Dirt on your clothes, caked around your shoes. Soil under your nails, stubbornly persistent unlike the grit which washed away between your fingers. You considered laying back in this lukewarm water, letting the drifting river help calm you down. It was a thought that idly swirled around in your head even as you scooped water from the river free and splashed your face with it, but not one you had any intention of indulging in. The last thing you needed was to get spotted literally cooling off.Was it likely? No. Would it happen if you let your guard down? ...You don't know. You could accurately say it's been a smooth journey so far, but it did little to assauge the tension knit in your shoulders as the day slid by. You were out here outnumbered, inarguably outgeared, and approaching what amounts to a hornet's nest with little in way of plans beyond gathering what information you can and adjusting. You were out here instead of out there trying to navigate a convoluted stage of long-standing schemes and political backstabbings ranging the gamut between theological revolution and a civil war that was inexorably creeping up on your doorstep. You weren't prepared for either of those things, you barely had a grasp on how your family at large had been preparing for those things, and the closest peer you had in said family was in all likelihood diving headfirst into making things worse.Crimson eyes stared back up at you from the water's surface, a single bead of water slipping from the tip of your nose to cause short-lived ripples in the trickling stream. You are Irue Valen, blood heir to House Valen, understandably stressed, and working on it. The river proved effective for cooling off after frustratedly hitting a wall with the little Luna Adept, finding yourself once again within arms reach of information you desperately needed only to be denied it.... Again. An occurrence you hadn't quite imagined would be a direct problem born from your burgeoning friendship with Mim.A half smile bloomed bitterly in the reflection before you as that thought wandered past, shimmering away with the ripples as quickly as it had come. You hadn't given a great deal of thought to the realities of trying to maintain a personal relationship with someone blessed by the Mana of Knowledge; A proposal which carried its own share of problems well before factoring in the verboten trivia you were trying to keep her ignorant of. That you and she both were trying to keep her ignorant of. Better that she was helping as she was, even when it led to moments like this.Not that such resignations made you feel any better about what just happened.
Personal qualms aside, you needed to relax and clear your mind anyway. Having chosen to stay put and wait for Marchovic's scouting efforts to bear fruit, you found that you were unexpectedly terrible at waiting. On some level you'd always kind of assumed that you were fine with delegating tasks, but... Thinking back, you had taken the initiative in nearly every endeavour since the Rite began. The more momentous a matter was, the more readily you had taken to handling it yourself - With or without the expertise to back up that involvement....Were you actually bad at this leading thing?No. No, hands-on didn't mean bad. You just had some issues with delegation, and patience, and there was often a lot riding on things so you'd prefer to see to it personally. If something screwed up, wasn't it better if it was your fault and not someone else's? So you knew for sure that you did everything you could?You found yourself staring with furrowed brows down the river way, lacking satisfactory answers and the motivation to pursue this line of thought any further. Surely there were more productive things you could be doing while waiting for the Shade Representative to get finished investigating? Ruminating on what you knew of Wisp for your inevitable conflict with the light Mana's Adept came to mind immediately, but...You were already familiar with Wisp. A Mana which presided over light and vitality, most commonly associated with both healing and physical prowess. Of the seven - eight - Mana, it alone held the privilege of being the "martial" Mana, indicative of its favor being indisputably linked to the depths of success found in martial trainings. You could practical martial disciplines the world over and not be a Wisp Adept, but the very act of training and conditioning one's body so rigorously was all but directly linked to Wisp's realm of purview, so it was of no surprise that many who were favored by the light Mana found themselves counted amongst the most respected echelons of practitioners in their given discipline.
Of all Mana, you were most intimately familiar with Wisp, and unluckily for you, it wasn't because you ever had any particular talent in that area... But having known Alouette all your life, it was impossible for you to not be acutely aware of what sort of monster Wisp can create. You always knew her list of accolades was impressive - How could it not be, to have landed her such a trust worthy position in House Valen's employ? - But she had always been something between an older sister, aunt and mother figure to you. She instilled trepidation in you as a disciplinarian might, but not a warrior. Even after knowing that she had cut the Mistral's Child in half and left the sky over Carona split in halves, you struggled to really internalize that as being something Alouette was capable of. Having your cheek pinched was a far more real and ever present danger.For what it was worth, you knew that the Wisp Adept you would be facing wasn't even remotely in the realm of monster that Alouette occupied. Very few people could claim to be the swordswoman's peer. You knew that, intellectually, but you'd also faced him before - You and your doppleganger - and the memories you had of that encounter were left scattered and repressed. Reliving the dual-perspectives of your own Shade-stained psyche melting away in mutual devastation as the doppleganger was reduced to a quivering mess was... Something. Something you didn't have any pleasant description for, which left you earnestly unsure just how to evaluate the biggest hurdle ahead.You had more experience with Wisp than any other Mana save, perhaps at this point, Dryad. That experience didn't lend you any form of confidence. If anything, you just felt this deeply seated distaste for the thought of confronting anyone favored by it again....Which, the more you dwelled on it, left a bizarre taste in your mouth. It wasn't fear which drove your reluctance, but disdain. Revulsion. The thought of it felt disgusting more than intimidating.You squinted up against glimmers of sunlight filtering down through the leaves. You had some time until night, and little productive to do until Marchovic returned. Feeling comfortably distanced from your frustrations with Mim, yet not quite enough so to try and pick up the awkwardly dropped conversation again so quickly, you started making plans to busy yourself otherwise.>Meditate(Shade)>Meditate(Wisp)>'A Spider's Web'>Spend some time sorting through your Doppleganger's memories.>Other? (write-in)
Previous Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Valen+Quest Where things are said: https://twitter.com/Riz_QMWhere things are asked: http://ask.fm/RizQMAssorted Supplemental:Current Abilities - http://pastebin.com/PchcdWpwA List of Forgotten Things - http://pastebin.com/kPEscJ3hIrue's Memoires - http://pastebin.com/sWnicrK7Write-ups:Kara's Day Out - http://pastebin.com/8ZbiSKLsAdventures with Asche - http://pastebin.com/RNviCBJuThe Reclaimed Doll - http://pastebin.com/n6miP1qTIn Your Shadow - http://pastebin.com/EfeeHFAEFriends Forever - http://pastebin.com/Yn0QaTVBThe Woman Beneath Steel - http://pastebin.com/pMGgiHC3Paper Flowers - https://pastebin.com/Pk0W7rEmMisc notes:I'll be running through the Shadowbringers launch it seems. I thought about it figured that I didn't have near enough time to start a thread now and conclude it satisfactorily in three days, so I would either be delaying it for another 2-3 weeks, or just running it concurrently. In the end, I decided the only acceptable reason for Valen to ever be on hiatus is when I am failing to be a human being, so on we go!Memo:1. Ask Asche what she wants, some time2. 3.
>>3601837>>Spend some time sorting through your Doppleganger's memories.
>>3601844We a grateful for your sacrifice.>Spend some time sorting through your Doppleganger's memories.
>>3601844>Spend some time sorting through your Doppleganger's memories.
>>3601837>Spend some time sorting through your Doppleganger's memories.I pity the poor fuck who has to figure out Irue's atelier.
>>3602209>I pity the poor fuck who has to figure out Irue's atelier.What if it's us?
Campaign has ended for the night! Vote is pretty decisive, so give me a bit to eat and writing will begin!We can expect a one update/day schedule, so no need to stay up late hoping to slide in a vote.
>>3602218What do you think this entire quest is, exactly?>>3601844For some reason, I think we need to reinvestigate that Gnome priests family to find the siblings that can control the behemoth.Glad you're back!>Meditate(Wisp)Does Wisp have life tracking abilities? Being able to sense life?
>>3603931>Does Wisp have life tracking abilities? Being able to sense life?No! That falls squarely into the purview of Dryad, who is explicitly the Mana of Life. Wisp bolsters vitality which equates to your physical health and regenerative capability.Typically healing and life are one in the same, but to help conceptualize this divide consider the following:A Wisp Adept with enough favor can reattach an amputated arm and heal from being stabbed in the heart, so long as they don't die immediately.A Dryad Adept could be decapitated and continue to live regardless. They will not heal, but they won't be dead either - Their corpse will remain stationary, never rotting, never decaying, eternally at the moment of their decapitation. If, one day, a Wisp Adept reattaches their head, they'll be back to normal entirely!
>>3603877>We can expect a one update/day schedule, so no need to stay up late hoping to slide in a vote.Ah, that's nice. Thanks Riz!
>>3603949Damn that's interesting
>>3603949Wait wait wait.Can you kill a Dryad Adept at all?Can we revive Elly?
>>3604059>Can you kill a Dryad Adept at all?Effectively killing a Dryad Adept would require purging them of mana, which you know there are methods of doing. You've no real basis for how absolute that denial of the mortal coil can be for any given Adept, but it is safe to assume that like with any other Mana, the potency of that ability is proportionate to the favor/affinity one has with their Mana. A Representative of Dryad could sleep in death for a very, very long time compared to an average Adept.But you knew that, of course. All Adepts show traits similar to their Mana and grow stronger in their Mana's realm of influence as their affinity grows, you know this to be true for Luna, Wisp, Gnome, and many others - Dryad is no different. Irue has even on a couple occasions been told, and observed, that Dryad itself is all but incapable of actually dying.But aren't you forgetting something?You all voted not to return to Dryad's Shrine.Is there really anything there worth your time?
>>3604082Could you please put "Return and investigate the Dryad Shrine" into the memos?
>>3604096Memo:1. Ask Asche what she wants, some time2. Return and investigate the Dryad Shrine3. Updated!
>>3604082Hey, since Dryad's role was more or less split among all the Mana, doesn't that mean that if we can pin down what they all have in common is something to meditate on about Dryad?It's kinda weird that they could even do that, so in a sense does that mean that all Mana is related to Dryad? After all, while not "alive" in the sense that fleshy beings are they have consciousness and identity and live in a certain fashion.What mana governs death, if Dryad is life? Why do I feel like that question leads to dead spots.And isn't that flipping shade Apparition still kicking about too?
>>3604133>What mana governs death, if Dryad is life? As far as Valen goes, none of them. Death cosmologically is the absence of life, rather than a force on its own.>And isn't that flipping shade Apparition still kicking about too?Yes. It was never defeated, and it's been noted that it's likely the eldest and strongest of apparitions Irue has encountered in the entirety of the quest. It isn't inaccurate to describe it as a monster.>Dryad's role was more or less split among all the Mana.Dryad's role remains Dryad's. Luna's Dominion believed it was possible to divorce the influence of a Mana from its mind, and Dryad's Atelier is something of a proof of concept, flawed as it is.
More than enough time lately had been spent half-immersed in 'A Spider's Web', and there was little point in delving back in yourself when you'd given Marchovic leave to scout things out himself. If you set that nevertheless tempting option aside, that left you with precious little to meaningfully occupy your time... And meditation to Wisp came first and foremost on your mind. It was what started this whole contemplation, but you felt yourself less and less inclined to do so even with your inevitable encounter with one of the martial Mana's Adepts looming on the horizon. Trying to force it now felt like a waste of time.But the fact it felt repulsive at all was curious. You could indulge in the opposite and meditate to Shade to try puzzle out your sudden distaste for old habits, yet that thought was dispelled before it could even properly take root; Shade had given you plenty to sift through without delving any further. The gift - The scar - left to you from your Doppleganger's dissolution still contained memories and experiences you hadn't been able to bring yourself to integrate yet. A small, meaningless act of defiance and mourning that you clung to, to insist that your doppleganger's life and actions were something separate from yourself. Something sacrosanct.Marchovic had warned you it would grow if left alone. That in time the damage done would birth a new apparition of Shade, whether you called for it or not, and that it would only ever be harsher than the last... And truth be told, if the only thing you had to fear from such negligence was increasingly dangerous apparitions, then you were in a position to soundly ignore such advice.Hollow, self-self depreciating laughter burbled up under your breath as you settled down to swallow your self-disgust and sort through yet more of the Doppleganger's scar. Your selfishness was what birthed the Doppleganger in the first place, and you had made any number of excuses not to face the baggage it'd left behind. If danger were all there was to fear then so be it, but... If the feelings it stirred in you were anything but self-serving, you couldn't afford to ignore its last wishes.You'd never make something go through that again.
The Wisp Adept you found yourself hunting was anything but unrelated. You can't recall ever learning his name, but your ill-fated meeting with him had left terrible experiences in its wake. Those were memories that you could only barely recall, like a fleeting dream fading to white, but your Doppleganger remembered it all. It had been the one conscious and standing face to face with the man. It stared him down, and through your Shade-stained fury, had watched you erode away to neutralize his last resort.There was a primal awareness rearing its head through your threads. Sharp claws, barbed spines and a vicious black mist that composed your memory of Irue's berserking form in the tunnels now encompassed the entirety of the courtyard with a fury that was nearly palpable to you. It cradled a shadow, the shifting form of your Shadow whose malicious grin had twisted into impotent frustration and anger.He'd called you a monster and, looking at the single minded fervor which drove you in that bloodbath, it was difficult to disagree. You had slaughtered his mercenaries. Dismembered them piece by piece, and you recognize the mysterious feeling present in your scattered memories as their blood coating your web-woven body in that courtyard. The thrill - The domination - that you so wantonly lost yourself in.You were aware of them all. Each one, each of their cries, each of their prayers, their fear and hopelessness, and the tell-tale snuffing of their presence within your web as they fell one by one. ...You can't remember what had driven that fury. Your Doppleganger saw you as a figment of berserking wrath, and you had possessed the web with seemingly no intention but to indulge in that. Had you even recognized Kara in that haze? Would you have known her from another had it not been for the Doppleganger's insistence?You lashed out in ceaseless rage, enough to leave your own Doppleganger sickened in the wake of it... But they had never closed their eyes to you. Never turned away or denied you. Even now you couldn't say what fuelled that hate, but seeing the monster you became from the eyes of someone who stood next to you through it all left a knot in your stomach. Your anger, your emotional outbursts, your expectations. Your Doppleganger hadn't deserved them. Even if you never aimed them at it purposefully, that it had the patience to be your center as you unravelled hurt. Warm blood drips from the digits that once held them. Reduced to a mangled mess by the barbs and spines that crept along their length, born from inside you, and evidently just as apt to cut you as anyone else.That you had been - That you perhaps still were - the kind of person so lost in their own world so as to not notice what you were doing to the people around you stung.
You protected her, didn't you?Kara's silhouette against the Adept's overwhelming force. It was a sight burned into your Doppleganger's eyes, just as vivid in these memories. Someone who had been there to protect you when you were well over your head. The same as she had after you picked a fight in Carona the first time. The same as your first foray across the fey border.As angry as you were, you never touched her.You'd done far worse. You'd broken her family. Out of what? Pride? Anger? Had you lost your patience when they'd stood in your way and kept your Testament from you? Was a taste of power really all you needed to become that callous? Against the blinding sheen of white, the tattered veins of the shadowy web you occupied dissolved away in your Doppleganger's memories. Kara had protected your Doppleganger, and you... You had lashed out at the Mana invading your world. You had sacrificed yourself, vicious and gnashing thorns every inch, to weaken the Wisp Adept's technique.You don't remember why. Not why you had leaped to sacrifice yourself, not why you had been so angry in the first place. When pressed, you couldn't even justify why you had reacted so strongly to her pack. She put her trust in you, stood by you, and you'd hurt her just as readily as anyone else and rarely given it a second thought. Been relieved that she'd seemingly never realized how much of a part in it you really had.You know why....It keeps happening.Was it enough to accept that you weren't a good person?Will it help?...Then what?Does it hurt that much to say it?Yes. Yes, Shade damn it all, it was like ripping a scab off your heart. Of course it hurt, you barely thought about it, what would actually saying those words do to you?Stop you from running."I-">am afraid of what I'm becoming.>̷̡ ̷̧͜n̶̶͞ȩ͝͞v̷̕͢e̶̢͘ŗ̴̧̀ ̷͡ḿ̛o̵̴͜͜v̨̛͟͞e͟d̕͘͠ ̢͟͝͞o̡̡̕n̛͡.̸>Am tired of losing people.Pick only one! Include your reason for the decision!
>>3604174>Am tired of losing people.I didn't understand what question we're supposed to answer, so I'm just putting down what I'm personally feeling right now.I wish we never lost Dopplerue, or Elly, or the Tier sisters, or Jill, or that guy in the bandit camp, or all those bandits. I'm afraid we'll lose Ari or Asche. I'm happy we managed to hold on to Mim.Worst of all we lost all of those because of our own fault.
>>3604174>am afraid of what I'm becoming.Irue has done so many evil things and seems to be turning into something bad
by the way I found this on /i/
>>3604174>Am tired of losing people.As a Lord everyone is our testament losing someone is sign of us failing as a lord.
>>3604174>>̷̡ ̷̧͜n̶̶͞ȩ͝͞v̷̕͢e̶̢͘ŗ̴̧̀ ̷͡ḿ̛o̵̴͜͜v̨̛͟͞e͟d̕͘͠ ̢͟͝͞o̡̡̕n̛͡.̸Well we haven't, have we? It comes up again and again sometimes several times in one thread. Enough that it even infects Irue in the quest when we're just moaning about it. It's been years and still feels raw.I don't think Irue is becoming worse, or something bad. I think she's doing fine with the circumstances and resources she's got to work with, plus she's self conscious about not being a very good person.The desire to do everything and shoulder all responsibility personally is fuelled by grief over doppelrue and how it died burdened by all the shit it inherited from us
>>3604174Is this another one of those times where Irue has a deeper understanding of what the fuck is going on than the players? I feel like I'm grasping in the dark here but I guess I'll go with>Am tired of losing people.because it seems the most pertinent to the rest of the post.
>>3605175>Is this another one of those times where Irue has a deeper understanding of what the fuck is going on than the players?It's not meant to be, no! Any of those answers are equally correct in their own way, and if some don't seem like they make sense then it may just be they aren't things you've been concerned over through the quest.This is primarily why I requested an additional bit of explanation for why an option was chosen.You'll see above that people have talked about differing reasons they feel each of those answers is more pressing or feels "right" to them, and that's all that's relevant. Part of sifting through the scar left by the Doppleganger is sorting through things like this and nailing down precisely what Irue is confronting about themself.
>>3604174> I will move onBut in the funky writing that >̷̡ ̷̧͜n̶̶͞ȩ͝͞v̷̕͢e̶̢͘ŗ̴̧̀ ̷͡ḿ̛o̵̴͜͜v̨̛͟͞e͟d̕͘͠ ̢͟͝͞o̡̡̕n̛͡.̸is in. Fuck realizations of the past, let's affirm moving forward. Are we afraid of losing people? Then we'll stop doing that. Are we afraid of losing ourselves? Then we won't.Ain't gonna give up here, no matter who we were then, are now, or might become one thing is for sure.We're going to take the pain and keep on moving forward, and if we fail we'll just get back up again and do it better.We're Irue Mana-Fucking Valen, we're here to kick ass and chew bubble gum and gum hasn't even been invented yet.Also, Who keeps talking to us?
>>3604182>>3604696>>3605175Losing!>>3604623Afraid!>>3604772>>3604906>>3606045>>3606118Never moved on!Writing!
Moist ground and a cool breeze met your return from whatever dark annal of your mind you'd slipped down, crimson eyes dully taking in the fading light as you realized just how much time had passed during your introspection. Even faced with the understanding of what you were going to do, your lips felt dry and numb. A soft voice caught in your throat, resisting your resolve to form the words aloud. You weren't exaggerating the physical discomfort that came from what you were doing, feeling as if something raw and inflamed inside of you was being torn away blisteringly slowly.For once the fingers which delicately traced the dual ringed frame of your bracelet did little to comfort. That self-same instinctual nervous habit only serving to reinforce what you already knew and didn't want to admit.When it finally came out it did so riddled in resignation and disappointment - In shame you'd held close to you for over a decade, and something raw beneath that. The same sensitivity that flared with your temper and reflexively shut every wall available when you found yourself prodded over the Doppleganger's memories."...I never moved on."Your sister and parents had been dead for ten years now and you never moved on. You threw yourself into meditation and study, you became embroiled in the coming of age Rite, you had come this far and grown so much you never actually moved on. That sense of loss was shoved aside, internalized and repressed until you could ignore it - But you never dealt with it.When your doppleganger died it struck that same nerve; Peeled back your distance and exposed that bottled hurt to the surface again. You had seen the same warning signs, felt yourself spiralling down that same hole, and rather than face it you'd fallen back on what experience you had. Pushed it away.But this scar wasn't so passive - so content - to be neatly shuffled away. It was born of Shade and buried in fertile soils, growing with your denial and digging deeper with every thought you refused to face. The constant memories of its final moments, the guilt that weighed on you for having carried on in its absence; For having been the one chosen to survive and take up its mantle, despite everything about it that at times you were so hard pressed to think you could have done in its place. This scar wouldn't let you ignore it any longer, seeding in you time after time opportunities to confront it.Because that was what Shade was. Cruel, merciless, relentless, and ever hopeful. A Mana which wouldn't think twice to slay and consume its own favored in its heavy desire to see them grow. That was the nature of Shade, the nature of this scar, and through that nature, perhaps the catalyst of your own emotional degradation - One which had plenty of source material to draw from, with new additions being added at a frightening pace.
Your fingertips traced the bracelet, finding the wet metallic rings' usual warmth to be a bittersweet comfort at best, and at worst, a piercing accusation. A relic of deceptive strength with a mysterious origin, and one that even now you didn't fully consider yours. I̕t̷̛͟ ̴̧͠w̛̛á̛̀s̵͠͡ ̶̶̀͘͡h͠͞e̸̡̨̢r͢͡ś͘͠.̶̵̸́͜ The sole remaining memento of someone you c̕͢o͘͠ú̶l̶͟͝d̸́ņ́͘'̧̢͢t̡́͟ ́͟͝f̸̵̵̴̨ó̴̧̧͢r̵͞g̶͞͡e̵͢t̵̶̡̢.̷̶̀͢ But these simple thoughts betrayed a deeper problem - A fundamental betrayal of your inability to move on. It wasn't yours, it had never been yours, and never truly crossed your mind that it ever would be yours. As if its owner would simply walk back into your life one day and take it off your hands. The same trecherous seed which would come to haunt your thoughts of Asche in the fleeting moments before sleep, wondering whether she had ever been your maid, your friend, or if her presence in your life was just an obligation left over from someone long gone.F̸̧̡̡̀o̴̷̕͡͡r̶̡̨͢͠ ̶̵̛y̨é̢͡a̸ŕ̵̴s̸̴ you lived with those insipid moments, busying yourself with this matter or that and changing the expressions you wore until they left you alone. Convincing yourself that you'd taken every day as they came and moved a step further away when in truth-This was a personal message, an apology for a regret they never moved past. Chosen to carry it with them to their grave... And with this riddle, even that limit was surpassed.-You never moved.
You don't know how long you sat in that stupor, silently and deliberately tracing and retracing the curves of your bracelet with nary a thought to fill the twilight hours, but Marchovic's return shook you free. His shark toothed grin never seemed to budge, slinking through the growing shadows with Gehr in tow like an irreverent predator as he chuckled over something under his breath. For the first time, you found yourself wondering if it was practiced.Yet when that smile turned your way, you felt the Shade Representative see through you with perturbing ease. It rankled to have yourself exposed at a time like this, but he gave off little sign of apology as he clapped you on the shoulder."You've been busy." He hummed.A deft shrug shed his hand from your shoulder, "What did you learn?""Good news or bad first?" Marchovic held his hands up in surrender, an action whose legitimacy was ruined by the way he danced around your side. "You look like you've had enough bad news, so how about the good?""Out with it." You sighed, doing what you could to gather yourself. "How outnumbered are we?""Significantly." Gehr's report came out dry, soundly ruining Marchovic's teasing."Well, he's not wrong." Marchovic shrugged, "Our target, namely the Wisp Adept, should be returning from downriver any day now. Seems he personally escorted the most recent Carona defecters elsewhere.""Escorted...?""Your guess is as good as mine, but I recognized a handful of the people left on guard at the old woodmill. Their perimeter is tighter than I expected it to be, no doubt owing to the actual mercenaries keeping a close watch on things. There's no easy way in and even if they're just homebodies, a weapon in a brat's hands can be plenty dangerous on its own.""So we're outnumbered and outarmed, but for the moment the worst thing we would be facing is away." An unenthusiastic, if pensive, summary issued from your lips. "I expected there would be a third party fueling this, but I can't say I'm happy to be right.""Well it was obvious from the start." Marchovic agreed, "Still, my only goal in all of this is the Wisp Adept. What do you have in mind for the rest?"
"Is there anything we could use inside of the woodmill itself?""Like wood?" Raid joined the conversation with no small amount of sass. "If we burn the place down there's no more base to deal with. Think of that smug Adept's face when he rows back to a smouldering pile, right?""Seems like a good way to lose the people the little feyliege is trying to catch." Gehr rumbled his disapproval, "Burning out a den won't stop whatever lived there from making another one.""You said the organization is due to the mercenaries?" Mim poked her head out of the riverside grotto inquisitively, "Then couldn't we deal with them somehow to break that?""A saboteur after my own heart!" Marchovic faux swooned over the little Luna Adept's suggestion, "But that just leaves an angry mob again.""What's the matter Fangs, can't handle a couple of humans?""Oh we'd be fine," Marchovic retorted, "But someone has to think of the children and elderly.""I doubt any of them would get far, I could hunt them down." The younger demihuman sniffed, only to be interrupted by Gehr's cough. "Something to say, old man?""I believe he was referring to the Luna Representative and I." The elder trapped began diplomatically, "And I don't disagree. I'm a hunter and trapper, but these old bones aren't fit for fighting. Perhaps the little miss might have a secret on her side?"He turned his attention to Mim expectantly, but she just shook her head. "I've never actually fought anyone."You had the Diary of Reflections on hand, and a small array of Atelier granted boons waiting to be put to use, but even with that you'd be hard pressed to consider yourself combat oriented... "If we were to strike..." You began, "They'd be at their weakest now, wouldn't they?""Aye, with my prey paddling along a river it's an entirely different situation." Marchovic sighed, "But-" His tone switched gears warningly, "Once he catches wind of trouble, we'll be facing a Wisp Adept on their guard. I'd expect the worst, even if he may not have any backup by then.""So we strike now and separate them, but put him on guard... Or try to take them all at once in surprise." You frowned. "To say nothing of how we would do either of these things.""That's the gist!" Marchovic helpfully snapped his fingers and aimed his finger at you. You ignored this.>Decide your battle plan!
>>3607462Well, our objective is to deal with this conspiracy. A Wisp Adept alone isn't a conspiracy, so letting him get away isn't too big of a setback.>Attack now then try to ambush the Adept farther downriver before he gets wind of our exploits.
>>3607462So they're split up? Well I guess it's now or never. I think our best plan is to split up too, Marchovic can head south to deal with the Wisp adapt before he can check in with his headquarters and we'll diary-disguise ourself as the Wisp adapt and order the mercenaries north along with as many disaffected peasant cunts as we can get away with. It'll be pretty to get them all killed in Dryad's atelier or the Ruined Shrine so long as we can get them there, I'd prefer the latter location personally as we do seem to have some unfinished business there but maybe enacting another slaughter there would be counterproductive somehow? I dunno, maybe the atelier is the safe choice?I can't think of any use for the others unfortunately. Both locations are clues that would be cruel to taunt Mim with and they would also be potentially fatal to Raid given demihuman deficiencies when dealing with mana stuff. I guess Gehr would add to our plausibility? "Irue's knight deserted and I got him to spill that she'd be at the Ruined Shrine, lets get her!" On the other hand we might need him to make sure Mim and Raid don't kill each other on the way home. We took them along because they have the potential to be sneaky fuckers but maybe their skillsets aren't applicable on a group of this scale/preparedness?It's also worth noting that we'd need to approach the encampment from the south, since that's where they think the Wisp adapt is going to come from. Do we have time to circle around their lookouts and traps? Would Irue be able to use the web to cut south straight through their setup without being spotted? They'd probably still see our tracks though right? Would that make a difference? Maybe Gehr could still be useful after all?
>>3607585This might be a good plan, though there's no reason to send Marchovic away right now. Let's keep him here for a bit in case something goes wrong.
>>3607599I mean I really don't want an identical wisp adapt to show up and ask who the fuck we are. Even if he shows up after we leave he'll marshal his remaining forces and give chase. Marchovic will give us lots of time to lead these poor unfortunate souls to the slaughter.
>>3607585Supporting, and for thematic reasons I say let's go to the ruins where that Shade apparition is.We tanked that once, we can tank it again. We can maybe even talk to it and bond with it using the Bracelet.ShadowRue 2.0, since we have all of her memories and experiences if we can put that into a Shade Apparition we can maybe save TWO people we thought we couldn't, one a Dryad adept from long ago that became the Apparition and ShadowRue.I mean, it's like an AI backup, having another person in our head Always talking like this.We've only gotten closer to Shade each time we've dealt with it.
>>3607870We're determined not to let anyone experience what Shadowrue did though. I thin kthis precludes resurrecting her to my eternal distress
>>3607870>I mean, it's like an AI backup, having another person in our head Always talking like this.oh my god
>>3607585A flaw in this is that we'll expose the diary, or at least the ability to shapeshift. Under no circumstance can we let raid know that it's an item he can steal or sell the information about.Impersonation is outlandish and perfectly in line with the feyliege rumours, which is something we can nurture...Either way the plan hinges on the assumption that the wisp adept is able to order the mercs around, he's not necessarily the leader. He can be a special asset outside the chain of command, so we need a plausible backup lie if this is the case.
>>3608051>A flaw in this is that we'll expose the diary, or at least the ability to shapeshift. Under no circumstance can we let raid know that it's an item he can steal or sell the information about.I probably could have been more clear but I agree, the less people that know about the diary the better, although Mim will probably figure it out regardless. She might even already know. We can't take Raid specifically anyway 'cus the shade apparition/aspiration(?) would probably give him some kind of shade seizure from proximity alone.>Either way the plan hinges on the assumption that the wisp adept is able to order the mercs around, he's not necessarily the leader.Yeah this is absolutely true, I might have got a bit ahead of myself but it will still be unlikely in the extreme that he'll be entirely devoid of authority. >>3607462In light of this lets also quiz Marchovic on what he knows about this wisp guy and see what our group thinks the enemy command structure is likely to be.
This is Rookie the Veteran, my apologies for being so autistic before and neglecting to read the archives. I learned from it and obtained an intuition on any developing threats.
>>3608218> NamefaggingDude, we've gone so far without having this happen.
>>3607947I'm just saying, > We can maybe even talk to it and bond with it using the Bracelet.If it becomes possible, that we have a split personality with Shadowrue in our head, we could maybe use that to make the Shade sentient and relatable.We need to stop running from our mistakes, and that includes being afraid of another ShadowRue existing just because it went poorly last time.
>>3609234We're not touching that bracelet until the ash nigger actually fucking explains it, not just cryptic tear your soul apart warnings
>>3609445Cool. Cool. Not even if that means people will die?
>>3609492People die WHEN we use it.
This namefag is in here too? Why?
>>3609665Huh, he's in some other quests I follow as well. Don't reply to him, he's making a clown of himself board-wide
>>3607462>>3607462This is a pretty good plan. And I guess we leave Raid with Mim? Since I don't think we want to bring either of them.>>3608051Well if it turns out that he isn't in charge, I think we can still manage. If it all goes to shit, at the very least we can gather more info this way.Actually, if we're not bringing Mim or Raid anyway, maybe they can book it back to Carona and inform Rinnier what were up to (minus the diary bits I guess, I think Rinny smart enough to figure out that we'd probably be using it for this). Tell them to prepare either a rescue mission or a clean up crew, depending on how much faith they have in our abilities.
I'll be putting out an update tonight, as well as responding to what I can from the posts!
>>3612559Yeah, I'd lean towards just sending them home since we're not likely to return here afterwards. Incidentally, I wonder if solving the atelier has changed the circumstances of the ruined shrine? It'd be pretty awkward if we baited them there only for the nightgaunts to not show up. "I uh, misremembered...Irue is probably further north. L-lets go north guys!" Maybe we should weave both locations into the lie from the start? Say we know Irue is planning heading into the fae woods but will be stopping briefly at the ruined shrine, that way it won't be (as) suspicious if we suggest moving on if it turns out the nightgaunts are absent.
>>3601837You came back!>It wasn't fear which drove your reluctance, but disdain. Revulsion. The thought of it felt disgusting more than intimidating.Ah. Wisp is Shad's opposite, and despite what Rue thinks, she's got more affinity for Shade than anything else. It makes a good deal of sense there's a revulsion there.>>3603877Oh thank goodness. More content is nice, but so is sleep.>>3604059>Can you kill a Dryad Adept?I'd say Luna did a pretty through job.>>3604096In case you missed it, the Forgetting was the special Forgetting, the one Riz had absolute faith in us that we would get, the one we couldn't possibly miss. And then we didn't get it. We figured it out after, but everyone was exhausted from Dryad's Altier, so we decided it wasn't worth it.>>3604133>>3604138The only Shade apparitions I remember is ShadowRue and the one we sicked on the Demihumans, that we then snuffed out. Though it has been a while.>>3608218Good for you, but you don't need a name here unless you have a real good reason. Glad to have some fresh blood.
>>3607462>?I'd say we go for the hit now. The Adept will be more dangerous, but we're too heavily outnumbered as it is, and that's before we cut out those of less than great combat usefulness. We've got ourselves a hunter/trapper let's make use of that. Set up a large trap area (spike pit or similar?), lure them in, then when they get caught tear them to shreds.
>>3613650The Shade apparition is there though.This way we don't have to tear out our soul to make one.We cam also use the guilt of the survivors to interrogate them.Also it's thematically delightful that we'll be doing this as a Whisp adept, satisfying my desire for spite.Honestly, hiding our abilities from Raid comes second to saving people we said we would.
>>3614576And it would make sense for a whisp adept to want to investigate such a place. Maybe play off the mens greed that a Whisp adept would be able to retrieve both the core of the Apparition as well as the remaims of the bandits who must have had loot left behind.Claim to be the only one needed to subdue the Apparition and that the core will be valuable all on its own, but that the bandit loot will be a nice consolation prize.If I recall the adept really had a grudge against Shade creatures so this wouldn't be out of character.It also gives us an out since we can storm off if our ploy doesn't work, letting us retreat.
>>3607585No revealing the diary at all if we can help it, and especially not to the morally bankrupt Demihuman.This idea has come up before. The main issue is our ability to act like the person we're mimicking. Rue's not exactly an infiltrator, and if we get caught we're super screwed. Even if we survive, they'll take our shinies, someone will have to rescue us, and Rue will gain even more self-hate and feelings of worthlessness.
What is this shade Appirarion everyone is referencing? I don't remember anything like what's being described?
>>3609234>spoilerOne of shadowrue's explicit last wishes was to avoid creating something like her again. I'd actually really like to try again sometime, that's not gonna fly.
>>3614775I mean, was someone suicidal really in their right mind at the moment? If existential angst was a legitimate reason people might as well stop having kids.Maybe we should actually move on instead of just giving the concept lip service. Learn to hope again.
>>3607486>>3607585>>3607611>>3607870>>3614481Attack now!>>3608090Asking Marchovic about the Wisp adept!So in summary it appears our plan is for Marchovic to intercept the Wisp Adept while Irue assumes his identity and leads the rebels and mercenaries north towards the ruined Dryad Shrine or the Fae Forest and have either the Fae or something else deal with them in your stead? In the meantime, Raid and Mim are to be sent back to Carona.There was some discussion about using Gehr to set traps and deal with them here, but that goes contrary to the seemingly popular alternative plans. However, I'll post up this map as a point of reference as there may be a distance scale that wasn't taken into account, exactly.The Fae forest is relatively close and easily accessible, but if you wanted to march them back to the ruined Shrine of Dryad... That will be quite a hike. Certainly not impossible, but perhaps a more long term identity fraud than some of you anticipated.--->>3609445Anon you already interrogated Asche about the bracelet in Carona! She explained it to you. Did you forget?>>3614768>>3614462It was in fact the first Shade apparition you ever encountered! Revenant, manifestation of Regret. It would go on to become a fuel for the doppleganger's own changes during the mines, and another of its kind born from the bracelet to deal with Kara's pack during your rescue attempt.In regards to the one you met in the Shrine of Dryad however... It exists on a level altogether separated from the one Irue's bracelet created. There is a consistent "power scale" of sorts to these things, and you've previously learned that the apparitions created by the bracelet are often unnaturally potent, so bear this in mind while making your decisions.You were, after all, there for the events which would give birth to this apparition. You know precisely the depths of regret mired in those ruins.
>>3615043>So in summary it appears our plan is for Marchovic to intercept the Wisp Adept while Irue assumes his identity and leads the rebels and mercenaries north towards the ruined Dryad Shrine or the Fae Forest and have either the Fae or something else deal with them in your stead? In the meantime, Raid and Mim are to be sent back to Carona.Pretty much this. I think the traps are probably the easiest way to go about it, since the other plans are in the wrong direction and I mean I don't see the Fae forest being and easy sell to get people to go into.It might be easier to just lure a couple people away, kidnap them, and then interrogate them.
>>3615043Since people aren't really replying, could we maybe have a hold on this plan in light of the "distance issue"?
>>3615043Ah, you're right the atelier is much closer. We should probably use the atelier in this case, I don't want this to drag on longer than it has to and there's a lot less unknowns involved in dumping them in dryad's lap.
>>3615154By hold do you mean to extend the window to make a final decision on where to take them/how to handle them?It's already been a day or so since the last update, but if you'd like to finalize this then I don't mind. There will be no going back once it's locked in, after all.
>>3615160I think we can make do without one, just use the atelier
>>3615154Is there anything in particular you'd like to figure out? Using traps to kill them will be difficult since once people start dying they'll have a lot of opportunity as a group to unfuck themselves, whereas if we use the atelier then all we need to do is get them inside. Once the they realise something wrong it'll be too late to do anything about it. As for getting them there, only the Valen family know exactly how dangerous the fae woods are and the mercenaries aren't even local so they're probably clueless. If they voice concerns about the fae woods we can try to placate them by promising to deal with any oakenbears or whatever it is they expect to encounter there.
Aight, moving along as is then! We'll lead them to the Atelier!
>>3615183Atelier works well enough I suppose.
>>3615233>>3614096I found a post for you. Someone shares your pain.
"Would you say the Wisp adept has a position of authority in organizing the rest of them?" You tapped a finger against your cheek thoughtfully. "What are the odds he's their leader out here?""Couldn't say." Marchovic admitted. "Authority? By all means, it's rare an adept isn't held in respect by the less favored, but the leader? There's no telling. The world outside the Shrine typically doesn't hand out leadership badges just because a Mana likes you." An irreverent, toothed smirk leered back at you. "Probably better that way, innit?""Should you really be the one saying that?" You arch a brow in return, getting little more than a laugh from the Shade Representative. Either way, you weren't going to get another opportunity like this. If you wanted to deal with the rebels and defectors at the logging mill without interference, you'd need to move quickly, gamble on the respect afforded to an adept... And trust that Marchovic really was all he talked himself up to be."Intercept the Wisp Adept." You nod towards the sharktoothed man who blinked in response, his ever present grin slipping. "He is your prey, isn't he? This is your chance to deal with him directly, without the rest of his underlings interferring." "I don't get to play with the rest of you?" He feigned hurt, sly expression curving towards curiosity. "Do I get to know what you lot will be doing with all the rest?"Expectant eyes laid on you, some with more questions than others. You considered each in turn, finally laying your attention to rest on Mim as you offered a small, faint smile. "I need information on the topography north of here."The little Luna Adept stared back at you blankly, eyes closing with some deliberation as she mulled over your request. What emerged was a frown, reluctant and uncertain. "Are you sure?"You laid a hand on her shoulder for reassurance. "After that, we'll be returning to Carona so go on ahead of us.""Hah, must suck to get sent hom-" A handful of river mud impacted Raid's face before he could finish taunting her, leaving him angrily scraping it from his face and mouth as she snorted and skulked away from the gathering. Her question alone was enough, she understood immediately what you meant to do - And subsequently why she was being sent far from it. Memories of the terror she experienced with Priat within the sylvan labyrinth of your house were still well alive, it seemed. "Bitch!""Raid, I need you to run ahead." Whether he had a mind to chase after the retreating Luna Representativeo r not, you needed to redirect his enthusiasm to the task at hand. "You're going to be my eyes and hands.""I'm starting to feel left out of the big plan." Marchovic idly complained. "What do you plan on doing to handle that many people with the brat and old Gehr?"
"Gehr and Raid?" You echoed, "Nothing. Gehr will be escorting Mim back to Carona and delivering a report to Rinnier." You acknowledged the neutral face of the elderly hunter. "I apologize for bringing you out this far only to send you running back, but I wasn't entirely sure of the circumstances we'd be dealing with.""Think nothing of it." He sighed, wrinkled hand running through his sweat slicked short hair. "But if it's messenger duty, might not the young demihuman be a faster fit? I'm more than capable of serving as your forebearer in his place.""That would put Raid escorting Mim home." You admitted flatly, drawing a chuckle out of the old hunter."Understood." He offered a salute, one of the many your knights had taken towards. You never did ask them about it, but you're relatively certain none of them had military experience... So where they picked up the habit from was beyond you. Miska, maybe? Could you just start blaming her for putting queer ideas in your knights heads? It disconcerted you to realize she might actually take that as a compliment. "However," Gehr continued with some stubbornness, "I share our esteemed Shade adept's concern.""Do you?" It was difficult to keep your earlier moroseness from staining those words, "I'm more than capable of handling a small band of brigands, mercenaries or not.""..." Gehr's lips sealed shut in a thin line, considering your answer for a pregnant moment before nodding. "As you say, feyliege.""I don't get to know the secret?" Marchovic chimed in, "Hello, yes, me, your favorite Shade Representative." He pointed at himself helpfully in the process. "Just gonna send me off in the dark like this?""Wouldn't you prefer the dark?" You feel more than a little sadistic pleasure in bearing a smile just as toothy as his own back at him. "You've reminded me on several occasions that your only real goal here is the Wisp adept. This way you get your prey, and I get mine.""Those teeth aren't just for show, huh." A deep chuckle slipped from the man as he staggered back, hands raised in good natured surrender. "Fine, fine. I thought I'd tease you until you asked for help, but I dug my own grave here. As long as I look handsome in it, I'll be happy.""You are confident you can handle the Wisp adept on your own, aren't you?" This plan in all honesty hinged on Marchovic really being as competent as he was confident. There was no way a group that large would move secretively, and there was no way you would outrun a Wisp adept. If Marchovic failed...Yet in the face of your concern, he simply shrugged. "Yeah, sure. How bad could it be?""You... Have you ever fought a Wisp adept?""Ah yeah, something like that. I mean I'm a lover more than I am a fighter, but I'm also fantastic in a fight, so rest assured I am significantly better in bed." You belatedly felt the flow of this conversation having dissolved away. "I can prove it to you if you're curious?"
A flush crept along your cheeks, hidden behind a hand running aggrievedly down your face. "Just... Go." You waved him off, "The quicker the better.""That's not-""Go!!"You stood there flustered in the grotto after the Shade representative slinked away, his gait all but melting into that increasingly familiar predatorial pace. A heavy breathe brought your shoulders and chin sagging tiredly in the presence of your knight, respectfully silent after the proceedings, and Raid who continued to snicker. "Can you swim?" You ask flatly."Yeah, why?" His snickering subsided curiously, but you only sighed again. "What's it matter?""I was going to throw you in the river, but it's not as funny if you can."That shut him up. "Try it blondie, I'll dunk you until you really are a fairy.""Maybe some other time." You conceded as a soothing, sadism-born salve served as catharsis to your wounded dignity. "Raid, I'll need you moving ahead of me to bring back reports on the river's status and if there's any places that make crossing viable for a larger group.""How large?" He sobered in kind as the instructions finally came."Who knows. Twenty? Fifty?" You shrugged apologetically."You planning on trying to outrun an entire camp upriver?" The sandy haired demihuman snorted, "Guess you're sending Gehr back to ask for my sister to come save you?""I plan on them walking behind me." A vague correction, but not one you felt the need to extrapolate on right now, much less to Raid. "Gehr, tell Rinnier that I'll be heading north after I'm finished out here. Make arrangements to meet me at the manor afterwards.""Should we be expecting to pick up anyone more than yourself?" He rumbled, rubbing calloused fingers against his stubble. It was a fair question, considering you'd planned to capture as many of them as possible to make examples of back in Carona... But you wondered just how viable that plan would be after leading them into the Fae Forest.In the end it was better to plan for the eventuality than not. Worst case scenario you had an armed guard escort you back to Carona, which was a far cry better than your usual travelling arrangements had been. "A handful of others, most likely.""And the others?" Raid quipped, fingers laced behind his head."I don't need them." You answered honestly, "If they survive, I'll decide then."Kara's little brother snickered. "I'll go ahead then. Give me till morning to get a feel for what's up there."
"Morning..." It probably wasn't wise to try and move them through the night. That many people, keeping the group together would prove annoying. Even still, the longer you delayed, the more likely the Wisp adept might actually get around - or through - Marchovic and bring the plan down on you. No... No, maybe moving at night would be better? "We can't wait that long, I need them panicked. Can you track me down by nose?""Weird as you smell, I don't think a single demihuman couldn't." Raid snarked, "So I find what I can then double back and find you on the move?""Lovely." A retort on the edge of thinly pressed lips. This wasn't the first time a demihuman had commented on your scent and you weren't really sure how to explore that topic... Or if you really wanted an extended conversation with Raid on what you smell like. "Then I'll be relying on you until further notice.""Just little old me between you and a future of being surrounded by an angry mob of people who want you dead?" Raid prompted, "If you insist.""You've questioned me several times on whether I trusted you or not." Your arms crossed matter-of-factly. "If my answers don't satisfy you, maybe this will.""And if that trust is misplaced?" He taunted, the mercenary look in his eye belying just how closely you felt his attention on you. "I hope you won't say you weren't given ample warning.""Does it worry you that much that someone trusts you?""I've never met someone so eager to be betrayed." Raid resigned. "My sister turned on you, said so to your face, and you forgave her just like that? What does that tell me?""Tells you to get to work." You ended the conversation there. You'd ran circles with Raid on this topic before and weren't feeling like retracing it now. Particularly not since it never seemed to stick, and at this point you weren't sure what the young demihuman's angle actually was. "I have preparations to make.""Hmph."
Your preparations were ultimately just learning what you could from Mim before you made use of the Diary of Reflections. It gave you an excuse to wait until both Raid and Marchovic were well away before you potentially exposed the Relic in your possession, which was all the better for your purposes... And more directly, it gave you one last chance to talk with Mim."-That's everything I know at the moment." She concluded academically, "For what you're planning, you'll have no chance of luring them there until you've passed the point where the river branches off, but the further north you go, the more familiar I'm sure you are. Right?""I'd rather not walk all the way to my house for this." You laugh softly, making a silent internal note that in the long run it probably didn't matter. "Not yet, anyway. And thanks for this.""It's the least I can do." Mim's demure admission was at odds with the satisfaction in her warm eyes. "I thought about it since we left Carona and... I don't really think I'm a fighting person. I was kind of nervous about- Well, everything I'd gotten into.""Ah... Yeah." You'd had thoughts along those lines. Ones which nearly made you renege on your invitation in the first place. "I would have understood if you didn't come.""I'm glad I came. Even if it doesn't seem like it, I guess." She smiled up at you. "I was doubting it a lot, but we ended up talking, and I made a lot of memories with everyone in the end. It felt kinda like... Camping?""...So you're not upset I asked you to go back again?" You hedged.Mim shook her head, fluffy hair bobbing back and forth. "Nn. Not right now. It's... A lot like it was last time, really. The moment we get close to that place, you start telling me to go home. And I get it." Her earnest tone wavered, vulnerable mutterings barely heard under her breath. "Priat isn't here to protect me this time, after all.""Mim...""Well, it's not like I can rely on you to protect me." She giggled, "I can't even trust you to protect yourself, much less someone else... So I'm not upset yet. But, if you don't come back for weeks again, I will be.""I'm not that bad!" A defense rose to your lips all but immediately, triggered out of reflex from Rinnier's teasings. "Why does everyone suddenly think I'm like that?!""...Aren't you?" Mim blinked owlishly, and the genuine confusion in her question was a spear through what remained of your dignity. "Well, it doesn't matter. Just take care of yourself, alright? No jumping in holes, or poking sleeping oakenbears, or things like that. Hornets are also bad, and there are a lot of little things like ticks that carry diseases you should watch out for, not to mention the local rootvipers."
"I'll be fine, Mim." You knew everything in the area. You'd walked it on foot at least twice. No one knew the dangers in this forest more acutely than you did at this point, and you had reason to believe you were probably the least in danger from any of it. "...But for the record, I invited you out once already, so next time it's your turn. You think of something better.""Scrabble?""...Keep thinking."
Once everything was said and done, you finally found the Diary of Reflections in your hands. Its frosted cover yielded the shimmering slices of paper thin, chilled water to you with ease and left your reflection swimming in its wake. A reflection that would change and shift with your thoughts and desires, eagerly conjuring to field any number of vaguely familiar faces. It was a Relic born to shed one's identity for another. ...Trepidation kept you staring into its pages, losing more time than you'd care to admit. Misadventures with your bracelet had soured you to the romance of these Aeonic legacies, leaving you wary of subtle whispers seeking to seed your mind.Some would say this prevented you from truly exploiting their potential. This one had certainly never misled you, so it was probably an unfair association to make, but you really had no idea what you'd find yourself potentially afflicted with by abusing a Relic designed to overwrite someone's identity.For all you struggled with it lately, you... Can't say you disliked who you were. You wished you were better. You regretted your failings, and at times you were disgusted with yourself, but more and more you strove to be comfortable with who you were. Who you are. Who you were becoming. There was a time, and a part of you - A part you will never forget - that wanted to be someone else. To be anyone else. You'd acknowledge now just how much you had wanted to run away and escape the circumstances you found yourself sliding down.But these days you didn't want to be someone else. You just wanted to be better. That was something the Diary of Reflections couldn't help you with, and even if it could, an innate - Probably Shadeborn - Disgust welled up in you at the thought of using it for such.You closed the frozen tome, tucking it away safely on your person as a body that wasn't yours stretched its limbs at your command.At the moment you needed to borrow the face of this man, but in the end you were Irue Valen. It was by that will you donned his identity as a mask, took these actions to lie to the world and put your plan into action. All told, this felt more comfortable than most other things you've done in recent memory. It was nice to be able to use something without it threatening to shear your soul apart. This Diary and 'A Spider's Web' were the only perfectly non-threatening and absolutely beneficial in all ways tools you had at your disposal and you should use them both more often!Now then.... How to go about this?>You need Panic. Beat yourself to sell an encroaching threat to hurry them along.>You need Authority. Break their camp calmly and brazenly with orders to relocate.>You need Intimidation. Prepare something suitably influencing to make sure no one questions you too closely. (what?)>Other? (write-in)
>>3616179I had a lot to write!>>3615261If only frozen treats would solve the problem, anon.
>>3619144This is an absolutely terrible idea. But we're committed, and at least we didn't show off the Diary yet. When Raid comes back and finds a Wisp Adept smelling like Rue it's going to come apart and the single worst person to know about will discover it, but we're good for now.>This Diary and 'A Spider's Web' were the only perfectly non-threatening and absolutely beneficial in all ways tools you had at your disposal and you should use them both more often!pic related.>>3619138>"Scrabble?">"...Keep thinking."Actually that sounds nice and safe. She'll beat the tar out of us at it, but no risk of anything catastrophic.
>>3619144>You need Intimidation. Prepare something suitably influencing to make sure no one questions you too closely. (what?)Maybe we could come up with a story that we had an encounter with some scouts from Sylv and they're bound to send men here to investigate, the camp's secrecy is now in danger. It has to be moved before a battalion of Valen knights gets sent to stomp it. Maybe this will justify travelling as far as the atelier..anyone got better ideas?
>>3619414>>3619144Oh, how I wish we brought the Dryad Tree. Just to have it along with us in the background as an option, especially since we're sending Mim off anyways.Fuck it, let's go with this plan. If they ask about the men we were with, tell them that we made them take a different path so as to not immediately lead the Knights back to our base, and not thinking about things like that are why we're in charge and not them.
>>3619414Didn't we already learn that they appear to have some kind of deal with Sylv? I don't think they'll believe us if we say the Valens are mobilising from there.
>>3620752shit, I must have forgot. Where did we learn this?
>>3620787It might have been speculation by Irue or one of our party, I can't remember specifically. Happened one of the last few threads while we were on our way here.>>3619144>You need Authority. Break their camp calmly and brazenly with orders to relocate.>You need Intimidation. Prepare something suitably influencing to make sure no one questions you too closely. (what?)This group was devastated by Irue and Dopplerue's super web, they'd be pretty intimidated by the idea of us attacking them again right? Can we change back for a second and retrieve something identifiable as ours? Some of our hair, a torn piece our clothing? The hairband maybe, I dunno but I feel like we can convince them to pursue Irue if they think we're out there. "Our biggest concern seems to be out combing the woods for us, we should find her and engage her on our terms before she knows we know. You remember what she did back in Carona, we need her dealt with before she can do it again."
>>3619414>You need IntimidationAdjusting my vote. Make it a vague mention that things went sour in Sylv and that the Valen brat from Carona is involved, and now the camp needs to be moved before men are sent to investigate it.
>>3620829This sounds very sketchy, how would we justify having gotten this piece of Irue?
>>3620863Found it in the woods? I've torn my clothes and hair on branches before, it didn't strike me as that much of a stretch.
>>3620869easy enough to tear a piece off, but what would make it distinctly Rue's enough to warrant harring off after the trail? A scrap of nicer cloth is unusual, but not exactly a neon sign. And lots of people wear headbands. A single strand of blond hair isn't much either, it's our eyes that are unusual, and a clipping isn't the sort of thing that you lose to a thorny bush.
so anons, we got any kind of consessious? There's some support for>>3619414this, but>>3620752is rightwe're figuring that's part of where they're funneling the fresh meat.
>>3620752Just say that they got caught, and they're using us as scapegoats.
Looks like there's a consensus for intimidation right now! I've just taken some medicine so I'll be resting for a little while and will probably begin the update later on in the morning, but in the meantime if there's specific details you want paid attention to feel free to bring them up.
>>3623133I dunno Riz I'm drawing a blank on what Irue can prepare, even without the stipulation that it needs to be suitably influencing and prepared in the woods.
>>3623133All I can think of is using the fact that information is limited and that with projecting enough confidence and authority we can influence them
For all the time you had spent being called out for treating relationships as a game to be won, whether it was something you meant to do or not, you couldn't deny that your first and foremost instinct was to speak and act in such a way as to move people as you wanted. It was only natural, and before your time struggling to garner a relationship with Rinnier - and later Mim - it had always served you well. Well enough that it was difficult at first for you to so much as identify the habit, much less strive to break it... And once broken, it made you feel lesser somehow. As if something vital had been deprived of you. That feeling had only served since to contribute to the creeping insufficiency which taunted you in the face of your newly found trials.Yet Rinnier's chastisements still rung firmly in the back of your mind, lending strength to your veins as you abated those lingering whispers of doubt. Back then you felt indomitable. Unstoppable. Something as straightforward walking into a brigand's camp and ingratiating yourself into their ranks felt like the most obvious and simplest of options. Why not now? Why not again? With this Relic aiding you in ways simple impersonation never could have accomplished, were you not even more capable of that feat than ever before?You had earned at least a fragment of that pointless pride from back then. Where bravado carried you before, experience and resolve did now. It had taken you some time to coax yourself into acting more open and genuinely with the people closest to you, but as your fingers curled together, fist tightening and unfurling in turns, a deceptively dangerous thought rippled through your mind.Who were these people to you? No one. Nothing.So... Why deny your talents?
Entering the logging mill from the south was a necessary detail. The silently trickling river and soothing twilight forestry providing ample cover for you to move undetected around their watch. The addition of 'A Spider's Web' providing awareness made navigating such gaps a feat barely worth mentioning, made even less so by the sheer physical state this borrowed body boasted - Well and above standard of fitness your own could bring to bear. After that it was only a matter of waiting for the right opportunity to present yourself.Out of breath and haggard, you made use of the river's water to dampen your clothes and skin and prove the illusion of exertion. It was like this that you forced yourself to stumble as the guard changed, stepping through the bramble only to catch yourself. What would he say? How would he greet them? Questions you didn't know the answers to, but with each theatrically heaved gasp of breath you cast bait into the waters to learn."Captain?"Good enough."Spread word, we're breaking camp as soon as possible." You draw yourself up with a heavy breath to steady your artificially displaced posture. "How long until we can move?""Wha- Several hours, at least." The man before you reported. You didn't recognize him offhand, but he seemed at ease enough that you doubted he was Caronan. "Slow down, what's happened? Where's Artemis' emissary?""Our position in Sylv was leaked." You let the first thing to come to mind flow off your lips as you made absent note. Fortunately you had a decent reason for what could have driven away both a Wisp adept and Artemis. "We're not safe here any more, we have to relocate until the Valens' attention has moved on.""Valen? Clara's brat betrayed us after all, eh?""...Yes." A tense moment passed before you found it in yourself to hiss an answer, finding more than adequate venom in that revelation to pass for genuine betrayal. "Yes, he did. I escaped with the emissary but they left to reconvene with the rest of their ilk, we're to bide our time and I've already a place in mind.""Alright, I'll spread the word!" The mercenary guard nodded curtly, turning on his heels to dash back into camp as you stepped after him. Their camp opened up before you, allowing you access to move about with all the ease of entering your own home. Wearing the man's own face had, perhaps, more power than you'd estimated it would. Even so you couldn't afford to get complacent now... And you ground the forest floor beneath your heel as a jaw that wasn't your own set furiously.You were going to have words when next you met your cousin.
The camp itself was unimpressive. You had expected something more homely and lived in as your own knight's had been when you found them, but what lay before you was sparse and disorganized. A campfire built into a dugout hole, ringed in trampled and flattened grass. Some stumps - logs that had been broken, perhaps by these very hands - served as chairs scattered through the clearing, with little in way of tents surrounding the mill itself.Mercenaries were indeed the minority among this bunch, often standing out as the calm in this growing wave of unease as they gave instructions and supervised the Caronan refugees towards breaking camp and preparing to move. They were the ones who didn't look as if the world had come for them. The ones who weren't begging for answers, angry, or worse. While the others... This was a derelict sanction of refugees, rebels, and resistance. One built to harbor them from your own tyrannical presence, or perhaps your aunt's as the case may be. Your understanding of the politics which drove such drastic actions was proving dreadfully inadequate and your cousin's involvement only further muddied the matter. Whatever weighed upon their mind now left them ugly and disordered, unhelped by the stench of their rugged and ill-washed lifestyle.You paid little mind to the pound of feet across the earth as word spread and the din of tension rose, choosing instead to investigate more of the camp. It would take them several hours to get things in order, which in turn gave you more than enough time to satisfy your curiosities. Though the longer you dawdled the more likely you were to be drawn into the efforts yourself.>Take a closer look at the slave wagons.>Try to soothe the Caronan defectors.>Check the mill's interior.>Other (write-in)
>>3626215>Check the mill's interior.
>>3626215>Take a closer look at the slave wagons.We don't want the slaves to get hurt in the forest.And I think we'll have to have words not so much with Caylen as with fucking Maran.
>>3626215>>Check the mill's interior.So, did we ever determine how we're going to deal with this merry band once we get them wherever we're taking them?
>>3626215> take a closer look at the slave wagonsMake sure our "product" is safe at least, we want to complete as much of our "mission" as possible. If anyone asks.>>3626395Oh, Caylen will get words alright. Maran will get righteous wrath. I'm just saying, splitting our soul a teensy bit more might be worth it to crush her.
>>3626405Get them into the Fae woods. Ask the Fae for help. What could go wrong?
>>3626405Or wait, we're going into the mines? Use the bracelet to ask the Arach-Nachtla for help as we're the inheritor of the Atelier having solved it.
>>3626426Dryad is asleep though. We put her to sleep. It might be a little unsettling out there, but that's it.Unless we want to wake Dryad up to deal with them.>>3626431The mines are all the way back near the town, they'll get suspicious and antsy before we get anywhere close. Plus the ice-spiders merely tolerate us, and I doubt would take kindly to using them like that. And there should still be an Adept contingent studying down there; Their deaths would serve no purpose.>>3626395Both of them deserve our wrath to the full extent. Caylen is no child, he's responsible for his own mistakes.
>>3626444The atelier is still there and it's still deadly unless you can solve it and lets be honest who the fuck is going to figure that shit out? They'll either die in there or they'll be lulled to sleep forever by Dryad.
I thought we agreed on the Atelier
>>3626534Pretty much>>3615160>It's already been a day or so since the last update, but if you'd like to finalize this then I don't mind. There will be no going back once it's locked in, after all.
Oh yeah>>3626215>Take a closer look at the slave wagons.>OtherScan the crowd of peasants to see if we recognise anyone. Maybe Jill came here.
>>3626215Check on the slaves and "oversee" the effort- look for people we know and commit everyone else to memory in case they survive.Ask for a status report to learn what they did since the adept left the group
Hmm where is Riz
>>3630768Hopefully not depressed by the irueposter.
>>3630875More likely to be wallowing in self pity over the speed I feel, or at least that's how it usually goes. Who is Irueposter?
>>3630887You don't want to know.
>>3626215>Take a closer look at the slave wagons.I wonder who they are?>>3626405Well if they don't die from entering the the Fae Forest and Atelier, we could always use our bracelet, right?>>3626554>Maybe Jill came here.Oh yeah!... Oh no...
>>3630768Probably nolifing Shadowbringers. I bought and sped through Stormblood only to get stuck in the post-game for two weeks. Heard good things about Shb so I can believe that Riz is taking his sweet time
>>3626230>>3626405Mill!>>3626395>>3626425>>3626554>>3630895>>3626830Wagons!>>3626554Jill?Alright, to the wagons!--->>3630768>>3630923I wish it were that simple. I prepared a month in advance cleaning my house, grocery shopping, precooking/preparing food, etc. just for Shadowbringer's launch... Then I started getting sick the day before it happened. I actually beat the main story quests on the 2nd day of early access which was a while ago and it was chilling and awe inspiring, I can't even begin to imagine how they're going to follow this up and have been trying to shake this illness since.Normally I probably would have been in despair over screwing up 1 post a day self-standards, but honestly my fever's been so high that it's sometimes hard just to think.It was bad luck all around, but I am doodling forward.
>>3631035Please don't overwork yourself.
>>3631035Good old QM curse is rearing its head again, it seems. Take care of yourself.
One thing in particular nagged at you for closer inspection before this camp was abandoned. A preliminary inspection of this place with 'A Spider's Web' had given you a second encounter with something you'd not thought you'd be seeing again - These wooden wagons, built sturdily with bars to hold its payload in place and durably hewn coverings built into the curious structure to keep out all manner of weather, heat, and perhaps most importantly of all, prying eyes. It was impossible for you to mistake these as anything other than slaving wagons, though their constraints were born of sturdy wood and ropes rather than the extravagant metal caging and chains that your Testament had been delivered in.A difference in status, perhaps? At the time you'd considered it a necessity for transporting demihumans, but knowing what you did of Kara's strength made you well aware her continued presence in that cart had been a formality. Perhaps the metal restraints would have held one of her kin, but hardly her... Which just convinced you further that the occupants of these wagons, empty as they were now, was never meant to be as unwieldy to capture and contain. No adepts or demihumans, and even beasts... There was no point trying to think of what could have been here when you knew well it was for common people. The question you needed answer wasn't "what" but "who", and perhaps more relevantly, "why". If these wagons were empty now, who had been in them initially? Who was supposed to be in them? Peering into their shaded confines told you little beyond the fact that they were well cleaned and the restraints dutifully organized. A detail more than passing strange, leaving your gaze to linger skeptically on the fraying ropes.Something used often which they had need to take good care of. A limited supply, or something important to their operation?If they had been purchasing slaves, you'd expected to see more of them around the camp... But none fit the criteria you'd expect. Common logic then said these wagons were used to sell slaves, but with the wagons out in the open to the others like this, and in such good repair, shouldn't the Caronan defectors have been more aware of their fate? If they were driven to rebel against the Valen estate over stewardship of Carona alone then you could scarce imagine them accepting slavery as an alternative.Weighing the revelation that your cousin was going to be brought into this in some measure, you similarly couldn't imagine the good natured idiot supporting anything underhanded. Was he not the one who'd argued it was better to fight and die for your place in life rather than be rolled into something lesser?Which ultimately just led to other questions. Was he being deceived? Were you misunderstanding? Were the slavers actually involved in this, or was it a recreation? Regardless of the answer, you found yourself staring at these wagons with a flagrant "Why?" resounding in your mind.
Those swirling questions without answers were broken as one of the mercenary supervisors from earlier approached and gestured towards the exact object of your ire. "What should we do with these?"A simple question, one you had the onus to decide, but which reminded you that with this identity you could just as easily extract the answers from these people willingly... At the low cost of casting unnecessary suspicion on yourself. "We don't have the luxury of taking them with us." You murmur, absently inventing a justification to excuse yourself trying to replicate the Wisp adept's physical feats."Well we can't send them down the river with Sylv compromised." The mercenary's arms crossed plaintively. "Reckon we ought to hide them around here and come back later? The contract's still good, ain't it?""As far as I know." Which wasn't very far at all. "I took the heat escaping, our friends should still be fine once the Valens get tired of scratching around.""Didn't the slavers have a good relationship with that family anyway?" He mused aside you, "I heard the heads of their house made some expensive purchases not that long ago. Real big ticket stuff."You offer a distant grunt, mind straying idly to your Testament. At the absolute height of your naivety you had seen purchasing all three of them as a wonderful way to spite your aunt and uncle, hoping to deplete their coffers and show off simultaneously. That momentous decision seemed like a lifetime ago now, but the mercenary raised a valid point - Ari aside, Kara was a demihuman of outrageous strength and Rinnier was foreign royalty, recently fallen as they were. You don't imagine those to be the kind of purchases that money alone would get you access too. Your uncle's influence, no doubt; The man was a merchant through and through, with no shortage of connections."If they're on good terms then odds are we can pick up where we left off later." The mercenary continued, "Shame about the brat though, I hope the prince wasn't banking too heavily on the Valen's support."...Prince?"We'll hide them in the forest for now." You could retrieve them yourself later, and who knows? They might prove useful. "No one comes this far out in the woods anyway.""Leave it to you then?""No." You reject that idea immediately, less than enthused with the idea of trying to single handedly tug these wagons across uneven ground and soft earth. "I still have preparations to see to, have someone else handle these. Get as many people as you need."The mercenary seemed about as enthusiastic about moving these wagons as you.
You left him to his work, choosing instead to take a cursory glance over the campbreaking effort as you surveyed the place. It was heartening how easily you'd found yourself accepted like this and to some degree it was hard to deny that giddy excitement in your gut at all but having the run of the place. No sneaking, reconnaissance, or risk of discovery as you walked where you pleased and took your time to look around. It was a heady feeling of victory, but one you struggled to keep well restrained; You weren't out of the woods yet, literally or figuratively, no matter how nice it felt. Fortunately that optimism was adequately dampened by the roiling knot in your gut which tightened whenever you learned something new from this place. Was it anxiety? Anger? Something in between? The only thing you knew for sure at this point was that it was growing in proportion to your desire to strangle your cousin and beat the harpy at his side."You-" But this place had more information to give and you snatched a face you vaguely recognized from the crowd to extract it. "-I need a status report."The man, someone from Carona whose name you couldn't begin to place, blurted out his confusion. You likely never so much as heard his name, but something familiar scratched at your memories. A face you should have recognized. Your brows furrowed, causing the smaller... Oh you were taller than people now. Oh this was fantastic, did Kara and Rinnier just live like this?"Sir?"Your momentarily scattered attention found itself back on the uncertain man. "What's happened since I left? I want to know everything.""From... Me?" He repeated doubtfully, "I mean, your soldiers have been teaching us how to rotate guard and some other things. We've mostly just been on standby until you or Marcus returned.""And the others?" You press. "The others from Carona, how are they doing?""Fine. Better than fine, we're excited to be able to do our part, sir." His posture straightened, puffing out his chest in a display you found wholely unnecessary. "There's some dissastifaction over the decision to involve the Valen brat, but I hear that went south anyway.""Was Caylen's involvement that poorly received?" You were used to being disliked, but it had been slow to sink in that this disdain seemed aimed at your family as a whole as well. Even the people back in Carona had seemed surprised - pleasantly so - that the Valen family had taken an active effort in reconstruction."If that family wanted to make a difference they could have taken a stand against those fakes in the capital years ago." The man sneered. "Every effort that's been mounted by the nobility to try and make a difference was stemmied by those feyblooded bastards, even as the noose tightened round our necks. Can't imagine who thought it would be a good idea to let that Valen brat in on what we're doing now, but I guess we both know how that went, don't we?"
You do your part to commit the man's face to memory, belatedly recognizing him as one of many patrons your doppleganger had served while waitressing for information. A name you never got, and one you doubted mattered, you dismissed him back to helping break camp and found yourself left wondering just how much of an outlier his frustrations really were. Your aunt and uncle had done everything possible to buy time and stave off the coming civil war, that much was true... And in no small part due to Rinnier's pleas, you found yourself taking up that self-same standard; Desperately trying to delay the outbreak of something you were increasingly convinced had become an inevitability.Coming here you thought to expect something more... Dastardly from them. Something to explain their defection and continued undermining of your every effort to rebuild Carona in preparation for the coming war, but instead all you found were people tired of being told to wait. Resentful of every hopeful change being quashed under foot by those on high....It reminded you of Jill. A face which, for small mercies, you were glad to not recognize among the people out here. Her father said she'd taken the opportunity to leave and find her own adventure, and to some extent you'd worried that adventure would have led her here - But as far as you knew she held no real grudge against your family, and didn't seem overly involved in fretting over the direction of the nation.Shaking free of the ill-timed reverie, you make a quick estimate of their progress. There's not a whole lot of time left. The mill remains unprobed, but time spent searching it could be spent asking more pointed questions... But there was no telling if Marchovic would succeed in what he set out to do, so every unnecessary minute spent here could be one minute closer to your disguise falling apart.>Break camp early and move, you can't rely on Marchovic.>Investigate the mill, if anything needed safekeeping it would be in there.>Order the mercenaries together for a meeting prior to leaving, you wanted to know more about who they were.>Other? (write-in)
>>3631891>Investigate the mill, if anything needed safekeeping it would be in there.I'm sure Marchovic will be fine!
>>3631891>>Investigate the mill, if anything needed safekeeping it would be in there.
>>3631891>>Break camp early and move, you can't rely on Marchovic.Marchovic is cool but he inspires no confidence time. Time to go!
>>3632320>he inspires no confidence time.*inspires no confidence in me
>>3631891>Investigate the mill, if anything needed safekeeping it would be in there.At least we don't have to fake our anger. Just letting it show should help even.
>>3631891>Break camp early and move, you can't rely on Marchovic.If there's anything valuable in the mill, either the mercs will take it with them, or it'll be left there and we'll be able to search it later.On that note, I have some reservations that the people we're going to feed to the Fae are more potential allies, like those bandits. Though I can't think of how it would be true at the moment.On another note, Riz, how much of a heirlet is Irue?
Ah, I just realised that the wisp adept isn't the only authority figure we need to worry about interrupting us.>>3631889>We've mostly just been on standby until you or Marcus returned."All the more reason to get these guys on the road.
>>3631891>Break camp early and move, you can't rely on Marchovic.If there is anything important in the mill, they will carry it out when we leave. If they don't, it will stay in the mill and we can look for it later.>Order the mercenaries together for a meeting prior to leavingJust point at someone and tell them to fetch one or two who's in charge. That shouldn't disrupt the efforts greatly. I want to know what this Marcus has been doing and if it's proceeding as planned.I'm trying to come up with a way to find out if they have anything written down without losing the charade but I'm drawing blank. If there is Nothing, asking for documents is really weird, especially since apparently everyone in the world is illiterate.
>>3631922>>3631976>>3632464Mill! What's in there? Give!>>3632320>>3633817>>3634469Time to get moving! ASAP!>>3634063...I am tentatively counting in favor of breaking camp?This will probably be the last update for the thread since we're on page 9. We could probably last another day or two, but at the rate I've been going I imagine it might 404 on me accidentally!--->>3633817>how much of a heirlet is Irue?https://ask.fm/RizQM/answers/137104074774
The weighing of the clock ultimately spurred you on. It was difficult to put faith in Marchovic when this much was riding on the line, and if this 'Marcus' returned in the meantime then things could only get worse. If there was anything worth finding in that mill you imagine they'd either take it with them, or failing that, you could return later to see it. Impatience crept along your skin as you walked the camp's breadth, feeling that ephemeral deadline drawing closer at an unreasonable pace. You had to speed this up, they didn't need to take everything with them like this afterall - Not where they were going.You hailed the attention of one of the mercenaries supervising the others, feeling a scowl draw upon your face as thoughts of your cousin's involvement helped sell your genuine frustration. "We don't have the time to fully break camp, take only what's necessary and get everyone prepared to move.""Captain?" He hesitated, nodding a moment later as your own severe expression was mirrored on his own. "Understood.""And get me someone who knows more about Marcus' progress!" You watched him go, receiving a sharp affirmation as he went to spread the word and left you alone for the moment. This Wisp Adept's word was enough to move the camp, and whatever fear instilled in him had been enough to convey the direness of the circumstances to his subordinates - It was a convenient lie, fueled all but entirely by your appropriation of his face. It was almost too easy to be doing this, and when you think of all the time you spent fretting over how you'd handle these defectors it was almost enough to bring out a rueful chuckle.Almost. Situation as it was, such humor felt bitter on your tongue."Captain!" You turned to find another of the mercenaries approaching with an ornate sheathe in hand, no longer than his forearm but made uncharacteristically from highly stylized metals with some manner of emerald inlay. Your eyes lingered on it overlong, passing curiously from the unexpected show of affluence to the mercenary as he presented it to you. "You needed this?""...?" One calloused hand wrapped around the proffered sheathe, taking the unexpectedly heavy thing as you inspected it more closely. The protruding hilt was wrapped in soft leathers tightly bound, and with some measure of unabashed curiosity you pulled the connected blade free from its ornate containment only to find a crystalline branch of translucent green stored within. No edge to speak of, bent and curling as if designed with extravagance in mind over durability, to say less of practicality.It pulsed in your hand, beating warm like a heartbeat through your veins. Each facet of its meticulously crafted surface drew you in all but hypnotically, tempting you - Calling you - until you sheathed the strange thing and tore yourself back from the proverbial edge.
What is this? A question you couldn't afford to ask in this situation, but one which burned in the back of your mind. "This isn't what I asked for." You admit, none the less keeping the sheathed tool in hand."I... Assumed you wanted a report from Marcus personally." The mercenary apologized, "Is something wrong?""No, I'll hold onto this for later." You slipped the ornate sheathe onto your belt, vowing to look into it later. "Has Marcus given us any updates since I was gone?""Uh, no sir." The mercenary reported after a second's confusion. "Per last report, he's arrived safely back in Carona and made contact with our allies on the reconstruction council. They're working with us to feel out more people sympathetic to our cause, but it seems the Valens have made more emphatic overtures to secure Carona.""Overtures...?""From what we've gathered, the head of House Valen has placed one of their own directly in stewardship of the town, and with them came a contingent of knights." The mercenary explained, "We'd initially thought to frame this as oppression, but they've been put to work helping rebuild... With more competence than I'd think any proper knight corp would rightly have, at that." You strangled the half-hearted laugh gurgling in your throat. "We've instead turned our attentions towards the demihumans accompanying the knights. From all reports they're the same pack brought on to support the prior mayor's rebellion, but their continued public presence under the new steward's employ has been more than enough to solicit more sympathetic ears.""Not worth rebuilding if it means working alongside one of them." You mutter, that same tiresome subject rearing its head once again in a conversation you'd sorely wished it hadn't. "So our position there is still secure?""Assuming nothing has changed, everything's going according to plan in Carona." He agreed, "Our operations in Sylv being disrupted puts a hamper in things, but since you made it back... Well, as long as the slavers keep their heads down then the prince shouldn't have any need to worry." The mercenary shook his head, a sigh of relief soothing his tensed shoulders. "Marcus' last report affirmed some measure of success angling cooperative efforts from the demihuman pack. If we can wrest back their loyalty, such as it is-" scoffing laughter characterized his thoughts on the matter, "-Then it will be child's play to pry Carona free of the Valen's influence. We're in luck that there do seem to be some still receptive to us.""After what happened last time, you'd imagine they wouldn't be..." You held tight control over your tongue, leaving that seething tone buried in your throat.
"There seems to have been some sort of reshuffling of their ranks, but their new leader is tentatively willing to work with us." The mercenary noted with the distinct certainty of someone who'd only heard a fact second hand. "But that was some time ago, if Marcus' has made any progress since is something you'd have to ask him.""I'll keep it in mind." Another question to ask this man. One that left your back suddenly feeling more vulnerable than you would have liked. "Is there anything else?""As per the prophet's reports some months ago, we've confirmed the existence of the ancestor's Atelier. Unfortunately the Dominion of Undine seems to have become aware of it some time before us and have claimed vigilance over the area." The mercenary frowned, "I can't imagine there will be anything left for the prince to find by the time their done. When I think of how close we were that whole time..."You close your eyes, dismissing the man with a gesture.The rushed effort to break camp concluded not too long afterwards, and with the very men and woman set to rebel against you following obediently at your back, you turned your sights northward and began your journey up river.Success at this juncture almost felt like a consolation, but your resolve to see this thorn removed from your side had only strengthened.It was high time someone else started suffering set backs.---http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Valen+QuestAnd we are archived.I'll lurk the thread for a bit to try and answer some questions if I can.Apologies to all anons who participated in Valen Quest but died at their keyboards wondering when QM would finally update.To those who did not make it to the end, we will never forget your sacrifice.
>>3637927Well crap. Things were somehow even worse than they appeared under the surface. Removing this camp is going to help a little, but it's only buying time.I'm still concerned that it's not going to be a simple as driving them into Dryad's Atelier and letting it deal with them.Thanks for running. Any idea how long until the next thread?
Aw shit. We need to have this Marcus arrested and tried as soon as possible
>>3638001>Any idea how long until the next thread?Little later this month, if all goes well! I managed to almost not fuck up 1 update a day while ill and trying to binge an MMO launch, so I'm feeling a bit more confident in that going forward.As noted I've had misgivings about the pacing of that schedule but everyone's been pretty supportive of it and I've been consuming other narratives lately which has given me some fuel and better perspective. The shadowbringers narrative was absolutely phenomenal and it gave me a lot of inspiration as to how to handle my own writing in regards to pacing, and thinking about how quickly I could move forward or what was a meaningful time to introduce this or that. I feel like my stint focusing on trying to understand how downtime worked left me mired in molasses, so moving forward again like this has been refreshing and more than a little exciting.
We need to use this device we were given to try and contact that Marcus. We'll find out how he looks like and order him to stay in Carona. No escape then
>>3637927Thanks for running!Time to go full secret police death squads on this Marcus and his cronies.Btw. I think a Marcus was mentioned before. Maybe when we decided between two people to investigate? I don't remember.
>>3638367You've heard his name before, yes. Rinnier told you about him shortly before you left Carona.
>>3638374Was this to be a Forgetting later on?
>>3638392It had the potential to be one, absolutely! As did a couple other things.
>>3638431I assume you mean the weird sword artefact. Is it the source of the voice we heard in our cousins room?
>>3638472I can't answer that anon! But you should use it, it's perfectly safe and absolutely nothing can go wrong!
>>3638504Can we use the diary to turn into a 200 pound bear of a man to strangle Maran to death and snap her neck with one hand?Can we also slap Caylen silly or at least give him a couple of concussions?---I'm beginning to consider the Demi human experiment a failure. Hopefully the mining project will help but maybe it's time to send them packing.P.S what the fuck do we do if the atelier doesn't attack or kill them? We need to make sure they die so we don't accidentally create more vectors
>>3639139>Can we use the diary to turn into a 200 pound bear of a man to strangle Maran to death and snap her neck with one hand?If you know one, then yes! Dullem? Dullem might work. He might object to his identity being used in this manner, but he also never has to know.
>>3639139>Can we use the diary to turn into a 200 pound bear of a man to strangle Maran to death and snap her neck with one hand?I seem to recall taking someone's form not granting their abilities, skills or anything besides appearance. We could look like a super buff dude, but that's it.>I'm beginning to consider the Demi human experiment a failure.Only now? Turns out the demihumans weren't just misunderstood. They are not fit for society, and society doesn't want them. Kara is an exception because she has actually empathy.>P.S what the fuck do we do if the atelier doesn't attack or kill them?This is part of why I was against this infiltration. It has born unexpected fruit, but there isn't a plan past the infiltration beyond "hope Dryad deals with them".Without contact with the rest of the team, our only fallback option is meditation, but that is messy and hard to control; easy enough for some of them to escape in the confusion, and on our own we'd never catch them. Actually...>>3639144Hey Riz, are there any Mana or Apparitions associated with particular jobs, like, say, hunting or tracking?
>>3639199>I seem to recall taking someone's form not granting their abilities, skills or anything besides appearance. Mostly correct, you retain anything purely physical that their form would grant you. Endurance for instance, raw strength, resistance to poisons, the like. You would not automatically retain any skill with a blade they may have had, or nor favor with the Mana. Something could be said for inheriting muscle memory making you objectively better at something you previously had no experience in - Martial disciplines for instance - But compared to the real deal that muscle memory amounts to very little.>Mana or Apparitions associated with particular jobs, like, say, hunting or tracking?Not precisely, no. Those are mortal activities all told, and the Mana are a much grander scale. That said if you wanted to track you could ask Jinn apparitions to tell you what they knew of the recent passings of someone/something, or Luna apparitions to grant you knowledge and intuition as to what path one was likely to have taken and what signs may be left behind.In marshlands or under recent rain you could entreat Undine along the same manner, and you get the idea from there.For hunting there's no good answer since it ultimately boils down to what you're asking of them and how. A whirlpool could catch fish, a pitfall could catch a boar, a forest fire could flush out any number of creatures, and Luna of course could aid you in discerning weaknesses and opportunities in your prey.None of these things are particularly associated with one Mana more than any other, but they are ways the Mana could be involved to aid the activity.
>>3639315>Not precisely, no.Hmm. Even if they're not officially connected with hunting/tracking, maybe one that's good at it as a side effect? I'm trying to cover our bases for if things get messy and this group scatters. Some way to find and deal with them would be nice. But from what you're saying that sounds unlikely.Shame we don't have Oakenrue, but it was too much of a risk to have it along while Mim was with us. I desperately wish we could get another one.
>>3639414We can, our abomination is an aspiration now and no longer requires its core. We are capable of turning a core into an apparition.
>>3639439>>3639315Could we use the diary to turn into our adorable abomination?Also I want to come up with a better name for it. It's been nothing but loyal and loving, to the point of opposing its own source Mana of Dryad's at least subconscious will.Time to give it a name.An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus (/ˈkwɜːrkəs/; Latin "oak tree") of the beech family, Fagaceae. Quirk? It definitely qualifies as Quirky.
>>3639547>Could we use the diary to turn into our adorable abomination?There's nothing stopping you! However given that you would not inherit any form of Dryad's influence, you would become a sentient tree, bereft of most of the abilities you associate with it.
>>3639439I know we speculated about that, but was it ever confirmed? Even if we can, that still requires acquiring cores, not an easy task.>>3639547It's already got a name: OakenRue.>>3639588I would totally be down for that sometime, as long as we could still move and such.Does that mean we could also replicate other, less humanoid apparitions? We already did ShadowRue, but what about Minstral's Child? Or that God-lite half a continent away?
>>3639698> was it ever confirmed?Yeah, it wasn't just speculation. Last time I brought this up I referred back to an incident where we used our bracelet to coax a salamander core to life in order to help Priat find his way out of our house. This happened shortly before we entered the atelier if you want to check for yourself. >Even if we can, that still requires acquiring cores, not an easy task.>We can, our abomination is an aspiration now and no longer requires its core.>I would totally be down for that sometime, as long as we could still move and such.It's implicit that we would not be able to move or in fact do much of anything except think and exist as a tree.
>>3639698>Does that mean we could also replicate other, less humanoid apparitions?The Relic allows you to assume identities, at no point are you constrained to those identities being humanoid! However you do not inherit that identity's influence or affinity with Mana, so being wary of assuming something whose physical body is predicated around sentient wind is perfectly reasonable.
>>3639745>>Even if we can, that still requires acquiring cores, not an easy task.>>We can, our abomination is an aspiration now and no longer requires its core.I was referring to making more, specifically >We are capable of turning a core into an apparition.You need a core in that case, at least to bootstrap the process.>It's implicitIt was suggested but uncertain, thus >as long as we could still move and such.If we can't it's off the table for obvious reasons.>>3639847>at no point are you constrained to those identities being humanoid!I'd assumed that was a natural part of it, considering it's creator had been about blending to a crowd, not (deliberately) turning into monsters. But I'm not complaining.>so being wary of assuming something whose physical body is predicated around sentient wind is perfectly reasonable.That sounds like an unpleasant way to go. Though in theory the disguise only holds a long as we have possession of the journal, right? In the wind example, you'd still die torn to pieces, but you'd turn back into fleshy bits once the journal dropped out of your cloud.
>>3639904You need the Diary of Reflections to turn back. Your possession of it has no bearing whatsoever on you maintaining a form.To note, you are not "borrowing" that identity as a temporary measure, you are completely assuming it. Without the Diary of Reflections, you could not, and would never, be able to return to who you were initially. Presuming, of course, that you've ever done so and not simply stolen back your own identity, losing ephemeral pieces of yourself in the process.
>>3639904I'm saying we don't need to MAKE more cores because we already know where to find one. The oakenrue no longer requires its core to survive because it evolved from an apparition (which requires a core to survive) to an aspiration (which does not require a core to survive). Do you see?>>3639924wtf i hate the diary now
>>3639924Huh. That's alarming. I vote we don't let it leave our sight anymore, doubly so while transformed.This does have theoretical usefulness though. It means you could convert a whole group of people into other people. That's risky for a number of reasons, but possible.It also means if we do get captured, we won't drop the disguise when they take our stuff. Dunno if that's good or bad though.>>3639930>because we already know where to find one.Do we still have it's old core? That rings faint bells. Or do you mean we can find them in OakenBears?Have core>make OakenRue2.0>convert into OakenRue2.5>retrieve core>goto startsound right?
>>3639968>Have core>make OakenRue2.0>convert into OakenRue2.5>retrieve core>goto startThis highly irresponsible plan is raising my blood pressure but yeah you have the idea right. Although raising an apparition to become an aspiration is a long term process and it doesn't seem to be something Irue knows a whole lot about.>Do we still have it's old core? That rings faint bells.The oakenrue still had the core the last time we saw it.
>>3640010>This highly irresponsible plan is raising my blood pressureMuch as I would like it to, I doubt it'll even happen. Too many risks and uncertainties for most anons.Still, Oakenrue is a powerful but surprisingly discrete asset (before it attacks anyway), but it's tied to Ari, making it functionally worthless for anything but defending her. What I'd really like to do is take OakenRue back from her, but anons would never ever go for it. She's a daughteru, and is worth literally destroying the world for. Such is the nature of quests.
>>3640047I would't mind taking it for our own purposes but with the way our problems keep piling on top of each other we kind of need Ari to start being useful. Personally I'd like to send her after the tier girls but without her guardian she'd probably get bullied to death.>Much as I would like it to, I doubt it'll even happenI mean, I'd vote for making our own protector, it's only the idea of making a whole bunch of them that I found upsetting, pic related.>but it's tied to AriWe technically told it to protect Ari and Rinnier but you're right, it only ever seems to show interest in Ari or us. Maybe it can tell that Rinnier's a bitch.
>>3639924> Presuming, of course, that you've ever done so and not simply stolen back your own identity, losing ephemeral pieces of yourself in the process.That's called "living". Literally, if you aren't doing that all the time you're just existing. "What don't change don't grow, and what don't grow don't live." - Granny Weatherwax
>>3639930> presumablyAssuming the implication is true.>>3639968Who says we have to limit ourselves to Oakenrue's core? There's a Shade apparition nearby that is practically an Aspiration already. Also I wanna see Raid's face when we show him it.>>3640047Nigger the world is welcome to back down from getting destroyed any time it wants. We aren't the ones picking this fight. Also we had the opportunity to bring Oakenrue (feels like calling Irue "Human") but Anons decided no because of MIM, not Ari.I mean you aren't wrong about Daughteru, just the specifics of her relationship with Oakenrue.It also occurs to me where we went wrong meditating on Dryad. We were looking for the connection to life outside us, but forgot that Irue is alive therefore there must be some Dryad in her too. Instead of trying to ape Dryad's connection with life, we should have tried to feel it in ourselves. Maybe.Can we put "Meditate on ourself/dryad" on our list? We've never meditated on ourself have we.
>>3642222>the world is welcome to back down from getting destroyed any time it wants.That's not how it works, and you know it. By existing on the world in question, we are involved to some degree.>We aren't the ones picking this fight.We are actually. We're attempting to fight the world enders, but haven't been willing to make the hard decisions. Now we're stuck fighting an enemy we know precious little about, and if our major nominal ally discovered what we've done they'd turn on us in a heartbeat. They'd have to, as information is how the enemy spreads.>Irue is alive>implyingis a joke>"Meditate on ourself/dryad"Pretty sure that' not going to work. The idea behind meditation is putting yourself into their state of mind. Meditating on yourself is therefore useless. This is why meditating on the bracelet was pointless as well. It's powerful, but inanimate; it has not state of mind to shift to.I suspect the reason we don't get results from Dryad meditation is that we haven't spent any real time researching Dryad, and more importantly Dryad is asleep. Remember Rue spent years understanding the Mana and trying all sorts of things to get their attention.