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In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of God hovering above? At least, it is true that man has no control, even over his own will.

Alas, they are certainly welcome to try and struggle to deviate from the laws of causality. Such is the case for a human mortal by the name of Vlad Santana. A young male who would find himself at the crux of a story that would eclipse his mere mortal soul.

Character Profile and abilities
https://pastebin.com/QZJkmpvG
Previous Thread:
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2022/5097216/
Thread Archives:
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Vlad%20Santana

Rules:
Rolls will usually be a best of 3 1d100 from each player, DCs are context sensitive but transparent when prompted to roll.
Only 1 and 100 count as crits and good crits override bad ones.
Voting period closes after 1 hour from the first reply or when enough players unanimously choose the same options.
You can always ask for additional context for your choices and voting can be extended should anyone make an argument that could change previous votes.
Write-ins are always welcomed so long as they dont break character. Have fun and do your best.
>>
>>5169763

As you pick yourself up from the pile of haystack you got kicked into, your eyes start to get accostumed to the absence of light. Not only that, but you also manage to see a lot more spirits and colors of Od without so much as even making a conscious effort to feel for the supernatural's presence.
The world has definitely changed in those two and a half years of training.
What you could only see as different shades of white before now have turned into a mishmash of dark and light colors from all over the spectrum. Currents of red, brown, purple and blue go in different directions from unknown sources, and though you can identify what's a regular force of life being transmitted from one object to another due to wind or gravity from a maw of evil trying to possess you, your once passive abilities seemed to have greatly enhanced your senses.

Weird, that didn't happen when you were inside the swamps. Was your spirit in the magic equivalent of weighted training when you were there and couldn't feel the full extention of your abilities, or did the world just turn into that much of a spiritual free for all while you were off?

"NEEEEEIGH!" Gunpowder complains about you losing yourself in your thoughts again instead of focusing on him! Remember Gunpowder, your supposed partner in crime? He sure remembers you, and he still seems pissed at you for letting him inside a barn for all this time when you promised to take him on adventures.

"So you're still angry about that..." You reply to Gunpowder, getting your ideas through him by telepathy. "Look, I can explain--"
Of course he's angry! He was the one that had to save Michelle in your place, and with no other options, he could only go back to the coliseum that Barnham owned. Living the same boring life where he sees several horses being chosen to fight glorious battles to the death while he stands around eating cabbage because he's "Not properly trained" or "Too much of a rebel to be reliable".

Horses live a lot less than humans, you know? At this point he's seen more peaceful days than action packed ones. What do you have to say for yourself?
>>
>>5169791
...Or so you think. Still need to get used to the whole talking to animals thing. You can read emotions just fine, but putting them into words when they don't speak to begin with is a bit rough. Still amazing how they can understand you while believers of the See can't listen because they don't think magic is real. There is something funny on how you can communicate with a horse properly before the likes of Farnese...

Anyway, is it really worth the trouble of having an argument with Gunpowder here? The stallion is known for being stingy and holding grudges, so you didn't expect to mount on him without protest, but it's very inconvenient to try and do that while you don't exactly know where you are at. Gunpowder was always spectacular when synergizing with you in battle, so convincing him to come along with you will be damn near essential if you plan on fighting strong apostles.

But will he listen to what you have to say?

>I had important affairs to take care of.
>I'm sorry if you've felt abandoned by me.
>I was making sure I was strong enough to take the coliseum down, where is this Barnham fellow?
>Don't be so pampered, the world doesn't revolve around you.
>Hey, better late than never, right?
>Write-in.
>Ignore him, you can save the talk for when you have more info.
>>
>>5169794
>I had important affairs to take care of.
>I was making sure I was strong enough to take the coliseum down, where is this Barnham fellow?
>Hey, better late than never, right?
>>
>>5169794
>I'm sorry if you've felt abandoned by me.
>write in
"The swamp was too dangerous for you, and if I had taken you I wouldn't have you to thank for getting michelle out of there"
>>
>>5169794
I had to overcome my tragic backstory to become an even better partner for you. Sorry it took so long but you would've hated the flesh swamp, trust me. Now let's kick some ass. Oh and I owe you big time for saving my mom, I'll grant any request of yours within reason.
>>
>>5169794
>>I had important affairs to take care of.
>>I was making sure I was strong enough to take the coliseum down, where is this Barnham fellow?
>>Hey, better late than never, right?
>>
>>5169794
Just as he has his own battle ahead of him, we had ours. Now that we've had our indulgence it's time for his. We probably should have told him first, though. That's on us.
>>
>>5169800
>>5169802
>>5169818
"Listen, I'm sorry you've felt abandoned. But to summarize, I've had important affairs to take care of, and I was the only one that could live through the curse that infested the place and properly exorcise the area. So it's not like I was just idling around. Besides, I am grateful for you saving my mother, if I didn't care about you, I wouldn't have come over to get you back, you know?"

Gunpowder huffs, still unconvinced.
"Think of it this way: I had to get stronger before taking down this Barnham fellow. I know how you like your fights, so I wanted to make sure I was extra prepared. It sure took a while, but better late than never, right? Come on partner, let's tear a new one on this coliseum!"

You extend your arm to your stallion, but he only briefly stares at your fingers before giving them a good chomp.
"OW!" You yank your fingers off his teeth before he could turn your hand into a dog-toy. With his anger soon disappearing after seeing your reaction, it seems he has indeed forgiven you afterall.

He did just kick your jaw with enough force to spin your neck around like a top spin, so at this point you don't know if you should be the one apologising...
With the creak of the barn doors opening, your eyes squint as they get accostumed to the sunlight, but the familiar clink of a sword gives away that a guard has spotted you, likely thinking that you came in to steal a horse or two.

Is he a guard from the coliseum? What gave it away that you were here to steal Gunpowder? Was this area restricted, or does the new cloak make you look too ominous?

"Intruder!" The guard already called for backup, making sure you wouldn't be able to clear up any misunderstandings.
Who's really being hostile here?

>Knock him down and hide while reinforcements haven't arrived.
>Climb on Gunpowder and barge through.
>Try to escape without too many casualties.
>Put your hands in the air, no need to get into a nedless fight.
>Draw your spear and keep your distance.
>>
>>5169863
>Climb on Gunpowder and barge through.
>>
>>5169863
>Climb on Gunpowder and barge through.
>Try to escape without too many casualties.
>>
>>5169863
>>Climb on Gunpowder and barge through.
>>
>>5169863
>Draw your spear and keep your distance.

Do we know or have a way to learn where our mother is? Even if we do we sure want to look for her when we have a title of a horse thief? Also what the fuck draw your spear means? Don't we hold it at all times?
>>
One of my current theories about this quest is that Skull Knight's horse is an ancestor of Gunpowder.
>>
>>5169863
>Climb on Gunpowder and barge through.
>>
>>5169863
Well this limits us for today at least. If there is preference in going full rambo, we might want to return tommorow for free our mom.
The entire warriors of the coliseum on us is really not the best fight, even with us on Gunpowder and having for the moment the full momentum of suprise for kill a good amount of this dogs.
Unfortunately though only our horse actually knows the in s and out s of this place, so we don't know where to go at the moment.

>>Climb on Gunpowder and barge through.
Kick the guard on our way out, with our horse.
And take our spear. Time to fight

>>5169923
Probably no, we likely have something for hold it when we don't use it.
>>
>>5169863
>>Climb on Gunpowder and barge through.
>>
>>5169863
>Put your hands in the air, no need to get into a nedless fight.
We are still badly injured and exhausted from our fight at the swamp, I'm sure if we just explain that we got lost wandering around we could get away with a slap on the wrist. Plus it might also give us an opportunity to meet Barnham.
>>
>>5169863
>Climb on Gunpowder and barge through.
>Try to escape without too many casualties.
>>
>>5170042
>Implying they'd believe us
>Implying they wouldn't immediately throw us in the area
>Implying they would find out that the lady who rode in on Gunpowder is our mom
>Implying they wouldn't use our mom as a hostage to basically enslave us until the colosseum is invaded by some apostle under Griffith's employ
>>
>>5170051
>Implying they would find out that the lady who rode in on Gunpowder is our mom
But I didn't imply that? what?

>Implying they'd believe us
Why shouldn't they? Coliseum is a big place.

>Implying they would find out that the lady who rode in on Gunpowder is our mom
They literally they have no evidence to support that. We literally just walked into a room from there perspective.

>Implying they wouldn't use our mom as a hostage to basically enslave us until the colosseum is invaded by some apostle under Griffith's employ
Now your just making shit up, stop trying to predict the future anon, it hardly ever pans out, especially in berserk.

>Implying they wouldn't immediately throw us in the area
Seems to me that if we say we just made an honest mistake we could manage to not get thrown in the arena. Plus there is a very small chance of escape anyway, what with the entire area being filled with armed guards and us already fighting through the pain of our other wounds. Seems inevitable that capture is gonna happen, might aswell not piss off our captors by killing them
>>
>>5169863
>Climb on Gunpowder and barge through.
>ONWARDS TO MOTHER
Chad duo passing through, make way faggots
>>
>>5170087
The update says that we wouldn'y be able to clear any misunderstandings, putting our hands up is being throw in prison, not peacefully resolving this.
>>
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>>5169867
>>5169905
>>5169907
>>5169948
>>5169999
>>5170022
>>5170045
Alright men! You're not in peak condition after dad's pummeling, but unless Gunpowder fails to escape or one of the soldiers get a lucky hit in, nothing to worry about.
Still, things are looking up, just give me a 1d100 and we'll see how well that goes, roll!
>>
Rolled 14 (1d100)

>>5170142
Let's go to prison again.
>>
>>5170145
It seems the pessimist tactic isn't going to work on this thread.
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>5170142
I won't dab this time
>>
Rolled 44 (1d100)

>>5170142
>>
Rolled 12 (1d100)

>>5170151
Holy fuck lucky 88s
>>
>>5170151
nice

We need to think of a plan on the fly, because if they sound the alarm we will have at best a few minutes before they are all on us. We could go full speed for the gates and come the next day here, or we could engage them and try to go for the location more likely for an old woman to be. Which I have no clue of. Slave pens best guess ? We could ask gunpowder but he likely doesn't know anymore, if he was sitting inside this stables most of the time. It would also take a while to find one old woman in some pens.
I think the best option is escaping, rest some time in the wild and eat some food. Then we return here, rested and ready.
We have just kill our father after all and didn't rest at all after that fight, we where teleported after giving Merlina a grave.
>>
>>5170151
Khorne approves of your lack of dabbing
>>
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>>5170145
>>5170151
>>5170152
It takes considerable effort to jump on Gunpowder and ride him to safety when your wounds from the swamp are still fresh, but your ride manages to do most of the work for you.

Thankfully Gunpowder knows his way around, not wasting any time in zig-zagging left, right and all around the corridors, most the soldiers could do is to try and hit him on foot, but that would be easily intercepted by you whacking them with your pole. No need to stab through them and make a bigger scene on your escape when just a hit on the head already knocks them over.

With Gunpowder providing you some extra energy for you to asborb, you wonder just how strong you've gotten compared to regular humans. While the God Hand is a high bar to pass, these guards certainly don't pose a threat to anyone but the disarmed commoners. Where are the real gladiators?

Coming across a closed iron gate as you climb upwards, you find a large set of engraved doors, if you were a guessing man, this entrance either leads you to the main arena, or towards an exit. You got a glimpse of the inside of some rooms of the coliseum while you were running, and they appeared to be fancy enough to be compared to a noble's castle, but the outside looks as poor and dead as you could imagine. The only thing separating the inner circle of Barnham's estate from the slums is a river and a few bridges surrounding it. No doubt the plague must have gotten over there...

A rumble of footsteps are heard not too far away from you, and when feeling for their presence, you notice a dozen more soldiers chasing you to the gates. Their armor appears to be slightly different than the leather rags you've seen from the others, so they must be from a higher rank.

There is a sturdy lever next to the gate. But given how rusty it is, it might take a bit to pull it down, wait for the contraption to work and escape into the residential area. If you do manage to escape from the guards in time, it will be from the skin of your teeth. And that's if these doors will lead you outside. It certainly seems to be so, but it's your first time in this place, you never know...

>Pull the lever.
>Try to fight the soldiers.
>Look for another route.
>Try to bust the doors open.
>Climb the iron gates.
>>
>>5170200
>Look for another route.

That gate is probably the gate to the arena, so opening it and charging through could both crash someone else's match and get us trapped in a bad situation. The exit would probably be a portcullis, rather than just big fancy doors.
>>
>>5170200
>>Look for another route.
>>
>>5170211
Actually, we should also ask Gunpowder if he knows the way out, if talking is a free action.
>>
>>5170200
Is 'engraved doors' same as 'iron gate'? Or those are two separate things?
>>
>>5170200
>Look for another route.
>>
>>5170200
>>Look for another route.
>>
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>>5170200
>Pull the lever.
I can't resist
>>
>>5170216
Two separate things, Vlad managed to see some of the outskirts before getting too close to the lever, think of it as a tall fence.
>>
>>5170200
>Pull the lever.
Fastest way out is usually the best.
>>
>>5170200
>Look for another route.
>>
>>5170200
>Pull the lever.
>>
>>5170221
+1
>>
>>5170215
that could work honestly. Even if he has a vague idea it would help us.
>>
>>5170263
Maybe we could ask him if we decide to try and find another route.
>>
>>5170211
>>5170213
>>5170218
>>5170219
>>5170249
"You sure this is the right way to the exit, GP?" You ask your trusty horse for advice, not being sure if this was the right place to leave.

'Leave? Why didn't human say this earlier? Gunpowder thought of fighting now!'
Whatever voice you could give to his thoughts likely wouldn't do him any justice, but it's good you managed to warn him before he could barge in. Is fighting really the only thing he has on his mind?

Alright then, change of plans. He turns around and guides you to the other end of the establishment. The adrenaline junkie really went far out of his way to not look for the exit the first time, but he makes up by avoiding whatever arrows, darts and javelins attempt to strike you down, even the mounted knights can't reach his speed.

When you do arrive on the front gate, there are already a mob of guards waiting to hit you, and if it wasn't for your foresight, you would have barged right onto them instead of shifting gears and going up a floor while you laid on top of your ride. These passageways really weren't meant for a guy and a horse to fit through...

And there is the exit to the rookery, give or take a couple meters. The walls show a high concentration of houses cornered around several tall mountains. Behind you, the plains and forests seem clear of any signs of human contact barring the trails leading to the entrance. It's easy to get in the coliseum, but unless they genuinely want you to leave, you're staying between the river and the range.

"I thought you were leading me to the exit?"
'This is exit. Mother is there. Does Human not want Mother?" His neighing implies that Michelle somehow lives over there now. Didn't she stay in a safer place in your vision?

The sound of the air being cut as an arrow grazes on your ear lets you know that you're not out of the woods yet. Several archers are aiming from other observatories, and while the mounted knights are few in numbers, more will probably come if you stay still and wait for more to come.

"End of the line, outsider! You have nowhere to run!"
Oh, do you?

>Throw your arms up and surrender peacefully.
>Skewer your way back to the entrance and open the door.
>Jump from the walls and try to fall on the riverside.
>Try to outrun the guards around the outer walls.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5170301
>Try to outrun the guards around the outer walls.
>>
>>5170301
>Jump from the walls and try to fall on the riverside.
>>
>>5170301
>>Jump from the walls and try to fall on the riverside.
>>
>>5170309
>>5170315
>>5170316
You place your arms behind your head and pretend to be surrendering, but telepathically, you are ordering Gunpowder to do a backwards jump into the river and lose sight of these annoying chasers. The fall seems pretty steep, but surely your horse can leap and make a good fall.

When a soldier attempts to approach you, the stallion's movement makes him disappear from your view entirely as you both drop to the other side of the wall.

A loud splash of water engulfs the two of you, with the river being a lot deeper than previously expected. Luckily the current was not that strong, and despite the shock of the impact, you effectively managed to escape Barnham's grasp with only a few minor bruises. Given how you did not steal anything of importance and went back to where they assumed you came from, that would likely be the end of the raid.

Catching your breath after exiting and pulling Gunpowder from the water, you lay exhausted next to your horse. This is a bit too much to deal with this soon, isn't it? Not one hour of rest before already having to make your way out of a damn coliseum. Maybe you should have asked the Skull Knight for some time to rest before all of this...

"Oh my! There seems to be an outsider in the river!" A perky, energized voice is heard nearby as the sight of a colorful, woman drenched in makeup and exotic, colorful clothing skips and hops to where you are at.
"What seems to trouble you, mister? Don't you know about about the flood about to happen once the dam bursts? Get out of the water, quickly!" The harlequin hushes you over, her speech pattern and mannerisms seeming very irregular.

You crawl a few inches further before taking one look back to the river. Not a single dam or sign of overflow, not even a cloud in the sky. What is she talking about?
"My name is Zhafira! I am waiting for the king to choose me as his jester. What is your name?" She walks over to you and extends her hand. Well, her stump. Her hand is missing down to her wrist, the darker blotch of skin around it likely being a sign of amputation, but she still moves and acts like her hand is still there, with even a glove being placed on her stump to boot.

Also, the king is several weeks of travel from here, why would he even want a jester-- Nevermind, the girl seems to be either playing a character, or very out of her mind... Should you try to have a talk with this girl?

>I am Vlad Santana.
>Call me Vlad, just Vlad.
>Make up a fake name, better safe than sorry.
>I am now known as the Phantom.
>Get up by holding her stump.
>Refuse her hand and ignore her.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5170366
>I am Vlad Santana.
>Get up by holding her stump.

I have feeling that this is a trap. I like it
>>
>>5170366
>Get up by holding her stump.
>Introduce yourself as "Vlad Phantoma"

Vlad making up a chuuni-ass fake name seems really in character to me.
>>
>>5170366
>Call me Vlad, just Vlad.
>Get up by holding her stump.
>>
>>5170366
>>Call me Vlad, just Vlad.
>Get up by holding her stump.
>>
>>5170366
>Get up by holding her stump.
>Call me Vlad, just Vlad.
>>
>>5170366
>I am now known as the Phantom.
>Get up by holding her stump.
>>
>>5170366
>I am now known as the Phantom.
Come on guys, gotta have the cool nickname
>>
>>5170367
>>5170369
>>5170373
"Why are you holding my wrist, silly? My hand is right there!" She chastises you for not touching her hand to stand up, but you doubt her glove has enough grip strength to hold your body without sliding off or ripping in two.

"Call me Vlad. Just Vlad." You don't know how well your family is known outside the capital, so it's best not to give out your last name to strangers, even if they don't pose too much of a threat.

"Vlad... What an interesting name! I'll be sure to write that down! 'Bearded man named Vlad attempts to fly over the river without having any wings'." She takes out a quill and a few notes of paper from thin air and writes her memos.
"Why are you writing that down?" You ask the harlequin.

"I tend to forget things very often, I only have the king and his interests in mind, so other things escape me unless I read them again. Sometimes others write on my notes, but I try to erase them unless they belong to me. People are so nosy, Hahahaha!"

Cool, she seems to be a total airhead by the looks of it, too. Whatever information she can give probably won't be that reliable...
Gunpowder approaches the two of you and confusedly stares at the fidgety Zhafira.

'Woman crazy. Do not trust her.'
"Why are you making a voice for your horse? Oh! Are you interested in stage plays? I have a few puppets at home, I could show you how to control a marionette! Hahaha!" Zhafira laughs at you trying to give a voice to Gunpowder. Doing that out loud probably makes you look very goofy.
'Yes.'

Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, Gunpowder...
>Why are you dressed like this?
>Where is this place?
>What else is on your notes?
>How many elderly live here?
>Do you have any family at home?
>I would love to see your puppets, Zhafira.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5170399
>Where is this place?
>What else is on your notes?
>>
>>5170399
>Where is this place?
>>I would love to see your puppets, Zhafira.
>>
>>5170403
+1
>>
>>5170399
>Where is this place?
>I would love to see your puppets, Zhafira.
We got to rest before we go take on Barham
>>
>>5170399
>>Where is this place?
>>What else is on your notes?

Keep a bit our guard. Don t use Od sensing for the moment, just look at her.
Suggest to walk away from the river, we need to eat and dry our clothes after all***
***And better to not let the guards arrive here looking for us, we are too near. Gunpowder was probably know in the past here in the Coliseum.
>>
>>5170403
>>5170404
>>5170433
>>5170436
"Where is this place?" You see if there's any point in asking Zhafira.

"We're in llos! Home of the gladiators and the strongest men alive. At least that's what he says, I've never seen him fight, but since only the winners tend to win and stay inside while the losers stay here for labor, he's probably a lot stronger than me. Hahaha!"

"Do you know how to fight?" Finally, she starts to speak on something more coherent.
"Gosh, no. I cut myself when trying to slice a block of cheese! My family is full of artisans, no need to learn how to fight when we will surely grow famous from our other skills. I know how to use magic, but I don't think I could use any of them for violence." She messes with something behind your ear, and after some itching, she pulls a large set of knotted handkerchiefs from you. "Here, you should get yourself dried up!"

It seems that she can't really use actual magic, but the commoner optical illusions that people call magic, such as making your fingers 'disappear' and choosing the right cards from a pile. At least these won't get you in any trouble from the church.

"Are you just toying with me?" You're not too quick to trust the jester.
"I'm serious! It's in the notes, and the notes never lie. Except when they do, but that's never my fault!" She shows a paragraph she wrote down that explains what she thinks of the place.

'Ilos, Leave in under a week or get challenged into a fight for wasting money. Barnham is a very bad person. Need to impress the king with my arts and convince him to free the people here.'

Though very childish in her thinking, she thinks she can stop slavery by sucking up to a bigger master, and judging by how she's the only one here wearing colored clothing and similing, you wonder how well that's going for her.

"Interesting, what else is there in your notes-"
"Don't touch it!" She slaps your hands when you inquire for more info. "It's mine! Zhafira hisses. You feel slightly inclined on reading her memories out of spite, but that would just be rude, and given how much of a weirdo she is, you doubt you would get a lot of it.

"Wait, you said you had puppets, right? Would you mind showing them?"
"Of course not! They're all back home with the others, but that means you'll get to meet the others!" She takes your hand and skedaddles before you even had the time to dry your hair with her rags.
Checking out the scenery with more detail, you see an open graveyard with several dried up corpses on one end, and other small houses huddled up not too far from there. The buildings are all crooked and lifeless, and the people all look hungry, sick, or some combination of the two.

Which only makes it more offputting when you hear Zhafira happily humming a lullaby song when passing by the dried up corpses of the innocents.

>So who do you live with?
>Anything else you know about Barnham?
>Why are you so happy all the time?
>Why do you think the king will get over here?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5170486
>Why do you think the king will get over here?
>So who do you live with?
>Anything else you know about Barnham?
>>
>>5170486
>Why do you think the king will get over here?
>So who do you live with?
>Anything else you know about Barnham?

>Write In
>How is the region around Ilos ? Are there forests ? And game in them ?
>Would you reconsider going to the king, with the current rumors about him .... ? What if there was another way for help the people here ?
>>
>>5170486
>Anything else you know about Barnham?
>Do you know any place I can stay nearby?
>>
>>5170491
>support
>>
>>5170491
+1
>>
>>5170491
"So who do you live with?" You doubt a ditz like this can live on her own, so there must be someone there to be her caretaker.

"Oh, I have a few people there! It's thanks to my dad Bernard that we are still alive here. He tends to make weapons for Barnham to use. The more weapons my father makes, the more food gets distributed to our folks."

And judging by how many of them are trying to reach to the rats on the floor to eat, he probably can't do them fast enough to supply an army.

"My brother Benny also lives there! He's a bit on the shy side, but he's great at playing the flute. For some reason he stops playing it when I'm home, but I love to hear his music, do you think he's upset with me?"

"I wouldn't know. Has he always been this way?"
"He's had a little speech impediment when he was wrong, but it's gotten worse over time to the point where he barely bothers to speak. I wonder what made him act like that..." Zhafira looks down, before perking back up again and humming another song. It's like she can't process sadness for too long.

"Is there anywhere I could stay? Just a place to sleep would be fine by me."
"I'm sorry. Our guest room is occupied by the farmer lady. She spends all day trying to fix the soil here to plant the seeds she find from the fruits, but none of them grow long enough to give us fruits. I'm sure Benny wouldn't mind sleeping on the floor, but I have too much heart to ask him that. I want him to be happy!" Her chin lifts up with pride, wanting the best for her younger sibling. Guess you can just look for an empty home, not like there are that many people living here that would fight for food or sleeping rooms. It mostly looks like a pack of women, kids and the elderly.

"What else do you know about Barnham, why do you think the king will want to take him down?"
"He's been stealing soldiers and refusing to help in the hundred year war. Why wouldn't the king be angry at him? Surely that Band Of The Falcons will invade this place and give him the what for!" Zhafira proclaims, apparently not knowing that the war is already over.

"...You do know that the Hundred Year War is over, right? And so is the Band-"
"Lies! If the war was over, we would have been freed already! The king does not accept slavery in his territory." It seems you're not the first that tries to contest these claims, but her denial is evident.
Soon enough, you arrive in a small shack, highlighted by the smoke of a fireplace. The clank of metal comes from the inside, where Zhafira's father most likely is. The sound of coughing is heard from two different people, but they don't seem to come outside.

"I hope you don't mind the smoke. That's why I always stay out during the day..." She whispers the last sentence in your ear, grinning as she promptly observes your next action.

>Is there anywhere I can dry myself?
>How often do the guards come over here?
>Is this all there is to this place?
>Where is the farmer?
>Does your father take commissions?
>>
>>5170559
>Is there anywhere I can dry myself?
>Does your father take commissions?
>>
>>5170559
>Is there anywhere I can dry myself?
>How often do the guards come over here?
>Does your father take commissions?
>>
>>5170559
>Where is the farmer?
>Does your father take commissions?
>>
>>5170559
>>Is there anywhere I can dry myself?
>>How often do the guards come over here?
>>Does your father take commissions?
>>
>>5170559
>>Is there anywhere I can dry myself?
>>How often do the guards come over here?
>>
>>5170570
>>5170573
>>5170593
>>5170602
>>5170616
"Is there anywhere I can dry myself here? My clothes are pretty soaked." Would be pretty weird to undress right in front of her, plus Gunpowder also needs a place to rest.

"You can do it on that corner over there, No windows on that size, unless someone walks in, but I won't peep! Promise! I have better things to do now, like practicing my juggling. Or check out my puppets! You need to see my plays sometime, I need a second opinion." Between this, or getting steamed on the fireplace, you might as well go inside.

"Alright, hope you don't mind the horse staying here with me."
"By all means, he fits right into the scenery! Hope nobody bumps into him at night though. No bathrooms in here!"

Barring the lack of food, this place really doesn't seem all that different from the swamp afterall.

"Speaking of which, how often do the guards come in here?"
"Every other day, which means one of them will probably visit tomorrow. Dad is almost done with the last piece, so he must be trying to rush to meet the deadline. He's very good at crafting, it's just that there's only so much you can do in a day."

"Does he accept commissions? I've been meaning to get a little upgrade for my weapons..." You rustle around your pockets for some money, but only find a few gold coins to offer.

"I've never used money before, but Dad would probably find no use in trading so much of his time for so little coins." She doesn't seem to know how much this is worth, but given the state they're in, trading food for weapons seems a lot more useful than currency that won't get in the coliseum. Makes a lot easier to scam them out of their rations too.

"And what about the farmer?"
"She's usually trying to plant next to the riverside, I was going over to see her before I found you, but I guess she wasn't there. I hope she comes back soon!" Zhafira's energetic tone hides whatever worry could show up in her phrasing.

>Spend some time with Zhafira.
>Go inside and look for the blacksmith.
>See if her brother is doing alright.
>Look for the farmer.
>>
>>5170654
>Go inside and look for the blacksmith.
Then
>Spend some time with Zhafira.
Call me paranoid but I have a sneaking suspicion that her brother is dead and she's just talking to his corpse this entire time.
>>
>>5170654
>Spend some time with Zhafira.
>Teach her something useful, a simple warding symbol meant to keep evil spirits at bay. Tell her that it may come in handy in the near future, but that she shouldn't let prying eyes see it either.
Then
>Go inside and look for the blacksmith.
>>
>>5170654
Also Becchi it says on the character sheet that Vlad has 140 Gold Coins. 28 silver coins, is this still the case or did it change? Or is it all still at the estate?
>>
>>5170668
Whoops, must have been an oversight. Let me check from last thread.

>2 Gold Coins. (140 Gold Coins and 28 Silver Coins at the Santana Estate.)

There we go, updated. Most of the cash is still in there so your pocket money is nothing to brag about
>>
>>5170654
>>Spend some time with Zhafira.
>Look for the farmer.
We need some food and rest


>>5170668
he didnt put the division, we have a few money on us. The majority is all on the estate.
>>
god damn it I missed the start

>>5170654
>Spend some time with Zhafira.
>Go inside and look for the blacksmith.

>>5170665
I would not be surprised at that considering the universe we're in

Also Becchi how's Dark Souls been treating you?
>>
>>5170683
Cool, thanks for answering, just wanted to make sure I wasn't mistaken.
>>
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>>5170685
Been getting my ass whopped by Ornstein and whatshisname until I stopped playing yesterday. Even with a summon I'm finding it pretty challenging, but not hard to the point I want to sperg out and stop playing, crazy how the game keeps that balance going for most of it's run.
Switched to a spear weapon to get more in character with our boy too

Overall I'm starting to get why people are so hyped for Elden Ring this year. Don't know why I avoided these games for so long given how much of a Berserk nerd I am.
I couldn't kill Priscilla bros, I'm sorry for being a simp.
>>
>>5170706
>Unfathomably Based
>>
>>5170654
>Look for the farmer.
I'm curious
>Go inside and look for the blacksmith.
>>
>>5170665
>>5170666
>>5170684
>>5170685
Zhafira seems to be quite the character, and given how the inside of the house is still a steamy sauna of the most unpleasant kind, your lungs will probably thank you if you stayed around with her and got to know her better.

"You wanted me to show me your puppets, right? I would love to see them." You ask to see Zhafira's crafts after drying your clothes and your horse. Why not indulge her in her hobbies while you're at it? If she really comes from a family of artists and artisans.

"Oh really! Wonderful! Dad has another place where he left his old tools before." Sometimes there's some wood left for me to make some toys out of them. He loved to sculpt back in the day, shame he never has time for it now."

Zhafira enters a small hut and hushes you in, showing a rusty collection of handsaws, chisels and mallets. A lot of them seemed broken and worn down, but for them to keep such a large collection in this place, he must have been really passionate about what he did.

There are no weapons or armoury to be found here, only a modly pile of dolls, puppets and marionettes thrown together in a pile, along with bags of clothes, empty canvases, containers filled with paint, abandoned sculpting projects and an assortment of circus items.
"Sometimes I like to sneak in Dad's room and trade some of his chisels, don't tell him I said that! I've been working on a new flute for Benny, I hope he likes it. Feel free to take a look around, it might take a bit to dress up my babies for the set." she kneels over to the pile of dolls, cleaning some of them and trying to remove the mold from the ones she might use.

This is a lot to take in. It's been a while since you've tried to do anything remotely artistic. Is there anything you would like to do while you waited for the play to start?

>See if you can learn something about chiseling.
>Try to paint something on the canvas.
>Ask for paper and do some quick sketches.
>Play around with her circus set.
>Ask her what her best talents are.
>Help her pick her dolls.
>>
>>5170745
>Ask for paper and do some quick sketches.
slightly artistic time
>>
>>5170745
>See if you can learn something about chiseling.
>>
>>5170745
>Ask for paper and do some quick sketches.
Got to have an idea to show the smith.
>>
>>5170755
>>5170786
>>5170793
Painting and chiseling will probably take some time. So sketching will be the quickest option. You already had some fun drawing summoning incantations and restrictive runes to ward off evil spirits before when you were practicing magic, which already felt pretty complex on their own right. Would drawing different shapes and sizes translate well to actual art? You won't find out until you start.

You ask Zhafira for some paper, to which she points to a stack behind a canvas close to a wall. A large portion of them were already used by her, and given how she likely forgot the content of those papers, you felt like giving them a look.

To be fair, most of them were pretty regular for the average life of a girl living in a slum.
Dad will be busy for the next few days, don't come inside until he says so.
The farmer wants a hoe, Dad must have one somewhere around the house. If not, ask him to make one!

However, it started to get weird pretty quickly, as a different handwriting started to appear on her notes.
Give me back my sister.
This is not your true identity. Please stop pretending.
Please Cindy. I know Zhafira is not the real you. You can stop playing the character. I promise I won't be sad anymore.
I miss you.

The rest of it was painted over and covered with large blotches of dark paint to the point where most of it became illegible. Her brother was trying to give her a message, but she did not want to remember what it was. You wonder if his words are literal and her body got snatched by a spirit, or if she has some sort of condition.

"Did you find a clean sheet?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah..." She seems to have forgotten that she left her old papers here. Given how she reacted so harshly to you trying to explain that the old kingdom is no more, you could only wonder how much she would resent you by trying to conflict with her narrative. Maybe it's best to ask her other family members about this.

What will you draw?

>A self portrait.
>An animal.
>Someone you know.
>An armoured knight.
>Whatever comes to your mind.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5170887
>A winged knight with an armored mount.
Let's make that anon's sketch canon inside the quest.
>>
>>5170887
>A winged knight with an armored mount.
>>
>>5170887
>A winged knight with an armored mount,
>>
>>5170887
>>A winged knight with an armored mount.
>>
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>>5170891
>>5170899
>>5170912
>>5170925
Since you're already next to a weaponsmith, it would be cool to think of how many different shapes can be put into an armored mount. A lot of the fancy nobles liked to make their weaponry look frilly by adding weapons, engravings and alike, but what if you were to combine the entire set of armor with some animal, and make the horse's armor based around that too?

It seems a bit ambitious, but the first sketch is always the messiest. It's only until the third or fouth redraw that they start looking like the shapes you wanted them to be.

You started with some head pieces with different shapes, until you thought of using a marlin for an animal theme, with the horse having several metal platings curved around his face to resemble scales, giving the horse a pointed bill that could make him impale enemies along with your spear. While there's no shame in using a basic pointy stick, you could definitely get stylish thanks to your imagination. How about a bardiche? A halberd? Maybe even a trident!

The details are a bit harder to fill in, but by the time you are done with your concept art, you are very proud of the end result, even drawing a crest similar to the one you had back home. Since you're doing it from memory, it doesn't look exactly the same as the Santana Crest, but knowing where you are, it's probably for the best that no one recognizes you.

"Wow! I can feel the fire coming out of that paper!" Zhafira apparently finished setting up her stage, looking over from your shoulder to check your sketching. "Do you plan on showing this to my dad? It will probably take a few days for him to finish it, but it seems feasible, even if it would make you stand out."

>Yeah, I would like to wear something similar to this.
>Nah, this was just for fun. I have another armor and weapon in mind.
>Honestly, just getting a sturdier lance would be good enough for an upgrade.
> I don't need anything that fancy, just a regular armor set would be nice.
>>
>>5170947
>Yeah, I would like to wear something similar to this
>>
>>5170947
>>Honestly, just getting a sturdier lance would be good enough for an upgrade.
> I don't need anything that fancy, just a regular armor set would be nice.
>>
>>5170947
>Write In
"Perhaps not now. For the moment i will take something solid and tested. A metal armor, a good spear, sword and shield."
Smirk
"Still do give this sketch to your father and tell him to exercise, as i will buy that as a future commision. I have intention to return here with more money for make this armor on paper, something great. And of the highest quality."
>>
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>>5170962
>>5170952
>>5170958
"Not now. For the moment i will take something solid and tested. A metal armor, a good spear, sword and shield." You reply to her with a smile. This was merely a flex of your artistic muscles, a proof of concept. Surely recreating that armor and wearing that around in all of it's glory would take some time, and all of that protection would likely take away one of your biggest strengths, your speed. There's no denying that you would look cool on it, but you would feel bad in pestering an old man to make this after his shift for the day is nearly over.

"Still, do give this sketch to your father and tell him to exercise, as I will buy that as a future commision. I have intention to return here with more money for make this armor on paper, something great. And of the highest quality." You hand the paper to Zhafira, trusting her to give this to her father later.
"Noted! Never say never!" You wish she chose some other place to write over other than your signature, but as long as she remembers it, you can't be bothered to complain too much.

"Now! I need you to sit here with me and watch my play. I've been meaning to reenact this for quite some time, but playing more than one character in a scene gets very tiring when you have to switch so quickly for one emotion to the other, so I find it easier to represent them with these dolls! Buckle up!" She takes your hand and makes you sit down next to a puppet theater, where several of her friends would soon come to life when placed inside her hands.

Or should you say, hand? She had some trouble fitting one of the characters inside her missing hand, and instead of controlling their mouth and hands with her other fingers, the poor sap only flopped and flailed around as Zhafira tried her best to make him emote.

However, the lack of a functional left hand did not take away from the fact that the harlequin's acting skills and interpretations were on point. You were mesmerized at the sheer quality of her voice impressions. It was as if another person suddenly possessed her and started making different noises with her vocal chords. She would go from the baritone voice of an old man, to the high notes of an opera singer. You might have been a few years too old to say that this was the peak of entertainment, but her eyes were shining through the entire show, never once flubbing her lines or even stopping for a breather, something you could definitely appreciate.

The story told of two conjoined twins: Don and Deion, stuck together by the lower torso and a third leg. Don loved Deion and would try his best to avoid making him angry, while Deion tried to establish dominance in their shared body, hiding Don inside his clothes, order him to stay silent in social interactions, and berate him for making him stand out.
>>
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>>5171055
The tale span over their entire lifetime. From being born into a freakshow cricus, to escaping after Deion stabbed the owner, to them finding their first love and being both rejected thanks to being an outcast, to them getting an injure from stealing food from a local farm, to their sprained ankle forcing them to walk on two legs, making them consider an amputation as they hid together under a bridge. By the time the play is ending, it's already night time.

"This is all your fault, Don! If it wasn't for this wretched body, I could have had everything I ever wanted!"
"Don't you see, brother? You are not alone in your suffering! Why can't we just get along and live as one?"
"Live as one? That's what we've been doing since the start, and look how well we are doing thanks to you! I never wished for your companionship! We will never get along, because all I want is for you to leave me alone!" Deion brandishes a saw, wanting to cut their lower torso to disconnect their bodies once and for all.

"Think about what you're doing, Deion! The dam is about to burst! We can easily escape this place together if we swim with our feet in rhythm. I don't want to do this by myself!"

"Then let's see who's the better half of a man! Whoever manages to climb the bridge first will forget about the loser's existence!" Deion starts to cut their bodies separate as the water floods the area, being separated when the overflow reaches them.

Don manages to avoid drowning and clutches over to the end of the bridge with a jump, while the current starts to push Deion away from his brother as he desperately tries to swim back to safety.

"Deion! Grab my hand!" The softer brother takes mercy in seeing Deion about to die, not wanting to lose the only friend he made despite all of their misadventures together. The guilt of letting him die would be too great to forget.

Deion, however, thought the exact opposite. In a true bucket of crabs mentality, he would rather end their challenge in a draw than seeing his brother succeeding on where he failed, taking Don's hand only to strike him repeatedly until he lost grip of the ledge, making them both be lost in the current, never to be found alive. The story ends with a single skeleton being dropped in the seashore, though wether that skeleton is Don's or Deion's is left up to interpretation.

"THE END!" Zhafira's face takes over the entire puppet theater's window as she announces the ending of the play. "What do you think? It's one of my favorite plays. Benny always loved this story, and I told it almost every night. He doesn't seem to like it as much now, but it's always nice to tell them to other kids."

>It's a little dark, don't you think?
>Why do you like the story so much?
>You are very talented. The mental images you created made me forget they were puppets.
>Don was too trusting of his brother.
>Deion was clearly in the wrong.
>What message do you take from it?
>>
>>5171094
>What message do you take from it?
>Why do you like the story so much?
>>
>>5171094
>>What message do you take from it?
>>
>>5171094
>Why do you like the story so much?
>What message do you take from it?
>>
>>5171094
>You are very talented. The mental images you created made me forget they were puppets.
>Why do you like the story so much?
>>
>>5171094
>You are very talented. The mental images you created made me forget they were puppets.
>What message do you take from it?
>>
>>5171094
>You are very talented. The mental images you created made me forget they were puppets.
>What message do you take from it?
>Why do you like the story so much?
>>
>>5171094
>You are very talented. The mental images you created made me forget they were puppets.
>Why do you like the story so much?
>It's a little dark, don't you think?
>>
>>5171094
>>You are very talented. The mental images you created made me forget they were puppets.
>>What message do you take from it?
>>
>>5171094
>>You are very talented. The mental images you created made me forget they were puppets.
>>What message do you take from it?
>>Why do you like the story so much?
>>
>>5171094
>You are very talented. The mental images you created made me forget they were puppets
>>
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>>5171107
>>5171111
>>5171164
>>5171217
>>5171312
>>5171331
>>5171368
>>5171400
>>5171407
>>5171439
"You are very talented. The mental images you created made me forget they were puppets." The part where she used a chisel with her fingers to cut them up from the inside was a high point, even if the stand probably had some sort of contraption or else she would have to make 2 new puppets every time she had to reenact this piece.

"Thank you! I love entertaining people. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing other people smile in a bad day."
"Any reason in particular you like this story, though? There is certainly a message to take from it."

"I think Don and Deion were the same person from the start. They were just different facets of their personality. One of them was always negative, while the other was loving and positive. It's a shame Deion won over in the end, it's important to never be taken over by your hardships over the years. You need to kill your negative aspects, even if they change you forever."

You had a different interpretation of it, but she's the one who's been telling the same story for several years, who are you to say she's wrong?

"Which is why I left Zhafira take over my body. Nothing can hurt me now." She smiles through her reveal. "I was really sad when mom passed away. So sad that all the sadness in my body went away, and now I haven't shed a single tear since that day. Zhafira loves entertaining people and friend to all children, that other girl only weeps and cries about how bad life is, and no one wants to hear that, right? So it's like Don and Deion's story, only that Don won this time!"

That explains her one track mind. She's being overtly happy to compensate for the situation she is in. In truth, it looks more like she's the only source of happiness from this place, and you have to be a pretty big optimist to find solace in here, either that, or be actually mad.

You wanted to pry further into it, but the ringing of a bell is heard from the outside of Bernard's hut.
"Dinner time! Come, you're going to love my family." Zhafira has a habit of guiding you around like a dog on a leash, but it wouldn't hurt to eat something and take a rest for the day.

The dinner for today was bone stew. Which in this house, meant green salt water boiled over 2 bone pieces on each plate. It smelled like nothing and probably fed you even less. Didn't stop the talented girl from happily eating it with her father and her brother.

The small boy looked very malnourished, his arms trembling from trying to pick up the spoon and taste his meal. He had a purple circle around his eye that looked a bit recent, who gave him that punch?
The older man looked practically like a dead man standing, no doubt overworking himself to death in that pot took a lot of his life expectancy, begrudgingly eating in silence.

For how much Zhafira hyped her family up, you expected to be in a better mood, but she's the only one that has any energy in this place.
>>
>>5171474
After greeting the two and only hearing a grunt in reply, you wonder how these people manage to interact throughout the day.

>Is this safe to eat?
>Who's bones are these?
>What happened to your eye, Benny?
>Does the farmer usually take this long to show up?
>Bernard, can I take a look at the weapons you have?
>Thank you for the meal. (Attempt to eat it)
>I'll pass. I'm not hungry.
>>
>>5171478
>I'll pass, it doesn't feel right to take from those who needs it more.
We can always try to hunt.
>Bernard, your daughter has said much of the quality of your work, could I look at inventory?
>>
>>5171481
+1 pass our plate to the boy
>>
>>5171478
>>I'll pass, it doesn't feel right to take from those who needs it more.
>>Bernard, your daughter has said much of the quality of your work, could I look at inventory?
>Write in
"And if i could ask a few questions, what can you tell me of Barnham and his men ? How many men are under him ? Do they patrol the countryside ? What weapons and armors they buy from you ? All kinds ?"


>>5171481
i was thinking hunting and attempt to heal the plants of the farmer near the river. Meat and well grown vegetables would be nice for recovering our strength, we can offer it some to them as well for allowing us to sleep here.
>>
>>5171481
>>5171484
>>5171518
The food wasn't amazing when you cooked it either, but given the lack of resources they have to get properly fed, it would feel wrong to take their meals from them. You can go a day without eating, injuiries be damned.

"I'll pass. Here you go, kid." You gently pass the plate to Benny, who flinched at seeing a hand approaching him before realizing you were only giving him your portion.

"I-I-I-I-'m n-N-ot..." He starts to stutter his way through a sentence, but Zhafira already knew what he was going to say, so she just cut him off to save time.

"No need to be so humble, Benny! You need to eat too!" She forcefully feeds him a spoonful of the stew, to which he silently gulps down in defeat. Benny seems very passive and scared of his sister, while Zhafira imposes herself on him with seemingly good intentions.

"Been a while since I've heard of the farmer." Bernard speaks up.
"She's been working nonstop on those crops, you think she finally managed to grow a radish? Or maybe two?"
"Beats me. She usually doesn't take that long to show up, so there has to be some news on her end."
"Oh, right! I forgot to check in on her today, I'll give another walk to the riverside to see where she's at." Zhafira promptly slides off her chair and starts hopping out the door, rushing to see the farmer's progress.

Bernard raises his hand as if to say "Don't run." but the girl is gone by the time he considers telling his daughter to be careful.
That only leaves the three of you. and since you wanted to speak about the armor.
"Bernard, your daughter has said much of the quality of your work, could I look at-"
"No."
"What?"
"I can tell by your build that you don't belong here. Either you got kicked off the coliseum, or Barnham is planning for you to fight one of us. It's always the same ordeal. He tells us that if we want our freedom, we need to fight for it, then welive in the worst possible conditions to stack the odds in his favor, and when we get beheaded for all of his yes-men to see, we have to act surprised about the outcome. The only reason anyone here can eat more than rats and crows is because I'm giving them what they want. If they see a single helm missing from their numbers..." Bernard swipes his wrist with an open palm, indicating what happened to Zhafira the last time he failed to give them their weapons in time.

>Do you have enough materials to make a spare?
>They will have to give me something if I fight in the coliseum, correct?
>I won't kill any of you. I'm aiming for Barnham himself.
>I'll make sure that this is the last armor you have to force yourself to work on.
>I could help in ending his tyranny if you told me more about him.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5171528
>I won't kill any of you. I'm aiming for Barnham himself.
>I could help in ending his tyranny if you told me more about him.
>>
>>5171528
>Do you have enough materials to make a spare?
>I didn't get kick out exactly. Barnham has my mother, and I will free her. If killing him and fighting at the arena will free you all too, than all the better.
>>
>>5171528
>>I won't kill any of you. I'm aiming for Barnham himself.
>>I could help in ending his tyranny if you told me more about him.
>Do you have enough materials to make a spare?
>>
>>5171528
>I won't kill any of you. I'm aiming for Barnham himself.
>I could help in ending his tyranny if you told me more about him.
I'm still on the fence about killing Barnham since we haven't even met him yet, but from what I've seen its probably best to say this to gain more information on him and what he looks and acts like.
>>
>>5171531
>>5171535
>>5171542
"I won't kill any of you, I'm aiming for Barnham himself. If he lets others go free when them best him in a fight, I could set you all free by fighting in the arena."

"Hmph. Good luck with that. In all these years I've been here, not a single person has gotten close to beating him. Swordsman, archers, even wild animals. He fights them all by himself, and without even using any weapons. Says that fighting unarmed gives his opponents a better chance, but that doesn't stop him from taking an entire army down with just his fists.That strength is not human. Some have even stated that he was spotted eating the body of defeated gladiators."

Could Barnham be an apostle? It's one thing to be undefeated in battle, but another one entirely to do so for years without so much as holding a blade to defend yourself. Pretty sure it's not normal to commit cannibalism either...

"What else do you know about him?"
"He was previously a royal knight. The first one to ever climb the wall of corpses to show off his strength. He loved to fight and best his foes, but when he met the king, he was severely disappointed to see a frail man who didn't have a sign of muscle definition on him. Thought it was unfair for the commander of the kingdom to be one who only had power in his tongue. A leader has to be the prime example of his army's strength, not hide behind them. It's why classes here are divided by those who can fight, and those who can't. Glory to the strong, death for the weak."

"Ever since then, he refused to be a knight and grew spiteful of the king's power. He's been going in expeditions all over Midland to buy out the best knights and train them under his tutelage, he makes bank from the nobles and other bloodthirsty maniacs like him who watch the spectacle and bet on the outcomes. Doesn't matter if it's him snapping a lion's neck in half, or two random slaves, the carnage became a tourist trap for people. They need an excuse to see somene being gutted, and Barnham gives in to that animalistic behavior. It's sickening, you can hear their chants for encore from over here."

>Has he ever transformed into some other form?
>How did he imprison you and your family?
>What's his end goal?
>How big is his army?
>What weapons does he ask for you to do?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5171590
>How big is his army?
>How did he imprison you and your family?
>>
>>5171590
>Has he ever transformed into some other form?
>What's his end goal?
>How big is his army?
Barnham is definitely an apostle, not even guts could face down a whole army unarmed.
>>
>>5171590
>>What weapons does he ask for you to do?
>How big is his army?
>What's his end goal?
>>
>>5171590
>How big is his army?
>What weapons does he ask for you to do?
Disgusting
>>
>>5171598
>>5171603
>>5171609
>>5171610
"Has he ever transformed into some other form?" You're almost sure on your hunch, but for a demon to be so prevalent in the ring, he must have shown his horns to someone in the coliseum.

"Not that I've known of. He barely puts any effort in his fights recently, they're all over under a minute. The spectacle is sure a bolster to his ego, but in terms of an actual challenge? No dice."

Sounds intimidating. He's definitely hiding another form beneath all of that power. Barnham is not fully human, but then again, the same goes for you. Has he ever fought another apostle? Maybe another wildcard is the thing that he's looking for. Hopefully you'll actually get to talk to him down the line.


"Do you know how big is his army?"
"He tries to keep it on a fixed number of 500. He constantly switches people around, either from them dying, getting weaker, or just being replaced by a stronger foe. I'd say they are around the same level of strength aside from Barnham, who always makes sure to tower over them."

"And his endgame?"
"He wants to be the new owner of the nation, but not like a king or a viscount. He wants to make sure that his ideology is spread throughout the land. His culture is war. He thinks no one can improve in a life free of struggles. Peace leads to stagnation, so he will make sure that stagnation does not exist. He often forces his own men to fight, be it siblings, parents, or lovers. He doesn't care about what the ones under his command think or act upon, so long as they have the strength to impose them."

A classical tyrant through and through.
"Do you know what the opposite of war is?" Bernard asks.
"Peace?"
"Culture, young man. Culture cannot exist when warfare is eternal, no one has time to tell stories, create lasting memories, or to relish in your creations. War is all you'll think of in past, present and future. You live to fight, and you fight to live. Only the most miserable man on earth would wish this life to be applicable on all of us."

Live to fight, fight to live. You remember Guts had a similar ideology, and he didn't live the best life with it...

"I was happily working as an artist, while my wife Candy loved to sing. Cindy was already born by then and liked to perform around villages with her stage name Zhafira. It wasn't an easy life, but we were happy! It wasn't until my wife got pregnant with Benny that we had to make an emergency stop here because she was in labor. He never warned us about a deadline, and because we couldn't move from Candy being bedridden, we got thrown into the gutter. Is this a fair life to him? He's been ignoring us for the longest time. Where was that glory of his when he ordered to kill my wife, when the plague nearly erradicated us, when they beat up my children and chopped my dear Cindy's hand off while she spirals into insanity? Do we not deserve to live in peace just because we choose not to fight?"
>>
>>5171672
>Fights with his bare hands
>Is insanely strong
>Only cares about cultivating the strong
>Hates the weak
>Is using war as a method to spread his ideoligy.
>Sees using the weak as a means to an end as moral.
>Doesn't really care about the ideology of others so long as they're strong.
SENATOR ARMSTRONG
>>
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>>5171672
Benny was sniffing and sobbing as quietly as he could, being silent even in his suffering. Truly there was not a single violent thought on them, despite all that they saw in the coliseum. They were never meant to fight, yet still vehemently defended their right to live when no one was fighting in their stead. They just wanted to create art.

The father comes over to his son and rubs his head with a few pats, hoping it would calm him down. Benny blamed himself for his mother dying, and despite wanting to free his family from his condition, all he knew was how to play music to an empty stadium.

"I do not know if you can defeat him, but if you have any fighting experience and want to get out of here. You will have to fight someone in there eventually. Come to the fireplace, I have a few sets for you to choose from."

A thin wall is the only thing separating the dining table to the anvil and the pile of newly forged swords, spears, axes and maces. The smell of sweat and burnt iron instantly clogged your nose with a few steps inside, but the importance of choosing your armor is urgent enough for you to ignore the stench.

After rustling through some papers under his bed, Bernard spreads several sketches of all the different armor sets and weapons he's forged over the years, saving a spare image in case anyone asked for something similar.

"I can do any of these in my spare time. No idea on when I'll finish it. Will depend on the workload they'll give me throughout the day. I would ask for a price, but you clearly have nothing to give me for now. Think of it as a thank you for spending time with my daughter. Poor girl can't get along with anybody these days, not even her own brother."

Albeit late, and without having the title of a knight, you finally manage to find a good enough blacksmith to forge something to your liking. There are many options to choose from, and even if you fight in the coliseum with a generic armor set tomorrow, it wouldn't hurt to indulge in your past self's wishes to protect the innocent as a knight.

>Choose whatever armor set you wish to wear for the foreseeable future, along with what types of spear or blade would be best to accompany you in your fights against the undead and the corrupt apostles. Alternatively, you can vote for a number in the collage and narrow the options through voting.
>>
>>5171714
>Number 5
My pick of the lot.
>>
>>5171714
>5
but replace the santana with tepes, need to go incognito for now or else the kingdom will come down on us
>>
>>5171714
I will put the ones I prefer in order
>5 > 16 > 3 > 11 > 1
>>
>>5171714
in order
>5
>7
>9
>12
>>
>>5171714
>5
>16
>9
>12
>13
>>
>>5171714
darn. late to the party.
>3
Lets not stress out the poor smith.
I got a stupid idea.
This time we use peasant tools to kill Barnham.
>Make a weaponized pitchfork
>We impaling Barnham on a farming implement.
>>
>>5171736
And for the weapon, some kind of bladed spear would be good, to make use of our weapon specializations.
Probably something like a glaive, guan dao or naginata, but just having a lance and a sword as a side arm works too.
>>
>>5171714
12 is the best, all the popular options are absurdly flashy in my opinion
>>
It seems we found our hamlet to begun operations.
Also can we help the blacksmith and the farmer (who might be already raped and left for dead) do stuff?
Our heritage as part plant may help with the crop situation and we can help with the forge by pumping bellows and feeding coals and iron.
So Benny is possibly bullied by other malnourished kids for being too pacifistic in their war games?
Short term plans is get some food for them. We may need nourishment ourselves to speed up healing.
>>
>>5171767
Actually, that spear on the drawing 5 might actually be good enough, it looks like it could both impale and cut.
>>
>>5171772
Basically a long bladed spear of sword staff.

But it has to be said

>not just using a zweihander as if it were a spear
Weak
>>
>>5171714
Deleted my previous vote to make something a little more detailed than just numbers.
In terms of horse-mounted combat, 12 is going to be the best armor. Especially for anything resembling jousting. I think for a mundane smith, 12 would be easiest to produce too.
The spear on 12 is also ideal, except that I would intentionally add a crossbar like is featured in 5 to the part JUST before the metal makes way for wood. This gives our spear a bit of a vicious quality: We can shove it in all the way to the crossbar, push someone around with it, and then RIP and MANGLE the flesh when we pull it out thanks to the hooked back ends of it. This also doubles as an aspostle-specialized weapon: It'll catch on their flesh, let us stay on them instead of being thrown away so easily like our father threw us around. If we can get an apostle in the back with this, where they can't reach us easily? It's game over for them.
The hook and crossbar combination also excels at helping deal with enemy attacks.

That being said, for the crossbar, I think it should quite literally be like a cross rather than having simply two ends sticking out. Four points of resistance to prevent the spear from digging in too deep, and it provides some nice imagery (and defense against attacks that we can't shift a regular crossbar into the way of quickly enough...it'll stop them from gliding down the un-crossguarded portion of the spear).

Really the spear is what I'm most autistic about.
>>
Poor starving jaded enslaved widowed blacksmith and his mentally broken daughter and his starved son with trust issue and stunted development.
>>
>>5171790
The only problem I have with that is getting your weapon stuck is typically a very, very bad thing. The exceptions being secondary weapons purpose built for it, like pilum. If you get your primary weapon stuck then you're basically disarming yourself.

If it's hard for the enemy to dislodge it, it'll be hard for you to as well.
>>
>>5171790
If you are going to use efficiency for the armor, than you need to pick either 3 or 16, 12 is as impratical as the other ones, it just has verissimilitude instead of realism.
As for crossguard, the weapon getting stuck means we can't use. It's there to protect your hand like in a sword, or stip the enemy to skering itself further and attacking you, like a boar spear.
For a quick mounted combat, you want something that can enter and leave, there is a reason that cavalry swors fased to sabers from arming sword once knights weren't expected to fight on foot as well as mounted.
>>
>>5171714
>12
5 should be the armor we wear later.
>>
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>>5171812
Vlad is strong enough to wrench it free if he needs to, so don't worry about it getting stuck being a detriment. And if needs must we can burn the flesh away from the spear with Od. You can't think of Vlad like a normal wielder.
I don't know what you mean with 12 being impractical, it's got designs heavily taken from actual horsemounted armor.
>>
>>5171824
If you look, that armor you just posted is closer to 3 than 12. It takes the aspects of real armor and exagerates it, kind of like paldroncore, just in a different direction.
And if Vlad can take the spear with his above average strength, than a apostle withbtheir inhuman also can, therefore making the whole point moot.
>>
>>5171829
It's not moot, because them doing that would still cause a lot of damage.
And it's to prevent being SHAKEN off if he wants to stay on them. Anyone with a strong enough pain tolerance and apostle tier strength could probably wrench it out with a grip on it. Trying to SHAKE things off you that are hooked to your flesh is much harder no matter how strong you are.
>>
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>>5171771
Yeah, once Vlad goes to bed he should be able to see the farmer a little after the weapon update.

>>5171728
>>5171729
>>5171736
>>5171746
>>5171756
>>5171765
>>5171814
I'll extend the voting period so we can narrow down the armor options. This is a major decision so it's best to take some time to consider, even if it takes a little bit of time it's good to get a discussion going on things you're interested in. Being on autopilot mode for a quest ain't that fun either.

>Armor set 5
>Armor set 12
>Armor set 16
>>
>>5171834
>Trying to SHAKE things off you that are hooked to your flesh is much harder no matter how strong you are.
Hey man I've been bull riding before. Bull don't care that you know exactly how to hold on to not get thrown, that fucker'll pitch you right off his back anyway. Having something to hold on to doesn't mean you will be able to.
>>
>>5171837
Keeping my vote for
>Armor set 12
>>5171840
But it will mean you have a better chance of doing so than having nothing to hold on to at all. That's just a fallacy, brah.
>>
>>5171714
5 and 12, even 9.
But i would say 5 as my favourite.

For sword, bastard sword is something in the middle and it works out. Is our secondary weapon after all.
For the spear i was thinking something with two heads, the main one and a small one at the end. So we can cut and pierce on both ends if needed. In regard to the spearhead themselves, perhaps they could have some small teeths for cut further and making each wound on our foes, painful. Otherwise classic look.
>>
>>5171834
And what would Vlad do while the spear is lodged into the monster? If you want to just grab onto a monster while hacking it with a side arm, it's better to use a tool instead of over engeneering our main weapon and making it worse at performing other tasks.
Because if an oponent is just shaking off, it means it's either trying to do the easy way out and is going to pull next, it's a animal, or it's too big and can't reach.
>>5171837
>5
Does this mean we are using the armor? Because some people are saying not yet, but if you explain if we are locked into it, the ideas might change.
>>
>>5171843
>But it will mean you have a better chance of doing so than having nothing to hold on to at all
Honestly it's pretty much all hip work and changing your center of gravity. Holding on is a last resort to stop you from going under really.
>>
>>5171848
Dude, it's just an option in a fight. The main utility of it is going to be dealing massive rending damage from pulling it back out. Besides, hooking into shit is the primary use of many big-game spears, like the humble harpoon used to hunt actual whales.
>>
>>5171837
>>Armor set 12
I think we oughta save the more ornate stuff for down the road. Don't want to stand out too much just yet.
>>
>>5171837
In fact, I think I'm gonna change my mind to
>12
because its probably the easiest to make for this poor sleep deprived man, we can get a much better blacksmith to make our finalized design later.
>>
>>5171843
Why do you want to hold onto it so much? This isn't shadow of the colossus where you climb a giant enemy crab and stab it's weak point for massive damage with your sword, this is our main weapon.
>>5171852
It's a situatinal option with arguable results that actively hinders the other ones, like impaling people.
They are used in hunting as projectiles, not as weapons.

Anyway, this is going to go nowhere, and our effectiveness in combat is down to dice rolls not equipment, and this is berserk where over the shit happens all the time, so fuck it.
>>
>>5171861
>This isn't shadow of the colossus where you climb a giant enemy crab and stab it's weak point for massive damage with your sword
I'll be the one who laughs when we encounter a giant crab apostle
>>
>>5171870
The worst part is that plant mom is under da sea, so there is a real possibility of fighting one.
>>
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>>5171876
>>
>>5171876
>dad was a flesh-topus and mom is being harassed by a humongous Caribbean singing crustacean
Man fuck the ocean.
>>
>>5171848
>Does this mean we are using the armor?
Eventually yeah, just not on the next fight. You'll get to fight naked one last time while Barnham watches your performance. Once the big boy himself comes in, you'll need some reinforced protection.
>>
>>5171889
No, I meant if we are locked in this armor for the quest, since some voters just are voting against 5 because it's "too early"
>>
>>5171837
Sticking to
>Armor set 12
>>
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>>5171897
Oh yeah don't worry this isn't permanent. I'm keeping the options open for upgrades and alike.

Shierke does hand everyone a freebie in Flora's house, it wouldn't be fair for Vlad to get locked into a single look if it's going to get outscaled later on.
Hell, I might even make something up for her to give you lot if the plan is to go there eventually.
>>
>>5171905
Oh nice, in that case
>>5171848
>>5171837
I'm changing to
>16
Si we save 5 for our magic armor.
>>
>>5171905
If we're going to get magic swag from Schirke then
>16

Becch have you gotten past Ornstein and Smough yet?

If you want to keep in character with our boy kill Ornstein last

on a completely different note I fucked my hip doing dumb shit with my brother, so it appears I am yet again bedridden for the week. At least I have this new thread and Metal Gear Barnham to look forward too.
>>
>>5171905
>inb4 she makes Vlad drink urine because his plant heritage makes him crave those Idol Master electrolytes. The thing plants crave.
(a reference to another manga by the same author. Giganto Maxia.)
>>
>>5171837
>Armor set 12
>>
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>>5171924
>>
>>5171837
>>Armor set 16
I like wings
I see this as our tournament armor

set 5 would be our endgame armor

set 12 would be everyday armor
>>
>>5171837
I might be outvoted, but throwing my lot in for
>12
As mundane armor.

I just it's neat.
>>
>>5171958
...I might have miscounted the votes, actually.
>>
>>5171837
>Armor set 12
Nice and simple

Are you taking weapon votes yet? If so I'll throw my vote for a glaive. Love the profile on those.
>>
>>5171837
>12
>>
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>>5171843
>>5171855
>>5171853
>>5171903
>>5171939
>>5171958
>>5172014
>>5172056
Looks like we're sticking with number 12 for the time being. I'll get started with the update.
>>5171917
Think the hardest part about the boss fight is killing smough first which is what I'm trying to do. Super smough is not as challenging and I want to get the ornstein set. If anything it went from an alright fight to a hard self imposed challenge. I've stopped it for now because if not I'd keep trying and not write anything.

Hope you recover soon anon!
>>
>>5172231
I'll take two number nines..
>>
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>>5171714
Staring at all the piles and piles of sketches, it takes a bit to analyse and check all of them individually, but there are a couple that catch your attention more than others, and sooner than later, you find a suitable armor piece that doesn't seem to be very extravagant or too time consuming compared to what he does on a daily basis. Bernard already works as much as he can on something he hates doing, no reason to make it any tougher on him.

"Simple, but effective. Should be able to disguise it as a regular armor for them until it's finished. I'll give you a heads up on when I can work on it." Bernard isolates your pick under his anvil, dragging the paperwork back to his bed.

"I'm home!" Zhafira announces, bringing two small radishes on her working hand. "The farmer said some parts of the soil managed to hold the plants down, so she wants to keep experimenting and seeing what seeds can grow there from up close. She even gave us all the plants she got!"

She takes a nibble out of one of the vegetables, making sure not to each too much to save some for the guests and family, but still... two radishes is all they can show off for their effort? At this point they will starve before the soil gets better. You think Gunpowder could serve as a good manure source?

"Well, at least the guest room is free for now. It's nothing fancy, but it's cozy enough for you to get some shuteye." Zhafira shows you a woodframe with a blanket and a ragged pillow like it's a king sized bed with two massagers laying there with you. Can't blame her for wanting to be optimistic, but the pride is still uncanny.

You do manage to sleep soundly for a few hours, but before the sunlight could reach your eyes from the hole on the wall, you are woken up after hearing some rustling under your bed frame, with a loud *Thunk* of someone hitting his head when trying to hide.

It's Benny, he heard something outside, and appears to be too scared to back to his room after opening the door.
His fear is genuine, but given how bad he is at speaking, you wonder if he can respond clearly to your inquires.

>What's wrong, Benny?
>Did you have a nightmare?
>Is there someone outside?
>Attempt telepathy.
>Read his mind.
>See what's outside.
>>
>>5172304
>What's wrong, Benny?
>See what's outside.
>>
>>5172231
Cheers mate, you'll smash through them soon I'm sure

>>5172304
>What's wrong, Benny?
>See what's outside.

I am guarded against trying anything psychic, seeing that Zhafira's not exactly on the sane side of things and we're in the post-eclipse world.
>>
>>5172304
>See what's outside.
>>
>>5172304
>>What's wrong, Benny?
>Is there someone outside?
>>
>>5172313
>>5172319
>>5172325
>>5172340
"What's wrong, Benny?" You tilt your head to reach the boy hiding under your bed.
"Th-Th-Th-Guar- Guards!" Didn't take so long to understand him, but the sound of a punch gave away what they were doing before Benny could formulate another sentence.

"Hahaha! That tickles!" Zhafira responds as the men outside take their turns in punching her stomach. Taking a closer look through the hole, you can see a large man testing his armor with an iron morning star in hands, talking down to Bernard as they negotiate their terms.

"I can't make double the amount in this short deadline!"
"Come on, Bernard! After so many years of work, this should be your bread and butter right now. You don't want to see your precious daughter getting the same treatment your wife did, right?"

"You should take a look for yourself, Gorrister! We've been hitting her with the hardest punches, and all this bitch can do to defend herself is laugh!"
"Would you rather see me crying? I won't give you what you want, so I will laugh it off. Hahaha! -OOF!" Even if she can't process negative emotions so well, you can see the damage around her body. Her mad escapism coming off as mockery to her attackers.

So this is the guy that comes to check on Barnham's supplies, huh? You might not have a kill list written down, but he sure makes an effort to be a name on it...

"That's the horse that was stolen yesterday... Which one of you tried to infiltrate the coliseum?"

"Not telling! No amount of bribing would convince us to help you out!" Zhafira says as she cleans the stream of blood coming from her swollen lips.
"Really? If you won't accept bribes, how about betting on which one of us can make that pretty smile of yours turn into a frown, sweet cheeks?" One of the goons chokes her by the throat, lowering her body down to his knees while his partners laugh in anticipation.

>Stop this madness! I am the one you are looking for.
>Keep your hands on Zhafira and I'll show you who has the bigger stick.
>Bernard won't work for you anymore. If you want more weapons, you'll have them over my dead body.
>Look for your spear and impale them on sight.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5172405
>Look for your spear and impale them on sight.

As a gentleman we can't allow a lady to be treated
like this. We also can't allow them to report back to Barnham.
>>
>>5172405
>Look for your spear and impale them on sight.
its in our name after all
>>
>>5172405
>Look for your spear and impale them on sight.
Might equals right doesn't look so good when you are the one on the other end, faggots.
>>
>>5172405
>Look for your spear and impale them on sight.
>>
>>5172405
>Look for your spear and impale them on sight.
They should have been stronger if they didn't want to get infiltrated and killed.
>>
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>>5172415
>>5172420
>>5172423
>>5172429
>>5172431
The element of surprise and taking them on while they're undoing their pants means an easy target and a low DC, but the main soldier Gorrister might be a bit harder to hit.

Give me a roll to go Berserk.
>>
Rolled 60 (1d100)

>>5172459
>>
Rolled 17 (1d100)

>>5172459
rolling to zerk
>>
Rolled 81 (1d100)

>>5172459
Rollin
>>
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Hm, gentlemen may I speak?
>FLAMING PUSSY FLAMING PUSSY FLAMING PUSSY
FLAMING PUSSY FLAMING PUSSY FLAMING PUSSY
>FLAMING PUSSY FLAMING PUSSY FLAMING PUSSY
>>
>>5172468
Flaming Pussy is unfortunaly taken and Vlad knows that NTR is a tag of Evil.
>>
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>>5172468
>>
>>5172464
This will be a fine testing of our spear. Too bad they don't let us rest properly.
At least we can spare more suffering to our new puppeteer friend and her family.

And if nothing else perhaps we can look inside the minds of some of this soldiers, for see the specifics of the lair of the would be warlord. And I suppose they might have something else, useful on them. Like keys or money.
We are already getting all the equipment we want (metal armor, spear, sword and shield) so is fine, I would suggest to just take a free knife from one of them.
>>
>>5172468
based
>>5172473
cringe
>>
>>5172468
You have spoken. And your statement has been acknowledged. You're all clear for launch Muff-Rider.
>>
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>>5172461
>>5172462
>>5172464
You might have had your fun with women back in the day, but raping is a line that you never even thought of crossing, and you have no intention to let these apes force themselves into Zhafira!

Grabbing hold of your spear next to the doorhole, you slide out the window with a leap and charge them while their backs are turned. Striking them behind the back as they drop their pants, you start shoving each of them inside your lance and piling their bodies to see how many of them can fit in your shaft.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five of them are connected by an assortment of holes in ther mid section as they scream in confusion. All of them thought they were on the peak of their aptitude, about to be compensated from their hard work by having their way with one of their slaves, only to be the ones being skewered.

Thrusting your spear up into the air, you see them scream in panic as they crash onto each other from the pulls and pushes in your large weapon, all of them begging for it to stop and to recieve the sweet release of death, but they don't deserve a fast death, you're not done having fun.

Back to holding your weapon with two hands, you shift the weight of the pole with caution not to snap it in half before dropping them on the ground and do the same with their heads with a bit more of gore mixed in, as some of their skulls cracked completely and weren't as easy to pass through with that amount of force put into them.

"There you go, fellas. Plenty of holes for you horndogs to play with." You stand on top of them and stare down at Gorrister. You mean a band of strong humans can't hold a candle to a trained paladin who hasn't even started to use their magic and hasn't even had a good breakfast to boot? Get out of here, amateurs...

"My hero!" Zhafira thanks you for the help, though you wonder if she even knows what sex is.
"So you're the one who tried to invade the coliseum last night without fighting us. I knew none of the weaklings here could have pulled out such a spectacle. Good thing Barnham and I weren't there, otherwise I would have caved your head in!" Gorrister strikes his metal weapon as you intercept his attack with his pole. A parry was to be expected, if it werent for the chain curling the spiked ball between your hands, you would manage to back away from him.

As you try to jump to raise your distance, Gorrister pulls you back and bashes your forehead with a headbutt, leaving it bleeding as the metal ornaments cut your skin open. Alas, you still haven't let go of your lance, and with precognition being your best friend, you predict that he will try to constrict you further to better hit you with the morning star.
>>
>>5172554
Jesus can you imagine giving some dude's bare face a helmeted headbutt and the guy doesn't get woozy? We really are hard headed.
>>
>>5172560
we've, dare I say, gone berserk™
>>
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>>5172554
He might have stopped your spear from moving three dimensionally, but you can still spin it around as long as the chains allow them. Swiping him with a roll of the blade on his chin, you give him a good swat on the eyes, a crunching sound and the moderate bleeding from his head implying that you definitely broke a bone, or crushed his eye.

Your spear is still hard knotted onto his chains, and with your vision starting to get wobbly from the previous strike, you involuntarily let go of the spear as he desperately tries to undo the knots.

You stand unarmed against the hard armoured knight, prolonging this scuffle would not be smart, but thankfully he seems to be more focused on fixing his chains than with his pride.

"You will pay for this, asshole! No one strikes Gorrister in the face and lives to tell the tale!" He attempts to throw your spear back in your face, but you manage to get out of the way by tumbling to the side where Bernard was hunching over. The blood from your forehead marks your digits as you try to regain composure. Fast movements and hits to the head don't go well together...

>If you have a problem with me, we can settle it in the ring.
>Go on, just try to lay a finger on that girl. I'll let you know when your time is over.
>Consider me the first one, then.
>Grab your weapon back and continue the fight.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5172554
So we are cutting off this fucker hands before we decide his fate right? Either execuion or sending a message back, they have to pay for what they did and were planning to do to Zhapira.
>>
>>5172585
>Consider me the first one, then.
>If you have a problem with me, we can settle it in the ring.
>>
>>5172585
>Grab your weapon back and continue the fight.

If he retreats at least Vlad has to wound or main him so can't talk shit to his boss
>>
>>5172585
>It's not so good when you are on the other side isn't it?
>How about you go back to Barnham and tell him there is a new challegner for the arena? If he doesn't cut off your hands for being so weak that you lost to an unarmored man.
>>
>>5172585
>If you have a problem with me, we can settle it in the ring.
>>
>>5172585
>Consider me the first one, then
>Grab your weapon back and continue the fight
>>
>>5172592
Oh, and
>Grab your weapon and go on the defensive, just in case he tries something
>>
>>5172592
>>5172598
+1
>>
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>>5172589
>>5172590
>>5172592
>>5172594
>>5172596
>>5172598
"This 'strong beats whe weak' philosophy doesn't feel so good when you get pushed to the other side, does it?" You grab your weapon back, but stand your ground defensively, not being sure if you can keep the fight going with his full atention despite your smug remarks. "How about you go back to Barnham and tell him there is a new challegner for the arena? If he doesn't cut off your hands for being so weak that you lost to an unarmored man."

"Why you little... You will pay for this!" His muscles starts spazzing as you are able to see the large amount of dark energy emanating inside of him with your naked eyes. He seems to be about to transform as his girth and size change with each passing second. Depending on how big he gets, he could easily trample the innocents...

Of all the things that could stop his upcoming apostle form, you never expected it for the clank of a flying hoe hitting his armor, making him look behind him confused as the elderly farmer finally shows up.

"You should think twice before fighting my son outside the ring, Gorrister. If there is one man that can defeat Barnham, it's the man that stand before you!"
It's Michelle! Your adoptive mother seems to have a few extra wrinkles on her, but even with her age showing, it didn't stop her from courageously striking an apostle several times her size and power with farming equipment.

"What is that supposed to mean, old wench? Am I supposed to be scared by the likes of you?" Gorrister returns to his human size, touching noses with your mother as his eyes burn with hatred.

"If you're so bothered by your inferiority, why not duel him at noon? You'll have a chance to tear off his head and chuck it to the audience to prove that you really are a dominant gladiator! Not that you would need to, afterall, what does an old farmer such as myself would know?"

Michelle does not tremble or flinch as Gorrister's fist closes right in front of her. She has withstained through famine, torture, an attack at her estate and famine once more. There is nothing the follower of the God Hand could do to even incite fear in her heart.

"The gates will open at noon. Be ready, or I will go here myself and drag your head to Barnham!" Gorrister takes the bait and officially invites you for today's fight, leaving his comrade's corpses around without second thought.

You did not expect to meet your mother so suddenly, and even less for her to punch up to an apostle! The courage might not run in the blood, but it was passed down to you by learning.

"What other Vlad would come over to visit dear old me, if it weren't for my beloved son?" Michelle opens her arms as you walk into a soft embrace. It's been so long that you were starting to forget how her voice was like...

>What led you here, Mother?
>How are the crops doing?
>Why did you do something so dangerous?
>Why didn't you show up earlier if you knew I was here?
>>
>>5172685
>Hug mom
>So how did you end up becoming a farmer mother? I know that Gunpowder saved you from the attack on our state.
>>
>>5172685
>What led you here, Mother?
Does Vlad know IC that his father is dead? If not we should probably ask about him
>>
>>5172685
>hug mom
>Why did you do something so dangerous?
We haven't seen her in years and she's been living in a demonic killocracry, we should start off with some concern.
>>
>>5172685
>What led you here, Mother?

We're adding Michelle as a permanent member of the adventuring party, after this right? All we need to do is get her a crossbow, and she should be able to pull her own weight.
>>
>>5172685
>write in
"I'm sorry I couldn't return home"
>>
>>5172685
>Hug mom
>Why did you do something so dangerous?
>>
>>5172685
>Hug mom
>What led you here, Mother?
>>
>>5172685
>Hug mom
>What led you here, Mother?
>So how did you end up becoming a farmer mother? I know that Gunpowder saved you from the attack on our state.
>>
>>5172695
>support
>>
>>5172898
+1
>>
>>5172695
This.
>>
>>5172685
>Hug mom
>So how did you end up becoming a farmer mother? I know that Gunpowder saved you from the attack on our state.
>Why did you do something so dangerous?
>>
>>5172695
>>5172711
>>5172734
>>5172739
>>5172743
>>5172755
>>5172863
>>5172898
After returning her hug, you are quick to ask how did she get here.

"So how did you end up becoming a farmer mother? I know that Gunpowder saved you from the attack on our estate."
"So you already know what happened there... I did not get to say goodbye to Gallahad or your father, but given the condition of our home... I'm afraid I don't have to see their corpses to confirm their deaths..."

"I'm sorry I wasn't able to stop them..." You lament.
"Even if you were there. I'm not sure if the situation would have been better of worse." Michelle does not know about your new powers still, making her think you would have died along with Jacopo.
"Don't be sad, Mimi! Vlad will make up for it by proving his strength in a duel." Zhafira beckons to the dead pile of bodies you just made, touching them with her fingers to check on where the blood is coming from.

"Anyway, why did you do something so dangerous?" You try to ignore the clown's psycopathic tendencies.

"I have been living here for some time, actually. Being a merchant, I've learned a lot about farming from your grandparents, so even though I was safe outside of the coliseum, there were a lot of rumors about the people struggling to eat on a nearby city, I thought I could use my knowledge to grow some crops for those who needed food. So far I haven't made much progress, but it's only been a year..." She doesn't exhale much confidence in her last sentence, but between all the problems Ilos has and how she didn't have anything else to look forward to, it would be an uphill battle regardless.

Seems like she came here by her own volition, you really did get your altruism from her...

"What about you, my son? Were the rumors about you cleansing the swamp of the occults true? Have you managed to prove your innocence and clean your name?"

>I haven't had the chance to return to the capital.
>Screw the king, I could care less of what he thinks of me.
>I can't clean my name when I know how to use magic.
>I've met my real parents, it took a while to clean their mess.
>I've met a good friend in the swamp, but I'm afraid I've let her down.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5173096
>>I've met a good friend in the swamp, but I'm afraid I've let her down.
>I can't clean my name when I know how to use magic.
>>
>>5173096
>Write-in.
>"I did cleansed the swamp,turns out the occults started it by accident and a village in there is actually my birth place. I'm one of the only survivors of that village. Had help from a surviving inhabitant,she died soon after the swamp was cleansed. And I don't think proving my innocence and cleaning my name is gonna do much eversinced I heard news from travellers and refugees that our King has gone mad, and pestilence and starvation plague the land into barbarism. I somehow made my way here on a hunch and found Gunpowder. I'm so glad to see you are safe. You are the only person closest to a family I have now."
>>
>>5173096
>I've met my real parents, it took a while to clean their mess.
>The King has gone insane, the people does not respect him and instead that wretch Griffith, who has a grudge against me. I don't need to prove my inoccence to anyone, but to right the wrongs of the land.
>>
>>5173112
And I forgot
>I've met a good friend in the swamp, but I'm afraid I've let her down.
>>
>>5173096
>>I've met my real parents, it took a while to clean their mess.
>>I've met a good friend in the swamp, but I'm afraid I've let her down.
>The King has gone insane, the people does not respect him and instead that wretch Griffith, who has a grudge against me. I don't need to prove my inoccence to anyone, but to right the wrongs of the land.

Perhaps we should talk more in private later. I like Zhafira, but this is more an argument between family. Maybe when we get a look at the crops.
Pat Zhapira head, good girl even if she should avoid someone dangerous next time. Also throw away those corpses.
>>
>>5173096
>>I haven't had the chance to return to the capital.
>I can't clean my name when I know how to use magic.
>I've met a good friend in the swamp, but I'm afraid I've let her down.
>>
>>5173119
why not just bury those bodies under the soil to grow crops on?
>>
>>5173127
Sure. It just takes a while
>>
>>5173099
>>5173104
>>5173112
>>5173114
>>5173119
>>5173124
"Don't drink that, Zhafira!" Bernard shoves his daughter back home after seeing her try to taste the blood of her rapists.

Taking a walk to see how the crops are doing down the riverside, you explain what has occurred in the past 3 years on your end.

"I did cleanse the swamp, but that came with finding out the truth about my real parents. I was actually born in the silver eyed clan, and the remaining inhabitant there helped me in taking care of the plague. In contrary to the rumors, she turned out to be a good friend of mine, but she died soon after I finished my mission. As for now, I don't really care about proving my innocence since I am a magic user, but that doesn't mean I am an evil man."

"So it's true then... Ever since you were young, I was in denial that you had some connection with the occult, but finding you in my home on the day of the expedition... That could have been no coincidence." Her tone seems very judging, given her religious background, she would probably be angry at you for being a magician-

"Still, I hope you can forgive me for still thinking of you as my son, with our without knowing about your background, you are Vlad Santana, the one I raised despite not being able to bear children. Not that you need my approval anymore, you are free. It's sad to see you part, but I have come to terms that you have bigger goals than just fulfilling my expectations." Her support is clear and appreciated, she never stopped loving you.

"Besides, If god was really here to watch over us, would he really let all of these people suffer and lose their lives for no good reason? Having faith feels like a joke in poor taste these days..."
It feels very off putting to hear your mom say these things, but she has gone through a lot, so seeing her lose hope or question the existence of a higher power that does no good raises the question:

Do you agree in her reasoning, knowing more about the occult than she ever could?

>There is a higher power, but they are working against us.
>I don't think a benevolent god exists.
>I've never seen proof, but it could still be possible.
>If you don't have an answer to that, I doubt I could give you one.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5173139
>Whether or not God exists or cares for us doesn't matter. We have to be the ones who bring good into the world, with or without the divine. It's up to us to make Heaven on Earth, rather than invite Hell to it."
>>
>>5173139
>write in
"the grace of god is in our actions, whether he is real or not, the responsibility of seeing justice done falls to us here in the land of the living."
>>
>>5173139
Man. Zhafira has gone slightly Joker-esque.
"Yeah! Don't drink that,it turns you into them!"
>Write-in.
"Beats me,ma. From what the last inhabitant told me that something about Godfingers-palms? are the bad things somehow working with an evil force to perpetuate suffering. And they have followers who are the genuine human sacrificing baby eating evil people you call cultists. They are called....Apostrophes? ,something like that and that horrid man is likely one of them. But the chance there is a force for good helping and looking out for people is not zero.Just that perhaps it is just the darkest before dawn. You read the Holy See book right? It ends at something about a black dog killing an evil white bird. i suppose that is an open end part if we live to see it. Also my plans are not that big,this place is in dire need of hope and new management."
>>
>>5173139
>There are evil beings, who mascarade as angels and are responsable for our suffering, and they treat Griffith as their prophet. But I also have met good beings of the astral plane. Who is to say that God and his Angels aren't real, holding back this evil?
>And even if he isn't, faith and the teachings of yhe church are a good things, when not twisted by corrupt men. In the end, it's up to us humans to uphold the good on the world.
>>
>>5173170
Also this
>You are always going to be my mother, and I your son, the same way as Jacobo was my father and Galahad my mentor. The Silver Eye clan, Merlina and Sivir were my family, but so are you.
>>
>>5173139
>>I've never seen proof, but it could still be possible
>>
>>5173139
>If you don't have an answer to that, I doubt I could give you one.
>>
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>>5173147
>>5173163
>>5173168
"Does it really matter if God exists or not? We are still responsible to bring good into the world, with or without divine entities. The living also need to be just, regardless of their role model." Not wanting to go through the whole ordeal of explaining what a GodHand, much less to give a lecture on Behelits, Apostles and enemies, you opt to play as devil's advocate as an agnostic. You don't know if god exists either, but you do know that some of those demons can mascarade as good entities, manipulating several groups of the physical realm.

"The holy scriptures aren't inherently evil. It's all about how we interpret it, much like all life's lessons. I don't think going to the swamp significantly changed who I am. I still see myself as your son, Jacopo is still my father, much like Sivir, Hedwyn and Merlina are also part of my extended family. A bit crowded, but it compensates for me being an only child, I figure."

Relating your family life to the nature of the Holy Scripture seems to have given her some room for thought, and made her smile to boot. Life is still full of mysteries, but it's best to focus on the puzzles you can solve than lose sleep on all encompassing life decisions with no proper context.

You finally arive at the small lot next to the river. A few people there are checking the seeds, planting what they can, and removing the unborn roots from the soil.
"If that is the case, maybe you would have been destined to be a good man, regardless of whoever decided to raise you. Like these plants, all we can do is choose where to place them. Wether they will grow and bear fruit depends on several outside factors beyond our control. It's an interesting balance of having plenty of options to chose, but also being mistaken by our illusion of choice, seeing as even if we want to have a full harvest, we don't have the proper resources to do so."

The people there seem to be dumping all sorts of mixtures on the soil, and even with Michelle's guidance, they are lucky to get a fruit salad done on the next week. That doesn't stop them from trying, much like a group of ants leading food back to their hill, they all work in unison towards a common objective. A practice engrained even in other animals.

>I should get ready for the fight.
>Is there anything I could do to help your crops?
>>
>>5173186
>Is there anything I could do to help your crops?
>>
>>5173186
>Is there anything I could do to help your crops?
>>
>>5173186
>Is there anything I could do to help your crops?
>I'm part plant by the way
>>
>>5173186
>Is there anything I could do to help your crops?
Lets at least take a look at the spirits around, there could be something fucking with it all.
>>
>>5173186
>>Is there anything I could do to help your crops?
>>
>>5173186
>Is there anything I could do to help your crops?
Plant heritage powers go! Irish Tuber Eruption!
>>
>>5173186
>>Is there anything I could do to help your crops?
>>
Cum in the soil

Exorcise all the evil spirits with our semen
>>
>>5173189
>>5173192
>>5173193
>>5173197
>>5173202
>>5173209
>>5173224
"Is there anything I could do to help your crops?" You wonder if there is something off with the soil, and wether or not there's a way to save the harvest.

"I think you should be getting yourself ready for the upcoming fight, Vlad. Leave the farming to the professionals." Michelle stays confident in her skills, but it wouldn't hurt to check the soil.

Focusing on feeling the life force around the ground floor, you find there is very little Od underground, nothing that could provide nutrients for them to absorb. You even give a look around for better places to plant seeds, but their best bet really is getting some of it from the river, the water being the only constant source of life.

"I think Gunpowder could help me out, oddly enough. Maybe he could eat some of the wasteful crops from here, he could produce some good fertilizer for it too."
Right, he hasn't eaten that much ever since you've taken him out of the barn. You doubt Gorrister is a must kill for him, but if he sees a chance to fight, he would likely hate to miss it.

>Leave Gunpowder with Michelle and fight by yourself.
>Stick with your horse for now, with Gorrister being an apostle, you might need some assistance.
>>
>>5173248
>Leave Gunpowder with Michelle and fight by yourself.
Even though our horse bro wishes to dine in the halls of vahalha it is too soon
>>
>>5173248
>Stick with your horse for now, with Gorrister being an apostle, you might need some assistance.
I'm not quite sure Vlad has completely recovered yet. Might be better not to take chances.
>>
>>5173248
>Stick with your horse for now, with Gorrister being an apostle, you might need some assistance.
>>
>>5173248
>Stick with your horse for now, with Gorrister being an apostle, you might need some assistance.
Gunpowder wants to fight, and a fight he will have.
>>
>>5173248
>>Stick with your horse for now, with Gorrister being an apostle, you might need some assistance.

After all that talking and promising at the barn, to do otherwise with Gunpowder is impossible.
>>
>>5173248
>Leave Gunpowder with Michelle and fight by yourself.
"It seem you need to dig a deep path so the river water can wet the soil more thoroughly. The river looks rich."
>>
>>5173263
I change to take the horse.
>captcha RPG4D
so it wants to be anti-arnour?
>>
>>5173248
Stick with your horse for now, with Gorrister being an apostle, you might need some assistance.

We cannot betray our boi
>>5173263

Take this anon suggestion to make a canal for the river, a little path from up river to irrigate, nothing complex.
>>
>>5173267
yeah. and people say that taking up farming lessons is a waste of time last thread
>IC does not know what is an irrigation canal,what is cropping,does pumpkins grow on trees? , there are planting seasons?
>>
>>5173248
>>Stick with your horse for now, with Gorrister being an apostle, you might need some assistance.

Thanks to the affinity we should have some advantage. One day is just not enough for a proper rest, we still need to eat as well or sleep more than a few hours. Hopefully gunpowder will understand he needs to collaborate tommorow.
Thankfully our acrobatics should pay off, a problem remains though. What happens if we kill Gorrister, since we would be inside the arena surrounded ? Likely nothing good is the answer.
>>
>>5173248
>Stick with your horse for now, with Gorrister being an apostle, you might need some assistance.
Dang, I've missed a small bit but that's me caught up now. I think taking Gunpowder would be a good idea, since we already promised to fight with him.
>>
>>5173272
Maybe Barnham will give us Gorrister's stuff.
He maybe an apostle,but his twisted sense of being strong means we get our 2nd pile of mini boss loot.
>inb4 Gorrister and all the other strong gladiators have full larders to keep them swole and full
>>
>>5173296
If we are lucky he might even offer us his rank and position, which raises the question, should be accept? What are the Pros and Cons?
>>
>>5173302
I'm pretty sure Shedbacon would order us to hurt someone we like.
>>
>>5173302
Pros : Our words and actions have more weight to them,we get access to food and drink,also respect from, ironically, Apostle Barnham
Cons : We have to fight him on same day or next week and he may force us to eat what we kill and/or a baby as rite of passage.
>>
>>5173302
>Pros
A quick avenue to "power"
>Cons
Literally everyone we know will hate us.

The ideal plan is to kill Barnham and his Apostle minions and take over the Colosseum, using it as a spring-board to create a mercenary company in preparation for Vritannis.
>>
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>>5173252
>>5173253
>>5173258
>>5173261
>>5173267
"Sorry, maybe later. You know how Gunpowder is always itching for action. You are on the right track by staying close to the river though. Try digging a canal to wet the soil more properly." You give her advice on what to do with her farming grounds.

"I didn't know you knew how to plant! We're soon entering rice season, so I was thinking of preparing a paddy field to guarantee a stable harvest. The only problem with that is that we don't know if Barnham will bring us any rice, so it's hard to plan around irregular rations."

"It's worth a try, no? Even when you're free from the coliseum, this place might be useful for something."
"Barnham has been expanding his stadium with each passing year. There are a lot less people living here than previously, he probably plans on housing more strong soldiers there until he's ready to fight the king's army."
"If it's up to me, I wont let him place a single stone over this side of the river."

"You're boasting a bit too much for someone who didn't sleep for more than a few hours, don't you think? Here, go back to bed. You deserve something to prep you for the fight." Michelle hands you another radish before sending you off, looking for another hoe to plow the mud along the water flowing. If anything, she's the one needing to rest for working day and night shifts.

You return back to to your bed and rest a few more hours until the sun properly rises. When you wake up from your nap, Gunpowder is already up and ready for you outside, making sure you didn't flake on him a second time.

He's clearly a lot more energized than you, which means he's glad to compensate for whatever injuries you've had from before by giving you a slight heal through Od absorption. It's not enough to feel like you're on your 100%, but after being flung into the air, deskinned and squashed by a tentacle monster, it's best to spare him with your overheal, or else you'd probably knock your horse out cold.

You wear a temporary armor set made by Bernard, along with the best weapons the smith could give you.

"Usually I would save the best weapons for the soldiers, but you just took down 5 of my clients, so you might as well stick with their weapons. You're a lance guy, right? Oh, what the hell, take a look at what I got. You'll need something sturdier than a pointy stone to hit an armoured soldier like Gorrister."
Lots of different spear types to choose from, you didn't knew that many existed! What would be most effective against a guy with a morning star?

>A poleaxe.
>A bardiche.
>A halberd.
>A double bladed glaive.
>A pitchfork.
>>
>>5173315
>>A halberd.
We're gonna want the ability to crush his armor should it come to that.
>>
>>5173315
>A double bladed glaive
Basically a partisan
>>
>>5173315
>A halberd.
>>
>>5173315
>A double bladed glaive
As in a blade on both ends of the shaft or...?
>>
>>5173315
>Halberd
Make sure the Halberd has a big fuckoff spike on the back, so we can more easily pierce Barnham's armor. Remember, we're not Guts, we can't just smash through everyone's armor like he does.
>>
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>>5173327
Yeah, something like this.
>>
>>5173332
That's foul. What are we, a vile Kushite?
>>
>>5173315
>"I didn't know you knew how to plant! We're soon entering rice season, so I was thinking of preparing a paddy field to guarantee a stable harvest. The only problem with that is that we don't know if Barnham will bring us any rice, so it's hard to plan around irregular rations."

I'm sensing some odd od weeb energy from this statement eversince the chocolate and coffee thing in a tavern.

>A pitchfork
>A poleaxe
>A bardiche
5 idiots are dead, so it is fair to take extra weapons to fight off the bastard coming for us.
The pitchfork is gonna be special. A plant-man using a farm tool to kill.
Also we can do something with the radish.
>>
>>5173337
>odd weeb energy

Rice is common throughout Asia, so it's likely that some rice seeds had been bought by an enterprising Midlander from Kushan merchants.
>>
>>5173315
>>A double bladed glaive
kill on both sides

>>5173332
Based

>>5173296
>>5173302
I doubt that it would be so easy.
He might even just go :
"Wait a moment he killed one of my better men so easily, and i need to keep my men down to a certain level because i am the strongest. He cannot leave or be stronger than me."

or he might consider us too strong to keep around and go for the kill. Do remember that his men are his reflections of power, beside Vlad would be impossible to have because he can offer aid to people if they treat him well. Something like him having relations with weaker people (see Bernard the smith) can't be considered acceptable. Or him going and doing his things around Midland ? Even less.
>>
>>5173337
I'm good with extra weapons

However, i'm not good with all being polearms. Ask for some handaxe or something for close combat
>>
>>5173315
>A pitchfork.
>>
>>5173348
we can take a sword. We have been trained in using spears and swords after all
>>
>>5173345
So Vlad has to cross and burn that bridge too.
Whelp. It is good that Vlad is set to impale Barnham like the ham he is.
>>
>>5173342
Perhaps or maybe plant other vegetable crops?
Oats and Rye is an option with other wild grains like Crabgrass.
And if we know some Kushan or other barbaric cultures. Horse milk and meat is nutritious.
>>
>>5173356
Going mono-crop is a bad idea, so growing rice alongside a few others would be a good idea. Rye would be a good idea, as well as potatoes and onions.
>>
>>5173358
Does the berserk world have the potato, ender of famines or are we too fucked to have such nice things?
>>
>>5173358
The mono-crop is a considered modern concept.
Medieval folks like our mom learned some seasonal crop rotations like radish and carrots in spring,beans and squash in summer,wheat and pumpkins in autumn, winter barley and rye in winter as cover crops or fodder.
>>
>>5173364
New World crops and animals do show up now and then in Berserk, so it wouldn't make sense for potatoes to be left out.
>>
>>5173348
>he doesn't carry a spear, a backup spear, a holdout shortspear, a pike, and a few javelins for good measure
What you got freakishly long arms or something pal?
>>
>>5173364
I think so,since Guts was cutting up some sort of tuber to cook with the rabbit in the anime.
>>
>>5173369
You can tie them to your back. Like a golf club bag.
>>
>>5173332
Is it time to become Helicopter Man?
>>
Quick idea.
What if we got a length of chain? We could wrap it around an apostle's neck prior to their transformation. If their transformation increases their size, they become at risk of choking themselves out or worse, unless they can break it with their might. Which is a possibility of course, but not all apostles have chain-breaking strength.
>>
>>5173393
I think that the chain would be "abosorbed" into the apostle in the same way their clothes/armor are. I'm pretty sure Locus doesn't need new armor every time he transforms.
>>
>>5173393
While it might be worth a try, it's probably impractical. It's not easy to use whip-like weapons untrained, and if you're able to close the gap to choke them wouldn't it be more effective to just decapitate them?
>>
>>5173396
Smear our sacred energy all across it and it's bound to hurt, if not straight up burn them, but even then it's probably not the most practical choice.

That said Berserk combat doesn't always round about being practical, so if you guys want to give it a try we might as well.
>>
>>5173398
>wouldn't it be more effective to just decapitate them
An excellent point, but not entirely viable against armored apostles or ones with the kind of density that makes wounding them by normal means hard. The idea behind the chain, in these instances, would be to use the apostle's own transformation against them.
Besides that, all great adventurers carry a length of rope and a length of chain. You never know when you need to bar something, restrain something, or do some other weird shit with it.
It's never a primary means of attack, but it's HIGHLY useful when you do need it.
>>
>>5173393
Or we can do nasty shit like how Kentaro Miura did the manga.
The bigger they are,the more likely Vlad can shove the spears up their assholes and peehole.
Like how Guts chopped of the dick of an Apostle.
>>
>>5173393
Or we can do nasty shit like how Kentaro Miura did the manga.
The bigger they are,the more easily Vlad can shove spears up their butthole and their peehole.
Like how guts chopped off an apostle's dick.
>>
sorry . lag .
>>
>>5173404
>>5173407

>Like how Guts chopped of the dick of an Apostle.

What the fuck, really?
>>
>>5173410
https://readberserk.com/chapter/berserk-chapter-064/
>>
>>5173319
>>5173322
>>5173324
>>5173327
>>5173329
>>5173350
The halberd is a nice addition to your asenal. Precision strikes are your specialty, but if your target moves slightly to whatever direction, you can still scratch and cut just like an axe or a sword would. All the benefits of the three weapons are now possible, with an added extended range to boot. It's not too heavy either, so you can still weild it one handed while holding something else.

Even by reinforcing your weapons, there is always the possibility that they might break or recieve damage over time, so it's always nice to have alternatives in case something goes wrong. A spiked, square shield is left on your left shoulder and a short sword is strapped to your waist for good measure. In case Gorrister decides to pull the same trick twice, he won't see a secondary weapon coming his way.

With a pat on the back from Gorrister and an estatic handshake from Zhafira, you depart with Gunpowder to the entrance of the Coliseum, but not before seeing Benny mustering up the courage to form a single word, making sure not to stutter in his delivery.

"Win." Simple, but effective.
"Will do."

Being guided by the armored guards as they show you the path to the arena, you observe the large stadium being filled to the brim with onlookers. You were surprised at how diverse the people were. Men, women, fancy clothed aristocrats, even the dark skinned Kushans appeared every now and then. Seems like they all had strength in common, or Barnham just has a lot of visitors.

"Ladies and gentlemen! We are here today to observe this season's 48th fight in Barnham's coliseum. This time, we are greeted by Gorrister The Great, knowing for squashing several Pishachas with his trademark weapon, the morning star!"
Chanting is heard from all across the seats. What a biased audience...
"This maggot will pay for what he did to my eye!" One of his eyes seems closed, already indicating an exploit.
"Thanks for the heads up, idiot."

"And in this corner! An unknown outsider appears to have angered Gorrister enough to fight him to the death, is he perhaps out of his marbles?"
Showing their inclination once more, the crowd boos and calls you all sorts of names and swearwords, some of which you just learned today, actually.
The sun soon reaches it's highest spot as your cast shadow disappears under Gunpowder It's time to begin the match.

"No matter if it flies or crawls, a bug will always be a bug. Living a pointless life, only to be eaten by a larger, more important animal!"
Gorrister wastes no time in transforming into a larger form, changing his physiognomy into a more proper form, though it takes some time for him to do so.

Should you capitalize on his cooldown period?
>Strike him before he transforms.
>Slash and poke at his body while he stands still.
>Charge your weapon with Od and aim for his eyes.
>Trample him with Gunpowder.
>Face him in his full power.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5173423
>>Slash and poke at his body while he stands still.
Full on charging strike right for his leg. Chop that fucker clean off. If he wants to stand there open like a book that's his fault.
>>
>>5173423
>>Charge your weapon with Od and aim for his eyes.
>>
>>5173423
>The sun soon reaches it's highest spot as your cast shadow disappears under Gunpowder It's time to begin the match.

High Noon. Also the best time for photosynthesis.

>Strike him before he transforms.
Fuck his gay magical girl transformation shit.
Full speed Gunpowder!
>>
>>5173423
>Big words for someone whose power come from sacrifices to others.
>I bet you that you were a seething, lanky bastard before you sold your ass to the God Hand!
>Charge your weapon with Od and aim for his eyes.
>>
>>5173404
>>5173407
I considered doing that to the rapists, but dying with your pants down is already a bit too on the nose. There's always a next time though
>>
>>5173436
This methods is only reserved for apostles.
>>
>>5173423
>>Strike him before he transforms.
>Charge your weapon with Od and aim for his eyes.
>>
>>5173423
>Charge your weapon with Od and aim for his eyes.
>>
>>5173423
>Charge your weapon with Od and aim for his eyes.
He won't SEE this one coming.
>>
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>>5173432
>>5173435
>>5173439
>>5173440
>>5173446
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-et_5qY46rQ
A 1d100 with standard 50 DC. Roll and go for the eyes!
>>
Rolled 97 (1d100)

>>5173454
>>
Rolled 30 (1d100)

>>5173454
>>
Rolled 67 (1d100)

>>5173454
Let's hope I don't fuck this up.
>>
Rolled 93 (1d100)

>>5173454
>>
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>>5173455
Weakest Spear user
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

>>5173454
>>5173455
Nice. Watch this 100 though
>>
>>5173455
WITNESS
>>
>>5173455
>>5173456
>>5173457
Damn yall are really speedrunning through these combat checks
>>
>>5173465
But dear QM how will be known as the impaler if we don't spectacularly impale people?
>>
>>5173465
Didn't watch both sides of our family get merc'd for nothing.
>>
>>5173465
We are hyped, what else is there to say?
>>
>>5173465
This demons and wardogs needs to pay with their life Boss.
Gotta start with someone
>>
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>>5173455
>>
>>5173423
>Showing their inclination once more, the crowd boos and calls you all sorts of names and swearwords, some of which you just learned today, actually.
Huh we have learn some new names to call apostles
>>
>>5173454
>>5173455
"Have care, Gorrister. The tiniest of bugs can carry the foulest of venoms."
>>
>>5173455
Man, this might be the quickest the crowd has ever been shut up in their entire lives.
>>
>>5173476
+1
>>
>>5173478
Can't wait to use the iconic words.
https://youtu.be/L-l6tHeseDY
>>
>>5173476
nice one
>>
>>5173455
mein gott
>>
>>5173455
>>
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>>5173455
>>5173456
>>5173457
What might have been a small window of time for the average man was more than enough for you to close the gap on Gorrister thanks to your trusty pal Gunpowder. Approaching him with deep breaths, you focus on transfering your purifying Od onto your equipment of choice.
"This might pinch."

Leaping over to reach the transforming apostle, you give him a good slash across his eyes with your halberd, managing to poke his bad eye out with the end of your spike.

"AAAAAARGH!" Gorrister roars in anger as his eye falls in your hand, the force of his shout being strong enough to knock you and Gunpowder away from him as the crowd loudly gasps.

"Have care, Gorrister. The tiniest of bugs can carry the foulest of venoms." You say to the apostle as you play around with his detatched eye in your hand.

He has now morphed into a freakish creature, his protubing maw showing teeth growing in all directions, along with his spiked head and flowing flock of hair, he would likely pose a bigget threat if he knew where you were at.

"Show yourself, vermin! Or will you try to hide until you find another weak spot."
"It's called strategizing. Something you probably never had to do, considering most of your opponents were weaker than you." You smugly give him a hint by squashing his eyeball.
"GRRAAAAAH!"

With another roar, he spins and cloaks his body with his hairdo, sending out several teeth in your direction as he bashes the walls he passes by with his extended chains, hoping to find your position.

>Dodge the projectiles and wait for him to get close.
>Rush him once more and deepen the cuts on his face.
>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
>Tangle the chains with your halberd and fight with your shortsword.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5173498
>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
Stack debuffs.
>>
>>5173498
>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
>>
>>5173498
>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
>>
>>5173498
>>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
Toe stabbing? Real gladiator hours.
>>
>>5173498
>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
>>
>>5173498
>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
>>
>>5173498
>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
Sever his achilles tendons
>>
>>5173498
>Write-in
>Hamstring him - a cut across the backs of his thighs
>>
>>5173498
>Dodge the projectiles and wait for him to get close.
>Come on, did you ever actually won a fight before tainting yourself?
>>
>>5173498
>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
>>
>>5173498
>>Stab at his feet and make him trample.
>>
>>5173510
I like this... But maybe later. Right know we are stacking debuffs, and once he think he figured a patron ir something, we go for this before the final blow
>>
>>5173500
>>5173501
>>5173503
>>5173504
>>5173507
>>5173508
>>5173509
>>5173525
>>5173529
Very risky to attack while he's sending projectiles your way and spin dashing with a spiked ball and chain. Vlad can take a few cavities but let's just hope Gorrister doesn't hit him across the face.
Give me the rolls!
>>
Rolled 97 (1d100)

>>5173540
>>
Rolled 33 (1d100)

>>5173540
lol, lmao
>>
>>5173541
I HAVE ASCENDED

(Also it was 1d100 right? Just checking.)
>>
Rolled 25 (1d100)

>>5173540
>>
>>5173541
This fight has been sponsored by the number 97
>>
>>5173541
based
>>
>>5173541
>local impaler bullies big stupid idiot
>>
>>5173541
What Vlad lacks in training he makes up for in winning.
>>
>>5173541
Get impaled son.
>>
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>>5173546
Yeah, 1d100. That being said.
>>5173541
>>5173542
>>5173548
Yikes, Gorrister.
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

Rolling to see if our opponenet dies from shame
>>
Ok now let s see if we can cut something that ensure he goes down. We should avoid to show off and concentrate on killing him.

>>5173558
Are we learning something from his movement and combat form Becchi ? Might help down the line with mr Barnham or other apostles/demons
>>
>>5173558
Clearly he's just the jobber to prepare for the main event. Tough luck.
>>
>>5173562
I get the distinct feeling that after seeing Gorrister's disgraceful performance, we might not be the ones to deal the finishing blow.
>>
>>5173562
Vlad usually leaves precog mode on when fighting tough opponents, remember? He's always learning as he fights.
>>
Sad no pitchfork for Gorrister to impale himself on when he falls over.
That will teach him to bully the peasantry.
Also bring back a souvenir for Zhafira,she gonna love it when she gets to add more characters to her morbid puppet shows.
>>
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>>5173558
I wonder if big Mr. Z is watching us just absolutely massacre this poor man.
>>
>>5173562
You want us to avoid showing off in this giant coliseum?
>>
>>5173586
Damn, I hope so. It would be awesome that he meets Guts like in a week or so and tell how we fucked this Apostle little bitch so easy
>>
>>5173572
That s good.

>>5173587
For finish it faster. You never know with apostles and their crazy powers
>>
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>>5173541
>>5173542
>>5173548
Trying to be unpredictable against a man who can read your every move plus the trajectory of your attacks which you don't even know of? Don't be silly. It's like fighting a caged animal, you'll always know where he's going.

Placing your elbow across your eyes as Gunpowder lowers his neck into a sprint, his teeth start hitting the two of you with just as much opposing force as a regular dart, it hurts, but you can take it.

Making the most out of your synergy with your horse, you unstrap yourself from him and let Gunpowder throw your off into the ground, where you roll under the spins of his spiked weapon and strike at the tendons on his heels with the back end of your halberd. Yanking the weapon from his feet, only swipe him off his feet as he comes into a dead stop.

The chains fall on you while the spiked sphere hits him straight in his leg, using gravity itself to follow up in his attack in an ironic twist of fate as he breaks his femur.
"Barnham, this scoundrel came in knowing about my weak spots! How is this a fair fight?" Gorrister shouts into the air, only for a baritone voice to respond to his pathetic pleads.

"You are merely being outskilled and outplayed. You've gotten so used to battling Pishacha that you cant even fight a mere human gladiator. Pitiful!"

"This fight is rigged! Gorrister came in already injured!"
"I've betted my life's savings on Gorrister winning, what sort of scam are you running here, Barnham?"
The crowd voices their displeases as the leader of the coliseum considers evening the odds.

"Fine then. Send in the Pishachas. Don't expect me to be on your side forever..." Barnham lifts his arm from his throne and opens the door to reveal two armoured animals walking on two feet.

You remember Merlina saying something about Pishachas. How they are usually animals possessed by Kushan casters to be controlled remotely while they're in a state of meditation.

In this case, they are elephants, slowly walking towards the two of you while you try to wiggle out of the chains. Thankfully, Gorrister is still recovering from his blows, whatever regeneration factor the God Hand gave him being negated or delayed by your purification powers working as a complete repellent.

It appears that this is a 3v1 situation, until Gunpowder spits on one of the elephants to say 'These guys ain't shit, let me take care of them.'
The black horse runs in a figure eight around the two Pishachas, but you're not sure for how long he can distract them, and with Gorrister trying to get up to hit you once again, neither of you might be able to help each other.

>Get out of the chains before Gorrister realizes where you are at.
>Try to identify the kushan caster amidst the crowd.
>Try to reach Gorrister with your weapon.
>Throw your short sword on his throat.
>Write-in.
>>
>be magical spirit man
>proceed to bully apostles to death
>manage to piss off the godhand even more then guts
>couldn't even sacrifice brand the guy cause he fucked off into a swamp to git gud
>hell you can probably see griffith seething from here
>>
>>5173644
>Get out of the chains before Gorrister realizes where you are at.
>"Gorrister, You punny son of a whore, you literally invited me here without even having time to know anything about You or your weakpoints, stop being a bitch."
>Say that while placeing ourselves between Gorrister and the Pishacha
>Try to bait more of his teeth darts to shoot the Pishacha and make sure Gunpowder it's ready to get out of the danger zone of the attack for when that happen.

If this goes our way, we esencially weaked the Pishachas with some friendly fire while (hopefully) we go mostly unharmed by the attack. After that we go to finish Gorrister and then try to sense the casters

Or, if anons wanna go safe, then my vote is for
>Throw your short sword on his throat.
>>
>>5173644
>>Get out of the chains before Gorrister realizes where you are at.
>>
>>5173644
>Throw your short sword on his throat.
Lets just kill him lol.
>>
>>5173644
>So this is the great might of Barnham? To throw a trantum when they lose? So much for respecting strength! Nothing more than another liar king!
>Get out of the chains before Gorrister realizes where you are at.
>Try to identify the kushan caster amidst the crowd.
>>
>>5173644
>>Throw your short sword on his throat.
>>
>>5173644
>Get out of the chains before Gorrister realizes where you are at.
>>
>>5173644
>Throw your short sword on his throat
The wound should be open.
Though after throwing the sword, move and get out of those chains. We can't stand there watching
>>
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>>5173691
>>5173702
>>5173685
>>5173680
>>5173702
>>5173712
>>5173705
2d100! One gets you off the chains, the other hits your short sword dead on your target.
Roll please!
>>
Rolled 76, 7 = 83 (2d100)

>>5173726
Dice gods, please, I don't wanna fuck this up
>>
Rolled 12, 26 = 38 (2d100)

>>5173726
>>
Rolled 51, 97 = 148 (2d100)

>>5173726
>Inb4 nat 1
>>
Rolled 84, 2 = 86 (2d100)

>>5173726
Pocket sword!
>>
Rolled 83, 19 = 102 (2d100)

>>5173726
let's see if I can one-up the first anon
>>
>>5173731
>another 97 to hit the guy
Jesus fucking Christ
>>
>>5173729
>>5173731
jackpot
>>
>>5173731
>97
THE DICE GODS ARE WITH US
>>
>>5173731
holy balls another 97

it seems the laws of causality flow with us this thread
>>
Rolled 37, 39 = 76 (2d100)

>>5173726
>>
>>5173731
Ok QM

At this point I hope there's some special effect or something for rolling another 97

Or not, but it's still awesome anyway
>>
Is those rolls keep coming Vlad just goes Jetstream Sam on those fucker hell Vlad probably looks like that smug fucker except he is blonde
>>
>>5173746
I suspect we have an affinity with the number 7, last thread it was 77, this thread it seems to be 97
>>
>>5173747
>"Show me a good time, Guts!"
If I didn't know Gorrister was a total shitheel I'd feel bad for him. But he absolutely deserves to get styled on.
>>
>>5173748
7 is a divine number.
Idea of Good confirmed real and on Vlad's side.
>>
>>5173455
>>5173731
>>5173541
Damn, what is it with Vlad and repeating numbers? Happens at least once on every thread.
>>
>>5173748
Let's just hope next thread isn't 17's turn.
>>
>>5173757
>Happens at least once on every thread.
Like the crit flood in the first?
>>
>>5173762
Ah yes, that shit was insane. And even more when that same thing happened with Henchmen Quest.
>>
>>5173765
Some synchronicity shit going on there.
>>
>>5173498
Well I can imagine why the average joe, would be terrified to fight this "gladiators" and never win once.
With that terrifying aspect to look at, alongside giant spikes, teeths and demonic chains. They also don"t tell around of their strengths and weaknesses. Who even bets on normal people or warriors here with this odds.

Nice demon image for him. It gives the idea of the spikes and teeths well
>>
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>tfw Vlad defeat all the gladiators in one go
>>
https://youtu.be/k8gHubY94rA
>>
>>5173819
Ah yes, we have this thread theme, awesome
>>
>>5173729
>>5173730
>>5173731
Your rustling of the chains makes it evident of where you are to the blind Gorrister. When you were almost free of the apostle's grasp, he grabbed both ends of his chain and held your right thigh as you stood suspended upside down. So close to the floor, yet an inch away from your palms touching the ground.

"Going for my legs, huh? Well unlike me, yours aren't able to regenerate. Is this what you call strategizing? I'll show you another advantage I have over you, MY TEETH!"

Gorrister bites at your shielded forearm and eats away at your defensive weapon. Were it not for that, he would have been able to chew at it with enough force to completely crush it. Attempting to save your arm from being ravaged by the monster, you throw the short sword on his throat to make him back off, being unable to hit him with your spear due to being twisted at an odd angle thanks to his binding.

Your arm lives to fight another day, but your leg is still turning purple from the amount of force being placed on the knot. The crowd cheers as they see your thigh bone being dislocated as you grunt and foam from your leg being twisted. It's going to break beyond repair, or worse, chopped clean off!

"Hehehe, are you having fun? I'll let you know I tend to finish my fights... First, I dangle them upside down just like this... And then I keep tugging on the chains so they can bounce up and down, closer and closer to my mouth, until..."

You try to get a good look at gorrister while the blood goes to your head. The sword did hit his throat, but the cut was too shallow to do anything, all you have to do is push it further inside with your halberd, but it's so hard to swing in this position that you're afraid the hit might just make it bounce it off from his hardened skin...

Hesitation will get you killed, with each bounce from the chains, his mouth approaches as he gets ready to engulf your torso as the constriction from the chains make your blood drip down to your armor.
Hang on, that's it! You're closer to his throat when he feigns a bite to get a reaction from his watchers!
When Gorrister was about to swallow you hole, you pull your neck up and push your spear against the short sword, making it fly off his body as your lance fully impales his throat. You are showered in apostle blood as the gash opens his windpipe enough to make him hemorrhage incessantly.

With his brain disconnecting from his body, he loses grip on the chains, but not wanting to be stuck inside of him as he fell on top of you, you swing him forward and drag his chin with your feet, avoiding being crushed under his armor as you limp from under him.
>>
>>5173839
>Well unlike me, yours aren't able to regenerate.
Kek, sucks to be Gorriater, dude just can't win
>>
>>5173839
Man Gorrister is dumb. Literally had us dead to rights and decided to fuck around.

I guess that's what separates real warriors from up-jumped bullies.

My opinion of Barnham and his "army of warriors" is already at an all time low.
>>
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>>5173839
The crowd, the pishachas, even Gunpowder himself falls into silence after seeing Gorrister's weight being shifted mid fall so you could stand on top of him, the ground quaking louder than when the elephants stomped their feet. It takes some effort to remove the chains from your dislocated thigh, but with enough patience (And a forceful push so your bones didn't stay dislocated) you hunch over gasping for more air as Gorrister's head dangles onto his collarbone.

The match is over, Gorrister was killed while you got away with recoverable injuries, and despite no cheering from the audience, your victory was obvious for all of Ilos' residents to see.

>Come on! Where are my cheers?
>You can stop with the magic shows now. The real foe is already down.
>I hope this was entertaining enough for you, Barnham.
>Alright, who's next? This hype man can't possibly be your best warrior.
>Am I free to come in the coliseum now?
Write-in.
>>
>>5173862
If you've got any other tainted beasts for me to kill, let me know
>>
>>5173862
>I hope this was entertaining enough for you, Barnham.
>Am I free to come in the coliseum now?
>>
>>5173862
>Alright, who's next? This hype man can't possibly be your best warrior.
Gotta keep the grind
>>
>>5173862
Part of me wants to find the sorcerer in the crowds and point straight at him so he knows we know about his puppeteering and freak him out.
>Am I free to come in the coliseum now?
Gotta grab some snacks and bring them to our mom and new pals.
>>
>>5173862
>Kind of disapointed, it seems everyone here is all talk. Gorrister with his false strength and you Barnham, with your false beliefs.
>>
>>5173873
Also
>Find the damn sorceror.
>>
>>5173862
>Alright, who's next? This hype man can't possibly be your best warrior.
What's a hubris?
>>
>>5173894
I think it's a bone in the foot.
>>
>>5173862
>Write-in.
>stay Silent
>>
>>5173862
>Write-in
>Stay silent
>Try to grab some teeth from Gorrister, three for us, mom and Zhil
>Once we're done see the crowd for some seconds before going >>5173488
>Maybe try and bring the Morning Star for us if it goes back to normal size
>>
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>>5173869
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>>5173894
"I hope this was entertaining enough for you, Barham!" You point your weapon to the man sitting at the throne. I am disappointed in this coliseum. Gorristed lied about his strength, and you lied about your false beliefs. Now, am I free to be invited in your coliseum, or will you make me fight more of your elephants?"

"The Pishachas? What gave you the idea that you were fighting them?" The animorphs quickly catch hold of Gunpowder while he tried to escape them before chucking the horse down at your feet, the blow being powerful enough to nearly bust open your ribcage.
"Think of them as mediators. I could already tell that Gorrister was going to lose, and since he had a history of killing Pishachas, what more fitting of and end for him to be feasted by his favorite dummies?"

The sorcerer commands them to start eating the apostle under you, shoving you and Gunpowder away before they started their horrific feast for all to see before being sent back to their cages.

"As I said, Don't expect me to be on his side forever. My soldiers are free to do as they wish, so long as they remember that the strongest gladiator will always be two steps ahead." These are the last words you hear before your eyelids grow heavy, sending you into an unsonscious state.

Your face is struck by a torrent of water a few hours later, with Barnham proving to be the perpetrator.
"Gorrister might have been too overconfident to finish you off. But you are sorely mistaken to think that every single one of my fighters has the same fighting style, or the same beliefs. I wouldn't have such a colorful cast of onlookers if I restricted the strong from entering. Regardless of background, race, or even gender, might is always the deciding factor."

You attempt to walk towards him, but find yourself tripping from your battle wounds.
"Easy now. You are only a man, and you've already abused too much of your body in today's fight. Old wounds tend to reopen when you don't rest for a few days. Oh yes, I nearly forgot. Welcome to the coliseum. Home of Ilos' strongest fighters, enemies of the weak. If I knew we've had such an intriguing guest, I would have recieved you in our front gate instead of leaving you with the peasants. What brings you here, Vlad?"
Barnham soon shifts his attitude, treating you as an old friend.

>Where is Gunpowder?
>What do you want with me?
>I want to test your strength, see if you really are the strongest.
>I'm here to end your life.
>I want to free the slaves from the riverside.
>Write-in.
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>>5173961
>>Where is Gunpowder?
>>I'm here to end your life.
>>I want to free the slaves from the riverside.
We need our horse. Our horse needs his head. And everyone outside needs to get some food.

Everyone knows the weak should fear the strong mentality is flawed. You need to bring prosperity to the weak so the weak can prop up the strong with their menial support. Because even a weak man in the right place can kill a god. We're coming for your ass Conrad

More importantly how does he know our name?
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>>5173961
>To right wrongs, to fight for peace. And that means cutting down those who got power through deals, and the ones that offered them.
>But here specifically? To free my mother, the slaves in the riverbank, and because my horse wants to kill you.
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>>5173961
>>Where is Gunpowder?
>I want to free the slaves from the riverside.
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>>5173961
>Where is Gunpowder?
>write in
>"To find my horse. But things got complicated when the late Gorrister and his gang tried to severely harm an overworked starving widowed blacksmith and his family. Rumors say you have become not quite a man.Any truth to the Rumors? "
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>>5173971
+1

>I'm here for my horse, my horse is here for your head, and those outside are here for some food, which I can provide with your head.
considering his unholy strength I would not be surprised if he's in good standing with the Godhand and Griffith, similar to Zodd. he might even know a way to motherfucking Conrad.
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>>5173971
>>5173972
>>5173973
"Where is Gunpowder?"
"Your horse? At the barn, where else? Didn't want to wound the poor animal since you've taken a liking to him, so I gave him some of our best medicine."
"You've better not have turned him into an apostle!" You growl back at Barnham.
"What? No, I've merely gave him a dose of our elf powder. With so many gladiators coming and going, they need something to keep fighting regularly." He shows you a small bag of white sand, containing a magical essence that when applied to someone's body, could magically heal months of damage in a single day with a right dosage. "I've answered your question, I would appreciate if you did the same to mine."

"...I'm here to free the slaves in the riverbank, my mother included. Also to kill you if possible."
"Wouldn't be the first time I heard this. But what exactly would motivate you to kill me?"
"Because my horse told me to. Why else?" You remark snidely.
"Hmph, that's a first." Barnham legitimately chuckles at your answer, already acknowledging that he's pretty unlikeable. "Usually, I would have no interest in the words of people who have no power, but you have made a considerable dent in my numbers for me to listen to what you have to say. Surely you wouldn't reconsider an offer to stay here, would you?"
"After you've let Gorrister torture people who couldn't fight back? I have no respect for you."

"Right, still on the fence about that. A shame, because I have no ill will towards you. You even seem to be informed of the apostles."
"Of course, I know about those who got their powers through deals. You weren't born this strong, you took a shortcut to it."
"Wrong. I've became strong. I've only used an unconventional method." The owner of the coliseum snaps his fingers and calls for his chef, serving a plate with a single heart on it, no doubt being from Gorrister. Barnham elegantly takes a bite out of it, your vision of him turning blurry as the density of his Od increases.

"I also know plenty of you, Vlad Santana. A noble accused of being a wizard, forced to be arrested after helping to end the Hundred Year War against Tudor. Betrayed by his own master, now sits here today, having a conversation with another detractor of the royal family. It's not normal for a noble nobody to turn into a hero of the capital either, or to regularly climb the Wall of Corpses, wouldn't you agree?"
Barnham seems to know of your background, indicating that the rumors of Griffith having an impostor have reached far and wide across Midland.
"For a man to disguise himself as someone else... That would require the use of magic, would that make you an average man? A weakling, perhaps? No, no matter what path you had in life, you've attained power, yet you were detained by those weaker than you! Why is that, Vlad? Do you not feel betrayed? This would not have happened in a world where might controls everything. And I plan to bring that world into fruition!"
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>>5174037
I think he's got his Big Boss speech out of order, isn't he supposed to kick our ass first?
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>>5174037
"I seen where that lead to. I was just as weak,and had my parents followed you philosophy. My foster mother would've been cast away by my father for a woman who can break trees and half and devour a man and his horse whole. And I would've been left by the road side to be taken by dogs. It was at their time weakness that taught me to get stronger."
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>>5174045
This must just be the prepatory speech before he lays the real deal on us.
After the fight he is going to tell us about his plan to blow up the Godhand with their own magical superweapon as well as his plan to create a world ruled by gladiators without nation or ideology.
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>>5174037
"Surely, you have heard the tale of King Gaiseric, the founder and first king of Midland. Now he was a respectable King, he managed to unite several villages admist several countries, and turn them into a powerhouse, command them under a single banner, some of those were already fighting in opposite forces, yet he had the might to control it all. But he grew lazy after settling for a country. Soon after he became king he got lost in pursue of pleasures of the high class. He grew comfortable, he turned to peace. Peace that led him to his downfall. Now 15 generations later, some old, piece of shit grandpa and his useless daughter are still competing for the royal selection, when strong men like us are deprived of proper credit? Nonsense!"

"I will take this kingdom for myself, and after that, I will unite them all to invade Tudor's territory once more, seizing them whole! Why stop there? Think of all the countries outside of this continent. All the uncharted territories on the map! Why should we settle for a mere plot of land when humanity has so much to grow? I want to be the guide, and you can help me through it!"

"But you are not human! You are already serving a leader!"
"That I am... But don't they deserve to be the ones in command given what they're capable of? For the first time, I have found a group of enemies that, no matter how much I train, no matter how much power I consume, nothing seems comparable to what they can do! It's envigorating! I want to be like them! To command and unite several others through power! It is the basis for growth, to give everyone equal opportunity to fight! Notice how I've left the people in the riverbank still alive, It's because I don't doubt that they can still grow and fight. If they disagree with my policies, all they need to do is challenge me in a fair fight, and I will proudly comply."

"So you've only fought weaklings all this time? What a great leader you've turned out to be."
"Strength attracts strength, Vlad. There were already several humans, armies, apostles that came here to fight. I've drank their poison disguised as gifts, gave them room to grow as strong as they needed to, even wasted my own resources to fully heal them. Not a single one of these Midlanders even managed to push me to my strongest form. Well... There was one individual... But he refused my offer after seeing that we were fighting on the same side... As much as that slows my progress, I only eat those who are already about to die. Which is why I want to start a war. Eventually, the souls will be enough to hold a candle against even those who now command me. Tell me, where is the flaw in wanting the strongests to thrive? It's a rule ingrained in nature!"

>Do you call the slums outside proper room for growth?
>Not all people wish to fight. Killing the weak won't force them to become strong.
>The weak can also raise the strong, I am proof of it.
>You are not natural, Barnham. Neither is the God Hand.
>Write-in.
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>>5174079
>The weak can also raise the strong, I am proof of it.
>>
>The weak can also raise the strong, I am proof of it.
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>>5174079
>>The weak can also raise the strong, I am proof of it.
>>You are not natural, Barnham. Neither is the God Hand.
Fostering your own strength isn't quite the same as stealing it from the slain. As easy as it is to conflate the two. A predator that eats its prey doesn't grow stronger for the flesh it has consumed but the hunt it underwent. So too does prey become more canny and fierce. The fact he can slurp strength from his foes like that is proof of how unnatural his growth is.

A philosophy founded on nature being used by beings that subvert the natural order. What a lark. I'll give him this though, at least he actually stands by his beliefs.
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>>5174079
>You wish to conquer Midland, conquer Tudor, for what? Simply because you cut a deal with demons that gives you the ability to overpower them? Your concept of rulership seems to me to be little more than masturbatory and delusional egoism. Subjugating the people of Midland, Tudor, and whoever else would be no more meaningful to you than collecting trophies to satiate your vanity.
>Martial prowess is indeed something worth admiring and cultivating, but if done at the expense of every other facet of your humanity it becomes an abhorrent perversion. But, as you’ve made your choice already it’s hardly worth arguing with you over it now. When the time is right we’ll continue this debate with sinew and steel.
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>>5174079
>Write-in.
"I agree with some but not all of your policies. If might is really what you are looking for,why don't you atleast help the weak grow strong in their way? You are good at fighting,but without the might of a good economy , your strong are undersupplied. You cannot expect a tree to grow strong without being cared and fed for. You have a good idea but the way you do it only brings half the results. And the King has gone off his rocker from what I heard."
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I wonder what Galahad would think of this guy. Obviously strong people can hang with strong people. But Galahad's good nature would probably make him butt heads with Barnham's mindset. They probably agree at a base level but disagree on the details.
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basically. Nature vs Nurture rant.
If we fight him,we are gonna do it the greek way.
Naked and unarmed wrestling.
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The real issue is that this way of thinking doesn't work for anyone that isn't already a parody of life.
What kind of future can be built by people solely interested in fighting and killing?
All the world will be reduced to a wasteland and a stadium, until even that falls to ruin.
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I got a crazy idea. We need to grab an apostle to teach him a lesson of why his policies will bite him in the ass.
The apostle must be big and black and also a sodomite.
Went Barnham goes down and tell us to take the prize by claiming his life. Have the apostle buttsex him in front of a live audience.
That will teach him.
>mnxxm
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>>5174119
I'm just waiting for him to say something about our magic not being normal, that it's a cheat and we can just brush it off because our power is just a means to an end.

That pisses off these kinds of people super hard. Might makes right is power without purpose. We on the other hand have some very specific goals in mind.

Unless your goal is just to humiliate him with the Donovan special and not to make him mad.
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>>5174123
the Donovan special
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>>5174129
Understood.
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>>5174079
>>The weak can also raise the strong, I am proof of it.
>>You are not natural, Barnham. Neither is the God Hand.
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...So Barnham wants to take over Midland to get at more territories?
Should we hit with the fact that the 5th member of the God Hand has designs for Midland too? Doesn't take much smarts to see how Barnham was set to fail from the outset.
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>>5174079
>Do you call the slums outside proper room for growth?
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>>5174079
>Write in
"There is no equal opportunity, there is no room for all in this city of yours Barnham. And there will not be at all in your future empire."
"It is simple really. Let's think there are two travelers, they pass and they see your land. You know what they see ?"
"They see fields unattend to, entire fields of good land not used. They see many cattle and farm animals sick, famished, tired or dead. They see corpses and ruins all around, with no one giving tombs or repairing a building.”
“Certainly they even see your strong gladiators, training and killing each other, the ones that want to live here and innocents. They also see your wealthy patrons that come here just for your spectacles, or perhaps for buying slaves, trading between themselves or sell you products at an high price.”
“But then these travelers see the majority of the humans living here : people broken, desperate, tired, wounded, diseased and on the verge of death, and all of these people are constantly abused and given no mercy or pay by not just your gladiators but even your patrons. Already with just these conditions and no intervention being done, you cut the legs of your future empire while clapping your hands being happy about it.”
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cont
“Because all of these people work far less than the ones under a traditional feudal lord. They make less food, tools and weapons.”
"Let's go a sep further with your madness though."
“And let’s say you expand your philosophy to them. Now your entire working class instead of doing their jobs, as an aspiration of throwing themselves on a blade just for a chance to be a soldier of yours or for getting some coin, or just to eat something better than dirt for god sake.”
“Instead of working, they will even go out of their way to train. They might begin to kill each other to become stronger.”
“A few of them will no doubt become your soldiers, the majority will just die.”
“And just like that your entire empire and your armies, cannot stand properly. They are at risk of falling not because of lack of your power but because the people under you would become a ghost of their former selves.”
“Now with this said, why do you believe your gladiators and soldiers will just accept all these people ? They could keep the status quo and cut them down, before they have a chance to win. How would you be able to enforce your rule on them ? You can’t be everywhere, they could just kill all the people inside the lands you give them and then demand you hand more.”
“Here it is easy to control them. You rule everything and the land is small.”
“Also your wealthy patrons ? They are wealthy because they come from functioning lands or are rich traders that work in places where trade is allowed to flow well.”
“In your empire they wouldn’t live a day, so most will leave you when they understand you want to be more than the champion of this arena. And good luck with that Barnham, because those patrons are the ones throwing coins in your coffers, and the only way for you to gain large amounts of goods and products for your personal or gladiator's use.”
“And again your gladiators ? They aren’t soldiers, Barnham, that’s your dream. Look at those bastards for once. They aren’t able to stop themselves from raping a girl or woman if they see one, to throw an infant on the ground or have some wolves eat a defenseless child, or to break the legs of a man for fun just because he didn’t want to do something for them.”
“They kill for sport, not for you. And your supposed “officers” don’t put any amount of discipline on them, and they are respected because of you and their personal strengths. But what stops a man from just cutting their throat at night or poisoning their drinks ?”
“Do you think an army or armies can function with this level of self sabotage, disputes or being their own attrition ? Do you expect your foes to stare and wait, instead of taking advantage of this philosophy of yours and destroying your armies and empire ?”
“But hey, everything is allowed for the strong no ? Everyone needs a chance to become strong, no ?”
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>>5174244
bravo. hopefully his meathead behavior doesn't blind him. but seeing that he became an Apostle, either tragic or complete villiany.
>W4200
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>>5174079
>Ah yes, the best way to create a powerful army is to have one that will starve and kill itself. And the best goal in life is to be a locust that will expand and then whither. You are nothing more than a slave that put shackles on himslef while screaming he was free. If you had to guts to atleast spit on the face of the Godhand instead of sacrificing, I would have an a tiny bit of respect for you.
>Nature is not the strongest that live, but the beat adapted, otherwise we humans would be ruled by elephants and tigers. Our strength os unity, our goal is to thrive, not only survive.
>You will never be strong and you will never be free. And you did it to yourself. You are just the king, but dressed in a other clothes.
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>>5174243
>>5174244
>Becchi offers a write-in.
>Dude writes up an entire soapboxing monologue that's two posts long, acting like Barnham would just sit there and not interject at all while anon fellates himself to completion over how big brained he is.
Bro. What the fuck?
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>>5174367
Barnham should have a less retarded ideology if he didn't want people picking it apart.
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>>5174243
>>5174244
holy shit brevity
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>>5174367
In these posts he also talked a lot while Vlad didn't say a thing, or Vlad sayed a short answer from time to time. Vlad can't have something to say in the argument as well like him ?
If you fear Becchi might be overwhelmed, he is capable of sectioning our write-ins and using them however he wishes, or not acknowledging them if he doesn't like them. He already did so when we talked with Griffith, where there were several write-ins with a considerable length of text and each of them had multiple votes.
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>>5174293
"You are not natural, Barnham. Nor is the God Hand. No doubt using their power has already corrupted your way of thinking. How can you think you are raising the bar for equal opportunity when there is no room for all in Ilos? You depend on slaves and patronage because you haven't raised a basic system for their income. If you expand this philosophy worldwide, you will destroy all means of production, because no one will want to work when they can train and kill. You have not raised disciplined soldiers, but gladiators who only respect your power. Once you go away or expand enough for people to forget your presence, they will run amok. You are self sabotaging at best, and at worse, doing the same backseat governing as the mad king."

"So what you're saying is that my hatred for the weak has impeded my Coliseum from growing?"
"Of course. Not all are born strong, but they can become so by adapting. If you were an insightful ruler, you would have realized that the weak can also raise the strong. I am proof of it. None of my parents wanted to engage in warfare, yet they raised a man that was stronger than all of them combined! How do you explain that?"

"You've overcome your weaknesses, of course. You realized that you had to change. Not all would have managed to see through the easy life, instead deciding to keep living in comfort. I can respect you because you are a victor. In every situation, we need to have winners and losers, or else we would take away the glory of the ones who overcame ridiculous hardships to create equal opportunity for people who do not wish to fight."

"So you feel no guilt in sacrificing an entire crowd for the offchance to one come out on top? Why am I not surprised to hear this from the man who engaged in God Hand rituals? Society has went beyond nature's ways exactly because of our group thinking. The children you have imprisoned could very well have felt invigorated by your powers and served you in the future, yet you decided to shun them out of whatever life they had because you deemed them as weak before they could reach adulthood! Your government is flawed!"
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>>5174244
That write-in is far too long man.
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>>5174389
>>5174397
Yeah i suppose is longer than others, i just felt like writing it something with what Barnham said. I didn't write an hundred of long write in posts before and i don't think i will write more of them. Next time i will be briefer. If someone feels offended, i don't think it killed the thread, and next time i will just make something short.
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>>5174395
"It seems we have reached an impasse with our argument... This is why I do not care for diplomacy. All of these hour long conversations that can all be reduced to 'I'm right, you're wrong.' It changes nothing, until we use our power. You might see me as a hypocrite, but in the end, by associating yourself with the weak, you open your chest to be struck by those who you're least expecting. Think of how many great warriors were fooled by their emotions in hostage situations, manipulated because of ties to family, friends or lovers. Hell, I could have asked for your mother to be beheaded right this instant while you fail to stop me. But I wont, because I believe a real man's fight has to be between him, himself, and the enemy facing him. No outside assistance, and devoid of anxiety from other sources."

Barnham still seems convicted in that his ways are right, but for the first time, you see an apostle ponder on his decisions, accept that he might not be all knowing, and be open to change. The other two disciples of evil you've met were pretty mindless, so it's a bit surprising to argue with one that does not resort to violence, or throw a tantrum when being told that they are wrong.

"If you care so much for the weak, then undoubtedly you must be ready to compensate for their shortcomings, correct? If you think I am wrong in commanding Ilos like this, let's experiment on your rationale, see how you would handle things if you were in my stead."

Barnham once again presents the pouch of elf powder, proving it is indeed the real product by breaking his own jaw with a punch, only to emotionlessly rub the magic substance across his chin, healing it back to how it previously was. It seems this is not the first time he's done this presentation, likely receiving so many blows that he's grown numb to pain itself.

"What I have here is more than enough to bring you to the peak of your strength. You will be free to enter and exit Ilos as you please to fight me in the ring without worrying about your health. However, investing on yourself means that you will have to ignore those who are weaker. Should you refuse, I will free all the slaves in the riverside without a second thought, at the cost of you having to wait for your wounds to disappear naturally. This should be an easy decision for a man who wants to protect the weak, no? Prove to me that you are just, put the needs of others above yourself, and maybe I'll reconsider my way of thinking when I fight a man who would rather die for what he believes, than go back on his words out of mere temptation."

Barnham is curious to see what you will choose. A full heal would come in handy when you have done nothing but nonstop fighting for the past 2 days with enemies several times larger in size and numbers, but that would mean the slaves outside would still live in terrible conditions while he boasts about being better than them because he is 'strong'.

>Heal yourself.
>Free the slaves.
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>>5174441
>>Free the slaves.
You act like it's an even an option for me Barnham.
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>>5174440
That's alright. If people invest themselves in a story to the point they write bigger wordups than I do, it shows that they're interested. If anything I'd be the asshole for brushing past it and not rewarding investment.

Still I had to narrow it down so it didn't get ridiculously long. Hopefully I summarized it without losing the tought process this time
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>>5174441
>Free the slaves.
Succumb not to temptation. The trials that god sets upon us will be the tests that prove us to be good.
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>>5174441
>>5174441
>Free the slaves.
>"A true warriors duty is to suffer for the weak, only by enduring the pain can he rise above it and climb to new unheard of heights of pure strength. Unlike you and your soldiers Barnham, who get strong quickly by selling their humanity and freedom away, in exchange for impure, unearned strength.

>I have proven this by defeating and even surpassing Gorrister. Your a coward Barnham. You avoid that which those you call "weak" endure daily, the pain of the human soul, that separates us from the common animal."

Feel free to use this as a write-in if you want, I just wanted to write something too.
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>>5174441
>>Free the slaves.
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>>5174441
>Heal yourself.
Third option in secret.
>Use only a small pinch for Vlad and distribute it to those in need of medical care like Zhafira and Benny and the children.
Barnham slaves is not kept in cages but entrapped in the area. So by defeating him at a later date that we can truly free the slaves.
Also releasing now only makes them jobless and starving. No work,no food. And not many can make the trip to elsewhere.
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On a different note, depending on how things play out in the future, I think we might actually be able to convince Barnham to join our side of this conflict. All it needs is the right arguments, and a show of strength against him.
If we can convince him that hunting apostles with us is the true path forwards, and eventually hunting the god hand themselves, then we might be able to get a powerful ally. He already shows no qualms about eating other apostles for their power. Maybe convince him that the colosseum is a waste of his time, that mortal flesh is a waste of his time...
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>>5174441
>Free the slaves.
Lmao we have healing magic
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>>5174450
Based Becchi
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>>5174441
>Heal yourself.
"Very well".
“But the majority of them are all quite weak or without food, not even clothing. Would it be a problem if they can organize themselves to go somewhere else when they are healed ?”

>>5174450
I will avoid writing that much next time np.
It’s fine that you have cut it into pieces and reused it, I think it works out and it makes clear what Vlad thinks of Barnham philosophy or if it would work on something big like an empire.
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>>5174441
>Free the slaves.

>>5174483
fucking miss click it was free slaves.
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>>5174480
Snatching an apostle from the GodHand would definatly piss them off more than just killing him, Barnham seems loyal enough that he spreads the "do as you will" even to the regular gladiators.
Also redeeming an absolute monster seems fun, so fuck it let's atleast try.
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>>5174480
>"If you care so much for the weak, then undoubtedly you must be ready to compensate for their shortcomings, correct?"

We should try to press this point with our actions. Someone big and strong can survive alone, but it takes a titan of a man to fend for himself and protect the weak from others
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>>5174524
Indeed. Fighting for yourself is cowardly. It's the easy way in life, a refusal to accept the challenges of protecting others.
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>>5174441
>Free the slaves.
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Oh shit I just had a great idea to make our point. Make it seem like we are going to grasp the elf powder only to smack it out of his hands and then say we want the people to be free. To accentuate the point that not only do we refuse his offer, we are thoroughly disgusted by it.
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>>5174449
>>5174455
>>5174462
>>5174481
>>5174488
"You want proof of my conviction? So be it. I will gladly ignore my wounds if you free the slaves. But the majority of them are quite weak due to lack of food. They need time to be nourished, or else they will die the second they go outside."

"The world has changed a lot these past few years. The way I see it, they can either die here, or die outside. Even with their newfound freedom, they still need more preparations to be properly independent... Alright, I'm aware that they've been trying to grow some crops. It would also be beneficial for me to have my own fruits and vegetables to grow, instead of relying on the merchants. I will send some guards to aid with plowing the land and send them more seeds, as well as rations for them to properly be hired by me until they can exit Ilos. How does that sound?"

"I don't see that much of a difference between enforced labor and slavery, but it's a start."
"No enforcement. If they want to leave right away, it's their choice. But abolishing slavery will only come if you refuse your heal, and fight me through natural means."
"I refuse." You confirm your decision.

"Heh, Smart choice. For a man to be strong, he needs to firmly believe on his own speech, or else he will not exhale confidence to his underlings. If you were to go back on your word, I would have killed you right where you stand. Thankfully, I can see that you have no intention of backing out, so I will grant you your wish."
Barnham orders his men to open the gates from the riverside, where several soldiers come with food and offerings to the malnourished inhabitants.

"A fight between two gladiators needs to be, above all else, entertaining. The crowd can notice when a match is one-sided. Which is why I want to make sure that I fight you at your best." Barnham grims as he pours some of the elven powder around your body. The effect is nearly instant as all the damage you've had from the swamp and from the match with Gorrister disappear from your body, as if they never even existed. You manage to take a feel for your muscles and jump around to check if there were any after effects, with no noticeable differences. Barnham was not offering you a shortcut to defeating him, but testing to see if you actually believed what you were saying.

"You have plenty of power in your words, Vlad. But I would like to see how you would fair against the best of the best. Surely you won't fail in not only entertaining the crowd, but me as well. You certainly have a different philosophy than mine, but so long as you have the courage - And the skills- to hold your ground, you are free to try and prove me wrong. Take as much time to prepare as you need to, I will be ready for you when you wish to enter the arena.

>We can settle this right now.
>I want to monitor how your soldiers will treat their new workers, give me a day.
>Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished.
>>
Remember that you can't "force" people to be strong. They still have to make that choice themselves. Even with a knife to your throat you can still tell them to just fucking stab you.

In the words of a man about to be make someone beat him to death just to prove a point. A man chooses, a slave obeys.
>>
>>5174710
>Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished.
>it's a thanks for me defending his family. No man can do it everything alone, we are all stronger together.
>>
>>5174710
>>Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished.
Shout out to ya boy smith and his nearly broken family.
>>
>>5174710
>Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished.
>>
>>5174710
>I want to monitor how your soldiers will treat their new workers, give me a day.
>Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished.
>"And even if we disaggre, thanks for healing me..."
>"I have more to say, but unless you wanna keep talking and discussing about our believes, i guess we can do that later. Maybe in the arena when the time comes"
>"Also, there's still something that is bugging me. Who's the guy that make you use your full force?-
>>
>>5174710
>Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished.
>>
>>5174716
Adding
>Also, there's still something that is bugging me. Who's the guy that make you use your full force?
It's a good queation, and ant Guts or Zodd might have passed through here.
>>
>>5174710
>Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished.
>Beyond that, I have to say that you interest me. You've given more thought into your actions - and my own - than other Apostles I've seen. I would like to get to know the man that may kill me - or who I may kill, depending upon who ends up victorious. No doubt the victor will take their memories of the loser with them. Would you indulge me?
Wine and dine with him, why the fuck not? He seems interesting as fuck.
>>
>>5174710
>I want to monitor how your soldiers will treat their new workers, give me a day.
>Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished.

"I imagine it would take some days for the armor. For the rest of the time after i am sure the people will not be abused, i will prepare for the fight. When the armor is done i will return at the arena."
"This said I ll go"

The armor will take sometime anyway.
>>
>>5173971
Conrad is too busy cooking up new plagues to care about Vlad.
>>
>>5174767
And that is his second mistake.
>>
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>>5174747
I think I know who it is.
>>
>>5174710
>>Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished.
>>
the anticipation is killing me
>>
>>5175022
I think that might be a tumor bro. Maybe you should visit a doctor.
>>
>>5175022
Weekdays are usually slower for me bros. Thankfully I just got out of class so I can do next updates without much worry
>>
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>>5175047
forgive my autism, this quest is simply that good
>>
>>5174716
>>5174717
>>5174721
>>5174730
>>5174747
>>5174757
>>5174762
>>5174822
"Bernard is forging my new armor, I will fight you when he's finished." You warn Barnham of your state of affairs, preferring to wait a few days for the plate armor to be finished.

"Very well. No doubt Bernard should get his fair share of helpers for his smelting. It really is a situation where both sides get what they want, but don't expect me to do it out of the kindness of my heart. It will take more than mere words to change who people are. They need time to ponder, as well as an example to strive for. If you plan on being that for the new populus of Ilos, you will need to be that role model for them to be inspired by. And that means only one of us will come out of that ring. Don't expect me to restrain myself."

"Please don't, I am also interested to see your fighting style. How do you even fight unarmed against more effective weapons?"
"What humans seem to have forgotten is that weapons only try to replicate what a good, well placed hit can already do. A kill is a kill, doesn't matter if it's by a catapult, or by a finger going through their temples. Regardless, if you really plan on killing me, I will accept my defeat with honor and grace. Dying would indeed prove that my ways are wrong, but would also show me that I lacked the might to reinforce my ways. We might be opposites in our ideals, but perhaps we can bond through a good old punch to the face."

"Not so sure about the bonding part, but I do want to see you putting your money were your mouth is, until then."
"I do know I am not the strongest yet, but perhaps by forcing myself into aliens situations, I can grow even further, and learn how to finally defeat him..." Barnham whispers out loud.

"Hm?"
"Don't mind me. Just reminiscing on the best fight of my life, perhaps I'll tell you another time. Loss does not scare me, if anything, it only makes me want to learn more about my limits. So I would advise you not to let me down either."

Barnham walks away to finish his meal, perhaps to give you a vision of your future if you failed to meet his expectations. Failing this match would likely end brutally for you, but you aren't scared, especially when you're feeling better than ever.

Going back to the bridge, you see the other gladiators being surprisingly cooperative with their previous slaves, it seems that Barnham's words really do hold some power over them, was Gorrister merely an outlier?
Regardless, you are free for the next few days, what to do?

>Help Michelle with the crops.
>Spend time with Zhafira.
>Monitor Bernard's treatment.
>Train for the fight, of course.
>Learn more about Benny.
>>
>>5175121
>Monitor Bernard's treatment.
>Assist him at his place of work, as a form of physical training. Hammer whatever metal needs hammered, even if you're not skilled enough to help him in any way other than getting the rough shapes down. Haul whatever he needs hauled.
>>
>>5175121
>Train for the fight, of course.
We can do the rest of that shit when our life isn't on the line against an already incredible enemy. I want to do that stuff too anons, but there is a likely possibility of death I want to equal out.
>>
>>5175139
Well, think of it this way...
If we assist in the making of our own armor, we're gaining muscle mass and some form of precision training as we hit more and more accurately on the bars we're helping to shape.
We could always try to work our purifying Od into the steel itself as we help to fold and shape it. Armor truly 'fit' for us, which might afford better protection against apostles than normal.
And it would reinforce us acting on our ideals. Helping others to gain strength, no?
>>
>>5175121
>Train for the fight, of course.
>Spend time with Zhafira.
>>
>>5175121
>Train for the fight, of course.
>Learn more about Benny.
Don't know much about him.
>>
>>5175121
>Monitor Bernard's treatment.
>Train for the fight, of course.
>>
>>5175121
>>Monitor Bernard's treatment.
>>Train for the fight, of course.
>>
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>>5175150
>>5175152
>>5175155
>>5175139
>>5175130
>>5175181
I like the idea of experimenting with armors but it's a shot in the dark if you can learn enchantment on a whim.
One roll to get more used to the halberd, another one to help the guy out, maybe you'll get some more insight. Been a while since Vlad did any magic.
2d100, roll!
>>
Rolled 43, 96 = 139 (2d100)

>>5175182
>>
Rolled 55, 64 = 119 (2d100)

>>5175184
1 off the thread number 0_0
>>
Rolled 19, 52 = 71 (2d100)

>>5175182
>>
Nice
>>
>>5175184
>>5175186
>>5175187
Your training with your halberd went about as well as expected. You can still be somewhat fast and acrobatic with it, you just have to be more careful for when you stick the landing.

The heavier armor set is what really bothers you. You had some degree of experience wearing sets before, but the ones that Barnham's soldiers tend to use feel and weigh like reinforced pillars! Guess that when you're fighting apostles, you need as much help as you can get, but that also comes with the downside of being slow as molassis! Gunpowder doesn't seem to mind, but your velocity will be more dependant on him than anything else, with your jumps and leaps being a lot shorter and less impressive, but at least it serves as some sort of weighted training.

Benny enjoys seeing you train, trying to encourage your sessions by playing some soft tunes with his wind instruments. He might not be good at speaking, but he has a way to perform without needing to.

The gladiators seemed to behave after seeing what you've done to Gorrister. They clearly do not respect you coming in and ordering changes, but they are aware of their place, not wanting to die over a mere disagreement. You attempt to learn some smelting from Bernard, but aside from seeing him cough puffs of smoke from time to time, you don't do much than mere assistance work.
It does give you the idea of enchanting armors though. Infusing everything with your Od is useful, but it depends on you being able to expel your energy beforehand. What if you already had your body charged to protect you from enemy blows? Your purification already seems to burn the skin of apostles, maybe you could make an astral thornmail if you had such the means to do so.

You attempt to use cast a spell on Merlina's cloak for a test, but your flow is blocked by her own. Surprisingly, you encounter a mix of several runes on her cloth piece. It seems that she left a parting gift for you in the form of a safety net to the occult. Your learning of Tudorian comes in handy when you translate her spell:

"Snide at my last resort, God Hand. For I have found an apostle of my own to drag into the pits with me."
The runes appear to be a mixture of spells to open a vortex, call forth the arm of a foul monster, and send them into the abyss along with the user. Since she never felt the need to suicide bomb, and her later years being very limiting in her use of magic, she only had the strength to summon it once at the cost of leaving her Od on her clothes. It likely gives you leeway to ensnare a stronger enemy and send them straight to hell, but seeing as this is the only memento you carry of Merlina, you feel that using that spell for testing or minor enemies would be a disrespect to your deceased master. Should the time come, it would activate on your command, but only on unwinnable conditions.
>>
>>5175230
The fateful day of the match is approaching, and your set is nearly ready. After another sweaty day of swinging your spear around and learning how to use it's several blades accordingly, you hear a familiar sniffle from Benny, along with some thumps and laughs, his absence was quite noteable today, and it wasnt without reason.

Feeling that the guards have backpedaled on their word, you promptly ready your weapon to slice some heads, but instead, you find other children throwing rocks at the poor musician.

"Hah, did you hear what this idiot-head just say?"
"Of course not! He can't speak a word correctly before pissing his pants!"
"Let's hear it from the horse's mouth, then! Hey, Benny! What did you say to earn this beating?"
"I T- I t-t-t-t- I told you I wa-w-w-wan-" As the pebles start to hit across his face and wear at his already poor constitution, the young kid fails to repeat his previous words when growing increasingly nervous.
"G-g-g-g-go cry me a river!" Another bald kid mocks him from not even being able to speak coherently. "Wanting to get stronger, can you believe this bozo? He's lived here for all 14 years of his life without even getting good at spelling, and thinks he can change the failure he is now by just believing in it!"

"I'm not j-j-j-u-just believing! I-cC-c-ca-n learn with V-v-v-lad!" You seem to have gained a fan these past few weeks, which would explain why he liked to play songs for you, but with him not being able to even speak his mind without being treated as a pariah by kids his age, it's no wonder he never bothers to talk to anybody.

"Hey, do you think his sister is bathing? Let's go see her naked again!"
"With how much of an airhead she is, I bet that she'd just show her tits if we asked her politely!"

The kids walk away as Benny keeps quietly sobbing at the floor. Were they 20 years older, they would be getting a good boulder caving in their skulls, but with prepubescents, you can definitely be a bit more forgiving.

Still, kids can be very cruel.

>You don't have what it takes to fight, Benny. Stick to music.
>You don't have to be a warrior to change the world, or to be respected.
>You could use some speech lessons.
>Are you just going to let them have their way?
>I could show you the basics of self defense, if you'd like.
>Here, trow this rock back at them.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5175250
>You don't have to be a warrior to change the world, or to be respected.
>>
>>5175250
>You don't have to be a warrior to change the world, or to be respected.
>That being said, I never liked bullies. Let's teach them a lesson about being on the receiving side, get a stick boy.
>>
>>5175250
>You don't have to be a warrior to change the world, or to be respected.
>Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to teach those bullies a very important lesson. Do you happen to know who their parents are?
>>
>>5175250
I like >>5175255 and >>5175259
Maybe tell Benny how to use the stick
>>
>>5175251
>>5175255
>>5175259
>>5175280
"You don't have to be a warrior to change the world, Benny. Or to be respected. I can see it in your eyes that you don't want to kill, and there is no shame in wanting to live off of your art. Why don't you focus on that instead?" You encourage the child to be his own person, instead of trying to follow in a path he has no future in.

"C-Cicici-ci-- Wh-Wh-"
Oh, for crying out loud. This will take forever if you wait for him to finish his sentences. You gently place a hand on Benny's head and let his thoughts flow right into your ears.

"Cindy will never stop thinking she's Zhafira, my mom died to the plague when no one was there to save her, and my dad is always busy doing those damn swords! I hate it! I hate it all! What other choice do I have? I need to get out of here!"

For someone with such disfigured speech, his thoughts are quite coherent. Since he was born and raised with no culture other than 'keep surviving' with the occasional distraction from his flute, you wonder if not knowing about the holy scriptures might make him more susceptible to telepathy...

"You have the choice of not throwing your life away."
His eyes spark open as he stares around to see how you managed to get inside his head.
"H-H-ho-w did y-y-"

"The same as Zhafira does. I used a neat little trick called magic. We can keep talking like this if you'd prefer."
Benny nods in approval, happy to finally have a long conversation with someone who understands him.

Taking some time off to teach him how to hold a sword by fighting him with a stick, you can tell that the boy is terrible at swinging. He flails around every time he thinks he can get a hit in, and surrenders whenever you manage to poke him. Training him would take a lot of time and effort on the long term that you simply do not have right now.

"It's all my fault... I can still remember the last words my mom said to Cindy before she passed away."
"Make them laugh, Zhafira... The world is already too sad for Cindy to keep crying, so you must teach the world how to keep being happy..."
Cindy was the closest one to Mom when she died, she was taking care of her day and night, never losing hope that she would recover, but she never did. I was the one that made her this way. Even when she offered to get her hand chopped off instead of mine, she kept laughing and laughing... She scares me... And I'm scared of what I've done to her... I don't know if I can keep living with this guilt... I just wanted to do the same as you, and escape to a better place, but I can't.

I can't take you with me. I cannot vouch for your safety. Even disregarding the apostles he can't defend himself from, just the fact that he's a nonbeliever could make the holy see traget him as an infidel.
>>
>>5175307

"You don't have to protect me at all times. I know how to hide and run. Just drop me off somewhere so I can live as a bum or whatever. Music is the only thing I'm good at anyway..." Benny angrily plays some sour notes at his flute.

"Your sister wanted to bring smiles to others with her stage plays, didn't she? You have similar goals, why can't you work together with her?"

"It's too painful for me! She has no sense of right or wrong now, because all she cares is that other people are happy! No one is always happy, but she believes she is! What's so bad about wanting to escape from a situation you can't change? You believe in peace too, right? Why don't you help me find peace alongside you?"

While Benny can come across as whiny at times, this is coming from a boy who never had the opportunity to speak properly with another human being. Either being coddled or talked down to when stammering, everyone came across as incredibly patronizing to him, and this is the first time he bothered to open his heart to someone else.

Whatever words you give him next, they will be very hard hitting, which is why he expectantly awaits you to chime in.
Should you take him under your wing? Surely he would have the adventure of his life and escape like he longs to do, but for how long he would live like that before getting trampled by a demon? Forget the demons, any stronger than average human could beat him to a pulp in this dog-eat-dog world. He himself says that all he wants to do is to play music, he was born to do art. What folk songs could he sing that would change the outcome of a fight?

>Be it Cindy or Zhafira, deep down your sister still loves you, watch over her.
>I could help you talk with your sister, see what she's going through.
>You could come with me, but only if Bernard agrees.
>No matter where you go, your hardships will always follow behind you. There's no need for you to leave.
>Write-in,
>>
>>5175320
>Troubles can’t be left behind. You can only learn to overcome them. When the world is trying to beat you down, you have to stand tall, look it in the eye, and spit right in its face. You can do this, Benny, no matter what you or anyone else thinks or says. Your sister needs you to help her, and you give your father the strength to continue. Be there for them, and become the pillar that supports them.
>>
>>5175320
>No matter where you go, your hardships will always follow behind you. There's no need for you to leave.
>Be it Cindy or Zhafira, deep down your sister still loves you, watch over her.
>>
>>5175320
>I've trying escaping from suffering all my life Benny, and it only brought more of it, to both me and my family. It was when I got theuated into war that I realized the thruth. Your sister, what she is doing is also a way to escape the pain, by faking it does not exists. You have to become stronger, but not int he way Barnham preaches. Have a strong will, but don't let others walk over you. Become the pillar of your community. Music speaks to the soul an dyour family needs you.
>Come on, let's go see your sister, she needs a talk too. And those dumb boys were going that way, and they also need to learn.
We need to talk with those bullies that what they are doing is exactly what the guards tried to do. And if they don't fix their act, they are going to end up the exact same way by the hands of another.
>>
>>5175320
>>You could come with me, but only if Bernard agrees.

We must have a minstrel to sing our deeds and a person who can act as a spy if possible, also since he isn't a believer of the holy see maybe we can have a proto bard?
>>
>>5175320
>No matter where you go, your hardships will always follow behind you. There's no need for you to leave.
>You could come with me, but only if Bernard agrees.

We can't protect him alone, and he can't fight, but there's nothing really stopping us from bringing him along as a support character. The only members of Guts' crew that are really capable in a straight fight are Serpico and Guts himself. Farnese, Casca, Isador, Shierke and the elves either have situational abilities or are (effectively) useless in combat.
>>
>>5175320
>No matter where you go, your hardships will always follow behind you. There's no need for you to leave.
That said:
>You could come with me, but only if Bernard agrees.

I will point out that only two members of Guts' adventuring party have the capacity to actually fight, those being Serpico and Guts. Farnese, Isidro (who is a kid much like Benny) and Schierke are all purely support characters, as are the fairies and none could ever stand against even a pseudo-apostle in a fight. Hell, even Serpico has difficulties with full-fledged apostles and other demonic monsters, and that's with an upgrade with some mystic equipment. But all of them have important roles in the group that make them useful, both from a tactical and personasl standpoint. And if you got Benny some magic training or similar? You could make him into a second Farnese, if not a potential Schierke assuming he takes to it EXTREMELY well.

More importantly, we need someone to ground us. One of the only individuals we've been regularly engaging with is a horrible people-eating demon who is also a social darwinist and the other is a fucking horse.
>>
>>5175377
To be fair though, compared to regular men Serpico is a fucking beast. And compared to pretty much anything Guts is a combat monster. It's like a level 90 traveling with a guy in a smurf account and a bunch of level 10s.
>>
>>5175383
Oh, no doubt about that. Serpico is a fucking nightmare on the battlefield. Same for Azan when he joins the team later. The point I was making is that like, a good 90% of Guts' party are unsuited towards combat. Even someone like Roderick, who has some degree of combat training and enough skill/strength to deal with familiars and lesser demons isn't really going to be making a difference in the sort of conflicts Guts and Serpico are needed to resolve, let alone pre-training Farnese or Magnifico. Their importance comes from their unique skills and the fact that they can cover angles of assault that the heaviest hitters either flat out cannot or aren't specialized in. Not only that, but all of Guts' companions help to ground and stabilize him in the face of the shit he's dealing with.

Vlad's presently better off than Guts was before he got his first companion in Puck, but that's mostly because he's been fighting fodder apostles, isn't Branded and has magic to balance out the mild SAN damage demons tend to cause. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, encouraging Benny's development or even having him tag along with us outweighs most of the negatives, especially if he can grow and become stronger as a result.
>>
>>5175377
>>5175383
>>5175387
There's also the fact the combat-wise, Serpico is carried hard by his compatibility with the sylphs in his sword and cloak. His skill in combat is still incredible, but he's definitely not as much of a hero without them.
>>
>>5175320
>Be it Cindy or Zhafira, deep down your sister still loves you, watch over her.
'Now lets go give Zhafira a laugh,we gonna bully those kids back for peeping on your sister.'
'Maybe swords is not for you, perhaps you a better with a longer thing like a spear?'

Benny got potential as his sister's soundtrack backup
Cindy/zhafira's puppet shows could use music background.
>>
>>5175407
What if we give Benny a crossbow? They don't require any strength, save for what little is needed to hold it up.
>>
>>5175407
+1 there needs to be a little bit of light in this era of darkness
>>
>>5175320
>No matter where you go, your hardships will always follow behind you. There's no need for you to leave.
>Be it Cindy or Zhafira, deep down your sister still loves you, watch over her.
>>
>>5175420
We could do blowpipes. Since he uses a flute.
If we can get him a magic tutor to turn his music into better stuff like charm spells,emotional calming,ASMR, painful percussion. Like a DnD bard. Also he oddly needs a strong mentor to make him more confident. If we can turn him into atleast a feared quiet kid,that is a success.
>>
Vlad's NEVER going to get an adventuring party at this rate.
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>>5175434
>ASMR, painful percussion
Why did you put the same thing twice?
>>
>>5175320
>I could help you talk with your sister, see what she's going through.
>>
>>5175436
No we are not.
We are getting an entire town worth's of them.
All those gladiators ain't gonna sit and farm like a pleb. We sending them out on deadly missions for gold and glory to clear out the taint of the ruinous powers that be.
The world has turned into the most foul charnelhouse of lamentations and loathing.
>>
>>5175446
By "Adventuring Party", I mean something like Guts' companions, not Mother Base.
>>
>>5175436
People seem oddly insistent that Vlad can totally take on the threats in the setting without a party, despite the fact that if anything, Berserk repeatedly shows the opposite. Trying to do things alone will get you killed. Hell, some people here have the ever-so-lofty goal of wanting to fuck over Conrad, when we know for a fact even a basic bitch avatar of just one of the God Hand nearly obliterated Guts' soul and pretty much perma-crippled him.

It's the strangest behavior in all honesty.
>>
>>5175452
This is exactly how I was feeling, too. I guess we just haven't found anyone Anons could agree is good enough, except for Merlina and possibly Farnese.
>>
>>5175320
>>I could help you talk with your sister, see what she's going through.
>>
>>5175452
>Trying to do things alone will get you killed. Hell, some people here have the ever-so-lofty goal of wanting to fuck over Conrad
>lofty goal
I'm sorry, did you mean "reasonable and necessary aspiration"? Fuck you Conrad sleeper agent you're on the list, too.

As for people wanting to go full solo, I haven't seen any. But I could have skimmed over them. Or forgot about them.
>>
>>5175455
If people are searching for "good enough", then we'll never find anyone. Pretty certain even Gaiseric/Skull Knight would tell us that and that trying to bear the burden of struggling alone is folly.

>>5175461
I'm not arguing that wiping out the God Hand is necessary and is indeed, a priori good. Just that we are nowhere near the point when we'd be remotely worth considering by any of them.
>>
>>5175461
>As for people wanting to go full solo, I haven't seen any.

No one is actively saying we shouldn't to have companions, it's just this weird unconscious thing that a lot of Anons seem to be thinking.
>>
>>5175466
>we shouldn't to have
*shouldn't have
>>
>>5175436
I am not honestly sure about Benny and Zhafira. I don't want the perfect party or for Vlad to be alone, and i am a bit conflicted of having them with us, since Griffith want to especially ruin our boy life and anyone connected even remotely would get a similar treatment. I do like their interactions so far, and Vlad would be good with some companions, it gives us more people to talk as well during travel and what not.
The world isn't really safe anymore so not much can be said, even Ilos could be attacked in the future by anything spawning from the age of darkness really.
>>
>>5175452
Even if they are a particularly great support character, we could use someone, anyone really. If Benny shows aptitude for magic or eventually gets the hang of swordfighting, we could at least get ourselves a squire.
You know, someone to do alarm while we sleep (with a particularly sharp flute note if need be) help forage, maintain our weapons, etc.
>>
>>5175477
I agree, but I personally would want to leave Zhafira behind. She doesn't seem to have the self-preservation instincts need for traveling post-eclipse.
>>
I am also thinking about their father without two childrens.
At the moment, after we finish Barnham i have intention to get back at the Santana estate for our money and for give rest to Jacopo and Gallahad bones, then we return here in Ilos for make better equipment with the money. Or somewhere else.
>>
>>5175481
I wonder how far the Colosseum is from the Santana Estate. It might be more prudent to get to Vritannis and save Sivir/kiss Farnese first if it's closer.
>>
>>5175465
>Just that we are nowhere near the point when we'd be remotely worth considering by any of them.
Oh yeah. Don't put the cart in before the horse and all that.

>>5175466
>it's just this weird unconscious thing that a lot of Anons seem to be thinking.
Okay Vlad, stop reading minds please. I think what it's an unconscious bias preferring female company. It's a lot easier to convince a bunch of guys to hang out with a chick. They're hard on the boys :^)
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>>5175480
>>5175483
I might reconsider and take them. But i am just afraid for them and taking them away from a good father, is not fair for him. I would take an oath for ensure their protection if we take them under our wings, in front of Bernard. And to give him back their bones if they perish. As much as that can count.

I don't remember a map of Midland, and i can't remember the proper positions of most locations. But i was thinking of going there for the fact the estate was already sacked. And if there are enemies we do know our home terrain, so we have the advantage on them funnily enough. Beyond the reasons i already said, there is also the symbolic kraken part of the garden statue that i want to cut down, instead of leaving it standing.
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>>5175492
If we recruit either of them, it should be Benny, because he seems like he's got that spark that all true adventurers have, so he should be able to keep his head on his shoulders fairly well, even if he's useless in combat.
Zhafira is too mentally unwell for us to take her along. I think her split-personality thing would probably make her easy to possess or otherwise target by evil spirits.
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>>5175320
>You could come with me, but only if Bernard agrees.
Let's get our party started.
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>>5175448
Since King of Midland has basically fallen. This means the throne is up for grabs by the surviving factions. And by feudal rules, we technically is a potential king. Since noble and knightly houses each has some old royal blood connection. Thus we soon have to be leader material before our mom finally kicks the bucket and end up in edgy angst hell.
>>5175480
Zhafira needs Benny to look after her when their dad dies from soot lungs. Bernard coughing up dust man.
And Zhafira and Benny is more suited as townfolks than traveller,soon when Ilos stabilizes. There will be migrants coming in.
Her puppet shows will work as morale boosts.
>>5175483
Probably about a week to a month's travel seeing our horse and mom got here not worse for wear. Medieval fantasy mapscape is chaotic,how did Guts ever walked into different towns without meeting the same people is weird.
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Also the gladiators will be never short of coin and work for as long as they live.
The eclipse has turn places cursed and haunted. Need people to guard merchants from foul beasties like skeletons and undead.
Also need people to look out for Incubus nightmare feeders. Those love to spawn from areas of suffering and death. Places like the coliseum and it's outskirts.
https://berserk.fandom.com/wiki/Incubus
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>>5175497
True
In regard to both of them Benny, Zhafira, i think they would find some friends in the group of Guts when we eventually finish our own adventures and decide to join forces (if we go for that). I don't see them making friends here in Ilos. So there is also that to consider.
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>>5175497
Plus,it seems masochism is part of her personality. She kept laughing even after they took her hand,beat her and almost raped her.
Zhafira seems to be an element to counter the Idea of Evil. Laugh in the face of suffering.
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>>5175523
Masochism would imply she finds it pleasurable or enjoyable. It seemed to me like she was laughing -because- it hurt. Because that's her coping mechanism. She's got serious psychological damage. It's not like she wants to be hurt she just forces herself to laugh and smile in spite of it.

Basically she's in a super advanced form of denial. "See it's funny they're breaking my ribs teehee" like no the fuck it isn't you crazy bint. She ain't got no anti-evil brain powers or nothing.
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>>5175427
Okay i am changing my previous vote here. Perhaps Benny can be another hero.

>>5175320
>No matter where you go, your hardships will always follow behind you. There's no need for you to leave.
>You could come with me, but only if Bernard agrees.
>Write in
"You will need to learn much, it's not just about using a weapon or know how to fight Benny. There will be more than that, you will need to follow my instructions, learn how to live in the wilds and roads, to control your emotions, see powerful enemies that could break strong warriors and worse. I know Ilos has been hard on you, but don't expect to be any easier out there."
"Ready yourself in both mind and body, if you wish to come with me."
"And we might not see your home for quite a while, but don't be afraid i do plan to return here time to time for more equipment and even for see your family and my mother. Have you thought about what your sister and your father might think ? And how to convince them ? They hold dear to you."
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>>5175320

>No matter where you go, your hardships will always follow behind you. There's no need for you to leave.
>You could come with me, but only if Bernard agrees.
>Be it Cindy or Zhafira, deep down your sister still loves you, watch over her.
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>>5175320
>Be it Cindy or Zhafira, deep down your sister still loves you, watch over her.
Personally I don't Vlad to be nail that tears this family apart completely. They can still recover methinks
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Why are people thinking taht why we are not picking the very first option of a companion, someone that is needed at his home and family, that it means we want Vlad to be an eternal loner?
We didn't have an option until now, Bernard has lost his wife, Zhafura has fone insane, and Benny just wanta to escape suffering, not go on an adventure, so we can't even offer what he wants.
Taking mother with us, or Barnham if we manage to do a miracle and convince him would be better.
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>>5175577
Okay, Mister "one post ID".
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>>5175579
It's mister phoneposter from the queue at the diagnosis center for you.
How about you you give an argument instead? One that doesn't depend on assuming the intentions of an entire playerbase?
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>>5175587
Faggot.
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>>5175589
Lmao what a bitch
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>>5175592
You're the bitch for getting so offended over being called "mister one post ID". Go back to twitter if getting called names scares you so much.
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>>5175594
Kek, whatever makes you feel better anon.
Come on dude, give me an argument for taking Benny other than just wanting every possible companion no matter the circumstances, we can spend all day posting cope and seethe at eachother, or do something productive for the quest instead.
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>>5175601
>give me an argument for taking Benny
I like him. I think he's got the will to survive and thrive, despite his incredible weakness, similarly to Isidor.
Having extra eyes is always useful, and he can probably help us whenever we get to a settlement by playing music in taverns and inns, earning us some coin and possibly cheaper if not free room and board.
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>>5175609
Fair enough, I also like the little guy. It's just that I believe that potential of his would be better used toward his family and community, and that teachimg him how to face his problems would let him grow more than helping him run away from them, and his sister and father suffered enough.
Mother on the other hand, has no real ties to the place other than the farming project, that she can tecah and leave at the hand of others. She also has iron will, experience being a merchant, and her morality and faith could help sway other people.
Unless we take Bernard and Zhafira as well, they were travelling artisans before being enslaved, and it would let us deal with Cindy madness slowly and have a smith on hand. Downsides is taht we would be taking four non-combatants at once (or three if mom is as good with a crossbow as she is with throwing hoes), deprive Illos of a smith and Bernard might not wnat to leave his wife's grave behind.
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>>5175622
I agree with taking mom along, she more than proved herself by standing up to Gorrister.
The reason I'm so insistent on bringing Benny along because I think we wont be leaving Ilos for a while. There ought to be plenty of time to train him, put Zhafira's mind back together, and fix what Barnham fucked up in Ilos.
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>>5175632
If we stick around Ilos for a while and fix the problems, than it does solve most of the issues with taking him along, except having Bernard lose another family member.
Might be a good idea to have a talk with all of them first so they can think it over, and make the offer again when we are ready to leave.
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>>5175636
>Might be a good idea to have a talk with all of them first so they can think it over, and make the offer again when we are ready to leave.
That is the best plan, and seemingly what most anons seem to agree on. Barnham already has a lot of "infrastructure" built into the Colosseum, so using that to fix the city outside would speed up the process a lot. I doubt we'd stay for longer than a month, so we'd still have time to get to Vritannis before it gets mating pressed by Ganishka.
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>>5175477
>and i am a bit conflicted of having them with us, since Griffith want to especially ruin our boy life and anyone connected even remotely would get a similar treatment.
This isn't very different from the situation Guts and his friends are going through, I'll just point out. In fact, they actually have it worse than we do.
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Woke up to a pretty engaging conversation on Vlad's party. Surprised that some are even considering sparring Barnham.
A third ally wouldn't be a bad idea after all, the second being Gunpowder, of course. Updatesoon
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>>5175685
Barnham has show that he is willing to admit the shortcomings of his beliefs, and choosing to spare him would be another proof of our conviction. Just got to do it when we are sure he is really defeated and not pull a get back up angrier move.
Also the idea of cucking the Godhand of an apostle that is the poster child of of what they preach amuses me.
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>>5175325
>>5175336
>>5175344
>>5175348
>>5175377
"Your hardships will always follow you, Benny. I've been trying to escape suffering for most of my life too, but it only brought more of it, to both me and my family. You need to learn that your troubles can't be left behind, and only by overcoming them, you will grow stronger, be it physically, or mentally. Don't expect it to be any easier when your back is stronger either, for you will only carry harder weights. Are you really going to leave your family when they also need your support? Be it Zhafira or Cindy, she loves you with all her heart, and no doubt Bernard does too. You could instead serve as a moral support to you community instead of losing sight of your homely temple, have you really thought this through?"

Your response sounds very negative on the outset, making Benny from as he expected a rejection from a possible mentor. Truly you haven't seen the extent of how bad the world can be to the new generation, and the responsibility of letting a child die on you could be too much to bear. You don't want to raise him to make the same mistakes you did growing up.

"That being said, just because you can't fight doesnt mean you are useless. You're very talented with your songs, maybe you can evolve in spirit by coming with me. But only if you choose to stick with me instead of escaping. Also ask Bernard. I'm not your father, so his words have more weight on you than mine."
"Do you really mean that?"
"Of course, why would I lie to you? Your tunes are pretty invigorating, hearing you while I trained made sure my mind didn't wander to other places. You have your worth, Benny, keep walking and you can get far, wherever you go."

The boy tears up again before gulping the lump in his throat. But before he went away, you considered getting back at the bullies for humiliating him. You've never been much of a prankster, but what's one bad example to Benny when the other kids want to peep at his sister when she's bathing? Bratty kids grow up to be bratty adults, unless they learn a proper lesson. Plus Zhafira might want to know that you're taking her brother away from her, and she's too unpredictable to make an estimate on how she will react.

>Prank the kids.
>Snitch them to their parents.
>Wait for them to go away and talk to Zhafira.
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>>5175716
>Prank the kids.
Use a bit of magic to fuck with them. Not too bad, just freak them out a little.
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>>5175716
>>Prank the kids.
>Then talk to Zhafira.
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>>5175730
+1
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>>5175716
>Sneak on the kids, and then drag them back to their parents by their clothes
>Hey, do you know the gladiators that got killed some days ago? They tried beating up those weaker than themselves using coward numbers, then and perv on Cindy. If I were you, I wouldn't go following the example of people that are buried.
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>>5175716
>Prank the kids
>Then snitch them to their parents.
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>>5175716
>Prank the kids.
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>>5175716
>>>Prank the kids.
>>Then talk to Zhafira.

>>5175735
i like this approach support
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>>5175724
>>5175730
>>5175735
>>5175738
Zhafira sat on a rock, wearing only a loincloth so she wasn't completely naked, but still exposed enough for the kids to have fun ogling at her body. She's really nothing too amazing, especially given how you can count the ribs showing on her skin, but that's probably the best piece of ass they're seeing down in this dumpster.

...Hanging out at brothels really gave you a standard on what's attractive or not, didn't it?
Regardless, you bring Benny down there to see what you could pull on the kids. If none here have even touched the Holy Scriptures, the telepathy will work on just about everyone here. And likely will scare the pits out of them if you managed to deceive them into thinking that Zhafira has some underlying powers hidden on her magical acts.

Since you don't have to mimic her voice, but only think of what she would sound like and replicate it on their brains, this should be a fun watch for Benny, taking his hand with yours and letting him hear what you say to them.

"I know you're all watching from that boulder over there, Silly boys!" They're already jumping out of their hiding spot after hearing her voice in their heads, but that's probably not enough to really make them learn.
"I also know that you've been mistreating my poor little brother Benny! Do you want to know how I lost my hand? My puppets aren't merely for show. If they see bad kids walking about at night, they will eat their meat. It's true! I try to keep them satisfied, but they keep screaming 'feed me, feed me!'."

So you might want to be more careful with the people you mess around with, or else my babies will come...after...YOU! AHAHAHAHAHA!"
Benny threw a plush doll on one of their heads as she cackled in their minds, the kids all scramble and run back crying to their mamas, with Benny holding his laughter in as they run straight past him. That will teach them.

Zhafira merely stops rubbing the imaginary space where her hand should be when reacting to the children.
"Huh, was my singing that off key?"

"How is my little sweet bun doing?" After waiting for her to get dressed, Benny is greeted by a bear hug that lifts him up to his sister's eye level. Although misguided and creepy, the harlequin cherishes Benny deeply, so you carefully explain the situation for her not to think you're taking him from her.

"Oh, no no no no! We need him right here on Ilos! Who will be the my backup player? I wanted to make my puppet shows with him!" She thinks she's the one that takes care of him, instead of the other way around.
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>>5175832
Well that was the worst approach, now the bullies learned to just be more scared and mistrustful of different people.
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>>5175832
"You wanted to travel around the world with him, yeah? It's not like I plan on taking him with me forever, I just want to show him the world outside the walls."
"We will only come out once the king shows up! No buts! Barnham wants a strong man to face him, right? Who's stronger than the king?"

"C-Ci-C-Indy... W-We- h-av-aven't played together in y-y-ears." Benny tries to inform her that he's been growing distance of the girl, tired of the character she can't get out of. "Y-You used to b-bb-e so nice. But n-n-now I can't even rec-recg-recog- I don't know you anymore!"

He skips the more complicated syllables, but gets his point across while standing up for himself.

"Why haven't you told me this before, Benny? I love you, and I want you to be happy with me..."
"I-I w- I write on your notes all the time. You just write off what you don't like to re-r-r-emember!"

She starts to itch her front of her neck, holding her laughter. It's not an innocent laugh like she tends to do when purposefully joking, but a forced one to hide her true emotions.

She would probably go even more crazy if she knew that Benny died, but to hear it from Benny that he straight up wants a break from her incessant, fake happiness when she made that up to bring him more smiles, it's already starting to set her off.

The Cindy Benny new is long gone, Zhafira is here to stay. It's not like you can exorcise an evil spirit out of her body, you'll have to either appeal to reason and hope she can understand, or drop the subject to prevent a possible freakout.

>You can come with us, maybe we can sort this out over time.
>Why does it have to be the king? I'm going to fight Barnham anyway.
>I'm sad to tell you this, but you don't have the final say on this decision.
>You're right, he should stay with you.
>It's ok to feel angry or sad, Cindy. You can quit the act for now.
>Write-in.
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>>5175847
>>It's ok to feel angry or sad, Cindy. You can quit the act for now.
better now than later
>You can come with us, maybe we can sort this out over time.
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>>5175847
>You know, I was a knight-in-training once, the king was never strong or good to begin with. But we never needed him to make the world better.
>The times we frown, just makes the ones we smiles better, if we laugh all the time, than it make it meaningless.
>You were travellers weren't you? Why don't you and your father don't come as well?
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>>5175847
>I'm sad to tell you this, but this is Benny's decision, not yours.
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>>5175847
>It's ok to feel angry or sad, Cindy. You can quit the act for now.
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>>5175847
>Why does it have to be the king? I'm going to fight Barnham anyway.
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>>5175847
>>It's ok to feel angry or sad, Cindy. You can quit the act for now.
>>You can come with us, maybe we can sort this out over time.
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>>5175847
>It's ok to feel angry or sad, Cindy. You can quit the act for now.
Can't be happy all the time. Especially if it's fake happiness.
>You can come with us, maybe we can sort this out over time.
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>>5175832
I was expect Vlad to just lift them with the blunt end of his pole and start talking about how they will sell for a good price to salt mine slavers of Timbuktu. And then like a fishmonger with old fish,give them back to their parents.
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