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You are Kamunu, exotic dancer and high-end prostitute of The Pretty Kitty lounge.

You are also Ismena Rosgard, up-and-coming businesswoman and romantic paramour of the heir to the Engelson Storehosue Company. You are Isabella Romanov, the semi-anonymous author of the Grey Press tabloid article which turned the powerful human metropolis of Hawksong on its head in a panic about beastly shapeshifters in the sewer.

Thanks to shapeshifting abilities granted by your alliance with the succubus Irinnile, so too are you Zithra, the half-orc who toppled an occult operation in Goblintown, and you are the anonymous shapeshifter scourge who slaughtered a half-dozen humans across the city and mugged an agent of the Mages Tower.

Most importantly, you are a Reptilian Infiltrator—a half-human undercover agent of the scaly-skinned master-race which will one day rule this world at the behest of The Dark Gods Beyond and Below, as they did in ancient days.

You are well-trained in maintaining multiple identities, of course. Every Infiltrator is taught the virtues of compartmentalization, and of maintaining multiple names, roles, attitudes, and histories to employ in different capacities during an operation. However, The Inquisition—the investigative arm of The Hawksong Mages’ Tower—has proven unusually and uncomfortably astute in connecting the dots. In only four days, you are scheduled to attend a public gala in their auspicious academy of the arcane, whereby you hope to uncover or even sabotage a dangerous new citywide defence system—one that is of grave danger to your entire race and to your rightful place as rulers of the surface world…

But just this very night, an Agent Felman revealed in passing conversation his suspicion that the creature who mugged him for his badge and magic glasses—that is to say, YOU—has connections to The Pretty Kitty and to The Grey Press’ expose on the undercity’s wererat infestation. He’s right, of course, and his continued prying threatens to endanger The Pretty Kitty, the Engelson Storehouse Company, and your true mission in one fell swoop.

It is a need to eliminate or neutralize this threat—and without drawing further scrutiny to any aspect of your multiple lives, ideally—that brought you to the private office of The Pretty Kitty’s feline-faced proprietress, Madam Mina. Though she knows not the full scope of your operation in Hawksong, she DOES know of your Reptilian heritage and occult dealings. She plainly dislikes the attention you have brought upon her, be it due to financial concerns or her own dark history, but she has not yet turned you in… Nor does she thus far seem inclined to. You are her star attraction, and you have become genuinely invested in the success of this strange beastwoman and her menagerie of humanoid females. You wish to make common cause, to preserve her livelihood AND your own mission...

But the question becomes, can you, or has the balancing act become too much to manage?
>>
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[LEVEL UP: You have become better still at stealth, armed combat, and have gained a greater tolerance for mind-affecting substances.

When facing a matter where success is not guaranteed or terribly likely, failure has notable consequences, or I’d feel railroady making you fail or cheap forcing a success, I will roll dice. Currently, that is 1d20 for most tasks. You get to roll 2d20 (taking the highest) for tasks involving intimidation or overcoming the effects of inebriants. You roll 3d20 for matters related to dance, stealth, seduction or politesse, armed combat, and arcane studies. In matters of illusion, mentalism, or occultism, you roll 4d20. Combining aptitudes, such as seduction and politesse or emotion-affecting illusion, can secure you the coveted 5d20. This is based on choices you’ve made.

You also have an inherent bonus to disguise attempts when relevant, can use human magic items without your Reptilian race’s usual penalty, and you have a decreased difficulty to rolls wherein you fight an untrained opponent hand-to-hand due to martial arts training.

Having formed a symbiotic pact with the succubus Irinnile, you can also shapeshift (including to create wings or natural weapons), sense and influence emotions and even read surface-level thoughts or enter dreams, and you are seemingly immune to permanent injury as a result of fire and mundane weapons.

As a general rule, DCs are 15, but disguise, magic item use, and favourable melees as discussed have DC 10. Thanks to Irinnile’s powers, you also currently have this reduced DC of 10 for nighttime or shadowy stealth checks, seduction rolls, and single-target illusion or mentalism checks.

However, your demonic powers are not without a price: Irinnile has a powerful sense of <WANT> at her core. Every time you use her powers or deny her something she desires, the <WANT> grows stronger, increasing the DC of rolls to control her impulses. Should you fail, she will subsume your personality long enough to satisfy herself, sometimes at the cost of lives and the risk of exposure. However, having both humbled and befriended her to some extent, below a <WANT> DC of 18, she will no longer risk actions likely to get you killed or exposed. Your current level of <WANT> is DC 12.

You have also gained a one-time invocation of your Dark Gods’ <DIVINE FAVOUR>, and access to their <AKASHIC RECORD>, as mentioned before; the DC to access it varies depending upon how long ago the event took place, how far away it occurred, and whether you have a relevant focus.

Rolls will be used when relevant (though not necessarily for every pretty little lie or funny flirtation). Overuse of demonic powers may cause them to be more frequent than they would otherwise. Exhaustion can further impede your rolls.]


[ Previous volumes, for those of you just joining us, are at http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=reptoidqm ]
>>
Madam Mina sits behind her hardwood desk. You can see the markers of stress on her and around her: the wafting smoke from the pipe she smokes, always a sure-fire indicator that there is something eating at her, is accompanied by a certain harried, unkempt look about the fur on her face and neck, and the desk itself shows subtle marks where her claws, not fully retracetd, have scratched or scraped at it. Those weren’t present only a few nights before.

“How much does he know?” Mina eventually asks. “WHAT does he know?”

Well, that IS the question of the hour, isn’t it? How much does Felman know, or suspect? And what can be done about it, without drawing the Inquisition’s eye—or worse, the Paladin Guard of King Archois himself!—down upon you?

Do you…
>Reassure Mina that there is nothing to fear, and that the Inquisitor knows nothing damning?
>Appeal to Mina’s trust and affection, telling her that you will handle it and not endanger The Pretty Kitty
>Threaten Mina, intimidating her into silence and compliance with the force of your conspiracy
>Plead for Mina’s assistance in handling this—you’re in over your head, and you need her support
>Admit that things have gotten away from you, and offer to magnanimously step back from your Kamunu identity and The Pretty Kitty to spare her the Inquisition’s scrutiny, in exchange for her silence
>Write-in
>>
>>5044437
>>Reassure Mina that there is nothing to fear, and that the Inquisitor knows nothing damning?
>>
>>5044437
>Reassure Mina that there is nothing to fear, and that the Inquisitor knows nothing damning?
>>
Rolled 2, 15, 19 = 36 (3d20)

>>5044685
>>5044740
>>
>>5044777
“The Inquissitor iss none-the-wisser,” you lie smoothly. “I ssteered him away from thiss place and towards other, lesss dangerous liness of inquiry.”

Mina looks up sharply, ears popping up in a strangely-endearing way. “What—really? You’re sure of that, Kamunu?”

“Of coursse,” you say with a casual flip of your hair, leaning back In your chair. “I’m Kamunu, the Dessert Princcesss. You know how good I am at influenccing ssilly men. It’ss all part of the job!”

“Not your only job,” she notes, with narrowed eyes and a dark tone.

“It’ss usseful in that role, as well,” you say matter-of-factly. “But let’ss not disscussss that. I’ve handled matterss, and it will do neither of uss any good for you to know more than you have to about… Ssuch thingsss.”

Mina says nothing for a time, but then she surprises you by standing up and striding towards you. She rests a surprisingly-soft, but still leathery-palmed, hand upon your shoulder.

“Thank you, Kamunu,” she says quietly.

You wait, not certain whether to expect more… But when nothing seems forthcoming—no caveat, or condemnation, no ultimatum or request—you simply nod.

“Well… Yess.”

“I think I need to rest and think,” she says. “You can stay here tonight, of course. It’ss late.”

‘Prime hunting hours,’ Irinnile the Succubus chimes in, from her dark little den in the depths of you. ‘That Inqusitor ain’t exactly OFF the trail, right?’

“Thank you,” you say aloud to Mina. The truth is, while you’re grateful to have Madam Mina’s compliance, you WERE lying, and Irinnile DOES have a point. How log will you retain the brothel-owner’s loyalty, or her cooperation, if Felman and his ilk return to trouble you at work once more? Something needs to be done…

But what?
>Use Irinnile’s shapeshifting to swoop down upon the investigator in the dark of night, and assassinate him or scramble his memories
>Stay the night at The Pretty Kitty, and use the Akashic Record and dream-delving to invade the minds of those who interviewed you for The Grey Press—perhaps you can influence their recollections of you?
>Frame someone else for the crimes you committed—perhaps the small-time goblin gangsters you’ve recently had dealings with? This could throw the investigation off the trail.
>Meet with your Reptilian contact Roth—this requires a coordinated response, and the knowledge of a senior operative.
>Return to the Engel Manor—acting rashly, so soon after an investigation will only draw more suspicion, and this matter can wait until morning
>Write-in
>>
>>5044788
>Frame someone else for the crimes you committed—perhaps the small-time goblin gangsters you’ve recently had dealings with? This could throw the investigation off the trail.
>>
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>>5044788
>Meet with your Reptilian contact Roth—this requires a coordinated response, and the knowledge of a senior operative.

>>5044910
Last thing we need is fucking with our potential helpers that we ourselves have dealings with. Self-sabotage aside, what if they rat out our orc persona and we have Felman on her ass as well?
Think of someone who is not related to us.

I think we should visit Bianchi tomorrow to read how we can empower Irinnile and Tower's methods of protection. Just in case we need to "persuade" Felman again at some point.

Welcome back, RQM. Great choice of cat.
>>
>>5044939
*and about Tower's methods of protection.
>>
>>5044788
>Meet with your Reptilian contact Roth—this requires a coordinated response, and the knowledge of a senior operative.
>>
>>5045065
>>5044939
>>5044910

Having waited over two hours since Felman’s departure, there is little chance he is lurking, waiting to follow you. Still, you have a mystical sense and night-vision, courtesy of your own training and Irinnile’s possession of you respectively; you sue both these assets to make sure you are alone. Only then do you breathe a sigh of relief, and begin to long walk across Hawksong’s sprawling urban expanse to meet with Roth.

Upon arrival at the smithy where your contact makes his home amongs the humans, you go through the usual rigmarole: you announce your presence, the dragonblooded Reptilian answers the door in his guise as a dark-skinned human male, he grumbles about it, closes the door, unlatches his many, many locking mechanisms, and lets you inside where the two of you may speak freely in the True Speech of your mother’s tongue.

“The Inquisition?!”

His reaction is predictable: bluster and upset, accusations of incompetence due to your mixed, Degenerate heritage or your demonic familiar.

‘Actually, a familiar’s more of—’

You ignore Irinnile for the moment—you have more important maters to attend to. You notice that Roth’s rant has less bite than normal. Perhaps saving his life twice and earning the <DIVINE FAVOUR> of the Dark Gods has finally curbed his venomous antipathy towards you? Still, he can’t resist a final snipe:

“First you let the Devil-Zivic escape, and now you bring this down upon us…”

“I saved you from the Devil-Zivic, and neutralized the threat,” you remind him. “So too shall we manage this matter, Superior One.”

“How?” he demands.

“Suggestions are welcome, Senior Infiltrator.”

Roth grumbles and sulks, but by the way he rubs his chin—a surprisingly human gesture, indicating that perhaps you are not the only one affected by your time on the surface—you can tell he is deep in thought.

“Slaying him is out of the question,” he says.

“It’s risky at this juncture,” you concur.

“What of manipulating his memory?” Roth suggests.

“I hesitate, as I do not know the protections he may have erected since last time,” you explain. “He IS a magic-user.”

Roth nods, and tells you: “If you can capture this ‘Felman’ ape, and bring him to an address which I provide, another of our operatives may have the solution.”

“Do you care to elaborate?”

Roth scoffs. “No. I do not. Compartmentalization is VITAL, Infiltrator, especially when you are potentially compromised. It would be much easier if you would shed your endangered identities…"
>>
>>5045111

Why don’t you?
>You think your current suite of identities is vital to your current mission
>You are enjoying surface-life and its pleasures as you are now
>You don’t want to lose the personal connections you have made in these identities
>Roth is right—you should really take a step back if this plan doesn’t pay off

What is your next course of action?
>Use the Akashic Record to seek out Felman’s location, and visit him in his dreams to plant the bait
>Coordinate a meeting with Felman tomorrow, promising the reveal important information on the case, but actually lay an ambush
>Assume a new disguise and pay a visit to the Twoer, frantically asking to speak to the Inquisition
>Simply visit him by night and snatch him u with demonic talons, to carry him to this place
>Ask Roth for further details and assistance [like what? Specify.]
>Write-in
>>
>>5045111
>If you can capture this ‘Felman’ ape, and bring him to an address which I provide, another of our operatives may have the solution.
Based mafia shit.

>>5045113
>You think your current suite of identities is vital to your current mission
It's not like we have burner identity.
I asked this already in the past, but forgot - will Irinnile's changes to our body disappear if she's banished while we have them? Like, if we have horns will they disappear or stay forever?
>Coordinate a meeting with Felman tomorrow, promising the reveal important information on the case, but actually lay an ambush
Let's test our turbo seduction skills on him and then bonk him on the head.
>Ask Roth for further details and assistance
Ask whether he can help us with the ambush, since he's naturally stronger than us and Felman might sport antidemonic protection.
Also lower the want.
>>
>>5045113
>You think your current suite of identities is vital to your current mission
>You don’t want to lose the personal connections you have made in these identities

>Use the Akashic Record to seek out Felman’s location, and visit him in his dreams to plant the bait
>>
[Awaiting a tie breaker; will roll or compromsie if no one does so before bed.]
>>
>>5045113
>You think your current suite of identities is vital to your current mission

>Use the Akashic Record to seek out Felman’s location, and visit him in his dreams to plant the bait

Neither option sounds good, but if we coordinate a meeting with him beforehand he'll leave info behind for his buddies 100%
>>
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Rolled 20, 1, 8, 8 = 37 (4d20)

>>5045715
>>5045249
>>5045160
Once you have gotten the address in question from Roth, you get to work. In this instance, this means sitting down, taking a load off, and relaxing yourself into a meditative trance—the better to delve once more into the Hawksong dreamscape. After all, every identity in your collection is tied to some activity, or is easily connected to another—you cannot allow the Inquisition to discover the dark truth behind ANY of them. In dreams, you can appear as anyone, and no one; you can be a half-remembered, curiously-memorable figment flitting about his subconscious.

“What precisely is you plan, Infiltrator?” Roth interrupts.

You open an eye and glare at him testily. “I will create the illusion of a clue which he has missed, revealed in the epiphany of sleep, which he must investigate in the waking world.”

“I do not understand,” Roth admits, huffily. “You’ll make him hallucinate and imagine, as the lower races do, and he will… Accept that it is real?”

Alas, Roth is right: he truly CANNOT understand. Unlike your father’s race (or you, increasingly since you began to live among them and masquerade as a true human), Roth does not dream. Oh, he can be encouraged to do so, and in fact might be viewed as especially susceptible to such infiltrations in the moment, but no full-blooded Reptilian truly has access to that kaleidoscopic, vivid realm of mind-manufactured unreality. Even when their sleep is invaded or manipulated, the phenomenon of dreaming is such a rare and alien exception to their norm that they cannot imagine viewing it as an extension of their self—of intuition, subconscious realization, hidden and unconscious yearning or understanding.

You consider trying to explain the phenomenon, but you can’t give voice to it. The realization of just how bizarre your own mind must be to your full-blooded kin disturbs you. You dismiss it as human nonsense—an explanation that at least rings true to your childhood learning, and which Roth accepts readily—and you return to the task at hand.

First, you access the Akashic Record the Dark Gods: the illusory, extrasensory history which the spiritual masters of your kind have granted you unique access to. Therein, you have access to secret knowledge accumulated across time and space by any agent or manipulated mark of the Dark Gods. It is in this way that you hope to narrow down your quarry’s whereabouts…

[Rolling 4d20]
>>
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>>5045760
[20]

Luckily, your glorious masters have indeed set sights upon the one who calls himself Felman. The Inquisitor has drawn close to the Grand Design once before, it seems—in his investigation of claims made by Lord Isaac Yosef. You see shadowy, flickering images of these distant days. These ashen memories, drifting list dust across the present and animated by the hazy recollections of the participants—Felman, younger and greener, given the obviously unenviable task of talking down a positively manic, haggard-looking Lord Yosef.

Yosef, of course, is the man also known as ‘V. Rilney’, the penname under which he wrote ‘The Protocols of the Learned Elders of the Coming Race’, a somewhat ill-researched (but dangerously insightful) polemic against the dangers of subterranean reptilian infiltrators, after one such being led to his son’s grisly demise. That was well over twenty years ago now, as the humanoids of the surface reckon time, but this memory is not so old. Though you cannot hear the words spoken—this incident must have only been related to an agent in vague details, not directly observed—you can sense the ripples of beleaguered disbelief emanate from Felman, and the sheer torrents of alarm and grief from Yosef. A temporal reorientation helps you to understand the likely reason for this fresh outpouring, what can be no more than ten years before the present: this memory takes place upon the anniversary of his son’s death.

“You’ll see!” you hear faintly, as if from a great distance, though Lord Yosef is shouting.

“What?” Felman demands. “I will see what, sir? That this person you accuse is… What, spying upon you? To what end? For whom?”

Yosef hesitates, then speaks more quietly, though still you hear it: “The ones who killed my son.”

“I am sorry, sir… But who are those ones, then?”

Yosef stammers, flails at air… Then grabs for his jacket and leaves, crying only that they “will all see!”

‘Makes ya’ wonder, if someone workin’ for those gods of yours knew about this, why Yosef’s not pushing up daisies?’ Irinnile wonders, leaning on the shoulder of your astral projection.

“Perhaps they heard about this, and looked into it,” you muse aloud, “But The Protocols hadn’t been published yet, and when they were it was without much success and under a pseudonym. It must have seemed an isolated outburst, and without any definite sign that he really knew anyway.”
>>
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>>5045786
Still, it is fortuitous—fated, maybe?—that an agent at least paid attention to this interaction, however they heard of it. For this reason, an Infiltrator was dispatched to investigate Inquisitor Felman’s residence, finding it to be a small and humble apartment just beyond the common student housing the The Mages’ Tower—a place where he had evidently lived since before his own graduation, and where he was comfortable. You suspect, on your intuition, that he might live there still.

‘Ah shit,’ Irinnile groans.

You spy the source her frustration: the Reptilian agent of ten years hence, spying upon Felman through his window, was forced to duck down by the alerting of a ward in his window. Worse yet, as you see the memory-spectre of Felman lunge towards the window, his hand ablaze with mystic flame, you see a familiar item upon his chest: a silvered chain with a handmade charm of gemstone, bottled oils, and preserved herbs. It is a charm against demons and mentalists, and by its latticed vines, silver-flecked oil, and luminescent stone, it is a stronger one than that which you yourself once made and wore.

‘You don’t s’poose he, uh… Decided it was tacky and stopped wearing it?’ Irinnile half-jokes.

You do not laugh.

The memory fades from your mind, and none replace it. It seems that, after that night and that near-miss, the Infiltrator who had been observing him never dared draw so close to an Inquisitor again, nor did Yosef’s outburst seem to amount to much. The two figures faded from relevance for about a decade… Until you entered both their lives, and brought them to the attention of the Record once more.

You now know Felman’s likely location, where this very night he likely lays dreaming… But so too do you know that he is anything but defenceless. He is likely guarded physically by wards and alarms, while his mind is shielded by a charm against the very interference you seek to affect. While he was not wearing such a charm when you accosted him at the docks, you know he has done so in the past, specifically to sleep… And, having been attacked mentally by a demonic assailant, it would be foolhardy to assume he has not once more taken up that habit.

Truly, the Akashic Record’s greatest boon was to prevent you from springing a deadly trap!
>>
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>>5045788
Still, that leaves you with a quandry: how do you get to Inquisitor Felman?
>Approach in physical form first, disabling his wards and spying upon his sleeping form—maybe even removing his amulet while he slumbers, if you can!
>Brute force his mental defences—you have become quite the adept mentalist, and you have a <DIVINE FAVOUR> in your back pocket fi worse comes to worst
>Abandon the pursuit for tonight—Felman is too difficult a target for this approach [specify if there’s someone else you’d like to target in dreams]
>Have Roth, or perhaps the goblins, sneak Felman’s amulet away in the dead of night while you focus upon the mental assault—teamwork, making the dream (infiltration) work!
>Write-in
>>
>>5045790
Questions regarding teamwork:
Don't we have to take off the house wards before we send anyone in?

And at that point, can't we just simply tell Roth to bag Felman and take him to his contact so we can focus on doing something else?

Could grab some sleeping powder from Qicerys to make this smooth... unless we can assblast sleeping Felman into coma. Is that something Irinnile can do?
>>
>>5045790
>Have Roth, or perhaps the goblins, sneak Felman’s amulet away in the dead of night while you focus upon the mental assault—teamwork, making the dream (infiltration) work!
>>
>>5045790
>>Have Roth, or perhaps the goblins, sneak Felman’s amulet away in the dead of night while you focus upon the mental assault—teamwork, making the dream (infiltration) work!
>>
>>5045790
Okay, since it's getting close to post hour and no response
I'm (>>5045879) voting for
>Visit Felman's house with Roth
>Use magic to try and disarm the wards and alarms
>Send Roth inside to bag Felman and take him to his contact
>>
Rolled 18, 9, 12 = 39 (3d20)

>>5046095
>>5046092
>>5045945
You open your eyes, and Roth immediately looks your way.

“You have returned… Quickly.”

“There has, regrettably, been a complication,” you say, and explain the situation.

Roth huffs. “Then we will take a different atck.”

“No, this can still be done,” you insist.

“How?”

You relate your plan, as follows: you will bring Roth—not the goblins, for while they are deniable, their agreement and silence is not certain, and you would waste precious time—to Felman’s residence. You will attempt to disable his wards and, if successful, the pair of you will work together to counteract any other measures which the mage-agent might employ, as well as to remove his charm. Then, you shall do as you did before: invade his sleeping mind—or even his wakeful one if you must—to plant this hint within his subconscious, and thus to lure him to Roth’s desired location.

“And if you should fail?” Roth presses.

“Then you will bring a sack,” you say simply, “and shove him in it.”

Roth grins wickedly. “Simple, but effective. I almost hope your first plan is unsuccessful.”

Unfortunately, Roth’s amulet is not so versatile a disguise as your pact with Irinnile: he has only a single human form behind which he may hide. Normally, only a Serpent priest themselves would have access to your sheer array of humanoid forms! Of course, his appearance in the Felman residence as a great, red-scaled Reptilian is unthinkable—failure is always a possibility, and you don't dare imagine the consequences if the Inquisition were to be tipped off to the nature of the threat facing Hawksong at such an early hour. Luckily, Roth is not ignorant of more traditional methods of disguise: a change of clothes, a hood, and a scarf will suffice.

‘That reminds me,’ you muse so that Irinnile can hear it within your shared mental realm, ‘What happens if, for instance, you were to be banished while we were in disguise?’

‘Banished?’ Irinnile yelps, then titters nervously. ‘Feeling a little antsy there, Lispy?’

‘Irinnile, answer the question,’ you say, employing her true name like a slave collar.

She grumbles, but obliges, replying “I dunno'. Nobody's ever… Uhh… Been possessed by me for anything like this long. Or this, ya' know… Intimately.’

She seems… Flustered? You feel her embarrassment and what you THINK is some form of affection.

Irinnile continues, explaining that she THINKS that the results depend on the extent of the changes made, low long they have been maintained, and the exact method of her exorcism.

“But, yeah… Like I said, I really can't be sure. This… You… It's all kinda' a first for me.” Irinnile laughs. “Who woulda' thunk I'd still have a cherry left to pop, huh?”

Do you…
>Tease her about it
>Admonish her for her ignorance
>Assuage her ego
>Just move onto more pressing business without comment
>>
>>5046132
With your plan of attack decided, the two of you set forth. Roth locks his base of operations up tightly, and the two of you follow a winding route towards the Initiate's Village, the area of Hawksong's old city dominated by eldritch decorations and housing for staff and students of Tge Mages' Tower. There, on the outskirts, you find the humble homestead which you spied in the Record. It is packed tightly among other such freeholds, each taller than wide and with minimal garden space.

“Do you see any signs of these wards?” Roth whispers.

You squint your eyes, focused your mystical sense upon the place… And indeed you do! However, they are only placed upon the shuttered windows, with the door protected by whatever mundane locking mechanism it may boast and by a simple alarm spell to notify the occupant of unwanted entry…

And the chimney, though a tight squeeze, seems unguarded.

Do you…
>Attempt to disable the more powerful wards on the windows and to slip in silently
>Disable the alarm spell and have Roth force the door
>Attempt to shift your shape slimmer and to enter through the chimney, while a Roth waits outside to provide backup
>Attempt to lure Felman outside by faking distress and calling for help
>Other
>>
>>5046132
>Tease her about it
>Remind her we have a more pressing business now
She should stop crushing over our superior half-reptilian body and focus so we don't get caught.
>Attempt to disable the more powerful wards on the windows and to slip in silently
Let's examine the ward as best as we can.

Maybe even use Akashic Record to see what ticked it off in the past, if it's not too much to ask under current circumstances.

Also tell Roth that door is guarded by an alarm spell and what to expect from Felman should he wake up.
>>
>>5046132
>Tease her about it
>Attempt to disable the more powerful wards on the windows and to slip in silently
>>
>>5046133
>Tease her about it
Playfully tease though

>Disable the alarm spell and have Roth force the door
Can he try picking the lock before forcing it open…
>>
>>5046132
>Tease her about it

>>5046133
>Attempt to shift your shape slimmer and to enter through the chimney, while a Roth waits outside to provide backup
>>
Rolled 10, 1, 4 = 15 (3d20)

>>5046618
>>5046362
>>5046209
>>5046147

‘Alright, it’s time for the moment of truth,’ you send the psychic signal to Irinnile. ‘Can you get over your crush long enough to get your head in the game, succubus?’

‘YEEEEAAH yeah yeah,’ Irinnile replies, but you can practically feel the demonic presence inside you blushing. ‘An eldritch terror gets a little vulnerable one time, and THIS is what she gets?’

‘Oh please,’ you tease, ‘you know you like it.’

The demon’s silence is all the confirmation you need, and you’re not about to pretend that you don’t enjoy it, too. However, you are—as always—a professional. You turn to Roth, and speak aloud your plan:

“I’m going to disable the wars on the window, so we may enter silently. You will take the amulet from his neck, should he be wearing it.”

“Without waking him? That could be difficult,” he notes. “Can you even disable his spells? You are… New at this.”

“Not so new anymore,” you counter, “and quite practiced. Do your part, Infiltrator. I will do mine.”

Still, you are perhaps not QUITE so confident as you approach the window, and its faint aura of arcane energy. Peering with sight beyond sight, you can just faintly glimpse the chalk sigil traced on the other side of the shutters. Your glimpse into the Akashic Record told you something of its function: if the shutters are opened, the glyph will be split, and its rupture will release a shock of electric and kinetic energy and a loud sound. You cannot let that happen if you hope to maintain the element of surprise.

Luckily, Ismena Rosgard is dating an amateur-expert in magical theory!

Remembering what Edwin and you learned in your readings, and augmenting this with Bianchi’s less-legal library and ITS teachings, you carefully trace your fingers over the symbol’s location in the reverse of the movements which—in theory, you THINK—formed it. So too do you move your other hand to form a symbol for unwinding and erasure, while you whisper the words necessary to focus your energies and direct them towards undoing the magic…

[Rolling!]
>>
>>5046689
[1]
You are ready for this—studied, learned, practiced, gifted, and divinely-inspired!

…But you are also only about a month into your mystical career.

Despite your studies and your advantages, Roth is proven correct: your half-formed understanding of runic theory is simply no match for the practical learning of a Tower-educated field-operative, specializing in matters of arcane subterfuge, with all the time in the world to prepare his home defences. You SAW the rune on the other side of the shutters fade—you KNOW you did!—but when you push them in you do not find Inquisitor Felman asleep in his bed. You find him inches from your face, his golden-green gaze locked with your own, WIATING for you.

‘Oh fuck oh fuck OH—’

Irinnile’s mental exclamation is cut short by a blast of aethereal lighting which strikes you in your core. Your limbs spasm as you fall back, your entire body contorting in agony. You’re no stranger to pain, and you hold back your scream, but you are helpless upon the ground, unable even to call for help. You are no fool, either: you arrived in disguise, shapeshifted ever-so-slightly and wearing a more mundane—but not so readily dispelled—scarf, as Roth himself did…

“Let me guess,” Felman begins, leaning out of the window, “One of the cat-creature’s demonic henchmen, sent because I was getting too close? Or perhaps I’m dealing with ‘Isabelle Romanov’ herself?”

You are helpless, and Felman is already beginning to trace the form of a binding spell, meant to more permanently incapacitate a being. No, not just ANY being—a demon!

‘Lispy, WE’RE a demon!’ Irinnile whines. ‘We’re fucked!’

The only saving grace you can see is that Roth has not yet moved—not to attack Felman or to save you. The Inquisitor’s predatory eyes are fixated on his prey—you—and without your gift of night-vision he seems ignorant of your dragon-blooded cohort. You can JUST about squeak out a single reply, or take a single action.

What do you do?
>Shout to Roth to take Felman down
>Shout to Roth to run—you cannot let Felman catch you both
>Draw your magical bone-dagger—stolen from goblins, who stole it from your occult adversaries—and slash desperately at Felman
>Attempt to break your pact with Irinnile—the spell he is weaving is specifically for containing DEMONS, and if you sacrifice your succubus you may just escape it
>Call upon your one-time <DIVINE FAVOUR> to save you
>Attempt to croak out a surrender, and to initiate parley
>Write-in
>>
>>5046710
>Draw your magical bone-dagger—stolen from goblins, who stole it from your occult adversaries—and slash desperately at Felman
>>
>>5046710
>Shout to Roth to take Felman down
or
>Draw your magical bone-dagger—stolen from goblins, who stole it from your occult adversaries—and slash desperately at Felman

I just got back and we're already one foot in the grave. It's been a lovely quest lads.
>>
>>5046715
>thinking that I would ever
let you off that easily
>>
>>5046710
>>Draw your magical bone-dagger—stolen from goblins, who stole it from your occult adversaries—and slash desperately at Felman
Inquisition dungeon episode soon
>>
>>5046710
>Attempt to croak out a surrender, and to initiate parley
>>
>>5046710
>Draw your magical bone-dagger—stolen from goblins, who stole it from your occult adversaries—and slash desperately at Felman
Throw it if he's out of reach.

Roth better Mortal Kombat this retard soon. Letting Ismena get captured and Felman continue his investigation is not an option.

>>5046715
Welcome back, anon. I had two moments like this in the previous threads.
Are you the one who left after the Fox murder?
>>
Rolled 14, 1, 5 = 20 (3d20)

>>5046711
>>5046715
>>5046746
>>5047018
>>5047074

[DC 16, +1 for your recent electrification]
>>
Rolled 17, 5, 1, 9, 3, 11 = 46 (6d20)

>>5047135
[1]

You force your twitching muscles to move towards your dagger. Letting yourself get captured and Felman continue his investigation is not an option. If that means ending Felman here and now, so be it!

The Inquisitor lowers himself down from the window, taking his time with arrogant surety. Well, you’ll show him: you draw your dagger and—

“AAAAHH!”

You hear a scream, and only belatedly realize it is your own voice. You feel… Distant from yourself, removed, as you lay upon the ground. You are aware of tremendous pain in your arm. You look to the side and see that you have dropped your dagger, clattering, to the cobbles. Your arm is pinned by Felman’s boot, which only now do you see how its very soles carved with runic patterns meant to elicit pain and submission—an enchanted item meant to disable those who attack him-casting. When did he arm himself with all these trinkets?!

“SUBMIT.”

Felman speaks the word softly, but it booms nearly as loud as the voice of the Dark God did when you received the Akashic Record. It echoes through you, and your tremors turn to frozen immobility. You cannot speak, and every sense seems dulled, as if you were swaddled in layers of fabric. Somewhere, you can hear Irinnile whimper. You are helpless.

It is good, then, that you didn’t come alone!

[2d20 for Roth, 4d20 for your will save]
>>
Rolled 5, 11, 3, 9 = 28 (4d20)

>>5047147
[17]

Roth takes the opportunity to act, crashing into Felman from behind and disrupting his concentration. He struggles with him upon the ground, wrestling with him in a grunting mass as they tumble end over end. You long to join him in avenging your poor performance… But you cannot. You CANNOT act against Felman…

Because he has bound you.

[1]

You remain helpless, barely even able to understand Why you are helpless. You feel as if the whole of the world is a great stone carving, into which you are etched. Even in the depths of your mind, you are adrift in a void, where any attempt to swim free of the black lake of your consciousness is stymied by the lack of media.

‘Lispy… Babe… I’m sorry…’

The speed with which the Inquisitor mastered you in mind and body is a testament to his skill, but you have been affected by mind-magic before, in your training. This feels different. Your domination is utter, and Irinnile’s apology gives you an explanation as to why: it is because you have allowed yourself to be possessed by a demon, and just as amateurs like yourself and Lord Bianchi could bind her, so too can YOU now be easily bound by similar methods!

You can’t respond to Irinnile—not to issue commands, offer reassurances, or to berate her for giving you such weakness against Felman’s spells through your bond… But you can feel those emotions, in silence, and with the intensity of one who can do naught else BUT feel.

Do you…
>Forgive her, this time
>Resent her, and desire to break your bond 9at least in this instant)
>Love her, and fear for her safety
>Write-in

[Rolling for a background event that you can scarcely perceive.]
>>
Oh, and feel free to vote now. No more posts coming until after work!

Actions won't be accepted for write-ins... Except the Divine Favour, should you choose to employ it.
>>
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>>5047155
>Resent her, and desire to break your bond (at least in this instant)

But in case other anons got used to Irinnile and would get pissed off by that choice, I'm going with:
>Don't really care, it's your fault for choosing your body to be her vessel
*sigh*
>>
>>5047155
>Resent her, and desire to break your bond (at least in this instant)

definitely just in this instant
we'll remember how useful she is when we're not standing by helplessly as Roth shows us up
>>
>>5047155
>>Resent her, and desire to break your bond 9at least in this instant)
>>
>>5047155
>Love her, and fear for her safety

I am beyond furious at the situation we're in though. Three 1s in a row? I'm gonna burn the man's face off, or make him turn tricks for us on the street, if we ever get out of this mess.

>>5047074
Ye, though it was more related to family stuff this time. Still, what a shit time to come back. Seems like I brought bad juju apon us lads, I'm sorry about that.
>>
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>>5047334
>I am beyond furious at the situation we're in though. Three 1s in a row? I'm gonna burn the man's face off, or make him turn tricks for us on the street, if we ever get out of this mess.
I really want to let Roth take him. Our mindfuckery can't be worse than whatever reptilian mafia shit they plan to do to silence him.
Besides, we're out of order for now and will need rest and recovery instead of diving in his head and fumbling more rolls.
...I sure do hope nobody in this magical district heard Ismena's scream.

>Seems like I brought bad juju apon us lads, I'm sorry about that.
Nah, it's just our local succubus not focusing on her damn job.

I'd also like to use this post to point out that if Roth saves Ismena's ass tonight, it's still 2:1 for her and she was paralyzed on the job because of her demonic disability as opposed to being captured in sleep in a locked-up house. Twice. *cough*
>>
>>5047155
>>Love her, and fear for her safety
>>
>>5047155
>Forgive her, this time
>Love her, and fear for her safety

A spat of bad RNG isn't anyone's fault, and we knew the risks when we took her on. Next time we meet a ward though, we either train beforehand or just avoid it entirely, as wards are becoming the bane of our Infiltrators existence.
>>
>>5047147
>Love her, and fear for her safety

Honestly, I like her as a character and she’s proved very useful in many situations before.

This is just a spate of bad luck on the RNG front.

Would anons be open to us using our <Divine Favour> to get out of this…? It’s a pretty bad situation desu
>>
>>5047370
Let's see if Roth can solve this without us burning that resource. If it doesn't go well for us, then I think we use it- we have to keep Felman from raising awareness about the Conspiracy.
>>
[Post may be late tonight. Date night with the S.O.!]
>>
>>5047222
>>5047270
>>5047304
>Three for resentment, 1.5 half-hearted

>>5047334
>>5047355
>>5047360
>>5047370
Four for love and fear for safety, with a side of forgiveness

You aren’t sure how to reply to Irinnile’s cocnern. You can feel… Something. A shift in your posture, momentum as if thrown or pushed or carried, but you can’t discern what is happening. Is your body, so very far from your consciousness, being carted off for interrogation or study at The Tower’s facilities?

‘It’s alright,’ you reassure Irrinile, echoing a memory of the last words your mother spoke to you before the two of you parted, and your formal training as an Infiltrator began. ‘It’s going to be okay.’

>Irinnile Affection: 90%

Both of you know you are lying. You don’t know what’s happening, where you are, whether Roth or Felman is winning the struggle in the streets. You are fibbing by omission, out of ignorance, if nothing else. Still, you feel Irinnile’s spirit nestle into yours, cradled in the cocoon of your body and soul as the two of you ride out the storm. She accepts the lie, and the two of you are happier for it, if not necessarily safer. You wait, in darkness and numbness.

And then, suddenly: light!

You awaken, physically and mentally, in daylight. You blink blearily through crusted eyes in unfamiliar surroundings. You see old, worn furniture, still plush with carefully-refreshed stuffing and with quality hardwood underneath the padding. High ceiling, stained-glass window details stand out like beacons of alien comfort. A thick quilt, almost a carpet, swaddled you still-tingling form.

“Where…?”
>>
>>5047743
“Ah, you are awake” says a voice—a feminine voice, speaking your mother’s own tongue.

You’d like to say your head snaps towards the source of the voice, but it doesn’t. You turn slowly, groggily, still almost helpless. Still through foggy-but-sharpening vision, you recognize the speaker. So, too, do you suddenly come to recognize her home.

You are, for the second time, in the home of the Reptilian Infiltrator known as ‘Dame Albacete’, who styles herself a teacher of etiquette and dance among the human sheeple.

“What… How did we…?”

“Easy,” she says, standing from her chair and stepping slowly towards you. “Your contact brought you here. IT was quite the surprise—I haven’t so much as spoken to that fire-lunged son-of-a-drake in two dozen years, and yet he apparently thought of me when looking for aid. We live such isolated lives in this cruel, sun-baked land… I wonder if I was his closest friend?”

Albacete laughs a humourless, bitter laugh.

“Where is Roth?” you croak.

“Sleeping,” she says, then sighs. “Dying, maybe. I’m trying my best, but… You have been unconscious a day, and as you recover, he does not. He lacks your… Advantages.”

>Three days until the Tower Gala

‘Hehehe,’ Irinnile titters. ‘I guess I’m still good for something, huh, hotstuff?’

>WANT: 15

“And the Inquisitor?” you ask.

Albacete is still for a moment, then shrugs. “Who can say? This ‘Roth’… His disguise was intact, even as his guts were spilling, when he arrived. No Inquisitor has yet arrived at my door.”

You breath a sigh of relief, even as you understand that this doesn’t mean that you’re yet in the free and clear once more.

What do you do?

>Speak with Dame Albacete [about what?]
>Ask to see Roth
>Leave as soon as you are able—you must return to Edwin of Engel and make up for lost time in your various missions!
>Access the Akashic Record, to see if you can glean more information about what happened last night, and the day thereafter
>Summon Yemrep the Imp to send a message [to whom? About what?]
>>
>>5047745
>Ask to see Roth
>Access the Akashic Record, to see if you can glean more information about what happened last night, and the day thereafter

I know that fucker ain't dead, and we just tipped him off that he's on the right track. I'm so furious that losing two days is just a minor annoyance.

We might as well see if we can also save Roth's life while we're learning about what the hell happened while we were out.
>>
>>5047777
>quad of 7s

Holy shit, the Dark Gods haven't abandoned us yet!
>>
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>>5047745
>Speak with Dame Albacete
Are there no reptilian medics in Hawksong? Is she one? Is the mess that Roth left cleaned up in case people come for her human lessons? Tell her we mean no disrespect by the last one, just being precarious.
We can't exactly ask any humans to help Roth without risking detection or suspicion, right?
>Ask Irinnile if she's capable of shapeshifting items at this state and without rituals
Just in case we need something
>Ask to see Roth
>Access the Akashic Record, to see if you can glean more information about what happened last night, and the day thereafter


>Dying
>his guts were spilling
Fuck me. We should've just smashed that window and stabbed the faggot in the head.
Gonna need to get some anti-antidemon items if we're to survive here.
>>
Also RQM, If we see a sudden surge of weird 1ID votes, please make sure that the quest is autist-proof. Saying this because of >>5045953 Royal Rumble and >>5047617 asoiaf. Both picrel.
I can just trip if necessary.
>>
>>5047789
As much as I appreciate the dedication, I'm certain that Hostile Anon hasn't migrated into this quest, and there hasn't been a Trick sighting since the autism which ended Joffrey SI Quest. I'm sure that we're safe from those autists.

I will say, Hostile Anon's posts really gave me a chuckle every time he popped his head out to sperg. Shame it killed Royal Rumble, but considering how Scary Quest ended, it may have been a blessing in disguise.


Anyways, any ideas on how to get us out of our current mess? I would suggest some options, but you lads either killed them all or refused their assistance.
>>
>>5047745
>Ask to see Roth
Lol so much explaining to do
>>
>>5047837
>any ideas on how to get us out of our current mess?
*which* mess?

>The inquisitor
We first need data from Roth or AReco
>Roth
Healing magic, assuming that everything conventional medicine can do has been done. Finding a healing demon, maybe?
Divine Favor if all else fails.
>Edwin
He doesn't matter for now. We have higher priorities as a reptilian servant of the Dark Gods.
We could use Albacete to help cover our ass, say we attended a solo lesson with her or something.
>Mina, TPK, Investigation
We 100% need to show up to work tonight. Too many things can go wrong if Kamunu is missing after last night.
>Ismena
Ask Irinnile for a report on her state, check if we're still bound by Felman or affected by his magic.
Assess our physical damage and do whatever we can to be able to go to TPK. Shirin might help.
Would be great if we could actually attend the dancing lesson today to make Edwin think everything is fine.

These are from the top of my head. I'm not paying much attention to the shirin business and what we need to get done for the tower so please update me if I'm missing anything.

>you lads either killed them all or refused their assistance
Ouch. Well, we have goblins and Yemrep, although considering our position goblins might not be usable at this time.

We should ask Yemrep about his abilities, actually. He was a great tracker the last time, but maybe there's more specific things he can do?
>>
>>5047865
>*which* mess?
The Inquisitor, though Roth is still important.

I like the solo lesson idea, but I'm not sure where we'll be able to heal Roth. I don't know what we're doing to do with the goblins, unless Felman decides to investigate Goblintown again. We also have other demons available to us, though the only viable one that anons here may go for would be the loyal savage. I'm partially thinking we should cause a race riot in Goblintown just to divert attention away from us, maybe use an orc or minitour as a host body for the savage demon to stir up some chaos. I'm thinking we can get a goblin or a hobo for the imp (the were-rats would've been a perfect host for him I'd bet).
>>
>>5047876
>The Inquisitor
First we need to know what happened to him. No need to think ahead because it's pointless.

>I'm not sure where we'll be able to heal Roth.
Divine favor, then. Realistically we wouldn't use it for anything important anyway.

And if you think this would not align with reptilian agenda, remember that Roth has been in Hawksong for decades and is important to the cause even if just for the network and knowledge he has built. It would also look really bad if a senior infiltrator died as a result of our incompetence and weakness coming from literally being possessed by demon.
>>
>>5047777
>>5047781
>>5047843

“Senior Infiltrator,” you begin, looking back towards Albacete, “surely there are Reptilian agents versed in healing, somewhere in Hawksong?”

“There are,” she volunteers readily, smirking very slightly.

You take her meaning, realizing: “You are one.”

“Yes,” she acknowledges.

“…Yet Roth is still mortally-wounded?”

Albacete nods.

“Did you make sure to clean up his spilled gore, at least?” you say.

“Degenerate,” she warns, addressing you by your half-blood status for the first time, “I would watch your tone and implication.”

“I apologize,” you say, bowing beneath the scold. “I… Mean no offence. I just wish to make sure no humans learn of us. The great conspiracy, The Grand Design… It takes precedence over all else.”

“…And you worry you have compromised it all,” she finishes your unspoken thoughts. “That you have weakened us from within, by inviting a demon within you and botching your retrieval mission.”

You say nothing, but you feel the old shame of your accursed birth, your lesser and diluted blood, your strangeness and wrongness.

Dame Albacete just laughs, a song equal parts good humour and mockery.

“Please, young one. The Grand Design is more resilient than to be undone by a single actor. The Dark Gods plan better than that! Their coils interweave in such mysterious ways, in such complexity, that we cannot even understand them in truth, and their works are mighty, and subtle.”

You remain silent, but nod.

“Would you like to see your contact?”

You nod again, and as Albacete leaves the room, you follow her. She takes you to a guest bedroom—her home is reasonably well-furnished and spacious, to have two such rooms in this part of town, you note. The door is shut and, as she opens it and you step inside, you understand why: Roth is barely conscious, and it his true form. His red scales look grey, ashen around the edges. His eyes are milk, glazed over.

“I gave him sedatives, and anti-inflammatory drugs,” Albacete says. “A healing potion ma help, but they are not easily acquired by one outside the Tower’s purview, I am afraid… And there are limits to what even they can accomplish.”

You step closer to Roth’s bedside, and greet him respectfully. He wheezes disdainfully, and you smile slightly. He is still the grumpy old male he has always been.

“What happened?” you ask.

More to come but have to head to work! Will try to post the rest before my shift.
>>
>>5048006
“I saved your pathetic self,” he groans. “But in the struggle, the human mage found your dagger, and he was able to stab me repeatedly. I was forced to retreat with you, so neither of us would be captured. The Conspiracy…”

“It remains intact,” Albacete assures him.

“You know, I’ve still saved you twice for your one heroic act, Dragonblooded One,” you tease.

Roth looks to her, then to you, and scoffs. “I will die surrounded by females, in fine linens, and yet I do not feel especially ennobled or privileged. Ironic.”

“One is a mere Degenerate,” you note. It gets a laugh.

You look at him and feel… Loss. Personal, maybe. Professional, definitely. If he perishes, as seems likely by his frailty, his laboured breathing, the lump of bandages protruding from his gut even beneath the blankets… Decades of experience, intelligence, and contacts will be lost.

‘The double dragon dick was nice, too,’ Irinnile notes.

‘Irinnile,’ you send the psychic message, ‘I feel a… Closeness in our bond that was not there before. Can you manifest materials or items without a ritual yet?’

‘H-huh?’ The demon is caught off-guard. ‘Uh, no, prob’ly not. Maybe? I dunno'! We'd need to be somewhere dark, and a ritual would definitely HELP. But… I honestly couldn't tell ya'. That's a tricky thing to do.’

‘What about binding a demon to Roth?’ you ask.

‘Pretty sure he'd hate that… But yeah, it could work! Probably!’

You continue to run through options in your mind, all the while debating whether THIS was why you were given the <DIVINR FAVOUR>.

What do you do?
>Find a dark place, scour the Akashic Record for a ritual, and attempt to use Irinnile to manifest a healing potion without aid
>Summon a demon [which one?] to possess Roth, in the hopes the bond will help keep him alive
>Send Yemrep the Imp to fetch Lord Bianchi—he knows the ritual necessary to summon forth astral items, and you cannot afford failure
>Call in the <DIVINE FAVOUR> to save Roth
>Let fate take its course, giving Roth your thoughts and prayers; you will focus on avenging him, and hope his survival is part of the Dark Gods' plan
>Consume his soul to sate your WANT, and to carry a piece of him with you as you avenge his death
>Write-in
>>
>>5048026
>Find a dark place, scour the Akashic Record for a ritual, and attempt to use Irinnile to manifest a healing potion without aid
If Irinnile fails, then:
>Call in the <DIVINE FAVOUR> to save Roth

I don't want to possess Roth with another demon, unless it's just to use its energy to heal him and then banish it.

THAT MOTHERFUCKING PIECE OF SHIT DAGGER.
>>
>>5048026
>Find a dark place, scour the Akashic Record for a ritual, and attempt to use Irinnile to manifest a healing potion without aid
If it fails, then
>Send Yemrep the Imp to fetch Lord Bianchi—he knows the ritual necessary to summon forth astral items, and you cannot afford failure

Better to exhaust our occult options before we attempt to use our Dark Favor, assuming we want to waste it on saving Roth.
>>
>>5048073
Okay, I can second this logic desu.
It will tip Bianchi off about our lies but we can just lightly brainwash him after, so whatever.

If that fails, <DIVINE D100>.
>>
>>5048026
agree with >>5048098
try everything else, but divine favor if we have to
>>
>>5048107
I would like to avoid the permanent demonification option, though. Even at the cost of Divine Favour.
>>
>>5048109
would it be permanent, or could we do a temporary possession deal where it's in just long enough to heal him?

If permanent is the only way then yea divine favor instead
>>
>>5048111
We don't know, it was only mentioned as a permanent thing I believe.
I'm only up for using a demon if we can use its power to heal Roth (this includes temporary possession) and then banish said demon.

Now that I think of it, couldn't we just make Irinnile hop between us two? If we need another person to perform thr ritual, there's always Albacete.
This couldn't be any harder than summoning a second demonic entity and would be much safer.
>>
>>5048073
Supporting

But we may actually want to go to Lord Bianchi‘s manor rather than bringing him here…
>>
>>5048237
If you wish to do so, you may, but Roth's perforated organs are being held in by gauze, cloth, and sinister snake-prayers
>>
>>5048237
What does it matter? We will have to wipe his memory if end up having to use his help in any capacity. Not bringing him here wouldn't change anything.
>>
>>5048026
>>Find a dark place, scour the Akashic Record for a ritual, and attempt to use Irinnile to manifest a healing potion without aid
>>
Rolled 11, 2, 2, 10 = 25 (4d20)

>>5048098
>>5048073
>>5048237
>>5048107
>>5048525
>Find a dark place, scour the Akashic Record for a ritual, and attempt to use Irinnile to manifest a healing potion without aid
>>
>>5048607
Welp. time for Divine Favour.
>>
>>5048607
Though some thrown blankets and carpets help to blot out the sun from the room where you hope to perform the ritual—not where Roth lays in a state near torpor, for you do not desire to trouble his rest or suffer any distracting heckling—you find no luck. You delve into the Akashic Record, but if any agent of The Dark Gods has explored Lord Bianchi’s peculiar get-rich-quick scheme, you cannot find their exploits. Worse, what you do find makes it clear that such a ritual would be best executed at night, or in true, deep darkness. Transporting Roth to such a permanently-shadowed abode seems all but impossible, while you are not sure that he will live to see another nightfall without intervention.

“What good is all of this magic if I cannot preserve a single life?!” you demand of nobody in particular.

‘Lispy, if you wanted preservation and healing… I dunno’ how to tell you this, but you went WAAAAY too far in the opposite direction,’ Irinnile says, matter-of-factly.

‘If you have nothing useful to say, say nothing,’ you command.

‘Hey!’

You sigh, take a moment.

‘We could get Bianchi?’ she suggests. ‘He knows how to work this dream hoodoo.’

You nod. You can think of no other solution but the <DIVINE FAVOUR>, and you cannot bring yourself to give that up until you have exhausted all other options… Even ones such as this, which bring that repulsive (albeit useful) filth-eater Yemrep into your life once more, or which force you to invite Lord Bianchi (however briefly) into the conspiracy. So, swallowing your pride and your distaste, you slice open your palm with your trusty knife and draw the circle by which you may summon the squat and unpleasant form of Yemrep the Imp.

“Mistress calls upon Yemrep once more, does she?” he croaks. “How falttering, how humbling. What does she want of me? How may I serve? What forbidden and seedy orifices of this ripe world shall I explore?”

You instruct him, briefly and succinctly, to seek out Lord Bianchi and to SUBTLY and INCONSPICUOUSLY ask him to come to Dame Albacete’s residence to perform the ritual.

“Are you certain of the value in this?” Albacete asks after Yemrep departs on his task.

“It is no matter to clean his brain of such remembrances, or to alter them to remove knowledge of the conspiracy when I am done with him,” you say.

“Have you done so before?”

You pause. You haven’t—not with any great precision, not really. You were able to remove some memories from Bianchi’s recollection, render him suggestible. You know the theory… But you also knew how to disable those runes at the Inquisitor’s window, in theory. Have you come to rely on your magical gifts too wholly?

“If he cannot have his mind scrubbed clean, are you prepared for what must be done?” Albacete asks seriously.
>>
>>5048623
It is scarcely an hour and a half when the faded and ephemeral jelly of Yemrep’s ectoplasmic form oozes into the room.

“Well?” you demand, before he can say anything unpleasant and vividly evocative.

“The human lord comes as swiftly as he may. His wounds, beneath the skin… He swells with lymph, with fluid. He bruises so beautifully…”

You’d almost forgotten that the occult-minded young lord was still mending from the specific events which had necessitated your meddling in his memories to begin with. Well, no matter—it merely leaves him more vulnerable. Still, Albacete’s words of caution—gentle admonishments, even as she allows you to do what you will—echo in the back of your mind.

What do you do?
>Meet Bianchi at the door, and bargain for his tomes and his knowledge, but do not allow him inside or involve him directly
>Welcome him inside, tell him everything he needs to know, and let him lead the ritual—you can erase his memory later
>Mesmerize Bianchi with glamour and Irinnile’s succubus abilities, then invite him inside as a puppet and a thrall
>Lord Bianchi is no ally of the Paladin King or Tower—you can trust him without all this subterfuge
>Forget this, send him away, and use the <FAVOUR>
>Write-in
>>
>>5048624
Wish pacts existed between humans so we could make him forget stuff.

Aren't we supposed to just summon a magic potion? Can we just
>Guide Bianchi to an empty room without showing Albacete and Roth?

If that's impossible
>Meet Bianchi at the door, and
>Mesmerize Bianchi with glamour and Irinnile’s succubus abilities, then invite him inside as a puppet and a thrall
after all is done
>Erase his memory

This way we will have a weaker mind to work with as well as less intense reactions to what he will see.
>>
>>5048624
>>Forget this, send him away, and use the <FAVOUR>
>>
>>5048703
+1
>>
Rolled 2, 4, 20, 9, 12 = 47 (5d20)

>>5048883
>>5048819
>>5048703

You instruct Albacete to stay out of sight—something she does despite this being her own home, displaying a certain wry amusement at the request—and you head to the door. Opening it, you find Lord Bianchi in his usual all-black attire, with his dark carriage well back from the home to afford the two of you privacy. The young nobleman has adopted a further affectation, though likely out of necessity: a darkwood cane, topped with a knurl and set with a polished stone, supporting his weight.

“Lord Bianchi,” you greet him. “Thank you for coming here on ssuch short noticcce.”

“You have a demon,” he notes, without pleasantries. “You have found another true-name, then? More than one?”

Ah, yes. You suppose Yemrep WOULD be news to Bianchi… And perhaps you shouldn’t be surprised at the mix of excitement and fear that characterizes his aura, and his tone. He has long been obsessed with matters occult, but his most recent foray ended in (secretly thank to your own brutal intervention) disaster.

“I have,” you acknowledge. “And I think we may have the meansss to perform the ritual which you uncovered… The one to ssummon materialss composed of ectoplasssm from the realm of dreamsss!”

“But Irinnile was destroyed,” Bianchi says matter-of-factly. “Another succubus, then?”

That’s right—Bianchi has no inkling that it was YOU who stole the succubus Irinnile from his clutches, and bound her to your own being. And, as you recall, the true-name of the demon used to perform the summoning is necessary to perform it.

‘Maybe just give him the ol’ razzle-dazzle?’ Irinnile suggests.

You sigh internally, and decide to do just that. You roll your neck and shoulders, and shut your eyes for a moment.

“Ismena? What are you…”

When you open them, you will surges forth, glamour ensconcing your intent like charismatic armour.

[5d20, thanks to prep-work put into conditioning Bianchi to trust you; we'll count this as emotion-affecting illusion]
>>
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>>5048928
Bianchi’s stiffness and confusion melt away as you take him by the hand and by the heart. You guide him into Dame Albacete’s residence, and shut the door behind him.

“Don’t I know this place…?” he mutters. Perhaps he does: Edwin took lessons as a young man of standing from Dame Albacete, and Bianchi is a nobleman, too. Luckily, he can hardly tear his eyes away from yours to examine his surroundings more closely.

“Pleasse, Lord Bianchi, my friend iss very badly hurt,” you say, affecting grave concern and supplication. You are the damsel in distress, played to perfection, and he is your hero. “I need you knowledge, your expertise… I need to ssummon a potion to heal hiss woundss!”

“Friend? Wounded… Yes, Maybe I could also heal my own wounds?” he murmurs.

Huh. Well, you suppose he COULD, at that.

“I’ve never tried to summon anything magical… I’m not sure…”

His protests trail off as you touch his face and meet his eyes again.

“…It will be done.”

Good boy.

You guide Bianchi and Albacete both into the darkened room once more. You see no reason not to bring the female Reptilian any longer. THIS spell, you have mastered, and Bianchi is behaving as one drugged. Your control is complete.

“Who are you?” he asks her.

“She iss nobody,” you say quickly, “A servant beneath notice, who you will forget as ssoon as you leave thiss placce.”

“Ah, right then,” he says, nodding amicably.

“Impressive,” Albacete admits, admiring your mastery. “He really is your creature now, isn’t he?”

>UNLOCKED: You have further mastered mental domination. From now on, once a thrall has been successfully glamoured with a critical success, you will have total control over their actions unless they would obviously and demonstrably cause them or a loved one harm. You can even order them to forget key memories, purging them from their conscious mind. You also do not need to roll again to control them in the future, as long as they have not broken control or had your enchantment dispelled.
>>
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>>5048940
With Bianchi utterly dominated, it is a simple matter have him instruct you and the other Reptilian in how to arrange the room, what symbols and latticed circles to chalk upon the floor, where to light candles to better contain and channel the power—and to keep away hostile entities from outside the ritual, who might otherwise invade and commandeer its energies. You hadn’t even consider THAT possibility. Bringing in someone more studied in the field, even an inferior mammal-male with a habit of recklessness, truly has proven worthwhile! With preparations made, you begin the ritual in earnest.

“Now,” Lord Bianchi says, “you must sleep.”

Right—Lord Bianchi had taken a pinch of a poisonous plant to knock himself unconscious, when you and the fox-woman and aided in summoning and binding Irinnile. You briefly wonder if a meditative state might be sufficient, but Dame Albacete saves you the hassle of experimentation: she leaves the room, and returns almost immediately with a steaming cup of fragrant liquid.

“Tea,” she explains, “with a sleeping drug.”

Experienced and established operatives truly are a valuable resource! All the more reason to preserve your own crotchety old contact. You take the cup from Albacete, step gingerly into the centre of the circle, and take a seat. Once comfortable, you imbibe the warm drink, shut your eyes… And begin.

It takes a moment, but before long the darkness gives way to the dreamscape. It is not as it has been lately, though: no misty land full of luminous sleeps, no guiding guardian demon with your hand in hers. Instead, you find yourself in a chaotic cauldron of memories, passing fancies, anxieties and desires you have felt. You are in your OWN dreamscape, rudderless aboard a fragile vessel of consciousness in the deep well of your unconscious mind. You are lucid, but utterly disoriented.

“Irinnile?” you call out.

No bubbly succubus appears, foul-mouthed and thirsty for sexually-charged mana, to offer you teasing reassurances. You look about somewhat frantically, seeing and hearing flitting remembrances of her—her voice, her laughter, her golden eyes, her red skin and expansive wings—but the demon herself does not manifest. You suppose that, with the ritual underway, her smoky true form must have been drawn out of you and made manifest in the waking world, as it was when you performed the ritual to summon her. You are alone in your body and soul once more.

What do you do?
>Focus upon healing potions, and your desire for Roth to be well
>Guide your dreaming mind to manifest some other item [specify what]
>Explore your memories—you have never lucidly dreamed in this way before, and it may be your best chance to explore deep and repressed memories of childhood
>Panic and force yourself awake—this isn’t what you expected, and you fear for Irinnile and for possible betrayal
>Write-in
>>
>>5048943
>Focus upon healing potions, and your desire for Roth to be well
Make a couple spares as well.

>Explore your memories—you have never lucidly dreamed in this way before, and it may be your best chance to explore deep and repressed memories of childhood

This as well.

For other magical items, I say a recreation of the magical dagger, that magical tiara that improves mental clarity and focus, and a couple bundles of that magical fabric for Paula's dress and ours for the Gala.
>>
>>5048943
>Focus upon healing potions, and your desire for Roth to be well

If we make one we can divert to our memories
>>
>>5049048
+1
>>
[May hold off until tomorrow. My fiance is out of town, so I got pretty deep into tequila and reread Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, and now I am sad-drunk.]
>>
>>5048943
>Focus upon healing potions, and your desire for Roth to be well
Thirding the spares. I was thinking of giving one to Bianchi, since his messed up legs are of no benefit to us. Especially if there are complications.
>Guide your dreaming mind to manifest some other item [specify what]
Try to get an item that will protect from anti-demon magic. It's worth a try, right?
>Explore your memories—you have never lucidly dreamed in this way before, and it may be your best chance to explore deep and repressed memories of childhood
>>
>>5049678
>>5049118
>>5049048
The mission comes first, of course: you need a healing potion to restore Roth, and perhaps Bianchi as well if you are able to produce multiple! You begin to focus upon the tincture, upon the effect it might have—that you DESIRE it to have, Irinnile being a demon of desire after all. Your will made manifest will mend the males!

…But out of the corner of your eyes you catch sight of something, and you lose your concentration. You can hardly blame yourself, though: you can scarcely remember the last time you saw your mother.

You recall her fondly, of course: the smooth Silkscale skin of her arms, the elegance and precision with which she always moved and acted, her calm voice with which she always held your attention and easily manipulated you (always for your own good). Only now do you recognize the sadness in her eyes. About your existence? For your fate? Who can say.

In this memory, she is not smooth, or subtle, or sophisticated. She is… Dismayed, hissing angrily. You remember now, as you haven’t for so long: she had instructed you to remain in the small, barren room of the cramped cavern which the two of you had been allocated. You see it now for what it is: a cell, a place of banishment and confinement for the crime of your unauthorized birth, and for your mission having been cut short.
>>
>>5049909
“I must remain here!” your mother demanded of a bulky Steeltalon trailing a long, fat constricting tail.

“You are not,” he repeated. “You have been assigned to the southeastern lands of the surface.”

In the dream-memory, you are small again, not even having developed your mammalian secondary sexual characteristics yet, as you observe from where you hid. You had disobeyed your mother, following her. You always preferred being close to her, for though you had not realized at the time that your room was a place of detention, you had no toys or amusements save her, and all other adults were distinctly unfriendly towards you. You were without playmates. There was little else to do, when she left, but to sleep or to sit in silence.

“That makes no sense,” your mother protested. “I know Hawksong and the northwestern lands.”

“You will be retrained,” the Steeltalon explained.

“But I already have connections, knowledge of the northwestern mammal cultures and languages. Am I not more useful there?”

The Steeltalon rejected her appeal—“I am not the one who devises the assignments, obviously,” he said—and your mother eventually relented.

“But… It is so far from this place,” she said. “May I bring my child?”

The Steeltalon was taken aback. “Why would you need to do this? The Degenerate is nearing its first decade since it hatched.”

“Humans develop more slowly,” your mother tried to explain.

“Well, regardless, no. A half-formed mutant hybrid is of no use, and of great liability, when you are infiltrating.”

“But I will need time to learn the new language, and to be briefed on the cultural quirks of the region’s mammals…”

“The Degenerate will distract from that, also,” he noted. “The answer is still no. It is not my call, or yours.”

“Then what shall become of her?” your mother asked.

“It is time to begin the Degnerate’s training, to prepare it to Infiltrate.”

“Infiltrate… Where?” your mother asks.

“Hawksong,” the Steeltalon answered. “It has been decided. Your spawn will be used to clean up your mess, I am told.”

“…The Yosef bloodline?”

The Steeltalon voices ignorance and disinterest, but your mother’s guess shocks you—now an adult, now knowing what it meant. The Dark Gods… Had they planned to use you for this purpose already, well before uncovering Lord Isaac Yosef’s crusade, before ‘earning their favour’ by returning the staff to them?

Your mother is silent for a time, then asked: “Do I have leeway in when I must depart? May the decision be appealed?”

She was met by silence.

“Of course, I understand,” she replied. “Please, allow me to spend a rest here, and to tell her of the plans myself?”

“That is fine,” he said, turning away. “Be ready in eight hours.”
>>
Rolled 13, 17, 5, 18 = 53 (4d20)

>>5049911

As your mother turned away as well, you had become fearful of being caught. You fled back to your room. There, your mother entered looking weary, with that sadness in her eyes. You awaited her explanation, afraid to ask about what it meant—about whether you would be separated, about what was in store for you. Despite her words with the male, however, your mother never did tell you of her reassignment.

She just held you, closer than you had ever been held until you met Edwin. She held you for hours and then, when she believed you to be in a state of torpor, she left. You could not rest, though. You saw her leave, heard her say those final words—not to you, but to another:

“I am very sorry, Hirschel.”

You didn’t know the meaning then, but you do now, and the shock knocks you out of the dream. A part of you had suspected, of course. The stories had similarities, the timelines lined up, but you had buried the notion. You believed yourself to be twenty-five years old, whereas this would imply you were actually at least twenty-seven… For that was when Izirina—the infiltrator who had failed in her mission to gather information on Lord Isaac Yosef’s family almost three decades ago—had become pregnant. That was when she had fled and Hirschel Yosef, pursuing her, was slain…

Burned to death by Roth’s own dragonfire.

You bury the conflicting feelings this revelation—or confirmation of secret fears—elicits in you. The shame of your mother’s failure, the uncertainty of what it means to be OF the Yosef bloodline which you are pledged to extinguish. Instead, you focus again upon your desire to succeed, to prove your worthiness… You will not summon forth the potions alone, but a whole armory to eliminate your enemies! You will not be a failure, a Degenerate child of two shameful lineages!
>>
>>5049913

When you awaken, you are sitting cross-legged, and before you rests a bottle of an Irinnile-red liquid, as well as one other item which you have manifested, that which you desired most in that moment:

>KINSLAYER: A dagger which warms in the presence of the Yosef bloodline and which always strikes truly against them

>CLARITY: A diadem which shields your mind from outside influence, and which protects you against spells which bind you

>REPRIEVE: A wand which, once per day, may be used to mend even severe injuries

>VENGEANCE: A sword, etched with images of the fall of The Green Dragon, which burns red-hot in the presence of Reptilians and can inspire fear in reptilian beings by its mere presence

>Write-in [subject to QM modification/approval]
>>
>>5049925
>REPRIEVE: A wand which, once per day, may be used to mend even severe injuries
>>
>>5049925
>>CLARITY: A diadem which shields your mind from outside influence, and which protects you against spells which bind you
To avoid another will crit fail meltdown. Plus diadems are cool.
>>
>>5049925
>>CLARITY: A diadem which shields your mind from outside influence, and which protects you against spells which bind you
Could we have made this one to look like an ordinary circlet? Surely a product of Ismena's mind would be an easy to conceal thing to better fit with our job.


We don't need an antiyosef knife to end their family. Considering our legendary lack of luck we'd just end up fumbling and truly striking Ismena to death.

Mfw my conspiracy book write-in from the first thread was a part of Dark Gods' plan.
>>
>>5049913
>CLARITY: A diadem which shields your mind from outside influence, and which protects you against spells which bind you
>>
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>>5050190
>>5050075
>>5050039
>>5049989

You turn the diadem over and over in your hands. It is a simple thing—not particularly ostentatious, as was the sapphire one which you forwent those weeks ago at the adventurers’ party. All the better for your purposes, you suppose! On impulse, you place it upon your forehead and immediately your grogginess dissipates and your vision seems… Crisper, clearer somehow, reflecting your desire to see and understand this increasingly complex web of grudges and connections with true <CLARITY>.

One thing you notice in this new state of heightened sensory perception is how DULL your mystical senses are. Further, your body feels different, too: your bust and ear end returned to their original proportions. You look about, and there you see her: Irinnile, a swirling mass of dark smoke with only the faintest silhouette of a form within it. She seems… Thinner than when last you saw her like this, whispier, less tangible. Perhaps making the magical items took a toll upon her energies?

Without a succubus inside presence within you, and with the aid of your diadem to notice the small differences, you realize your body is cooler, your thoughts more organized, your libido and even your more traditional hunger less urgent. You have full command over yourself.

Of course, without her presence, you also cannot shapeshift, your psychic abilities are lessened or dulled, and you cannot delve into dreams or easily sense the emotions of others; likewise, while you are no longer vulnerable to silver or anti-demon enchantments, you ARE once more vulnerable to mundane weapons and flames. You are less stealthy than with Irinnile’s aid, and cannot see at night, but daylight no longer weakens you.

Also, you kind of like her a little. Maybe more than a little. Already, you find yourself longing for the warmth of her presence and the intimacy of her voice in your mind… But with the diadem upon your head, you also realize that at least PART of this is her addictive, desirable nature as a succubus.

What do you do about Irinnile?
>Re-establish your pact and allow the succubus to possess you once more [+affection]
>Perform a ritual to grant Irinnile a separate body of her own [If you have any specifics for what you/the Infiltrator would desire, please specify—it will affect her form]
>Place Irinnile within another vessel [Bianchi? Albacete? Roth? Someone else?]
>Bottle Irinnile up for now, to find her a host or decide what to do with her later [-affection]
>Dismiss Irinnile for now—you will summon her again if you require her [-affection]
>>
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>>5050210
You also become keenly aware of Lord Bianchi’s glazed expression. He seemed normal enough earlier, albeit suggestible, but you are suddenly quite aware of his state—he is almost sleepwalking through life, his ambitions and personality subsumed by a neutrality, a willful docility. The surface-ape: domesticated! Perhaps is might be useful to have such an obedient slave highly-placed in society, uninterested in acting except in service to you. He CAN get himself in trouble with his meddling when left to his own devices, after all…

What do you do with Bianchi?
>Leave him in this dull-minded thrall state indefinitely
>Purge his memory of the day’s events, but return him to normal until you need to ‘reactive’ him
>Modify his personality or behaviour is some way [how? Please specify.]
>Command him to do something for you [such as?]
>Write-in
>>
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>>5050212
And, of course, there is the potion… For the Reptilian who you now fully understand to be the male responsible for killing your father, condemning your mother, and petitioning your abortion. Your partner-in-crime and fellow operative, who saved your life and who ahs even been your lover… But also an abusive symbol of the old thinking which renders you a despised, untouchable among your mother’s people. And you only have the ONE potion, between he and Lord Bianchi. With the clarity of the diadem, you see that the damage to Bianchi’s back and leg is unlikely to ever mend properly without mystical aid—he will limp forever, until age likely worsens his condition and he can no longer walk at all.

Lastly, what do you do with the potion?
>Save Roth’s life
>Restore Bianchi’s mobility
>Keep it for yourself—you may yet have need of it, and neither male deserves it
>>
>>5049925
>VENGEANCE: A sword, etched with images of the fall of The Green Dragon, which burns red-hot in the presence of Reptilians and can inspire fear in reptilian beings by its mere presence

Honestly, this has the most character of all the items.
>>
>>5050210 (You)
>Without a succubus inside presence within you
[Jesus, that sentence. Well, you get what I meant.] Btw, sorry about flaking last night. I hope these updates have been meaty enough, and without enough choices, to make up for it.

>>5050215
[Sorry bud, juuuust missed it. Clarity was winning, anyway.]
>>
>>5050214
>Re-establish your pact and allow the succubus to possess you once more [+affection]
she's useful

>Leave him in this dull-minded thrall state indefinitely

>>Save Roth’s life
Bianchi doesn't need to walk good when he's a thrall. Roth made mistakes but they were in the past. I'm sure he's seen the error of his ways given how great we turned out.
>>
>>5050210
>Re-establish your pact and allow the succubus to possess you once more [+affection]

This isn't just because I like the gal, but because we still have an Inquisitior to mindfuck (and maybe Mina to seduce after). I will say though, this might be a good opportunity to separate before the Gala.

I do wonder if Irinnile could feminize other males if we placed her in a male vessel.

>>5050212
>Purge his memory of the day’s events, but return him to normal until you need to ‘reactive’ him
>Modify his personality or behaviour is some way [Make servicing and following our commands pleasurable]
>Command him to do something for you [Search more demon names, and find out the Zivic-demon's true name]

I don't wish to subsume this daily life, especially since he's more useful to us coherent and cognizant in what he's doing. Just set him on some tasks for us, and we'll be on our way. We can probably make more shirin this way, and I wonder if we can further our psychic abilities though magical items.

>>5050214
>Save Roth’s life

We'll make one for Bianchi later (because a mobile thrall is always better in an emergency), since saving Roth's life takes priority. We will be getting back at him though, for what he put our family through even if it's just making him subservient to us and pregging his ass for dear ol' ma and pa.

As for the magical item, Vengeance would've been a wicked storyline to go down. If ya ever feel like doing a sister story to this RQM, just start out here but Vengeance chosen instead of Clarity, as fulfilling our Yosef bloodline would've definitely have made this a different level of excitement.
>>
>>5050210
>Re-establish your pact and allow the succubus to possess you once more [+affection]

>Purge his memory of the day’s events, but return him to normal until you need to ‘reactive’ him

>Save Roth’s life
>>
>>5050210
>Bottle Irinnile up for now, to find her a host or decide what to do with her later [-affection]

>>5050212
>>Purge his memory of the day’s events, but return him to normal until you need to ‘reactive’ him
>Modify his personality or behaviour is some way [Make servicing and following our commands pleasurable]

>>5050214
>>Save Roth’s life
>>
>>5050268
>>5050288
>>5050481
>>5050493
>Re-establish your pact and allow the succubus to possess you once more [Irinnile Affection: 95%]

It’s no good: even if being alone in your body and mind WOULD reduce certain risks as the Tower Gala approaches, Irinnile is too useful in the interim to forsake her benefits. Besides, you miss the comforting feeling of her. Especially after that dream of your mother, you are loathe to return to loneliness. Edwin is nice, of course—more than nice, if you’re being honest—but he is human. By necessity, you CANNOT share the whole of yourself with him, can never feel FULLY embraced by his despite his honest effort. Irinnile, though… Despicable and dirty-minded creature of darkness that she is, she knows you inside and out in a way perhaps nobody ever could.

“Return the ssuccubusss to me,” you instruct.

“Whatever you’d like, Ismena,” Bianchi says easily.

As the dark smoke is funneled into you, you feel your body spasm and jerk. For a moment, you feel as if you are suffocating. Then, you feel as if you are suffocating, and you kind of like it. A warm, tingling sensation fills you up until it is so constant that, save for the clarity brought on by the diadem, you’d hardly even notice it.

‘Ooo, that’s the good shit,’ Irinnile coos within your mind’s inner ear. ‘Heya, Lispy. It’s good to be back! That new accessory of your took a lot outta’ me.’

>WANT: 19

It really did. You immediately feel the warmth travel down your body, focusing between your legs and in your gut: desire for food, desire to fornicate. The ‘new accessory’ keeps your mind clear, but you know from experience that Irinnile’s urges cannot be denied indefinitely—one of the downsides of this alliance. Still, you can’t pretend that she isn’t worth it.

‘…A-aww, babe…’
>>
>>5050701
>Modify his personality or behaviour is some way [Make servicing and following our commands pleasurable]
>Purge his memory of the day’s events, but return him to normal until you need to ‘reactive’ him

Perhaps it’s Irinnile’s influence upon you, but a wicked idea strikes almost a soon as she’s settled in. While of course you plan to purge Bianchi’s memories of this whole visit—perhaps replacing it with the memory of some more mundane consultation on matters arcane, or simply an empty gap in his memory which you instruct him not to worry about—that doesn’t mean you can’t make some changes to ensure his loyalty. Sensible enough, but the succubus-possessed side of your nature shows itself in the particulars: you make it pleasurable for Bianchi to serve and follow you.

“Good boy,” you compliment him as you stroke his face and hair, weaving the particulars of the spell into his mind.

“Ismena…” The moody young lord softly moans your name, squirming under your praise and your touch with obvious discomfort… And even more obvious enjoyment.

“Lord Bainchi, do you think you could do me another favour, while you’re here?” you ask.

“I… Yes, anything,” you gasps.

You smirk, letting your hands move down his body. Only when you remember that Albacete, too, is present, do you take his hand in yours rather than letting them stroke lower still.

“When we’re done here, would you be a dear and go straight home, to forget about all thisss?”

“Y-yes,” he answers through trembling, wetted lips.

“Good boy,” you whisper, and he practically collapses. You turn to Albacete, whose expression is one part admiration and one part disgust.
>>
>>5050702
>Save Roth’s life
“Curious choice,” she murmurs

In answer to the senior operative's muted disapproval, you hold aloft the bottle. Materialized from your pure desire and will, it contains the healing potion.

“Unorthodox methods, perhaps, but effective,” you say in your shared native tongue. “Besides, my mother was a Silkscale, as you well know.”

Albacete is surprised by your sudden declaration, but you don’t explain further. Instead, you stride past her with the confidence of imminent victory, buoyed by Irinnile’s cheers and jeers for your ear only.

You enter Roth’s room, where he has fallen into an uneasy torpor, and you rip the blankets from him. The wounds is a nasty one—it is covered in wrappings and cotton, but it has begun to bleed through again—a deep, greenish red that is decidedly NOT normal to your race. You uncork the bottle. Magic potions are potent, but even a well-brewed one by a master of mysticism and alchemy can’t mend ALL injuries—not past a certain point. Your concoction, a product of dreams and demonic energy… Well, you have no time to waste, and you can only hope.

You pour it into Roth’s unresisting mouth, stroking his rough-scaled, frilled throat to force him to swallow.

‘Hehehe, would like to force this guy to swallow something else, if you know what I mean,’ Irinnile fantasizes aloud.

You shush her—for now, at least. You missed her, even her off-colour commentary, but this is time for focus and professionalism. You watch him carefully, eyes flitting from his sickly grayish countenance to her bulging, injured stomach…

Until, eventually, colour begins to return to him. His nictitating membrane slide open, unclouding his dark blue eyes, and they meet yours.

“D-Degenerate?” he groans.

“Infiltrator,” you remind him, daring a gentle smack upon his snout. What is he going to do—admonish you, after saving his life a THIRD time? Still, you brace for the ingratitude, even as you explain what has transpired.

Instead, you are met by silence, and then a slow nod. You feel shame in his aura, as well as the expected physical pain and discomfort, but also… Genuine surprise, and gratitude. He doesn’t say it aloud, mind you, but it’s more than you have come to expect.

“Well, it’s almost afternoon,” Albacete notes. “If circumstances were otherwise, perhaps I’d be expecting you and your other pet human to be arriving soon for your dance lessons.”
>>
>>5050713
What is your next course of action?
>Send for Edwin of Engel to meet you here—you miss him, and you still haven't really mastered this strange, slow, stop-and-go paired dance popular among the human upperclassmen
>Monitor Roth for recovery and possible side-effects, and speak with him about your parents and what happened to them
>Plan with Albacete on how best to strike back at the Inquisition—they will pay for what they've done!
>Pay a visit to The Grey Press, to ensure they have not compromised your identity further
>Go somewhere private with your new slave, Lord Bianchi, to sate some <WANT>
>Write-in
>>
>>5050714
>Send for Edwin of Engel to meet you here—you miss him, and you still haven't really mastered this strange, slow, stop-and-go paired dance popular among the human upperclassmen

And while he's coming...
>Plan with Albacete on how best to strike back at the Inquisition—they will pay for what they've done!
or
>Go somewhere private with your new slave, Lord Bianchi, to sate some <WANT>

The Grey Press is important, and so to is discussing our parentage with Roth, so I won't begrudge y'all from choosing either.
>>
>>5050714
>Send for Edwin of Engel to meet you here—you miss him, and you still haven't really mastered this strange, slow, stop-and-go paired dance popular among the human upperclassmen

If we can get a quickie with Bianchi while waiting all the better
>>
>>5050714
>>Send for Edwin of Engel to meet you here—you miss him, and you still haven't really mastered this strange, slow, stop-and-go paired dance popular among the human upperclassmen
>>
>>5050789
>>5050825
>>5051137

“Lord Bianchi,” you say loudly enough for him to hear. “On your way home, just happen to passss by the Roya Library and, if you ssee Edwin of Engel there, tell him that you ran into me earlier, and that I’ve gone ahead to our danccing lessssonss. If he asskss anything elsse, you’re in a rush—as ussual—and have no further time for him. Then, forget all about why you were asked to do thiss.”

“Yes,” he acknowledges. “Of course.”

You and Albacete listen to his footsteps depart, silent otherwise.

‘Aww,’ Irinnile pouts in your mindscape. ‘I was hoping to suck him dry while we waited for Eddie.’

“It’s quite impressive what you’ve done today,” Albacete acknowledges in Northern Common-tongue.

“You see why I keep the succubus,” you reply in Reptilian True-Speech.

‘Hey, I resemble that remark,’ Irinnile grumbles.

Dame Albacete tuts. “You can’t revert to our speech so easily, young one. It’s why the accent is so difficult for you to lose, even as your mouth is better shaped for the speech of your father’s race.”

You narrow your eyes at the mention of your father. “Hirschel Yosef, you mean.”

Dame Albacete inclines her head. “I suppose you look you right age, if I’m a judge. I have seen many human children grow through their early phases to assume their adult forms, too, so I suppose if any of our race is a judge it is I!”

“You didn’t know when Roth brought me here?” you ask.

“No,” she admits. “How could I have? You don’t resemble her in the least.”

The comment stings.

“But I am a… I am half-blooded. Surely you suspected I must be the child of ‘Izirina’.”

“You are not the only Degenerate on the surface or below it,” she says casually. “Though most are more… Deliberately constructed.”

You suppose you knew as much, but still… You’ve never met another, and the impression you received was that your ilk were rare.

“There will be some time until your Edwin of Engel arrives,” Albacete says again, breaking the contemplative silence. “And I can see your mind is already there. You must have much you wish to speak of.”

You realize, with a start, that this is the nicest any Reptilian has ever been to you, and the most obliging... Well, except for your mother. Your kind are not fond of unnecessary niceties, social falseness. Small talk is unknown. You are immediately suspicious, but she SEEMS genuine. Perhaps this is a curious habit she has picked up among the natives of this city?

What do you ask about?
>Your mother
>Your father
>Roth
>The Dark Gods and The Grand Design
>Degenerates
>Albacete herself
>The nature of love
>Nothing, just wait it out
>Write-in
>>
>>5051292
>Roth
Does he have an established role in Hawksong, like supervising new infiltrators or cleaning up, or did we just happen to see him work in those areas?
>Albacete herself
Kind of the same question, does she have a general role or nah?
>Yosef family
Intel people, intel.


Can we add a second healing potion for Bianchi to a to-do list for later? His disability is our disability and the like. I'd just like to put some resources into fixing him while it's still possible.
>>
>>5051292
>The Dark Gods and The Grand Design
>>
>>5051292
>The Dark Gods and The Grand Design
>Degenerates
>>
>>5051527
>>5051519
>>5051450
“Actually, what I’d like to talk to you about is the Grand Design.”

Albacete tuts again. “In Northern Common, if you please. After all, the Dark Gods Beyond and Below would not permit degenerate outcrossings if They did not need infiltrators who were most convincing. Your accent is a liability.”

‘Now I kinda’ want you to keep it just to spite her,’ irinnile mumbles in irritation.

“Very well,” you acquiesce, switching languages. “But… Iss that the purposse for which I exxisst in the Grand Design, then?”

“Of course,” Dame Albacete says, seemingly a little surprised at the question. “Why else?”

You think back to your dreams of glory, your acquisition of the Serpent Priest staff even now stowed under your bed at Edwin’s home, the boons which the Dark Gods granted to you for finding it—a mission to exterminate the Yosef bloodline, the secret knowledge to do so, the still-unspent <DIVINE FAVOUR>…

“Ssomething… More, maybe.”

It is a shameful admission, but you have always had ambition. That in and of itself is no shameful trait among the Reptilian Master Race, for individuals ambition and vying for power strengthens the whole of the race… But no degenerate is permitted ascent and status, for how could they ever be as good, loyal, or true as a pureblood? That you still aspire to more is almost heretical, even as you remain undyingly loyal to your divine masters.

Dame Albacete looks at you, not unkindly, not in disgust or mockery. “Your mother, the agent ‘Izirina’, was one of my junior contacts… But in civilizations which we have infiltrated for longer, subverted to a greater extent than that of the Paladins of the North, the chain of senior operatives goes back lifetimes.”

“I don’t undersstand what you are getting at,” you admit.

“Hawksong will not fall today, or tomorrow, or even after you mission of the day is done,” the elder female says. “You may weaken it, martially or morally. You may throw it into chaos. Assassinate enough leaders, and a city may even fall into anarchy and drag its surrounding civilization with it… But total collapse takes time. The Grand Design is eons long, and though it nears completion, it may yet be a hundred years, or two hundred, before the Serpent Priests take their rightful throne by light of day.”

You nod, but say nothing.

‘So no being carried around by hunky orc guys while squeezing a handful of ripe elf titty?’ Irinnile laments. ‘You know, sometimes when you’re being all BORING and NOT fuckin’, I go back and look at that dream and…’

You silence Irinnile abruptly as Albacete begins to speak again. She explains further: “While the Grand Design is yet incomplete, we can all only fulfill our role, our duty. We can only play our part, and try to enjoy it."
>>
>>5051565

You’re a little surprised by this. “ENJOY time among the apes?”

“YOU certainly have been, I gather,” Albacete points out.

Another shameful demerit… But true. Still, it’s a surprise to hear your prueblooded senior say as much.

“I personally admit that I have come to enjoy watching the young humans grow. Their skill at dance, their personality developing, their relationships blossoming. Perhaps this is why mammals keep pets?”
Albacete pauses to muse, before continuing.

“Sometimes… We may take it a little far, fall too deeply into our roles. Your mother certainly did. But now, here you are! A powerful weapon against our foes, as the Dark Gods themselves must have foreseen and ordained!”

Your shame lessens at this praise, but Albacete is not yet done.

“And though you seem to have Izirina’s… Weakness… Magnified by your impurity of blood I would imagine…” Albacete pauses. “You may yet have a full life ahead of you to enjoy once you have fulfilled your purpose. If your purpose is indeed a simple and direct one—to destroy a single target, to live in a single city and undermine its workings… I almost envy you that, Infiltrator. It means you can, in fact, build and enjoy an entire life… And as a half-human, perhaps you can enjoy life among these creatures in a way that a pureblood never can.”

As if on-cue, a knock comes at the door.

“Edwin,” you say, standing up.

Dame Albacete smiles, and stands as well. “Careful not to break your toy, Ismena Rosgard.”

The two of you open the door together, and Edwin smiles to see you with obvious relief.

“I swear to the Gods Above, Izzy, I am going to find a way to keep track of you. Are you alright?”

What do you do?
>Embrace Edwin, and the enjoyment of your cover identity, fully [+affection, +hedonism]
>Maintain emotional and physical distance—you will NOT fall into the same pitfalls as your mother, nor accept your human weakness [-affection, -hedonism]
>>
>>5051566

The two of you dance, under Albacete’s instruction. First, you dance with her, then with Edwin himself. The experience is undeniably a nice once: his hand in yours, his other on your hip. The two of you are awkward yet, stepping on each other’s feet or stumbling, losing the slow rhythm. Once or twice, you find yourself staring into his eyes and unable to focus on much else. Worse, when his body presses close you yours, you are reminded of…

>WANT: 19

…That, leading to a sensation of wetness and a squirming NEED that is hard to deny.

“I like the new… Tiara?” Edwin whispers as you dance.

“Diadem,” you correct, with a small smile. It is surely the only thing keeping Irinnile’s urges reined in. “Thank you.”

When the two of you are done, Edwin offers you a ride to work. Do you…
>Accept—you will head to The pretty Kitty next
>Ask to swing by The Enchanted Grove boutique first, as your modified and diluted shirin should eb ready by now
>Request to head home instead—you need an evening to relax and gather yourself
>Have him pull over somewhere private to sate some <WANT> first
>Decline—you have spycraft to attend to, and you worry that Felman may be waiting for you at your usual places
>Write-in
>>
>>5051566
>Maintain emotional and physical distance—you will NOT fall into the same pitfalls as your mother, nor accept your human weakness [-affection, -hedonism]

fake it tho

>Have him pull over somewhere private to sate some <WANT> first
>>
>>5051568
>Embrace Edwin, and the enjoyment of your cover identity, fully [+affection, +hedonism]
>Have him pull over somewhere private to sate some <WANT> first
a special dick requires special loving
>>
>>5051292
>You realize, with a start, that this is the nicest any Reptilian has ever been to you, and the most obliging
Did the night with Roth not count because he was too rough?
>>
>>5051566
I'll leave this to the others.

>>5051568
>Ask to swing by The Enchanted Grove boutique first, as your modified and diluted shirin should eb ready by now
Also to secure elf titty.

>Have him pull over somewhere private to sate some <WANT> first
To secure us from want.

We also need a plan to deal with Felman, and when I mean plan, we need a trapand some bait.

>>5051450
Ye, when our WANT is satiated.
>>
>>5051568
>Embrace Edwin, and the enjoyment of your cover identity, fully [+affection, +hedonism]

>Have him pull over somewhere private to sate some <WANT> first
>>
>>5051568
>Embrace Edwin, and the enjoyment of your cover identity, fully [+affection, +hedonism]

>Have him pull over somewhere private to sate some <WANT> first
>>
>>5051630
I guess it depends of you count dominance-asserting, bloodlust-fueled hatesex which he later disavowed as 'nice'
>>
>>5051566
>Maintain emotional distance—you will NOT fall into the same pitfalls as your mother, nor accept your human weakness
Embrace Edwin, but keep it cool with emotions for now, we certainly don't want Izirina's story to repeat itself.

>>5051568
>Tell him to wait outside and see if Roth is functional enough to speak
>(If possible) Ask Roth what happened to Felman and if he knows anything important
>Have him pull over somewhere private to sate some <WANT> first

>>5051758
He can disavow as many times as he wants. Doesn't change the fact that he put his dick in a degenerate.
>>
>>5051856
I'll +1 the attempt to talk to Roth. We'll need to deal with Felman properly tonight or tomorrow, and we still have to case out the Tower and get Paula to get us inside.

I would like to get our shirin shit started today, as it would be a wonderful appeasement gift to Mina for our absence (and to explain it away).
>>
>>5051946
I was gonna vote for visit at the boutique to get shirin and pull the elf into a threesome, but everyone already voted for somewhere private.
If Edwin's friends are gonna be at TPK, we'll miss out on opportunity to sell it to them or something, I dunno. I should be sleeping.
>>
>>5051587
>>5051629
>>5051647
>>5051701
>>5051720
>>5051856
>3 to embrace, 3 for distance
>night-universal agreement for sex on the way to TPK

The ride to The Pretty Kitty—Edwin in unusually dressy attires for the dancing lesson, you in a borrowed, floral-printed peasant dress once worn by one of Albacete’s dancers to a dance competition—is awkward. It is periodically filled with snippets of small-talk, brushing touches, and stretches of silence as you pull back into contemplation. You care for Edwin, and you’ve missed him—a part of you just wants to throw caution to the wind, but then….

“I’m very sorry, Hirschel.”

…You remember your mother, and her shame, and her downfall. Your genesis. Even as the Infiltrator called Dame Albacete suggested you embrace your enjoyment of your false identity, she indicted your weakness—as a half-human, as a daughter of ‘Izirina’. You bristle at it, rage against you. You don’t want to repeat her failure! You don’t WANT her weakness!

“…Izzy?” Edwin asks, gently reaching out to stroke your hair. “Are you alright?”

“Sstop the carriage,” you say.

“What?”

“Sstop the carriage,” you repeat.

Clearly confused, he tells the driver to do so. Before it has even pulled over, you are already upon him, in his lap, kissing him. There is no tenderness this time, not outwardly. You subsume it into passion, letting Irinnile take control. You let your worries melt away into pure <WANT> as your body grinds into his, slides down between his legs. As one, you and Irinnile reach to part his robes, and to extract what lies within.

If you can’t give him you heart—not fully—you can at least give him head.

“Izzy, what’s come over—OH!... Ooh, ffff…”

Adorably, Edwin even now tries not to swear to loudly, to keep his voice down. You smirk at the futile struggle, and redouble your efforts until he is gasping, almost SHOUTING your pseudonym as if it were profanity, or maybe prayer. With Irinnile empathic link stronger than ever, and his mana pouting into you, every jolt of pleasure he feels sends an aftershock into you, such that when his climax occurs, you experience your own leg-shaking orgasm as a side-effect.

>WANT: 18
>>
>>5052052
As you swallow every drop of mana, you wonder what the carriage-driver must think. You cast your senses through the thin wall to find him equal parts mortified and aroused, fantasizing that he were in Edwin’s place.

‘We should ask him back here,’ Irinnile suggests.

“Ha… Ah… Wow.” Edwin is still trembling. “Izzy, that was… Amazing! What was THAT for?”

“Jusst showing my apprecciation for everything you've done,” you say with a smile, licking your lips.

“Well, I don’t think you owe me any debt,” he says, “but if you’re at all worried, I’m certain you can consider it repaid!”

“Oh, that wass jusst the down-payment,” you hear Irinnile say with a giggle.

‘Wait…’

You feel her seize control of your limbs, hiking up the dress up to expose your lack of undergarments, while her other hand seizes hold of Edwin once more.

“W-wait…” he says.

But, possessed by the succubus, you do not. With the force of what comes next, you are certain the carriage itself is visibly, audibly rocking… And yet, swept up in the emotions and sensations, you cannot bring yourself to force the issue.


>WANT: 17

By the time you are done, Edwin is gasping, barely able to sit up in his seat for the exhaustion of his limbs and his mana reserves. Still, Irinnile was good, by her standards: she left him alive. Better yet, when she restores control of your body, you feel refreshed, invigorated, and ready to take on the world…
>>
>>5052055

But maybe, alas, not quite ready for what awaits you at The Pretty Kitty. You are immediately put on alert by the presence of guards—more even than you’ve seen in recent days, all armed and, grudgingly or earnestly, at attention. Worse yet, the presence of at least two humans in robes and red, pointed caps denotes the Tower Inquisition is with them, and openly this time.

“Huh,” Edwin says, peering out the window. “Is something going on?”

“It’ss probably nothing,” you lie. “Wait here.”

You step out of the carriage and, avoiding close scrutiny by guards with a subtle glamour and Inquisitors through careful timing, to slip into the lounge. There, you see a female inquisitor supervising the guards’ arrest and removal of Konrad Brugaghson, the orc cook. Felia and the other staff are watching with clear unease, while rubberneckers aplenty have gathered around the entrances, pressing to be let in so they can get a drink while the watch the proceedings.

There is no sign of Mina—troubling in its own right, for she would never allow this to happen in her establishment without intervening.

‘This is bad!’ Irinnile notes unnecessarily. ‘This is veeery bad! We gotta’ go!’

What do you do?
>Sneak closer to ask Felia what’s happening, and where Mina is and what’s going on
>Confront the Inquisitors directly, protesting for them to free Brugaghson
>Silently observe for now—lay low, stay in the crowd
>Get back in the carriage and get out of here [specify if you have a destination in mind]
>Shapeshift into a demonic form and attack, then flee—perhaps you can create a distraction and draw them away from The Pretty Kitty
>Write-in
>>
>>5052056
>Sneak closer to ask Felia what’s happening, and where Mina is and what’s going on

This is not poggers
This is not based
>>
>>5052056
>>Sneak closer to ask Felia what’s happening, and where Mina is and what’s going on
woopsie doopsie
>>
>>5052056
>Read surface emotions of the people around to try and figure out what's happening
>Sneak closer to ask Felia what’s happening, and where Mina is and what’s going on

Uhh, now that I think of it... didn't Felman see our face?

And was asking to see Roth again for information too much? He didn't pass out and it didn't seem contradictory to the other options and we surely could've masked it as wanting to ask Albacete about something. Only bringing this up because not asking Roth about details leaves Ismena in a worse position.
>>
>>5052238
[Oh, right! My bad--yes, Roth is asleep and mending. I'd meant to include a throwaway line near the start.]

[And no, as far as you know, Felman didn't get a clear and direct look at your normal face. You shapeshifted it slightly and wore a scarf over the bottom. I figured a disguise was common sense, so I noted it in a post without anyone having necessarily brought it up.]
>>
>>5052259
>[2]
Oh good. I sometimes forget the details like that and then don't wanna go looking for a line of text that might or might not exist.
>>
>>5052238
>>5052163
>>5052075
With deliberate casualness and a measured gait, you use the cover of the crowd and your unfamiliar attire to slink closer to the females of The Pretty Kitty. The sheer lack of attention you are paid is notable in and of itself; while Felman didn’t glimpse your undisguised face during his assault at his home, he DID have a lengthy discussion here. If the Inquisition has returned, you’d assume he drew some connections… But then why Brugaghson’s arrest? Wy no guards with instructions to detain you, specifically? Hopefully Felia, Mina’s buxom right-hand woman, can lend some clarity.

“Felia,” you whisper when you’re close enough, giving her a nudge.

She turns around, and so too do Manuela and Helga, the closest girls. You shush their reaction before it begins.

“Sshh! What’ss going on?”

The three female mammals share a look, but it’s Felia who answers: “We’re not sure. I’m glad you’re alright, though. When he went missing again and the guard and INQUISITION turned up, we thought… Something had happened.”

“I wass… Busy with a perssonal matter. Unrelated busssiness.” You breeze past the implied question, substituting your own. “Why ARE there sso many Ccity Watch here? And why the Inquissition? Did they ssay what they want?”

Felia nods to Brugaghson’s situation. “Apparently there was some occult business in Goblintown involving orcs. Not sure if that’s why they had a guy here yesterday—that one you were talking to, actually! He came back today in a proper uniform. Anyway, he came here yesterday, asked some questions, and then today they have this story about charges of occultism, home invasion, assault… The works.”

You do not react. Mentally, you process this: Felman, having spoken to yourself AND Konrad before your assault on his home, must have assumed that the large male assailant WAS Konrad. You suppose it makes sense from a certain perspective: the Inquisition still (hopefully) has no inkling of a Reptilian element, but they know that the deaths and disappearances of late centre on three locations: Mina’s business and some clients thereof with connections to Konrad, Goblintown and occult operation run by a half-orc and a hobgoblin, and the stretch of sewer between the two locations…

As well as Zivic’s home, of course, and the Eastern Standard Silk Spice company’s temporary tent, both of which have connections to Madam Mina.
>>
>>5052361
With a sinking feeling in your chest you ask “Where’ss Mina? Where’ss the man I sspoke to last night?”

Helga nods, and Manuela confirms your fears: “He’s in her office. Talking to her. And he brought back-up, like he was trying to head off a struggle.”

What do you do?
>Head up to Madam Mina’s office to interrupt the ‘meeting’ and lend what aid you can
>Send Edwin away, stay put, and keep your head low; you may yet escape suspicion
>Have Edwin spirit you away to The Grey Press—if you aren’t identified yet, their report of a lispy-accented bronze-skinned woman reporting on wererat happenings will surely identify you
>Leave now on foot, to return to Albacete and Roth—your Kamunu identity is compromised and your Rosgard one may be dangerously close as well
>Write-in
>>
>>5052363
>Send Edwin away, stay put, and keep your head low; you may yet escape suspicion

oh god I dunno
>>
>>5052363
>Head up to Madam Mina’s office to interrupt the ‘meeting’ and lend what aid you can

I honestly don't know what to do either, or the right call here. Shit sucks lads.
>>
>>5052363
>Send Edwin away
Stealing
>Head up to Madam Mina’s office to interrupt the ‘meeting’ and lend what aid you can
Better than letting Felman tell her all about mysterious pair of assassins, one of whom was a demon, and risking Mina spill the beans. Plus we can play this into "solidarity with our boss" aspect unless situation doesn't allow for it or Mina tries to scratch our face off. Poor cat.

So were we unconscious for a day? I went back looking for gala counter and saw a jump between 6 and 3 days left. Not gonna reread everything to figure this out, sorry. Might have to start a mini calendar just for this quest, kek.
>>5023930
>It isn't an author insert.
Understandable. Yemrep's takes were pretty amusing.
>>
>>5052487
>don't know what to do
Let's gather some data and try to defuse the situation as best as we can.
Full focus on proceeding with the gala shit and avoiding Felman for the next 3 days.
We need to figure out if our attack will affect Tower's approach to security on the Gala and assume that someone will tail or observe Ismena after tonight.

What else did we have to do? Besides seducing that one student for premium access.

Kind of a stupid question, but what are we trying to accomplish at the Gala and how are city defenses related to it, again, again?
>>
>>5052363
>>Head up to Madam Mina’s office to interrupt the ‘meeting’ and lend what aid you can
Spread false leads all over the place. Make them chase breadcrumbs while we clean up the mess.
>>
>>5052489
>I went back looking for gala counter and saw a jump between 6 and 3 days left.

[It was 5 days when you took Edwin for dancing lessons. A day or regular time went by, leading to 4 days at the start of the tread, and you were unconscious as a result of the loss against Felman for about 36 hours.]

>>5052504
>what are we trying to accomplish at the Gala and how are city defenses related to it, again, again?

[You have uncovered a plan by the Mages' Tower and paladins to use excavated materials and enchanted items from a dwarven ruin to create a mystical surveillance and security system including golems and other animated stone structures which pursue their objective (for instance, "hunt down all Reptilian shapeshifters") without the need for conventional senses, and who are therefore immune to illusion, mentalism, or other typical forms of misdirection. The most valuable and key magic items seem to have already been seized by the Tower, and are likely being stored inside their premises in a research laboratory. The Tower itself is normally forbidden to outsiders, and well-guarded with a variety of spells and countermeasures including rumoured monsters... But during the Galas, they open up at least a portion of it to the wealthy elite to schmooze for donations and political goodwill.]
>>
>>5052623
Yeah well, it's going to be a complete disaster. Didn't we find an object related to city shifting in the warehouse?

Do we know whether Bianchi is going to attend the Gala? If he didn't plan to, could he manage get an entry?
>>
>>5052647
[You are present Edwin of Engel's Plus One. Janus Zika or Lord Bianchi would both likely be able to gain entrance of you'd rather go with one of them or have them on-hand, though I don't believe you've asked either man if he plans to attend or has a date.

You did indeed find and steal a small, seemingly-enchanted puzzlebox-like object of some sort in the warehouse. You have done no real experimentation or study of it.]
>>
>>5052670
Alright, then I think we should tell Bianchi to attend the Gala with someone so he can help us on the inside if necessary. The question is who.

Honestly, we could spend some time at Bianchi's place to convince him to go to the Gala, fiddle with the Sseplooss and see if a second potion is doable in one go.

Idk where to do the research about dwarven artifacts, though.
>>
>>5052361
>Send Edwin away
&
>Head up to Madam Mina’s office to interrupt the ‘meeting’ and lend what aid you can
>>
>>5052790
>>5052609
>>5052489
>>5052487
>>5052478
Be it a sense of loyalty, or pragmatic fear for what Mina might tell the Inquisition, you know you cannot let you cat-faced employer face Felman alone. You signal to the carriage-driver too take Edwin away from the ruckus of this place, and he obliges. If Edwin has any objection, you’ve left him altogether too exhausted to do anything about it. This matter handled, you step inside and ascend the stairs to Mina’s office.

Do you wear the diadem of clarity?
>Yes—its magic may prove vital to resisting Felman’s spellcraft
>No—it is a demonic, magical item which may attract attention

You do not knock, but instead open the door with force, stopping just short of smashing it into one of a pair of non-Tower guardsmen. With a start, your realize you recognize him, and his companion: Gaurdsman Tomas and Guardsman Levier! One is a tall, rural lad of hardy stock; the other, lanky, stern, and awkward. You have toyed with these two before, physically AND mentally—in fact, you insinuated feelings of resentment towards the Tower, built upon false remembrances and imagined slights you slipped into their vulnerable psyches! This could prove useful…

“Apologiess,” you say without much conviction.

“Apologies would be appropriate… Ah. Kamunu, was it?” comes a less-welcome voice.

You meet Felman’s eyes briefly as he looks disdainfully over his shoulder at you, before turning back to his primary target: Mina. He is standing, almost looming, before the madam’s desk, where Mina sits stiffly. His claws scratch idly at the wood of her desktop, while her eyes flit to you with a mix of alarm and confusion, and then back to the Inquisitor.

“Kamunu,” Mina croaks, “leave us, please.”

But you have already resolved not to. The question is… What do you do now? With every step up the stairs you were analyzing your possible approaches, from a storm of misdirection and false accusations to simply coaching and supporting Mina while gathering as much intel as you can. Of course, the guards present new opportunities…

What do you do?
>Spin an elaborate lie about where you’ve been this last long while, full of false leads to keep the Inquisition busy
>Offer your support to Mina’s innocence, offering up alibis (real or false) to help keep her out of the Inquisition’s crosshairs
>Tell them you’re just here because the girls are worried about Mina, and you want make sure she’s treated fairly
>Play the guards and the inquisitor against one another to distract them all from proper investigation
>Screw it—attempt to enthrall the guards into attacking and restraining Felman, so you can do what you should have done last night and rewrite his mind!
>Write-in
>>
>>5052889
>Yes—its magic may prove vital to resisting Felman’s spellcraft
I don't think the diadem is any more demonic than our body while we're hosting Irinnile. If he can somehow detect it, then we were fucked either way.

>Tell them you’re just here because the girls are worried about Mina, and you want make sure she’s treated fairly
>Try to figure out the dynamic here, see what Mina thinks of the dragonstabber
>(If Ismena gets kicked out of the office) Demand to at least talk to one of the two guards you know to explain the situation. Enthrall him once you're out of everyone's view.

It's really hard for me to not vote to just slam Felman's head against the desk, enthrall the guards, tell Mina to stop clawing and rearrange the faggot's braincells.
The consequences of fucking it up in broad daylight as our everyday persona would be too serious, though.
>>
>>5052889
>Yes—its magic may prove vital to resisting Felman’s spellcraft

I'm sort of hoping that it'll bring some clarity to the situation at hand.

>Tell them you’re just here because the girls are worried about Mina, and you want make sure she’s treated fairly
>Play the guards and the inquisitor against one another to distract them all from proper investigation

I think these options mesh well with each other, and a low key distraction is what we need atm. I'm curious though, could we attempt to stealthy enthrall the guards while Feldman is distracted with interrogating Mina? I'm uncomfortable with being so bold (or brash) as to openly attempt some shenanigans first thing, but maybe a decisive suprise attack is just what will win us the day, so if we can attempt to enthrall the guards without tipping Felman off about it, I'd be for it.
>>
>>5052889
>Tell them you’re just here because the girls are worried about Mina, and you want make sure she’s treated fairly
>>
>>5052889
>>No—it is a demonic, magical item which may attract attention
>Spin an elaborate lie about where you’ve been this last long while, full of false leads to keep the Inquisition busy
>Offer your support to Mina’s innocence, offering up alibis (real or false) to help keep her out of the Inquisition’s crosshairs
>>
File: neverwinter-d20.gif (153 KB, 220x220)
153 KB
153 KB GIF
Rolled 18, 10, 7, 9 = 44 (4d20)

>>5053023
>>5053074
>>5053140
>>5053153
>Yes to the diadem
>Tell them you’re just here because the girls are worried about Mina, and you want make sure she’s treated fairly
>Try to figure out the dynamic here, see what Mina thinks of the dragonstabber

[3d20 politesse, 1d20 mystery roll, post incoming!]
>>
I hope the mystery roll was for Felman staying conscious.
>>
>>5053238
“The girlss are worried,” you say firmly. “They want to make ccertain that Madam Mina iss being treated properly. Fairly.”

“That’s not your concern,” Felman says without turning around.

His dismissal plays to your advantage, at least. Though any mage, yourself included, has a sense for the mystical when they focus and utilize their ‘third eye’, Inquisitor Felman clearly holds you in such low regard that even your diadem, a concentrated manifestation of demonic ectoplasm and dreamstuff made manifest—doesn’t catch his attention as anything more than a gaudy proper for ‘Kamunu the Desert Princess’. More’s the better, as it allows you to with a concerned glance and a subtle turning of mental keys, rally the City Guardsmen to your defence.

“Aw, come on now,” Guardsman Tomas says. “We ain’t doing nothing wrong, so why not have a witness to that?”

Levier sniffs, less impassioned in his defence of you, but clearly still disdainful of the Inquisitor. “It’s unnecessary secrecy and obscurity that leads to the Inquisition’s reputation among regular people… Respectfully, sir.”

Felman drums his fingers on the desk, not turning around… But sighs, and acquiesces. Without formally acknowledging you or granting you permission to remain, he ceases trying to impress upon you to leave. Instead, he returns his undivided attention to Mina.
>>
>>5053270
It doesn’t take an empath to detect Mina’s fear, her discomfort. Again you are reminded of her youthful connection to Lady Zivic, the late, occult-dabbling noblewoman who now serves as thrall to an incubus and a persistent thorn in your side. What dark secrets of forbidden magical practice might Mina be privy to—have been PARTY to—that the Inquisition might uncover?

“I reiterate,” Felman begins, taking out his little book and his charcoal pencil as he had that night when you attempted to seduce him in the lounge of The Pretty Kitty, “how do you explain yourself? I came here to investigate the connections between your… Establishment… And the murders and disappearances which have plagued Hawksong.”

Mina says nothing.

“Shall I list them again?” Felman asks.

“No,” she growls, not making eye contact—not with him, and not with you.

You know them well: the wererats with whom Mina had obvious familiarity, who you framed for your crimes before utterly annihilating; Estesllia, TPK’s most popular dancer before you, whom you slew in the wererats’ sewer; the adventurer-chic young men and women who you recruited, drained, and left with their throats slit after you had sprung an Inquisition trap; Zivic herself, whose mansion you burned down.

“In addition to those incidences, I was attacked by one of your race while investigating a lead,” Felman says, alluding to your first encounter with him—not that he knows you are one and the same as his assailant, luckily. “Do you know how many catwomen are in Hawksong right now?

“How could I possibly—” Mina begins, glaring up at him.

“Take a guess.”

“…Less than a dozen.”

Felman writes something in his book, then turns it around. Mina’s ears flatten and her tail twitches.

“One. You. Not even your brother—yes, I know your connection to Cuggi of Eastern Standard—not even HE has a single female of his race in his blasted caravan of con-artists.”
>>
>>5053271
You feel compelled to interject at this point, raising your voice and correcting Felman: “One that you KNOW of.”

Inquisitor Felman rolls his shoudlers, adjusts his pointed cap, and looks back at you again. “I beg your pardon?”

“It sseemss to me that the Inquissition hass misssed a lot of thingss lately,” you note. “Wereratss in the ssewerss, for one.”

“Yes, there HAS been an uptick of violence and criminality involving beastmen lately…” Felman pauses, turning back to the catwoman. “All of it in proximity to this business or Eastern Standard, or involving known associates of yourself, your employees, or your brother. Much of it involving demons, and the occult.”

Mina is silent for a time. When he becomes clear she is expected to speak, she barely ahs time to get out a few words, saying only “I don’t see why that should mean anything to me.”

“Zumyno,” he says, speaking Mina’s birth-name like a magic spell. She freezes, as if paralyzed. It is so sudden and dramatic that you actually extend out your mystic senses, just for a moment, to make sure Felman hasn’t cast a spell upon her.

“We know about your involvement with the late Lady Kasandra Zivic,” he says. “Our investigators found evidence of occult rituals having been performed there, in her home, prior to the fire. The fire which killed her, and her household servants, some of whom had evidence of having been brutalized as if by CLAWS, Zumyno.”

Roth’s claws and Roth’s fire, you mentally note. Still, it paints a damning picture, and both Mina and Felman know it. He leans over the desk, getting into her personal space in a way you’ve NEVER known Mina to tolerate. This evening, she dares not even move back.

“We found the dead wererats in the sewer,” he says flatly. “They did not have claws large or broad enough to inflict the injuries we discovered, amongst the ashes. Besides which, with the wererats all dead, it doesn’t explain how the crimes continued”

Mina retreats to silence once more, taking in the scope of the accusations.

“Are you familiar with the rakshasa?” Felman asks.

“What?” Mina asks, confused.

“The rakshasa,” Felman repeats. “The catmen of the southeastern lands, demonologists or demons themselves. Occult entities, who manipulate and assault others, who amass little criminal fiefdoms and feed on their mortal subjects.”

“I…” Mina trails off, not sure how to respond to this apparent segue.

“I want you to know that I know of them, ‘Madam Mina’. Zumyno. I know what your kind are capable of, when establishing your little empires. It will NOT happen here.”
>>
>>5053272
You can’t deny that Inquisitor Felman has presence. Though small and slight of frame, his voice fills the room, crackling with the electric energy of a Serpent priest sermon, of a judge pronouncing sentence. The Guardsmen, though clearly not following his entire train of thought, are fixated on him and the fearsome ‘rakshasa’ he has built Mina into in their minds. Mina herself is cowed, as you have never seen her. She actually looks to you, eyes pleading, unusually expressive in their desperation. If you don’t find a way to stop this, Felman will take her away and interrogating her by magical or mundane coercion, and he will get what he needs to discover both you AND the broader nature of your conspiracy.

Your internal panic is interrupted by a knock at the door. Furious at the disruption, Felman turns around, but it is a fellow Inquisitor who opens it.

“Yes?” Felman demands, politely.

“There’s a bit of a problem, Investigator,” the other man says. “A drunk getting rowdy about the, ahem, delay in performances.”

“And?” Felman presses. “That seems like a matter for the City Guard, not—”

“The, uh, drunk IS a Guardsman. A… Mister Cross? He demands to speak to our lead investigator, sir.”

Ah, good old Guardsman Cross, perpetual lush and front-row attendee of every evening’s show. He’s bought you precious time! Exasperated, Felman leaves to deal with him. That still leaves two guardsmen in the room with yourself and Mina, but this may be the best chance you’ll get to interrupt proceedings.

What do you do?
>Mesmerize the guards, enthralling them to attack and restrain Felman upon his return
>Comfort Mina, and reassure her that you’ll get her out of this yet
>Intimidate Mina with Irinnile’s powers and threats of what your superiors will do if she talks
>Attempt to wipe or muddle Mina’s memories of your true nature and the conspiracy
>Stage an escape for Mina, and smuggle her away from this place—you need to get her out of town, and fast
>Leave—there is nothing more you can do for her here, and the longer you stay the more likely she will cave and sacrifice you to this dogged Felman character
>Write-in
>>
>>5053274
>Mesmerize the guards, enthralling them to attack and KILL Felman upon his return; insert a shadowy monster bursting through the window and murdering Felman into their memories

>Have Mina escape through the window after the guards have gone to fetch help
>>
>>5053274
>Mesmerize the guards, enthralling them to attack and knock out Felman upon his return
>Comfort Mina, and reassure her that you’ll get her out of this yet
>Attempt to wipe or muddle Mina’s memories of your true nature and the conspiracy

Tell them to to take his magical protections as well, we'll make it like he tripped himself and knocked himself out.

>>5053282
So Felman is killed in Mina's office after he went on a rant about how she's an occultist by a shadowy monster and Mina escapes in the immediate aftermath. That's more likely to implicate Mina than it is to clear her. While I like the boldness of the plan, I think we can take a more subtle approach, if possible. After all, Zivic has had a attraction with cat people before, whose to say Zivic didn't victimize another catwoman, who wanted to shift the blame on Mina and her brother?
>>
>>5053274
backing >>5053294
>>
>>5053274
>Mesmerize the guards, enthralling them to attack and restrain Felman upon his return and take his demonic protection off
>Assure Mina you can get her out of this if she cooperates
She's a scared cat and has no way to escape this situation without our help. Gotta make sure she knows the story we give to Felman.
>Brainfuck Felman into thinking cat people are innocent, send him after shapeshifting fox woman from Cuggi's camp instead.
Last time I remember they were chasing that fox who was involved in demonic shit and she is conveniently missing now. Foxxy also happened to be in this area and could shapeshift to attack him, then throw the blame on Mina, who is an easy target.
Felman isn't even sure if the person who assaulted him that night looked anything like Mina aside for being a cat, because if he knew how that person looked, he wouldn't be blaming Mina.
Now, if he DOES know it's not her, then he's desperately bluffing to try and get anything out of her.
And ffs how could that demon-possessed monster from the docks have been Mina - she's has no trace of demonic influence on her, brothel is clean too.
Besides, Mina haven't seen Zivic in a long time and it makes no sense for her to try and kill her former employer and slaugher dozens of rats ALONE just because one girl went missing, or whatever. In the years of her work at TPK she has never done anything like what he's accusing her of.

If he thinks that Mina and the orc were the ones who attacked him, here's why it's bullshit:
His demonic assailant from last night didn't have a cat tail.
The orc seems to be new here and works as a cook, doesn't strike him as a brute.
Felman expertly handled both of them give him just a biit of overconfidence and there are no bruises or bindings (or demons) on the cat, no lethal wounds on the orc.

>Make him doubt his knowledge
Tower didn't know about rats until someone took care of all of them. He isn't even sure if Mina is the only cat in Hawksong as he claimed.
He is out of his depth, let's make him question his skills, but don't push too hard - we want him to be demotivated, not do his homework on all species in Hawksong (especially not the reptilians).
>Plant a seed of doubt towards tower and other inquisitors

Damn, that faggot's logic is so flawed we could go full Ace Attorney on his ass without meddling with guards or his head or scaring Mina.

I'm impartial to meddling with the khajiit, but we should make sure she and the guards are on the same page as us and brainwashed Felman.

I'm really considering Ace Attorney route now.
Sorry for autism.

>>5053294
What do you think anon, can we get into a real argument with Felman and destroy him with facts and logic or nah?
>>
>>5053341
If we were Mina, and Felman revealed all this information to her, I'd classify that as a maybe. Since we're Kamunu, just a concerned dance with no knowledge of what's really been going on, all it will do is paint a big target on our backs. We're better off manipulating things from the shadows, and I think it best that we don't directly converse with Felman and just blindside him when he isn't expecting it.
>>
>>5053369
True. I wrote it all from the perspective of Felman and what he should know (since we're dealing with his memories and thoughts). Only later realized a lot of it could be rephrased and used as genuine arguments if we pretended to be fiercely loyal and advocate for Mina being innocent, challenging his accusations.
>>
Rolled 16, 2, 4, 19, 20, 14, 16, 16, 16 = 123 (9d20)

>>5053341
>>5053294
>>5053282
>>5053332
>Mesmerize the guards, enthralling them to attack and knock out Felman
>Comfort Mina, and reassure her that you’ll get her out of this yet
>Attempt to wipe or muddle Mina’s memories of your true nature and the conspiracy
>Brainfuck Felman (???)

[5d20 for the general success of this plan, 4d20 mystery die (not all of which may actually apply, depending on the results of the first 5)]
>>
>>5053538
>nat 19, 20
>quad 16s, first and last three in a row

If we're brainfucking Felman, might as well make him susceptible to our command and suggestions in the future as well.

Also, what are those mystery dice for, generally? I've been seeing them for a while now, so I'm curious as to what they represent.
>>
>>5053538
Almost as soon as Felman is gone—no, before he is even out of the room—you have set upon a plan of action. You know what you must do, and the bounds of what you CAN do. Felman’s line of inquiry must be ended redirected, Mina’s innocence and position in Hawksong maintained, and NEITHER may come to harm at such a sensitive juncture in The Grand Design. For Felman to be slain or disappeared, right in the midst of his investigation of Mina and with you in the room, would condemn you both. His mind must be changed.

So, too, must Mina’s.

The moment the door shuts

“Sso…” you begin, in practiced and sultry tone. “Guardssmen… It’ss been a while ssince we had a room to oursselves here, hassn’t it?”

“Well, I…” Tomas begins, flushing and scratching at the back of his head under his rounded helm.

Levier says nothing, but his eyes slide hungrily over your form. Irinnile lends her aid, drawing both of them into your clutches even as you advance towards them and project your glamour.

“We’re on duty,” Levier weakly protests.

“And, uh, ain’t your boss right there…?” Tomas adds.

Your eyes flit to Mina, still seated at her desk. Her eyes narrow, giving away nothing… But by her stillness, her lack of protest or admonishment, you can tell she will not interfere with your plan. Helpless to do anything else but give into the Inquisition, she can only hope you know what you’re doing.

>16

Luckily, you do. Both the male humans fall right back into your clutches as you flirt with them, stirring up resentments about Felman’s aggressive demeanor, pointing out flaws in his logic. Enthralled or enamored, they do not question how you came to assemble all these flaws as a mere concerned innocent—they simply take them in, accept them. You touch them subtly as you talk, allow them to steal kisses… And thus, seal their fate.
>>
>>5053538
oh thank god

>>5053558
if RQM wanted us to know I think they wouldn't be called mystery dice.
>>
>>5053560
“Pardon me a moment, boys,” you say, sliding easily from between the two slack-jawed thralls.

“…You’ve been using demonic magic,” Mina notes, somewhat disapprovingly. “I recognize it. I’ve… Been on both sides of it.”

“To ssave you,” you point out.

Mina nods slightly. “I am grateful… But what now? What am I—what are WE supposed to do when Felman comes back?”

“Leave that to me,” you tell her, sitting across from her. “Trussst me, Mina. Pleasse?”

Mina looks down at the table—at your outstretched hands, palms up. She takes a ragged breath, eyes briefly lingering on her pipe and ornate ashtray at the corner.

“What are you going to do to me?” she asks, keeping the fear from her voice even as you sense it in her aura.

You smile, and say truthfully: “I’m going to free you.”

The cat-madam’s continued knowledge of the conspiracy puts you BOTH at risk. Her involvement with Hawksong’s underbelly puts The Pretty Kitty and Mina herself at greater risk than perhaps even YOU. After all, you have Irinnile to shift you shape and shield you from consequence. You have The Reptilian Conspiracy behind you, to extract you from harm’s way and lend you aid. You have the <DIVINE FAVOUR> of The Dark Gods Themselves! In her partial enlightenment to The Grand Design, and loneliness in that enlightenment, Mina paints a target on her back for everyone involved.

Though you would have enjoyed earning her trust back in a more conventional way, Madam Mina must become ignorant once more.

>19

At last, Mina places her paws in your hands… And she is freed. Freed from the terrible burden of the Conspiracy. Freed from the truth of Estellia’s death. Freed from guilt. When she opens her eyes, they are slightly glazed with the power of your mesmerism… But there is peace in them, you’re sure of it.

There is only one tyranny left to free Mina—and yourself—from now: that of Inquisitor Felman. Right on cue, he opens the door. Your attention is still on Mina, and her soft-furred hands in yours, when it happens. You don’t turn around right away, instead smirking with well-earned smugness as the two glamour-addled guardsmen set upon him.
>>
>>5053563
>14 vs. 16

Perhaps Felman might have one, even with his inferior physicality, if he had the chance to deploy his magic, or his arsenal of items such as he had when he laid the trap for you two nights ago. No amount of magic can prepare him for such an unexpected ambush, however. He is disarmed, wrestled into a prone position, and his voice muffled as his face is shoved into the floor.

You stand up, turning to face your adversary. How the tables have turned! Now it is YOU who looms triumphant, YOUR boot (well, sandal) upon his back!

“Almosst the opposite of our last meeting. Well, turnabout iss fair play,” you quip. “Who’ss on top now, Inquissssitor?”

“Y-you,” Felman has time to grunt in recognition as understanding of who his true foe was dawns.

You snap your fingers and Tomas slams the Inquisitor’s head into the floor, hard. His struggles cease.

“That’ss right,” you say. “Me.”

It is a simple thing to have Levier slip his hand into the Inqusitor’s robes and tunic to extract his silver-chained charm against demons. His hat, too, you remove. Then, with both hands upon his head, you set to work. This job is done with greater swiftness than you have ever attempted such an act of mentalism, even as you go into further detail than you ever have before—except perhaps with Mina, a moment earlier. Still, you wear the diadem of clarity, and you are determined.
>>
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>>5053564
>20

Piece by piece, you extract or distort every remembrance or suspicion Felman’s human head hosted. With Irinnile your willing implement, you cast doubt, inject new and manufactured incongruities into events even as you elevate the true flaws in his understand to greater prominence in his psyche. You make him doubt, make him wonder, make him fear failure. You see in Inquisitor Felman’s mind how he hoped this case would mean his fame, prominence, fortune, promotion… And you take that all from him and cast him adrift, with a cruel satisfaction.

When you open your eyes and extract yourself from Felman’s mindspace, your <MASTERFUL DOMINATION> has left you the sole sentient being in the room. The Guardsmen, Mina, and Felman are all not merely ensorcelled… But truly, utterly dominated. Barring the magic being actively investigated and dispelled, they are all now ‘your creatures’ as much as Lord Bianchi has become. Not a one of them will remember what happened in this room, who or what you truly are, or why Mina was ever suspected to begin with.

‘Holy shit, babe,” Irinnile whispers in awe. ‘We’re a fuckin’ MONSTER.’

You smile, taking the demon’s comment for the compliment it is.

<WANT: 20>

What do you do with your thralls?
>Keep all of them as thralls, albeit in a ‘sleeper’ capacity, should you need to call upon them again
>Free them all from further domination, lest someone investigate this incident or those involved and detect your handiwork
>Maintain the domination in some, but not all [specify who]
>Make some further modifications and issue further commands, while you have them enthrall [specify]
>Write-in

What is your next move?
>Sate some WANT—your entire body and sole are ACHING after all that demon-magic! [with who?]
>Leave for the night—it’s not like Mina is going to begrudge you—and go attend to some matters of spycraft
>Drag Felman off to another room to interrogate about Tower defences
>Open the doors and get the usual TPK show started!
>Write-in

>>5053558
>>5053562
p+kfqNGx's right: it's meant to be a mystery. Usually it's for actions or random variables which may or may not come to pass, and are outside of your control, like enemy preparedness and countermeasures. In this case, two were for the Felman vs. Guards, and two were for possible consequences of you failing to mesmerize the parties involved or engaging in combat depending on results of the first seven dice.
>>
>>5053564
>>5053565
holy fuck
poggers writing here RQM
it really feels like one hell of a crit


>Maintain the domination in some, but not all [specify who]
>Make some further modifications and issue further commands, while you have them enthrall [specify]

As much as it sucks, I think the only one we can safely keep enthralled is Mina. Felman is certainly too risky, and we have an easy enough time with the guardsmen that they aren't worth the risk. See if we can plant subconscious ideas that we and those we associate with are upstanding citizens that they shouldn't waste time investigating first.

>Leave for the night—it’s not like Mina is going to begrudge you—and go attend to some matters of spycraft

maybe drain some unlucky rando first, but we don't want to ruin what we just cleaned up by losing control here
>>
>>5053573
>poggers writing here RQM

[Eh, if 4chan had an edit function or I was better at proof-reading my own work, it would be better.

"The moment the door shuts, you begin," I meant to say! And earlier, that his line of inquiry must be ended OR redirected! Sorry I'm so bad for typos and oversights like that.

Glad you're enjoying and that I got the general tone I was going for to land.]
>>
>>5053577
while you're beating yourself up, I'm pretty sure in the options >Sate some WANT—your entire body and sole are ACHING

sole should be soul
unless magic is hard on the feet
>>
>>5053565
>Keep all of them as thralls, albeit in a ‘sleeper’ capacity, should you need to call upon them again
>Make some further modifications and issue further commands, while you have them enthrall [Make following our suggestions and commands pleasurable, seed their desire for us in their psyche]

I think keeping them all will prove useful.

>Sate some WANT—your entire body and sole are ACHING after all that demon-magic! [Mina, Felman]
>Drag Felman off to another room to interrogate about Tower defences

Best to sate our WANT and learn about our main target at the same time!

Ah, thanks for explaining that RQM. I wasn't asking for specifics, just the general idea behind it.

>>5053573
I think having Felmen under our control (and thus the control of the Grand Design) is too much of an opportunity to pass up. We have an informant and potential agent with the very heart of the Tower and the Inquisition. It's too useful not to pass up. We'll take precautions, certainly. We can direct Felmen to Goblintown, make it seem like he got compromised there if anybody does any real investigation into this incident.
>>
>>5053565
Fuck, add
>Make some further modifications and issue further commands, while you have them enthrall [Have Felmen teach us magic]
to the list as well. We need some proper magic education.
>>
>>5053587
>sole/soul

[I also had...]

>one/won

[I'm bad for homonym confusion tonight.]
>>
>>5053565
>Pet Mina while she's ensorcelled
I'mnot missing out on this opportunity.
>Maintain the domination in some, but not all.
Keep the guards and Felman enthralled, but make them act like usual. Release Mina.
>Sate some WANT—your entire body and sole are ACHING after all that demon-magic! [with who?]
Pussy, lmao.
>Instead of interrogating Felman tonight, make him return to TPK tomorrow night so you can speak with him
>Open the doors and get the usual TPK show started!
Overdue.

>>5053591
Anon, we have him enthralled and TPK is losing reputation for every minute the inquisifucks are here. Just make him return tomorrow and obey our orders.

>>5053620
Nice rolls.
Nice typose.
Nice writer's OCD.
>>
>>5053698
I'll +1 the
>Pet Mina while she's ensorcelled
and I don't mind opening up TPK right now and sending the majority of the investigation team home, but I think learning about the Tower's magical defenses takes priority before we send Felmen off for tonight. We can pound our Pussy while Felman jerks it in the corner relaying what he knows about the Tower's defenses if we want to multitask rn. I want to check out the defenses in the dreamscape before the Gala, and I'd like to dedicate tomorrow to preparing for the Gala and successfully penetrating the Tower's defenses.
>>
>>5053713
Weell fair, knowing it now could potentially give us some advantage...

We can just force him to give us a short report about the Tower and make him return tomorrow for the details and whatever magics you want from him.

After that, send them all off and tell Mina to start the night, announce that Kamunu will be performing last and then return to the office so we can burn some WANT with her before it's our turn to go on stage. Then burn more WANT.
We're at dangerous levels of blue balls.

Sounds like the most efficient way to do this.
>>
>>5053716
I'm fine with that. I'm also thinking that if we get Felman a win on an investigation, we may be able to get our puppet higher up in his organization, which may prove useful to us later down the line. But that's a plan for after the Gala.

And if we want to burn off our blue balls, we do have access to a brothel full of prostitutes. Just saying ;^)
>>
>>5053723
>I'm also thinking that if we get Felman a win on an investigation
Good, thinking.
But how do you plan to make him solve anything here? We'd need some clawed, shapeshifting, demonic individual and also an explanation for a failed kidnapping performed by two people.

Well, I guess we will first have to make Felman tell us everything he and the Tower knows and relate to this investigation, so that we can plan the course of action.

Blaming the incubus is off-limits, but we should look for some information about his actions and whereabouts. Not to interfere of course, just to stay in the know and not get backstabbed.

>brothel full of prostitutes
I'm pretty impartial to them all except for the twins and the furry, ngl. The state of coom in this quest. We went a long way to get to rock bottom.
>>
>>5053565
>Maintain the domination in some, but not all [Felman and the guards]
Let them all go without a change in their behavior, except for recognizing and obeying our voice when we command them to.

>Sate some WANT—your entire body and sole are ACHING after all that demon-magic! [with who?]
Every fucking one
>Open the doors and get the usual TPK show started!
>>
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>Who stays enthralled?
>>5053573
Just Mina
>>5053588
All of them
>>5053698
Guards and Felman, but NOT Mina
>>5053746
Guards & Felman, not Mina
>Seems like Guards & Felman have it!

>>5053713
>>5053698
>Plurality to pet Mina

>What next?
>>5053573
One to drain a rando and leave for sspy sstuff
>>5053588
One to drain Mina and Felman, then interrogate Felman and get magic training
>>5053698
One to drain just Mina, then have Felman come back tomorrow, then starting teh show
>>5053746
One for an orgy and then starting the show
>Averaging this all out to: Drag Mina and Felman off to sate some WANT, then sending Felman and the guards off under influence

[Writing up now, but I may not have time before work. We'll see!]
>>
>>5053879
why is the chameleon broken
>>
>>5053879
Damn, I really wanted to maintain control of Mina, since that effectively lets us control our schedule and her accumulated network of influential people.
>>
>>5053565
>Pet Mina
>Keep all of them as thralls, albeit in a ‘sleeper’ capacity, should you need to call upon them again
>Sate some WANT—your entire body and sole are ACHING after all that demon-magic! [Begin pounding our way though the Pretty Kitty]

>>5053588
That is the state of coom questwide? Shameful display.
>>
>>5053565
>Maintain the domination in some, but not all [specify who]
Mina and the Guardsmen - but in the ‘sleeper’ mode. It’s too dangerous to keep Felman like that.

1.
>Drag Felman off to another room to interrogate about Tower defences
Perfect opportunity to while he’s still dominated

2.
>Sate some WANT—your entire body and sole are ACHING after all that demon-magic!
The two guardsmen

3.
>Open the doors and get the usual TPK show started!
>>
>>5053573
>>5053588
>>5053591
>>5053698
>>5053713
>>5053746
>>5053879
>>5054012
>>5054205
You scan the four blank faces, thinking. There are risks and rewards to maintaining your domination over any one of them, but ultimately the idea of having unthinkingly-obedient sleeper agents in the City Guard AND the Tower Inquisition is too tempting to leave on the table. You make subtle modifications to each of their spells, weaving in notions of trust, a sense of satisfaction and pleasure at following your instructions, and more. When the work is done, you pat each of the guardsmen on their rear and end them ahead, to begin spreading the news: the investigation of The Pretty Kitty is over!

Then, and only then, do you turn to Mina to free her mind once more… Only to find her face docile, her throat rumbling with a quiet purr. You fidget slightly, feeling Irinnile hot under your skin. Maybe… maybe just a little pat?

You reach out, patting your employer on her head. She instinctively nuzzles into your palm as you begin to work her ears, to rub her face and neck. She arcs her back, her purr becoming a moan as your touches intensify. Her inhibitions suppressed, Mina responds automatically to your surging, demonically-amplified desire.

“Mmm, good kitty,” you and Irinnile speak as one, guiding Mina onto the desk and leaning her back to really go to work.

It begins with fingers, and escalates—as your hunger does—until your mouth is involved, and Mina's claws are sunk into her desk for an entirely different reason.

Felman, too, is squirming on the floor where you left him, staring transfixed. Irinnile’s energies pour out of you now, your skin not just flushed but hellish red in a way that casts your humanity into doubt, but he hardly seems to mind at this point, if he even recognizes the change.

“P-please,” he begs, his hand moving frantically within his robes.

“No, I don't think sso,” you say with a smirk. “But there iss ssomething you can do…”

You beckon the Tower Inquisitor closer, on his hands and knees like a beast, and shove his eager face between your legs as you return your attentions to Mina. Once more. If anyone were to enter the office now, it would be quite the sight, and a damning one for Felman's career: a contractually-celibate Tower Mage, on his knees and orally servicing his own suspects!

<WANT: 18>
>>
>>5053565
Just for the record, I'd also like to have Felman's professional opinion regarding the magical cube we found- this is our best chance to get an expert to examine our artifact as any.
>>
>>5054286
You sigh in satisfaction as the last aftershocks of orgasm roll through you. Both of your evening's paramours yet live, though they are plainly exhausted and barely conscious. This is still an improvement from previous nights, when Irinnile at that level of hunger would surely have lost control and fed upon the pair of them until they were no more! Only now, with the fog of her lust abated, do you realize the risk you just took. You curse yourself for the foolish impulsivity.

‘Hey, you keep lettin' me humiliate virgins and eat this pussy's pussy and I'll be on my best behaviour!’

You roll your eyes at Irinnile's priorities… But perhaps there's some credit due to her increasing impulse control. Or is it the diadem's work?

You snap your fingers, awakening the pair of them from their stupor. Felman you pat on his face with condescending tenderness.

“You might want to wipe off your face before you sstep outsside,” you advise him.”Then, of coursse, you will be pursuing different avenuess of invesstigation.”

“…Yes, naturally,” he says, nodding slowly.

“Oh, and don't leave jusst yet!” you add. “Come ssee me after the show. We have more to dissscussss.”

With Felman gone, there is only you and Mina left. You help her adjust her elegant dress, her own hands still trembling from exertion.

“Kamunu, what… What happened? What did we… Did you…?”

Without any memory of your true nature or your occult dabblings, it seems she cannot make sense of what she just experienced; with your influence still upon her, clouding her perception of you, she cannot piece it together anew. While you'd initially been planning to return her to her regular faculties without any further manipulation, the look of puzzlement gives you pause. Mina is clever. What if she figures it out anew? What if she realizes what you did to her?

You pet her gently, shushing her instead. “Eassy now. You jusst resst. I'll handle thingss tonight.”

Mina stares for a moment, then nods meekly, settling into her chair and slipping into blissful unconsciousness.

“Perfect,” you say aloud. “Now, let'ss sstart the show!”
>>
>>5054289
Felia and the staff are concerned, of course, and confused. One moment, it seemed their livelihood was in desperate jeopardy; the next, Inquisitor Felman was dismissing the other investigators and ordering Konrad Brugaghson's release.

“He's still sitting in the back,” Red Annie murmurs. “Staring at nothing like a fucking weirdo.”

“Nevermind him,” you say cheerfully. “He'ss harmlessss.”

“Where’s Mina?” asks Tricia.

“Is she alright?” her twin, Alicia, chimes in.

You reassure your coworkers that Madam Mina is merely resting, having had a stressful day. They seems concerned for her, but you reaffirm the need to get the show started. After all, The Pretty Kitty is her pride and joy! If anyone would want the show to go on, it would be her.

Felia remains nonplussed—something you take note of—but the others readily accept your logic and set to work.

Perhaps it is simply the high of your recent succubus-feeding, or the thrill of having so many new pawns to command, but you find yourself taking control of the schedule of dancers, suggesting modifications to their routines, and even take the stage in Mina's place to announce each dancer…

And things go well! Astonishingly well! By the time you take the stage in full costume (now with diadem), Kamunu's is truly a GRAND finale. You dance with rare skill, even by your standard, and with the glory and fervor of a victorious priestess—no, a goddess! The crowd, including those guards who remain and Inquistor Felman, cannot take your eyes off of you.

‘Nnn, fuck, Lispy, this is so good,’ Irinnile enthuses. ‘They love us! They want us! Let me have a little of it, wontcha'? Just a taste?’

>Allow Irinnile to feed upon the audience, sating WANT by siphoning energy from tge crowd [+affection, +hedonism]
>It's too risky—let her wait, but promise her a bit more of Felman after the show
>Ignore the request—you don't want Irinnile to get too spoiled or carried away in her appetites, and she's fed plenty today [-affection]
>Write-in
>>
>>5054292
>Allow Irinnile to feed upon the audience, sating WANT by siphoning energy from tge crowd [+affection, +hedonism]

Just a taste, though.
>>
>>5054292
>Ignore the request—you don't want Irinnile to get too spoiled or carried away in her appetites, and she's fed plenty today [-affection]

We already took a big risk with Mina and Felman just minutes ago. Literally minutes.
>>
>>5054292
>Allow Irinnile to feed upon the audience, sating WANT by siphoning energy from tge crowd [+affection, +hedonism]
Only a taste though
>>
>>5054292
>Allow Irinnile to feed upon the audience, sating WANT by siphoning energy from tge crowd [+affection, +hedonism]
>Tell Irinnile to try and keep it cool.
Only if she can do it stealthily and not knock anyone out.
Keep Felman out of it, though. We need him in a good shape. Well, his head at least.

We should sneak him into a guest room avoiding preying eyes and only then have a talk. Or alternatively ask if he knows any secluded places and lead us there inseen, using his trained skills.

Shame we turned Mina into a puppet as she was the closest thing we had to a non-reptilian ally. She was innocent, scared and could've just thrown us under the bus when we entered her office. Her whole lifr was on the line and she knew we are a shady fuck who dealt with Zivic.
Instead, she decided to trust in us, despite knowing well there was no way of knowing what the fuck will we do to her.
>>
>>5054425
Think of it this way- we can always release her at a later date. I just want to make sure that there are no more distractions before the Gala.
>>
>>5054435
You know it's not gonna happen unless it serves some purpose or is prompted by the events, like with Irinnile twice in this thread. It's just not how quests work and I don't wanna be too obnoxious with random personal requests. I'm already acting far too autistic as it is.

Oh, and I just realized something. We better make sure that if worried Edwin returns to TPK after our shift he doesn't discover us having a polite conversation with a Tower's inquisitor. Would be a tad bit awkward to explain.
>>
>>5054292
>>Ignore the request—you don't want Irinnile to get too spoiled or carried away in her appetites, and she's fed plenty today [-affection]
>>
>>5054453
Actually, now with the Inquisition and the investigation out of the way, I'm more open to going to the Gala without Irinnile in us. Granted, I think it'll be a major blow to our capabilities, but with most of our side projects out of the way (i.e. dealing with loose ends), I'm alright with going to the Gala unpossessed if the situation calls for it. I do got to ask though, why such an aversion to making allies or upgrading our capabilities? It seems like most of the time anons really shun what could be a opportunity for greater power and contacts that could actually be worth a damn if given a little investment. It seems to me that some anons want to revert back to when we still had a wererat and Zivic problem (pre-Irinnile), where we were less capable and shunning a lot of opportunities that kept coming around (Irinnile and Foxy being some of them, but I distinctly remember us having to go back for our serpent priest staff after voting not to get it, and even with Zivic anons were just as likely to destroy as they were to make a pact).
>>
>>5054480
>I do got to ask though, why such an aversion to making allies or upgrading our capabilities?
It's not aversion, merely personal likes and some degree of caution-fueled paranoia, as I said in the past.

I backpedaled on the latter after the shitshow with the Fox. Since then we successfully used help of the goblins and Yemrep and did nothing to jeopardize the Goblintown connections despite having a few opportunities to use them to wipe out hands. Also Yemrep is devilishly good tracker, given how he handled his work with goblins.
That, or QM rolled him a couple 20s behind the screen.

Personal precedences are still present, though. I find demons incredibly cheesy and enjoyed the time with Ismena being this cool individual infiltrator, relying on her own skill, tools and environment. And ironically less on seduction.
The demonic possession not only removes that aspect, but also gives us several liabilities, equivalent of a cum meter and a shitty way to get caught. Especially irritating when you consider that the defining trait of our breed is being a half-mammal that doesn't rely on illusion and is undetectable by magic.
And yes, I'm aware that Irinnile gives us obscenely powerful abilities. I'm not downplaying those, just explaining where I'm actually coming from.

As for unfucking Mina, she practically had our back the entire time, despite everything Zivuncubus told her and how shady we acted. Despite being forced into a corner and blamed for what she pretty much knew we were involved into. Zinc told her about us killing Estellia, remember? I liked the idea of Ismena being able to be at least *somewhat* honest with someone who isn't a reptilian. Enthralling wasn't necessary here.

>but muh personal skedule
We could still tell Mina we were responsible for dealing with the inquisition and ask her to tweak our days a little.
Besides, Kamunu is like the best dancer of the bunch, easily the favorite of many and I imagine if she just starts appearing exclusively on weekends it won't help the establishment. Not that it will be the end of the wo- brothel, but certainly won't help.

I didn't trust the incubus, but packed my autism tight and threw it out of the window for making a pact with the crow as we can't exactly do anything better.
That being said, I still wonder if he'll be able wiggle his way out of our mutual noninterference agreement. I wish he didn't try, I really do. But QM himself said that these are the kind of demons that make pacts and look for loopholes to fuck your soul in the ass.

2623 characters lmoa
>>
>>5054508
I understand the solo-infiltrator aspect, and can respect that.

I can also respect the Mina aspect as well, as I saw that in Foxy. Mina was a huge liability when it came to the conspiracy though, to the point where even the reptile dame even commented on it, and we only met her twice. We all knew (especially Mina) that if Felman decided to haul her ass away for interrogation, Mina would squeal, and even now she could still figure out the dots that would put us all in jeopardy yet again. It may not have been necessary, but neither was most of our actions in the attempt of paranoia-fueled secrecy, which ironically only led to greater Tower scrutiny. Consider it a victory that Mina didn't die over this, and that we can end her enthrallment whenever we want. We will get opportunities to do that, if Irinnile's opportunities to body-swap are anything to go by.

I can understand the distrust of the incubus, and that's gonna be why I'm not going to be for summoning the fallen prince demon in any situation, as I think that logic applies to them in particular. That being said, I don't think Zivic's incubus would want to intentionally fuck us over with the pack sorted out, and partially because I think he's honestly attracted to our ambition, the same way Irinnile is attracted to desire, which does give us some sort of advantage in potential dealings, assuming anons wanted any with him. I don't think an incubus would be the type to inhibit ambition, ya know?
>>
>>5054524
>Mina would squeal, and even now she could still figure out the dots that would put us all in jeopardy yet again.
She already kinda did. Our past interactions showed she'd rather look the other way and not know the full truth as long as we don't summon Satan or put her business in danger.
I get that wiping her mind is beneficial, but keeping her enthralled is just unnecessarily shitty, given how much she trusted us on her own volition.

>Mina didn't die over this
She was nowhere close to dying here. Fox was killed because she was too shifty and dangerous to be trusted and I didn't know how effective the mind alteration was.
I was working around the possibility that demonic mind edits could be discovered and reversed by the Tower. Or that people could figure things out, if we didn't do a good enough job. That's why I wanted Fox gone and Bianchi lied to instead of relying on memory and emotional manipulation.
I don't believe it anymore, but do wonder if enthralled individuals can be broken out of our control by anti-demonic magic. Like, we took Felman's amulet off for this, what happens if he puts it back on? Won't others find it incredibly suspicious if he no longer wears it?

>We will get opportunities to do that, if Irinnile's opportunities to body-swap are anything to go by.
I'll second the vote to remove Irinnile for the Gala, btw. It's something I'd try to do if it didn't take like 3 posts to arrange and execute.

>Incubus
Given Irinnile's humanly behavior, I'd actually wanna find the incubus and talk to him again. Get some common grounds and mutual understanding, so he actually has no incentive to step on our tail and doesn't have to worry we will spontaneously try to break the pact ourselves. If we don't learn anything about him, we will just drown in paranoia lmao.

>I think he's honestly attracted to our ambition, the same way Irinnile is attracted to desire
Mind you that he is much, much stronger and smarter than Irinnile. She was scared of him on multiple occasions and never seemed to mind just riding along with us.
What I'm saying is, you can't compare a cowardly succubus willing to grab onto whatever good deal she can get, to a powerful incubus who seemingly broke free, manipulates multiple individuals, works on a big scale and hides his true intentions.
>>
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Rolled 8, 11, 13, 17 = 49 (4d20)

>>5054296
>>5054337
>>5054373
>>5054425
>>5054470
>Allow (at WANT: 18)

Rolling for succubus control!
>>
>>5054708
Oh god oh fuck. Bad slut, bad!
>>
>>5054708
‘Alright,’ you grant Irinnile her permission. ‘Just keep it lowk—’

‘Eeeeeee!’

You wince slightly at her ecstatic glee as the jubilant shriek fills your inner ear. You feel your limbs jerk, stiffen and then move on their own as the succubus assumes control. Your—her?—hands begin to stroke and caress your body as you continue to swivel your hips, to rise and lower, to spin and twirl. Your dance moves from skilled, acrobatic titillation to sheer eroticism, and the audience is captivated—so captivated that when the lounge’s signature pink lanterns begin to flicker and dip, their flames tilting towards you as if drawn by a vortex, nobody seems to notice.

‘Irinnile,’ you warn, ‘easy.’

But Irinnile isn’t listening. As the flames tilt towards you, so do the inner fires—the sparks and souls—of your audience. Laskar Endingray’s accompanying music becomes discordant as he is drawn into the spectacle. Even YOU, along for the ride and fully aware of what’s happening, are not immune: as the energies of your admiring, desirous crowd swirl into you and permeate you like the rays of the sun feeding the surface’s plant-life, you begin to tingle… Then, to warm, to fill with electric pleasure.

‘It’s soooo fucking good, isn’t it?’ Irinnile coos. You can feel her spectral hands on your face, stroking yours as you and teasingly touched Mina’s, or Felman’s. ‘Filling you up, filling US! Their worship, Lispy. That’s what this is: worship.’

You cannot even reply. Irinnile is right: when you look into the crowd, you see lips parted with heavy breathing, eyes glazed with wonder and WANT… And you want all of them. Every single part of them, body and soul, inside you. Your mouth waters, your sex aches, your nipples stand erect and your fingers begin to lengthen to talons as a ravenous HUNGER begins to well up inside you and—

>CLARITY

The diadem upon your forehead does… Something. It almost feels as if it is squeezing down upon you, burning and hot at the same time. It is only for an instant, but it’s enough..

‘Enough!’

…Enough to snap you out of it. Another orgasm rolls through your body, knocking you to floor at the crescendo of your mad dance. You take heaving breaths, quaking and trembling as the crowd lets loose with a roar of adulation. Coins roll across the stage as patrons empty their pockets with a frenzied desire to pay tribute—to you, to Irinnile, to Kamunu!

It feels… Good. Right. This night has been a triumph for you both. You have made right what went wrong, saved the Grand Design’s machinations from discovery AND The Pretty Kitty from doom. You deserve this praise, this feeling of glorious domination over these creatures!

[+hedonism]
>>
>>5054722
<WANT: 15>

‘Ha… Haha…. Woo.’ Irinnile seems somehow winded, too. ‘Sorry, Lispy. Just about lost my cool there!’

‘Irinnile,’ you say, with slightest esaperation, ‘when did you get so strong?’

‘When did YOU?’ Irinnile fires back with the psychic equivalent of a smirk. ‘Thanks for pulling me out of that spiral, babe. I mean it. I…’

<Irinnile Affection: 100%>

Irinnile pauses for a moment, and then you both say it as one, before you even know what you’re saying:

‘I love you.’
>’I love you.’

You lay there, basking the afterglow, curled up with the soulmate who is now utterly anchored to your soul.

>UNLOCKED: [Soulbound]—Irinnile can no longer be exorcised from you against your will except by truly powerful magic, is harder to detect when you are not actively manifesting your powers, and will no longer act against your will even at maximum WANT.

>UNLOCKED: [Soulmates]—you cannot voluntarily exorcise Irinnile from yourself, let alone act to cause her purposeful harm, no matter the vote

>UNLOCKED: [Do It For Her]—when rolling for any event that puts you or Irinnile in mortal peril, the difficulty is reduce by 2
>>
>>5054738
Only when the sensations begin to fade do you hear the murmurings of concern, the shrill voices. You sit up, suddenly aware of Grendelia helping to brace you, checking your eyes and your pulse.

“Looking clammy,” she notes. “You, uh, okay Kamunu?”

“Never better,” you say, truthfully, as you gently shrug off her assistance and stand to see what’s going on.

The chatter isn’t about you—it’s focused on the opposite side of the lounge. There, Inquisitor Felman has toppled over from his chair and knocked his head. You see no blood, not even with your Irinnile-enhanced low-light vision, so the blow cannot have been THAT bad…

“Pardon me,” you say. “Coming through!”

The crowd, while not enthralled to you, it still more than willing to part before you as you approach. You and Grendelia reach the investigator swiftly, and you do as the quarter-orc dancer had done for you: you check his vitals. His pulse is fast, erratic, his eyes shaking and flitting about behind his lids. You scan him with your sixth sense, and find his mana—his lifeforce—critically depleted.

‘Ah shit, maybe we went a little hard on him?’ Irinnile suggests.

It may well be the case: you’d already thoroughly depleted him and addled his mind in Mina’s office. Perhaps the experience of being in the audience during your performance was the feather which broke the horse’s back?

Guardsman Tomas and Levier, still present in the lounge as well, are close at hand. The effects of your demonic draining could perhaps be alleviated with the silvered charm which (upon thinking about it) one of them must still have in his possession. Alternatively, you could offer the Inquisitor a mana potion, if you could get to your pack and back in time…

‘Or we could like the prick die,’ Irinnile suggests inncoently. ‘Just sayin’. I know you were keen on magic lessons, but I could even eat his soul if ya’ want some extra oomph out of him before he bites the big one.’

What do you do?
>Return Felman’s anti-demon charm to him, at least briefly, to help stave off the deleterious effects of his repeated exposures to you
>Go get a mana potion—and fast! There’s no time to waste
>Bring him somewhere private for ‘first aid’ (or, rather, to interrogate him while there’s still time)
>Let Irinnile swallow his soul—you don’t need him anymore
>Write-in
>>
>>5054751
>Return Felman’s anti-demon charm to him, at least briefly, to help stave off the deleterious effects of his repeated exposures to you
We let him die from lifesteal during this weird spectacle - we have another inquisitor on our ass.
>Tell guards to bring him somewhere private
Get him somewhere backstage like we normally would for someone important-ish who just passed out.
>Go get a mana potion—and fast!
Hopefully nobody tries to fuck with us on the way. I don't want another body-left-to-decompose-because-roth-kidnapped situation.

>>5054722
>your fingers begin to lengthen to talons
Did she really just manifest talons im front of all those people? If they weren't as enchanted as it felt at first, then could they notice it?
>>5054738
>you cannot voluntarily exorcise Irinnile, no matter the vote
Can we still use her for making items or is that impossible as the result of being unable to boot her?
>when rolling for any event that puts you or Irinnile in mortal peril, the difficulty is reduce by 2
*laughs in minmaxing*
>>
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>>5054768
>Did she really just manifest talons im front of all those people? If they weren't as enchanted as it felt at first, then could they notice it?
[The lights are dim enough, and you caught it early enough, that it's unlikely anyone noticed. Not impossible, though.]
>Can we still use her for making items or is that impossible as the result of being unable to boot her?
[You'd need to experiment with it, but I will say I haven't taken that ability away from you, but it already had complications which some of you perhaps hadn't considered, and those have been amplified.
>>
>>5054779
>Not impossible, though.
Shit.
>You'd need to experiment with it
Complicates things.
>it already had complications which some of you perhaps hadn't considered
Honestly the only things I can think of are Irinnile getting seriously drained in the process, Ismena losing herself in the dreamscape or issues with her reoccupying Ismena's body after.


Adding
>Read surface thoughts of the nearby people and the other dancers
to my vote. Endingray too, if he can see us during the show.
Better safe than sorry.
>>
>>5054751
>Return Felman’s anti-demon charm to him, at least briefly, to help stave off the deleterious effects of his repeated exposures to you
>Go get a mana potion—and fast! There’s no time to waste
>Bring him somewhere private for ‘first aid’ (or, rather, to interrogate him while there’s still time)

He's more useful alive and dead. And I'm surprised the an inquisitor doesn't carry his own mana potions around, especially someone as meticulous as Felman.

>>5054542
Mina was actually really close to dying. One anon was already willing to slay Felman and force Mina to escape, and the ensuing manhunt would've gotten her killed. Enthrallment we can disperse is way better than some of our other solutions, most of which involves death or being crippled afterwards. Fact of the matter is, Mina got lucky that anons like her enough not to kill or seriously maim her.

Actually, the incubus' power level could be explained though being a major demon, and I think it's clear the the incubus wants greater power within Hawksong, if only because he's a demon of ambition.

>>5054779
Cute pic. So we need another sucubus for it then?
>>
>>5054751
>>Return Felman’s anti-demon charm to him, at least briefly, to help stave off the deleterious effects of his repeated exposures to you
>>Go get a mana potion—and fast! There’s no time to waste
A dead inquisitor will only bring a swarm of them
>>
>>5054751
Actually, how far away is our pack RQM? We may not even need to use his silver charm if it's relatively close enough.
>>
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Rolled 7, 2 = 9 (2d20)

>>5054768
>>5054964
>>5054995
>Return Felman’s anti-demon charm to him, at least briefly, to help stave off the deleterious effects of his repeated exposures to you
>Go get a mana potion—and fast! There’s no time to waste
>Bring him somewhere private for ‘first aid’ (or, rather, to interrogate him while there’s still time)

[Writing up]
>>
Rolled 6, 19, 18, 9 = 52 (4d20)

>>5055190
You grind your teeth slightly at the frustration of it. You don’t’ want to risk returning the inquisitor’s charm, maybe even breaking your hold over him. You know from your researches that, while the methods are beyond you at this time, false memories can be erased and suppressed memories restored. Still, he’s more useful alive and dead, and a dead inquisitor will only bring a swarm of them down upon you and this establishment once more.

Without looking up, you summon the guardsmen under your continued thrall.

“Bring him up to my room and lay him down,” you instruct. “Gently!”

As Tomas hauls the faint-looking, fine-boned Tower agent over his shoulder, you beckon Levier closer. He obeys, and you whisper to him:

“Place the charm back over hisss neck if hiss condition worsens before I meet you.”

He nods, and you head back up to Mina’s office. It was there, in the frantic heat of absolving Mina’s name and… What followed that… That you left your pack beside her desk. Madam Mina herself is still sleeping in her chair. You pause for a moment to watch her fitful expression, and feel something unusual. Guilt? You’re not certain, but it tugs at you, holds you there for precious seconds.

Do you…
>Free Mina from your thrall
>Resolve to free Mina later, when all this is over
>Pet Mina a little, and leave her be—it’s better this way
I don’t want to make a habit of immediately undoing past votes, but the last vote was very close and the duration and nature of Mina’s enthrallment was pretty ambiguous. Given all the chatter about the vote, I figure I’ll give you all a chance to clarify your intentions

With your potions retrieved, you hurry to your old room at the brothel, closing the door behind you. There, you find Guardsmen Tomas and Levier standing an awkward sentry, not entirely sure what they’re doing there or why without your direct instruction. Inquisitor Felman is laid out on the bed, atop the sheets. His silvered charm has been placed upon him once more, and some colour has returned to his cheeks.

‘Maybe we won’t need the potions after all?’ Irinnile speculates hopefully.

A cursory scan with your mystic senses, however reveals two things: one, that the succubus is overly-optimistic; two, that the charm has indeed broken the lasting hold you had upon his mind. You frown at the thought of trying to re-establish it. Could you even form such a strong hold over him again? Something about that moment in the office felt… Right. As if the stars had aligned for you. You reach down to remove the charm in frustration, ready to try again, but recoil in pain.

[Cont.]
>>
>>5055203
“Wh-what?” you mutter aloud

‘Silver,’ Irinnile hisses. ‘And warding magic.’

You take a moment to process this new development. You look at your hand—already healing, but momentarily marred with an imprint of that charm. You are now so bound to your pet demon that you, yourself have come to share her weakness to silver and anti-demonic magic, even when not using her abilities. That is something of a wrinkle…

There’s no time to dwell on it, though: you instruct Levier and Tomas to remove his charm anew, and have one of them stow it away in the dresser, wrapped in a pillowcase so you can retrieve it later without injury. While they do this, you uncork one of your mana potions and begin to pour it slowly into the unconscious human’s mouth while you massage his throat, forcing him to imbibe the rejuvenating cocktail.

‘It’s working!’ Irinnile says.

‘Yes,’ you agree.

‘Oh, shit, it’s working,’ Irinnile repeats, realizing the implications of restored Felman, regaining consciousness without your mental dominion over him.

‘Yes,’ you agree again. ‘Come on, let’s head this problem off before he fully awakens.’

Luckily, you have come to know the workings of the inquisitor’s mind quite well—what knobs to turn, levels to work, gears to jam. Even as his eyes begin to flutter open, you insinuate yourself into his psyche once again. Without even needing to focus, you know he is no longer your permanent puppet to do with as you will… But for now, at least, he is still your creature.

‘Easy come, easy go,’ Irinnile sighs.

‘Easier still if you could control yourself better,’ you snipe.

Irinnile pouts, but can hardly object. You can feel that, though, that in the awake of your mutual confession and the last exertion of her powers something has changed. Accessing Irinnile’s abilities no longer requires your conscious request, or even the full formation of an intention. It feels… Native, natural. Her abilities and yours, her desires and yours… They are synchronized. Without fully understanding it, you know that such acting out is not the risk it once was.

Well, good. You have Felman to focus upon.

“Where am I?” he groans groggily.

“Tomas, Levier, leave usss,” you command. “Make ssure nobody comess in until I ssay sso.”

They nod—Levier even SALUTES, to your amusement—and they do as you instruct.
>>
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>>5055206
“I ssaved your life,” you answer Inquisitor Felman, once they are gone. “Now, don’t you think you should do ssomething for me?”

“…Yes, I suppose that is fair,” he agrees, blinking rapidly against your sorcery.

“Good boy,” you praise him. “Now then…”
>Ask him about the Tower security
>Ask him about the investigation thus far
>Ask him about the city defences
>Try to implant a lasting hypnotic suggestion or ‘sleeper’ command to activate later [specify what; be aware this may leave a trace]
>Try to return him to Thrall status [requires only one more successful roll, but a failure will break your spell entirely]
>Loot him for magic items
>Ride him to sate some WANT
>Write-in
>>
>>5055203
>Resolve to free Mina later, when all this is over

Frankly, I think ruining another nat 20 will just annoy me further, and we're just creating another problem that we'll be forced to resolve in the future (and it will become another problem), but I can't in right mind ruin another anon's quest experience. Releasing her is a folly, but I doubt it'll be our last in this quest.

>>5055209
>Ask him about the Tower security
>Ask him about the investigation thus far
>Ask him about the city defences
>Loot him for magic items

I'm so annoyed that we lost our nat 20, but I'll assume that it was unavoidable, and move on from there.

Can you clarify as to what a successful roll means please? I'd prefer it if we got him back to thrall status, but I'm unsure if anons would be willing to try a second time.

So much for trying not to make a habit, RQM.
>>
>>5055216
Supporting
>>
>>5055216
>a successful roll
DC 15
>>
>>5055303
Well, I figure I'm willing to give it a shot, even if I'm beginning to think that taking a shot may be foolhardy. The stars did align with that original nat 20, huh?

>>5055209
>Try to return him to Thrall status after we pumped him for info and loot [requires only one more successful roll, but a failure will break your spell entirely]

I frankly don't know if I'm making a mistake here in haste to prevent what I feel is us backsliding, but fucking up our nat 20 just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If you lads don't feel it's worth it, don't vote for this one.
>>
>>5055318
+1 to this anon, let's go for it.
>>
Further thinking upon it, maybe it would be prudent to arrange some blackmail material before we attempt the enthrallment. His career would be ruined if it was leaked that he had sexual relations with anybody, especially his suspects. Maybe we can use his dalliance with us and Mina against him if it all goes wrong? I don't know if I'm being too paranoid over this desu.
>>
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>>5055203
>Resolve to free Mina later, when all this is over
We shall unsterilize the pussy later.
>>5055209
>Tell guards to make sure nobody is eavesdropping outside the door
>Get a wire if the spell fails completely
What do you mean infiltrator has no steel wire? Ready to manifest talons around his neck, then.
>Try to return him to Thrall status
Without enthrallment Felman could figure things out.

We need to give him a mental equivalent of a cyanide pill - make him walk in front if a speeding carriage - in case someone is planning to cleanse his mind. Gotta prevent the discovery of what happened tonight at all cost or we're done for.

A question, QM. Did the amulet only break our enthrallment, while leaving demonically-altered memories intact?
>>
>You know from your researches that, while the methods are beyond you at this time, false memories can be erased and suppressed memories restored.

I was right all along.
The Fox didn't die for nothing.
Bookshelf was unnecessary.

>The lights are dim enough, and you caught it early enough, that it's unlikely anyone noticed. Not impossible, though

We didn't screen the crowd.
Someone probably saw the talons.
Need to closely observe Felia & Co from now on.
>>
>>5055498
I was afraid this side would come out.

Can we not murder someone in excessive paranoia for fucking once? I swear to god, we are going to end up murdering Mina at this rate.

>>5055500
The Fox did die for nothing. Just because you can now rationalize your paranoid delusions doesn't make it justified. I'm really starting to loathe this excessive paranoia.
>>
>>5055203
>>Free Mina from your thrall

>>5055209
>>Ask him about the Tower security
>>Ask him about the investigation thus far
>>Ask him about the city defences
>>
>>5055505
It's not excessive paranoia or murder, can't you read? It's a fuck assurance that our second most prized secret and identity aren't revealed to one of the biggest, legal organizations in the city.

If nobody does nothing, which is likely going to happen
>he lives and works for us
If someone tells him there's mandatory mind vaccination that every inquisitor has to go through, which wil BREAK OUR SPELL AND MAKE HIM REMEMBER EVERYTHING WE DID AND REVEAL IT TO THE TOWER
>He accidentally kills himself or goes directly to us before it can happen, so we can remove him out of the picture

You cannot argue that this is "paranoid" when our main identity is on the line, or "excessive", because I don't want him dead.

Keeping him unthralled with planted memories will leave him a loose end with a bomb attached to it, btw.
>>
Rolled 14, 18, 5, 16 = 53 (4d20)

>>5055216
>So much for trying not to make a habit, RQM.
[Sorry bud, but it was a consequence of taking risks during the dance with him in the audience, and then returning his charm. There were upsides to both options--rapidly-lowered WANT, you newly-unlocked demonic soulmate powers, ensuring Felman didn't die (which he would have with the rolls I rolled for that)--but also downsides.]

>>5055498
>Did the amulet only break our enthrallment, while leaving demonically-altered memories intact?
[Correct! Though the memories can be un-altered with magic, if someone sufficiently-skilled in the mystic arts were to learn of what you did.]

>>5055216
>>5055318
>>5055498
>>5055531
>general interrogation
>try to return Felman to thrall status
>have measures ready to slay him if it fails
[Note: guards are already making sure nobody enters or eavesdrops. Anyway, rolling!]
>>
>>5055682
You wiggle your fingers slightly in preparation, and place your hands gently upon Felman’s narrow collarbones, and against his throat. He tilts his head back instinctively, but does not resist or complain, even as you allow the tips of your finger to harden and sharpen ever so slightly, pricking at his skin. If you fail to enthrall him… Well, he won’t be allowed the chance to retaliate against you, or to sound the alarm.

‘But the rest of the Inquisition’ll come lookin’ for him,’ Irinnile points out.

‘So be it. We can handle what comes our way,’ you say with a false confidence that, alas, you know quite well Irinnile can see right through, just as easily as you sense her fear.

You begin to extend your mental feelers, only to pause. What if it fails and you DO need to execute the inquisitor? Better to gather what intelligence you can first.
>>
>>5055719
>Ask him about the Tower security
“There are multiple defences at each level of security,” Inquisitor Felman explains, his tone even and level as if reciting the answer to a quiz or being debriefed by a superior. “Each level of the tower, up or down from ground level, has its own security level. When we are assigned a broach or badge, it is enchanted to allow us access to a specific range of the floors. Administration, the library, and magical items of great value and rarity are higher in the tower, while experiments and entities deemed dangerous are stored underground.”

“And what do you have accessss to?” you ask pointedly, thinking of the symbol-of-office which you stole from this male almost two weeks prior.

“All upper floors save the highest offices,” he says, “and the first three floors beneath.”

Felman reveals a few other useful tidbits. For instance, his old badge has had its enchantments rendered useless in light of its theft—very good to know!—while the enchantments upon Edwin’s mother’s old student amulet should still be active… But will only allow access to the first three floors above-ground, and one floor below, where students study practical magic.

“If one were to break into a floor one wass not authorized to enter, what might on exxxpect to face?” you next ask.

“Each floor is different,” Felman answers. “But doors would need to be forced—they would not open for you on their own, nor do many doors in high-security areas have knobs or latches to turn, or other means to open them without magic. Each has a ward, with an elemental enchantment imbued to attack an invader, and alarm spell behind it which can detect if it has been forced.”

“Can they be disssabled?”

“By magic?” Felman asks, tilting his head. “Yes… With enough skill. I think I could disable some doors outside my own clearance without setting off the alarm… But the further one goes up the tower, or down it, the more powerful the spells. The locks are set by the mages who work on those floors, after all.”

"Are thosse the only defenccess?" you ask.

"We aren't permitted to know particulars... But no. I know there are others. Mages tasked to stand guard... And creatures. Chimeras, familiars. And some of the research laboratories themselves... What they contain is a defence unto itself, difficult to extract safely once 'freed'."
>>
>>5055720
>Ask him about the city defences
“What do you know of the ccity’ss new defensssive measures?” you next ask.

Inquisitor Felman freezes, eye twitching as if struggling against your control. You flick his nose.

“Non of that,” you chastise him. “Anssssswer me, Felman.”

“Y-yes,” he agrees, his resistance subsiding as the trance reasserts itself. “I… Know little of the particulars. I know that it is a dwarven enchantment they are attempting to make use of… They have an artefact they have retrieved, and many statues that they have made to move. They are trying to work out something of how to command them… How to make more I believe.”

“How far have they gotten in thiss resssearch?”

Felman shakes his head.

“I don’t know. It’s not my job to know that, and it isn’t relevant to my investigation.”

Then he frowns, forehead furrowing. “Wait… It is relevant, isn’t it? You… Why do you…”

“Nevermind that,” you say hurriedly, and move to the next topic.

His will really IS surprisingly strong, his mind keen. What a dangerous mammal…

>Ask him about the investigation thus far
“Tell me, what ISSS the nature of your investigation?” you ask. “What iss it you think you know, about Mina, about the eventsss around Hawksong?”

“At first, the Tower was involved in matters because of the Zivic Manor fire,” he says. “The guards quickly realized it was arson, and had reason to suspect that occultism may have been involved when they found what looked like remains of a ritual-room.”

“Who did you ssusspect?” you ask.

“A demon, summoned by Zivic and possibly on the loose… That was our first supposition. Then the wererat rumours emerged from The Grey press.” Felman scoffs. “We monitor their publications for kernels of truth but, in all honesty, we thought it unlikely. Not that such a peculiar therianthrope might exist in Hawksoing—that seemed possible—but that they were weaving any great web of organized crime without us noticing. It seemed less plausible than a rogue hedge-mage getting in over her head.”

“You ssaid ‘at firsst’,” you note. “When did your theory change?”

Felman frowns.

“It didn’t at first, for most of the investigators. I thought it was unusual, though, that there should be an uptick in this activity so suddenly, and with a caravan of beastmen having just arrived, including a shapeshifter. I began investigating the Eastern Standard company and when…”

“When you were attacked it ssolidified your ssusspicionss,” you finish.
>>
>>5055721
Felman nods.

“It was a black mark against me to lose such valuable items, including one tied to Tower security, but it was also an indication I was on the right track. That’s how I saw it. When the sewer defences were triggered repeatedly, everyone else was more and more convinced it was genuinely wererats, albeit perhaps affiliated with some other entity—our agents had been noticing an uptick in occultism in Hawksong for some time—but the slaughter of the wererats themselves caught everyone off-guard. Even me, as I’d assumed the beastmen and therianthropes had been in league with one another. This revelation encouraged us to re-examine the bodies we’d found in the Zivic fire… And when we fund other corpses, in the sewers and in back-alleys, with the same deep gouges and signs of what looked like partial consumption by some sort of beast…”

“Easstern Sstandard seemed more and more likely,” you note.

“We followed those clues, mapped and timed the incidents, and they were centred around a corridor between The Pretty Kitty and Eastern Standard’s encampment,” he continues. “Another occult operation fell, burned down just as Zivic’s had been, in Goblintown… And with a bunch of dead young people in the sewer. Just as I was digging up the catmen’s connection to Zivic, others were investigating the victims, and found that they’d been involved with The pretty Kitty and its staff.”

“What wass your conclusion?” you ask, though you already think you get the gist.

“There is an occult war going n underground in this city, I supposed. Madam Mina and her brother had summoned something up with Lady Zivic, turned on her and slew her, then burned down her manor to hide the evidence. They were feeding some dark thing from the underworld human lives, and attempting to consolidate power by destroying their rivals. They were even using the Guards and the Tower to aid, by spreading sensationalist stories about the wererats, to divert attention from their own activities while suppressing these other groups.”

You tut. “Sso clossse…”

Felman narrows his eyes. “I was… I am… I almost….”

You snap his fingers, silencing him and restoring him to the hypnotic state.

‘Lispy, this guy’s pretty good,’ Irinnile admits.

‘Or we’ve been sloppy,’ you counter.

Either way, you can’t risk him running around with his mind unaltered. With your questions answered as best as they are going to be, you close your eyes and press your forehead to his. You focus your will, slowing your breathing until finally you are in the most optimal trance-space you can achieve. There is no room for error: Fleman will be your puppet-on-a-string, or he will die.

>18

As you open your eyes and behold his own, still dull and empty, his face still slack and expression compliant, you know you have achieved the former. Once more, you own Felman’s mind, body, and soul.
>>
>>5055722
‘Whew,’ Irinnile sighs with relief. ‘had me worried for a bit there, babe.’

Felman is once more your perfect thrall—so long as nobody else attempts to disenchant him, of course—to do with what you will. The question becomes, then… What do you do?
>Send him on his way, with instructions to self-terminate if anyone threatens to reveal his enchantment
>Have him steer the investigation away from you and Mina, towards a specific other avenue [Devil-Zivic? Another party?]
>Plant him in Tower Gala security, in the hopes you can sue him to gain access two nights hence
>Ask him something else while you have him here [what?]
>Just sabotage his life—have him squander his career opportunities, humiliate himself with incompetence, and drum him off of the case and out of the Inquisition
>Write-in

Once you have dismissed Felman, what comes next?
>It’s safe to free Mina now, you reason
>Spend the night at The Pretty Kitty—get some food, and some rest, both well-earned
>Head back to Dame Albacete’s, to check on Roth and to report back, and perhaps not do some dream-delving
>Head to the Engel Manor, to check on Edwin and to rest there until tomorrow
>Write-in
>>
>>5055723
>Send him on his way, with instructions to self-terminate if anyone threatens to reveal his enchantment
>Have him steer the investigation away from you and Mina, towards a specific other avenue [Devil-Zivic? Another party?]

Now that Foxy is dead no one will mind if we blame everything on her

>Spend the night at The Pretty Kitty—get some food, and some rest, both well-earned
make sure everything is settled here
>>
>>5055723
>Have him steer the investigation away from you and Mina, towards a specific other avenue [Devil-Zivic? Another party?]
I ain't trying to screw Devil-Zivic over, but there has to be another occult thing going on outside our perception.
>Plant him in Tower Gala security, in the hopes you can sue him to gain access two nights hence
>Ask him something else while you have him here [Teach us some magic]

>Head back to Dame Albacete’s, to check on Roth and to report back, and perhaps not do some dream-delving

Dream-delving, please.

>>5055598
This is clearly excessively paranoid, because if you really wanted to not risk it, you'd vote to sabotage his career in the Inquisition instead of just offing just like that. It was our Infiltrator's murder boner that originally brought this mess to our doorstep, even Feldman admitted as much. Fact is that you can't keep murdering our way into secrecy anon, it'll just cause more attention to come to our secret identity.
>>
>>5055723
>Tell him to make a fake 1:1 replica of his old talisman that won't work against demons, and wear it
Gotta make sure this is in place
>Make him FIND someone who could be blamed for the killings and arson and return the knowledge to us
He has better knowledge of beast people and occult in Hawksong
>Plant him in Tower Gala security, in the hopes you can sue him to gain access two nights hence
Gonna need the badge and golem immumity
>Send him on his way, with instructions to self-terminate if anyone threatens to reveal his enchantment
I can't believe this is controversial while it literally does nothing but just save our ass in case things would go awry so bad our identity would be compromised.
Like, do you anons even realize what it means if someone or something were to restore his memories of Rosgard at TPK?

>It’s safe to free Mina now, you reason
Unsterilize the cat, tell her what had happened (the censored version)
>Head back to Dame Albacete’s, to check on Roth and to report back, and perhaps not do some dream-delving
Report, definitely. We don't want to leave them in the unknown after what had happened back at Felman's house and TPK tonight.
>>
>>5055745
Supporting this.

The Foxy connection is good
>>
>>5055787
I can agree with these points.
>Tell him to make a fake 1:1 replica of his old talisman that won't work against demons, and wear it
>Make him FIND someone who could be blamed for the killings and arson and return the knowledge to us
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>5055987
>>5055950
>>5055787
>>5055751
>>5055745

>>5055987
>>5055950
>>5055787
>>5055751
>>5055745
“You will report back to your massterss,” you instruct your once-more enthralled Inquistion double-agent. “You will tell them that, while the investigation comtinuess, your interrogation of the proprietress of The Pretty Kitty revealed that the foxx-woman of The Eastern Standard Company went rogue and perpetrated the killingss, without direct involvement of any of the catmen… Or anyone elsse affiliated with either enterprise.”

Felman says nothing, ahrdly even blinking.

“Do you udnersstand?” you ask impatiently.

“Yess,” he says quickly.

“Good,” you say with a smirk. “And if they sseem ssusspiciousss of you, or sseek to check you for enchantemntss, I expect that you will make excuses… And should they fail, that you will sslay yoursself before you allow ssuch.”

“I…”

“Do you understand, Inquissitor?”

“I understand, yes.”

“Will you do it?”

“I will try,” he agrees readily.

“Good boy!” you say, clapping your hands. “Now, leave me. I will check in with you if I require your further sservicess. Go, and forget that this conversation ever happened, until I need you to remember.”

Felman bows his head and hurries out of the room. You lean out just long enough to send the still-waiting guardsmen on their way as well. This matter settled, you fetch yourself some food from a grateful—though still shaken and confused—Konrad Brugaghson.

‘Think we’re in the clear?’ Irinnile asks.

You aren’t sure, but it FEELS like a victory… Enough so that you are almost, ALMOST ready to free Mina from enthrallment. A part of you feels bad at so enslaving someone who has been oddly loyal and trusting of you, even as she learned the truth. It’s a truth you wouldn’t even trust EDWIN with, after all. Aside from your fellow agents, and Irinnile herself, Mina was in some ways your closest ally.
>>
>>5056048

…But no, not yet. Your head is still swimming with the psychic exertions of the day, and your body muscle-sore from dancing and fornication in equal measures.

(You had almost forgot to tell Felman to make a non-functional replica of his charm when he had the time, so tired were you! You had to summon Yemrep and send the grotesque little imp to run the message along to him.)

No, while you know you ought to report back to your senior operatives, and to see how Roth is getting on, but it is all you can do to haul yourself up the stairs and into bed. You bid Felia a good night—you make a note of the waver of emotional uncertainty in her aura, to possibly follow up on later—and watch as she enters Mina’s room.

‘Not like she’s a mage or nothin’ like that,’ Irinnile comments.

It’s true, and you can’t bring yourself to worry overmuch. You enter your room, stumble to your old bed in this place, and flop down amongst its frilly faux-finery to at long last rest your weary body once more.

Torpor take you swiftly—not the dream-delving sort of lucid sleep and nocturnal meddling, but true torpor… And from that torpor, came sleep—sleep in the manner of the apes who call themselves men.

What do you dream of?
>Nothing—like a proper Reptilian
>Your mother
>Your father
>Your guilt
>Your love(s)
>Your destiny
>>
>>5056059
>Your mother
>Your father
Or
>Your guilt
>Your destiny

I like the contrast of the last one, but I also figure certain revaluations would make our infiltrator dream of her parents as well.
>>
>>5056059
>Nothing—like a proper Reptilian

>>5056075
Why dream about our father and get conflicted about Yosefs? And guilt of what kind?
>>
>>5056141
Actually, I'm hoping for a happy dream with them together, to get a better feeling of their relationship. Plus, this was a recent revelation, so I think it would be IC.

As to the guilt, I have no idea, hence why I'd like to find out. Plus, I think it'll be a kino contrast with our destiny.
>>
>>5056059
>Your love(s)
>Your destiny
>>
>>5056158
>IC
To be fair, these are choices to steer character development. If they weren't, this wouldn't be a choice and instead a skip to the following morning.

I personally want to steer this slightly more on the reptilian side of things before RIQ becomes a shitty generic story of a deadly dehumanized half-reptilian infiltrator finding her hoomanity and love and all those generic emotions most /qst/ players probably never experienced in their life.
>>
>>5056209
Don't worry, you have fear, hate, and paranoia on lock. Besides, I never expected to join the forces of good, even with the revelation. Quite a shame, rooting out reptilian infiltrators in a vengeance fueled rage with that wicked sword would've been rad.

I don't know how you're going to deal with Edwin and Mina btw, unless you're already planning on gutting them in a sewer.


>>5056059
If my vote (>>5056075) fails to get any support, consider me supporting >>5056206. I figure our infiltrator having a rare dream would be quite interesting, instead of the usual nothingburger that we usually get in between periods of wakefulness. Beside, the last destiny dream had elf tiddy in it.
>>
>>5056229
>Don't worry, you have fear, hate, and paranoia on lock.
I don't fear anything short of snake-sniffing griffons and only really hated the wererats. Actually appreciated how absolutely based Felman was that one night when he booted Ismena and shived Roth. We could really use his help if it wasn't for his ties to the tower and possibility of the higher-ups observing him.
My "paranoia" stems from the fact that RQM pays close attention to our decisions (like, leaving Felman without amulet could lead to him getting filtered down the line if someone noticed) and because of that I try to think ahead as much as my 2.5 braincells allow me to.
>Quite a shame, rooting out reptilian infiltrators in a vengeance fueled rage with that wicked sword would've been rad.
Actually disgusting.

>unless you're already planning on gutting them in a sewer
You must be out of your mind or shitposting lmao.
I said we should try to corrupt Edwin into slowly becoming our helper threads ago and the cat did nothing wrong. She's not even human.
>>
>>5056059
>>Your mother
>>Your love(s)
>>Your destiny

Infiltrators have no time for guilt
>>
>>5056059
>Nothing—like a proper Reptilian

reject degeneracy
>>
Your sleep in not the empty restorative torpor of a Reptilian—not tonight. Tonight, as your father must have once done as well, you dream.

In your dreams, you are once more seated high above this city—this world!—on a gilded throne. You wear not your Kamunu attired as you did when you fell asleep but the outfit which Agatha Johan—the seamstress from Sparrowton—designed for you. Like an epiphany you remember that it must still be waiting for you, and Paula’s outfit as well at the boutique where Agatha works… But the lucid thought is gone almost as soon as it arrives. The distractions of the dreamworld are too ample.

As before, you are attended to by strapping men and half-orcs by catmen and racoon-men and minotaurs. In your lap, Zi the goblin lays curled like a cat, naked and pliant to your touch. Karl Brugaghson single-mindedly slices and cooks meat, while Qicerys skewers it on a stick and feeds you by hand piece by piece. Both are silent and obedient; both are also naked.

It seems every surface race you have encountered—save those fetid, abominable wererats—is represented in your entourage. They fill your palatial estate—like a fractal composite of every mansion and manor you have frequented, alight with the dim pink of The Pretty Kitty lounge—and these diverse adulants spill out onto the promenade beyond, all the way out to the sparkling waters of the sea, where the sun sets. Every one of them attends to you and you alone.

“Alone…”

You are almost startled at the voice, for (almost as startling) to realize it is the first voice you have heard in all this throng. You stand up with a start, Zi spilling gracelessly out of your lap. She collects herself and shuffles aside, not looking up not saying a word. You cast your eyes about, and find…

“Izirina.” You take a deep breath, seeing beyond the illusory human shape to the smooth, serpentine build and golden-brown scales beyond. “…Mother.”

Your mother is… Fuzzy around the edges in your vision as she circles your throne, gazing calmly upon your servants and their works. Her form flits between her human disguise and the way you remember her as a child, but it is the human form which is the clearer. Has it been so long that you cannot remember the face of your mother clearly anymore?

“I like what you have done with the place,” she says.

You try to speak—there is so much you wish to say, to ask, to demand she answer for. Yet… You can’t. it’s too much.

“You mean Hawksong?” you ask.

Your mother looks back to you with her time-distant features, her smudged human countenance, her piercing golden eyes and says: “No. With our home.”

In a panic you don’t quite understand, you protest: “Hawksong is a mission, not a home! That was why you failed—your attachment to this place. I am not like you! I will NOT fail!”
>>
>>5056602
Your mother tilts her head, and reiterates: “Not Hawksong. Our home. Where we belong. Where we go when our mission is complete.”

“Wh-what?”

Before you can question her further, you feel the ground give way beneath you. You cry out and clutch at empty air, to no avail. You don’t fall for long, not really, but all light is gone when you land. You are in darkness, unable to see anything at all—you can only grope at the darkness, paw at… Stone?

You run your hands along the stone surfaces around you, feeling shelves carved into the rock. It’s… Familiar, somehow, but not in any comforting way. With increasing dread, you reocgnzie the size and shape of each hold made in the stonework, until finally you arrive at one shelf carved deeper than the others, and wider… deep and wide enough to hold a grown Reptilian female, and her Degenerate spawn.

Your old room. Your mother’s prison.

“No… No, this is wrong,” you mutter. “This is not my destiny.”

You take a moment, collecting yourself. Panic will not swallow you. Your night vision… Where is it?

“Irinnile, help me see what’s happening.”

Nothing happens. No darkvision lights up the cavern for you.

“Irinnile?” you repeat, hearing the fear creep into your voice.

“Quiet in there!”

You turn towards the sound of this new voice—roaring, masculine, Reptilian. At the entrance of the cavern you see a single silhouette of a bulky clansman—perhaps a Steeltalon, or a Dragonblood.

“Why am I here?” you ask. “Where is Irinnile?”

“Is it her you want, then, Izzy?”

You whirl around, disoriented anew by the voice. Holding a lantern in the dark of your old cell, you see him: Edwin of Engel.

“Edwin? Why are you here? What's going on?”

“You brought me here,” he answers. “Ad a comfort. As a toy.”

“That's… That's not true.”

“So you love me, then?” he asks.

Your throat and lips are dry. You try to speak, but can only croak weakly.

“You said it to Irinnile,” he presses. “You told her you love her. You told her everything. Even now, you asked for her, not for me.”

“It's not because I… She’s not human. She's bound to me. She has power!”

Edwin smiles sadly. “Can you only live that which you can control and use?”

Behind you, a Reptilian voice speaks—not the guard, but your mother once more—asking: “Is that love?”

You turn around but she and the guard are gone. There is only darkness and stone. You turn back to Edwin, fearing he will likewise be gone… But he is still there. However, he is changed, different. His expression isn't insightful, thoughtful, curious, observant. His eyes are glossy, his lips slightly parted, his countenance placid… Like Mina, or Bianchi, or Felman and the guards.

“Do you love me now?” he asks, in Irinnile's voice.
>>
>>5056604
“Eesh, Lispy. Is that my voice? You have some shit to work through, huh?”

You feel a hand on your shoulder, and turn around yet again. This time, though, the eyes which meet yours are not dull and empty, but sparkling wells of gold. Irinnile stands before you, somehow more vivid than the rest of this dreamscape—more real. Immediately, you understand that this is no imagined image, but the succubus herself.

“I…” you croak.

“Aww, babe, and we were having such a good day, too…”

Irinnile begins to guide you like an invalid from the darkness of memory and anxiety into the light of day.

“Come on,” she says, “it's time to wake up.”

<Two Days Until the Tower Gala>

And so you do, in a start, sitting upright on the bed where you had passed out what feels like moments ago. Alone.

‘Well, never REALLY alone though, right?’ Irinnile asks from within you.

Still… It was a troubling vision. What will you do about it?
>Resolve never to dream again, and have Irinnile aid you in preventing such distractions in the future
>Seek out the comfort of Edwin [+affection]
>Distance yourself from Edwin, for you cannot afford this liability with your destiny on the line [-affection]
>Confront your senior operatives about your expectations when the mission is over
>Suppress your anxieties and channel them into diligent spycraft [specify if you have a task in mind]
>Write-in
>>
>>5056606
>Distance yourself from Edwin, for you cannot afford this liability with your destiny on the line [-affection]

Obviously we're still in a relationship but I want to fake our side of it more.

>Suppress your anxieties and channel them into diligent spycraft [specify if you have a task in mind]

Any prep we still need for the Gala
>>
>>5056606
>Confront your senior operatives about your expectations when the mission is over
>Suppress your anxieties and channel them into diligent spycraft [Preparing for the Gala, and figuring out what that dwarven cube artifact does]
>>
>>5056606
Actually, I'd like to visit Qicerys before we begin our preparations for the day. It's about time we get our drug operation up and running, and it'll only take a small portion of our time.
>>
>>5056669
Supporting

Channeling anxiety into work is healthy…right?
>>
>>5056728
It's certainly productive!
>>
>>5056641
>>5056669
>>5056677
>>5056728

As you have so often in your life, you push your emotions deep down, as if into the pit in that awful dream. You lock them in a cell within your heart—no, a furnace, wherebgy you might burn them for fuel!

‘You’re feeling poetic for a snake who just had an awful dream,’ Irinnile comments. ‘I’ll really never understand you hum—er, mortals.’

It is with grim purpose that you bathe and change, and set about your day. First and foremost, you decide it is time to sort out the matter of the blasted dwarven puzzle box once and for all! You sense that somewhere in its secrets, you will find information you will NEED in two nights, when by mischief or murder you WILL gain access to the Hawksong city defence project’s beating heart!

‘I mean, fuck, it’s kinda’ getting me hot,’ Irinnile murmurs quietly, but you ignore her.

You can think of a few ways to approach this particular puzzle: by brute force and strength of mystic power (which, you must admit, ahs been working quite well for you lately), by clever fiddling with the help of your dwarven consultants, or by seeking out your new magically-skilled Inquisition puppet Felman. Or perhaps there’s some other way… Something you haven’t thought of yet?
>Brute force it with magic
>Consult with your dwarf associates once more
>Find and consult Felman
>Write-in

Aside from that, you have to get ready for the Gala! It’s a mere two days away, but there’s so much to do. Paula the Tower Staffer is still a useful ‘in’ if you cultivate her, for instance, but with Felman in your thrall… Do you really need her?

Knowing that the object is quite possibly hidden below-ground, you also are newly aware of an opportunity to enter from below—possibly with goblin assistance in scouting that area of the undercity?

Or maybe you should visit the library, you old haunt, to find ay information on the construction and infrastructure around the building, to plan an exit or better identify a likely location for your objective to be stored? Paula might know something of that as well… Maybe even information Felman wouldn’t know, since he clearly does little work around the security there, while she cleans out the labs.

‘And you still have that sparkly outfit that cute little snack Agatha made for you,’ Irinnile adds happily, priorities as skewed as ever despite your soul-bond.
Choose two:
>Go on a date with Paula and ply her for information on Tower defences
>Get your dress from Agatha Johan at the Lacewing Boutique, and catch up with an old friend
>Read up on the Tower and surrounding area at the library
>Go visit Zi and the goblins to discuss scouting the undercity around the base of the Tower
>Other (specify, may veto if it is extremely time-consuming or just a combination of above prompts)
>>
>>5056878
As the day goes on, you also can’t help but feel the dream stick with you, rearing its ugly head. You see the silhouette of that male pureblood, the symbol of all your persecution internal and external. Would the Dark Gods and their Serpent Priests really reward you for your hard work with a return to the lonesome destitution of your cell? Would your victory be so undervalued? It can’t be true…

But what if it is?

‘Just saying, I wouldn’t trust ‘em,’ Irinnile mutters.

You frown at the disloyalty to your allies and masters, the sheer sacrilege. You remain loyal, of course! But… Perhaps you should talk to your seniors about what reward you should expect in the event of your inevitable victory for the Reptilian Master Race?
>Approach them slyly, attempting to subtly deduce what your future after the mission might hold
>Confront them directly, laying out your case and demanding recognition and support when you present your reports to the masters
>Appeal to their camaraderie, and to Roth’s gratitude for being saved
>Enthrall them with magic—Albacete and Roth will be COMPELLED to sing your praises to the Serpent Priests!
>Write-in
>>
>>5056878
>Consult with your dwarf associates once more
>Consult with the Akashic Record for knowledge of drwarves, magic, or both

If that fails, we might want to try Felman. Or we could give it ye old brute force try.

>Go on a date with Paula and ply her for information on Tower defences
>Get your dress from Agatha Johan at the Lacewing Boutique, and catch up with an old friend

We should keep in touch with Zi though.

>>5056879
>Approach them slyly, attempting to subtly deduce what your future after the mission might hold
>Appeal to their camaraderie, and to Roth’s gratitude for being saved

I hope we look good on their reports.
>>
>>5056606
>>5056641
Late, but support for that one. Hopefully it's just a doubt and guilt speaking.

>>5056878
>Find and consult Felman
>Inquire him about Tower's dungeons while you're at it
if he can't help with the box,
>Brute force it with magic

>Get your dress from Agatha Johan at the Lacewing Boutique, and catch up with an old friend
Shouldn't take too long, right?
>Go visit Zi and the goblins to discuss scouting the undercity around the base of the Tower

>Approach them slyly, attempting to subtly deduce what your future after the mission might hold
>>
[Will post after work! Hopefully the tie is broken by then.]
>>
>>5056879
>Approach them slyly, attempting to subtly deduce what your future after the mission might hold

>Go on a date with Paula and ply her for information on Tower defences

>Go visit Zi and the goblins to discuss scouting the undercity around the base of the Tower

>Find and consult Felman

reverse order voting

also infiltrator is overreacting about the endgame I'm sure
we have the favor of the dark gods themselves
>>
>>5056878
>Consult with your dwarf associates once more
>Consult with the Akashic Record for knowledge of drwarves, magic, or both

If that fails, we might want to try Felman.

>Get your dress from Agatha Johan at the Lacewing Boutique, and catch up with an old friend

Shouldn’t take too long, then:
>Go on a date with Paula and ply her for information on Tower defences

>Approach them slyly, attempting to subtly deduce what your future after the mission might hold
>>
>Consult with your dwarf associates once more
>Consult with the Akashic Record for knowledge of drwarves, magic, or both

>Get your dress from Agatha Johan at the Lacewing Boutique, and catch up with an old friend
>Go on a date with Paula and ply her for information on Tower defences

>Approach them slyly, attempting to subtly deduce what your future after the mission might hold

[Votes are locked in! Will post before bed!]
>>
Rolled 11, 16, 17, 14 = 58 (4d20)

>>5057634
>>5057325
>>5057206
>>5057045
>Consult with your dwarf associates once more
>Consult with the Akashic Record for knowledge of dwarves, magic, or both

Your first and foremost enterprise is to uncover the secrets of this blasted puzzle-box. To that end, you seek out Helga Warchest, your stout-but-feminine fellow exotic dancer. She is not so heavy a drinker as the rest of her people—

‘Still holds her liquor better than you, though,’ Irinnile teases.

--but she is still less than keen to be awoken so early as you are rousing her this morning.

“Kamunu?” she groans. “What are you even doing in my room? Must be dreaming…”

‘She dreams about you being in her room,’ Irinnile notes with interest.

You quirk an eyebrow and, not above playing this up, tell the dwarfmaiden of a special favour you can only ask of her—of an urgent enterprise that requires her personal assistance, and nobody else’s on staff!

“Oh…” she rubs her eyes. “Well… Alright. Why didn’t you just say so? I mean… Us girls have to stick together, right?”

When you tell her an additional consultancy fee (contingent on results) might be involved, that’s enough to tip the scales. She leaves her room to go wash up and get ready.

‘We bringing in Kelvyn Jemkottur as well?’ Irinnile asks, referring to the dwarven tinkerer—or engineer—whom you previously employed for this task.

‘I don’t see why not,’ you say.

‘Helga hates him,’ Irinnile notes.

‘Helga know less than him on the subject,’ you point out. ‘She’ll deal with it. But let’s hurry and make use of the Akashic Record while we have a moment.’

‘You think there’s more in there?’ Irinnile asks skeptically.

‘There’s only one way to find out.’

[Akashic Record Roll, Cont.]
>>
>>5057679
You cross your legs and settle in upon Helga Warchest’s bed, shutting your eyes and focusing upon all things Dwarf. Once you have focused the lens of your mind’s eye upon those flickers of memory which almost seem highlighted for relevance, you grope about in your pack and remove the cube—the puzzle box, if so it can be called—which so stymies you. With it in hand, and your focus further narrowed by this item in your possession, you finally hit the jackpot…. Sort of. What you uncover in the unseen annals of your people is an image of one of your agents, at the mercy of a dwarven officer or noble in some long-gone era…

But in his hand, the officer holds the cube! Or, well, a cube of similar make. You can scarcely hear the interrogation for your focus upon the curious device, which he idly turns over and over in his hand, pressing upon it or massaging it in unusual ways which cause sit to change shape—one instant a cube, another a trapezoid, or a small and angular sculpture of a miniature dwarven soldier, or a bird, or a boar, or a sword, or a shield.

“You’ve done us in,” the old male dwarf says in his soot-stained, garvel-fed rumble. “But I suspect you know that.”

The Reptilian—a Silkscale, you would wager—says nothing, his head lowered and disguise abandoned. He is bound, his legs broken.

“Our corporation will go bankrupt for all the wealth you funneled away. Our enemies and creditors alike are banging on the gates…”

The Silkscale allows himself a small smirk.

“Still, these gates won’t fall,” the dwarf elader says, standing up and collapsing the cube back into its regular shape. He slams it down upon his desk, and takes a broad, short sword from the sheathe at his side, raising it high. “These gates won’t open to barbarians until every dwarf is days, or weeks dead… And the same magic which will hold that gate against those barbarians will seek out every last one of you filthy, Reptilian worms and mash you into jelly.”

“Sso be it,” your predecessor spits in accented Dwarfish. “Long live the Serpent Priests, and eternal reign the Dark—!”

The sword falls, the speech is cut short, and with that… So, too, does your peering into the past abruptly end.
>>
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Rolled 20, 20, 5, 15, 5, 8 = 73 (6d20)

>>5057701
‘Huh. I guess it was you guys that collapsed the little kingdom they’re excavating?’ Irinnile speculates.

It seems as likely as not. You wonder at first that you never heard of it… But if no agent survived the dwarf retribution within those self-repairing, rearranging walls, perhaps it is no wonder. All the more reason to halt this new city defence plan before it is enacted, if it can be so thorough and deadly!

Upon Helga’s return, you inform her of your plan to meet with Jemkotture. You expected her to accept this unfortunate necessity, and so she does. However, you note her aura flicker with disappointment when she realizes it was her dwarfiness—not anything specific to her as an individual—which made her indispensable you to you this day.

Do you deem this…
>Not your problem
>Worth reassuring and coddling Helga a little built to maintain your rapport
>Something to tease and mock her over
>Write-in

Regardless, Kelvyn Jemkottur is more than willing to et aside his projects for a brief break and a chance to get a close look at the cube once the three of you are gathered. The chilliness between he and your fellow dancer remains, but their contrasting cultural and personal backgrounds make them strangely perfect for bouncing ideas off of: Helga approaches the puzzle of the box from the perspective of a young woman who was raised on folktales and fables of her ancestors, while Jemkottur is rigidly mechanistic about its functions.

“I think I have an inkling of how it worksss,” you intimate.

“Oh?” both dwarves say, skeptical and interested in equal parts.

Without telling them of your vision, you speculate that the cube might be able to reshape into various geometric patterns and simple shapes. This fits neatly with Helga’s theory of the cube’s function, while Jemkottur is able to work with you to make rudimentary drawings of the forms you saw it take, and to then fiddle with the devcie to work out how it might turn, rotate, and unfold to form them.

“You would need enchantment to achieve those forms without breaking and reassembling it by hand—or, rather, with tools,” Jemkottur concludes. “It should be possible to achieve all those shapes, though!”

“Breaking the box like that would surely break the magic, too,” Helga cautions. “Just what I’ve heard, mind, but…”

“It does line up with what I’ve heard of such things,” Jemkottur stuffily concedes.

You thank the dwarves and conclude the meeting, paying them a few gold coins for their trouble and promising them more if this theory bears fruit, or if you decide to call on them again.

“Alasss, I have other meetingss to attend!” you explain, and excuse yourself.

The two look at each other awkwardly, and you get the feeling they will part soon after as well, with nary a word exchanged between them in friendship.

[Cont., rolling for politesse/seduction with a side of mystery dice]
>>
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>>5057702
>Get your dress from Agatha Johan at the Lacewing Boutique, and catch up with an old friend
>Go on a date with Paula and ply her for information on Tower defences

Your next brilliant masterstroke of efficiency in your whirlwind of preparation for the big day of the Tower Gala begins with the hiring of a coach to the Initiate’s Village with some of the money earned the night prior. You haven’t yet paid Mina her portion but, with the catwoman still utterly enthralled, you doubt she’ll come asking after it until if or when you deem it appropriate. Moreover, it’s necessary if you want to make the most of this day, and to prove yourself a worthier operative than your mother was.

‘Lispy…’ Irinnile murmurs worriedly, but you shrug off her concern.

Still, it’s nice to have her there, a little voice inside helping to dampen your renewed self-loathing and to keep you from spiraling into existential dread. You’re more efficient this way!

‘Not really the point, babe,’ she pouts.

Once you have arrived in the Village—the eldritch energy-distorted suburb surrounding the ivory-white towering edifice of the Hawksong Mage’s Tower—you immediately set about seeking our Paula. The Tower staffer—a janitorial worker, but a mage in her own right—has been your asset for some time. You’ve plied her with magic, set your seductive wiles loose upon her, even shared Edwin with her (well, his hands and mouth, anyway)…

“Oh, Ismena!” she greets you in surprise, then looks about in confusion. “No Edwin today?”

…But never on your own. Today, though, it’s better to approach your target as a solo hunter, however. You have information you need from her, and you don’t feel like trying to enthrall or justify your inquiries to the both of them.

‘You sure you’re not avoiding him because of, you know, the dr—’

“No, no Edwin,” you say, perhaps a bit more loudly than you’d intended in your hurry to cut Irinnile’s thought short. “I thought we might go fetch those dressesss from the boutique and have a little… Girl time?”

Paula tilts her head, clearly a little disappointed, but ultimately she is no match for your charms. You practically sweep her off of her feet and into the carriage, and as you make use of the cross-town ride to the Lacewing to cozy up to her both rhetorically and physically, you soon have her eating out of the palm of your hand.

“Why all the questions about chimeras?” she asks.

“Oh, you know,” you say, making up an excuse on the fly, “Edwin hass been reading all these books on non-human or demihuman magicss, and the ssubject came up. Iss it true mages have exxxperimented with chimeric familiarss bred or manufactured from magical beingss to augment their own magical abilitiesss?”
>>
>>5057715
“Huh,” Paula seems surprised and impressed. It was honestly a guess on your part, built only flimsily upon something you’d heard Edwin speak of during a study session one evening. “Yes, that… Has been the case. How did you know?”

You just shrug and smirk slyly, which seems good enough for Paula.

“Any familiar can be a real boon to mage, but an uplifted or ensorcelled animal is most common. It gives the mage additional eyes and years, and depending on the species a messenger or guardian… But even with magic on their side, most animals only grow so smart, and live so long. Worse, maintaining the connection drains or weakens the mage, if only by a small amount. But if the familiar is already magical…”

“…Then they share their mana with the mage, and vice versssa.”

‘That’s kinda’ what we’re doing, right?’ Irinnile muses.

Paula nods.

“Sso the chimerass in the Tower bassement…”

“Ismena, you know I can’t talk about that!” Paula laughs it off, swatting at you playfully.

You let the matter drop for the moment, knowing that pressing harder right now would be a step too far. Besides, she’s already admitted, after a fashion, that there ARE Tower-bred chimeras guarding the basement, which she has seen in some capacity.

The two of you arrive at the Lacewing Boutique shortly thereafter, where Agatha is delighted.

“Ismena!” she greets you, coming THIS close to hugging you. “It’s been too long.”

“Thingss have been busy,” you not-quite-apologize, scooping her up into a too-long, squeezing embrace that sets her to blushing and gently pushing away.

“W-w-well… Yes, me too. It’s, um, yes.”

Ah, you’d missed bullying this one.

“And, um, hello Paula! Good to see you again.”

Paula nods curtly, and Agatha bustle over to a corner to fetch two patterned wooden boxes. She sets them down upon the counter and unties their small cord wrappings proudly, sliding the tops off of them to reveal your neatly-folded faux-mage designs. They have been modified with bigger, fuller cups and cinched waists, to stay on your body as you move without magical aid, and the shine of the sequined fabrics isn’t quite the mystical sparkle and shimmer you saw at Lux Annex in the Initiate’s Village… But they’re also infinitely more accessible to you.
>>
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>>5057719
“They’re beautifully done,” you admit readily, before adding: “For someone with no magic.”

“Oh! Um! Thanks?” Agatha says, a little thrown off by your carefully-subdued compliment.

“You know,” Paula eggs you on, “you could still try to enchant them. I can sense your mana reserves have grown stronger. You’ve been rpactciing.”

And so you have… But practicing demonology and mesmerism, Serpent Priest-style clerical occultism and illusion. Not physical enchantment, well outside your wheelhouse! Then again, if you manufacture magic items wholecloth with Irinnile’s aid… Why not enchant an existing one?

‘Oof, babe, that takes a lot outta’ me…’

Do you try to enchant the dresses into true magic garments?
>Yes, you’ll do that later tonight
>No, it’s not worth tuckering out Irinnile
>No, but you’ll see about visiting Felman sometime soon to have HIM do so
>Write-in

[Cont.]
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>>5057721
You drag Agatha out to lunch with Paula and yourself, since she’s due a break anyway. Her employer haughtily denounces her laziness at first, but the hearty tip you offer on top of Edwin’s pricey purchase price for the dresses puts an end to that. You’re quickly becoming a very important person—and patron!—of the shop, which you note is flourishing in the richness of fabrics and abundance of designs on display. Many of the new works prominently displayed are clearly designed by Agatha, not the stodgy older female who owns the store.

Agatha’s demure, mousy charms and the delicious (protein-rich, vegetable-light) lunch you procure the two human females helps to put Paula at ease and off her guard. With a bit of subtle guidance, you manoeuvre the topic back to matters arcane, and nudge AGATHA into asking about the Tower’s wonders and horrors this time, while you simply watch with carefully-subdued curiosity.

“Well… Yeah, okay. There are some hazards of the job,” Paula admits after some egging. “The greater drakes—that’s these dragon-newts, but uplifted and spliced with all sorts of true reptile and infused with elemental magics—they’re common enough as familiars among security staff and some of the upper alumni in the Biological Alchemy faculty. Tame, though. Or, well, docile and uninterested in much. More like a tool than a pet…”

“But…?” Agatha asks, leaning forward with fascintion.

“Okay, yeah,” Paula laughs. “I came around this corner once and I saw them moving this thing—this HUGE thing—up from a lower floor to one of the labs. It was out cold, and looked ill maybe, but… It was a beast. A real monster! I swear, it was like a bear, but it had to be twice as big as any I’ve ever seen at the circus or fair, and its face…”

“Yesss?” you can’t help but press.

“You know the Paladins’ gryphons?” she whispers. “Like that, but with these huge, wide, STARING eyes, and it was HORNED. And its paws?”

“What about its paws?” Agatha asks.

“Like HUMAN HANDS, but with big meat-hook claws!”

You instinctively shiver, a hereditary reptilian fear traveling up your spine.

When the lunch-date is winding down and Agatha expresses her anxious desire to return to work, Paula surprises you with a bit of boldness. Her hand rests on your thigh beneath the table, and she suggests continuing the date into the evening, “perhaps somewhere with wine?”
>Take her up on it—you are enjoying her company and/or wish to extract additional intel
>Yes, and drag poor Agatha along too—you might be able to corrupt her into a bit of ‘fun’ and sate twice the WANT, later!
>No, you have what you need and have a rendezvous with Roth and Albacete to attend to so you can put some fears to bed
>Suggest the three of you go take things to the most private and daring place possible—the Tower’s labs! [automatic success due to the double 20 crit above… If you opt for it]
>Write-in
>>
>>5057702
>Worth reassuring and coddling Helga a little built to maintain your rapport
>Something to lightly tease and mock her over in good humor

It isn't just business that we wanted her here for, it's her company that we value. Beside, having dream about me in your bedroom? Woof.

Also, we might as well catch-up.

>>5057721
>Yes, you’ll do that later tonight
>If tgat fails, you’ll see about visiting Felman sometime soon to have HIM do so

We'll make sure to fill Irinnile up before and after. We're still at a high level of blue balls regardless.

>>5057732
>Suggest the three of you go take things to the most private and daring place possible—the Tower’s labs! [automatic success due to the double 20 crit above… If you opt for it]

Hell yea!
>>
>>5057751
Getting into the Tower's labs pre-Gala is a great opportunity to case the place and figure out where we'll need to go when the Gala comes around proper, in case anyone is curious as to my reasoning.
>>
>>5057702
>Worth reassuring and coddling Helga a little built to maintain your rapport
It can only benefit us. Plus, we DO use her help because of her personal knowledge and approach to the topic.

>>5057721
>No, but you’ll see about visiting Felman sometime soon to have HIM do so
I want the WANT down first, we have like 2 days until gala to recharge her fully.

>>5057732
>Suggest the three of you go take things to the most private and daring place possible—the Tower’s labs! [automatic success due to the double 20 crit above… If you opt for it]
She asked for it.
Nat 1s for detection incoming.

>>5057719
All that mana talk reminded me that we should check out Edwin's newfound magic supply and figure out if he can use it. Inb4 he's just a human equivalent of an incubus.

>>5057701
>the same magic which will hold that gate against those barbarians will seek out every last one of you filthy, Reptilian worms and mash you into jelly.
Fuck, so the golems were already attuned to Reptilians at some point.
This could come up in Tower's experiments or research and we sure as fuck don't want that in any way.
Imagine attuning all golems to seek and delete the Paladin King, while destroying everything in their path and blaming it on Tower's incompetence in dealing with a deadly ancient magitech. Hmmmmmm.
>>
>>5057827
Speaking of Edwin, we really need to sort out his nightly visitor as well.

Speaking on the golem reptilian thing, I don't think that they'd be able to figure out that the dwarves were killing reptiles because I assume when the magical software running the golems ran out, it disappeared functionally, and the magical know-how died with the dwarves. Hence why the Tower has to research how to get the golems magically operational again. Time erases all things after all.

Imagine putting in a magical backdoor for reptilians to operate the golem ancient magitech, and having the Tower go through all the expense and effort to install the instrument of Hawksong's and the Paladin King's demise.
>>
>>5057837
>I don't think
>I assume
You can't just assume how things you've no idea about work based on the convenient assumption that the worst possible scenario surely won't happen.
Always prepare for the worst, especially since it literally costs us nothing as we have to learn how these things work anyway.

>Imagine putting in a magical backdoor
Only if possible... and we will be the only one to keep the control. Our job, our golems. I might want to believe out cause and Irinnile to be just overly paranoid, but I'll be damned if just a fraction of that dream was true.

Otherwise, if we can just make golems march onto Paladin King as I said previously, they would deal serious damage to Hawksong and its defenses, cause public unrest and ruin Tower's reputation, disrupting and possibly halting the research/excavation, even if just temporarily.
Also, if these golems fight until getting completely obliterated, humans would be forced to destroy them, thus solving our problem.
>>
>>5057847
Actually, I can assume, since the dwarf in the Record stated that the magic the controls the golems is the same magic that controls the gate, and it died out, for lack of a better term.

In regards to the golem situation, I think it's very possible, and I think that it'll be a waste for the golem project to simply self-destruct banzai-style when it could be used as a stepping stone to bring the Reptilian Race into the surface world. There is an opportunity here, and I think that if we have a chance, we should install the magical backdoor master override if possible. If it isn't, then we can default to the golem banzai charge on the Paladin King.
>>
>>5057853
>the magic the controls the golems is the same magic that controls the gate, and it died out
Okay, fair enough.
Gotta admit this whole dwarf defense, cityshifting, golem controlling, item enchantment, cube and tower artifact business got mixed up in my head.
Completely forgot some stuff.

>I think that it'll be a waste for the golem project to simply self-destruct banzai-style
As I said, it was only in case we can't do things as complex as what you proposed. If we can, then we should also sneak in an enchantment that makes Reptilians appear to the golems as regular humans. Just in case.

But then again, even if we install a backdoor, the golems aren't sneaky or intelligent enough to be of help in covert actions and will be reduced to a massive act of terrorism eventually.
>>
>>5057702
>>Something to tease and mock her over

>>5057721
>>No, but you’ll see about visiting Felman sometime soon to have HIM do so

>>5057732
>>Suggest the three of you go take things to the most private and daring place possible—the Tower’s labs! [automatic success due to the double 20 crit above… If you opt for it]
>>
>>5057732
backing >>5058051
>>
>>5057862
They don't need to be sneaky or intelligent, they can assist in things that require brute force and perception. Besides, I can think of more useful actions for the golems to do than just a massive act of terrorism, though that can wait until we've gained some control over the system.
>>
>>5057702
>Worth reassuring and coddling Helga a little built to maintain your rapport

>>5057721
>Yes, you’ll do that later tonight

We need more magical experience with enchantments.

>>5057732
>Yes, and drag poor Agatha along too—you might be able to corrupt her into a bit of ‘fun’ and sate twice the WANT, later!
>>
>>5057751
>>5057827
>>5058051
>>5058168
>>5058236

You Silkscale silver tongue hasn’t failed you yet today, you notice. You reflect on your earlier visit with the dwarves, and how easily you smoothed over the ruffled feathers with a bit of playful teasing and a promise for a ‘proper girl’s night out’ with Helga in the near future; a bit of light ribbing about making it the ‘night of her dreams’ was enough to get a light blush, a laugh, and instant forgiveness, no magic needed! Now, you have Paula twirled around you little finger, utterly at ease without so much as a pinch of glamour, and you resolve to exploit the moment for all it’s worth.

“You know, you make the Tower ssound sso… Exxcciting!” you whisper with a low voice full of taboo thrill. “Why don’t we take thiss THERE?”

At first, Paula is hesitant as usual… But you can tell that your playful banter and not-so-subtle intimations are exacerbating the obvious interest she already has. Her fight is all for show, and it dissolves before your steady attention like a dry leaf before the open flame of her desire. It’s almost nostalgic extracting such concessions without even using your mystic arts or Irinnile’s influence—just like when you first arrived in the surface world!

“Alright, but… We have to be quiet, okay?” Paula ‘reluctantly’ agrees.

“Oh, don’t you worry. I can be quiet the sssneak,” you say with a wink.

The two of you agree to meet up this evening. This little escapade will need to be quick, lest you miss a shift at The Pretty Kitty… But then, perhaps with Mina in your pocket, that doesn’t matter as much as it once did? After all, you have all the time in the world (and some modified shirin) to improve the lounge’s fortunes, but preparations for the Tower Gala are time-sensitive!

Do you plan to try to make it to your shift tonight?
>Yes
>No
>Maybe, but only if things work out that way

[Continuing]
>>
Rolled 6, 10, 11, 18, 6, 15 = 66 (6d20)

>>5058318
Before you go to work as an Infiltrator OR as Kamunu, though, you have another matter to which you must attend: magic lessons with Inquisitor Felman.

You wait until Paula is out of sight, and then spend the last of your coin (well, that which you have in your purse at this exact moment) on a carriage to Felman’s home on the outskirts of the Initiate’s Village. It’s not so far from her home, or the site of your ‘date’ this evening, which is perfect for your overfull schedule today. You almost put this matter off but… No. Enchantments and wards have both been persistent thorns in your side throughout this assignment in Hawksong, and by the Dark Gods Below and Beyond you WILL master this discipline!

Felman is surprised when you knock on his door, but almost as soon as the shock and—what, fear? anger?—enters his eyes, it is gone and replaced by the placid acceptance you have engraved upon his soul.

“Miss Kamunu,” he greets you blandly, stepping aside. “Come in, please. What can I do for you?”

Once the door has closed, you take a moment to scan the apartment.

“No traps,” Felman reassures you. “All security measures are for stopping intruders, not guests.”

You take in the spartan essentials on display: no cushions or blankets about save the simple grey ones upon his slim mattress, enough hard wooden seats to accommodate three or four at most, a table just barely sufficient for one, a simple woodstove with a small kettle of stew boiling above it, nary a decoration to be seen.

“It doessn’t sseem as if you get many of thosse, anyway,” you note sardonically.

Felman says nothing, awaiting your instructions. Is your magic dulling his outrage, or is he simply indifferent to your opinion? His stillness, coupled with a certain defiant spark you occasionally catch in his eye, sets you on edge… But you check your mesmerism, and find it still holding true. If he’s fighting the spell, he is still losing.

“Very well,” you sigh. “You’re no fun, but I AM operating within time consstraintss anyway, I sssuppose.”

“Then let us make this quick,” he suggests.

You frown at the little glimmer of his hard-edged personality, but brush it aside for now. He’s still helping, after all, and when you produce the dwarven cube, he is happy enough to render his assistance.

“I see,” he says, once you have explained what the magical device is. “My specialty is combat magic. Fireballs and lightning bolts. Warding spells and traps, though… They have some similarity to this school.”

“So you can crack it?” you ask eagerly.

Felman strokes his chin a moment, then nods. “Yes, I can. Is that what you want of me?”

“No,” you say with a smile. “I want you to show ME how to do it.

[Rolling for arcana, DC 14 due to Felman’s tutelage, then continuing; extra dice are for Felman’s own efforts, if you should fail.]
>>
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>>5058320
With Felman your teacher, you try at it for over an hour. You squint your eyes and glare at that box until your head hurts. Following his guidance, you tap and prod at it. You speak words of mystic import, weave sigils over it in complex patterns meant to unlock its secrets… But nothing seems to work.

“That’s because you’re doing it wrong,” Felman says simply.

You turn your glare upon him, but he no more shows fear than he does irritation.

“I’m doing exxxactly as you told me, you—”

“Your energies aren’t attuned properly,” Felman correct you mid-sentence, to your immense irritation. Should a thrall even be able to do that?! “Your motions are imprecise. Your pronunciation of the incantation is, if I may, mush-mouthed. But it’s your energies that are the biggest obstacle. You have a knot in your chakras—your mana-flow. Stress, or just ineptitude.”

“Not sso inept that I couldn’t masster your mind, sssslave!” you snap.

Felman looks at you impassively, saying nothing. You sense no anger, only acceptance of the fact, and compliance.

“Shall I try now?” he asks.

All out of ideas, and nearly out of time, you throw your hands up and cede the task to your thrall. You watch as he does almost exactly what you did—you can see the flaws in your own approach so clearly when you’re not actively DOING it, to your annoyance. You chalk it up to Felman’s teaching methodology: he is so monotone, so obtuse and complex in his explanation of theory, without passion or patience for your novice-level hedge-mage understanding of the principles at work. As expert as you can see Felman is in practice, he is DECIDEDLY the inferior tutor to Edwin of Engel, despite your ‘boyfriend’ not actually being able to cast even a simple spell.

“There,” he says.

You snap out of your reverie, and see Felman presenting a small crenelated tower where once there was only an upsettingly-obstinate box. Damnit, you stopped paying attention and missed the most crucial part!

‘Irinnile, did you catch what he did?’ you ask hopefully.

‘Huh?’ Irinnile asks. ‘Oh, sorry. You started thinking about Edwin, and I started thinking about that big juicy mana reserve of his…’

You sigh and shake your head.

“Do you want me to show you again?” the brainwashed inquisitor offers, in a tone that you SWEAR verges on condescension despite his condition.
>>
>>5058329


“No,” you grind your teeth. “No, that will be quite alright.”

“It IS a tricky puzzle, I will admit,” Felman says, setting the tower down upon the table. “It would take me days to figure out how to manipulate it quickly, or to work out all the different shapes, let alone to unlock its surveillance properties.”

“Itsss… What?” you ask, startled. Can this thing… See you? Listen in on you like a spy, and recall what you say? Perhaps recognize your true nature, as the golems apparently could?

Felman rubs his chin again. “Do you wish to leave this with me? I could work on it in my spare time, and report back to you on it.”

What do you do?
>No—Felman unsettles you, and you won’t leave such a valuable and incriminating artefact in the hands of even an ENTHRALLED inquisitor
>Yes, you might as well—Felman is your puppet, and he has an obvious aptitude for this work, so you may as well take advantage of that
>You will postpone the Tower infiltration date and make Felman SHOW you how to do this, damn it! You will NOT fail!
>Write-in

Do you attend to any ‘other matters’ while you are here?
>Sate some want with Felman
>Depart for the Tower with all due haste
>Write-in
>>
>>5058332
>Have Felman cast an obscuring ward on it that will prevent it from spying on you, then take it with you

If he can't do that, just take it along.

>Depart for the Tower with all due haste
>>
>>5058318
>Maybe, but only if things work out that way

>>5058332
>Yes, you might as well—Felman is your puppet, and he has an obvious aptitude for this work, so you may as well take advantage of that
Frankly I would chose to postpone the date, but I'm mostly speaking out of frustration and I'd prefer not to waste our duo nat 20. Only one dice off!!! Grrrrr!
>Sate some want with Felman
Humiliate the virgin, it'll make me feel better about our enchantment woes. Fucking one dice off!
>>
>>5058318
>Maybe, but only if things work out that way
Not because of Paula, but to usevthe time to learn as much about environment abd stuff. Otherwise I'd be voting for TPK.
>>5058332
>No—Felman unsettles you, and you won’t leave such a valuable and incriminating artefact in the hands of even an ENTHRALLED inquisitor
jfc
>Depart for the Tower with all due haste
Maybe we can get to TPK in time
>>
>>5058318
>>Yes

>>5058332
>>No—Felman unsettles you, and you won’t leave such a valuable and incriminating artefact in the hands of even an ENTHRALLED inquisitor
>>Depart for the Tower with all due haste
>>
>>5058512
*use the
**and
Those typos make me want to kill myself.
>>
>>5058580
>>5058512
>>5058345
>>5058338

Frankly, under other circumstances you would have chosen to postpone the date… But perhaps that’s just frustration and perfectionism talking. You were so close!

‘We could humiliate this virgin a little?’

‘No time, Irinnile.’

The succubus grumbles, but doesn’t object. She recognizes, as you do, that this chance to infiltrate the Mages’ Twoer after hours is not one you can afford to squander.

<WANT: 15>

“Inquisssitor, can you casst an obsscuring ward on thiss cube? One that will prevent it from sspying on me?”

“Spying may not be the right word,” Felman points out. “It has no will, no mind that I can detect. It can merely… Sense, and store information.”

“Can you do it?” you demand.

He shakes his head. “I’d need more time to work out the particulars. I can sense the auras indicating that sort of magic has been implanted within it, and that they are weak and without any psionics or demonology to it… But nothing beyond that and the animating force which allows one to manipulate its shape.”

You scoff in derision, which Felman seemingly ignores or fails to register as with your other mockery. Well, no matter then: you stow the cube away in your pack once more, and depart for the Tower with all due haste.

When you arrive at the base of the tower, you take a moment to really appreciate its size. In Hawksong, the buildings are constructed higher than in a hamlet like Sparrowton, where a two or three-story construction is a centrepiece of a town and a proper temple to the sky-gods can dominate the countryside for miles. Even amongst the taller apartment blocks and mansions of this metropolis, however, the Tower is unrivaled. You have caught distant glimpses of the Paladin King’s palatial estate; it is wider, more sprawling, and magnificent in its own right, but the Tower is so tall that even sitting a couple hundred feet closer to sea-level at the base, its pointed central spire is nearly as high as the top of that great palace. IT’s enough to make you speculate as to who really holds the keys to power in this land…

Paula is waiting where she said she would be: around ‘back’, near the wide and notably less-ornate doorway that serves as a servant’s entrance and a means to cart large shipments of supplies in and huge loads of waste products out. The tower staffer is fidgeting nervously, but you can sense the little thrill shoot up her body when she sees you… Tinged only slightly with disappointment.

‘She wishes I’d brought Edwin,’ you surmise.

‘Who can blame her?’ Irinnile quips. ‘But hey, if she’s hungry for some sausage, we can do like we did with Zi…’

You ignore the suggestion, though it unexpectedly causes your own cheeks to flush as well as you remember the alien sensation of those experiences. It’s time to focus on infiltration, not penetration.
>>
>>5058742
“You came,” Paula notes. “A little late.”

"we have all night," you reply cheerfully. While you would ideally attend The Pretty Kitty tonight for work, you have already concluded that this scouting mission takes priority.

“I wass working on our dresssess,” you explain, realizing belatedly that you left those boxes with Felman in your hurry to leave. Damn it all! “I wass trying to enchant them.”

“Did you have any luck?” she asks curiously.

You clear your throat and look to the glory of the Tower again. “Sso thiss iss where you work, then?”

Paula is briefly thrown by the avoided answer and abrupt subject change, but humours you. As she begins to tell you of the rather mundane tasks she performs in this anything-but-mundane structure, you can sense the pride and aspiration in her voice, can see it in how she straightens her posture. She is loyal to this place…

But not so loyal that, when you rest your hands on her hips and whisper into her ear that you’d like to see the inside and have a little ‘private tour’, she doesn’t hastily produce an amulet and use it to gain entry through the service entrance immediately.

Inside, things are not quite as private as you might have hoped: not right away, at least. Even at this late hour, there are servants working: humans and the odd half-elf, unpacking boxes of unusual materials. You see bottles of preserved animal parts, herbs and powders, ingots of metal that shine with unusual colours and even stir your mystic sense. Supervising them all is a stern-looking young man with a bluish creature on his shoulder, winged and spined and so NEARLY a miniature dragon that it makes you do a double-take… But no, it is without scales, its face too wide and its eyes too dull and lacking in intellect. A ‘greater drake’, then, as Paula had described: a draconic chimera of true dragon and one of the newts they cook in the novelty street meat shops in the Village outside.

Luckily, the staff here is still demonstrably reduced compared to what it has the capacity to hold, and everyone too busy and eager to finish a no doubt long shift to pay close attention to one more staffer entering the building, even with an incredibly sexy unauthorized guest. Shushing you and beckoning you forward, Paula makes to guide you somewhere less public before anyone asks either of you what you’re doing there.

What do you do?
>Follow Paula for now—let her take the lead, fool around with her a bit, and THEN move onto the mission
>Attempt to steal something [what? Please specify] from the loading-and-unloading area on your way through
>Turn on the charm [and/or the glamour? Specify if so] and chat up one of he staff to get directions or intel
>Ask Paula to show you the spooky stuff—the labs belowground she was talking about!
>Ditch Paula and slink off on your own, using darkness and Irinnile’s shadow affinity to be your own tour-guide
>Write-in
>>
>>5058746
>Follow Paula for now—let her take the lead, fool around with her a bit, and THEN move onto the mission
>Follow Paula for now—let her take the lead, fool around with her a bit, and THEN move onto the mission
>Ask Paula to show you the spooky stuff—the labs belowground she was talking about!

I was thinking about taking a mystic ingot and seeing what trouble we can get up to with it, maybe that's for another time?
>>
>>5058746
>Follow Paula for now—let her take the lead, fool around with her a bit, and THEN move onto the mission
>Ask Paula to show you the spooky stuff—the labs belowground she was talking about!
>Keep an eye out for more of the important personnel, try to make out any details about them and their equipment
Maybe we can memorize some individuals and/or tools/items/familiars they keep about. Really anything that we happen to notice and might use in the future.

>Attempt to steal something from the loading-and-unloading area on your way through
Look for reptile eggs on our way out. We absolutely need a small dragon chimera pet or a magical snake with wings, lasers n shit.
>>
>>5058746
>Follow Paula for now—let her take the lead, fool around with her a bit, and THEN move onto the mission

Once she's exhausted we can get up to mischief
>>
[Expect a delay--hanging with a friend tonight!]
>>
>>5058746
>Follow Paula for now—let her take the lead, fool around with her a bit, and THEN move onto the mission
>Ask Paula to show you the spooky stuff—the labs belowground she was talking about!
>>
>>5058833
Supporting
>>
>>5058816
>>5058833
>>5058877
>>5059398
>>5059466
Paula guides you past this expansive horde of little treasures, and you let her. A part of you wants to seek out an ingot and maybe-magical metal, or maybe an egg belonging to one of these ‘greater drakes’ if such you could find… But what then? How would you get out without attracting attention? Is it worth expending this rare opportunity for trinkets? You think not.

Instead, you are guided into a surprisingly non-magical supply closet, and the door shut behind you. It’s expansive, as closets go, but the smells are as you imagine they must be in facilities all across the surface—as the closets at The Pretty Kitty or in the Engel Manor’s servants’ quarters—with the nose-tickling scent of cleaning solutions most prominent of all.

‘Well, when in the land of the Easternmen, do as they do…’

Paula tugs gently at the neckline of your dress, and you smirk and do as she would have you do—you press your lips to hers, your bodies converge, and you both give into the thrill of covert sensuality. Even as her fellow Tower staff are working outside—potentially in need of supplies form this closet at any moment—your fingers are entangled in her hair, your mouth trailing down her freely-offered throat and down to he breasts, which you gradually expose until her nipple meets your lips and tongue. Voices come closer, grow louder, and you muffle her moans and gasps with one hand, your other working her body with increasingly-expert skill. The voices (luckily) drift away, but Irinnile’s sense for pleasure guides yours continued attentions: you prop her up atop a lidded barrel, spread her knees, and take great pains to utterly exhaust her with one orgasm after another.

<WANT: 14>

Irinnile hungrily laps up the palpable waves of pleasure which radiate from Paula’s body as you play her like Laskar the bard with a lute. Your succubus-touched skin prickles as sympathetic orgasms roll through you in tandem with your eager ‘victim’. Your own sex quivers with unattended need… But, all appearances to the contrary, you are here not for pleasure, but for business.

‘Can’t it be both?’ Irinnile whines. ‘Look at that mouth… Imagine mashing that into our—’

‘Maybe later,’ you interrupt her, shaking the thought out of your demon-addled mind.
>>
>>5059587
“Oh gods… Ismena, you’re so good with your FINGERS.” Paula is still recovering, but can’t help but sing your praises. “And your MOUTH!”

You smile in somewhat-smug appreciation—you have always desired mastery in any task, after all—but shush her.

“Right, right,” Paula nods and agreement, lowering her voice. “Is there anyone outside the door? We should get out while we can…”

“Actually,” you say, “I wass thinking that we could check out that bassement.”

Paula blinks a few times, surprise dulled by the heady feeling of her afterglow. “Pardon me? What? No. Absolutely not.”

You quirk an eyebrow. “Why not?”

“Why NOT?” she asks incredulously, her voice nearly rising in volume again before she catches it. “Did you not hear all those things I said earlier about the monsters and Tower Guards?”

“That’ss what makess it sso excciting!” you say with a smile. “Come on… I’m a hedge-mage, and too old to enroll, if they’d have me anyway. I’ll never get to SSEE thiss sstuff… And I’ve alwayss wanted to.”

Paula frowns, but can’t quite bring herself to speak up in refusal. You can feel her resolve wavering.

“Do it for me?” you ask sweetly. “Pleasse?”

It isn’t long afterwards that you both open the door, having listened a it for a lull in traffic. You find the lights dimmed, more of the staff having gone home and those who remain distracted by thoughts of impending departure. With great care—albeit on wobbly legs in Paula’s case—you creep towards a stairwell leading down into the bowels of the Tower. At the base, a tall double-door awaits. It is without knob or keyhole, but you recognize a sigil at its centre as a symbol associated with open and barring passage.

“Just… Stay quiet, okay? Just in and out.”

Even as Paula thus instructs you, she is acquiescing to your appeals, raising the amulet upon her neck to the door to open the way. The doors part, revealing a dimly-lit passage. In fact, while every wall in ensconced by torches, the glow seems to be ambient light from something down a side passage, for none of them are lit.

“The torches light up as they detect movement,” Paula says, not yet brave enough to take a step and set them to lighting up.

It’s no problem for you, of course—not with Irinnile’s night-adapted eyes. You actually would be able to move more freely and stealthily in darkness… If you could suppress them.

“Can we turn back now?” Paula complains. “If we get spotted in here and they realize you aren’t staff, this could cost me my job!"
>>
>>5059589

What do you do about Paula?
>Continue to appeal to her with your natural charm
>Use mentalism to mesmerize her into silent compliance
>Knock her out and leave her here
>Agree to turn back

IF you didn’t choose to turn back, what do you do next?
>Suppress the lighting enchantments, if you can, and skulk in darkness
>Advance in the light, as you are; you can talk your way out of any trouble you encounter
>Assume a shapeshifted disguise [please specify if you have something in mind] to mask your identity in case you are spotted
>Summon Yemrep the Imp to explore on your behalf
>Write-in
>>
>>5059591
>Use mentalism to mesmerize her into silent compliance

>Suppress the lighting enchantments, if you can, and skulk in darkness
>>
>>5059591
>Use mentalism to mesmerize her into silent compliance
Give her a case of bimbo brain
Make her forget everything that happens once we enter and snap out of it as we're leaving.
>Suppress the lighting enchantments, if you can, and skulk in darkness
Look around just a bit, don't go too far ad we're already pushing our luck.
>Summon Yemrep the Imp to explore on your behalf
Tell him to zoom about and collect data.
He will either prove himself to be worthy of serving Ismena or get mauled trying.
>>
>>5059591
>Use mentalism to mesmerize her into silent compliance
I like the post sex bimbo brain suggestion

>Suppress the lighting enchantments, if you can, and skulk in darkness
>>
>>5059591
>Use mentalism to mesmerize her into silent compliance

Make sure she doesn't notice the change to our appearance.

>Assume a shapeshifted disguise [half-elf] to mask your identity in case you are spotted

Don't we still have Felman's badge? I know that it wouldn't open up any doors, but it may lessen scrutiny if we do get spotted.
>>
Rolled 10, 15, 12, 1, 4, 20, 16, 15, 16 = 109 (9d20)

>>5059613
>>5059619
>>5059836
>>5059895
>Use mentalism to mesmerize her into silent compliance
>Suppress the lighting enchantments, if you can, and skulk in darkness
[Only these seem to have a plurality of support. Rolling 5d20, DC 10, for seductive magical influence on Paula, and 3d20 DC 14 for keeping the lights off; if that succeeds, stealth will be assumed to succeed (for now) as well. 1 mystery probability die.]
>>
>>5060038
You have insinuated yourself so persistently and so deeply into Paula’s psyche that, with glamour and Irinnile’s influence added to it, it is a trivial thing to snap your fingers and turn Paula into—for lack of a better word—a bimbo. Oh, she’ll snap out of it eventually… When you so will it. For now, the wobbliness, the pliability, and the euphoria of her afterglow permeates her being and renders her a docile mammalian pet. You stroke her hair and watch with grim professional satisfaction (and, admittedly, maybe SLIGHTLY unprofessional arousal) as the intellectual concern melts from her features and she leans into your touch.

“Jusst follow me and do what I say,” you instruct, and Paula can do little else.

<WANT: 15>

So too do you find that a little flex of your ever-more-integrated auras allows Irinnile and yourself to turn light to darkness. As soon as a torch springs up, it is dimmed to near-nothingness. Your own affinity for producing lightshows and shadowplays is amplified in the latter case by your ever-closer bond to Irinnile, who similarly cloaks every trace of yourself and your wobbly-kneed puppet. With uncanny, unnatural stealth, you creep the halls, with Paula at your heel like a loyal lapdog. Your mastery of shadows and mystic silence is so complete that even Paula's ungainly stumbling in her current state goes utterly unnoticed. At one point you pass by a sentry--a lone mage on patrol--and he doesn't notice either of you even as he passes by you within feet and return to the surface!

<WANT: 16>
>>
>>5060065
The downside of having so ditzy an escort is that Paula is that you cannot rely on her to be an effective guide. She informs you groggily of one area of lower-security research after another: applied herbological mysticism, basic-but-regulated enchantments and disenchantments (“You can’t have just anyone making lead look like gold, or creating flaming swords!”), and even laboratories devoted to cultivation of what they call ‘morphologically-modified organisms’—not quite on-par with the greater drakes, but the application of magic to lower animals to produce distinct types of being for use in research, basic familiars, or small-scale ecological projects.

“Of course, the more dangerous stuff is… You know, lower down,” Paula says.

“How far down doess your clearancce permit you to travel unfettered?” you ask.

“Third floor,” she answers. “That’s where I saw the gryphon-thing, but it was… Like, from lower down. Fourth and fifth are where the REAL magic happens!”

Paula giggles at her little joke, which you get the feeling is a corny cliché by her the way in which she says it… But you aren’t laughing. Something highly-secretive and likely dangerous, like the dwarf master-stone and the golems it musters to action… Surely those will be on the third or fourth floor? You’ve already wasted so much time canoodling in a supply closet that time is no longer a factor—you would be horrendously late for your shift if you were even to attend.

Will you test your luck and risk plunging deeper still into the Tower’s basement levels, though?
>Ask Paula to guide you to one of the laboratories on this level [Herbology? Enchantment? Morphological research?]
>Descend to the second floor to scout just a liiiitle further while you yet move unnoticed?
>Go big or go home—descend to floor four and try your luck and cracking the wards on that door
>Affect some sabotage and spread some chaos, then depart
>Leave before your luck runs out
>Write-in
>>
>>5060066
>Ask Paula to guide you to one of the laboratories on this level [Enchantment, Morphological research] after we scouted the other floors.
>Descend to the second floor to scout just a liiiitle further while you yet move unnoticed?

Shame about missing TPK, but I'll assume that it's unavoidable. We should probably keep on scouting, but I'd like to hit these laboratories on the way back if possible. I would choose all three, but we are on a time limit, and our half-elf friend can cover the herbology aspect of need be.
>>
>>5060066
>Ask Paula to guide you to one of the laboratories on this level
Either enchantment so we can see how they turn lead into gold or make a flaming blade, or Morphology to check the animal mods or find something that could help with our shirin replacement stuff.
I'm impartial between these two.

>Descend to the second floor to scout just a liiiitle further while you yet move unnoticed?
Ride the 20.

Also, if we find any aphrodisiacs, be sure to give them to Paula. Will make manipulating her easy in the future and I find the idea of turning her into the Tower's bike amusing for some reason
>>
>>5060243
You had aphrodisiacs as a shirin option before, blame yourself for not taking it. Hey, that's our bike you're talking about there! Fucking Tower trying to steal our shit....
>>
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>>5060247
>>5060251
>You had aphrodisiacs as a shirin option before, blame yourself for not taking.
This doesn't make any sense.
I never wanted or thought that we needed a copious amount aphrodisiacs and still don't, just thought this'd be a fun one-off thing to do, IF we happened to find any in here. You know, here as in the underground magical lab with various chems, herbs, enchantments and animal-altering shit?

Pleease stop being salty about things that didn't go your way, anon.
>>
>>5060258
This isn't about being salty, I just find it extremely funny as a business decision that we wouldn't load up aphrodisiacs for a brothel. When Mina becomes full coherent and learns what we could've done with the modified shirin, I'll just sit back and watch the fireworks. And that isn't counting it as a convenient excuse for the sexy demonic shit that we could just shove this off on if the Tower does another in-depth investigation into TPK.

And if you wanted it to be a one-off thing to find, you'd vote for the herbology lab instead of the labs that clearly don't involve chemicals and herbs.
>>
>>5060264
Whatever you saethe, anon. That spoiler proved you can't even write logically anymore.
>>
>>5060328
Anon, you're the only one illogical here. I'm just gonna assume you had a bad day and leave it at that.
>>
Rolled 5, 15, 10, 7 = 37 (4d20)

>>5060074
>>5060243
[Even as you two argue, you seem to have agreed upon a curse of action!]
>Descend to the second floor to scout just a liiiitle further while you yet move unnoticed
>Ask Paula to guide you to one of the laboratories on this level [Enchantment, Morphological research]

[Writing a post! 3d20 for stealth, one mystery die. DC 9 due to your last crit and cautious approach.]
>>
>>5060504
You are intensely curious about the morphological studies and those matters of enchantment; you can see the use of mystically-enhanced herbalism for your much-delayed drug operation, but then… Do you really NEED to dabble in such things, when you yourself are already magical and Qicerys is (presumably) hard at work handling production of shirin variants in a less-incriminating way?

Furthermore, while such magical studies ARE extremely interesting to you, you have a limited window to act within, and you have scouting to do. You resolve to check out the laboratories in question only AFTER you have scouted the second floor.

“What’ss on the ssecond floor?” you whisper to Paula.

“Um, well…” she taps her lip with her finger as her foggy mind struggles to recollect the specifics. “There is the minor demonological laboratory—you know, imps, lesser poltergeists, things such as that. We also have facilities for dealing with and storing dangerous alchemical substances, such as basilisk venom, ectoplasmic residues… Oh! And a training facility for more destructive magics, or testing new spells and weapons designed to handle specific enemies.”

As Paula explains the layout, she opens the door easily to the second floor. It is much like the first, as is the hallway beyond, and it gives way just as readily. However, your mystical senses immediately clue you into a distinct difference: above you, on the ceiling, you sense a presence, and when you cast your gaze upwards you see a strange and spindly arthropod creature. It is well down the hall, at a passage which intersects the main one, and luckily doesn’t seem to have noticed you as it crosses the way. It is small, no bigger than a cat, but has a single, large central eyeball which leaves no mystery as to its purpose.

“Ssurveillance,” you hiss.

“Oh! Yes, that’s a chimera… A familiar. A bit of beholder mixed in with a giant spider. They actually disabled the venom production, so they’re harmless, except for being able to briefly deactivate magic.”

That doesn’t exact sound harmless to you, and you immediately intuit that if a ‘familiar’ is present, then its master is surely watching through that single great eye as well. Troubling… and a good reason not to remain on this floor for too long. Still, you’;re here now.


What do you do?
>Attempt to ensorcel the sentry familiar, and kidnap it for your own use
>Use your magic sense t trace the familiar’s bond back to its master, and enthrall him or her if possible
>Sneak past the sentry, to burgle the alchemical laboratory
>Sneak past the sentry, to see about freeing some lesser demons or captive monsters and thus create chaos
>Wind your way through the second floor to the third—you have to go deeper!
>Turn back now, to check out the first floor labs and get out of here while you remain undetected
>Write-in
>>
>>5060515
>Use your magic sense t trace the familiar’s bond back to its master, and enthrall him or her if possible
Cute bespider. Let's try to make our future attempts at infiltration easier.
>Turn back now, to check out the first floor labs and get out of here while you remain undetected
Even if we succeed, I don't want to push our luck.
>>
>>5060528
Supporting this.

Maybe burgle some interesting drugs from the first floor labs before we leave
>>
>>5060515
>Use your magic sense t trace the familiar’s bond back to its master, and enthrall him or her if possible
>>
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Rolled 15, 5, 5, 20, 16, 8, 11, 7, 4, 7, 15, 10 = 123 (12d20)

>>5060896
>>5060734
>>5060528
[Sorry for the delay--enjoying my weekend evenings a little bit more these days, it seems! Rolling 3d20 for stealth (DC 10), 3d20 for arcana to trace the bespider back to base (DC 15), and 4d20 to ensorcel its master (DC 15)... With two mystery dice.]
>>
>>5060515
>Use your magic sense t trace the familiar’s bond back to its master, and enthrall him or her if possible
>Sneak past the sentry, to burgle the alchemical laboratory
>>
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>>5061289
>enjoying my weekend evenings a little bit more these days
Enjoy your weekends, RQM!
Ss'long ass you remember your place in the Grand Dessign.
>>
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>>5061289
Following the creature (which you have whimsically dubbed the ‘bespider’ in your mind) is no difficult task. It was purpose-bed to sneak and to spy… But then, so too were you, and you are the more practiced and the more powerful. You easily slip past it without attracting its attention, then follow the connecting thread of magical energy between bespider and master as easily as a being with only regular sight might follow footprints through mud.

You find the bespider’s master is a rather squarish and jowled man, wearing the deep blue cap and robe you have noticed seems to be standard issue for these guardian mages of the Tower. He is sitting in a chair, feet up on a desk, in a small office or lounge of some sort. In one hand he is holding a book, upon which his eyes linger… But upon one of those eyes, he also ahs a monocle, to which you see his and the bespider’s magical signature are both clearly attuned. It must be by this mechanism, you reason, that he sees what his familiar does, and by this means by which the lazy and distractable fellow nonetheless monitors and patrols.

‘We bimbofying this one, too?’ Irinnile asks.

You don’t want to test your luck unnecessarily… But you DO want to make your next infiltration of this Tower easier. This unassuming and weak-willed mammalian mage no doubt has clearances greater than that of a glorified cleaning-girl like your pet, Paula. If you can ensorcel him, you can easily access the lower floors during the distraction of the Tower Gala… Or maybe even just have him bring the dwarven master-stone directly to you at your leisure!

‘We are,’ you agree, confident in success…

Perhaps a bit TOO confident.

You casually stroll undetected towards the seated male, and place your hands upon his head as you begin to weave you magic… But you immediately feel a shock of repellant energy and are pushed back. The man shakes his head and groans as if fending off a dizzy spell, but your influence goes no deeper than that.

“Hurnh? What?”

Your eyes widen as he turns around and spots you. He is unenthralled, you undisguised. Paula giggles nervously and waves, still too utterly relaxed by your spell to utter more than an untroubled “oops.”

‘Ah shit, Lispy, he must have on an anti-demon charm of some sort…’

Or just mental protections in general, you suppose. You curse your luck, or lack of thoroughness. Of COURSE someone on a level hosting a demonological laboratory would take precautions! You have to act fast, if you’re going to salvage this.

What do you do?
>Use martial arts to manhandle him and knock him out, so you can strip his protection and go to work
>Disguise your face and hope he didn’t get a clear look, then get the hell out of here!
>Throw Paula at him like a sacrificial lamb, and let her take the heat
>Talk your way out of this—you’re just a curious ingenue whose girlfriend brought her here for a thrill
>Write-in
>>
>>5061300
>Use martial arts to manhandle him and knock him out, so you can strip his protection and go to work
We trained all our life for this moment.
>>
>>5061300
>Use martial arts to manhandle him and knock him out, so you can strip his protection and go to work

Everybody was kung fu fighting
>>
>>5061300
>Talk your way out of this—you’re just a curious ingenue whose girlfriend brought her here for a thrill

Isn't our martial arts skill like 2d or something like that? Better to seduce the man with our natural charms.
>>
>>5061300
>Talk your way out of this—you’re just a curious ingenue whose girlfriend brought her here for a thrill

Can we try seduction and politesse to get him under our sway?
>>
>>5061451
>>5061535
>>5061542
>>5061666
Tie game! If it's broken by bedtime, I'll post; otherwise, I'll roll for it.
>>
>>5061300
>Use martial arts to manhandle him and knock him out, so you can strip his protection and go to work

Tie breakan
>>
Rolled 10, 9, 2, 7, 10, 12 = 50 (6d20)

>>5061681
>mfw 1post, right on cue to break a tie

[Alright, combining prompts and rolling. 3d20 for politesse to lower his guard, 3d20 to draw your dagger. DC 15 on the first, 15 on the second... Or 14, IF you succeed on the first three enough to lower his guard!]
>>
>>5061703
>not a single roll over 15

Well, that's what I get for phone posting.
>>
“What are you doing own here?” the guard demands, starting to get up. “You can’t be here!”

“Oh! I’m sso ssorry,” you say, affecting your least-threatening mannerisms and giggling. “We musst have taken a wrong turn!”

‘Hey, are you imitating ME for that?’ Irinnile balks.

You ignore the demon’s offended mutterings, instead approaching the Tower guardian slowly, your movements carefully calculated to not come across as the tactical advance they truly are. “We were jusst taking a little peak down here and we got lost, and sscared. Do you think you could show uss ssilly girlss the way out?”

The guard looks between yourself and Paula. You wait for his guard to lower, his attention to flicker. Your body is subtly tensed, ready to spring up him with bare hands or dagger, and to incapacitate him…

But the moment doesn’t come. Instead. you narrowly dodge a swipe of his hand, which sends forth a chilling gale of frosty wind, flash-freezing the opposite wall.

“Hey!” you cry, annoyed at the failure of your gambit.

The guard merely taps his monocle. “I can see you’ve charmed the cleaning-girl. And none of the lights behind you are on—you’ve suppressed the magic. And how, pray tell, does some ‘silly girl’ get past my familiar undetected?”

‘I’m beginning to think these Tower mages are more competent than the usual asshats ‘round town, babe,’ Irinnile laments.

You get the same feeling… But one thing you’ve noticed about mages is how generally out-of-shape they are. Even Felman, better built than most, is all gristle, while this male human is clearly best suited to a fairly passive form of surveillance. Still, his mana is abundant, his mind and senses sharp, his protection spells formidable, his offensive spellcraft swift and sure. Who knows what else he’s capable of?

‘He saw your face though!’ Irinnile whines.

You narrow your eyes. She’s right. If you leave now, with this man having clearly seen you and identified the nature of your threat, the Tower will surely bolster defences against your exact brand of infiltration… IF they don’t just identify you and have your arrested… IF they don’t rise the alarm and capture you on your way out.

‘This is bad, babe.’
>>
>>5061729
The demon is right. Your calculated risk was clearly less calculated and more risky than you’d anticipated. Drastic action is needed to salvage this situation.

>Assume demonic form and go for the kill with claws and dagger—you MUST silence this fat man [DC 15]
>Take him down, but take him alive—it will be more difficult, but you can do it [DC 16]
>Blind and disorient him with illusion magic, then make your escape—you can work out your future approach once you’re free and clear [DC 15]
>Attempt to bribe and bargain with him, promising something [what?] for compliance and assistance [DC ???]
>Flee this room and bee-line for the demonic research lab or the monster menagerie specify which] to free something deadly [DC ???]
>Write-in

>>5061720
[If it makes you feel better, with rolls like that, you would have ended up with a very similar result regardless]
>>
>>5061732
>Assume demonic form and go for the kill with claws and dagger—you MUST silence this fat man [DC 15]

Maybe not claws though, he is warded
>>
>>5061732
>Take him down, but take him alive—it will be more difficult, but you can do it [DC 16]

Can't be leavin bodies in the Tower.
>>
>>5061732
>Attempt to bribe and bargain with him, promising something [gold, shirin, sex] for compliance and assistance [DC ???]
If that fails
>Take him down, but take him alive—it will be more difficult, but you can do it [DC 16]
The last thing we need is this mess blowing up before the Gala.
>>
>>5061890
Supporting

Try and seduce him
>>
>>5061732
>Take him down, but take him alive—it will be more difficult, but you can do it [DC 16]
GLORY OR SOVNGARDE
>>
Rolled 3, 18, 5 = 26 (3d20)

>>5061746
>>5061759
>>5061976
>>5061925
>>5061890
>2 for negotiation then maybe non-lethal takedown
>2 for non-lethal takedown
>1 for murder
[Averaging that out to non-lethal takedown, and writing.]
>>
We should try and suplex the entire building like this. Stealth the damn Tower overnight.
>>
Rolled 12, 10, 5, 1 = 28 (4d20)

>>5062091
“Eassy now,” you say to the mage, attempting to talk him down yet again. “There’ss sso much we can offer you if you’ll only—”

‘FUCK!’

Irinnile’s exclamation is the only warning you have for the sudden surge of magic from within your adversary, signifying an imminent spell. You duck under a crackling burst of lightning , drawing your blade as you tumble.

‘I don’t think we’re talking our way out of this one, Lispy,’ irinnile says.

‘Then it’s a good thing I was taught to do more than talk,’ you shoot back, flipping your dagger over once in your hand to grasp it by the blade.

‘You’re not seriously still planning to take this fatso alive, are ya’?’

‘Watch me.’

You close the distance of the small room rapidly, causing the mage in question to stumble backwards. He begins to muster another spell, but as a mage yourself, you know the counter to such mystic shenanigans: disruption of concentration. You lunge forwards, delivering a blow with your off-hand to the centre of the male’s mass. This knocks the wind from him and ricochets him off of the desk behind him. As he stumbles forwards, you move to intercept…

‘Lispy!’

…But you’re too slow. Or, rather, this man is unexpectedly fast with his magic. He lashes out again, with nary a moment to catch his breath and without anything but the most basic somatic component to his spell! You’d be impressed if you weren’t about to die. After all, a point-blank spell offers maximum lethality, and no time at all to dodge.

‘…Hahahaheheheheeeeeeee!’

You can’t believe your luck. You blink once, then twice in disbelief at the flames washing over you, billowing your hair behind you and roasting the peasant dress from your body, but leaving you unscathed. Not knowing your body to be shared with a demonic passenger, the ignorant fool has chosen a fire spell.

“Wh-what?” the man stammers.

“Interesssting choice of lasst wordss,” you mock, before conking him over the head with the haft of your dagger, and sending him into a forceful slumber upon the office floor.

“Wooow,” Paula enthuses sleepily. “That was… You’re realy impressive, you know that?”

“Yesss,” you acknowledge, hiding your giddiness and the trembling of your near-death experience as you go to work stripping off the man’s shirt. “Paula, come here and help me remove any anti-demon charmsss thiss man may have on him.”
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>5062098
Luckily, with Irinnile’s aid and the chance to focus upon a single, unconscious opponent, even your hurried meddling with the mage’s mind is successful. You are able to quite readily blur and suppress his memories of this encounter. However, making him a more permanent thrall… That is a more difficult and time-consuming process. It would be invaluable to have such a highly-placed agent within Tower security… But it also means lingering here, not knowing if another guard might be on his way to respond to the commotion of your combat.

What do you do?
>Continue to work at enthralling the unconscious Tower guard [DC 18]
>Search the guard’s mind for pertinent information on the floors below [DC 15]
>Descend deeper into the Tower after all—you’re feeling somehow more confident
>Return to the first basement level with Paula, to check out the laboratories on this level [Enchantment, Morphological research]
>You have taken enough risks this evening—leave the Tower before more complications arise
>Write-in
>>
>>5062101
>Break the monocle, see if you can kidnap the Bespooder
>Return to the first basement level with Paula, to check out the laboratories on this level [Enchantment, Morphological research]

If we're naked
>Look for spare robes around here
if that doesn't work
>Take Paula's clothes
It's her problem now
>>
>>5062101
>Continue to work at enthralling the unconscious Tower guard [DC 18]
>Search the guard’s mind for pertinent information on the floors below [DC 15]
>Return to the first basement level with Paula, to check out the laboratories on this level [Enchantment, Morphological research]

>>5062105
We're not alerting anybody that we were here, so no spider, monocle breaking, or stealing anybody's clothes.
>>
>>5062207
>We're not alerting anybody
>[DC18]
PICK ONE
>>
>>5062101
>Continue to work at enthralling the unconscious Tower guard [DC 18]

Fuck it, go big or go home. The payoff here is huge if successful.
>>
>>5062101
>Search the guard’s mind for pertinent information on the floors below [DC 15]
>Return to the first basement level with Paula, to check out the laboratories on this level [Enchantment, Morphological research]

We'll try again tomorrow, maybe start making inroads with the other staff while we're at it.
>>
Rolled 15, 3, 9, 18, 3, 20, 13, 19 = 100 (8d20)

>>5062105
>>5062207
>>5062302
>>5062509
>Plurality of votes to mess with the Tower guard's mind, extracting info and attempting to enthrall him if possible, then leave and raid the Enchantment and Morphological labs on the way out.

[Alright, can do. Rolling 4d20 for mentalism, 3d20 for stealth on the way out if applicable, and one mystery die. Will post after I finish watching Shang-Chi!]
>>
>>5062694
Damn we are good at stealth, that's two nat 20s in a row.
>>
>>5062694
You close your eyes and open your mind, delving deeper into that of this guard—A ‘Finlay Lithobatius’, so it seems. First and foremost, you seek actionable intelligence on those levels below you: three, four, and five. It is no mean feat, but your prowess in this field has grown. Between your own ability and your soulbound with Irinnile, you may be more mastermful at mentalism than even your more innate illusion at this point!

>15

‘The third level is home to a number of cursed artefacts,’ you relate, as much to yourself as Irinnile, fixing it in your mind. ‘It is guarded by tamed devils, bound by a powerful guardian mage and his apprentices.’

‘That sounds like a pass to me,’ Irinnile laughs nervously.

‘The fourth is where the mightiest chimeras are bred, raised, and tamed. Hybrids meticulously crafted by a fleshweaver, created as the end-product of all the researches above. The… The so-called owlbears are her pet project, while the gryphons the Paladins ride are her doing as well. She herself is… Unsettling to her lesser, these other guards. She rarely leaves that place.’

‘And number five?’ Irinnile asks hesitantly. ‘Do I even wanna’ know?’

‘This man hasn’t seen basement level five, where the most dangerous and confidential projects are worked upon… But there are rumours of some masterwork by their fleshweaver. Something truly terrible.’

You shiver with the Lithobatius’ remembered fear, standing before the door as a younger man, feeling a presence beyond it: the fifth level, and its dweller in darkness.

‘Babe?’

‘What we seek is on floor four,’ you say. ‘It was on floor three—this mage saw it—but they moved it downwards when some incident occurred which led the Tower to believe the dwarven artefact needed greater protection… or that others needed protecting from it, perhaps.’

‘Babe, we have to go,’ Irinnile whines, feeling the same sense of dread you feel radiating from your victim. ‘What if they find us down here?’

‘One more moment,’ you say, forcing yourself to remain calm and in control. These aren’t your emotions, you remind yourself. ‘I’m not done with Finlay yet.’

You force your influence into every crack of this man’s mind, just as you did with his Inquisitorial colleague Fenman. Perhaps your domination of this man is not SO complete… But you can leave a little present behind, at least. When you don finally open your eyes and break the link, it is with the certitude that a little piece of you remains buried into his brain. The next time you see him, you will be able to activate it, and for at least a moment, direct him as you will.

>18

<WANT: 17>
>>
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>>5062728
‘Come on, we have to LEAVE!’ Irinnile pleads.

‘Alright, alright,’ you soothe her. ‘Calm yourself. For an immortal, you’re very flighty.’

‘I saw the same shit down in level three that you did,’ she reminds you. ‘Immortal doesn’t mean a damn thing down there.’

You have to acknowledge that point, you suppose… And she’s right in other ways. This was a worthwhile endeavor, but it doesn’t do to linger.

>20

You will Irinnile to hide your nakedness( and poor ensorcelled Paula) in a cloak of shadow and you make your escape. The bespider is returning to Finlay Lithobathius, but you carefully dodge its direct gaze and the alleged antimagic energy contained therein, and it scarcely seems to notice you as it scurries to its waking master’s side. Even as you return to the first floor, you can faintly hearing him murmuring some reassurance. You wonder what excuse his manipulated subconscious will derive—perhaps that he fell asleep at his desk?

Utterly unseen, and still in complete control of the magical torchlights, you skulk through the hallways. You follow the same path by which you entered with the flawless navigation sense of a child who was raised in a darkness her feeble human eyes could not penetrate. Now that you have Irinnile’s eyes instead, you are simply all the better for it! In fact, you’re making such good time and feeling so confident in your abilities that you decide to take a little detour by the low-security Enchantment and Morphology laboratories. Why not? Maybe you’ll find something useful, or at least pretty.

‘Oh shit!’

>17 Mystery Roll

On the other hand, perhaps NOBODY is so skilled at shrouded stealth as to welcome what you see coming your way. Advancing down the hallway, with torches lighting alongside them and flickering out as soon as they pass, are two tower guards: the man you saw earlier with his greater drake, and a woman clutching a book under one arm and using a crystal-tipped staff like a walking stick.

You reckon you have just enough time to dip into one lab and back out with some hastily-seized prize. Alternatively, you COULD attempt to take down and enthrall these two mages as well. Remembering the difficulty that individual Tower mages such as Felman and Lithobathius have given you, the idea of battling two of them seems foolhardy… But they ARE only human, while you are so much more.

‘Lispy, come on, be a sssmart sssnake, huh?’ Irinnile quips, giggling anxiously and tugging at you to leave.
>>
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>>5062730
What do you do?
>Dip into the Enchantment lab to snag something martial
>Dip into the Morphology lab to see if you can steal some sort of egg or other organism
>Just get out of here, without taking any more unnecessary risks—if you move fast (thanks to your critical success) you can slip right by them without being detected
>Attempt to ambush the pair of mages while you have the element of surprise (DC 10 to take down one, 15 to avoid a counterattack by the other, thanks to your crit)
>Write-in
>>
>>5062732
>Dip into the Enchantment lab to snag something martial
Look for something with antimagic field, like the onr of that Bespider, since it's too late to kidnap it now. Alternatively frost protection/enduring equipment, as I suspect cold to be the second most popular type of magic down in the demon-prison.

If we do find something that could help us take down those losers and remain undetected,
>Attempt to ambush the pair of mages while you have the element of surprise

You know what would be cool? Replacing our human eye for an antimagic-gaze one. Or a limb enchanted with skill or spell.
>>
>>5062732
>Dip into the Enchantment lab to snag something martial
>Just get out of here, without taking any more unnecessary risks—if you move fast (thanks to your critical success) you can slip right by them without being detected

Wouldn't mind grabbing a drake, but that can be accomplished at another time.
>>
>>5062853
If we ever get that drake, we should call it Rothgard.
>>
[I'll post after work, likely with this tie broken by then!]
>>
>>5062804
+1 to this, with special attention to the *if* we find something useful.
>>
>>5062730
>Just get out of here, without taking any more unnecessary risks—if you move fast (thanks to your critical success) you can slip right by them without being detected
>>
>>5062732
>Just get out of here, without taking any more unnecessary risks—if you move fast (thanks to your critical success) you can slip right by them without being detected

Two mages and a free auto-escape, yes please!
>>
Rolled 12, 3, 20, 7 = 42 (4d20)

>>5062804
>>5062853
>>5062963
>Dip into the Enchantment lab to snag something martial
>Just get out of here, without taking any more unnecessary risks—if you move fast (thanks to your critical success) you can slip right by them without being detected
[One roll for the quality of item absconded with, and a stealth roll (not automatic because you lingered, but a mere DC 9]
>>
>>5063115
Damn, these nat crits for stealth are insane. It almost makes me wish that we attempted to take those mages down non-lethally. Surely something positive must've resulted from these back-to-back crits (beside simply slipping past them undetected)?
>>
>>5063115
You decide to take advantage of your flawlessly furtive footfalls to slip sideways into the enchantment laboratory. The notion of a flaming sword, or even some means of manufacturing false currency, is appealing... But with your limited time come limited options. You do not have time to test out every single weapon for his properties, or to set your sixth sense upon each unusual item to determine its school of magic and likely properties. You can only judge the relative value of each potential acquisition off of a glance, and your intuition.


‘Hey, Lispy, is it just me or...?’


‘I see it too,’ you reply, feeling excitement well in your chest.


There, sitting upon a rack is a small swathe of rich, violet fabric. Even without sensing the subtle aura of its enchantment, you can see an uncanny shimmer upon it indicating its magical nature... And at the front of it, seated like a cloak-clasp, is a small golden emblem in the unmistakable shape of a snowflake.


‘Protection against ice spells?’ the succubus speculates. ‘I mean, it’s gotta’ be, right? What ELSE would it be?’


You snatch it up and hastily fold the fabric, before tucking it away in your pack. You can examine it more closely later... But basic as her thinking may be, it’s tough to fault Irinnile’s logic. Likewise, your own intuititon and reason tell you that ice spells are likely to provide the greatest threat on the third basement level of the Tower—a level you must inevitably traverse to reach the fourth and the dwarven master stone. After all, if a demon such as Irinnile is immune to flame, what would be better for a practiced demonologist to wield than flame’s antithesis?


‘And hey, I bet that little snack Agatha can make a cute little outfit out of this if all else fails,’ Irinnile suggests.
You allow yourself to daydream a little about it as you wait for the two Tower guardians in the hallway to pass by. Then, with the same padfoot prowess and shadowed presence as before, you abscond from the basement. Finding the service entrance dim and empty of late-shift workers, you are soon out of the building entirely. Between setting a sleeper agent to lie in wait, scouting the bowels of the basement, and identifying nearly the exact location of your target, it has been a fruitful escpade...
‘Tiring, though,’ irinnile gripes. ‘And I’m hungry. Well, maybe “hungry” is the wrong ord...’


Your gaze drifts to Paula—probably due to snap out of her trance any moment now, unless you decide to milk her to sate a little more <WANT>. Her mana is well-depleted from all your earlier ‘activity’, though...


What do you do?

>Feed Irinnile with Paula—you're done with her anyway
>Send Paula back home, and leave to go see Roth and Albacete, with whom you have unfinished business
>Bring her back to the Engel manor as a ‘gift’ for Edwin, to celebrate your many victories
>Write-in
>>
>>5063205
>Send Paula back home, and leave to go see Roth and Albacete, with whom you have unfinished business

She may yet have her uses

Also, see if we can snag some unsuspecting prey on the way home
>>
>>5063205
>Send Paula back home, and leave to go see Roth and Albacete, with whom you have unfinished business
>Snag some pray on the way home

Well, that was productive. We should probably case the Tower in the dreamscape just to get a clear map of the place.
>>
>>5063205
>Bring her back to the Engel manor as a ‘gift’ for Edwin, to celebrate your many victories
We will see Roth/Albacete tomorrow either way, since dancing lessuns. Meanwhile, Edwin is a more efficient way to get mana and we neglected him lately again. Plus we could maybe corrupt his ass.

>>5063187
>almost makes me wish that we attempted to take those mages down non-lethally
Thanks for stalling our progress with your bad-luck paranoia, anon! :)))
>>
>>5063462
When you get hit with three nat 1s in a row, and only made it out because your ally was combat competent and still got hit in the process of bailing your ass out, and it becomes a reasonable worry, especially when we only get 3d in unarmed combat by ourselves in the heart of enemy territory. Relying on luck is a retarded strategy, anon! :)))
>>
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>>5063480
>When you get hit with three nat 1s in a row, and only made it out because your ally was combat competent and still got hit in the process of bailing your ass out, and it becomes a reasonable worry, especially when we only get 3d in unarmed combat by ourselves in the heart of enemy territory.
Literally happened 3 years ago and because Felman rigged the dice, the fucking nigger he is.
>Relying on luck is a retarded strategy, anon! :)))
No luck, all skill!
>>
>>5063386
>>5063400
>>5063462
Paula has been a useful pawn, and you see no reason to use her up—

“Aww,” whines Irinnile.

—nor are you ready to return to the Engel Manor just yet. After all, this has been a productive day already… Which is all the more reason to return to Dame Albacete’s residence, to file a formal report with she and Roth. Your mind flickers back to the lingering remembrances of last night’s terrible, ominous dream.

“Paula, go home,” you dismiss the human female. “I will call upon you if I need you. Forget all thisss that hass happened. Remember only a night of mild mischief and enjoyment.”

“Hm? Oh, I suppose that makes sense,” she agrees.

Once you are alone (well, except Irinnile), you heft your pack and begin to trek back to your fellow Reptilians. All the way, you rehearse you list of accomplishments: Felman fully enthralled and the investigation utterly subverted, The Pretty Kitty locked down as a source of incriminating information, intelligence gathered on your principle mission, a sleeper agent installed to aid you… It’s quite the list!

Unfortunately, when you arrive at Albacete’s home, it is not as a conquering hero so much as a manager of crises. Alabcete opens the door and beckons you inside, shutting it hurriedly.

“What is the matter?’ you ask in your mother’s tongue.

“Come,” she says. “It’s Roth.”

Your recantations of glorious victory die on your lips. “Did the potion not take? Is he not healed?”

“He is,” she says, “but there have been… Complications.”
>>
>>5063739
You can feel your demonic passanger squirming like a worm in your soul, discomfort palpable as if she has already realized the problem.

‘Irnnile, what did you do?’ you demand.

‘Well, uhh… I haven’t exactly ever been used to make, like, consumable stuff. But it IS still, you know, like… Made of ME…’

You enter the room, and you can see the problem immediately: Roth’s bandages have been removed, exposing somewhat-scarred but mended skin and gradually-regrowing scales, but his body also almost seems to be wasting away from some sickness. He is remarkably thin and pale in countenance, especially given that you saw him only a day ago. When you focus your second sight upon him, you can immediately see why: his mana, or life energy, is greatly reduced… Save one small ball of it, like a tapeworm in his gut, where it all seems to be funneling.

‘Irinnile…’ you warn.

‘Look, I didn’t know!’ she protest. ‘I still don’t know what’s going on with… That! This is new to me!’

“He seems physically fine, but his appetite has been immense,” Albacete relates. “He also seems to have gone into a false heat of some sort.”

“Blast you, you Degenerate wretch, and your demon!” Roth bellows, gripping at the sheets and blankets, and writhing. “What have you done to me?!”

“Ssaved your life,” you remind him.

“Do not take it personally,” Albacete suggests. “He seems periodically wracked by mania, and by bouts of pain and… Well, by pleasure, I would assume.”

You and the other female step put of the room to convene, and you share something of your triumphs.

“Quite the impressive foray,” she acknowledges with muted respect.

“My hope is that the Serpent Priests will see it likewise,” you say, paying close attention to her aura and looking for clues as to what you might expect. After all, as with Roth, Albacete is a senior agent.

“It is not the process they concern themselves with, but the end result… The GRAND Design, not the intricacies which make it up. They leave such subtleties to us.” Dame Albacete meets your eyes with a bemused twinkle in her own. “Succeed beyond expectations, and you will find more good works in your future.”

“Is our only reward more work, then?” you ask.

“Until the work is done,” she says with a shrug. “What else is there for us to do?”

‘Beats an underground cell,’ Irinnile suggests. ‘Still, kinda' feels like we deserve more, ya' know?’

You shush the succubus’ sacrilege, and turn your mind back to the task at hand. Surely Roth's words and Albacete's would go a long way to securing your station and at least your pick of available missions someday… But do offer up such aid, Roth must yet live. While he didn't seem to be dying per se, you also aren't sure what to make of his condition.
>>
>>5063742
What do you do?
>Attempt to drain the foreign, demonic energy from him
>Seek Felman’s expert aid in the matter, since he is yet enthralled
>Call upon the expert knowledge of Devil-Zivic
>Send forth Yemrep to Lord Bianchi, and let him scour his library for an answer
>Stay the night here and monitor Roth's symptoms; his condition has improved, and may yet pass naturally
>Write-in
>>
>>5063748
>Attempt to drain the foreign, demonic energy from him
Test the waters, if it's too dangerous for us, then:
>Send forth Yemrep to Lord Bianchi, and let him scour his library for an answer

I don't wanna ask Incubus for help, as that could be understood as interference of either side and just... meh, don't wanna risk shit.

Still wanna meet with him or his proxy to get on better terms.
>>
What's wrong with Roth, btw?
Is the demonic essence of Irinnile from the potion functioning like a mindless parasite?
We could use this...
>>
>>5063748
>Attempt to drain the foreign, demonic energy from him
>Call upon the expert knowledge of Devil-Zivic
>Send forth Yemrep to Lord Bianchi, and let him scour his library for an answer

The real reason we would want the Devil-Zivic is to talk to them about other things, such as terms and such.
>>
>>5063815
I assume that you're diagnosis is correct. As for how we could use it? That would require experimentation and making sure that the host doesn't become unintentionally sick from it.
>>
>>5063828
We could technically create a potebt demonic poison disguised as anything. Although it would cost Irinnile energy, require rituals and mastering of the method first.
Was more like a cool poison idea in my mind, not necessarily functional or efficient enough to be used.
>you're
>>
>>5063805
Supporting
>>
>>5063836
Maybe we can use it to cause some chaos. Instant magical pandemic, ya know? Btw, I'll be traveling for Thanksgiving, so I may not be able to post until I get some internet.
>>
[Hanging out with a friend tonight--expect a late post!]
>>
>>5064299
what timezone do you live in, RQM?
>>
Rolled 10, 11, 5, 18 = 44 (4d20)

>>5063947
>>5063825
>>5063805
>Draining the energy if you can, sending word to Bianchi if you can't
>>
>>5064643
While you suppose you could send for Lord Bianchi if you must, this matter strikes you as a reasonably urgent one. Moreover, just as with dance, and as with illusion and mentalism, you seek mastery here. If you can handle it yourself, you would rather do so, if only to prove that you can. Besides, you reason, perhaps this strange magical affliction will pave the way to using Irinnile not merely as a direct weapon or an infiltration tool, but as a means to poison or infect others.

‘That sounds exhausting, htostuff,’ Irinnile points out.

‘We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it,’ you dismiss her.

Irinnile sighs melodramatically, and you return to Roth’s chambers to set yourself to the task at hand. You circle his bed attempting to view the strange, slowly-shifting lump of energy from all angles. Roth, for his part, watches you warily. His expression is a grimace, his claws clutch unconsciously at the source of his misery.

‘How do we get it out of him?’ you wonder within the theatre of your mind.

‘We could succ it out of him,’ Irinnile mischievously suggests, causing your mouth to water as her lustful depravity surges. ‘You know, get him all nice and hard and then—’

‘Irinnile,’ you cut her off with a warning, and a reminder, ‘we’re trying to save this male, not deplete what remains of his mana and leave him a withered husk.’

‘Awww, baaa-aaabe,’ irinille whines.

‘Still…’ You muse over the proposal. ‘Can you direct your energy-draining abilities, if we were to establish a link of that nature to his lifeforce?’

‘Huh? Oh, I mean, yeah. Maybe. Probably? I dunno.’

You don’t press, sensing that she is genuinely uncertain. This application of her power—directed and with restraint—is new to her. Still, she is as bonded to and influenced by you as the reverse. If YOU have gained the libidinous <WANT> of a succubus, SHE now has access to the discipline and subversive thought-processes of a training Reptilian Infiltrator.

“You… What do you think you’re doing? Roth demands as you step closer. You lean over his bed, slide the sheets from him to expose his abdomen, and absurdly he tries to pull them back up as if modest. He is weakened, though, and cannot resist you as you pin his wrists.

“Degenerate,” he snarls, “you will stop this or—MMF!”

Roth is cut off suddenly, and with great distress, as you press your full human lips to the lizard-like leather of his own thin and keratin-studded ones.
>>
You will your tongue to extend and to wrap around his own, to push down his throat. He gags but, slowly but surely, you administer the succubus’ powers like an anaesthetic or a sedative. His protests weaken further, and then turn to a low sound like a purr as he slumps over and melts into your embrace. All the while, you push Irinnile’s energies deeper into him, seeking out the ball of corrosive and toxic power within Roth’s guts.

‘There!’

And there it is, hovering before your mind’s eye. You can examine it more clearly now, and see something not unlike a condensed version of Irinnile’s own smoky and ephemeral true form, swirling about the centre of Roth’s internal energy reserves and feeding upon him like a leech. It seems like a mindless parasite, a spiritual tapeworm.

‘Can you extract it and reabsorb it?’

‘Hmmmm…’ She thinks on it. ‘Can I save this grumpy old asshole whose weird dragon-dicks you won’t even let me suck?’

‘Irinnile!’

‘Relaaaax, Lispy! Of course I can. Like you said at the Tower, “watch me!”’

And you do watch as she extends her energies like a slime mould, encompassing and subsuming the ball of demonic energy in Roth and drawing it back into her own being—into you. You feel it flow into you, like a cobra swallowing an egg bigger than its head must feel. Then, suddenly, you feel a surge of energy explode like lighting through your body—not unlike the quasi-orgasmic feeling you felt when you were utilizing Irinnile’s abilities on The Pretty Kitty’s crowd during your performance!

<WANT: 15>

You pull your tongue out of Roth’s throat, your lips part from his, and you see his eyes rolled back in his head. For a moment you fear you have killed him, but you check his vitals and find that he has merely slipped into a restorative sleep. You release him and let him flop down onto the mattress, and take a deep breath.

“You really have managed to master that hell-beast of yours quite effectively,” Albacete compliments you from the doorway.

You tun around and bow your head slightly at your senior’s praise. Then, you turn back to Roth, and she steps closer to do the same. The two of you diagnose him physically and mystically: he is simply exhausted, preying upon by what had been dwelling within him. He needs rest, and food, and to replenish his mana reserves… But he will be fine. Additionally, for all the trouble it caused, your cursed mana potion DID do a miraculous job of mending his physical wounds. His life HAS been saved, and doubly so now!

‘Wel, the second time there was kinda’ our bad,’ Irinnile admits with a nervous giggle.

Now it is YOUR turn to be exhausted, though… But, of course, duty never sleeps, and your <WANT> has been freshly fed! Perhaps you should push through the tiredness to continue your spate of extreme productivity?
>>
Do you…
>Go dream-delving [specify a target if so]
>Discuss something with Albacete [what?]
>Experiment with item-creation via Irinnile’s ritual [what do you seek to create?]
>Return to the city to perform some spycraft [targeting whom?]
>Just rest, so you can operate at maximum efficiency tomorrow
>>
>>5064690
>Just rest, so you can operate at maximum efficiency tomorrow
>>
>>5064690
>Just rest, so you can operate at maximum efficiency tomorrow- specifically, go rest with Edwin, it's always nice to see him
>>
>>5064690
>Discuss something with Albacete
Ask if she minds if we crash next to Roth
>Just rest, so you can operate at maximum efficiency tomorrow
>>
>>5064690
>Go dream-delving [case the Tower or visit Edwin's dreams]
>>
>>5064751
Supporting
>>
>>5064727
>>5064748
>>5064751
>>5064820
>>5064907
>>5064727
>>5064748
>>5064751
>>5064820
>>5064907

You briefly consider visitation to Edwin of Engel—by dream or by foot—but both notions fill you instantly with a wave of fatigue. The last two days have been long, and expensive in their cost to your mind, body, and mana reserves. While Irinnile’s ability to extract it from others is helpful, succubus-sucked mana is no substitute from proper slumber.

“Albacete, may I spend the night in our fellow Infiltrator’s quarters?” you inquire instead, nodding to Roth.

Albacete looks at you queerly, as if trying to suss out your motivation… But ultimately her answer was straightforward: “Do what you will, Infiltrator. It is no business of mine, and I’d rather not make it such.”

What exactly is your motivation for this?
>Lust, not that you can act on it without killing him with his mana reserves so depleted and his body weak
>Genuine affection and concern—despite everything, he’s grown on you, and you wish to monitor his condition
>Mischief—you want to bully him while you have the opportunity, because his reactions amuse you
>Write-in

So it was that you squirmed into bed next to the large, rough-scaled male. Roth’s warmth wasn’t quite like that of Edwin, but his dragon-blood made him the next best thing to a mammal, and before long it was soothing you to sleep.

Tonight’s sleep was, perhaps blissfully, a dreamless one. Perhaps your infiltration activities and productivity and relieved your anxiety, or purged some human weakness from your soul… Or perhaps you were just too damn tired to even imagine. No sooner had your head hit the pillow than you were awoken by the sun’s dim morning-light, and yet you felt refreshed and rejuvenated.

What is your principle objective this morning?
>To speak with Roth about your parents, and their fates
>To go check on your modified shirin supplies
>To go see Edwin of Engel, and enjoy a date and some breakfast with him
>To explore Irinnile’s abilities in a more regimented and experimental fashion
>To discuss Tower security with Felman
>Write-in
>>
>>5065121
>Lust, not that you can act on it without killing him with his mana reserves so depleted and his body weak
>Mischief—you want to bully him while you have the opportunity, because his reactions amuse you

Lewd mischief, as it's fun to bully our preggable dragon boi-toy.

>Genuine affection and concern—despite everything, he’s grown on you, and you wish to monitor his condition

Would never admit it openly though.

>To speak with Roth about your parents, and their fates
>To explore Irinnile’s abilities in a more regimented and experimental fashion

We should be able to fit both in this morning.
>>
>>5065121
>Lust, not that you can act on it without killing him with his mana reserves so depleted and his body weak
>Genuine affection and concern—despite everything, he’s grown on you, and you wish to monitor his condition

>To go see Edwin of Engel, and enjoy a date and some breakfast with him

I sense another phonefag in vicinity, hm.
>>
>>5065121
>Lust, not that you can act on it without killing him with his mana reserves so depleted and his body weak
>Mischief—you want to bully him while you have the opportunity, because his reactions amuse you

>To go see Edwin of Engel, and enjoy a date and some breakfast with him
>>
>>5065344
>>5065240
>>5065148
As you awaken, you press your body closer to Roth’s own and wrap your arms around him. You trace your fingers over his scarred belly, and press your own chest and abdomen against the roughness of his almost crocodilian scutes. Ostensibly, this is all for the purposes of checking his injuries and better sensing his levels of vital energy… But of course, that’s not your only motivation, nor necessarily your primary one. With a satisfied sigh, you wiggle his tail between your legs, and nestle it betwixt your thighs.

Mammal-males are one thing, but this hostile old dragonblood just DOES something for you. Even knowing how instrumental he was to the misery of your childhood, you still can’t help but care about him, and feel an attraction to him.

“…Degenerate, what are you doing?”

“Oh, you have awoken,” you say innocently, still subtly sawing your hips.

Roth lashes out at you, slamming his tail, but you have already dodged the clumsy ‘attack’. You roll out of bed and onto your feet. You meet his glower with a mischievous gleam and a wide smirk.

“There are many maless who would quite literally pay to have Kamunu ssqueezing them between her thighsss,” you tease in the northern common-tongue of the humans.

“Mammalian weakness, just like your own,” he grumbles uncharitably.

“Then what do you call THAT?” you ask, reverting to your native tongue as you point to the double-peaked tent underneath Roth’s sheets.

He glances down, and his face subtly shifts from regular anger to a more embarrassed variety. “It… It is still your demon’s influence, you filthy, sex-obsessed, half-human—”

“You’re welcome for saving your life again,” you interrupt, with a musical lilt that further deepens your senior’s embarrassment.

Roth doesn’t thank you, but he doesn’t continue to berate you either. You take his silence for a victory, and revel in it.

“Anyway, our fellow Infiltrator, Albacete, ca continue to monitor you. Perhaps she can even do something about those hemipenes… Unless it is a lust for half-human flesh that you are feeling?”

Roth huffs, but says nothing.

“No? Well, all the better, since I have business to attend to with a male of superior quality, anyway.”

Irinnile cackles approvingly, sending you the mental equivalent of a high-five. You are careful to put an extra sway into your hips as you leave Roth’s room.

<WANT: 16>

After a quick update to Albacate—already awake as you are, and enjoying a fragrant cup of steaming liquid of some sort—you ‘borrow’ another floral-print dress to replace your badly-burnt one and depart for the Engel Manor.
>>
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>>5065424
<ONE DAY until the Tower Gala>

It is still fairly early in the morning when you arrive at the Engel manor. As ever the servants know to let you inside without any question as to your whereabouts these last couple days.

“Master Edwin of Engel is still asleep,” a young red-headed human attendant intimates. “Shall I wake him and announce your return, Miss Rosgard?”

“No, I think I shall do so mysself,” you say after a moment’s naughty conference with your on-board demon.

The servant flushes and averts her gaze, but says nothing, nor does anyone move to stop you. The nature of your improper relationship is, of course, an open secret. As you creep up the stairs with careful sneakiness, it is not to avoid knowledge of your plans, but merely to surprise your quarry. You slip into his room (and under his sheets) undetected.

“Ismena?” Edwn mumbles through layers of sleepy disorientation. “What are you… Oh!”

<WANT: 15>

Once you have given Edwin his wake-up call and returned your WANT to where it was before you harried Roth, the two of you settle in for breakfast. To your surprise, you find cheese on eggs does not upset your stomach, and tastes amazing. You ravenously consume your omelette, not even making much small-talk, and mentally add it to your catalogue of surface-world amenities worth preserving under the new order once your race's conquest is complete…

Which, of course, brings you to Edwin. No longer distracted by hunger, you cannot avoid his eyes or deflect his conversation any longer. This is the first you have seen of him since your rather troubling dream two nights hence. Even as he meets your gaze with those kind eyes, and a certain wry amusement at your enthusiastic breakfasting, you can still see the sad version of that same visage from your nightmare. The affection he radiates is tempered by a concern for you which you can never truly address, for how can an Infiltrator open up to a surface-ape… Even one like Edwin?

What do you do?
>Ask after him, and what he has been up to in your absence, paying genuine attention, and propose a date to catch up further [+affection]
>Pay lipservice to Edwin's well-being, but remain somewhat emotionally distant
>Begin planting seeds or an amenable break-up in the future… For his own well-being, or for yours [-affection]
>Avoid these troubling thoughts by focusing on matters of shirin-distribution
>Write-in
>>
>>5065426
>Ask after him, and what he has been up to in your absence, paying genuine attention, and propose a date to catch up further [+affection]
>Probe him about threesome with Paula later today

Man, we really need to corrupt Edwin...
>>
>>5065426
>Avoid these troubling thoughts by focusing on matters of shirin-distribution
>>
>>5065426
>Ask after him, and what he has been up to in your absence, paying genuine attention, and propose a date to catch up further [+affection]

>Avoid these troubling thoughts by focusing on matters of shirin-distribution

Ask about him a bit, propose the date but then move into business

He is still incredibly useful..the relationship is for the mission!
>>
>>5065426
>>Ask after him, and what he has been up to in your absence, paying genuine attention, and propose a date to catch up further [+affection]
>>
>>5065426
Actually I'll (>>5065456) change
>[+affection]
to
>shirin
and keep the probing in.
Better stay neutral for now.
>>
>>5065426
>Pay lipservice to Edwin's well-being, but remain somewhat emotionally distant
>>
>>5065426
>Ask after him, and what he has been up to in your absence, paying genuine attention, and propose a date to catch up further [+affection]
>>
>>5065648
>>5065596
>>5065668
>focus on shirin business or otehrwise remain distant

>>5065641
>>5065642
>>5065694
>show attentiveness and affection

[Tie game, and I am lightly inebriated. I'll wait to post later tonight, or tomorrow! If you're going to break the tie, please don't be a 1post ID.]
>>
>>5065938
Huh. I guess it's good that I decided to stop by my house for the moment. Before I vote, mind telling me our Edwin Affection levels? While I do like the bloke, I remember making a promise that we wouldn't walk in the footsteps of our mother.
>>
>>5065980
<Edwin Affection: 94%>

[Down slightly for your unexplained absence and effectively avoiding him for a while... But the deliberate decision to return and have breakfast with him stopped it from going too low.]
>>
>>5065938
So long as it doesn't push it past 100%, then I don't mind supporting >>5065456 (even though I know his vote changed), just set the date for after the Gala. If our affection does threaten to go overboard, just default to emotional distance, I don't want anons to start freaking out about getting too involved with Edwin.

Also
>Focus on matters of shirin-distribution after we catch up
Because I do want to get our hands on our new shirin mix later today.

>>5065456
Speaking of corrupting Edwin, maybe we can start fooling around with some of the cute members of the staff? Maybe just ourselves fool around to lower our WANT? Just a thought.
>>
>>5066009
My goal with Edwin is to try and get him on bad side so we don't have to keep lying, desu. Otherwise we either have to dump him or essentially manipulate him/betray our cause.

As for staff, I don't have anything against idea itself, but also don't want to risk Fynn finding out. That'd make things complicated and possibly awkward.
>>
Corrupt Edwin and turn him into a 100% willing slave
>>
>>5066105
>slave
no
>>
>>5066105
Gonna have to nope that as well mate.
>>
>>5066009
>>5065641
>>5065642
>>5065694
>>5065648
>>5065596
>>5065668

“So, what happened the other night? Edwin asks.

“Hm?” you reply, through a mouth of cheesy scrambled egg.

“At your… Work?” Edwin elaborates. “With the commotion and such? I was worried… You had all those guards there, and what looked like the Inquisition…”

“Oh!” you laugh it off, waving the matter away. “It wass nothing. A falssse alarm.”

“What did they think was happening?” he asks, then with a lowered voice and a furtive glance adding: “Was it to do with your… You know, occult troubles?”

‘Hahahaheeee, if he only knew the half of it,’ Irinnile interjects, for your ears only.

You rest a hand upon Edwin’s own, provoking an adorable little flush of his cheeks, and tell him “Don’t worry, Edwin. It’ss all under control.”

He frowns, but doesn’t pressure you to elaborate. Still, you can sense his concern.

“How about you?” you change the subject. “What have you been doing?”

Edwin blinks a couple times, as if surprised.

“Oh! Just, you know… The usual sort of thing.”

You listen with rapt attention as he describes the mundanities of his day, of a business lunch with his father and of purchasing some books from a caravan to add to his library. You can’t help but lean forward on your hands and appreciate the sparkle in those bright eyes and the stubble of his chin and curve of his lips as he excitedly describes the rarity of certain volumes, the history of their authors, and the profundity of certain quotations. You drift in and out of attentiveness to the words, but his voice, the way he animatedly launches into these cerebral explanations…

Gods Below, you lo—

<Edwin Affection: 94%>

--you really LIKE this human.
>>
>>5066401
“Sso, did you learn anything esspeccially interessting from them?” you ask, knowing well Edwin’s primary interest in literature is related to his primary passion: magic, and gaining access to it.

“Oh, um, well… Not much, nothing definite.”

You tilt your head slightly. “You’re a terrible liar, Edwin of Engel.”

He smiles sheepishly, and admits: “I’ve been exploring a bit of… Alternative mysticism again. Alternate avenues to channel my power. It actually came to me in a dream…”

‘Oh?’ Irinnile says, suddenly alert as the both of you recall Edwin’s mysterious dream-visitor from many weeks hence. You’d overheard him speaking to someone at the window while delving into his dreams yourself, and had never ascertained if it was an interloper like yourself or merely a part of his unconscious mind’s own machinery.

“Oh?” you say aloud, nerves on edge.

“Yes!” Edwin goes on, excitement buildinga s he speaks on his favourite subject. “I’ve been thinking… There are rituals and magical devices meant to unlock hidden potential. They’re popular in the south and east. Some of them use attuned items to channel energy, like a… A wand or some such. Others use alchemical aids to induce another state of mind, coupled with massage or…”

You smirk as you see his cheeks go red, and his aura becomes tinged with embarrassed arousal. “Ssome ssort of sssexx magic?”

“Well, um, tantric, um…” he takes a deep breath. “More like… Erotic massage. But, yes, sort of.”

“Well that one ssoundss like the mosst fun to me,” you comment wryly, sliding your foot up his leg and causing him to jump slightly and bump the table.

“I’ve also been reading up on shirin,” he notes, abruptly changing the subject.

You raise your eyebrows—this time, you’re the one who is surprised. You had actually been meaning to discuss a ride to go see Qicerys at her Enchanted Grove boutique, to see how her endeavours to cut the far-eastern stimulant with local herbs to modify and extend it had gone.

“The leaf that is used in the original production of that ‘spice’ is remarkably similar to—related to, in fact!—an herb used in conjunction with the extracted fluids of this one jungle vine by a certain class of shaman to enter a meditative state whereby one can commune with the realm of gods, demons, and spirits…”

You nod, awaiting for him to go on.

Edwin’s smile turns daring. “I thought… Maybe I could try that, and see about gaining the advice or patronage of such a spirit.”
>>
>>5066404
Your own thoughts of a date day die on the vine as you contemplate this. It could be a good way to test out the shirin, and make better use of it. A spirit-pact CAN be a great way to unlock hidden magical abilities and to advance one’s arcane understanding, as you well know… But it could also present unknown dangers. And do you REALLY want your pet human to gain mystic power?

‘We could have him make a pact with us?’ Irinnile suggest tentatively. ‘Imagine it… Cut little Edwin on a leash, our willing, sexy little boy-toy slave?’

‘No,’ you state firmly. ‘No enslaving Edwin.’

‘Aww…’

Not a slave… But an accomplice, enlightened to your way of thinking, so that you can finally, truly share your world with him? Would such a thing be possible, if you could be the one to initiate Edwin into the realm of occultism and hedge-magic?

What do you do?
>Propose a different and more conventional date-day, with a visit to one of the city’s other interesting places, or a trip to the library?
>Suggest hanging out with some mutual friends—Paula and Agatha, perhaps. Maybe you could set Agatha to work making something useful of that stolen capelet from the Tower, or finagle a little threesome with Paula?
>Agree to pay Qicerys a visit and to discuss the matter with her, but try to discourage any experimentation by Edwin at this time
>Follow up on this lead—this could be your opportunity to make a powerful and intimate ally of Edwin, once and for all!
>>
>>5066406
>Tell him you'd love to help him, but it sounds like quite a tricky thing to start right before the Gala - you still have a lesson to attend to and dress to perfect!
This is not even dishonest, lmao
>Suggest hanging out with some mutual friends—Paula and Agatha, perhaps. Maybe you could set Agatha to work making something useful of that stolen capelet from the Tower, or finagle a little threesome with Paula?
Get dress and keep Edwin's mind busy with Paula.

We should visit Bianchi the day after the Gala to see if we can fix him a healing potion for that broken leg and read up on spirits so we don't get cucked by some omnipotent antireptilian hypergriffon lending Edwin his knowledge and power.
>>
>>5066406
>Follow up on this lead—this could be your opportunity to make a powerful and intimate ally of Edwin, once and for all!
>>
>>5066406
>Suggest hanging out with some mutual friends—Paula and Agatha, perhaps. Maybe you could set Agatha to work making something useful of that stolen capelet from the Tower, or finagle a little threesome with Paula?
>Agree to pay Qicerys a visit and to discuss the matter with her, but try to discourage any experimentation by Edwin without you at this time.

We're definitely doing this, we'll have to do any 'heavy' experimentation after the Gala. I don't mind him taking some aphrodisiacs, or a light dose of the hallucinogenic variety when we seduce and bang Qicerys in the corner. We need those reduced rates after all!
>>
>>5066429
Backing this.

I’m not against the idea of the ritual - but not that day before the gala
>>
>>5066406
>Agree to pay Qicerys a visit and to discuss the matter with her, but try to discourage any experimentation by Edwin at this time

Full Gala focus right now
>>
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“It’ss… Actually a very interesssting notion,” you admit.

It’s true, too. There are dangers, of course, but nothing you can’t manage. Still, though, there are more pressing matters to attend to , first.

“The Gala iss tomorrow, though. Don’t you think that sssoundss like a lot to take on right now?”

Edwin rubs his chin. “I mean, I suppose. But what does it matter? The gala is just a big party to raise money. It’s not like we have to be well-rested for it.”

“A big party with your father’ss new bussinessss partnerss, who are highly-placced and may make your fortune,” you point out, thinking fast. Your own reasons for wanting to be at tup-top condition tomorrow evening are different and more insidious, of course, but this makes for a good cover story.

“That’s true,” Edwin signs, but he quickly brightens. “What did you want to do today, then? Or are you too busy for a date today?”

“Not at all,” you say, and you mean it. You’ve missed this male’s company, and you don’t intend to part from him so soon. Besides, it’s good for keeping him under your thumb in preparation for that same all-important Gala!

The two of you discuss the possibilities, and resolve (upon your subtle suggestion) to pay The Lacewing Boutique another visit.

“Oh, right!” Edwin says. “We needed to pick up your, um, faux-magic outfit, right?”

“I’m way ahead of you,” you say smugly. “But I have something elsse I’d like commissioned… If you don’t mind?”

Edwin is quick to comply—you get the feeling he rather enjoys it when you play dress-up—and the two of you take the company carriage straight to the boutique. There the stuffy woman who owns the place is as usual quickly dismissed and dispensed with in fabour of your favourite provincial petite: Agatha Johan!

“Oh, Ismena!” she greets you. “And, um, Edwin was it?”

“Miss Agatha,” he bows his head and doffs his wizard’s cap in a somewhat silly and grand gesture. You hide a chuckle at his earnestness, but Agatha positively flushes.

“I didn’t expect to see you by so soon!” Agatha admits. “Did you and Paula have a good time?”

Edwin raises an eyebrow at this, and you clear your throat and hastily move onto the subject at hand: you produce the scrap of blue fabric with its snowflake clasp.

“Ooooh!” Agatha turns the fabric over and over in her hands. “This is… Wow! What is this fabric, Ismena?”

“I’m not ccertain,” you admit, “but it’ss enchanted.”

“Enchanted?” Edwin and Agatha ask as one, both surprised.

“Where did you get that?” Edwin asks.

“A tip from work,” you lie easily.

A strange, troubled look shadows Edwin’s face for a moment, but it swiftly passes, and your attention is diverted by Agatha anyway as she measures it and discusses what you want done.
>>
>>5066861
“I could extend it out with mundane fabric, maybe… Perhaps, um, make a cloak or something?” she suggests. “Or did you want something more… Fashion forward?”

“As long as it’sss ready for the Gala tomorrow evening,” you say.

“Ah!” Agatha fidgets nervously, looking to her employer. The old crone rubs her fingers meaningfully together, and Agatha turns her eyes to the floor and says. “There’s, um, a rush charge for a job like that…”

“That’ss no problem at all, iss it, Edwin?” you ask sweetly.

“Uh, no,” Edwin mumbles, looking strangely downcast. “I suppose not.”

“Then certainly,” Agatha says, oblivious to Edwin’s change in mood.What do you ask of Agatha?
>A cloak
>A gown with capelet
>A mask or shroud
>Write-in

Do you address Edwin’s change in demeanour?
>Ask him directly—you’re worried [+affection]
>Attempt to scan his mind surreptitiously [DC 16]
>Ignore it, and hope his mood lightens [-affection]
>Attempt to distract him with promises of a ‘date’ with Paula [???]
>Write-in

Where to next?
>Qicerys and the Enchanted Grove to check on your shirin project
>Paula’s home in The Initiate’s Village
>Felman’s home—maybe you can get the both of you some magic lessons while fetching that daring dress you forgot there?
>Let Edwin choose
>Write-in
>>
>>5066863
>A cloak

After the mission, it would be a lovely gift to Edwin.

>Attempt to scan his mind surreptitiously [DC 16]
If that fails
>Ask him directly—you’re worried [+affection]

>Qicerys and the Enchanted Grove to check on your shirin project
Then to Felman's and Paula's. I want my drugs.
>>
>>5066863
>A cloak
>(if possible) Gloves
Hands down the most versatile and can even double as a frost shield to some extent.
Gloves will be handy if we ever have to pull shit out of magical freezers so our snek ass doesn't freeze.

>Attempt to scan his mind surreptitiously [DC 16]
We need data and have skill to take on this 16.

>Qicerys and the Enchanted Grove to check on your shirin project
Then to other humans. I need muh meds.

>>5066871
We also have Albacete lesson and should try to get to TPK unless some shit blows up in our face again, lmao. Can't wait.
Watchu think of gloves, btw.
>>
>>5067002
>We also have Albacete lesson and should try to get to TPK unless some shit blows up in our face again

True, but I assume that Qicerys won't take long, and Felman and Paula live in the Initiate’s Village, should meeting them both shouldn't be totally out of the realm of reason. I'm wondering if we should visit Zi after the TPK, I do want to scout the Tower in case we need said information in a pinch.

Gloves are probably a smart idea btw.
>>
>>5066871
Supporting
>>
>>5066863
>A cloak
>Attempt to scan his mind surreptitiously [DC 16]
>Qicerys and the Enchanted Grove to check on your shirin project
>>
Rolled 13, 7, 17, 20 = 57 (4d20)

>>5066871
>>5067002
>>5067159
>>5067198


You hesitate to answer Agatha’s question, your attention divided by Edwin’s uneasy aura.

“What do you think, Edwin?” you ask him.

“Hm? Oh… A cloak seems most practical, I suppose. I mean, you already have two dresses you could wear to the Gala, after all.”

“A cloak it isss!” you concur. You’d already been leaning that way, anyway, after all. “But would a pair of gloves alsso be posssible?”

Agatha frowns, running her fingers over the material and to the golden clasp.

“I… Don’t think so, no.” She says. Then, hurriedly, she looks up with those wide eyes and corrects herself: “I mean, sure, I can make gloves! But…. The enchantment is probably tied to this fancy golden piece her, isn’t it?”

You gaze at it through squinted eyes, focusing your sense for the magical and… Well, amend if Agatha Johan isn’t absolutely right. The enchantment HAS been woven and sustained through the metal, with the fabric merely an especially good conduit for it.

“You’re right,” you say, “but how did you know that?”

Agatha shrugs and smiles shyly. “Call it a, um, a hunch? I’m getting used to seeing a lot of designs, and the way they have woven the fabric around and around the chain… It’s clear they never intended to remove it. They’re part of the same whole.”

‘Huh,’ Irinnile remarks. ‘Clever girl.’

Agatha sets to work, while you and Edwin depart for your next destination: The Enchanted Grove Alchemical & Floral Boutique, where Qicerys has surely produced your desired shirin admixture by now. Around the way, you grapple with Edwin’s somewhat distant and gloomy mood. He tries to hide it, but the carriage ride is unusually quiet, without his usual enthusiastic discussion of the city’s sights or his recent researches. So, too, is he unusually unreceptive to your flirtations; though your touch still sends the usual sparks of affection and desire dancing across his spirit, the effect is less… Fiery.

‘Wanna’ scan his brain, see what’s up?’ Irinnile suggests.

You resolve to do so, but it must be subtle… And as you arrive at The Enchanted Grove at that very moment, perhaps now is not the time.
>>
>>5067249

The jumpy young half-elf who owns the boutique, Qicerys, spots you quiet early this time. She waves frantically and runs around behind the counter to grab something. She returns with a small chest, which she sets on the desk before her with some effort, just in time for you and Edwin to meet her there.

“You’re back!” Qicerys enthuses, unusually forward and direct in her approach, though no less fast and frantic than her usual startle-response.

“Sorry we’re a little late, “Edwin offer cordially. “Izzy… That is to say, we were just busy with other matters.”

You nod, and rub your hands together. “Sso, what have you go for uss?”

Qicerys opens the chest and reveals three smaller casks, each plugged with a different coloured cork: a blue one (“mixed with a relaxant, to create a soothing effect on the body and to calm down the more nervous, high-energy recations”), a green one (“I mixed it with a known psychoactive chemical compound found in a local mushroom but… I couldn’t exactly test it too conclusively, as I hope you understand”) and a white one (“That, I merely stretched out with some harmless fillers—lower-level stimulants to create a similar effect”).

While she and Edwin are discussing the particular, you half-listen. You absorb the information you need to, of course, but you are also subtly working the your mind into Edwin’s, an exploratory probe worming its way into his brain (hopefully) without detection.

>13

Luckily, you find him as guileless in the psychic dimension as the physical. Edwin is, as always, an open book. What you find just below the surface is immediately quite revealing as to the nature of his angst: he is puzzled, and troubled, by your persistent prostitution. Your lie that the cloak was a ‘tip’ only served to remind him that, despite his best efforts to provide for you monetarily, physically, and with opportunities through his family’s business, you still have sex for money. He doesn’t understand it, and he is increasingly uncomfortable with it—he’d just assumed you would have given that aspect of your work up by now. He is beginning to wonder, in his deeply-ingrained sense of inferiority, if he is not inadequate to you in some way.

>17
Below that, you find other feelings simmering… Including, to your surprise, romantic and sexual desire on his part for another. It seems that he and Paula have really hit it off, perhaps more than you had anticipated. He actually has quite a bit in common with them, both being not QUITE accepted parts of the more prestigious magical community despite Paula’s employment by the Tower, and despite Edwin’s aptitude for the study of magic. He feels guilt over this, but also resentment—albeit only slight—for your having spent time with Paula without him. He wishes he had been there… With you, or maybe even without.
>>
>>5067261
>20
And beneath even THOSE deeper, almost subconscious thought, you find… Something else. Something FOREIGN, an alien presence like your own… A deeply-ingrained and clearly OCCULT influence by its psycho-mystical contours. It whispers do him, egging him on to… Something. You can’t quite discern its purpose, let alone its origin, but it immediately reminds you of the dream-visitor to had suspected weeks prior.

‘The incubus?’ Irinnile suggests nervously. ‘It knew where you lived… And where Roth lived. It was spyin’ on us all that time…’

If that IS indeed the case, then you wonder if the influence has continued beyond your pact. Has it been broken, or has the Devil-Zivic found a loophole in it? Or maybe… This is a residual influence, predating your uneasy agreement?

What do you do?
>Remove the demonic influence right here and now [risky, DC ???]
>Wait to remove the influence until later tonight, but talk to Edwin about what’s been bothering him, and try to reach a compromise [+affection]
>Attempt to distract Edwin from these anxieties with sexual attention [with or without bringing Paula into it?]
>Storm out in a huff—you need some distance from all this, and you cannot BELIEVE this pitiful human male would DARE consider leaving you or cheating on you with a janitor!
>Write-in
>>
>>5067264
>Attempt to distract Edwin from these anxieties with sexual attention [with or without bringing Paula into it?]

We can show him our dresses for the Gala, and move on from there. We will need to remove the parasite though.
>>
>>5067264
>Attempt to distract Edwin from these anxieties with sexual attention [with or without bringing Paula into it?]

Shit, well... we either corrupt him and egg him into being more depraved, then deal with Paula by making him a REAL mage, or really just have to break up.

As for the occult influence from the dream... we have to investigate asap.
If it's incubus lefrovers, then we're not working against his interest, and if it is him, then he was knowingly being a shitter and we gotta talk.
If it's something else, we snuff it.

Considering that Edwin was so enthusiastic about chugging spirits, we might be very well observing one of said spirits trying to worm its way into him through sleep episodes.

Might wanna see which types of unholy bastards can traverse human dreams and nudge Edwin to speak more about those spirits, maybe he'll give us some hints?
>>
>>5067264
>Attempt to distract Edwin from these anxieties with sexual attention [with or without bringing Paula into it?]
Without
>>
>>5067264
>Remove the demonic influence right here and now [risky, DC ???]
>>
>>5067423
>>5067346
>>5067341
>>5067287
You’re anxious to correct the situation, of course. Try as you might to deny it…

<Affection: 99%>

…You care about this big, dumb, smart, handsome, unmagical ape-man. You don’t want to lose him—he’s YOURS! But neither can you just come out and discuss the conflicting emotions he’s feeling. After all, how do you broach such a subject without admitting you have read his mind, invaded the sanctity of his thoughts? Even removing the demonic taint from him right now runs the risk of alerting him to such.

And how exactly are you supposed to address his concerns, for that matter? You ultimately share even LESS in common with him than Edwin might believe. He thinks you are a hedonist, perhaps, or a financial opportunist… Well, no, that isn’t right. You saw in his mind and soul the high opinion he has of your work ethic, your social savvy. But what would he think if he knew it was all to advance the cause of an anti-human conspiracy, and that you sexcapades served to feed a hungry succubus?That’s far, far worse than being an especially entrepreneurial sex-worker, surely?

‘We could corrupt him a little?’ Irinnile suggests. ‘You know that a bit of strange with us always gets his mind off things.’

It’s a self-serving suggestion, of course: Irinnile is ever the glutton for sex-charged mana. Still, it’s not without merit, or precedent. As the two of you bid farewell to Qicerys and pay her what she is due, you take Edwin’s arm and whisper into his ear:

“What do you sssay the two of usss go fetch my new dressss and take it for a tessst run?” you ask.

“Ismena,” he begins uncertainly, but before he can say more, you hand has slipped into his robe and begun to trace the line of his ever-impressive member.

Smooth as silk, you begin to stroke him, whispering into his ear and nibbling at the lobe. “I know I’ve been away and… Disstracted lately, but I’m here now, and I want to show you jusst how much I appreciate you…”

You can feel Edwin growing harder and harder your hand, feel his heartbeat racing in the throb of his erection, and practically TASTE the lust flooding his aura… But to your surprise, he pulls away, adjusting his robes huffily.

“What, is this shirin business and the new cloak not enough?” he snaps.

You blink away the shock of this outburst from gentle, silly Edwin of Engel. “What?”

Regret immediately forms in those kind eyes of his, and he backpedals. “I… That’s not what I meant. It’s just… Izzy, you know you don’t NEED to… To have relations with me for me to want to do things for you, right? To buy things, to go places?”

You hesitate, not sure how to respond at first.
>>
>>5067522
“Of courssse,” you say. “I enjoy your company too. I only wish to show you…”

“And if you need MORE than what I’ve been giving you… This shirin supply, the work with my father… I mean, you don’t really NEED to be… Having sex for coin any more, right?”

“We’ve been over thiss,” you say gently. “I don’t wish to be dependant, to be a burden or…”

“You wouldn’t be!” he insists, rushing forwards to clasp you hands in his. “I just…”

He pauses, taking a deep breath. You hastily recalibrate, trying to follow the trajectory of his thoughts and feelings, to plan an appropriate counter-manoeuvre to nullify his concerns and end this awkwardness and set things as they should be: with Edwin your easy-going, soft-hearted, ever-reliable boytoy.

“Izzy,” he says seriously, meeting your eyes with such intensity that you cannot look away, “I want to know what our relationship is. To you. And if it’s… Real.”

You try to laugh it off. “Of courssse it’sss—”

“I mean it, “ he says. “I’ll do what it takes to be yours… If you’ll be mine. Just mine.”

‘Oh boy,’ Irinnile grunts, cringing inwardly. ‘Stage five clinger, amirite babe?’

What do you do?
>Agree, honestly and truly [will max out affection, for better or for worse]
>Agree, but you’re lying and you know it [-affection]
>Try to change the subject [to what?]
>Refuse, gently, and break things off to spare Edwin's feelings
>Refuse, adamantly and indignantly--you are a goddamned Reptilian Infiltrator, and you don't have time for this stageplay-tier romantic drama
>Manipulate Edwin with magic into forgetting all this; make him a thrall like Mina and Bianchi, if necessary [DC 15 to temporarily affect him, DC 20 to enthrall him utterly]
>Write-in
>>
>>5067523
>"Edwin, there is so much more going on with me than you know. I can't tell you all of it, because it would HURT you, and I don't want that- I want you to be happy and safe. If you can trust me to deal with my problems and issues in my own time, then there will be a day sometime soon when I can promise to you nothing will ever come between us again."

>"But I also get if you are too fed up with that.. and I would understand."
>>
>>5067523
Goddamit. RQM in full vengeance mode.,

>Manipulate Edwin with magic into forgetting all this; make him a thrall like Mina and Bianchi, if necessary.
Gimme 15, for short-term solution.
Really don't want to go full into a cringy vanilla ape romance.

How about we give him modified Irinnile essence instead of ayahuasca? That could help convince him to be less of a prude and maybe become our ally somewhere down the line.
>>
>>5067523
>Agree, honestly and truly [will max out affection, for better or for worse]

fuck it
I know with Irinnile's needs this is a terrible thing to do, but let's do it anyway and see what happens
I guess a lot of crowd siphoning and maybe letting her eat a dude now and then, in the literal sense.
>>
>>5067523
>Deflect with a kiss, show with action what we can't with words.

I'll be real with ya, I ain't gonna honestly agree just yet (and not just because we would be shooting ourselves in the foot just before the Gala). If we were to openly and honestly agree (and max our affection with it), I'd want it to be special, like full day date, a candlelight dinner, the works, not a desperate reaction to an outburst. I'd like it to be a deliberate romantic gesture on our part, not a panicked or pressured snap decision. I'd like some more time, like >>5067529 and >>5067546, and if no one wants the option I voted for, then I'll support the option that'll give us time without maxing out affection.

>>5067558
I think letting Irinnile eat dudes would just horrify Edwin more than us having sex with other people would, if it ever comes to light. Besides, I think he wants reassurance that our desire, our lo- relationship with him is real, more so than us being a hoe (and given that Irinnile is stuck with us, I don't want to starve her just to appease Edwin, or cut back on our power usage, which would defeat the purpose of having bound Irinnile to us in the first place). I'm hoping that we can find a way out of this mess that we made for ourselves without sacrificing the mission or our ability to complete it.
>>
Rolled 16, 5, 4, 9, 9 = 43 (5d20)

>>5067633
>>5067558
>>5067546
>>5067529
[Rolling for seduction/politesse to deflect and delay a full explanation; if that fails, it seems a plurality is okay with a bit of magic to achieve the same effect, which I will roll for as well.]
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>>5067645
You stare back into Edwin’s eyes for a time, uncharacteristically unable to formulate a pithy reply or deflection. Your wit eludes you, you conniving cleverness so much wasted breath not worth expending. He deserves honesty, you conclude… But it’s an honesty you cannot provide.

Instead, you kiss him.

Edwin’s protest is muffled by your lips, but his long arms and supple, scholar’s hands find your body as they always do—automatically. You melt into his touch, wishing it would last forever… But not knowing if it will.

“Izzy, that isn’t an answer,” he replies when you allow him air once more. His tone lacks the conviction it held a moment ago, but still, he does not give in.

"Edwin,” you say, after taking a deep breath, “there iss sso much more going on with me than you know. I can't tell you all of it, becausse it would HURT you, and I don't want that. I want you to be happy and ssafe.”

“I don’t understand,” he says, a little sullenly, “but you don’t need to shelter me. I’m not incompetent, or a child, you know.”

You smile, and hold his hand. “I know, Edwin. I trusst you. I do. And if YOU can trust ME to deal with my problemss and issuesss in my own time, then there will be a day—ssometime ssoon, I hope—when I can promisse to you that nothing will ever come between uss again."


It’s Edwin’s turn for a thoughtful, uncomfortable silence. He clasps your hand, looks down at the ground, and says nothing.

"But I alsso undessstand if you are too fed up with me for that…” You pause to collect yourself, feeling an unfamiliar welling of genuine grief that you haven’t felt in for over half your life at the prospect of what might come next. “And I would underssstand."

You feel Edwin cup your cheek in his hand, and it is only when he brushes your tears away that you realize, with a start, that you are crying. Not crocodile tears, but genuine ones! There is not a fragment of your being that is faking this emotion, that wants to simply sue and discard Edwin. You can’t give yourself to him, not the way he wants, but… Perhaps you wish you could, on some level. The unacceptable weakness fills you with shame, but it’s in Edwin’s embrace that you find comfort. He pets your hair and holds you close until the few sobs, brief and shallow, are done.
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>>5067657
“I still can’t say I understand,” he concludes. “But… I’m here for you. I am.

You can feel the guilt in him for putting you in this position, for making you fearful and sad. You can also feel the affection—the love, if you’re honest. You just can’t reciprocate it fully, not yet… And until you can, you aren’t sure how long his will endure. It’s a troubling notion, one that you suspect will haunt your sleep for more nights to come…

But it is afternoon now, and the Gala is tomorrow, and you are a Reptilian Infiltrator. All else is irrelevant. You have a role in the Grand Design, and you must, MUST remember that, and find strength in The Dark Gods and their dark, glorious purpose for you.

“Do you want to go home and rest?” Edwin suggests gently.

What do you want to do?
>Take Edwin up on his offer—you’d like nothing more than to cuddle, to read books and discuss theory with this nerd, and to catch your breath
>Go meet with Albacete for dancing lessons—the Gala is, after all, tomorrow
>Meet with Felman to fetch your dresses and practice magic—and bring Edwin along to learn as well!
>Pay a visit with Paula, despite Edwin’s infatuation—better that he see her with you, so you can supervise and guide their interactions
>Bring Edwin along to The pretty Kitty, though it is not yet time for your shift, to discuss shirin distribution
>Part with Edwin for now and attend to other matters that it is best not to involve him in [such as?]
>Write-in
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>>5067661
>Go meet with Albacete for dancing lessons—the Gala is, after all, tomorrow

>Bring Edwin along, both as dance partner and for the pittance of a date that it is
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Also, RQM, I gotta say, that last post was masterful player intention blending. That's some good shit there, hard to do right.
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>>5067661
>Take Edwin up on his offer—you’d like nothing more than to cuddle, to read books and discuss theory with this nerd, and to catch your breath
>Go meet with Albacete for dancing lessons—the Gala is, after all, tomorrow

I don't care what order we do both in, so long as we can get to TPK somewhat early this time to set up a shirin deal. So much for a productive infiltrator day.
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>>5067661
>Take Edwin up on his offer—you’d like nothing more than to cuddle, to read books and discuss theory with this nerd, and to catch your breath
>Go meet with Albacete for dancing lessons—the Gala is, after all, tomorrow
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>>5067661
>Go meet with Albacete for dancing lessons—the Gala is, after all, tomorrow
>Meet with Felman to fetch your dresses and practice magic—and bring Edwin along to learn as well!

WE LEFT OUR DRESS WITH FELMAN
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>>5067897
>we left our dress with Felman
[Well, one of them. You still have your green velvet one handy, but not your avant garde, near-supernatural looking barely-there one]
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>>5067952
We're going to Gala, QM. What was the point of making that dress if we're just gonna leaveee ittt.
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>>5067661
>>Go meet with Albacete for dancing lessons—the Gala is, after all, tomorrow
>>Meet with Felman to fetch your dresses and practice magic—and bring Edwin along to learn as well!
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>>5067897
I don't mind meeting Felman to get our dress, but it does feel like our productivity just got shot in the leg with this recent drama.
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>>5067661
>Meet with Felman to fetch your dresses and practice magic—and bring Edwin along to learn as well!

We'll be forgiven for being a trash dancer, but we need that dress.
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>>5067661
>Go meet with Albacete for dancing lessons—the Gala is, after all, tomorrow

And then go solo to:

>Meet with Felman to fetch your dresses and practice magic

We really don’t need to connect Felman and Edwin. That just creates questions
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