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/qst/ - Quests


For aeons, your people ruled the surface world. Your reign was so long that none cans ay when it started, or how many phases of mystical and technological advancement rose and fell, laying geological strata one over another in layers upon layers of glorious history. Slit pupils watched as gods and kings rose and fell, and the world was shaped to your will. It was not an age of reptiles, but rather multiple ages, such as to make the briefness of the current mammalian reign look like a single flicker of your nictating membrane.

Now, though, it seems long ago indeed. For many generations—long enough for even the long-lived elves to relegate it to the stuff of legends—your people have lived in pits and holes, in remotest jungles and the ruins and abandoned temples to gods who lay slumbering or dead. You are called dark and evil by the monkey-like mongrels who trod upon the bones and homesteads of your ancestors. Only the dragons remember you—those ancient wyrms old enough to recall, anyway, and so-called “heroes” the mammalian empires thin their numbers slowly but surely.

You are memory. You are myth. You are nightmare. You are Reptilian.

You will not fade. Observing the ancient calendars—for deep beneath the earth in your squalid caverns, how can one observe the stars proper?—your people’s priests read the heavens by proxy. The stars are due to align, to empower your people to something approaching greatness. However, no god worth your worship has ever given your people something for nothing, and no destiny comes calling to those who will not seek it out. It is yours to seize the moment.

In preparation for the great day, the priests anointed many a Reptilian with the Blessing of False Skin, allowing you and those like you to move amongst the mammal-folk as one of their own. Your scaly visage and true purpose hidden behind this mystical protection, you and your fellow infiltrators carefully studied of their degenerate cultures, bringing back intelligence and artifacts, and perfecting your ruses.

Now, at long last, the grand design of the priesthood is to be set into motion. The infiltrators are to be assigned their roles on the surface, to bring about the collapse of the hated hairy beasts and to retake the territory of your ancestors. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, were hatched and reared in your generation for just this purpose, and while yours is but a humble part in the great plan, you have awaited it as long as you can remember and are eager to usher in a better era for yourself and your long-suffering people.

Your mission begins today!
>>
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First, which clan do you hail from?

>The Silkscale, who are inclined to subterfuge and silvery tongues, expert at social interaction and deception, with a hypnotic power hidden behind their eyes [Bonus to diplomacy, hypnosis ability]

>The Steeltalon, who may hide behind the size and shape of a regular humanoid man or woman, but who are coiled with serpentine muscle and may expand and grow into a behemoth when their masquerade is broken [Bonus to physical ability, intimidation]

>The Dragonblooded, who carry the direct genetic contributions of ancient dragon-kings, and whose blood and breath boil with the flames of their noble demigod ancestors [Greater authority over other reptilian races, fire resistance and firebreath]

>The Serpent Priests, inbred but pure scions of ancient devotees to the gods of your ancestors, who can craft powerful illusions and divine the starsigns to guide yourself and others in this return to greatness [Divination, illusion, and some other minor spellcasting, multiple humanoid disguises available, but physically infirm and vulnerable to disease and temperature]

>The Degenerates, half-blooded creatures beneath the contempt of most because of your magically-enabled half-humanoid parentage; your creation was either a mistake by a sloppy operative which the priests saw fit to make use of, or a disgusting necessary evil of the great plan [No risk of dispelled disguise, can use mammalian magic items, and you gain the abilities of your humanoid parent's race]
>>
>>4672320
>>The Silkscale, who are inclined to subterfuge and silvery tongues, expert at social interaction and deception, with a hypnotic power hidden behind their eyes [Bonus to diplomacy, hypnosis ability]
>>
>>4672320
>The Degenerates, half-blooded creatures beneath the contempt of most because of your magically-enabled half-humanoid parentage; your creation was either a mistake by a sloppy operative which the priests saw fit to make use of, or a disgusting necessary evil of the great plan [No risk of dispelled disguise, can use mammalian magic items, and you gain the abilities of your humanoid parent's race]
>>
>>4672320
>Degenerate
>>
>>4672320
>The Serpent Priests, inbred but pure scions of ancient devotees to the gods of your ancestors, who can craft powerful illusions and divine the starsigns to guide yourself and others in this return to greatness [Divination, illusion, and some other minor spellcasting, multiple humanoid disguises available, but physically infirm and vulnerable to disease and temperature]
>>
>>4672338
>>4672346
>>4672350
>>4672360
Seems we're leaning Degenerate. Tallying results and writing a post in 6 minutes! If you're lurking or reading and want to be something else, post by then. I'll try to maintain an every-half-hour-or-so schedule for a few hours here, until I go out for dinner.
>>
>>4672320
>>The Silkscale, who are inclined to subterfuge and silvery tongues, expert at social interaction and deception, with a hypnotic power hidden behind their eyes [Bonus to diplomacy, hypnosis ability]
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>4672372
>>4672338
>>4672346
>>4672350
1 is Degnerate, 2 is Silkscale; then, writing
>>
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>>4672320
>>4672379

You are a Degenerate. Your Reptilian parent was an operative as well, early in the information-gathering stage of the campaign against the mammals. Whether by the Priests’ divinely-inspired dictat or as a shameful side-effect of maintaining a cover (or maybe out of some twisted and vile genuine affection for mammalian hand-holding rituals, though that is a disturbing and unlikely thought), you were born half-mammal. Your mammalian parent’s fate is unknown, and irrelevant to the mission. What does matter is that your mixed heritage makes you the perfect natural infiltrator for your beastly parent’s society!

You have been chosen specially to infiltrate the society of your non-reptile parent, as a cog in the machine that is the Serpent Priests’ grand design! Perhaps you might even earn yourself a place of honour in the reptilian future… Or at least, safety from the culling which will befall your mammalian cousins.

Which society are you being sent to infiltrate?

>Deepwater, a predominantly human port-town central to cross-oceanic trade; perfect to acquire resources, intercept diplomatic travelers, and to stage wide-spread infiltration campaigns

>Bleakspire Mining Operation, a dwarven corporate town that seems to be tunneling towards the ruins of a long-lost imperial capitol; ideal to acquire some of the treasures of your noble ancestors and their godly patrons

>Iternagreyn, the mystical and government capitol of an elven magocracy, where forbidden tomes are kept safe and where mages and politicians are trained; ideal to infiltrate education and to acquire and weaponize the foes’ own spellcraft

>Warsing, the biggest encampment of an orc and half-orc warband which has grown in might and prosperity through raiding their neighbours; favourable to war against their fellow humanoids, and with loose leadership, they could be easy to take control of, and to elad to direct military action

>Hawksong, the capitol of the mightiest human-held empire; paladins and kings reside here, and all trade flows inward and outward from this central point; it is arguably the most dangerous mission, with the greatest chance of being discovered and where guile will be necessary, but its cosmopolitan nature and immediate access to halls of power is uniquely advantageous
>>
>>4672320
>The Silkscale, who are inclined to subterfuge and silvery tongues, expert at social interaction and deception, with a hypnotic power hidden behind their eyes [Bonus to diplomacy, hypnosis ability]
>>
>>4672383
Sorry, bud; a bit too late for that. In deference to that, we'll say your Reptilian parent was a Silkscale-clan operative. Now, we're identifying your mammalian parent, and your mission!
>>
>>4672381
>Iternagreyn
>>
>>4672381
>Hawksong, the capitol of the mightiest human-held empire; paladins and kings reside here, and all trade flows inward and outward from this central point; it is arguably the most dangerous mission, with the greatest chance of being discovered and where guile will be necessary, but its cosmopolitan nature and immediate access to halls of power is uniquely advantageous
>>
>>4672381
>Bleakspire Mining Operation, a dwarven corporate town that seems to be tunneling towards the ruins of a long-lost imperial capitol; ideal to acquire some of the treasures of your noble ancestors and their godly patrons
>>
>>4672381
>>Hawksong, the capitol of the mightiest human-held empire; paladins and kings reside here, and all trade flows inward and outward from this central point; it is arguably the most dangerous mission, with the greatest chance of being discovered and where guile will be necessary, but its cosmopolitan nature and immediate access to halls of power is uniquely advantageous
>>
>>4672390
>>4672395
>>4672399
>>4672403
Hawksong it is! Writing...
>>
>>4672430
>>4672381

You are anointed with protections by the Serpent Priest who has been your handler, though the elder male squirms and avoids directly touching your impure flesh. It hardly matters. Being deployed to Hawksong, the vainglorious capitol of the most presently-dominant kingdom of humanity, he cannot risk bequeathing you any actual magical protections. The ports of entry would detect the alien magic immediately, and it would render direct interactions with high-ranking spellcasters (or royalty) exceedingly risky. His ritual is entirely symbolic: your own degenerate bloodline shall be your cloak, and your shield.

As a half-human, you look almost identical to one of those monkeyfolk; you have a slight yellowishness to your eyes, maybe; a slight deformation to the pupils. You lick your lips when nervous, you shy away from cold and tend to layer up in winter. Regular application of oils helps calm down an eczema-like condition which reveals patches of scaly, rough skin around your eyes and hands. To anything but the closest scrutiny, though, you are a human, or at least one of the many half-humans which run around such a cosmopolitan capitol. You have the advantages and disadvantages of a human: you are versatile, adaptable, and sociable, but you also lack darkvision and you are at risk of pregnancy (or impregnating others)

You are given no map to find you way from your people’s home beneath the earth to the homeland of your human parent; rather, you have been drilled endlessly, and memorized the route so that you may follow it in darkness even without the natural darkvision and heat senses of your full-blooded colleagues. It takes several hours, even unencumbered as you are by all but basic clothing, a modest bag of coin, a dagger, a sling, and some rations.

When you emerge, the sun has nearly set, and night is upon you. You look up to behold in wonder the same tars which have gifted your people this glorious opportunity, and whose favour permitted your birth and survival to adulthood despite your filthy degenerate blood. They are only beginning to emerge and sprinkle the sky above, but their many eyes on you brings you a mix of exhalation and anxiety.

In the distance, you can see the magical and lamplit lights of a more earthly constellation: Hawksong, the largest single city on the continent and home to a million humanoids, including the Paladin King Archos.

What shall you do?

>Camp here tonight, wait for morning
>Explore the outlying area under cover of darkness
>Head straight to Hawksong tonight
>Write-in
>>
>>4672438

Also, given your human 'handicap', it may be mission critical to know whether you are male or female in your biology.

>I lay eggs
>I fertilize eggs
>>
>>4672441
>I fertilize eggs
>>
>>4672438
>>Explore the outlying area under cover of darkness
>I lay eggs
>>
>>4672438
>Explore the outlying area under cover of darkness
>>4672441
>I fertilize eggs
>>
>>4672438
>Explore the outlying area under cover of darkness

>>4672441
>I fertilize eggs
>>
>>4672455
wrong post, meant to vote for laying eggs
>>
>>4672441
>Explore the outlying area under cover of darkness
>I lay eggs
>>
>>4672438
>Explore the outlying area under cover of darkness


>>4672441
>I lay eggs
>>
>>4672447
>>4672449
>>4672452
>>4672455
>>4672457
>>4672474
>>4672497
Seems we're set on exploration and egg-laying! Writing...
>>
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>>4672512
>>4672441
>>4672438

Pulling your scarf up around your face to shield yourself against the slight chill of the early spring wind, you glance about. You seem to be in the fields and farmlands which service the glowing metropolis for which you are bound. The city can wait for tomorrow, though: you feel the human-born urge to explore and learn, to experience your newfound freedom. Plus, it could make for good intel-gathering! Out here, you’re less likely to be scrutinized too closely, and you may learn about vulnerabilities and opportunities you can take advantage of in Hawksong.

Lacking nigh-adapted eyes, but unwilling to break cover of darkness with a torch, you rely on your familiarity with the area to guide you through the darkness. In preparation for this mission, you have been to this place before, albeit only briefly and never this close to the capitol. You have always been an outsider, a strange young woman traveling alone. Little did the humans know how strange you were, nor did they realize that you were actually born in this very region to one of their own neighbours! Your mother and father both walked this land, before you were born. Your father was a citizen, your mother a spy like yourself, ingratiating herself with Silkscale politesse and hypnotic allure.

And of course, long before then, your thousand-times great grandparents were kings and queens of this realm and all others, in an epoch unrecognizable and terrifying to those who dwell here now… An era which you will revive!

As you muse on what has brought you here, you find scattered and half-tamed woodlands replete with hunters’ cottages and wild game, a number of roadside inns dotting the main throughfare into Hawksong, and of course the nearest farming village surrounded by its golden fields of grain.

What do you do?

>Investigate the woodlands and the isolated hunters’ cottages
>Attend a travelers’ inn for a drink at the bar and some information-gathering
>Enter the village and learn more about the farmers
>>
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>>4672522
[Oh, and feel free to write-in as well; I encourage improvisation, even if I forget to include it explicitly as an option]
>>
>>4672522
>Enter the village and learn more about the farmers

Break bread with the honest folks. They're simple and won't scrutinize us much, and will likely vouch for us if we get on their good side in times of trouble
>>
>>4672522
>>Enter the village and learn more about the farmers
>>
>>4672522
>>Attend a travelers’ inn for a drink at the bar and some information-gathering
>>
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>>4672525
>>4672529
>>4672556
>>4672522

You consider breaking bread with the most ‘honest’ the usurpers to your noble ancestors’ birthright, down in the farming village below. A signpost helpfully informs you that this place is called “Sparrowton”, by way of the monkeys’ crude, blocky rune-script. It has nothing of the flowing grace of your mothers’ calligraphy, just as the guttural mouthsounds of your father’s people are loud, raucous mockery compared to the subtle elegance of your mother’s soft hisses, or the roaring rattles of the Priests’ inspiring calls to conquest and destruction.

Still, you read the language. You speak the tongue, and hardly even with an accent anymore; humans tend to thing is a lisp, in your experience. As the farming folk of the hamlet return from their work in fields and begin to close up their shops and stalls, you pull up your hood and glance about at them. Sturdy and undereducated, largely; even by the standards of their kind, their tongue is fumbling and full of affections and errors that your meticulous linguistic studies have taught you are deviations from the norm in the common tongue of Man in this area.

They seem strong, though, and diligent enough that only now is the local pub beginning to fill up with sweaty labourers (predominantly male or women of marriageable age, as the young and the mothers who tend them retire at home). They would make good servants or slaves, and by the state of their dress and dwelling places, you can tell they are not necessarily the best-served by the current ruling class, though their health seems generally quite fair for their ilk.

Many businesses are closed, but you can see the lantern lit and door open in what looks to be a sort of general store. So too are the lights on in the local temple: a tall and narrow building of considerably better stonework construction than the thatched and brickwork shanties which surround it.

What do you do?

>Attend to the church, to learn something of human religion
>Stock up on supplies and information at the general store
>Head to the bar to eat, drink, and acquire intelligence
>Break and enter into a human home while the male is away
>Skulk around the streets looking for easy prey
>Other
>>
>>4672578
>>Attend to the church, to learn something of human religion
>>
>>4672578
>Attend to the church, to learn something of human religion

Based on the prompt of 'look for easy prey', I just wanna clarify: is our goal to subtly take over from the inside, spy and gather intelligence, destroy humans, or some combination of all three?
>>
>>4672595
Your goal is ideally to achieve all of the above, after a fashion: to to infiltrate and subvert human society, to learn their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and to destroy humanity (and all mammalian sapients) that you cannot enslave or control so that the Reptilian Race may rule the surface world once more.

Beyond that, you may slay, torment, vivisect, ensorcel, seduce, or manipulate as you see fit. The Serpent Priests trust in their operatives, even a degenerate like you, for the stars are right and your training has been very thorough.

A viper strikes when the opportunity is right, or when it is necessary. You may wish to put the fear of your wrath into these people, to pick away at their psychology and their sense of safety, or you may wish to take a subtler and more gradual approach.
>>
>>4672578
>>Attend to the church, to learn something of human religion
>>
>>4672620
Ahhh I see, I'm more in favor of the getting their trust to gradually put ourselves in a place of rule before slaying everyone who doesn't kowtow after we're too powerful type of route myself. Curious to hear how my other fellow players wanna go about this
>>
>>4672628
>>4672627
>>4672595
>>4672587
>>4672578

You walk towards the temple, interested to learn more of local religious customs. You know about the human faith in broadest strokes, of course. In this area, the people predominantly worship a mother and father figure, who dwell as supreme divinities in the sky or on highest mountains, but whose stern judgement and loving kindness can (supposedly) be felt worldwide by the faithfully-adherent. They preside over a small patheon of demigodly children who administer various worldly forces and deities, as well as a smattering of ascendant priests and heroes. All very trite, with nary a nuance or any hint of true mysticism or occult knowledge.

So it is that you enter the temple with the attitude of a tourist beholding quaint local customs. It is a demeanour you quickly disguise when you notice you have the full attention of all those within: a young boy, a woman of about your age, and an older man. Their garb identifies them as a priest and his attendants or disciples. The boy is counting coins in a bowl, the woman holds a lantern and a small hand-broom, and the older man observes. On the floor between them is what looks to be some sort of basket, which shifts lightly as something moves within.

“Oh! Hello there, my child,” the priest warmly greets you. “A newcomer, if my old eyes don’t fail me? Well, come in, have a seat if you will—you look tired. I’m afraid we’re just counting alms and tidying up, but what brings you here?”

What do you do?

>Ask about Sparrowton
>Ask about Hawksong
>Ask about the gods
>Ask about the priest and his attendants
>Ask about the basket
>Ask about the alms
>Ask to stay the night, as you have nowhere else to go
>Ask about ancient faiths
>Attack!
>Other
>>
>>4672680
>>Ask about Hawksong
>>Ask about the gods
>>
>>4672680
Supporting >>4672691
>>
>>4672691
>>4672700
>>4672680

>About the gods

“Ah, yes. Well, that would make sense—why else come to a priest but to ask after the gods?” the old man chuckles.

His young attendants go about their duties, though the young boy in particular can’t seem to stop glancing your way. Peculiar? Does he know something, see something…? Unlikely, but it would set your hair follicles to goosebumps, if you weren’t uncannily hairless apart from your scalp and eyebrows.

“Moroth is a kind god. Many forget that, but he is indeed kind; it is not the sole purview of Marese!” The old man speaks of the chief god and goddess of his people, naturally. “In these parts, their daughter Atheme is worshipped very often, as I’m sure you know if you’ve ever been through a village like this come harvest-time or when seeds are to be sewn. Just as whenever a child is born! Such is her command of fertility. A lot like the old goddesses of such matters, but without the… Unseemly rituals of the flesh. Much more modern and civil, though a few men my age have been known to request blessings along those lines…”

>About Hawksong

You interrupt the old man’s ramblings to ask about Hawksong, and his expression turns dour. “Ah, yes. Hawksong. Just as I said: so many these days forget that Moroth is kind, and not merely stern. Hawksong and the Paladins are among that sort, by my reckoning! They administer justice, certainly. I’d never say they are UNJUST. But merciful? Compassionate? Sometimes, maybe. No enough. They have too much of Moroth, one could almost say, and not enough of Marese. Except that’s not quite right, for Moroth has a shield as well as a sword!”

It seems that the old priest is not so fond of the militarism or strict adherence to law that he perceives in the attitudes of the Paladins, temporal and spiritual authorities of Hawksong and dragoons of the royal military.

His focus changes again, though… Back to you.

“But enough of an old man’s musings and ramblings. What brings you to Sparrowton?”

How do you justify your presence?

>Looking for a place to stay the night
>looking for a place to settle down
>You’re a religious pilgrim
>You’re just passing through
>You’re here from the Paladins, to crack down on heretical teachings
>You’re here to end the Era of Mammals
>[change the subject, ask more questions]
>>
>>4672724
>>looking for a place to settle down
>>
>>4672724
>looking for a place to settle down
>>
>>4672728
>>4672732
>>4672724

“I’m looking for a plassse to sssetle down,” you say. You hide a scowl behind a practiced diplomatic mask, and bite your tongue to punish it for the lisp. You’ll have to work on hiding that, if you’re to better blend in—not that this man or his acolytes is likely to recognize your accent.

“Well, Sparrowton is certainly that!” the priest says jovially, though he then frowns slightly. “Well, it was. We’ve been losing so many young people lately to the hustle and bustle of Hawksong. I guess that’s what happens when the Paladin King finances his swords and his marches on our tax dollars!”

“I must admit,” the young woman chimes in from the pews she is sweeping, “I’ve been considering heading there myself.”

The old man looks aghast. “Agatha! Say it isn’t so!”

She grins sheepishly and shrugs. “I’m sorry, Father, but it’s not like the alms split three ways can feed a family, and there’s so much more work there. I’d still keep up on my prayers!”

“And boys who aren’t your cousin,” the young boy quips, earning him a glare from this Agatha.

Do you:

>Chime in, suggesting Agatha travel with you to Hawksong tomorrow
>Tell Agatha that she ought to remain here, with her community and her faith
>Offer to help earn money for the church’s operations and those who run it
>Offer to take Agatha’s place at the church
>Stay out of it
>Ask something else to change the subject
>Leave
>>
[Out to get some grub with the fiance, though. I'll return later and post at least a couple more times tonight, for sure.]
>>
>>4672779
>>Chime in, suggesting Agatha travel with you to Hawksong tomorrow
>>
>>4672779
>Offer to take Agatha’s place at the church
>>
>>4672787
>>4672858
I return from dinner! If nobody breaks the tie soon, I'll roll and/or write in soon.
>>
>>4672779
>>Chime in, suggesting Agatha travel with you to Hawksong tomorrow


I like agatha, when the snake uprising begins, she will be spared
>>
>>4672975
>>4672858
>>4672787
>>4672779

“I wass actually thinking of ssetling somewhere such asss Hawkssong, myself,” you chime in. It’s the truth, after all; better yet, you manage to control your accent a bit better.

The poor priest looks double troubled now, but Agatha is seemingly delighted, despite having just made your acquaintance. “Excellent! I was hoping not to have to travel the road alone. There’s been word of bandits lately—“

“All those taxes, all those swords, and still the roads aren’t safe for a lone woman…” the priest grumbles.

“—and you know how menfolk get when you ask them to accompany you alone somewhere.”

“Even when they’re your cousin,” the young boy teases, provoking a swat from Agatha and an admonishment from the priest to finish counting alms and then pray for Marese to temper his sharp tongue with some common sense and kindness.

“I’ll be sorry to see you go,” the priest says to her, “let alone on such short notice! But Marese would want plenty for you, and for your future family. Godspeed.”

Agatha invites you to stay the night at her, home, if you have nowhere else to go; the temple, too, is open to you, as Father Thom makes clear.

What do you do?
>Stay in the temple
>Stay with Agatha’s family
>Find your own accommodations later, and continue to explore Sparrowton after dark
>>
>>4673007
>Stay with Agatha’s family
>>
>>4673007
>>Stay with Agatha’s family
Sssssssssoundsssss cozy.
>>
>>4673093
>>4673099
Let's do it
>>
>>4673101
>>4673099
>>4673093
>>4673007

You opt to stay with Agatha’s family, finding their home to be as simple and underwhelming as the others you passed on the way to the temple. Still, especially once you enter the cozy interior and see her family—two somewhat older-than-expected parents, three older brothers, and one younger sister—you can’t help but feel out-of-place, and maybe even a tad envious. The disgusting half-breed daughter of a spy, raised by priests to fulfill a destructive purpose, you’ve never seen the sort of tenderness which underlies the family’s dinner and even their barbed exchanges of banter here and there.

Perhaps, in a world where these people and their gods had not driven your mother’s race deep into the earth ,smashed their homes and melted down their statues for precious metal, you could have been born different? Perhaps you could have had something like this?

You make a show of eating the meal, but claim your travels have left you too woozy to finish; this helps cover up the automatic nausea which accompanies your over-consumption of grains and vegetables. In the end, you finish your steak and water, eating only enough of the other foods to hide your revulsion towards them.

The thoughts which accompanied dinner (and your disturbed stomach) keep you awake for much of the night, but eventually exhaustion clams you in the brief torpor characteristic of your mother’s race. You sleep for but an instant, dreamless, and when you awake a full six hours have passed.

By the dimmest light of early dawn, what do you do?

>Search the home for valuables or useful supplies
>Spy upon the human family
>Pack and ready to leave
>Exit the home to explore in Sparrowton in advance
>Other
>>
>>4673111
>Pack and ready to leave

Side note, how old are we? I assume like early to mid twenties?
>>
>>4673131
You hatched twenty five years ago.
>>
I'll await some more replies, as well as discussion for your broader plans for what to do once you get to Hawksong. I'm actually fairly drunk and a titch high, so I'll pick it up tomorrow!
>>
>>4673253
Sure thing. Thanks for running! I look forward to where Mark Zuckerberg quest goes
>>
>>4673111
>>Pack and ready to leave
>>
>>4673111
>Pack and ready to leave
Better to lay low for now
>>
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Alright, I'm back! Oof, when the edibles hit, they really hit. Writing!
>>
>>4673591
>>4673553
>>4673131
>>4673111

You pack your things, and ready to leave. The process, sadly, takes almost no time: all that you own is on your back or body already. You sit motionless for four hours, until finally you hear the rustling of others now awake.

“—Ah!” Agatha cries out as she catches sight of you standing stock-still in the hall, staring right at her the moment she opens her bedroom door. “You startled me!”

“Are you ready to go?” you ask.

“Well, I have to say goodbye to my family, a few friends, stock up on some provisions… Breakfast would be nice…”

You sigh, itself almost a rattling hiss before you catch it. So many delays. Perhaps close ties to a family and a community aren’t all they’re cracked up to be? You could be half-way to Hawksong by now!

What do you do?
>Press on; get an early start, and Agatha can catch up if she hurries
>Visit the general store to purchase some supplies
>Stick with Agatha, learning more about her
>Attempt to recruit other young folks to accompany you
>Stay with Agatha’s family and wait for her
>Other
>>
>>4673747
>Visit the general store to purchase some supplies
>>
>>4673747
>Visit the general store to purchase some supplies

Heads up I'm >>4673271, the id is because I'm out right now on mobile
>>
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>>4673766
>>4673758

Though you are trained in young adult human peer group interactions, and have observed a few from afar in your past surface excursions, you feel a pang of anxiety at the thought of testing these so soon with Agatha’s friends and family. Dinner already felt like an exam, desperately recalling your prepared backstory and improvising to fill in blanks while your stomach did flips.

“Actually, I need to sstock up on a few thingss at the general sstore,” you say, as if you just remembered. “Meet me at the main road?”

“Oh! Sure thing!”

You and Agatha depart the home, going your separate ways from the door. Agatha seems chipper, but you detect some trepidation of her own about bidding farewell to familiar places and people.

You turn around and set off towards the general store, stopping for a moment to compose yourself when you see just how many humans are now milling about by light of day, some setting up stalls or transporting goods while others begin to chat or shop at them. The crowd is unfamiliar and alien to your youthful experience: your race is sadly depleted, and in your caverns, you would be a welcome sight at such a gathering of full-blooded Reptilians. Hawksong will be busier, though, by a huge margin; you remind yourself of this and press through to the general store.

Inside, you find a well-tidied and truly GENERAL store, playing temporary waystation to a wide assortment of goods that creates the impression the shopkeeper flipping through a book behind the counter has made a habit of buying any odd tchotchke which catches his eye on a passing merchant’s wagon at a low enough price. Still, amongst the discounted cheese-wheels and pawn-shop jewelry, there are a few true gems: simple but well-maintained armour and weapons, lanterns and torches, a few books and scrolls of cultural value, maps, trail rations, and even a few baubles that might eb truly mystical!

The business owner hasn’t yet noticed you. What do you do?

>Attempt to pocket something good before he notices
>Assassinate him before he ntoices
>Browse and wait for him to notice you
>Get his attention, and attempt to buy some goods
>Attempt to use your Silkscale heritage to haggle for a good deal

Also, what exactly are you looking for here? Feel free to specify if stealing, browsing, buying, or haggling as to what you actually want!
>>
>>4673781
OP, you mentioned out skin gets kinda fucky and reveals it's scaliness if it's not maintained properly with oil or something. Was some of that given in our starter equipment? If not we should probably see if they have any here.
>>
>>4673807
You have enough oil to last you a couple weeks; it doesn't take much, and it only need be applied every few days, so the amount you have on you is not terribly suspicious. However, you are a sucker for a good oil-rub...
>>
>>4673781
>Attempt to use your Silkscale heritage to haggle for a good deal
>>
>>4673781
>Attempt to use your Silkscale heritage to haggle for a good deal.
Would you look at that, we found Edred’s shop. Did you intend to use the same pic as Shopkeeper quest?
>>
>>4673824
I quite liked that quest, so I thought a little reference would be a nice tribute now that it seems to have died.
>>
>>4673824
>>4673817
>>4673807
>>4673781

You lean on the counter and politely clear your throat, and the shopkeeper looks up from his reading—some tawdy little pulp piece about the life of a bartender—and hurriedly dogears a page before shutting it and tucking it into a pocket. He fixes you with a winning smile, and you can tell that even before you’ve begun your own efforts to win him over to a better price, this man has turned on his own charms.

“Hello! Welcome to the shop. Can’t say I’ve seen you around—passing through? In the need for some adventuring gear? It’s the newest fad among athletic young people like yourself!”

Shame you’re immune to flattery. Still… ‘athletic young people’ implies certain things about how your slinky, reptilian movements and training-honed body come across. You could work with his!

“I’m looking for linimentss… Lotionss… Oilss, maybe?”

“A natural beauty like you has a secret routine?” the shopkeeper feigns disbelief, but pulls out a small glass bottle of some greenish, semi-viscous fluid from beneath the counter. “Be it cooking or puffiness under the eyes, this bitterberry-infused oil can’t be beat! Last bottle I have, though, I’m afraid…”

The price he asks would be roughly a quarter of your available coin, but the oil does look to be of high quality… Not that you know much about ‘bitterberry’ or its properties as a topical.

What do you do?

>roll 1d20 to haggle
>roll 2d20 to haggle, take the higher result [flirting]
>roll 1d20 and use the distraction of haggling to pocket something else
>refuse the oil outright, as it’s just too expensive
>>
>>4673841
>roll 2d20 to haggle, take the higher result [flirting]
Turn the charm up to 11

I'm assuming we don't roll until an option is chosen, so I won't add dice to be safe
>>
>>4673846
Correct!
>>
>>4673841
>roll 2d20 to haggle, take the higher result [flirting]
>>
Rolled 13, 18 = 31 (2d20)

>>4673846
>>4673862
Rolling, then writing!
>>
>>4673878
>>4673862
>>4673846
>>4673841

“What if I jussst tell everyone who asskss that it wasss your oil that made my sskin sso sssmooth?”

The shopkeeper’s face flushes, but before he can say anything, you gingerly take his hand on place it on your bare forearm.

“Ssssee? A wonderful endorsssement, wouldn’t you say?”

You wink and roll your sleeve back down, and the shopkeeper gulps. “Alright, alright. 25 percent off! But only because I know a skilled haggler when I meet one.”

By the way his eyes flit across your body, you know that it’s not just your haggling which impressed him. But either way, discounted oil! You pop the cork and give it a quick whiff, and the aroma of the ebrry infusion makes you feel a little giddy as well.

What do you do?

>Shop for additional supplies (Specify)
>Leave the shop and explore around Sparrowton
>Leave the shop and look for Agatha
>Leave the shop and head towards the main road
>>
>>4673892
Before we decide to buy anymore, can we get a rough estimate of what's in our inventory?
>>
>>4673892
>Shop for some armor and a weapon
>>
>>4673900
Your current inventory consists of:

>One bottle of deep mushroom oils
>One bottle of bitterberry-infused oil
>A modest amount of coinage (roughly enough to buy two bottles of bitterberry-infused specialty oil at asking price, with change left over, apparently)
>basic clothing
>a backpack
>a dagger
>a sling
>enough rations to last you roughly three days
>a filled waterskin
>a cozy scarf

Of course, you can always requisition more by making contact with another operative or returning to you mouth of your people's cave, but what use is a Degenerate who can't even make her own way day-to-day in the human world?
>>
>>4673910
>Shop for additional supplies (Specify)
Let's get leather armor, a rope, and a shovel.

Armor for protection, rope for binding targets or traversing the outdoors, and a shovel for burying bodies if we end up causing trouble.
>>
>>4673922
Oh and also a lantern or torches! Almost forgot to add that.
>>
>>4673892
>Ask him if he has any bookss about reptilians
Maybe we can get some information about what humans think/know about us which might come useful later?
>>
>>4673932
>>4673924
>>4673922
>>4673901
>>4673892

>arms and armour
You recall what Agatha said of bandits on the roads, and your eyes slide over to a suit of rough leather armour hanging on the wall. It’s hardly in your size—you’re a slim and muscular little thing, ‘athletic’ as the shopkeeper said, but not exactly mannish in proportions even after your strength training. Your mother was a Silkscale, after all, not a Steeltalon. Still…

You point to the armour, and then to a shortsword in his glass cabinet behind the counter. “How much for thossse?”

“Oh?” he seems surprised. “What do you need those for?”

“A natural beauty needss her protection,” you banter back.

“Everyone’s gotten so used to the Paladins protecting them that nobody really has a lot of interest in personal protection, outside of the adventure tourists,” he admits. “Still, it’s a nice sword, isn’t it? Elven design, but good old local human hands made it! Well, semi-local. Human, anyway. It doesn’t glow when orcs are near, or at least not that half-orc who came by. Tell you what: buy the sword, and the armour comes free. I’ll even apply that 25 percent off!!”

The shopkeeper’s quote is more money than you have on you, even with this ‘deal’; you suspect he’s actually just looking to unload the armour, and is charging you full price for the sword. It’s not a terrible deal even so, and you suspect you could maybe get him to unload it for the remainder of your coin with a few honeyed words.

However…

>shovel, rope, torches, lanterns
You ask after the more practical tools of a traveler, and discover that they are a lot less expensive than a nearly-elven shortsword and armour. The shopkeeper quickly walks back his semi-disdainful comment about adventure tourists, and instead launches into a sales pitch for his ‘starting adventurer’ package price on such items: about two thirds of your coin.
>>
>>4673957
>bookss on reptilianssss
This last inquiry catches him off-guard.

“Uhh… I’m honestly not sure,” he admits. “Odd subject matter. You mean like dragons and kobolds? Or those lizardfolk you hear about in the jungles and off the coast?”

He rummages through a box of clearance books, and eventually finds one: “Protocols of the Learned Elders of the Coming Race” by someone named ‘V. Rilney’. The cover bears a rough likeness of a creature with an elongated, crocodilian snout, but with the neck and shoulders of a man. Not quite like any Reptilian you’ve seen, though the general intensity of the staring eyes reminds you of your handler during a pop quiz on mission emergency protocols.

“Some crank in Hawksong wrote this,” the shopkeeper explains. “I bought three copies on the cheap off of a traveling book merchant, but it still took me forever to unload them. I think it’s an experimental fiction written in a scholastic style. That or the man is legitimately convinced there are subterranean lizard monsters infiltrating the hoity toity big city rich folks.”

The shopkeeper laughs, and offers to unload the book on you at half price; this would mean that you could afford to buy it and all the non-combat gear, and still have a couple coins leftover.

>What do you do?
>>
>>4673959
Let's prioritize the practical things we need, i.e shovel, rope, torches, lanterns, and the book. When we get to the city we should look for a job of some kind and can find armor and weapons later. At the very least we have a dagger on us now which should work out.

Let's also make a point of giving our gratitude for his help. We don't need to be super seductive or anything, but genuinely showing appreciation and implying we might be a regular may give us discounts in the future which would be a big help- especially since this shop is outside Hawksong and thus we'll attract less attention buying other stuff we need from here.
>>
>>4673959
>"Starting Adventurer" package
>Protocols of the Learned Elders of the Coming Race
>>
>>4673959
>Buy the book and non-combat gear
>>
>>4673972
>>4673967
>>4673963

You decline the sword and armour combo, opting for the less combat-oriented equipment... And the book. You reason that the torches and lantern, and a few multi-purpose tools and rope, will serve you a lot better in your subtle mission of subversion than a big stabby knife. Besides, you have a dagger, and combat training beyond any human peasant!

You express your gratitude to the shopkeeper, who introduces himself as Aldrich, and promise to come by next time you’re in the area and in need of supplies. You load your backpack up with your new belongings, hand off the coin, and Aldrich thanks you for your business, and your company.

What do you do next?

>Chat with Aldrich
>Start reading ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
>Look for Agatha
>Explore Sparrowton further
>Head to the main road
>Other
>>
>>4673979
>Explore Sparrowton further
>>
>>4674000
>>4673979

You tuck the book away with the rest of your purchases for the moment, and decide to explore this small village for a bit longer, before your group with Agatha and head out to fulfill your mission.

Unfortunately, there’s honestly not much to see around here! You’ve been to the store, to the local temple… There’s always the bar, you suppose, but relatively few working folks will be around there at this time of day, since you can tell pretty much all the farmers you spotted entering the establishment last night are absent, out in the fields in all likelihood. Still, those whoa re present may be useful to ply for rumours, or you could just get a drink. You’ve never had alcohol, but you have heard other operatives speak glowingly of it…

The stalls offer some interest, but mostly only as an observer: a lot of them are selling fruits, vegetables, and bread. Eurgh. One is selling cuts of local meat, though, and another handicrafts. Perhaps most intriguing is a single stall decorated with stars, moons, and sundry foreign pictographs, where an elder human woman sits festooned with cheap gems and dark make-up. The signage advertises it as a fortune tellers’ booth.

Of course, not everything is about commerce. There is a small gaggle of young boys and men—teenagers—milling about, having a lunch, chatting, and occasionally catcalling at a passing young lady of the appropriate age. Another possible avenue for information, or for hired help.

What do you do?
>Buy some meat
>Buy some handicrafts
>Visit the fortune-teller
>Go to the pub
>Approach the young men
>Move on
>Other
>>
>>4674043
>Move on
>>
>>4674043
I really wanna visit the fortune-teller but if she is any good she'll find what we are sooo
> Move on
>>
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>>4674067
>>4674081
>>4674043

You eye the fortune-teller with equal parts intrigue and suspicion. If she’s anything but a charlatan, she’d be a liability. And anyway, what use is a human fortune-teller when The Serpent Priests have already read the essence of your destiny in the star-charts?

You shrug and move along, heading towards the main road. You find Agatha already waiting there, loaded up with a pack of her own, and with a mule in-tow. You must have spent longer chatting and shopping than you realized, or else her farewells went faster than expected.

She waves you over, and introduces you to her mule, in the manner she would to an old friend. He does look old, too, past his prime working years. His name is apparently Torto.

“I hope I can find him a stable,” Agatha muses. “If not, I can probably keep him at my uncle’s, right? I’ve heard there are fewer places to keep animals in the big city, with everyone living all packed together and on top of each other and such, but surely they’d have room for a single mule?”

You admit you’ve never been to Hawksong or any other metropolis, yourself. That much is the truth. However, as you begin your journey down the major trade road into that grandiose city, Agatha begins to ask questions which require more of you. For instance, she wonders what you’ve done for a living, and what you plan to do in Hawksong once you arrive for work, and for residence.

It’s something you’ve given thought to yourself: the need for a job. The coinage you were given by your handler has set you up alright for this brief sojourn, but is sadly lacking in terms on managing your long-term needs. You’ll need a job! And, of course, you’re going to Hawksong to infiltrate or undermine the Paladin King and the whole world order he represents. Maybe you could kill two birds with one stone?

What do you plan to do for work?
>Become a skilled artisan
>Become a troubadour
>Become a maid to a noble or wealthy merchant
>Join a guild
>Join a brothel
>Join the Paladins
>Other
>You honestly don’t know, and will just take whatever work you can
>>
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Expect delays for a couple hours; if all goes well, I have an Edge of the Empire game happening with friends in 45 minutes.
>>
>>4674103
>Join a brothel
This unironically isn't a bad idea, given our exotic looks and accent. Could start manipulating high-level officials if we got any successful.
>>
>>4674103
>>Join a brothel
>>
>>4674103
>Join the Paladins
Sounds like free armor and weapons, as well as information about the military situation and going ons of the government. If we can't manage to join though, then

>Brothel
>>
>>4674159
>>4674211
>>4674219
>>4674103


“Ssex work,” you state plainly. Agatha, who was taking a swig from her own waterskin, spits it out across the road, bug-eyed at the statement and the directness with which you speak it.

“W-what? Like, as a whore?” the conservative young human, who you remind yourself you met at a church service, is as red in the face as a Dragonbood. You simply nod, and raise an eyebrow.

“Why would you w-want to do that?” she asks, still completely taken aback.

You can’t tell her the real answer, of course: you mean to attract a high-end clientele with your smooth bronze skin and unplaceable accent, and then to manipulate them toward the enslavement of their own race. You settle for an approximation of the truth:

“Lotss of very wealthy men pay a great deal for ssuch services, yesss?” You grin, and tilt you head. “I like wealthy men.”

Agatha doesn’t seem to know what to say, and you get the feeling she’s questioning her choice in traveling companions—maybe even in the destination she’s setting out to. By your telling, it’s full of wealthy whoremongers!

Eventually, she says “I was thinking of being a seamstress, or maybe just tidying up around a shop that sells clothes. Those city girls always have the nicest dresses…”

You run into no trouble on the road, luckily. Despite all this talk of banditry, you are not accosted. Perhaps the two of you don’t look like you have anything worth stealing? Or else, given you are two unescorted young women on the road, you have simply been lucky.

Certainly, luck is on your side insofar as you pass a patrol of Paladins, breaking the awkward silence. You recognize them from your dossier—shining silver-clad men, bearings swords and shields, sitting atop only the finest white-headed wingless gryphons! Agatha is openly agape at them, despite surely having seen them before. They do cut quite the distinct figure from the other traders and foot-travelers you have otherwise passed.

"I wouldn't mind being a Paladin, either," you muse, only half-joking.

What do you do?
>Keep your head low and hurry on
>Ask Agatha about the Paladins
>Attempt to get the Paladins’ attention
>Other
>>
>>4674243
>Attempt to get the Paladins’ attention
Politely greet them, make small talk, make ourselves seem pleasant- maybe casually ask about where to shop or find lodging in the city proper
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

Rolling something for next post...
>>
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>>4674243
>>4674313
>>4674330

To Agatha’s ever-mounting dismay and embarrassment, you wave to the passing knights of the realm and shout a polite greeting: “Lo, Paladins!”

“What are you doing?” Agatha whines, hiding her face in her hands, and then trying hurriedly to tidy her hair and straighten out her travel-rumpled dress.

Many of the Paladins simply ignore you, but one catches sight of you and gestures a hand-signal to his fellows. He and two others veer off and approach astride their massive gryphons.

You are smiling at first, but as the Paladins approach, and their gryphons focus their huge yellow eyes on you, you feel terror seize your heart. It feels to you as if these predatory mounts are all looking at you with… Fascination? Aggression?

Hunger. Like a hawk that has spotted a serpent or lizard.

You unconsciously take a step backwards, which everyone luckily seems to take for understandable nervousness at the majesty of the gryphons and their noble riders.

“Lo there, citizens,” say the admittedly dashing-looking noble warrior who led the riders toward you. He holds his helm under one arm, having taken it off on the way over, and you recognize the leering grin as that of a man looking to make an impression…

But it’s the gryphons’ expressions and low whining squawks which hold your attention.

“Strange to see two young women walking the road alone,” the knight notes, when you don’t return his greeting. “Where’s your father? Brother?... Husband?”

You force yourself to snap out of your terror, and to formulate a response

What do you say?
>“I don’t need one, I can take care of myself.”
>“I’m actually looking for just such an escort. Interested?” [flirt]
>“We trust in the Paladins to keep the roads safe. So far, so good!”
>change the subject (such as to asking about lodging in Hawksong, whether the Paladins accept female members and how one gets in, etcetera)
>Other
>>
>>4674243
>Attempt to get the Paladins’ attention

Also strongly against becoming a prostitute because we don’t know how badly they’re treated and we have no protection against pregnancy and stds. Let’s just be a paladin anons
>>
>>4674345
>“We trust in the Paladins to keep the roads safe. So far, so good!”
Oh hey new post
>>
>>4674349
A bit late, but also there's still plenty of time to NOT join a brothel when you get there. Can even play it off as a joke later to Agatha, if you folks decide against it.
>>
>>4674345
>“We trust in the Paladins to keep the roads safe. So far, so good!"
>Try to end the convo to get away from griffinss assap
>>
>>4674353
Being a whore is the most effective way to control wealthy and powerful people and we get to use our superior acssent to lure them and play like pawnss.
>>
>>4674345
>change the subject (such as to asking about lodging in Hawksong, whether the Paladins accept female members and how one gets in, etcetera)
This, asking basically the things mentioned in parentheses.

Also I'm with >>4674349, let's try to avoid brothel route if we can. Joining the Paladins would be super advantageous to our goal and towards getting armor, weapons, and understanding how our opponents fight. Let's save the brothel as an emergency backup if we need coin quickly or if it doesn't work out
>>
Writing the next post!
>>
>>4674410
You may want to resume using a name and/or tripcode btw
>>
>>4674384
>>4674383
>>4674366
>>4674352
>>4674345

You back away from the gryphons, and the Paladins chuckle slightly. The man with his helmet off shakes his head, letting rather impressive black tresses fall free. “No need to fear, miss. They’re quite under control, as long as we’re around! First time seeing a gryphon?”

“Yessss,” you admit. “Very… Impresssive beasstss. I sssee now what keeps these roads sssso sssssafe.”

Damnit! If you were less nervous, you would have thought of a way to say that with fewer S’s. Alassss!

The Paladin hops down from his gryphon, patting its face amiably with a gauntleted hand. It glowers around the armoured glove, trying to keep its sights locked on you, but he hands the reigns off to one of his colleagues, and the hang back and keep his own gryphon with the others. The whining squawks grow louder, provoking a couple boost and swats from the other two riders; this quiets them somewhat, allowing you to collect yourself. The Paladins mutter to themselves, unsure what has set their otherwise well-trained mounts to such agitation and disobedience.

Tehre’s no getting out of the conversation gratefully now that the Paladin ahs dismounted to speak with you, but at least you have some space to breath now.

“Quite the unusual accent,” the Paladin you are speaking with notes.

“Well, I’m not from around here,” you say by way of understatement. “I’m heading to Hawkssong, actually. I don’t ssupposse you know anywhere you’d recommend nice young women like usss to lodge?”

“You’ve no family there?” he asks, surprised. “A young woman traveling alone within escort and with nowhere to stay when she arrives… Daring! What brings you to Hawksong, anyway?”

“I’m looking for work,” you say truthfully, then hazard: “Maybe with the Paladinsss?”

The man laughs at your ‘funny joke’. “A lady Paladin! Well, you certainly look tough enough, but I’m afraid that the gryphons backs might be a bit sloped to ride side-saddle.”

He thinks on it, but then suggests: “You know, if you tell them Sir Chase sent you, they might consider you for the role of a gryphon-nurse. The beasts have may uses, but they do make quite the mess, and the chicks take a darned long time to mature…”

What do you do?
>Take Sir Chase up on this offer
>Politely decline; working with giant terrifying land eagles is not for you
>Suggest that you might be able to ‘serve the Paladin cause’ in ‘other ways’ [flirt]
>Declare that you’ll be staying with Agatha and her uncle
>Other
>>
>>4674439
>Politely decline; working with giant terrifying land eagles is not for you
Probably don't want to get ourselves eaten, and if we do something insane like kill or poison them then the new nurse would be the first one under suspicion.

Let's head into the city with Agatha. If we do want a job manipulating wealthy people though, we're probably better off seducing someone as a maid to a noble or wealthy merchant than as a whore anyone can buy at a brothel
>>
>>4674439
>Politely decline; working with giant terrifying land eagless is not for you
>>
>>4674448
Not just any cheap whore, the most desirable ones not only can get information out of their clients, but also heavily influence them. Unlike maids, who are stuck with one person who's in position of power over them.
>>
>>4674470
Getting pumped full of STDs and rando human kids does not seem ideal to our mission, and prostitutes generally don't really have that much sway unless you somehow get very lucky with a wealthy client and put yourself in a weird, sugar daddy relationship. We can get way more info and get straight to a target that would actually be worth seducing as a servant to a rich person. They'd probably have lots of crap to steal too
>>
>>4674448
>>4674449
>>4674470
>>4674481

You politely decline Sir Chase’s noble offer: the gryphons are worthy defenders and spectacular beasts, of course, but… Maybe not for you. He seems to find amusement in this, but doesn’t find it suspicious. Many people don’t feel at ease around gigantic predators, after all.

“Well then, there are a number of fine inns if you have coin for them, or women’s apartments whose matrons specialize in training young women for service and marriage if you don’t,” he suggests.

“I’m not sure that’s quite what she’s looking for,” Agatha starts to say, but you give her a meaningful nudge with your elbow. “I wass only joking,” you tell her of your talk earlier.

In truth, you haven’t wholly made up your mind. It’s evident that human men find you attractive; a legacy of both parents, you suppose. You have no aversion to using your body as a tool of spycraft, and this is a tried-and-true technique of infiltration. However, is being a common prostitute the best way to achieve access to the halls of power you are here to infiltrate and destroy? Maybe you’d be better off being a maid or servant first, and then seducing a specific target…

Or you could always se if the town guard or a less auspicious organization might take you on, and grant you access to your enemy’s weapons and strategic information, if the Paladins are two gryphon-centric for your liking.

You bid the Paladins farewell, still musing on these ideas. By the time you snap out of your reverie, the rather impressive, eagle-and-gryphon festooned gates of the capitol lay before you. They are wide open to trade, but Paladins and regular guards (men and women, you note) are stationed to either side of it, and are stopping each trader, diplomat, and regular traveler in turn to take information down on long parchment scrolls.

What do you do?
>enter through the main gates with Agatha
>Attempt to sneak in, to avoid official documentation and scrutiny
>Namedrop Sir Chase in the hopes this gets you less questioning
>Make an excuse, turn around, and wait for nightfall
>Attempt to talk your way into the guard
>Other
>>
>>4674534
>enter through the main gates with Agatha
Now that you bring it up, the guard could be a good backup. Still get some gear and they probably know what's going on around town. Also allows it to prowl around at night 'on patrol' without suspicion. I like this a lot.
>Attempt to talk your way into the guard
after we go in the normal way
>>
>>4674547
>>4674534

You follow Agatha’s lead as you approach the Hawksong city gates. Giving the Paladins’ gryphons wide berth—easy enough, as they mainly hang back and chat amongst themselves while the common guards do the bulk of the mundane work—you pay careful attention the guards. Their arms and armour are less eye-catching, but still well-made and uniform. They have the bearing and discipline of people with military training. Albeit a bit rough around the edges and without the nobility’s studied social graces and air of inherent dignity.

An easy mark?

“Welcome to Hawksong,” says one such guard—an older, weathered-looking man, but built powerfully and with rigidly-straight posture. “State your name and business here.”

“Uh, Agatha Johan of Sparrowton,” says you companion. “I’m here to visit with my uncle, and to seek employment in the garment trade, if I may.”

“And you?” asks the guard, looking now in your direction.”

“I wass thinking of joining the guard, actually,” you say with a smile.

“Wait, what?” asks Agatha, whirling around to look at you in shock again. She looks nearly as surprised as when you were considering prostitution!

“Hm,” grunts the guard. “And your name, would-be trainee?”

What name have you been using?
>A false name you devised with your handler
>An exotic name you came up with on your own
>A local name you read in a book once, and liked the sound of
>The name your mother once shared with you, which your father had told her he wanted to name you

[Also, pitch names]
>>
>>4674622
>An exotic name you came up with on your own
Ismena Rosgard
>>
>>4674629
"My friends call me Izzy"
>>
>>4674630
>>4674629
>>4674622

“Issmena Rosssgard,” you say, sounding it out the way you used to in your barren stone hutch beneath the earth, dreaming of this freedom under the open sky—of being someone important, powerful, and alluring enough to deserve such an auspicious name. You could just imagine it: men and women hearing it spoken from across the room, turning to look towards its terrible, beautiful, powerful bearer. Someone exotic. Someone fascinating. Someone respected.

“Sounds foreign,” snorts the guard, nodding to his younger lackey in oversized armour to jot it down on the parchment.

"My friends call me Izzy," you mumble quietly, annoyed at his mundane reaction.

“Well,” he continues, “come on in, if it’s to work. Can’t say for sure that you’re guard material, but you look tough enough for a little girl. If you’re serious, come by the guardhouse tomorrow morning, bright and early. Moroth and Marese both know we could use some more muscle, and more eyes. Property crime’s been ridiculous lately, and now the kidnappings…”

He clears his throat and ushers you in. Even if you wanted to ask mor about this crime wave that so vexes the man, you can tell he isn’t inclined the chat now. There’s a line forming behind you, and he has to move it along.

The talk of kidnappings sets Agatha on edge, though. He clutches her mule’s reins closer to her, and glances around.

“Well, I should really be getting to my uncle’s before it gets dark,” she says. “Thank you for traveling with me, Izzy. You really had me going, you know, with all that brothel talk! Do you really mean to be a guard, though? Seems almost as, uh, rough-and-tumble, in some ways.”

“Maybe,” you tell her non-commitally.

“Well, sleeping on it isn’t a bad idea,” Agatha suggests. “Where, uh, where are you staying?”

Now THAT is a good question. Where ARE you staying?
>Ask Agatha to stay with her uncle as well
>Scrounge up some coin for an inn
>Stay at one of the women’s apartments which Sir Chase described
>Find a brothel to ‘stay’ at after all
>Sleep on the streets tonight
>Seek out a Reptilian contact in the city and try to stay with them
>Other
>>
>>4674692
>Stay at one of the women’s apartments which Sir Chase described
It couldn't hurt to get a little instruction on how to be 'lady-like' by human standards, especially if we end up going seduction route after all.
>>
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>>4674698
>>4674692
“Ssir Chasse’s ssugesstion wassn’t altogether a bad one,” you acknowledge. “I think I’ll check out the women’ss apartmentss.”

“Well, good luck!” Agatha says with a wave. “And be careful, Izzy. Maybe you should see if they can spare a guard to walk you home?”

“No need,” you say. “Bessidess, it sssounded like they were short-handed.”

Just another weakness in the human defences, and an opportunity for you!

You get some directions from a passerby, and before long you’re on your way to this apartment. The sun ahs almost et, though, and the towering buildings of this citadel city offer shade even before total darkness sets in. Lanterns are lit throughout the city, of course, but a candle lit can as easily be snuffed.

And so it is that, en route to your possible resting place for the night, you encounter a patch of darkness. Row upon row of lanterns has been blown (or deliberately snuffed) out.

What do you do?
>Proceed under cover of darkness; you are nightmare, after all
>Light a lantern and proceed
>Take the long way around
>Call out into the darkness
>Seek out a guard
>Other
>>
>>4674772
>Proceed under cover of darkness; you are nightmare, after all

Keep our dagger at the ready, just in case.
>>
>>4674629
I come back and our name has 2 S’s in it. Damn. Let’s hope no snakefolk inquisitor asks our name or we’re screwed.
>>4674772
>Proceed under cover of darkness; you are nightmare, after all
Snake night vision don’t fail me now!
>>
>>4674908
In my defense I am dumb as hell and didn't think about it until after it got confirmed lol
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

A roll for the next post...
>>
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>>4674935
>>4674830
>>4674908
>>4674916
>>4674772

You draw your dagger and lean low, skulking into the darkness which quickly surrounds you. You squint your eyes to narrow slits, praying to your deep, dark gods for your mother’s bight-vision… But darkvision does not come to you. You are too human.

Still, it is not pitch-blackness here, and your eyes are better than your father’s folk in such conditions, if only marginally. When dark shapes rise up to your left and right, you sense them like a tremor running up each leg to you spine, and finally to your lizard-brain. You take a deep breath, recalling your training, and go torpor-still.

When the first one lunges, you swing… And whiff. You know that despite the darkness, your knife should have met flesh, but it didn’t. Your foes are too fast. Something that is neither hand nor foot sweeps your leg, and you hit the ground hard, dropping your dagger and sending it skittering across the ground to where a clawed, almost hand-like foot (in what looks oddly like spats or sandals) pins it in place. You see scaly tails like those of your kin, but sickly pink-grey… And with wiry hairs.

“Stick ‘er! Cut ‘er, gut ‘er, loot ‘er, throw ‘er inna dumpster! Quick!”

The voice is squealing, rasping, high-pitched and hateful to you… But you cannot bring yourself to fear it, somehow. A moment later, you learn why, for a face enters your vision: a rat’s face, but huge and misshapen.

You meet its eyes, and your assailant freezes, even with the upper hand. The rat-monster stares at you much as you now realize you must have stared at the gryphon. The equation is the same, but variables flipped: no longer are you prey.

You are nightmare.

Your reptilian nature has bought you a moment’s hesiattion despite the ambush. How do you use it?
>Fight dirty, try to win this [1d20]
>Intimidate [2d20, take the highest]
>Diplomacy, as fellow enemies of the city [1d20]
>Flee back the way you came, to seek aid [1d20]
>Barrel ahead, to the lights on the other side [1d20]
>>
>>4674959
>Diplomacy, as fellow enemies of the city [1d20]
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>4674959
>Diplomacy, as fellow enemies of the city [1d20]
This thing isn’t alone even if we intimidate him, the rest might be braver, and since we’ve lost our knife we can’t fight them all. Talking seems like our best option
>>
>>4674990
>4
On second thought how about YOU do the roll QM
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>4674995
Don't worry; I roll it after people settle on a choice. Seems like we have. Writing!

Note: if I roll bad, feel free to worry.
>>
>>4675010
>>4674990
>>4674978
>>4674959

"Sslow down, vermin," you hiss. "You're out of your depth."

The rat-monster atop you leaps backwards, a vertical leap of nearly eight feet from a standing start, and it land son its feet. You could never achieve such a feat... And yet it fears you. It's certainly a boost to your self-confidence!

But it’s not alone, and you’re well-aware of that. You hear and feel its companion approaching from your other side, and you turn your withering gaze upon it. You find it brandishing a crude butcher’s implement in one hand and YOUR knife in the other.

You know you should be worried, but you’re not. You are the serpent. They are the mice.

“Sssstay where you are,” you suggest softly and quietly, “and I need not be your enemy.”

“What are you?” it squeaks, panicked.

“A fellow foe of Hawkssssong.” You really elan into the accent, and strain yourself in the way you used to in the reflecting pools belowground to force your round pupils to dilate closer to a proper narrow slit. “I am here to drag Man and his ilk into the drains, where your kind may feast if so you desire.”

The rat-things say nothing, but they do not move closer. Nor do they retreat. They are listening. They are hungry, but they are clever; they need not your scant flesh, your sparse wealth, if what you promise could truly come to pass.

What do you do?
>Make your pitch (include suggestions)
>Ask them to take you to their leader
>Request safe passage, and to speak with them on neutral ground tomorrow
>Ask who and what they are, and learn their objectives as best you can
>Attack while they aren’t expecting it
>Other
>>
>>4675019
>Make your pitch (include suggestions)
"Firsssst, give me back my dagger. My mission will likely benefit your ilk. I will not tell you the detailssss, but know that I can be friend rather than foe"

>Ask them to take you to their leader
>>
>>4675019
>Ask who and what they are, and learn their objectives as best you can
“I think we can work together and resolve this problem in a way that benefits us both.“
>>
>>4675022
>>4675024
>>4675019

"Firsssst, give me back my dagger. My mission will likely benefit your ilk. I will not tell you the detailssss, but know that I can be friend rather than foe"

The rat-things glance at each other, and the one holding your knife flips it over in its grip to hold it by the blade’s tip; a less-trheatening grasp, but it doesn’t yet return it.

“I think we can work together and resssolve this problem in a way that benefitsss uss both,” you try again. “Who and what are you?”

“Asked you first!” one squeals.

“You know what I am,” you reply. “I am not alone. Take me to your leader, and you’ll never have to meet mine.”

This gets their attention, and after a bit of high-pitched, high-speed back-and-forth, the one who took your knife sends it skittering back your way.

“Got it, got it, will do,” it agrees. “Come on, come on! We’ll take you to the boss. WERERAT boss!”

The two rat-things drop to all fours and book it deeper into the shadows. You take up your dagger and slowly follow after them, only to find that they have sprung and leapt over the edge of a bridge, and dove down through a sewer drain, the rail-guarded entrance to which has been modified so that the metal rails can be removed and almost-seamlessly placed back after someone (or something) enters or leaves.

And within? You can’t see, but you can certainly smell.

What do you do?
>Light a lantern and proceed
>take advantage of the rats’ departure to flee unmolested
>Proceed into the darkness and stink
>Other
>>
>>4675053
>Light a lantern and proceed

Having some rat servants could be hella useful. We play nice with them now and we've got ourselves a few nimble chumps willing to do our bidding, as well as a scapegoat should we ever decide to kill someone in the dark and the body is found
>>
>>4675059
>Light a lantern and proceed
Welcome to the under-city
>>
You take your lantern out from your backpack, thankful that you fall didn’t smash it. With one of the matchsicks that Aldrich the shopkeeper helpfully included as part of the package, you light its central candle to light the way for your accursed Degenerate eyes.

Along the way, you attempt to glean more information from your hosts. It’s an unsettling back-and-froth: you speak a question aloud into the dim murk ahead, and from just outside your lantern light comes and answer… But never from the exact same direction twice.

“What isss a wererat?” you start with.

“Ha. Ha! What’s a werewolf? Like that, but rat!”

“I ssee…” you say, not truly understanding.

“Rat bites man, disease, curse. Get it? Then that man maybe finds he likes it, that it works. Bites another man. That what happened to you, snakegirl?”

“Ssssomething like that,” you say cagily. No need to overplay your hand.

“Most of us were smalltimers. Homeless, thieves. Druggies, sometimes. The bite takes away all that, makes you family. Makes you clean, makes your vision nice ‘n clear!”

You’d certainly never describe these filth-encrusted sewer-dwelling mammalian monsters as ‘clean’, but you can’t exactly fault their superior sight, you suppose; it’s you holding the lantern, and them leading beyond its rays. You could be walking into an ambush for all you know… But you still feel the distinct lack of fear that you felt before.

The wererats lead you through a maze of increasingly malodorous, sticky tunnel complexes into one that seems as dry and clean as any are likely to be. It is there that you realize what you have stumbled upon: nearly two-dozen of these creatures dwell in the complex, all adults by the looks of it. Most wear some manner of human clothing, roughly preserving modesty in some absurd fashion. None wear shoes, though, and all wear shirts open and pants unbuttoned, even the few females; their stooped, malformed frame and penchant for dropping to all fours must preclude doing them up.

At the back of the chamber, reclining in slightly-portly repast and wearing an armful of gaudy bangles and bracelets and with both hands covered in bejeweled rings is the ‘boss’, the king of this filth.

“…The ffffuuuuuUUCK is this?” he snarls, noticing you. “What’s with the broad, boys? You know it’s me, ME ALONE, that decides who we turn. No more random street-girls! We gotta’ gut another down here, wash the body downriver? Fuckin’ bringing attention to us…”

“Wait, no! Boss! Hear ‘er out. She’s… Different.”

What do you do?
>Approach the dialogue from a place of deference and respect, offering aid
>Imperiously lord your conspiracy’s superiority over these undercity mongrel-mobsters
>Bargain as equals, on their own gangster-like terms
>Look about for a way to set this whole place ablaze
>Other
>>
>>4675092
>Bargain as equals, on their own gangster-like terms
If we give them respect, we lose the fear aspect. If we go all in on intimidate, we may not garner their trust. Let's play it up like we're on even ground for now
>>
[Next post will likely be last for tonight, and during the week this will be a "one to three post per evening" kind of thread.]
>>
>>4675092
>Bargain as equals, on their own gangster-like terms
Look him in the eyes, offer aid for a favour in return later.

We’ve found the giant rat that makes all of the rules.
>>
>>4675101
>>4675108
A question so the last post is a gooder: do you have a specific request in mind? Or specific aid to offer?
>>
>>4675115
"We can handle the day operations and you the night. We'll gather info on the humans, and can look into anything you need, and you'll be the muscle we need to execute plans. Anyone we kill you can eat, I don't care"
>>
>>4675118
>>4675108
>>4675101
>>4675092

You meet the boss’ eyes, and introduce yourself as an equal, and a kindred spirit:

“I am Issmena Rosssgard, and I am a vanquard of the coming race,” you unconsciously borrow the title of V. Rilney’s book in your backpack. “We’re not unlike you… In sssome ways. We have been casst down and held down by thosse who live large up above usss. We want a piece of that, asss you do.”

“I got my piece, girlie,” the boss-rat counters, flashing his shiny baubles at you as if it would impress a child of prophecy. You suppose he does not know better, and you don’t necessarily want him to, so you humour him.

“I can sssee that,” you acknowledge. “But you are not… Sssubtle. Power isss. Our network extends higher, spreads… Differently. We do not look sso different from the humansss asss you. We can blend. But your sskillss, knowledge, network… It sstretchess lower. We can offer you our aid, if you offer uss yoursss.”

He cottons on quick, despite his inferior mammal-mind and bestial form. “We handle gross nighttime murder shit, you cover up for us and divert trouble if we draw it, maybe sell what we steal if we don’ wan’ it?”

You nod. “Couldn’t have sssaid it better myssself.”

A long pause, as the wererats chitter excitedly amongst themselves.

“Awright, you got it,” he nods assent. The others fall silent, and their leader slides out of his sloping throne—a nobleman’s once-nice, thrice-soiled and now lump heirloom loveseat. “Name’s Leo, by the by.”

The rat-boss waddles towards you on his hind leg, lacking his hirelings’ grace. At first you think it is his mild obesity, but you then realize his leg is broken, and his whiskers are grey. This old creature has been a career criminal for quite some time. He is no neophyte, no troglodytic throwback. Or, wlell, no more so than any of the young races.

He holds out a hand—paw?—to shake. You assent to take it in yours, in a custom your people find distasteful even with one such as you, let alone a fully-mammalian monster sprinkled with faecal matter. It is necessary, and the stars are right, so you do what you must. You take the unlikelihood of this opportunity on your very first night in Hawksong as a sign it was meant to be.

The rat digs a nail lightly into your wrist and pulls you closer to him, into a near-grapple, setting you briefly to panic. He doesn’t attack, though, but instead he whispers an addendum to your deal:

“Jus’ remember: I don’t look like this always. That’s the ‘were’ part a’ ‘wererat’. I’ll ask the boys where they picked you up. I’ll be watching. You don’t be no snake-in-the-grass to us, get what I mean?”

You nod (what else can you do, in the circumstances), and he releases his grip and punches you amiably in the shoulder.
>>
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>>4675141

“Awright, awright. So, that all you’re here ta’ discuss, Rossgard?”

What do you do?
>Make a specific request of Boss Leo’s wererats
>Ask for information on an aspect of Hawksong
>Ask to stay here tonight
>Ask the wererats to drop you off near the women’s apartments
>Leave on your own, and go elsewhere (specify a destination)
>Other
>>
>>4675143
>Ask for information on an aspect of Hawksong
What do you know of the paladins? Any info or weaknesses that can be exploited?

After that's answered
>Ask the wererats to drop you off near the women’s apartments
>>
>>4675143
>Ask for information on an aspect of Hawksong

Any weaknesses in the city wall? Or even places near it the guards tend to ignore more than others?
>>
>>4675196
>>4675146
Supporting both. Ask for general weaknesses in the city military
>>
>>4675143
>Make a specific request of Boss Leo’s wererats

"I have my ssightss at the moment ssset on infiltrating the law enforssement in this ssity. Maybe the cccity guard, maybe even the paladinsss. I could use sssuch a posssition to sssee many thingsss… Keep many thingsss to the ssshadowsss, make easssier your livessss. There isss a girl by name of Agatha Johan, a new arrival in town. I'm sssure you have regular people working for you, sssome disssposable ssshmuckss. Could you ssstage a kidnapping of her for me to "thwart" and ingratiate myssself with the law?"
>>
>>4675143
>>4675408
+1 to this

>Ask for information on an aspect of Hawksong
Are there any espesially corrupt VIPs who would work with us for a bribe/favor?

>Ask for someone to lead you back to the surfase.
>>
>>4675435
>>4675408
>>4675347
>>4675196
>>4675146

>What do you know of the paladins? Any info or weaknesses that can be exploited?
>Any weaknesses in the city wall? Or even places near it the guards tend to ignore more than others?
“What weaknesssess do you know of, Boss Leo?” you ask after a moment’s consideration. “Within the Paladinsss… The guard… The city wallss themssselvess?”

“The sewers,” he answers flippantly, and with his strange mutant gang’s characteristic quickness. “Weakest point in the defences is always the stream a’ shit that exits it. Connects right up with the river. ‘Course, it’s one thing to use it to smuggle in some weapons, to dodge the alw… Ta’ float out a corpse. Different situation in you wanna’ bring in, say, and army…”

You ignore his probing for your intentions, and instead ask after the various defenders’ own weaknesses.

“Well, they can’t see too well in th’ dark,” Leo offers. “But if you think a rat wants ta’ be any nearer to the gryphons than snakes would, well, you got another thing coming.”

He noticed your trepidation about the Paladins, deduced the reason for your nervousness. Altogether too clever, despite his undesirable station in the muck. Perhaps you really do have something in clever with this creature.

“I wass actually thinking of joining them,” you say, “of ingratiating myssself firssst to the guardss, and then to the Paladinsss themsselvess.”

“Oh?” he asks, sitting back in his throne heavily. He plays it cool, but his ears perk. He’s intrigued.

>Are there any espesially corrupt VIPs who would work with us for a bribe/favor?

“that’s your department,” leo scoffs. “You wanted to big the uptown, daytime racket, didn’t cha’? Not a lot of politicos rollin’ dirty in th’ depths with us, scuzzbags though they are.”

>The kidnapping of Agatha Johan

"There isss a girl by name of Agatha Johan, a new arrival in town. I'm sssure you have regular people working for you, sssome disssposable ssshmuckss. Could you ssstage a kidnapping of her for me to "thwart" and ingratiate myssself with the law?"

“Huh.”

He rolls his rings with his fingers, staring at the gems. “Yeah, we can kidnap the broad, Rossgard. I take it you wanna’ save her alive, too, though—not just a body? Yeah, non-rats is best. I’ll look into it, keep you posted. Anything else?”
>>
>>4675565

>Ask the wererats to drop you off near the women’s apartments

Boss Leo snaps his fingers, causing his rings to clatter and ting against each other noisily. “Take the lady home, boys. Sounds like she’s got a busy day ahead. Gonna’ need her beauty sleep.”

Without much delay, the two rats who escorted you here lead you back through the stink of the sewer and the accursed slickness of the fluids and solids in the lantern-lit dark. Your lantern flame flickers and flares with the pockets of gas, and at times you consider dousing it to prevent an explosion. Luckily, it doesn’t come to that: before long, you are beneath the dimness of the waning moon, and your rat ‘friends’ are returning to their boss’ den and their strange family of freaks.

You take a deep breath of clean air, savouring the smell of literally-anything-but-human-waste. It’s later into the night now, closer to midnight you guess. The women’s apartments await… But even without much in the way of human social graces, you know an unknown, foreign woman stinking of the sewers and wandering to the doors at next-to-midnight is unlikely to be a common sight for the matron of these apartments.

What do you do?
>Make up a story for the matron on the way there (make a suggestion)
>Sleep on the streets
>You’re too excited to sleep anyway; stroll the streets and explore (risks exhaustion)
>Find a Reptilian contact to stay with
>Find a victim to mug or slay for her clothing
>Other
>>
>>4675567
>Find a Reptilian contact to stay with
Maybe they can provide us with more clothes, too
>>
>>4675567
>Other
brothel, it's free! (with service)
>>
>>4675577
Nah, brothels filter their workers, they wouldn't take a suspicious woman right from the street. However, there is a different way to use our supposed attractiveness to our advantage, if young human males are indeed as instinct-driven as we've been told.

>>4675567
>Other

>Hide our items in some crany, rub enough oil on skin for it to glisten, and rip our clothes, exposing enough flesh to arouse base instincts but not enough to blow our cover

>Wait in the shadows next to a decently lit street until a well-off looking male comes through it

>Run out, bumping into him, and do the whole "help me I'm so scared it's been my first day in town and I've been assaulted by some smelly lowlifes" song and dance. It's even mostly true, for a certain point of view.
>>
>>4675577
+1
>>
>>4675601
>Support but let’s not rip our only set of clothes without good reason.
>>
>>4675577
this
>>
>>4676116
>>4675999
>>4675577
I swear if we get locked in a rape dungeon because of you coomers I’m gonna post a rage comic
>>
>>4675572
>+1 at least let’s get in contact with some backup before we begin the very risky job of being a hooker in medieval times
>>
>>4676378
Indeed

Seriously why are you guys so set on brothel? Is it just horniness? Not only is it a dangerous and less than ideal situation, but even if we were trained to use sex strategically I doubt our character would want to immediately become a cumdump for inferior mammals
>>
>>4676378
+1 for finding a contact before resorting to hoeing out

you people need to ease up on the horny, there's other quests to funnel your erections into\

hopefully a bed available in the barracks will make this the last time we find ourselves struggling to find a roof over out head for the night
>>
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Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>4675572
>>4676465
>>4676378
Three for finding a Reptilian contact

>>4675577
>>4676116
>>4675999
Three for becoming a brothel-worker for free housing

>>4675601
>>4676090

Two for attempting to trick a passing rich man into being chivalrous at you


I guess I"m rolling 1d2 to see if we a hoe before I post.
>>
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>>4675565
>>4676547


In a turn of events you didn’t see coming before your assault by the wererats, you are caught between two arguably-dishonourable options: turning up at the house of your local contact to request aid on your very first day as a spy in Hawksong, or turning tricks for shelter. It’s a difficult choice in theory, but as a disposable Degenerate, you aren’t exactly prudish about the sanctity of your tainted mutant body to begin with. What you ARE wary of is reinforcing the perception that your polluted blood has rendered you useless to The Serpent Priests, and to your people.

Prostitution it is.

You spare a quick glance back at the women’s apartments, and sigh wistfully. Some part of you perhaps wished to avoid this, to uplift yourself in the eyes of even this mouth-breathing mammals. But a Degenerate is only as useful as her role in the grand design, and the parley with Boss Leo was more useful than any lessons in hosuewifing could ever be. As you skulk towards the Hawksong red-lantern district, you grin a too-wide, too-sharp smile at the thought of your impromptu plan to use Leo and Agatha as pieces in a game of cops-and-robbers. Now THAT’S subverting human institutions like a Reptilian!

You put out your own lantern as you exist the patch of rat-ruled night and enter the literally red-lit district which houses the city’s most popular brothels. As a common entry-point into human societies for low-level operatives, you were well-briefed on such establishments. You steel yourself and straighten your back, striding into one such parlour: ‘The Pretty Kitty’.

Inside, you find smoky, heavily-perfumed air. You almost hope it’s enough to disguise your own disgusting odour from your negotiations, but sadly, the feather-festooned and buxom woman who comes to greet you lets her practiced smile slip just long enough for you to realize that you’ve had no such luck.

“Hey there sweet little thing,” she asks, fumbling only slightly as she regains her seductive swagger. “You lost, or…?”

“I’m new in town… In thiss country,” you say, leaning into your exotic qualities. “I am without coin. But I think maybe, in this place, I may find some? I am… A hard worker. Eager to pleasse.”

The greeter looks you up and down appraisingly, taking a puff on a small pipe she seemingly materialized out of the rather-impressive powdered wig on her head. “Caramel honey with a mysterious past, from a foreign land, looking to please? Good angle. Yeah, you could swing that. You sure, though?”

“I… Have nowhere elssse to sstay,” you admit. “It’sss not an angle.”
>>
>>4676594

“Well, been there, honey. Alright. Come with me, and let’s get you hosed off. You crawl into town through the sewers or something…?”

You realize she’s waiting for your name.

What do you do?
>Give her a new pseudonym; the name of Rosgard shall not be associated with what we do here
>Give her the name “Ismena Rosgard”; it isn’t ours anyway
>Give her the name “Agatha Johan”
>Stay silent and nameless
>Other
>>
>>4676600
>Other
>Ask madam for a name for us. She knows what sells, and what doesn't stick out too much.
>>
>>4676667
“What name sssellss, Madam…?” you ask, awaiting her own name.

The woman laughs. “Madame? Oh no. I’m just the girl working the door tonight, while the others work the johns. I’m Felia, honey.”

You feel your stomach flip at the idea of ‘working the johns’. You approached this place with bravado, but in actuality, your own sexual experience is… Limited.

“So, how do I sstart… Work?” you ask. You earned another laugh.

“A scrub down first,” she reminds you. “Most fellas don’t have the fetish you smell like. Then, some rest. You’[re pretty enough, don’t get me wrong—I can recognize a looker. This ain’t your finest hour though, hun. You look like you’ve gone a few rounds with a street dog.”

She’s nearly right. Even before the rats, to be honest, you could do with a bit of torpor. It’s ben a long, long, BUSY day with a lot of twists an turns.

“And then?” you ask.

“Well, THEN you can meet Madame Mina, make a good first impression, and we can see what you’re best at. Where you’ll do the best work. What kind of client. You get what I mean?”

You nod, though you can’t help but blanch a little at the thought of what sort of aptitude test these human sex-workers would perform to gauge such a thing. You wonder if there’s a specific way to… fellate, or whatever… That makes you most suitable for guildmasters and noblemen.

Felia leads you to a bath-room, cozy enough and dimly lit by candles, and commands you to strip. The tone reminds you of your handler, and before you know it, you’re obeying. She whistles appreciatively, giving you another look over.

“Shit,” she says, “they shave where you’re from? All over Good look for you.”

You simply nod. You do not blush or look away; you’ve been inspected for readiness before.

“The warm water poured over you has an effect, though—you practically fall into a half-slumber then and there, as your cool blood is warmed to rare comfort. You wish to curl up and sleep, but Felia’s direct, unashamed hands on you with a bar of soap and some sort of sandstone wake you up and almost elicit a yelp.

“Hmm,” she stops, running fingers over the small f your back. Bit of a rough patch down here. Anything… You know, contagious?”

You freeze. Your scaly patch near the scar, where your tail was removed as a child. “Um, no. Not contagiousss,” you reassure her.

Her hands go to work again, and your hiss practically becomes a purr. It’s not sexual, at least not to you, and Felia seems positively businesslike, but… This is the most comfortingly you’ve ever been touched, even so. Shame it’s by a human.
>>
>>4676788

Eventually, you are toweled off and set up with a room. Felia leads you to an overly-plush, somewhat cutesy room full of soft pillows, cheap ballerina baubles to create the illusion of feminine décor, and thin sheets that can be easily washed… or burned, fi need be, without much expense.

“You can stay here tonight,” she tells you. She gives you a little wink. “Free of charge, even, which is better than most can say. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll earn your keep soon enough, honey.”

No working name yet, then, but a friendly nickname. And you managed to avoid giving her your ‘working name’ from your REAL job.

What do you do?
>Settle in for torpor
>Attempt to skulk about The Pretty Kitty looking for useful information or valuables
>Read ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
>Steal some clean clothes and leave, now that you’re cleaned up
>Other
>>
>>4676789
>Read ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
let's do some reading before we start our work

frankly I think we can use sex to our advantage. become a highly prized concubine and we can gather a lot of sensitive intelligence.
>>
>>4676789
>Read ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
>Settle in for torpor
>>
>>4676789
>Settle in for torpor
Right now and there, no need to overextend ourselves for nothing.
>>
>>4676902
>>4676896
>>4676800

One more post before I get some torpor myself, then.
>>
>>4676789
>Settle in for torpor
>>
>>4676800
>>4676896
>>4676902
>>4676933
>>4676789

You rub your eyes, feeling relaxed from your scrub-down and tired from the day’s ordeals. Ultimately, you think yourself successful enough to deserve the respite of a few hours of staring through nictitating membranes at the ceiling while hardly breathing.

However, your mind drifts back to ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders of the Coming Race’, the strange and mysterious book you picked up in Sparrowton. The ‘crackpot’ who wrote it is apparently a resident of this very place and, having spent some of your allocated funds to acquire it and having arrived in the author’s own city, you feel obliged to read it as a final parameter of the day’s missions.

The writing is… Not great. You imagine an impressionable humanoid might find it spooky, but for you it is at best amusing. ‘V. Rilney’ seems to know little, if anything, of your people; he conflates the supreme Reptilian Race of The Serpent priests and their worshipful few with everything from lamias (who are, as everyone knows, actually a six-limbed lion-like creature!) to various human demon-cults (with whom your people only have occasional, indirect dealings). He even speculates that recent surges of seemingly-unconnected lizardfolk raids on the southeastern coasts of the humanoid realms are the work of your ‘reptilian master-race’. If he’s right about that, all you can say is that you wish you’d landed THAT assignment!

However, he is adamant in his certainty that your people are REAL, and a real and present danger to all of humanity, as well as the elves, dwarves, and other ‘civilized races of demi-humans’.

“I have written this book under the pen-name V. Rilney,” he state sin his forward “because to do so under my own name would invite assassination, be it of my body or my reputation. I know that to do so will cast the veracity of the work into doubt. If one were inclined to believe this work to begin with, who can trust a man who will not display the courage of his convictions, with name and face on full display? However, to this I can only write what I now shall write: I have seen one of these horrid things who pretend to people, with my own two eyes. I have taken dinner with it, spoken with it, laughed with it, believed t to be friend and not foe. I believed it was human and so I know the cruel skill with which they now extended taloned tendrils into (I suspect) our highest offices and most cherished institutions. I have seen what devilish work they do, and it has cost me and my family dearly. I will not let it cost them anymore. I pray that any father or husband will understand, in their heart, this truest motive.”
>>
>>4676954

Spurred on by this impassioned plea to be taken seriously, and by your knowledge that the strange human who penned the tome IS indeed at least accidentally correct, you read on for a time. Eventually, though, the inaccuracies and obsessive, disjointed digressions of this troubled ape begin to bore you, and you set the book down so that torpor may take you at last.
- - - - - -
When you wake, you are refreshed, clean, learned, and at ease. Of course, you’re also awaking in a den of mammalian inequity and sexual congress, where you will soon be expected to take ape-creatures bodily into various orifices. You can hear tittering and half-yawning voices through the thin walls next to you, and in the hallways; steps, some of them barefoot and some clearly in tall, narrow heels and walking with some skill despite this. Felia or some other callgirl will no doubt come to rouse you soon, and to take you to ‘Madame Mina’ for assessment and assignment.

What do you do?
>Gather your things, steal some clothes, and leave through the window
>Get up, get dressed, and go meet your new coworkers as a real go-getter
>Stay in bed a while longer, oiling up scaly patches and awaiting your wake-up call
>Ready a dagger
>Other
>>
>>4676969
>Gather your things, steal some clothes, and leave through the window
>>
>>4676969
>Gather your things, steal some clothes, and leave through the window
>>
>>4676969
>>Get up, get dressed, and go meet your new coworkers as a real go-getter

By the way Felia's treatment of us changed once she accessed our body, it seems we're above the average cut. That should give us leeway to negotiate on our terms, such as working part-time on a fluid schedule.

And if we're forced into anything we can't accept, we can namedrop our smelly friends. Brothels are still a part of the illegal world, surely there must be some whispered rumors a wise madame wouldn't dare to ignore.

Never thought I'd be voting for a coomer option. But in for a penny, in for a pound, and we've taken this penny. No need to give ourselves bad rep when we can get good backing instead.
>>
>>4676969
>Get up, get dressed, and go meet your new coworkers as a real go-getter
I still think playing the concubine could be to our advantage, nothing coomer about it

literally slither our way into the halls of power one general and nobleman at a time
>>
>>4676969
>Get up, get dressed, and go meet your new coworkers as a real go-getter.
Just because we work at brothel, doesn't turn this quest into coomfuel. This is more interesting than paladin fuckery.
>>
>>4676969
>>Get up, get dressed, and go meet your new coworkers as a real go-getter
>>
>>4677023
>>4676969
>>Get up, get dressed, and go meet your new coworkers as a real go-getter

Welp, nothing to do now other than to go give some snake succ.

>>4677099
>This is more interesting than paladin fuckery.
We are literally playing as the stereotypical “sexy seductress assassin”. A paladin infiltrator would be so much more interesting but now we’re just gonna coom our targets to death.
>>
>>4677171
A stereotypical army infiltrator would be more interesting than a manipulative snek hoe blackmailing city officials, heh. And it's not like we're gonna be killing everyone, plus assassin part was gonna be a thing either way.
>>
>>4676983
>>4676998
>>4677171

Seems like three people would prefer to bail out the window (though one is prepared to stick around and learn the sex-trade).

>>4677099
>>4677037
>>4677023

Three would unequivocally prefer to stay here.

I slept in, so my posts will have to wait until after work. If anyone wants to break that tie, now's the time; otherwise, it's leaning towards brothel-work.
>>
>>4677371
you missed my vote
>>
>>4677371
>Get up, get dressed, and go meet your new coworkers as a real go-getter
Honestly it would be rude to just fly out the window after their hospitality. I don’t mind staying for a few days at least. Provided we only do succing or rubbing.

For now we are a coom-maker. We can leave later
>>
>>4677371
bruh
>>4676983
>>4676998
are for bailing
>>4677023
>>4677037
>>4677099
>>4677137
>>4677171
are for staying
that's 5-2
>>
>>4677391
Ah, so you are correct. Must be pre-coffee. I'll post up when I can.
>>
>>4676969
>>4677391
You spare a glance towards the window, where high society or guard duty may await… But who's to say what level of personal intimacy (and thus trust, and vulnerability) a maid or servant may be privy to? Who is to say whether a guardswoman will ever meet with a senator, a guild master, or a princeling in anything but the briefest capacity? These people have been hospitable enough, and more importantly, their trade offers inherent opportunities for privacy, intimacy, flexibility, and access to powerful figures under compromising circumstances.

You slide into the rather silly outfit hung up for you: something that is equal part frills and strategic slits for your smooth skin to show. After hastily massaging a bit of oil into those areas in particular—a flash of scales serves nobody's purpose—you open the door to your new bedroom/office and step out into the throng of women (mostly humans and half-breeds) who are your coworkers.

You attract a lot of looks, to say the least. Most are intrigued or appraising. A few are disapproving—some of your seniors seem threatened by an unexpected new face vying for the same clientele, perhaps. The envious women look a little haggard to your eye, however, and you feel their concern might be misplaced; you are aiming for a different sort of customer than it looks as if they are.

“Hello, I'm… New,” you greet them.

Felia spots you and beckons you over.

“We really need to get you something that fits your theme a bit better,” she muses.

“What is my ‘theme'?” you ask.

“Well, not ‘a size too small and girlish. I'm thinking we lean into the foreign gimmick, but… Well ain't Mina.”

Ah, yes, your Madam. You suppose she's the one you need now impress your worth upon, as a high calibre asset worthy of upper crust ‘johns'.

Felia brings you to a fairly ornate door, and knocks upon it thrice. You're called in, and sitting at a high hardwood desk is… Well, Mina, you presume. To your surprise, the proprietors of The Pretty Kitty is actually some sort of felid, with a thin coating of fur and cat-like ears and face. Humanoid enough in body, though, or else she's stuffing her bra. Her expression is tough to read, but her tone is stern.
“This is the girl who came in out of the cold?” she asks Felia. This confirmed, Madam Mina now turns to you. “I hear you need a name and a job. I'm prepared offer you both, if you really want it and if you're prepared to do what it takes. I'm thinking something to do with a spice, or the desert. Don't suppose you know how to belly-dance, for the bar?”

What do you do?
>Demonstrate your dancing abilities
>Suggest you would be better-placed in a private escort capacity for wealthy clientele
>Request something more private, even if it's on your back
>Attempt to use your wererat connections to get special considerations
>>
>>4677682
>Demonstrate your dancing abilities
you move onto private clients after you've gained their attention
>>
>>4677682
>>Suggest you would be better-placed in a private escort capacity for wealthy clientele
>>
>>4677682
>Demonstrate your dancing abilities and overall superiority to an average valley girl
>Ask for special considerations regarding the worktime/freetime, using our versatile talents as leverage and bringing up the wererats if necessary

Bar is good enough. In fact, it doesn't make us compromise our superiority by copulating with humans that don't advance our position, yet leaves the copulation as a possible "extra" option that many will desire, but few (of our own picking) will get.

Nobody sane would let an unknown and untested woman into escort for important people, and spreading our legs is not our goal by itself.

However, it's imperative to be able to live a double life, rather than get stuck as a day-in day-out worker.
>>
>>4677682
>Demonstrate your dancing abilities
>Suggest you would be better-placed in a private escort capacity for wealthy clientele
>>
>>4677707
>>4677682
>Demonstrate your dancing abilities and overall superiority to an average valley girl
>Ask for special considerations regarding the worktime/freetime, using our versatile talents as leverage and bringing up the wererats if necessary

Remember that “wealthy clientele” are not necessarily “important to the city”. Besides, we don’t want to look too cocky on our first day.
>>
>>4677692
>>4677707
>>4677864
>>4677864
>>4677697

Posting ASAP! On my way home, but Word on phone isn't as bad as I thought it might be.
>>
>>4678130
>>4677682

You obediently attempt a sensual dance, something that your natural Silkscale-born talents lend themselves well to. Still, while Felia gives you an appreciative whoop and a whistle, Madam Mia merely remains stone-faced; granted, as a cat-person, that may just be her limited facial muscles.

“Not bad,” the madam eventually admits. “You can start tonight.”

“Actually,” you interrupt. “I was hoping for sssomething a bit more… Flexible than shift-work. What are the hours?”

“Nightly,” Mia says succinctly. “Show up just before dusk. Leave after the last of the clientele goes home around two hours past midnight, and after helping to clean up.”

“That iss… An issssue.”

Mia looks to Felia, who is fidgeting uncomfortably now. “It thought you said she needed the work? That she was a hard worker?”

“I am!” you protest.

“New in the kingdom? Nowhere to stay? What could possibly justify trying to avoid a proper work-week, then?”

You try another tack: “I have many unique sskillss… And I know that I am valuable merchandissse. A cut above the ressst. Educated, fit, young. Perhapsss I would better sserve us both in an… Essscort capacity, for thossse who can appreciate sssuch thingsss?”

“Look,” Mia sighs, the sound a low growl, “every pretty woman who walks in a place like this fantasized about roping them some old horny noble who will set them up. It doesn't work like that; not always. Even when it DOES happen…”

Mia holds up her hand, and Felia hands her a pipe, lights in, and she takes a drag. Composing herself, she continues.

“You want work, you do the job I give you. You want flexibility, you do the HARD work, on your back or knees or wherever else they ask you to lean while they fuck you. What’s it be?”

You consider bringing up Boss Leo. Perhaps the Madam might know the name, the rumors of missing young women. Would it work, though, or would it overplay your hand? Perhaos you can suck it up and... Suck for a living? Or maybe you can work around the dancer schedule--you DID tell Leo you would handle the 'daytime side of operations.

You meet Mia's gaze, two natural predators sizing each other up, deciding whether to strike.

What do you do?
>Take the job as a dancer
>Take the job as a prostitute
>Play hardball; bring up the wererats [1d20 intimidate roll]
>Sweeten the pot [1d20 seduction roll]
>Refuse the work altogether, leave
>Other
>>
>>4678162
>Take the job as a dancer
you earn the interest of the powerful through what you don't give them.

they have to bid for your touch, put on a show worth bidding for.
>>
>>4678162
>Take the job as a dancer
Become nocturnal. Do everything from 4pm-8am and sleep on a warm rock somewhere in the day
>>
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>>4678170
>>4678205

You relent, lowering you gaze.

“I will dansssse,” you hiss through gritted teeth, rearranging your scheduled plans in your mind.

“Good,” Madam Mina replies. “Think on that name. Gonna’ need to announce you somehow when you step on stage. I’m thinking… Less frills, more lace. Maybe some coins to jingle.”

Felia laughs nervously. “Well, she does know how to work those hips, am I right?”

Mina just takes a puff of her pipe, and inclines her head slightly. Taking this as a cue, Felia place a hand on your lower back and pushes you gently out the door, quietly shutting it behind her. When you’re free and clear, she leans against the wall and take a deep breath which causes her bosom to heave so hard you fear her tight top will finally lose its fragile grip on her modesty.

“What was THAT?” she asks, glaring at you. “You know, I stuck my neck out for you, hon!”

You didn’t ask her to—certainly not in those words. You don’t owe her anything. And frankly, you got what you wanted (more or less) and her employer still sees you as valuable.

“Thanksss,” you whisper, affecting a smile. Felia seems to calm down at this, and pats you on the shoulder.

“Well, welcome to the team. And hey, nice dancing! It don’t pay as good all at once as whoring, but it’s safer. And you’re young! This sort of thing’s… Easier to come back from, onto the straight and narrow.”

Felia and you walk down to the entryway to the brothel, boudoir, and back office portion of the business; the dancing and revelry happens on the other side of the building, a more respectable (to a point) edifice adjacent to other, less ‘accommodating’ bars and lounges. Your new coworker shrugs on a fuzzy feather-lined coat, and offers you another. Given your cold blood and the skimpiness of your new outfit, it isn’t a bad idea, but the huge gaudy coat and frilly, high-rising skirt sort of scream ‘brothel’.

“So, you start tonight!” Felia says brightly. “Whatcha’ doing to celebrate? Not that you’ve got paid yet, I guess…”

What do you do?
>Tag along with Felia
>Pay a visit to Agatha
>Investigate the sewers by daylight
>Go to the guardhouse, to pursue a job there as well
>Check in with a Reptilian contact
>Explore the city on your own
>Other
>>
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>>4678321
>Pay a visit to Agatha
let's see if Agatha can design our dancing costume

I'm imagining something between this and slave Leia, go for a harem girl, exotic desert beauty thing
>>
>>4678321
>Pay a visit to Agatha
>>
>>4678339
>>4678349
You tell Felia that you have some errands to run before tonight, and your part ways at the door. Luckily, Agatha told you where her uncle is staying; it will make both today’s business easier, and the kidnapping!

Though… Now that you aren’t planning to join the guard in the near future, do you even still need to have Agatha kidnapped?

You mull this over on the way, cognizant of the attention your ensemble is attracting as you exit the Red Lantern District and the slummy area around it, where such sights are commonplace and the Pretty Kitty’s claws are known. As you close in on your target, you get a few catcalls and whistles, and more lewd looks and second glances than you would have expected.

Eventually, you arrive at a fairly humble, run-down little house, tall and narrow and in need of some work. Still, it’s a good sight better constructed than the Johan farmhouse in Sparrowton, and more auspicious in appearance. You rap your knuckles on the door, and after a few moments a large-jawed, greying-haired human cracks the door open and leans out. He’s tall, and certainly bult like a human of farming stock, wherever he may now dwell.

“Who is—Uhh?” The man begins and ends his questioning greeting nearly as soon as it leaves his mouth. His eyes bug slight—not in the same lascivious ogling fashion as the other men you passed, but more in surprise at this incongruous sight at his door.

“Can I… Help you?” he asks, as if he has no idea where he would even start.

“I’m here for Agatha,” you simply reply.

“Uncle Oxford, who is—Oh!” Agatha peeks out around the larger man (apparently her uncle) and stares at you with much the same expression, before flushing bright red. “Oh! Oh no! Come in, quick!”

Agatha pushes past her uncle, and hauls you inside, before slamming the door behind you.

“Oh Marese, oh Moroth, oh gods above… You weren’t kidding? I thought you were joining the gurds, or, or, or going to that apartment to learn how to cook!” Agatha bursts out.

“You know this… Young woman?” Her uncle inquires, leaning against the wall and sizing you up anew.

“Um, sort of,” Agatha admits. “We traveled from Sparrowton together. Her name is Ismena, and she’s a…”

Her blush deepsn, and she leans in close to ask: “Are you really a… A…”

“Dancer,” you reply with a twitch of a smile. “Jussst a dancer.”

“Oh,” she says, exhaling at last. “Well, what brings you by?”

What do you do?
>Say you’re just stopping by to check in on a friend
>Say you were hoping to have her make you a dress for tonight
>Ask her about her experience of Hawksong so far
>Ask her about her uncle
>Gathering information specifically in an effort to better plan her kidnapping
>Warn her about the wererats
>Other
>>
>>4678367
>Say you were hoping to have her make you a dress for tonight
and maybe if she agrees 'casually' chat about the other subjects
>>
>>4678367
>Ask her about her experience of Hawksong so far
>Say you were hoping to have her make you a dress for tonight

gotta be polite and proper first, open with the pleasantries.
>>
>>4678367
>Say you were hoping to have her make you a dress for tonight
>Ask her about her experience of Hawksong so far first
>>
>>4678399
>>4678400
>>4678405

“I wass actually hoping you could make me a dressss for tonight,” you say.

This catches Agatha off-guard, and she sheepishly acknowledges that, for all her judgement of you, you’re having a much more successful start in the city than she is (oh, if she only knew!).

“I kind of just… Spent the evening catching up with Uncle Oxford,” she says. “I figured I’d start, you know, job-hunting today!”

“You didn’t get up to anything?” you ask. “Really?”

“Well… We went out to this elvish restaurant around the corner, actually. It was nice! I mean, it was all just vegetables, and the seasoning was a bit much, but it was really unique! Honestly, it’s just sort of novel having anything cooked for me by, well, ANYONE but my mom.”

Eurgh. Vegetables. Though the talk of food does set your stomach to rumbling. You could use a bite to eat. Agatha clearly heard it, because she giggles and apologetically intimates that her uncle is a lousy cook, hence the fancy dinner out. She offers to make you some food with her typical unthinking charity. Naïve little human. You accept, naturally, primarily eating the bacon and eggs and only nibbling at the toast.

“And speaking of ELVISH RESTAURANTS, holy cow!” Agatha continues as you, she, and her uncle eat. “I never knew there were so many different types of people in one city. I saw them when I visited before but I guess I just assume THEY were visiting, too. But no—there are humans, and elves, and dwarves, and even ORCS living here. Like, all the time, year-round!”

Over the meal, you you offer to be her first client as a seamstress.

“I wouldn’t even know where to start!” she says. “I was hoping to apprentice… And I don’t have any money for materials, really.”

“I wouldn’t need a lot of materialsss for the sssort of dancing I’m doing,” you say, causing her uncle to have a coughing fit an excuse himself.

“Well… I could try!” Agatha says. “What did you have in mind?”

“A harem girl, exxxotic dessssert beauty thing,” you say, reflecting on Felia and Mina’s impression of you.

“Hmm… Alright! Let me size you, and then come back later. Uhh, ideally with some money, if you could?”

It’s the second time in as many days that a human female ahs had her hands all over your body, but Agatha’s touch is less tender and less practiced. You’re not exactly relaxed this time, but nor are you stressed. Your mind is already on your next move.

What do you do?
>Stick around to watch Agatha’s progress
>Explore Hawksong
>Get more food
>Attempt to rendezvous with a wererat contact to set up the kidnapping, now that Agatha is going to be in a known location for a while
>Find a way to make some quick coin to pay for the outfit Agatha is making
>Swing by the guardhouse after all
>Other
>>
>>4678419
>Find a way to make some quick coin to pay for the outfit Agatha is making

if we're already on the route of hoein' out, offer some bomb-ass head in an alleyway for a few pieces of coin
>>
>>4678425
we do need to practice, so seconded
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>4678431
>>4678425
Oh boy. Welp, rolling for next post
>>
>>4678460
>>4678431
>>4678425
>>4678419

You agree to Agatha’s terms, and depart her uncle’s home to allow her to work. You suspect you might be able to try to hustle the human girl for ‘exposure’ or something similar, but ultimately you dislike the idea of owing any more debt than you already do to she and her ilk. Self-sufficiency hasn’t yet proven to be your strong suit, and that needs to change.

Beyond that, having chosen the way of the escort over the way of the guard, you now find your sexual inexperience a liability. You’ve proven an adequate dancer, and you have mounting evidence that humanoid males find you a physically alluring mating partner, but you assume that males in positions of power have their pick of the physically-desirable underclass. You’ll need to stand out, to really sink your fangs into a man of worth and strategic value once you locate one. To do that, you’ll need to… Refine the relevant skillset. You think back to the catcalls and wolf-whistles which hounded you on your way to Agatha’s, and the thought occurs:

Two birds, one stone.

You gulp back a peculiar and immature nervousness, and steel yourself. Straightened your spine, you stride confidently back the way you came. The next time a loudmouthed male mammal barks “How much, your answer comes quickly and steadily:

“How much do you have, sssir?”

To equal parts amusement and frustration on your part, your first couple efforts scare the targets off; they were ALL bark, it seems, and no bite. Pity, though maybe not, for you find yourself more disgusted by such specimens as shout at you in public than you are by the average member of their simple, hairy young race.

Eventually, in a somewhat-sweaty younger male, you find a taker. By his clothes, he is of the merchantman class: middle-income for a human of common-birth, full-blooded, non-magical of nature, comfortable, mildly-educated. No great catch, but fine practice. You curl your finger seductively and lead him into a nearby alley, and he follows you like a mindbound Silkscale slave, though you lack your mother’s hypnotic eyes.

You wouldn’t know you weren’t a hypnotist by the way he reacts when you begin to work him with your hands, though, and to mimic what you have learned and observed of humanoid seduction: you nibble and kiss at his neck, stroke the heinous reproductive organ of this ape-man, and eventually kneel before him to warily begin the process of your education. He gasps, moans, whimpers, pleads. It is… A sort of power, you suppose. You could bite down, even , and wield bloody wrath against such a victim of your wiles. In this instance, though, you do not: you practice the craft before you with the same doggedness with which you master all other useful skills in pursuit of the grand design.
>>
>>4678480
Eventually, after a few minutes, the stars are right for the experience to end. You gag a little, spit onto the dirt and cobblestones, and ask the obvious question after an exam:

“Did I do well?”

“Uh-uhmaazing…” the human groans, hand still in your hair. You brush it away and straighten your clothes, brushing off knees and holding out your hand for the bag of coin he deposits. His praise is… Good, you suppose. A good sign. Still, you don’t know how much it truly means for your skills. You get the feeling he is less experienced even than you are in these matters.

What do you do?
>Shake the guy down for more coins
>Offer more services for more coin
>Kill him to cover up this indignity
>Kick him to the curb and move on with your day
>Get his name and address
>Other
>>
>>4678483
>Get his name and address
can't hurt to groom a contact
>>
>>4678483
>Tell him your name, and where and when to find you if he wants a repeat performance

if he comes by the brothel when you're on the clock, that's a little bit of rep gained within the workplace. maybe he'll bring friends
>>
>>4678490
>>4678489
>Support, the first of many clients.
No problem here but I don’t think we have a work-name yet
>>
>>4678483
>Mug him and case out his house
>>
>>4678489
>>4678490
>>4678546
>>4678553
>>4678483

“What’sss your name?” you ask him, feigning sweetness and affection.

“My name? Um, Kilian.” He volunteers.

“Pleassure to meet you Kilian,” you say, using his name to establish conversation familiarity and control. “Can I get your addresssss?”

He looks nervous at this, and asks why.

“I do houssecallsss,” you whisper.

“Housec-oh! Oh gods, my father would fucking THROTTLE me if I had a—” he stops short of saying anything rude about you, as you arch an eyebrow.

“Well, I’ll be at The Pretty Kitty tonight,” you offer, “if you want a repeat performanccce.”

“I…” He trailes off, not committing, but you’re already fixing your hair and leaving the alley.

You turn around and, with a saucy wink, tell him: “Bring friendsss!”

With Kilian services, your professional trade skills and reputation on the rise (after a fashion, anyway), and a bag full of coin jingling on your waist, you still have a few hours ahead of you before Agatha expects you back and work shortly thereafter. The coin you’ve obtained with a few minutes in an alley is enough to actually make back all you spent on supplies in Sparrowton and then some!

What do you do?
>Buy some food
>Read ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
>Buy some non-prostitute clothing
>Buy a better, more professional version of what Agatha is currently making for you
>Find some more johns, and make some more money doing sex-work
>Explore Hawksong
>Other
>>
>>4678546
If we need a 'performing' name I suggest something like Scheherazade would fit

>>4678572
buy some non-prostitute clothes and explore Hawksong
>>
>>4678578
>>4678546
Feel free to brainstorm names; when you step on-stage (assuming you don't bail or get waylaid before then), you'll get to officially declare it.
>>
>>4678572
>Buy some food
>Keep enough coin on hand to pay back Agatha when the time comes

some meat to wash out the taste of that "meat"

>>4678581
voting for the name of an exotic spice - first one that comes to mind is Cardamon
>>
>>4678587
If we're going that way I'd go Paprika or the ancient version of cardamon, Kamunu, for extra exotic flair
>>
>>4678603
Kamunu sounds dope as fuck. I'm in.
>>
>>4678572
>Find some more johns, and make some more money doing sex-work
find one and mug him then case out his house
>>
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>>4678615
>>4678587
>>4678578
>>4678572

You do a bit of reconnaissance around your new realm, scoping out a few potentially-useful locales: the location of the Paladin King’s palace on a high-up hill to the north-east, the centrally-located Guild Hall, The Hawksong Mages’ Tower, the elven embassy, and the heavily-sponsored Hawksong Royal Library (which, of all of these, is the only one open to the public).

Your stomach, nose, and need to get the taste of human phallus out of your mouth all conspire against you, though; while all these sights are fascinating and useful to the mission, your feet guide you to a delicious-smelling food stall just outside that library. It is run by a burly, grey-skinned humanoid—a half-orc, with a pig-like snout and a build more apelike than the human norm. Still, the man knows how to cook what you like: sizzling on spits and slabs are chunks of lightly-seasoned, well-grilled street meat. The animal they’re made of is as unknown as it is irrelevant to one such as you; you pay the fellow half-breed and gobble up the largest chunk of meat you can get.

As the food digests, you mull over possible performing names at work, including spices and common names you have heard from tomes which referred to the desert realms of the surface-dwellers. Eventually, you settle on a short-list, and you set about picking up some clothing for your off-hours, when you DON’T want to solicit solicitous attention and earn coin.

Having spent some of your coin already, fine and fashionable eveningwear (even the cheapest) is just outside your budget, as are most formal dresses. More within your scope are:

>A matching brown and green set of sensible peasant’s dresses (must be purchased as set, simple and unfashionable)

>A heavily-discounted set of winter hat, gloves, and ladies’ jacket (so last season, too warm for warmbloods right now)

>Modest and professional gender neutral robes for the wizard’s assistant on-the-go (some small spots of blood and ichor staining)

>heavy-duty men’s workwear, complete with pants! (but you are not a man)

You can buy any two of these, or one and have enough money left over for Agatha.

[Also, this is the last post for tonight; tomorrow, when I have time, you'll move along to (most likely) your first night on the job]
>>
>>4678587
>>Buy some food
>>Keep enough coin on hand to pay back Agatha when the time comes
Then afterwards
>Get in contact with the reptilian cell.
Going with Kamunu
>>4678615
Let’s not, low profile infiltration you know?
>>
>>4678632
Sorry, just a bit too late!

>Get in contact with the reptilian cell.

I'll present this as an option after the night at The Pretty Kitty (or people can write it in and support it prior to ditch work, essentially).
>>
>>4678636
No prob, I got what I wanted anyways. Gnight
>>
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I'm not much of an artist, but I tried my hand at drawing the protagonist dancer style
>>
>>4678630
>A heavily-discounted set of winter hat, gloves, and ladies’ jacket (so last season, too warm for warmbloods right now)
Get in contact with the reptilian cell tomorrow after we gain a bit more coinage.
>>
>>4678630
>Modest and professional gender neutral robes for the wizard’s assistant on-the-go (some small spots of blood and ichor staining)
If we clean it, it could be used to cover our dancing/whoring clothes and surprise clients who don't expect just how good we look underneath.
>>
>>4678630
>A matching brown and green set of sensible peasant’s dresses (must be purchased as set, simple and unfashionable)

We're told we're gonna work from dusk to two-three past midnight. If we don't oversleep, we can get up at about 8-9 AM and have most of the day to ourselves. While it prevents us from joining the guard outright (they're probably big on rising up early), we can still do a lot of daytime activity to get in the law's good graces — perhaps fashioning ourselves as a private investigator of sorts, or a concerned citisen. Whichever way we decide to spin it, it's good to have our fingers in every pie, so sticking to the most law-abiding image possible until dusk can come in handy.
>>
>>4678658
Nice, I like how it’s actually quite dignified and not just coomerbait.

>>4678630
>A matching brown and green set of sensible peasant’s dresses (must be purchased as set, simple and unfashionable)
We can wear these over dance clothes too, and we don’t have to waste time washing them. The kind of substances wizards deal with tend not to wash off too easily.
>>
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>>4678658
decided to try again with some redlines from an art buddy
>>
>>4678878
Her left brow is too big and eye too far off the center. Still, it looks amazing, good job anon.
>>
>>4678950
Let’s just chalk that up to her being half snake.
>>
>>4678878

Holy Anita! That's awesome. Do you mind if I use it as the header (or some capacuty) for Thread 2, if we keep going for that long?

Also, I'll post up once or twice tonight, but likely a bit later today.
>>
>>4678745
>>4678733
>>4678718
>>4678662
>>4678630

You drop another two-thirds of your dubiously-earned coin on the matching pir of brown and green dresses, and after a quick trip to the fitting room, you leave in one of them, with your brothel attire wrapped in the other as a makeshift parcel. A cold pre-spring breeze catches you, though, and before too long you fish out your fluffy jacket and don it as well.

By the time you arrive at the residence of Agatha and her uncle, the sun has begun to lower. Dusk will be upon you shortly, nd with that, work. You toy with the idea of a detour to meet with your local point of contact, but the Reptilian agent you were briefed on lives across town. Lacking the time, you prioritize preserving your cover

Uncle Oxford is less confused and embarrassed this time when he opens the door, and he seems to be relieved to find his young niece's friend in more ‘property attire; that, or he's just relieved it no longer looks to neighbours as if you are a hooked paying him a house-call. You smirk. If he only knew.

As for Agatha efforts… They aren't half-bad, for a rank amateur. The thin, gauzy material she used looks as if it was refurbished from some sort of practical netting, and the colour of the fabric underneath belies its origins as literal sackcloth, but the aspiring young fashion designer intimates that she has slipped some protective padding underneath the bralette ‘for chafing’. Some tassels have been appended hastily, and while it all looks a bit cheap and homemade… Well, it is, after all. And more importantly, you suppose, it's on-theme.

What do you do?
>Thank Agatha and pay her
>Take it, but don't pay her
>Refuse to accept this shoddy garment
>Critique her work
>Try it on and ask Oxford what he thinks
>Other
>>
>>4679012
>>Thank Agatha and pay her
>>Critique her work

It's obvious this style is out of her wheelhouse, but all things considered she did a solid job
>>
>>4679012
>Thank Agatha and pay her

And tell her to use our coin to buy nicer material for the next version
>>
>>4679012
>Thank Agatha and pay her
>Try it on and ask Oxford what he thinks
Let's see his reaction.
>>
>>4679325
+1 for this, actually. He could help us critique her work :^)
>>
>>4679360
Oh, definitely! hiss
>>
>>4679325
Support. Make her feel even more awkward.
>>
>>4679012
>Thank Agatha and pay her
>Refuse to accept this shoddy garment
>Critique her work

Let's not forget that, even half-blood, we're of the higher race. A human that is eager to please us deserves positive reinforcement; let her feel appreciated, let her believe we're nice to her.

At the same time, what use will our race have of slaves that won't bother to do their jobs perfectly? Her work, however earnest, is of unacceptable quality. Therefore, she must keep working until her results pass the bar.
>>
>>4678990
>Holy Anita! That's awesome. Do you mind if I use it as the header (or some capacuty) for Thread 2, if we keep going for that long?
do whatever you want with it
>>
>>4679434
I can back this, I'd like to set her with the task of making a better version with new material bought with what we pay her

Building her up as a friend is useful, particularly if she becomes a talented seamstress. She'll have access to noblewomen gossiping, which can be valuable intel.
>>
>>4679325
support
>>
>>4679506
>>4679505
>>4679482
>>4679434
>>4679385
>>4679369
>>4679360
>>4679325
>>4679297
>>4679049
>>4679012

“I cannot acccept ssuch a shoddy garment,” you say after a moment.

Agatha looks equal parts shocked and crushed, and even her uncle grimaces and looks as if he's about to say something.

“You clearly have a talent for thisss line of work,” you continue, reveling in their reaction, “Ssso I know that the nexxxt one you make me will be worldss better.”

Agatha stares for a moment, then starts to tear up as you hand her the remainder of your coin.

“Y-you're so m-mean!” She sobs, but you can tell she's touched by your friendly ribbing, and your praise. Oxford eases and smiles slightly as well. You aren't ready to let them off the hook just yet, though.

Beginning to unbutton your dress, you announce your intent to try it in then and there. Oxford and Agatha both flush crimson and look away while you shimmy into your outfit, but you catch the male staring.

“You like what you sssee, Ox?” you tease, striking a pose. His reaction is gratifying—whatever the shortcomings of Agatha's materials and stitching, she seized you well and the garment leaves so little to the imagination that it's hardly the focus. In other words: it's ideal for it's intended purpose.

Agatha elbows her uncle in the ribs, nd he hastily excuses himself. She shoots you a glare as well, and mouths the word ‘means again. You just can't help yourself: this human female is fun to bully.

With a final thank you—even cold-blooded spies know the importance of politeness—you shrug on your fluffy coat again and head to work. Dusk is almost upon you, but you have always been good at punctuality (wererat ambushes aside). You make it in the nick of time, arriving at the back entrance of The Pretty Kitty and stowing your spare clothes in your room before hurrying to the back -stage area of the lounge proper.

Your outfit gets some snickers, a few supportive words from the kinder women-of-the-night with less to prove, and some appreciative or envious looks from still others. You let the criticisms slide off you like a shed skin as you slip into your new persona, just in time for Mina to stride up in full, flounce regalia and to start snarling instructions for the performers. When she gets to you, she looks the outfit up and down. As usual, you can't read her expression, but she at least voices no complaint, albeit also no praise.

“You're up after ‘Manuela LaPert',” Mina tells you instead. “How should I announce you?”

What is your exotic dancer name?
>Scheherazade
>Paprika
>Cardamom
>Kamunu
>Write-in
>>
>>4679745
> Kamunu
Honestly as long as it doesn’t have an S in it I’m happy.
>>
>>4679745
>Kamunu
>>
>>4679745
>Kamunu
>>
>>4679745
>Kamunu
>>
>>4679856
>>4679814
>>4679799
>>4679755
>>4679745

“Kamunu,” you say without hesitation. Since you thought of it, you knew how well it suited you. Most importantly: unlike ‘Ismena Rosgard’ (which sounded good in your head until you said it aloud), ‘Kamunu’ has no ‘S’, soft ‘C’, or ‘X’ in it.

Mina blinks once. “That’s going to go right over half the clientele’s head,” she said. “But it DOES sound exotic.”

You take that for approval, after a fashion. The cat-woman has an unbelievable poker-face. Maybe that’s how she made her start-up capital?

Several of the mammalian females go on before you, all with their own music; it seems Madam Mina has hired a bard, and one with quite the repertoire. He or dhe does local diddies, sea shanty rhythms, and even an orcish tribal rhythm quite well, and you can’t help but be a bit impressed by the unseen individual. One after-another, better-dressed and more well-practiced women take the stage to their theme tunes, amidst the arrayed lanterns in their signature pink-tinted lanterns, decorated with a subtle cat-head motif.

Eventually, though, half the lanterns go out, and Mina takes the stage herself, speaking in a rumbling roar: “And tonight, for the first time on our pretty little stage, a delicacy from distant lands. A tawny pearl worn soft and smooth by sand, but hardened by the cold nights beneath a pure-white moon. Can you warm her back up? Give a warm welcome to… Kamunu!”

Your own music starts up, something south-easterly and trilling in its tunes, uneven and jerky in just the right way to signal particularly wide swings of the hips or flips of the hair. I seems Mina paid quite careful attention to your dance routine in her office, and has made some implicit suggestions. You stride out, take your place amidst the lanterns, and look out into the crowd of predominantly-male, predominantly-human faces… Including, you note with a smug sense of achievement, Kilian from the alleyway and a small gaggle of similarly-aged and similarly-attire compatriots, albeit many handsomer than the somewhat-plain lady you earlier serviced.

You scan the room for other possibilities: a well-groomed obvious nobleman attended by two other men and (you note) only two women, all of whom hang on his every word and fetch him drinks. A scruffy gaggle of labourers with the look of males who brawl often enough to keep their noses uniformly-kinked and ears cauliflowered. An off-duty police officer, drunk and mildly disorderly but still wearing his badge and helm with pride.

Who in the crowd do you play to?
>Kilian and the merchant lads
>The nobleman
>The bruisers
>The cop
>Madam Mina
>The bard in the shadows
>No one—focus on your performance and your own mastery
>>
>>4679871
>No one—focus on your performance and your own mastery
its too soon to go after any one person, but put on a show that will demand everyone's attention, not the other way around
>>
>>4679871
>No one—focus on your performance and your own mastery
Priority 1 is not messing up our first impression
>>
>>4679871
>No one—focus on your performance and your own mastery
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>4679871
>>4679875
>>4679885
>>4679913

Rolling for a post!
>>
>>4679959
>20
:)
>>
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>>4679966
>>4679959
>>4679871

You clear your mind of your ever-growing ambition, focus your darting eyes on a single point… And dance. You body sways, moves, jerks, and bounces with the rhythm. You are unpracticed, unseasoned, but something about the way the unseen musician plays speaks to your soul. You are ensorcelled, entranced, in a fugue state unlike anything you’ve ever felt. Shameful as it is to say, especially in this lewd (and frankly smelly) place, you feel more attuned to this mammal-made melody than any chant or hymn to the dark gods of your priestly masters.

It shows, too. You are a rough-cut gem, but gods-be-damned to you shine, and so much brighter than the lights around you. The shaded faces in the crowd stare, rapt and awestruck, as you let the music carry you into a rapturous frenzy. You do not sweat, not truly, but your skin—freshly-oiled, for you dare not risk the appearance of scales when so much of you is exposed—glistens. You are a subterranean degenerate clad in repurposed rags, but Kamunu is a princess from among distant dunes and towering ivory spires—none can doubt this.

When the music ends, you leave the stage abruptly, feeling waves of… Something… Course through you. You take in ragged breaths, and force your mind to steady. Before you can do so, though you feel an arm around your shoulders, and you cannot help but lean against the one who fofers it.

It’ is Madam Mina.

“Easy, girl,” she purrs quietly. “That was some debut. You’ve got to pace yourself, though, and the crowd. You were the star attraction this time, but normally someone’s going to be following you.”

“How are we supposed to follow THAT?” gripes one of your coworkers, as the rest simply stare in awe or whisper among themselves. You’ve earned their respect, that much is sure.

Your madam brushes some of the hair away from your forehead affectionately, eyeing you with an obvious eye towards your increased value to her operation. You spare her a knowing glance back, and her purr deepens for a moment, before she clears her throat to deaden the sound and returns to the stage to close out the stage performances. You take a few more moments, roll your shoulders, and look to the other dancers.

“What comesss nexxxt?” you ask.

“The other girls go out,” explains Manuela, the (it must be noted) appropriate pert halfling who went on before you.

“Other girlss?” you ask.

“We warmed ‘em up,” the half-orc (you think her name was Grendelia?) explains, “they pick ‘em up and cash ‘em out.”

Ah. The prostitutes.
>>
>>4679983

“What do we do now?” you ask.

“We’ll have a bow and a little dance number at closing, but for now, we relax, mingle, serve drinks, giggle at jokes,” Manuela says. “When the crowd clears out or we get closer to closing, we clean up.”

What do you do?
>Get to know the other dancers
>Shadow Madam Mina
>Mingle with the clientele (specify if you go to a specific table)
>Look for Felia, and catch up with her
>Seek out the musician who fueled your frenzy
>Stay put and relax
>Slip out before closing to attend to other business
>Other
>>
>>4679985
>Slip out before closing to attend to other business
be mysterious, give them a reason to come back tomorrow night
>>
>>4679985
>Seek out the musician who fueled your frenzy
>>
>>4679985
>Seek out the musician who fueled your frenzy
Best music ever
>>
>>4679985
>Mingle with the clientele (specify if you go to a specific table)
Take the whole merchant's table that we met earlier today and try to lead them all to a private room and fuck them- mug them in their lust fueled stupor.
>>
>>4679988
>>4679997
>>4680001

You consider slipping away now, spending some of the goodwill you’ve clearly earned with your employer to tend to the schemes which characterize the other half of your double-life… But something pulls you back, the same something that drove you to such ecstasy during your performance. You sense that there is more to be gained here, in some fashion. You seek out the musician.

While the other dancers are chatting, and the prostitutes are seducing, you are hunting. You slip behind the curtains, through a dark passageway full of stage props and costumes, to find the source of the enchanting music which accompanied your awe-inspiring display. Eventually, you find it: a brown-haired, slim-features male mammal in a fine green cloak and silken garments, standing straight in finely-detailed leather hunting boots covering in fine engravings. In his hands he holds an odd implement of his craft: a string instrument with a subtle woodwind built into it, and at his feet is a percussive drum with a footpedal. A true one-man band, this bard. It handily explains the variety with which he played, if not the skill. That, it seems, is inherent.

He turned around, and you behold fiery amethyst eyes, fine features, sharp cheekbones and sharp ears. No man, this mammal—rather, an elf! He is so… So…

So ‘meh’.

You know humans characterize elvenkind as uncommonly, uniquely beautiful creatures, wondrously handsome or comely well into their old age. You can sort of see the appeal: they are powerful, lithe, long-lived, often skilled by the standards of the surface-dwellers. For all their agedness in the eyes of human men and women, though, to you they are just another race of young, unpleasantly-hairy and strangely-sweaty usurpers with pretensions to grandeur, scarcely more sophisticated than the humans who now so handily supplant THEM in turn.

Still, this one is uncommon and alluring in his skill, if not necessarily his physical form. You felt a connection as he played, and the instrument and the fingers which now tune it still hold your attention, and your curiosity. Maybe you do not know everything there is to know about the elves?

At last, he notices you amongst the curtains. If he’s surprised, he hides it well. “You are… Kamunu. The dancer.”

He noticed you too, evidently.

What do you do?
>Ask about him
>Ask about his instrument
>Ask about his tutelage
>Flirt
>Compliment his music and leave
>Other
>>
>>4680049
Sorry, bud, just finished the post. Maybe if people opt to bail on the bard, or at least not to linger long.
>>
>>4680050
>flirt lightly
then
>Compliment his music and leave
>>
>>4680050
>Compliment his music and leave
>>
>>4680050
>flirt lightly
then
>Compliment his music and leave
That’s all, just wanted to see the potential love interest. We can talk to him more on other nights. Let’s hope his personality is less ‘meh’ than he is.
>>
>>4680050
>>Ask about his instrument
>>
>>4680063
>>4680058
>>4680056
>>4680050

“You ssstrum nicccely,” you say. “Talented fingersss, for an elf.”

“For an elf?” he asks, cracking a smile. “I’ve… Not heard that before. You know my people are famous for music, right?”

“Yess, yess,” you say, looking away. “I’ve heard.”

“Well, I gather you were impressed enough to come see me,” he notes, bemused by your approach.

“I wass,” you admit coolly. "Iss it elven, then?"

"Some," he says. "Most is not, I must admit. Many a race makes fine music, if you have the ear and the heart for it. That's why I came to this city, Hawksong. Well, that and the name, I guess. Evocative, especially to a bard."

"...And then you ended up playing at a brothel," you note.

"Yes," he laughs. "Beauty in unlikely places is sort of my guiding principal, I guess."

Your eyes meet for a time. Is he flirting back? Shit... Are YOU flirting?

“May I have the name of the one who provides my musssic?” you ask.

“Laskar Endingray,” he says. “And is your name really Kamunu?”

“No,” you say… And then, with a smirk, you turn to leave. “A pleasssure meeting you, Lassskar.”

He doesn’t chase you, but nor will you chase him. Maybe you’ll chat another night, but for now your curiosity is sated. You have other matters to attend to.

What do you do?
>Get to know the other dancers
>Shadow Madam Mina
>Mingle with the clientele (specify if you go to a specific table)
>Look for Felia, and catch up with her
>Slip out before closing to attend to other business
>Other
>>
>>4680102
>Mingle with the clientele (specify if you go to a specific table)
Try and make some money through whoring.
will it fade to black?
>>
>>4680103
it's a blue board, and I don't want to be shut down, so yes, give or take a few lines hinting at how effective you are or aren't, and your emotional state and such
>>
>>4680107
thank you
>>
>>4680102
>Slip out before closing to attend to other business
too soon to put ourselves 'on the table' and we can't forget our other life. we need to build up our aura of mystery too.
>>
>>4680102
>Get to know the other dancers

Let's not forget the whole infiltration business. We need to understand this place, and its social dynamics, and find out whom best to exploit.
>>
>>4680102
>Slip out before closing to attend to other business
>>
>>4680133
>>4680124
>>4680115
>>4680103

While it might cost you some of your night’s wages and your newfound respect among your coworkers and employer, you opt to slip out into the night while the others are tending to their duties. After the performance you put on, you reason that it will not cost you your job, but merely aid to an ‘air of mystery’. Besides, The Pretty Kitty and all those within it are merely a means to an end: self-sufficiency, a cover identity, access to compromised male mammals you may manipulate.

Your real work lies beyond the pink lights inside and the red lanterns outside.

You dip in through the back, slip your plain green dress over your dancing attire, and your heavy coat over that. It’s cold tonight, and you don’t wish to lose more heat than necessary, semi-ectotherm that you are.

Once you are out in the open streets of Hawksong once more, the next question becomes…

What business will you attend to?
>Pay a visit to Boss Leo’s gang to discuss your plans
>Meet with your Reptilian contact
>Seek leads on the author of ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
>Visit Agatha and Oxford
>Explore Hawksong by night
>Seek easy prey on the streets to mug and/or kill
>Break and enter (pick a location)
>Other
>>
>>4680166
>Pay a visit to Boss Leo’s gang to discuss your plans
sort this out since our plans have changed somewhat
>>
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[Bedtime! Will pick up tomorrow.]
>>
>>4680166
>Meet with your Reptilian contact

Now we're set up. We've got a job, some money, some contacts, and won't look like a failure. Time to compare notes, consider our next goals for maximum efficiency — the very fact we're unsure about what to do means we need some context. Avoiding stepping on each other's claws is also a consideration.
>>
>>4680166
>Seek easy prey on the streets to mug
>Pay a visit to Boss Leo’s gang to discuss your plans
>Meet with your Reptilian contact
in that order.
>>
>>4680166
>>Pay a visit to Boss Leo’s gang to discuss your plans
>>
>>4680166
>Meet with your Reptilian contact
Then
>Pay a visit to Boss Leo’s gang to discuss your plans
>>
>>4680166
>>4680429
+1
but let's make sure we don't completely cover ourselves in shit down there in the sewers.
>>
>>4680429
>>4680440
I do think we should have a bit more to work with our contact than a vague partnership with some potential enemies
>>
>>4680514
>>4680440
>>4680429
>>4680382
>>4680286
>>4680200
>>4680176
>>4680166

With a source of funding, a social cover, and several useful contacts through the city, you start to feel as if you can finally reach out to the point-of-contact that your handlers provided you: a Reptilian agent on the westerly side of town. Your hope is that, having proven your basic capability, this agent will provide you some direction in your quest to undermine humanoid society in Hawksong.

Certainly, your direction these first three days ahs no been all that it could be. For instance, what do you even plan to do with a kidnapped Agatha Johan, now that you are not aiming to join the guard, and in fact are relying on her for clothing to outfit you at work? Perhaps you could still sue the engineered event to create a foundational rapport with the guards or Paladins? You resolve to address this AFTER you first meeting, though; it wouldn’t do to smell like sewage when you first meet a fellow Reptilian.

It is a long walk across town, but you make the most of it. You scope out those areas most-frequented by the vulnerable in this society, and by the wealthy and well-to-do. At this time of night, the former seem to cluster in the area you work, or to stay close to home in diners and pubs, if they are not tending to their own. You spy glimspes into ‘demi-human’ neighbourhoods, where the architecture and residents take a sharp turn from human to humanoid; these places seem to keep to their own customs, and are generally quieter, save for the dwarves and halflings, which have a rowdier and later-running drinking scene than most in spite of curfew laws.

You find your point-of-contact in a more mid-to-upscale residence, where the well-dressed evening set attend to house parties primarily; those who wish to properly carouse, as you saw tonight, tend to visit the same red-lantern district as anyone else. Following your keen memory for want of notes, you slip quietly through streets and boroughs that balloon into wide lots and then condense to high towers of individual apartments, above rows of businesses.

It is here that you find a single three-story home with a massive chimney. Its curtains are closed, but you catch the reflection of a blade in the window, reflecting the streetlights. It gives your heart a start, but after a moment you draw breath again. It’s a sword.. Hanging upside-down, as from a hook. You look about, and spot a sign identifying your contact’s residence as a s smithery.

Knocking with the specific pattern of stops, starts, and rattling raps you were taught, you find the front door… Shut. You wait a moment, and just as you are about to try again, the door opens a crack, and you catch a glimpse of a blade for a second time—in your face. Behind it is a dark-skinned human man, or so it would appear; in actuality, you know this to be your contact.

Or at least you sure HOPE so.
>>
>>4680688
“Not taking visitors,’ he rumbles. “Come back during work hours.”

“We all work to sserve the grand desssign,” you reply, gulping back your trepidation.

He sighs and stares at you for a moment, then withdraws his blade and beckons you in.

“We have to work on your accent,” he says in your own hissing tongue, albeit with a characteristic baritone rumble. “Dead giveaway to anyone who finds out about us.”

He shuts and locks the door behind you, and with multiple locks no less. A cautious creature, this Reptilian.

The agent takes a seat across from you, but does not drop his disguise. Then again, neither do you… Not that you have a choice.

“You’re new in town,” he says. “Progress report?”

You oblige him.

“Gods below and beyond,” you groans. “Well, it makes sense. Leave it to a Degenerate mongrel to be so directionless and scattershot. A Serpent priest would gravitate to the learned and to eh ruling class; a Silkscale would better utilize her abilities to target someone specific, useful. A Steeltalon would be busting heads that require their pitiful grey-matter dispersed for the good of the grand design, or would be gaining martial reputation. But you?”

He snorts. “Sewer rats and sex slaves. Where you belong.”

You wither under his judgement—he ranks more highly than you by birth, by seniority as a spy, and by sheer attitude. You cannot correct the first two… But you could correct the last.
“Why are you here?” he asks.

>You come seeking a mission
>You need help with an objective of your own
>You missed the company of proper, civilized beings
>You have useful information to report
>Other

[be sure to specify what info, objective, etc. you mean, if you select such an option]
>>
>>4680692
>You come seeking a mission
Mongrel I may be, but my disguise is stronger against magic. Do you need any area involving wizards or their ilk infiltrated?
>>
Let’s play to our strengths, show that degenerates can be useful in their own ways.
>>
>>4680692
>You come seeking a mission
We can't drop his opinion of us any lower than it stands already, so why not take advantage of that fact?It's not like we can't mix and match his objectives with our own if we decide ourself better at seeing the bigger picture. Which, so far, we aren't.
>>
>>4680692
>You come seeking a mission
"My alternative wass griffon fuckerss, and ratss found me firsst. Do you have any problemss that would require my... impenetrable dissguise to solve, or are we done here?"
>>
>>4680692
>You come seeking a mission
>>
>>4680873
+1
>>
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>>4680958
>>4680954
>>4680873
>>4680866
>>4680698

“Mongrel I may be, but my dissguise is stronger against magic” you note in the most formal version of the True Tongue. “I am here to aid the great plan. What may I do to prove my worth, superior?”

Your contact exhales heavily, but he knows his duty as well as you know yours. If The Serpent Priests sent you here, it was because the stars were right.

“The mages of Hawksong have been seen to patrol the city's walls as of late, and the Tower Archmagus in particular has been in talks with the Paladin King Archos. We suspect that it relates to a defensive augmentation, but we know little else. It is… Difficult to get a full-blooded operative close to one such as the Archmagus without our veils of secrecy being detected, maybe even broken. I have no idea how one such as you could gain access, but if you could…”

He inclines his head, a gesture of implication. It would impress him, and those you both serve.

You bow low, a sign of respect and acceptance. To fail in the task is possible, maybe even probable in the full-blood's eyes. To refuse it, having requested it, would be unforgivable cheek and shameful cowardice. You will find a way.

“Will that be all?” the other Reptilian asks.

>What do you do?
>Ask his human name
>Ask his true name
>Ask his clan
>Ask for more details on the mission
>Offer useful intelligence (specify)
>Leave for your rendezvous with Boss Leo
>Return to your work and forget about the rats for tonight
>Other
>>
>>4681382
>Ask his human name
We can back him up when we hear someone say he’s sus
>Ask his clan
>Ask for more details on the mission
then,
>Rendezvous
>>
>>4681396
>Ask his human name

"Roth," he says simply. He does not ask yours. Either he doesn't care or, given his position, he feels confident he can discover it. He knows your place of employment in human society, after all.

>Ask his clan

"Not mission critical," he says simply. Big on the compartmentalization, or just dismissive of you? It's tough not to see it as a slight... But that is his right, one supposes.

>Ask for more details on the mission

"The Archmagus is untouchable to any of us, least of all you," he says. "I would recommend finding an 'in' with guards, or students of the tower, or nobility. The most important thing is to get into the tower, or to get close to someone who CAN. They may have festivities which could play host to a whore... But not a lowly-placed one."

This fucking son of a... Superior bloodline. Urgh.

>Rendezvous

"I must take my leave,” you say, awkwardly excusing yourself from a fruitful but unpleasant conversation. He makes no effort to stop you, nor to open the door for you. He replaces the many locks behind you after you leave, which you do at speed.

Eventually, a few streets away, you calm down. You have business to attend to and, for all that Roth irritated and demeaned you, you were entrusted with an auspicious role in the grand design! Truly, the stars ARE right! You spare them a grateful glance, before turning your eyes downward… Toward the undercity.

You shift into a slouched skulk unconsciously as you slip over the railings of a bridge and down towards the sewer entrance. You see a couple street toughs skulking there, and come to an abrupt halt… But as soon as they spot you, they display not the aspect of a predator, but of prey. They flinch and practically cower.

‘I don’t always look like this,’ Boss Leo had told you. You recognize in these two otherwise-human men the rats who accosted you in this same area hidden behind human masks.

“I-it’s her,” one of them says. “Should we…?”

“No, no,” you insist, amused. “Don’t get changed on my account, boysss. I’m here for the bossss.”

What do you do mean to do?
>Discuss the kidnapping of Agatha Johan
>Call off the kidnapping
>Discuss the new mission to infiltrate the mage’s tower with Boss Leo
>Other
>>
>>4681493
>>Call off the kidnapping
>>Discuss the new mission to infiltrate the mage’s tower with Boss Leo
these two

also we should make plans to humble our superior at some point, if not get rid of him outright. we need to be the power in Hawksong
>>
>>4681493
>Discuss the kidnapping of Agatha Johan

We should go back to the plan of infiltrating the guard.
>>
>>4681548
nah screw the guards, literally

but fuck 'Roth'. He'll learn his mistake in underestimating us and our path soon enough.
>>
>>4681502
>>4681548
>>4681550
[I'll wait for the tie-breaker (maybe), and likely do one more post before bed tonight. Tomorrow I plan to drink and watch movies with my fiance, so I may not post until Saturday--just a heads up!]
>>
>>4681502
Supporting.
As much as I wanted the original infiltrating the guard plan, we’re too deep into our dance route. Besides, it seems like we kinda like it anyways.
>>
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>>4681594
>>4681550
>>4681548
>>4681502
>>4681493

You explain to the rat-boys that you need to cancel the kidnapping of Agatha Johan, or at least postpone it. There are bigger priorities, and they lay within The Hawksong Mages’ Tower! This sets the jumpy gangsters off even more than your initial appearance, and they tell you to stay put while they go see Leo.

You mull over some possible strategies, including abandoning your burgeoning career as a dancer and occasional sex-worker to join the guards after all. Guards would, indeedm gain easier access to many important meetings, places, and events…

But then you remember the way you felt on-stage and empowered by Laskar’s bardsong. You recall the feeling of all those eyes on you and of feeling actually wanted and desired. And not just sexually—they were impressed by what you were doing! By you! A Degenerate! It was like the polar opposite on the way you felt after talking to Roth, like you were in control of everything, like you were all that mattered.

Nah, fuck the Hawksong City Guard. Maybe literally, if that’s what it takes to get intelligence from the Tower. You’ll see.

Before too long, the two wererats scurry on back to you, still in human form.

“Boss says… Uhh…” He avoids eye contact, clearly hesitant to repeat what Leo has said in exact words. “He says he’s… Disappointed by the sudden change in plans. Said it’s not… The mos’ profeshnul, you know? But yeah, he says he’s interested in hearing more.”

“Good,” you say with a smile, hiding your displeasure at the wererat boss simply speaking by proxy rather than meeting you directly. A full-blood Reptilian disparaging you and dismissing you is one thing, but some shit-swimming mammalian mobster? REALLY?

“He says… Boss says though…”

Oh, there’s more?

The other wererat meets you eyes, clears his throat, and finishes he friend’s thought: “He says if you’re not getting the law off our backs, though, there better be some kinda’ compensation to make up for it. What’s in it for us, he says?”


The nerve of these vermin!

What do you do?
>Offer to pay them directly in coin
>Offer to get them access to magic items from the Tower to pay for their efforts
>Offer them Reptilian favours from you and your conspirators
>Offer sexual favours as compensation
>Threaten retribution for their disobedience
>Demand to speak to Boss Leo directly
>Initiate combat
>Other
>>
>>4681606
>Demand to speak to Boss Leo directly
then
>Offer sexual favours as compensation
but only annother 'dance'. if he wants more he needs to do more
>>
>>4681606
>Demand to speak to Boss Leo directly
>Offer sexual favours as compensation
>>
>>4681606
>Offer sexual favours as compensation
and then mug them when they're in a compromising position.
>>
>>4681611
>>4681679
Support, only dance. If they ask for more, pretend to oblige, then mug them.
>>
>>4681606

I must say, Leo has a point. We've started out great, and even our first steps on the road of Coom weren't debilitating, but by now we're lost any semblance of control, cohesion and importance outside of the brothel. All that I see in our nearest future now is cringe.

I feel like losing interest, but for the sake of QM I won't. QM, you've been doing a stellar work all this time, and were an inspiration for me to start my own quest. It's not your fault coomers don't understand influence and manipulation, and it's a testament to your ability that you still play it up as the heroine's emotions and impressions shifting rapidly and taking her along for the ride, rather than outright schizophrenia. Keep doing God's work.

With that in mind, I'd vote
>Demand to speak to Boss Leo directly
>Offer to get them access to magic items from the Tower to pay for their efforts

because there's absolutely no reason for a serious business-mobster, a wererat who has to suppress an inborn fear of you, and a man who first tried to throw us away after mistaking for a street-girl, to value our "sexual favours", and prostrating ourself before his underlings would be apex cringe. OTOH, we can substitute "we'll get our fingers into some mage's pants and use this connection to cover up for the wererats and provide them favors" for no-longer-in-plans "we'll get our fingers into law enforcement and use this connection to cover up for the wererats and provide them favors".

But if the coom option prevails, please let it be
>>4681611
>but only another 'dance'.
>>
>>4681611
by this I meant offer a dance to Boss Leo, no one else
>>
>>4681801
Nvm, better idea. Seconding this.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>4681611
>>4681679
>>4681683
>>4681791
>>4681801
>>4681807
>>4681848

Seduction is still the more popular pick, so we'll try that first. Rolling!
>>
>>4681606
>>4681801
+1

>>4681801
I partially agree, but QM put the sex work options in himself so it's not a big surprise it went this way. What I currently find more annoying is anons who are bluntly trying to get out of the whore route, because it makes our spy look like she's going through a fucking identity crisis that wouldn't be expected from trained infiltrator. Really wish there was a middleground where we stick to this path, but instead of focusing too hard on the lewd bits, learn what we get from our encounters with horny coomers and use it for our advantage. No need to try and switch our goals every hour like a schizo. No need for blowjob convos and blowing everyone in sight.
>>
>>4681937
>>4681606

Reining in your annoyance, you opt to play t your proven strengths.

“I’m sure we can come to sssome ssort of arrangement,” you say suggestively, eyes half-lidded. “Could I sspeak to Bossss Leo… Personally?”

However, as you advance on the wererats in what you intend as a sexy saunter, they leap back as if you were a stalking predator. It seems that for these small fry at least, your presence is too frightening to leave much room for arousal.

“Boss don’t wanna’ be disturbed,” the first one says, avoiding your eyes.

You frown slightly, just barely resisting the urge to shout him down or throttle him. This is disrespect of the highest order. Besides, near as you can tell, you have two main skills: seduction, and dance. If you can wield neither, why… You might have to PAY the rat-man!

“He will want to sssee me,” you declare brazenly, and kick out the trick railings to stride on in. The wererats shout after you, and follow a little ways behind on your heels… But they make no effort to stop you.


You have no map, nor any darkvision, but you need neither. You do not even need your lantern. The odd-one-out in a society of beings with heat-senses and dark adapted eyes ahs left you with the navigation skills of a blind woman among the sighted. You have walked these filthy, fetid tunnels beneath Hawksong before, and you do so again without issue. Along the way, you flip your hair back, unbutton your peasant dress just slightly, and lick your lips. Your straighten your spine, and you stride.

You come not as Rosgard, but as Kamunu, conqueror of the stage and bewitcher of males.
>>
>>4681964

“What does she want n—Oh.”

Most of the wererats from the night before have cleared out, leaving only the two who follow you into Leo’s ‘royal chamber’, and a pair of women—also in human form, and looking to be the sort who have lived hard lives and have become aged in spite of youth.

Between them is Leo, whose human form you catch only the briefest glimpse of before he lowers his shaggy head and begins to tremble and thrash, to writhe and contort. His clothes tear away to reveal the portly man-rat you know.

“Hiding your human faccce from me, Bossss Leo?” you ask.

“Th’ better ta’ keep tabs on you,” you gargles, vocal chords still adjusting to his new form. “Now, th’ fuck do you WANT, Rosssssgard?”

You ignore the mockery of your accent, and step closer. Unlike his lackeys, Leo doesn’t attempt to flee.

“Your…. Men tell me that you are unsssatissfied with our deal as it now ssstands. I wasss hoping I could… Sssweeten the pot?”

Boss Leo gets your meaning, but he only gives you the faintest hint that he is interested in your merchandise. “Back up, Rosgard. You’re in my bubble.”

“I am quite the dancccer, I’ve been told. Can I… danccce for you?”

“This how your ‘Coming Race’ admit you’re flat-ass broke?” he retorts.

No dice, it seems. If Leo is interested in your sexual favours, he’s more interested in money. You suppose having his own harem probably satisfies whatever needs you now take aim at, at least enough to keep this vermin on-task.

“Fine,” you sigh. “It issss a raid on mages. There will be loot. Help me to infiltrate them, and I will give you and your gang the lion’sss share of magic treasssure.”

Boss Leo grimaces—or is that a grin, with that elongated face?—and taps his ring-covered claws on his armrest. “That’s more like it,” he says.

You nod, and begin to launch into your plan.

“Not so fast, Rosgard,” he says, holding up a hand. “You’re gonna’ tell me your plan… And we’re gonna’ talk division of loot… AFTER ya’ dance for us.”

He means to humiliate you in front of his men. To wield power over you. How DARE he?!

What do you do?
>Dance for the rats
>Refuse, and launch into your plans
>Attack Boss Leo
>Leave without another word

In addition, what is your current plan?
>To seduce or kidnap a student of the Tower
>To seduce or kidnap a guard
>To seduce or kidnap the sort of noble who would be invited to these events
>To crash an event of some sort
>To break and enter under cover of night
>Other
>>
>>4681943
Sorry, I saw your post juuust after I finished. Hopefully the end result is close enough to what you were aiming for, anyway?
>>
>>4681968
>Dance for the rats
it's just dancing
>To seduce or kidnap the sort of noble who would be invited to these events
>>
>>4681968
>Refuse, and launch into your plans
He had his chance, we haven't stooped low enough to let this shitstain humiliate us extra.
>To seduce or kidnap the sort of noble who would be invited to these events
Student seems the easiest, but this is a much safer option... and we just might benefit from it in the long-term, unless things get messy.

>>4681976
No worries! I'm cool either way, my fault for typing slow.
>>
>>4681986
Support. Further insistence on dancing will result in some skaven becoming dead-dead.
>>
>>4681968

>Dance for the rats

There's no point in sticking to our pride now; we've already made a decision on out priorities. Leo is used to being in control, and wants to see us dance to his tune before he does us any more favours; his place, his rules, his services we're asking for, let's humour the man. Dàncing for the clientelle, yet refusing to dance for the wererats, would indicate we think lower of them than of the human moneybags; if we insult them like that, there will be no more business between us.

Tl;dr: we failed as a domme, so we should embrace being a power-playing sub.

>To seduce or kidnap the sort of noble who would be invited to these events

Preferably one that fashions himself a sorcerer and spends money on tutors and books, but has zero real talent. These aren't treatening to us, yet are tolerated in certain places.

Leo's human underlings kidnap, we "see them passing by in the middle of the night", rescue, and seduce.
>>
If we end up dancing, please hiss in his fucking face. Would be sso ssad if old rat got a goddamn heart attack.
>>
Lurking. Just wanna say that I'm enjoying the read, hope you keep it up till a satisfactory conclusion. I really enjoy the general idea.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>4682172
>>4681985
To dance...

>>4682018
>>4681986
...or not to dance.

>>4682210
I think we'll count this as a vote as well. One moment: posting!
>>
>>4682660
>>4681968

You scowl. “Be reasssonable, Leo. Is not the promisse of ‘loot' not enough for you?”

Boss Leo leans back, his uneven teeth bared wide in what still isn’t quite recognizable as a grin. “Nah. You got me real excited about this great dancing you thought was worth my time, my boys’ time. Dance for us.”

You cross your arms. “Without musssic?”

Leo nods to his wererats, and they begin to clap. They’re uneven at first, but eventually they build to a passable rhythm. With a sigh, you lift the hem of your dress slightly, and you affect the most basic twirling jig you can. It’s an awkward affair, drawing laughter rather than awe, but as the clapping speeds up so do you. Eventually the dance carries you towards Leo’s seat of power, and there… You snap your teeth and hiss, provoking him to jump back slightly. The laughter redoubles, this time turned back on him, until with a glare he silences it.

“Ssssatissfed?” you hiss smugly.

“Just tell us your plan, ya’ fuckin’ lizard,” the wererat leader grumbles sourly.

You tell him the gist of your plan: to seduce a nobleman of some lowly rank who has associations or interests tied to the Tower, and to hen more or less follow the gameplan you’d devised for Agatha: track him, engineer a failed kidnapping and ‘recue’, and thus ingratiate yourself to him. From there, Leo’s lads are to leave it to you. You’ll get access to the Tower through him, or else get him to smuggle valuables (and Roths’ required intelligence) out.

Leo remains wary and clearly is displeased that you managed to get one over on him AND are still the dominant power in your relationship, but he agrees.

“When do I get to meet your boss?” he asks as you leave. “Ain’t right to send some low-level lackey to treat, ‘specialy not some ‘dancer’.”

You stop.

“The boss?” You look over your shoulder and, remembering Roth with distaste, you say: “You’re looking at her.”

What do you do next?
>Return to see if your coworkers at The pretty Kitty need help with the very end of the shift
>Retire to your room to decompress and rest
>Spend the night at Agatha and Oxford’s
>Case the wealthy neighbourhoods nearest the tower
>Walk the streets of Hawksong to destress
>Other (write-in)

[Also: >>4682581 Thanks! I'm enjoying running it, no matter how many dicks we suck for dubious reasons]
>>
>>4682681
>Retire to your room to decompress and rest
if the madame gives us flak for not closing the show, tell her we're limiting our appearances so the crowds will be bigger tomorrow

mystery creates allure creates excitement
>>
>>4682681
>Return to see if your coworkers at The pretty Kitty need help with the very end of the shift
try not to mug some guys on the way there
>>
>>4682681
>Return to see if your coworkers at The pretty Kitty need help with the very end of the shift
Let’s make some friends. Also,
>Surpress urge to mug people due to today’s stress
>>
>>4682681
>>Return to see if your coworkers at The pretty Kitty need help with the very end of the shift
>>
>>4682681
>>Walk the streets of Hawksong to destress
>>
>>4682681
>Return to see if your coworkers at The pretty Kitty need help with the very end of the shift
We left like a twat, let's try not to ruin *everything* tonight. Hopefully we're in time for the closing dance.
>If Mina noticed our absence, say we're sorry, but we got nervous after that first performance and needed fresh air.
>>
>>4682681
I admit I'm less enthusiastic about the dick sucking, but I've been on this site for awhile and I know how much anon loves it so I'm trying to not be frustrated with the freaks driving this thing.
>>
>>4683203
>>4682989
>>4682982
>>4682901
>>4682896

Seems we're set to return to The Pretty Kitty. Will post soon! Just waking up.
>>
>>4682681
>>4683374
It's cutting it close, but at a light jog you think you can make it back for the end of your shift at The Pretty Kitty. On the way, you formulate excuses and rationales to justify your absence to your employer.

When you arrive, quickly swinging by your room to drop off your belongings and to slip out of your dress, you find Felia waiting at the door. She spots you and bustles over, looking concerned and irritated in equal measure.

“Where WERE you? You missed the dance number! Mina was LIVID….”

Mina trails off, sniffing the air, and then looks at you with nose scrunched up. “And why do you smell like that again?”

“Sssorry,” you say.

“It's Mina you should be saving it for, honey.”

You nod, and hurry through the back stage to the lounge, where the girls who aren't ‘servicing’clients are cleaning up spills and crumbs, washing tables and stacking chairs.. And overseeing it all, of course, is Madam Mina, her tail twitching and lashing with evident stress. You realize for her unflinching and unreadable face, her posterior gives the catwoman away.

“I'm back,” you say.

She wheels around, clearly startled. “oh, are you? Back in time to clean out your room and leave, you mean?”

“Oh come on,” you tease, “Limiting my appearanccess will create mysstery, which createss allure createss excccitement… And bigger crowdsss tomorrow.”

“So you're not lazy and disobedient, you're just a better showrunner than me?” Mina asks coolly.

A swing and a miss.

“I’m sssorry,” you try again. “I got nervouss after that firsst performancce and needed fresh air.”

Mina watches you for a while… And her tail stops twitching, and curls. “Laskar said it might have been something like that.”

“I can help clean up?” you offer.

“You damn well better,” she says. However, when you move to do so, she stops you. “Next time. Go wash up. You stink, Kamunu. Literally.”

What do you do?
>Ask Mina to wash you [seduction]
>Wash yourself and go to your room
>Insist on helping anyway
>Other
>>
>>4683413
>Wash yourself and go to your room
Nothing for it, let’s get some rest
>>
>>4683413
>>Wash yourself and go to your room
>>
>>4683413
>Wash yourself
>Help them clean up
She asked us to, after all.
>>
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>>4683529
>>4683520
>>4683413
You give yourself a sniff, and find that Felia and Mina’s criticisms aren’t without merit.

“Yess, Mina,” you say, and dip your head slightly before leaving the room for the back of the brothel.

You pass Felia, who scowls at you half-heartedly and wags a finger. You’re clearly not in TOO much trouble, though, so neither is it likely to reflect badly on the woman who got you a bed and a job here. You shoot her a smirk and a wink, and Felia just rolls her eyes.

You slip into the washroom and out of your dancing clothes, and set yourself to cleaning off the stink of your meeting with the wererats. You silently curse Leo for forcing you to enter his disgusting den to meet with him; you make a mental note to maybe consider setting up a territory for neutral meetings at some point, if you can persuade the stubborn mobster to give up his home-field advantage. The warm water soothes you, though not as much as with another doting on you as Felia did; your own hands carry the tension of your day, and have a harder time washing your worries away as a result.

Eventually, you retire to your bed. The sounds of sighing and grunting emanate from the western wall; your neighbour has a client, or else a personal visitor. It’s been another long day, though and you can’t bring yourself to be annoyed, aroused, or anything else. In a moment of shameful inefficiency and self-indulgence, you don’t even consider reading your book or formulating plans; you simply crash into torpor.

What do you do?
>Dream a dreamless sleep
>Dream of your mother
>Dream of your training
>Dream of your religious initiation
>Dream of your father [???]
>Other
>>
>>4683560
>Dream of your training
Let's focus.
>>
>>4683560
>Dream of your training
>>
>>4683560
>>Dream of your mother
>>
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>>4683578
>>4683787
>>4683805
>>4683560

Dreams overtake you—a rare experience, usually considered divine among your people. Granted, you are a Degenerate, and so YOUR dreams (which are a tad more frequent) are usually just considered the mad sleep-ramblings of a primitive mammalian brain attempting to process the day’s stimulation. Privately, you’ve always held them in some degree of significance either way.

Tonight’s dream is one of familiarity. You find yourself deep within the earth, in the caverns where you were hatched, reared, and trained. You are young, no more than ten years old by the way humans reckon the passage of time, and wrapped in the tightly-fastened training robes that you wore to so many lessons. This white, one-piece wrap of fabric left arms and legs exposed, granting mobility for your physical lessons which most often took the form of surprise attacks and drills on martial arts. This was never your strongest suit, but luckily that is not what you dream of. You sense that this day, you are training your mind.

Suddenly, your handler is there—a Silkscale male, the earliest that you can recall and one whom you are ashamed to admit you projected a certain paternal fantasy onto when you were young, simple, and lonely. You had been taken away from your mother three years ago, never seeing her thereafter, and you longed for something of the tenderness she showed you—tenderness that you came to know as unbecoming of the Reptilian Race. This handler had no such weakness in his soul, and nor would he tolerate it in you, Degenerate though you were.

“What is the purpose of your eyes?” he asked, beginning a familiar call-and-response lesson.

“To see weakness. To see opportunity. To see threat.” You know the words.

“What is the purpose of your face?”

“To hide my hatred and my joy. To display weakness that is not there. To mask my intent.”

“What is the purpose of your tongue?”

“To speak only lies. To misinform, to confuse, to sow discord.”

“And what of your body?”

This one is new. You falter.

“What purpose,” your handler demands, advancing, “is your body to serve?”

He looms large in your dream—your nightmare. Your memory. He does not smell as strongly as the humans you have come to know, does not sweat as a mammal does, but the glands which secret musk do so. At the time, you did not understand, but now…

Now, as an adult, you have come to understand what that terrifying lesson served to prepare you for. What you were to become.

What purpose is your body to serve?

Like the flesh around a venomous fang, your body is the velvet sleeve which hides a knife. Your body, like the rest of you, serves the Great Design that lays beyond the stars. It is not yours, to dance and frolic with. It does not exist to give or receive pleasure, except in serve to destruction. It has no worth, no inherent glory—it is a polluted thing, which must share its contagion throughout the filthy world of mammalkind.
>>
>>4683934
You wake from your torpor, confused and ashamed. It is not the first time you have felt this way. As so many mentors made certain you knew with words or actions, from that day onwards, this is how your cursed kind are SUPPSOED to feel. Only in The Great Design and its fulfillment can you ever gain worth, righteousness, glory, or value. Only then can you be clean…


It is daylight. You are lucky, blessed by your Reptilian blood, that unlike lazy mammals you need not sleep deeply or long. This is helpful to one with a double-life, and you dutifully thank the ancestors and the stars that guided their development to this adaptation. It will help you work hard, so you might one day deserve the reptile blood within your veins. You see that a bag of coin--presumably your share of the revenues from last night--has been left on your side-table.

What do you do?
>Speak with your fellow brothel-workers to gain information about Hawksong nobility who frequent this establishment
>Visit the Hawksong Royal Library to look for an easy mark
>Explore the wealthy neighbourhoods nearest the Tower, looking for a mark there
>Seek comfort (and useful info) from Laskar
>Check in on Agatha and your new dancing attire
>Other
>>
>>4683937
>Speak with your fellow brothel-workers to gain information about Hawksong nobility who frequent this establishment
Specifically ask for nobles that are tied to the Tower and frequent The Pretty Kitty.
This seems like the most effective way to find the mark, and we will know for sure that our target has the weakness we want to exploit.
>>
>>4683937
>>Visit the Hawksong Royal Library to look for an easy mark
>>
>>4684004
>>4684130

Will post later, as I'm chilling with my fiance for now. Will either roll then or (maybe) we'll have a tie-breaker vote.
>>
>>4683937
>Visit the Hawksong Royal Library to look for an easy mark
>>
>>4684511
>Visit the Hawksong Royal Library to look for an easy mark
Let’s go catch us some neckbeards
>>
>>4684004
seconding
>>
>>4683937
>>Speak with your fellow brothel-workers to gain information about Hawksong nobility who frequent this establishment
>>
>>4684004
>>4684130
>>4684511
>>4684537
>>4684539
>>4684540

{Finished writing just as a bunch of votes came in. Alas! I tried to incorporate both]

Two leads are better than one, you reason. Why not both?

>Speak with your fellow brothel-workers to gain information about Hawksong nobility who frequent this establishment

"Huh?" Manuela “You looking to snag yourself a rich guy and quit after only one show, Kamunu? First you ditch the final dance number, and now—”

You laugh off her concerns. “No, no, I jusst want to know who I should… You know… Sssuck up to for the mosst tipss. I’ll sssplit them with you, honesst.”

The halfling dancer frowns, but nods. “Well, if you don’t, it’s not like I don’t know where to find you. “Alright, there is a guy. I don’t know if he’s a noble, exactly, but he blows bags of cash here all the time, buying drinks for the girls. Has a wizard hat—you know, wide brim, big wobbly cone thing.”

Manuela gestures with her hands, semi-successfully conveying the concept of a slightly-crumpled wizard hat.

“Never seen him cast a spell, mind you. Also never got a name. I can kind of describe him, though…”


>Visit the Hawksong Royal Library to look for an easy mark

You learn from Manuela that the mark in question, wizard or no, likes to tote around books from the Hawksong Royal Library. Donning your brown dress—the green equivalent still needs a proper wash—you head out to visit the library. There’s no way to know if this mystery man of many moneybags will be there, but you reason that there will be other eligible targets if all else fails.

Sure enough, you find the library surprisingly busy. It was your impression that most humans were semi-literate at best, but perhaps the big population centre and wealth concentration which characterizes Hawksong among all mankind’s cities explains the disproportionate concentration of educated apes.
>>
>>4684568


As you enter, a few interesting individuals catch your eye:

First, a pair of young and studious types in understated but unmistakable pointed caps, likely students of the Tower. They seems to be on some sort of study date, though the female looks a little out of her male companion’s league if you’re any judge; then again he’s a half-elf by his ears, so perhaps his charms are just lost on you.

Secondly, a grey-bearded but somewhat dishevelled older gentleman, hatless but in robes that mark him as a scholar, restocking shelves. He strikes you as a librarian, and thus possibly a good source of information about regulars… Or about the Tower itself. He is struggling to put a book on a low shelf, seemingly unable to bend very far.

Thirdly, you see a rather handsome (by mammal standards) man in upper-class dresswear. He is human, and has a man in light armour sitting across from him, alert to possible danger, while he flips through a book. You squint, and see it to be ‘Arcane Economicf: Magick Itemf, & Artefactf, & Perfonal Finance’. A magic item hobbyist of obvious high birth might be a good candidate to seduce or manipulate into supplying access to you and items to Boss Leo.

Lastly… Well, the final attention-getter doesn’t reach your eyes so much as your ears. It’s an older human male, causing some sort of commotion at the front desk with an female elf librarian. “It’s not PSEUDOscience!” he raves. “It’s the truth! And this is a free library, anyway, right? Paid with MY tax money, RIGHT? Then just keep the gods-damned book in circulation and let people make up their mind! What right have you to say it doesn’t deserve to be on your shelves? I’ve seen the popular literature you heathenous cretins permit to take up valuable shelf space!”

What do you do?
>Crash the study date
>Help the older librarian, and strike up conversation
>Approach the nobleman
>Investigate the shouting match at the counter
>Browse for books on your own
>Other
>>
>>4683937
>Visit the Hawksong Royal Library to look for an easy mark
Seemed to work well enough with the merchants. Maybe more flirting and less sucking cock though?? Ever hear of a honey trap? Maybe we can get a young coomer to give us everything we want and his parents credit card info.
Then again if we find someone who seems socially isolated enough for us to be able to kill and steal their identity like a scribe or something id be down with that.
>>
>>4684573
Sorry bud. But I think you got what you wanted anyhow, again!
>>
>>4684571
>Investigate the shouting match at the counter
Mmm maybe we come back another time, I think we know who this might be. Follow him, HE KNOWS. If it is him I figure we kill him, threaten the kids, or feed him a bunch of bs in return for ???. Could be reading too much into it though.
>>
>>4684571
>>4684571
>Help the older librarian, and strike up conversation
but avoid slutting it up. make us out to be a young woman looking to improve our education
>>
>>4684571
>Investigate the shouting match at the counter
Observe for now. If nothing comes of it, we can honey trap the one of the other 2. Not like their going anywhere if they’re in a library.
>>
>>4684682
>>4684669
>>4684633
>>4684571

You step gingerly over towards the counter, taking in the scene. The elven librarian is trying to talk the man down, but he’s having none of it.

“We’ve been told by the Paladins that publishing a book which makes such allegations is—”

“Allegations? I said nothing specific about the Paladins!” the man interrupts the librarian.

“—is irresponsible, verging on treasonous. I believe they cited several lines about ‘taloned tendrils in our highest offices and most cherished institutions’?”

“That could mean any institution,” the old man grumbles half-heartedly, though he knows he’s lost. “Besides, I hedged those statements.”

“Even so,” the librarian sternly asserts, slamming a stack of books down in front of her to punctuate the point.

You thought you recognized something about this exchange, and your inkling grows stronger. This man, you suspect, may just be ‘V. Rilney’, the pseudonym-using writer of ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders of the Coming Race’… And thus, a man who knows the truth about your people’s infiltration of his society, whatever his half-assed extrapolations and digressions may have then muddled.

What do you do?
>Focus on your current mission
>Interject into the conversation to gain more info
>Shadow this possible ‘Rilney’
>Defend Rilney’s theories, as a true believer
>Other
>>
>>4684571
>Help the older librarian, and strike up conversation
suck him off for intel or mug him
>>
>>4684711
>Focus on your current mission
>>
>>4684711
>Shadow this possible ‘Rilney
Side quest!
>>
>>4684711
>>Focus on your current mission
If we interact with him, our accent will give us away since he knows to be on the lookout for it. Avoid for now, file this away for future investigation.
>>
>>4684712
Lol mug him for what though? Money? I don't think we could show our face here again.
>>
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>>4684969
>>4684793
>>4684714
>>4684711

You lower your head, briefly losing faith in your disguise, as if this strange little madman might glance in your direction and see you for what you are. If this IS V. Rilney, he’s clearly not taken seriously by his society. You feel you can safely ignore him for now, to finish on the task at hand.

“You don’t understand!” you hear him argue. “People need to know! We need to be ready!”

His voice is growing more distant, and eventually you hear a ‘thump’. The guards have clearly opted to throw the man out, presumably at the request of the rather frazzled librarian he was berating.

You look around, noticing that the spectacle has drawn concern and bemusement from all those in the library… Except for the nobleman you spotted before, so absorbed in occult interests and/or confident in his guard as to ignore the incident altogether.

What do you do?
>Crash the study date
>Help the older librarian, and strike up conversation
>Approach the nobleman
>Browse for books on your own
>Other
>>
>>4684979
> Help the older librarian, and strike up conversation
>>
>>4684979
>Help the older librarian, and strike up conversation
Good move, we could get an in with the scholars or at least a small circle of them to further the Plan.
>>
>>4684979
>Help the older librarian, and strike up conversation
play it innocent and sweet, even wholesome, like we're just trying to improve our education to get out of the slums
>>
>>4684979
>>Approach the nobleman
>>
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>>4685143
>>4685017
>>4684999
>>4684979

“Well, that wass sssomething, wassn't it?” you ask the old, bearded librarian, as you slip casually into place and take the book from his aged and arthritic fingers.

“Oh!” he says with a start. “Yes, it was quite… Something.”

The librarian looks somewhat sad and troubled, but his expression quickly turns to gratitude as you help him with his allotted task.

“Thank you, my dear. Age takes its toll, and years of reading do little to limber old ligaments!”

As you help him put away other books around the library, you strike up a rapport. You briefly consider seduction, but even when you strategically show off some cleavage, the old man is either too gentlemanly or too old to pay it any attention. Instead, you simply fix up your dress and play the part of the financially-unfortunate young lady looking to improve her mind.

“Well, that's what the Royal Library was founded for, my dear! Scholar King Lirios was a huge believer in uplifting the common man and, relevant to you, even the common woman. ‘Even an orc can come to understand his place in history's grand design, if only he could be made to read,’ he said. Now, I don't know about that, but it seems to do the half-orcs some good…”

What do you ask about?
>The Tower and its students
>The royal household and its history
>The Library's regulars
>The man who was thrown out of the building
>The librarian himself
>Other
>>
>>4685258
Just posted! Could ask about the nobleman, though.
>>
>>4685267
>The Tower and its students
To know useful targets
>The Library's regulars
To know if any of those targets are here and their interests.
>>
>>4685267
>The man who was thrown out of the building
"That tinhat, is he a regular or..?"
>The Library's regulars

>>4685282
We preferably need a noble or a scholar, as students will be of little to no help with infiltration.
>>
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>>4685282
>>4685440

>The Tower and its students

“Oh, yes! Aspiring young mages often come here to study. The Tower itself holds much more in-depth and advanced material, but there’s only so much room in their library, and only so many copies. When it comes to the history of magecraft, magical beasts, and general knowledge, we have by far the better selection.”

The old man looks up towards the ceiling as he considers something. “Also, their dormitories are gender-segregated. That probably ahs something to do with it, too. No co-ed studying, and most of them are young adults. Well, whatever gets them to come in and do some book-learning, one supposes.”

>The Library's regulars

“Aside from the students you mean?” the elderly librarian asks. “Well, everyone from all walks has a good cause to visit our library! We certainly get a lot more learned and well-heeled folks, however. Craftspeople have less cause to read and more cause to do, I would surmise. That and good breeding makes for strong eyesight and a strong mind, of course. But why do you ask?”

“I wasss… Hoping to find a sstudy-buddy. I try sso hard, but it can be difficult to undersstand everything I read. It would be niccce to have a person to dissscusss the material with.”

You allow your eyes to flit, conspicuously, to the nobleman and his guard. The old man follows your gaze.

“Oh! Young Lord Bianchi? Well… I don’t know. He certainly comes by often enough, but he’s…”

The librarian frowns, glances back and forth, and then leans in to intimate a secret to you, nice young woman that you are:

“He’s a bit of a dabbler, I think, and a dilettante. Always pursuing esoterica in a bid to monetize magic, or to get rich quick. I’d say I don’t know why his mother lets him get away with it, but I suspect it’s to get the spooky young man out of the house once in a while. I’m not sure he has the focus to be a decent help in your studies.”

>The man who was thrown out of the building

"That tinhat, iss he a regular or..?"

“Tinhat?” the old librarian asks. After a moment, he begins to laugh. “Oh, yes! The old folk belief that a metal-lined cap can protect one from mind-affecting spells! Yes, yes, I suppose that would suit Lord Yosef these days. It didn’t always, mind. He was once actually a patron of this place, and a regular. Things… Changed, though. The poor man lost his son, and he was never right since. He began to delve into subjects most non-scholastic, and very outlandish. I fear his mind has… Well, it doesn’t do to gossip. Just be careful around him is all.”

What do you do?
>Ask the librarian for more info on one of the above subjects
>Ask the librarian for books on a specific subject
>Approach Lord Bianchi
>Ask the librarian who he would recommend as a study-partner
>Other
>>
>>4685461
>Ask the librarian who he would recommend as a study-partner

then ask about himself
>>
>>4685461
>>Ask the librarian for more info on one of the above subjects
>>
>>4685518
Which one, bud?
>>
>>4685461
>>Approach Lord Bianchi
>>
>>4685518
>>4685569
>Ask the librarian for more info on one of the above subjects
>Lord Bianchi

"Thisss Bianchi, iss he knowledgeable?"

"Well... yes, I suppose he's learned enough for his age," the librarian concedes. "Just unfocused and… Perhaps unprincipled.”

That sounds good to you, to be honest—you aren’t actually LOOKING for a study partner. Still, better to milk this source for all you can, and to humour the old human’s opinions.

>>4685506

“Who elssse is there to sstudy with, for now?” you ask, feigning consternation. “Maybe I could ssstudy with you, Misster?”

“Fargus,” the old man supplies. “Fargus Wellenes, at your service. And a pleasure to meet you, Miss…?”

“Rossgard,” you supply. “But call me Issmena. Ssso?”

“I’m flattered to be asked by such a pleasant young woman as you to accompany you on this journey of the mind, but I’m afraid I have altogether too much work… Too, too much. We could use some help around here. It seems like everyone could, these days. A growing city means growing demand for services both public and private, one supposes!”

“Then who?”

“I would perhaps suggest someone with a purer, more focused intellectual interest in magic, if indeed that’s what you’re hoping to study. Perhaps one of the students or…”

Suddenly, a look of recognition and… Is that pity?... Crosses Fargus’ face. You follow his gaze to see the spitting image of Manuela’s description earlier: a young, scruffy-faced young human with ruddy-brown hair, greenish-brown eyes, and a somewhat gaunt, tired expression. He’s gangly, loaded up with books, and is breathing heavily as he stops at the top of the stairs, before advancing to the counter and beginning to unload some of the books onto the counter, while apologizing to the elven woman staffing it for their lateness. On his head: a wide-brimmed, crumpled-up velvet wizard hat.

Completely oblivious to the conspicuous display of his wealth, he pulls out a big bag of gold coins and begins to coin out what he considers to be a reasonable fine.

“Edwin, Edwin!” the elven librarian protests. “It’s only a silver a day for the entire lot of them!”

“O-oh,” this Edwin says. “Well, I feel bad and… I only have gold. Will one gold coin do? Call it a tip?”

The elf sighs and nods with a half-smile at the dotty young man, and accepts it with her thanks.

“Well, Edwin of Engel is… Earnest. A bit transparent, but eager to learn, and I imagine he could use an ally in his pursuit of knowledge even more than you, Miss Rosgard.”

What do you do?
>Approach Lord Bianchi
>Approach Edwin of Engel
>Study on your own for now
>Other
>>
>>4685585
>>Approach Lord Bianchi
easy prey with connections
>>
>>4685585
>Approach Lord Bianchi
>>
>>4685585
>Approach Edwin of Engel
easy target
>>
>>4685585
>Approach Edwin of Engel
hit an easier mark first
>>
>>4685589
>>4685641
>>4685658
>>4685585

Whether because the questionable and shady noble seems like easier prey to you, or because his more sophisticated nature and interest in magical items causes you to believe his connections will be more advantageous, you settle on Bianchi.

Thanking Librarian Fargus for his assistance (as he does likewise), you nevertheless disregard his advice and head for the shadowy young lord’s table.

Your assumption that this shall be the easier path is almost immediately challenged, however. Be the man a guard or simply an especially burly manservant, Lord Bianchi’s attendant takes notice of your approach immediately, and stands to intercept you. Quietly—for it is a library—the lightly-armoured man attempts to turn you away thus:

“My Lord is deep in study and fiscal contemplation. He is not to be disturbed.”

What do you do?
>Heed his warning and try Edwin of Engel instead
>Attempt to flirt with this bodyguard
>Cast some flirty aspersions Bianchi’s way
>Plead your case as a fellow seeker of occult knowledge and/or wealth
>Plead charity and ignorance, seeking Bianchi’s guidance in your studies
>Tell him you have a hell of a deal you’d like to discuss
>Other
>>
>>4685669
Ah, darn. Would have made it a tie! Well, Edwin fo Engel is still an option, of course...
>>
>>4685672
>Cast some flirty aspersions Bianchi’s way
>Plead charity and ignorance, seeking Bianchi’s guidance in your studies

If he's still indisposed
>Heed his warning and try Edwin of Engel instead
>>
>>4685672
>Heed his warning and try Edwin of Engel instead
>>
>>4685676
support
>>
>>4685705
+1
>>
Rolled 8, 4 = 12 (2d20)

>>4685676
>>4685705
>>4685708
>>4685717

Posting up soon!
>>
>>4685916
>>4685672

“I promisse I won’t dissturb him... Unlessss he wants me to.”

You say it just loudly enough for Bianchi to hear, in the hopes he’ll call off his guard dog and let you sit down. However, as he flips to the next page, it seems as if he hasn’t even noticed you… And his bodyguard seems no more inclined to listen as he lays a hand on your arm.

You narrow your eyes, and try another tack: “I’m jusst looking to conssult with you, Lord Bianchi,” you say directly, holding your ground. The guard is clearly none too pleased with the prospect of manhandling a young woman in a public place, giving you a window.

Without looking up, the darkly-attired young nobleman humours you: “And what would you consult with me on, then?”

“I’m looking to exxpand my horizonss, to learn sssomething of your wisssdom on matterss mag—”

“I’ll pass,” Lord Bianchi interrupts. “I’m doing business here, not charity. Move along, strumpet.”

“You heard the Lord,” his bodyguard reiterates, beginning to gently shove you along. You snatch your arm away, and force a smile. “Yesss, I did. Sso hands off, pleasse.”

Well, so much for that. However, you aren’t completely out of luck—this embarrassing affair has caught both the sympathetic gaze of Librarian Fargus and, more relevant, of Edwin of Engel. While their pity fills you with shame and rage, you mask these emotions with bashful embarrassment, and emphasize your wounded pride. You transform yourself into a damsel in distress…

And Edwin hesitantly applied, your awkwardly-proportioned knight in rumpled armour.

“Nevermind that snob,” he says. “Um, hello. I’m… My name is Edwin.”

What do you do?
>Thank him, and ask Edwin of Engel for help with your studies
>Come on strong and get your hooks in [seduction]
>Tell him you recognize him… From work [blackmail]
>Scorn him, make him chase you
>Scorn him because legitimately find him too pathetic to deal with
>Other
>>
>>4685928
>Thank him, and ask Edwin of Engel for help with your studies
>>
>>4685928
>Thank him, and ask Edwin of Engel for help with your studies
but later
>Come on strong and get your hooks in [seduction]
>>
>>4686051
I'd like to seduce him, but slowly and not in a 'slutty' way
>>
>>4686062
yep, this
>>
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>>4686071
>>4686062
>>4686051
>>4685931

Seduction is one of your strong suits, you’ve come to realize, and it’s always on the table. For now, though, you decide to play it slow, and to start with simple feigned gratitude.

“Thankss, my Lord…”

“Oh! Well, not really a Lord. Lord’s son, I guess, technically. More of a… it’s a long story. I’d Edwin, of Engel. Uh, technically. Who are you?”

You appraise your mark. He’s certainly less sweaty and desperate-looking than the young merchant you serviced in the alley, but you still detect the faint whiff of desire for you, and thus a desire to please. You can work with this.

“Isssmena,” you turn the soft hiss into almost a purr. “But my friends call me Izzy.”

“Um,” he says, “am I a friend, or is that, like… For the future? Or like a reminder not to call you that, even by accident?”

You crack a slight smile at the sheer ineptitude of this young nobleman’s pick-up game. “Izzy will be fine, if I can maybe… Pick your brain a little? I’m looking to learn a little more about the myssstic artss…”

At this, Edwin straightens his posture and his hat, and puffs out his somewhat feeble chest. “Well, I can be of service there, and no doubt. I’m something of a hedge-wizard, myself!”

“You don’t ssssay,” you reply dryly, and allow the man to escort you to a table far away from Bianchi and his man. You catch Fargus looking on approvingly, like some godfatherly figure, and have tor esist the urge to roll your eyes.

Over the next hour or so, the two of you sit on one side of a long table, but with chairs close together. You use the excuse of mediocre eyesight and no money for corrective glasses or charms. Edwin almost immediately offers to pay for such a thing, reaching for his coin-purse almost immediately
Do you:
>Turn down the money
>Accept it
>’Shyly admit’ that you were just making up excuses to sit closer to him

He also proves knowledgeable, at least moreso than you for what little that’s worth, in some of the basics of enchantment and conjuration. He casts no spells for you, but you get the feeling that he could probably manage some minor cantrip or the like, if indeed he isn’t totally devoid of magical potential.

What do you
>Ask him to show you a spell
>Ask him if he could teach you magic
>Ask if he’s ever been inside the Tower, or taken lessons there
>Invite him to take a break from studying with you
>Other
>>
>>4686074
>Turn down the money
'we've only jussst met, and you're already so generousss. I could never repay you.'

>Ask him to show you a spell

And if he can, then we

>Ask him if he could teach you magic

but avoid any talk of the Tower for now. Let's not be too obvious.
>>
>>4686074
>Turn down the money
>Ask him if he could teach you magic
>>
>>4686101
>>4686075
>>4686074

You gently rebuff the offer of coin.

“We've only jussst met, and you're already so generousss. I could never repay you.”

“A good deed is its own reward,” Edwin declares… But you notice he doesn’t force the issue. Back into his bag the coins go.

“What would be really great isss if you could show me a sspell,” you say, leaning in slightly and fluttering your lashes just slightly. “Could you, Edwin? That’sss what I’d like to be able to do. Maybe you could even… Teach me?”

“We-elll…” Edwin avoids eye-contact for the first time since you met him. “I’m, uh, still working out that practical, that is to say… The actually mechanistic, direct, physical end of things.”

“Oh?” you ask, feigning ignorance but mentally cataloguing the young man as a wannabe.

“Don’t get me wrong—I can absolutely TEACH you, if you have the knack. I mean, cantrips are so easy that even first-year Tower students can perform them within a few months of training. It’s more a matter of…”

He trails off, holding up a finger and rapidly flipping through the ‘Introductory to Arcanum Minorium’ book you two had been reading together. Eventually, he places his finger on a passage, and you lean practically against him (eliciting a detectable uptick in his heartrate, you smugly note) to read it.

“The far-eastern provinces of Man refer to the magickal energies as ‘qi’,” the text notes, “while primitive peoples and orcish tribes may sometimes better know it as ‘mana’ or by many other terms. Western scholars, descending as they do from the elven tradition of arcanum, know the lifeforce which permeates living things and permits magick to be performed as one’s ‘aura’. Virtually all living things have an ‘aura’, save for some dread creatures whose status as such (ie. truly alive) is questionable. Most cannot sufficiently channel or muster it to wield, however. With careful training and study, most humans and demi-humans can achieve at least a modest form of magickal ability, but it is a known truth that human beings are often born without such innate capability; as an athlete cannot be expected to perform at the highest levels of his sport without having practiced as a child and developed a so-called ‘muscle-memory’, nor can a grown man so easily build the mental and spiritual practices and thought-processes to allow his aura to be focused, channels, and transformed to enable magick to be performed as a more malleable and biddable child would. Rarely is a great mage made from a grown student.”
>>
>>4686127
Edwin is blushing profusely at this point, and staring at the table. “I’ve collected some, um, items, and taken potions, and everything… But I guess it just comes slower when you’re already an adult. My THEORY is fine, but…”

What do you do?
>Tell Edwin to never say never, and offer to rpactcie with him today and in the future
>Ask Edwin to teach you the theory, to see if he’s really learning it right
>Tell Edwin that there are more important things than magic, anyway
>Ask Edwin why he isn’t studying at the Tower, if this is so important to him
>Change the subject away from magic (to what?)
>Other
>>
>>4686132
>Ask Edwin to teach you the theory, to see if he’s really learning it right
we start with this, then lead into this:

>Tell Edwin to never say never, and offer to practcie with him today and in the future

'maybe what you're lacking isss a partner to ssstudy with?'

save the more involved personal questions for next time
>>
>>4686132
>Tell Edwin to never say never, and offer to practcie with him today and in the future
>Ask Edwin to teach you the theory, to see if he’s really learning it right
>>
>>4686138
>>4686181

“Never sssay never,” you cheerily respond, placing your hand gently on his. “Maybe what you're lacking isss a partner to ssstudy with?”

Edwin’s blush doesn’t lessen, but you strongly suspect the reason for his crimson hue is different now. You relate how much more confident you feel about magic theory after studying together, and offer to be his study-buddy on a more regular basis. Perhaps tomorrow? The would-be wizard is altogether too eager to agree.

You’re pretty sure he’s smitten—a testament to your skill even when you only use your mouth to TALK rather than, well…

It’s not all lies, either. As the lesson continues, you feel your rather basic understanding of magic grow. It’s only the fundamentals, but Edwin of Engel has a genuine knack for explaining and re-explaining the concepts and theories in such a way that if you don’t quite catch a concept on the first pass, you usually do on the second. You’re no Serpent Priest or Dragonblood, but you feel as if you could possibly acquire some actual useful knowledge out of this honeypot. You reward the good little mammal with some deliberately casually touches on his shoulder, his forearm, or with a bump of the knee.

Eventually, though, the lesson comes to an end. You realize you’ve lost track of time over the course of the morning, and it has drifted into afternoon. You still have a few more hours before work, though.

What do you do?
>Bid Edwin farewell and go tend to your own matters
>Ask Edwin if he wants to come get some food with you
>Ask Edwin what his plans are for the evening
>Other
>>
>>4686208
>Bid Edwin farewell and go tend to your own matters
let's visit Agatha, but promise Edwin we'll see him tomorrow. did Agatha finish the improved version of our dancer's outfit yet?
>>
>>4686208
>Ask Edwin what his plans are for the evening
>>
>>4686208
>Ask Edwin what his plans are for the evening
Then
>Bid Edwin farewell and go tend to your own matters
>>
>>4686208
>>Bid Edwin farewell and go tend to your own matters
>>
>>4686208
>Bid Edwin farewell and go tend to your own matters
We have a dress to criticize.
>>
>>4686213
>>4686246
>>4686280
>>4686374
>>4686393

You thank Edwin for his time and for his kindness, but tell your study-partner that you have other errands to attend to.

“Oh, yeah, I get it. Me too! Absolutely,” he replies.

You can’t help but notice that the human doesn’t stand up as you do, though, nor does he begin collecting his things. You strongly suspect that this is, indeed, all he has planned for today. Not you, though—you have a dress to criticize!

Your first course of action is to get some food in you. You briefly divert from your beeline to Agatha’s residence to snag a meat-skewer from the half-orc’s food cart which you visited the day prior. Studying and/or spying work up quite the appetite, it seems! Then, you carry on along your route, making for Agatha and Oxford’s home.

The sun is on the verge of setting when you get there, a warning from on-high that your shift at The Pretty Kitty approaches. You knock on the door, and find your foot tapping impatiently before you force it to stop. The thought of the new outfit and how it might affect the awe and adoration you receive from the crowd when you next take the stage… You remind yourself that these are weak feelings, human thoughts. You try to convince yourself you don’t care about such matters.

Eventually, Oxford opens the door. “Oh, hello Issmena,” the older man says, taking your lisp for part of your name proper.

You don’t correct him, instead just greeting him with a cheerful “Hello, Oxford,” before asking if Agatha is in.

Indeed she is, but she’s… A little bit frazzled. Fabric has been strewn about the floor and hung over the furniture, and she has constructed a crude and lumpy mannequin from a coat-rack and towels. Over this deformed figure, she has attempted to construct from gauze and fine linen a sequel to your burlap-sack harem outfit. For all the skill with which she worked with the tick and familiar fabric of sack-cloth, it seems that this little project is perhaps beyond Agatha’s current skill level.

Oxford clears his throat to announce you, and Agatha looks up, red-faced, from her frantic work. With tears welling in her eyes, she says: “I’m s-sorry! I wasted all the money you paid me and i-it's... It's...”

What do you do?
>Tease Agatha about her failure
>Offer to help her in her work, and provide her some more coin for materials
>Resolve to hire a professional next time
>Suggest she get some formal training and focus on that firs
>Other
>>
>>4686480
>Suggest she get some formal training and focus on that first
>Provide her some more coin for materials
Teasing her like this might be too much and just break her spirit, which is hardly beneficial to us.
If we want to mess with her, we can
>Hint as to where this money came from
>>
>>4686480
>>Suggest she get some formal training and focus on that firs
>>
>>4686480
>Suggest she get some formal training and focus on that first
>Suggest that you know a good way to earn some coin for both training and materials
>>
>>4686597
supporting but only if 'the good way to train and earn money' means her costuming the other dancers and not sucking and fucking for coin
>>
>>4686480
>Tease Agatha about her failure
>Suggest she get some formal training and focus on that firs
>>
>>4686546
>>4686557
>>4686597
>>4686937
>>4686995

Posting up soon!
>>
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>>4687096
>>4686480

You tap a finger to your lips in a practiced human gesture of contemplation as you look around the chaos of Agatha Johan’s DIY tailoring disaster.

“It’s cccertainly not ssuitable,” you admit, but before Agatha’s face can fall too far, you add “but you’re alsso not trained. You’re sstill just an amateur, Agatha. Have you had any luck finding work?”

She wipes her eyes and nose with a bit of spare fabric that has already been restitched and ruined beyond repair, and admits that, no, she’s been busy all day buying and working with this fabric for you.

“Maybe focusss on finding ssomeone to apprenticcce under,” you suggest kindly. “You can try again afterwardsss.”

Oswald looks on with an approving expression and nods slightly, from his usual post leaning against the wall.

“But… What about your job?”

“I ssstill have the first cosstume,” you remind her, and Agatha seems to relax somewhat.

Then, a wicked idea strikes, and you smirk slightly.

“But if you’d like to earn sssome more coin for practicce materialss, I know jusst the thing for it?”

“O-oh?” Agatha asks, a tad trepidatious.

You press your tongue to your cheek and mime the very activity that paid for her first commission. Agatha flushes bright red and covers her mouth to muffle an embarrassed shriek and hide her innocent eyes. Oswald’s approving smile turns to wide eyes, and he quickly turns away from the display to preserve modesty… Or perhaps to hide arousal.

You burst out laughing at them both. “Kidding, kidding! You’re both ssso easily flusssstered. I was thinking I could jusst put in a good word with the girlss—that iss to ssay, the danccerss. I’m sure they could usse repairs and modificationss from an up-and-coming sseamsstress.”

“Um…” Agatha peaks through her fingers. “That… Actually sounds like a really good idea. I mean, once I’m a bit more practiced. Would you really?”

“Abssolutely,” you reassure her.
>>
>>4687119

With this sorted out, such as it is, you catch up a little, and then carry on to The Pretty Kitty. When you arrive, dusk has just begun to claim the sun and the city’s lights are being lit by the brigade of lanternmen who have been so tasked. Just as they go to work, so you do. You greet Felia—now dolled up with makeup and in her lowest-cut bodice as appropriate for her own role—and do a quick change in your room, before hurrying on to mee Mina and the dancers at the stage.

“Just on time,” Mina notes neutrally, though her tail curls appreciatively. “Do stay the whole shift this time, would you Kamunu?”

Tonight, you aren’t the final act, but nor are you the first. This gives you time to case the joint through the curtains. You see that Kilian the merchant’s son has returned, albeit with a smaller retinue this time than the previous night. The nobleman you spotted has not made a repeat appearance, but you still see a few high-roller types in fine evening attire hanging about the gambling table in the corner. The guardsman from the previous night is back, too, and a few sleazy-looking sharp-eyed criminal types (albeit a step above the smelly sort whom you actively deal with, and probably not the kind who do their business below-ground.

There’s no sign of your ‘study-buddy’, for better or worse.

Before long, you hear Laskar’s music shift into the tinny, almost wailing hum of strings and woodwind which characterizes Kamunu’s entrance.

What do you do?
>Focus on your performance, dancing as best you can and showing off raw skill
>Focus on Kilian’s music, to better mesh with it and appreciate it
>Focus your attentions on the high-rollers
>Focus your attentions on Kilian and his friends
>Focus your attentions on the guard
>Focus your attentions on the criminal element
>Other
>>
>>4687123
>Focus on Kilian’s music, to better mesh with it and appreciate it
>>
>>4687123
>>4687140
*Fuck my life, LASKAR'S music. Oops.
>>
>>4687123
>>Focus your attentions on the high-rollers
>>4687123
>>
>>4687123
>Focus on Kilian’s music, to better mesh with it and appreciate it
>Focus your attentions on Kilian and his friends
>>
>>4687123
>Focus on Laskar’s music, to better mesh with it and appreciate it
Music first, if possible
>Focus your attentions on Kilian and his friends
>>
>>4687253
>>4687211
>>4687146
>>4687140
>>4687171

You closes your eyes for a moment, swaying with the music and letting Laskar’s one-man symphony course through you, down your spine and into the phantom of your tail. You savour the thrum which elven bard’s music travels through you, for despite the meaning you took from your dream, you cannot help but feel the rhythm seize your soul.

Your eyes snap open, and you see Kilian in the crowd. You throw him a quick smile and wink of recognition. He catches your eye, and he grins and nudges his friend in the ribs, as if to try to prove that, yes, he knows you.

You turn your attention and you begin your dance. You don’t make the young human and his merchant cohorts your focus, nor the probably gangsters, nor the social elite or the guard. You don’t even think about Mina watching in the wings. For a moment, even your mission, and the weight of Roth’s expectations melts off of you like butter, slipping down and away as you dance across the sands in your mind, and as you dance across the stage in reality.

Your mastery draws cheers and whistles, but you are beyond such things. Up in his hidden musician’s nest, Laskar plays faster, and you step up your dance. His tune grows more complex and intense, and so too does your dance. You dance with the elf, faster a fashion, giving visuals to his instrumentals, giving imagery to his imaginings. The crowd loves it, and so do you.

When you finish, you are less exhausted and overwhelmed than the previous night, but as you exit the stage and the weight of your life story and your important task settles into your mind and you feel your head nod and your body sink a little. You take a few deep breaths, and you feel Mina’s paw-like hand on your shoulder.

“You know how to put on a show,” she says. “But don’t think you can run away so easily this time.”

The madam seems content to let you rest for the moment, however; it’s now a dwarf-maiden named Helga Warchest who goes on, to perform her rambunctious burlesque to the deliberately erratic and thumping beat of Laskar’s next tune.

What do you do?
>Rest back stage and chat with the girls until the final dance number
>Mingle with the crowd and serve drinks
>Ask if you can leave to get some water
>Ask Mina something
>Other
>>
>>4687264
>Rest back stage and chat with the girls until the final dance number
ask for some tutoring on sex and seduction from the better girls, we can always be a better thot
>>
>>4687264
>Mingle with the crowd and serve drinks
try the merchants, if they don't bite follow them home after they leave and mug them.
>>
>>4687264
>Rest back stage and chat with the girls until the final dance number
We’ll be here a while, we should get to know these girls
>>4687292
What is it with you and mugging anyways?
>>
>>4687338
>What is it with you and mugging anyways?
i think it'll add good flavour to the story
>>
>>4687338
>>4687292
>>4687290

You decide that if this is going to be your cover identity, it would serve you well to cultivate false friendships to better shield you against suspicion in the future.

You already have passing familiarity with the halfling, Manuela; her gimmick seems to essentially be that she is (as she puts it) ‘short and stacked’; she has the sort of chipper demeanour one would expect from her people, but with a hard edge and a nose for money.

Grendelia, the half-orc, turns out to be actually only a quarter-orcish, but she plays up the savage beauty angle nevertheless to appeal to her ‘fellow humans’; she’s blunt, but never rude, and in fact speaks quiet sparingly.

In addition, young get to know the four human dancers: Red Annie (the daughter of a dockworker, with a foul mouth and a shock of red hair, who operates with a nautical theme); the strawberry-blonde and soft-spoken twins Tricia and Alicia (their angle is obvious, but their emotional state isn’t); and Estellia (who doesn’t seem to like you much, perhaps because her appeal seems to simply be having the most traditionally-attractive female human form, and the best dance moves… Until you).

And there’s no forgetting Helga, who takes the stage in a fake beard before stripping it off part-way through the rowdy routine. She is as loud and obnoxious off-stage as on, a hard drinker, and is apparently saving up to buy property and start a business in a small town in the surrounding hills.
>>
>>4687377

You get the measure of most of them over the course of the evening, before you turn the conversation to a subject which has been lingering in your mind:

“Do any of you do any… Work… Bessidess danccing?” you ask.

There are a few looks exchanged between the women, before Grendelia asks “You mean the wetwork?”

“Ha!” Helga laughs. “Not for love nor money, Kamunu.”

“Pfff,” Manuela says. “Speak for yourself. Human men pay premium for something snug and small, and I ain’t about to say ‘no’ in the land of biggus dickus and with a jangling bag of coins in my face.”

“That’s not all the ends up in your face, though, is it?” Annie says, nudging the halfling, who laughs with a snort.

Grendelia looks embarrassed, but says nothing; you get the feeling it takes a special client to request her, even if she’d accept.

“Why do you ask?” Estellia ask, a little cattily. “Not enough to be hamming it up on-stage? Are you that attention-hungry?”

“Hey,” Manuela says, “lay off the new girl!”

You meet Estellia’s eyes levelly, and say: “I’m not ssure about that yet. But I feel a little… Sself-consccciouss. I want to earn better tipss, even if it’sss not through ssex, but I’m… New to thiss.”

“It shows,” Estellia says, provoking a giggle from the otherwise-silent twins. “You dance like you have no idea where you are or what you’re supposed to be doing.”

What do you do?
>Mock Estellia in return
>Ask for Estllia’s advice on the art of seduction
>Ask what her problem is
>Show her up by hitting the tables then and there
>Start a physical altercation
>Other
>>
>>4687378
>Ask for Estllia’s advice on the art of seduction
subvert hostility with friendship, and flirt with her while doing so

we're a spy, not a warrior to go around starting fights or fighting fire with fire. fight fire with water, agression with charm.

also point out none of them can do this job forever, unless they have a touch of elf about them everyone's beauty fades, and we want to be comfortable when it comes time to retire.
>>
>>4687378
>Ask for Estllia’s advice on the art of seduction
after/if she doesn't be helpful
>Show her up by hitting the tables then and there
>>
>>4687382
>>4687381

“You sseem practicced,” you reply. “Your danccing iss sso polished! You hold the cusstomerss attention so well, and I have no idea how you do it!”

Estellia seems taken aback by your refusal to rise to her bait, as you suspected she would be. “Well… I’ve been at it a while.”

“Ha! Yeah, the humie here has been dancing longer than me, if you can believe it,” says Helga, donning her fake beard for added effect. A chorus of laughter goes up, and Estellia starts to bristle again.

“Helga’s right,” you agree, feigning earnestness. “I didn’t think you were much older than me, Essstellia.”

Estellia’s face goes a little pink, and she clears her throat. “Well, I imagine it’s like your oil. Everyone who wants to stay in this game has to have a trick or two.”

“Do you know sssome trickss to make the johnss sswoon, then?” you press.

“Not that I’m just going to give away,” she snaps, but then she softens. “Look, you’re out there dancing and swaying like you’re… I don’t know, in some kind of frenzy. It’s good, I guess. You really sell your whole foreign, above-it-all angle… But if you don’t come back down to earth, mingle with the crowd, throw in a few flirts to the men, they’re not going to tip. If they want to be paying money to some distant goddess or whatever, they’ll go to church. They’re here to be noticed, too.”

You suppose that socially cloaking bonding activities and strategic assets aside, the question is whether you want to be ‘noticed’. However, at that very moment, it seems that the decision ahs been taken away from you, for your ‘business meeting’ is interrupted by Felia.

“Hey, girls,” she says, though her eyes quickly gravitate to your own. “There’s some kinda’ sweaty twerp here, getting drunk and asking for Kamunu. She available, or should I tell him she’s resting up for the big closing number?”

Ah, Kilian. You DID tell him you’d give him a ‘repeat performance’.

What will you do?
>Tell Felia to give him an excuse, and stay put
>Go spend some time with Kilian and the young merchants
>Go tell him to take a hike yourself
>Other
>>
>>4687396
Just dance first, a little extra if they pay.
>>
>>4687396
>Go spend some time with Kilian and the young merchants
give them a private dance, flirt a little like Estellia suggested, and pay attention to any banter that might be useful
>>
>>4687396
>>Go spend some time with Kilian and the young merchants
>>
>>4687417
>>4687416
>>4687404

“I’ll be right out,” you say. This is your chance to put some of what Estellia said into practice, albeit maybe not in the way that you had suggested, or the other dancers had understood. You’re not necessarily above some sexual favours, but coin is secondary to your main objective: intelligence on Hawksong.

Felia hands you a small tray of drinks, and gives you a supportive slap on the back. You approach the table, and one of Kilian’s friends elbows him hard in the ribs. He rubs the spot where’s been hit, but quickly forgives the affront when eh sees you approaching in your burlap-and-netting ensemble, bared skin on display.

“Hello, Kilian,” you smile, settling in on the table and proffering one of the drinks. “Thankss for stopping by. And you brought friendss!”

“Yeah,” he grins. “Just like you asked. But, uh… You know, I was here last night, too… The guys were starting to think I was lying about, um, knowing you.”

“Oh, sssorry,” you say, feigning innocence about the prior night, and about what you are entirely aware he’s been telling his friends. “I didn’t know! I would have come and ssaid hello.”

You meet each of their hungry eyes in turn, sliding or handing drinks to them.

“Sso, enjoying the show?” you ask them. A chorus of all-too-eager agreement and nods answer you.

“Mind if I ssit in with you boys for a bit?” you ask, sliding into place between a couple of them. Another barrage of answers greet you, assuring you that it’s no trouble at all.

You make small-talk and serve up drinks, subtly guiding the conversation; asking what they do and pretending to be impressed at these idle-class mammals’ pretentious, daddy-donated business titles works wonders, and you get to know a bit about their role in the Hawksong economic mileu.

None of them are terribly important, but a couple of their parents are, especially ‘Janus’, whose well-heeled father is apparently working out some sort of deal with the Paladins to supply “a bunch of old broken relics from the abandoned dwarf halls… like, a big fuckoff load of these dumb dwarfy statues, huge even though they’re dwarves, and the government’s paying for it with royal money from, like, the tax coffers… Not that we’re complaining, right , but why even charge us the taxes to begin with if they’re gonna’ waste it all on nonsense?”

You lean in, eager to know more about these statues, but you feel Kilian’s hand on your bare thigh, and you glance back his way with a feigned smile.

“You, uh… Said something about a repeat performance?” he whispers, hopefully.

And just when things were getting good, too. Ugh.

What do you do?
>Agree to go service Kilian
>Refuse and listen in on the conversation
>Rebuff Kilian and focus on seducing Janus instead
>Invite all these merchants to the ‘repeat performance’
>Other
>>
>>4687427

instead of going off somewhere with him, give Killian a subtle hand job under the table while continuing to listen and talk to his friends. if he complains keep him in place with some kind of sexy dom personality. maybe the excitement and voyeuristic thrill will keep him in place.

but done in a way his friends don't notice.
>>
>>4687427
>Agree to go service Kilian
and then seduce Janus to learn more after
>>
>>4687430
+1 to this
>>
>>4687430
>+1 We’ll give him a repeat performance, never told him it would be in private
>>
>>4687427
>>4687430
and let's clean it up, don't want stains under the table
>>
>>4687427
>>Agree to go service Kilian
>>
>>4687561
>>4687439
>>4687435
>>4687431
>>4687430

You hide your annoyance and disgust behind a sly smile as a bizarre—but effective—compromise crosses your mind. You give Kilian a small nod, and then reach a hand under the table to unbutton his breeches. Startled, he very nearly stands up.

“Woah!” he says. “Wha—”

“Eeassy, boy,” you tease him, pushing him back down before he draws too much attention… or interrupts Janus’ discussion with their other friend. Taking the lead, and allowing some of your natural-born Reptilian superiority to seep into your tone and hold the young man fast, you tell him “I promissed you a repeat performanccce, but not that it would be private.”

He looks uncertain, but as your hand finds its mark and you begin to slowly stroke, he is powerless in your grasp.

“Bessidess, issn’t thiss exxxcciting?” you whisper into his ear, eyes still on Janus. You only half-hear Kilian’s response, but you gather that it’s in affirmative by the movement of his hips. With this matter sorted, such as it is, you chime in on the other conversation.

“What, no gemss or gold?” you ask, loudly enough to be heard over the music and to cover Kilian’s half-stifled gasps. “I thought dwarvess were all about jewelss and ssuch?”

Janus shrugs and says “Well, the place was picked clean by orcs a hundred years ago. Just goes to show, you know… I mean, is there really anything valuable even there?”

“Maybe it’s about culture and, uh, historic value?” his friend suggests.

Maybe. Or maybe there is value in those halls beyond the obvious glimmering treasures which the orc seized. You don’t know why the Paladins, a human organization, would care to spend a great deal of money on dwarven architecture while also working on a major defensive program. Are the two related, or are you overthinking things in a desperate bid to extract some value from this interaction.

Unfortunately, your interruption of the conversation turns the attentions of the other two to you.

“You know,” Janus says, leering and ogling you. “Kilian here says you’re the real treasure. He was telling us you might even be going steady at the rate you two were going. That right?”

You tilt your head as if mulling the idea over, even as you’re pumping Kilian for compliance. Kilian desperately tries to remain straight-faced, his friends clearly taking his sweatiness and flushing for signs of embarrassment at the questioning rather than for what it is. From the feel of him, he is indeed finding this scenario exciting, and you begin to worry about the mess you might be about to make beneath the table.
>>
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>>4687712
Luckily, Madam Mina takes the stage at just that moment, announcing that the final dance is about to begin, and that everyone should finish their drinks. You take your hand back as you stand up, taking the excuse to end things early.

What do you do?
>Support Kilian’s story, and ask him to meet you after the show to finish up
>Tell Janus that you’re a free agent, and to meet you after the show
>Tell the lot of them that you’re not interested
>Invite them all to a ‘private performance’ later
>Tell them you’re too busy tonight, but that you’d love to see them again sometime
>Take some coin upfront, but fail to deliver
>Other
>>
>>4687715
>Tell Janus that you’re a free agent
>Ask both Janus and Kilian to meet you after the show
>>
>>4687774
+1, but we should ask our boss how to go about things - especially moneywise, if we owe her a slice for being in her business and all. I'd rather not aggravate her more than we already have with out early exit last time.
>>
>>4687715
>>Invite them all to a ‘private performance’ later
>>
>>4687826
Considering last night's "fuckup", we can split even 50/50 if she wants. We're in this one for intel and *cough* public relations anyway.
>>
>>4687715
>Invite them all to a ‘private performance’ later
>>
>>4687826
Supporting this but if we’re inviting both of them
>>4687715
>Invite them all to a ‘private performance’ later
might as well invite them all. Although I hope it’s mostly touching and succing more than anything else
>>
>>4687715
>Invite them all to a ‘private performance’ later
>>
>>4688234
>>4688231
>>4688083
>>4687966
>>4687856
>>4687826
>>4687774

“I'm not neccesssarily anyone'ss,” you tell Janus, “but if you boyss have the coin to tip, I can be everyone'ss, just for tonight.”

“H-hey…” Kilian mumbles, adjusting himself under rather table. After a moment, and registering your obvious lack of romantic interest and his friends excitedly discussing the division of funds for this joint enterprise, he opts to trail off, saying nothing. It seems that naively, he wanted to show off his conquest, but keep your services to himself. His disappointment is as palpable as it is irrelevant.

You blow the merchants a kiss, and sway your hips with exaggerated motion as you leave to take your station with the other dancers.

The dance itself is a silly little affair, but apparently a Pretty Kitty tradition: you all take the stage as one, arm in arm with your fellow entertainers, and do a high-kicking jig while the clientele throws coins into the pots at your feet and whoop appreciatively, attempting (and often succeeding, for this is the point) to steal a glance up your skirts at your undergarments. It's more a send-off and a signal to tip generously than anything else.


Afterwards, as Mina and Felia tally up the night’s haul and divvy up each woman's share, you approach the Madam of the house. She seems at ease, tail curling and unfurling in languid motions as she paws her precious coins. Her demeanor changes, tail going rigid and fluffing up slightly, when you yell the feline entrepreneur of your plan to host some ‘company’ in your room tonight.

“What isss the protocol?” you inquire, businesslike in your demeanor—it IS business, after all.

“You should have run this by me,” Mina says stiffly, though you can't tell if she is mad or concerned. “If you really plan to do this, though… The house sets the rates. We don’t do bottom-dollar here, and we have a few best practices. It's good that you came to me, Kamunu.”

What follows is a discussion of rates, safety procedures, a few easy tells for a client carrying a contagious affliction, and more. She tells you the emergency signal to shout for assistance, should it come to it; with two or three johns, if seems she feels the risk to your person is higher.

“Talk to Felia about contraception,” Mina says seriously.

This gives you pause. Your plan wasn't necessarily to go that far… But perhaps it's better safe than sorry? Then again, as your mother once learned, human contraceptives don't work well for Reptilians, save the ones which actually block fluid transfer. Maybe, as a Degenerate half-human, that won't be a problem for you…

What do you do?
>Take the contraceptives with you, because you plan on collecting as much coin as possible
>Take the contraceptives just in-case, but you don't plan to need them
>Reassure Madam Mina that this night will not be “full service"
>Take the risk; Degenerates are sometimes sterile
>Other
>>
>>4688339
>>Take the contraceptives with you, because you plan on collecting as much coin as possible
>>
>>4688339
>Take the contraceptives just in-case, but you don't plan to need them
>Reassure Madam Mina that this night will not be “full service"
What's between our legs is worth more than these boys can pay
>>
>>4688339
>>Take the contraceptives with you, because you plan on collecting as much coin as possible
>>
>>4688339
>Take the contraceptives with you, because you plan on collecting as much coin as possible
pray to the lizard gods that we are sterile though. We don't want any more degenerate half breeds running about.
>>
>>4688339
>Take the contraceptives just in-case, but you don't plan to need them
>>
>>4688339
>Take the contraceptives with you, because you plan on collecting as much coin as possible
sssssuccc and fucccc, just don't let this boys in too deep
>>
>>4688354
>>4688350
>>4688348
>>4688344
if this wins we have to make sure they don't finish inside
>>
>>4688355
maybe we could seduce them over the course of a few weeks or more (perhaps also drugging them) and have them fuck each other for our own fun?
>>
>>4688361
Genuinely surprised you didn't choose to mug them at this of all junctures.

>>4688355
>>4688354
>>4688351
>>4688350
>>4688348
>>4688346
>>4688344

Posting soon!
>>
>>4688346
Supporting this

Even though I’m outvoted I would still like to say how annoyed I am with the fucccc
>>
>>4688379
>Genuinely surprised you didn't choose to mug them at this of all junctures.
I thought we could earn their trust and do it at a later date
>>
>>4688379
You take Mina’s words under advisement. You plan to collect all the coin you can, and you can of course charge more for full intercourse than merely for your hands and mouth. The thought makes your heart hammer a bit with a mix of fear and excitement, but you take a deep breath and steady yourself. You’ll be polluting your body with filthy humans… But your polluted body was made for such filthy tasks, below full-bloods. It’s why the Serpent priests permit such a being as you to live.

It’s for the Grand Design.

You approach Felia for some animal-gut condoms and contraceptive ointments. She squeezes your shoulder, perhaps sensing your trepidation, and gives you a kind smile. “Remember, it’s just a night, and it’s just a dick.”

“Three, actually,” you mumble, to her shock. She doesn’t say anything, though—just gives you another shoulder-squeeze and sends you on your way.

You head to your room to get prepped and ready, physically and psychologically. You oil your scaly patches into smooth skin. You swallow disgust, with yourself and the situation, and remind yourself of your purpose. However, the longer you wait, the more you think about what’s about to happen. You begin to tap your foot, to feel your phantom tail stiffen behind you.

When you hear a rapping at your door, you are quick to invite the merchants in; better to get this over and done with. All three had arrived: Janus, Kilian, and… The other one, whatever the bland-looking lad’s name is. Janus looks eager, face flush with the effects of the night’s imbibing; the other two look nervous, Kilian most of all. Their own lack of sureness gives you strength, and you slide easily into your Kamunu persona.

“Hey there,” you greet them, eyes half-lidded.

“Hey yourself,” Janus slurs slightly.

“Leave the coin on the sside table,” you suggest, inclining your head.

“How much do we leave?” he asks.

“However much you think thisss is worth,” you say, spreading your legs.

The jingling thump of two heavy sacks of coin is music to your ears. Funds for the war effort, as it were, and an assurance that you need not do this again anytime soon to make ends meet as you go about your mission proper.
>>
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>>4688424


The act itself is… Novel. A necessary evil, of course, but also… Not so unappealing. You start as you have before, servicing one, then both, then all three with hands and mouth, as they paw with their monkey-hands at your body. To your amusement, and Kilian’s obvious humiliation, he is unable to perform as he has twice before; whether due to the alcohol, his friends’ presence, or his upset at losing exclusive access to you, he is relegated to frustration and an incomplete night. This gives your Reptilian side a bit of schadenfreude at his expense, and the command your every action and reaction have over the trio reassures you of your own mastery of your role. You are the queen in this somewhat-cramped brothel-house budoir, and these human chattel are your harem.

The enjoyment is spoiled slightly when you realize that, indoors and with nowhere to spit, your pride isn’t all you’ll be swallowing today. However, when time comes for the other two to share in your body at once, you are both shamed and undeniably delighted to experience what you strongly suspect is your first and only orgasm.

The three humans depart, two of them on wobbly legs and disheveled, Kilian looking at the floor with an uncomfortable intensity, unable or unwilling to meet anyone’s eyes. You allow yourself to lay back on the bed for a moment, basking in a strange and not-altogether unpleasant full-body sensation for a time, before cleaning up (you hope the contraceptives were effective, because your efforts to convince Janus to pull out were less so) and counting your coin.

You’ve easily made twice as much money in the last forty-five minutes than in all your time on the surface, and you still have your night’s wages for dancing to come. Of course, fifty percent is due to Mina as the hosue’s mistress.

What do you do next?
>Rest up; today has been exhausting physically and emotionally
>Read more of ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
>Hide some of your money, so you need not pay Mina a full fifty percent
>Arrange a meeting with Boss Leo again, to discuss your plans for Edwin
>Visit Roth, to seek Reptilian-appropriate contraceptives just in case
>Go for a walk to clear your head
>Other
>>
>>4688426
>Arrange a meeting with Boss Leo again, to discuss your plans for Edwin
>>
>>4688426
>Read more of ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
Time for a shower and a book
>>
>>4688426
>>Read more of ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
>>
>>4688426
>Read more of ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders’
>>
>>4688451
>>4688447
>>4688444
>>4688432

You drape yourself in your brown dress, resolving to wash your other clothing tomorrow or else to buy more with your new wealth, and step out of your room for a bath. You your surprise, Mina is waiting there, standing in the hall. You didn’t hear her approach, and curse yourself for the lapse, thinking yourself sex-drunk… Though perhaps Mina is simply preternaturally stealthy, when required.

“It went well?” she asks perfunctorily.

“Yess,” you reply. “Your money is—”

“We’ll handle that tomorrow, when you’re paid for the night’s work.”

You hesitate to respond, uncertain what she has come to discuss in that case. After a time, she continues the conversation in your stead.

“You have talent, Kamunu, or whatever your name is,” she says. “As a dancer, I mean. You know you don’t need to follow this path, if you don’t want to.”

You smile a nod, but you aren’t sure how to feel about a mammal’s praise, let alone her concern.

“It’ss a living,” you say, as cheerily as you can feign. Mina remains stonefaced, and her tail gives nothing away.

You carry on to the shower, washing away bodily-fluids, oils, and distracting feelings. When you feel the water has carried as much away as it can reasonably be expected to, you towel off, don your dress, and return to the hallway. Mina is gone, and so you return to your room to settle in for the evening.
>>
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>>4688497

Before you return to torpor, you spy ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders of the Coming Race’ peeking out of your pack. Remembering your encounter with ‘V. Rilney’, if indeed that was him, you decide to read a little more of the tome. This time, you do so with a mind towards figuring out what sot of human he is, and what sort of threat he might really pose.

The book holds few concrete statements about its author, but from the day’s experiences and from clues implicit throughout, he can deduce a few things. He is likely a learned man, a scholar; he was apparently also wealthy enough to be a patron of the library, you recall, so likely a noble. This would explain why his eccentricities are forgiven and dismissed, his book published at all, if none take him seriously. The cover, you come to believe, is not his choosing; the ridiculous and inaccurate Reptilian on the front is likely meant to sell more copies. You wonder how many of the other inaccuracies are a result of editorial work as well. Many other scream of a man desperately grasping at any lead in the way of an amateur detective, following every tributary in the hopes that one may guide him to the sea.

But he knows the sea is there. The build upon the metaphor, it seems that his son drowned in it. You wonder who his son was, and how ‘Rilney’ and his family came to be entangled with your people’s machinations. You consider warning Roth about the man from the library, or having Boss Leo set some rats to trialing him; the former might make you look unfocused, though, and the latter might accidentally grant the wererat thug more insight into your people’s true purposes than you’d like, if indeed Rilney knows of them.

You find yourself nodding off, your head and heart heavy with the day’s physical and mental exertions. Eventually, you conclude that such considerations are for tomorrow. You set the book down, allow your nictitating membranes to slide shut, and drift off into a dreamless sleep.

Before you know it, morning is upon you. You stretch, limbered up and a lot less tense than you have been these past few days.

What do you do?
>Meet with Mina to sort out your money and seek advice
>Go shopping
>Pay Agatha a visit
>Visit Boss Leo’s sewer by day
>Visit Roth to discuss matters
>Head straight to the library
>Other
>>
>>4688500
>Meet with Mina to sort out your money and seek advice
This then

>Pay Agatha a visit
and if we still have time

>Head straight to the library
>>
>>4688500
>Meet with Mina to sort out your money and seek advice
>Pay Agatha a visit
>>
>>4688500
>Meet with Mina to sort out your money and seek advice
>Head straight to the library
try to learn a little magic
>>
[I'll write up a post later tonight, or tomorrow at latest; hanging out with my fiance.]
>>
>>4688512
>>4688514
>>4688515

By the morning light, you find your two bags of money are where you left them. No additional bag has joined them this time, though, and so you don the brown dress once more and sling the two sacks of coin into your pack and set out to meet with Mina in her office.

Along the way, you catch the early-morning glares of a few of those in your line of work who have aged past their prime, or never shone quite so brightly as The Pretty Kitty’s new star attraction. Manuela, though, take a break from swigging back her morning brew you give you a whoop.

“Go get ‘em, girl!” she cries, causing all those suffering hangovers or the lingering effects of a bad night’s sleep to wince and cringe.

The encouragement from some tiny mouse of a humanoid is almost comical, but you suppose it at least means you’re beginning to blend into your role and to smooth over any initial bumps with your coworkers. Then again, Manuela seems an easy sort to win over by contrast to some of the others.

And then there’s Mina. You knock on her door, and receive no answer. You knock at it again, and this time, you hear what almost sounds like… A roar? A sound straight from the savannah emerges rom the room, followed by some thumping and cursing, until finally the door is opened to a hastily-dressed and fluffy-faced madam, far from her usual tightly-wound self.

“By Marese and all her goddamned daughters, you like to start early. Did you even get four hours rest?!”

Not a morning cat-person, you note. Of course, four hours was essentially all you got, but also all you needed. You apologize, and she beckons you into her office to talk shop.

You happily cut the madam in for forty percent, and another ten to cover expenses—prophylactics, lodging and (happily) laundry—and she cuts you in for your share of last night’s pot and the wages. You have some decent walking-around money by the time you opt to swing by Agatha’s.

When you arrive to check in on your favourite chewtoy, though, you find only good old Uncle Oxford. He’s a tad scruffy about the face and neck, yet-unshaved, and is sipping coffee that smells to have a bit of brandy in it when he answers the door.

“Morning, Ismena,” he says. “Sorry to say—or maybe I’m not, actually—that Aggie’s off looking for work. You really put the fire in her with that talk last night, whatever else I might think of the, ah, particulars of your suggestions. I’ll tell her you swung by, though.”

He hesitates, and you can practically see the clockwork turning in his brain as he wakes up. He then adds: “I mean, you’re welcome to come in, of course, either way…”

It seems he might have something on his mind.

What do you do?
>Pop in to mooch some breakfast and chat (specify if you have a subject you want to discuss)
>Thank him for the hospitality, but carry on with your day
>Tease the man a little
>Tease the man a lot [seduction]
>Other
>>
>>4688657
>Thank him for the hospitality, but carry on with your day
>>
>>4688657
>>Thank him for the hospitality, but carry on with your day
but leave some money for Agatha

let's go meet our study buddy and learn some magic
>>
>>4688657
>>4688670
>let's go meet our study buddy and learn some magic
This. Perhaps a mugging on the way?
>>
>>4688664
>>4688670
>>4688688

Whatever is troubling Oswald, you deem it beneath your concern. You have a busy day ahead of you, after all!

“Thankss,” you tell Oswald, “but no thanks. Agatha’ss not the only one who hass planss today!”

Oswald raises his eyebrows, as if dubious as to what these plans might be, and bids you farewell. For once, though, they’re nothing especially morally questionable (well, except in the grand scheme of things, from a mammalian perspective). You have a hankering to learn some magic! Whether it’s because you just got laid or because you just got paid, you feel exceptionally confident today, and eager to advance your schemes and your spellcraft.

So it is that you quite merrily stride through Hawksong’s early-morning streets, dodging foot-traffic and carriages drawn by horses, mules, and sundry other beasts more exotic and strange—including a hippogriff, which you carefully avoid by taking a small detour. You arrive at your destination, the Hawksong Royal Library, and look about.

You see no sign of your study-buddy, however. Edwin of Engel must not be so early a riser as you are. Librarian Fargus is, though, and greets you warmly. So too do you see that the elf-maid who works the front counter is again on-shift. Aside from them, the library is sparsely-populated at this time of day, aside from a few older-folks and the odd coffee-or-tea fueled young Tower student in starched wizard’s cap, desperately studying for some arcane examination.

What do you do?
>Chat with Fargus
>Strike up a conversation with one of the Tower students
>Ask the elven librarian about the man from yesterday
>Do some independent research (Fwarven ruins? Paladins? The Tower? Reptilian races? Local disappearances and deaths? Other?)
>Study and practice some magic on your own
>Write-in
>>
>>4688697
>Do some independent research

let's fine out about those Dwarven ruins
>>
>>4688697
>Study and practice some magic on your own
maybe some transformation magic? We could try to make a plague of fake reptillians so our invasion looks fake or a repeat big prank
>>
>>4688697
>Do some independent research
Let’s look up some Fwarfen ruins!
>>
>>4688697
>Do some independent research
Ask Gargus if Rilney has published many books, say we're looking for something nonsensical like that to read in free time.


If you don't mind answering a bunch of questions, could you explain the races of this world a little bit? So far we've got reptilians, cats, wererats, elves, dwarves... what else should we expect?
Are there beasts other than griffons?
And how does Mina exactly look? From the latest posts I feel like she's full-on Khajiit.
>>
>>4688987
*Fargus
>>
>>4688987
>>4688973
>>4688779
>>4688709

You return Fargus' greeting, and approach the grey-bearded old human.

“I take it the study-partner whom you found, and the material, proved to be to your satisfaction?” he asks, a twinkle I his eye.

“Yess,” you acknowledge. “I think you have yoursself another regular on your hands, Librarian Farguss.”

He seems delighted to hear it, and quite pleased with himself. You resist the urge to scoff at the old fool, turning the snort into a happy sigh.

“I wass actually wondering if I could trouble you for ssome other materials, though, while I wait for Edwin.”

“Always a delight to watch the kindling flame of learning spread into a roaring blaze!” he declares.

>Dwarven Ruins

“Ah, yes, the ants which walk like men,” Fargus muses.

“Pardon?” you ask, confused.

“It was a musing made by the scholar Myron of Narthfeld, in his ethnography ‘Inside the Anthill’, about the socialite and undying collective work ethic of the dwarves, which leads them to create their ever-sprawling mountain halls, and their ever-growing golden hordes! He actually dwelled with a dwarf ‘corporation’ for some time, as it branched off from another and began to build in a new territory. He believe due saw the seed of their race's origins and inherent nature in those early steps.”

This characterization doesn't line up with your experience of, say, Helga, but you agree to read it.

“I wass actually more interessted in their art and architecture,” you suggest helpfully.

“Ah, yes. Impressively sturdy stuff, like the dwarf himself, but not terribly original or ornate. They prefer a brutalist slab or a minimalist effigy coated thickly in gold to the finery of men and elves. I think we have a few catalogues and descriptions of explored ruins, though.”

“Perfect!” you say, and agree to take both.

>V. Rilney

“Do you have any other bookss by the man who wass here the other day?”

“Lord Yosef, you mean?” Fargus asks, expression falling slightly.

Ah, yes. That was Rilney's true name. you nod, and tell Fargus you are seeking a diversion between your studies.

“He did write a few works of actual scholarship, I suppose,” Fargus says uncertainly. “Not exactly entertainment, though. They were primarily histories and genealogies, and not exactly seminal texts in the matter if I'm being honest. But well worth a read if you wish to learn about the lineage of great men!”

You decide to check these out as well.
>>
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>>4689084
You spend the morning reading up first on the dwarves and their histories. You learn a little, but aren't sure what to make of it. According to their legends, they were first forges from gems, stone, and iron by their god, deep beneath the earth, and their main religion views it as a scared duty to spread throughout the earth and to ‘awaken’ it through the giving of shape and purpose (which has come to be interpreted in a very mercantile, materialist sense as economic value) to each patch of land and lump of stone. Narthfeld viewed this as a bio-spiritual imperative, and even viewed the entrepreneurship and resultant inter-corporate rivalries among their race as akin to ant queens splitting off to form new hives.

Perhaps further reading would help you to draw a connection between this and the Paladin King's investment in excavations of the old ruin, and even to Hawksong city defences… But by the time you have learned this much, you are well into the morning, and Edwin has arrived.

“Izzy!” he greets you, sounding surprised. “You came!”

You close your book and look up at him with a false smile.

What do you do?
>Tease him for getting up so late
>Express your enthusiasm for more magic lessons
>Hint at your enthusiasm for his company
>Discuss matter of dwarvencraft with him
>Other
>>
>>4688987
[I'll elaborate on these topics after work]>>4688987
>>
>>4689085
>>Express your enthusiasm for more magic lessons
>>
>>4689085
>>Express your enthusiasm for more magic lessons
>>Hint at your enthusiasm for his company
these two
>>
>>4689085
>>Express your enthusiasm for more magic lessons
>>Hint at your enthusiasm for his company
>>
>>4689408
>>4689345
>>4689168
“Of coursse I came,” you say, “I'm not going to wasste a chancce to learn from ssuch a good teacher.”

Edwin flushes slightly and clears his throat. “Well, I mean, I don't know about all THAT.”

“I do,” you say with a smile, patting the seta next to you.

He sits down, you scooch into his personal space, and the two of you pick up where you left off the previous day.

Of course, this means more dry theory, enlivened only by Edwin fumbling (but amiable and genuinely informative) teaching style. It's also clear that he isn't learning anything himself from this exercise; he knows the basic elements of arcana like the back of his hand. He's here for you, not for his own intellectual and mystical betterment.

What do you do?
>Ask about a specific school of magic
>Suggest you both practice some of the somatic components and practical applications
>Ask what he knows about dwarven magic
>Ask about the Tower
>Ask what made him want to be a mage
>Get flirty and personal
>Other
>>
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>>4688987
>>4689088
[While Ismena is learning, so can you! Ismena's knowledge of the surface world IS limited to a few books smuggle underground and relevant operational intel provided by her handlers, though, and screened through a Reptilian perspective of importance.

The dominant humanoid races are humans, elves, dwarves, and orcs. Humans are available in the full spectrum of real-world phenotypes and then some, but their empires only really predominate in the northwest (where men are paler and taller), the east (where men are yellow to brown, and shorter) and the far south (where men are quite dark). Orcs are regarded as pests and barbarians, roaming steppes and desert, but their abundance and savage cunning has made them a threat to isolated human settlements, and especially to the declining elves and dwarves. Elves have struck a bargain to live amongst those humans who have banded together into defensible kingdoms as tutors in spellcraft and expert enchanter, while dwarves have dug deeper and become more isolationist; those who remain in contact with humans are becoming culturally absorbed. There are other humanoids, like halflings, but they are regional subjects more often than distinct powers, and they are largely culturally assimilated.

The far east is home to many a mammalian people who we would consider effectively “furry shit", like the very Khajit-like Mina. They are also rare and isolated, by and large, but less easily integrated to to very distinct biology and sometimes psychology. They live in isolated, Maroon-style communities or serve specific roles among human majorities. They live hard lives, quite often.

As for Reptilian races, there are many, but they are often despised as unacceptable and alien. The Reptilian master-race which Ismena belongs to is a mishmash of a few subraces of serpentine , yuan-ti like reptilian humanoid who once formed a major political and priestly caste, but the surface predominantly plays host to kobold (harriers and scavengers of dwarven ruins, soured to greatness only when one of the rare remaining dragons makes its presence known and leads an expansionist conquest for wealth and territory) and lizardfolk (an assortment of largely crocodilian creatures who dwell near coastlines and rivers and live brutish, short, md simple lives, but gladly war on humans and devour their captives). Reptilians respect dragon’s, but regardless the other two as natural slave races… But better than mammals, because they don't smell gross or have irrational emotions and ideas above their station.]
>>
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>>4689792
[As for ‘beasts’, there are all sorts of magical creatures. Gryphons and hippogriffs are largely built like huge cats or horses but with feathery bodies and an eagle's head; most cannot fly, but some can, including King Archos', and all can at least glide. Dragons exist, obviously, but are too intelligent and long-lived to be considered a mere animal. Lamias, salamanders, dragon-turtles, owlbears—if it has a presence in mythology or a Monster Manual entry, there's probably at least a legend of its existence. Given that gods and words exist, it's tough to verify what is real, what is a one-off magical experiment, and what is a true-breeding worldly organism. The library DOES have bestiaries, but they range in accuracy from a meticulous field guide to a Greek travel journal, and Ismena lacks the frame of reference to definitively tell one from the other. Her training focused on civilized races she was to subvert.]
>>
>>4689767
>>Ask what made him want to be a mage
>Ask what he knows about dwarven magic
>>
>>4689767
>Suggest you both practice some of the somatic components and practical applications
>Get flirty and personal
>Ask what he knows about dwarven magic
>>
>>4689767
>Suggest you both practice some of the somatic components and practical applications
>Ask about the Tower
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>4689795
>>4689811
>>4689941

Posting soon!
>>
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>>4689960

>Suggest you both practice some of the somatic components and practical applications

You stretch exaggeratedly, drawing Edwin’s immediate attention (just as planned, naturally).

“I think my brain iss getting a little overcooked from all thiss learning,” you tell the human. “Do you think we could do sssome… PHYSICAL application?”

Edwin flushes, and you smirk slightly and nudge him gently. “Sssomatic components, I mean. Gesturess and ssuch. That’ss a part of it, too, right?”

“OH, oh. Yes. Yes! But…” Edwin looks around at all this valuable, flammable literature. “I mean, just in case we have a breakthrough, we should probably do it outside, right?”

You shrug, and agree to follow his lead. He stands up and gathers his books, as you do with yours, and you both head towards the back doors of the Royal Library. Outside, Edwin begins to show you stances, spacing of the feet and the gestures of the hands. As you understand, these activities are meant to help the mind focus, to direct intention, and to better align what the eastern humans call ‘chakras’ with the leylines of the earth’s natural magic currents.

It’s all very quaint and simplistic compared to what you know to be truth: that magic derived from the intermeshing of one’s natural magnetic forces with extradimensional spaces and vibrational frequencies of other realms. But, well, it seems to work for them… And you ARE half-human. You follow the would-be wizard’s guidance, musing that you might turn this primitive form of magic against its inventors for the glory of the Reptilian master-race. Your refined background in martial arts helps guide your form, such that Edwin expresses surprise and delight at your rapid progress. He himself comes across as awkward and fidgety next to your smooth, precise movements.
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>>4689986

>Ask what he knows about dwarven magic

As you go through your exercises, you broach the subject of dwarven magic.

“You ssseem to know a lot about easstern traditions,” you lead in casually, while practicing the ‘Burning Hands’ gesture.

“Well… When you’re striving to do something that you aren’t much good at, you try a lot of different avenues. I found that the east has a lot to offer in regards to techniques for opening up mana flow through chakras and whatnot.”

“What about other racess’ sstrategiess? Like th elvess, or dwarvess?”

“Well, everyone knows elves are masters of magic,” Edwin says, while attempting the trembling palm and rigid, precise arm motions of a ‘Chill Touch’. “But they’re also inherently magic. It’s natural to them—any elf can be a mage, and most sort of ARE, even when they’re not. Like bards and the like.”

You think of Laskar, and nod. “And dwarvess?”

“Well, that’s complicated. Dwarves aren’t… Known for being mages. They have magic, sure, but it’s… Enchantments and stuff, right? They bring things to life, or craft magic items using magic materials. They don’t bring it froth from their own body like other races, at least not that I’ve seen or heard of.”

Enchanted materials… Materials given life. It lines up with what you heard about their mythology. You wonder what the Paladin King and Tower Archmagus might hope to return to life from the ruins of an orc-trashed dwarven ruin.
>>
>>4689988
>Get flirty and personal
>Ask what made him want to be a mage
>Ask about the Tower

“Sso,” you ask suggestively, “how do you like my form, professssor?”

Edwin flushes again, and plainly admires you in both senses of your double-entendre. “Um, impressive. Very impressive.”

You affect a giggle. “Yourss issn’t half-bad either. Why not show off to the magical girlss at the Tower, anyway?”

Edwin’s expression goes a little sour. “Too old. My father never enrolled me when I was younger, and now… Well, great mages rarely come from grown men. Why waste his money on tuition when I could better serve the family by running a warehouse?”

You nod, noting for future reference the House of Engel’s apparent family business.

“Why turn to magic, then?” you ask.

“Mom was a mage,” he says. “When she was young, when she met Dad. She dropped out of the Tower when she got pregnant with me, and… Well, I think it broke her heart a little.”

Your confusion must be evident, despite your carefully-neytral expression you usually maintain, because Edwin goes on to explain:

“They won’t let you back in, if you have kids. You’re meant to be celibate. Women especially. Plus, I guess who has the time, right? With a kid, and a husband, and a business… She kept her books, though.”

>11
As you listen to Edwin explain, and think on his words and his mother’s tale, you feel something a strange familiarity with the idea of being trapped in something restrictive, in a role and a job, and being unable to full embrace something which feels like freedom. It lasts only a moment, but in that moment, you think you feel something flow through you. It’s not unlike the tingly sensation you felt after your probably-maybe-orgasm last night, but… Distinct. Different. You feel an energy flowing through you…

No fireballs, though, and it’s mid-afternoon by now.

What do you do?
>Ask Edwin more questions (specify)
>Ask Edwin if he wants to go grab some food together
>Seduce Edwin more seriously and/or physically (specify how far you plan to go)
>Bid Edwin farewell, and go tend to other business
>Other
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>>4689990
>Ask Edwin if he wants to go grab some food together
>>
>>4689990
>ask Edwin if he wants to go grab some food together
if he's rich maybe we can use him as an in to polite society, and his mother might still have contacts in the Tower, or at least info we can exploit
>>
>>4690000
>>4690071

“Hey, I have ssome other plans for the evening but did you want to go get ssome food together first? I’m sstarved.”

Edwin glances at the library door; clearly, he is genuinely dedicated to studying, and having spend much of two days’ study time tutoring you in basics, part of him wishes to return to his own education. However, he is loathe to say no to a pretty young woman who has shown such interest in him and his passions, and so after a moment he agrees.

To Edwin’s credit, you don’t even need to ask him to pay; as you step around the library, he’s already taking out one of his moneybags from his backpack. You catch a few eyes on him as the coins begin to jingle. This is a major public square, but that means ALL kinds. You almost wouldn’t even need to engineer an accident for this putz.

“Where were you thinking?” Edwin asks you glancing up from his money shyly. You realize he’s counting his coins mainly to avoid making small-talk or staring at you. Perhaps it’s just dawned on him that this is moving from the realm of study-date to actual date. Well, you could quickly disabuse him of that notion… But he’s possibly a useful pawn.

What do you do?
>Suggest the half-orc’s street-meat stand, as before
>Ask Edwin to take you to a fancy restaurant
>Suggest a cute little café; coffee IS the newest craze in Hawksong
>Bring him by Agatha’s place to mooch some food
>Other
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>>4690085
>Suggest the half-orc’s street-meat stand, as before

easiest way to avoid any suspicion from our mostly carnivorous diet
>>
>>4690123
>>4690085
seconding

make small talk but don't flirt too much yet or try to seduce him. let's have this idiot 'fall' for us before we give him anything, if we ever even do
>>
>>4690085
>Suggest the half-orc’s street-meat stand, as before
>>
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>>4690128
>>4690126
>>4690123

You decide to play it pragmatically, dragging your useful idiot along to the usual stop-off: the half-orc’s street-meat cart you have twice now visited. Apart from a bit of Agatha-made breakfast, it’s actually all you’ve eaten in days, thanks to a slow metabolism. Handily, it’s also something you can genuinely digest (and even enjoy)!

Edwin is… Nonplussed. You can tell he’s doing his best to hide it, but the dubiously-sourced mystery meat is probably not the sort of thing a young man with several pouches of gold coins for walking around money is sued to eating.

“You’re sure you don’t want something…” Edwin pauses, glancing at the half-orc grilling the meet, who is clearly listening. “Nevermind, no, this is fine.”

You chuckle, and take your meat-skewer, and another for Edwin. Your date takes it and pays the orc two gold coins, with a third for a tip. The half-breed’s eyes goo wide but, unlike the elf in the library, he doesn’t correct Edwin’s obvious total lack of financial sense—he takes the money and pockets it immediately.

The two of you make small talk while enjoying (or, in Edwin’s case, ‘enjoying’) your lunch.

“What made you want to get into magic, anyway, Izzy?” Edwin asks after a moment. “Why did you even come to Hawksong, actually? I mean, sorry, if that’s not rude…”

What do you tell him?
>Change the topic (to what?)
>Spin a tragic tale of woe and hard knocks
>Spin a fantastical tale that paints you in a good light
>’Just a small-town girl looking for work in the big city’
>’Sex work pays better in a metrpolis’
>’Jokingly’ admit to being a reptilian secret agent
>Other
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>>4690137
don't go sob story but make it a story about being an immigrant looking for new opportunities in a new land, free from the oppressive traditions of our homeland, with something about how we'd never be allowed to study magic back home.

lean into being a kindred spirit, wanting to change our situation in life

which is all technically correct

the best kind of correct
>>
>>4690137
>’Just a small-town girl looking for work in the big city’
>>
>>4690142
I like this.
>>
>>4690137
>>’Just a small-town girl looking for work in the big city’

>>4690142
Problem with this story is that as a scholar he'd probably inquire what our homeland is
>>
>>4690312
>Problem with this story is that as a scholar he'd probably inquire what our homeland is
we need to build a cover identity at some point though since we're obviously foreign, with an accent and everything

(maybe he can help us lose the accent)
>>
>>4690137
>"Just a small-town girl looking for work in the big city"
>Jokingly admit to being a reptilian secret agent
Nobody will believe it anyway.

>>4690126
Exactly, we should never go beyond teasing him, so he does as we please and doesn't lose interest. We're a twitch thot, basically.

>>4689792
>>4689794
Thanks for the lore. Initially I thought that the beast races furfags were more common, due to the wererats jumping us immediately and Mina just casually being a cat hoe.
>>
>>4690364
>>4690312
>>4690189
>>4690148
>>4690142

“Jusst another ssmall-town girl from the near-easstern provincesss, looking for an opportunity to work in Hawkssong,” you say with a shrug.

“But then… Why magic?” Edwin asks, nibbling unenthusiastically at what is quite possibly (but not definitely) sheep-meat.

“Oh, well, back home I would never have been allowed to sstudy ssuch things but…” You pause, and smile his way. “They ssay anything is posssible in Hawkssong, right?”

“I think there’s a song or two in the bardic repertoire about that, yeah,” Edwin tries to remember.

“Well, that’ss what people back home ssaid, anyway.”

“Where is home, anyway?” Edwin asks, seemingly guileless but curious.

“Just thiss little, tiny placce. If it showed up on a map, you’d think it wass a fly-sspeck.”

“Is it along the Steel and Spice Highway?” he asks, referring to the famed east-west trade route, whereby mineral wealth flows east and spices and herbs flow west between the great human kingdoms.

“A little further off the beaten track,” you say non-committally. Then, casting your gaze to a nearby sun-dial, you feign shock and dismay, and wolf down the last of your meat.

“I’ll be late for w—for my nexxt errand! It wass really great seeing you again, Edwin! Ssame time tomorrow?”

“Oh! Yeah, sure, I mean… Yes, that would be great! Have a good evening, Izzy!”

You’re already hurrying away, making a mental note to look up some flyspeck human settlement in that general region to pretend to be from moving forward. Your excuse to exit the conversation wasn’t all falsehood, though: you have little time before you’ll need to start getting ready for work. Dusk comes early, this time of year and at this latitude.

What do you do?
>Head straight for The Pretty Kitty, to get ready for another shift
>Grab some more clothes from a shop
>Meet with Boss Leo to discuss your plans
>Meet with Roth to discuss your plans
>Other
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>>4690364
>wererats

[As the wererat goons were getting at, they aren't a natural race, but rather humans cursed with something akin to lycanthropy. Mina is probably the only true beastperson you've encountered in Hawksong, though you might have seen the odd cynocephalus or minotaur in passing as you travelled through the streets; they'd be worth a double-take, but not unheard of by any means. The wererats attacking you almost immediately was honestly just a case of my rolling on my event table and you anons getting (un)lucky, but unusual races ARE more common in a major, well-connected metropolis like Hawksong.]
>>
>>4690399
>Grab some more clothes from a shop
>Head straight for The Pretty Kitty, to get ready for another shift
Who cares about the rats.

>>4690400
Oh yeah, I know that rats are just therianthropes. Was only referring to how their and Mina's immediate presence came off without context.
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>>4690399
>>Head straight for The Pretty Kitty, to get ready for another shift
>>Grab some more clothes from a shop
>>
>>4690428

Fair 'nuff. That can probably work as "inmersion", too, as that could well be Ismena's impression. She is a newcomer to this world as well, after a fashion.
>>
>>4690506
>>4690428
With your pack full of coin from last night's ‘gig' and your day's food paid for, you decide to take a brief detour into the same clothing store you'd last visited. Many of the sale items have since sold, but no longer are you delegated to the bargain bin—you can afford MIDDLE CLASS attire!

…Thiugh it would cost most of your coin.

What do you do?
>Buy some lightly-armoured ‘adventure chic’ clothing
>Buy something dressy and formal
>Buy something with actual pants, albeit probably intended for a male humanoid
>Buy something skimpy and seductive
>Keep it simple; stock up on another cheap peasant dress in a slightly nicer colour
>Other
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>>4690701
>Buy something with actual pants, albeit probably intended for a male humanoid
we need stuff for when we're overtly sneaking around, like breaking into a tower or something
>>
>>4690701
+1 for >>4690719

any dark outfit with pants that's best for subterfuge, and can afford to get dirty, is just what we need
>>
>>4690701
>>Buy something skimpy and seductive
>>
>>4690701
>>Buy something skimpy and seductive
Skimpy outfits tend to be multifunctional
>>
>>4690701
>Buy something with actual pants, albeit probably intended for a male humanoid
>>
>>4690905
>>4690846
>>4690802
>>4690732
>>4690719
As with virtually every other aspect of their inferior culture, you deem human gender norms as unworthy of your respect or concern. Even if they weren't, you think as you pivot back and forth before the change room mirror, you make these pants look GOOD.

You quash the brief solely for unearned pride as you dole out your coin to the human seamstress on your way out. You force yourself to remember the unpleasantness of your dream of the hard lessons of your adolescence. This body is not yours to enjoy. This mission is all that matters… But these snug, practical clothes will serve the mission, too. They're certainly more practical to wear when skulking around a sewer, or a mages' tower.

You hurry on to The Pretty Kitty and shimmy out of your new Ismena Rosgard attire and into the familiar headspace and harem attire of Kamunu. You can't help but notice that the look is definitely showing some wear and tear after the group sex last night; the johns got a little rough with it, and a few seams have popped. Curtain call is any minute, though, leaving you little time to affect such repairs as you are able—and to be honest, those skills are lacking.

What do you do?
>Attempt a quick fix
>Wear a different outfit (which one)
>Raid a neighboring room for dancing clothes
>Just go with it and hope it holds up
>Refuse to go on
>Other
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>>4691094
>Just go with it and hope it holds up
>>
>>4691094
tear them up even more, make it an artistic statement about passion and fury
>>
>>4691112
>>4691105

“Sscrew it,” you hiss. If the outfit holds together, it holds together; if not, you’ll claim it as a performance piece.

You hurry out to the back stage, where the others are waiting. It seems you’re a couple minutes late, as Estellia is already on the stage, warming up the crowd following Mina’s welcome speech. You can hear the whoops and hollers which often accompany her act—she was pretty much the most popular dancer, until you came along. Laskar’s music accompanies her—elegant, poised, and periodically trembling and vibrating in ways that you can feel in your tailbone and traveling up you spine. You shiver.

Mina casts a quick glance your way, and her tail flits once. Displeasure at your lateness, but not enough to comment. You recognize a silent marking down by a handler when you see one. You wonder if she’s noticed what’s going on with your outfit, but in the end it may not matter—the audience is the real judge.

After Estellia is Helga, and then then Grendlia, and then you. You limber up a little, and feel the fabric give in the back of your bralette. You begin increasingly convinced it will fall apart, but it’s too late to back out… Right? Does it even matter?

Your music starts up, and now it truly is too late. You step toward the stage, convinced that you’re on the verge of open nudity—something usually reserved for private shows, and at extra cost.

In the crowd, you see a few familiar faces: Janus, accompanied by two other young and hungry-looking men, but sans Kilian; the wealthy noble from two nights ago, returned without an entourage but still commanding a whole booth; the guardsman, already inebriated (if indeed he ever sobers up entirely); a stern-looking woman of upper-class bearing but deliberately-simple clothing, staring lustily at you.

What do you do?
>Flee the stage
>Attempt to dance in such a way that your outfit stays together, or at least stays on
>Turn the dance into a sexy striptease
>Other

Who do you focus on?
>Yourself—this is going to be tricky enough to pull of as it is
>Laskar and his music, counting on the tune to carry you beyond embarrassment
>Janus and the merchant lads
>The guardsman
>The noble
>The disguised woman
>Other
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>>4691251
>Turn the dance into a sexy striptease
but hide the most important parts

>Other
the stage, if that makes sense. we were critiqued earlier for not being aware of what we were doing and just going into a frenzy, now its time to work on our showomanship and command our performance area.
>>