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n the mountains of Bloodrise, there is an eerie silence. People who once trusted the neighbours, who knew their lands were safe, who strolled freely by night and by day, now lock their doors and speak in hushed whispers. Beasts are in hiding, birds nested and quiet, for even the creatures of the forests know to avoid attention, for war has come to the mountains—a shadow-war, fought by dwarven mercenaries against monsters unseen and, more often than not, unheard of before this age. The kobold infestation which has long festered above the foothills has spilled out, and all the Hells seem to have erupted from those peaks and spilled down the sun-reddened spires with them: shapeshifting lizardmen, basilisks and fire-lizards, black-skinned elves, big hairy goblins wearing spiked armour and even great and terrible insects.
The dwarves have held them back so far, and rarely has the violence spilled down into the human settlements, but no longer can you trust a stranger in the woods—not even one who just seems like a man with a lisp, or a gaunt-looking dwarf. No longer can you go hunting alone or in small groups, or collect berries and apples beyond the edge of a settlement except during brightest day.
People mutter fearfully of a New Age of Darkness.
The architect of this unsettling epoch, however, is miles away. Unbeknownst to even the heroes of light, the Copper Dragon King of Bloodrise, Dark Prophet of the Coming Age, is in the very capital of the human-led empire of the Children of the Gods of Light. In Hawksong, shining city of the Paladin Order, the Dragonborn Antipaladin known variously as Theral or (in his human guise of late) as Long Wang ahs been busy. Having come here to snatch a bride from the palace of Paladin King Archos himself, and to slay his hated and fated foe, the Green Knight.
He very nearly succeeded, too.
Princess Ekaterine was smitten, their courtship progressing rapidly, their informal betrothal awaiting only formal recognition, confirmation, and sweetest consummation.
And the Green Knight, Heinrcih Yosef? Defeated, utterly. He yet lives, but probably wishes he didn’t. he ahs been made a prisoner and his own mind and body by the loathsome love of the succubus who he kept as slavish servant.
Alas, the Green Knight was not alone—he had allies, adventures, who came to suspect that Long Wang and Theral were one and the same—or, at least, that ‘Mister Long, exorcist from the East’ was more than he appeared to be, and tied to the demonic and reptilian happenings in Hawksong. In an attempt to prevent their escape and his exposure, the Dragonborn Antipaladin engaged two of these powerful adventures in a pitched aerial battle in the skies above Hawksong. He was victories, and his foes tumbled to their doom like falling stars swallowed by the blackness of the void!
>>
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>>5650178

The victory came at a cost, though.

The Dragonborn Antipaladin is on Death’s own door. He clings to life, even is his burgeoning kingdom below the Bloodrise Mountain struggles for survival. He was shot, battered, savage by beak and talons of a terrible gryphon, and cast down into the black waters of Hawksong’s harbour to nearly drown. Only his loyal allies’ timely intervention saved him.

YOU are the Dragonborn Antipaladin… But this is not your story. Not yet. You can barely stay conscious, let alone take urgent action.

For now, just rest, and let ~Hot Aunty Iri~ go to work.
>>
>>5650179
Her name—her TRUE name, carefully guarded from those who do not know it—is Irinnile. It always has been stretching back to the very beginning and carrying forward to the end of all things—as all demons, she is immortal. She is timeless, shapeless—even ‘she’ is a temporary state, a matter of mood more than anatomy, perhaps a carry-over from her most recent summoning to the material plane two decades hence. Once, she was a lesser demon—a succubus, barely better than an imp, a shadowy pleasure-demon of flickering shadow and dim, smoky flame. Now, by her partnerships with her dearly departed Izzy (a Reptilian Infiltrator who helped summon and shape her) and her beloved Ricky (the vengeful Green Knight who she now wears like a comfortable and sexy set of armoured lingerie) she is SOOO much greater—LITERALLY a Greater Demon, with her own Sigil of Authority and everything! She pretty much runs the downtown crime racket in Hawksong as her own private pleasure-cult, and even ahs connections to the monarchy around here.


Yes, life has been sweet for Little Old Iri lately! <3


Of course, some mortal pissant had to come around and ruin it. One of Ricky’s loser friends, of course. Some pointy-eared bastard calling himself a ‘Secret Sage of The Arcana Veridis’ or some shit like that. Uhh… Nenaias, she thinks his name was?


This uppity elf caught her naughty nephew Long Wang—well, Izzy’s kid, but they were soulbonded and that’s PRETTY MUCH marriage, so maybe he’s more like a son? Whatever, Irinnile’d still fuck him—scrying and spying on his dumb adventure club meeting or whatever, and then decided to go fuck shit up. Little L.W. went off sword a-swinging to chop up his paladin pal, and asked Iri all nice-like to go save his special little gal-pal Eka (ugh, so dumb, why not ‘Kat’???) from the sinister fae clutches of this magic nerd-elf. And, well, Irinnile’s not PACTBOUND or nothing like that, but… Well, it’s Izzy’s kid, right? And he’s been pretty handy to have around so far, and he’s actually pretty nice.


(Plus, maybe he’ll let her get a little taste of all that dragon-magic he’s been storing up in there after he fucks Kat pregnant? A demon can dream, right? Imagine what she could get up to with THAT much power??)

Anyway, since ‘Hot Aunty Iri’ wasn’t doing anything ANYWAY, she figured she’d graciously lend a hand and sneak on over to the castle to intercept this sylvan shit’s little scheme before it got started… Not that she even knows what that scheme IS. Is he, like, going to KIDNAP a PRINCESS? Out from under her GUARDS? Seems dumb. Bah, whatever, mortals do be like that sometimes, amirite?
>>
>>5650181
Lucky for Irinnile, even wearing her clunky Heirnich suit, she has a demon’s natural gift for nighttime stealth. It’s still only dusk, but in shadows and hidden places, she moves with an unmatched stealth. All that, shapeshifting abilities, empathic manipulation, ectoplasmic pueppeteering, and immunity to mundane weapons to boot! Yes, Iri’s a real catch alright. Knowing where Nenny-boy is planning to go, she resolves to creep on in there first… Up into the palatial estate, through their weird plaza of stone walls and hedge-mazes, all the way to Kit-kat’s bedroom.


“Hm, maybe we can have some fun with her? Like, as a reward? Wonder if Big Boy minds sharing…”


Irinnile’s musing is cut short by a familiar voice, and a bolt of panic.


“Ah, good, we’ve been expecting you.”


Irinnile supresses a yelp, Ricky’s heart racing in their shared chest as she swings their sword around haphazardly. The sword in question is the embodiment of Heinrich Yosef’s wrath and shame, of their eternal pact-bond and Irinnile’s love. They call it called ~Kinslayer~, ‘cause Ricky’ all poetic and broody and junk.

“Who g-goes there?!” Irinnile demands, with Heinrich Yosef’s voice. “you face the Green Knight, b-brigand! Sir Heinrich Yosef!”

“’Who goes there?’ Really? YOU came seeking ME, did you not?”

The elf, Nenaias, seems to side out of one of the hedges, passing through branches and leaves like they were beaded curtains. Fucking ELVES. And, right, shit, this PARTICUALR elf is a master of divination, ain’t he? Fuck.

“Well, it’s what you say, isn’t it?” Irinnile-as-Yosef mutters, turning to face the mystic.

“Besides,” the elf continues, ignoring the obviously quite salient retort, “shouldn’t I be asking YOU that?”

“What do you mean?” the false Yosef asks, adjusting her—their! his!—stance into something more appropriately martial. “I already said who I am… Old chum.”

“‘Old chum’? Come off it, demon. You are overcompensating. We’ve both travelled with Heinrich a long while. He doesn’t speak like that.”

“Oi,” the Sucucbus Knight tries again, “what’s all this about a demon, wot?”

“…Or like that,” the elven mystic sighs.

Irinnile frowns. Acting is hard. Technically, her entire SELF is an elaborate act, an ever-shifting shadow of the fears, desires, and inner selves of those who parasitizes and devours. Maintaining THAT consistently takes all her attention and energy. Trying to be someone else on top of that? Uuuugh, no THANK you.

“Just give it up,” the elf says, hands still calmly at his sides, no weapon visible and no protective spells immediately evident. “I know who you are. Admit it, and end this pathetic charade, you sad little imp.”

IMP?! The fuck did he just call her???? FFFuuuuuuck no! That will NOT stand!
>>
>>5650182
Irinnile chooses to…

>Boast of her status, her triumphs, he r conquest of Yosef’s mind, body and soul, and of the doom she now brings—maybe he’ll lose his cool?
>Awaken Yosef’s latent personality, just enough to make her acting more convincing and attempt to distract, dissuade, or catch the elf off-guard
>Fuck this. FU-U-U-CK this. Imp, he says! Attack this bastard! End the threat here and now!
>Bail out! He CLEARLY has some spooky ambush planned. Find Ekaterine, snatch her up, and get out of here
>Write-in

[Previous threads (including previous quest to star Iri, not strictly-speaking necessary to this quest) at https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=reptoidqm]

>>5650178
Rassin frassing formatting. Goddamn capcha giving me guff, then my PNG was too big, then I tried to post it and it ate all the spaces GAAAAH
>>
>>5650184
>Wait, he said "we"! Don't admit to anything. Ask what HE wants.

(Does Irinnile have any special abilities, spells and the like we should be aware of?)
>>
>>5650185
>she has a demon’s natural gift for nighttime stealth. It’s still only dusk, but in shadows and hidden places, she moves with an unmatched stealth. All that, shapeshifting abilities, empathic manipulation, ectoplasmic puppeteering, and immunity to mundane weapons to boot!

[She can do flight in a pinch, too, though shapeshifting to such an extent is more taxing for her. Oh, and she can make soul-pacts and dream-delve, provoke lust and fear... Succubus stuff!]
>>
>>5650184
>Fuck this. FU-U-U-CK this. Imp, he says! Attack this bastard! End the threat here and now!

SUCH DISRESPECT
Also the greater demon status was partly due to Yosef? Damn what a slacker, giving demons more power.
>>
>>5650184
>Awaken Yosef’s latent personality, just enough to make her acting more convincing and attempt to distract, dissuade, or catch the elf off-guard
IT IS ME, YOU FOOL! I’m undercover- you’re going to blow my entire operation!
>Spice it up with a bit of Seduction- elves are made to be lewded, right?
>>
>>5650197
I attribute it as Yosef being the meatsack that made this reunion and his interment possible.
>>
>>5650185
Supportin'
>>
>Fuck this

>>5650204
Picrel

>>5650184
Also for some reason this doesn’t work. Shows up empty for me.

https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=ReptoidQM
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>>5650255
It works for me. Perhaps try clearing your cache/cookies, or just google 'ReptoidQM suptg'.
>>
>>5650258
I meant your original link doesn’t work, this one does
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>>5650260
[Huh. Weird. Both work for me. Did you copy and paste the end bracket by mistake?]

>>5650178
[Apologies again for my shit formatting. The more readable version is at >>5650187 ]
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>>5650204
>IT IS ME, YOU FOOL! I’m undercover- you’re going to blow my entire operation!
Can you explain this line? It's not making sense to me in this situation.
>>
>>5650336
Supposed to throw him for a loop- I don’t know if it would be accepted or it would stay a meme, but we legitimately don’t know how much info this elf divined of Yosef’s situation. Ideally, it’d be plan two for when playing stupid inevitably fails (or miraculously succeeds).
>>
>>5650619
I think it's the term undercover that's throwing me for a loop here. How can he be undercover? He's not wearing a disguise. Everyone in the palace knows who he is already. If anything it hints that we're not actually Yosef, which is what Nenaias seems to be digging for.
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>>5650184
>Awaken Yosef’s latent personality, just enough to make her acting more convincing and attempt to distract, dissuade, or catch the elf off-guard
>>
>>5651274
>>5650255
>>5650232
>>5650204
>>5650197
>>5650185
[Vote locked, and writing!]
>>
>>5651274
Actually this line.
>"Ah, good, we’ve been expecting you"

Makes me think the elf set up an ambush, i vote for this instead.

>Bail out! He CLEARLY has some spooky ambush planned. Find Ekaterine, snatch her up, and get out of here
>>
>>5651280
Damn never mind.
>>
>>5651280
>>5651287
>>5651288
Irinnile chews her (well, THEIR lip, since it’s technically Ricky’s, but Ricky is also HERS). She may be a bit of a ditz and think with her stomach and loins, but she’s not STUPID, and she sure ain’t deaf.

“’We’?” she asks. “Who’s ‘we’?”

“A slip of the tongue,” Nenaias replies flippantly, without missing a beat.

Uh huh. Right. Irinnile clears her—their—throat, and prepares to act her heart out, doing her very best Heinrich Yosef impression:

“IT IS ME, YOU FOOL! I am undercover, and you’re gona’ to blow my entire operation! Now TELL ME, like, what is happening… Uh, damn you!”

Yeah, that’s the ticket!

“…Enough,” the elf sighs, lowering his head such that his crown of antlers shifts slightly. “I warned Heinrich that dabbling with demons would bring him to no good end.”

“He’s not… Uh, I mean I’M not DABBLING! This sword—Kinslayer, has brought us victory! Without THIS here blade, we’d just be, like, wandering in the dark! We wouldn’t have even skinned enough snake-people to make a purse, let alone be, like, big damn heroes or whatever!”

“At what cost?” Nenaias retorts. “The cost of our souls? And now, you work with the one calling himself ‘Long Wang’, yes? You won us battles only to turn against us, and to lose us the war. DO you think Heinrich will appreciate that?”

Irinnile hesitates to reply.

“WHEN his soul is liberated—not if, demon, WHEN—do you think he will keep you around?”

A pang of fear grips her heart. She takes a step back as if slapped, lowering the long-sword created of her essence—the green-and-silver ‘Kinslayer’—slightly.

“That won’t… That’s not gonna’ happen,” she mutters.

“Again, I say: enough.”

Nenaias raises his hands, moves his thin fingers in intricate and elegant motions, and then brings his palms together The hedges to either side Irinnile suddenly lurch and seem to slide together, to enmesh and entrap the demon. A single twirling slice of the Kinslayer sword sheers them down to size, and a little hop places Irinnile atop their shortened forms… Just in time to see several of the topiaries—shaped like men, like beasts—rip themselves up by their roots and begin to move about like their animal likenesses.

“<Animate Plants>,” Nenanais says.

Shit.

What will Irinnile do?
>Defend herself against the plants
>Attack Nenaias directly
>Flee, fade into the darkness, and go get Ekaterine
>Attempt to read the elf’s mind, to learn what other dangers might lurk nearby
>Write-in
>>
>>5651299
>Attack Nenaias directly

I highly doubt he can stand up to a martial assault of Yos-Iri's caliber.
>>
>>5651299
>Flee, fade into the darkness, and go get Ekaterine
as fun and productive as stalling was, let's do stuff now.
>>
>>5651299
>Write in
>Get into grappling distance
Those plants might hurt her as well if we manage to close the distance

>>5650255
Backlink
>>
>>5651299
>Attempt to read the elf’s mind, to learn what other dangers might lurk nearby.

There is no way nenaias plans to kill a greater demon with some plant's. We saw how resilient to physical harm the incubus was. He must be planing something else or have a trick up his sleeve.
>>
>>5651302
>>5651310
>>5651527
>>5651571
[4 votes, four different approaches! I'll leave this open a bit longer, and then post once more today.]
>>
>>5651299
>Attempt to read the elf’s mind, to learn what other dangers might lurk nearby
But more mindfuckery- would fit the character to scramble his brain with lewd thots.
>>
Rolled 14, 18, 10, 16, 13, 11, 4 = 86 (7d20)

>>5651615
>>5651302
>>5651310
>>5651527
>>5651571
Does this pointy-eared nerd mean to hurt Irinnile with sticks and twigs? She’s a magic creature—a demon from the Hellish Realms! She’s immune to such—

“OW!”

The jagged limb of a lion-shaped plant-sculpture catches Yosef’s face, sending succubus-and-man reeling back. Irinnile massages their bloodied face, willing it to mend. It does, but it costs precious energy—far more energy than it did to mend Lissssspy Izzy way back when, when she was properly soulbound. Ricky, well, he’s deliciously angsty and bloodthirsty and all, but she’d never give him up for ANYTHING, but he’s a real stick-in-the-mud that way. It might take YEARS before he’s been twisted up enough to accept such a union…

Ugh. The things we do for love…

Well, it is what it is. Irinnile is lover, not fighter—even if her ‘loving’ sometimes leaves minds and bodies broken, souls and flesh shredded and devoured. As Izzy’s kid is always going on about, love is a power all its own, and so is lust! By their power combined—the physical strength of her lover’s knightly body, the amplified psychic abilities of a Greater Demon of Lust—Iri will bring this knife-ear to heel!

Heh. Hot. Maybe she’ll even ‘use’ him a little later…

3 dice for melee DC 15, 3 dice for mentalism DC 18, 1 mystery die
>>
>>5651636
>18
Dodging angry plants’ flailing foliage, Irinnile captains Heinrich Yosef over, around, and in one case THROUGH every obstacle between her and the elf—Kinslayer’s blade is good for more than chopping up lizards! Heh, being wielded as a weapon for two decades ain’t all bad—between her years of battlefield experience and Ricky’s muscle memory, it’s a trivial thing to leap and bound their way into wrasslin’ range with Nenaias.

With Ricky’s strong, calloused hands (nnf) Irinnile grabs the book-smart battlefield-dumb excuse for an adventurer by his stupid dress and pulls his eyes to hers. Time to see just what secret schemes and ambush-ready allies he’s hiding!

“Hey~” she says. “You know, you seem like you’ve got a big, sexy brain in there, Nenny. Mind if I give it a little taste?”

“Ghhk!” he chokes. “Yes, actually!”

“Well, too fuckin’ BAD!”

>16

“OW! Again! What the fuck?!”

Ricky’s body staggers back as Irinnile recoils from the soul-pain which suddenly wracks her within. The smug Secret Sage or whatever-the-fuck actually takes the time to tidy himself and to adjust his robes, and with a smug half-smile he produces an intricate amulet of glass, spun gold, and a familiar collection of plants: angelica, thyme, shimmer-sage, nightshroud…

“An anti-demon charm,” Irinnile spits.

“I told you,” Nenaias says, tucking the charm away. “We knew to expect you.”

“Again with this ‘we’ shit!” Irinnile says. “You talkin’ ‘bout your stupid shrubbery-buddies, tree-fucker?”

“Not quite,” Nenaias replies. “But it seems like I might not need the help after all… I’d expected so much more from a demonically-possessed Heinrich Yosef, honestly. It’s disappointing, but alas.”

“I’ll ‘alas’ your ass, you smarmy shit!”

>4
The Succubus-Knight takes a moment to evade a couple more lumbering topiary-creatures as they mock their creator, cutting them down with swift strokes of their demon-sword. They are clumsier now—the elf’s concentration was broken, by the grapple and attempted mental intrusion, at least. The magic which animates them keeps them flailing, but precision and grace are beyond them, and some are already beginning to put down roots and go still once more.

“Damn it all,” the sage mutters, and begins waving his hands about and adjusting his footwork, as if to cast something else. “Time to finish this! I’m taking Heinrich’s body back, monster!

Oh no he fucking AIN’T Irinnile charges, kid gloves officially off.

She aims to…
>Kill Nenaias (medium DC)
>Maim him and take him hostage to use as a bargaining chip (higher DC)
>Incapacitate him and hurry onward to the princess—enough of this scrub! (lowest DC)
>Write-in
[Failure means he’ll cast his spell. You won’t like what it does.]
>>
>>5651654
>Kill Nenaias (medium DC)

No loose ends.

Backlink
>>5651527
>>
>>5651654
>picrel
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>>5651654
>Incapacitate him and hurry onward to the princess—enough of this scrub! (lowest DC)

Kinda like this guy
>>
[I'll be home in about an hour, and will close the vite shirtly thereafter.]
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>>5651654
>Maim him and take him hostage to use as a bargaining chip (higher DC)
Is it going to be a tiered DC? Height to capture, medium to kill, low to incapacitate?
>>
>>5652356
Judging by how the vote is set up, no. We pick one option and the DC is assigned for that option.
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>>5651654
>Maim him and take him hostage to use as a bargaining chip (higher DC)
>>
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Rolled 18, 16, 5 = 39 (3d20)

>>5652357
[Correct.]

>>5652363
>>5652356
>>5652176
>>5651914
>>5651671
[A judgement call had to be made to put out the update.

DC 17
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>>5652392
Nice, Iri! Good shit.
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>>5652392
>>5652406
The elf’s irritating fey-tongue chanting begins to pick up speed and intensity, a garbled word salad of archaic Ancient Elven beyond Irrinile’s ken. Wind begins to whip his robes and long hair, buffeting Heinrich Yosef’s body and slowing Irinnile’s approach. Irinnile squints Ricky’s eyes and peers beyond the veil of the material world into the parallel space of dreams and magic, seeing beyond sight; there, in that dimension, she makes out what the elf is working towards: a spell of binding and banishment for unclean spirits from the natural world.

Aw, shit, SHE’S an unclean spirit! No fcukin’ way she can let him get that off.

Nenny-boy is too valuable as a hostage to simply kill… And anyway, Irinnile kind of likes this smug intellectual. He almost kind of reminds her of her original summoner, a gothic fop called Bianchi… Yeah, this could be fun. And surely Ricky’ll appreciate her sparing on of his little boyfriends… Maybe it’ll speed up the soulbonding process?

But that doesn’t mean she has to leave him in one piece.

Irinnile draws back the Kinslayer, and concentrates her essence, forcing ectoplasm to form within her host’s body. The blackish, iridescent goo is the physical manifestation of a demon or spirit’s energy, a sort of viscous mana-potion tainted with negative energy and carrying a portion of such an entity’s very self. It’s the mechanism by which succubi and incubi of sufficient strength can enthrall another to see through their eyes and control their actions, even at a distance… But in this case, Irinnile has a different plan.

At the demoness’ direction, Heinrich Yosef gives the blade of his cursed sword a long, suggestive lick, coati ng the blade in blade semi-fluid sludge. Irinnile might not be able to posess boths word and swordsman at the same time—not entirely—but with any luck this will afford her some of the telekinetic control she once had over the demonic weapon.

With a wicked grin, Irinnile confirms it: she can feel the sword awakening, enlivened and animated by a portion of her own Hellish power. Being a Greater Demon sure is sweet! Even as the wind holds Rciky at bay, Irinnile wills his body to shift into a javelin-thrower’s stance. Then, pushing as much of her mystical energy into the ectoplasm-dripping sword as she dares, Irinnile-ben-Yosef hurls it towards Nenaias of the The Arcana Veridis.

>18

The sword is blasted by the mystic winds swirling like a miniature hurricane around the sage, but with a flick of the wrist Irinnile commands it to adjust course, like an extension of her own body. It begins to twirl in the air as the typhoon whirls it round and round the elven spellcaster, until its graceful pirouette brings it into contact with the poor pointy-eared bastard on a downward and diagonal course…

“AAAAAUGH!”

…Straight through his leg, severing it just below the hip.
>>
>>5652413
The unnatural wind abruptly dies, depositing leaves and other whipped-up debris across the yard. Nenaias topples sideways, clutching at his stump in disbelief and agony. Shock will set in any second. He’ll likely bleed out…

“HeeeEEey~”

…Or he would, if not for Hot Aunty Iri and her magic mouth. Even with his anti-demonic charm of protection, Nenaias is helpless to repel them as Irinnile takes the elf in her Ricky’s strong arms, grips his narrow fey chin in those rough hands, and plants a long tongue-kiss on him. The same black ooze which guided the sword now spells his dumb, numbing his mind and soul even as it infuses him with JUST enough magical energy to staunch his bleeding.

Irinnile hefts the elf over one shoulder and, in one elegant motion, reclaims the Kinslayer from where it ahs impaled the earth and slices open the sage’s robes, catching the thin chain of his precious protective amulet and cutting it loose. The Demon Knight winces a little at the pain of even this indirect contact, and quickly hurls it to lay beside the blood-dripping leg upon the royal lawn of the King of Hawksong.

“Well, that’s mission accomplished!” the succubus congratulates herself.

…But is it? She looks back towards the palace, uncertain. The elf beat her here, and was saying all that “we” shit. Her job here was to save Ekaterine from Nenaias, but in fact, neither she nor her ex’s kid really knew WHAT his plan was. Should they… I dunno’, check?

It WOULD mean going into a Paladin’s palace, and into a possible ambush… But what’ll happen if they just leave?

>Enter the Palace and seek out Ekaterine
>Leave—Irinnile has accomplished what she set out to do
>Write-in

And if she enters, will she use...
>Stealth
>Boldness--she's maybe expected, and she has a hostage
>Some other tactic [specify]
>>
>>5652415
>Mind read Nenaias to see what he set up, since he's now helpless and charmless.
>>
>>5652417
+1, big brain and now our time crunch is probably not so big a deal.
>>
>>5652415
>Mind read Nenaias to see what he set up, since he's now helpless and charmless.

Maybe we could enter with Trickery, assuming Stealth fails- I mean, we got Nenaias as a meatsuit, and it will certainly confuse the situation.
>>
>>5652417
+1

Backlink>>5651671
>>
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>>5652498
>>5652443
>>5652417
>>5652646
Again: Irinnile ain’t no dummy (except maybe dummy thick, on command). No reason to go charging in all unawares, OR to risk leaving loose ends by peacing out without further investigation! Oh, sure, doing a bit of soul-exploring with unconscious Nenny might at up a little more man (PHEW, wouldn’t it be grand to have some of Big Boy’s dragon-juice right about now?) but it was well worth it.

With a hop, skip, and a mental leap, Irinnile projects her consciousness from the central ‘main body’ of her essence to the fragment now bubbling away in the elf sage’s guts, and from there worms her way into his brain to see what secrets the unconscious mystic held in trust.

“Ah,” Irinnile mutters to herself, “fucknuggets.”

It seems Nenaias has been a busy little bugger these last couple hours. He arrived and, clever shit that he was, did NOT claim to be here to liberate his recently-arrested and discredited dwarven buddy. Rather, the elven mystic claimed to be here on Heinrich Yosef’s instructions—a lie lent credibility by the fact that he IS a friend of the Green Knight currently at Iri’s beck-and-call, here to see the king.

This, in turn, led to his interception by Big Boy’s favoured patsy prince, Rufos, secondborn of the Paladin King.

[Leadership roll, DC 14 thanks to <Dark Prophet II>]
>>
Rolled 8, 9, 11, 12, 9 = 49 (5d20)

>>5652654
woops
>>
>>5652655
Would've been too damn easy if we'd passed the roll..
>>
>>5652655
Its joever
>>
>>5652655
>>5652661
>>5652665
Now, Rufos had been implanted with some ectoplasm by Iri a while back—that of this incubus fucker, but Irinnile had eaten Him since then, so same diff by now—but he’d never been reactivated as an agent since then. Seems getting close enough to Iri-as-Yosef for her to do the dirty deed was a bit of a sticking point for the old dog, since he’d been puppeteered on-and-off for about twenty years already. This was exactly the blackmail material Lisspy’s kid had needed to weasel his way into palace politics, and it gradually corrupt and manipulate the baby brother into backstabbing his big bro and all but handing ‘Eka’ over to Babycakes on a silver platter.

But now…

>12

Nenaias came in with this big plan to finally free him from all this demon-and-lizard-plaything business for all, and Rufos was all too eager to take him up on it. While still not disclosing all the dodgy shit he’d been getting up to with ‘Long Wang’—Hypocrite! Pfft!—he got the elven sage an audience with…

“Ooooh nononono NOOOOOoooOO!”

…The Paladin King his own damn self, King Archos of Hawksong. This big, burly fucker—old, sickly, but still the fuckin’ PALADIN fuckin’ KING! And Nenaias had warned him that something dark and terrible—a Reptilian agent, and quite possibly a demonic one as well—was coming for his darling baby daughter.

“Long Wang?” the King had grumbled in disbelief. “I fear you’ve come under false pretenses. These sound less like the theories of Sir Yosef than those of that dwarf, Deepvein, whom I understand that you, Prince Rufos, judiciously imprisoned for false and unsubstantiated claims?”

There was, as Irinnile now recalls by proxy, a long silence broken only by the Paladin King’s coughing before his youngest son replied:

“The circumstances have changed. We do not know… Exactly WHAT or WHO Long Wang is, or if perhaps he has even been… Replaced, at some point, since our initial investigation… But We cannot trust him if he appears here tonight.”

“Nor Heinrich Yosef himself,” Nenaias had added. “He ahs gone to confront the fiend impersonating long Wang… And if he appears tonight, he has forewarned me that he may not be himself.”

Irinnile grits Yosef’s teeth. The crafty bastards had stitched together two tapestries of lies into some kinda’… Falsehood-quilt! A good one, too! And they’d managed to stitch just enough of the truth in there to make it work.

So it was that additional guards—led by the Paladin King himself, half-dead and ghostly white, but still empowered by the (damn shit fuck shit aaaugh) Gods of Light—were stationed to protect the palace, and especially Ekaterine. At the first sign of trouble, they were to take her far from Hawksong under heavy escort, and to battle back against any invaders.
>>
>>5652670
“Shiiiit,” Irinnile whined.

There were only a few ways to approach this, now: they could go in loud, presenting unconscious Nenny-poo and declaring him a traitor, and then have the ectoplasm-addled elven fuck renounce his earlier claims; they could go in quiet-like, and try to influence or sneak out Ekaterine; OR maybe they could go find Rufos and make the triple-crossing son-of-a-bitch pay by finally removing that pesky autonomy?

…Or, like, maybe Iri could just leave? This whole memory-extracting thing, in addition to battling, ectoplasming, and healing a guy has her on close to empty, and she could go for a recuperative orgy, a violated one-time-virgin to eat, and a nice long nap…

But damnit, if Nenaias never comes back, what’ll happen then?

Irinnile decides to:
>Bluff her way in through the front
>Sneak to Ekaterine’s room
>Sneak to wherever Rufos is hiding
>Leave, while the getting is still good
>Write-in
>>
>>5652672
>Make a great ruckus outside with whatever doodads Nenny may have and the clattering of mundane steel to draw off the guards, then sneak inside to Ekaterine's room

Jesus, what a clusterfuck. Open to ideas; this is the best I could come up with.
>>
>>5652675
i think that would scare the paladin king into going full lockdown mode and getting ekaterine out.

>Sneak to Ekaterine's room

We gotta go full stealth
>>
>>5652672
>Sneak to Ekaterine’s room

We only need to spirit her away. Spin a tale of Rufos‘s deception.

His betrayal of Long Wang and manipulation of the King - all in a bid to claim power himself.
>>
>>5652672
>Sneak to wherever Rufos is hiding.

Rufos is the key to all of this. With his brother having went south to be possibly assassinated. And the paladin king in shabby health old age and mostly delegating matters. Rufos basically has the highest level of command in regards to hawksong's security and military forces.

If we get him re ectoplasmed it doesn't matter what allegations are made against us, since we will control both hawksong's military and criminal underground.
>>
>>5652672
>Sneak to wherever Rufos is hiding
I never trusted the dice system- it keeps fucking us at every turn.

Ectoplasm this bitch and be done with it.
>>
>>5652836
Switching to this option instead
>>
>>5652840
Anon, the dice have resulted releatedly in Theral dominating most physical and social challenges that don't involve water for roughly a year, including beating three legendary monsters and dominating the soul of an ancient red dragon. If you have suggestions for how to imorove it for future quests, though, I'd love to hear them.
>>
>>5652920
depends on what you're going for, I guess. As someone who reads this quest sometimes, it seems that most obstacles are easy to overcome, but also that that the dice have a lot of influence on whether an encounter goes well or disastrously.
>>
>>5652672
>Leave, while the getting is still good
Why do we need to see Eka again? We wanted to confirm her safety. She's safe. She's behind a legion of paladins.
>>
Rolled 9, 16, 2, 19 = 46 (4d20)

>>5652847
>>5652840
>>5652836
>>5652798
>>5652675
>>5653499

Prince Rufos is the key here, obviously. Kit-kat’s Big Boy’s main squeeze, but she’s got no say in what does or doesn’t happen to her—not really. That comes down to Daddy Dearest Shortly-Dying and her big brothers—one of whom’s already good-as-dead thanks to Iri and Wangy’s double-teaming duplicity. That just leaves stupid, treasonous, ectoplasm-tainted little Rufos, sad second son, to stand in their way. If Irinnile can just reactivate the itty bitty bit o’ demon buried in his shriveled little crab-apple heart, she’ll RUN this town from top to bottom in no time flat!

And leaving him alone, after he went and counter-backstabbed them? Uh uh. Iri don't play that shit. Besides, he knows too much, and he's clearly not as willing to play ball as they thought. Ekaterine's safe, but NOBODY'S safe with that shifty little shit doing his own thing.

So she slinks into shadows, still hefting the luckily0lithe frame of the elven spellcaster, and shifts into camo-mode to go on prince-patrol.
>>
>>5652920
I've got suggestions

Make it harder. We roll like up to 5 dice on some DCs. Make big boss DCs ignore the highest roll, maybe even the highest 2 rolls.
>>
>>5653503
What the hell are our upgrades supposed to do then? We got sword mastery 5 and bosses ignore that? Why bother upgrading at all?
>>
>>5652920
Tbh, it’s more of a trend in the quests I follow- the Lady Luck have been jobbing hard lately. I won’t get into it, but it has not been a fun month.
>>
>>5653503
>>5653505
Yea, sorta makes upgrading irrelevant. Plus, the Bosses already roll against us- it’s just making it more harder and painful for no gain.
>>
>>5653505
because if we only roll 3 dice normally, we'd get 2 against bosses instead of 4
>>
>>5653502
>19
While killin’ and stabbin’ and eatin’ and rapin’ is always fun for a demon like Iri in pretty much ANY order, stealth’s always been more her forte than direct confrontation… And luckily, as a natural empath, she has an ear for fear. She can hear that hammering heartbeat from half-way across the Paladin King’s citadel: wimpy little Rufos, never as brave or martial as elder Alexos or Papa Pally, wondering what’s taking Nenaias so long. She follows the sniveling of hi scared-silly soul to another one of his weird little sex-dungeony hidden chambers where he does all his plotting. The big burly beefcake standing sentinel ain’t no Paladin, either, so Iri slips right on by him without so much as a slice ‘n dice or a goodnight kiss.

It isn’t until Nenaias is dumped right on his desk, groaning and barely breathing, that Prince Rufos realizes that there’s no escape.

“S-stay back!” he demands, imperiously.

Iri-as-Ricky just laughs, a cackling demonic laugh. Rufos looks towards the door, wondering why the booming sound hasn’t summon the guards, and so Irinnile deigns to answer him—in his mind.

“That wasn’t but loud for nobody but you,” she explains telepathically, mind-to-mind, “Tonight, you’re my special guy, Roofie~”

“You’re… It’s not the same,” he says, staggering back a step and—it’s almost enough to laugh again—pulling a dagger out rom under his desk.

“Naw,” Irinnile admits readily. “You’re under new management, sweetie-pie…. And unlucky you, I’m a disciplinarian kinda’ bitch, when I wanna’ be.”

She hops her possessed boytoy up on the desk, Yosef’s eyes glowing golden with her inner light, and twirls the Kinslayer once.

“And baby, I WANNA’ be. Maybe save yourself ending up like leg-a’-lost here and drop the pig-sticker? This can still be fun, in a Ess-and-Emm kinda’ way, if you play your wards right and get dwn on yoru knees right now.”

“I… I am a Prince of Hawksong… The King of Hawksong! Your master promised!”

Irinnile rolls her eyes.

“First,” the succubus explains, “we’re, like… Partners-in-crime. Ain’t no master-servant relationship there, aight? Second-like… You really think he’s gonna’ feel like making good on his end of that deal when he learns about that stunt you just tried to pull? Naw, honey, you’re my little pet for sure now…”

“Never,” he balks, pale as a sheet. “Not again. Never again.”
>>
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>>5653522
“…Or you’re demon-chow,” Iri continues, metamorphosing Heinrich Yosef’s teeth into a gnashing, crocodilian grin. “Your call, Princey-Poo: door number one, or door number two~”

Prince Rufos hesitates a moment, the blade shaking in his hand. His grip loosens. He’s going to give in, to drop it. He’s terrified beyond belief—Irinnile can taste it, and it’s making her metaphorical mouth fucking WATER…

But then he does something unexpected. He doesn’t lunge forward, but twirls the balde around to point it at himself.

“Otillia,” he says, speaking the name of his wife, “forgive me.”

Iri raises Ricky’s eyebrows in surprise. Fucker’s gonna’ stick HIMSELF? Well… That WOULD take care of things. And… Hey, waitta’ minute, if ALEXOS is dead, and RUFOS is dead…

Shit, would that make Pretty Princess Kitty Kat the heir-a-fuckin-pparent? It would, right?

Does she let him commit suicide?
>Yes
>No
>>
>>5653523
>No

Doesn't align with our aims, plus we're going to make him SUFFER after this bullshit. Gonna be more of a puppet than Elmo.
>>
>>5653155
>dice have a lot of influence
[I mean, I guess how else would it be? As stats go up and players play to the MC's strengths, success gets more likely and failures less likely, but if there's NEVER any failures I feel like I haven't really got a very good system in place. I'd get bored. Wouldn't you?]

>>5653506
[I get that, but let's keep it focused on this quest. Has it really seemed like you've failed way more than you've succeeded or like I'm too punishing? If so, I'm open to making the next quest easier.]

>>5653511
>>5653503
[Seems like this anon, though, wants it to be harder. Getting conflicting messages. Maybe, at the end of this Irinnile interlude, before we switch back to Theral, I'll hold a meta-vote on whether to dial down difficulty or dial it up, as well as how people liked the experience of briefly controlling another main character.]

>>5653511
>>5653510
>>5653505
>>5653503
>>5653526
>>5652847
>>5652836
>>5652417
>>5651671
>>5650260
[Anyway, I appreciate the input and hope you all enjoy this art by our very own Indonesian Gentleman, of Gaol and Fall of the Regime fame!]
>>
>>5653523
>if ALEXOS is dead
Big if to be honest

Better to dominate him. We can always just make him commit suicide later

>No
>>
>>5653527
Very cool art!
>>5653523
>No.

Live.
>>
>>5653533

Forgot Backlink
>>5652847
>>
>>5653523
>No
Ecto'd Rufos is more useful than dead Rufos

>>5653527
Indonesian Gentleman draws some good stuff
and some horrific nightmare fuel
>>
>>5653523
>Yes
Fuck it- though, if Rufos does live, I say Long Wang and Iri tag team his wife in front of him- maybe get his wife pregnant for added suffering.

>>5653527
Honestly- it’s only recently that the dice kept repeating jobbing us. I consider everything else a mixed bag of mostly success. It only really stands out because I keep seeing multiple rounds of bad luck. Like, it disconcerting. I’ll try to restrain my autism in the future, I think you’re been fair and handling the difficulty level well so far.

Love the picture- can’t wait for the Battlescene where the Dragonborn and the Groffen duke it out while falling through the sky. Loved Chase’s and Deepvein’s characterization and banter during the fight btw.
>>
>>5653538
>Theral doing a rape
[While it's not impossible, he's shown a general inclination against it by this point. I'm inclined to write him regarding such acts as antithetical to his Prince of Love aspect.]
Iri would, though. She is a true amoral monster.

>The rest
[I'm glad you're enjoying it. Just remember: Theral lived, and now all three adventurers are slain or otherwise beaten. Theral still won!]
>>
>>5653527
Nice job on the art! Very good work!
>>
>>5653523
>No

As if.
>>
>>5653617
Doesn’t feel like it, but I suppose you’re right- we’re mainly tying up loose ends with our more active and opportunistic enemies. Maybe we’re over the hump.
>>
>>5653523
>No
>>
>>5654021
>>5653655
>>5653538
>>5653537
>>5653533
>>5653529

“Coward's way out, huh?” Irinnile asked, nonchalantly. “Yeah, alright, you do you…”

The Prince of Hawksong grips the hilt of his dagger with white-knuckled hands, takes a breath, and plunges it down.

“…And me and Long Wang'll do you wife.”

The self-impalement is aborted, abruptly, as Rufos’ eyes widen.

“Probably your daughter, too,” Irinnile muses idly. “Think she'd survive bein’ double-teamed by a reptoid anna’ demon?”

“N-no…” the Prince stammered, no in direct response to the question from what Iri could gather, but more as a general rejection of this grim vision of the future which would follow his death.

“I mean, not that it'd matter,” Iri says with a shrug and lick of Ricky’s luscious lips with a tongue now long and barbed. “He kills what he fucks, an’ I fuck what I kill.”

It’s at least half a bluff, of course, but Izzy’s kid has more than a little of his mommy’s bloodlust in him—it would take some influence, but if Iri was properly motivated, she MIGHT be able to make it happen. And anyway, it doesn’t really matter: the dagger drops with a clatter to the floor, and the threats serve the same purpose whether empty or not.

“Good boy,” the succubus coos.

“Please,” Rufos pleads, “They are… They’re not a part of this.”

“Then lose the charm,” she says, speaking now in Ricky’s own commanding baritone.

Another bluff, but the guess was educated, and it proves prudent: the Patsy Prince slips a hand into his fine tunic and pulls out another anti-demonic protective amulet, not unlike that which Nenaias wore. With trembling digits, he removes it and lets it drop to the floor with his pointy-tipped negotiator.

No resistance. No escape.

Irinnile grins, spreads her arms, and descends from the desk to embrace Prince Rufos back into the fold.

“It’ll be just like coming home,” she whispers, eliciting a shudder of horror, before his independent will goes still, and his independent thought is all but erased.
>>
>>5654379
“So anyways,” Irinnile finishes their long and winding tale, “The next morning, Nenaias and Rufos BOTH appeared to Paladin King Archie and explained how, like, they were able to capture Ricky, and banish me… And, of course, how YOU were innocent too, just operatin’ all undercover-like when you noticed Sir Yosef’ was actin’ all fucky… But poor Chase ‘n Deepvein got in over their heads, made some poor choices tryin’ to fly the coop before they could get properly exorcised Long Wang style, an’ wound up dead as knob-ends.”

“Doorknobs,” corrects the Reptilian Infiltrator called Halle.

“I know what I said,” Irinnile says with a smirk and a waggle of the Green Knight’s eyebrows, causing Halle to hiss in perturbation.

You are once more the Dragonborn Antipaladin, and you have just heard what transpired while you were recovering. It is… Edifying. Several days have passed since you plunged from the sky and into the sea, and you have barely been able to move for your many injuries and general frailty of health. In spite of this, Irinnile has proven a useful tool—no, a worthy ally, deserving of the trust which you placed in the demon.

‘Praise me more~’

‘Stay out of my head, Succubus.’

‘Sorry, sorry!’

You sigh, laying back in the bed to which you have been confined. Even the sigh taxes your lungs, and the small movement causes back and ribs to cry out in agony.

Your Long Wang identity is exonerated. Pronce Rufos short-lived rebellion is no more, and can never be again, so long as Irinnile remains on-side and unimpeded. The adventurers are dead or enthralled.

“They’re calling you and Nenaias the Heroes of Hawksong,” Irinnile notes with a wink. “The Princess has been askin’ after ya’.”

You are triumphant. Your prize awaits. But in the Bloodrise, there is yet turmoil… And you have heard no word from the agents who you sent to assassinate Hawksong’s Paladin Prince on his mission of peace to the subverted Southlands.

What will you do?
>It’s time to seal the deal—let’s summon the Novice here to mend your wounds, so you can consummate and consecrated this marriage
>You must return to the northern forward base to get treatment, and then return to Bloodrise to preserve your fragile empire there
>Prince Alexos may yet live—you must investigate directly, and end him if he yet lives
>Focus your efforts upon the criminal underworld of Hawksong—high society has brought you naught but pain
>Write-in
>>
>>5654380
>you have heard no word from the agents who you sent to assassinate Hawksong’s Paladin Prince on his mission of peace to the subverted Southlands.
I thought we agreed with alexos to kill rufos?
>>
>>5654380
>It’s time to seal the deal—let’s summon the Novice here to mend your wounds, so you can consummate and consecrated this marriage
>Get Iri (via Rufos and his agents) to begin to subtly undermine Alexos across Hawksong’s different classes. Maybe tales that he has left the city for a ‘southern mistress’…

Time to get this finished

>>5654401
Opposite way around anon

Even if alexos comes back, his father will likely be dead and Rufos is now our puppet. We can start a civil war if we so choose
>>
>>5654380
>It’s time to seal the deal—let’s summon the Novice here to mend your wounds, so you can consummate and consecrated this marriage
tru waifu appears again at last
>>
>>5654380
>It’s time to seal the deal—let’s summon the Novice here to mend your wounds, so you can consummate and consecrated this marriage
>>
>>5654407
oh i get it now rufos was trying to backstab theral
>>
>>5654407
Supportin'
>>
>>5654407
+1. Alexos may be a problem, but is comparatively minor in face of the successes we've achieved here. We do need to get back to Bloodrise, though.

Adding:

>Send word through your Reptilian allies that Hawksong is as good as broken, and to focus on the Bloodrise theater of operations more heavily
>>
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>>5654768
>>5654432
>>5654411
>>5654409
>>5654407
>>5654401
You have waited long enough. No more obstacles yet remain to your absolute victory, and the completion of your mission here. Granted, it is a mission that has ‘crept’ somewhat: where once you planned to simply mate with Hawksong's princess, her personality has charmed you—even to the point of genuine <True Love>. Now, you find it is not sufficient to woo and abandon her, or to ravish her, or to steal her away as some imprisoned sex-slave. No: Ekaterine of Hawksong, Daughter of Paladins, shall be your bride.

Of course, if you wish to be in any shape to wed this woman, you’ll first need the help of your FIRST love.

“Archer,” you wheeze.

The dark-skinned half-human called Oluwadamilare the Degenerate, or ‘Olu the Archer’ by you, is by your side in an instant. It is probably fair to say, at this point, that he is your closest friend and ally. Only your lovers—and that invasive succubus—know you better, and only one other has traveled with you further.

“Bring me the Novice Fleshweaver.”

Sseztlussth is her True Name, though among your people it is a rare and deeply personal thing to speak such a name—titles and aliases are preferred, something your kind have in common with the demonic entities of the Hellish Realms, though it is more a matter of convention and culture than for fear of magical manipulation. You have spoken hers, though, and you relish it in whispers now. It has been nearly two months since you last saw her—the prodigal prodigy of the Order of Fleshweavers, called Novice for her rank among the Serpent Priesthood rather than for any failure of her intellect or ability. She is cruel, cunning, capable, and a malicious monster of a female.—a scheming snake with no empathy and scarcely any allegiance. She tormented you for decades, made your youth a gauntlet of ridicule and ostracism.

But she is yours, your Beloved One, and you miss her. Two months without her slitted eyes staring at you in bashful vexation. Two months without her plump tail and thighs to hold, her mix of mockery and faint flattery, her wise counsel, her faint admissions of affection which were so hard-won.

It has been too long. You miss her.
>>
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>>5655080
Your Archer bows his head and takes his leave, to do as you have asked. Ever the hardworking champion of your people, you waste no time while you wait for her: you begin plotting contingencies. Alexos, Paladin Prince of Hawksong, heir to the throne, may yet live. While he cannot hope to recapture this kingdom which you have all but bent to your dark will, you are not the kind of ruler who leaves loose ends to chance, or simply hoeps for the best.

“Halle, Roth, to me.”

You instruct your other trusted agents—Halle the Silkscale Infiltrator, and the Dragonblooded Infiltrator ‘Roth’ who sired you—to work with the Succubus and her burgeoning cult to begin spreading rumours of Prince Alexos’ diplomatic failures and personal failings. Through Rufos’ de facto rule, you will poison him to his father, his sister, and his people. The tabloids of the common folk and the courtly gossip of the nobility will be in accord: Alexos is a fallen star. If he lives, and returns, it will be to cheers, not cheers. If he vies for the throne, it will be no more brotherly squabble, but civil war.

Even laid in bed, you are truly a force to be reckoned with.

You close your eyes, and you do not dream in your sleepless Reptilian torpor, but if you dreamt at all it would be of your Novice, and her healing touch, or of your Eka in a white dress.

Soon.

<LEVEL UP!>
>Choose one of your stats to upgrade, and remember: you can only EVER max one more stat at 5, though doing so will net you an additional bonus

<META ‘VOTES’>
>How did you like controlling Iri for an interlude?
>In the future (this quest or another, fi I do a successor), would you like more opportunities to control side characters?
>Do you find this quest too ‘easy’, too ‘heard’, or just right in terms of difficulty of challenges and dice rolls?
>Would you like to see less dice used in future quests? More?
Who is your favourite waifu? How about favourite non-waifu side character?
>>
>>5655083
>Religion

We're the damn scion of the Dark Gods. It's time.


>Controlling Iri
Was fun. Length was appropriate, as was the circumstance.

>More side characters
In the appropriate timing and circumstance, yeah. It's great to see the main character's efforts from another's perspective.

>Challenge
You have an elegant system and a fair hand. Perfect balance- my only gripe is inconsistency in DC revelation before rolls; you do it sometimes and not other times.

>Dice
Dice is just right!
>>
>>5655083
Have to agree with every point >>5655086 put, your universe fucks, and you are a easily one of my favorite QMs on the board, and the amount of engagement you give and receive is hearts in my eyes gay homosex feelings in my chest, please continue however you see fit, dont fix what aint broke especially when you have such a good fanbase
>Religion
I kinda want to explore our paladinship more after we get Eka pregnant, and getting Dark Prophet III would probably get us some pretty ganked Divine Serpent loot and missions from our main god
>>
>>5655083
>Choose one of your stats to upgrade, and remember: you can only EVER max one more stat at 5, though doing so will net you an additional bonus
>Religion

>How did you like controlling Iri for an interlude?
Its a short sidestory but I like it. Not too long.

>In the future (this quest or another, fi I do a successor), would you like more opportunities to control side characters?
Sure.

>Do you find this quest too ‘easy’, too ‘heard’, or just right in terms of difficulty of challenges and dice rolls?
The difficulty was alright. I liked how the dices scales with our current upgrades. Having 4 on Seduction rolls on the last thread really made a difference in some situation. It came in clutch in that hotpot restaurant iirc

>Would you like to see less dice used in future quests? More?
A puzzle solver system could be interesting - the more upgrades you have, the more choices you will have on a given situation or the choices have more detailed descriptions. If Theral was more skilled in fisticuffs maybe he would have multiple options on dealing with deepvein trying to rush him.

>Who is your favourite waifu? How about favourite non-waifu side character?
I like fleshweaver and theral's interaction on thread 8 iirc. Very cute. I think theral's reptilian children were nice.
>>
>>5655083
>Divination
our original

>How did you like controlling Iri for an interlude?
It was very fun, but also there was some uncertainty around how loyal she really was and the glimpse into her mind dispelled that uncertainty which feels like a bit of a loss.

>In the future (this quest or another, fi I do a successor), would you like more opportunities to control side characters?
yes

>Do you find this quest too ‘easy’, too ‘heard’, or just right in terms of difficulty of challenges and dice rolls?
Too easy, I can probably count all the rolls we failed on one hand. Even when we fail things turn out well. Example: Last thread when we repeatedly voted to throw all defense and caution to the wind and commit completely to a desperate attack only to fail and get counter blasted by a double critical from the enemy, and we not only survived but managed to kill all 3 opponents.
Frequency of rolls seems good.

Novice top waifu.
Shoggy best side character RIP in the ocean depths Shogs :'''(
I like Big Red, he's remarkably chill considering his circumstances.
>>
>>5655083
>Divination
Need to level it up, this whole situation would’ve been avoided had Divination succeeded.

>How did you like controlling Iri for an interlude?
It was nice- I’d like to do it more often.
>In the future (this quest or another, fi I do a successor), would you like more opportunities to control side characters?
Maybe- could be interesting.
>Do you find this quest too ‘easy’, too ‘heard’, or just right in terms of difficulty of challenges and dice rolls?
It’s fine.
>Would you like to see less dice used in future quests? More?
I think the dice system is alright as is.
>Who is your favourite waifu? How about favourite non-waifu side character?
Glowie and Devora, though I love the interactions with Eka and Novice. Love Iri and Brig Bro.
>>
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>>5655184
>the glimpse into her mind dispelled that uncertainty
>>
>>5655083
>Religion
Makes sense for a paladin.

Dice seem fine to me. We just seem to take the hardest option all the time and then act all surprised when the dice don't roll high every time.

>More glowie and our dragonbug children content plz.
If we're going the harem route let's not forget our first.
>>
>>5655083
>Religion


>Iri Control
Kino. Plz do again
>Other side character playable
Yes please
>Difficulty
I like the balance. We get a real sense of progression and challenge, while still being the menace we are supposed to be
>Dice
Reasonable amount.
>Waifu
All of 'em. Xcept the dead dwarf, never liked her.
>>
>>5655086
Completely agree with all of these points
>>
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>>5655086
>>5655098
>>5655134
>>5655232
>>5655279
>>5655350
>>5655213
>>5655184
[Thank you all for the input! I really value your participation, input, and enthusiasm. Locked and writing.]

>>5655184
[ >>5655220 was sort of me memeing, but I would like to note that i seeded some clues that Irinnile is not fully 'tamed' or 100% reliable, so please do keep in mind that even if she is loyal, that loyalty is circumstantial and flexible. This is just the nature of an unbound demon, in this setting.]

>>5655086
>inconsistency in DC revelation before rolls; you do it sometimes and not other times
[I try to do it at times when the consequences would be especially dire for failure, and the MC would have in-universe reasons to be able to gauge the difficulty. often if I don't include it, it's because the consequences of failure aren't catastrophic, Theral (or Iri) doesn't really know exactly how likely success is, or simply because the DC for each option is very similar or identical.]
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>>5655854
>>5655232
>>5655213
>>5655134
>>5655232
[Oh, and...]
>more wyrmlings
[If you don't go back to Bloodrise soon, I'll at least showcase them and their mother in a little excerpt or interlude.]
>>
>>5655854
I was unsure of what to make of the shining Amy wink.

Yeah I get that if we suddenly decide to kill Heinrich she's gonna oppose us, but now we know she doesn't have any hidden subplots to like elope with him and leave us high and dry. I guess we always knew she was too low IQ to think of something like that though.
Now that it's a new quest and she's no longer prime waifu I finally get why the Incubus was always dissing her.
>>
>>5655864
If votes and rolls hadn't gone the way they did, she might have actually done all that and worse. it was a possibility at one point.
>>
>>5655854
>>5655859
“I cannot believe you lost the shoggoth-sword! Are you absolutely INCOMPETENT? You hair-brained, mammary-addled, distractable, dumb-headed DEGENERATE!”

“I missed you,” you calmly reply to your Beloved One.

Still, it IS a bitter loss. The shoggoth-sword had become your favoured armour AND weapon in your time in Hawksong. You know that the Novice eels its loss keenly as well—the two of you studied under the Nothic, divine spawn of the Dark God of Wisdom, to master its peculiar bio-alchemical properties to the extent that you could shape and mould the remnants of that great aberration for a variety of purposes. Now, having serve you well, the mass of tooth and gristle rolls and roils somewhere beneath the waves of Hawksong’s bay.

The Novice Fleshweaver sighs, hands on her prominent hips and tail smacking the floor of the border-property where the Succubus has hidden you away during your difficult recouperation.

“Here,” she huffs, producing a cloth-bundles package and half-throwing it with unceremonious gracelessness. You fumble to catch it, failing, and the contents roll free: the elven moon-blade which was your first favoured weapon, known to the sylvan races as the Sword of Endymion!

“Thank you,” you say, earnestly.

The Novice merely hisses and tuts.

“And just look at what you have done to YOURSELF,” she next admonishes. “YOU are my creation as well, as you have come to be. Are you intent to destroy ALL evidence of my progress in the Fleshweaver’s art?!”
>>
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>>5655880
It took another three days for your allies to bring you the Serpent Priestess who now glowers disapprovingly at you, during which time you’ve scarcely improved in health. In keeping with yoru religious dictates as a Knight Ascendant of the Dark God of Glorious Bloodshed, you have risen daily and practiced the blade with your remaining, mundane elven sword. You did this in spite of the pain, relenting only to downgrade to your traditional Reptilian assassin’s dagger.

Neither this, nor your leap of faith into the jaws of fortune, have gone ignored however! The Serpent Ascendant, called Sun-Swallower and Blood God, Light-of-Darkness and Shining Sovereign from Beyond the Stars, has blessed you as a <DARK PROPHET III>! In accordance with your dedication to his ways, you have been blessed with…

>Dragon’s Wings, Greater
You can now manifest powerful, feathered wings which can allow you to fly great distances, at great speeds, in any form, and which can offer armoured defence upon the ground, truly making you master of the skies for as long as you wish and making up for your lost shoggoth-armour somewhat
>Aura of the Swallowed Sun
You and your allies with whom you pray can glow with an eerie echo of a long-dead light, not merely demoralizing and blistering foes but quite literally burning them with a touch; you all gain temporary resistance or immunity to holy magic, hellfire, and even drgaonfire while this remains in effect
>Voice of the Metatron
You can issue commands akin to a <Power Word>, once per day; this can force someone (or several someones of lesser will) to kneel, flee, drop their weapon, stand still; with greater difficulty, you can force someone to submit, or even to kill themselves or another; in addition, the difficulty of rolls to command and persuade the faithful, or to debate those of other faiths, are decreased
>Sword of the Savior
You can summon, for a short time, an astral sword from beyond the veil which once belonged to a son of the Sun-Eater, and which ignores material armour and obstacles and scythes through virtually anything with all the force of a ray of scorching light
[No write-ins on this one; post continues, don't vote yet]
>>
>>5655883
“Well obviously,” she huffs when you tell her of your slow recovery.

“But in return—”

“Yes, yes, the Dark Gods have seen fit to grant you something-or-other,” she sacrilegiously waves away your great accomplishment and spiritual vindication. “Do you think this make you immortal? Show greater care for yourself, fool, or you will just be simply an especially memorable MARTYR.”

“Yes, Superior One,” you allow her. After all, she has always been of a rather skeptical and secular bent, regarding your Dark Gods with a most transactional mindset in spite of the priestly caste into which she was born.

After a moment, you tilt your head and ask, “So you worry for me? Did you miss me, also?”

She looks away, flustered. You rattle with laughter, deepening her embarrassment.

“My best guess would be that you have rested insufficiently, if at all. Too busy fumbling about, and probably generally involving yourself in matters best left to Lesser Ones, or those a SENSIBLE Reptilian would have ignored altogether. It is you incredibly frustrating custom, yes?”

“Yes,” you admit. “Will you help me, Oh Great Fleshweaver?”

She is silent for a time, then shouts for one of the Infiltrators who accompanied her to produce her supplies—of which, it seems, she brought a great many.

“The better to repair the results of your impulse and arrogance, Oh Meatheaded One,” she says, swatting you sadistically. “Strip.”

You wince and grumble. Still, for all her lambasting of your dubious decisions and distracted deviations, it is not long before the Novice Fleshweaver turns her physician’s ability to the art of mystical massage. She weaves away your pain and discomfort with care—even compassion?-just as undeniable as her skill.

You sigh, happy to bond with her in this familiar way. To be alone with her again, to enjoy the comfort of her familiar company, is a wonderful thing, and to know her healing touch.

“Have you… Completed your mission yet?” she asks, breaking the silence.

“Are you asking if I have yet mated with the Princess of Hawksong?” you tease.

“You know full well what I ask,” she hisses, pinching you with her claws in jealous spite.

“No,” you admit. “I… Became embroiled in local affairs.”

“Ha. Typical!”

“Soon,” you assure her. “When you have mended me, I will be marrying her.”

The Novice stops, and after a moment you glance at her, finding her expression almost as inscrutable as that of another race.

“What is wrong?” you ask.

“You will… MARRY her.”

“Yes,” you reiterate, then quickly amend: “In a false identity, thanks to your Amulet of Disguise. I am known in this country as ‘Long Wang’, eastern exorcist and adventurer.”
>>
>>5655885
“To what end?”

You blink.

“To… Mate with her?” you hazard, uncertain of the problem.

“Did you marry GLOWIE before you impregnated her? What about your… dwarf-THING before you made use of HER?”

You raise your eyebrows. There is jealousy, and then there is whatever THIS is. THIS is new.

“Is there a problem?” you ask innocently.

“Of course there is!” the Novice snaps. “You have wasted time and resources for… What, a sham marriage? A little fantasy-play at some silly human mating ritual?”

“It has been a useful deception,” you explain, and remind her: “I have subverted the very halls of power. Hawksong is compromised beyond recovery!”

“And the marriage is necessary to secure this?” the Novice presses.
>>
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>>5655886
Well… No, not exactly. After all, Prince Rufos is enthralled, and Ekaterine isn’t even next in line to the throne so long as he lives—let alone if Alexos has somehow survived. Still, it doesn’t HURT.

“Every moment you remain here, “ The Novice points out, “is a risk. The deeper you embed yourself—in a family full of PALADINS no less!—the more likely you will be exposed, and captured. And while you have been here, do you think that my father, and the senior Priesthood whom you so defied and whose natural order you defiled, have been IDLE?”

You start to sit up, stopping only when your persistent pains pin you in place.

“They work against my reforms?” you ask sharply.

“OBVIOUSLY, you absolute buffoon!” the Novice hisses angrily. “What, has all your cuddling and canoodling with your new mate—sorry, your STILL VRIGINAL ‘BRIDE’—made you softer in the ehad than you already were? Why would they NOT reassert that authority which favours them, when the young upstart who upended it is away for nearly two months?”

You consider this gravely. Is two months really so long…?

“And what about Bloodrise?” the Novice demands. “have your forgotten your FIRST mate, your CHIDLREN? If I have sunk resources into that sword you lost, into this body you’ve risked and ruined, what of your abominable SPAWN? They carry almost ALL that is left of an ancient Dragon King in their insectoid ichor, and they are defended by DWARVEN SLAVES and DEGNERATES, while you, you…”

You rest a hand upon hers, and finally the trembling Novice stills herself. With Reptilian ease, she shifts from supreme-most agitation to icy calm.

“What is even the point of this sham marriage?” she asks, plainly. “You are leaving when the deed is done and the embryo implanted, yes? Why not simply bed her and be done with it?”

You tilt your head.

“Mammals of her ilk and station are pair-bonded for life, and cohabitate by custom,” the Novice reminds you. “Do you thinks he will take KINDLY to her new husband departing immediately after the wedding ceremony and your mating?”

…Well, no, probably not, come to think of it.

“What,” the Novice asks pointedly, “is even your PLAN here, Dragonborn?”

>You plan to remain in Hawksong, operating as Long Wang, and to set up Hawksong as your new seat of power
>You will leave Ekaterine, wedded and impregnated, and return to your duties elsewhere, though she will fret and fear for you
>You will make Ekaterine your bride… And then reveal your true self to her, your identity as the Dark prophet Theral, and take her with you when you leave
>You… Don’t know. You can’t decide. Right now, you just want to focus on the wedding. Is that so WRONG of you?
>Write-in
>>
>>5655883
>Sword of the Savior
whoooo

>>5655887
>You will leave Ekaterine, wedded and impregnated, and return to your duties elsewhere, though she will fret and fear for you
I've wanted to cum and go for like 3 threads now
>>
>>5655887

>Dragon’s Wings, Greater

We're gonna have a proper war to prosecute sometime soon, likely against Alexos or someone similar. Having the ability to move at supernatural speeds will make that a lot easier, though the sun sword is tempting after the loss of Shoggy.


>You will make Ekaterine your bride… And then reveal your true self to her, your identity as the Dark prophet Theral, and take her with you when you leave

For me, the allure of Kat is making her a true believer in her own way. It's a vindication of Theral as the Prince of Love, that he can transform the daughter of his greatest enemy into a steadfast supporter.
>>
>>5655883
>aura of swallowed sun
Magic resistance is important
>You will make Ekaterine your bride… And then reveal your true self to her, your identity as the Dark prophet Theral, and take her with you when you leave
Make sure to impregnate her before revealing that, though.

Backlink>>5655134
>>
>>5655883
>Voice of the Metatron
>Go full Aquaman “Bring me my Sword” to the Fish/Crab People
Tbh, I would’ve preferred the Sunbeam Firebreath upgrade.

>>5655887
>You… Don’t know. You can’t decide. Right now, you just want to focus on the wedding. Is that so WRONG of you?
I just want to fish our sword outta the seas bros- or get some wartery tart to give Sloggy back to us.

>Btw Novice, I got an in with the Grand Wizard of Hawksong- you wanna get some Fleshweaving tips and insight from her while you’re here?
>>
>>5655883
>Dragon’s Wings, Greater

We’ve always wanted to fly - like our ancestors of old

>>5655887
>You will make Ekaterine your bride…And then reveal your true self to her, your identity as the Dark prophet Theral, and take her with you when you leave
I’m with the other anon, I want to convert and impregnate her

Bloodrise is our Kingdom, our place is there
>>
>>5655883
>Voice of the Metatron
Supportin' the "bring sword" to crab line.

>You will make Ekaterine your bride… And then reveal your true self to her, your identity as the Dark prophet Theral, and take her with you when you leave
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>5655883
1-Aura of the Swallowed Sun
2-Sword of the Savior
I honestly can’t decide.

>>5655887
>You will leave Ekaterine, wedded and impregnated, and return to your duties elsewhere, though she will fret and fear for you
>>
>>5656483
>>5656447
>>5656072
>>5655928
>>5655910
>>5655905
>>5655903
[Damn, you anons like to really get it down to the fire. As before, a judgement call had to be made.]
>>
>>5656873
“The Human Princess will be coming with us,” you explain.

The Novice stares at you, incredulous anew.

“Oh,” she says with sarcasm dripping like venom from her fanged mouth, “is that right? You’re just going to BRING her, are you? You don’t foresee this presenting any difficulties, or complications? This is not some stray, like Jun—like our chimera-ghoul, or the dark elf castoffs, or even a barbarian like the bugbear. This is the PRINCESS of the MOST POWERFUL NATION on the surface.”

“I will explain the situation.”

“Oh, you will EXPLAIN, yes? Well then, I suppose once her husband EXPLAINS that he is a Reptilian hybrid, and the self-appointed prophet of the Dark Gods Below and Beyond, the PALADIN KING’S daughter will simply… Accept this, and come quietly?”

“Yes.”

The Novice can only sputter.

“I am not ‘self-appointed’, Sseztlussth,” you say—and this time, you speak in the <Voice of the Metatron>, with a true Dark prophet’s authority. “She will come with us, and in time she will understand.”

The Novice flinches back a little, her fierce pride holding aloft a head which her graceful, aristocratic neck wishes very much to bend in supplication. She struggles to meet your eyes, but nor can she tear her gaze away.

“Trust me.”

Despite herself, your belligerent bedmate cannot bring herself to speak another skeptical word. She instead falls sullenly silent, continuing her work upon you until, finally, she breaks the silence:

“I will be taking my torpor in your quarters,” she half-asks, half-commands.

You bow your head, with no small amount of smugness, and say: “Of course, Superior One.”

Ah, you’d missed this.
>>
>>5656919
It is only a few days later that you are finally recovered to the point where you may confidently don the Amulet of Disguise which makes Theral of Bloodrise into Long Wang of the enigmatic Eastlands. Your regard your reflection, alien again and yet not SO alien. This face, this body… it isn’t YOU, but you’ve worn it long enough that it no longer feels so strange to see this narrow-eyed, golden-skinned human follow your movements in the mirror.

“Preening even now, in your most hideous form of all, oh Degenerateborn?”

You turn around and, to your surprise, see the Novice wearing a guise of her own—one you haven’t seen her adopt in over a year, that of the brown-skinned elf (or half-elf? You think you can now recognize signs of human hybridization in the mix, after so long among both Man and Elf) which her own Amulet of Disguise enables.

“I will take it as a compliment to my craftsmanship,” she sniffs.

“What are YOU wearing, Serpent Priestess?” you ask her. “And why?”

“I am coming with you,” she insists.

You arch Long Wang’s eyebrow, and the Novice hisses, then catches herself and huffs.

“I have worked upon my Northern Common-tongue,” she says, and indeed she speaks the words in a satisfactory imitation of a human. “I will not be a liability.”

“You wish to… Attend my wedding, Beloved One?” you ask, disbelieving, then add in the tongue of the Northmen: “Jealoussss much?”

The Novice crosses her arms beneath her false form’s angrily-heaving bosom.

“The lassst time I let you leave my sssight, you vanished for a month, lossst a preciousss artefact, and nearly died,” she spits. “I will not be sso foolish asss to trussst in you like that again, fool.”

You shrug. Fine—so be it. Sometimes, there is naught else you can do but humour this female… And anyway, she isn’t exactly WRONG.
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>>5656922
“Wang!”

Your reunion with Princess Ekaterine is far more overtly affectionate than that with the Novice Fleshweaver, despite the shorter time apart. Violating courtly decorum and flaunting her guards—who, you note, make no move to stop her—she hurls herself at you and wraps her arms around you, shoving her face into your chest and clinging as if afraid you will vanish from her grasp. Only after you have stroked the softness of her hair for nearly two whole minutes does she relinquish this hold and back away, blushing intensely.

“I… Oh no, I’m so sorry. You were hurt, weren’t you? I was told… Oh dear, did I…?”

“I am quite alright,” you reassure her with a practiced, mammalian smile. “My physssician wass a great help. I am asss healthy asss before the battle with the demon-possessssed warriorsss… Maybe better!”

For the first time, Eka gazes upon the Novice, who looks back unflinchingly. She stands several feet back from the two of you, and scarcely moves. It’s actually quite eerie, and rather inhuman—you hope the locals will chalk it up to some peculiarity of the ‘brown elves’, for as you explain:

“Thisss isss a fellow adventurer of mine,a nd a ccomapnion of many yearsss… She wasss ‘healer’ to my adventuring party, and hailsss from an isolated elven tribe to the eassstern desssertss. At my requessst, the Green Knight—that isss to ssay, Ssir Yosssef, he brught her here to ssave my life.”

“Well then,” Ekaterine gathers her composure, and steps forward with bowed head. “We ALL owe you a great debt, Lady….?”

The Novice narrows her eyes slightly, taking the slightest step back, and answers: “Teharissssa.”

You suppress a sigh. Classic blunder: picking a surface name with an ‘S’ sound. If Ekaterine is at all questioning of her pronunciation, though, she is far more perturbed by the disguised Felshweaver’s cool demeanour. Still, she forces a smile.

“Thank you, ah, Teharissa,” she reiterates. “Thank you SO, so much.”

“Don’t thank me yet,” the Novice—Teharissa, you suppose, for now—replies. “I have brought a pox upon your house.”

Ekaterine stares uncomprehendingly, and her guards exchange a look. You step in hurriedly, explaining the meaning of your (infuriating, still, even if you love her dearly) companion’s words:

“I am feeling well enough, I think, to finally make good upon our promissse… And with death sso narrowly avoided, I think it prudent to act NOW, lessst I forever hold my peaccce.”

Eka stares at you for a moment, still not understanding… Until, in the Northern custom, you kneel before her.

“W-w-wait, you mea—”

“Princess Ekaterine of Hawksong,” you ask, “will you marry me?”
>>
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>>5656925
>Dream-manipulations by a lust demon
>Successful seduction rolls in past (including criticals)
>Successful date
>Much focus upon the princess
>The removal of vocal familial opposition
>Hero of Hawksong
>VOICE OF THE METATRON

“…”

>Auto-success

“YES!” the Princess bursts out after a moment, eyes filling with tears as she stares at the ring which you produced—a relic which you had brought for you from your hoard, along with your Novice, crested with a shining emerald the very colour of Ekaterine’s—and your own—eyes, set in flawless gold and flanked by a pair of near-perfect dwarf-cut diamonds.

The Princess falls to her own knees before you, and clutches to you again, and says again:

“Yes, yes, I would very much…. Yes! Oh, Gods Above, yes! I never want to let you go again!”

The guards—and the Novice, whose quiet but deep-felt and persistent agitation you can detect through bonds of Reptilian Empathy—watch as the two of you hold one another.

You feel…
>Happy—genuinely, deeply, lovingly happy, even at PEACE, at least for now
>Worried—this last operation will require careful execution, and it has many moving parts
>Terrified—what if she rejects you after the marriage? what if something goes wrong?
[Pick one]

The two of you begin to plan the wedding shortly thereafter, and decide it should be…
>A grand affair, fully legitimizing the union and making it known to all whom the Princess of Hawksong has chosen
>A quiet and intimate sort of wedding—something where friends and family attend, and a few royal scribes and courtiers, but without crowds or parades
>An elopement, away from Hawksong and from the pressures of the court, and nevermind tradition! [requires persuasion roll]
>Write-in
>>
>>5656926
>happy
>a quiet and intimate sort of wedding

the more people we have at the wedding, the more contingencies we have to keep in mind

backlink>>5655910
>>
>>5656926
>Worried—this last operation will require careful execution, and it has many moving parts

>A grand affair, fully legitimizing the union and making it known to all whom the Princess of Hawksong has chosen
>>
>>5656926
>Worried—this last operation will require careful execution, and it has many moving parts

>A quiet and intimate sort of wedding—something where friends and family attend, and a few royal scribes and courtiers, but without crowds or parades.

Deepvein and chase plus their elf friend spread rumours that we are a lizard man before we got rid of them. It's best to not do anything that would bring attention to that fact.
>>
>>5657019
Supporting

Can we be worried with a tinge of happy?
>>
>>5657068
>a tinge of happy
[Theral is going ahead with the wedding and is in love with Ekaterine per previous votes, so I'd be surprised if he wasn't pretty happy! Perhaps for 'happy' it would have been more accurate to write 'content', which is what I meant to imply by the rest of that option's description.]
>>
>>5656926
>>Worried—this last operation will require careful execution, and it has many moving parts
>An elopement, away from Hawksong and from the pressures of the court, and nevermind tradition! [requires persuasion roll]

Where is our option to aquaman-style command a recovery of shoggoth?
>>
>>5657304
>Where is our option to aquaman-style command a recovery of shoggoth?
[I admit I'm a little confised by who or what you're planning to command? You could try crabs/lobsters, but first you would need a large mass of ceabs/lonsters, and they would need to have an understanding of what the sword looks like, where to look for it, how to coprdinate it to drag it back... Not sure that really would work. You can issue the command, sure, but they might not puzzle out how to follow it before the Voice wears off.]
>>
>>5657323
Are there fishmen in the setting? Locathah maybe? Or Tortles?
Else, we can coerce some magus of the tower with a Bubble-head Charm.
Or order some orcs - do they need to breath in the setting?

Would any of that (or all of the above) work? What about our reptilian influence over some sea Serpents? Or Gyriados. Or plesiausors?
>>
>>5657332
If no one of those work, let's go full "The Big Blue" and order dirt-poor shellfish fishermen children to look for it on their rivalry dives
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>>5657332
>fishmen
[There are, elsewhere.]
>Locathah, tortles
[The former's hostile to humanity, the latter Reptilian, and neither welcome in Hawksong or permitted to dwell in one of the world's busiest humanoid trading ports.]
>sea serpents, prehistoric marine reptiles, Gyarados
[See above.]
>orcs
[Breath water; they're pig-tusked, hunched, hairy ape-men, not space-fungi.]

>>5657339
[Viable, and if other people want to do it I'll include it when I get a chance to writeup after VtM today, BUT... Are you sure that's an undertaking you wish to engage in before your wedding? it would require a lot of time and supervision, and your bride-to-be is very concerned with the well-being of the lower classes, whose children you will be utilizing in this way for many, many days to even have chance of finding the shoggoth-sword.]
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>>5657351
>>5657332
>Magic needed to walk at the bottom of the bay, scour it for the sword, and not drown or be crushed by pressure
[Pretty high-level, but maybe the Archmage could help... In time, for a price...]
>Breath water
[*orcs DON'T breathe water, sorry. Was typing between rounds in VtM. Session's done now!]

>>5656939
>>5656998
>>5657019
>>5657068
>>5657304
[Writing!]
>>
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>>5657504
You’re happy, obviously. How could you not be? Marriage is a meaningless thing to you, of course—it doesn’t exist in your culture except as a form of declared ownership to sole mating rights, and the idea of commemorating it with some kind of ‘wedding’ is laughable. But… Well, you love Ekaterine, and that she (whose culture DOES place value in such frivolities) sees you as a suitable partner for lifetime mating and public commitment… It is gratifying.

And yet, you’re worried. There are rumours drifting about regarding the true nature of ‘Long Wang’, even now, when many hail him as the hero who saved Sir Heinrich Yosef, the royal family, and maybe Hawksong itself. The timing of all these events is rather convenient, you must admit—partly because you engineered some of them—and all the major action was convenient out-of-sight. Your Reptilian and demonic networks assure you that few mammals give credence to Deepvein’s earlier allegations that you are secretly a ‘lizardman’, but that you might be a cloying seducer and grifter, running some sort of con for money and status… These rumours persist.

“They are clearly jealous,” Ekaterine huffs, when you describe your concerns.

Then, she griamces,a dn adds: “or it’s the, ah, the race thing.”

You arch an eyebrow, noting that you are in fact both of the same, human, race… Well, as far as she knows, or any of your accusers.

Ekaterien looks at your with tenderness, and places both her hands upon yours, saying sweetly: “Yes, exactly! That is precisely, precisely right, Wang. It’s just… Well, not everyone views that. To some, the ‘Eastmen’ are as different as elves and dwarves, or even moreso, being so…”

“Foreign?” you hazard.

“Um, geographically-distant,” she supplies euphemistically, “and culturally less-familiar than our ‘demihuman’ neighbours here in the north-west of the continent.”

You nod, and suggest sagaciously: “Then a small ceremony is best. Just those who need to attend, with an announcement to the public when it is done.”

Ekaterine’s brow furrows thoughtfully.
>>
>>5657515
"It’s not very traditional…” she notes

She looks up at you, eyes bright with that little hint of mischief and rebellion which so endears her to you whenever you see it, and says: “I love it. Let’s!”

With your preferred plan in motion, you allow your soon-to-be-mate attend to the miscellaneous ephemera of decorations and decorum—you lack the finer cultural nuance to be much help and, conveniently, so too does your cover identity. This frees you up to…
>Pay the Archmage of Hawksong’s Mages’ Tower a visit with your Fleshweaver, to discuss the reversal of Olu’s sterilization—he deserves to know the happiness which you know, with his own lady love
>Check in on the status of Prince Alexos with his brainwashed brother
>Pore over some newspapers and military reports on the matter of the Bloodrise Conflict
>Discuss the future of your partnership with Irinnile, her role in it, and the matter of Heinrich Yosef
>Begin scouring the bay for signs of the shoggoth-sword, mobilizing all available resources
>Write-in
[Pick ONE, please. No guarantee of success on that last one, btw.]
>>
>>5657517
>Pore over some newspapers and military reports on the matter of the Bloodrise Conflict
about time we paid some attention to the home front
>>
>>5657517
>>Begin scouring the bay for signs of the shoggoth-sword, mobilizing all available resources
Let's do it.
>>
>>5657517
Cant we just have irinnile find our the shogoth? Since presumably she doesn't have to breath while in her pure demon form. And she can mind link with us while we are using our guidance.
>>
>>5657323
>recovery of shoggoth
Could we meditate along the shoreline and leverage our deep understanding of the entity (granted by Nothic, divine spawn of the Dark God of Wisdom) alongside divination to find it?

Once we know where it is, we simply need to imbibe a potion of underwater breathing

Thoughts QM?

>>5657517
>Pore over some newspapers and military reports on the matter of the Bloodrise Conflict
>>
>>5657517
>Pore over some newspapers and military reports on the matter of the Bloodrise Conflict

The Shoggoth-sword is a regrettable loss, but one we can deal with later.
>>
>>5657620
>Iri
[By her pact, she must stay within a certain distance of Heinrich Yosef at all times. She could send lesser demons to do her bidding, but she can't see through their eyes or vice versa... And a spate of demon activity in a busy port has its own risks. She can't even 'mind link' with you without a soulbond... or volunteering to have her use her 'ectoplasmic puppeteering' trick on you, which would also let her dominate your will.]

>>5657626
>Nothic knowledge, Guidance
[It would help, for sure. However, you'd still need to brave your <Aquaphobia> or send an agent to do your bidding, and give them to tools to do the job if they need to breathe.]

>>5657517
>>5657530
>>5657575
>>5657620
>>5657626
>>5657703
[If the sword-search is voted for, various options will be presented to a vote.]
>>
>>5657517
>Begin scouring the bay for signs of the shoggoth-sword, mobilizing all available resources.

Alexos diplomatic delegation and the dwarf bloodrise battles are too far away for us to do anything about directly.
>>
>>5657517
>Check in on the status of Prince Alexos with his brainwashed brother

Lets make sure he doesn’t pull any weird shit

>>5657339
We could just commission a bunch of experts rather than children. Pricey but they’ll keep their mouths shut about this sword.
>>
>>5657896
Backlink>>5655910
>>
[Forgive me anons, for I have sinned: I am too drunk to write a good second update tonight. It will have to wait for tomorrow. It was a long week, and I need a breather. Sorry, friends!]
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>5657530
>>5657575
>>5657626
>>5657703
>>5657861
>>5657896
The shoggoth-sword is a pressing concern, and a regrettable loss. With every hour, certainly every day, it drifts further out to sea on strange an subaquatic currents alien and terrifying even to one such as you—perhaps ESPECIALLY to one such as you, given your <aquaphobia>. One fear looms greater though: the fear for your friends, your family, your kingdom.

You will be returning to the frya in Bloodrise before long, but ebfroe even then, you must know what has transpired there.

You pore over papers—public and private military documents privy only to princely council—and you begin to glean a fuller picture. It is… A mixed bag. By stopping the escape of Deepvein and Chase, killing (or at least waylaying) Alexos, and subverting Rufos, you have driven a wedge between Man and Dwarf, and denied the region precious Paladin-backed aid. In Hawksong, the dominant feeling of Bloodrise is that it is a regional conflict between bwarf-and0dwarf, backed by kobold mercenaries and sensationalized by ever-present rumorus of ‘reptoids’ to cover some form of labourer revolt…

But not all are so convinced.

The dwarven corporations in the areas have conglomerated into a task-force, and have gone all in on the ‘Reptilian Conspiracy’, bit with almost humour misunderstanding of the facts on the ground: you beardless dwarven apprentice, Karz Throat-singer, ahs been identified as ringleader and a probable secret lizard-man. He has been spotted leading many a charge, made more visible by her very audible and mystical throat-singing, which many compare to the thrumming of some great toad. He is said to lead armies of kobolds and (if dwarves can be believed, and mankind REALLY ought to) larger lizardmen, plsu sundry others: black-skinned elves, dead-eyed dwarves, and even strange insectoid abominations are numbered among the foes of mammal-kind.

Rolling, DC 50/70/90
>>
>>5658128
>98
The forces of the corporations are being rapidly overwhelmed in the absence of aid. To your great relief, while there ARE reports of dead or captured kobolds and ‘lizardmen’, most captives and casualties are dwarven or Drow… And there are precious few of those. Apparently harrowing by a strange and hairy goblin astride a great bat-beast—the Bugbear Boss, one presumes—accompanied by some sort of ‘armoured bug-dragon’—yours and Glowie’s first, strong-winged son, Tudyvak the Scout—have been very advantageous at applying pressure, to the pint of terror and flight. Bloodrise is all but abandoned by dwarves. Below it, humans cower in their homes, or emigrate away.

The mountain-ranged and the realms below all but BELONG to the Forces of Darkness.

You are gratified to read these consistently-positive (well, negative to those compiling them, but positive for YOU) reports, suddenly less fearful for your family’s fate, and for your retinue of companions in your absence. For the first time in a week of wedding preparations, you breathe a sigh of relief.

Your marriage ceremony will take place tomorrow. You are still worried, but less so for the good news from the home-front. Soon, you will rejoin your longtime companions and young-but-mighty spawn, shuck your human guise, and rule as ‘Copper Dragon King, Theral of Bloodrise’ once again…

But first, there are a few finishing touches to attend to. Most importantly, you must…
>Attend a meeting with your future father-in-law, to discuss your upcoming union and matters of succession
>Broach the subject of the Reptilian Race and True Faith with your wife-to-be, to prime Ekaterien for the revelation to come
>Take the Novice Fleshweaver on a date around Hawksong, to keep her onside and hopefully cultivate some tolerance of the mammalian races you have come to appreciate
>Write-in
>>
>>5658140
>Broach the subject of the Reptilian Race and True Faith with your wife-to-be, to prime Ekaterine for the revelation to come

Test the waters a bit

backlink>>5657896
>>
>>5658140
>>Broach the subject of the Reptilian Race and True Faith with your wife-to-be, to prime Ekaterien for the revelation to come
>>
>>5658140
>Broach the subject of the Reptilian Race and True Faith with your wife-to-be, to prime Ekaterine for the revelation to come

Satisfying that our forces are whipping Dwarf ass even in our absence.
>>
>>5658140
>Take the Novice Fleshweaver on a date around Hawksong, to keep her onside and hopefully cultivate some tolerance of the mammalian races you have come to appreciate

can we not give Eka any reason to doubt before we get what we came here for?
>>
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>>5658497
>>5658261
>>5658158
>>5658148
That afternoon, you sat with Ekaterine in one of the royal family’s entertaining rooms, a spacious and well-furnished space replete with marble statues and many well-organized and well-stocked shelves of relevant tomes from which any learned guest could call upon the wisdom and wit of ancients and contemporaries to lend credence to a talking point in the midst of conversation—Itself, as likely as not, supplemented by the stocked liquor cabinet. Neither you nor your Eka partook, of course, instead preferring sober contemplation and conversation, though of late the young female’s mind seemed full to bursting with more personal and trivial matters—the preparations for your ‘big day’, as she called it, down to the specific shade of white which she desired for her dress.

You, however, had a different topic on your mind:

“Have you heard about the eventsss in the Bloodrise Mountainsss?”

Perhaps you were riding high on the news of your people’s triumph. Perhaps, buoyed and overjoyed, you simply wanted to share the good news with someone. Oh, there was the Novice Fleshweaver, of course, but her response had been rather… Muted and pointed: “Good. Then impregnate the ape-thing and let us return there to finish them off.”

(You… think she’s mad at you.)

Ekaterine’s own initial response is surprise and confusion at the sudden change of topics, but then her expression shifts to one of understanding.

“You fear for us,” she surmises, wrongly but understandably. “These… Creatures, these lizardfolk and other such monsters… You fear they are in league with those you fought here.”

You aren’t sure exactly how to respond, so instead you shrug.

“We should be sending the Paladins now,” Ekaterine then says, with surprising venom, “ending that threat, NOW.”

You are a little shocked at this, and joke: “What became of Princcessss Ekaterine, the Paccifissst, who lovess and toleratess all racesss?”

Ekaterine replies seriously: “They nearly killed you, Wang. They came to this, this very PALACE to kill my FAMILY!”

This… Isn’t exactly the response you hoped for.

“I ssuppose,” you say. “But then again… Isssn’t that merely the nature of war? People of all racesss sseek to ssecure their own landsss, their own independence and wealth, at the expense of othersss… And sssometimesss, regrettably, that causesss death and dessstruction.”

Ekaterine looks at you strangely, but her natural inclination towards intellectual debate quickly kicks in, and she—true to form—stands and extracts a book from its place upon the shelf with practiced ease and immediate knowledge of its location. She flips through the pages, landing upon one with outstretched finger.
>>
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Rolled 9, 12, 4, 18, 15 = 58 (5d20)

>>5658584
“I cannot speak to the, ah, political situation in the East, of course… But in the Northwest, we have had no wars between races, or between human subraces, in three hundred and forty-eight years… And the last one was barely a decade long, and had casualties in the low thousands!”

“Surely there are conflictsss?” you ask, a little surprised at this.

“With the Southern nations, sometimes… or with bands of orcs and goblinoids, or against individual bad actors such as, as demonologists or necromancers—”

“Hm,” you grunt, remembering your own troubles with those exact same elements in the past.

“—but at the closing of the last Dragon War, the Paladin King channeled the very voice of the gods and proclaimed it a sin against The Heavenly Realms and the Gdos of Light for any two peoples who worship them to make war against one another.”

“And yet you all have armiesss, mercenariesss…”

“…Yes,” Ekaterine admits with a sigh, setting the book in her lap and again sitting beside you. “Some… Skirt the laws, with what they call, ah, ‘undeclared conflicts’… But these are exceptions, and the deaths are few, and innocent people and their property are not brought into it.”

“Innocentsss of your allianccce,” you correct her.

Eka looks at you in confusion.

“Goblinsss, orcssss, occultissstsss, the foreign men… Their women and children, their homesss, what happensss to them? To their young, their noncombatantsss?”

Ekaterine fidgets uncomfortably, and looks down.

“It is… A shameful oversight, yes. We MUST improve, be BETTER. But still, these… these demon-worshiping lizardmen, these ‘reptoids’…”

“They are not a part of your allianccce,” you interject. “They do not worship your godss. They do not have acccesss to your diplomatic channelsss. They are doing what they mussst, and asss their own Godsss command them.”

“They work with demons,” she shoots back. “Creatures of pure malevolence and violence.”

You think of Irinnile, and counter: “Dangerousss creaturesss and dangerousss men are useful, in war. They need merely be directed properly. Maybe it alssso goesss this way for demonsss, yess? Even the Hawkssong Mages’ Tower oncce employed a Demonologist, yesss?”

“You sound almost sympathetic to them,” Ekaterine notes quietly, scrutinizing you.

You hesitate, then shrug.

“I have lived in difficult tiemssss, and placesss. It makesss it… Difficult to apsss judgement sso easssily. Where I come from, sstrength iss key... Whatever itsss source.”
>>
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>>5658586
Ekaterine nods, and places her hand upon your chest.

“I am so sorry, Wang. You deserve so much better than… That difficulty. I will make sure you never face such conditions again. I promise you that.”

The two of you share an embrace which deepens and, in time, becomes a kiss. The guards who once attended to you so closely are now well outside the chamber, affording the Princess and her fiancé their privacy. When the kiss is broken and the two of you are snuggled tight together upon your long seat, however, the Princess looks troubled.

>18
>Voice of the Metatron

In vague and veiled terms, you elaborate upon the philosophy which has brought you strength. You tell Eka of the virtues of darkness—of how those with strength and resolve—like adventurers, like paladins—must use violence to shape the world into a better place, and to protect those close to them.

"It issn't a kindnessss for godsss to shelter and coddle their children from thisss truth," he tell her, "it isss cruelty. The weak SHOULD fear the sstrong. It sseemss to me that these... Monsssterss in the mountainsss recognize thisss, and that the damage they inflict isss ass much a product of humansss and dwarvesss forcccing them to demonssstrate that sstrength asss anything elssse."

“I think I understand what you are saying,” she says after a time, though you can tell she doesn't much like it. “But I still cannot forgive them.”

She looks up at you, tears in her eyes. Her surprising, uncharacteristic bloodlust is dissipated, and illusion that crumbled under your mastery of pathos, ethos, and logos.

“The shapeshifting lizardfolk, whatever gods they follow. Even if I do not… HATE them, or SHOULDN’T do so, they’re our enemies, aren’t they? Yours, and my family’s, and our people’s… And yours. Their victory endangers us all. We should use OUR strength to... To protect ourselves, no matter what it means to them, right?"

You wipe away her tears with a thumb—a tender gesture which your temporary human guise, with its soft, padded fingers, allows. Ekaterine cps your hand to her cheek, and leans heavy against you.

“They nearly took you away from me,” she whispers.

She is repeating your own lies and propaganda as truth, fearing for you as you taught her to fear for you, hating those whom your own lies have conditioned her to hate. Even as you work to rhetorically dissolve those feelings of fear and enmity, the lies themselves remain. As far as she knows, Long Wang—her husband, her one true love—is a human man, nearly killed by a demon-reptilian conspiracy.

But in dreams… In dreams, when she believed that Long Wang and Theral of Bloodrise were one and the same—as they in fact ARE—she loved all of you. She really even seemed to UNDERSTAND all of you.

Maybe… It’s time?

>Reveal your true identity
>Keep the secret until after the wedding
>>
The choice is hard.
On one hand, honesty is key And the pick shows Withheld truth as a reason for failure
On the other hand... Yeah, this will backfire.
>>
>>5658596
>Reveal your true identity


"That victory does not endanger us, because I am it's architect, Ekaterine. I am the path between both extremes: is a genocidal war truly the way you desire? I do not believe that we are fated to destroy each other, your race and mine. You know who I am, deep down. Do you hate me and mine, or have you just been TOLD to so often that you cannot see past this veneer?"

"See me for who I truly am. Know that all of the important parts are unchanged, Eka."
>>
>>5658596
>Keep the secret until after the wedding
ugh
>>
>>5658596
>Keep the secret until after the wedding

This conversation shows that she isn’t ready for this truth - we need to work on her more
>>
>>5658609
>>5658611
Formally votin' to drop the mask
>>
>>5658596
>Keep the secret until after the wedding
I feel like we can really lean into some eastern mythology here guys, I feel like an eastern magical shape-shifting dragon man would be super kino, but she can only discover after we properly secure the bag to ensure demigod dual anti/paladin bloodline is properly laid out
>>
>>5658772
+1

We want to be honest but we’re not willing to throw everything we’ve done away.

Backlink>>5658148
>>
>>5658596
Wait ive got an idea

Can we say something like…

“I was turned into a dragonborn”


Or does that violate the knight ascendant rules?
>>
>>5658772
Support
>>
>>5658847
[Depends how you phrase it, and if she asks you directly who/what you are.]

>>5658859
>>5658834
>>5658772
>>5658714
>>5658698
>>5658689
>>5658611
[Closing vote in a half-hour!]
>>
>>5658918
eh probably not gonna risk it.
>>
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>>5658918
>>5658945
[Alright, locked and writing ASAP!]
>>
>>5658951

You look down at this Beloved One, conflicted. She loves you, and fears for you, and you could relieve that fear. Moreover, you could finally put this long and difficult charade to rest—at least, for the one human among all these other humans whose approval and understanding you actually care about. It wasn’t so long ago that you pledged to live and lead openly, as yourself and as you truly are. You took up with the Dark God most known for His directness and prideful honesty!

And yet…

“Never fear,” you tell Ekaterine truthfully, “they will never sseparate usss. We will be together, forever.”

That much, at least is true.

You stay together for a spell longer, before you must take your leave, and she hers. There are yet preparations to be made, after all, for the ceremony which shall bind you both tomorrow.

You spend the evening with your other Beloved, the Novice Fleshweaver. You do not tell her what transpired and, though she no doubt notices your sedate demeanour, she does not comment on it—at least, not directly.

“This whole city stinks,” she complains. “I cannot wait to be done with this place.”

“There are things to appreciate here,” you note.

“Of course You would think so, Degenerateborn,” she chides, though without venom. “I bet you have even come to enjoy that flat, hairy face you wear. It must be just like coming home!”

In some ways… But in others, far more ways in fact, it will be the return to Bloodrise which serves as homecoming. You are nearly there… One more day in Hawksong, a night, and then you can finally reveal who you are, and take Ekaterine away from this place, to honeymoon with the REAL you. How glorious it will be…


“Ugh, your anxiety is contagious,” the Novice whines, setting down what she was working on and removing her Amulet of Disguise., so as to unfurl to her true stature. “Come. Lay down, rest. There is nothing else you can do until tomorrow, anyway.”

But that isn’t strictly speaking true, is it? You could contact Irinnile and, with the demon’s aid, make one last petition to Eka in dreams. It would leave you exhausted before the ‘big day’, but perhaps you could prime her for the ‘big reveal’ that will follow… Hedge your bets, as it were?

Or perhaps, as little as this ceremony matters to one of your upbringing, you should still petition one of the Dark Gods in prayer, the day before you are set to be wed?

“Dragonborn,” the Novice hisses, and then adds more gently: “Rest.”

What will you do? Pick one:
>Sleep [no penalties to rolls tomorrow, +Novice affection]
>Pray [could receive a premonition]
>Dream-delve [Clears threshold for <TRUE LOVE> with Ekaterine, but can carry positive and/or negative consequences for tomorrow]
>>
>>5658968
>Dream-delve [Clears threshold for <TRUE LOVE> with Ekaterine, but can carry positive and/or negative consequences for tomorrow]

one more gamble
>>
>>5658968
>Sleep [no penalties to rolls tomorrow, +Novice affection]

The Novice never reaches out for us in this manner - return her affection
>>
>>5658968
>Sleep [no penalties to rolls tomorrow, +Novice affection]
Gotta show Szesty we still want it
>>
>>5658968
>Pray [could receive a premonition].

The visions of the dark gods have always been useful, and i have a sneaking suspicion since this new quest chapter started there is bound to be some plot issue we have to deal with.
>>
>>5658968
>Dream-delve [Clears threshold for <TRUE LOVE> with Ekaterine, but can carry positive and/or negative consequences for tomorrow]
>>
>>5658968
>>Sleep [no penalties to rolls tomorrow, +Novice affection]
>>
>>5658968
>Sleep [no penalties to rolls tomorrow, +Novice affection]

Man, I'm sad we didn't reveal, but I get the trepidation. Let's see how this goes.
>>
>>5658968
>Sleep [no penalties to rolls tomorrow, +Novice affection]
We really should take Novice to Henzler's before we go, she deserves the reward.
>>
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>>5659444
>>5659263
>>5659192
>>5659156
>>5659143
>>5659077
>>5659011
>>5658971
[Locked and writing!]
>>
>>5659999
Quads... How auspicious. This one is a doozy, boys and hypothetical girls or androgenes who might dwell in this cesspit.

You sigh, allowing the weariness to take you, dragging you down into the bed. The Novice has taken up station in one of the decadent surface-beds common among the upper and middle-class humans of the north—raised upon wooden pillars, padded with downy cushioning. It is soft—too soft for your tastes—but the Novice is a creature who is given to a certain among of luxury and comfort.

Perhaps that is why SHE is so soft—a softness you find yourself appreciating.

“Hmph, save it for your hairy-headed pet monkey, Dragondick.”

You do not, instead nuzzling into her and taking her in your. She makes a show of hissing, and huffing, but even as she does so she settles against you.

>+Novice Fleshweaver affection

“You have been overtaxing yourself,” she quietly criticizes you. “You squander my efforts to heal you and better you when you abuse your body. You create unnecessary work for me.”

“I will make it up to you,” you mumble.

You are already beginning to drift off, in spite of the bed swallowing you up.

“A likely story,” the novice sniffs. “You have been too busy to even spend time with me as of late.”

“You wish to spend more time together?” you ask, surprised enough to stave off sleep a moment longer.

The Novice realizes too late what she has let slip, but she tries to recover.

“There is an abundance of genetic diversity here. Much fodder for experimentation… And magical resources aplenty to plunder! THAT is what we should be doing.”

“You would call me Reckless One if I besieged a city of a million with an army of a few dozen,” you note.

“…Bah.”

“You would like the Initiates’ Village,” you muse, thinking of the place where the mammal magelings and enchanted epicureans make their homes. “Or perhaps the Smithing District. And there is one human—the Archmage—that actually somewhat reminds me of you.”

“Oh, so I ask for favour and am treated to insults?” she snaps. “Some Prince of Love.”

You rattle with laughter. The Novice’s tail angrily slaps at you, until you grip it and pull it around you like a weighted blanket. The Novice’s hiss of irritation turns to almost a soft sigh, and her posture and body language is unmistakably that of ease, of comfort, whatever façade she may put on.

“I do love you,” you remind her.

“…Hm.”

“I know,” you say forgivingly, and allow torpor to take you at last.

>Well-rested
>>
>>5660037
The next day comes swiftly. You rise earlier than mammals do from the dreamless half-sleep of the Reptilian master race; the Novice, full-blooded Superior One that she is, still sleeps later. Spoiled One! Still, you appreciate the mild and placid expression on her face, her relaxed posture. You appreciate the sight for a moment, before—as every day—you take up your blade and practice the art of Hexblade Sword Mastery, in honour of the Dark God of Ceaseless Striving.

Early dawn turns to the mammals’ morning. You set down the moon-blade and take up the Amulet of Disguise. You don first Long Wang’s flesh, and then his attire—the finely-tailored faux-Eastern attire which you wore on your first formal date with Ekaterine of Hawksong. It better suits today’s venue than a ramshackle goblin ‘hot-pot’ restaurant, anyway.

“I am ready.”

You look up to see the Novice Fleshweaver in her own disguise-still voluptuously curved, albeit differently than her natural form, more top-heavy and clad in smooth, brown skin.

“Ha,” she mocks, with an air of arrogant pride accompanied by a certain deliberateness of pose, “ogling another female on your wedding day? Your wife-to-be must be a fool, to cling to your like.”


You ignore her comment, though it DOES occur to you that polygamy and your prior production of spawn could present its own, unique difficulties even if (when!) Eka accepts your Reptilian true-self. Still, that is a concern for another day.

Today, you are told, is to be the happiest of your life.
>>
>>5660039
You are dubious, of course, but there is a certain building excitement that even supplants your inner anxiety as you and the Novice both approach the sacred altar—not the main cathedral to the principal human gods Moroth and Marese, but another, lesser one to a minor deity of love. This is a foreign, alien, even hostile place… But this ceremony is in your honour. You are welcome there, BELONG tehre this day… And you are glad to be there!

It is a shame that of all your friends, lovers, and allies, only the Novice and Oluwadamialre may attend, but so must it be. Roth has no interest, and to attend risks his cover; Irinnile refuses categorically to attend a ceremony on holy ground, with many a Paladin in attendance; no others of your close circle are near enough, and most are occupied with the fighting of a war. Even so, you are glad that this hostile and wretchedly-critical Beloved One is with you, and your dearest friend.

Your Archer is gaily attired as you are, and much more at ease than the edgy, standoffish Novice. He is a creature of the surface world as much as of the dark realms below it. He, a ‘fellow adventurer’ of Long Wang’s entirely fictitious party of such warriors, serves as your ‘best man’, taking up station not far from you as you stride to the altar and stand tall before the small gathering of nobles, scholar-scribes, Paladin guards, and other high-ranking officiants who must attend even this modest ceremony.

Prince Rufos and his family are among them—at the very front, in fact, and his expression is dead-eyed in his utter calm. You can only imagine the turmoil that must war within him, suppressed only by the demonic taint which holds his mind and soul entangled in tentacles of black ectoplasm.

And then, Ekaterine appears.
>>
>>5660040
She always has been gorgeous—or have you only come to see her as such, as you feel deeper and deeper into genuine love of her?—but she is especially resplendent today. Her attire is… Well, it’s very ELABORATE, one might describe it as ‘poofy’. There is a large amount of white, fur and flowers bedeck it in matching shades of cream and ivory, and sparkling diamonds, pearls, opals, and zirconia twinkle like dewdrops upon her shoulders, her neck and breast. She wears a crown fit for a queen—her late mother’s for this one special occasion, a right granted by the father whose arm she holds.

The Paladin King of Hawksong, Archos, aged yet still imposing, moves slowly. Kind Ekaterine matches his pace, careful not to rush him, looking to you with quiet apology in her eyes. Her father has grown ill. Repeated palace intrigues and worry for his eldest son haven’t helped, one might imagine—humans are creatures easily injured by emotional damage in a way your kind are not. If he has misgivings about your union, he has put them aside—put at ease by your ‘heroic’ status? Or maybe simply eager to see his daughter wedded before he perishes? You suspect he is not long for this world—perhaps another year, if he is lucky.

The ceremony is not held in the altar proper—Tristyllea is a minor deity, and not martial, but you’ll not SO tempt divine intervention as to dare such a direct affront. Rather, you hold it in the grove just before it, a choice to negotiated by convincing your bride-to-be that it would better frame your union as simple by avoiding religious ceremonies and extraneous officiants. And besides: she likes gardens, and flowers.

“You are right,” Princess Ekaterine whispers to you, when she is brought before you at long last, “it is beautiful!”

“Assss are you,” you note, eliciting ne of her signature full face-to-chest blushes.

“Y-you’ll make me look a fool,” she whines, tucking her head as if to hide her crimson hue.

“You will never be any sssuch thing,” you assure her, which hardly seems to help; a few in the crowd, close friends of the family, familiar with her, laugh.

The one official of Love Goddess Tristyllea who oversees the ceremony clears his throat, and you both fall respectfully (well, ‘respectfully’ in your case) silent.
>>
>>5660043
“We are gathered here in this grove, before our Lady of Flowering Feeling, to commemorate a union of hearts—the flowering of new love, and a new life together. In time children, too, may emerge like fresh buds, to bloom from this love—to spread forth into a great garden of descendants. The flowering of good deeds which result from these two, and their loved ones, their children, their friends and families who care for them—shall fill all the earth as a garden, entangled with all our others. This is the very root of the world. It is what makes marriages, families, communities, cities, nations, and the entire Earth united, and strong, lush and wonderful. Love is the very sun to which we all, like flowers, turn. It is the meaning we seek.”

…Hm. Saccharine and soft, but you can appreciate that sentiment, you suppose. It isn’t THAT different from what you yourself strive for, and believe at your core, and it certainly isn’t dissimilar from what you feel in your heart as you now gaze upon your blushing bride.

“Princess Ekaterine, Princess of the Golden Peace, Heaven-Blessed, Honour-Born, Daughter of Archos, Shield-Maiden of the Paladin Order in Honour, of the Royal Family of Hawksong,” the human priest intones, “do you swear to take this man—Long Wang—as your husband, to be faithful to him and only to him, to forswear all others who might take precedence before him, and to submit to his heart’s will for the better flowering of your sacred love?”

…Wait, what?

“I do,” your princess pledges, looking at you with unabashed and unashamed love in her eyes—love uncomplicated and complete.

Oh... Oh no. Oh, Gods Below and Beyond.
>>
>>5660044
“And you,” the Priest of the false Love Goddess asks now, turning to you, “do you, Long Wang, ah, of the Eastern Steppe… Adventurer, exorcist, hero of some recent renown… Do you swear to take this woman—Ekaterine of Hawksong—as your wife, to be faithful to her and only to her, to forswear all others who might take precedence before her, and to protect and cherish her heart and protect it always for the better flowering of your sacred love?”

…Oh fucking HELLS, this is an OATH. Nobody told you there were going to be OATHS. Well, an exchange of personal vows had been mentioned… But not some canned preamble like THIS! Is it just such common knowledge that it went without saying, required no explanation? You are masquerading as a FOREIGNER! Do EASTERN humans do this sort of thing, also?!

You glance at the Archer, and Olu looks back. His Infiltrator training is strong in him—concern only touches the edges of his eyes, and does not crease his features. You cannot bring yourself to look at the Novice Fleshweaver, where she is seated—your first great love, the female you first truly fell for and pledged your love to. Would would be pledging to forsake that love for this one... Not to mention Glowie! And what to make of the need to 'protect and cherish her heart'... What does that even MEAN?!

You are a Knight Ascendant. When you swear an oath, you must keep it. The God of Dark Glory has no respect for those who make promises they are not prepared to back up. To kill, rape, slaughter, maim… To betray and abandon weaklings, or crush fleeing foes… All these things are permissible, in the eyes of the Sun-Eater, only the weak can ever be FORCED into a pact or agreement against their wishes, and only a failure cannot KEEP such an oath, willingly made.

If you make this pledge, and marry this human—your princess, your Ekaterine—you will have to live by that promise… Or risk the displeasure of the Dark Gods, and a fall from your golden grace.

What will you say?
>“I do.”
>“I… Can’t.”
[You may attempt to modify your marital vows, but that could very well break Ekaterine’s heart or spark outrage, maybe even interrupting or annulling the ceremony.]
[If you wish to take any other accompanying actions—giving a dramatic speech, running away with a princess under your arm, revealing yourself and staging a coup, whatever else, please note that as well. It is permitted if you get enough support, though success is (as usual) not guaranteed.]
>>
>>5660044
yeah
this is why we shouldn't have done a wedding

>“I… Can’t.”
if only we had cum and gone
oh well
>>
[Oh, and I hope anyone who's followed this quest knows by now, but backlink your 1post IDs on a big vote like this.]
>>
>>5660046
>I do love her, but our culture requires me to put my parents, my family above everything else. I do not wish to do that, either. I wish to care for them and Ekaterine equally. I shall cherish and protect her.

Alright, one more gamble. Since ‘family’ can apply to glowie and the kids, this could work.

backlink>>5658971
>>
>>5660046
We won't be prompted to accept a vow, we must speak it ourselves to... convince all of our conviction. (And appropriately modify it for our 'Eastern' heritage and include all our other existing and future 'family'.)

"I do swear to take this woman—Ekaterine of Hawksong—as my wife, as together we serve first the gods, then family, then clan as one. To make her the first among equals, and to protect and cherish her, as her avowed prince of love."
>>
>>5660075
Yeah this is bretty kino and makes for some quick wit to add to the legend of the copper dragonborn for the future
>>
>>5658772
Idk whats going on with my IP recently but this is me I swear
>>
>>5660075
+1 this is pretty good

I’m >>5660052 switching to this option instead
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>>5660075
This is actually quite good, I just want to drop the first among equals bit.
>>
>>5660105
Yeah I wasn't sure about that part, needed something to take the place of "faithful to her and only her" part.

Also these vows seemed to be a bit wack for a god and monarch driven society. Deliberately didn't specify which gods we'd be serving together but I figured it would seem even more conservative and traditional while serving our ends this way.
>>
>>5660109
Trolled
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>>5660075
Supportin' the cunning
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File: IMG_0454.png (460 KB, 1160x1099)
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460 KB PNG
>>5660130
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>>5660165
Maidenless behaviour.
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>>5660075
+1, this certainly needs some fancy footwork of this kind.
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>>5660046
>“I… Can’t.”

>>5660165
Total cunny death
>>
>>5660075
Backing this
>>
Rolled 6, 10, 20, 6, 13, 19, 6, 11 = 91 (8d20)

>>5660312
>>5660277
>>5660272
>>5660130
>>5660105
>>5660100
>>5660087
>>5660075
>>5660047
You… You can’t do it. The conditions are beyond you, outside the realm of possibility for the life you live, and the future you feel destined to bring into being! But nor can you break Eka’s heart—and fail your mission besides, incurring the likely wrath of a different Dark God than the one you now seek to avoid betraying.

Luckily, you have always been good with words. Why say ‘I can’t’ when you can instead simply reframe your refusal as a mutual acceptance?

“I…I do swear to take this woman—Ekaterine of Hawksong—as my wife,” you begin, “as together we serve first the Gods, then family, then clan as one. To make her the first among equals, and to protect and cherish her, as her avowed prince of love."

Ekaterine blinks a couple times in disorientation at the unexpected place at which you interject your own, personal vow which you had earlier devised. The Priest clears his throat, and there a few hushed whispers and murmurings from the assembled entourage of the royal family.


[4d20 Seduction, 4d20 Diplomacy]
>>
>20 seduction
>19 diplomacy

THERAL SWEEP
>>
>>5660805
>>5660803
“You are meant to say ‘I do’,” The Love Priest eventually explains, “the personal vows come later.”

“I… am new to thisss,” you say apologetically, and truthfully add: “It iss my firsst wedding.”

Your first attended EVER, of any culture, not just the local tradition.

“I should hope so,” the priest says, taking an entire different meaning, “polygamy is—”

>20

He thoughts on the subject are interrupted by Ekaterine spontaneously throwing her arms around you and kissing you upon your lips. You are a little surprised, having expected this closer to the end of the ceremony and with –you assumed—less lustful vociferousness to the kiss. It’s honestly the most forward Ekaterine ahs ever been—ESPECIALLY in view of others, and by a LONG margin. The crowd goes wild—but not entirely positively

“I love it,” your Princess says, pulling back and staring at you with tears dipping down her cheeks—which would alarm you, but for the enormous, beautiful mile plastered upon her face below these unexpectedly-ourpouring yes.

“I love YOU,” she adds, afterwards.

The two of you kiss deeply again, and the clamoring goes louder.

“This… Is not normally how the ceremony proceeds,” the priest mutters.

“This is outrageous!” someone else dares to cry form the assemblage-a stuffy-looking stuffed shirt of a nobleman, fan with decadent eating and frilly, ribbony chest garb that, your primer on the city indicated, were decades or even a CENTURY out-of-fashion as fancy attire among the nobility.

“What of tradition? Propriety? This barbarian besmirches our beloved Princess Ekaterine in public like, like a rutting beast of the steppe!”

The extreme display of affection from both of you, immediately following unconventional breaking of the ceremony’s rites and rituals, has sent a stirring through the crowd. You sense some agreement with the pompous male’s outburst. You break the kiss again to watch them through narrowed eyes. You sense the Archer tense up, and spy the Novice at the back of the assembly, and backing up still further as if to affect a hasty escape or buy distance to cast her combat spells.
>>
>>5660841
But then the Paladin King creakingly stands to his full height, and thumps the staff of office he holds. It is ceremonial, and earlier the old monarch practically sued it as a cane to reach his current post, but in his hands it is a <Holy Weapon>, and with his strength of spirit asserted over his weak body, it cracks down upon your stone dais like a bolt of thunder from on-high. Everyone falls still, and the Novice nearly bolts before you shoot her a look…

>19

…For you see that the ire of Ekaterine’s elderly father falls not on you, but on the assemblage which has spoken out against you.

“This day is not about you,” he rumbles with quiet authority and anger. “It is about my daughter… And her husband.”

He takes a deep breath, and then says more loudly: “It is about MY FAMILY. My family which has lost so much, BLED so much, for this city—to make it so ceremonies like this can happen, in safety and light, and which has now grown so small… So much smaller since we lost our queen.”

He looks over each of them in turn, head slowly rotating, and each noble who stood and raised their voices now sits down and falls silent. It is… Preternatural. You dare to blink your nictitating mebranes just once, briefly, while all the others present are distracted, and you glimpse the aura of Paladin King Archos…

By the Gdos below and Beyond—or rather, by the Gods of Light! Paladin King Archos of Hawksong… He alone, of any mammal you have met except perhaps the powerful psionic Ghoul Supreme, THIS man has a legitimate <Fearsome Presence>. You glimpse it for only a moment, but in the same way you can reign by right of spirit over Reptilian races and animals, this human is a master of men and beast above! His soul is… Like yours, inverted and of the opposite source, but he is True Royalty.

The paladin King turns his gaze upon you now, and you unconsciously pull Ekaterine a little closer—for her protection, or yours, you cannot say.

“You take good care of my daughter,” he commands you. “Do you hear me? Swear it.”

You feel an unusual feeling in your chest, your neck, your knees. The urge to kneel, and bow. Your mammalian heritage… It is subject to this man’s Presence, as a Degenerate hybrid half-caste might be subject to your own! It takes everything in you not to assert dominance, to raise your own <Blazing Aura> in response and to blow away the pressure he now exerts upon you…. But that would give you away in an instant.

You bow your head slightly, and (truthfully at least in this instance) say: “I shall.”

That is a vow you can keep. She is your bride now, and soon mate, and will be mother of your next child--a demigod, sired by you in service of the Dark Gods! Ekaterine is beloved, and you protect that which you love. You will not lose another...
>>
>>5660848
Still, you feel immense relief when the King of Hawksong nods, and turns his gaze from you. Almost immediately, he hunches forward and seems to collapse into the broadly-built, stern-faced, but ultimately much more humbled and decrepit man you’d beheld him as until mere moments ago. You let out a breath you didn’t realize you had been holding.

Ekaterine gently massages your back in comfort, though you note she was not bowed by it as were the others…

The rest of the ceremony is sped through, without complication. There are perfunctory applause, even from those who were very nearly your opponents a scant half-hour ago. Most shuffle out hurriedly thereafter, eager to escape the shame of <Judgement> by the Paladin King.

You and Ekaterine are escorted to a royal chariot, flanked by two more typical carriages and men—including some Paladins, you note—on horseback. They all ride out along with you and your Princess Bride, who clings tight to your arm, as you are eld to a small estate just at the outskirts of hawksong proper, belonging to the King’s family—the traditional ‘Honeymoon Palace’ of the newlywed and royal.

“Prince of Love…” the Princess tastes the phrase, racing fingers gently over your chest while he looks out upon the countryside “You really are a romantic… And now a Prince in truth, you know. Well, Prince-Consort is the technical rank, but…”

You smirk and kiss her to cut her off. How to tell her that it is not YOU who moved up in rank just now, but SHE, from Princess to Queen of Bloodrise? Well, there would be time for that soon… Quite soon, perhaps.

But first, the ‘honeymoon’ itself—so-called because your wedding, as is tradition among the humans of Hawksong, was held just before the advent of a full moon, which t is said that the rituals of the Love Goddess’ priest have made a blessing specifically unto you—a blessing that is said to grant growth and fertility.

Thus, after a union, it is traditional for the newlywed couple who desires children to have a GREAT deal of intercourse.
>>
>>5660850
The humans seem ashamed by this, or at least embarrassed, coating it in layers of metaphor about honeysuckle, or honeydew melons, or simply general deference to ‘celebration of love’ rather than ‘fornication in abundance so as to reproduce the species and secure the familial bonds’. You don’t entirely understand WHY they cloak sex so, but regardless, the ritual is perfect for your intentions… And even if your status as an Antipaladin somehow bars them, you have your OWN goddess in your corner!

It would be wrong to call the Mother of Dragons and Lady of the Rookery, premier Dark Goddess of the Tre Faith, a Goddess of Love. Your religion has no such concept—not until your advent, anyway. However, her role is in some ways similar. She is protector of females and the young and unhatched, and she values the defence of places of birth, growth… And conception.

Moreover, the child with which you wish to impregnate Ekaterine is to have TWO mothers—Ekaterine, and the Goddess of Dragons herself, who has ‘impregnated’ YOU with a parcel of her essence which grows towards its OWN birth from within your spirit-self.

The two of you talk for some time, and laugh, and speak poetry to each other. You kiss, and fondle, and eventually find yourself entangled upon the great, canopied bed provided for this very purpose—and, to your delight, it is pleasantly firm so as not to obfuscate the task, or to impede your rest therebetween activities.

You remove carefully the ruffled outer-layers of the Princess’ wedding-dress, revealing a more practical and less-ornate inner-core of simple white lace and silk. She flushes red under your eyes’ attention, and then begins to melt underneath the attentions of your hands’ and mouth. Your peculiar-to-you single-headed male organ—part of your outermost extremity as ‘Long Wang’—grows ready.

But… Well, it IS weird, this sort of form you now wear in this most tender of moments. And the look in Ekaterine’s eyes… Will she still hold it if you were to fornicate with her thusly, and then reveal the true shape of her husband—a creature that, to her kind, is nightmare? In dreams, and with the aid of your Succubus ally, you were able to make the Princess of Hawksong weak to your true self’s charms—maybe you could now, also?

Maybe right now, when there is love, and lust, and total and absolute abandon to the wonders of love in your bride’s eyes, is the best time to finally share the dark truth of this marriage with your new wife?

>Impregnate Ekaterine as Long Wang, then reveal your true form
>Make love as Theral, your true self, the Dragonborn Antipaladin
>Consummate the marriage as Long Wang, and continue to keep the secret of your true identity and shape, for now
>You… Can’t do this… Something feels wrong…
>Write-in
>>
>>5660851
>Impregnate Ekaterine as Long Wang, then reveal your true form

We’ve come this far. We can’t risk it now.
>>
>>5660851
>Make love as Theral, your true self, the Dragonborn Antipaladin

We're outside of Hawksong, and the time has come, I think. Truth is important, and we've decided that Kat has some level of actual importance to Theral.
>>
>>5660851
>Make love as Theral, your true self, the Dragonborn Antipaladin
If we're to make this a relationship in any way then there's got to be trust and revealing ourselves after having done the deed would seriously hamper that. At least until now we can justify our deception as trying to evade Hawksong's persecution but here? After Kat has expressed over and over how much she loves Theral, even the real Theral during her dreams?

That fourth prompt has got me scared though
>>
>>5660851
>Consummate the marriage as Long Wang, and continue to keep the secret of your true identity and shape, for now

>>5660870
undecide it
she exists to be hit and quit
>>
>>5660851
>>Impregnate Ekaterine as Long Wang, then reveal your true form
She said she loved both our forms, we can start with one and become the man of her dreams for the next round.
>>
>>5660851
>Make love as Theral, your true self, the Dragonborn Antipaladin
This is a stressful one and the make it or break it, Id impregnate first but I really think getting Eka in the know before we knock her up will make the future much smoother as we are going to need her support if Rufos takes the crown he will see his race traitor sister and her hybrid baby as a direct threat, reasons this should work
>She is our wife and loves us
>We have Archos approval
>She "knows" and has shown attraction/desire to our true form from the dreamscape so theres a level of familiarity and curiosity
>She has some understanding of mammalian inferiority or equalness to the master race
>Very sheltered and would likely love the route of least resistance in a giant theological race war
We just have to be honest with her, we arent a reptoid or a man, we are a dragon and we came here to stop the fighting by mixing divine bloods
>>
>>5660851
>You… Can’t do this… Something feels wrong…

RQM, I think you'll like this quest >>5654217 it has your favorite questing trope, Beautiful woman infiltrating high society
>>
>>5661005
I'll give it a look later though I think DAQ shows it doesn't need to be someone beautiful or a woman for me to enjoy spycraft
>>
>>5660851
>Make love as Theral, your true self, the Dragonborn Antipaladin
We got this bros
>>
>>5660851
>Make love as Theral, your true self, the Dragonborn Antipaladin
Now is the right time
>>
>>5660851
>Make love as Theral, your true self, the Dragonborn Antipaladin
Let's go.

Backlink :
>>5650232
>>
>>5661165
>>5661162
>>5661159
>>5661005
>>5660936
>>5660935
>>5660901
>>5660899
>>5660870
>>5660866
[No DEFINITE majority yet, especially adjusting (as I often do) for 1-post IDS with no backlink. I'll leave this open a bit longer, and I suggest people backlink their votes as well in that time.]
>>
>>5661668
[Alright, going ahead and writing!]
>>
Rolled 11, 20, 18, 7 = 56 (4d20)

>>5661711
>>5661668
“Eka,” you say with a breathless desire forced to turn serious in tone, “there isss ssomething you need to know.”

Ekaterine looks up at you with that same unblemished pleasure for your presence in her eyes, awestruck and in-love, utterly unprepared for what those eyes are about to behold: a secret, kept hidden until now, a you remove your Amulet of Disguise and let it fall to the floor amidst the rets of your shed attire.

Only when you begin to transform, gradually and by increments, into your true shape does she flinch from the terrible truth.

…But IS this truth so terrible?
>>
>>5661713
>20
THERAL SWEEP
>>
>>5661713
LETS FUCKING GO UNDEFEATED LOVE PRINCE
>>
>>5661713
>>5661714
>>5661715
Ekaterine brings a hand to her mouth and squeaks a small scream when she behods you, naked and bared before her for the first time in waking reality, and without even the shield of false race and history to protect you. She ctaches herself quickly, though, and instead simply stares.

“My dreams…” she begins

“Yesss,” you confess (in part at least). “It wass the one you dreamt of.”

“Then you… Long Wang, or whoever or WHATever you really are… When you said all those, those things to me, about how you wished to change or reform the world, about how things could be better… The things you said when we were awake, they mirror those you spoke of when we… Um, in dreams?”

Ekaterine is indeed rather brilliant and astute in her way. Even now—shocked by the sudden transformation of her great love into a monster out of darkest dreaming, exposing himself as pretender and invader, the princess of Hawksong sees the bigger picture. She does not wail in confusion at this mad revelation, but immediately sets to analysis of your broader purpose here.

“I am sstilll Princcce of Love,” you say. “I am sstill the one with whom you found sso much accord… In both my manifesstationsss.”

You take a step forwards, and Eka scoots backwards along the bed, away from you. You plant an arm on either side of her, to box and pin her in—just long enough to make your case.

"Ssee me for who I truly am,” you ask of her, reaching up to cup her face and chin in your talons. “Know that all of the important partsss are unchanged, Eka."

>20 on Seduction

Ekaterine’s face is flushed, but by the look in her eyes, it is not with anger, or humiliation, or anything else. She looks at you with the same open and naked desire that you regard her with. Even when her eyes drift down your body to the embodiment of that desire—your hemipenes—her desire for you does not diminish.

“I am here for you,” you say, with conviction, “my bride. My wife. My Eka.”
>>
>>5661732
“We’ve… Already… In dreams,” Eka stammers.

You don’t know if she refers to your illusory fornication in her mental palace, or to the lengthy debates over your dark philosophy when you have already had while she slept—debates that, each time, she was at least partly persuaded to entertain.

Either way, it’s clear which memories dominate her mind now. You scoop her up and pull her to you body; she is unresisting. Your tongue and sharp teeth find her neck and breasts; she is enthusiastic. Before long, you are making real what you only ever experienced with her before in mimickry, in slumber-fogged pantomime. Now, really and genuinely, EVEN as Theral of Bloodrise, Ekaterine is yours!

For the first time in over a year, you experience sexual satisfaction, and with such intensity and frequency and volume that you are CERTAIN of the success of your divine mission. Ekaterine is, without a doubt, pregnant. With that certainty, two terrible burdens are lifted from your shoulders. The first is that of the growing demigod within you, spawn of the Mother of Dragons, and the chastity and agony which its carrying imposed upon you. The second is that of the fear that Ekaterine would, at the end, reject you.

Instead, she clutches to you, sex-dazed but still surveying you with such scholastic scrutiny. She is trying to work out the mystery of you—of what the TRUE you means for her marriage, her life, her family, her kingdom.

“You came here for more than me,” she says, with certainty. “You… Those adventurers who perished, fighting WITH you AGAINST lizardfolk and demons…”
>>
>>5661733
She wants to know if you killed them.

Princess Ekaterine is firmly bent to your will, in love with you as you once appeared AND as you truly are. Carnally and romantically, she is entirely yours. But… Well, there are many things you have not yet butt heads over, but which you surely will if you share the whole truth with her. Will you tell Ekaterine of the killing of the adventurers? The pacts with demons to brainwash ‘heroic’ nobleborn knights? The slaughter of the cultists? The killing, decimating, and enslavement of dwarves? The torturous rituals in honour of your Dark Gods? The experiments with the Novice?

The mastery of her brother Rufos’ will by demonic shackles of ectoplasmic influence? The assassination attempt which may yet have taken the life of her OTHER brother, at your urging?

The, uh, polygamy thing?

“You’re here to bring about your better world, then?” Ekaterine asks, fawning as if she’s already decided that this MUST be the case. “You… Are really as you said? Not as, as the humans believe you to be?”

What do you tell your wife? You know she is too enthralled with you to just abandon or turn on you no matter WHAT you say. She could recoil in horror from your methods, your objectives, your culture... But she is too in-love to simply run away screaming. You know this woman, so kind-hearted to the pointy of naivety: she would stay, to try to 'fix' you and set you on a more 'moral' course.

So what should she believe?

>The beautiful and heroic half-truth: yes, you are here to bring about a benevolent utopia, which the two of you shall rule as King and Queen of this wondrous new world
>The grim and gritty whole-truth: you are here to bring about a future you believe is best… But one that still includes ‘horrors’ such as torture, slavery, the creation of living weapons, demonism and mind-control, and in which she is but one of several mates you will keep
>You… Actually genuinely WANT that first one the heroic utopia, even as you know if means a major course correction, in your personal life, your faith, and your military doctrine [changes your Theral's 'moral' direction moving forward]
>Write-in
>>
>>5661734
>The grim and gritty whole-truth: you are here to bring about a future you believe is best… But one that still includes ‘horrors’ such as torture, slavery, the creation of living weapons, demonism and mind-control, and in which she is but one of several mates you will keep

Framing this in a "necessary evils" context. Kat needs to understand from day one that we won't be swayed from our path, that Theral's destiny is to blaze a path through the domain of Light. How bloody/terrible that is is largely up to them- cruelty is a tool of ours alongside love and power.
>>
>>5661734
At every turn we have subverted our culture's customs and bias. We've genuinely cared for our family, first our brother green and then our found family and made (bug) family, where other reptilians would have not. We've made alliances and compromises with other "lesser" races for the mutual benefit of all when tradition would have us stay isolated and superior. We took a vow to be ever improving, ever striving for betterment and chose love to be our defining feature. We have been actively building a kingdom founded on love and hope for all, despite the unpleasant processes involved in founding and conquering said kingdom.

I think we can honestly say that we are already striving for better, more unified world and plan to be the dragon king of love at the helm when all is said and done. And with the tempering force of Eka at our side and a demi-god heir on the way I think we can make that dream real, even if it means we need to change. For what is growth, but change and improvement, that which we've sworn to embody.

>Continue to change and grow for a better tomorrow for your family and all who follow you.
>>
>>5661734
>The grim and gritty whole-truth: you are here to bring about a future you believe is best… But one that still includes ‘horrors’ such as torture, slavery, the creation of living weapons, demonism and mind-control, and in which she is but one of several mates you will keep

Theral doesn't want any of this, but changes take time, and power is necessary in order to facilitate changes.
>>
>>5661734
>>5661743
I'd think that Theral sees all the evils (though not the polygamy) as just that evils... even if they are a means to an end. I don't think the end goal would be something a chaos cultist would come up with like the second promt but it also wouldn't be a utopia like the third one.
>>
>>5661747
My thoughts exactly. Really put to words what I wanted to express.
>>
>>5661747
so will you tell her the whole truth but promise to change the darker aspects of the current world? I'm down with that
>>
>>5661752
Yeah I think so. We are a product of our culture and circumstances but we've never been bound to that. What use is an age of dark followed by light then dark again. We want to break the cycle not perpetuate it, for what is a cycle but rhythmic stagnation. The only way forward is together, and we are the dragon with the power, dual-heritage and perspective to make it happen.
>>
>>5661747
+1 fucking perfect framing, and honestly how weve been playing him, we arent trying to kill the opposition we just want our people to thrive in the world we all share, unfortunate things happen during wars but change can only be found by those willing to make it, Theral is the prince of Love because he wants change from both sides
>>
>>5661734
>You… Actually genuinely WANT that first one the heroic utopia, even as you know if means a major course correction, in your personal life, your faith, and your military doctrine [changes your Theral's 'moral' direction moving forward]

eh, why not
>>
>>5661734
>>You… Actually genuinely WANT that first one the heroic utopia, even as you know if means a major course correction, in your personal life, your faith, and your military doctrine [changes your Theral's 'moral' direction moving forward]

still not changing the polygamy thing.
>>
>>5661747
Supporting this

But to be honest, it’s just a nicer version of this:
>The grim and gritty whole-truth: you are here to bring about a future you believe is best… But one that still includes ‘horrors’ such as torture, slavery, the creation of living weapons, demonism and mind-control, and in which she is but one of several mates you will keep

The real world is cruel and true change requires harsh measures.

Once we are the king who bestrides the world, we can implement our utopia
>>
>>5661734
>The beautiful and heroic half-truth: yes, you are here to bring about a benevolent utopia, which the two of you shall rule as King and Queen of this wondrous new world.

Or

>You… Actually genuinely WANT that first one the heroic utopia, even as you know if means a major course correction, in your personal life, your faith, and your military doctrine [changes your Theral's 'moral' direction moving forward]
>>
>>5662160
>>5661901
>>5661849
>>5661789
>>5661769
>>5661750
>>5661748
>>5661747
>>5661743
You decide to lie to Ekaterine. The real world is not a dream—it is a dark place that requires harsh measures. Slavery and decimation, cultural eradication, the torture and consumption of sentient beings and their sacrifice to the Dark Gods for favour… These are all simple necessities of your mission. You love Eka, but you do not owe a duty ONLY to her. She is not the ONLY person you love, and have vowed to help.

“Both thingss are true,” you admit to her. “I am asss I ssaid, sstriving for a better, more unified world… But my methods, they have no always been PURE in the ssensse which I know you like… Asss -I- would like, in all honesssty.”

Your new wife looks to you attentively, with concern creasing her feature.

“Then… You did kill those men? Sir Chase, the dwarf Deepvein…”

“And I made toolsss of demonsss, and through them made tools of Heirnich Yosssef and Nenaiasss the Elven Ssage.”

Ekaterine falls silent. Her grasp upon you tightening as if to cling fast to that more utopian version of you which she imagined moments ago to justify your marriage, your love, your fornication. Her expression hardly shifts, but you can sense the waning faith and growing turmoil beneath those beautiful emerald eyes.

“I have killed, ensslaved, abused, tortured, maimed, and decccimated. The conflict in Bloodrise… It isss my doing. The reasson that cvictory tehre doesss not endanger usss… Iss becausse -I- am itss architect,” you confess.

“But.. No,” Ekaterine murmurs. “You… This cannot be you, Long Wang!”

“That isss not my name,” you apologize. “At leasst, not my only one. I am known to othersss… Ass Theral, the Copper Dragon King. I am the Dragonborn Antipaladin.”

At the last phrase hits Ekaterine like a slap, and she lurches away as if struck. You take her hand in yours, and she looks down with mixed disgust and adoration at your claws. She holds to them automatically for comfort, still bound to you by love. You have no doubt that, were your bond not so powerful, she would have fled by now, or even attacked you if she could muster the will. Instead, she waits for you to mend that which you have broken…

“Why?” she all-but-pleads. “Why are you doing all this?”

It is then that a curious thing happens: your lies turn to truth.

“To avert genocccide,” you tell her. “To fixxx the world, and end the cycle.”

She stares.
>>
>>5662570
“For aeonsss uncounted, my people taught me, we have alternated between agesss of Darknesss and of Light… And in each ssuch ccycle, there are warsss which claim entire nationsss, racesss, and obliterate them sso utterly that we have lossst them entirely, even to memory. What remainsss of usss, our cultruess of mutual exxxclusion, of depravation and depredation… These are the PRODUCT of that eternal battle. A hatred that passses through the blood, and rotsss usss to our core, ssuch that my people sscarcely even feel love for one ANOTHER.. And your people, sstill capable of love and ssympathy, allow usss to ssuffer and die with total disssregard.”

Ekaterine’s eyes well with sympathy for the first time, as she pieces together Long Wang’s tales of a difficult and loveless life with the much harsher underlying truth of the Reptilian master race’s circumstances.

“I wass made asss a living weapon for that war,” you tell her, “and I mean to end it, sso that creaturesss like mysself… like those -I- have had a hand in making, are no longer necesssary. I want to make my dream, OUR dream, real… For your race AND for min, ssso that we need NOT dessstroy one another.”

“But all that you have done…”

“Necesssary evilss,” you agree with her—and, to your shock, you really DO agree!—before continuing: “I take no pleassure in them. I want to create a world WITHOUT ssuch horrorsss.”

She looks at you steadily, and finally nods.

“I trust in you, Long Wang,” she says, before hastily correcting: “Or… Theral, or whomever you maya actually be. I may not know you in the way I believe I did, but I, I DO know you.”

She places a small, gentle hand upon your breast, as if to feel your heartbeat.

“I know who you are, deep down. I believe in your dream… In our dream.”

You lean down, and your brow rests against her. She kisses your cheek, along your jaw.

“Thank you,” you say, finally releasing the breath you had been holding. “Thank you, Eka.”

The two of you find your rest in one another’s arms—and you, in your true form, holding Ekaterine in your own hands, wrapping her in your tail, feeling skin against scale. Physically, mentally, emotionally, you are both utterly spent… But your love is unbreakable.

…Though you still have the matter of the polygamy to address, you groggily realize.

><TRUE LOVE> achieved
>You may not willingly take actions to seriously harm or kill Ekaterine, but in turn gain a bonus (reduced difficulty of 2, expanded critical range of 18-to-20) for all rolls to protect or preserve Ekaterine
>Ekaterine’s death will cause you to take a -1 penalty to all rolls for a period of time, as would her rejection of you
>>
>>5662572
>You may not willingly take actions to seriously harm or kill Ekaterine, but in turn gain a bonus (reduced difficulty of 2, expanded critical range of 18-to-20) for all rolls to protect or preserve Ekaterine
Idk if these were options or not because I got bug brain, but if you were just telling us thats cool too kek
>>
>>5662605
I don’t think they are. Why would we be given an option that only gives disadvantages?
>>
>>5662605
[Sorry, I was just telling you the mechanical effects of <True Love>]
>>
>>5662611
No sweat, im just a crackhead for your quests
>>
>>5662572
The next day, you awaken early—earlier than Ekaterine, earlier even than your shorter Reptilian torpor would facilitate. You have an entire week in this ‘Honeymoon Palace’ to look forward to, if you desire to take the full benefit of it. Looking at the small, beautiful reature laid bare before you, skin still glistening with the sweat of last night, face peaceful in sleep, you very much think you would enjoy that…

“What are you DOING?!”

…But it is, sadly, not to be.

You look up from your dozing half-slumber to see a familiar false face: that of The Novice Fleshweaver, in her guise as the eastern elven healer ‘Teharissa’.

“Why are you in that form?” the disguised Serpent Priestess demands, in the True Speech.

“Why are you here?” you retort.

“Wang?” Ekaterine mumbles, still reverting to the name by which she best knows you in her own partial wakefulness. “Who is… Ah!”

The princess clutches her sheets to her bare chest, suddenly aware of her nudity and bashful for it. The Novice regards her witheringly, before turning back to you.

“Your mission is accomplished then?” she asks. “Good. Let us depart.”

“Why are you HERE?” you demand again.

The Novice hisses in agitation and gestures down towards the exit to this bedchamber, to the great gates beyond and below it, to the outside.

“The Succubus’ network has reported to it, and the demon has reported to us: The Paladin prince yet lives!”

Your eyes widen. You are suddenly very grateful that you are speaking in a language Ekaterine cannot understand.

“He survived the assassins?” you ask.

“Do not ask stupid questions to which the answer is obvious, Degenerateborn!” the Novice snaps. “We must leave! He has entered the southernmost provinces of Hawksong’s dominion, and rides for the city itself!

Your mind races. The Paladin Prince, Alexos, eldest son of Archos and brother of Ekaterine… Heir to the throne of Hawksong, over and above the embittered younger brother with whom you schemed, and who you eventually made your puppet-by-proxy. You ordered his death at the hands of assassins—Infiltrators, Degenerate agents of the Master Race, and used information provided by Prince Rufos himself to achieve this. The attempt failed, implying he bested his assassins by killing or evading them… But does he know who issued the orders to kill him, or why, or how he was found out?

Does he even SUSPECT?

What will you do?
>Adopt your human guise once more, and together with Rufos and Ekaterine, play the innocent
>Take Ekaterine and leave forthwith—you have done what you came here for, you have made Eka understand, and now you must leave Hawksong
>Leave Ekaterine here, in the Novice’s care, and journey forth to meet and personally end this Paladin Prince, once and for all
>Write-in
>>
>>5662615
[Didn't help that i got interrupted by a call from my mom in the middle of posting this and totally didn't realize I hadn't posted the last part. I'm sorry for any confusion created, anons!]
>>
>>5662617
>>Take Ekaterine and leave forthwith—you have done what you came here for, you have made Eka understand, and now you must leave Hawksong
>>
>>5662617
>Take Ekaterine and leave forthwith—you have done what you came here for, you have made Eka understand, and now you must leave Hawksong
>>
>>5662617
>Adopt your human guise once more, and together with Rufos and Ekaterine, play the innocent
>>
>>5662617
>Leave Ekaterine here, in the Novice’s care, and journey forth to meet and personally end this Paladin Prince, once and for all.

Alexois being alive screws the pooch of our long term succession plans, since he is not ectoplasmed like his younger brother, but on the other hand technically outranks him. And on top of that he personally dislikes long wang because we discredited him and bested him in a duel.

We need to get rid of him to secure control of hawksong.
>>
>>5662617
Are we fully recovered from our battle wounds? Important point, I think.
>>
>>5662784
[Mostly healed, but not 100%]
But Alexos may not be 100%, either
>>
>>5662617
>Leave Ekaterine here, in the Novice’s care, and journey forth to meet and personally end this Paladin Prince, once and for all
>>
>>5662617
>Take Ekaterine and leave forthwith—you have done what you came here for, you have made Eka understand, and now you must leave Hawksong
lmao later dude
>>
>>5662617
>Take Ekaterine and leave forthwith—you have done what you came here for, you have made Eka understand, and now you must leave Hawksong
>Get word to Iri & our dad that they should take their networks to ground. They should assume the Prince knows he was targeted.

What should we order Rufos to do anons? A public spat between brothers is good for us - but not if his demonic ensnarement is revealed…
>>
>>5663248
>>5663178
>>5662672
>>5662702
Are we really going to give up all the influnce we gained in hawksong, and let Alexos get to work, instead of going out and beating him?

We beat Alexos in a duel before and that was without our moonblade or dragonshape. Besting him in combat is defiantly doable.

Also if we leave hawksong now, finding the shogoth blade will be nigh impossible, due to shifting currents in the hawksong bay.
>>
>>5663301
Not only those points, but we also allow him free reign to undo all of our progress. We could potentially return to an alert Archos, an un-ectoplasm'd Rufos and a more militarized Paladin order. I'm not sure what the logic is here for the other vote, considering Bloodrise is well in order and the Serpent Priests can wait another few days (at most!)
>>
>>5662617
>Leave Ekaterine here, in the Novice’s care, and journey forth to meet and personally end this Paladin Prince, once and for all
Coordinate with all the assets with an interest in getting him out of the picture. I doubt Rufos(Iri) wants him coming back.
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>>5663310
Support
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>>5663301
>>5663303
we've been saying the serpent priests can wait a few more days for weeks now
are we even the ruler of bloodrise anymore? or have we been gone long enough that they've filled in the gap?
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>>5663334
Our troops have been lead to victory time and time again by our tactical prowess and our different way of doing things has given them the opportunity to shine in a culture where rapid ascension is nigh impossible. I have confidence that they trust us over anyone the Priesthood dispatched out there, and I think I remember us reading about Karz being the current ringleader anyhow.

That being said, I understand and respect the desire to get back to Bloodrise, I don't see anything else as worth waiting for beyond finishing the job with Alexos.
>>
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>>5663329
>>5663310
>>5663248
>>5663178
>>5662902
>>5662780
>>5662742
>>5662702
>>5662672
[It's a really close one, so I'll leave it open a bit longer. Backlink your 1post IDs!]
>>
Rolled 12, 18, 4, 17, 17 = 68 (5d20)

>>5663413
You may have poisoned the Crown Prince’s reputation, seduced his sister and brainwashed his brother. You may have killed or rendered helpless his every ally, and even impressed yourself upon his imposing and auspicious father… But so long as the rightful heir of Hawksong lives, he is a threat. You have seen too many threats rise from unlikely places—the demonist-turned necromancer Hapo the Kobold springs to mind. You YOURSELF are evidence that one who ahs been stigmatized and ostracized is not to be underestimated.

No, you will end him personally.

“Ekaterine, sstay here,” you order your bride.

“What?” she asks, startled by these sudden (and to her, uncomprehending of your language, completely unexplained) events.

“There iss sssomething which I musst do,” you tell her, for you can’t very well reveal your destination or objective.

“Where are you going, Wang?” she asks, clutching at your arm as you rise. “Um, I mean… Theral.”

You look at her kindly. Hopefully, this is the last pain you will need to inflict upon your human mate, but it must be done.

“The stupid ape-thing is right to be worried,” the Novice injects still speaking your shared native tongue. “Youa re not fully healed.”

“I am healed enough,” you say, with the absolute confidence befitting a Dragon King. “And anyway, this human has been beset by assassins, traveling half the continent… Do you mean to tell me HE is not at all weakened or exhausted?”

The Novice regards you skeptically.

“I have beaten him before, and I will do it again.”

You look once more to Ekaterine, and say to both these females: “I will return. Ssstay here, and sstay safe.”

The Novice Fleshweaver does not bother to protest further—either she accepts your decision, she knows you cannot be dissuaded, or she simply has better command of her limited emotions. The passionate Princess of Hawksong cries out after you, still confused by your hurried departure, but she can no more stop you than the Serpent Priestess.

Oluwadamilare awaits you down below, and Halle, and a member of the Sucucbus’ demon-cult whom you vaguely recognize but cannot name.

“Stay here,” you command Halle as well. “If I do not return or send word in a few days’ time, ensure the princess’ safety, and escort the Fleshweaver home. Send word to the Succubus, to our Reptilian agents, to keep a low profile if Archos enters the city. The Great Conspiracy is not yet torn asunder. It may yet prove useful.”

“And what shall I do, Drgaonborn?” the Archer asks eagerly.

“With me,” you say. “Of course.”

[1d20 Horsemanship, 4d20 Archos]
>>
Rolled 97 (1d100)

>>5663529

Two of three bow their heads, Olu doing so with his characteristic half-mad grin; the demon-cultist is incidental, and understands none of the True Speech, but you are confident that Infiltrator Halle will convey the important parts. You have no more time to waste—you pray for <Guidance>, don your Amulet of Disguise—if only so you will not attract undue attention, and so the horse which Olu brought you will allow you to mount it—and your die out to meet destiny.

>12

Alas, you will meet it feeling rather as if you have already fought, and lost, a duel or two against an Elementalist with an even more powerful command of <Earth Tremor> than your own! You have, it must be noted, never actually RIDDEN a horse… Or any animal that wasn’t under command of your <Fearsome Presence>, as well as slow and low to the ground. You move at a speed similar to your flight, yet far bumpier and uneven in gait. The horse seems frightened of your presence, and almost makes to bolt away from you; once or twice, it even tries to throw you! You master it, with your Archer’s help, but you note that the half-human regards you with naked concern as you ride through the day and into the night. You are forced to stop often, to your embarrassment.

>18, 4, 17, 17

The frequent pauses at least give you an excuse to cast <guidance>, meditating and redirecting your course to lead you on an interception path with the returning Paladin Prince. You do not catch him unawares, though, much as you might have liked to—instead, you and your Archer’s approach is spotted from a ways off. You have traveled overland for many miles, and over a day and a half, when the bolt of divine light sears a scar across the grass before you, startling your horse to throw you once more. Oluwadamilare takes up his bow and notches one of his magical arrows, held in reserve, only for the next such lash of holy lightning to force him to retreat back. You struggle to your feet on shaky legs, still saddle-sore, and draw your blade.

“Show yourssself, coward!” you roar.
>>
>>5663533
The Paladin Prince, Archos of Hawksong, crests the hill beside you, astride not a horse but a hippogriff—the bird-horse chimera which pulled yours and Ekaterine’s carriage when you went on your date, and a pair of which took you to the palace where you deflowered and impregnated her. Part of you wishes you’d been left with one if your charge but, well… With all the trouble the hrose gave you, maybe it’s for the best you weren’t assigned such a fearsome beast.

>97

Archos looks weary, as you must, but even from here you can feel the strength of his aura. He is a Paladin in truth, divinely empowered, and his power is a radiant one. In fact… As you squint against the rising sun behind him, you are pretty sure you see no blemishes, no injuries, no obvious signs that your assassins have had any luck at all. Either they were incompetent in the extreme, or this man is deadlier and better prepared than you give him credit for.

“Long Wang,” he greets you. “If that IS your real name. You dare call me ‘coward’? You, who sends poisoners and cutthroats to do your dirty-work?”

You hiss in agitation. It’s true that this was not the MOST Ascendant course of action, but the God of Glorious Bloodshed does not punish pragmatism. You had bested this human in a duel—you did not act out of fear of him, but practical consideration.

“I knew you could not be trusted,” the Paladin Prince continues to monologue, “but I must admit: I did not take your for a LITERAL serpent, only a figurative one.”

You narrow your eyes. He knows, then… or at elast ssupects.

“Who are you, really?” he demands. “What are you here for? What dark masters do you serve, to what evil ends, monster?!”
>>
>>5663550
>KNIGHT ASCENDANT’S CODE, Commandment 5: You must never deny or hide your identity against direct questioning, nor the identity of the God you serv

“I am the Dragonborn Antipaladin, called King Theral in the Bloodrissse Mountain Range,” you declare. “I sserve the Sserpent Assccendant, Sswallower of the Firsst Ssun, Feathered God of Glory!”

You twirl your sword once, then point it at your brother-in-law.

“I am here to finish what I started in your own front lawn, Paladin!”

As you speak, Oluwdamilare the Archer is not still. Having dismounted his horse and retreated to the cover of a shrubbed hill, he has moved into position to take another shot at the Paladin Prince. You hold Archos’ attention—you ARE quite the orator, and you DID engineer his attempted assassination and usurpation, so you suppose you warrant more attention than your apparent underling.

Your Knight’s Ascendant Code requires you to meet any direct challenge to your honour… But Archos hasn’t yet issued one.

Then again, if Olu misses—or fails to land a killing shot, the paladin Prince may well end OLU.

What will you do?
>Continue to distract the man with boasts, taunts,and threats until Olu can take the shot
>Issue the challenge yourself—another duel, sword-against-sword!
>Cast a spell, use an item, or breathe fire [specify which]
>Let Olu provide a distraction while you trade one amulet for another and assume <Dragonshape IV>, so you can have every possible advantage
>Write-in
>>
>>5663553
>Assume Dragonshape IV while Olu covers you- if he tries to take advantage of your opening, he will likely be open to an arrow himself; if he makes no move, you can cut the fool down
>>
>>5663553
>Let Olu provide a distraction while you trade one amulet for another and assume <Dragonshape IV>, so you can have every possible advantage.
>>
>>5663553
>Issue the challenge yourself—another duel, sword-against-sword!

If he doesn’t agree to it, Olu is there to get a killshot.

Backlink>>5662702
>>
>>5663553
This >>5663564
>>
>>5663564
Supportin'
>>
>>5663564
Supporting
>>
>>5663564
Seems like a good course of action.
>>
Rolled 1, 10, 7, 4, 20, 17, 10, 11 = 80 (8d20)

>>5663564
>>5663588
>>5663605
>>5663613
>>5663633
>>5663636
>>5663787
Rather than issue a challenge, or continue the verbal sparing such as to provoke one, you decide it best to keep your options open. You are meant to defeat worthy foes by strength lone, yes, but having already done so once, your code does not obligate you to duel this human against unless a formal challenge is put forth, and so you don’t.

Instead, you remove your Amulet of Disguise from your neck, replacing it with your Amulet of the Dragon.

“What are you doing, creature?” the Paladin Prince asks.

In wordless answer, your form begins to shift and to change. You lean and lurch forward as wings begin to sprout from your back, and a double-layer of your natural scales and the scute-studded armour of your Dragonshape begin to sprout forth from beneath the shifting skin of ‘Long Wang’.

Your hope is this: that either the fool is even more honourbound than you and cannot strike you mid-transformation; OR that, in doing so, he will leave himself open to the Archer’s magic arrow.

The Paladin Prince raises his sword, and shouts a cry to his hippogriff mount to charge. It seems he’ll be putting your theory to the test. You utter a quiet prayer to guide and protect Olu, and yourself.
[3d20 Biological Manipulation]
[3d20 Archer's attack]
[2d20 enemies' response]
>>
>>5663820
Thank the Dark Gods for Olu's based archery.
>>
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>>5663820
>>5663821
The hippogriff is fast, especially charging in leaps and bounds down the hill. The full transformation from false-man to Dragonborn and finally to <DragonSHAPE> is a process measure sin minutes, but the paladin prince is upon you in seconds—faster even than Olu the Archer can loose an arrow, for the charge is swift enough to force him to re-aim.

>1 vs. 10

Unfortunately, the Paladin prince’s aim is true. His sword opens your side, splitting your fine attire and sending you tumbling sideways. Your half-formed wings crunch and break away on impact with the ground, turning to ash as you roll to your feet; the transformation is lost, and must be begun anew. With the Red Dragon King’s spirit slumbering within you, you have more than enough magical energy to affect the change… But do you have time? Already, the damned Paladin is charging again, raising his sword above his head as it begins to crackle with that heavenly electricity again! You take up a defensive position, but your legs are wobbly, and your ribs bruised and skin lacerated by the first strike; the pain distracts you, and your saddle-addled legs yet wobble.

>20 & 17 vs. 11

But THAT is when Olu the Archer proves his worth once more. As when you faced down the Great Devourer together over a year-and-a-half hence, his archery proves your salvation: standing tall upon the hill, and shouting a Reptilian curse upon the man with crazed glee, he looses not one arrow, but TWO! Both gleam with the hidden quasi-colours of magical energy, enchanted with the magic to ensure a <True Strike> and to <Inflict Wounds, Greater> than would normally be inflicted. Between this and the Archers own aim, the impractical double-arrow attack hits both man AND beast, and with devastating results for both.
>>
>>5663834
One arrow pierces the paladin prince’s side, finding a notch in his armour and causing him to grunt in pain and lose his own spell; the other pierces his hippogriff and buries itself deep in its side, such that it cries out in a great shrieking death-rattle and flails violently. The Paladin Prince is launched; the hippogriff travels a short distance by sheer momentum before it crashes upon its face and chest and moves no more.

You nod to Olu high upon the hill, in acknowledgement and thanks.

The Paladin Prince is battered and bruised, but so are you. His armour is better, and the sword he holds… It is no practice-sword. Neither is your moon-blade of course, but it is dawn; it is quite likely that the shimmering ivory-white and gold-inlaid sword which your foe clutches is the mightier, at this time of day, or at least its equal.

What will you do?
>Quick, try again to assume <Dragonshape IV>, while Olu distracts Archos and he recovers! This may be your last chance!
>Draw your own bow and back away—maintain distance from the Paladin’s sword!
>Immolate him from where you are, if you can, and assume a defensive stance in case he braves your flaming breath
>Use your Ring of Elemental Command and attempt to freeze him in place, to buy yourself time to do something else…
>Tackle him now, and engage him in fisticuffs—if your sword can’t best his, your strength of arms surely can!
>Write-in
>>
>>5663836
>Unleash your <Radiant Aura> to distract and harry your foe, fighting defensively while Olu peppers him with arrows
>>
>>5663836
>Write-in
>fire breath
Even if we miss, we could take out the hippogriff

backlink >>5663605
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>>5663845
[The third default option in the list is firebreath, and the hippogriff is dead or dying, and out of the fight.]
>>
>>5663836
>Tackle him now, and engage him in fisticuffs—if your sword can’t best his, your strength of arms surely can!
fisticuffs
>>
>>5663849
My bad
Skimmed over that option

In that case
>Immolate him from where you are, if you can, and assume a defensive stance in case he braves your flaming breath

Backlink>>5663845
>>
>>5663836
>>Immolate him from where you are, if you can, and assume a defensive stance in case he braves your flaming breath
May we introduce our heavy-armor dear foe to the "heat metal" mechanic?
>>
>>5663836
>Immolate him from where you are, if you can, and assume a defensive stance in case he braves your flaming breath
+
>Unleash your <Radiant Aura> to distract and harry your foe

Go all in on the magic - our reserves are surely deeper than his
>>
>>5664112
Mm, yeah, I'm in on this, assuming we can do both at once.
>>
>>5664112
>>5664114
[Multiple spells/tactics utilized at once makes for a higher DC. Just a reminder.]
>>
>>5664122
Ah, to hell with it, I'll stick with my original course then.
>>
Rolled 9, 18, 16, 11 = 54 (4d20)

>>5664126
>>5664112
>>5663962
>>5663889
>>5663888
>>5663840
You adjust your stance, widening it to steady your legs and brace for an impact. The Paladin King is staggered as well, but he’s faster to recover – if you have both been riding for many days to meet here, mid-way between Hawksong and the edge of the city’s sphere of influence, he has been doing so with the benefit of experience and a superior mount. You are both injured, as well, but you recognize that you are at a disadvantage in a melee, and so you opt to hold him at bay—make even cook him alive in that fancy metal armour of his—with a draconic classic: firebreath!

DC 18
>>
>>5664243
“<Protection from Fire>!”

Too late do you remember the spell which Sir Chase, a Paladin of the same order, had cast to obviate your firebreath in the skies above Hawksong several weeks prior. You take a step back, just in time to dodge a charging shield-bash from the Prince, who then lashes out against with his sword. Another slash comes, and you block with your own blade, as the sweltering heat, luminous light, and eye-assailing smoke conspire to rob Prince Archos of his accuracy

>18

The flames buy you precious time and, as his spell of <Protection> falters, the Paladin prince is forced back, crying out as his overheated armour finally starts to cook him. He clutches tight to his sword, though; in fact, you realize, he has locked gauntlets on his armour—a Dwarven invention intended to prevent one from being disarmed. His hand might well be ruined, but as longa s he can will his arm to swing, he will not lose his weapon. A good thing, then, you did not attempt to tackle him to the ground—you would have been disarmed, but not he!

And that sword… It shines with a light which burns you eyes to look upon, and crackles with an unsettling energy. Was it the source of those bolts of lightning, earlier? Perhaps it is recharging…

You are forced to pause in your immolating assault by the need to take a deep breath and recharge your fire-lung, however. You are once more in your True Form, all aspects of Wang Long faded or shed, but your <Dragonshape> and its enhanced strength, speed, and armoured hide is still beyond your immediate access. The Prince, by now wary of your tricks, circles you as he plans his approach; you move in tandem, maintaining distance and positioning, ever vigilant.

“Why have you come for m family?” he asks. “Why us? Why now?”

“Vengeanccce for what your family did to mine,” you answer truthfully—at least in part. “For the Great Green Dragon!”

“And my sister?” he demands. “Why have you toyed with her heart, fiend? What has she done to deserve this?!”

What will you say?
>Mock him—his sister is pregnant by you, and when you are done the City of Paladins will be ruled by the very spawn of an Antipaladin and a Dark God
>Offer him some cold comfort—Ekaterine is your beloved, and he should die knowing he will be safe
>Say nothing—you owe him no explanation

Do you speak with him about anything else?
>Ask about his sword
>Ask about his trip to the South
>Bring up Rufos’ complicity
>Ask how he learned of your true nature,a nd your involvement
>Ask what happened to the assassins

The Paladin Prince is battered, but not beaten… What is you strategy for how to finish this?
>Good old Hexblade swordsmanship
>Distract him and goad him into position for the Archer to make a clean shot
>One of your spells or items holds the key to victory… [which one?]

[Write-ins allowed]
[Your HP: 3/5]
[His HP: 2/4]
[See >>5655883 for your options]
>>
>>5664246
>Offer him some cold comfort—Ekaterine is your beloved, and he should die knowing she will be safe

>Ask how he learned of your true nature,a nd your involvement

>Command him to kneel with your magnificent Voice; if unsuccessful let your glory shine with Radiant Aura and swordplay
>>
>>5664246
>say nothing
>ask nothing
>use earth tremor
backlink>>5663845

btw earth tremor fall into elementalism or spellcraft?
>>
>>5664267
>earth tremor fall into elementalism or spellcraft?
[Correct!]
>>
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>>5664272
>>
>>5664275
>>5664267
>>5664272
[Woops, sorry, I see now that I misunderstood. Earth Tremor is Elementalism; holding the spell if you are engaged by a melee or ranged attack and completing it would be Spellcraft. Spellcraft serves as: your D&D style Spellcraft/Knowledge (Aracna), and Concentration checks, and represents your ability to learn or advance magical schools by concerted effort.]
>>
>>5664246
>Offer him some cold comfort—Ekaterine is your beloved, and he should die knowing he will be safe

>Ask how he learned of your true nature, and your involvement

>Good old Hexblade swordsmanship
We are the better swordsman - we’ve proved it before, now once again

Also, is our loyal lightning elemental around…?
>>
>>5664287
>lightning elemental
[Nope, there was alas no inconspicuous way to really bring him from Bloodrise (or the northern forward base, I'l actually7 have to check back where you left him) while undercover, and you haven't been home since. You DO have the ice elemental, though innyour ring, not necessarily loyal once released]
>>
>>5664267
>Mock him—his sister is pregnant by you, and when you are done the City of Paladins will be ruled by the very spawn of an Antipaladin and a Dark God.

>Bring up Rufos’ complicity


Alexos is easily made mad juding by are last duel, some insults could make him lose his cool.

>One of your spells or items holds the key to victory… [which one?]
>Write: Cast Moombeam, but instead of though your fire lung or hand try to cannel it though you blade while going in for a sword thrust.
>>
>>5664246
>Mock him—his sister is pregnant by you, and when you are done the City of Paladins will be ruled by the very spawn of an Antipaladin and a Dark God

>Bring up Rufos’ complicity

>Distract him and goad him into position for the Archer to make a clean shot

Olu already got one crit this fight, my money's on him
>>
>>5664246
Sorry can't offer you a backlink, haven't been around to vote for a while and finally caught up
>Offer him some cold comfort—Ekaterine is your beloved, and he should die knowing he will be safe
The gods demanded it, but she has her own merit. She will be a prisoner in a gilded cage, no more.
>Ask how he learned of your true nature,and your involvement
>Good old Hexblade swordsmanship
But I could also get behind an Earth tremor
>>
Rolled 18, 20, 4, 11, 8 = 61 (5d20)

>>5664346
>>5664322
>>5664303
>>5664287
>>5664267
>>5664265
As the two of your circle in your dance-of-death, you deign to answer this rival Paladin’s question—if not as a kindness to him, then as one to Ekaterine.

“Your sssisster iss ssafe,” you tell him. “My feelingsss for her are true.”

The Paladin Prince stiffens.

“You dare--?!”

“I do,” you confirm.

It is tempting to tell him the details, in all their lurid and humiliating specifics: how his youngest sister is bride and breeding-partner to a Reptilian ‘monster’ from beneath the Earth’s crust, and a Dark God’s own hybrid child shall sit upon the throne of Hawksong before too long. His family, his city, his faith, all brought to ruin!

…But no. You are not so cruel as that.

“I will protect her,” you say, repeating the oath you made to their father. “I give you my word, no harm shall come to her.”

“Your WORD,” the Paladin Prince spits, with enough venom to make a viper envious. “What good is that, from something like you?!”

As always he is easy to anger—even as you offer comfort! An ungrateful lot, these surface-dwellers. Well, whatever—he may have the superior sword for this occasion, but yours is still a blade of legend, and your own swordsmanship is far from amateur—in fact, all other things being equal, you are confident you could best him again!

[DC 18; -1 due to Mastery, +3 due to the opponent's sill and REDACTED, and +1 due to your saddle-soreness and injury.]
>>
>>5664373
>20
THERAL SWEEP ONCE AGAIN
>>
>>5664373
>>5664394
>18
Indeed, your skill holds the day—the righteous fury behind the paladin’s swings cannot make up for the clumsiness brought on by whatever damage your firebreath inflicted to his flesh beneath the steel. The locked gauntlet prevents disarmament, but still his sword wobbles, and his form suffers for the impairment. You even find time in between parrying and deflecting his blows to ask him a question of your own:

“How did you know?” you ask him. “How did you learn what I wasss, what I am? When did you dissscover it wass ME who engineered your asssassssination?”

“It should have been obvious from the start,” Prince Alexos admits. “But I woe it to the gods. I was gifted a vision of poisonous cobras slinking into my tent during the night, upon the desert sands, making to bite and kill me. When I awoke, I made preparations…”

“…And when two Infiltratorsss came upon you that evening, you were ssstill awake,” you conclude.

So your deities’ rivals offer the gift of prophetic vision as well, to those whom they favour. Interesting, if not a little unsettling.

Your blades clash, locked by the mutual application of force, before you slide past and pivot around, dodging a strike of Alexos’ and delivering a heavy-handed pommel-blow to the back of his helm. He staggers forward, landing awkwardly upon one shoulder in a heap.

>1/4

You keep back a moment, allowing him to stand.

“From that point, I knew that they must have found me by knowing in advance where I had planned to encamp—I was hardly staying close to civilization, after all. Someone in the palace had tipped them off.”

“I had other meansss to find you, if I sso chose,” you say. “I found you here.”

“But I was right,” he says.

“Yesss,” you acknowledge, though you again show mercy to the doomed fool, sparing him knowledge of his own younger brother’s semi-willing involvement in the plot.

“And so it comes to this,” the Paladin declares pompously, though whether to intimidate you or invigorate his own dying embers f hope, you cannot say. “I, Paladin Prince of Hawksong, Alexos son of Archos, will end you! I find you guilty of subterfuge and high treason, of demon-worship and blasphemy, of seduction and fraud! And for that—”

He raises his sword.

“—you shall die.”

You bow your head in acknowledgement of the verdict. So kind are you, that you let him have this. His sword crakcles with holy ligtning from on high, and he brings it down, summoning the sky-gods’ fury and bringing it crashing down upon you—
>>
>>5664396
>20

—And, with a single strike, you break it. Moonlight sparkles from your blade, illuminating the phases of the moon etched upon it as you charge it with the explosively-radiant energy, and breaking the Paladin’s own elemental force with some of you own.

“Wait,” Alexos begins.

You take a step forward, speaking the mystic incantations and forming the gestures to shake the earth and form a fissure beneath his feet. The injured Alexos stumbles, an ankle falling into it. His attempt to adjust wedges it deeper, spraining the extremity and painfully entrapping him.

“You can’t…”

You take another step forward and raise your sword. He looks upon you with disbelief, and dawning dread.

“But I am… I’m the hero here! You are the villain!”

You bring your sword down, with another crack of moonlight that shatters his arm and sends the crown prince skittering along the ground. He still clutches his holy sword, but s he attempts to raise it once more…

>0/4

…His strength finally fails. Prince Alexos' sword-arm droops, limp and lifeless. His body is burnt and bloody, his eyes bleary with pain. He clings to consciousness by a vaporous vestige.

“I have sent… Messengers… To the palace…” he wheezes. “While I dueled you, they… Contineud onward… Beyond your clutches!”

You stare down at him.

“My brother will… My father will… Avenge me.”

You grant this ‘hero’ one, final act of mercy: you do not tell him how his efforts were in vain. He slips into coma, unaware that his ‘avenging brother’ and his demonic mistress will soon be puppeteering or executing those very messengers he strove to save and send in his stead. His final gambit has failed.

Though you allowed Alexos to remain blissfully ignorant of it, the truth is that Hawksong is well and truly doomed. Here, at your feet, lies its last and greatest hope.
>>
>>5664400
Olu is at your side before too long, leading his horse by the lead.

“I could not retrieve yours, Dragonborn,” he says apologetically.

“That is fine,” you say, not looking forward to attempting to ride such a beast against, anyway.

You both look down upon the fallen Prince of Hawksong.

“What will we do with this one?” the Archer asks.

>Kill him and dispose of his body discretely—Alexos, as far as the world knows, will have simply disappeared, final fate unknown
>Kill him and mark him with the symbol of your burgeoning empire in Bloodrise, then crucify him at the crossroads of his empire—this shall be your formal declaration of war
>Drag him back to Hawksong in chains, and have him tried for insurrection and treason—he will be shamed and executed, destroying his legacy
>Bring him back to Bloodrise as a prisoner—perhaps Ekaterine will appreciate the company
[Note: a Paladin cannot be demonically possessed without great risk of failure, now or later; it is allowed to attempt, though]

And what of his sword?
>Leave it—it is tainted by the Gods of Light, and will surely reject you
>Attempt to corrupt and wield it—surely you and your Dark God can overpower the false divines who empowered it [failure has consequences]
>Break it—sunder it so none may wield it again [Lower DC, but failure still has consequences]
>Bundle it up and have Olu bring it back as loot—maybe an heirloom, someday, for your human-born child?
>>
>>5664401
>Kill him and dispose of his body discretely

Can we bury the sword along with him?

backlink>>5664267
>>
also we should probably bury the hippogriff as well

Maybe incinerate it?
>>
>>5664401
>Kill him and dispose of his body discretely—Alexos, as far as the world knows, will have simply disappeared, final fate unknown

Good enough for mom, good enough for scumbag
>>
>>5664401
>Burn his body and the body of hippogriff, then bury the remains.
>Bury the sword nearby in a different location

Both he and the sword will be lost to time. But if the Gods of Light give a vision to one seeking the sword, they shall not find the body too.
>>
>>5664401
>Bring him back to Bloodrise as a prisoner—perhaps Ekaterine will appreciate the company
Call it a wedding gift.
>Bundle it up and have Olu bring it back as loot—maybe an heirloom, someday, for your human-born child?
Gonna have Beholderbro assist us in learning it’s secrets and corrupting it in totality.
>>
>>5664401
>>Kill him and dispose of his body discretely.
Better to fade away quietly than the public executions. Though I imagine Eka will eventually ask, it will spare her at least that.

>>Break it.
No revenge McGuffin thanks.
>>
>>5664401
>Find a nearby cave and sacrifice him to the Serpent Ascendant- for all his failings he was a worthy foe, and will bring you great favor in death

>Bury the sword- perhaps you will recover it later, or perhaps it will remain here in perpetuity

>Heartily thank Olu for his aid in battle- he was indispensable, as always, and has saved your life yet again
>>
>>5664401

>Kill him and dispose of his body discretely—Alexos, as far as the world knows, will have simply
Do this in a way lady Death will approve, a proper burial blessed by Death will buy us his final silence. No revenants, no ghosts.
>Bundle it up and have Olu bring it back as loot—maybe an heirloom, someday, for your human-born child?
>>5664438
Like the beholder bro idea
Maybe at some point we should ask Death for another task? We are ok with her right now but taking the soul of the red dragon definitely took some points off
>>
>>5664475
>sacrifice him
This isn’t a bad idea… I’m for killing him anyway

Do we owe any of the Gods favours which we could repay?
>>
>>5664401
>Bring him back to Bloodrise as a prisoner—perhaps Ekaterine will appreciate the company
lol
lmao

>Bundle it up and have Olu bring it back as loot—maybe an heirloom, someday, for your human-born child?
>>
>>5664401
>Find a nearby cave and sacrifice him to the Serpent Ascendant- for all his failings he was a worthy foe, and will bring you great favor in death

>Bundle it up and have Olu bring it back as loot—maybe an heirloom, someday, for your human-born child.
>>
Would serpent ascendant like him as a sacrifice?
For all his strenght it seems it was mostly given to him.
The best teachers, the best armour, the best mount, the best sword, firstborn paladin prince, blessed by the gods to be great. It just feels he wasn't a true champion
>>
>>5664529
[You are currently indebted to the Beholder, while Death is likely somewhat annoyed at you for stealing a soul summoend with necromancy.]
>>
>>5664642
>Gift him to Beholder
>>
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>>5664643
>>5664620
>>5664594
>>5664529
>>5664510
>>5664475
>>5664445
>>5664438
>>5664423
>>5664417
>>5664407
[Locked and writing!]
>>
>>5664694
Given the choice, you would sacrifice Prince Alexos-to the Serpent Ascendant, or perhaps to repay your debt to the Baleful Beholder. But then again, is he even worthy? For all his strength, the Paladin Prince did not EARN it. This human has had the best teachers, the best armour, the best mount, the best sword, bestowed upon him from on high or by dint of his birthright.

Looking at the bearded man, burnt, bent and broken upon the turf, you do not see a true rival—just another false elite from the old and broken world, product of a dying era.

You utter a simple prayer of gratitude to the Dark Gods Below and Beyond, and you slit his throat.

“Archer,” you address Olu, “you have proven yourself invaluable. You may have even saved my life.”

The halfbreed called Oluwadamilare puffs up with pride, and bows low.

“It was my duty and my pleasure, Sueprior One,” he says.

You wave away the formality, and clap him on the back in the manner of Man. Olu, half-human Infiltrator that he is, recognizes the gesture of familiarity and camaraderie, and he grins.

“Bundle up the Paladin’s blade,” you command him. “I will dispose of the body… And the hippogriff.”

“You will not display him as a trophy, or make an example of him?” the Archer asks.

Yous shake your head.

“He does not deserve it,” you say, “and neither does the Princess. She should not have to see this, or know the Price of the New Age of Darkness was so dear. Prince Alexos of Hawksong simply rode to make peace with the Sotuhlands… And never returned. His fate shall remain a mystery.”

The Archer bows his head once more, and with a heave and no small mess, you wrench the Paladin Prince’s arm free from the melted on armour and its locked gauntlet. It takes a few minutes of concentrated effort, but you are able to summon up your <Dragonshape IV> at long last, and to wield your titanic strength in that form to drag man and bord-horse away from the rarely-traveled provincial rode and to a hidden hillock. With your fire-lung recharged and empowered by the dragonblood of your amulet, you burn the man and his mouth until they are naught but ash-skinned skeletons, and with strategic usage of your <Earth Tremor> and <Wall of Stone> spells, you make for them a hidden tomb.

Right now, the unnatural outcropping of rocks might resemble a hasty cairn, but not an especially accessible one, and any opportunistic tomb-raider would be hard-pressed to identify the body therein. In less than a year, the grass will grow over it, the rocks will wear down, and the memory of Prince Alexos will be swallowed up by the earth.
>>
>>5664707
You return to Olu the Archer, who stands beside his horse and who has already swaddled the unseemly holy sword of your fallen foe, shielding you from its burning glare.

“What now?” he asks.

>To Bloodrise—it is time to reclaim your throne, and to lead your kingdom to victory
>To the northern forward base—you would have words with the Serpent Priests about the new world order
>To Hawksong—you must ensure the messengers Alexos send go unheeded, and secure your dominion to the surface's premier city
>To the Honeymoon Palace—you need, and have earned, some rest and relaxation, and you think it might be best to formally introduce Ekaterine to you, ah, other ‘wife’ in a controlled setting
>Write-in
>>
>>5664708
>To the northern forward base—you would have words with the Serpent Priests about the new world order


Let's go get our metaphorical house in order. Ekaterine can get some schooling from Novice on how to act along the way.
>>
>>5664708
>>To the northern forward base—you would have words with the Serpent Priests about the new world order
>>
>>5664708
>To the northern forward base—you would have words with the Serpent Priests about the new world order
>>
>>5664708
>To the northern forward base—you would have words with the Serpent Priests about the new world order

We should pick up the Novice and Eka along the way. Not sure if we should bring Eka to the base though…
>>
>>5664708
>To the northern forward base—you would have words with the Serpent Priests about the new world order
Mission in Hawksong is done, Id say bring Eka with us but I dont know how Hawksong, the royal guard, The forward base, or the serpentry will react, but I know for a fact the priestess caste under the MoD will do everything in their power to keep her comfortable, at least while shes pregnant, only reason I say this only because they made sure Glowies mom thrived under the base because mama said and I feel like that should shut the serpent priests up for a second
>>
>>5664840
Backlink, this one im going back and forth at a neighbors for bbq
>>5662615
>>
>>5664727
>>5664742
>>5664745
>>5664796
>>5664840
“Retrieve the Fleshweaver and Eka—I mean, the Princess. Our mission is Hawksong is complete. We are returning to the northern forward base.”

“Yes, Dragonborn!”

You have been away too long. From what the Novice told you, your influence over Reptilian politics has waned in your absence, as the Serpent priesthood asserts the old order. This cannot be allowed. Your time in Hawksong, especially with Eka, has not made a sentimental weakling by any means… But it has reaffirmed some inkling ideas within your dark heart. Oppression and subjugation are tools, not end-goals. The Priesthood makes a culture of grim necessity, and the result is the broken spirit of your people. You will dominate Man, Dwarf, Elf, and all else, but you will NOT have them dragged down into that same mire. You are a Prince of Love, and it is your duty—nay, destiny!—to break the cycle.

You don your Amulet of Disguise once more, shedding <Dragonshape> to adopt the form of Long Wang. While Olu sets about retrieving your females from the Honeymoon Palace, you take your rest, bide your time, and prepare for your glorious return. Now is the tiem to solidify your plans.

What will you do with Ekaterine?
>Bring her back as, quite openly, your mate and bride, the conquered and impregnated daughter of the lineage which slew a dragon
>Keep those details on the down-low—she is your human slave, as Davora was your dwarf slave, and nothing more… At least for now
>Hide her outright—have Olu keep her safe in Sparrowton, the town clsoest to the base, while you settle matters therein

And what exactly is your plan upon your return?
>Announce your glorious triumph over Hawksong, and appeal to the Serpent priesthood to see your many victories and accept your New World Order
>Storm in with all the fire and fury you can muster—you have had enough backstabbing, and this is now officially a coup
>Bend the knee, play the game, and continue your slow subversion from the bottom up
>Play the long game—let the Serpent Priests do as they will, provided they leave Bloodrise and your own machinations alone, to foster mutual peace and understanding
>Write-in
>>
>>5664868
>Bring her back as, quite openly, your mate and bride, the conquered and impregnated daughter of the lineage which slew a dragon

>Announce your glorious triumph over Hawksong, and appeal to the Serpent priesthood to see your many victories and accept your New World Order

Well, not as sure about the first vote- Kat is one of our Loves, first among equals and all.

The Serpent Priests get one chance to unfuck their shitty attitude and then we throw them off a cliff.
>>
>>5664875
Supporting.

Let’s discuss this plan with the Novice before we enact it

We should also brief Eka on what to expect, or she won’t react well…
>>
>>5664875
+1
>>
>>5664951
backlink>>5664407
>>
>>5664868
>Bring her back as, quite openly, your mate and bride, the conquered and impregnated daughter of the lineage which slew a dragon

>Play the long game—let the Serpent Priests do as they will, provided they leave Bloodrise and your own machinations alone, to foster mutual peace and understanding
>>
>>5664868
>>Bring her back as, quite openly, your mate and bride, the conquered and impregnated daughter of the lineage which slew a dragon
>>Play the long game—let the Serpent Priests do as they will, provided they leave Bloodrise and your own machinations alone, to foster mutual peace and understanding
>>
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>>5664875
>>5664950
>>5664951
>>5664953
>>5665380
>>5665882
[This has a bit lower vote count than usual, and a close one where the 1posy ID can swing your approach. I'll leave this open a little longer in deference.]
>>
>>5664868
>>5665981
Let me end it then by backing >>5664875
>>
>>5664875
Support
>>
>>5665999
>>5664875
>>5664950
>>5664951
>>5664953
>>5665380
>>5665882
>>5665990
You resolved, several months ago, to stop hiding your true self from the world—to instead, in keeping with your Dragon King ancestor, to bend the world to your way of thinking and mould it in your image. In spite of this, you have spent the better part of three months doing nothing BUT hiding, and pretending, and playing silly spy-games. Your reward was Hawksong’s Pricness, Ekaterine, and you’ll be damned if you will waste any more of your time together pretending at anything else!

Still, an unauthorized breeding with a human is bound to be controversial, right? Even among your followers are those who still hold to the premise of purity-of-blood, a one-time dictate of the Mother of Dragons which is still enforced by the Persecutor of the Weak—that one Dark God of note who has turned his back upon you, and who is beloved by your opposition in the Serpent Priesthood.

“…Long Wang?”

You look up from your reverie. You are in your human guise once more—more accursed play-acting!—while you indulge in a breakfast of farm-fresh scrambled eggs and pig-trimmings in the small community of Sparrowton. Even as a member of the local race, your apparent subrace draws whispers and glances, but you have easily ignored them. This voice, though, immediately seizes your attention.

“Eka,” you sigh happily. “You have traveled well, I trussst? Ssafely?”

The Princess of Hawksong—dressed down for the occasion, in commoner’s clothes and heavy cloak, purses her lips and says nothing, giving only a small (and unconvincing) nod. She joins you at your table, and shortly thereafter the darker figures of the Novice (in her brown-skinned quasi-Drow form) and the Archer (wearing the only skin he has) appear. You give a nod of thanks to Olu, who bows in turn. The Novice merely crosses her arms and regards the inn where you have been staying—and its human and halfling patrons—with open disdain.
>>
>>5666029
“Wang,” Ekaterine asks quietly, but with her brow furrowed and eyes squinted in an effort at a grim and serious expression, “what is going on? Who ARE these people? What IS this?”

You look to the other two. They really didn’t tell her ANYTHING?

“I didn’t think it was my place, Su—ah, Sir Long,” Olu admits sheepishly.

“Why should I tell her anything?” the Novice sniffs. “She goes where we sssay she geos. She hasss no choicce.”

You sigh.

“These two are my… Friendsss,” you say. “Alliesss. They brought you here becausse I assked them to do ssso.”

“The, ah, southern fellow… He said that there was… Some sort of trouble coming to Hawksong?” Ekaterine asks.

“Yesss,” you agree, then correct yourself: “Maybe.”

The Paladin Prince’s messengers cannot steal the city from her brother’s corrupted puppet-governance—not without any other heir to the throne available. With Alexos dead and Ekaterine in your clutches, Rufos is all they have, once their Paladin King finally perishes. Still, with the city’s trade stymied and freedoms curtailed, any word of conspiracy against the Crown is bound to cause turmoil.

“Then should we not be there to defend it?” Ekaterine asks.

You give her a look, and she seems to remember who and what you truly are anew, or with greater understanding.

“You ARE the danger…” she murmurs.

“There isss another reasson I called you here, though,” you say brightly, taking your bride’s hand in your and meeting her eyes. “Hawksssong iss of no conccern. It will not crumble overnight.”

It is possible, you suppose, that it will take months or even YEARS to fully collapse.

“Asss you showed me your ccivilization, I sssimply thought it prudent to show you mine.”

Ekaterine frowns, eyes lfititnga round the small, rural waystation. You laugh.

“Not here,” you clarify. “Nearby. In the hillsss…”

Ekaterine, despite herself, looks curious at this. She says nothing—speaks no excitement or recalcitrance, but simply nods. You order water and food for each of your companions—which the Reptilians devour with greedy gusto, and Ekaterine politely and demurely consumes the smallest portion of.

“What is it like?” she asks. “Where you are, ah, from? You always made it sound… Well, you didn’t give me all the details after all, I suppose, but… You didn’t make your upbringing sound like a PLEASANT experience.”

You cringe inwardly to even think of it. In truth, the paucity of resources, the weathered and worn caverns and crumbled monuments, the oppressive darkness where she cannot even SEE… It will be quite the adjustment, even before you parade her like a trophy before legions of ‘lizardmen’.

“It isss… Very CULTURALLY rich,” you answer, diplomatically.
>>
>>5666031
Ekaterine nods, and forces a smile, though you can tell that the recent revelations and this sudden spiriting-away has left her troubled.

“I trust you,” she still says, and you can also sense the truth in THAT.

That night, the four of you leave Olu’s horse in the stables, and sneak away from Sparrowton on foot. Ekaterine and the Novice are both travel weary—Ekaterine especially, though she also seems to have greater enthusiasm and interest in the local craftsmanship, the hills and valleys, the forests and rocky crags.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been away from home so long before,” she admits, wondering at the scenery, and the stars. “It’s beautiful out here in the countryside, especially at night.”

“I cannot wait to leave these mammals behind,” the Novice Fleshweaver laments. “The craftsmanship of my disguise is, obviously, second-to-none, but I MUST stretch out. I feel… Compacted, lessened. And the mammalian STENCH of these places…”

You are grateful that the Novice Fleshweaver speaks her piece in True Speech, but even naïve Ekaterine cannot miss the pointed glare that the Novice fixes her with as she mentions the smell.

“I… Do not think that, ah, WOMAN likes me much,” Ekaterine mentions to you in whisper.

You cringe inwardly, and say nothing.

As you might well have predicted, your passage into the depths of the earth is slow. Olu knows the way fairly well, even with his half-human eyes barely capable of effective Darkvision. Ekaterine, however, requires careful guidance, and eventually you simply draw the moon-blade and will it to glow as an eerie torch, renewing its light with he occasional slash or thrust. Even so, Ekaterine huddles close to you—and as far away from the malevolent presence of the bitterly-quiet Novice as possible—as if the dim glow of your sword will protect her.

“How much deeper does it go?” she asks.

“Milesss,” you answer. “But do not fear. You are ssafe with me.”

She only huddles closer at that, and the Novice scoffs.
>>
>>5666034
Eventually, you reach the inner sanctum of the northern forward base—the place where you were conceived, your egg laid and hatched, your childhood shaped to make you the Dragonborn you are today. Ekaterine marvels in horror and fascinating at the age-battered subterranean scultpures to Naga princess and Dragon Kings, Dark Gods and their chosen Priesthood.

“And all this is… So close to our own land?” she asks, disbelieving. “It has never been discovered, even so?”

“Humansss to not travel sso deep,” you say. “Leassst of all in boring foothillsss without mineral wealth.”

“And those who tressspasssss are killed and EATEN,” the Novice adds, grinning an unsettling grin.

The Princess of Hawksong looks to you for confirmation. You merely shrug.

“There isss progresss to be made,” you say.

It doesn’t happen OFTEN, at least… But that ambivalence seems little solace to your royal lover.

“True,” the Novice says smoothly, “we sssup on your warm blood all too infrequently.”

You glower at the Novice, but your first Great Love is altogether unapologetic, as ever.

What will you do?
>Spin tales of your race's past glory, and the nobler aspects of your culture, to distract and edify Eka
>Attempt to broker peace between the two females--though it may mean finally broaching the subject of your relationship with the Novice
>Let the matter lie--Eka will need to harden her heart somewhat to endure your people, and this is as good a primer as any
>Scold the Novice Fleshweaver, and assert that the consumption of Man will have no place in YOUR new world
>Write-in

The post was getting insanely long and seemed to be lacking interaction, so I broke it up. Serpent Priest vote result will come in the next day or two, but he meeting is mostly already written.
>
>>
>>5666038
>Attempt to broker peace between the two females--though it may mean finally broaching the subject of your relationship with the Novice

We've been on a pretty good streak of coming clean as of late.
>>
>>5666038
>Attempt to broker peace between the two females--though it may mean finally broaching the subject of your relationship with the Novice
Itll put us in the dog house for a bit, but these are both women of high stature and are both very educated, they will be able to go tit for tat on an intellectual level, that may have them butt heads for a bit but theyll bond over their mutual ivory tower/deepest dungeon stories
>>
>>5666038
>>Attempt to broker peace between the two females--though it may mean finally broaching the subject of your relationship with the Novice

We are the beginning of something better and new. They will both have to learn to compromise as values are challenged and changed. But together, reconciliation can be achieved - whether that be through tough love or a more graceful sort will be up to those who oppose our will. (Though that goes more for the serpent priests.)
>>
>>5666038
>Let the matter lie--Eka will need to harden her heart somewhat to endure your people, and this is as good a primer as any
>>
>>5666038
>>Attempt to broker peace between the two females--though it may mean finally broaching the subject of your relationship with the Novice
>>
>>5666112
>>5666077
>>5666068
>>5666059
>>5666041
As often as you have conquered, you have counselled. You are a destroyer of the od, but also a builder of the new. It is, not to overstate things unduly, sort of your whole THING. You are the Dark Prophet of the Coming Age, and age of multicultural unit—a shadow-peace, forged from suffering and hate in the shape of Love and Community!

Still, this is going to be tricky.

“She isss kidding,” you say. “She doesss thiss. It isss how she buildss familiarity.”

The Princess of Hawksong regards you with tentative relief, but the Novice will have none of it. She shoots back:

“I am not. I have fed upon human meat, and blood. So have you!”

Ekaterine’s eyes widen in horror, hand moving to her lips and arm starting to slip from yours.

“I have done what I need to in order to sssurvive ,” you admit, and take a dep breath. “Including, yess, cannibalisssm.”

Ekaterine’s dawning disgust is tempered, forestalled by that delightful and sometimes morbid curiosity of hers. It is the instinct which drove her, a sheltered creature of ultimate privilege, to learn so much about the lowly and foreign that’s he came to sympathize with them—love them—more than her fellow human nobility.

“Cannibalism?” Ekaterine asks. “That term—”

“Denotesss eating one’ss own,” you agree. “The Dragonborn Program which created me… It isss ssaid that human materialsss, from thosse captured and killed, were usssed to make usss. It isss why I have hair, why in my natural form my sscalesss are coloured asss they are…”
>>
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Rolled 18, 11, 16, 13 = 58 (4d20)

>>5666137
You glance at Olu the Archer—half-human himself, a Degenerate, and yet… This is something you have never shared with him, not technically. You look to the Novice, who seems rather taken aback as you continue your disclosure:

“Only the Novicce Fleshweaver—that isss, the woman you know asss Teharissssa—knowsss that thiss is not the whole truth. Other Dragonborn are not like thisss. It iss unique to me… Becaussse I am of human anccessstry. I am a hybrid, like my Archer—Oluwadamilare. My maternal grandparent wasss a Northman.”

Olu’s eyes widen a little bit, but his lips remain shut. He says nothing.

“Dragonborn!” the Novice hisses sharply. “You cannot just say these things in public! It will—”

“In ssspite of thiss,” you interrupt her, looking between these two loves of yours, “the Noviccce hass kept my ssecret. She caress for me, even if she would deny it. She hasss worked with me to overcome many… What wasss it your booksss call them, Ekaterine? Sssocial ssstigamass, yesss?”

You reach out, grabbing and taking firm but loving hold of the Novice Fleshweaver’s hand before she can stop you or escape. He whines and thrash her tail, squirming under the display of open affection.

“Ssstigamass of ssexxx, of raccce, of ssstation and blood purity, of affiliation and religiousss association,” you cotninue. “It isss she that hass connected me with sso-called Hereticsss, and outcassstss, and hass helped me to begin building the better world I told you of… Where we can all be free, free to grow and sstrive and be BETTER than we were born. Where none shall be forccced to eat feed on lossst wanderersss for lack of other meat.”

The Novice glares daggers at you, but she cannot bring herself to pull away, nor to break your eye contact. She softens somewhat, enough at least to not contradict you where you embellish somewhat.

“She doesss it out of love,” you assert.

In shock and grave offence, the Novice reverts to the True Speech, pulling away and spitting the words.

“I… I most certainly do NOT, you repugnant, sentimental oaf of a—”

“L-love?”
>>
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>>5666139
You both look to Ekaterine, and you tilt you head slightly, affecting an apologetic smile—accurate, at least, of your own abashedness to bring this up this way.

“Love can mean many thingsss… Community, family, friendship, romanccce,”

You pause, and nod, confirming the suspicion you see forming in your princess’ eyes, her heart.

“‘Teharisssa’ and I are… Well, loversss iss not the proper word.”

“Not with you acting like this, that’s for certain,” the Novice mutters angrily, still speaking your shared first language in her embarrassment.

Ekaterine just stares, at both of you, but mainly at you.

“B-but, but we are… Yous aid that we…”

“I am your husssband,” you assure her. “Conssider thisss… A cultural differenccce. But alsso know that I feel sssimialrly about you both becaussse in sssome waysss you ARE sso ssimilar!”

>18

Both females fall silent. They look at you, and then at each other.

“I… Wang, or Theral, or whoever you are…” Ekaterine begins, voice hitching a little, brow knotted, her arm and unresponsive in your grasp.

“Unforgiveable,” the Novice sneers, and then reverts to the Northern common-tongue: “Absssolutely reprehensssible male idiocccy.”

Ekaterine nods, slipping her arm from your grasp. Both females look at each other, back at you, and as you stand there—heart full of equal parts hope and confusion—they step forward without you. The Novice even uses her magic to produce a dim, silvery mage-light for the female human to see by, so she need not rely on you. They are not arm-in-arm, not even side-by-side, but they are in some undefinable way TOGETHER in this.

Did you… Did you do it? Did you win?

Olu the Archer claps a hand on your shoulder, mirror to your own action of camaraderie after the slaying the paladin Prince.

“The enemy of their enemy has become their friend,” he says, with the smallest of smiles.

You sigh, and nod, and follow, with your fellow male for company.
>>
>>5666137
Nitpicking, but eating human for a reptilian is anthropophagie. Cannibalism would be eating other humans
>>
>>5666150
Read the next post, anon, and recall that Theral is one-quarter human.
>>
>>5666150
nevermind, I'm retarded. Plus I splitted the update like a bastard
>>
>>5666145
The awkwardness is not given much chance to fester, at least. You soon begin to encounter to sparse population of this subterranean operations centre: lithe and golden-green SIlskcales, swollen and strong-bodied Steeltalons, red-hued and proud-chinned Dragonblooded Ones. You and your coterie are regarded with open suspicion, until you and your Serpent Priestess shed your Amulets of Disguise at long last and reveal your full glory. There are murmurs, gasps, and bowed heads. Olu fades into the background—a mere servant to your supremacy—while Ekaterine becomes a strange foreign bauble. She is greeted with hungry eyes and interested inquiry.

“She is mine,” you assert, and that brooks no argument.

“A slave?” one bold young Dragonblooded One asks. “She looks unsuited to labour. A snack? A sorceress?”

“A princess,” you answer, drawing excited chatter and gasps from those who overhear. “The Princess of Hawksong—my conquest! My mate!”

The result is predictable. There is uproar and outrage—not in your presence, obviously, for all here know to fear and respect you, but you can sense the undercurrent. So too can Ekaterine, whatever the language and culture barrier. The hisses, spitting, snapping jaws of the Reptilian Master race and their slit-pupiled derision and hatred surrounds her. Some glory in this subjugation of the favorite daughter of their hated enemies. Some plainly loathe her presence even so, or recoil in disgust as the whispers pass between your folk of what her purpose here is—the nature of her ‘service’ to you.

“What did you say to them?” Eka whispers, just loud enough for you to hear. “The way they’re looking at me now…”

“Fear isss the appropriate resssponsse,” the Novice mocks her. “But you can relaxxx insssofar asss you belong to USSSS. We are the royalty here, human. They will not dare harm our property.”

You find yourself grateful for Ekaterine’s limited senses, and the dimness of yours and the Novice’s lights. The better part of your Master race’s malice is hidden from her, but instead she finds herself in claustrophobic shadow, hearing only unintelligible hisses and warbles, rattles and squawks, and seeing only glimpse of whipping tails, slavering fangs, and gleaming eyes.

“You are sssafe,” you promise her again in the Northern Common-tongue. “You are my wife—I will ssee to it that no harm comesss to you. I ssswear it.”

She nods, but her face is pale, her body trembling. She looks as if she might faint.
>>
>>5666157
What is your next step?

>Rest in your chambers with Eka -- give her some normalcy and comfort
>Give Eka some space, and take your rest with the Novice -- both to soothe her wounded feelings and discuss strategy
>Why not both? Rest with your two beautiful and beloved females, and try to make something more permanent of their apparent truce
>Assign the females separate quarters so relations don't sour, and have a drink and some meat with Oluwadamilare -- it's the safest bet to not make things worse
>Straight to the Serpent Priests, and bring the crew with you -- it is why you are here, after all, and you need keep no secrets from these three any longer
>Write-in
>>
>>5666167
>>Straight to the Serpent Priests, and bring the crew with you -- it is why you are here, after all, and you need keep no secrets from these three any longer
>>
>>5666167
>Why not both? Rest with your two beautiful and beloved females, and try to make something more permanent of their apparent truce
I’d rather we focus on solidifying their… budding friendship.
>>
>>5666167
>>Straight to the Serpent Priests, and bring the crew with you -- it is why you are here, after all, and you need keep no secrets from these three any longer
Yeah splitting from Eka in these establishing times is a bad idea, so would be giving the priests a chance to react.
>>
>>5666167
>Straight to the Serpent Priests, and bring the crew with you -- it is why you are here, after all, and you need keep no secrets from these three any longer

We should not stay for long desu
>>
>>5666167
>Straight to the Serpent Priests, and bring the crew with you -- it is why you are here, after all, and you need keep no secrets from these three any longer
>>
>>5666179
>Straight to the Serpent Priests, and bring the crew with you -- it is why you are here, after all, and you need keep no secrets from these three any longer
Getting the backing of the priestess' of the MoD would be useful and should be pretty easy we need some more religion in Bloodrise and I feel theyll be able to assist with Glowies needs as well as Ekas pregnancy, I already know that the priests especially with their worship of the PoW will have issue but we have proved time and time again that we dont follow him or his creed and now we have a home on the surface, and ample opportunity for growth, they need to get off their high-horses and learn that superiority doesnt come from blood purity, we are a mutt and weve done more for our people than the Serpent priests have done in centuries, Id even say duel if they want to challenge the champion of the Ascendant but no reason to pull that out unless we need to
>>
>>5666393
Whoops wrong post linked
>>5666167
Also backlink
>>5666059
>>
>>5666167
>>Straight to the Serpent Priests, and bring the crew with you -- it is why you are here, after all, and you need keep no secrets from these three any longer
>>
>>5666167
>Give Eka some space, and take your rest with the Novice -- both to soothe her wounded feelings and discuss strategy

we really wanna bring Eka in front of those temperamental old fogies?
>>
>>5666443
Yes, they wont be expecting it, and we need to explain where weve been for so long, but also assert dominance if any of the fucks want to get lippy talking bout Persecutor and his bullshit
>>
>>5666443
There are strategic for meeting with the serpent priest's. Before we left the serpent priest's were in the middle of a war counsel.


>Straight to the Serpent Priests, and bring the crew with you -- it is why you are here, after all, and you need keep no secrets from these three any longer
>>
>>5666763
>>5666527
>>5666443
>>5666402
>>5666393
>>5666244
>>5666194
>>5666179
>>5666175
>>5666169

“What is the meaning of this?” demands one member the Serpent Priesthood. “You DARE to bring surface scum into this sepulcher?!”

Again you are called before their council—a special council of those who the Chaplain, the Novice’s own father, could assemble on short notice. The Chaplain himself stands among them, silent and imperious as any of them, though his twitching tail belies his unease-you are ‘his project, ‘his’ operative. Your unorthodox actions reflect on him—affect HIS status among his caste, HIS opportunities to advance within the mystery-cults of the Most Holy Ones. Beside you is the Novice Fleshweaver—his own flesh and blood, his direct responsibility. Betwixt both of you? A pale-faced, wide-eyed, frightened waif of a human—Ekaterine, ever more overwhelmed in this dark and humid cavern, with the looming figures of the Serpent Priests surrounding her, their cloaked and hooded forms lit by torchlight so the colours of their robes may be perceived, the medallions and amulets of their status gleam.

No wonder the Chaplain is concerned. Even calling this council at all is evidence that his station is in flux—he (and you) are seen as important enough to warrant this immediate debrief, but he is he trusted to supervise and judge you alone.

“The meaning is victory,” you state, plainly and boldly. “Total, absolute. I have domed Hawksong. It is done. The Green Knight, greatest threat to the Grand Design, was crushed and made subject to us, his enemies hurled from on high, smashed upon the city streets, left choking on their own blood and ruined reputations. The Paladin King lays dying in his sick-bed while his three heirs are utterly subverted: one slain, one demon-dominated…”

You place a hand on the small of your new wife’s back. Eka squeaks in alarm, then flushes in humiliation.

“…and one pregnant with a Reptilian heir,” you finish.

Your human mate has no conception of what you are saying, of course. You all converse in the Tue Speech—there is no question of conversing in any lesser, mammalian tongue for the benefit of this ‘inferior being’. Still, she is no stranger to standing silently and regally at official functions. She performs admirably here, even in this strange and hostile environment, where the rules of decorum are alien to her and the subject unknown. She straightens her back, lowers her eyes, and bows her head, mirroring the behaviour of deference she has seen among your own race.

“A DEGENERATE heir,” hisses one Serpent Priest. “A half-blood, gestating UNAUTHORIZED within her.”

“An heir we will raise, shape, and guide,” you counter. “An heir who will serve the Dark Gods Beyond and Below.”

“Who told you that you were permitted to do this?!” another demands.

“The Divine Mother,” the Novice interjects on your behalf.
>>
>>5666866
This answer (spoken out of turn by a youthful female, no less!) sparks a furor, and then silence as the Eldest One present—a great and gnarled old Serpent, hunched and titanic in proportions, swathed in night-black robes flecked with starlight-white and crested by a great cobra-hood of purple and gold—raises a hand and commands the right to speak.

“The Serpent Priesthood is the voice of the Gods,” he says, stating plainly the dogmatic truth which most of your race holds to—which You held to, once.

“I have heard her directly,” you reply, “and the others of the Pantheon of the Truly Divine. I am Knight Ascendant to The Feathered God, Holy Ones. You know this.”

“Even so,” he says, with slow and patient intonation, “you cannot take such action without notifying the Priesthood, and seeking permission. The Grand Design is a complex tapestry of lies, and truths, of possible futures, victories and failures. Your actions are recognized, even appreciated… But the way in which you have pursued your ambitions threatens our way of life. The way you speak, carry yourself, bypass authority to do what YOU think is best… It puts our entire Master race at risk. It weakens our social fabric, subverts OUR culture.”

“What would you have me do?” you ask, incredulous. “Defy the Dark Gods themselves?”

“Do you not already?” he asks pointedly. “The Lawgiver speaks with US, Young One. He tells us of what you have done… Of what you are becoming. The Baleful Beholder… Even the Lord of Endings…. We sense their ambivalence, displeasure at times. You do not have the full-throated and unambiguous support of the Dark Gods as you seem to think you do.”
>>
>>5666867
You hesitate. Death, you can understand, and you KENW that the Dark God of law was very much displeased with you… But the God of Wisdom, also? Perhaps it is your indebtedness to him.

“In your absence, we have had… Difficulties,” another Serpent Priests peaks up, and several sneer and hiss—at you, and at the Chaplain, who is cowed. “When one such as you is so brazen, so defiant and bold, there grows… Impatience. Ambition. The rabble, the Common and Lowly Ones, they think they sense WEAKNESS. They act without our blessing, also.”

“We have had to put down many treasonous fools,” another Priest croaks, almost regretfully. “Much torture, and bloodshed. Many warriors were lost, to stem the tide of rebellion. It is a blow, with our numbers so few… We have had to cull still more Degenerates, to maintain the Divine Blood Quantum.”

“And it goes deeper than that!” bellows another Serpent Priest. “In Bloodrise, casteless bastards, branded betrayers, simple Steeltalon stoges… Even you own mammalian SLAVES speak out of turn, act without permission, assert dominions and privileges to which they have no claim! They PRETEND to be what you ASSERT you are: servants of the New Age of Darkness, no longer beholden to The Grand Design They do not wait for the Stars to be Right! They do not care for the Great Conspiracy!

“Again, I ask, oh Superior Ones,” you speak up, voice level, “what would you have me do?”

“Three things,” says the Chaplain, seizing the moment and stepping forward, despite his fellows’ jeers. “Firstly, you must publicly renounce your claim to kingship of Bloodrise—you are OUR agent there, and Bloodrise belongs to the Dark Gods and their priests.”

You bristle, but say nothing—not yet.

“Second,” he continues, “you will return there IMMEDIATELY, under the supervision of Serpent Priests of OUR choosing, to assert rightful Reptilian rule, and to place a divinely-ordained member of the Priesthood in charge as Operational Chaplain—to return that lawless place to the old ways, in keeping with the Grand Design.”

“And third?” you ask.

The Chaplain meets your eyes.

“Degenerates—even those created by divine edict-are property of the Priesthood. Your human-birthed spawn belongs to us, to direct as we will—to serve the Grand Design from birth. Just as with you, and the other Dragonborn, your spawn must be OURS to educate, and to command."
>>
>>5666868
You look to Ekaterine—to her face, and then her abdomen. You close your nictating membranes, you’re your sixth sense to focus, and perceive to luminous glow of the demigod gestating within her—its material form barely more than a clumping of cells, but its spirit already months in the making. They would take your child from Ekaterine’s arms—right from her womb—and rear it as you were reared. Perhaps your greatest and most prestigious heir, made into another living weapon… Another tool of the Grand Design, raised lovelessly and trained to obey the old ways of the Master Race.

But then... Is that so bad? You turned out alright. If you are able to shape the New World Order as you intend, does it matter who is formally the head of one mountain-nation? If you keep the Serpent Priests on-side, you prevent the Master Race from fracturing--maybe even retain some of the favour of the Persecutor of the Weak for your people (if not yourself directly)...

And perhaps your child is better off learning the same hard lessons which made you the mighty specimen you are today--the trials and travails which shaped your character? Ekaterine is a lovely creature, kind and noble-hearted and intelligent, but she is also a SOFT thing. To have her firstborn taken from her would surely break her heart... But isn't that exactly the problem? Can she truly serve as mother-mentor to an Antipaladin's heir?

What will you do?
>Concede—this is not the time for civil war and division, when your ultimate victory is so close!
>Defy them—you are King of Bloodrise, Dark prophet of the Coming Age, and Prince of Love! You have the people’s heart! They will fall in line, or simply FALL!
>You will pretend to obey, but you will undermine their orders [how?]
>You will attempt to make them see sense—you will do some of what they ask, but not all, and they must understand WHY [specify your counterarguments and concessions, as well as what you will NOT concede]
>Write-in
>>
>>5666869
>Defy them—you are King of Bloodrise, Dark prophet of the Coming Age, and Prince of Love! You have the people’s heart! They will fall in line, or simply FALL!


All men must make a stand in their time, or stand aside. We choose to stand up.
>>
>>5666869
>Defy them—you are King of Bloodrise, Dark prophet of the Coming Age, and Prince of Love! You have the people’s heart! They will fall in line, or simply FALL!
What is this? The roman senate? A general achieves great results and all they do is bitch and whine.
>>
>>5666875
Oh, I forgot to ask- does <Voice of the Metatron> apply here, with regards to cowing/dominating the Serpent Priests?
>>
>>5666869
>Defy them—you are King of Bloodrise, Dark prophet of the Coming Age, and Prince of Love! You have the people’s heart! They will fall in line, or simply FALL!
welp wish we could have prepared for this a little more but anons wanted to force it
>>
>>5666897
[Yes. And you can even try to order them to kneel and pledge fealty, on a crit.]

On a failure, it's going to get dangerous for Theral and his two girlfriends here. On a crit-fail, it's civil war.
>>
>>5666869
>>You will pretend to obey, but you will undermine their orders
It's pretty clear these guys are too stuck in their self important ways to ever see reason or accept the new world order we envision despite our successes. They will never see other races and ourself as anything but 'lesser'. But they forget themselves, the so called "master race" were simply the primary servants of the dragons of old and have since degenerated into self-agrandising brooding and scheming to keep themselves atop the pyramid once their masters were gone.
But we are the dragonborn, we bear the spirit of the dragons, we are their heir and will break the cycle!
We should gather those who will follow us close (especially the other dragonborn) and pretend to follow orders. Then return with our army from bloodrise and set our house in order, as a conquering king.
>>
>>5666869 >>5666880
After some thought, I agree with >>5666905

I compared this situation to the late republic so having an army to cross our Rubicon is just right.
>>
>>5666869
>You will pretend to obey, but you will undermine their orders

We need to be as Caesar crossing the Rubicon - an army at out back.

In terms of their demands:
>1. Argue that we only renounce our claim to them privately. Doing so in public will undermine the delicate balance of power in Bloodrise - possibly resulting in a civil war
>2. Accept the priest, kill him upon our arrival back to our Kingdom
>3. Not a chance. Prior to the birth and with an army at our backs, return to take control
>>
>>5666935
If they don’t agree to the first point, then I switch to
>Defy them
>>
>>5666869
>Write-in: Preemptively assume your dragonshape before giving your proclamation.

>Defy them—you are King of Bloodrise, Dark prophet of the Coming Age, and Prince of Love! You have the people’s heart! They will fall in line, or simply FALL.


Meh i don't see what everyone is so afraid of, we cut down Alexos (who was armed with a high grade magic sword. And artisan armor.) one of famed paladins that reptilians probably tell nightmare bogeyman stories about with ease.

I doubt that any individual of this council of serpent priest's is stronger than he was. Especially since Serpent priest mages look down on elementalism as being too "human" in terms of magic and prefer flesh shaping and mentalism.

Since we have the diadem of clarity i doubt most mentalism spells will even work on us. If a fight breaks out in this chamber im pretty sure we will win.
>>
>>5666869
>You will pretend to obey, but you will undermine their orders [When in public, spur the rabble into a frenzy- if they will not see sense in our words, they will see sense by our actions.]
>>
>>5667006
It’s less about their combat ability anon - I have no doubts there. We could easily win a fight

However, if we kill them then we may have a civil war on our hands if the masses don’t back us…

There is a reason why Caesar offered the plebs food & games before and after assuming the dictatorship
>>
>>5667119
We have our fearsome presence, we can cow most reptilians into submission with it. Also they themselves admitted they have had recent trouble keeping control of things.
>>
>>5667006
It's because they voted to come right here without leaving the squishy noncombatants somewhere safe first.
>>
>>5667075
>>5667006
>>5666935
>>5666911
>>5666905
>>5666898
>>5666875
No… No, you can’t do it. Whatever the virtues of your upbringing, the period from your hatching to your first real deployment was a miserable one. Only when you broke from the ranks and led your own fighting force did you start to become who you are today. To bend the knee would simply stunt the development of the Master Race. To subject your own OFFSPRING to that would not build character, but weaken and handicap your successor unduly.

The Novice senses your tension. She shoots you a warning look, wordlessly commanding you to temper your fury. She couldn’t stop you if you tried—would probably even back you if you staged a coup here and now, if you’re any judge of her character—but still you heed her.

“As you wish, Holy One” you pretend to concede.

The Novice’s father releases a held breath, seeming almost surprised at the ease with which he has seemingly conquered you and your previously-indomitable will.

“I am glad you have seen reason,” he says, and the other Serpent priests murmur other vague utterances of worthless praise.

Old fools. They think their pureblooded descendant from the Ancient Ones makes them superior, but they forget themselves. They are not kings, were NEVER kings. Even the Dragonblooded Ones hold more bloodborne right to command than they! Even a half-blooded mongrel like your Archer has done more in these last two years to advance the Grand Design than these decrepit theocrats have in centuries. And you… You hold in your breast the SOUL of a True Dragon!

When you return with your army, they will be sorry… And then, of course, they will not be any longer—if they are wise enough to stand down rather than resist your New World order. They will see the glories of the New Age of Darkness, and the material and spiritual renaissance you bring to the Master Race, and they will bow their heads in shame and reverence.
>>
>>5667743
Still, your apparent acquiescence calms them considerably, and spares your bride and your beloved partner-in-crime their wrath. Martially mighty they may not be, but you have never faced a true elder of the Priesthood, and you have heard legends of their terrible magical power. Instead, you and your future foes unite against a common enemy, discussing recent events.

“The Bloodrise mountain range is a hotbed of violence, but our forces hold position, and have yet to suffer many losses,” a Holy One notes. “Hawksong will not be coming to the dwarves’ aid, and the corporations’ ‘joint taskforce’ is stymied. We could move in earnest now—secure it for the Master Race, with all its history and wealth!”

“You forget to greatest prize for the most immediate,” chastises another. “We had a plan, and it is time to advance it. Hawksong is weak, and the humans of the Southlands have been taught to resent them. It is time for outright war. The darker races of Man must now attack the light and weaken them both so we can rise and dominate them!”

“With greatest reverence, Elder Ones, why bother with all that?”

All of you turn to face the speaker—the Chaplain of this very base, the male who raised you and who fathered your First Love. He, in turn, is staring at Ekaterine, who fidgets under his gaze and whose eyes flit questioningly to you and to the Novice.

“We own Hawksong’s new Crown Prince,” he reminds the others of his caste. “We have his sister here, an heir forming within her. A controversy brews there. Let us increase his cruelty, stoke civil war, and have him fall upon his own people. Let them rise up to devour him, and let us then bring order.”

“A coup?” asks the Eldest One.

The Chaplain nods.

“Why weaken the city which is now, for all intents and purposes, OURS to control? No, let Hawksong remain STRONG… Under our guidance. Let Hawksong be the instrument by which we control the surface. The other mammals need never even know that they have fought a war and lost it—they need not even learn we exist, if we do not wish it. We will continue to plot from the shadows, not as spoilers, but as sovereigns. Hawksong owns the world, Holy Ones, and WE now own Hawksong! We can staff the entire GOVERNMENT with Infiltrators, and the humans won’t even know there is a Great Conspiracy to rise against!”
>>
>>5667745
“…I did not know he had it in him,” The Novice whispers admiring of her father even as she is surprised at him.

You understand his motives well, though: as Chaplain of this northern forward base, Hawksong has ever been his particular mission. To triumph here would reward HIM most directly. To do so without involving other operational chaplains makes it HIS victory. His star will rise…

But his plan would also render Hawksong a ruin for some time. It would devastate the city far more totally and directly than the to her plans. He means to obliterate it utterly… And unspoken, but obviously implied, is that Ekaterine’s father must be assassinated to enable this as an immediate course of action. Next, her niece—Rufos’ daughter—whom you have heard her fawn over as both ‘adorable’ and an example of ‘the sort of dynamic young woman the world needs more of’ in her opinion as an advocate of gender equity.

What course of action will you advocate for?
>Focus on Bloodrise, so as to secure it and establish it as permanent and public bulwark of the Master Race—and, later, of your New World of Darkness
>Advance our first plan—provoke chaotic war between North and South, and destabilize and weaken the world of man, then rise up to conquer them openly
>Seize control of Hawksong, and establish a puppet government full of secret ‘Reptoids’, then use the city’s influence to dominate surface affairs
>Write-in
>>
>>5667747
>Focus on Bloodrise, so as to secure it and establish it as permanent and public bulwark of the Master Race—and, later, of your New World of Darkness

Yeah, we'll be back in short order after the Dwarves are dealt with, at the head of a great column of loyal, well fed soldiers against whatever paltry resistance the Snake Fuckers can put up. Plus it'll give us some time to get right with Death and the Beholder.
>>
>>5667747
>Focus on Bloodrise, so as to secure it and establish it as permanent and public bulwark of the Master Race—and, later, of your New World of Darkness
Better to wait on Hawksong, the Paladin King is gonna die within the year by our impression. After that we have pretty much total control with Rufos possessed. Spirit away his niece and make ours and Eka's kid heir instead.
>>
>>5667747
>Focus on Bloodrise, so as to secure it and establish it as permanent and public bulwark of the Master Race—and, later, of your New World of Darkness
The chaplain's plan is good... but it could be better. We need not subject Hawksong to such destruction when it's sovereign is on death's door and the heir is our puppet.
>>
>>5667747
>>Focus on Bloodrise, so as to secure it and establish it as permanent and public bulwark of the Master Race—and, later, of your New World of Darkness
>>
>>5667747
>Seize control of Hawksong, and establish a puppet government full of secret ‘Reptoids’, then use the city’s influence to dominate surface affairs
Can’t not vote for the secret reptilian overlords meme.
>>
>>5667747
>>Focus on Bloodrise
Priest dad's plan leaves a lot to be desired and smacks of self serving politics rather than sound strategy. Let's away to bloodrise, and return with an army. Once we've placed ourselves in control we can plan optimally.
>>
>>5667863
>>5667845
>>5667840
>>5667809
>>5667807
>>5667749
When you left Hawksong and brought Ekaterine here, it was because you intended to return to Bloodrise, and that remains your intent.

“It is as I told our people,” you address the Serpent Priests—the Chaplain included. “the time for hiding is over. The time to rise is NOW. It is happening already, in Bloodrise. We should help it along.”

The Holy One who’d suggested it as a focus rattles with agreeable laughter, though many others yet mutter uncertainties about such a public emergence.

“But Hawksong is in our grasp!” the Chaplain protests, and looks to his daughter to rein you in.

There is a pregnant pause as she weighs allegiances between you and her auspicious progenitor.

“Hawksong is secure,” she says eventually. “That means it is not urgent. Bloodrise has already been made a public affair, even if our involvement is only a rumour at the moment. If the mammalian surface-scum seize it, it will PROVE our direct involvement, AND provide a wealth of intelligence and resources which can be sued against us. We must secure it.”

“None of that would be true if YOUR expedition and foolhardy raiding had not exposed us!” the Chaplain then snaps, turning on his own spawn.

The Novice shrugs, acknowledging the point, and even seeming to agree with it. You can sense irritation in her, tension. She is not necessarily PLEASED to be put on the spot in this way. If she chooses the wrong male to support here, she cripples her social standing forevermore. And yet…

“And yet, it has come to pass,” she says. “Foolish or not, these things have happened. We cannot go back to how things were, yes? The De—the Copper Dragonborn has made this our only sensible course of action. We can decide whether to try to hide our involvement or not later, but to have that option we must first WIN.”

The Chaplain seethes, but the Eldest One nods, and one by one the rest of the assembled Priests join him see reason. You are dismissed, and given your marching orders: return to Bloodrise, with their chosen Serpent Priest successor.
>>
>>5668331
“Did it go well, Superior Ones?” asks the Archer, as the three of you exit the chamber and find him where you left him—as a matter of course—outside.

“Silence, Degenerate,” the Novice snaps.

“She has had a difficult day,” you say by way of apology.

“No thanks to you!” she adds. “In actual fact, entirely ‘thanks’ to you, you meatbrained, musclebound, loin-led gory-hungry—”

“It went as well as can be expected,” you interrupt her.

The Novice crosses her arms in sullen silence. Oluwadamilare merely nods.

“Wang,” Ekaterine asks, “Or… Theral? What… What happened in there?”

You tilt your head, regarding her. She isn’t holding to you, and doesn’t seem to speak to regard you with the same tenderness as before your… Personal revelations… But she still understands that you alone are her protector and interpreter here. It is a start.

“How would you like to ssee the mossst beautiful ssunrise in the world?” you ask her, which seems to pique her interest somewhat.
>>
>>5668333
Temporarily relieved of duties, you are left to your won devices. The forward base is not like Hawksong, nor even a place like Sparrowton to Bloodrise. There is little to do here for those whoa re not actively pursuing a objective—no restaurants or diners or bars, no luxury goods to peruse, no libraries or concert halls, no gardens to stroll hand-in-hand. There is a small market selling primarily weapons, poisons, slave-meat and slave-labour. There are the ritual halls—the Star Chamber, the Great Hall used for proclamations and announcements and left empty otherwise. There is the commissary, where rumours are exchanged and spartan rations allocated and consumed.

And, well… there is your Big Brother, and the other Dragonborn.

You touch the diadem upon your brow—that which the Dark God of Wisdom told you could be used to make the Great Green Dragonborn’s underdeveloped and abuse-addled mind whole, to restore to him the wits and wisdom of a True Dragon, of which he was unjustly robbed. Then again… Well, even in your meeting with the Serpent priests, were you not comforted to know that your mind was thus shielded from their mentalism? And that’s not even COSNIDERING how many times it protected you in Hawksong, against Irinnile’s demonic influence and even the Paladin King’s <Fearsome Presence>.

What will you do?
>Pray to the Master of the Insightful Eye, Dark God of Wisdom, to take the Diadem of Clarity and use it to make your Great Green Brother whole
>Keep the diadem, at least for now—you still have need of it

Is there anything else you wish to attend to?
>Take this time to finally, openly teach Ekaterine of the True Faith, and of the finer details of your Master race’s culture
>Spend some time with the Novice Fleshweaver—it is important that she understand she is still loved, that she understand your plans moving forwards, and that the two of your formulate a plan
>Olu the Archer has been a stalwart brother-in-arms—perhaps you will spend some time catching up with him
>You will continue your political machinations—perhaps you can arrange a meeting with the Serpent Priestesses who serve the Lady of the Rookery, and use your siring of their goddess’ newest spawn, and relationship to Glowie, to earn their favour?
>You wish to upgrade your equipment and purchase new clothing, in light of the tragic loss of the shoggoth-cuirass/shoggoth-sword—you will go to market
>Maybe you can investigate this paladin-sword which you stole? ‘Holy’ magic of the false gods is frowned upon here, and not well-understood, but the Heretic might know something of them…
>Write-in
[Choose no more than two other activities]
>>
>>5668334
>Pray to the Master of the Insightful Eye, Dark God of Wisdom, to take the Diadem of Clarity and use it to make your Great Green Brother whole

We already owe Beholder, but I would love to see this happen.


>Spend some time with the Novice Fleshweaver—it is important that she understand she is still loved, that she understand your plans moving forwards, and that the two of your formulate a plan

>See if you can develop, with the Novice's help, some lesser version of the Diadem's shielding effects
>>
>>5668334
>keep diadem
>You wish to upgrade your equipment and purchase new clothing, in light of the tragic loss of the shoggoth-cuirass/shoggoth-sword—you will go to market

backlink>>5664953
>>
>>5668336
oh i thought the >diadem coutned as one activity

in that case
>See if you can develop, with the Novice's help, some lesser version of the Diadem's shielding effects
>upgrade equipment

backlink >>5668337
>>
>>5668334
>Pray to the Master of the Insightful Eye, Dark God of Wisdom, to take the Diadem of Clarity and use it to make your Great Green Brother whole
we can ask him how we let him down and how we can make it right when we do it

>Spend some time with the Novice Fleshweaver—it is important that she understand she is still loved, that she understand your plans moving forwards, and that the two of your formulate a plan
she did us a pretty big solid supporting our plan over her dads

>Olu the Archer has been a stalwart brother-in-arms—perhaps you will spend some time catching up with him
finally heard the news about our parentage, let's see what he thinks about it
>>
>>5668334
>Keep the diadem, at least for now—you still have need of it
We need to put this political rebellion down before we help Big Bro, they’re going to cause more trouble otherwise.
>You will continue your political machinations—perhaps you can arrange a meeting with the Serpent Priestesses who serve the Lady of the Rookery, and use your siring of their goddess’ newest spawn, and relationship to Glowie, to earn their favour?
We need more solid political allies among the elite.
>Maybe you can investigate this paladin-sword which you stole? ‘Holy’ magic of the false gods is frowned upon here, and not well-understood, but the Heretic might know something of them…
I want to corrupt the sword, ngl.
>>
>>5668334
>Keep the diadem, at least for now—you still have need of it
It does not seem like a good time. Our position is still vulnerable so protection is a must.
>Take this time to finally, openly teach Ekaterine of the True Faith, and of the finer details of your Master race’s culture
>Spend some time with the Novice Fleshweaver—it is important that she understand she is still loved, that she understand your plans moving forwards, and that the two of your formulate a plan
The relationship with the two has been noticeably frayed and I fear that, if we do not solve it now, it will be delayed indefinetly.
>>
>>5668354
If our brother is restored to full mental capabilities does that not aid us no terms of enforcing our will onto this base?

It was stated in the first thread that the common reptilian is nigh worshipful towards big green, due to his dragon like stature. And just like us he also has a fearsome presence, if he obtains full metal capabilities he can help us advance our agenda at our home base. And we already deiced to cow the serpent priests using an army instead of attacking personally. And we don't need the Diadem to inspire people to follow us in revolt.

>Pray to the Master of the Insightful Eye, Dark God of Wisdom, to take the Diadem of Clarity and use it to make your Great Green Brother whole

>Spend some time with the Novice Fleshweaver—it is important that she understand she is still loved, that she understand your plans moving forwards, and that the two of your formulate a plan

>Maybe you can investigate this paladin-sword which you stole? ‘Holy’ magic of the false gods is frowned upon here, and not well-understood, but the Heretic might know something of them…
>>
>>5668334
>>Pray to the Master of the Insightful Eye, Dark God of Wisdom, to take the Diadem of Clarity and use it to make your Great Green Brother whole

>Take this time to finally, openly teach Ekaterine of the True Faith, and of the finer details of your Master race’s culture
>Spend some time with the Novice Fleshweaver—it is important that she understand she is still loved, that she understand your plans moving forwards, and that the two of your formulate a plan
Committing to the Harem route
>>
>>5668454
Supporting
>>
>>5668561
>>5668454
>>5668393
>>5668360
>>5668354
>>5668342
>>5668341
>>5668337
>>5668336
[Locked and writing! The aspects of the vote not addressed in this update will be in future ones.]
>>
>>5668782
Your first duty is to your brother. Whatever the Diadem of Clarity might mean to you, to the Great One it means freedom from the prison of his own damaged and stunted mind. He has the heart of a True Dragon—it is time he had the brain of one, too. You owe him that much.

But doing this will require the aid of the Dark God of Wisdom, the Watcher from Beyond, called Master of the Insightful Eye and Baleful Beholder… And you are already doubly indebted to him, and apparently no longer hold his favour. What did you do to disappoint this deity? You don’t know, but you know how to find out.

You bring Princess Ekaterine with you to the altar of the Master. She doesn’t have much choice, in truth, unless she wishes to be left to the Novice Fleshweaver’s ‘tender mercies’, to wander the halls of this Reptilian-filled on her own and in total darkness, or to sit alone in your barren childhood bedroom. Still, you can sense that she doesn’t necessarily enjoy accompanying you, exactly—it is merely the least-bad option available.

“I know thisss hass been an… Adjusssstment,” you eventually hazard. “I am sssorry for that.”

Ekaterine takes a deep breath inward, squints her eyes, and gradually releases it through her nose. You recognize this as the meditative breathing which YOU taught her, albeit veiled as ‘Eastern mysticism’. This would warm your heart if it wasn’t a stress-management technique, and if the look in her eyes didn’t communicate quite clearly who she regards as source of that’s tress. Youa re quite certain that, if she were a Dragonborn, smoke and flame would be emerging from those nostrils.

“Theral,” she says, speaking your Drow pseudonym as if it were an accusation or insult, “I have, I think, been VERY, very understanding and accommodating. I have made MANY adjustments, and gladly, because I, I…”

She trails off, unwilling or unable to say the word ‘love’ right now.

“…I trusted you, and believed in you. Even when you turned out to be, ah, to NOT be the man I married, or a Man at all but a ‘Dragonborn’, I still, somehow, trusted you. When I learned you were working against our—my—people, my city, my Gods, I still… I thought maybe it was something we could, could come to an understanding on, because we were married. Because we had THAT much in true between us!”

“We do,” you assure her. “We have our love.”

She winces at the word, and looks away. You still catch the tears in her eyes.

“Yes. A portion of your love, to be shared with your FIRST love, that… Awful woman, Teharissa or whomever she TRULY is. And don’t think I didn’t see how you paraded me like a… TROPHY, like a prize of some sort, before those creatures in the robes and crowns. Is that what I am, really? Just a… Means to an end? Some part of an evil plan by your kind? Is THAT why you tricked me—not for love, but for a Reptoid scheme?”
>>
>>5668833
There is more truth in her suspicions than you’d like to admit… But there is also truth in your love, and your desire to share the New World with her. And that begins with bringing your Eka into the True Faith—explaining your religion and culture to her, and making her truly understand why you do the things you do. That begins today, with this ritual.

“Thisss chamber isss ssacred to usss… Older, it isss ssaid, than any sssurfacce ccity.”

Despite her angst, the dramatic reveal of the Chamber of the Mind by the light of your moon-blade cannot help but wow the Princess: her xenophilic intellectual curiosity wins out over her dour contemplations. You cannot blame her, for despite the vagaries of time, this most sacred space reserved for the Keeper of the Akashic Records remains impressive. The walls are carved with coiling , serpentine motifs, but arranged in such a way as to evoke the wrinkles of an exposed brain, and they cover the entirety of the walls and ceiling of the chamber. They are perfectly symmetrical, from one side to the other, and where they are cleaved down the middle by a single channel, it has been filled with a stripe of blue-flecked obsidian. A small, almost humble shrine sits where that hemisphere divide meets the floor, and there sits a basin for offerings, and an effigy of the Dark God to whom it is dedicated: on one side in his unfurling, many-eyed form, lamprey-mouth wide and eyes shining with malice, while on the other he is recoiled, in contemplating repose, his single Insightful Eye seeing and understanding all.

“…A Dark God,” the Princess of Hawksong whispers with terror when she beholds the two faces of the Wisest One.

“Yesss,” you acknowledge, “but not ‘evil’, Eka. The Dark Godsss aren’t evil.”

You take her hand and, with nowhere else to go and an insatiable need to know more, she allows it. You guide her to the altar, where you kneel before it and utter a prayer in the True Speech. She hesitates to kneel beside you—understandable, you suppose. You finish the prayer anyway, then beckon her down.

“I… Am the daughter of the Paladin King.”

You nod, sympathetic.

“You sserve Marese and Moroth, yess? The patron mother and father godsss of the martial humansss of the North. But what do they do for YOU—for your race for thossse of other racesss? They offer peace and ssecurity, but do you HAVE peace, even among Men? What about elvess, dwarvesss? And do they offer the ssort of peace and underssstanding to goblinsss, orcsss, and beasstmen which I KNOW you desssire?”

Ekaterine frowns, and asks pointedly: “And this… THING… Does?”

You hiss a little at the blasphemy in this sacred space, and she recoils. You immediately regret it. Still... It is unwise to insult a Dark God where they are most likely to hear it.
>>
>>5668834
“The Massster of the Inssightful Eye offers ONLY underssstanding. He isss Dark God of Wisssdom. He isss Keeper of Sssecretss, and Revealer of Ssecretsss alsso. He hasss no bigotry or biasss… He even offered freely hisss hidden knowledge to my mother, a lowly-born half-human.”

You might be embellishing a little bit, admittedly, but the last point in particular elicits some sympathy from your reluctant spouse.

“Your mother…”

“I sspoke truly,” you say. “I didn’t know her… Exxccept through the grace of the Dark Godsss Beyond and Below.”

Ekaterine doesn’t quite kneel in reverence, but she does adjust her dress and settle into a sitting position beside you as you explain the theosophy of the Master: his philosophy, his rites, his arcane and religious functions. She nods along, hardly ‘converted’ but certainly interested in her own, special, Ekaterine kind of way.

“My elder ‘brother’, the Green Dragonborn, wasss created beneath Hawksssong, by your mages… Created from sstolen flesh and blood of the Great Green Dragon of old, and raisssed in ssqualor and isolation. He wass, ISSS, innoccccent of any crime againssst your race… But he wasss tortured, abusssed, mutilated. We mended hisss body, but could never fixxx hisss mind.”

“That… That is awful,” she says, though the segue confuses her.

“Yesss,” you agree, taking the <Diadem of Clarity> from your brow and setting it upon the altar. “But we will make it right, with the grace of the Massster. You will ssee the god that the Dark Godsss can do!”

You close your eyes, find your centre, and murmur the familiar words:

“Oh Lords and Ladies of Eternity and Infinity, oh Lords of the Endless Black, oh Ladies of the Deep Flame. It is I, your prince! It is I, your servant! Your first among sons and daughters beseeches you, and I offer up this great tribute, in hopes you will hear me, and guide me, and make me a part of your Grand Design!”
>>
>>5668835
Almost instantly, you can feel the change take place. The flesh of blue along the chamber’s longitudinal fissure glow more brightly, and the altar itself seems to glow; you dim your moon-sword in response, and set it by your side as you bow low. The eyes of the two effigies of the Wisest One next seem to alight, gazing down upon you and Ekaterine, who stifles a scream—she sees it, too.

“You have brought me <CLARITY>,” you hear the whisper in your mind.

“Yes, Magnificent and Holy One,” you agree.

“You would have me make the Green Dragnborn whole, then?”

“…I would request it,” you say, humbly.

“And if I were to say no?”

You hesitate.

“Have I… Displeased you in some way?” you ask.

“You have lost and abandoned my creation in the sea.”

…Ah.

“And what work have you done, to pay back your debt to me?” the Dark God of Wisdom asks—not angry, sounding almost amused, in fact, though you know his amusement can be a dire threat in and of itself. “What secret knowledge do you bring me? What ‘great tribute’ of tomes, relics, artefacts, or ideas do you bestow upon me? You bring me this…”

A tendril of light-and-darkness reaches out from the hemispheral fissure to snatch up the diadem you proffered; Ekaterine screams in truth this time, and falls away.

“…But not truly FOR me. This gift is for your ‘brother’, while you give NOTHING, only ask for MORE. Shall I remind your bride of the difference between TRUE Gods and those pretenders with whom she is familiar—that we help only those who help THEMSELVES? That we forsake and loathe those who expect CHARITY from their creators and masters?”

You flinch a little at the threat to Ekaterine—especially just now, as you are attempting to teach her of the virtue of your True Faith, and your Dark Gods!

“She is pregnant with—”

“Yes,” the Baleful Beholder interrupts, “I know well. Perhaps, then, you should ask The Lady for aid, and not me? It seems you serve she and the Feathered One more loyally and thoughtfully than you serve ME, though it is I who ever cleans up your messes and offers you aid.”

You must make your case to the Dark God of Wisdom: what have you done for him, or in service to him? Have you acquired any knowledge you could offer him? Are you willing to relinquish any magical items to him?
>Offer him your stolen Paladin sword—that is surely a magical relic he would appreciate! Though… Then you may not get it back, in any form…
>Surrender your Ring of Elemental Command and its final, imprisoned ice elemental
>Promise him a sacrifice in his name—a sacrifice of his choosing—as soon as you are able
>Offer him something else—knowledge you have gained, perhaps, or another form of tribute [specify, write-in]
>>
>>5668836
>Offer him your knowledge of Dwarven technology- the magical metals they use and the advanced contraptions they have wielded against you and your forces

I think we can turn this to our advantage.
>>
>>5668836
>>Offer him something else—knowledge you have gained, perhaps, or another form of tribute [specify, write-in]
>Offer him Hawk-song's mage tower and the knowledge contained within. Swear an oath to him that once you conquer that city you'll convert that place of learning into a shrine for the dark god of wisdom.

The beholder is right, we preached on behalf of the serpent ascendant and lady of the rockery and got them new followers. We converted the drow graveyards into a ritual space for death.

It's time we forcefully proselytized some followers and influence for beholder bro after all the help he has given us.
>>
>>5668904
+1
But also offer him the paladin sword, one for our debt, another for his favor.
Maybe don't offer the sword in front of eka?
>>
>>5668836
>Offer him your stolen Paladin sword—that is surely a magical relic he would appreciate! Though… Then you may not get it back, in any form…
Big loss, but if it has the power of the gods of light it's something he should really appreciate.

>>5668904
I like the idea, but this is really an IOU. Another IOU, when we're in debt to him two times over already. Three times with the shog loss actually. I think we really need to give something concrete right now.
>>
>>5669147
We can swear an oath to do it, and it's something tangible within our grasp rather than a vague debt.
>>
>>5669154
Like I said, it's a good idea and I want to do it, but as >>5668997 says we should also give him the sword.
>>
>>5668836
>Offer him your stolen Paladin sword—that is surely a magical relic he would appreciate! Though… Then you may not get it back, in any form…

We’re not going to use it + this takes it off the table from future rivals

Probably don’t show Eka this though, as she might recognise the sword
>>
[It's a close vote, so I'll wait until later, or until a couple more roll in, before I tally up.]
>>
>>5669190
+1

Backlink >>5668341
>>
>>5669257
>>5669190
>>5669147
>>5668997
>>5668904
>>5668846
[Alright, locked in and writing]
>>
>>5669422
The Insightful One makes, alas, a valid point… As you might expect a God of Wisdom to do, really. You have recruited disciples to the Serpent Ascendant’s cause, and to that of the Mother of Dragons, but what have you brought the master of the Insightful Eye? Even Death Himself, avowedly neutral in your war against the Forces of Light, has been gifted a sacred space for ritual worship and service. The Master has given you hints, clues, assistance, and even material aid by way of the The Nothic. Now you, ask him another favour, before even paying fair tribute for that which you have already received, besides perhaps some surface-level proselytizing of the Duergar elite in Bloodrise.

“I understand, and apologize,” you say, bowing low. “I will do better in the future.”

“A good start,” the Dark God acknowledges graciously, “but you ask my favour NOW, mortal.”

He is right. You have the inkling of an idea to repay your debts to The Beholder many times over by conquering and consecrating Hawksong’s Mages’ Tower to his worship… But right now, especially with your redoubled commitment to Bloodrise, that is a distant dream. No, you have only one treasure of sufficient value to win the favour of a Dark Divine.

“Electric One, are you here?” you ask aloud.

With a crackling sound, the lightning elemental which you freed and tamed many moons ago reveals itself, emerging from the stone behind you and eliciting another muted cry for your Beloved One.

“Wh-what…?”

“Never fear, it isss my creature,” you answer Ekaterine in her tongue, before reverting to your own native language. “Bring me the Archer, and tell him to bring our war-spoils.”

The lighting elemental zooms away obediently, crackling all the way. You wait, kneeling there in prayer and explaining the steps of the ritual as you go—including the bloodletting with your assassin’s blade. Ekaterien flinches as you take her own hand to down likewise, attempting to pulla way, but you calmly explain the necessity.

“The Noviccce Fleshweaver—Teharisssa—will mend the damage later, but to NOT do thisss would invite grave offenccce.”

“All the better not to have brought me, then,” she protests.

“Are you not interesssted to learn of thisss?” you ask, allowing a slight suggestion of teasing to enter your tone. “You alwaysss ssaid you wished to learn more about my culture, didn’t you?”

She pouts a little , and winces as you extract the toll with a cut across her palm and a firm squeeze, but she does not complain beyond that. You cannot tell whether you have gotten through to her, or whether she is merely resigned to her fate.
>>
>>5669457
Eventually, Oluwadamilare arrives, trailing behind the living spark you sent to fetch him. Beneath his arm is a bundle of cloth, and hidden within that the sanctified bane-weapon of the Paladin Prince. He opens his mouth to speak, and prepares to produce the blade, but then catches sight of Princess Ekaterine and thinks better of it. You nod, grateful for that. What if she recognized the looted weapon of her slain sibling? Instead, you take on the burning burden of the blade—burdensome for how it cuts at your spirit even separated from its owner and clad in fabric. As the Archer takes up station beside you and Hwaksong’s Princess, and bleeds his own palm upon the altar, you lay the swaddled sword alongside the bloodied diadem, and squeeze yet more of your blood out upon it.

“This is an implement blessed by your hated enemies, the Gods of Light,” you say. “I can feel that it carries quiet a bit of their power within… A worthy enchantment, perhaps?”

Your blood’s sizzle upon the sword’s protective covering, and the breathing of the three of you, is all you hear for a time.

“A <Holy Avenger>…”

The Dark God sounds covetous as he speaks the words like a title of some import.

“And not just ANY <Holy Avenger>, but the side-sword of the First Paladin King himself… Blessed directly by Moroth’s own manifestation… Yes, yes, this will do.”

As the God of Wisdom accepts the offering, the sword vanished before your eyes, the bloodied fabric which hid it and protected you now falling limp and loose in its absence.

“I will do as you have requested, mortal, and without further debt to you.”

The <Diadem of Clarity> vanishes next. You reflect that the Master did not say your PREVIOUS debts were voided, but merely that you owed nothing extra for the healing of your brother. You suppose that will have to do for now.

“Bring the Green Dragonborn to the altar,” the Dark God now commands, “and I will work my miracle.”
>>
>>5669458
And so you do: you fetch the Great One from his chamber, where he, his harem, and the so-called Red Dragonborn (really a brownish-orange hue) whose souls you awakened and freed make their residence. In the time you have been away, these younger Dragonborn have grown considerably, as is typical of young Reptilians, and they greet you eagerly, rambunctiously, and with a sort of friendly hostility. Your experience parenting your numerous wyrmlings proves handy in holding them at bay, so they do not by sheer numbers overwhelm you… or worse yet, accost and destroy yoru Princess.

“Are these your family?” Ekaterine asks, unable tor restrain her curiosity even as the threat of these numerous and energetic dragonspawn, each at least half her weight and approaching her diminutive height.

“Of a sssort,” you say, and then wave to your big brother himself.

“Great One,” you say, “I have returned!”

Ekaterine is again vocally shocked by the shifting of the Great Green Dragonborn, so large that at first she had missed him for the vivacious activities of the smaller and younger ones. The Great One regards her with evident interest of his own, before looking back to you, and rumbling with fond greeting.

“Buh-ruhthur,” he welcomes you home. “Back from hyoo-muhs? Brought snack for me?”

He rumbles with a deep laughter, and you recognize the comment as a joke, and laugh along with him.

“Better than that,” you reply, and beckon him to come with you—leaving his harem of slight-framed Silkscale females the unenviable task of managing the Red Dragonborn in his absence.

When you manage to squeeze the Great Oen into the Chamber of the Mind, the Baleful Behold is still present in his immaterial way, waiting with the patience of the truly immortal. Your big brother trusts you enough to allow you to cut his hand as well and, with some difficulty, you guide him through his requisite prayer.

“Now, you shall have what you have sought and earned,” says the Wisest One. “Your brother’s fog shall be lifted, his mind liberated, his intellect unbound!”
>>
Rolled 8, 2, 5, 15, 12 = 42 (5d20)

>>5669459
A glowing ring appears around the green Dragonborn’s head, like a crown of light, and then a great and semi-transparent circlet like the diadem make simple and enlarged appears upon his brown. Your brother grunts and shake shies head this way and that, as if to shake the diadem off, but you offer him comfort and support. He stops, and after a period of time he seems to settle down. The diadem solidifies upon his head, and he blinks repeatedly as if concussed or half-blind.

“How do you feel?” you ask after a time.

“…Duhn’t know…”

“It will take time,” the Beholder explains, “but so longa s he wears that crown, his mental plasticity shall be like that of a hatchling once more. The haze of age and habits of years will be broken, the mental pathways redrawn. His mind will work faster. His senses and understanding will be clearer. He will learn more swiftly. He wears the <Diadem of Wisdom> now.”

You bow low, and Olu and the great one automatically do likewise, even fi Eka does not.

“Thank you, Divine One!”

As you and your companions leave the chamber, Ekaterine stays close to you—fearful of the Great One who take sup whole hallways and could gobble her up in two quick snaps of his mighty jaws were he so inclined; for his part, he seems to be regarding the confines of the base, and its many carvings and ancient markings, with renewed interest, as if seeing them for the first time, in a contemplative silence. To put your wife at ease, you explain—in short, with several key details redacted—what you have done, and why.

“Your gods are, ah, rather demanding,” she notes.

“Nothing comes for free,” you agree. “But should it? They guide usss to make our dreamsss reality… Thisss makes uss ssstronger!”

Seeking to deepen her understanding of your faith, you explain to her the particulars of your own patron deity as a paramount example of that—The God of Eternal Evolution, who has led you down a path of honourable conquest! Knowing your human bride as you do, you are careful to emphasize the 'honour' part, and how you have pursued the improvement and redemption of your people in your spiritual journey.
>>
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>>5669460
>15
You ask the Archer to escort the princess to your chamber, and to watch her—for her protection, of course. It is a testament to your rhetoric and persuasiveness that Eka does not protest, but DOES seem reluctant to cut your conversation short.

“I cannot hold with the, the WORHSIP of these entities,” she says, still recalcitrant to that extent. “Still… I see why you do. Perhaps ‘evil’ is too reductive…”

It is a start. You promise to discuss the matter with her later, and as you bind her hand in provided bandages, she seems more comfortable with your touch again, and nods eagerly at your promise.

“I look forward to it,” she says, and sounds as if she means it.

For now, though you have business with your OTHER Great Love: the Novice Fleshweaver. You find her, as you expected, in her expansive personal quarters—festooned with surface luxuries such as her family could obtain and justify, but dominated by her research experimental apparatuses and research materials. Presently, you find her peering through layers of curved glass at a slide made from two such slices of transparent material, at a strange splotch.

“What are you doing?” you ask.

“Attempting to salvage your stupidity,” she answers without looking up to acknowledge you entrance. “This is some of what remains of the shoggoth-sample you froze for me. Most of it went into the great mass which you LOST, of course…”

You cringe at the memory, but wave it away. Instead, you come up behind her and make to embrace her.

“Do not touch me,” she says, and whips you with her impressively long and thick tail.

Point taken. She is still upset with you. Better to keep this professional just now, maybe? Or maybe, just now, this is when love must be forced, as the Red Dragon King’s spirit once suggested?

What will you do?
>Communicate your love, insistently, and make the Novice discuss her feelings with you—about your actions, decisions, her father, your new lover, and whatever else [brings you closer to <TRUE LOVE> with the Novice]
>Focus upon the mission ahead—discuss the Bloodrise mission, and your intent to springboard from this mission into the betrayal of the assigned Serpent Priest governor and open rebellion [+Novice affection]
>Do not invite acrimonious discussion of emotions, nor intimate your devious plans, but rather ask HER opinions on recent events and on how to proceed, and keep your own feelings and schemes close to your chest [-Novice affection]
>Write-in
>>
>>5669470
>Communicate your love, insistently, and make the Novice discuss her feelings with you—about your actions, decisions, her father, your new lover, and whatever else [brings you closer to <TRUE LOVE> with the Novice]
I know us bringing Eka back was a shocker and might need some addressing.
>>
>>5669470
>Focus upon the mission ahead—discuss the Bloodrise mission, and your intent to springboard from this mission into the betrayal of the assigned Serpent Priest governor and open rebellion [+Novice affection]
>>
>>5669470
>Communicate your love, insistently, and make the Novice discuss her feelings with you—about your actions, decisions, her father, your new lover, and whatever else [brings you closer to <TRUE LOVE> with the Novice]
>>
File: IMG_0459.png (1.04 MB, 1365x1703)
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>>5669458
>>
>>5669470
>Communicate your love, insistently, and make the Novice discuss her feelings with you—about your actions, decisions, her father, your new lover, and whatever else [brings you closer to <TRUE LOVE> with the Novice]
>>
>>5669725
[Ha! nice. Thanks, SQM.]
>>
>>5669470
>Focus upon the mission ahead—discuss the Bloodrise mission, and your intent to springboard from this mission into the betrayal of the assigned Serpent Priest governor and open rebellion [+Novice affection]

We actually have to focus on making rebellion preparations, since the serpents are planing to claw away our status and we refused to directly confront them
>>
>>5669837
>>5669760
>>5669599
>>5669512
>>5669477
[Locked in for lovin', writing it up!]
>>
>>5669867
You shake your head, clearing any weak thoughts of delay or deferment. No—Love is a force of nature, and sometimes it must BE forced. This is a truth your ancestor knew centuries prior, and you will heed his wisdom. You reach out, grabbing the Novice by the waist and turning her around to face you.

“What do you think you are—?!”

Before she can complete the thought, you take your Beloved One by the hips, pulling her body to yours, and rest your forehead against her own. She struggles, and so you wrap your warms around her, tighten your grip, and all but wrestle her into submission. Eventually, her thrashing ceases, and she goes limp in your grasp. Her angry sputtering and hissing dies down to a quiet, defeated sigh.

“So,” she says, “you wish to speak with me, I take it?”

You release the Novice, and she regards you with quiet resentment, but full attention. This is one benefit to living in a society where might makes absolute right, and of being an alchemically-engineered supersoldier: you can quite literally COMMAND attention, if need be. But even so… Power is a means to an end, not the end itself. The end, of course, is Love.

“I know that bringing back the Hawksong Princess was unexpected,” you begin.

“It was not.”

You blink, confused.

“It wasn’t?” you ask.

“No,” the Novice Fleshweaver repeats. “What were you going to do—allow her to bear her young in Hawksong? What if your spawn was less like your Archer and more like the Heretic? What if she laid an EGG? The demigod would have been killed, or imprisoned and studied if the humans were wise enough to do so.”

Ah… You suppose that is true. Hm.

“These sorts of hybridization across kinds are ALWAYS unpredictable, even without the element of divine intervention. It would have been stupid NOT to bring her back,” the Novice continues her lecture. “Though, knowing YOU… Well, it says enough that you apparently considered the obvious and sensible course of action ‘unexpected’, yes?”

You laugh a little, and shrug.

“This is why I need you,” you say, hoping to flatter her.

The Novice simply hisses dismissively, though she tilts her head and adjusts her stance in the way she unconsciously does whenever she is feeling especially full-of-herself. Ah, how you love this vain and arrogant creature. But still, it begs the question…

“Then why are you upset with me?”
>>
>>5669893
The Novice Fleshweaver regards you witheringly.

“You did not bring her back to secure an asset,” she points out. “You did not ‘marry’ her to secure some divine right of kings on the surface. You did these things out of sentiment, yes?”

“Not… ENTIRELY,” you hedge your words.

“Mostly,” the Novice accuses. “All else is mere ad hoc justification. You even went so far as to compare me—ME!—to this VERMINOUS monkey-woman, as if we were of equal stature!”

The Novice Fleshweaver is, of course, much taller than Princess Ekaterine, but you know she does not merely mean that—rather, she regards herself as physically, genetically, intellectually, and magically superior to Ekaterine. In at least some ways, you suppose she IS: while both are social elites of exceptional intelligence, the Novice has more practical skills, and has accomplished much more. Is it really fair to judge Eka the same way, though, when she was denied the opportunity to develop such skills, or to experience life outside the palace? Regardless, that’s not what your egomaniacal childhood companion needs to hear from you—you recognize THAT much.

“You have skills and abilities far beyond hers,” you say instead. “I know this. I appreciate your expertise, your capability. I love your deviousness and your ruthless intellect.”

The Novice’s tail twitches and she averts her eyes, in a manner most adorable.

“Silence, prattling oaf,” she mutters unconvincingly.

“I also appreciate your loyalty,” you add. “You stood against the Chaplain for me, Chaplain’s Duaghter.”

The Novice turns back towards you, and her eyes flash.

“I cannot believe you made me do that!” she laments.

“I did not,” you correct her. “You chose to support me, of your own volition. It was most gratifying, Beloved One.”

“Do NOT make this about your ‘love’ garbage, Dragonborn!” she snaps, fury returning to her voice and posture once more. “I was left with two options: support my father’s plan WITHOUT you, knowing he would sell my ovum to whichever male he could put in place as governor of Hawksong and deny me my TRUE ambitions… or support you, a male who irrationally pair-bonds with anything with egg-laying hips and a willingness to speak with him for more than five minutes. I chsoe you because you are MANIPULABLE, fool!”

“…And you are upset about the Princess of Hawksong’s presence in my life because you fear a second female weakens your influence over me.”

The Novice halts as if frozen, staring wide-eyed as you penetrate her defences and cut to the quick.
>>
>>5669894
“You have nothing to fear,” you promise her, stroking the back of your talons across her cheek reassuringly. “You were not so insecure about Glowie.”

“Glowie is different,” she laments. “The Worm is… Reasonable. Her goals are intelligible to me, compatible with mine. She wishes to sire strong young, strengthen and grow a hive, assert dominance and acquire resources. She doesn’t care what you or I do beyond that… She doesn’t want anything from you but your semen, and political support, and ‘cuddling’, and frankly the last point simply gives me more time to actually focus on WORK.”

You tilt your head, and ask: “And how is Ekaterine different, then?”

“You know very well, Degenerate,” the Novice whines. “You have CHANGED since you have been with her! You have pair-bonded with her in a way you never did with Glowie, and her putrid influence has ALTERED you. You have softened, your philosophy tainted by hers. You defer to her ‘feelings’—her so-called ‘morality’!”

“I slew one of her brothers and corrupted the other,” you point out, quite reasonably.

“And you hide both these things!” the Novice points out. “You temper your own hungers and desires out of concern for her. You offer to alter our society—to take away the privilege of human flesh and blood, to give some form of EQUALITY to the mammals—for her sake.”

“I was already on that path…”

“The Dragonborn I know was a slavetaker and culler-of-the-weak when need be. Do you really mean to tell me you would still do such things—what needs to be done—in full view of your PRECIOUS ‘Eka’, even knowing it would make her hate and fear you?”

You hesitate to answer. Ekaterine’s influence HAS made you reconsider some of your won deeply-held beliefs, and adjust your methods, it’s true. You HAVE tried your best to keep the darkest of your impulses under control, and to moderate or hide away the uncomfortable aspects of your conquest so she need not face them. Even those which you have admitted to her you have come to regard as ‘necessary evils’—EVILS, as if you were a follower of the Gods of Light! That is THEIR term, THEIR conceit!

…Maybe Sseztlussth is right, in some way?

Still, this is the way you feel. It is the path you have chosen to walk.
>>
>>5669896
“What would you have me do?” you ask, with a sigh.

“Swear to me an oath, as a Knight Ascendant,” the Novice Fleshweaver demands.

“What?” you reply, balking.

“Swear to me that, if the Princess of Hawksong ask you to do something, and I advise you to do otherwise, you will cede to MY judgement, and not to hers.”

You shift uncomfortably.

“I should surely look at each proposal logically, weigh them independently, and then—”

“Idiot,” the Novice says, though with surprising gentleness and without real malice, “you are a creature of mammalian emotion, and you are pair-bonded. You cannot act logically under those circumstances—it’s absurd even to ask that of you. It is like asking a female in heat not to lift her tail to a male in musth. This is to protect YOU, and your big, stupid DREAM, not merely me.”

You say nothing.

“Swear it,” the Novice beseeches you again.

>Swear the oath [+Novice affection, <TRUE LOVE> locked in, mating privileges unlocked]
>Refuse [-Novice affection, soft route-lock; she will remain guarded and distant, refuse mating]
>Modify it [specify how, Seduction roll will determine the effect; DC depends on how you modify it]

Backlink 1post IDs
>>
>>5669897
>Swear the oath [+Novice affection, <TRUE LOVE> locked in, mating privileges unlocked]

Ultimately, she's right. We're the Gods-damned Dragonborn Antipaladin. Ekaterine will have to meet somewhere past the middle ideology-wise.
>>
>>5669897
>Swear the oath [+Novice affection, <TRUE LOVE> locked in, mating privileges unlocked]
evil is pretty based ngl
>>
>>5669897
>Modify it [specify how, Seduction roll will determine the effect; DC depends on how you modify it]

If Novice have veto right on Eka, Eka should have veto right on Novice.
>>
>>5669897
QM, does swearing this oath lock us out of picking a third option which neither woman proposes…?
>>
>>5670014
[Nope -- if you agree to it with modification, you are only beholden when:
>Ekaterine makes a request
>The Novice advises against that course of action
If it was of your own initiative and Eka said nothing about it, or if the Novice doesn't contradict Ekaterine's request, you are under no obligation to obey or disobey. In a pinch, you can even disobey both of them, or break this oath -- though it may cost you some of the Serpent Ascendant's favour and impose mechanical and narrative penalties.]
>>
>>5669897
Either this >>5670004 or nothing

I'd say that the condition is the bare minimum since her demand is both unfair to Ekaterine and insulting to Theral. "You cannot act logically under those circumstances"? What kind of standard is that? She herself has admitted that she has not acted logically with Theral before so what makes her think that she could make this hypocritical demand of him or be capable of exercising it?
>>
>>5669897
>Modify it [So long as as I can act upon my own conclusions, unimpeded by oath]
Or word it in such a way that we’ll treat her advice as our own.

I’m fine with the other veto idea the others got- frankly I don’t know how this squares with our previous oaths, I just don’t want our judgment impeded and end up in a situation where we somehow break our oath though no fault of our own- like where following one oath breaks another or some stupid shit like that.

I can’t believe anons jumped aboard the Serpent Train with checking out the other Dark Gods deal- like fucking hell, talk about jumping the gun on important life decisions.
>>
>>5670244
>I can’t believe anons jumped aboard the Serpent Train without* checking out the other Dark Gods deal
Context matters.
>>
>>5670244
>>5670024

can we word the oath like this?

“.. i will obey this oath unless it contradicts with my other oaths”
>>
>>5670274
I'd be ok with adding a caveat like "Unless it conflicts with oaths we've already made" because we did swear to not harm Eka in our marriage vows. The giving Eka veto power as well write in isn't a good move though. Can't imagine suggesting that with an understanding of the Novice's character and what she's really asking for here.
>>
>>5670297
> The giving Eka veto power as well write in isn't a good move though. Can't imagine suggesting that with an understanding of the Novice's character and what she's really asking for here.
Neither do I but, given what QM has written, we cannot convince her that we are right in rejecting her ultimatum and I'd rather vote for the condition than letting the "yes dear..." option win.
>>
>>5670274
Ye

>>5670297
>>5670309
I think promising to hold her advice with more weight would be good enough for her- not directly agreeing to cede judgment, but not ignoring her concerns either. I mainly just want wiggle room here, not be forced to do something that we’d regret.

Frankly, I think the Novice’s concerns will be alleviated when we eventually corrupt Eka, as was our original intention.
>>
>>5669897
>Swear the oath [+Novice affection, <TRUE LOVE> locked in, mating privileges unlocked]
Eka will in time, ultimately ask us to show mercy and kindness when we really, REALLY shouldn't.
Our subversion of hawksong is a good trumpcard but we are still on the losing side, more if we have to tackle the priests
>>
>>5670004
>>5669897
>>Modify it

I think it should be less giving Eka veto rights and more adhering to our marriage vows. We can agree to make this voe only so long as we don't break our previous oaths.

Tbh If the vote wasn't already going this way I'd say we should outright refuse. Eka was meant to temper us, and she can't do that with the Novice vetoing her.

If she wants to be our queen of bloodrise, she still can. Eka will just be our queen of Hawksong.
>>
>>5670365
>We can agree to make this voe only so long as we don't break our previous oaths.
Sounds like a good stipulation

I’ll back this modify

>>5666935
Linking back
>>
>>5670382
>>5670365
>>5670329
>>5670317
>>5670297
>>5670274
>>5670247
>>5670244
>>5670155
>>5670004
>>5669941
>>5669909
[Locked and writing!]
>>
Rolled 18, 18, 4, 17 = 57 (4d20)

>>5670513
Yes, you can see it—the Novice has a point. AT some point, there WILL come a time when Ekaterine asks you to show mercy when you should not, or when you CANnot. You believe you would be strong enough to resist such pressures, and you’re frankly a little insulted that the Novice think you wouldn’t be. Ha SHE not admitted to behaving illogically in the past? Who is She to assert dominion over YOU?

…Well, she’s the Chaplain’s Daughter, the female who bullied you through your entire youth and who, even now, uses insults as terms of endearment. Obviously. You can’t really pretend to be surprised or offended by this. You have long known her nature.

Still, on general principle and out of underlying concern, you find you cannot simply agree instantly to her terms.

“Very well,” you say, “but I will agree ONLY if I can still use my discretion, and not be bound to obey you.”

“What kind of oath is that, Hairbrained One?” she demands. “You would be swearing an oath which you an break at will! That might as well be no oath at all.”

“Wel then,” you muse, “perhaps Ekaterine of Hawksong should ALSO have veto rights over YORU advice?”

The Novice recoils, and begins to wrench herself from your grasp, hissing and sputtering with anger. You use your superior strength to hold her still, rattling with laughter.

“I am only joking,” you say.

It is a half-lie. A part of you had hoped against hope, but the better part of your judgement was such that you KNEW this arrogant creature, born into a caste of theocrats and specifically worried about Eka compromising your judgement, would allow an ‘inferior’ mammal to ever override her decisions or hold equal footing with her. Well, maybe someday… But not today.

“You are not amusing or humorous,” the Novice snaps. “Be serious. Give me your oath, Knight Ascendant.”
>>
>>5670518
You sigh, and shake your head at this pushy female’s insistence. One last obstacle remains, which you hope will give her pause.

“I must keep the oaths I have already made,” you say. “I promised in my marital vows to keep Hawksong’s Princess safe, to protect her. I cannot violate that.”

“I know. I was THERE, remember?” the Novice asks you, drolly. “obviously you were too distracted by ‘romance’ and other such ephemera to recall clearly, but I heard you make an OATH to THE PALADIN KING, yes.”

You narrow your eyes at the emphasis which the Novice Fleshweaver places, taking her meaning. She sees the vow itself as yet more evidence of your having been compromised by your feelings for Ekaterine.

>18

“I do not ask you to break this moronic vow you have already made,” the Novice eventually acquiesces. “I don’t expect that you would, and your new pet seems more useful and capable, at least, than your last one.”

Your muscles tense a little at this mention of Davora the Herbalist. It would be a lie to say it was not she who sprung to mind, if only for a moment, when you were asked to prioritize the Novice’s beliefs and feelings over another mate. The last time you did so, the Novice’s ‘rival’ for your affections did not survive it.

“I will accept that this vow supersedes the one you make to me, here and now,” the Novice says, then gulps and forces herself to meet your eyes as she makes one last appeal of her own: “But you must still make it, if you wish to be my mate.”

You blink a couple tiems.

“Wait, what?”

“I will allow you to breed with me—when the dangers have passed and our positions are secure—if you do this. And… Until then…”

She slowly slides her fine-clawed hand down your torso, until she testingly, tentatively laces it upon your loins.

“…I will provide you other means of relief, as you so chosoe. What I ask in return is that you take the oath.”

>Trade Offer!
>The Novice Gets: veto rights over Eka’s requests, except those to protect Eka herself
>You get: to have outercourse (eventually intercourse) with the Novice, to keep peace in your household
>You don’t get: <TRUE LOVE> just yet—there are too many mutual misgivings

Do you make the oath?
>Yes
>No
[No write-ins or further negotiations at this time.]
[Backlink 1post IDS]
[I'll update again later tonight to move onto the next scene; don't want to linger here forever!]
>>
>>5670520
>yes

Honestly sounds good enough. Let’s not push our luck.

Backlink>>5670274
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>>5670520
>Yes
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>>5670520
>Yes
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>>5670520
>Yes
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>>5670520
>Yes
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>>5670998
>>5670523
>>5670531
>>5670596
>>5670620

You nod, trying not to seem too eager as you declare: “I accept your terms, Novcie Fleshweaver. You have my oath!”

The Novice cringes a little, as you fail, but the embarrassment on your behalf turns to laughter, and you quickly join.

“You are hilariously and terribly predictable, Knight Ascendant,” she bluntly critiques you.

“You simply know me very well,” you say.

“I ought to by now, Simple One.”

“Yes,” you agree. “Though it took you long enough, Oh Scion of Scholars, Prodigy-Among-Priestesses.”

For a time, you two simply hold each other, laughing and casually, barblessly belittling each other. You spend some time with her—the first such quality time alone which you have had since before your human wedding, and one of the few you have had together in months—and when you the time comes you call upon her favour, and sample the luxurious, oiled smoothness of her thighs and tail, and enjoy the sight of her haughty expression breaking beneath your practiced claws and maw in spite of her estrus-suppressing alchemical concoctions.

The sight of her abdomen and half-humiliated face splattered with your seed is well worth the price, even if you can tell that her heart (let alone her cloaca) is not wholly in it.
>>
>>5671016
After taking your torpor together, you awaken refreshed and rejuvenated, feeling lighter in spite of the oath which now further binds you. You regroup with Ivno the Kobold, who has awaited you here this last month, finding your diminutive servant heavy-hearted and weary-of-spirit from o long spen t away from his clan, and subject to the abusive whims of the Master race. You clasp his shoulder, and reassure him:

“Soon we will be home, and your faith will be rewarded. A New Age is coming. Those who have been loyal shall stand above those who have failed to recognize their Dragon Spirit. Those with true ambition shall be kings and generals, and command those of lesser imagination and intellect…. Those as you, Ivno the Acolyte!”

Such is the power of your words, and of your religious leadership, that the kobold quickly brightens to hear it, and bows his head in adoring supplication.

“Hail! Hail! Glory-worship to Dragon King Theral!”

This is as it should be, you reflect. However, it is not long afterward that you make the acquaintance of your newest ‘Superior One’, and the Reptilian who (so the Serpent Priesthood ignorantly dictates) shall be your successor.

“You are the Copper Dragonborn, then?”
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>>5671020
You regard this rival male cautiously. He is young, you would wager, though still older than you. He has the aristocratic flat face and long neck of a well-bred Serpent priest, with hanging and barbed wattle aflame with colour. His eyes gleam not yellow, but gold. His brow is heavy with ridges, almost Draconic in dignity. To your surprise, he carries a weapon as well—a sacred khopesh sickle-knife, purplish in hue and iridescent with enchantment to your mystical senses. His robes are simple, by Priestly standards: black, lightly-embroidered, tight-fitting so as not to interfere in his movements. His hood’s interior bears the silver-and-black filigree of the Authority Ancient and Absolute—a servant of the deity called Lawgiver and Persecutor of the Weak, creator and maintainer of so many traditions you have spurned. He comes accompanied by many might Steeltalon warriors, and what are unmistakably (yet deniably) Silkscale assassins and spies, and several junior Serpent priest scribes and cowed, dead-eyed Degenerate slaves—a contingent enough to quickly triple the population of the Master Race in Bloodrise.

This male is an executioner’s blade, hovering over your neck, awaiting permission to fall. You sense it instantly, as surely as if you <Danger Sense> were actively declaring your imminent endangerment.

“Yes,” you say, “I am.”

The Appointed Successor bows his hea,d just enough to show respect with nary an ounce of deference.

“I look forward to traveling with you,” he says, “and to seeing what you have made of my new realm.”

The gall! You silently seethe as you gather your own contingent—Kobold Acolyte, Junio Novice, Lightning Elemental, Archer, Hawksong Princess, and Novice Fleshweaver. Your forces are a mxi of those undeniably stronger than the Successor’s more numerous coterie, and those all-to-vulnerable to him in the event of a conflict.

How shall your journey to Bloodrise proceed?
>Maintain distance from this Serpent Priest, and instruct your minions and mates to do likewise
>Look for an opportunity to strike—you must eliminate this contingent of usurpers before you arrive
>Attempt to build a rapport with the Successor—gauge his personality, his ability, and perhaps you can find grounds for an alliance or at least gather vital intelligence
>Lead him into danger along the way—you well know the routes to and from Bloodrise by now, and can think of several means to engineer his possible demise enroute
>Seek common ground with his subordinates and slaves—perhaps you can present a compelling alternative vision or the New World Order to the disaffected among them and turn his own forces against him
>Write-in
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>>5671023
>Seek common ground with his subordinates and slaves—perhaps you can present a compelling alternative vision or the New World Order to the disaffected among them and turn his own forces against him
i dont think we can convince him that easily
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>>5671023
>Lead him into danger along the way—you well know the routes to and from Bloodrise by now, and can think of several means to engineer his possible demise enroute.

I think its time we showed him, to the cursed fishman pool or maybe that dangerous monster we ducked on the way back home.

Maybe we can troll his contingent of and tell him that the quickest way to bloodrise is by swimming through the cursed pool. And hopefully watch them all drown in a unfortunate accident.
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>>5671023
>Lead him into danger along the way—you well know the routes to and from Bloodrise by now, and can think of several means to engineer his possible demise enroute
If he calls up on us, we'll simply say we don't want some dead weight once in the surface.
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>>5671023
>Lead him into danger along the way—you well know the routes to and from Bloodrise by now, and can think of several means to engineer his possible demise enroute
>Seek common ground with his subordinates and slaves—perhaps you can present a compelling alternative vision or the New World Order to the disaffected among them and turn his own forces against him

Both
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>>5671023
>Attempt to build a rapport with the Successor—gauge his personality, his ability, and perhaps you can find grounds for an alliance or at least gather vital intelligence
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>>5671023
>Seek common ground with his subordinates and slaves—perhaps you can present a compelling alternative vision or the New World Order to the disaffected among them and turn his own forces against him

These are not Reptilians used to station and power. We can demonstrate with Olu and Ivno how merit makes might in our empire, and how outdated the Prosecutor's ways are
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>>5671023
>Lead him into danger along the way—you well know the routes to and from Bloodrise by now, and can think of several means to engineer his possible demise enroute.

Or

>Look for an opportunity to strike—you must eliminate this contingent of usurpers before you arrive

If we let them get to bloodrise i feel this serpent prick's assassin's are going to strike against our followers.
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>>5671450
>>5671346
>>5671292
>>5671177
>>5671113
>>5671106
>>5671060
[Locked and writing.]
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>>5671576
As your forces and those of the Appointed Successor march back to Bloodrise, you make an effort to get to know this rival’s retinue. It is your hope that, master of speechcraft that you have become, you can win some of them to your way of thinking—to help these miserable wretches dream the impossible dream and achieve that Dragon Spirit which you can help them foster and grow in the Coming Age! You chat openly and unpretentiously with Olu the Archer and Ivno the Kobold, showing consideration for their opinions and taking an interest in their efforts. You lead from the front when appropriate, work side-by-side to clear obstacles, and generally make a show of your liberalism and egalitarianism, in the hopes it will pique their interest and demonstrate you are a ‘man of the people’, as the Northmen put it.

It does not work.

Admittedly, it was not your main focus—more of a side-project. Perhaps you did not apply yourself as much as you could have done. Still, you find these Reptilians closed-off in various ways. Your fraternization breeds open disdain in the Serpent Priests, but you sort of expected that. What you DIDN’T expect was the chilly reception of even the Steeltalons and Degenerates.

The former watch you warily, and you catch them whispering with the Holy Ones when you push any controversial line of conversation; you quickly change tack to focus on the lowest-of-the-low, lest rumour of your activities alert the Appointed Successor and make him wise to your subversion. The Degenerates, however, barely pay you any heed at all, murmuring non-responses and avoiding eye-contact whenever you address them in any regard but instruction or command; at those times, they hop immediately to action, confirming that SOME of their faculties remain, and that they understand you on some level.

“Eunuchs,” the Archer whispers gravely, when you explain.

“What, ALL of them?” you mutter, regarding them from afar.

“Removing their male organs makes them like this? Dead-blank, empty-faced?” Ivno asks, seemingly skeptical as well.

Olu shakes his head.

“Not only that, no, but it helps. Reduces aggression, encourages domesticity—even the Southland humans know this, and keep eunuchs of their own. But among the Masters… There are physical, psychological, and magical treatments as well. Degenerates like myself, meant to fit in among surface-scum and show initiative when needed, they allow us to keep our wits about us. They MUST. But those intended for servitude in the Deep Places of the elites… No, to keep them as ‘people’ is pointless liability, and so they remove such liabilities.”
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>>5671597
It is faintly horrifying to contemplate, to one such as you-a hybrid warrior who has proved his worth, and learned to see the worth in others even of lowly birth or foreign origin. You suppose that even a year or two prior, you would have simply viewed this as wise and prudent, maybe even sought to learn their secret to apply it yourself. It is true—for good or ill, you HAVE changed. Alas, it seems that these poor souls may be beyond even YOUR ability to help—at least, in the time you have left before your MAIN strategy goes into effect.

You’d hoped to perhaps spare some of these followers their nobleborn master’s fate but now it seems that the trap you are setting shall spring shut upon them all—a pity.

Along your journeys to and from Bloodrise, you discovered no shortage of deathtraps for the unwary: carnivorous plants with motile producing hallucinogenic spores, rushing rivers and precipitous falls which a single <Earth Tremor> could transform into a deadly death by ‘natural causes’, cursed springs and monsters in the dark. Your <Guidance> normally leads you away from such things, or prepares you to face them with the aid of <Danger Sense>, but the same divination magic could easily be used to engineer the demise of a presumptuous licker-of-boots and his cadre of traditionalist newts.

May the Dark Gods bless your cunning! Hopefully the Serpent Ascendant will not begrudge you a BIT of guile—after all, the Successor has hardly proven himself a worthy enough foe to deserve a direct duel. The trick it to make sure that whatever method of indirect death-dealing you select, it ensures the demise of the khopesh-wielding usurper without endangering your pregnant human bride—already ill-used to such arduous travel in the underdark, and without any combat ability to speak of—or your other friends.

What is your plan?

>Send word ahead to an ally to stage an attack [Lowest Risk, but failure could result in allies’ deaths and frayed relations; must choose an ally from among the Greatworms, Drow, or Bugbears]
>Attempt to engineer a small natural disaster to 'disappear' the outmoded fools [Low Risk]
>The poison plant-grove shall spell their doom—as it almost did yours, when you first left the base for Bloodrise [Moderate Risk]
>The cursed spring and its piscine spectres are ever eager to drag down and drown the unwary [Higher Risk]
>Seek out an unknown danger—the MOST danger you can sense, perhaps a monster of the underdark—and lead the party directly into it [Highest Risk]
>Write-in [risk depends on how clever you are]

[The lower the risk, the better chance you and your friends and allies will survive it, but ALSO the better chance the Appointed Successor will survive. You can specify keeping Ekaterine, the Novice, and others close at hand to better protect them (mention it in your vote, if so), but then if you fail, the Successor will suspect you.]
>>
>>5671599
>Seek out an unknown danger—the MOST danger you can sense, perhaps a monster of the underdark—and lead the party directly into it [Highest Risk]
Time for the next shogsword
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>>5671599
>Attempt to engineer a small natural disaster to 'disappear' the outmoded fools [Low Risk]

we’re decent at elementalism

>>5671060
backlink
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>>5671599
>Seek out an unknown danger—the MOST danger you can sense, perhaps a monster of the underdark—and lead the party directly into it [Highest Risk]

We owe something truly interesting to the Beholder, and sometimes you just gotta say fuck it and ball out. After all, this is not a small party of warriors arrayed against us
>>
Could we use our connections in Hawksong to send some paladins their way? Not a vote, just brainstorming
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>>5671628
>Seek out an unknown danger—the MOST danger you can sense, perhaps a monster of the underdark—and lead the party directly into it [Highest Risk]
I dont like these dudes, but I dont want us to be the obvious reason they die, so big scary underdark thing we can get a new sword from and lose some KKK lizards in sounds fun
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>>5670620
Backlink
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>>5671599
>The poison plant-grove shall spell their doom—as it almost did yours, when you first left the base for Bloodrise [Moderate Risk]

We literally have our two females with us and only 1 loyal soldier - why are we taking the riskiest option here…
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>>5671599
>Send word ahead to an ally to stage an attack [Lowest Risk, but failure could result in allies’ deaths and frayed relations; Bugbears]
>Attempt to engineer a small natural disaster to 'disappear' the outmoded fools [Low Risk]
>The poison plant-grove shall spell their doom—as it almost did yours, when you first left the base for Bloodrise [Moderate Risk]
Anything but the highest risk.
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>>5671599
>>Seek out an unknown danger—the MOST danger you can sense, perhaps a monster of the underdark—and lead the party directly into it [Highest Risk]
>>
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>>5671770
>>5671765
>>5671761
>>5671737
>>5671734
>>5671628
>>5671608
>>5671606
[Post coming soon.]
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Rolled 28, 16 = 44 (2d100)

While you wish to eliminate the enemies among you with a degree of plausible deniability, you ARE a Knight Ascendant. You have a hunger for glory in you, and the pursuit of the danger you <Sense> in the deep calls out to you. How better to deniably dispatch the Appointed Successor than while bolstering your own legend with another slain monster-of-legend?

And anyway, the last two times you went on such hunts, you got a magic sword. Losing the shoggoth-sword and then sacrificing the so-called ‘Holy Avenger’ of Alexos has left you wanting for another artefact-weapon to accompany the legendary Moon-Blade of Endymion on your hip—something for Azonia the Drow Duelist back home to teach you to dual-wield, one day! As illogical as it is to assume such, a part of you holds out hope that another monster-of-legend would again be accompanied by a WEAPON-of-legend.

Can the Dark Gods Below and Beyond truly be so generous?

“I do not recognize this course,” the Novice whispers to you. “What are you up to?”

“I am following my <Guidance>,” you state simply, neither revealing your plans nor giving her any reason to worry—you wouldn’t want to tip off the Successor that something is amiss.

The Novice still seems suspicious, however, and you find yourself squeezing Ekaterine’s hand a little tighter as you guide her through the underground passageways, deviating substantially from your usual route, and delving deeper.

“Theral…?”

You hand her off to Ivno to guide, and nod to Olu. He nods back, hand gripping his assassin’s knife as he picks up on your wordless signal to be ready. He, unlike the females, can keep such things close to the chest, as is the Infiltrator’s Art.

You are side by side with the Appointed Successor, at the centre of the group, when your <Danger Sense> springs to life. You resist its immediate activation, even as it tries to spring your muscles to move. You instead try to keep your calm, even vibrating with magically-spiking adrenaline, and will yourself not to alert your Persecutor-acolyte beside you about what is to come.
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>>5672207
its joever
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>>5672209
For the Successor, that is
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>>5672207
>>5672207
>>5672209
>>5672220
>28
Your first warning what is to come is a subtle rumbling of the rock around you, which provokes a few hisses—and unmistakably Eka’s surprised squeak—from your contingent.

“Is this you?!” The Novice Fleshweaver demands.

It isn’t, though. You have cast no <Earth Tremor> and erected no <Wall of Stone>. Rather, it is something else—something with a means to move the world’s foundations as you do. A moment later, you learn what that is.

>16
One of the dead-eyed Degenerate slaves cries out in surprise, and then in agony, and then another. A Steeltalon warrior rushes to the fore—you indicate to Olu the Archer to hold back from this charge. A moment later, you are vindicated a Wise One, for that Steeltalon is hurled back by a sudden hurled boulder.

No, wait, not a boulder… A being!

What you see before you is like a malformed, lumpy troll made of stone, with too few limbs—one a jutting lump of stone resembling an arm without hand or poorly positioned tail, and two stubby legs ending in two-toed feet. Its face and body are as one misshapen torso, with a wide frowning frog-mouth and two deep-sunken golden-red eyes burning above it. It is nearly as large as you, considerably wider, and undoubtedly much heavier for its earthen exterior. It tackled the large Steeltalon back like nothing, and now half-waddles half-rolls towards the rest of you like a barreling bull on a Northman farm.

You brace to evade the impact, knowing that to tackle it directly is to risk being simply bowled over and crushed and broken. However, as you ready to dodge, you hear a number of shout and hisses, and Ekaterine’s high-pitched scream. You cast your head back to see the party behind you and the Usurper sinking into the earth below them as easily as if it were loose mud. They struggle, but are only pulled deeper for their efforts. If you dodge to the side, there is a very real possibility that THEY will be crushed!

Perhaps it was too much to hope that single rotund rock-monster without any special abilities was the grave and glorious danger you sensed and sought… Some unseen force of Elementalism is reshaping the earth around them to trap and destroy you all! Only you, the Appointed Successor, and a few of his Steeltalon bodyguards are still free from the stone-turned-mud behind you, and all of you are at grave risk of being squashed flat before you can react, anyway, being closest to the charging rock-creature.
>>
>>5672224

You could work together to save those behind you—your Beloved Ones, you best friend and loyalist kobold—or you could seize this opportunity to let your rival be crushed. In <Dragonshape IV> as you are, you could PROBABLY, MAYBE stop the barreling boulder-beast on your own, after letting it first demolish this interloper of a Serpent Priest. It would be easier with his contingent’s aid, though. Or maybe some magic could prove a solution to protect them, and you?

What will you do?
>Team up with the Appointed Successor and his minions to hold back the boulder’s charge [Easier Athletics check]
>Fall back, letting the boulder potentially splatter your rival and his warriors, then try to halt it with your own strength before it crushes your friends and allies [Harder Athletics check]
>Attempt to shield and protect your allies with a <Wall of Stone>, selectively guarding them [Elementalism check, unknown DC]
>Attempt to halt this thing with the <Voice of the Metatron>, and perhaps to temporarily command it [Illusion check, bonus d20 for Religion; Athletics check if failure]
>Write-in
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>>5672225
forgot pic
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>>5672225
can we run and slam into the boulder so it gets displaced from novice and ekaterine? Can our dragon wings propel us that fast?
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>>5672225
>Fall back, letting the boulder potentially splatter your rival and his warriors, then try to halt it with your own strength before it crushes your friends and allies [Harder Athletics check]
If the Successor can't stop it himself, I'm sure he'll at least slow it down.
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>>5672248
[For sure with a casting of <Jump> as well! That spell propels you very quickly as long as you have something to kick off of. Athletics check, Below Average DC!]
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>>5672263
ok based yeah ill go with that
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>>5672248
Yeah, diversion is always easier than stopping outright.
>Fall back then divert.
That way we can play it off as doing the most efficient action if it doesn't splat our frenemy.
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>>5672225
>>Fall back, letting the boulder potentially splatter your rival and his warriors, then try to halt it with your own strength before it crushes your friends and allies [Harder Athletics check]
>>
>>5672225
>Fall back, letting the boulder potentially splatter your rival and his warriors, then try to halt it with your own strength before it crushes your friends and allies [Harder Athletics check]
>>
>>5672225
>Attempt to halt this thing with the <Voice of the Metatron>, and perhaps to temporarily command it [Illusion check, bonus d20 for Religion; Athletics check if failure.
>>
>>5672225
>Attempt to halt this thing with the <Voice of the Metatron>, and perhaps to temporarily command it [Illusion check, bonus d20 for Religion; Athletics check if failure]
Submit
>>
Rolled 12, 9, 7, 10, 17, 17, 15 = 87 (7d20)

>>5672948
>>5672837
>>5672417
>>5672325
>>5672319
>>5672250
No... This was your plan, and you'll not give up on it because of passing fear. In the end, you know that Bloodrise—the seat of your power, the basis for your utopian dream for the future—hinges on your own absolute power. Interruption, interference, none of these can be tolerated. Fortune favours the brave, and so too does the God of Glory. As the Appointed Successor and his Steeltalon guard step forward… You step back, plant your feet, and brace for impact.

“Dragonborn!” shrieks the Successor, furious. “What are you DOING?!”

Let these timid peons of the Old Order face their fate. You will defend those who truly have the spirit for what is to come… And you’ll do it alone!


[2d20 (DC 17) for the Steeltalons. 1d20 (DC 18*) for the Successor. 4d20 Athletics (DC 18**) for you]
*DC reduced by 1 for every success along the way
**Likewise, but already reduced by 1 for your Dragonshape
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>>5673085
The weight and momentum of the rock-creature bashes brutally into the Steeltalons who first move to meet it, shith shoudlers forward and ehads bowed.

>12

They are not enough.

>9

Two steely-thewed males, brave or desperate, break beneath the stone, belting out death-knells before the sound of tumbling stone drowns them out.

“No!” cries your so-called Successor, and makes to run…

>7

…But as the others were too weak, he is too slow. The impact his him hard, not slowed in the slightest by the destruction of two Reptilian lives. It crashes into him as well, and all his spellcraft and status cannot save him. He is hurled forward by the impact, his fancy magical khopesh-balde falling from his hands. He falls face-first in the stone-turned-to-mud, and even as he struggles to crawl away, the stony shape of your monstrous adversary (and unwitting ally-of-convenience) rolls over him as well, like time itself catching up with the Old Ways.

Had you human lips, you would have smirked. As it is, you allow yourself a quiet rattle of laughter.

Behind you, the females and the kobold scream. The deed is done, though—the threat to your rule ended. The Chaplain of Bloodrise is dead—long live the KING! With a rebellious roar, you finally stride forward, arms spread wide to catch the impact and divert it—to halt it or turn it away!

>17



>17

…Oh Gods. It’s not enough! The strange earth-entity wasn’t slowed down in the slightest, even by its last conquest, and it isn’t slowed even by you. Your hands are rubbed raw by the spinning of its rough surface in your grasp, as you desperately move your feet to maintain your stance and avoid being instantly bowled over and crushed flat. You strain with every muscle in your body to protect those behind you—to safeguard your subjects, lovers, friends. You cry out in prayer, KNOWING you have it in you to stop such a thing. You bested the Paladin Prince! Destroyed the Devourer! Slew and subjugated the Shoggoth!

>15

…But you are not invincible. You feel your feet sink into the muck behind you. You lose your footing, your balance. You are pressed beneath a thousand pounds, or more, of raw power from the dee-places of this world, buried in a tomb of mud. You feel your bones break along familiar fault-lines. The fall from the sky broke you last time, but now you break from below. Where water swallowed you up, now it is earth.

…Or perhaps you fell to hubris.
>>
>>5673090
You hurt as you have rarely hurt, and fear drowning without a drop of accursed water for once… But as you struggle to free yourself, you find that you battle not against liquid, or even the loamy and soft soil you saw swallow you, but against stone. A cocoon of rock forms around you, binding your limbs in a prison against which your strength is nothing. You do not drown, or suffocate, not yet… But you are nevertheless trapped.

>HP: 3/5

You dwell in a blackness which your Darkvision cannot penetrate, encased as you are, as you queasily feel yourself being moved. You are being rolled somewhere, as the rock creature itself rolled about. Your ribs hurt too much to even cry out in protest, and feel as if something is restricting them, pressing down upon your chest and preventing you from drawing full breath. When you embarrassingly squeak out, it bounces back as if blocked by a rocky cowl over your head. Not much chance of wielding the <Voice of the Metatron> at present, then.

You can only hope your Beloved Ones and stalwart loyalists were similarly ‘spared’, whatever terrible fate awaits you all. The alternative is that, in your overconfidence and your desire to eliminate an enemy, you just cost virtually everyone you love… Their lives.

Eventually, the movement stills, and you are given a moment to reorient yourself. You are dizzy, disoriented, probably concussed, near-breathless, sore, and are certain your arms and chest have several broken bones among them… But you live, and where there is life there is hope.

You force yourself to meditate, even under these conditions, under your heartrate and breathing steady, and your mind quiets. Think, damnit, think! There has to be a way out of this…

What will you do?
>Attempt to break out with raw strength
>Use an item or spell to escape [which one? how?]
>Call out to the others, and hope they can hear you
>Pray silently to the Dark Gods, and hope they help
>Wait, silently readying yourself, for whenever your strange jailers come to ‘free’ you… Assuming they ever do
>Write-in
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>>5673094
can we use our legs? if so then can we use <kick> to break apart the stone?
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>>5673096
use <jump> i meant

backlink>>5672264
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>>5673094
Is this the time to use our Divine Miracle…?

To free us and our loyal compatriots?
>>