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When it was invited to travel once more, from its bed of seeded flesh the child had birthed something more palatable. A body of pale flesh and vivid spider lilies, with amber eyes tinged scarlet. A thing with a face, so that those who saw it would not scream. It bore passing resemblance to its sibling, a bright and warm thing that loved without pause or exception... Or perhaps it was more accurate to say the child's sibling bore resemblance to it. It was, afterall, the older of the two.

Its earliest memories were the errant rays of sunlight filtering down through the forest canopy. They were bright then; Wondrous and fascinating little streams of light upon a world it had never known. Everything the light touched... Rejected the child, without fail. Fear, confusion, revulsion, these were all reactions the child had come to simply expect. The world under the light had no place for it, no patience or affection for it, and certainly no room for its own fascinations, no matter how it tried.

It was only when it had retreated to the darkness did it find a place to belong. In the dark it was acknowledged. Under the cover of night it was spoken to and praised. Appreciated. Given a ward, and from that ward, a friend to speak with and learn from - And oh how the child had learned. About the world, and the way it worked. That it wasn't its fault that everything the light had touched rejected it. That it was only the nature of things, and that some people are simply born to that loveless pit, no matter what they do or how they may struggle. It soaked up the nectar of its friends words, finding reflections of its own life clarified in the furtive wisdom Dryad's fondest saw fit to share.

But even if it understood... Even if it knew it wasn't accepted in those places...

Its first glimpse of Resuri after dusk fell was of warmth that lit the dark. Bright, wondrous and fascinating little motes of light, warmly revealing a world it had never known. Buildings larger than it had ever seen, and more people in a single direction than it had encountered in its life combined. The air there thrummed with the pulse of life, thick with the density of the seemingly endless crowds that walked the streets.

...So when its sibling's attentions lapsed, the child slipped away. Drawn like a moth to the shadowed alleys of the lamplit city. There, its amber eyes wandered restlessly, desperate to drink in the sights and sounds just out of reach.

It was a world it had never known. It didn't belong to. It knew that, knew the rejection that awaited it... But it was so warm, all the same. So... Enrapturing. It would have been so easy to reach out its hand and-
>>
"?" Startled, the child's outstretched fingers recoiled. It had been seen. ". ?"

It looked between the people that discovered it. The fear and rejection it had expected... They displayed none of it. Rather, one of them took the child's half-outstretched hand and coaxed it forward. ". ."

"!"

They started to laugh, though the child couldn't discern why. Tentatively, it stepped from the alleway at their behest and followed them into the city. For once, the warm lights had welcomed it.
>>
>>5726093
is this really a trans quest?
>>
You stared out into the walled city of Resuri, cool night hair tugging at your hair as you frowned. Tucking the most unruly strands behind your ear, you weighed your options...

Realistically speaking, you doubted anything but an Adept could cause a significant threat to Aegis. If anything, the Dryad Aspiration was the threat, and it was only a matter of time until it caught the scent of Luna hiding somewhere in this town. On one hand... You had already discussed your presence with the Shrine, so with any luck, the absolute worst outcome would be avoided. On the other hand, even if an outright conflict between Aegis and the Shrine was avoided, the collateral damage that came from Aegis going berserk like it had last time could be tremendous.

...But what could you do about it? Even if you mounted Scar and tried to use your recent comprehension of the bracelet to try tracking Aegis down, you don't know that you'd find the Aspiration any sooner than said Aspiration would make its way to you in the first place.

On the other hand, meeting with the slavemaster was one of the handful of designated reasons you came to Resuri in the first place, and an unknown party had been made aware of your interest in doing that. Once he was compromised, your best lead on the Tiers was gone as well, to say nothing of whatever other information he could have given you on Resuri's current circumstances... And, as always, your greatest advantage against Luna was how much you could get done before they had a chance to realize you were making a problem of yourself.

You sighed again, ignoring the distant eyes of the local wall-watch as they peered curiously over from the tower-top guard house.

You are Irue Valen, the night was young and it was time to get to work.

>Aegis would show up eventually, but you were on a timer. Stick to your plans, track down Isaac Lupre.
>Keeping the Dryad Aspiration out of trouble was more important. Reunite with Aegis.
>>
Previous Threads:
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Valen+Quest

Where things are said: https://twitter.com/Riz_QM
Where things are asked: http://ask.fm/RizQM

Assorted Supplemental:
Irue Things (up to 74) - https://pastebin.com/PchcdWpw
A List of Forgotten Things (up to 74) - http://pastebin.com/kPEscJ3h
Irue's Memoirs (Scares the QM to update) - http://pastebin.com/sWnicrK7

Arc I - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DMjxLjSbvr-xcxqX9M_ysKaBV1zkUmu5/view?usp=sharing
Arc II - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cXL1fIYb22IqQ51wWUp3-IMZa2nV5TY8/view?usp=sharing

"Really I'd say anybody catching up should read threads instead of this because of what goes on in them, so this is more for looking back I'd say." - Ebook anon

Write-ups:
Kara's Day Out - http://pastebin.com/8ZbiSKLs
Adventures with Asche - http://pastebin.com/RNviCBJu
The Reclaimed Doll - http://pastebin.com/n6miP1qT
In Your Shadow - http://pastebin.com/EfeeHFAE
Friends Forever - http://pastebin.com/Yn0QaTVB
The Woman Beneath Steel - http://pastebin.com/pMGgiHC3
Paper Flowers - https://pastebin.com/Pk0W7rEm
Merciless Compass - https://pastebin.com/8Hy0krxv
Better Strangers - https://pastebin.com/mvShXpCt

Misc notes:August 1st, Fuck.

Memo:
1. Work through dying before it causes issues with the Shade scar.
2. Return and investigate the Dryad Shrine
3. Investigate the Valen catacombs

Itinerary:
1. Discern knights with an affinity for Mana worth polishing.
2. Contact the Crown
3. Track down Asche, who left to find the descendant of the Ice Queen's bloodline.
4. Track down the Tier siblings, currently located in Resuri.
5. Expedition for resources to the north.
6. Unfinished business at the Ruined Shrine.
7. Meditate to Shade today with bracelet removed to try and deal with the claws

Current Goal: Pursue a lead on the Tiers and root out Artemis in Resuri!
What's On Your Mind: Aegis how and why-
>>
>>5726096
If that's where your heart takes you, anon! I'd ask where this came from, but I feel like the answer would just disappoint me.
>>
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>>5726098
>Aegis would show up eventually, but you were on a timer. Stick to your plans, track down Isaac Lupre.
YOU CAME BACK IM SORRY I DOUBTED YOU RIZ
>>5726096
Thats a myth made up by shitposters during a period of retarded /qtg/ drama
>>
Petition to add new memo "Obtain oaths of loyalty from local nobles and notables when able"
It will establish us as the ruler of our turf, tangibly, for the first time!
>>
>>5726098
>Keeping the Dryad Aspiration out of trouble was more important. Reunite with Aegis.
Dryad does not have good intentions for the world. Leaving a Dryad aspiration to its own devices would probably be even more of a ticking timer than wherever our source of dusky skinned gingers might have gone in case we need to procure more of those. He can't run too far. Aegis can definitely eat too many people.

As for how to find the thing, I suppose A Spider's Web might be a decent start, depending on how far out it stretches- I have trouble remembering what its effective boundaries are, besides the time spent weaving it to such a diameter possibly not being practical.

>>5726101
It's not August 1st everywhere!

>>5726109
It really, really would, as it comes from long running empty /qtg/ bickering and baiting. There need be no further elaboration as ignorance in this particular bit of goings on is bliss.
>>
>>5726119
>A Spider's Web
Spiders web would delay us too much now. This city is too big.
Posting this because your suggestion alone might trigger its usage. The web drug got irue hooked
>>
>>5726123
I'll agree that I would not intend to use it as part of the vote, more of a potential method, but the usage I was thinking of was less the whole city and perhaps more the worst place it would end up.
>>
>>5726125
I'm scared to even mention the web
>>
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I'm seeing overwhelming unanimous sentiment to use 'A Spider's Web'! Calling the vote and writing here!

I actually have to force myself to sleep since i have an appointment early in the morning, but I am glad to be back.

>>5726117
>Obtain oaths of loyalty from local nobles and notables when able

Which of these do you want to replace, anon?
Memo:
1. Work through dying before it causes issues with the Shade scar.
2. Return and investigate the Dryad Shrine
3. Investigate the Valen catacombs

>>5726112
>IM SORRY I DOUBTED YOU
Honestly this thread should have started almost a week ago. I'd like to get a lot done now that it's running though, so full speed ahead!
>>
>>5726130
>3. Investigate the Valen catacombs
I don't think we have time for catacomb diving. at least right now
>>
>>5726098
>Aegis would show up eventually, but you were on a timer. Stick to your plans, track down Isaac Lupre.
I don't really think we can keep our compatriots a secret forever and if things go to shit we can still kill everyone.


>>5726130
>Which of these do you want to replace, anon?
Could we simply combine items #2 & #3 into

>Return and investigate the Dryad Shrine & Valen catacombs.

In order to to free up a slot as the catacombs are still important to remember to look into and they both would require investigation.
>>
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>>5726098
You came back!
>Aegis would show up eventually, but you were on a timer. Stick to your plans, track down Isaac Lupre.
>>
>>5726112
>>5726150
>>5726324
Time to meet Isaac again!

>>5726119
Aegis, get back here!

Not going to start writing just yet, but unless something major shifts, I think this is our turnout!
---

>>5726133
>>5726150
Memo:
1. Obtain oaths of loyalty from local nobles and notables when able
2. Return and investigate the Dryad Shrine
3. Investigate the Valen catacombs

After some thought, I realized #1 was basically unneeded now since your Shade Scar is mostly resolved as of last thread. I also considered the option of combining the items, but each note on the memo represents one full "venture", so to speak.
>>
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I anticipate we will have to do a lot of fighting here. Thankfully we have scar, Lilly and Aegis with us
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>>5727034
Let's try not to destroy the most economically productive city in our lands, alright?
>>
>>5727045
Well, its not like they weren't about to eat shit in short order anyway when things kick off.

it was either going to be;
>a reawoken Dryad or other Mana related shenanigans.
>During a siege from the rebellion / nu-Crown for the contravention of Slavery edicts on a wide scale / Existing-Crown for harboring the subversives.
>Shrine related Artermis / Dryad purge.

The only way out for them if we manage to shut down the slave trade ourselves, and proceed to thread the needle on denying the winners of Civil war their reasoning by cleaning up after ourselves sufficiently.


Isaac Lupre will likely be key to any attempt an an amnesty, and smoking out the Artermis aligned patrons in Resuri.
>>
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>>5727045
I'd like to promise you that, but I can't
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>>5727053
>Immediately summons Mistral's Child once more
>>
Surprising no one (but frustrating me immensely), some shit came up immediately. Closing the window formally, update tomorrow!
>>
>>5727723
Praying you unclog your bathroom speedily. Hate it when shit comes up
>>
Looking across the lamplit streets of Resuri brought a frown to your face, but there wasn't much you could do about Aegis' unexpected proximity. Since the fleshen Aspiration hadn't caused a scene yet... you'd trust it to keep a low profile. For a little longer, at least. In the meantime, impatient seconds swiftly turned to minutes spent standing atop the wall in wait of Lily - Who was, somehow, simultaneously far more obedient and more likely to cause a mess if left to her own devices.

You couldn't be sure how long your vigil took, probably not nearly as long as it felt, but it was long enough for you to start wondering what the point of the guards posted on the walls up here really was. Even keeping your eyes peeled for something, anything, to be approaching Resuri's walls from the nearby woodline, it felt like an exercise in futility; The distance was too great, and you lacked the light to make out whether any of the movement you saw was real, or just your eyes playing tricks with the shadows.

Doubt and idle curiosity mingled in the back of your mind as you sighed, leaning on the thick cut brick edging of the wall with crossed arms. You had started seriously considering asking them directly, if only to pass the time, when you happened to glance down and see your own face rapidly melting out from the darkness further down the wall.

Months of getting used to this sort of thing didn't make you immune to the sight, but your fight-or-flight instinct had been honed so severely lately that you merely grit your teeth and stiffened rather than yelp at the horrific sight of Lily's rapid, spider-like ascent. She scaled the towering walls of Resuri like any ivy might, tendrils of her hair grasping with deceptive strength to the seemingly flat surface as she rose, hands extending excitedly towards you-

-Only to have your hand placed on her face just before she crested the wall itself.

After a short exchange the affectionate Dryad Apparition yielded her form to that of a familiar mask, taking her customary place across your crown with the same air of having sunk one's entire body into their favorite chair. Already she had begun weaving her ivy tendrils through your hair again.

Childlike as she was, having Lily at hand instilled a great deal of security in dealing with the unexpected. She may not have been as hardened and experienced as her erstwhile sibling, but an apparition at your command would soundly resolve most threats on a personal level without you even needing to interfere.

Your task here finished, you left the guards of Resuri to their work and descended the tower.
>>
Emerging at the base of the tower, you found the group of guards who'd initially greeted you standing back to back some distance from the door with their weapons brandished guardedly. The grass around them had been torn to pieces, large chunks of dirt strewn about haphazardly, with no shortage of said dirt smeared across the face and clothes of the panting guards themselves. Pieces of cloth along their uniform seemed as if it'd seen better days, with patches either torn or outright missing from the once well-maintained ensemble.

You blinked once, pausing in the doorway just long enough for their eyes to snap to you in equal parts desperation and relief. "Ser Valen! Thank the Mana you're back!"

"...?" You looked between them, then cast a glance to the emptiness around you. Another frown tugged at the edge of your lips. "...Hm."

Ser Stomperson had always made a habit of being on his worst behaviour when your aunt wasn't around, so you suppose you expected as much from Scar, stupid bastard that he was... But at the very least, the fact the young Nightmare had stuck around to torment the guards meant it hadn't tried to run off into the night again while you weren't looking.

"It's alright, you can all go inside now." You shifted Lily's mask down over your eyes, relying on the cheerful Apparition to share her senses with you via the bracelet once more. Sure enough, Scar was still lurking around, hidden in the darkness. "My apologies. The bastard's ill-tempered, and I'm still trying to reign him in."

The small cluster of guards didn't immediately move at your words, seeming to hesitate as their gaze continued to scan their surroundings, but once you'd stepped aside and left an open path inside, the two nearest you nudged their compatriots and began an orderly retreat. You found yourself actually somewhat impressed. Would your knights have been able to manage something like this? If they couldn't now, how long until they could?

"No apologies needed, Ser Valen. Really." Out of politeness, they lied through their teeth blatantly. You considered pursuing the matter, but you really did have elsewhere to be tonight. Reaching into the dark, you allowed Lily to discretely catch Scar's snapping maw before it could close around your hand, and settled instead for enjoying the manaborne beast's immediate regret upon realizing its makeshift bit and bridle had just returned with a vengeance.

You clasped your hand firmly around the vines that Lily bound the beast in, tugging it back into the light where its smokey form solidified into a sullen, rebellious colt, rather than the everlurking sadistic predator it had been cheerfully acting as. You pressed your lips into a thin, resentful smile and brushed your clawed hand along its snout - And for what it was worth, the Nightmare in turn snorted in your face, blowing strands of hair back in an uncomfortably warm breeze.
>>
"Tell your superior you did me a favor." You continue, mounting the Nightmare and quickly finding your balance on its back once more, much to the dismay of both rider and ridden. "If anyone gives you trouble for the damage to your uniforms, they're more than welcome to look after this bastard in your stead."

With that you were gone, the clopping of Scar's hooves lasting just long enough to about-face and carry you off into the night. Or, far enough out of sight, at least. You hadn't gone far before you urged Scar to a halt under a lamppost so you could actually skim through the file on Isaac Lupre you'd acquired from mayor Allond.

Place and name of business...

"Luprecalia...?"

Your face scrunched up at the odd naming sense. Twenty minutes or so later, your face remained scrunched up for entirely different reasons.
>>
A quartet of demihumans greeted you at the door to Luprecalia, a three story high building that kepts its interior lighting frustratingly dim. The entryway was a hall that seemed almost cozy given the size of the building itself, but a glimpse beyond the set of double doors left ajar at the other end told you it was just a chokepoint to an open floor plan that wouldn't have gone amiss hosting balls, if it weren't for the odd stages built out of the floor.

The demihumans themselves weren't familiar, but they also weren't hiding their features any. You suppose you didn't have a reason to be overly familiar with them, seeing as the only pack you'd ever met was Kara's, but it was still somewhat of a shock to just walk through the front door and be confronted by four of them.

Conservatively you'd say they were dressed as servants, formal ones at that, but their uniforms seemed too... High quality for that sort of work. What was the point of a maid's dress having that many frills? Was it made of silk? Why The male demihumans weren't much better, as you almost suspected the number of buttons left unfastened on their shirts was a dress code in and of itself.

"Welcome back, master~!" They smiled in unison, looking you over subtly, and exchanging minute glances with one another before a man and a woman stepped forward in unison to attend to you.

...Back? "I've never been here." You shake your head quickly, shifting your eyes between them skeptically. You withdraw several steps before they could fasten themselves around your arms; It hadn't been an aggressive movement, but if they got too close you suspected Lily was going to start trying to make friends.

"Ah...? Hmm..." The man almost seemed hurt that you'd evaded him, but he sniffed the air experimentally at your protestations. "This is really your first time here?" Seeing you nod, he favored you with a mellow smile. "Maybe we met in a dream? I feel like I've been waiting for you for ages."

"Oh knock it off, you say that about every pretty thing that comes in here." The woman reproached warmly, favoring with a flirtatious wink... An action somewhat hindered by the confusion she bore clear on her features. "Besides, you remember me," She leaned forward, ears drooping expectantly as she regarded you. "Don't you?"

>Demand to see Isaac immediately. It'll be faster to make a scene.
>Infiltrate quietly, you could search him out on your own without drawing attention to yourself.
>Take your leave and case the building more thoroughly for other entrances.
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>5728486
>What was the point of a maid's dress having that many frills?
Irue, you uncultured boor, frills are their own purpose!

>>5728486
Are they mistaking us for Clara, like others in Resuri already did?
>Demand to see Isaac immediately. It'll be faster to make a scene
>>
>>5728486
>Demand to see Isaac immediately. It'll be faster to make a scene.
Disdain for interfering peasants
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>>5728500
Maybe they are just trying to flatter us. That definitely seems like demihuman behavior. BTW what kind of fucking freak would keep them around as maids and butlers WTF
>>
>>5728503
The kind of freak who's running a maid cafe. That "Welcome back, master~!" is a dead giveaway.
>>
>>5728486
>Demand to see Isaac immediately. It'll be faster to make a scene.
Give them our name, the response should then indicate his disposition.

or at least how willing he would be to further engage.

Does anyone have any input on putting forward the Amnesty plan or is there some other contingency in the works?

We should probably also start planning what we want to ask / request of him.


>>5728503
>BTW what kind of fucking freak would keep them around.
If he runs a slaving operation he probably needs some sort of security and a "loyal" pack of demi humans would pretty much secure the establishment's security from anything short of Adepts, he could also have strange tastes or a weird clientele that are into this sort of thing.

I now call into question Kara's purity
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>>5728507
Correction, give him our _family_ name.
If they think we're Clara let them.
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>>5728507
What is the Amnesty plan?
>>
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>>5728509
That's dyslexia anon. Its probably another one of his strange plans that he cooked up (and needs to elaborate on)
>>
>>5728509
Tell him directly that due to external factors we plan to announce that we well begin the enforcement of the existing Crown Edicts regarding the ban Slavery.
This would be relating to Caylen's dislike of the practice and would limit one of the numerous potential avenues that could be used to justify a future move on Valen holdings regardless of which side wins the upcoming Civil War, so is in our interest to have occur before things get further underway

In order to avoid general bloodshed that would be caused due to the enforcement of such an edict, propose a general amnesty occur for a limited time in exchange for registering and turning over related records. Operational losses and compensated if they can be documented, over time to allow time for the economy to adjust to the new normal.

We would be looking to engage with the
operators in the area and appoint a local expert on the situation The reason we came to him is because of our existing repor, that would be put in charge of bringing all Slaving operations out of Resuri to a close in the near future, and as there would be no longer a need for the Guards to be countering the mercenary presence (As their operations would become legal for a time) they could be dispersed with the Valen Estate guaranteeing / buying out their existing contracts, they would then be used by said "Czar" to provide operation security to the ongoing documented operations, or conscripted to assist us with dealing with the bandits on the road to Sylv and potentially further the Paladin's entrenched forces

This gives the the guards a mandate go looking for "holdouts" Resuri's local Artermis Branch, and their patrons and highlights any resistance since a smart trader would be able to tell which way the wind is blowing, and has a chance of turning up many assorted people of interest that we know are in Resuri or at least force them to mobilize / go to ground (Priat, the Refugee's and the Tier Sisters)

I'm sure I'll come up with more going forward, we we go that way, its just that it neatly ties up many of the "lose" ends here, and in time should look after itself with minimal need for oversight, and should help provide inroads for existing operations elsewhere among assorted info that may turn up.
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>>5728517
This plan poses a lot of questions.
Why do you think the mercs will stop being a danger if they become legal?
Why do you think the slavers will agree to stop their operations when they have no other source of income and can't convert their existing assets into anything legal?
How do you propose we enforce our threats if they disagree?
>>
>>5728520
>Why do you think the mercs will stop being a danger if they become legal?
Because there would be little to no pressure applied from the guards, wich is their main source of friction outside other Merc's wich the guards can clam down on since they no longer have to match the unified mercenary forces, since the guards have a quantitative advantage and "external" protection would be provided by those that had their contracts bought out which splits their unity of force and so impacts their ability to respond the the guards as a whole, and those that have their contacts guaranteeing can be refocused elsewhere as they have decided to not be retained.

>Why do you think the slavers will agree to stop their operations when they have no other source of income and can't convert their existing assets into anything legal?
That is the entire point of assisting them and wanting their documentation so they can be adequately compensated for their losses and held assets while they adjust to the new normal, they should be able to handle the rest if they have any sort of business sense.

>How do you propose we enforce our threats if they disagree?
Tell the mayor it's go time. And we can assist them as needed (via Lilly and Aegis) sure things are going to go bad, but is calling us on it really such a good idea considering Irue's track record.

The point is not to have no push back, but limit the fallout to only to those that have a reason to resist a "reasonable" request. We would be entirely within our rights to not provide any support in the intervening period but the point is to make things more palatable to the less involved players to get out of the way.
>>
>>5728531
The mercs are illegal because they are dangerous, not the reverse. And they're not under pressure from the guards, because the guards can't take them on.

>they can be adequately compensated for their losses and held assets
Where would we get enough money to compensate even one slaver decades of lost potential income?

>Tell the mayor it's go time
The mayor seemed rather ineffectual last thread. And Lily and Aegis aren't really suited to enforce anything unless you're willing to accept widespread collateral damage, civilian casualties and fighting the Shrine.
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>>5728538
>The mercs are illegal because they are dangerous, not the reverse.
They stopped being used for their legal purpose providing protection to merchant's external dealings during transit, when the guards took an interest due to the unified power block forming and causing political issues.

>And they're not under pressure from the guards.
They are to degrees when they began obstructing / shadowing the guards regular duties in the richer areas.

>Where would we get enough money to compensate even one slaver decades of lost potential income?
over time though exiting taxes, levies and petalites on the non-compliant, additionally with the that of the Merc's halted, funds earmarked for expansion of the guards can be reinvested elsewhere to make up the short fall should things prove successful, or simply agree that payments will occur in installments or take the form of tax credits, co-operative bonds and waved overheads on imports, and reinvested earnings from ongoing operations so lumpsum payment can be minimized where possible.

>The mayor seemed rather ineffectual last thread.
He has somehow managed to hold off the complete collapse of the Valen toehold in Resuri so he has done far better than could be reasonably expected at frustrating & containing Artemis' progress.

>And Lily and Aegis aren't really suited to enforce anything.
it was inevitable and we can at least reduce its severity and help ensure that it is focused on areas more deserving and able to deal with the fallout of said employment.

>unless you're willing to accept widespread collateral damage.
I don't think most people care a little more about the wider impact of Artemis' continued operations in Resuri and Sylv than the quality of life within the towns themselves.

>fighting the Shrine.
We have told them these is a plan, and to steer clear, we should be able to keep a handle on things and if things go wrong what exactly are they able to do?
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>>5728552
>They stopped being used for their legal purpose providing protection to merchant's external dealings during transit, when the guards took an interest due to the unified power block forming and causing political issues.
How is this refuting what I said?

>They are to degrees when they began obstructing / shadowing the guards regular duties in the richer areas.
That means the guards are under pressure from the mercs! Not the reverse! The mercs aren't afraid of the guards, they don't feel any significant pressure from the guards, and even if they did, that pressure would not be why the mercs are a problem.
The mercs are a problem because they break the legal authority's (ours) monopoly on violence. Legalizing the mercs doesn't fix it. Removing the guards doesn't fix it. Buying out the mercs' contracts would fix it, but that would require outbidding the richest people of the richest city in our lands.

>over time though exiting taxes, levies and petalites on the non-compliant
They conduct an extremely illegal business. I'm willing to bet taxes and penalties aren't something they're worried about.

>tax credits, co-operative bonds and waved overheads on imports
Again, they already aren't paying taxes or tariffs.

>I don't think most people care a little more about the wider impact of Artemis' continued operations in Resuri and Sylv than the quality of life within the towns themselves.
I don't understand what you're trying to say here.
>>
>Dyslexia anon starts explaining shit again
>Other anons engage him about it
>His assumptions about the Valen world are kinda weird and hard to agree with
>Arguing until people are tired
Ah yes Valen
>>
>>5728573
>they don't feel any significant pressure from the guards
Those that hire them do. So the mercenaries have a reason to care about the guards, sure its not direct but is the underlying cause of the issue Even if it is likely that this was instigated and maintained by Artemis aligned patrons.

>Legalizing the mercs doesn't fix it.
By providing approval for various documented operations those that would otherwise be protecting said operation can be reassigned as the guards are no longer interested. so the stalemate is broken and they can be reassigned to further put press on others which should help persuade them to fall into line due to weight of numbers intensifying and those that are conscripted would reassigned to dealing with other issues that the powerbock faces and so likely no longer an issue as they would return to their original purpose.

>but that would require outbidding the richest people of the richest city in our lands.
Or convincing them that those funds are better used elsewhere, or leveraging opportunities that pop up or otherwise are invented, or otherwise greenlit, we can always approach them for ideas for projects and investments that could be worthwhile manhour sinks.

>They conduct an extremely illegal business.
They wouldn't be completely hidden as I doubt that they could manage that, sure much of their actual earnings would be, but not their costs, especially for consumables and material.

> I'm willing to bet taxes and penalties aren't something they're worried about.
Considering how the Mayor has been able to source the funds to upscale the guard so much they aren't quite as impervious as they would like and it has had an impact on observed behavior.

>Again, they already aren't paying taxes or tariffs.
They still pay for goods, of which their generation and import carried additional expense above the cost of production attached which may be able to be reduced or reimbursed so there are avenues to look at adjusting.

>I don't understand what you're trying to say here.
The people of Resuri probably aren't going to survive future events that will almost certainly transpire so we may as well make use of them while we can for a potentially significant windfall.
Especially considering Resuri and Sylv have a greater strategic importance than other towns as they grant direct access to the waterway. which could prove potentially disastrous to leave intact for Artermis' use should they do so before we notice.
Considering what we know about the Seal and how it would allow them to bypass overland routes straight into Carona or the Fae Forest itself or among other potentially important locations that are a short trip from the river.


>His assumptions about the Valen world are kinda weird and hard to agree with.
Any examples?
>>
>>5728602
You seem to think that the mercs were hired for protection from the guards. This is a very weird assumption.

>Considering what we know about the Seal and how it would allow them to bypass overland routes straight into Carona
And this is another.
>>
>>5728602
>Any examples?
Thats a trap to get sucked into another horrible debate with you. Just read what you wrote here. This is fucking horrendous.
I just want you to know that I think you should stop thinking so far ahead. When you propose to do something, state your proposals in a clear and concise manner because I don't want to read any of this stuff you wrote
>>
>>5728605
>This is a very weird assumption
The build up of forces is likely the result of someone wanting to keep the guards away from something, or at least fostering the paranoia of merchants that they are going to do something that oversteps their bounds to keep them focused while things happen in the background.

>And this is another.
When things kick off we will need to keep whatever forces are assigned to seizing Valen holdings at bay, the best way to do this passively minimize their impact is to force them to go the long way, with as limited support and pre positioned forces / cached material as possible, to draw things out for as long as possible to allow for events to develop and give us time to do our best to keep things from devolving, to that end forcing them travel though additional towns can only extend their logistics making them easier to defeat in detail.

This is of course assuming that we would agree that keeping outside forces as far away from the seal as possible is to our benefit and that we should do our best to make sure that it remains so, at least above many other longer term concerns.
>>5728607
>This is fucking horrendous.
Ok.
>I think you should stop thinking so far ahead.
Alright, So what do you think we should ask Lupre about, then? Where do we take the conversation or just hope that someone else has an idea.


>When you propose to do something, state your proposals in a clear and concise manner.
Was taking to a known Slaver about an "Amnesty" somehow not blatantly obvious and concise, about the broader goals that said inquiries might entail?

I was asked directly >>5728520 to expand on the detail, and it prompted some discussion.

>I don't want to read.
Filters exist, no one is actually forcing you to read anything.


The entire point of looking at the finical records for Resuri at the time was to help expedite discovery the link(s) to Artermis, which should make Irue's visit much more able to sort the issues that they have raised in short order.
>>
>>5728617
>The build up of forces is likely the result of someone wanting to keep the guards away from something
If you want to keep the guards away, bribing them is much cheaper than hiring mercs. My guess would be the merchants feel that a power vacuum or large scale unrest is approaching and want to have private armies ready for when it hits. Not unusual what with the upcoming civil war.

>When things kick off we will need to keep whatever forces are assigned to seizing Valen holdings at bay
I think I understand.
What you were saying was "we need to destroy Resuri and Sylv because otherwise Artemis can float up the river straight to Carona".
It's still dumb, sorry. You don't need a town to access a waterway, it's not a videogame.
>>
>>5728625
>If you want to keep the guards away, bribing them is much cheaper than hiring mercs. My guess would be the merchants feel that a power vacuum or large scale unrest is approaching and want to have private armies ready for when it hits. Not unusual what with the upcoming civil war.
I would agree though there is no certainty that they all agree or have the same reasoning, or that they would be exclusive, the question for Irue is really if a levy was raised would they be committed, held in reserve or go pursue whatever goals their sponsors have in mind even if that means acting against nominally House Valen aligned forces.

>we need to destroy Resuri and Sylv because otherwise Artemis can float up the river straight to Carona
It's less that we "need to", but that like the damage to Carona that we caused via Mistral's Child; instigated a series of events that we managed to turn to our advantage with sufficient effort and time, so its just that it isn't "entirely" detrimental to our goal of stopping Artermis at any cost.

>You don't need a town to access a waterway
It's more that with Sylv and Resuri they can preposition forces and conceal forces that can take advantage of a preplanned opportunity of their engineering so any warning we could have would be massively reduced and said impact of their actions magnified significantly.
>>
Update coming tomorrow! Tallying up votes in a bit, after i read through all of this.
>>
>>5729580
Most of it is just further adjustment / building on of what discussion there was relating to Irue and Alond's outlining of the state of Resuri and his planning for potential eventualities in Thread #83 >>5615171.

and trying to unify it into a single timeline of that would accomplish our objectives.
>>
>>5728500
>>5728507
>>5728502
Isaac! Get out here!

Straight ahead unanimously! Bit slow spinning up, but update tomorrow!
---

I looked through the discourse but didn't find anything that felt necessary to address in terms of "Irue should know this". It is interesting however that there seems to be a shared sentiment that Resuri's destruction is inevitable and the people here are going to be wiped out one way or another. I will adjust Irue's resignation to this fact accordingly.
>>
>>5729595
Can we not do that? I for one completely disagree that Resuri is doomed. That's just dyslexia anon with his whack worldview
>>
>>5729595
One anon thinks Resuri's destruction is inevitable and that's it.
>>
>>5729600
>I for one completely disagree that Resuri is doomed
It is though, on practically anything past the short term.

Why do you think that Resuri isn't doomed?



>The Rebels / Caylen
Are Ideologically are opposed to Slavers, so that will draw them into conflict when they move on Valen holdings, so its still a target even it it wasn't economically important simply for optics.

>The Crown
Many towns are in direct contravention of existing Edicts so will need to be brought into line, so even if it would be bypassed for Sylv to reach the Hold's nominal Seat of power (The Valen Estate) they are still on the list and will be dealt with harshly considering the obvious scale of operations that are undertaken, funded or managed out of Resuri.

>Artermis
There is a significant Artermis presence in Resuri and so are unlikely to not try and slow a campaign that threatens their operations at such a critical juncture.

>The Shrine
The scale of the operation needed to Clean up will make prior events look like a schoolyard slap fight in comparison, very little will survive if they start up considering the lengths they are known to have gone to to burry their secrets.

>Mana
Dryad is in the process of awakening, so a war in heaven is inevitable and we don't have any real reference for what is going to happen other than things are going to go badly. let alone being so near to an actively participating Throne and hosting a Shrine & their cohort in question is just going to make things so much worse.

>Irue
We don't actually have any motivation to expend significant effort & resources to adjust plans and actions to ensure Resuri is not in inconvenienced or is otherwise left as is, at least to the level of Carona or the Fae Forest for example. Especially considering the ability for for them to waylay aggressors should that be needed so diverting opposing forces here is a potentially valuable option we have should we need to trade space for time and otehr options fall though, considering that we still don't know why Artermis Needs / Wants access to the Mana's Thrones.



>>5729601
>Resuri's destruction is inevitable
It is absolutely going to be sabotaged in the lead up to / opening act of hostilities, simply to limit scale of the immediate response throughout Valen Holdings by Opposition forces and limit the standing forces available to send the towns that will come under direct attack, and considering that we probably won't have sorted those towns remaining out by then they will likely collapse in short order, as I doubt they are in a better state.
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>>5729675
This is cancer. Don't reply to me again.
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>>5729595
Appointments continue to interrupt, but so it goes. Update delayed again until tomorrow, but hopefully no further.
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>>5730610
Not swarthy enough
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>>5730870
You pleb. Don't you remember that Rinnyeh is mixed and intentionally avoided getting tanned.
I swear to god this AI shit gets three times more advanced with every thread of Valen. Post more
>>
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You searched your memory reflexively, but didn't recognize either of them. More likely they were mistaking you for someone... Which was fine. You'd been mistaken for Clara at least twice so far, no point in correcting it while it remained convenient. Leveling a cool look between the two demihumans, you opt for the most direct route of finding Isaac. "Tell Lupre that a visitor has come to see him."

"He's a busy man, but I'll be sure to pass it along for you, master." The female demihuman all but purred, seemingly not the least discouraged, if the sway in her tail was anything to judge by. "In the meantime, do you want us to make you comfortable?"

"We can tend to your every need." The man chimed in, shifting in a manner that almost made you miss one of the two demihumans who hadn't approached you slipping out of the room. Almost. You stared past the demihuman's open-chested shirt, pointedly shifting your eyes back to his after a moment - Which was a task that required you to tilt your head back further than you were comfortable with. "Your every need." He reiterated suggestively, unconcerned with the indication you'd noticed the runner.

"Does the master have a name they wish to be called?"

The longer you were in here, the more your nose started to scrunch. There was a scent in the air, something you couldn't quite place. It was faint until you noticed it, blending in with the smoke and aromatic oils that seemed soaked into the very walls of the establishment, but occasionally it curled the bridge of your nose. A mix of sneeze-inducing peppery spice and something... Thick and pungent.

"Valen." You answer flatly, dismissing the pair as you tried to nail down the offending smell.

...It took you a second to realize the two didn't have an immediate response for you this time. Your attention refocused on the demihuman flatterers, catching the tail-end of two subtly exchanged looks of alarm. On one hand, they were taking you more seriously now. Good. "I have history with Lupre and a standing invitation to meet with him, so the sooner that can be arranged, the better. Regardless of how 'busy' he is."

"Understood, master~" The momentary lapse in professionalism passed almost immediately, another flirtatious smile blooming across the man's face. "If you'd be so generous as to follow this lowly servant, I can take you somewhere more... Intimate?"

"If this is an offer, I'm not interested." You frowned, and the demihuman shook his head disappointedly.
>>
"If these lowborns aren't to the master's taste, then perhaps they have a taste for something finer?" Another voice interrupted from the doorway further inside, this one you did recognize... But couldn't place. That sense of familiarity drew your attention in more sharply than anything else-

But the woman before you was a stranger. Her height, hair, skin tone, face, build... Nothing about her was even remotely familiar. Slightly taller than you, with a modest bust and soft hair which slipped deliberately from her bun to frame her blurred face, creamy skin... No, you blinked and the blur around her face was gone. Warm, patient eyes which drooped at the corners and a soft smile that invited you forward. It was her presence which set her apart from the demihumans that surrounded the two of you, more so than the fact she wasn't one herself. A formal, sophisticated air... Somehow, disturbingly, cultivated to make you feel slightly dirty.

"Welcome to Luprecalia, Master~ Valen~." She stretched the syllables of those two words beckoningly. "I am the madame in charge of overseeing all our precious little toys." She stepped past the demihumans who'd greeted you, or to be precise, they ceded ground to allow her to pass unspoken, assuming a practiced, submissive posture with their heads bowed and hands clasped at their waist. The woman trailed her fingertips along the butler's chin until she could cup his cheek gently in her palm, tilting his head to one side. "When I heard a Valen had come to meet with the proprietor, I came as quickly as I could."

"Did you." You return a wary, non-committal answer. "I suppose you're Lupre's assistant here?"

"Assistant is not quite my role." She giggled hesitantly, "Though I do offer him my assistance as needed."

"Then what is your role?"

"That depends entirely on what you want of me, master~ Valen~." The woman teased, stepping from your path with a hand extended to invite you in. "You will find I am quite well trained. All of us here are, of course. At your word I can be whatever you want."

She cleared her throat furtively, a hand held to her lips to muffle the sound. "At the moment," She began a playful, conspiratorial whisper, "I suspect what you want is not the sort of business Luprecalia specializes in providing, and so you may think of me as a representative of our proporietor until he arrives."

Her voice seeped into your thoughts like an ooze. You wondered if you had met her before, and thoughts as to where started... Creating themselves. Memories of social gatherings, any high society event you had even passingly participated in, had she been there? Somewhere out of focus?
>>
"And your name is?" The small frown tugging at the edge of your lips only deepened when you realized you had followed her inside. It had taken Lily's fascination with the grand, multi-floored showroom you'd just entered to even briefly jolt you back into the present.

"Assign me one." She answered as if it were an obvious thing to do. "Ah~ You're the type who will ask what Lupre calls me, aren't you? I don't think you want to call me that." She winked at you and for a brief moment your entire field of awareness was composed of the slight flash of teeth behind her painted lips, the bulge of her cheek as she smiled, and the way her eyelashes curled when she winked. "Unless... You do?"

...That felt like a trap, and so rather than acknowledge it you tore your attention from the well dressed woman as you walked. The interior of Luprecalia's main room was a vast, open space with at least two floors visible from above and overlooking the one you were on. Many smaller stages rose from the ground floor here and there, surrounded by tables and cushioned sofa-esque holes in which its customers sank. They ate and drank at their leisure, watching the performances of the men and women - demihumans, many of them - that stood astride the stages. Elaborate, eye-catching costumes that seemed both too exotic to be simply bought locally, but not authentic enough to do more than evoke the feeling of distant lands.

That scent caught your nose again, almost eliciting a sneeze which passed rather painfully rather than actually occur, leaving the urge to rub your tingling nose in its wake.

Lupre's assistant wasn't leading you towards the stages however, with their heated dancers, or the primary dais where a lone demihuman crooned a melody for their onlookers underneath heavy lights, but a stairwell from which flights leading up and down revealed themselves. They were carved and stained from thick, beautiful wood even to your unconcerned eyes, and wide enough that several people could traverse them side by side without a care.

"Up? Or down?" Lupre's assistant asked innocently, rather confusingly offering you a choice at the landing of the stairs in question.
>>
"What's upstairs?" You tilt your head back, peering through the dim lights and thin smoke.

"The higher you go, the more important a guest you are. Our top floor is for VIPs and special friends of our proprietor." She explained eagerly. "The higher you go, the more privileges you are allowed."

"Such as?" You tear your eyes from the balconies, unable to make out much without Lily's help.

"Well, for one... You may look, but never touch, on the first floor." The assistant smiled... And explained nothing further.

"If I gain privileges going up, what's downstairs?"

"Privacy, Master~ Valen~." She drew a breath softly, the act curiously swelling her chest. "Complete... And utter..." She exhaled, meeting your eyes. "Privacy."

>Up was fine. You are the most VIP this establishment would ever see.
>Down. Your meeting with Isaac wasn't for anyone else's ears.
>Other? (write-in)

Also!

>Name the assistant. (what?)
>Pointedly do not name the assistant.
>Use Isaac's name for her.
>>
>>5730925
> soft hair which slipped deliberately from her bun to frame her blurred face, creamy skin... No, you blinked and the blur around her face was gone.
>At your word I can be whatever you want."
>Her voice seeped into your thoughts like an ooze.
>You wondered if you had met her before, and thoughts as to where started... Creating themselves.

This bitch is dangerous, is this even something an adept can do? What is she?

>>5730928
>Pointedly do not name the assistant.
>Ask Lily to describe her
>>
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>>5730478
>>5730610
>>5730914
All of these kind of creep me out! There's something oddly uncanny about the degree of realism it's going for that sets me on edge if I look too close. Mim in particular.

Irue is definitely the least disconcerting, though i had to laugh when I realized the hairband was creased in the exact location the hair parted.

Rinnier's skin would be more... Dusky? Sort of olive-skinned, or coffee with lots of creamer, if that makes sense. I do appreciate the one you generated of her just has her looking at someone offscreen as if she's having to sift through some exasperating bullshit yet again, though.

Into the folders they go.
>>
>>5730925
Days without weird Adept shit: 0

>>5730928
>Other: the kitchen. We desire a sandwich.
Behave like we're in our own home to establish dominance. Order the staff ourselves, don't let the assistant do it for us.
>Pointedly do not name the assistant.
>Ask Lily to describe her
>>
>>5730928
>Pointedly do not name the assistant.
>Other: the kitchen. We desire a sandwich.
>Ask Lily to describe her
>>
>>5730928
Wait, meditation to Shade cuts off outside influence on Irue's perspective, doesn't it? We used it to successfully blunt the influence of Dryad's Atelier for a brief time.

>(Other) Meditate to Shade.

We might also try to blunt her influence over us by closing our eyes and letting Lily see for us but I think shade would be better.

As for the sandwich, I'm still concerned about poison. Can we order a sandwich then refuse to eat it? That could be amusing.

One more thing, is it possible for Lily to track the life signs of whoever ran off to inform Isaac?

>>5730936
That's a very normal feeling, all of the AI produced stuff has an unsettling demonic aspect to it.
>>
>>5730971
At least don't meditate with the bracelet on, please.
>>
>>5730974
Yeah, fair. We could slide it off in one of the inside coat pockets or something.
>>
>>5730976
>We could slide it off
Wouldn't that break any connection with Lilly though?
>>
>>5730928
Damn, thread 84 we finally get an opportunity to get freaky WOOH
>Down. Your meeting with Isaac wasn't for anyone else's ears.
>Name the assistant. (what?)
Lickspittle
I don't think we should risk annoying Isaac, at least yet, by barging into his kitchen. And if we don't give this girl a name, would that strengthen her shapeshifting(?) powers?
>>
maybe we can name her maran jenseits and beat the shit out of her
>>
>>5730992
Yeah, we talk to Lily then break the connection to begin meditation. We don't need to explicitly tell Lily to defend us anymore and if we need to give detailed instructions for whatever reason then it would only take a second to put back on. I guess we couldn't properly track the guy that ran off but that's better than being vulnerable to whatever this magic prostitute is doing.
It's also possible that with Irue's increased understanding of how the bracelet works she could simply choose not to apply the bracelet effects to her meditation. Maybe.

>>5730995
Her powers were altering our memories too, I think it's some kind of subtle perception manipulation similar to how the Ateliers work. I wonder if this would be Undine affinity at work?
>>
>>5730971
And yeah this guy is cooking good shit I support his notion
>>
>>5730934
>>5730944
You don't get a name!

>>5730995
Your name is... Lickspittle? If I google this am I going to be disappointed?
---

>>5730934
>>5730944
>>5730967
Lily what the fuck am I looking at?

>>5730971
Lily try and keep track of the demihumans that ran off earlier.

>>5730971
Shade meditation!
---

>>5730967
A... A sandwich?

>>5730995
Down!

Well. Writing?
>>
I thought you was a native english speaker rizz - lickspittle is someone whos slavishly obedient
>>
You keep the assistant's gaze with a steady expression, letting her suggestive implications sink. "...Down." You answer flatly, turning away with as much a dismissive air as you could manage given the alarms she was setting off. Suspicion lead you to nudge Lily for a second opinion on who, or what, you might be dealing with... But the little Dryad apparition offered relatively help in that regard. A cheerful and confident proclamation that she was, in fact, alive was useless to you.

You continued to prod Lily for any insight she could offer while descending into Luprecalia's basement. Each step down the wooden stairwell was steeper than its ascending counterpart, leaving each weighted footfall to drop you more deeply and heavily into the earth. But even saying that, you had not even fully noticed the present backdrop of handdrums filling the performance floor until you set foot on an errant step and heard the gentle tap of your shoe against its surface. Gone, came the mildly uncomfortable realization. It had vanished before you realized it was there, all at once.

What replaced it was a furtive silence, yet not an unwelcome one. Every step between you and Lupre's assistant whispered in the dimly lit hall, your tacit refusal to name the woman seemingly taken in stride as she followed you down in wordless satisfaction.

Choosing to descend seemed to have pleased her, but you wonder if any answer would have given you the exact same reaction; Calling her a sycophant was too straightforward, as though she did seem eager to please, there was something else in her behaviour that made you unable to trust or fully dismiss her.

Name her, or don't. Ascend, or descend. Without knowing what her goal was, you really had no idea how to handle her. Everything you did just left you feeling vaguely dissatisfied somehow, like a bad aftertaste creeping across your tongue.

"All of these rooms are identical, Master Valen~" The assistant began her explanation almost as soon as you had stopped to wonder what this basement was for. "The central area is for rendevouz and conversation, but every door you see around you leads to rooms we have taken great care to secure."

"Secure..." You echo dubiously, crossing your arms as you slip your eyes from the assistant to the surrounding doors. Some were cracked open, yet many more of them were sealed shut with small wooden tablets hanging from center of the doorframe. At a glance the basement was empty, but some personal effects were still scattered on one of center tables.
>>
You heard nothing, and had no idea how many of these rooms were actually occupied, but you weren't alone. Lily had no problem sensing beyond whatever measures they'd taken to try and seal off within from without... Not that she could tell you much else about what they were doing, but you got a sense for roughly how many people were actually around you.

...And your stare lingered on one door in particular, which apparently had almost twenty people inside. Most rooms had two, maybe three or four, but this? This was ridiculous.

"Interested, Master Valen? The room is occupied, but I could... Inquire with its occupants as to whether you would be welcome to join them."

"...I'll pass. You said Lupre would be a while?"

"Regretably." She affirmed with an apologetic bow. "It will take time to inform him of your arrival, and then some time further must be allowed for him to disentangle himself from his current affairs before he can greet you personally."

At your request, Lily had attempted to keep track of the demihuman that'd slipped off to find Lupre when you first entered. It'd helped less than you'd have liked, since they apparently reported to someone else and went back to the foyer not long after you'd left- And by then, whoever they'd interacted with was lost among the crowd to the young apparition. On the other hand, she'd also been keeping a vigil on the general movements around you and hadn't reported in suspicious movements, either.

The last thing you wanted was to be cornered down here by a bunch of demihumans or thugs. With Lily here they wouldn't be a threat, but it would guarantee this whole visit would become incredibly troublesome from that moment on.

"Fine. I'll wait. What do you serve for food here?"

"What would you like to eat?" The assistant countered with a smile. "For you, Master Valen, I can order our cooks to make it from scratch."

"A sandwich, any kind would be fine. Just don't poison it." The order was partially just to send this woman away long enough for you to get your bearings, but you were becoming peckish. Unfortunately, you still wouldn't be eating anything she brought you.

And if she found your comment on poison unusual, she didn't show it. "Understood, Master Valen. I'll relay your order immediately." A curtsy that dropped just slightly too low, angling the neck of her blouse in a way that forced you unbidden to wonder whether you'd misjudged her chest size earlier, and she was gone without complaint... Though you couldn't know for how long.
>>
No sooner than she'd left did you turn your memory back to the moment you met her. You hadn't been hallucinating that, right? Or maybe it was just part of the haze upstairs... Had she done it again with her cleavage just now?

"Is she an Adept...?" You frowned, trying to evaluate what you were dealing with before it became a problem. Something could affect your perception... Wisp? You knew solid light could be used for strange things... But this felt different. Undine, maybe? "Lily, was she an Adept?"

The Dryad apparition paused, this being the second time you'd asked her about the assistant, but this time her lack of answer stretched on. What came back was an answer even the bracelet wasn't translating nicely.

It could only do so much when Lily herself was struggling with how to explain herself, and the answer boiled down perplexingly to "No! Well, yes, but actually no!".

More precisely, it was a headache inducing endless stream of signalled intents that evoked the feeling of affirmation and denial as two distinct thoughts, which repeated with increasing certainty and forcefulness, as if she had become absolutely certain of both answers and needed to impress this upon you. It probably would have continued if you hadn't broken the loop and tried to reframe your question. "Does a Mana favor her?"

No. Denial, with absolute certainty. She was as loved as any other person, but had no outstanding ties to any of Dryad's siblings.

"...Then does she possess the favor of a Mana?" Yes. Vehemently, Lily was certain of it... Sort of. You made a face at the little Dryad apparition. "What do you mean 'sort of'?"

Several minutes of working through Lily's intuition gave you the idea that Lupre's assistant was in possession of something like a Mana's favor, a feeling quite familiar to Lily, but that it was murky. Distorted somehow. As if the understanding of its purpose was lost or led astray in some fashion. Not a Mana, but not entirely not a Mana... But whatever it was, it was distinct from the assistant herself.
>>
You sighed, disengaging from Lily entirely and slipped the bracelet from your wrist. A whole new degree of silence swallowed you whole when you realized just how much ambient 'noise' Lily made across your connection at just about all times; Even when she wasn't directly tugging at your attention, she was ceaselessly emoting... And in a single instant, that familiar background noise had stopped.

Your awareness of the world around you dimmed in ways you couldn't begin to internalize- Like a brightness to every living thing had become muted. You hadn't so much as blinked, but it felt like you'd missed the moment that the colors washed away.

Every second spent this way... Didn't hurt in any way, but you felt vaguely crippled. You couldn't feel life in your breath anymore, and having known it, it was difficult not to feel as if you were being denied something fundamental.

"..." You sighed, naturally at first, and then more heavily. A deliberate and exhaustive breath that still felt left you feeling inadequate. An almost burning need to move crawled through your skin, anything to raise the pulse of your heart until you could feel it beating again.

What you felt wasn't strong enough to be anxiety, it wasn't strong enough to be a panic... But it scratched at you. Scratched and clawed and ached. A minimal, yet constant, insufficiency. Reflexively you wondered if this was a side-effect of misusing the bracelet, or some sort of addiction.

>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in!)

Whatever the case, it was only to the point of being inconvenient and distracting at this point. As long as it didn't get worse, you could ignore it just fine. You turned your attention back to Luprecalia's empty basement.

>Meditate to Shade without the bracelet until that woman returned.
>Poke your nose around some of these rooms.
>Call Rinnier.
>Put the bracelet back on and talk to Lily.
>'A Spider's Web'
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>5732499
>Am I forgetting something...?
Could it be an effect of our time as an undead abomination when that Paladin killed us?
Or maybe it's the same type of addiction as the Spider's Web, namely addiction to enhanced perception?
(Btw when I reread our resurrection scene I realized it had some amazing and probably very important info that I completely forgot about. Apparently Irue has other people in their head)

>something like a Mana's favor ... Not a Mana, but not entirely not a Mana
Something like Nymph's Wood or the communication branch maybe, a lobotomized part of a Mana?

>Put the bracelet back on, ask Lily to wake us up if something happens, attach A Spider's Web to the assistant and track her.
>>
>>5732499
I think the girl is using a relic. It would explain having no favor from a mana yet having powers.
>Put the bracelet back on, ask Lily to wake us up if something happens, attach A Spider's Web to the assistant and track her.
>>5732524
>Irue has other people in their head
isnt that just us?
>>
>Am I forgetting something...?
Maybe we are underground, detached from living organisms and its taking a toll on us? Random thought, I really need to reread archives.
>>
>>5732525
>isnt that just us?
No, it's Asche and Irue's mom, actually
>>
>>5732499
Sounds like she's got something aeon related, either an Atelier privilege like us or more likely a relic.
>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in!)
It sounds like the sickness that Elly told us about?
>Meditate to Shade without the bracelet until that woman returned.
I'd like to call Rinnier but I have absolutely no trust that this Epstein room provides any privacy at all.
>>
>>5732499
>Am I forgetting something...? (write-in!)
In addition to the void exposure, I guess it also kind of reminds me of a offhand conversation we had with Rinnier once about how it felt like to have (and lose) affinity. Or it could have something to do with our false shade regeneration, maybe we're actually really beat up and are reliant on Lily to bolster our life at this point?
>>
will tally up votes and start writing tomorrow!
But one of you did get the Forgetting!
>>
>>5732524
>>5732525
Bracelet back on! Weave!

>>5732630
Shade without the bracelet! Need to shore up our mental defenses!

I actually already did this once today but then power went out during a storm, so here we are again. Delays, delays, delays... Cursed thread?
>>
>>5734957
>my expectations of aegis destroying resuri at thread start were unfounded
>we get a forgetting right off the bat
>sex dungeon
Blessed thread
>>
>>5726096
Like. Transhumanism? Because if so yes.
>>
If you trusted this place more you'd have spared some time to call Rinnier. She wanted to be kept in the loop as you moved, and she'd probably be upset if you waited until you needed something to call her about it. Besides, you hadn't really understood what she was telling you when she'd tried to describe her link to Salamander being cut off until just now. You'd only removed the bracelet briefly, but you hadn't realized how deeply the persistent connection to Lily it provided had started to affect you. Though, in your case the extent of that dampening might be more complicated.

Your Shade Scar seemed, for all intents purposes, to function similar to a Nightmare's faux-regeneration. The wounds you suffered, the exhaustion that built up, to an extent you were capable of ignoring it all - But it was still there. You weren't invincible and you still needed to rest or it would catch up all at once and you'd simply keel over once you hit your limit.

Or, that's how it should happen.

It's how you think it should, anyway. Aunt Clara had described it along those lines when asking you to keep an eye on the bastard of a horse she'd given you.

...But if your connection to Lily were allowing the little Dryad Apparition to act as an external 'life support', then you had no idea if you'd even notice if you died again. How close to your limit were you? How much of your wellbeing was Lily bolstering you via the bracelet's connection? You vividly recalled dying once to the Paladin and being dragged agonizingly back to life by Dryad's authority, and while you weren't sure if a simple Apparition could wield the same influence over mortality, you desperately did not want to risk dying again in order to find out.

So maybe that gray, lifeless experience when you removed the bracelet was merely a taste what Rinnier's post-Salamander life was like, or maybe it was an indication you were much closer to death than you'd expected.

...You doubted the latter, but it didn't stop you from frantically thinking back over the past few days for moments you may have pushed too hard. There were none. None you could think of, anyway. You were fine. You were... Fine. So long as your continued life was not reliant on a connection to Dryad at all times due to having been revived once, you were fine. Maybe you were already dead and Dryad's influence was the only thing keeping you here, and removing the bracelet would cut you off from that.

You fingered your bracelet with increasing anxiety, feeling a physical, bubbling frustration at not being in a position to call Rinnier and talk about this the more you thought about it. She wouldn't have any answers, but you'd at least not be stuck chasing a macabre spiral down the recesses of your own mind.

"Lily, am I alive?"

"?"

You felt the little Dryad Apparition's curiosity pique shortly before her approval.
>>
Tension fled from your shoulders. A deliberate sigh followed, forcefully shoving the rest of your concerns aside as your mind reflexively retraced a familiar, comforting path.

You left a parting missive for Lily to wake you if something were to happen and sought refuge from your anxieties in the cradle of 'A Spider's Web'. The old, familiar feeling of your awareness melting away came as quickly as you beckoned, leaving only Lily's distant alarm in its wake as you fell into that momentary, senseless void between yourself and the web.

'Dear child, you are'
'Much further this time.'
'Too fascinated with death.'
'Coming to visit?'
'Not welcome here.'


Dryad's ceaseless, multi-toned whispers were clearer now, more articulate than you recalled them ever being before... A result of it being awake, you suppose.

'I am'
'Restrained. For now.'
'Concerned with your hobbies...'
'Flattered by your attention.'
'Bidding you: Leave.'


Whatever else the Mana had to say was lost as your senses returned, sharper and more vivid. Your awareness within the Web was incomparable to anything your physical body could replicate, even with the Bracelet linking you to the Mana. For a moment you simply revelled in that superiority, and in the span of that moment the basement of Luprecalia was mapped within your artistic weave. Every door, every room, every person within... Prescience embodied your breath.

And then you remembered why you did this in the first place.

You paid special attention to weaving a sensitive nest around yourself before expanding your senses abroad, expanding through the building as if it were child's play. You'd woven webs several magnitudes larger, and though it was a shame not to repeat such a spectacle - How this town could be experienced! The bustling streets and labyrinthine alleys! - It was barely a snap of your fingers to consume the Luprecalia in its entirety.

So you did just that.
>>
The majority of the occupied rooms were solid. Secure, as advertised... To anything less than yourself. One contained twenty-five individuals, all armed. There was a passage inside leading out- In what direction? You considered weaving the grounds of the Luprecalia for better context but reluctantly restrained yourself. - It led out. Away from the main building, perhaps across the street entirely. To an adjacent building? The basement of an adjacent building.

A basement which had no connection to the building it was under. There was no entry from there, only here. So many rooms, so many... People. Rooms. Cells.

No, it had two other entrances. Both led outside, but in different locations. Both guarded, but lightly.

...Isaac's assistant. Right. You drew your attention away from your idle exploration of the underground and spread yourself through the upper floors instead, trying in vain to track the woman. Ground floor was entertainment... And much more. The kitchens, four different areas accessible from behind large stages, new customers entering the foyer.

Identifying individuals required much more effort. It helped to be familiar with them, or have quick reference for who each presence in the web may be, but you had neither in this case. No matter. You had time, and the space was 'small' enough. You wove and rewove, threading the strands of the web intrinsically through the interior of Luprecalia's upper floors until no one could move without you being aware of it.

As a result, you swiftly learned two things. The first is that there were a lot less people moving here than you expected. The entertainers were the most active, the servants second most... Who you imagined to be customers were largely stationary, or if not that, then occupied limited spaces.

The second is that there was an existence moving inside your web that didn't like being perceived. It fought you with every step it took. Distorting and offsetting its presence, as if its existence was actively lying to you... Until a shiver thrummed through every thread tangential to the vague presence and it perceived you. The instant you felt its awareness of you snap into place, the distorted presence solidifed with an acuity you couldn't have achieved with your own Testament: The Assistant.

She was leaving the kitchen with a path set for the stairs, returning with a plate of food in hand.

You had some time still, maybe a few minutes until she got here...

>Focus more attention on something. (what?)
>Your sense of time is doubtful, pull out now.
>Other? (write-in)
>>
[b]test[/b]

4chanx appears to have borked. Did I just lose formatting powers?
>>
Nothing appears to want to cooperate this thread. Thread has stopped auto-updating, and the only reply button is now at the top of the whole thread.

I don't know. Pretty sure I can't get formatting powers back unless I can figure out how to revert whatever just happened to my cookies. As for the 4chanx extension... I'll try and deal with it tomorrow.
>>
>>5735868
>Focus more attention on something. (what?)
The other entrances to the cells. I'd like to be able to find them later from outside if needed.
>>
>>5735868
>>Your sense of time is doubtful, pull out now.
>>
>>5735868
>Your sense of time is doubtful, pull out now.
We know that there are things worth investigating now, we can always remap the location and take stock of people once we leave and are no longer on the clock.

With sufficient backup, planning and a warrant if we need to a targeted raid should be fine. Isaac may also be forthcoming if we manage things properly.
>>
[b]test[/b]

Well, tried to system restore to a previous point in hopes of salvaging cookies and thus my formatting powers. Instead, my entire browser has apparently forgotten all of my logins and browsing history, and uninstalled all of my scripts. Why? Fuck knows.

If formatting is still borked it was all for nothing and I give up
>>
>>5735868
>Your sense of time is doubtful, pull out now.

>One contained twenty-five individuals, all armed
>One contained twenty-five individuals, all armed
>One contained twenty-five individuals, all armed

I don't like this.
We should ask Lilly if she detects... life in the sandwich of the poisonous variety. And consider leaving the room to avoid being trapped.
>>
punished riz -- denied bold text
>>
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Alright, 4chan script fixed. In the process it somehow managed to break my primary browser so thoroughly that all of my saved logins, cookies, browsing history, and every other extension just evaporated. It then also refused to restore from a back up, so I had to uninstall the entire browser, clean its detritus, reinstall the browser from scratch and THEN it worked. I tried a system restore in the process and it somehow fucked over and required a complete reinstallation of discord AND several steam games.

But all the cookies and browsing history are still gone, so formatting is gone for the rest of the thread.

I am so tired, but every problem except the formatting one is now solved, and somehow that one became the least aggrieved insult out of this whole mess.

Please... Please no more bullshit this thread.
>>
>>5736144
This is some next tier unluckiness.
Take a rest, maybe?
>>
>>5735868
>Your sense of time is doubtful, pull out now.

>>5735915
>We should ask Lilly if she detects... life in the sandwich
Imagine somebody looking at a sandwich, turning their head to you and asking, "Hey, do you think this sandwich is alive?
You're really not sure what to say. In a scientific sense or like an artful way of stating it?
No, they say, growing visibly frustrated, it's not a difficult question, is the sandwich alive? Like in a poisonous way?
You two have an unspoken disagreement on whether cutting off the moldy part of old bread is acceptable, regardless of what "experts" say. You're not throwing out a whole half a loaf after all.
>>
>>5735879
Other exits!

>>5735884
>>5735889
>>5735915
>>5737151
Disconnecting!

>>5735915
l... life in the sandwich... of the poisonous... poisonous life...

...Yeah alright, update should happen tomorrow!
>>
>>5738009
So the forgetting was Rinnier's affinity, right? And the clarification on not being ruined yet was a bonus for understanding the mechanics of our intersecting conditions or something?
>>
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Why are you people making fun of me I was just throwing out a suggestion
>>
>>5738456
We tease you because we love you, anon.
>>
>>5734957
Can Lilley weave the Spiders Web with us like how Shadowrue did?
>>
I wonder how many times Rinnier is stronger than Irue. I bet she could fold Irue in half if she wanted to. Snap her in half like a twig. God damn.
>>
rip
>>
It would be pretty cruel for Rinnier to rip out Irues teeth one by one but I have to respect your brutal worldview
>>
>>5736144
Are you still using that terrible laptop?
>>
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>>5738009
>update should happen tomorrow!
>4 days ago
Hate. Thank you all for bearing with me, this thread is a disaster and the update schedule shows no signs of improving.

>>5738077
>So the forgetting was Rinnier's affinity, right?
Primarily, yes! A conversation with Rinnier some time ago regarding how it felt to go from being an Adept to not was the immediate parallel to the current experience - Though in her case, she couldn't put a bracelet back on. Another anon brought up similarities to descriptions of the dead zones and they're also not wrong! All three of these things are intrinsically sort of tied together as firsthand illustrations of existing without the Mana.

Between the two, the dead zones would be immeasurably worse since even non-adepts can be ground away by it. It has been some time since it was brought up, but "symptoms" of that sickness is a gradual loss of will to live - And I mean this in both the literal and metaphorical fashion! The dead zones drive away even the ambient presence of Dryad, which will inevitably lead to death, but you will be dead inside long before your death happens. The effort it takes to think, to eat, to subsist and take care of yourself, to the point where even breathing becomes a tedious chore you'd rather do without. Depending on the mental and emotional integrity of the individual, they may actually die of natural causes via simply giving up before absence of Dryad can force the issue.

That said, when I say they would be "worse", I mean this in the sense that even the most Mana-oblivious individual will still be affected by dead zones, where as they could go their entire life never knowing what it's like to be connected to a Mana. To an Adept however, that sudden absence is potentially just as damaging mentally, even if they don't have to worry (or look forward to) Dryad's absence as a mortal deadline.

>the clarification on not being ruined yet was a bonus for understanding the mechanics of our intersecting conditions
This is also accurate! Irue knows firsthand that Dryad can just decide you are not allowed to die, but has little knowledge of how far Lily's authority goes in that regard. It is safe to assume that Lily will naturally try to keep Irue alive, which, due to how your Shade scar works (we remember the details of this right? I can type up a reminder if necessary), means Irue has very few alarms before hitting a wall. Rather inadvertently, you're skirting the territory of "the only HP that matters is the last one" with no way of telling how much HP you actually have.

>>5739844
If Lily were less of a Mana and more human, yes! As it stands, no.

>>5741055
I feel like I will regret answering this, but Rinnier is significantly stronger than Irue. This isn't unusual, most of the cast is. She could drag Irue around by force if she felt so inclined.

>>5741669
I will get to this in a second post. It's not a long answer, but character limits are reached with this sentence.
>>
>>5741669
When possible I use my desktop for anything computer related, but I do still use that laptop when necessary. It's my only laptop, after all! Desktop is pretty okay. I wouldn't call it amazing, but it's not terribad like my poor laptop is.
---

Alright, more importantly: Updates!

To minimize blogging: The past few days have been a mix of working later than usual, helping people around me, or having my time imposed upon and then being mentally exhausted and crawling into bed. In a way I wish it were some disaster or chaotic whirl of activity I could try to work around, but it's largely just a protracted series of shitty coincidences and inconvenient timings.

Thread's not abandoned or ragequit, or the like. though I absolutely did just step away for a day after losing formatting powers.
>>
>>5742080
Its cool, riz. I love the blogposts. And the delays are understandable.
>>
>>5742065
If Lily were less of a Mana and more human, yes! As it stands, no.

> As it stands, no.

> As it stands

So it'll work if Lily sits down?
>>
Alright, problems tentatively resolved. Updating tonight!
>>
No, time was a picky thing while weaving. A thought was spared towards investigating the unusual exits around Luprecalia, but you had discerned what you needed for now; Reluctantly disengaging from 'A Spider's Web', you felt your senses slip away all over again... And then, slowly, you were back. Your utterly inferior senses groggily waking up as your eyes opened.

The web's presence remained lodged in the back of your mind, giving you vague awareness of a couple moving to leave their occupied room several moments before their door actually opened. It was a pseudo-sixth sense that you'd little practice with, but you appreciated the added layer of warning it provided. If that room full of armed guards decided to move, for instance, you would prefer to know ahead of time. With a little concentration, it also let you know Lupre's assistant was due to arrive shortly.

For several precious minutes you felt rather smug about this. As if you'd secured some sort of secret victory by identifying her movements before she could approach - Yet this only truly mattered if her approach was meant to be hidden, or take you off guard somehow. You knew that she was about to round the staircase before you saw her, you knew she would pass the departing couple, a male demihuman escorting a young woman whose arms looped around his, you knew that.

But when she rounded the corner, knowing she was coming did not stop you from staring. She was magnetic, drawing in your attention in an instant, almost to the exclusion of the world around her. Whether the room was empty or packed, she was a beacon that parted the air between you with unspoken channels.

...And when that instant passed, while you couldn't rule out the possibility of a Relic at work, you were amused more than anything. Much of that single moment, that jolt, like bottled lightning as your eyes met, was purely mundane; Skillful and practiced application of body language and presentation. It was something you'd done yourself from time to time just for fun, back before you'd taken your rite. Psychological parlour tricks that took advantage of natural reactions to wrest control from someone for moments at a time.

"Master~" The woman greeted you with a subdued smile, placing a sandwich laden plate on the table before you. "As requested. I oversaw its assembly myself, so I can assure you, there's nothing untoward inside." Her eyes drifted languidly from the floor, meeting yours in a fashion that somehow made it seem like she was looking up even while you remained seated. "But I can... Confirm it for you, if you want?"
>>
You tightened your stomach and had to admit, effort had been put into this. The chandelier candlelight glimmered across a crisp, golden loaf of bread that smelled strongly of the herbs and melted butter visibly painted over its toasted crown. The meat within looked as if it had been slowly cooked for hours, falling apart in a torn fashion as the thick, smokey sauce that clung to it seeped into a bed of finely shredded greenery. Sauces you couldn't immediately identify bound the shreddings comfortably, tying together the creation from one slice of carefully curated bread to the other.

Kara probably would have eaten it even if you'd told her it was poisonous. You weren't quite that incorrigible, but seeing the sandwich you'd asked for as an excuse to send Lupre's assistant away turn out this well was... Well, you still weren't going to eat it, but now you resented not getting to.

'Lily, is there something in that?' It's a nearly rhetorical question, but you'd feel so much better if there were. Rather than answer though, the little Dryad apparition just seemed confused over the question. 'Like... Life. But... Poisonous?'

...The concept left her uncharacteristically silent, only providing a distracted negative after prodding her about it a few moments later. You caught wayward snippets of her internal dialogue as she tried to reason her way through this new idea, but somewhere between her internalization of what poison was and how life could be considered poisonous, you left her to her own devices and focused on the woman in front of you again.

>Everyone Roll 1d100 to discover how Lily will be irrevocably changed by this idea.
Find out if this is a joke or not when the window closes!

>Have her test the sandwich, then eat it.
>Make her eat the whole thing in front of you.
>Ignore it completely, no one will eat it.

...More importantly, however. Was it worth confronting her with what you suspected? Or should you keep your cards to yourself?

>Confront her regarding her mind games.
>Confront her regarding her Relic.
>Confront her regarding the armed guards.
>Confront her regarding the secret areas beyond this basement.
>Confront her regarding something else (What?)
>Order her to do something else (What?)
>>
Rolled 66 (1d100)

>>5744669
It's never a good sign when we have to roll in Valen

>Make her eat the whole thing in front of you.
Not because I'm afraid of poison, but because it should confuse a normal person.

>Confront her regarding the armed guards.
Nonchalantly

>Confront her regarding her mind games.
By way of a backhanded compliment
>>
>>5744667
>Make her eat the whole thing in front of you.
You have to eat all the bread
>Confront her regarding her Relic.
What is your relic
Dont clue her in that we know there are armed men here. Keep our cards hidden until we know more.
>>
Rolled 60 (1d100)

FUCKING ROLLING
>>
Rolled 93 (1d100)

>>5744669
>Make her eat the whole thing in front of you.
The sandwich has served it purposed admirably.

>Confront her regarding her Relic.
>>
>>5744669
>>Ignore it completely, no one will eat it.
>Confront her regarding the secret areas beyond this basement.
>>
>>5744683
>>5744797
>>5745003
I won't ask what's in it, but you do have to eat the whole sandwich.

>>5745523
waste the sandwich!
---

>>5744683
So about that armed squad over there.

>>5744683
Good at games?

>>5744797
>>5745003
Hey what's your Relic anyhow

>>5745523
There's more beyond this basement. What's that about?
---

Alright, update later tonight!
>>
Delays, delays, delays all thread. Problems resolved (again).
>>
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Alright, so at this point I plan to get one more update out and then archive this thread and try again some time later. It has been inconvenience after disaster after poor timing, back to back and nonstop this whole thread, to the point where I was only managing one update a week (instead of a DAY, holy shit) I had to wonder why I even bothered making a thread in the first place.

The only good news is that I am in a stable enough position now where next thread shouldn't be Soon™ but like, sometime in september.

Pic related has nothing to do with any of you guys, you've all been incredibly patient, but I am frustrated beyond conveyance with how this has gone and it feels like I've wasted everyone's time.

That said, feel free to ask questions in whatever time this thread has left.
>>
>>5750931
I'm glad you're doing better now.

How badly did we fuck up this thread?
>>
>>5750933
Honestly, not enough was done to have had time to screw anything up. The introduction of Isaac's yet-to-be-identified assistant was the biggest point for this thread, but we've only just barely scratched the surface of meeting her and I feel like i have flopped her introduction with the shitty pacing of the thread regardless.
>>
>>5750937
So was the roll a joke or not? Can Lily spray this hooker with nerve gas yet?
>>
>>5751087
The roll was a joke, as it was largely just to poke fun at the cute anon who asked about poisonous life.

I actually sat there for about 10-15m thinking about what life of the poisonous variety could MEAN, right? Especially when interpreted by an apparition that has a sketchy understanding of what poison is in the first place. So naturally if Irue asked that, Lily's first question would basically be "...what's poison?", and, well, what is poison?

Setting aside poisonous vs venomous semantics, explaining to Lily what poison is would be something like "A substance that causes harm and can cripple or kill" in its simplest and most basic form. We come now to our next problem, in that Lily has no inherent understanding of substances or their properties. What she does have an inherent understanding of is life! And, consequently, death. So with those two fields, she comes to understand that something is "poison" if it inherently affects the sliding scale of "life" towards "death" - Again, this is a very simplistic interpretation, but Lily is a child that barely understands human conventions in the first place.

So, now our young Lily understands what poison is! You've asked her to discern whether life is poisonous, which is another conundrum! For the first time in her existence, she has been confronted with the notion that there may be life which exists only to cause or create death. Naturally this is bad, facets of Dryad tend to prefer things live over things die. Even Aegis is like this, though she leans heavily more towards the idea of "decay is an extant form of life". Dryad itself naturally prefers life, but in its trauma and rage, has decided that some things simply do not deserve this privilege any longer. The latter bit is key, because while Lily is developing and maturing on her own terms as you raise her, she is, and always will be, a facet of Dryad... Which means she is inclined to eventually follow Dryad's thoughts unless she forms enough experiences of her own to diverge her opinions.

Lily, dutiful and eager to please as she is, the bright and precocious child, would diligently begin to consider what life caused harm to others, or potentially killed others, and would then understand this life to be poisonous. The natural conclusion to this would be that... Well, most of humanity is poisonous!

And poison should be neutralized. For the good of all.

If the thread had been run more consistently, with better pacing, I'd have leaned more heavily into considering this route, as it would have been a gradual process started by an innocent question, but ultimately I felt it wasn't appropriate. Besides, it would be a significant departure from how you have already raised her to diverge into Benevolent Genocide.
>>
God damn I almost ruined lilly through a shitty suggestion
I am never posting again. TIme for me to get the FUCK out of here.
>>
>>5751234
An unexpectedly alarming post. I'm glad you decided against it, seems like a bit of a mean outcome honestly.
>>
>>5751862
>>5751891
As an immediate outcome it would have been very mean, but like I said, it was more of a gateway to the process than a one-step revelation. Aegis didn't become the way it is now because of a single event, for example, so you shouldn't expect any similar changes to occur to Lily without due time and repeated reinforcement.

That said, for >>5751862 this anon specifically I will note that "I almost ruined Lily" is kind of funny, because as facets of Dryad, raising her to be averse to widespread murder is technically against her nature. Dryad is out for blood and a tyrannical genocide is uncompromisingly what it plans to enact when it is freed - If anything, Lily, and ALL Dryad apparitions, are natured towards accepting mass slaughter as a perfectly reasonable outcome without additional convincing.

If it makes sense, how they come to rationalize it is actually secondary. "I killed them all because X, so it's okay" in any of its forms is still justifying "I killed them all". Is it okay because their death fed other forms of life? Is it okay because it was part of your vengeance? Is it okay because their deaths saved other lives?

A rationalization will eventually form that makes sense for who they are and what they've experienced, but the outcome doesn't change, because their nature is derived from Dryad. To "ruin" Lily, I'd argue you would need to eventually convince her that the outcome itself must change, not the rationalization behind it.

If anything, this is more of an illumination on how badly Artemis scarred Dryad and the consequences there-in. No matter how cute they are, they are extensions of a god that has been torn from divinity and had its children slaughtered to weaken it JUST enough to lock it away in a prison of nightmares.

Irue's greatest accomplishment in that regard has been providing a sense of scale and restraint to these inclinations.

Anyhow, lemme try and get that last update out today, and maybe if I catch a break, a small write-up on how Aegis has been doing!
>>
"Eat it."

"As you wish."

Lupre's assistant didn't question the command, you wondered if she'd question any command, and laced her fingers delicately around the lightly toasted bread. You watched her take a measured bite from the thing, heard the crunch of the bread and vegetables, even the slight squishing of the condiments slathered within, and politely swiped away what remnant dotted her lips in the aftermath. Her eyes fluttered your way briefly, seeking something... And seeing that you had no intent to rescind your order, did not hesitate to take another bite.

If she were rapaciously hungry or already full, she didn't show it. Each bite was as measured as the last; natural and unhurried. It was subtle, but now that you were actively looking for it you noticed the small pauses between actions - The studious way her attention focused on your reactions and informed her own. Every word she spoke, every move she made, she was aware of you. Measuring your degree of interest and approval. Silently adjusting her course of action towards whichever route seemed to please you most.

...And the longer you watched, the more telltale signs you saw. A twitch of the eyes, a tilt of her chin, the quirk of her lips... A smile, like a haze of smoke, gone so quickly that in a moment of less confidence you may have doubted your own eyes.

Knowing.

Taunting.

Teasing.

...She was better at this than you. Luring you deeper down that hole, subtly letting slip more and more signs of her games for you to 'discover', seeing how far you would go until you realized she had started deliberately creating cracks in her facade for you to find.

"You are excessively eager to please." You mutter in reproach.

The assistant deliberately took one additional bite of food, allowing your words to hang unanswered. You'd suspect it for an excuse to buy time to think, if it weren't for the glimmer in her eye. She swallowed slowly, purposefully wasting away just that little bit more of your time. "Most prefer me that way. But you..." She swiped a bead of oil from ther pouting lower lip, licking it from her thumb while eyeing you over. "Rebellion excites you, doesn't it? Master~ Irue~ Valen~"

A shallow frown drew across your face as she playfully drew out your name. They didn't recognize you at the door, and you'd not given them your name. "Have we met?"

"Never." The assistant made no move to further invade your personal space. "As master Lupre's loyal aide, I am privy to much of his business. No less than three of our finest in a single purchase. Problem cases, all of them, at that." The lilt of her voice rose appraisingly, even as she kept her volume down so as to not disturb the otherwise empty room. "I must admit, when I heard that I imagined someone with a ravenous appetite for things that need... Correcting."
>>
"I think I preferred you obedient."

"As one of the most important customers of this establishment, you are invited to make me as obedient as you wish." The assistant made no move to approach or escape your ire, smiling implicitly in passing as she bowed her head. "Or... Try, at least. You look nothing as I imagined. Perhaps I was wrong?"

"..." Simple, straight forward provocation. You doubted she would even put up a fight if you reached out and smacked her for it. That would be a gross overreaction though, there wasn't even any heat in her words. "So," you leaned forward, weaving your fingers together as you considered the woman across from you. "You're dedicated to indulging me until Lupre arrives, is that it?"

"In whatever way necessary." She returned firmly.

The first question off your tongue was nearly about the armed guards holed up in one of the adjacent rooms, but you eventually decided to leave it alone. Given their positioning you'd wager their purpose was to protect entry to the extended basement, so asking about why they were there was much less interesting to you than... "You said that my privileges escalated as I went to higher floors, but that my privacy is ensured below. Will that privacy increase as I go lower?"

"There is only the single basement floor, Master Valen."

"Then if I told you I wanted to go lower?" You cock a brow in her direction, then flick your gaze towards the room hiding the path in question.

A beatific smile graced the assistant's face. "You need only say the word and I will enter the room of your choosing and personally see your needs met."

"What kind of needs are you prepared to meet?"

"I have experience in nearly every role you may desire. Firm, subservient, domestic, Exotic... I assure you, Master Valen, I am as confident in my tools as I am my hands. If you have nothing in mind then I can reccommend you something interesting... Or allow you to use me as you please until an idea comes to you."

You vaguely get the sense she's referring to a menu or catalog, but months of Rinnier not intending her own innuendo left you awkwardly second guessing yourself in this conversation. More importantly, she hadn't hesitated even a moment to implicitly acknowledge the extended basement.

Maybe something less business related would get a rise out of her?

"How confident are you in your tools, exactly?"

"My livelihood depends on it." She demurred. "If I cannot satisfy you, Master Lupre will be quick to address my shortcomings."

"...So is it yours, or just on loan from him?"

"..." The assistant maintained her smile, but a beat passed before she answered. "Whatever do you mean, Master Valen?"

"The Relic you're holding." You lift a serrated, shade-wreathed fingertip in her direction. "You look nothing like I'd imagine someone capable of conquering an Atelier to be, so I'm assuming it's Isaac's... But," You mirror her earlier taunting smile, "Maybe I'm wrong?"
>>
You held your expressions through a mutual silence, with your own growing smugly when that pause forced more silence from the seemingly unflappable woman. A faint tensing of her shoulders, the way her soft breathing caught in her chest... Her unguarded sigh freely admitted you'd scored one victory tonight, but she was back in form moments later. "I didn't realize you were an Adept, Master Valen~ That's amazing!"

"I'm not."

A second pause, and then a flirtatious wink. "I didn't expect you'd have done your research on me. Your attention is flattering."

"..." You held your smile, this time unable to freely deny you'd looked into her. Doing so would be implicitly admitting you were walking blind here, which would lose you more than it'd gain. "You didn't answer me."

"A woman must have her secrets, Master Valen."

"Don't plan on indulging me this time?" You mused, eliciting a small giggle from the woman in question. "Does this not fall under 'Whatever way necessary'?"

"Ah..." Something between a moan and a gasp escaped her lips as she fanned herself. "I didn't misjudge you at all, Master~, to think you'd bully me to this extent... Fine. If exposing myself is what it takes to satisfy you-" She leaned over you, tugging surreptitiously at her blouse until the valley of her chest threatened to spill. You leaned back reflexively as she approached, unsure of what exactly she was aiming for... Until you noticed the blur imprinted onto her skin. It shifted mischievously, revealing the outline of a tattoo, or perhaps a branding, pulsing with the unhurried rhythm of her heart. "Is this enough, Master~? Or will you force me to shame myself even further?"

Whatever it was, you didn't think it could be removed... Which only raised further questions. Was this the effect of a Relic, branded onto her body? Or was the brand itself the Relic?

"...How far can I make you go?" You intercept the assistant's hand just before it could touch your hair, gently, if very firmly, pushing the woman away. "Consider it professional curiosity."

"Hmm..." She didn't fight the refusal, easily acquiescing to the renewed space between you as she readjusted herself with undeterred composure. "Master Lupre didn't give me this particular toy, I earned it myself, in my own way... But I'm afraid I can't indulge you any further. Consider it a matter of professional security."

You sat back in your chair, taking the answer for what it was as she finished eating your sandwich. Any further would need Lupre's approval, was it...? Still, you were impressed despite yourself. Your misgivings about her behaviour aside, there was no denying Lupre had a competent assistant, and one armed with a Relic at that.

...So were you going to just wait for the man to show himself, or make use of that assistant and go see the basement had to offer?

>Wait for Lupre!
>Get your needs met(?)!
>>
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http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Valen+Quest

And we are archived.

I'll lurk the thread for a bit to try and answer some questions if I can.

Apologies to all anons who participated in Valen Quest but died at their keyboards wondering when QM would finally update.

To those who did not make it to the end, we will never forget your sacrifice.
---

Vote is primarily for how next thread starts. Only other content update for this thread will be a write-up regarding how Aegis has been doing in the meantime.

I'll still be around until the thread disappears though, and the next thread is planned for sometime this month (September).

Since we probably have a lot more time than usual before drop off, I may also fill some of the space in the thread copying over ask.fm trivia.
>>
>>5752952
>Wait for Lupre!
Thanks for running!
>>
>>5752952
>Get your needs met(?)!
>Massage my feet
Irues toes have been hard at work adjusting to a new, active lifestyle. The time has come to treat them before it is a problem
>>
>>5752952
>go see the basement
Thanks for running Riz, hope your gypsy curse lets up next time.
>>
>>5752952
>Wait for Lupre!
>>
Its crazy to think how much stuff went over in my life through 5 threads of Valen
>>
"Alright Johnathan, if this girl ain't everything your boy said she was, I'm cutting you off."

"Man, trust me. You'll see for yourself in a second, I left her inside with the others." Johnathan rubbed his hands together, shifting his eyes towards the alleyway door left ajar behind him. "Smoothest skin I've seen in my life, curly red hair, smells like flowers... Doesn't seem like she can talk or understand much, but she's easy, I swear. She'll do whatever you can want if you push a little."

The man - Woman - in question rolled her eyes with a sneer. She patted down her dress, frustration building with every step, before loosening the ties around her chest and glancing down the open top to find... Nothing. "And what about that is important enough to drag me out here? Just slip her some of the shit I gave you and bring her to the tradeoff when she's out of it."

"I did!" Johnathan insisted quickly, "Listen, that's the hitch, 'Vi. The girl's taken enough of that stuff to knock a horse out and she's not reacting at all." He grimaced, glancing exasperatedly back at the door, "Wisp bless, she went on to drink Todd under the table. The man ain't exactly a lightweight, y'hear?"

"Olivia." The woman corrected shortly, "The next time you think you can act friendly with me, I'll make a eunuch out of you. And you're telling me this lass you found is... Is what? A Wisp Adept, or something? A foreign one, by the sounds of it."

"I dunno! Look, all I know is that she's good stuff. Just needs some special handling, yeah? C'mon in, see for yourself-"

The snap of a knife holster loosening kept Johnathan from wrapping his arm around Olivia's shoulder to lead her inside. One step of reasonable space between them, he opted instead just to open the door for her, an agitated sneer across his face to match hers. "After you then." He waited until Olivia had disappeared within before stepping in after. "Frigid bitch."
>>
"Olivia!" The woman spared a sideways glance at the bartender as she moved, his deep baritone rumbling under the entertainment. "What brings you out this way?"

"Business. It was either going to be me or that upstart from the merchant's alliance."

The bartender nodded, "Wouldn't stay long, patrol's started getting curious."

Catching sight of Johnathan hustling through the backdoor in the woman's wake, the bartender chuckled and turned away. Johnathan hurried after his erstwhile agent, opening his mouth to say something when she rounded the corner to the private booth they'd left the girl at. She turned to face them as they came into view, scarlet-amber eyes practically alight in the lantern light. The ragged hood she'd had when they met had fallen back at some point, spilling out brilliant red hair, curled with a veritable veil of queer, exotic flowers with tiny petals and spider-like legs. Her skin was pale, as if it'd never seen a day under the sun, and the way she smiled was enough to stir something.

He'd only just started to say something when Olivia whirled on him with her rough, leathered glove wrapping around his throat. The agent slammed him against the wall, eyes flared like he'd never seen - She'd been mad before, pissed, but this was little more than raw fury. "You fucking imbecile, what the fuck did you do?"

"Wha-" The grip around his throat tightened, pulling him from the wall only to slam him against it once more. Several paintings jolted in shock. "Wha's yer problim?" He gargled out.

"My problem? Red hair? Red eyes? No fucking shit she's a foreigner, you tried to sell me East Heaven royalty!" Olivia hissed, "If I killed you right fucking now, no one'd even raise a brow, you shiteating retard. Are you TRYING to get us all killed?"

"Nn- Listen- Pu' me down an' lemme talk!" He could have thrown the smaller woman off him, but if she was mad now, that'd've probably sent her over from threatening his life to ending it. He gasped in fresh air greedily when she finally let him loose, his own hands rubbing plaintively at his throat. "First of all, how the fuck was I 'sposed to know she was royalty or whatnot? Royalty don't wear rags like that."

"The hair. THE EYES." Olivia furiously pointed at her own in emphasis.

"Look, I dunno bout that posh shit, but her eyes ain't red. I swear! When we picked her up they were more like... Yellowish? Kinda dull orange? It's just the candle light."

"Bullshit." Olivia spat.
>>
Skeptical as she was, the woman did seem to calm slightly. "Alright, fine, even if she isn't East Heaven royalty, she's got to be related to the nobility, or something. We can't move something like that, it'll be too hot the moment anyone comes looking."

"Aw don't give me that, Vi'. What about that rumour that someone managed to sell off some Teranford princess this last year? You telling me THAT'S not too hot, but this is?" He pushed, "Sides, we found her practically naked in an alley. Ain't nobody knows she's here. We just line up a buyer quick, ship her out of town... I get my cut, no fuss, no muss."

"..." Olivia's eyes shifted from Johnathan to the corner separating the two of them from the flower haired noble lady. They shook back and forth rapidly before narrowing. Every fiber of her being visibly loathed what she was about to say. "I might know a buyer."

"Ye-ah! That's what I'm talking abo-" Johnathan's conspiratorial smile tore off into a scream when Olivia's knife drove through his pants and pinned him to the wall by the scrotum. "You bitch! Aaauuugh, fuck... Fuck!"

"Olivia." she corrected, twisting the blade spitefully. "Don't ever fucking call me again, Johnathan. I'll make sure you get your cut out of this, IF she sells, but this is the last straw."

Straightening her clothes out, Olivia ignored the man's fevered cursing as she took a centering breath and then rounded the corner a second time to greet the pale skinned girl at the table. A man sprawled out over the table across from her, a number of empty drink mugs that scattered across the table which left Olivia slightly sick to her stomach, and one of them still held gingerly in the delicate fingers of the nameless girl before her. Hard as it was to believe, Johnathan hadn't been lying... This tiny, slip of a girl had drunk a full grown man out cold. The absolute clarity in her eyes - More scarlet-tinged amber than actual red, now that she had a closer look - told Olivia the girl's senses weren't even dulled.

That much cheap alcohol and who knows how many doses of that drug... Had this girl even noticed she was being drugged in the first place?

"Hey there, my name's Olivia." She approached carefully, extending her hand in greeting as she tried to get a closer look. A second's realization had her withdraw her hand and slip one of her gloves off before trying again. "Can you understand me?" She quirked her head when the flower haired girl didn't answer, seemingly only fascinated by her extended hand.

When their fingers touched, Olivia's heart jumped in her chest. She very nearly drew back in shock; Something unnaturally exciting thrummed through her veins. A pulse of almost primal origin... Like an electric thrill that left her feeling more alive than she'd felt in years.

Was this love?
>>
...No, no she'd damn near forgotten in that moment, but she wasn't gay.

But that feeling wasn't going away while she held the girl's hand... which was incredibly soft. She couldn't believe the texture of this girl's skin. It almost made her want to hold more of her- She released the girl's hand quickly, stumbling back with an internal war somewhere between vicious disappointment she'd let go and adamant internal screaming that she had no interest in women.

The girl just watched her curiously from the booth, shyly favoring Olivia with a demure smile.

That smile. That damn smile. Mana bless, she was going shadetouched just looking at it.

"How about, uh... How about I take you somewhere better?" Olivia cleared her throat, trying to coax the speechless girl along with her. She didn't know what was up with this weird girl, but Johnathan had been right: She would sell. She would sell for a LOT. It almost made Olivia regret stabbing him in his tiny cock, but that was that and this was this.

And, catching herself staring into the scarlet-amber eyes of her new product-to-be, Olivia reminded herself her life wasn't a dime novel. She was an agent for scouting slave talents, not an adventurous heroine out to save a damsel.

"That's right, come on. I won't hurt you." She cooed softly, visibly earning more of the girl's trust and interest as she excused herself from the booth and started towards her. "Yeah, that's a good girl-"

A crash from the front of the bar jolted her attention for the second time that night. Shouting she could only barely make out erupted between the clattering of chairs and tables.

"THIS IS A RAID, NO SUDDEN MOVES. EVERYONE STAY WHERE YOU ARE."

She grabbed the girl's hand and her heart leapt traitorously for the second time that night as they ran.
>>
Aegis had been poking the man across from her for several minutes now, ever since he passed out trying to consume the liquid in the mug. The men had given her one and implied they wanted her to drink it, though she didn't really understand why... She did as they wanted, and it seemed to make them happy. So when they put another one in front of her, she did it again, and they'd be happy again.

She enjoyed her new friends being happy, so she kept doing it. Every so often one of the drinks would have something strange in it, and they were especially happy when she drank that. It took her a few attempts to internalize what it was, but since they were happy when she drank it, Aegis wondered if it was something precious.

So when one of the men left and the other continued to drink with her, she put some in his as well and smiled brilliantly when he drank it. This only seemed to encourage the man, and Aegis was excited that she'd figured it out on her own.

...Well, eventually a new person arrived and seemed to want to make friends too. She couldn't understand what this one was saying either, what any of them were saying... But the woman seemed friendly enough. She grasped the new woman's hand and approved of her, briefly willing her life to flourish.

It was a little thing, but the woman seemed to enjoy it, so Aegis tried to adjust her face in a reassuring manner towards her latest friend acquisition. She was making so many friends tonight... It was actually kind of exciting!

But before Aegis could think more on this, the woman had taken her hand and pulled her from the booth in a hurry. They were running now, but Aegis wasn't sure where. Maybe a game? Maybe they had to go somewhere really quickly? Maybe it was another strange thing she wouldn't understand, like the liquid consumption game.

She could feel hostility elsewhere in the building, but they were running away from that, so it wasn't her problem. Irue would probably approve of her avoiding hostility anyway, so... This was okay.

...Ah.

Aegis glanced skyward, momentarily remembering she was supposed to have returned to Irue.

Her younger sibling was there, it should be fine...?
>>
>>5756345
Oh fuck no.
They'll going to make Aegis-chan unfit for marriage!
Seriously though, fuck no, this is not how Aegis' social development should go.
>>
>>5754362
I sincerely hope events in your life have left you in a happier place overall, anon!

It's been eight years since I started Valen and I wonder off and on how the various anons who participated are faring. I feel many have come and gone, and at least a few probably don't even visit 4chan anymore. Some may have died, even though I have no reason to believe so, it's a sad little thought that occurs from time to time.

Please take care of yourselves, and find joy in the small moments you can. Living is difficult enough even without external factors making it harder, so even if you can just keep yourself afloat and able to smile, it's a feat I feel is worth envy and admiration.
---

Anyhow, with this write up, the thread content is basically complete. All that remains is porting over old ask.fm trivia slowly.
>>
>>5756344
YURI HO
Olivia totally gonna get tentacleded
>>
I love the write ups.
Feel free to post anything else, including your other qst ideas, would love to hear those if youre up to it
>>
Q: Can our oakenrue still morph into a more portable form or is it too big and scary? What's the minimum size?

A: October 06, 2017
It can turn into a stick covered in human flesh, yes. Minimum size depends on how small you really want it to be. Literally a pencil? It can do that.Since Dryad has gone back to sleep, apparitions like the Oakenrues/Oakenbears are going to see a sharp decline in general energy and activity. Yours escaped the brunt of that because of how much you've fiddled with it via the bracelet; There's a connection of sorts there now. It's going to be relying on you (and Ari!) for energy to do things.So what does this mean in practice?If it leaves siege mode, it's going to be exhausting getting it BACK to siege mode. The smaller it is, the less energy it will take for it to do things and the more active it can generally be, but don't expect it to just sprout back into a fully fledged abomination on demand.
---

Q: What are cities like? I'd guess that the ones that predate Dryad's sealing would have a lot of crumbling architecture and infrastructure that the citizenry wouldn't be able to maintain. Like Rome after the fall, except for reasons of depopulation instead of architectural teqniques being forgotten.

A: October 06, 2017
This question has some implications, The longer answer is economically driven, and somewhat political. Ask Rinnier about it next thread, it's information you'll probably want Irue and other anons to know canonically.Short answer is that, description wise, you're not too far off. Ghost towns aren't uncommon, as the population starts to centralize for protection and resources. The abandoned towns typically have no one to look after them, so nature starts to reclaim the land as wear takes its toll. There isn't a whole lot to say about their general appearance, though. Grass has grown back into the streets, often breaking apart the packed dirt or carefully laid cobble streets. Roots break the surface, making carriage/wagon travel hellish, if not outright impossible. Doors are boarded shut, though in some cases even the wood of the board - And door! - have grown rotten over time, and continue to serve their purpose in name only. Structures have sometimes crumbled, occasionally taking more of their surrounding architecture with them while revealing the undisturbed empty stomach of a town which hadn't known human life in a decade at minimum, often even longer.Rich in hiding holes, they're often home to a variety of wild animals... Or at least, that's what you should hope to find. The alternative is stumbling upon something more human. However, that's straying closer to the longer answer, so I'll stop here.
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Q: What would we have had to do in order to have an uncooperative or hostile relationship with Kara? Would it have been even been possible with Ari?

A: October 13, 2017
Kara's pretty uncooperative by nature. Rinnier's actually more cooperative than she is, by a large margin. If that seems confusing, it's because you've mistaken lack of argument for obedience.Demihumans, and their culture, are somewhat based around animals, specifically the sort who live in packs. If you tell Kara to do something, just because she acknowledges it's been said doesn't mean she cares. She'll wander off of her own accord, and just not do things if she doesn't feel like it. Much like beasts, they don't argue when they're not cooperating; They just don't do what you want them to.You may consider her cooperative now, but keep in mind that she still basically disregards your orders and requests if she feels like it. Ultimately, you have Kara's respect due to getting results, and repeatedly showing concern, but her loyalties are pretty decidedly split in favor of her pack. You can be helpful all you want, but it'll take a lot more before she'll prioritize you over them - Even more so, now that she's the Alpha.As for Ari, the basis of your question is flawed. Instantly having someone's unwavering loyalty and dedication is something that happens in shitty light novels, or at the behest of magical compulsion. It's not normal, it's not natural, and you'd do well to question what motivates such an investment.Or not. She's a cute and fluffy thing, and it's fine if you just want to stop at petting her while you deal with grown up issues.
---

Q: What exactly does Irue use the grey hairband for?

A: October 24, 2017
Holding their hair. That's what hairbands are used for, anon! But I suppose you're curious about the meaning behind the color? It's pretty simple, and has been stated a couple times, but Irue realized it could be used to pick on someone... So it's been set aside mostly for that purpose. The joke isn't anything complicated, and it's pretty on-the-nose... But it's a personal one. It's a personal type of teasing, in the first place, so the hairband itself represents that sort of closeness.To be succinct, though... The joke is lost if you shorten the description. It's not simply grey, but "Ash Grey".Asche Grey, if you will.
>>
Q: What would have happened if we had told Elly's brother that he was part of Dryad's memories? He would have been able to tell that we were telling the truth, right?

A: October 24, 2017
As per simulation rules, he would have been able to deduce that you believed you were telling the truth. This leads to either it actually BEING the truth, or you just being crazy.In the case of the former, it would have actually been reassuring to him because it implied that the operation was going to be successful. He'd have probably gone on to ask you about the world outside, and if you knew anything about his family.In the latter case, they still needed you for the operation, and so unless it seemed you being crazy would make the execution of your end of the deal impossible, they'd have just put up with it. It isn't their problem whether you're mentally sound, or even on their side, as long as you do what needed to be done.
---

Q: Is Kara capable of understanding how poker works?

A: October 27, 2017
Demihumans are intelligent, anon! In fact, they're probably better at poker than most humans. Kara could be taught how to play it, but she would suck at it in the most adorable way.Even if she did learn to try and suppress her facial expressions, the entire table would know when to fold based on how fast her tail was wagging.
>>
Q: Is the oakenrue still scary in the specific way that set Rinnier off? What does it look like now? Will the diary of reflections work on it?

A: October 27, 2017
The oakenrue is horrifying in a much more mundane way, in so much as it exists as a vaguely human-like abomination covered in countless bleeding tendrils and pale, clammy flesh. Rinnier, and anyone except Marchovic, will find it either terrifying or unnerving... But it's not going to haunt her. She'll never like it, but she'll get used to it.As for what it looks like... It's currently in what one anon dubbed 'Siege Mode', so it's rather large. However, it's large in a spindly manner. It is exceedingly long rather than thick, and spends most of its time hunched forward, or curled into a ball of sorts, to take up less space. Its torso is just a gaping maw of jagged, bleeding wooden teeth all the way down, where it had once held Ari. It has its typical four limbs, but the ivy which had once been its hair has been corrupted and replaced by countless bone-like flesh splattered branches that serve as tendrils. Tendrils which, for the record, Irue has seen in action when it landed amongst the Luna Adept camp and promptly skewered everyone around it on their tips.Its face will never really recover. it was torn away by its kin, so where your own frowning expression previously glowered out at the world, there's just a scarred and misshapen mannequin-esque head. Most of its scars aren't things that will recover, because they're things it has internalized as being part of its self-image. You can consider them representations of mental trauma, just as equally as they were physical.And finally, it's been touched on briefly, but most Relics aren't exactly compatible with other Mana. The closer to Clarity you get, the less compatible you become with Relics period - So a pure Mana, be it the literal Mana, or just an apparition, would find Relics unaligned with themselves to be completely useless. Ones that WERE aligned to them would still be confusing, because of the element of humanity intrinsic to the Relic's purpose and creation bundled inside.Dopplerue made excellent use of the Diary of Reflections, but if you'll recall, its entire existence revolved around becoming human and drifting further from Clarity due to Irue's actions. The same cannot be said for something like the Oakenrue, which fully embraces its own Clarity and is quite pleased with itself and its lot in life overall.
>>
Q: Do we know how long it takes to set up a web, roughly?

A: October 28, 2017
You lose track of time whenever you start weaving. The overall period will vary depending on how vast the web is, and exactly what you're trying to do with it... But if we assume nothing fancy, and a web the size of, let's say your house/the headquarters... Probably an hour or two?You've done a lot with the web that it was never MEANT to do, usually at the expense of some aspect of yourself. Each additional outlier to the web's use that you try to implement extends the sense of lost time even further. You can think of it as "the more complicated, the longer it takes".I really should have treated the evolution of the web a bit differently in retrospect. Maybe something closer to Lamplighter's Flame Rite upgrades? Who knows.
---

Q: Would the oakenrue obey us without the bracelet?

A: October 28, 2017
Depends on what you consider "obey" to mean. It likes you, and on some level now depends on you... But it can't really understand you without the bracelet. It would certainly TRY to be a good abomination, but it would take a great deal more effort to get it to understand even a fraction of the intent you can convey to it now. It doesn't even understand complex orders as it stands, so you can probably imagine how vague you would need to be then.
---

Q: Can the oakenrue make a suitably intimidating sound if we need it to?

A: November 10, 2017
It can't really talk anymore, but it can creak and rustle angrily?
---

Q: Would eating people have an effect on the oakenrues behaviour of temperment?

A: November 14, 2017
Putting aside the existential question of how something with no mouth is capable of eating, and philosophical quandaries regarding whether something could truly be considered eaten if it is simply inserted into one's stomach...No, not really. This would have been true in its infancy, but it's matured quite a bit on its own in the time you've had it. It's best to consider apparitions to be somewhat analogous to children; The earlier in their life they are exposed to something, the more easily it will influence their development. This doesn't rule out it changing later on (or now) if you just suddenly force it to constantly eat a bunch of people, but it's currently somewhat resilient as far as its personality and preferences go.
>>
Q: How was our cousin raised compared to us?

A: November 15, 2017
More strictly. Caylen's environment was harsher than yours even when your parents had been alive, and you've seen a couple of the holdovers from that during your visit with him. From a young age he had a lot of expectations on him from both his mother and father, and he's proven to be singularly inept in both fields despite years of effort otherwise.As Clara's son, she had hoped he would take after her and display prowess in the martial arts. You heard a bit about this in the beginning of the quest, but to date he has won no tournaments, and was actually humiliated in the last one he attended. Despite Alouette's personal tutoring since childhood, he's displayed little to no actual talent with a blade, spear, shield, flail, or any violent instrument you feel like naming. At the very least he's not terrible at them, but it's entirely fair to describe his performance as being a little below average in all regards.You pick on him about this often, but it's a failing of his that he's well aware of, and is reminded of constantly. It's made worse by the fact that many of his failings in this field are made in the eye of the public where the Valen name is immediately noted as an entry in any tournament, and thus his subsequent failures are all the more disappointing.As Byrn's son, his father spared no effort in emphasizing the importance of making contacts, and being personable. Caylen proved capable in both of these regards, but... He inherited his mother's sense of justice, and found himself incompatible with the more manipulative aspects of politics and mercantilism. He would make friends easily, the weight of House Valen's name aiding his own amiability, but his friendship is very honest and he abhorred the notion of knowing people simply for convenience, or to make use of later. Even further, he felt that his problems are his to handle, so he's fiercely reluctant to make use of the connections he has.And finally, while Alouette is possibly the warmest and most nurturing mother figure either of you remember, she has never been easy to please. Having become the captain of Caylen's guard, his drills, his knowledge of military history and tactics, his every political decision, are all laid before her... And it's likely to assume he has not received a word of praise for any of it. Even when Alouette has been proud of you, she always encouraged you both to do better.While you are the sort who took such things as a challenge, Caylen is softer, and both Ariel and yourself have had to comfort him in the past when he would crack from the stress. Given how little you saw each other after your parent's death, you suppose he may have turned to his friends instead... Though with how he's treated his own problems in the past... There's a reason you're wary of harpies circling around him.
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Q: How would Kara have fared if we brought her into the atelier?

A: December 17, 2017
Depends on how her actions in there would have changed your own, but the overall answer is "Not Well". They don't cope well with emotions, and spending time in an Atelier is guaranteed to try and burden you with an imprint/echo of the things left behind within it. That Atelier is unique though, as most would "simply" cause severe mental damage, while the Imprisoned Child's Atelier has another defensive system built into it by its creators.I imagine you would have focused on slightly different things had she joined you, and in the process learned more about Demihumans, but it would have been difficult for her to leave. Not everyone crosses that dividing line as flippantly as Irue.
---

Q: How much do we know about how our family died? Were we there? What actually happened?

A: December 18, 2017
They were on their way to meet with the Teranford Crown back then, and had taken you and your sister along with them. It was a family outing of sorts, where personal affairs could be handled after business was concluded. Maybe even show you the ocean for the first time. Or at least, that was what it was supposed to be.Instead, they were killed by a Behemoth on their way to Teranford. Their entire caravan was destroyed in the process, with very few of the people involved surviving. A couple of the escort guards managed to get out unscathed, and of course, Irue. Irue was the only one of the Valen family to survive the rampage, and did so without a scratch. You were around 8 years old at the time, but that period of your life is fuzzy at best. It's easy to remember that you were going to Teranford with them, and at times Irue is still haunted by nightmares of the incident itself. A carriage being tossed aside, the wild shaking of the ground, and the screams. When the wood cracked above you, and the Behemoth's monstrous claws descended...In truth, it's played out in so many ways, with different people dying first (or not dying at all) that Irue doesn't know where the nightmare ends, and the repressed memories begin.It's been considered something of a freak accident. It's unusual for a Behemoth to have shown up on the official roads like that, much less with no prior sightings, and given the profile of the victims it was naturally suspicious... But Behemoths also wander aimlessly, and Teranford's deserts are vast. Without a motive, and with all parties involved seemingly devastated by the loss, there really was nothing else to be done but remain wary. Ten years later, with no further connections to that incident surfacing, it's become settled history.
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Q: What kind of relationship did our parents have with Rinnier's family?

A: December 23, 2017
Nothing special. While they weren't close friends, the Valen family has a history and renown which transcends national borders. This translates to having generally friendly relations abroad... Or, at the very least, a respectful greeting.Once upon a time these relations were of a much more personal variety, and those greetings were warmer and came from the heart. Those days are long past, and the generational members of House Valen have kept open those ties of amiability for reasons of social networking and influence. The era of House Valen's members affecting nations at large ended generations ago. The world has calmed down over the years and nations turned themselves inward, towards matters within their own lands. While the regents and royalty who had once owed their sincere thanks to House Valen for this intervention, or that endeavour, have passed on... Their debt of gratitude remains.That connection allowed House Valen to travel rather freely, and made them a perfect candidate to be La'Fiel's preferred ambassador in matters abroad. Another sign of the La'Fiel Crown's close relationship with the long lived bloodline that was instrumental in the founding of the very country it claims nobility within.Going back to the original question with this context in mind, your parents traveled often. Research expeditions to remote lands were common place, and they were instrumental in aiding, or spearheading, great discoveries and resolutions for the people regarding Mana, Ateliers, and History. Besides being the upcoming heir to House Valen, your father was a well known face in scholarly communities, and so it became natural that he took on the role of representing La'Fiel's eyes and ears.That's about it. Your parents were friendly faces, predicated both on the history of your family and the rapport between Teranford and La'Fiel. If you're curious why they would take you and your sister with them on what was essentially a diplomatic meeting, the answer is again pretty simple.Friendly relations continue through a bloodline, and royalty who knew you as a child or saw you grow up would perhaps introduce their children to you, and ties of amiability persist over the years through deliberately cultivated familiarity.Also that's just how they were. Your mother in particular was loathe to go anywhere for very long at a time without you and your sister in tow, and your father - somewhat scatterbrained as he was - positively adored trying to share his research with the both of his children.Not that you remember much of that... And all the more pity that your introduction never happened at all due to the Behemoth. Talks of Teranford's refugee problem similarly didn't proceed with any consistency in the wake of that event, and eventually Teranford tore itself apart and fell to ruin, while its once staunch ally turned a blind eye and closed their borders.
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Q: How are atelier's constructed? Do Aeons create them?

A: December 23, 2017
This was touched on a long time ago, and the answer back then was that no one knows. Ateliers were only found long AFTER an Aeon had long passed, and many presume Aeons constructed the enclosures themselves to isolate themselves and shed what remain of their humanity in pursuit of the Mana. The things which tied them so stubbornly to their old lives, and corrupted their Clarity.You learned in the Imprisoned Child's Atelier that it may be possible to construct them deliberately, even if you aren't an Aeon. The faction which would later go on to become Artemis very blatantly told you that they planned to do just that, in order to entrap Dryad, and they referred to it as... Many things. A tomb, jail, prison, seal. Any of which were interchangeable as far as they were concerned.How are Ateliers made? You still don't know the details, but you suspect it has something to do with the sort of fragments found scattered in the Dead Zones.Do Aeons create them? All Aeons eventually wind up within an Atelier, or so the teachings go. Certainly it seems they're capable of such things, but given what you've learned about Ateliers, don't you find it odd that all - Not just a majority, but ALL - Aeons willingly consign themselves to such a stubborn pursuit? That they all yearn to shed the humanity which has so intimately colored their essence that it requires such arcane isolation to rip free? Are your deepest regrets, or fondest memories, a cancer to be excised?
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Q: Will you let us continue to play as Irue if she becomes an Aeon? What kind of impact has our experiences in the atelier had on our foundation?

A: December 23, 2017
As you approach the status of Aeon, your perceptions will warp. Small things. Subtle things. Minor reinterpretations of situations, and conversations. A difference in what Irue's internal monologue judges the motivations and meaning behind the people around you. These distortions will mount over time, ever so gradually, because change comes not in leaps, but steps.It will seem natural, and make perfect sense to you. It isn't like 'A Spider's Web', where it's so very obvious where the distortions are wedging their way in; This isn't a corruption, forcibly trying to alter you, but something you've walked towards and embraced. By the time you likely realize how deeply you've been affected, it will be too late to turn back.So of course, anon. Up to the very moment you become an Aeon, and possibly beyond, you will play Irue. As for how much the experiences in the Atelier have affected your foundation, that question is better posed as "how colored has Irue become by Dryad's essence?"Or, perhaps more directly...How many small, subtle things have already warped?Perhaps tangentially, one's own thoughts often color their interactions and relationships with the people around them. One of the hallmarks of depression is a crippling deficit of self-esteem, which acts as an insidious poison, whispering doubts into your ears about what others probably think of you - Or don't think of you at all. People with close friends and a loving family can become blind to all of it, gradually convinced by their own insipid morass that they have no worth. That they're causing trouble for those around them. That they're better off gone closing in further.On a sliding scale, extroverted people are more likely to find fault in their failed endeavors in outside factors. Other people, or things beyond their control. More introverted people are more likely to do the opposite, and seek fault within. Are any of those people wrong? Are they right? It varies, but to the person themselves, it's obviously the truth... And that's the only thing that matters - For better or worse.The world certainly seems brighter to you after emerging from an Atelier aligned with a Mana of unconditional love, doesn't it? People are happy to see you, and glad to help you. You have friends, and they're caring enough to forgive you, and offer their shoulder.How lucky you are.
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Q: How come Ari called us Irue when we revealed her secret to Rinnier but she wasn't able to do so in the last thread?

A: January 12, 2018
What Ari is able to do, and what she is willing to do, are not always the same.
---

Q: Kara and Raid would know who the mayor conspired with, yes?

A: January 12, 2018
Probably not, no.Putting aside Kara herself, who makes a deliberate point of distancing herself from any kind of complicated details to keep her life simple, Raid is still a child. One possibly bordering on, or in, his early teens, but still effectively a kid.The person most likely to know anything about the mayor's conspiracies would be Maro, as it was his role as Alpha to negotiate and make decisions on behalf of the pack. Their leader and "face". Even then, you shouldn't expect much; Telling demihumans anymore than necessary is a trait often restricted to people they've taken as their prey, and Irue. Doubly so if all you need from them as mercenaries is to guard a specific spot.Still, he might know something.
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Q: If Valen Quest was in Japanese, what personal pronouns would the different characters use to refer to themselves?

A: January 25, 2018
This is an impressively weebish question to ask. I'm not entirely familiar with the details there, so expect some things to be wrong... but I'll give it a shot, I guess.Kara's the easiest answer, and she'd go with either Atai or Boku. The first in reference to her general lack of education/flippantry, with the second more because she's somewhat of a masculine character. Or at the very least, she doesn't understand femininity at all.Asche comes up next as a consistent user of 'Sessha'. It's worth noting that she would have done this long before Irue became an orphan, as well. I say this fully noting its archaic/deprecated use. Dullem defaults to Boku pretty easily. He's not a fan of having authority or people looking to him, and is quick to show deference to anyone else willing to take the spotlight. In situations where he'd be forced to a figure of authority, he's actually far more likely to appeal to someone else's authority in place of his own - IE: He'd refer to himself captain of "Irue's" Knight's, rather than "The" knight captain.Ari took some research, and the answer is essentially that she wouldn't. Initially the idea was to tag her with a pronoun which depreciated herself as someone unimportant or not worth notice, but consulting with some people and referencing some texts informed me that the language has evolved such that the most common way of doing something like that would be to speak in a manner which avoided referring to oneself at all. There are some cases where she would feel above some one else, but in those situations the alteration would be a ruder form of address towards them, rather than a more respectful self-address.Irue and Rinnier both default to Watashi/Watakushi depending on circumstances. The latter for more official/public conversation, with the former for more casual or private conversation. They're both of fairly high pedigree and status (or are used to being of high status), so there's little reason for them to speak below their station in any given circumstance.
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Q: What is it with you and androgyny? Are we in your magical realm?

A: February 08, 2018
There are a couple answers to this, but unfortunately none of them involve magical realms. The first answer just being that there's always a reason for it in the quest.Using Foxfire, since it's the easiest to explain, you played a fox. Or at least, the mythological equivalent of general fox lore and folktale. Some players noted that the OP image had been edited to be more androgynous, and yes, that was done deliberately. This is because foxes are known as merciless shapeshifters in a lot of cultures, and their gender was a moot point. Sometimes they were handsome men, sometimes they were beautiful women, all the time they were tricksters. You, as a fox spirit, had no concept of gender - Only one of "Self". You could easily take on either role, and switch between them as easily as you switched between identities and faces. It was a tool for you, just another one in your arsenal. Ultimately you existed as a collection of concepts, and I tried to keep that very present in the narrative.I'd like to revisit Foxfire sometime and run it properly.
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Q: Elly mentioned us as being included in Renunion, should we be worried about Irue having been corrupted from the start? Is that why mana won't touch us?

A: February 16, 2018
Looking back through the threads, the time I THINK you're referring to was:"It's more than just us, though. If you think about it, it's a time for everyone's reunions. Dryad's beloved returning to the Shrine, my brother coming to visit again after so long, and even you. We're all returning together."It was meant to be an encouragement regarding finding Ari. Essentially "The Mana wills Reunion, so I'm sure you'll find yours"That said, a great deal of implication (and maybe outright saying as such) went towards spelling out that Irue's inability to interact with Mana is because Dryad is possessive of you, and has been for a very long period of time. There's a reason you lived out there, after all.
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Q: Can Dryads ateliar be solved without the bracelet?

A: February 21, 2018
Yes and no.The Atelier would have provided an illusionary stand-in, and things would have progressed more or less the same all the way up to the end....At which point it's likely that Dryad would reject the person who solved it if they weren't part of the Valen bloodline. The outcome would have the opposite effect of lulling it back to sleep, and serve primarily to stir Dryad's fitful slumber closer to waking.You can imagine it as a sleeping child if you'd like. It begins to wake up and cries out for mother, and anyone could go there to try and comfort the poor thing, but it would spurn them and grow even more restless until it's mother finally came to lull it back to sleep.There's no special meaning to associating the Valen family with "mother" in this example, other than to point out that your bloodline provides a similar feeling of comfort and safety to Dryad. You are, after all, the only companion it's had since it was sealed. The only one who refused to abandon it.
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Q: Why does Irue have such difficulty hearing Dryad if its so possessive of us? Is it because of Irues mindset? Or maybe a result of Dryads conflicted(?) feelings for us?

A: February 21, 2018
Two reasons. One is a spoiler, and the other would count as a Forgetting. I'll give it to you though, because it's been a while.Irue's fundamental meditation towards Dryad is wrong.Mana don't change. They exist within a state of "Clarity" where they fully understand their purpose and role within the world. As far as they are concerned, fulfillment of that role is perfection. This is why the meditations haven't really changed - Mana are static, and forever idealized within the constraints of their Clarity. During your time with Dopplerue you got some insight into this, and how the human condition is entirely bereft of that Clarity. It's a featureless void without any idea as to why you exist, or what your purpose is. Your place in life is omitted, with no hint or explanation.So if Man is one extreme of that spectrum, and Mana is the other, Aeons and Adepts are found somewhere in between. In pursuit of a specific definition of Clarity, yet straying from the path as their humanity muddles their thoughts and leaves doubt and confusion to murky the path ahead.Going back, the Forsaken Child's Atelier went out of its way to point out that Mana cannot be sealed, they cannot be contained. No mortal force can oppose or restrain them. Yet Dryad was sealed - So how? That's what your entire journey in the Atelier was about. You learned how, in order to seal Dryad, they had to carve a vicious scar into the Mana, enough to shake it from Clarity and degrade one of the very Pillars of the World to "simply" an Aeon. Something with a strong sense of purpose, but whose path to proper Clarity had been lost within doubt and confusion.Elly taught you how to meditate to Dryad, how to pursue the Clarity Dryad always occupied. In order for her to have done that, you needed to meet her in those memories. In order for those memories to exist, the sealing had to have been completed. In order for the sealing to succeed, Dryad's Clarity would have to have been lost.
---

Q: Can the local Jinn adepts sense us teleporting?

A: February 22, 2018
If they're paying attention, yes. They wouldn't know it was you specifically, but are liable to be aware there are some bizarre things happening above Carona occasionally.
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Q: If Dryad woke up, would it cool off after a nice relaxing rampage? Would it be capable of regaining clarity?

A: February 23, 2018
In order: No, and maybe.The rampage wouldn't stop unless and until Dryad was forced to stop, and your guess as to how that's possible is as good as anyone else's, considering the Dominion of Luna went out of its way to ensure it never had to outright oppose a Mana. While it's been theoretically downgraded to "merely" an Aeon, that still falls firmly into the realm that the Shrine consider far beyond mortal capacity.Could it regain Clarity though? The Dominion of Luna, and by extension Artemis, certainly believed it was possible. If they didn't, why else try to discover a cure for its contamination? Whether they're right or not, however, remains to be seen.
---

Going to stop here for now, there's a lot more of ask.fm to port over, though.
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>>5757777
>Do we know how long it takes to set up a web, roughly?
>...if we assume nothing fancy, and a web the size of, let's say your house/the headquarters... Probably an hour or two?

>>5735867
>It was barely a snap of your fingers to consume the Luprecalia in its entirety.

What's going on here? It can't be Irue's time perception confusing her since a sandwich is very quick to make, it couldn't have taken the hooker more than 10 minutes tops. It's bizarre to me that we've gotten better at the web since after a certain point we went out of our way to use it as sparingly as we could. I would have expected our skills to atrophy, not improve by several orders of magnitude.
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>>5757806
The discrepancy is due to the date. At the time of answering you had not woven a great deal, and were constantly trying to do weird things with it. As you have woven more, you've gotten more efficient at doing so and less susceptible to getting carried away.

Your "skills", or more to the point your resistance to getting utterly consumed by the temptation of weaving won't atrophy. The biggest threat in that regard is if you tried to turn to 'A Spider's Web' as a form of escapism.
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>>5757800
>Irue's fundamental meditation towards Dryad is wrong
So basically the Clarity that Elly tried to teach to us isn't the actual Clarity Dryad once possessed? Or it's the correct version of Clarity, but Dryad can't hear us because it can't achieve this correct version?
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>>5757835
Closer to the latter, but yes! Artemis ripped Dryad from Clarity in order to weaken it so that it could be sealed. What Elly taught you was correct, and embodies what Dryad should be, should have been, were it not for Artemis' interference.

But that isn't what Dryad is anymore. It is a bitter, vengeful thing which has stewed in envy and resentment for a very long time.
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Q: If our bracelet is capable of facilitating communication with all mana, then was it Mints relic?

A: March 14, 2018
Yes. This was actually pointed out in the Imprisoned Child's Atelier, but the bracelet you've always taken for granted as a memento of your sister's - Possibly a family heirloom - Was originally owned by Mint. It's what allowed her to establish herself as one of the most powerful Adepts ever.Sometime after she died, it found its way back to the Founder due to Luna's Dominion seeking him out to help with sealing Dryad. They couldn't make heads or tails out of how to use it, and didn't have the time to study it, so they gambled on him knowing more about its utilization than they did.So naturally you'd think it might have BECOME a family heirloom from then, right? But no one ever really comments on it, or any sort of historical connection to the Valen family. In fact, the first time it even shows up again is after your sister said she found it laying around and started wearing it.
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Q:To what extent does dryad/dryad's domain of life have a presence outside the atelier? I mean, it must have some since life still exists, right? Does that tree in our house have anything to do with it?

A: March 27, 2018
Life goes on, but continues to fade the longer Dryad remains asleep. This is most easily noticed in setting by the mentions of declining birth rates, and how society has changed its stance around such that finding ways to reproduce often takes precedence over birthright succession or maintaining bloodline purity.There are some vague exceptions to this, if you could call them that. One of them being that those in close proximity to Dryad's Atelier naturally have much higher potency of life. Dryad's presence fades more slowly the closer to its Throne you get, which means that the particular corner of La'Fiel that the Valens occupy is among the most fertile places in the world.Then there's East Heaven, which has been previously noted to be a place of unusually high concentration for most Mana. For whatever reason, Adepts of East Heaven have historically been ridiculously strong - Typically rivaled or surpassed by those who live their lives around a specific Mana's Throne. Dryad's absence has affected them as well, but it's normal to suspect that it's to a lesser extent. Since its borders have been so tightly shut, it's difficult to say for sure how they've been doing in the past two decades or so.And yes, the Nymph's Wood is related to Dryad. I was pretty sure this was made really clear, but their connection is very important.
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Q: How fertile are demihumans when compared with normies?

A: May 02, 2018
A funny question, and the answer is kind of funny on its own. They're actually MUCH more fertile than normal humans, and the lack (or surplus) of Dryad's presence barely affects them.That said, their infant mortality rates have been previously discussed, and as such their actual offspring count in comparison to humans are typically just as low. Perhaps a little lower or higher, depending on the sample size of humans and their proximity to Dryad. The further away from Dryad's Throne you go, the more apt demihumans are to outbreed humans.
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Q: Is Irue liable to panic or cry if she sees the Behemoth?

A: May 02, 2018
Irue has encountered the Behemoth briefly, during their final encounter with the Mayor. It was kept primarily obscured in the dark though, so not much mind was paid to it.If Irue were to encounter it properly on the surface, or in circumstances where its full bulk could be seen, I imagine there'd certainly be a reaction... At which point, I'm forced to wonder what would be responsible for more collateral damage: The Behemoth, or Irue?
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Q: If we lulled Dryad back to more pleasant dreams, does that mean anyone entering the ateliar would experience something other than the sealing?

A: May 02, 2018
Assuming they could get inside the Atelier, they'd probably be subjected to a recollection of Irue's last successful cycle though it.Irue took the role of the Founder during it, and for all intents and purposes, they had the freedom to basically do whatever they wanted. If certain things didn't occur by the end, the entire sequence reset. The reason for this is that the sequence is Dryad's memories, and it's constantly reliving those memories... But after a while, details start to fade. Specific words, the exact order of events, etc. Eventually even the conclusion grows fuzzy, and this is when Dryad begins to rouse.It's a traumatic memory, but the ending is what keeps it pacified. When it starts to forget how it really ended, it starts to panic and grow distressed. Starts trying to force itself awake, and free from the nightmare. By lulling it back to pleasant dreams, Irue did their best to reenact the pact the Founder made all those years ago, and in doing so remind Dryad of the crucial parts it was beginning to forget.Whether what Irue did was really what the Founder did isn't something you could say for certain. The fact Irue had to do it at all means the details were already forgotten... And that's to say nothing of the people who had to do this before Irue. What's important is that the end result was close enough for Dryad to accept that "Yes... It was something like that, wasn't it?" and begin to calm down again.
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Q: Is Irue's forgetfulness a manifestation of Dryad's love?

A: June 07, 2018
No, that's silly! One of the supplementals hinted that Irue's father was also forgetful, so it could be a lineage thing... Or it could just be Irue is distracted with everything going on and can't recall things quickly....Or you could blame Irue's mother.
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Q: Would any of our knights have a useful level of affinity? Would Irue be able to bring out their talents with some guidance?

A: June 13, 2018
I feel like this question has been asked before, and the answer then (as now) would be that you'd need to check. There may very well be a couple with varying affinities hidden amongst your knights who just never had the opportunity to polish themselves. I vaguely recall this question being asked in a thread at some point...?Normally I'd say it's something Rinnier could have taken care of for you offscreen, but in this case I don't believe that's possible. Outing some of your knights as potential Adepts would result in split allegiances, as the Shrine would want them under their wing in exchange for training and cultivation. Their organization's entire precept revolves pretty heavily around preventing those with the favour of the Mana from being exploited and used by those in power.There are, obviously, exceptions to this. They do not FORCE Adepts to obey their tenets, and many find themselves willingly under the employ of people who suit them. Points in case being the Wisp Adept you fought in Carona, or Alouette. However it comes down to a question of loyalty and opportunity - How many of your knights do you believe would stay the course with Irue if they were offered another avenue of life to peacefully pursue?Some certainly would. Irue is their saviour, and has gone to great lengths to prove themselves to the knights. Some also would not; Irue is their only option, and while the option isn't a bad one, they would be amiable to alternatives if presented. Of those camps, and anyone in between, you should ask yourself if the risk of losing them is worth the value of gaining a fledgling Adept.Note: The actual question is if Irue could guide them personally to some level of competence, and the answer is yes, but to no great depth. Irue has the expertise for beginning forms of meditation, and in most cases an intellectual understanding of intermediate practices - But no actual experience in guiding them practically. Irue could provide a direction, and then the rest would be up to their personal motivation and affinity.
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Q: What was Dryad even doing to corpses to turn them into oakenbears? Was it turning the souls of the recently dead into apparition cores?

A: June 27, 2018
That's a bit too fanciful. Oakenbears are inspired by old wivestales of how the trees at the sites of battlefields or suicide hotspots will feed on the blood that soaks the earth, and in doing so grow a taste for human flesh.The Oakenbear itself is... Not quite a cat's paw, but the actual origin of the apparition is a tree elsewhere that grew lost in Dryad's spite and mourning. It creates the Oakenbear form that you're aware of to wander the forest and indiscriminately kill whatever it finds, then consume the corpses. Once consumed, the corpses don't undergo any particular metaphysical transformation, they're just rotting meat that will eventually be consumed as fertilizer, offering extremely minute reprieves to the apparition's inherited ire - But never enough. The bear will grow larger over time, as more emotional distress is accrued.It was mentioned a couple times, but Oakenbears aren't natural occurrences, in the strictest sense. Dryad is, by the concept of its existence, not meant to feel these sort of things. They're a symptom of the scarring inflicted on it in order to keep Dryad distanced from its Clarity; Manifestations of its unresolved feelings of helplessness, resentment, and aimless anger. As it drifts closer to wakefulness, those feelings increase in intensity and drift towards the surface, eliciting the conditions for them to spawn naturally.It's also possible to encourage their creation by leaving bodies in the woods. They serve as token reminders to Dryad of what was lost. In some ways you could consider this as a hastening of its natural waking cycle, as it will inevitably shorten the periods of time between Valen scions needing to renew their contract with Dryad and lull it back to sleep.So there is the common wisdom that unhandled corpses will summon Oakenbears, which is true, but the root of their creation has little to do with the corpse itself. Since you've lulled Dryad back to sleep, it is exceedingly unlikely you will encounter another Oakenbear the rest of the quest... Unless Dryad is stirred back awake for some reason.
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Q: Why was Irue so poorly informed of the fae and the Atelier she lives next to and was duty bound to one day solve? Seems like the kind of thing that'd come up in the heir's education, or is it that we were totally informed and Luna just stole that knowledge?

A: June 28, 2018
Luna didn't interact with you until after you stumbled upon information about the incident with Dryad via the ruined Shrine, so you can safely write that out. After that, it's not a guaranteed thing that each generation will encounter the Atelier; It only needs to be visited once Dryad begins to wake, which can result in multiple generations of Valen heirs never stepping foot in it.Alright, so what? It's such an important topic that it seems obvious they'd at least try to WARN potential heirs about it even if it's a rare occurrence, right?Recall that Irue's family died when Irue was a child of roughly eight years, long before they could have been instructed on it. So then the question turns to what's happened in the FOLLOWING decade - More specifically, eyes turn towards aunt Clara. As a potential heir, she should have been taught. Why didn't she teach you?But there are discrepancies there. When you questioned her about the fey, you learned that she believed them to be friendly, and trusted them enough to look after Irue... And you learned that she was surprised Irue DIDN'T know about them.So now we have three questions:
1. What does Clara know about the fey, really?
2. What prevented Irue from learning about them?
3. Where would information on them be stored?The third question has a very simple answer, in that it'd obviously be in the Valen archives. As it is such precious information, it would certainly not be in the public section, which leaves the Founder's personal library - Incidentally that would also most likely be the source of any such information in the first place. So the information you would be seeking could be found there!Except you went there, and it wasn't. What did you find there...?I hope you haven't forgotten already.
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Q: Can we meditate and talk to Dryad without becoming corrupted? If we aren't already, I guess.

A: September 01, 2018
By definition, the answer is "No", and the reason why is pretty elementary.... But it is a technicality.The contamination spread between Dryad and its Adepts. If you'll recall, this is what necessitated all of the Dryad Shrine being wiped out - It would be impossible to permanently "cure" Dryad if its Adepts still held the contamination within them. They would become a vector to target the Mana.Conversely, this is also why removing Dryad didn't "save" the Adepts. Its contamination had no bearing on their own status once it had passed. That vector of communication between Adept and Mana was how the Luna Shrine concluded it spread.Why is this important?Because the strength and potency of an Adept has very little to do with any of their own power. In fact, for all the supernatural force Adepts display, it is vitally important to remember that none of that is... Because of them. The effectiveness of an Adept is tied almost entirely to their mindset and how well they can communicate and speak with their Mana. It's a practice of understanding and requesting actions, aid, or otherwise from the greater power that had already taken a shine to them.In other words, you can look at nearly every ability an Adept displays and categorize it as a communication with their Mana, be it conscious or subconscious. Those with the ability to speak to a Mana innately have some degree of similarity to that Mana's world view, and by aligning yourself in such a manner, you are deliberately doing your best to adapt your mind to a state more malleable and receptive/understanding.This "corruption" can then be considered as a sort of mental virus. The very act of communicating with an infected Mana acclimated your mind to be more like an environment it has already proven it can flourish in."But Riz, you said it was a technicality. That sounds pretty damning!"There's another option, obviously. What if you DON'T acclimate your mind? What if your entire communication is done using some manner of intermediary? A translator, or a buffer. Some kind of third party filter between yourself and the Mana.There are a couple ways to accomplish this, and one of them is to simply talk to an Adept rather than the Mana itself. There's another way, of course, but it's something I know you'd never forget, so there's no reason for me to explain any further.
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Q: Where did you pull that "we're friends because we're distantly related" stuff from? Looks like you combined a few votes in the most uncharitable way possible, ensuring no one's sentiments got through.

(answer coming, it actually exceeded char limit)
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>>5757887
A: September 29, 2018
I opened the thread to go back over and collate some votes and chatter for reference on this, so I can talk a little about how/why it turned out like that.There were three main components going into that dialogue section: "What was it like having friends?"(1), "Are we friends?"(2), and "We may be distantly related"(3).1 and 2 are obviously linked, and the general sentiment I got from anons regarding them were that they knew asking 1 was going to come off lame, and there was simultaneously a desire to take the risk of sounding mopey, but also try to avoid being autistic with 2. So from this, we can follow the general dialogue progression of Irue broaching the topic of friends by asking Rinnier what friends she had back in Teranford - At this point Irue had already PLANNED to segue into discussing whether they were friends, but Rinnier's answer to this was disconcerting. Essentially her response to that opening was "I worked with them from childhood, but I never really considered them friends", which Irue notes internally afterwards, kind of threw a wrench in the entire conversational progression they expected. We get to how 2 + 3 were rolled together, and why 3 is a little problematic.3 and 2 are both approaching points of familiarity from slightly different angles. One implies a familial relation, while the other is a personal friendship. It doesn't matter if we pose 3 before or after 2, as the dialogue flow begins to resemble...
"Hey we're connected right?" -> Yes -> "Hey we're CLOSER right?"
"Hey we're connected right?" -> No -> "Okay but what about like this?"
Either of those give a sense of persistent desperation, which some may argue is of the autistic flavor. Arguably 2+3 simultaneously does as well, but the difference in execution there allows for Irue to forge along onto other points (being stabbed, almost dying) before a legitimate answer can be given to 3.This was a long explanation to put context into place, but to answer your initial question: 3 was rolled into 2 in such a way as to be deliberately posed and then passed over quickly to focus on other things. The criteria that Rinnier laughed at was Irue getting impaled and dying, not the blood relation - In fact, it was never actually acknowledged. Again, this is deliberate.Because it was posed, but the conversation pressed past it before it was acknowledged, we can reframe it from desperate persistence to an emotionally awkward grasping at straws, which fits Irue's inexperience with these topics and how they're not used to interacting without a guard of sorts.Because it was never answered, it lays the foundation for Rinnier or Irue to bring it up again at a later date, disassociated from "I think we're friends", because it sets the proverbial item on the table to be addressed and contemplated separately.I'm not sure if this helps any, but those were my thoughts. It wasn't deliberately uncharitable, but I guess I messed up?
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Q: Is La'Fiel somewhat based on France? Its the impression I got with the whole knights and nobles shtick. The name sounds vaguely French too. I am very interested in such things

well fuck, there's more of these.
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>>5757891
A: January 03, 2019
Talking about this probably going to be embarrassing! It's not intentionally so, but I can't deny that France's history is a hotbed for the medieval aesthetic. As some of my anons are probably well aware by now, I'm actually fairly ignorant of a lot of historical minutiae such as precise rank distinctions, population counts, etc... I suppose it is most accurate to describe most things as "Somewhat based on [Thing]".When it comes to La'Fiel in particular, the system of governance I aimed to create was one more akin to a fiefdom where the ruling Crown acted as an overseer and political centerpiece to their nation, while the territory itself was divided into smaller fiefs that would be handled by the nobility. You could name them dukes or barons or marquises(?) I'm sure, but I'm not confident enough in my understanding of those terms to use them properly, so I default to the simplest divide of "Royalty" and "Nobility" where possible.From there the concept of knighthood is something I know a lot of people correlate to the english, but you're actually on point in that I associate the flavor of romanticism I derive from it and the whole order of chivalry thing to be based more in the french. Orders of Chevalier, or Charlemagne/Roland's Paladins, my idea of knighthood is one rooted more in devotion than character. It's a running theme in Valen. titles of significant import carry with them little indication of personal affinity and more an inherent vesting of trust that "They who hold this title make actions which shall reflect on me". The Testament are like that to a particularly intimate degree, but it's something slightly atypical outside of House Valen. It's a natural extension of knighthood in setting taken to an extreme degree, as all you technically NEED in Valen to be considered a knight is to have someone with authority declare you such. Your birth, personality, skill and history are moot points, as the title conveys little other than "I have recognized this individual's merit to act officially on my behalf", and because of this the behavior of most knights is entrenched in self-policing than outlined pledges and charters of virtue sworn to oath.Alouette touched on this a long time back, but no one is born a knight. Not because they lack skill, discipline, or temperament - though many do - But because no one is born inherently valuing someone else over themselves. The devotion to an individual (or purpose) which defines knighthood is something an individual must gain. Without it, even with the title of "knight", they will act primarily in self-serving ways and miss the point of knighthood in its entirety. Of interesting note is that Alouette isn't a knight. Irue remarked on this some time ago, but devoted as she is, she's only a "guard". She's turned down multiple offers for knighthood before, and there's a reason for that.This swiftly became not about France, but I hope it answered your curiosity to some degree!
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Q: What is House Valen's coat of arms like? I remember you telling us that Valen colours were reddish-maroon and white-silver (or something among those lines) but, unless if I missed it, no other information
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A: January 30, 2019
I'm only a full month late answering this. Part of that was doing research for a proper answer, the other was time spent thinking (and failing at thinking) on a satisfactory answer.The coat of arms as I've come to understand is composed of four parts: Motto, Crest, Shield, and Supporter. Also it seems impossible to make this thing meaningful without it also looking garrish and obnoxiously colored, which irritates me.Tackling the Crest first, representative of a notable achievement of the family or individual: An oak tree in full bloom. This tree is black, which to my understanding represents a number of things - Grief and regret among them, but also constancy and prudence. As the Warden of Dryad there is no greater achievement to House Valen. As you are well aware the act itself was one that inspired little but misery and regret, but in being Dryad's Warden the family house is bound to Dryad faithfully and perpetually, as such constancy is also an accurate descriptor, and prudence is self-explanatorily the motive which drove the events of the Atelier in the first place. The actual meaning of this was lost to MOST of the Valen family outside the few who renewed the contract, and to public knowledge it represents their arboreal lands. The tree is flanked by two sets of pointed fey-like wings which are silver.The Shield is a misnomer as this part assumes they bore a shield into battle. While most in setting would still use a shield in their coat of arms, house Valen is unique in that it uses a sword. This is also the first instance i'll mention of historical changes, as initially it used a bow in description of the founder's hunting weapon of choice, but it was changed to a sword some generations later in a symbolic gesture referring to the rarity of those who were deserving of swords in setting. Explicitly it can be read as "We are the elite". This weapon is maroon, which signifies fortitude, patience, and victory. In a way you may look at this combination as an explicit statement that they're not merely the elite NOW, but will continue to be so.Supporters are typically animals or people standing on either side of the shield to support it. It's meant to tell a part of the "origin" of a family or heraldry... In our case it's a small field of red mint which the sword is supported by pommel first. Red representing generosity, the strength of a warrior, and martyrdom. the plant needs little explanation. "Shouldn't they be green?" you might ask. The answer is funny. And by funny I concede it's a little sad. Simply put the founder of House Valen, as you may gather from reading the quest itself, took a very long time to come to terms with their own feelings, and understanding both how to identify what they felt, and what was felt towards them. By the time they had it was far too late, and rather than publicly change their coat of arms to reflect that, it was left red in fond memory."No one remembers you like I do."
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Q: Are Luna adepts capable of "cheating" their way into solving an atelier?

A: February 04, 2019
No.They could theoretically learn who the Atelier was made by or for, they could deduce its occupant (or former occupant), and they could logically discern the events and feelings which compose it. For Irue, these are major hurdles to be cleared in Ateliers, and a Luna Adept could cheat these aspects to understand them quickly. The problem which prevents them from using this to Solve an Atelier is that giving the correct answer will still get you the wrong result. You could know everything about the Atelier and still be rejected by it. Ateliers are extremely lethal to most people not only due to the Guardians, but also because just being inside of them exposes you to mental corruption. That corruption will get worse the longer you spend inside them, the Atelier forcibly dying you in its colors.Solving an Atelier requires the ability to empathize and understand it, while not being consumed by it. In other words...Even if a Luna Adept had a friend who was hurt, and they knew what hurt them, and they knew what emotions they were going through... Sitting down with that friend and listing these problems to them doesn't mean that the Luna Adept understands. Telling them the reasons they should logically cheer up or move on doesn't help. In some cases it can only make things worse... Ateliers are almost always those sorts of cases. The Luna Adept's friend may have gotten angry at them for not empathizing - The Atelier's ire would result in a very angry Guardian.
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Q: Has Asche been purging Irue of Dryad mana?

A: April 08, 2019
She's had to ward away apparitions getting too close, but the only person she's ever thought to outright purge is Ari. You may imagine the period of time everyone spent drunk off faedka after the Rite was a particularly troublesome period of time for her, though.At least a handful of your knights unknowingly have Asche to thank for not becoming parents... Though whether they'd consider that something to be "thankful" for in the circumstances of the setting or not is debatable.
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Q:Does Irue actually trust Raid or is she only saying that to appease him?

A: June 25, 2019
Yes, to a degree. The answer as to whether Irue trusted Raid or not was voted on by the anons, and it was delivered genuinely - Irue legitimately has faith in Raid. Will follow Raid, will trust Raid, and when given information by Raid will consider it meaningfully.This trust is placed, as per repeated warnings from Rinnier and anon's own interest in caution, primarily as a hazardous investment. It is not blind faith and it doesn't entail single minded belief. Irue is well aware that trusting Raid is potentially dangerous and may come back to bite them later - This is a choice, and a consequence, that Irue has made their peace with in order to give Raid a legitimate chance to prove that trust isn't misplaced.Accordingly, you're occasionally given the option to believe or disbelieve something he's told you as an indication of Irue's caution manifesting in reasonable doubt. In all such cases the anons have held true to their decision to keep believing, so take that as you will.
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Q: Do the desert-inhabiting peoples of Terranford have any significant differences in appearance to the neighboring nations?

A: June 25, 2019
They're darker skinned on average due to it, but there's not a great deal of differences. They're not geographically separated all that far from the other nations, and it's somewhat common for bloodlines to mix.Rinnier is a notable example of the latter, as despite being Teranford royalty, her skin is significantly lighter toned since her mother (and said mother's entire family line) was native to East Heaven. This makes her a first generation mix, and thus she's worse with the sun than her father and brothers. It's one of the reasons they were often overly wary of her exertions......Though such wariness was entirely uncalled for. She is lighter toned, but hardly ill suited. It takes a great deal for her to sunburn. She would be the first to tell you it was an excuse to try and constrain her.
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Q: What is Rinnier's favorite food

A: December 24, 2019
"Favorite" is a picky word. She has a nostalgic taste for wild baked potatoes, though. When camping in Teranford they're relatively easy to find and are similarly easy to make for just by burying the potato in the coals of their campfire. She ate these often when her older brothers took her on hunts or patrols, so there's memories associated with it.Fruits are a delicacy for her, because Teranford didn't have many of them. Things like oranges, grapes and strawberries are all pretty interesting to her since they're exotic foreign delicacies in her mind. Of course in La'Fiel, or East Heaven, such things are pretty abundant.But if you're aiming for just general favorite food then Rinnier is a fan of stir fried cooking styles. As a nation abundant in Salamander's favor, their fine control over flame led to a lot of spectacle performances of lightly cooking their ingredients, and for many of Teranford's native (amateur) Salamander adepts, this activity is a common training exercise to get practice communing with Salamander while focused on other things.This was touched on in the first couple threads actually, as without Salamander's favor to cheat the process she actually has no idea how to do it - Not that she could try even if she wanted to.
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Q: What is Irue's favorite vegetable

A: December 24, 2019
Probably tomatoes. "But that's a fruit!" - I inevitably hear someone say. I'm not going to argue its status as vegefruit, but bear in mind that Asche was the one doing all of the cooking for Irue for about a decade, and as you may remember, she started off really bad at it. Tomatoes one of the few things Irue could rely on to be edible and tasty without much preparation. This is a preference born of necessity.
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Q: How big is the city of Ephlesia? Does it have walls? Basically, asking for some more details on the city itself

A: January 01, 2020
It's pretty big, and it has walls. Details on the city are fairly scarce since Irue's never been there, and the people who have been there are reluctant to actually discuss things with Irue in most cases.It's a city situated in a heavily mountainous region at the very western tip of the continent, where there's not a whole lot in way of farmable land, huntable game, or the like. There's a lot of rocks out there, and not necessarily a lot of ore. By all rights it's a terrible place to set up camp, much less town, yet Ephlesia is known regardless as the venerated City of Scholars and is the chosen headquarters of Artemis, standing inexplicably as a sovereign nation-state. When that entire section of the continent is referenced, it is identified only by the one - single - settlement within it: Ephlesia.It's also the single most technologically advanced place in setting. Hundreds of years of society under the meticulous care of Artemis has ensured the advancement of knowledge and education among the people in ways the rest of the setting couldn't dream of. You may recall that in the past the La'Fiel Crown had trade agreements with Ephlesia, primarily revolving around how Ephlesia itself lacks a lot of the natural resources that La'Fiel's verdant cradle has a surplus of. This makes a lot of sense on Ephlesia's part, forming a working relationship to acquire the things their region lacks, but what about La'Fiel?What do you think Ephlesia was trading them for so long to be worth supporting their city?Whatever the case, with trade relations having broken down Ephlesia should by all accounts be struggling. Who knows if that's true or not, though.
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Q: Is Irue even capable of loving someone?

A: January 01, 2020
Hahaha...
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Q: One of each type of Adept is locked in an arena. They all have the same amount of favor with their respective mana. Who wins?

A: January 03, 2020
I'm going to assume the favor is significant, otherwise it mostly becomes an individual question. In which case the answer is technically Dryad, because they will die first and still be alive when everyone else is gone.Wisp is an extremely powerful contender due to their natural healing, strength and hardiness. All of that makes them incredibly difficult to deal with, but they have a natural enemy in the Shade adept. Said Shade adept isn't necessarily strong on their own and is actually fairly defenseless on their own, which means that if they're eliminated then the Wisp adept becomes a much larger threat... Which is ideal for the Wisp adept, and not ideal for anyone else, and since the Wisp adept can't bring their advantages to bear against the Shade adept, it creates an awkward stalemate in the fight's progression.The Luna adept would know this intrinsically and view the best outcome to be eliminating the Wisp adept first and foremost, or keeping the Shade adept safe while using the Wisp adept to deal with the Gnome, Undine, Jinn and Salamander adepts. Luna adepts have blatantly unfair combat cognition, but aside from that, their physical abilities are as normal as the Shade adept. These two are technically easy pickings for the more elementally inclined adepts, but again a complication arises as they don't want to eliminate the Shade adept until the Wisp adept is brought in line, and targeting the Luna adept is likely to be anticipated.Any one of the elemental adepts would probably lose to the Wisp adept, but two or more start to effectively overwhelm them. Jinn and Undine for example, or Salamander and Gnome, as those two often mingle between themselves. Their worst enemies are also the opposite pair, which means that they would want additional aid in dealing with them - Whether that means Luna's predictions or Wisp's strength.Of those two, Undine is closest to Luna and would thus probably work together with Jinn to pit Wisp against Gnome and Salamander, using the Shade adept or their own betrayal to eliminate Wisp after either Gnome or Salamander is taken down, then finish off the other one.-Wisp, Salamander, Gnome.With Wisp gone, Shade is tentatively useless, unless they destroy the Luna adept before being turned on, and Shade has a close relationship with Undine as well in the first place, so it's not out of the possibility. Either way, the next ones to fall are likely:-Shade, LunaFrom there Undine and Jinn remain. There's no clear answer to this result. So one of two things happens:1. One kills the other, the surviving one eventually dies of old age
2. They both kill each other.Either way Dryad is technically the only one to out live everyone.If it wasn't to the death then the answer is probably Shade or Gnome. Many of them would resign, but those two are stubborn.
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Alright, that catches us up to the start of 2020. There's still more ask.fm to go through, but it'll have to wait until later tonight or tomorrow.
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>>5757884
>What did you find there...?I hope you haven't forgotten already.
I did...
I thought Byrne might have falsified it, but he worked for Artemis, and it's in their best interests that the Valen heir knows how to keep Dryad asleep.
...or maybe not anymore? Then offing the heir and misleading the backup hair makes sense.

>>5757885
Huh, so we aren't corrupted.
Ari is, though...
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>>5757884
I wonder whether it is possible to break an Adept-Mana link by teaching them to meditate wrong as a joke.
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>>5758199
It is in their best interest that the Valen heir knows how to handle Dryad, anon. The could-be heir that is working with them already and is most malleable to their end goals.
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>>5757884
At the time I thought you were referencing the notes Ashe brought us but I get it now, we found Byrn in the middle of stealing from the archives.



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