, sir."


You don't like this. "Work..."

He's visibly fighting against the words he's spitting out, knuckles white against the brick. "I... paint... the... wall. Sir!"

"But, I mean, you're not, um, painting it."

He stares balefully.

"OW!" says the wall, and an instant after the map glows red-hot in your hand. You open it gingerly. The front looks the same, but the back:

"Please make me stop." it says in very neat handwriting.

You stare at the guy, who stares back down at you expectantly. "What?"

"You're PIGEONHOLING me into a role to play." Pigeonholing is underlined several times. "It's uncomfortable. Please stop."

"I don't understand?"

He rolls his eyes and gestures for you to keep reading.

"Listen. This place is YOU. It is shaped by YOUR expectations.

For some reason, you expect there to be junk and a wall and whatnot. But the important part is that you expect there to be a guy there. I don't want to be here, I don't want to wear a hat, and I don't want to call you 'sir'. Please stop expecting me."

"So you don't paint the-"

"There is NO WALL and NO ME. You have to pretend there is, because you can't comprehend the way your mind actually works!" The ink of the exclamation point is still shiny.

The guy is picking at the mortar with a frustrated expression.

You stick your hands in your pockets, which are mercifully not worn through. "Um, okay. I give you my permission to stop."



He hoots and pounds the masonry. "Thank you! Good gods!" The hat is flung off his head, and he follows it to the ground. "You're a good guy, you know that? Man! Would you- would you mind if I ditched the look entirely?"

"I don't follow."

"I think this guy has kind of a weird-looking face, you know. Dunno why you picked him. Will you let me switch?"


"I'll let you pick," he adds magnaminously.

(Votes and map next post!)
>[1] "Uh, I'd rather you... kept the same face, please."
>[2] "I don't really care. Go ahead, I guess."
>[3] "Sure. I actually do have someone in mind." (Who?)
>[4] Write-in.

Scratch the map, my scanner refuses to function. I'll see if I can mock up a digital version.
>[1] "Uh, I'd rather you... kept the same face, please."
Have him look like Monty. And then Eliose. Just to see what that's like.

Good thing I caught this update
File: the guy.jpg (57 KB, 564x564)
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Forgot the pic ;-;
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>Um, no thanks.

You have a high tolerance for the strange, but at some point a line has to be drawn.

"Uh, sorry."

"Sorry?" His hands are already working something behind his back.

"I just don't..." You swallow. "Uh, I'd rather you kept things, um, the same for now. You know. This is already pretty stressful..."

"Oh, sure, sure," he says, but looks disappointed. "You're the boss." He picks the hat back up and fixes it firmly on his head.

You'd like to continue apologizing, but the words on the wall distract you. "OW!", it says again, this time with an underline. "GODS! WHAT JUST-"

Ow! You hiss as a cut materializes on your forearm, ripe with sticky blood. "Gods! What-"

>|Blood: 95/100|

"That's probably not good," the guy offers. "Didn't really think you had blood here, but there you go, I guess."

"A-hah. Okay." You clutch your arm against your chest. "Look, do you know a way out of here? This map is the absolute worst, and I don't... I think I should get out of here as fast as possible. I'm trying to get to behind my eyes."

"Well, just look at the map. You have to get down to your subconscious, and it's right below that. Good luck navigating, though."

"I can't believe I have to tell... gods, I don't know, myself this, but..." You clutch your arm tighter. "Just explain things. Just explain them! You know I don't know what you're talking about."

"I was getting to it," he snaps. "I was coming up with a metaphor. You've seen pantomimes?"

"Yeah, sure."

"This..." he gestures to the greyness. "Is the stage. There's nothing going on, because the lights are off and nobody's home, okay? But your subconscious is the props, the actors and the whole fecking costume box. It's busy. It's noisy. You absolutely shouldn't be there, but you're gonna have to be to get where you're going."

"Are you leading up to something?"

"I'll guide you for a price."

You chuckle. "A price! Wow. You just said you're not real, and you want money."

"Not money. But look-- you can do anything."

"Like navigate without you?"

"It wouldn't be pretty."

"Like... make you guide me without paying?"

"No! I mean, I guess, but would you want to risk it? Just hear me out. I want blood."


"Your blood."

"That doesn't help, like, in the slightest."

He places a hand on your shoulder. "Listen to me, Ellery. You have absolutely no idea what goes on in here."

"That's- that's probably true, but..."

"So do you know what happens? You blunder in and everyone has to fall in line. Intentionally or not, you make things happen. I need blood to resist it."


"It's what makes you real. You don't know how, but it does, okay, and that's that. Please. You don't know how it feels.. you don't consciously know."

>[1] Give him a drop of blood. (-1)
>[2] Give him more blood. (-5)
>[3] Are there any other options for payment here?
>[4] Force him to guide you.
>[5] You don't need him. Navigate yourself.
>[6] Write-in.
Alright! I'm going to bed, vote open until next session... which is looking like Tuesday. See you guys then.

>Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=drowned%20quest

>Twitter: https://twitter.com/BathicQM

>Pastebins: https://pastebin.com/u/bathicqm
Wait so he's asking us for blood so he can resist our influence. He's also guiding us through a lets assume unpleasant place.
All the nopes here man
>[5] You don't need him. Navigate yourself.
We're a strong, independent man who don't need no guide.
>[1] Give him a drop of blood.

Sorry bro but I have enough rogue elements in my head already.
>[5] and stop imagining him. He wants gone? We want less clutter.
Yikes, alright. I'd like to run today, but I have a lot of things I have to get done for tomorrow and I can't carve out 5+ hours for writing.

I have at least one update in the works, and I'll try and put out a few others over the course of the day (no guarantees). Actual session tomorrow.
>Yeah, no thanks. Just do it yourself.
>Just vanish him.

You look down and away. The guy slumps against the wall, pulls out a cigarette, and lights it.

"I can't blame you," he says, and takes a drag. "It makes sense."

"It's not personal," you hasten to add. "I just, uh, I just don't think it's... well, you know, um. I already have enough going on as is..."

"Yeah, yeah." He waves the smoke and your justifications away. "I do know."


"So... that's it. Nothing I can do for ya. Sorry. Want a smoke?"

The carton clasped in his grungy hand is a stark white and has "CIGS" scrawled on it in your handwriting. You shove your hands deeper into your pockets.

"I don't, um, smoke."

"Figured." He crushes it in his free hand, but it doesn't crush; it folds, over and over on itself until a thousand cardboard edges bristle on and up and through his hand. "Darn," he mutters, and clenches his cigarette tight between his teeth.

>|Mind: 29/100|

There's no turning away: you pivot on your heel, but the world in front of you-- all brick and smoke and painted letters blaring "THAT CAN'T BE GOOD" and grey grey grey floor-- holds fast. The guy glances up at you.

"Um--", you croak, and he looks back down.

"I know you're sensitive," he says to the floor. "Sorry, I guess, but."

"Um...?" You turn again, but still nothing turns with you, or maybe everything turns with you. "W-"

Still looking down, the guy picks methodically at the skin of his afflicted wrist. It peels up like half-dry paint, leaving a uneven hole behind. (You grip your own wrist in discomfort.)

He works two fingers into the hole and pulls up, ripping the hole wider-- an accident, judging by his quiet "damn". It's fine: he shoves his whole hand in, now, and with mild exertion tears it around and off his wrist.

You stand rigid as the- it's not a hand, it's a sort of paper-mache facsimile of a hand, how could you have- as it falls to the floor and disappears.

>|Mind: 22/100|

"Ah," you say.

"Ahh," he says in return, and removes his cigarette with hand-shaped nothing. His arm is hollow. "You're still here?"

>|Mind: 20/100|


"Figured you'd be off by now. But it's none of my business."


The cigarette, not held by anything, nevertheless gestures jauntily through the air. "Oh, hold on. You'd probably be better off with..." He gives the nothing a flick and there's a hand, though not the same one.

>|Mind: 17/100|

It's your hand, you realize suddenly, and you've had it, you've absolutely had it. This should not exist, and maybe it does, but it shouldn't. And it doesn't: the guy is gone, without so much as a goodbye.

The world revolves a full 360 degrees and stops. You are looking at the wall. The wall reads "GODSDAMMNIT."

You are cold and wet and confused and tired and alone. According to your map, you have to get down.

>[1] You don't like this place. It's too grey. It's too empty. Just... get down, somehow.
>[2] There has to be an exit, right? Find an exit.
>[3] If you don't know how to get to the subconscious, surely it can come to you. Reconstruct it right where you are.
>[4] You can't go on like this. Sit down and have a drink. You need a drink or, or something.
>[5] Write-in.
>Blend of 1 and 4. Drink for the road.

Mind Dangerous Low
>Blend of 1 and 4. Drink for the road
Dont question it, there's always gonna be booze when you need it. There's always been booze, right?
Does drinking lower Mind? Either way, I think low Mind is what we want right now.

Drinking temporarily raises Mind (helps you cope). I won't comment on whether you want low Mind or not, but I'll say that you definitely don't want it to hit 0.

Calling for drinking and hitting the road. What are you going to drink?

>[1] Beer. Please. You just want a beer.
>[2] You need to get trashed. Say, is there a way to make H.D. that doesn't taste like sour soap?
>[3] You need to get slammed. You have no idea what was in that bizarre clear vial, but it was clearly strong enough to knock you out right away. Perfect.
>[4] The first thing that comes to mind. You don't want to get into the details of how exactly this works.
>[5] Write-in.


Please roll me 3 1d100s+15 (+15 Clouded Mind) vs. DC 55 for dropping into your subconscious.
Rolled 8 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

Rolled 55 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

>>[1] Beer. Please. You just want a beer.
Rolled 74 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

Rerolling to make this a failure with my terrible luck.
Rolled 2 (1d2)


Rolling for drink.
Writing (may be a while).
And by "a while" I of course mean "overnight". It'll be the first post tomorrow afternoon, 3:30(ish) PST.
Gonna need another ~15 minutes or so.
>Grab a beer and figure it out.

You need a drink. Your head hurts and your body hurts and you're panicking just a little. It's not an unfamiliar state. You just need a drink.

Actually, you need a beer. You need a really nasty beer; the kind that's basically just water and yeast and hope. The kind where the stray seed-pods float to the top and get stuck in your teeth. The kind that Dale would pop open on warm afternoons: "Is it any good," you'd say. He'd take a sip. "Nope." You'd laugh, and he'd laugh, and he'd pass you the bottle.

It's pure sentiment. It looks bad, it tastes bad, and the alcohol content is negligible. But godsdamn, you don't think you can go on without it.

And-- okay, well, there it is, you think. It's a plain white bottle, but "BEER" is written on the side in your best handwriting (still illegible).

"BEER" is the standard label for the kind of dreck you're looking for. You feel better already.

>|Mind: 20/100|

You take it from the air. You take it from the air, and out of perverse curiosity place it back. It hangs uncertainly for a long moment before falling and landing, softly. You stare at it; it quails finally at your gaze and shatters.

You still need a drink. Another bottle promptly appears, this time in your hand.

At least it smells right, you muse as you pop the cork: salty and dead. That's going to be how you smell soon, judging by the way this grey is crowding in on your vision. You have to get out.

Out and down, somehow. A cursory glance around reveals no obvious exit, so you'll have to make one, right? Think out. Think down. Take a swallow, nearly spit it out-- GODSDAMN that's shit, just the way you like it. You're glad you could get something right.

>|Mind: 27/100|

Maybe you're going about this the wrong way. You need specifics: there's no floor. The ground quakes under you. There's no floor, uh, under where you are specifically, and there is no floor and there's never been a floor.

Instinct leaves you clinging one-handed to the edge of a very sudden hole. You swallow, loosen your grip, and drop with a yelp quickly stifled with the mouth of the bottle. You're certain you look much cooler than you do.

Unlike before, you're not really in a tunnel: you're in a dark, open space, rushing towards a pinprick of light below.

"Ellery," something hisses, and you drink harder. "How nice of you to visit..."

It's fine. It's fine.

Something twines around your legs, which is not fine at all. It's too dark to see. "Cat's got your tongue? No need to apologize... we have plenty of time later. Good-bye, Ellery." It untwines just as you near the pinprick, which has been stubbornly refusing to grow larger the closer you get. You hit it and fold in on yourself, crumpling like tissue paper to fit-- and speed out into a cacophony of color and jostling shapes. You unfold, unceremoniously, just before hitting the ground.

Your ache is renewed, though you're slightly less wet. Mostly, you feel rumpled in ways you'd rather not ruminate on. It is not, overall, good.

>|Mind: 22/100|

Your beer is about half-empty, and you chug the remainder laying down. You're on some sort of street, you think, but you can't decide if it's sand or dirt or cobbled. It seems to be having a difficult time deciding, too, as it shifts rapidly between the two.

Everything seems to be shifting, in fact: pedestrians stream past and through you in changing shoes and hues and faces, while the buildings appear to be a mutt of canvas tent, driftwood shack, and mansion. You stand up unsteadily, tossing the bottle away (it remembers to shatter), and search for some order in this chaos.

You find a few. A heavily-patched tent is propped against the base of one of many mock-pillars. A shabby storefront (the sign says "Wares!")-- you breathe hitches. No. Maybe. And you could probably get everything else to stop moving, too, if you could focus.

>[1] Enter the tent.
>[2] Walk up to the storefront.
>[3] Stop a pedestrian.
>[4] Stop a building.
>[5] Write-in.
>[4] Stop a building.

Go big
Rolled 1 (1d3)

Rolling for what you land on.
>Stop a building.
>1: Canvas tent(s).

Your burdgeoning headache could be due to a lot of things, but you've decided to pin it on your environs. Things would be much nicer if only it wasn't quite so uncertain, because as it is you're having trouble keeping track.

You fix on a ramshackle edifice directly in front of you. It seems to be having difficulty choosing a number of windows-- first four, than two, than one large one with waxpaper in the panes. "Stop," you order, and regret how dumb that sounds. There's no coming back. "Um, no... no windows."

It has no windows. (Windows always let in the cold, you felt, no matter how pretty they might be.) Without them, the whole structure looks far more tent-like. There, isn't that the rope hanging down? If if wasn't, it is now-- and same for the stakes, and the poles. Was it ever really a proper building? You don't think it was.

Really, it's the same for the others-- how did you think they were ever wood or sandstone? They're clearly, obviously canvas tents, like the type in the camp or your head. And now that you see it, isn't this the camp? There's no people here, only sand and a sad fence. And water, of course. You're underwater.

Here we are. This feels righter, though your headache persists. You're in the camp. The seagrasses shift in the currents.

The storefront is still where you left it, as is the battered tent-- though an identical copy rests a few feet away from it.

>[1] Walk up to the storefront.
>[2] Walk up to the original tent.
>[3] Seek out someone in particular. (Specify anyone who lives at the camp.)
>[4] Put it back. Can you put it back?
>[5] Write-in.
Aw shit, is this the camp but inside our head? Our mental map of the camp?

Look for Maddy.
Supportan, brain Maddie yes please
>Look for Madrigal.
>Seek out Madrigal.

It's hazily lit, maybe an overcast day or a bright night. Much like last night, actually, and you regard the two patched tents uneasily.

You don't think anything happened between Madrigal and you, but with a gaping hole in your memory it's difficult to say for sure. It's also a conversation the two of you should have at some point, and one you're not super looking forward to. This might be a good trial run.

You're facing the same way you first came in, which would make her tent the first on the right. You waver for a moment on which of the two tents to try, but decide on the new one. Might be safer.

"Fuck offff" is the slurred response to your knock, and you figure that's about as good as you're going to get. You push open the tent flap to find Madrigal laying exactly where you left her.

"Fuck offff," she repeats, and turns slightly over. Her bleary eyes slide onto your face.

"Don't think I can," you say. "Sorry."

"What tha' fuck ish that s'posed mean? Fuck. Your always so... so 'fusing."

Right now, you're just confused. "Wait, are you real?"

"What?" Her cheek is red where she slept on her arm. "Whadda you think?"

"I don't know, um. You seem very..."

"Godsh, you're a dumbass. No."

"So you're not drunk?"

"I'm exactly as... as drunk as y' think I am." She sits up fully and runs a hand through her hair.

"So very, I guess, considering how, um, I last..."

"Yesh. Not cool."

>[1] Get defensive. She was very rude! You even bothered to make sure she didn't die!
>[2] Get to the point! Did we or did we not bang?
>[3] Does she know what happened when you were out? You seem to be keeping a lot of secrets from yourself.
>[4] Write-in.
>[3] Does she know what happened when you were out? You seem to be keeping a lot of secrets from yourself.
>[3] Does she know what happened when you were out? You seem to be keeping a lot of secrets from yourself.

All our head constructs are so knowledgeable about their own place in things.
>[3] Does she know what happened when you were out? You seem to be keeping a lot of secrets from yourself.
>[4] Write-in. Maybe don't think of her as drunk, see what happens. Happy? Depressed? Wanting to stab you again? Who knows!
>[4]: Manipulate her mental state for fun and profit!
>Hey, so, uh, you know what happened?
>Make her less drunk + dick around in various other ways.

"Um, sorry."

"Wrong... pershun t'... to talk to." She half-heartedly feels around for the HD jug which you'd helpfully reburied.

"Can I make you, um, less drunk?"

"Do whaddever you want, I guessh."

"You're not drunk." You wave your outstretched arm in a circle. "Pow."

"Yor such a fuckin' dork. Godsh...damn, just close your eyes."

"And that's gonna..."

"No. Fuck. Gotta really picture it, y'know. Do whadever fuckin'... arm twirls y' want, doesn't matter."

You do not do any arm twirls, but you do picture her firmly sober. She's yelling at you about closets. She's yelling at you about stepping on her neck, or something. She's stabbing you.

"Took you long enough." She spits on the sand. "Feck."

You point with both fingers. "So, now that you're feeling better..."

"It's your fault in the first place."

"I also- I also, uh, made it stop. Um. Do you..."

You're not ready to ask about the sex. Broaden the topic.

"...remember...what happened? Uh, we, um, drank the weird thing, and I passed out, right. So I don't know if you... um..."

"You're hopeless. I have no clue what she knows, Ellery."

You open your mouth. She ducks her head and puts a finger up.

"But! In this one case, I do know what you know. By the way, you probably need to reevaluate your habits if blacking out is a regular thing. Just saying."

You scoff. "What- I- I'm fine. Would you stop being cryptic? Did I black out or not?"

"Maybe for a little, I dunno. Not for most of it. You were being feckin' weird for most of it."

"Is that a crack at how I normally..."

"It should've been. Damn. No, um, you were feckin'... I don't know. Didn't know who I was. Didn't know where you were."

"What?" That sounds worse than usual blackouts. "Like, memory loss?"

"Guess so."

"Well then... how do you know? If you're me, I guess, shouldn't you..."

"Am I you?"

"I thought..."

"Dunno. Maybe the thing doesn't think so. Or maybe it just doesn't go deep enough. Feck if I know, right?"

This is not good news.

>|Mind: 21/100|

You're a little disturbed by her/your nonchalance at this. Scared would probably be a better reaction, and one you'd far prefer. When have you seen her scared? The crabs-

"You're cute." Fear seems to be the last thing on her mind. "But you can't really picture it. You don't know me enough."

>[1] You've seen her angry, at least, and it's better than nothing at all. Try it.
>[2] If she's not lying, what caused the amnesia? The drink? But how?
>[3] So did we have sex, or...?
>[4] Write-in.
>[2] If she's not lying, what caused the amnesia? The drink? But how?

I'm 101% sure we didn't bang.

You may be sure, but Ellery is not at all sure and he REALLY wants to get it clarified.

"I don't think I know me enough. Why am I learning new things? Shouldn't I know this?"

"Do you think you're special?"

You stuff your hands back into your pockets. "I... well, maybe, um..."

She laughs. "Haha! No. Everybody's feckin' like this; you just like to get all hands-on. Don't worry too much about it."

"How am I not supposed to worry about it! And how do you know other people are like this! I sure don't know that."

"Don't worry about it! You know all the things you're supposed to, I think. Keep those in your head and the rest will be handled just fine."

You don't like this answer in the slightest. "So you do know things I don't... and you're not gonna tell me."

She raises her eyebrows. "Never said that."

"So you will tell me."


"So you don't know things I don't?"

"Nope. Um, I think. Got lost in the double negative."

You sigh. "Look, do you at least know... why I blacked out? Or is that a secret?"

"Didn't black out, and not really, no. Probably the drink, given that's what you had immediately before. Way to go on safety!"

"Okay, you know what? The real Madrigal wouldn't say that."

"Sorry." She adjusts her position: a little looser, a little laxer. "Way to not go on safety!"

>[1] "You're not very good at this."
>[2] "Okay, I don't understand why everyone keeps admonishing me. Shouldn't we all be in this together?"
>[3] "This is a fun conversation. Do you know how to get out of here?"
>[4] "What's with the storefront outside?" You know what's with the storefront, but you want to hear it from someone else.
>[5] Write-in.


Except it's not even us, but just me. Apparently our psyche contains an unhealthy amount of self deprecation.
Breaking for dinner. Continuing to write on return.
"Okay, that's what I don't get."

She flashes an arch smile. You don't return it.

"Besides the not knowing thing. I'm past that. Why don't you agree with me?"

"I'm difficult like that."

"No, it's not you. And it wouldn't matter if it was, because this- it's all me, right? There's no difference between you and, I don't know, this tent." You shake it for emphasis.

"I'll pretend to get offended at that."

"Fine. So why don't you agree? Why do you have problems with my drinking-- which is fine-- and why do you, I don't know, break character to tell me that? Like, I was fine when... when he did it, because it was our thing, right? But you should be with me here."

"Goodness." You'd never admit it, but the way her eyes crinkle up at the edges is pretty cute. "There's a shitton to unpack here. You have a thing."

"Like, a..." This is seeming more and more like a bad idea. "A, um..."

"A bit. Good gods. Moving on."

You backpedal at the speed of sound. "Okay, I never said 'a bit'. I did not say that."

"You were gonna. Moving on! You're wrong."

"I seem to always be." You go somewhere, you get lectured at, you go somewhere else. It's tiring.

She nearly falls back over. "Hahaha! Shit! That's the most honest thing you've said all day. But no, yeah, you're super wrong. You're looking at it wrong."

You know she's going to continue. There's no point in saying anything.

"You think you're the arbiter of all things Ellery Routh, which is a fairly easy mistake to make. I get it. You're not."

Just let it wash over you.

"Let me put it this way. Everybody is on a horse. You are driving the horse, except you have a blindfold on and don't know how to drive a horse. Everyone else is yelling instructions in unison at you on how to drive that horse. You ignore us and drive the horse over a fecking cliff. Does that make any sense?"

"Not at all."

"You're the worst part of you."

It hangs in the air. She sighs and holds her head in her hands.

"Let me... let me rephrase that. You're the... you're... look. Fundamentally, you're a normal, well-adjusted person. You're nice. You're honest. You try your best."

"Well, I'm not going to argue with that."

"You want to."

"Why would I want to? Those are positive things. I'm not gonna dispute them."

"You want to," she says, with a wicked gleam in her eye, "because for whatever inane reason you loathe being normal. You can't stand it. So you build up this fecking barrier of weird around you to keep it contained. You talk too much or too little. You stare too much or too little. You're abrasive, except for when you're put-upon. You drink but you don't smoke. You deliberately throw yourself into trouble and you deliberately keep yourself out of safety. Do you seriously think your life had to go like this?!"

"What? Yes!"

"They have programs, Ellery, they have charities and they're shit but they do exist. You have never used them. Why?"

"I'm proud."

"You're not proud. You want to preserve your fecking specialness."

"I don't... agree with that."

Her voice loses its bite. "I don't think you can agree. I don't think you do it on purpose. Um." She relaxes from her half-crouch. "I'm sorry. I guess it boils down to... you stopped the horse and finally gave the riders a chance to sit you down and give you pointers."

> "Not like I'm going to listen to you or anything, but.. well, what now? What can I even do?"
>"Not like I'm going to listen to you or anything, but.. well, what now? What can I even do?"

"I don't agree," you say again. Your mouth is dry.

"How could you agree?"

"I don't know what that means. I just don't, okay? I don't." Your eyes are dry, too. You squeeze them shut and open again.

"I'd be worried if you did, is what I mean. You're doing great."

"Thanks. Um, I don't agree with you, at all. But if I did. If I did agree, um... what now?" The words feel hollow and sound hollow.


"What now? I mean, what do I do, if I'm so bad?"

"Oh, oh no. No. You're not bad." She attempts to stand but hits her head on the ceiling. "Ow. I'm sorry I said that, Ellery. You're not bad."

"What am I, then?"

"You're... who you are. And who you are is complicated, and frustrating, but it's not bad. It's not bad."

You collapse onto the sand like someone's cut your strings. Madrigal kneels, again, close to you. "Ellery."

"Fuck." You can't contain yourself. "Fuck. What do I do? If I agreed with you, which I- what can I do?"

"Ellery." She takes your chin in her hand. "Look at me."

Madrigal's clear green eyes are gone, clouded by a thick smear of mud-brown. They're not brown. They're hazel.

You attempt to squirm away. "Okay, that's creepy. Please don't..."

"Sorry." The green returns. "But seriously. There's nothing you can do."

"You should've started with that. You should've gone: I am going to list all of the things wrong with you, and by the way you can't fix them."

"Ellery! There's nothing to fix. You're not broken. You do self-destructive things; so do most people! I may personally wish you didn't but that's not... I'm not important."

"Hey, Maddie. Of course you're important."

She releases her grip. "You've known this chick for four days. Get ahold of yourself."


"And anyways, I'm not her. I'm the fragment of your mind you've put towards her. Save it for the real deal."

"Okay, sorry."

"Right. So I'm not important. In the end, you're the one driving the horse."

"I don't know if you drive a horse. I'm not sure."

"It shows. Just... live your life. It'll work out."

She hesitates, leans in, and pecks you on the cheek. "See you around," she whispers, and vanishes.

Shit. How convenient is that?

>[1] Just sit here until a hole opens up under your feet and drops you to where you need to go.
>[2] You know what you need? More emotional bruising. Find Sarah at the storefront.
>[3] You know what you need? Another beer.
>[4] Write-in.
That's all for now, folks. Vote is open until next session, which I hope to be tomorrow at the usual time. Good night!

>[1] Just sit here until a hole opens up under your feet and drops you to where you need to go

Bullyiny ellery is a new tradition that I can gladly get behind.

See ya tomorrow Bathic

>You're the worst part of you
>wait I didn't mean to call you bad

Looks like every part of Ellery has communication issues. Truly there is no hope.
Please roll me 3d100s+14 (+14 Clouded Mind) vs. DC 60 for desperately hoping you'll fall into a hole and disappear.

So, bad news: I'm sick. Good news: I now have a lot of free time on my hands! Run ETA is pushed up to ~10-12 AM PST (ie whenever I wake back up). Have a good morning!
Rolled 55 + 14 (1d100 + 14)

>I just stopped being sick
Thanks for taking my illness OP
Rolled 84 + 14 (1d100 + 14)

Feel better.
Rolled 61 + 14 (1d100 + 14)

>Critical Success!

(And thanks guys. It's just a sore throat and a fever at the moment, so nothing serious.)
>Be depressed.


You sit crosslegged on the floor and hold your forehead in your hands. Godsdamn.

How are you supposed to take that? How are you supposed to sit here with the knowledge that...

You want to argue. You want to scream and pound your fists and say that no! That's not you at all! And how would you know, anyways, you don't know a single blessed thing about me...

But how can you do that when "you" is... you? You can't. And so you are forced to sit here and try desperately not to cry.

It would be better off, maybe, if you just weren't here.

You weren't expecting to be taken so literally. You're quick enough to grab the edge of the hole that appears under you and manage to lever yourself out via a lot of kicking and squirming.

It's very black, indeed, more like a splotch of ink than an actual object. You place a tentative boot in, than snatch it back. You have no interest in falling or snake monsters(?) or getting compressed into a single point. Wouldn't it just be easier if it just led directly into the space behind your eyes, instead? Wouldn't it save all that trouble.

There's a smudge of bright pink in the black now.

It's good enough for you. You execute a perfect three-point landing on the vaguely spongy blackness, and are pleased to have something go right.

>|You have a degree of manipulation over where and how you go in your mind.|

"What the feck?" You voice echoes out from nowhere in particular.

"What?" It's Arledge, you think, though he's very faint.

"I think he's, uh, in..." You nearly jump as Blue-eyes flickers in to your right. He squints at you and vanishes.

"No, yeah, he's in here. Doesn't look too great, either."

"Fascinating." That's Lorne. "Fucking fascinating. I assume this isn't normal?"

"It's not."

"Does he talk?" You can imagine Arledge circling you.

You don't have time for this. "Of course I talk. Can we go back?"

"He said, uh, he does talk and he wants to go back."

"Really! He did it in the first place. What fucking happened, then?"

"I don't..."

He appears again, though not very well-- all faint around the edges. "Look, what did happen? You aren't supposed to be here, it's not healthy. Is everything okay?"

You hate how concerned he looks.

>[1] "Feck off. Just put me back."
>[2] "Hi, is there any chance you resent me, maybe?"
>[3] "It's fine. I'm fine."
>[4] "Not really." Explain.
>[5] "Write-in."
>[5] "It's surprisingly busy in here!"

"You say I shouldn't be here, but other parts of me recommended I come here so I don't know what I want me to really do."
>[5]: It's surprisingly busy!
>[5]: Look, I was told to come here, so I don't know what to tell you.

>Is there any chance you resent me?
>Look, I was told to come here.
>It's very crowded.

"Um," you say, and rub your cheek. "I was told to come here. It's safest, or something."

"It probably is, but... look, you're not supposed to be anywhere. You ought to be sleeping, not walking around, okay? You're not equipped to handle it."

"I did just fine."

"Somehow. And I'm not sure you did, either. Were you crying?"

"No! No, I wasn't... I wasn't crying."



"Okay!" He puts his hands up. "You weren't. You just got something in your eyes."

"Maybe." You pick at the tear in your jacket. "Do you resent me?"

"What? No. Who said that?"

"Nobody." Time to change the subject. "It's busier than, um, I expected. Is it normal to have it be so busy?"

"I don't have any way of knowing. But I think so."

"Oh." You've moved on to picking at your collar.

"Anything?" Arledge is an unwelcome intrusion. You pull your jacket tighter around you.

"No," Blue-eyes shouts back, and returns his fecking pity to you. "Seriously, you look like garbage, and I'm not having a lot of fun either. We should get you back where you should be."

>[1] That won't be necessary. You just need a nap or a drink or something along those lines. He can carry on with what they're doing.
>[2] Gods, please, yes.
>[3] Write-in.
We'll check out 'down' later.

Unless that means retaking control, in which case

Pretty sure it does mean that. Want to go explore 'down?'
Rolled 1 (1d2)

It does mean retaking control, so let me roll for the outcome.
Err, I'll let you change your vote if need be.
Nah, I'll join the other guy. We can stay.
It was more that Ellery seems miserable right now, like he wouldn't be up to talking to Arledge and Lorne.
I'll leave this open for deliberations while I eat lunch.
>It was more that Ellery seems miserable right now, like he wouldn't be up to talking to Arledge and Lorne.
Okay, so what do you want to do instead? I want to go down.
Sounds good to me as well. RIP OP's lunch.
>Go down.
>No thanks.
>You want to go down.


"What? Look, you'll feel better when you're in control, and I will too. Do you know how hard walking is?"

"I won't feel better." You jab a finger towards his chest. "I won't! And do you know why?"

"I have no idea why."

"Because I'm a fuck-up! I'm gonna take the horse reins and drive off a cliff, and I can't stop it, and you can't stop it. I can't deal with that, and I don't know why you can."

"You're not, Ellery, so..." He scratches the back of his neck, and his eyes are so big and sad...

"See! Look at that. Be mad at me. Be scared of what I'm gonna do next. But stop pitying me, godsdamnit! I don't deserve it."

"You had a number done on you, huh? Look, I'm not gonna kick you while you're down. There's no point in that."

You hug your arms close to your body. "I deserve it."

"Says who? Are you dead?"

"No, but..."

"Well, then you've done a better job than all the dead people out there, right? Come on. I really think you'll feel better."

You don't take his outstretched hand. "No. I'm going down."

"That's even less safe, Ellery, you can't. Listen-"

"Less safe. Perfect. Let's go."

"What the fuck is taking so long?" Lorne is pissed. "What's his deal?"

"Would you give me a second!"

He shakes his hand. "Please."

>[1] Go with him.
>[2] Go down.
>[3] Write-in.
>>[2] Go down.
Going dooooown!
Please roll me 3 1d100s+14 (+14 Clouded Mind) vs. DC 65 for dropping to the next level down.
Rolled 14 + 14 (1d100 + 14)

Yay self destructive behavior
Rolled 50 + 14 (1d100 + 14)

>|You have a degree of manipulation over where and how you go in your mind.|
Rolled 79 + 14 (1d100 + 14)

Crit fail time?
Writing. Sorry, took a nap.
>Go down.
>28, 64, 93 vs. DC 65 - Failure!

"No! Feck off. I'm going to make my own shitty decisions."

He sighs. "Try."

"Fine! Here goes!" You stomp the ground. "Bye!"

Nothing happens.

"Come on, seriously."

You stomp the ground again. "BYE!!"

Nothing happens.

"It's hard to get in there. You can't just hope really hard, which I can feel you doing. Why don't you redirect that energy to..."


"...To something productive. Come on. You're smarter than this."

>[1] You're not fucking smarter than this! Try again (lower DC).
>[2] Fine, maybe you won't go down. But you're not switching back.
>[3] Fine. Fine. But you're not doing anything productive when you switch back.
>[4] Write-in.
I'm happy with any of the choices, desu.
Rolled 3 (1d3)

Rolling, in that case, and then writing.
>Jeez, okay.

"Fine. Fine."


"Gods. What other choice do I have? But I'm not doing any tests, any studies, probably any interaction with people..."

He grips you by the shoulders. "Good man! Let me just tell them." He shouts behind him to nothing in particular. "Hey, we're stopping this whole thing. You're getting Ellery back."

"It's been ten fucking minutes! We've done one thing!"

"Sorry!" He turns back around to you, and the sheer relief in his eyes is far worse than pity. "Okay, let's... I think it's easier with you right here. Stay still."

You attempt to wrest away from his grip. "I'm not gonna feckin' hold still. What are you doing?"

"Shh." He pats you firmly on the back. "This'll be fine! Trust me, Ellery."

"I'm not gonna... you're, like, the least trustworthy..."

"Here goes." He releases you and takes a couple paces back.


And he charges at you at full speed. You brace yourself, prepared to stumble backwards and then yell at him: what is he doing...

On the moment of impact, he instead phases through you. You stumble forward, not back, and find your eyes closed. Behind you, he whispers "Godsdamn finally"...

And you open your eyes. Lorne and Arledge start back. "Damn!" "Fuck!"

You feel better, in some ways.

>|Mind: 35/100|

You feel worse in other ways. Namely, you need to puke. And your arm hurts.

"Now that was worth the fucking price of admission! What's your name?"

"You know my name." The sun is very bright. You still need to puke.

"This is routine, Ellery. Just answer it."

"Graves knows what he's fucking talking about!"

"Ellery Routh."

"How old are you?"

You waver. "Um... high twenties."

"Close enough. Who are we?"

"You're Arledge, and he's, um, your weird friend. Or something."

Arledge smirks. Lorne hoots with laughter. "Ha! He's fucking all right."

"Hold on, Lorne. Do you know what happened?"

Not... really. You know you switched. You lowered yourself into the place with the tent, and you were mad or sad about something. Something silly, probably.

"A little, I guess."

"It's more than us, so no worries. How do you feel?"

"I need to puke, um, so."

"Oh! Here. Lorne, come on." Arledge drags Lorne away from your... bedside, you guess. "Just do it on the sand."

You vomit. It's mostly bile, with specks of black you don't want to identify.

"Can I get a sample..."

"Lorne! We're not sampling his vomit!"

>[1] "You can... sample it. I don't care."
>[2] You're curious. "What did it look like this time? The whole... thing."
>[3] "What'd you do in ten minutes? I don't know, it felt longer."
>[4] "Where am I?"
>[5] "Write-in."
>What's the point of all the different places in my mind?
>What's the point of all the different places in my mind?
> Responsible Me, what do you got?
>What's the point of all the different places in my mind?
>Responsible Me, what do you got?

"Ugh." You lift a leg over the side and kick some sand over your puke. "Sorry."

"No, no."

Arledge stands with his arms crossed, while Lorne has his on his hips. They watch you.

"I'm not gonna... I'm not gonna do anything. You don't have to stay here."

"We'll worry about what we fucking do or don't do. Do you have a question?"


"You look like you have a question."

"Not really... um." Actually, maybe. "Do you know anything about, uh, parts of the mind? Like, maybe, as places, or... I don't know."

Arledge shakes his head. "No. What do you mean? I don't think so, at least."

"I... I don't know." It's lost to you. "Sorry."

Don't ask too many questions.

Wow, he's back already. You're thrilled.

I mean it. If you do, sooner or later you're gonna get an answer you don't like. Like... just now, for instance.

Now? Arledge could be lying, you guess, but it's not like he said 'yes, and it means you're crazy'. You hope you aren't crazy.

Not that. We don't have to talk about it. I'm just glad you're feeling better, Ellery.

It's hard to judge that when you don't know how you felt before.


>[1] Does he know about mind...places?
>[2] "Poorly" doesn't mean anything. What was wrong?
>[3] He has a... scar. Why does he have a scar? You don't have a scar there, you're certain.
>[4] What does he think about the tent? Either he likes it or he agrees with you, so you count it as a win either way.
>[5] Write-in.
> We kinda lost track of what we were supposed to be doing. So uh, how about we get on with it? Whatever it was? Something about seeing and creating tents?
I think I'm gonna call it here: not feeling too great and I'm taking far too long to update. Next session tomorrow or Saturday, haven't decided. Vote's open till then.

Have a nice evening!
Did Arledge TORTURE him for info?
>[1] Does he know about mind...places?
>[2] "Poorly" doesn't mean anything. What was wrong?
File: get on with it!.jpg (138 KB, 1500x844)
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>pic related


Writing. Probably sole update for the day (got a 102 degree fever!); running tomorrow.
>(got a 102 degree fever!);
>Not progressing the plot at all!

You know you were acting poorly. You know what you said. What you lack is any idea why, and that's really what you were going for there...

What did I literally just say? What was the thing about the questions?

You never asked any questions.

It was implied.

Never said anything about implications. What's with the scar?

That was a question. That was just a straight-up question.

I don't know.

How does he not know how-

It just happened at some point. I genuinely have no idea.

Is he sure? Because he was stuck with Arledge for a long time, and you don't know, Arledge feels like he could be hiding something. He may or may not be performing human sacrifices, after all, so it's not beyond the pale to think...

What? No. No. It happened before that.

And I didn't see any evidence of human sacrifice. He was very polite, actually.

Murderers are usually polite.

Polite in a non-murderer way.

How can he tell the difference between murderer-polite and non-murderer polite? If it were obvious, murderers would all be arrested, and you know full well that's not true. There was that guy going around clocking people over the head with a bag of wet sand, and they never got him.

They could've got him by now. You don't know.

In five days? No way. He's still out murderering.

Whatever. I guess it's possible he's a murderer/human sacrificer, but he didn't murder me or anything. I actually murdered him more than he murdered me.

You bet Arledge is still mad about that, and that someday he's gonna sneak up on you and snap your neck. And it's not gonna be your fault.

I don't want to talk about it.

And it was his fault, anyways.

You think not-you is kind of a pussy-ass bitch. Murdering defenseless people, spilling all your dirt to said defenseless people...

I thought he was a murderer. Does it count if a murderer gets murdered? I don't think so.

He wasn't murdering at the time, was he? No. He was dealing with having you in his head, cue comment about how it's hard enough being in your own head with you, you're waiting...

I don't have to say anything if you come up with it first. And seriously, 'dirt'? It was a mix of basic biographical info, and, like, 'are you really sure you're feeling less murder-y now'.

You don't like the first part.

What's he gonna do? Chant your last name over an open fire to curse you?


No. You might've been better upset, I swear.

And he's still not going to tell you why?

I don't know for sure. And no.

I don't think you want to go back there. Don't you remember?

Sure, but there's no emotional attachment involved. You could've stubbed your toe, for all you know. Why don't you remember?

I also don't know for sure, but I just don't think you can handle it.

You can handle a lot of things.

Physically handle it. You're not built to function... there.

What, and he is?

Sure. But I'm not real, Ellery, I don't have to deal with everything that comes with being real. You're real, you have *blood*--

So what? Doesn't everyone? Maybe you wish you didn't have to look at it, but you know it exists...

Well, sure. Everyone real has blood, they have to. Roll up your sleeve.

There better be a point to this. You wince and groan as you prop yourself up on the achey arm and go about unbuttoning your jacket.

"He's up," Arledge says, and you glance from your buttons. He's leaning restlessly in the corner; Lorne is nowhere to be seen.

Come on.

Gods, okay. You wriggle out of the jacket and slide down your shirtsleeve. Boy, that sure is your arm.

Other-- other arm.

Gods, okay. You slide down your other shirtsleeve. And... oh, shit, that's a pretty big cut. Fresh, too. You stifle a gag.

Oh, good. Yeah, so, they wanted to get a blood sample from me...

And he let them?!

Why not! It didn't matter, anyway, they couldn't. I don't have any.


No blood. It was pretty freaky. Made the cut where yours is, but nothing came out.


That's not the half of it. It was all empty inside, too, none of the usual gunk. I could wiggle my finger around in there.

Like paper mache.

Sure, I guess. Outside seems normal, though, all warm and everything, the usual. Don't ask me why.


No, I mean... I don't know why. Try and think about it for a little bit. Is it something *you* would know?

You don't know what you know, anymore. At one point you thought you did, but at the moment it's up for grabs. Who's the sandbag murderer guy?

I don't know that, either. Have you ever seen him? Or her? It could be a girl, and that's why she's gone unarrested so long, nobody would think...

Well, no.

Right, so what am I supposed to do? I don't have magic answers.

It feels very much like he has magic answers. You have magic questions that appear from nowhere. It's a great fit. What's with the mind... places? Layers?

Nope, okay. I'm going back to the 'avoid questions' thing. I'm not discussing that.

So you know?

Godsdamn, of course I know. It's best if you don't. I mean it.

You continue to think not-you is kind of a pussy-ass bitch.

"Um," Arledge says, and clears his throat loudly. "Ellery?"

You shove your shirtsleeves back down and hasten to get your coat back on. "Yeah?"

"If I'm inturrupting..." He fiddles with his collar.

"Nothing useful. What?"

"Hold on. Lorne!"

Lorne rushes through the doorway wielding a syringe in one hand, a jar in the other, and a swab in the crook of his arm. "Fuck. Is he done?"

"Seems like it. Hey, Ellery, uh, would you mind if we took a blood sample? Not a big one."

>[1] "Uh, sure." You're reasonably certain this is for a good cause.
>[2] "...No..." Open fires. Curses.
>[3] "Um, why?"
>[4] "So what do you know about not... having any blood?"
>[5] Write-in.

Blood and seawater seem like the main substances of magic, shouldn't give ours away all willy nilly.
>[3] "Um, why?"
>[4] "So what do you know about not... having any blood?"

Can never be too careful
Question is why our Eidolon does things we don't want and don't like if he's bound to our preconceptions.
I think there's too much dialogue, vagueness, and lack of action. When do we get to shoot waterballs?
I'm kidding a bit about that last one, but this thread is entirely us talking to people who refuse to make anything clear, and there's nothing that says that anything we explore or ask about even matters.
When do we get to use what we 'learn', and I mean that very loosely?
Atmosphere and characterization is all well and good, but it's not a story in itself. Not even if you add in snappy dialogue, and that's getting more worn down by the update.
At some point, we need to get to the point.
>What if you don't have any blood?

"I mean... I would probably mind, yeah. Why?"

Arledge shoots Lorne a capital-L Look and shifts his position. "Comparision. Lorne can take a look and see where it falls in with other samples we have. Should help to see what's going on with you."

You hug your jacket tighter against you body. "All blood looks pretty much the same, though."

Lorne guffaws. "Ha!"

"It looks pretty much the same, sure, but it's not. It's like... did you know everybody's fingerprints are different?"

You squint at your thumb. "No."

"Okay, pretend you did. It's like that, but... more. It makes you different."

You frown. "What?"

"It would help if you knew about fingerprints... okay. Imagine I took you and, I don't know, Lorne-"

"Fuck no."

"Imagine I took you and Lorne. And somehow I managed to take all the blood out of your body, and all the blood out of Lorne's body."

"Well, I'd die." This is sounding murder-y.

"Nobody has ever actually done this, because yeah, you'd both die. Just imagine. And then I put all of Lorne's blood in your body, and all of yours in Lorne's."

"I think I'd still die."

"Yes, okay. Here's the point: you would look the same, and you would sound the same, but it wouldn't be you. Everything 'you' about you would be gone. Instead, all of your throughts and your actions would be his."

"Don't fucking freak, Routh. I see that look." You attempt to remove that look, and Lorne returns to polishing the syringe with a small cloth. "It's never gonna happen. I'd kick his ass."

"Uh... fine. What if, um, you didn't have any blood?"

"Oh man!"

"Lorne. At that point, you're gone. You're still alive, down here, but there's nothing of you left. It's not pretty."

It's not really the answer you're looking for. "Okay, and, um, if you never had any? Like, to begin with?"

"I see. Well, then you're not an actual living creature. You're not real, or you're... a number of things, but nothing all that good."

"Routh. Blood sample, yes or no." Lorne has finished polishing and now points at you with the needle.

"Maybe. How do I know you're not gonna, like, curse me with it?"

"There's no such thing as curses, Ellery, and the sample is going be too small to do anything with besides look at. You can watch and see."

You would rather not watch.

>[1] "Okay, fine."
>[2] "No thanks."
>[3] Write-in.
>[1] "Okay, fine." Get to the damn point.
Thanks for the thoughts. I appreciate them tremendously.
I don't have a lot to say except: I think you're largely correct, and I've been thinking about most of your points myself over the last few days.

I could write up a big post of reasons and explanations and excuses, but I don't think there'd be much of a point to that. I'll leave it to this: it'll probably always be dialogue-heavy and people will very often be vague. This dialogue-heavy? I hope not (I like writing exposition post #652 about as much as you like reading it). This vague? Well, maybe.
But that doesn't mean I can't improve.

I believe things will improve, and I believe they'll improve very soon (this thread, even). If you're willing to stick around for that, I'd like that. If not, thanks for voting so far.

If you have any other thoughts or questions, please let me know.


Also yeah you can't shoot waterballs
Booooo :P

I'm gonna stick around. I think this can continue to be a fun quest, I'm just pointing out a trend that can be changed if necessary.

Thanks. You can do... lots of other things, though ;)
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>Fine, whatever.

"Sure, I guess. Whatever."

"Took you fucking long enough." Lorne brushes past Arledge and crosses the room in long strides. "I need your arm. Jacket off."

For the second time, you unbutton your jacket and push up your shirtsleeves. "Even better," says Lorne, and takes the arm with the cut. "Hasn't gelled. Here, we don't even need the whole fucking syringe." He takes the swab instead and brushes it across the cut's surface.

You hastily roll the sleeve back down so you don't have to look, and Lorne steps back. "Arledge," he says. "You can take this. You know where everything is."

"Really!" Arledge stops scuffing his foot against the wall. "Are you sure..."

"I am as fucking sure as I can be. Go for it."

Arledge takes the swab and beats a hasty retreat. "Bye," Lorne calls after him, and turns his gaze to you. There's something distinctly predatory in it.

With a deliberate hand, he rubs the bloodstain off your cheek. The connection fizzles out. You're reduced to mute staring while he removes a cutlass from his back, scratches his hand, spits, and reapplies it.

"There," he says. "Just us, Routh."

It's possible you misjudged. Is he the murderer...

Lorne fishes around in an inside pocket of his duster and removes three small bottles. They're painted different colors: yellow, red, blue.

"You," he says, "get three questions. I am so sick of your fucking questions."

"Uh, yeah. Why did you just cut Arledge off..."

"He wouldn't approve, and I really don't want to deal with him not approving. He's going to screw up the testing, but I'll handle that later."

"Approve of what?"

"Uh," Lorne says, and rolls the bottles around in his hand. "I see potential in you. I would like to test out that potential in a manner that involves injecting one of these..." He shakes the red bottle. "into you. Surprise."

"What?! Is that safe?"

"Kid, I've done it a thousand times."

"What does it actually do--"

"Nope." He points with the red bottle. "Stop right fucking there. You got your questions. Pick a bottle."

"Maybe I don't want to."

"I'm not gonna drug you against your fucking will, Routh. But I think you've got potential, and this might be your one chance to find that out. Yes or no, pick a bottle."

>[1] The yellow bottle.
>[2] The red bottle.
>[3] The blue bottle.
>[4] No!
>[5] Write-in.
>The blue bottle
Fuck it. Let's do it
It does look the cutest.
>The blue bottle.
>The blue bottle.

You interlock your fingers.

"I don't..."

"Get your ass off the fucking fence and pick. You have two options."

Are you kidding? No!

"Yeah. Um, yes. Yes." If he's not going to tell you anything, you decide, you don't have to listen to him.

"Good man. What bottle?"

"The blue one." An auspicious color.

"Good!" He stuffs the other two bottles back into his duster pocket. "Take my arm. You are not gonna ruin my fucking guest bed."

Lorne sticks out his hand, and you wave it away. You don't need it. You slide off the side of the bed and nearly fall as a wave of nausea strikes you.

"Take my fucking arm, Routh."

You take his arm.

He hauls you up and turns to the wall right next to the bed. "Close your eyes. Come on."

"Could you be any more suspicious?"

"I'm gonna be whatever the fuck I want. Close your eyes."

You're in too deep. You obey, and he tugs you forward. You take a stumbling step, then two, and feel him stop. "We're clear. Come on."

The seagrass is a little sparser here, and the outcropping rocks are a rusty brown. You glance back and find no wall, or house, or anywhere you could've conceivably come from.

Lorne pries your hand off his arm and withdraws the syringe from his pocket. "Good enough. Stay right here."

You watch him warily as he circles you. "Neck or wrist," he says finally.

"What? Uh..."

"You're out of questions. Neck is faster but headier, wrist is a little easier but it's a slow burn. Pick your poison."

>[1] Neck.
>[2] Head.
>[3] Write-in.
Doi. Yeah, second option should of course be Wrist.
Well now things will definitely pick up.
>Well now things will definitely pick up.
We shall see.

"Wrist, I guess, but..."

He sweeps along. "Wrist! Not one to rip the bandage off, then. I always go for the neck myself, but all's fair."

You rub your shoulder. "I mean, I don't really know what this is about. If you want neck, I guess..."

"No fucking take-backs. I need your arm."

Hey, sorry, what? This is not okay. You can still back out, it's fine, just listen.

You push up a sleeve of your jacket and turn over your arm, exposing purple-blue blood vessels. Were you always this pale? You don't really take your jacket off often, you guess, and most of the lower levels were in the shade...


"Hold it there."

Lorne thrusts the syringe into the thin cork of the blue bottle's lid, draws the plunger, and slides it out. There's no way to see what's inside, but the needle tip glistens with a dark grey-blue liquid.

"Okay. Last step. Say 'I love you, Lorne Tracey.'"

"I l..." You trail off. He raises his eyebrows.


"Ha! Fuck. I can't handle it. You were gonna, though." He grasps your wrist, stabs the needle in, pushes down...

You would scream. You would scream loud, and shrill, and long, and this is the one instance you're glad you can't make sound. Instead you dig your nails deep into Lorne's sleeve and stare with bewilderment and hatred past the horizon.

It spits, and burns, and rages, and you spit and burn and rage right back at it. "Good!" Lorne is far too cheerful. "Go for its fucking eyes! You won't win, but it's good to fight. It's important."

Your arm is not your arm! Your arm is a foreign body, and it is trying to kill you! You double over, clench and unclench your fist, claw at your shoulder like you could get it off get it off!… Oh gods! Oh gods!

It's no use. It hits the rest of your body.

>|Blood: 75 (You) + 20 (???) / 100|

>Roll me 3 1d100s vs. DC 30 (-15 Wrist Injection) to fight!
Rolled 36 (1d100)

I'm gonna murder you, arm!
Rolled 79 - 15 (1d100 - 15)

There's no way this could go wrong!
Two successes, wooo! Give us a crit!
Rolled 99 (1d100)

Oh I misread that. Whoooops
>36, 79, 99 vs. DC 30
>Critical Success!

That's the spirit!
>36, 79, 99 vs. DC 30
>Critical Success!

It doesn't actually hit the rest of your body. "Hitting" implies force, implies speed. No: it seeps, it oozes, it worms and twists and inches across your back and down your side. Your arm drains of fury, but a feeling of wrongness abides.

You scream no longer. You seethe, and you run your fingers up and down and up and down your arm. You are paralyzed by contradiction: fight! says your head, and run! and hide!. Oh gods! says your head, too, and "There we go," says Lorne inside your head. "Almost there."

Your blood pumps in your ears. This is all wrong, and you want to peel off your skin and throw it away and replace it with something new and better, and you want to bury yourself in the white sand, and you want to lash out with your tail and see the life drain away from your prey, and you want to, you want to...

No! You don't, and this is not you wanting these things, anyways. You are the sole arbiter of this place! You will not truck with new thoughts, and new feelings. This is wrong, and, and oh gods...

You are crouching, both fists digging into the sand.

"Can you think?" Lorne is behind you, you can feel him behind you.


"Then we're not quite there. Hold on to me if you need to. You're doing fan-fucking-tastic, by the way."

You force out a bitter laugh.

Think. Your arms? Wrong. Your torso? You... can't tell. Your shoulders? Wrong. Your neck? Wrong. Your head?

It hits your head, and it does hit: probably like what those murder victims felt, you think, before the wave crashes down upon you.

"Mmmmm!" You struggle for light, for air, but it's like something's tied a sackcloth across your thoughts. "Mmmmm!" You're left with what you had bouncing around before: Fight! Run! Hide! Oh gods! Oh gods! Bury yourself in the white sand, and feed...

Oh gods! Oh gods! Your head roils and your blood boils and you buck and bolt upright. Your fists are back to clenching, unclenching.

"Alright," says Lorne, mildly, the one beacon of questionable sanity in your utter chaos. "Let's fucking go..."


It calms, and the sackcloth is removed. All of you is wrong! Tears of mirth come to your eyes. All of you is wrong, so none of it was ever right, and that's good. It feels good. You have sand all over you. This is good.

Hahahaha! Hahaha! It's good! It's good.


He can't kill your mood. Nothing can kill your mood.

Ellery. His voice is dangerous. I want you to look, okay? I want you to look here.

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You look. You can't handle it.

He has spots! Hahahaha! He has fecking spots. It's the best thing you've ever seen.

The spotted thing that sounds like you manages to look very embarrassed. Stop.

"All better, kid?" Lorne helps you up. "You did pretty fucking good. It's rough, I know."

"I'm fine. I'm okay."

"Knew I saw it! Graves can go stick his quarterstaff up his ass. Let's get you part two."

He wipes out the syringe with cloth and swipes it through the water.

>[1] Let's get you part two!
>[2] You already have unknown substances in you, so you feel like you're at least owed an explanation. Saltwater went poorly last time, after all.
>[3] Write-in.
>"Careful, I killed Arledge last time I had seawater. Let's do this!"
>"Why does my Eidolon look like a crab now?What's an Eidolon anyway oh god my blood burns!"
In a choice between getting things done and getting explanations, better do both at once while jumping off a cliff.
You gave my eidolon spots. blue polka dots.
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"Okay, I'm down for that. You should know that, uh, the last time this happened, there was..."

Lorne brushes you off. "Not worried about that. Arledge doesn't know what the fuck he's doing, and you're properly primed. Good luck trying to snap my neck with your fucking twig arms, by the way."

"Oh." You consider your twig arms. "Yeah, I guess."

"Great. I need your neck. You need it to hit the brain box as fast as possible, or you're gonna be pretty fucking confused."

"Sure." You fold down your collar. "Say, is there any reason why, my, uh, my... why he looks like a sort of crab-ish thing? White, spots, uh, four legs..."

"The word is 'eidolon', and I don't fucking know. Give me a minute." He puts his hands on his hips. "I dunno. Try picturing yourself."

"I know what I look like?"

"You just let me inject you with Seehike blood, kid. I don't think this is a big request."

Ah. That's not you, you think, you hope. That's a crab-ish thing with polka-dots.

>|Mind: 34/100|

"Okay, uh, I'm not coming up with... me."

"Bingo. He feeds off your self-image... you know, what you think you look like, what you fucking wish you looked like. Your self-image is currently a big ol' Seehike. See where this is going?"

Lorne stabs you on the neck with the syringe.

>| Blood: 65 (You) + 20 (Seehike) / 100|

"Ow! Gods! Could you warn a guy-"

"You squirm."

It tingles, but you don't feel anything further. You take as an opportunity to continue talking. "And I don't really follow. What's an eidolon?"

"It's your guy. Everyone's got an idea of themselves, right? Sometimes it comes off. I won't go into it, because you've got, like, three seconds. Two. One."

If the previous slugged you like a wet bag of sand, this slices through you like a hot knife through fresh clay. You are thrown to all fours and quiver there in blinding nothing. You can't think. You can't move.

"Okay," Lorne says. "Again, don't flip out. This is normal."

You would have something to say about that if you could.

Instead, you're forced to wait in indeterminable silence as seawater chugs through your veins. Pink crowds into your vision.

Lorne steps back.

>Roll 3d100+10 (Good Priming) vs. DC 40 for a graceful transformation!
Rolled 37 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>A graceful transformation

oh god
Rolled 87 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

Science??? Or magic? Magicience?
Rolled 5 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

Gimme SUCC
Womp womp
Um, I passed with the +10, so it's a success, but not a crit.
>47, 97, 15 vs. DC 45

This is decidedly not Skiens!
Scratch that! I am going to eat some food and leave you all to hang in suspense. Returning in ~30 minutes.
That took far longer than I wished it would've. Writing for real.
>47, 97, 15 vs. DC 45

It could be sweat, but sweat is not tacky, or thick, or purplish. No, this is something else beading out of the pores of your hand. This is something else trickling down your arm. This is something else pouring out of your mouth and nose and eyes.

You can think again. You think: I am going to die. Hahahaha! I am going to die!

"Don't give me that shit," Lorne snaps. "You were doing so fucking well."

It coats every inch of your skin and pools in the sand underneath you, congealing just enough to glue you firmly in place. Your fingers twitch, involuntarily, and tighten together. You are glad you can't see.

That being said, you haven't changed your mind. You are going to die.

"You're already dead, four." Arledge would've been reassuring, or at least worried. Why couldn't he be Arledge? "...one. Lights out."

A shock thrums up your spine and knocks you cold.

(Lorne keeps one eye on you and the other on his nice syringe, which he's already pre-filled. As the godstuff on one of your arms crusts and hardens, he jabs the needle into his neck and stifles a 'fuck!' with a well-timed bite to his thumb.

Watching your knees bend backwards makes him super fucking glad you can't feel it, or far worse see it. The unconciousness isn't a given, really more of a coinflip-- 'how panicky is your brain feeling today?'. The correct answer in this instance is 'super fucking panicky', and you seem to be right on the money.

Imagine him having to walk you through the whole thing. What a unbelievable fucking nightmare that would be. 'No, no, it's okay that you can't feel your hands.' 'Just keep still. Please don't gore me with a fucking leg, Routh.' etcetera. Fucking nightmare!

This-- he'll give you this part. He's always been fine with the adding; the issues came when the subtracting started. Ideally, you'd either be out or accustomed by then, but it doesn't always work like that. Green Sea give him life. But this is a good one.

This is a good one. And what a beauty, too. A fine hunting partner.

You stir.)



You feel tall.

"Don't move a fucking muscle, Routh, or I will personally end your miserable life."

You also feel like shit. "I thought... I was already dead."

"My nerves are about as worn through as your fucking pockets. I need you to listen. Do I sound like I'm joking?"

He sounds warm. You don't know what that means. "...No?"

"Good answer. DO NOT move. DO NOT open your eyes. I need you to find your hands."

Your hands are where your hands usually are. "Done?"

"Good. Move them around. Flex them. Put them together. Do whatever you usually do with them, I don't know."

"Is there something wrong...?"

You feel like maybe something's wrong, but nonetheless flex your fingers and roll your wrists for good measure. "You should tell me if something's wrong. And done, I guess."

"Everything has gone very smoothly, and I'm trying to continue that. Good. I want you to feel down your body, okay? Arms, chest, legs, whatever the fuck you want."

"I don't... I mean, I know it's there, Lorne." His persistent buzz in your ears is not helping you feel better.

"That makes one of us. Do it."

It feels like how you left it. Significantly less goop, which is a good sign, but otherwise normal. "Godsdamn. It's there. Are you gonna discuss the fact that all your stuff did was make a bunch of goop come out? I think it was faulty."

"Out of the fish I have to fry, that one is about the size of my finger. The one in the pan is the size of fucking... you."

"I'm not that tall." You do feel tall, which you suppose is warranted, because you haven't found anyone your height down here at the moment. You feel a little superior...

"My fucks are zero. Repeat: No matter what, I am me, and there's not a fucking thing that can change that, and I will not think otherwise."

"No matter what, I am me, and there's not a f...ecking thing that can change that, and I will not think otherwise."

"There we go. Open your eyes."

You open them, and they are wrong. The world is not supposed to be split a hundred times over. It is not supposed to glow. Why is Lorne so far under you?! Why are you so tall?!

"Wrong eyes! Close them!"

There are no lids to these eyes. These is no closing them. Lorne is small and furious a hundred times beneath you.

"Stop fucking looking, Routh! It's too early!"

>Roll 3 1d100s vs. DC 40 to stop looking / not freak!
Rolled 86 (1d100)

Oh boy, we're a giant crab now.

Well, we weren't seeing before he told us so the eyes must have some kind of off switch.
Rolled 76 (1d100)

>Am I sure I'm a crab?
Rolled 98 (1d100)

Today's very dice heavy, oh no
On the plus side we're rolling super well.
I've been rolling crazy good dice tonight godsdamn. Normally my rolls are always mockingly awful, this is different and weird.
>86, 76, 98 vs. DC 40
>Critical Success!
Very nice. Writing.

I'm not sure if this is intended to be monologue or dialogue-- in either case, Ellery has not yet put two and two together on the crab front.
>86, 76, 98 vs. DC 40
>Critical Success!

Not doing something is easier than doing something, and that fact holds true for looking. You just... don't, and things return to black.

"Good! Okay-"

"Lorne?" Something is wrong, you're pretty sure. "Are you going to explain...?"

"I'm getting around to it, holy fuck. Can you find your hands?"

They seem very cold, you realize, not like Lorne. He's so warm... But they're there, they're there. "Yeah, uh, yes."

"Okay. Feel up to your face. Find your eyes."

They are, as always, where you left them. "Yeah?"

"Open those. No other eyes. The eyes you're used to."

You open them, and they are right. You are still too tall, but you can deal with that.

Confusingly, Lorne has discarded his duster and is now totally shirtless. "Yes! Now we're fucking getting somewhere. Routh, I need you to listen to me, and I need you to NOT MOVE. Yes?"


"Yes. Here's the fucking deal. You remember when I told you to feel your hands, and your face, and so on?"

"It was, like, two minutes ago."

"Yeah. So, I lied. Those aren't actually there."

You scoff. "I felt them, and also I'm pretty sure I have hands."

"Perception is a powerful fucking thing, and so is routine. Keep looking at me, but I need you to feel how you are, okay? Here's a big fucking hint: what did you see when you tried to picture yourself?"

You're not ready for this. You're really not ready for this.

"Yeah, that was a little sneak-peek. Come on."

Do you have dots? Wherever not-you is, is he laughing?

"I can tell you aren't."

You don't want to.

But of course you can feel it. Maybe you could always, you don't know. You are hard and sharp and your tail whips from side to side.

It feels... good. It feels right. And you kind of like the whole utility of having four legs and these sort of pincer things.

It's not good! It's not right, at all, and you would please like your body back, oh gods--

You gently box up those voices and shove them in a metaphorical closet. What would the point of them be? So you're a... thing, now. Why not? What have you got to lose?

"Okay," you say, just a little unsteadily. "Uh, why?"

Lorne grins. "Lots of reasons. Thought you had potential. Haven't been hunting in a little while. Wanted to piss off Graves."

"And, uh, how?"


You have to speak very deliberately to keep from exploding into words and words and words. "Does that mean 'not telling', or, like, literal magic, uh..."

"Number two. Congrats."


File: lorne.jpg (24 KB, 564x365)
24 KB
"Yeah." Lorne stretches both of his arms over his head. "Oookay. Fuck. If you're good, then hold on. I need, like, thirty seconds." He leaves one arm in the air but finds a syringe with the other. It looks significantly nicer than the one used on you, which you're a little annoyed about. "Boom. Count if you want."

To your abject horror, he stabs the needle into the neck and immediately starts spewing pink goop. "Fuck. Thirty--"

You don't count, but you do watch in disgust as he's forced to his knees. "Ah," he says, as his back spasms and ripples with new muscle. "Urgh," he grunts, as his hands twist and pink stuff hardens into claws. The only muttered 'fuck' is from the jaw, you think, but you mostly stopped watching.

The big fish-thing shakes itself off like a wet dog and experimentally slaps its tail. "Was that thirty?" it says in Lorne's voice.

"I don't know, uh, sorry."

"Damn shame. We're set, though, so that's... shit, my duster." It lays a couple feet away from where Lorne used to be. "Could you grab that and shove it under a rock? I lack fine motor skills."

You would. You've never had six limbs before. "I don't know how."

"Right. Talk to the fucking... the Seehike in there. You have to tap in or whatever, I don't fucking know. It's right there."

>Roll me 3 d100s vs. DC 35 for having a chat with your inner crab-thing!

Almost done with the rolls, don't worry!
Rolled 61 (1d100)

Does it being alive inside us mean it's still alive somewhere, or that it lives on indefinitely inside the blood samples? Questions for Lorne or Arledge. Also where and how did he get weird monster blood?
Rolled 60 (1d100)

We've got crabs
Alright! I should probably roll this myself, but it's getting late and I've been distracted by VC in the discord. I'll pick up at least one more update tomorrow and we'll see what happens from there.

Final roll still needed.

Good night!
Rolled 96 (1d100)

Big crab boy
>61, 60, 96 vs. DC 35
>Critical Success!
There's just no stopping you guys. Writing!
>61, 60, 96 vs. DC 35
>Critical Success!

It is glad to see you. It lurks in the back of your head and chitters genially at your approach. The tinest brush, and it releases a stream of images: scuttering&waiting&trapping&lunging&&&&...

You flounder under the alien tide. It is so real, and so right, and it would be easiest if you just let it--

"Routh! Gods-fucking-damnit, you are not going feral on me today. Find your hands!"

Your mouthparts click smile hysterically. "I- I don't have any."

"Fuck that! It didn't stop you before. Find your hands or I'm calling this whole fucking thing off." Fish-Lorne stomps the ground for emphasis.

They're where you left them. They're where you left them. You hold them close so they won't disappear and ignore the pincers balling up underneath you.

"Good! Now reach up and... did you have plumbing in that godsforsaken shithole?"


"Going with 'no'. Reach up and... I don't fucking know. Make it less, okay? Kick the bonfire into some smoldering embers, there we fucking go. Do that."

"I... okay." You approach the thing, again, and give it a nudge. It chitters a question.

Please stop, you think, and the flood subsides. You are left drenched and wheezing in the cool air of humanity.

"Good!" says fish-Lorne. "Now get my duster so we can get the fuck out of here."

The movement is almost under your control. You can almost claim it's you who ratchets down the grooves in your front leg-shields to reach the duster, and you who holds it delicately between your pincers while Lorne shoves a rock out of place. But as much as you'd like to boast that you hid the duster and that it's you who currently scutters beside Lorne's ambling form, that wouldn't be entirely true. You're just copying something else, something realer, and--

"Fucking hell," is Lorne's only response to you saying as much. "Who gives a fuck? I'm glad you've got things settled and all, but Flat Sea, man, just leave it at that."

"But," you protest, "it doesn't feel fair. I should have to figure it out, not be helped along like some kinda cripple..."

"Don't be fucking offensive, Routh, and you absolutely don't want to figure it out. And stop talking. You're killing the mood."

You consider this before testing your luck. "Where did you say we were going?"

"Somewhere realer. There's nothing big and bloody in this fucking place, just stringy little squirrel things. I'm thinking, like, big lizard, but we can probably rustle up a few deer, that sort of thing. Or, well, there's a big fucker pretty close that I haven't wanted to tackle alone. Been trying to persuade Graves, but you know... up to you."

>[1] If he's thinking big lizard, big lizard sounds great to you.
>[2] Lizards are difficult to eat, in your experience. Go for the deer.
>[3] You're feeling newly confident. You'd like to help out with the... "big fucker".
>[4] Write-in.
>[2] Lizards are difficult to eat, in your experience. Go for the deer.

We've been rolling well, but I expect that to reverse if we choose the big fucker.

Also ask how Lorne stomped the ground when he's currently a fish.
>[2] Lizards are difficult to eat, in your experience. Go for the deer.
I want to know more about the seas. Also about the worlds behind our eyes. We saw memories, imagination, consciousness and conscience. Are we missing subconcious now? What about instinct?
He's got legs. Pic attached to >>3249286 is how he currently looks.

Called. Update probably somewhere in the next 2-4 hours.
Alright. Life got in the way of that one.

Here's the deal: I have an update about half-finished, so that'll drop tomorrow, but it'll be the last of the thread. After that, I'm going to take a break for a week.

Basically: I don't have enough prepared. This has probably been fairly obvious. I can't take time to prepare, because either I'm running in all of my free time or busy with life in the days I'm not running. So I'm going to take a week to sit down, prep some notes, and make a better quest for you guys and a less stressful and less improvised one for me. Deal?

Thread 4 ETA next Sunday, but I'll update on my Twitter and on the Discord should that change. I have archived this thread here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=drowned%20quest.

Good night!
>>3253440 should be linked to >>3251250. I don't know. I'm tired.
No rush. Just make sure you post on Discord, Twitter, QTG when you're ready.
Good luck OP, we believe in you.

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