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Hawksong. For a five hundred years—nay, even a hundred before then, during the War of Dragons and Elves!—it was known around the world. It was known for its might, its prosperity, its glory and its goodness. Under the reign of its Paladin Kings, an unbroken line of divinely-aligned warriors and diplomats, it established the great peace which all but defined the modern world for the peoples of the northern and western lands. Humans and elves, dwarves and halflings and gnomes, immigrants from the arid Southlands and distant Orient came to its ports. Races as distinct and distant as orcs, goblinoids, and beastmen pled fealty, for what else was anyone to do? Hawksong WAS the fabled ‘shining city on the hill’, a beacon to all the gods’ children…

Except those spawned by the Gods of Darkness.

For aeons, the children of the Old gods, the Dark Gods Beyond and Below, have eyed that so-called shining city avariciously and will ill-intent. Afeared of eagle-headed, lion-clawed war-chimeras and the holy warriors sat astride them, unable to muster to military force to topple an army which can be mustered to the tens of thousands, the scaly and slit-pupiled descendants of the Reptilian Master Race could do little but spitefully sabotage trade, stage the odd assassination, and generally make a nuisance of themselves. It was only recently, with an unexpected act of ambition from a lowly half-human Degenerate, that the scales began to tip. Seizing first the attention of the Dark Gods, and then the blood of a dragon-descendant, she weakened the shining city and birthed the perfect weapon to finally topple it entirely from its vainglorious and lofty place atop that hill-of-ages:

You.
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>>5745384
You are the DRAGONBORN ANTIPALADIN, a weapon born and raised to end the Age of Man and to usurp the surface-scum who the False Gods unleashed upon your people’s world. You were meant to destroy the Paladins and their Paladin King, to bring low the races of Man and Elf and anyone else who stood in your way. You were meant to bring about the New Age of Scales…

But sometimes destiny traces a serpentine path, winding and circuitous, and to a destination unseen by even the patient and ancient Gods of Darkness.

What began as a mission to rout a few kobold rebels and maintain the Great Conspiracy of the Serpent Priesthood blossomed into something MORE. You became a divine champion, took it upon yourself to resurrect the Bloodrise Kingdom of the Red Dragon King from days of old. You forged alliances, slaughtered monsters, and overturned the old order to remake the world in your own image!

Oh, you’ve slain a few Paladins, even one who was almost the Paladin King… But Hawksong still stands. You are a friend and admirer of Elvenkind (albeit mostly of an outcast, subterranean breed). You have a Dwarven apprentice. Some of your best friends are humans—well, half-human, in the case of your bodyguard and best friend, but your newest wife is in fact the very DAUGHTER of that Paladin King which you were born to destroy, and your child—so, too, a spiritual child of a Dark God—is seemingly destined to inherit that shining city.

You are a Dark Messiah, yes, but not of an Age of Scaly Supremacy, but of a multicultural and egalitarian New Age of Darkness for ALL peoples, united by the strength of your conviction and forged in the fires of your Dargon Soul.

Though no slouch with a sword, your faith has been your greatest weapon—in yourself, your mission, your friends and loved ones, and of course in your Gods Beyond and Below! After all, what is an Antipaladin without his divine patrons?

Only… They seem to be upset with you at the moment.
>>
>>5745389
Ever since you disregarded a direct order from the Serpent Ascendant, the Dark God of Glorious Bloodshed to whom you pledged your undying loyalty, you have felt… Off. The sensation has only worsened since you agreed, under oath and in the name of that same God of Prideful Conquest, to always and forever place the needs of Hawksong’s people—now YOUR people, with your wife soon to be formally coronated QUEEN Ekaterine—before even the Dark Gods.

Within your breast, the once-bound spirit of the Red Dragon King—your noble and uncompromising ancestor-of-yore—roils and rouses. Divine guidance alludes you, as the Feathered Serpent God whom you have served refuses to return your meditative missives.

You dream of fire. You, mostly dreamless for much of your life, now routine wake clutching your chest, your mind flashing with the sight and sound of a recurring nightmare wherein your draconic firelung swells, and burns, and finally explodes forth in an act of spontaneous combustion which leaves only your crown-helm intact, upon the brow of another.

The coronation of Queen Ekaterine is a month away. The birth of her child—YOUR child, albeit not your firstborn—is likely to take place shortly thereafter, given her abdominal swelling and usual human gestation periods.

What is a Dragonborn Antipaladin to do?
>You must discover the source of your spiritual malady, and address it—a journey to the deep places where the Master Race worships will help you find your centre and commune with the Gods
>You must be here for your Hawksong Queen, as her Prince-Consort and her loyal husband and protector, and to prepare for the coronation
>You will swallow your pride and turn to your embittered enemies (but also your wife’s avowed servants) for aid—the Holy order of Hawksong, AKA the Paladins
>Write-in

previous threads and the successor quest are at https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=reptoidqm
>>
>>5745390
>You must discover the source of your spiritual malady, and address it—a journey to the deep places where the Master Race worships will help you find your centre and commune with the Gods

Without our faith we are nothing

I like Eka, but we have done much for her in recent times. We must do this for us
>>
>>5745390
You must discover the source of your spiritual malady, and address it—a journey to the deep places where the Master Race worships will help you find your centre and commune with the Gods

We’re back

>Some of your best friends are humans—well, half-human
Lol
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>>5745390
>You must discover the source of your spiritual malady, and address it—a journey to the deep places where the Master Race worships will help you find your centre and commune with the Gods

We gotta start out by pointing out they lost against the gods of light. They're losers. They should just shut up and put all their chips behind a winner like us.
>>
>>5745390
>Write-in
>Go find your brother big green and mediate alongside him, doing so in the past has always calmed your draconic spirit.

I don't think you should go see, the dark gods. They will probably just complain we haven't been massacring enough worships of light
again. Or they will condemn or try to punish us for not listing to them, even though most the the aid they have given us has been firmly transactional.

>>5745401
>Without our faith we are nothing

We killed the devourer, beat hako's greed demon, burned the shogoth alive and cut down hapo's troll zombie. All without any hint divine aid. We don't need them to be a powerful warrior.
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>>5745401
>>5745412
>>5745433
>>5745467
It in unavoidable. You may resent the Dark Gods their impositions at times, but they are your very genesis, and your destiny: Alpha and Omega. You were conceived as the result of illegal, unauthorized cross-caste breeding, raised as a weapon, but it was your own choices—your own True Faith—which made you an Antipaladin. Religion is no mere transaction to you, justa s it was not to your Reptilian infiltrator mother. You are truly devout, and you must reconcile yourself with your Gods, or you are nothing.

“Eka, My beloved One…”

“You’re leaving.”

You’re stunned by her matter-of-fact response, and confused by the small (albeit sad, you think?) smile upon her flattish, pink-skinned human face. You hold it in your hands, and she giggle softly and blushes, brushing your hands aside and then holding them for a moment.

“You are not so sly a serpent as you seem to think you are, Prince-Consort,” she teases you gently.

You’re not so sure about THAT, since she still doesn’t know the full, grisly story of how she BECAME the sole candidate to succeed her father and (Gods willing) never will, but you let it slide.

“We share a bed. I’ve seen how this, ah, religious matter has troubled you,” she points out.

“I know you are due to be coronated ssoon,” you say, and your gaze drifts down, to her midsection—to her womb. “And…”

She squeezes your hands and stands on her tip-toes to kiss your cheek—a tender gesture.

“Then hurry back, if you can,” she says. “And if you can’t… You have done a lot for me. You need to do this for YOU.”

You smile, an expression that comes more naturally to you with each day you spend here in Hawksong, among the humans, in your human disguise…

“You know,” Ekaterine gently chides you, “you still do that too wide. You don’t need to show ALL your teeth.”

“It isss genuine,” you assure her.

“I know,” she says, smiling back. “It reaches your eyes.”

And so, with the blessing of your Human Queen, you set out.

Your course will be a winding one, over hills and through dale. Your ‘big brother’, the Great Green Dragonborn, has been waiting for well over the allotted week in the rocky hills past the ruins of Hawksong’s farming communities. Reestablishing security and food production in these places will be vital for your wife once she ascends to the throne, and preventing your brethren from falling into conflict with your newly-secured kingdoms will thus be key for the both of you… Something that will be difficult if they begin raiding farms for livestock (and farmers) to eat once more.
>>
>>5746136
Before you leave, though, you must consider whom to bring with you, and who to leave behind. Ekaterine may be Queen, but you know she is not without detractors-how could she be, a frail and sheltered neophyte monarch, scarcely more than two decades in age, with a common-born foreigner for a husband, filling the greatest power vacuum the northlands have seen in decades?

(Ha! ‘Foreigner’. If they only knew…)

And then there are the nobles and Paladins who DO know…Who have every reason to believe you are a Reptilian invader and a servant of the Dark Gods. They will be keen-eyed for weaknesses and missteps, opportunities to oust her or assert their own will… Something that might be all too easy when she gives birth. After all, you do not yet know how human your shared spawn shall be, once it emerges.

Who will you bring with you? And who will you leave to safeguard Ekaterine’s safety?
>Oluawadamilare the Archer, your half-human bodyguard and a stalwart servant and friend
>Infiltrator Halle, the snarky young female Silkscale who has helped your repeatedly in your time in Hawksong (though she DID briefly mutiny against you in favour of your rivalrous father and the Serpent priesthood)
>‘Albacete’, the mysterious elder Infiltrator who helped you reassert order over Hawksong’s Reptilian operatives and whose cover has apparently expired
>Sir Ewald, the outcast elder Paladin whom the Holy order cast out and stripped of his status after he agreed to comrpomsie with you following a decisive duel
>Someone I forgot
[Feel free to select multiple for either; anyone you don’t select to bring with you and do not assign to Eka’s defence will be assumed to remain doing their own thing, unattended.]
>>
>>5746138
>Oluawadamilare the Archer, your half-human bodyguard and a stalwart servant and friend
>Infiltrator Halle, the snarky young female Silkscale who has helped your repeatedly in your time in Hawksong (though she DID briefly mutiny against you in favour of your rivalrous father and the Serpent priesthood)

Olu is solid. We need albacete to keep the rest of the reptilians at ease while hawksong sort out the plague

Halle seems good without her father and brotherhood


>>5745412
>>
>>5746138
>Oluawadamilare the Archer, your half-human bodyguard and a stalwart servant and friend

>Infiltrator Halle, the snarky young female Silkscale who has helped your repeatedly in your time in Hawksong (though she DID briefly mutiny against you in favour of your rivalrous father and the Serpent priesthood)

Awww yeah, back to Dragonborn quest.
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>>5746138
>Bring Olu, leave all others
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>>5746150
>>5746154
>>5746247

[To be clear, are these all votes to leave Ekaterine to her own devices without an assigned aide/supervisor/guard, or are >>5746150 and >>5746154 votes for Albecete to take up that role?]
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>>5746285
I was thinking sir ewald could serve that role while albecete deal with the rest of the reptilian
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I’m >>5746150
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>>5746296
>>5746292
[Duly noted! Also...]
>>5746150
>without her father
[To clarify: Roth is your dad, but not hers. Halle's a different caste altogether, more closely related to Albacete, your maternal grandma, or your big bro's concubines than to your dad.]
>>
>>5746297
My bad. Must’ve misremembered a thing or two.

I’ll still stick with my vote. We don’t need roth intervening.
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>>5746138
>Oluawadamilare the Archer, your half-human bodyguard and a stalwart servant and friend
>‘Albacete’, the mysterious elder Infiltrator who helped you reassert order over Hawksong’s Reptilian operatives and whose cover has apparently expired

Halle’s cover is intact - she should stay

It would be good to bond with Albacete, she could become a good adviser to our Serpent Queen back home
>>
[Today's update will likely be late, as my bud has a birthday thing at the pub after work. Tomorrow's update will be sandwiched between a VtM game in the morning and a date in the evening. Just a heads up!]
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>>5746285
Albacete was meant to be Ekaterine's guard in my vote, at least.
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>>5746540
Good luck on your date RqM
May your date interested in reptilians and vampire, without being as extreme about them as a certain QM
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>>5746285
Have Albecete do it
She's experienced enough
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>>5746999
>>5746547
>>5746391
>>5746300
>>5746292
>>5746247
>>5746154
>>5746150
[Alright, locked and writing!]

>>5746935
Thanks, anon. Our first date involved watching From Beyond, so I think we're in the clear there.
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>>5747177
Well, first of all, you are OBVIOUSLY bringing Oluwadamilare, your half-human ally whom you know better as ‘Olu’ or ‘The Archer’. He is a skilled Infiltrator, yes, but ill-adapted to this land of pale and pinkish people, with his dark, brownish Southman hide, ESPECIALLY in a city which your people have conditioned to distrust men from the southern lands. Besides, he is probably your closest companion—DEIFNITELY, if you exclude the allies you’ve incorporated into your harem and your Big Brother—and you always feel better with him at your side.

But before you leave, there are two other Reptilians with whom you must meet.

You find the Infiltrators known as Halle and Albacete here. Both resemble the locals more closely than your Archer, though in truth they are far more distantly removed in their lineage—not human at all, but rather a pair of Silkscale females, from that caste famed for subtlety and finesse. When last you’d seen them, your swiftly-resolved ‘civil war’ among the Reptilian operatives in Hawksong had left them scorched and singed by your biological father’s breath weapon. When you are once more reacquainted, however, they are as good as new—and, in both cases, dressed more gaily than ever you have seen them.

“New clothes, courtesy of the Paladins,” Halle explains in Northern Common-tongue, before reverting to the true speak. “It is almost like these thieving surface-scum champions have nothing SIMPELR than filigreed silks.”

“They may not, for females,” Albacete notes wryly. “They do not admit them. These are clothes intended as gifts for… Well, let us simply say that they are less strict about their chastity than their membership criteria.”

Halle blanches, and gags a little, asking: “Is THAT why that one human was looking at me like… Oh gods. With an APE? I might vomit… Ah, no offence intended, Superior One.”

You simply stare until, embarrassed, the young female averts her gaze and mutters something unintelligible. The elder operative rattles softly with undisguised, Reptilian mirth, and bows her head.

“They have been treating you both well, then?” you inquire. “Attended to your health?”

“As they must, I understand,” Albacete confirms. “By order of the Queen-to-be and pricne-Consort-in-waiting, is it not so?”

“It is,” you confirm. “And it is in their best interest, if we to to contain, or avert entirely, the coming plague.”

“Are we?” Halle asks, pointedly.

“We are,” you affirm. “Infiltrator-called-Albacete, I expect you to aid the Paladins—and the human called ‘Ewald’—in quarantining affected areas, administering whatever aid is possible, and preventing spread. The Paladins shall purify the water if they can and—failing that—the Chaplain’s Daughter will soon provide a cure for the affliction.”
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>>5747216
You refer, of course, to the chimeric affliction which was set in motion by your father, and by the late Chaplain of the northern forward base: a Fleshweaver-wrought malady that turns men into false Degenerates’, scaled and fork-tongued, before beginning to cripple their inner tissues to the point of infirmity, sterility, or even death. Much like a siege by your Dragonborn brethren, this is one more attack by your fellow Truly Faithful which you have spared Hawksong, in your benevolent generosity.

“And what am -I- to do?” Halle asks.

“Share whatever information you have kept in strategic reserve, Infiltrator,” you command her, and your expression silences any objection that she has not done so. “Spare no details. Albacete will carry out her duties. You, you will be attending to duties of your own… With me. We are going home.”

Halle bites back a groan, instead bowing her head in supplication and hurrying to gather her things. When you depart, you can’t help but notice that—for someone who so criticizes the humans—she has acquired far more knickknacks and tchotchkes that your thrice-as-old progenitor, which she lugs in her pack as she joins your and the Archer.

Your journey to rejoin the other Dragonborn is a quest that takes the better part of a day. You could travel further by carriage, but for a few issues. First and foremost, of course, is your mutual antipathy with equids. Horses sense something wrong about you, no matter your guise, and seem to reject you instinctively. The gryphon-mounts of the Holy Order of Hawksong are an even more dire option, filling your companions (oaky, and even you) with a subtle dread. Besides this, and in spite of your new ‘arrangement’ with mankind, you are instinctively reticent to share the location of your fellows Reptilians or your people’s aeons-old hiding places with the race of Man, even now.

(You somehow doubt it would score many pints with the Dark Gods if you DID, for that matter.)

As a result, you risk being forced to camp out for the night in the forested plains or scorched farmland away from Hawksong’s beaten path… Or else to press on through the dark.

What will you do?
>Travel all through the night—you will rest when you reach your Big Brother’s hiding-place
>Find a farmstead and impress yourself upon the locals—you have coin to pay, and have grown used to comforts
>Camp in the woods and fields, far from prying eyes, that you and Halle may shed your disguises, and the three of you may speak openly among yourselves
>Write-in
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>>5747218
>Camp in the woods and fields, far from prying eyes, that you and Halle may shed your disguises, and the three of you may speak openly among yourselves

People might think something’s wrong when prince consort is out here basically alone

>>5746150
>>
>>5747218
>Camp in the woods and fields, far from prying eyes, that you and Halle may shed your disguises, and the three of you may speak openly among yourselves
>>
>>5747218
>Travel all through the night—you will rest when you reach your Big Brother’s hiding-place.

Last we saw big green was sleeping in a cave, we will have plenty of privacy to shed our disguise once we get there.
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>>5747218
>Travel all through the night—you will rest when you reach your Big Brother’s hiding-place
>>
>>5747768
>>5747747
>>5747447
>>5747352
[We'll await a tiebreaker before I tally and write, or I'll roll for it in a couple hours.]
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>5747938
>>
>>5748037
>>5747938
>>5747768
>>5747747
>>5747447
>>5747352
Well, one thing you CAN’T do is stay in a farmstead or settlement. Oh, sure, you are wearing a cloak and not your horn-crowned helm, and news can only travel so fast PARTICUALRLY in a time of political turmoil and dragon-attacks, but do you really want to run the risk of being recognized in your distinctive ‘Easterling’ identity and pegged as the Prince-Consort? It can only raise questions, and since you are resolved to at least TRY to avoid killing witnesses as a convenient way to hide your agenda moving forward, it is best to sidestep the matter entirely.

“Then can we not simply rest in the woods or something?” Infiltrator Halel whines.

“You have been forgoing the physical fitness regimen prescribed by the Serpent Priesthood, I see,” notes the Archer dryly.

“Your camp is NOT the one to be criticizing me for skirting regulation, Degenrate,” she snaps as your forced march continues. “And anyway, my cover identity as that of a human of low station and birth, and a female no less. The duties of Halle the Human are CLEANING and SEWING, and occasional light lifting, not trekking for many miles over difficult terrain!”

“Truly,” Olu the Archer quips, “I is an era of many changes.”

You suppress a laugh, and carry on. There will be time to rest when your each the Great One’s cave.

“BROTHER!”

Even the booming voice of the Great Green Dragonborn, towering titan of the purest draconic bloodline extant in the modern age, cannot compete with the screeches, rattles ,and chatters of the Red Dragonborn. You and your two companions are rapidly set upon by your nine orange-brown ‘younger siblings’ upon your arrival, an experience made particularly harrowing for your Silkscale ally by the Young Ones’ great size. To their credit, they at least do not attempt to eat with her, and even seem to show some restraint in how they lift, jostle, and toss her about.

“I have been t-teaching them ruh-ster-aint,” the Great One explains. “Med-uh-tating. Like we did together.”

You bow your head in grateful thanks, both for this newest task he has taken upon himself and for all he did for you growing up. IT is true: without his shamanic, often worldless lessons on finding inner peace and delving deep into the true heart of soul of being a Dragonborn, you would not be the king or prophet you are today—certainly no Antipaladin! You owe this elder male as much as the Dark Gods Beyond and Below, and more directly. Alas, before you can give him and his young charges the home which they deserve in recompense, far away in your mountain kingdom, you must ask him for one more thing.
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>>5748053
“May we shelter here for the night, Oh Great One?” you ask him. “We are weary… And soon, of course, we will be traveling again.”

“To our new home?” he asks, unable to hide the eagerness from his booming voice.

You nod, and he rattles in glee, which the younger Dragonborn mimic.

“Yes,” he agrees. “Of course, Litt-tul Brother.”

Halle (and even Olu, though less obviously) breathe a sigh of relief, neither of them eager to continue your travels tonight, deep into the collapsed and abandoned northern froward base or beyond. You all gather around a deep bit, filled with gathered forest debris, and with your siblings you light a blazing flame with your combined breath. The surviving harem-mates of the Great One—Silkscale females, unadorned with disguises, attend to you, and you and Halle both shed your own Amulets of Disguise and take up your true forms as the Dark Gods intended.

“Aaaaah,” Halle breathes out in relief, flitting her tail as it finishes reforming. “That IS better, I must admit. And… Oh! Is this…?”

“Human flesh,” one of the other Silkscale females confirms. “Yes.”
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>>5748056
Halle rattles happily, rubbing her hands together, before digging in. You look to the Great One questioningly, and he bows his head slightly in apology and shrugs an enormous shoulder.

“Wanderers,” he explains. “Got too cuh-lose. Had to take action, so we could hide. Did not want a big-guhr fight, or to have to move.”

You nod in understanding, but as one of the harem approaches you with a roasted human arm and a bowl of thickened blood, you cannot help but stare down at it. It would not be your first time—though sapient mammal-meat was a rare delicacy even for one of your station. There is still pork, mutton, and beef available, as well. But, well… You ARE part-human, as you have learned over these last few years, and have the capacity to empathize with and even LOVE humans like Ekaterine. Your tenth child (or eleventh, perhaps, depending on how things fare with the egg which you Serpent Queen ahs no doubt laid by now) will be half-human himself!

…Not that any of this stops Oluwadamilare the Archer from partaking, you suppose.

Will you consume human flesh and blood?
>Yes, when proffered or for ritual purposes
>No, never again—you can no longer bring yourself to do so
>No, and you will outlay anthropophagy in Bloodrise and beyond
>Write-in

While you are within the cave, taking your rest, is there anyone you wish to speak with, about your crisis of faith or other matters?
>Oluwadamilare, your close ally and a worldly traveler, raised as a ‘Degenerate’ hybrid
>Halle, a relative outsider and a loyalist of the Dark Gods and the Old Ways until recently
>The Great Green Dragonborn, your elder brother, wise in his way and perhaps enlightened by the Diadem of Clarity
>The females of the harem—did you ever learn their names?—who have been raised and taught in the ways of service, and have directly served the Serpent priesthood in some cases
>No, you will contemplate this alone, and take and earlier and fuller rest

Is there any other topic you wish to discuss?
>Marriage and parenting
>The future of the Master Race and the True Faith
>Anthropophagy and the future of Man
>The Gods of Light
>None
>Write-in

[Consider this a chance to pick companions' brains and establish plans, policies, and Theral's feelings.]
>>
>>5748061
>Only the blood and flesh of worthy foes, not any simple mortal

>Oluwadamilare, your close ally and a worldly traveler, raised as a ‘Degenerate’ hybrid
>The Great Green Dragonborn, your elder brother, wise in his way and perhaps enlightened by the Diadem of Clarity

>The future of the Master Race and the True Faith
>>
>>5748061
>Write-in.
>You will allow anthropophagy in regards to enemy's or criminal who you were planing to kill anyway. But you will try to limit anthropophagy based purely on recreational sacrifice.


>The Great Green Dragonborn, your elder brother, wise in his way and perhaps enlightened by the Diadem of Clarity

And


>Oluwadamilare, your close ally and a worldly traveler, raised as a ‘Degenerate’ hybrid.

>Write-in.
>Your kingdom and how to best bring long term prosperity to it.
>The future of the Master Race and the True Faith
>>
>>5748061
>Yes, when proffered or for ritual purposes

>The Great Green Dragonborn, your elder brother, wise in his way and perhaps enlightened by the Diadem of Clarity
>Oluwadamilare, your close ally and a worldly traveler, raised as a ‘Degenerate’ hybrid

>The future of the Master Race and the True Faith
>>
>>5748129
Supporting this

We shall not seek our human flesh, but cooked meat offered to us is different
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>>5748061
>No, never again—you can no longer bring yourself to do so

>Oluwadamilare
>The Great Green Dragonborn

>The future of the Master Race and the True Faith
>Anthropophagy and the future of Man

Times are a changing and you if we're to be a force of change then we need start treating our future citizens and religious followers as more than meat.
>>
>>5748061
>No, never again—you can no longer bring yourself to do so
>Oluwadamilare, your close ally and a worldly traveler, raised as a ‘Degenerate’ hybrid
>Halle, a relative outsider and a loyalist of the Dark Gods and the Old Ways until recently
>The Great Green Dragonborn, your elder brother, wise in his way and perhaps enlightened by the Diadem of Clarity

>Marriage and parenting
>The future of the Master Race and the True Faith

Never neglect wisdom, no matter where it comes.

>>5747352
>>
>>5748061
>>Yes, when proffered or for ritual purposes
>Oluwadamilare, your close ally and a worldly traveler, raised as a ‘Degenerate’ hybrid
>Marriage and parenting
>>
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>>5748464
>>5748362
>>5748349
>>5748161
>>5748129
>>5748109
>>5748073
You stare at the arm, at the fire-blackened, grasping hand. You turn the human limb over, regarding the liens of the palm, and consider this man or woman’s life and death, their likely profession, their family—their possible hopes and dreams, their future cut short.

You dig in.

It is what it is, you decide. You are hungry, and humans are meat… As, you suppose, are Reptilians, though your reaction to cannibalism of THAT sort still gives you a somewhat more visceral feeling of nausea. Oh, it’s not as if you plan to hunt humans as game-beasts, or to farm them for their flesh, but you are a DRAGON. If someone commits a crime worthy of torturous execution, should you simply throw their body, wastefully, from the cliffs, or burn it or bury it? And if you are offered delicious blood to quench your thirst, or to commemorate a great victory or anniversary, are you to deny your rich cultural heritage for the sake of propriety?

No, you are not so soft, and nor shall you impose such weakness upon your people.

Once you are done quenching that exact thirst, and your belly is full, you feel a little better for it—more YORUSELF, in some unplaceable way, or perhaps like the being you were not so long ago, before Hawksong and its Queen. You feel emboldened perhaps, and eager to set right whatever has one wrong in your three-chambered heart and in your lizard brain. The Hawksong Infiltrator called Halle and the other Silkscales seem to discussing things amongst themselves—she seems to be regaling them with tales of her assigned city in fact—but you wrest your subordinate from the harem’s clutches with some muted grumbling and set her to watch; the other females, you assign to supervise the Red Dragonborn.
“And what will YOU be doing, Superior One?” the Hawksong Infiltrator dares to ask, though with a deferent head-bow.

You call a council of your fellow males of the Master Race, to beseech their advice.

“Archer, Great One,” you address them both. “Our journey will take us not just to Bloodrise, but first to the northern forward base.”

You see your Great Green Dragonborn brother tense up at the thought of returning to the place which he has so recently escaped captivity, but you assuage his fears—it is to be a brief stopover, but a necessary one.

“I fea—I have concerns,” you begin, haltingly, unsure how to explain your predicament without showing weakness. “We have achieved many victories in Hawksong, but they were victories of… Compromise. Diplomacy. Marital politics. Mercy and compassion. All WORTHY methods… But not, necessarily, the Methods of a Knight Ascendant of the Feathered Serpent God.”
>>
>>5748686
“I do not understand,” the Archer admits. “The subtle arts are key to the Great Conspiracy, yes? They always have been. Why should the Dark Gods Below and Beyond care for the particulars?”

The Great One simply tilts his head in silent consideration. You wonder how much of this he truly understands, in truth. He is wise, and old, and a good friend, but his creation and first century-or-so of life left him with rather stunted development… And in truth, you have never really had cause to discuss deeper matters of the True Faith with him. However, you also glimpse the gleaming glow of the Diadem of Clarity upon his forehead, your gift to him which was further augmented by the Dark God of Wisdom. His grammar has improved, and his ambition has grown since he first donned the great circlet… And who are you to neglect wisdom at this time, no matter the source? You need all the advice you can get.

“Pow-uhr,” the Green Dragonborn concludes.

“What do you mean by this, Great One?” you ask curiously.

“The Gods… They are like the Chap-luhn, maybe,” he says. “They want your pow-uhr… Hrrr… POWER. They want you to do their work, use your strength, but in their way. If you do it your way, it is YOUR power, not theirs.”

The Archer fidgets with a discomfort you feel, and notes carefully: “The Dark Gods are the source of all power. That is what we are taught. Dark magic flows from them. When we divine the stars and signs, it is with their borrowed senses. Those who grow sickly and ill do s for their neglect; those who grow strong do so because they please the Dark Gods Below and beyond, and are permitted to live, and destiny curved in their favour.”

You nod along, for all this is true… And in particular, one of your gifts as a Knight Ascendant has been to grow mighty without limits, or so you were told when you made your great pact to serve your divine patron as the Glorious God’s personal Antipaladin. But your older brother, well, he seems to regard this with skepticism, snorting and shuffling his great wings.

“I was made stuh-rong. BORN st-strong. I never asked for strength. No one gave it me—TO me. Only tried to use it.”

Maybe so… But his greater consideration and articulation were, arguably, a gift from the Dark Gods, albeit through you. His freedom, too, since your mother was the one who freed him; the exact particulars are unknown to you, but you know she was loyal to the Dark Gods are well, Truly Faithful, and they no doubt guided her and aided her in her course. And since you disobeyed the Gods Below and Beyond, well, haven’t you FELT weaker?

Hm.
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>>5748687
You turn the topic from this matter to the Reptilian Race and True Faith more broadly, and to the future.

“The New Age of Darkness—an Age of Scales, also—is almost upon us,” you announce, to pleased rumbling and rattling. “But what does that LOOK like, to you, when you picture it?”

The Great One’s vision at first recalls your biological fathers, you note.

“Fi-yuuuhr,” he sighs happily, some smoke escaping from betwixt his lips. “So much fi-yuhr, burning away all the little pests. Swallow whole herds of an-ee-muhls.”

“Surely you dream of more than that, Brother?” you ask him gently.

He thinks on this for a moment, and then nods, and more quietly adds: “Trah-vuhl. Travel. Go places. See wuh-ruhld. World. Rule wherever I am, take what I want—be KING. Be… Free.”

Of course—so long in captivity, first in one horrid dungeon and then in a slightly nicer one and with his female companions… Well, what could he desire more than freedom, even from (as Ekaterine would call it) a ‘gilded cage’ like the one he spent the last twenty years in? To live like that, to be subordinate to others… It must rankle a demigod like he, forged from the heartblood of a True Dragon.

“And what of you?” you ask Olu the Archer.

Your half-human companion looks embarrassed, at first, but with some prodding he speaks up.

“I am not sure I see my future and that of the Master Race as the same,” he admits.

You are quick to assure him that he IS of the Master Race—that he belongs to it as much as you, or anyone else, but he shakes his head.

“You know that is not wholly true, Superior One,” he says.

He uses the honorific with respect but also with ironic purpose—to point out the gulf between you and he, despite your own Degenerate ancestry. He is visibly quite human, and this diluted blood is known to all. He has been sterilized for the crime of his birth, and his kind—like yours—is regarded as a weapon… But a shameful weapon-of-necessity, not a symbol of military achievement and might, like a Dragonborn. IT is something you have always understood, and gradually understood to be WRONG in some way, but again it was Ekaterine who gave you the tools and theory to fully grapple with what he is describing.
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>>5748688
“What if I could MAKE a place for you amongst the Master Race?” you ask, hopefully. “Give your status… A title?”

The Archer’s eyes widen, and if his skin were not so dark you think he might well blush as crimson as your pink-skinned human mate. He looks away, stammers in uncharacteristic self-consciousness, but eventually bows his head in gratitude… And shakes it.

“The Master Race should not—WILL not—bow to something like me. It is… WRONG. If you allow this, if you make it so, then what is their future? Your new Age of Darkness… I believe in it. I truly do! And I thank you for all you have done for me, and those like me, Oh Dragonborn… But Pureblooded Ones are few. Our position is weak. If we are to integrate the humans, and dwarves, and dark elves, in truth it is WE who will be integrated into THEIR ranks. They outnumber us ten, a hundred, to every one of ours… And in such an order, Degenerates will still have a role to play but if it is as rulers, that will mean our Master Race’s absorption.”

You are surprised at this level of insight, in truth. Ever a brave and worthy battle-brother, this Archer has never struck you as an ESPECIALLY deep thinker. As for the content of those thoughts…

“Would that not be good for you?” you ask. “Why would you not wish to be part of the ruling class?”

He seems to have no answer for this at first, and the question itself seems to make him uncomfortable. Has he been so long a servant and slave that he would elevate his masters, irrationally, at his own expense? The thought makes you sad for him, and you consider whether you might rectify it with prayerful meditation upon the Dragon Soul… But then he speaks up.

“I don’t know what is right for the Master Race… or for hybrids like me. It is not my… I was not trained for such things. But I know what you choose will be right. For our people… ALL our people… My faith is in you, Dragon King.”

He looks at you with deep respect in his eyes.

“It is enough to serve a worthy king,” he decides. “I do not need to rule.”
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>>5748690
You return his gaze, and aren’t quite sure how to feel about this mindset… But then something of that mad, mischievous smile of his splits his face.

“Though if you were to make me an military liaison to Wevenore…”

You laugh.

“You will see Jazkarmel again, Archer,” you assure him, recalling his lover—and your good friend—the Drow Princess from the subterranean dark elf city of which he speaks, a leader amongst their most distant scouting forces.

“I serve the Master Race loyally,” Olu reiterates, his tone wistful, “but I am VERY glad for the integration of the Drow.”

You nod in agreement. You never took a mate or queen from among them, but who doesn’t enjoy elves? After that, the topic turns to the usual sort of discussion among young and virile males—booty, in all is varieties, from gold to weaponry to the squeezable sort upon a well-shaped female. When this discussion runs its course, you each take your torpor in turn, and relieve the Hawksong Infiltrator that she might do likewise—and then you set out.

What is your objective, when you reach the northern forward base?
>You will tunnel your way deep, to find the temples of old where you have prayed, and perform a ritual there to summon and appease the Dark Gods
>You would find the remains of the Chaplain—if he is indeed dead—and commune with his spirit, seeking ‘paternal’ advice from the ale who reared you
>You plan to seek that Serpent Priest Degenerate called ‘Heretic’, whom your Serpent Queen introduced you many months ago, and who studied secrets of the Gods which even other Serpent Priests dare not
>You wonder if Glowie’s mother, the Greatworm Queen, might be able to advise you on such matters? She is, after all, a near-direct creation of a Dark God, akin to a Dragon King in some ways…
>Write-in
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>>5748691
>You plan to seek that Serpent Priest Degenerate called ‘Heretic’, whom your Serpent Queen introduced you many months ago, and who studied secrets of the Gods which even other Serpent Priests dare not
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>>5748691
>>You plan to seek that Serpent Priest Degenerate called ‘Heretic’, whom your Serpent Queen introduced you many months ago, and who studied secrets of the Gods which even other Serpent Priests dare not
>>
>>5748691
>You plan to seek that Serpent Priest Degenerate called ‘Heretic’, whom your Serpent Queen introduced you many months ago, and who studied secrets of the Gods which even other Serpent Priests dare not
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>>5748691
>You plan to seek that Serpent Priest Degenerate called ‘Heretic’, whom your Serpent Queen introduced you many months ago, and who studied secrets of the Gods which even other Serpent Priests dare not

Perhaps a ritual at the temple might be in order, but only after we figure out the right way to approach this matter.

Also, Olu is such a bro. Been at our side since day one.
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>>5748691
>>You plan to seek that Serpent Priest Degenerate called ‘Heretic’, whom your Serpent Queen introduced you many months ago, and who studied secrets of the Gods which even other Serpent Priests dare not.
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>>5748706
>>5748794
>>5748802
>>5748821
>>5748878
You recall one figure who could help with this matter, and it is he whom you shall seek out first and foremost: The Heretic! A half-human Degenerate born of a forbidden union with a Serpent Priest, his full-blooded fellows permitted his survival—impoverished, and on the fringes—for the unique insights he could glean, and unofficial service she could provide to those few who knew of his existence and whereabouts. Luckily, your first Beloved One was one possessor of that rare knowledge, and she passed it onto you.

Now, you just have to hope he survived.

The northern forward base is a shambles. Already old and ill-maintained outside of the most functional aspects, your brethren’s rebellion and escape left the place well and truly ruined. Even now, weeks later, if smells of burnt flesh and skin. The walls are caked in ash. Mural have been smashed apart by the passage of great bodies, while toppled statuary were trampled by hundreds of smaller feet in flight. The place is empty of life—Reptilian Master Race or otherwise. Those few scavengers—cave drakes, insects, bats, and their ilk—scatter in a secondary exodus as you and the other Dragonborn (and Olu, and Halle, and your brother’s attendants) make your return.

Hale groans to see it, wobbling with dismay-induced weakness at the sight of so much ruined history. Youa re unsure of her age, but you would not be surprised if she was hatched near to here, and raised here or hereabouts, just as you were. At the very least, it has been the meeting-place, worship-space, mess-hall and part-time quarters for your race’s operatives for over a century now, and you well know the special place this admittedly0spartan remnant of Reptilian legacy must hold in her heart.

Your brother’s freedom was worth it, but you still feel the loss.

“The one whom we seek dwelled apart from the rest of our kind, in a hidden alcove,” you note.

You speak the words almost more to reassure yourself than anyone else as you pass through grave-quiet halls, seeking without <Guidance> the path which the Serpent Queen—then Novice Fleshweaver—once helped you to trace. The rest silently follow, until you reach space so narrow that you must leave your fellow Dragonborn—TRUE Dragonborn, larger than you with their wings taken into account—behind.

“I will return,” you promise.

“Will wait,” your older brother confirms with a nod, before falling to the stone with a loud crash and shifting into a more comfortable position. His attendants gather around him to massage and caress him, and the younger Red Dragonborn begin to explore or to play with one another. You watch them for a moment, remembering your Wyrm Princess back home in the Bloodrise Mountains, and then you return to the mission.
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>>5748918
It takes you some time, but eventually you find the tunnels which lead to the hidden, miserable alcove of the one called The Heretic. You are pleased to find the way is clear of signs of damage from the struggle which consumed all else. His ostracization has proven his salvation, perhaps… Though as he struck you as no hunter, you begin to worry that he may well have perished from starvation for lack of outside aid.

“… The Dragonborn?”

You needn’t have worried, a sit turns out—or, well, at least not yet. The twisted, deformed being looks more gaunt and sickly than when last you were here—which is saying something!—but he yet lives. He greets you, and bows his head to the other two companions who accompany you. He hesitates before doing so for Oluwadamilare, as his breeding technically outranks the ‘lesser’ Degenerates, but he does so—perhaps because The Archer is at least a legally-produced servant, or simply because he accompanies one such as yourself.

“You are the first guest I have had in many, many weeks,” he acknowledges, once you have all settled in his small living-space, amongst his sigil-swathed scrolls, his charts and samples, and his many weathered tomes. “Even those who laid my meals outside the door have not been here for a long time.”

That explains his condition, and confirms your suspicions. You tell him—briefly, without details-of what has happened.

“The northern forward base is fallen?” the HEretic asks, startled. “Then… The aeons of struggle are over, and all is lost? Or are we to retreat to the Southlands?”

“Neither,” you say, surprising him again. “We are… Winning. After a fashion. At no small cost. But the Northlands are well in-hand.”

“Is… is that so? The hunched and broken thing before you asks, and hisses quietly. “Strange days. Is that why you have come to me.”

“…In a way.”

In truth, you are here before this barely-tolerated, defiled creature of twisted form and illegal ancestry, practitioner of dread demonology and trafficker in forbidden secrets, to ask…
>How one might appease a Dark God and regain their favour—specifically, the Serpent Ascendant
>If it is possible to transfer in service from your current patron to become an Antipaladin of another dark deity instead
>If there is a way to retain and recoup your power without pledging allegiance to any particular Dark God—to make yourself more than a servant
>What the true nature of the Dark Gods is, and how one might bring them to heel or control them
>Write-in
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>>5748921
>If there is a way to retain and recoup your power without pledging allegiance to any particular Dark God—to make yourself more than a servant

Looks like the best path
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>>5748921
>If there is a way to retain and recoup your power without pledging allegiance to any particular Dark God—to make yourself more than a servant

This is what Theral has always desired, imo.
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>>5748921
>If there is a way to retain and recoup your power without pledging allegiance to any particular Dark God—to make yourself more than a servant
This is what started this mess to begin with, our circumstances have changed yet their attitude hasn't. I'd vote for a more confrontational posture if they insist on making this an issue.
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>>5748921
>Write-in.
>Is there a means for a mortal to rise up and become a god in his own right?
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>>5749013
This is the end game though, should be looked into.
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>>5748921
>How one might appease a Dark God and regain their favour—specifically, the Serpent Ascendant
>What the true nature of the Dark Gods is, and how one might bring them to heel or control them
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>>5748921
>If there is a way to retain and recoup your power without pledging allegiance to any particular Dark God—to make yourself more than a servant
>>
>>5749082

backlink>>5748362
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>>5748921
>If there is a way to retain and recoup your power without pledging allegiance to any particular Dark God—to make yourself more than a servant

We should bring him back with us to Bloodrise as well
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>>5748921
>>If there is a way to retain and recoup your power without pledging allegiance to any particular Dark God—to make yourself more than a servant
Also supporting the idea to recruit that guy
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>>5748931
>>5748969
>>5748975
>>5749013
>>5749030
>>5749056
>>5749082
>>5749083
>>5749254
>>5749395
“Circumstances have changed so much, from when I began by journeys… For even the last time I visited YOU, Heretical One,” you tell him. “Yet the Dark Gods… They do not recognize this. Their attitude remains the same: they are masters, I am servant.”

“It is as they made things,” Infiltrator Halle points out. “That IS our role—even yours.”

Olu the Archer says nothing, but you see his own brown furrow as well, confused or concerned by your misgivings. You ignore them for the moment, focusing on the Heretic.

“Is there a way to… To decouple the source of my powers from a patron? To draw upon the Darkness Below and Beyond itself, as the Gods of Darkness do?”

“This is what you desire, Superior One?” the heretic asks, his voice barely a whisper. “Youa re… Certain? To be like the Gods?”

The greedier aspect of your nature cries out to you to ask for EVERYTHING, every piece of information this unusual outcast ahs accumulated. Perhaps, with all that, you could become a Dark God yourself! After all, is not a True Dragon a demigod? And if you can ascend to become practically a True Dragon—a DRAGON KING, even—then why not a deity in truth?

But… No. You remain loyal to the True Faith, for oen thing. For another… Well, if the Gods are displeased with you now, you can only imagine how they would react to such a direct challenge. Maybe SOMEDAY, but for now…

“No,” you sigh. “Just to be… Independent. Sovereign. Free to serve our people—and our faith—as I see fit, without the bindings of a sworn holy knight.”

“…But with all the power of one?” he asks.

“Yes,” you confirm, for a LITTLE greed is good.

The Heretic is silent for a moment, bowing his head apologetically and retreating into his books. He skims the spines of them, traces the aps of scrolls, eyes following his spindly finger as he seeks the literature which will help you. Already, you feel hope rising like a fire in your chest, for he would not be looking so intently if he already knew it was impossible… And indeed, your suspicions seem to be proven correct.

“It can be done,” he says, producing from his collection a single, small book bound in hide. You tilt your head curiously as he flips it open, scanning the small print as he flips pages, before pressing a claw to a single passage. “Here.”
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>>5749942
You step forward, and crane your neck to read over his shoulder, and our lower-ranked companions do likewise from further back. The writing is archaic, the noble Draconic form of the True Script, but you have read some of this before. Still, it is a struggle to parse the meaning, until the Heretic helps you:

“What the Dark Gods offer us as the boons is… Not Unlike the pact magic of a demon. However, while a demon’s power is quite finite, and the boons it can offer are limited and require a rite of possession, a Dark Gods is a mightier and… Erm… Holier thing.”

You narrow your eyes. You understand that the Heretic regards demonology as key to understanding the nature of the Dark Gods Below and Beyond. The view is (naturally) heretical in traditionalist circles, for the Dark Gods are an entire separate, purer class of being from the Lesser Darknesses of the Hellish Realms. He now walks carefully that thin line between outright sacrilege and the fervent respect your kind regularly show your creators… But then, you ARE asking to undermine and bypass their will, to some extent.

“A Dark God’s holy champion is given not the whole power of a God, nor bound so tightly as to become their vessel—we mere mortal CANNOT bear such power, concentrated within our small bodies. Even a demigod would struggle! Rather, a small portion of the Dark God is placed within us—in YOU, Dragonborn—and your natural magical energies are attuned more closely to a realm beyond our own. You are made not a vessel, but a PORTAL of sorts, through which the energies of another plane can flow, slowly, at a rate commensurate to your own natural energies. As the portal grows within you, this can expand BEYOND your own energies, and you can channel and manipulate them to achieve specific effects. The spells and magical effects of a specific Dark God reflect their own will helping to ‘pre-shape’ the flow of energy into digestible, ready-to-utilize ‘packages’, even as the words and gestures serve like a release valve.”

“And in the absence of a Dark God’s approval, and assistance?” you ask, dreading the answer.

“The energy still flows, but it is unmanageable, wild, chaotic… For a mortal. Perhaps even for a demigod. Only a being of purest magic, native to realms beyond this one, can properly direct it. Luckily, the Dark Gods have not cursed you so. Rather, they seem to have simply allowed that portal to the Power Beyond to shrink, to begin to seal and heal.”

“But there is something I can do about this, you say? To rectify it, to maintain the flow?”

The Heretic nods slowly, confirming this, and taps the passage again, before explaining.
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>>5749943
“In ancient days, there were more Dark Gods—and Gods of Light—than there are today. More Gods, many Gods, all warring with one another. We know this. And those who fell… Were often consumed. By other Gods, yes… But also by mortals, when they fell on the material plane.”

Your eyes widen, and you hear Hale hiss in displeasure at this sacrilege, but you nod to the hesitating Heretic, and he recites the passage aloud:

“‘Those who ate of the Gods’ flesh, drank of their blood, who consumed their essence, a soul-beyond-soul. They became like the Gods, akin to the Gods’ own children, and some of them were worshiped like Gods, and lived eternally as the Gods live. They ceased proper worship, for they had no need to worship. Finally the Gods grew angry and jealous, and fell upon them, killed and ate them, and took back what was theirs by right.’”

“This does not sound like a wise course of action, then,” Halle notes.

And yet… It could work. But how, exactly, are you to eat a god’s flesh, drink a god’s blood, consume a god’s essence? You ask, of course… And to your surprise, you receive your answer.

“The heart of the Great Green Dragon, king of the ancient plains and forests,” the eerie Degenerate suggests. “The Serpent Priests kept it hidden, using it to make the new Dragonborn. To eat of it, drink of it, would perhaps be enough to begin the process…”

“…But what of the divine essence? They mean the soul, do they not?” the Archer asks, speaking for the first time in a while.

“Yes,” the heretic agrees. “You would need the spirit of a divine being—as pure as possible. A direct, immediate product of the Gods themselves.”
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>>5749945
You recall every such entity you know. The shoggoth-sword would be most obvious… But it is lost to you, in the damnable depths of the ocean, far beyond your reach and impossible to find while the Gods deny you <Guidance>.

The Nothic, knowledgeable teacher and spawn of the Baleful Beholder, who taught you to wield the shoggoth-sword as blade and armour alike, and to shape it in other ways… This being might be in your reach, even if its Ever-Insightful Master is not. And there was that rabbit-masked Tryue Fey, whom you defeated, held at swordpoint, and granted mercy and released… Is THAT being sufficient, you wonder? Then again, like the Nothic, you would need to find and ensnare it again.

But then there are three others, those whose whereabouts you know and whose resistance to such a plan would be more limited: the Red Dragon King’s ancient spirit, nestled uneasily within your heart; the soon-to-be-born child of yourself and Ekaterine (and, of course, child too of the Mother of Dragons). But can you truly justify consuming—potentially destroying—you most noble ancestor, or your own child? You suppose that if you could find the Queen Mother of the Greatworms—Glowie’s mother—this could ALSO prove an avenue to this forbidden power, but similar moral complications arise...

No option is guaranteed to succeed—not with the fragmentary knowledge at your disposal—but you sense potential here. There IS something to this, you know it! The only question is whether the risk,a nd the price, are worth it.

What should you do?
>It is a long-shot, but hunting a True Fey could bring you this power… Though you know already that it is a grave danger, and risks bringing the Gods of Light down upon you directly
>Seek the Heretic’s help in summoning, binding, and consuming the Nothic—your teacher in the dark arts—to steal its power
>Perform a dread rite to fully supplant and consume the soul of the Red Dragon King, denying him his eternal rest in exchange for assuming his full power
>Glowie Mother has never been but an ally-of-convenience to your kind, and while that MAY change in years to come, eliminating her as a threat and stealing her link to the Darkness Beyond is a sacrifice you can stand
>Your child with Ekaterine must die, that your dream can live… it is the surest path, the simplest and easiest, if the grimmest
>This is too dangerous and profane a path—you will find another way!
>You do not know what is best, and you must consult with other allies, and think on it…
>Write-in
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>>5749946
>Perform a dread rite to fully supplant and consume the soul of the Red Dragon King, denying him his eternal rest in exchange for assuming his full power
Seems the most fitting, not like he hid the fact he would take us over if he could. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
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>>5749946
>>Write-in
>You know of a greater demon Irinnile. Ask the Hertic whether devouring her would be enough to keep the portal of divine power open.

Is this a valid write op? Irinnile isn't a divinly made creature, but the hertic implied that " Only a being of purest magic, native to realms beyond this one, can properly direct it." Eating an extraplanar being of pure power would be sufficient to maintain ones self's as a font of unholy power.
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>>5749981
[That... Is a valid write-in, yes.]
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>>5749946
>It is a long-shot, but hunting a True Fey could bring you this power… Though you know already that it is a grave danger, and risks bringing the Gods of Light down upon you directly

Minimizes dark god anger
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>>5750000
The light gods are just as powerful as the dark gods though.
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>>5749946
>Glowie’s Mother has never been but an ally-of-convenience to your kind, and while that MAY change in years to come, eliminating her as a threat and stealing her link to the Darkness Beyond is a sacrifice you can stand

She’s not close to her mother - this is an easy sacrifice to make
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>>5749981
+1

She won’t be unavenged.

>>5749082
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>>5749030
>>5749013
I feel like becoming a rising new deity is doable right now. We eat the green dragon's heart to absorb the demi-god power in his flesh. We consume irr so we can manipulate flows of unholy power, gain stronger via worship and grant our followers pact powers like a greater demon can. And then after that we digest big red's demigod spirit. And then finally we have our citizen's in bloodrise start worshiping us.
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>>5749946
>>Perform a dread rite to fully supplant and consume the soul of the Red Dragon King, denying him his eternal rest in exchange for assuming his full power
I'm pretty sure "we will become what we eat" apply there, so...
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>>5750131
The red dragon isn't going anywhere, we can just keep him as a infinite mana battery or eat him later if we need the power up. By comparison irr will slip our grasp like the shoggoth sword did if we don't rightfully seize the power our mom helped her earn.

Also that dread rite sounds like necromancy and death despises those who do necromantic rituals.
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>>5749981
+1. A good starting place, since she BAILED on us so hard.. I lost any pity for Iri a long time ago.
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>>5750557
[Not to steer you, and by all means go for it, but that WAS because players voted for her to do so.]
>>5750131
>>5750050
>>5750032
>>5750000
>>5749981
>>5749959
[Likely going to miss an update today, as I have an unexpected visitor tonight! Sorry, team.]
>>
>>5750557
>>5750131
>>5750050
>>5750032
>>5750000
>>5749981
>>5749959
[Well, plans fell through. Good news for you folks! Bad news for Irinnile.]
>>
>>5749946
>Perform a dread rite to fully supplant and consume the soul of the Red Dragon King, denying him his eternal rest in exchange for assuming his full power
I ain’t killing Iri- it’s the only thing left of Izzy besides us ffs
>>
>>5750762
I swear I’m always late when anons vote on Iri’s shit- same thing happened on the vote where she ran away, Izzy would’ve stayed and fucking fought ya autists
>>
>>5750557
If only I wasn’t traveling at the time, I would’ve voted that she stayed and fought like Izzy would’ve
>>
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>>5750762
You wrack your brain for options. Hunting a True Fey like that rabbit-fairy you encountered in the woods would probably avoid angering eth Dark Gods too much, which is ideal, but it will be no easy hunt… And what if you become akin that which you devour? Will eating a Child of Light make you less attuned to the Darkness Beyond?

If you are what you eat, then surely the Red Dragon King would be the best option… And, conveniently, you know exactly where to find THAT quarry. A softer creature than you might feel sympathy, to deprive such an auspicious figure of his final rest, but then HE was never shy about his intent to possibly possess you, seizing your body and your life for his own. As the elves in Wevenore say: ‘they who live by the sword shall also die by the sword’. Here, neither ‘life’ nor ‘sword’ are entirely literal, but you still believe the meaning holds true. However, it will be no easy battle, now that his soul is no longer slumbering... And even a success would surely infuriate the God of Death, gatekeeper of your OWN eternal rest.

Glowie’s mother is an option. The Greatworm Queen is nested nearby—if she has not moved, following the collapse of the base here—and Glowie herself has shown only the most half-hearted reluctance to kill and consume her Queen Mother. Youa re confident you could best her… But is she not more useful alive, as an ally, at least for now? And how divine IS she, really? She was created with the Dark Goddess’ aid, but indirectly, by Fleshweavers of the Master Race.

“…What about a demon?” you ask. “A Greater Demon?”

All heads turn to you, and the Heretic traces a talon in an idle circle across the sigils on his desk as if channeling wisdom from beyond a she considers it. You, of course, have a specific demon in mind—or demoness, perhaps. Irinnile, ‘Auntie Iri’ in her own mind, is the target you envision. Oh, she ahs been an ally at times, but never one without complication. She may have been your mother’s lover—even helped to hew you from raw materials, and to shape you-but she has also repeatedly endangered and betrayed you, seeking to manipulate you or rob you of your powers for her own benefit. You and she had come to a place of understanding, even of mutual trust… But then, when the Paladins of the Holy order of Hawksong struck, she was nowhere to be found, instead fleeing the city without warning and never returning.

Cowardice! Impudence! Disloyalty! And she is still bound to that damnable Green Knight, Sir Heinrich Yosef, who KILLED your mother—bound by a pact and by some twisted and incomprehensible affection. While Irinnile still lives, Heinrich is protected from righteous retribution for this murder, and many more killings of the Master Race’s agents. It is a state of affairs that you have long resented, even if you could force yourself to tolerate it for expediency’s sake.
>>
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>>5750783
Finally, the Heretic answers, explaining: “It will attune you to the Hellish Realms, you understand… Not the Darkness Beyond and Below. Your magic will be demonic.”

“What is the difference?” Halle asks, ignorantly.

“The lesser shadows which we call ‘demons’ and ‘devils’ are beneath the Dark Gods,” you quickly reply.

“…And yet a Demon Prince is a formidable force, indeed,” the Heretic notes. “In matter of fact, a demon is an immortal creature, and by their acquisition and absorption of mortal souls they become not UNLIKE a God… And if the Hellish Realms’ powers are different in source and in their particulars, there ARE broad similarities. If you could wield the powers of a Greater Demon, and feed upon mortal beings to maintain that power… You COULD effectively become an equal to a demigod.”

This is the power Hapo and Hako sought, you recognize, as the (false) Dragonwrought of Bloodrise. It filled you with shame and disgust at the time, but that was then, and this is now. Your priorities and outlook have changed, evolved. You will not TRUST in demons, not make DEALS with them… But to wield their power, to make yourself TRULY sovereign?

Yes, that you could do.

“We need only the heart of the Great Green Dragon of old then,” your Archer says, excited.

“And the demon,” the Infiltrator chimes in. “Just because the Dragonborn knows what power-source he seeks, does not mean we can just snatch a Greater Demon up as if plucking grubs from a bug-farm.”

“I know where the heart was last kept.”

You and your associates now turn once more the Heretic, who spoke up but quietly, and who recoils from so much focused attention.

“I—I was asked to study it, once… In ways which the Old Ways forbid, to apply my… Unique expertise, as you have come to me to request now for yourselves.”

“Where?” you demand.

He flinches, but shakes his head.

“I… I request recompense, Superior One.”

“Sanctuary and sustenance, then?” you ask. “Well, I already planned to invite you to stay in Bloodrise. IF that is all—”

“No,” he interrupts. “that is not… ALL.”

You stare at him, and the gangly, spindly creature shrinks in upon himself.

“I seek… Status. To not be forced to hide away, or to be made to suffer the… The disgust and condescension of the Pureblooded Ones. I wish to be made whole… Better than whole!”

What will you offer the Heretic, if he can help enable your ascent?
>A position of nobility and prestige in Bloodrise, to make him superior in status
>The services of your Fleshweaver Queen, to make him whole in body
>A bespoke Amulet of Disguise, to allow him to hide his stigma and go where he will
>His miserable life, if he delays you no longer with this insulting insubordination [Intimidation]
>Write-in
>>
>>5750777
>>5750779
>>5750781
Bit late as you said, anon. However, in deference to the closeness of the vote, you will be given options to consider how you next approach this, after the heart is acquired.
>>
>>5750786
>His miserable life, if he delays you no longer with this insulting insubordination [Intimidation]

>>5750788
I’m sure Catanon is thrilled by this latest development, but I thank you anyway. I find it darkly funny that consuming the Incubus would’ve been a better fit for us, considering our current position.

I’ll be happy to see the Green Knight again- I honestly expected more narrative development with him by now ngl, and it’s always been my desire to take Iri’s heart away from the Green Knight, though not so literally.

Also, would Foxy been considered a Fey creature, or her race something similar that’s help our power? I’m curious, considering the parallels here.
>>
>>5750786

>The services of your Fleshweaver Queen, to make him whole in body
>A bespoke Amulet of Disguise, to allow him to hide his stigma and go where he will

Yeah, that’s fair.
>>
>>5750777
>I ain’t killing Iri- it’s the only thing left of Izzy besides us ffs.

The real Irri is basically dead and gone anyway. When yosef killed our mom and destroyed irr's soul bond and then sealed the demon into his magic sword. It warped Irr's mind, personality and essence (thats why her color changed from red to green I'm guessing)

https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2023/5533885/#p5571054
>“Irinnile, what would happen if our bond was ever broken?”

>The demon freezes, her expression a transfixed mask of pure panic, until your mother titters quietly and clarifies:

>“By force. By another summoning and binding you with ritual. I do not plan to forsake you just yet, not when I still need you.”

>“A-and still love me?” the demon mewls.

>“And still love you,” your mother grudgingly attests, to your further scandalization.


>“We-ell… I guess I’d have ta’ serve the summoner. You know, rules are rules and all that shit. Nothin’ personal!”

>Your mother’s smooth brow furls, and the demon practically trips over herself to clarify:

>“But I wouldn’t WANT ta’! And you’d just, like, you know… get me back, right?”

>She slides her hands down your mother’s body, to cradle her waist, and nuzzles into her neck, voice a husky whisper.

>“You’d never let anyone take your favourite succ away from ya’, would you, Hotstuff?”

>“But you ARE a ‘succ’,” your mother presses, impersonal and merciless in her retort. “A succubus is shaped by desire. Bianchi and his books were clear, and the Chaplain clarified it. YOU admitted as much. Whatever your summoner desires… You reflect. Your personality is… SHAPED by your summoner. You want what he or she wants, and become a shadow of it.”

That's why Irr who used to hate it and gripe when ever Izzy got too serious. Considers Yosef's stoic obsessed revenge quest to be the hottest thing in the world. It's why irr thinks she and yosef are star crossed lovers even though Yosef seems to loathe her and was actively starving her when we found them. As of right now she is just Yosef's delusional yandere rapist girlfriends who happens to have some of old irr's memory's.
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>>5750801
Are you really going to shit on our only lead
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>>5750786
>The services of your Fleshweaver Queen, to make him whole in body
>A bespoke Amulet of Disguise, to allow him to hide his stigma and go where he will

Fine with either, or both
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>>5750804
>The real Irri is basically dead and gone anyway. When yosef killed our mom and destroyed irr's soul bond and then sealed the demon into his magic sword. It warped Irr's mind, personality and essence (thats why her color changed from red to green I'm guessing)
Yea, I definitely don’t like GreenIri- I always found it weird and deeply insulting that she fell in love with Izzy’s killer to the point of saving his life, at the expense of her freedom. Still do, in fact- and I doubt that’ll change, even if RQM decides to monologue on how this buzzard narrative/character decision totally makes sense.

>>5750805
It ain’t our only lead- there’s a shitton of other ways to go about this, including an adventure through Hell (or becoming one with Sloggy-Sword and Moonking Sword), and killing one of the last major connections to Izzy was always going to be a difficult sell to me.
>>
>>5750786
>>A bespoke Amulet of Disguise, to allow him to hide his stigma and go where he will

>A position of nobility and prestige in Bloodrise, to make him superior in status.

He is skilled enough and knowledgeable enough to be worthy of it. Also novice has the plague victims and soil fertilization issue to deal with, we shouldn't be giving her even more work.
>>
>>5750805
Unless you mean intimidating the Hectic- we haven’t chosen an evil/Dark Lord action in a while now, and that just the reason why I chose it- we are supposed to be playing a bad guy here, not this morally grey shit that anons are trying to switch to.
>>
>>5750807
>and killing one of the last major connections to Izzy was always going to be a difficult sell to me.

We will be eating her and taking back all the hard work Izzy did to make her a greater demon into ourselves. This is the only way to wash away how hard Yosef cuckholded and robbed our mom. Since we cannot kill him as long as Irr lives due to the oath we made (irr would also be willing to die to protect him anyway.)
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>>5750811
I disagree- the only way to wash away the cuckolding is to steal her back and reclaim her heart (not literally). I could care less about the direct power or essence aspect- I want her soul (or character essence, whatever the demon terminology is) intact- a bit like Big Red desu.
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>>5750801
>fox-folk
[They are mortal beings, albeit with fey origins. Not demigod-tier by any means, however, outside of perhaps a few exceptional members of their species.]

>>5750807
>RQM monologuing
[>>5750804 summarized it quite well, honestly, though how much of Irinnile's current persona and tastes reflect pact-feedback and how much reflect two decades of personality evolution (versus the couple years she spent with 'Izzy/Lisspy' ) is up to interpretation. Even Irinnile probably doesn't know for sure.]
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>>5750809
That just sounds like evil for evil’s sake. And doesn’t help us that much.

A dark lord shouldn’t have to watch his back more than he really needs to because he antagonizes people more than he really should. Why bother intimidating him when material rewards work just fine? Less chance of him backstabbing us that way, too.
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>>5750820
Even if I ignore how deeply insulting it is that Izzy was cuckolded outta True Love twice, it still doesn’t make narrative sense- like, as an asspull to keep the rival Green Knight alive and active, I could maybe swallow and tolerate, but he’s been a nonentity for the majority of the quest besides some epic foreshadowing and the Duel of the Fates. It’s just a curious creative decision, and not one of your better ones, I’m forced to admit.

>>5750823
Reinforcing our authority over him without materialistic expectations is not just useful Dark Lord behavior, it’s fucking Reptilian- he’d be used to taking orders and not backstabbing his superiors. Besides, granting him his wish as a unexpected reward after we’re successful is arguably a better play- it doesn’t delegate our authority away by bargaining, it reenforces our authority, rewards him for his loyalty and results with his lack of materialistic gain, and he’d be blown away by being rewarded after trying to extract a concession from us.

But mainly, intimidating uppity subordinates is what Dark Lords do- not in cartoonishly evil ways, but pragmatic and practical ways. The Novice would agree, I bet.

Also, would like to splice our genes with Mewtwo Telepathic DNA and go back to meditating with the Moonsword to be Moonking- just go ham with it. Hell, I wouldn’t mind getting Sloggy back from that damn puddle.
>>
>>5750831
[I don't really go into quests trying to construct a specific narrative, so much as just setting up situations I think will raise interesting questions, pose challenges, or help shape the characters and world. Choices and rolls the players made helped shape how the Green Knight and Irinnile's roles played out, which was different than I expected, but I wasn't going to try to force things to follow my original expectations.]

[As for Iri herself, the possibility of Irinnile being dangerous and unreliable by her very nature, that was foreshadowed as far back as her summoning, and I tried to emphasize that repeatedly in RIQ and this quest. If it didn't make sense to you or land for you, perhaps I did so poorly. I'll try to do better in the future. This will be the last I comment on the matter for now, though.]
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>>5750831
>Besides, granting him his wish as a unexpected reward after we’re successful is arguably a better play- it doesn’t delegate our authority away by bargaining, it reenforces our authority, rewards him for his loyalty and results with his lack of materialistic gain, and he’d be blown away by being rewarded after trying to extract a concession from us.

You don’t know that. What if he betrays us and sabotages our plan before it comes to fruition?

>he’d be used to taking orders and not backstabbing his superiors.
The situation has changed. His superiors aren’t present anymore. Right now, all we got is our word, and he holds the key.
>>
>>5750836
>I don't really go into quests trying to construct a specific narrative, so much as just setting up situations I think will raise interesting questions, pose challenges, or help shape the characters and world
Yea, the pulp-fiction vibe I coined, but at least some thought should be reserved for how the veteran playerbase will view the ‘interesting questions’- it struck a core in a very unpleasant way, though that’s probably just me.
>As for Iri herself, the possibility of Irinnile being dangerous and unreliable by her very nature
There’s a difference between dangerous and unreliable, and disloyal to True Love because of abusive Stockholm Syndrome. Like, come on, would Iri really come to love the man who killed her lover and starved/abused her for decades on end? I don’t buy it, even if her personality is shifty and moldable by nature.

I’ll rest on the matter for now as well, I don’t want to ruin your night over a largely successful narrative run in the quest.

>>5750838
>You don’t know that. What if he betrays us and sabotages our plan before it comes to fruition?
Then it’ll be exciting- I’m less worried about the results and more focused on the journey.
>The situation has changed.
Yes- we’re his highest authority now, not the priesthood that’s given him tounle to no end.
>>
>>5750863
>Then it’ll be exciting
You are literally voting to be retarded for content

What the fuck happened to>>5750831? This shit is basically asspull, too. Theral gets retarded not because he was emotional or vulnerable but because someone arbitrarily decides to vote for shit like this
>>
>>5750864
>You are literally voting to be retarded for content
Not really? I’m voting for what I feel is appropriately evil, not cartoonishly evil. Like, I expect the roll to either succeed (with Fearsome Presence bonus), or fail and us ultimately giving him what he wants. Like, I’m not being super unreasonable here.
>>
>>5750866
You could not betray his trust to begin with
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>>5750871
We met the guy once or twice- I’d hardly call it a trusting relationship. He ain’t Olu or Glowie.
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>>5750786
>A position of nobility and prestige in Bloodrise, to make him superior in status
>A bespoke Amulet of Disguise, to allow him to hide his stigma and go where he will
>>
>>5750786
>A position of nobility and prestige in Bloodrise, to make him superior in status
>The services of your Fleshweaver Queen, to make him whole in body or reshape him in any way he wants
>>
>>5750947
>>5750878
>>5750808
>>5750806
>>5750803
>>5750801
[Locked and writing, but I'm dining with friends tonight so the update may or may not get completed before I head out.]
>>
>>5751463
There are many things you can offer a deformed outcast like this and, champion of hybrids and social lesser that you have become, you honestly have no real aversion to any of them. Still, you are a Reptilian of the Master race, and as such you are cognizant of the costs-authority, respect—which come with offering too much at once, or for too little. It could compromise the ‘strong hand’ which your burgeoning world order requires. And besides, your Serpent Queen is busy already, fixing your food problems and attending to the abortive mutagenic plague which the Serpent Priests attempted to set in motion. You do not wish to distract her overmuch.

Maybe… A small thin?

“Status and be earned, and gifted, in time,” you allow with a tone of grave uncertainty. “Perhaps my mate could even make you whole—she who you met before. Repair the damaged of your ill-fated conception and birth.”

This excites him, but you hold up a hand to halt his excitement.

“IN TIME,” you remind him, sternly. “First… Do this thing for me, prove yourself trustworthy and loyal, and earn yourself respite. An Amulet of Disguise—bespoke, made to your requirements, that you may go where you will and live as you’d like. I will free you from the shackles of stigma and deformity… For a price.”

The Heretic taps his claws upon the desk and hisses with a low gurgle, considering the offer… But his position is weak, and you both know it. You could just as easily torture him for information, or kill him and scour the likely regions of the underdark on your own—it cannot be far, after all, to be of use in this forward base.

“As you say, Superior One,” he relents. “I accept.”

The Heretic travels with a limp as he leads you, and pauses or steps back affrighted from any unfamiliar sight or sound. Your progress is, thus, rather slow going. It is perhaps inevitable, when you cosndier how many decades this Outcast One must have lived in just his small room.

“We will come back, yes?” he asks repeatedly. “To… Collect my affects, my researches?”

“The valuable ones, yes,” you assure him. “Leave anything you do not need.”

“I will need all of it,” he asserts, nervously thumping his truncated, crooked tail upon his leg in a nervous tic as he glances back—yet again—in the direction of his long-time habitation. “It must be put back just as it was, JUST as it was, in the new realms…”

You say nothing, growing irritated even as you pity him.
>>
>>5751488
Still, he leads you where you need—though you must martial the might of the Great Green Dragonborn and his young charges to do so, clearing away rubble and reopening tunnels.

“Why do we not just use your earth magic?” the Infiltrator, Halle, asks.

In truth, the reason is simple: your mana is no longer the nigh-infinite well that it once was… Or, rather, it is, but it is a poisoned well, like those your race infected in Hawksong. The Red Dragon King’s stolen soul is no longer asleep, not entirely. Every time your each down into your ancestor’s energies, you risk rousing him further, and facing a contest of dominance for your mind and body. Until you have the mystical strength to master him once more, you would rather not chance it.

The Green Dragonborn cannot follow you once the tunnel is cleared, for the carved passages beyond are too narrow. They are sturdy with the craftsmanship of the ennobled ancients, and far from the path of the Great One’s great escape and thus uncollapsed, but they were not made for twenty-foot-tall godkings.

“I will return soon,” you assure him.

However, as you proceed into the tunnels, your <Danger Sense> thrums. You may presently lack the ability to seek greater forms of <Guidance>--such as peering into the future, or spying upon probabilities related to distant travels—but your middle command of divination magic is not COMPLETELY gone for your severed connection to the Gods Below and Beyond.

“The heart is attended,” you surmise aloud, drawing your companions’ attention. “There are guardians.”

What will you do?
>Go in alone, and attempt diplomacy
>Go in quiet, with your subtler party members, and attempt assassination or extraction
>Go in loud—bring the Red Dragonborn, and ambush your ambushers preemptively
>Write-in
>>
>>5751493
>Go in quiet, with your subtler party members, and attempt assassination or extraction
Numbers arent on our side
>>
>>5751536

>>5750803
>>
>>5751493
>Write-in.
>>Go in loud— Assume your dragonshape, bring the Red Dragonborn and cow your foes with your fearsome presence.

If the guards of the heart were actual people, they probably would have left their post after the base collapse.

The enemies we are sensing are probably pit beast's made via the serpent priest's flesh crafting skills, So we might be able to scare them into submission.
>>
>>5751493
>Go in quiet, with your subtler party members, and attempt assassination or extraction
>>
>>5751493
>Go in quiet, with your subtler party members, and attempt assassination or extraction
>>
>>5751542
supportin' this line of thought
>>
>>5751542
Sure, what the hell. +1
>>
>>5751536
>>5751542
>>5751545
>>5751579
>>5751653
>>5751925
[Alright, here we go! Writing,]
>>
Rolled 13, 8, 6, 8 = 35 (4d20)

>>5752102
You double back slightly as the seed of dreadful anticipation blossoms into a theory: no Serpent Priest of the College of Fleshweavers would remain in this forsaken place once the base collapsed. They would have escaped by now, made contact with other Reptilians, even extracted the heart and made your mission fruitless. If something remains here I is one of their creations. As such, you reason that entering full force—including those among your rambunctious Dragonborn brethren who can fit—is best. You can put the fear of a <Fearsome Presence> into whatever you run into, or overrun it with numbers.

What you find, however, is not what you expect.

You advance down the tunnel without caution, for no amount of stealth on the part of your or your Infiltrator-trained allies will do much to muffle the enthusiasm of the Red Dragonborn hatchlings. You draw your blade and brace yourself with magically-tautened muscles ready to spring—to evade, to attack, to threaten violence or to enact it. What you DON’T expect, however, is for the walls to shift in shape, becoming smoother, blockier, more geometric—newer, cleaner, more cubist.

You CERTAINLY don’t expect them to suddenly shift and rearrange, with great slabs and blocks sliding down to cut and cordon off you and your allies or—for those unlucky enough to fail to evade them, to CRUSH them!

[Athleticism roll, DC 10 thanks to your <Danger Sense>]
>>
>>5752106
>13
You dodge—though narrowly, such is the shiftness and unpredictable, rapid adaptation of the blocks to your movement. Even with your athletic ability and divination-augmented directional sense, you are nearly pinned between two walls as they come together with a soft grinding sound, interlocking to form a new shape—a great block which hurtles towards you, sliding along the ground. You are reminded of the earth elemental monsters which doomed your priestly masters’ favoured replacement for you, which killed Ivno the Kobold and nearly spelled the doom of your entire party. These are something ELSE, though—less alive even than the rock-monsters of the deep darkness, a living labyrinth of stone forming and reforming around you.

You roar a command to your followers—to the Archer, Hawksong Infiltrator, and the Red Dragonborn, and the physically-feeble Heretic—telling them to step backwards. As they do, the strange stone trap seems to ignore them, sparing them an ugly and untimely demise. You leap again, evading another vice-like assault by the surrounding stones, and grimace as your tail-spade just barely avoids being further flattened and pinched off like so much clay.

You have much of your magic—even without the presently-risky prospect of dipping into the Red Dragon King’s reserves. It Is a finite resource, though, and you suspect even the full might of your <Dragonshape> will be denied to you—IF you can evade the lethal obstacle course to return to the safety of the way you came and assume the form.

What will you do?
>Press on alone—have the others wait, while you find whoever or whatever is working this magic
>Use your earth magic—mana be damned—to create a safe passage for your party to follow you
>Fall back—dodge through the murderous mountain-passage to where your allies wait, assume <Dragonshape>, and then return to the fray
>Lead your friends and family through the lethal labyrinth and onward—through it risks their injury or worse if they fail [specify if you leave anyone behind]
>Write-in
>>
>>5752114
>Press on alone—have the others wait, while you find whoever or whatever is working this magic

It’s one thing to treat and carry one injured person. Another if there’s three.
>>
>>5752114
>>Press on alone—have the others wait, while you find whoever or whatever is working this magic.
+
>Write-in
> Draw your Kopesh blade, and cut into a moving block. To test if it's ability to nullify enchantments and break magic spells, can halt some of these moving wall's
>>
[We'll wait another couple hours to tally and write.]
>>
>>5752143
Supportin'
>>
>>5752143
Sure, +1.
>>
Rolled 2, 14, 11, 16 = 43 (4d20)

>>5752533
>>5752523
>>5752143
>>5752126
“Stay back!” you command the others.

“But—” begins the Archer, concern upon his face.

“I will return when… Whatever this is… has been dealt with,” you insist.

He does not argue further, nor do any of the others. For all their ferocity, the battering which even that brief entanglement with the mechanisms gave the Red Dragonborn has clearly left them startled, and they shrink back, hissing and growling in their preverbal fashion. The Hawksong Infiltrator and Heretic, more mercenary allies, are eve happier to hang back and watch.

For your part, you are already trying to work out a winning strategy. You step forward tentatively, leaping back when a squared stone column from above meets one from below. With your Serpent khopesh in hand, you chop at the moving masonry… But to no avail. Your blade may be magic—and have the ability to negate normal magical protections—but it is still just a sword in other regards. You do little more than chip a sliver of stone and, fearful of dulling your prized weapon with additional attempts to cut apart the rock, you relent.

…At least the little ship of stone isn’t moving?

With this matter left unfortunately unsettled, and the true nature of this enemy still unknown, you can do little more than press on. Once more, you hurl yourself down the tunnel, doing everything in your power to avoid an ignoble death in this place.

[DC 14 to make it through uninjured without divination, 9 to make it through at the expense of some magical energy]
>>
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>>5752566
>>5752566
>16
The lifestyle of a Knight Ascendant is one of daily physical and mental exercise, by divine mandate, and you have never been one to shirk it. Even without the limit-defying divine assistance of your patron, you are a skilled athlete and acrobat, and more than a match for these stones now that you recognize which parts are wont to move in which ways, and at what speed and angel. You need not even dip into your own magical reserves any further to leap, dodge, dive, and barrel through the passage… Though it DOES leave you a little winded, and you are doubtful many of your allies could manage to replicate the feat.

You glance back at them once, and then carry on, alone.

Your khopesh is still at the ready when you enter the fateful chamber of the Fleshweavers’ Dragonborn Project—that which perfected the Great One’s body, birthed the Red Dragonborn and—albeit indirectly—led to your own creation as a sort of mundane imitation of those draconic demigods.

It is in shambles.

The place was once a ritual chamber of highest magic and alchemy, that much you can tell. It doesn’t look to have been touched by the rampaging escape of your brethren, either. Instead, the smashed apparatuses, spilled fluids, shattered pots and torn, burnt, and hastily scribbled over notes and symbols attest to a more purposeful destruction…

And there are the perpetrators.

Three Serpent Priests, cloaked in the red-trimmed and black-hooded robes of senior members of their order, stare bug-eyed in your direction. Two are in the process of collecting—for destruction, or to hide them away?—scroll-cases enough to fill their arms. The third is clutching something in his claws—a round ball of some sort, seemingly hewn from tone, with flattened sides bearing symbols. Between them is a massive statue, chipped and battered but unmistakably hewn in the familiar shape of one of the stout and bearded dwarf-folk… Which seems to be in the process of picking up a large, ornate canopic jar, with the unmistakable symbol of a three-chambered heart on the side.

The heart of the Great Green Dragon!

What will you do?
>Shout at them to stop their unholy activities, and demand to know what they think they’re doing [Intimidate]
>Lay down your weapon and attempt to negotiate, assuring them that you’re all on the same side [Diplomacy]
>Attack! These fools are destroying your race’s legacy, and your own destiny! You must stop them! [specify a method of attack, items or spells used, etc.]
>Save the jar! You can take a hit or two—nothing you cannot have healed, you hope—if it means ensuring the safety of the jar [Specify a method if you have anything more complex than diving in and grabbing the canopic jar in mind]
>Write-in
>>
>>5752575
>Shout at them to stop their unholy activities, and demand to know what they think they’re doing [Intimidate]
>Save the jar! You can take a hit or two—nothing you cannot have healed, you hope—if it means ensuring the safety of the jar
Mom fuckin’ stole that shit- that DNA was supposed to be ours!
>>
>>5752589
+1
>>
>>5752575
>Shout at them to stop their unholy activities, and demand to know what they think they’re doing [Intimidate]
>>
>>5752575
>Shout at them to stop their unholy activities, and demand to know what they think they’re doing [Intimidate]

They will stop this or we will destroy them

Obedience means continued life at a position of privilege in the new Fleshweavering Circle in Bloodrise
>>
Rolled 7, 8, 12 = 27 (3d20)

>>5752589
>>5752664
>>5752713
>>5752773
Your eyes remain fixed upon the dragon-heart sigil for a moment, fury and fear rising up in your heart. This is your mother’s gift to you, down across decades and lifetimes, just as much as your draconic face or your privilege to parley with the Dark Gods. How DARE these false priests of a failed order try to deny you—and ALL your people—this legacy?!

“STOP!” you command, though unfortunately without the will-withering authority of the <Voice of the Metatron>, which would just now be so very useful. “Surrender the heart, or be DESTROYED, in the name of the Copper Dragon King of Bloodrise!

[DC 14 and a bonus die for your Reptilian Empathy, though this too has become weaker as a result of your decisions last thread which curbed your spirit towards humanity.]
>>
>>5752575
>Shout at them to stop their unholy activities, and demand to know what they think they’re doing [Intimidate]

Walk away.
>>
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Rolled 1, 10, 20, 6 = 37 (4d20)

>>5752863
>>5752866
>12
Rather than react as you might have hoped, though, these loyalist Holy Ones simply speed up their efforts to destroy that which belongs, by right and by fate, to you and yours. The priest holding the strange polyhedron holds it aloft and chants words in a guttural tongue—a mammalian tongue, superficially at least resembling that of Bloodrise’s conquered dwarven population—and the overlarge dwarven effigy lifts the canopic jar containing the dragon’s heart aloft, preparing to smash it.

“NO!”

You lunge forwards to stop this act of sacrilegious sabotage, but the other two priests move into place to stop you. They hiss syllables in a mxi of Draconic old-speak and the True Speech more familiar to you, and trace feet and tails in dance-like step, waving their hands in masterful execution of biological magecraft. Their fell magic slows your approach, knotted and spraining muscles and causing blood vessels to clot or to burst, and nerves to sizzle with agony just beneath your skin. You recall how your Serpent priestess—nee Novice Fleshweaver—hurled imprecise and weak bolts of flesh-searing magic in battle, or hurled potions, and you begin to understand why she was not called Initiate or Mistress in spite of her brilliant mind.

Still, you are no weak-willed creature, to be stopped by pain. You steel yourself, and advance…

[Athleticism to save the jar and the heart inside, DC 16 due to the excruciating pain of the Fleshweavers' combat arts]
>>
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>>5752872
Will only goes so far, alas. You feel tendons tear and hear joints pop as your own body works against your mind, to forestall or stop your purposeful advance. The Fleshweavers approach you clawed hands reaching out to touch you, and you know from your intimate knowledge of your Beloved One’s own healing arts that their touch will bring a true and lasting doom…

>1

…And yet you cannot move. You clench your jaw, gnashing your teeth even as it tries to lock, and strain to breath even as your throat works to asphyxiate you. You feel your khopesh fall from your hand, even as you struggle to swing it. In desperation, you lift your arm still higher, stretching your empty claws out, and out, towards the golem and the jar. The magically-animated statue lifts it high, and brings it down…

>20

…Just as you manage to clench your fist and summon forth the powers of the ice elemental trapped within your <Ring of Elemental Command>. A beam of heat-sapping magical energy lances forth, and winter winds buffet all of you cold-blooded males as the canopic jar is struck, blasted against the wall, and flash-frozen in place. The Fleshweavers all turn and stare, dumbfounded, before the one who controls the golem frantically begins sputtering commands in broken maybe-dwarftongue, and his rocky minion begins trying to pull it free.

It is no use, however, and the surprise of your manoeuvre provides ample distraction for your assailants, allowing you to regain feeling and function in your limbs. You take a deep, steadying breath, and then you are upon the loyalists to the Old Ways.

>Cook them alive with dragonfire—which the heart shall surely survive, given its provenance
>Slay the golem-commander, and seize his strange relic, then see how brave and loyal these Holy Ones are
>Attempt to use <Earth Tremor> to shake the golem apart, and end its threat forever
>Smash the jar, size the heart, and use a <Dazzle> to cover your daring escape
>Give them one last chance to surrender [Intimidate, DC 12]
>Write-in
>>
>>5752885
>Smash the jar, size the heart, and use a <Dazzle> to cover your daring escape

We certainly can’t afford the fleshweavers to touch us
>>
>>5752885
>Cook them alive with dragonfire—which the heart shall surely survive, given its provenance.

The priest's will use inflict wounds on us to harm our internal organs, and flesh weaving to lock us in place if we don't kill them first.
>>
>>5752885
>Give them one last chance to surrender [Intimidate, DC 12]
Let's not kill our own people. If this doesn't win I'll back
>Smash the jar, size the heart, and use a <Dazzle> to cover your daring escape
as a second choice.
>>
>>5752885
>Give them one last chance to surrender [Intimidate, DC 12]
>Slay the golem-commander, and seize his strange relic, then see how brave and loyal these Holy Ones are
Fuck these guys
>>
>>5752885
>Slay the golem-commander, and seize his strange relic, then see how brave and loyal these Holy Ones are

They are nothing without him

I don’t want us to lose their eons of flesh weaving knowledge
>>
>>5752885
>Slay the golem-commander, and seize his strange relic, then see how brave and loyal these Holy Ones are.

Changing my vote to this, the golem might survive fire breath. But if we seize control over it the flesh weavers won't be able to easily pry the heart out of the ice. And the golem won't be affected by their mentalism or wound infliction either.
>>
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Rolled 15, 3, 14, 1, 15 = 48 (5d20)

>>5752896
>>5752961
>>5752981
>>5753043
>>5753078
>>5753080
You don’t relish the idea of killing your own—your TRUE people, the MASTER Race—even as you have come to expand your definition of personhood to encompass others. To turn against the Serpent Priesthood is one thing, but to SLAY Serpent priests is another. Still, you see no other way forward without at least SOME maiming or killing, and there is at least ONE obvious target for your wrath: the Serpent Priest holding the strange, dwarvencraft relic. You draw your secondary blade and, even as the Holy ne in question desperately directs his golem to do his bidding and stymie your efforts by destroying the Great Green Dragon’s heart, you lunge for the kill.

“DO it!” the Serpent priest demands of his stolen supplicant.

“I do not think so,” you cooly interject, staggering forwards and bringing your moon-blade down in a killing arc.

[With a lack of specific attack method, you default to your best stat. DC 14.]
>>
Rolled 1, 10, 4 = 15 (3d20)

>>5753098
>1

The dwarven golem reacts with remarkable speed as the Serpent Priest in control of it sees you coming—you HAVE been slowed by his fellows’ fell magicks after all—and it abandons its pursuit to swing a massive, roughhewn fist towards you. The impact would surely pulp your relatively-feeble flesh, but you do not give it an opportunity. The golem is slow, after all, and you are as swift as a beam of moonlight—if only at great pains, do to the injuries already inflicted.

>15

The golem-commander’s hands are removed in a single swift motion. As the twenty-sided stone is removed from his control—along with his extremities—the golem stops abruptly, its deadly haymaker inches from your respected countenance. You spare the earthenware assailant a single glance, and then turn back to the Serpent Priest. Only now does he register his newly-amputated status, and his brian seems to consciously register the associated pain only AFTER he sees his removed forearms hit the ground. He opens his mouth to scream…

>15

…But you give him no opportunity to do so. He is no worthy foe—not once you close distance to melee—and you do not treat him as such. Instead, you, allow his bisected body to splatter in a bloody mess amongst the other spilled fluids of his order’s research, and you plant you boot upon his remains and clean your moonlight-white sword with a scything arc before sheathing it. You glance back at the now-still golem for a moment, and then down at the control-stone which seemingly animates it… And finally, you turn you withering gaze to the two remaining Holy Ones.

“Have you reconsidered your position?” you inquire innocently.

[Intimidate, DC 11]
>>
>>5753100
>1
The two Serpent Priests regard you with terror, but without respect. They see you not as a conquering her—which you ARE, obviously—but with the same understanding with which a loyalist of the Gods of Light might regard you. To them, you are as foreign, as ‘evil’, and antithetical.

“Burn in Hell!” one shrieks, and drops his scroll-cases.

“Worse,” spits the other, “let the Gods in Heaven find you, and make of you what they will!”

Both begin to move their hands in arcane patterns, to adjust their stances. You recognize the imminent onslaught and—on instinct, almost without thinking—you react to preserve yourself and prevent further suffering. You exhale flame…

And the Serpent Priests, and the research on and around their persons, and all else that they might offer your newborn empire, are lost forever.

You realize what you have done too late, and a part of you regrets the waste. These loyalists—stubborn and dedicated to your enemies as they were—might well be the best and most knowledgeable practitioners of their art. Their researches, now smoldering in crumpled, imploded scroll-cases, represent decades of research into eugenics, biological manipulation, and all that remains of the secret of creating Dragonborn. The Great One and the Red Dragonborn may breed, likely with diminishing returns, but never again will the Master Race produce a ‘True Dragonborn’ of demigodly proportions…

Except, now that you have the heart, maybe YOU.

With a slow exhalation of your remaining flame, you defrost the base of the canopic jar containing the heart, and remove it from the wall. You open the jar’s lid for moment, just long enough to regard the shriveled organ within—still, even after all this time and being used to make or modify nearly a done organisms, easily the size of a halfling or dwarf. You replace the lid and take it with you. You also snatch up the queer control-stone, though you lack the dwarven or mystical knowledge needed to direct the golem, and must abandon it.

At least the hallways fails to attack you as you return to your allies, no longer directed by that same stone.

“What happened?” your Archer asks.

“I won,” you say simply, though it is a hollow victory, and present him the jar to carry.

“Now what?” The Hawksong Infiltrator asks.

“Now,” the Heretic answers, “we need only the last ingredient and we may perform the rite…”

Ah, yes, the Succubus. Having destroyed knowledgeable, powerful allies to secure the dragon’s heart, you need the essence of an immortal being to complete the ritual which will make you whole once more: that of ANOTHER ally, albeit a flighty one.
>>
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>>5753112
You take a moment to remember Irinnile the Succubus, in her positive and negative aspects.

She loved your mother, you know, and your mother loved her. It was the ONLY lasting love which your mother shared, and which her mission did not cost her… Until your maternal progenitor was slain, and that love was lost, replaced by a twisted bond with the murderer.

Still, she helped to make you. Together, you betrayed the Green Knight—your mother’s killer—and made of him a political plaything and sexual accessory. Irinnile—‘Hot Auntie Iri’—then went on to be instrumental in your seduction of Ekaterine and the corruption of her royal family. When you set upon Chase and Deepvein—the ill-fated adventurers—Irinnile defeated their Elven Sage companion and resecured the rebellious Prince Rufos. Oh, she’d betrayed your trust once or twice, but then that is the well-known nature of demons and devils, and at least she never cut and run…

Until she did.

You have no idea where she is now. When the Paladins of Hawksong’s Holy Order freed Rufos in your absence, Irinnile abandoned her post. She took the Elven Sage Nenaias and the green Knight Heinrich Yosef, and he abandoned the field for parts unknown. This, more than anything else, ahs em bittered you…


And now, it is too late to make nice.

The only question is who will seek her out, to capture her… And end her.

What is your plan?
>Return to Bloodrise with the heart, and reunite with the Serpent Queen and Worm Queen
>Return to Hawksong, to see to Ekaterine and your child and newest kingdm
>Hunt down the Succubus yourself
>Write-in
[Wherever you go, please specify if you bring your followers or dispatch them elsewhere, with other duties. These include the Green Dragon, nine Red Dragonborn, Halle, Olu, and the Heretic.]
>>
>>5753114
>>Return to Bloodrise with the heart, and reunite with the Serpent Queen and Worm Queen

Bloodrise is where all our skilled companion's are. The dragonblooded demonologist, The lancer, the thief, the dogbold junior novice hunting hound and the famous monster hunter.

Right now we only have oul to help us with tracking, and just the heretic alone to try to suppress Irinnile. If we sought her out right now we would be doing it unprepared and half cocked.

Also we should try to see if the novice can inject and flesh weave some blood samples from big green and the red dragonborn. Into our heir to further draconicify him. And we need to drop off the dragonborn anyway since I doubt they will be very useful in a hunting scenario since irinnile is good at stealth and they are too big and obvious.
>>
>>5753114
>Return to Bloodrise with the heart, and reunite with the Serpent Queen and Worm Queen

We’re in no shape to go after her now. No lead either.
>>
>>5753114
>Return to Bloodrise with the heart, and reunite with the Serpent Queen and Worm Queen

>Use the dragon soul instead of the succubus - its rousing makes it a liability more than an asset
>>
>>5753124
>>5753129
>>5753135
[TO be clear, so you wish to take your whole party to Bloodrise for now?]
>>
>>5753287
Yeah
>>
>>5753124
>>5753129
>>5753135
>>5753307
[Then I'm gonna' watch the new episode of My Adventrues with Superman, then start writing if no more votes come in to change things.]
>>
>>5753124
>>5753129
>>5753135
>>5753307
As much as you wish to secure your power and your destiny, you are no impulsive fool. Even once you and your compatriots have regrouped with the great One, you know your retinue here is no worthy hunting party… Or certainly not a STELATHY one. If you were to scour the countryside with such a party—a frail scholar, a pair of Infiltrators with no particular tracking skills or demonological knowledge, and ten VERY visible and only partially-controllable Dragonborn—you would only succeed in scaring your quarry away long before you found the shapeshifting ‘Greater Succubus’.

“It is time,” you tell the Green Dragonborn instead. “We are going home.”

An overland route is unthinkable, unless you wish to advertise to all the nations of the surface-world that the terrifying heir to the Great Green Dragon is roosting in your mountains. Which… Well, maybe SOMEday, but not today. You have enough on your plate without reigniting the flames of Paladin wrath, and burning through all your diplomatic goodwill. You are not going to be there when your Human Queen is crowned for the second time, nor when your shred heir is born. The LEAST you can do is avoid triggering yet another crisis so early in her reign.

Journeying through the Underdark is slow going, eve following the familiar routes. Partly, this is because you must stop frequently to hunt, and hunting is never easy in the underdark. Your provisions are WOEFULLY insufficient for a coterie like yours, though. Where does one even find the meat to feed over a dozen obligate carnivores in such barren wastes, let alone those the size of the growing Red Dragonborn or your massive Big Brother?! And then there is the limping Heretic, the long-coddled females of your brother’s harem, and the almost-as-unathletic one called Halle.

“Pardon me,” she snaps, sounding not-at-all-apologetic, “for focusing upon the exercises and duties required for my ASSIGNED position!”

“Bettering yourself in all aspects is an important part of serving the Grand Design,” you pronounce, though in truth this slower pace is also much easier on your Fleshweaver-fatigued body, still healing from their cruel manipulations of your biology.
>>
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>>5753367
Each evening, you regard the hart—saddled in stolen fabrics to prevent it oozing its precious fluids onto the floor. More than shriveled, it looks… Eaten-away, as if my fungus or rot, and yet in a much cleaner fashion. It smells of preservatives, and strange herbs, and tingles with magic. The Dark Gods still fail to answer your prayers and, in their absence, THIS becomes your answer. Soon, you will be home with your OWN Fleshweaver—your Serpent Queen—and you will decode the mysterious of this ancient heart, and never again will any God, demon, or mortal stand between you and what YOUR heart tells you is right for this world and its people!

It takes the better part of two-and-a-half weeks to reach the by-now familiar outcroppings where your dark-adjusted eyes can STILL make out the traces of the explosion and rockfall which introduced you to the Drow of Wevenore—the black-skinned, big-rearing, androgynous subterranean partisans who were your first allies among this world’s myriad other peoples. You still hold a fondness for their peculiar in YOUR dragon heart… But it is nothing like the fondness in Oluwadamilare’s heart, which seems to pour from his eyes in a glimmer of longing.

You recognize it well, as you follow his eyes into deeper darkness, where his Beloved One dwells. It is the same feeling YOU feel, when you think of Sseztlussth, and of the Worm Queen Glowie, and of your children. You have been gone too long…

Your stomach rumbles for food, though, such that even ghoul-flesh would suffice! Nor would you turn down the charming company, crystalline laughter, and mystical knowledge of the mage-princess Jazkarmel, whom your Archer so pines for and who you count among your closest friends.

What will you do?
>Stop in to visit with the Drow, and perhaps to consult with Jazkarmel about your quest
>You must press on—time is of the essence to get the most value from the heart and to set out in search of the succubus
>You will continue on, but you will give Olu leave, to stay with the Drow and with his Beloved One
>Write-in
>>
>>5753371
>>You will continue on, but you will give Olu leave, to stay with the Drow and with his Beloved One
drop the dead weight of Halle too
>>
>>5753371
>Stop in to visit with the Drow, and perhaps to consult with Jazkarmel about your quest
I wanna embrace our role as Moonking, and that means learning more about the Moonsword we won from the beast.

Just think of it- the Dragon Reborn, the Bloodmoon, King of Bloodrise, Protector of the Dark Elves, the Scourge of Underword!
>>
>>5753428
>Why is the naked heart leaking and wrapped in cloth, when we successfully obtained its preservative jar?
[Uh...]
>tfw you forgot your own plot point because you sort of expected the jar to get smashed
[Good catch, anon. My bad, brain-fart. Theral takes it out to look at it like he's Thorin, let's say, and carefully squeezes the preservatives back into the jar. Reduces the time crunch a little, at least!]
>>
>>5753436
>crunch time
[Though, addendum, all you huge muscular hypercarnivores are still pretty famished. Ironically, Olu and the Silskscale females are faring the best nutritionally. Even the heretic is pretty big, and would stand at eight feet tall if he wasn't a hunchback.]
>>
>>5753371
>You will continue on, but you will give Olu leave, to stay with the Drow and with his Beloved One

Reduces the food requirements too
>>
>>5753371
>You will continue on, but you will give Olu leave, to stay with the Drow and with his Beloved One

at least one guy will have his happy end
>>
>>5753371
>You will continue on, but you will give Olu leave, to stay with the Drow and with his Beloved One
>>
>>5753744
And now you’ve jinxed it ;^)
>>
>>5753371
>>You will continue on, but you will give Olu leave, to stay with the Drow and with his Beloved One for a time.
He can catch up later since we plan to pause in Bloodrise.

This option gets out hungry boys to their dinner fastest right? Or would the drone have food for them if we stopped? If so I'd vote to stay the night.
>>
>>5753885
>>5753802
>>5753744
>>5753565
>>5753428
>>5753422
>>5753389
“Go to her.”

“What?” the Archer asks, looking back at you with shock and confusion.

You simply nod in the direction you both know leads to the Drow encampment—and to Jazkarmel, the Drow Princess.

“We are stopping over then?” he asks, hopeful and excited, only to return to his previous confusion when you shake your head.

“You have served me well,” you say. “Consider this your reward.”

“Superior One, I cannot—”

You raise a hand to stop him and, loyal as ever, Oluwadamilare the Archer ceases his well-meaning objection.

“You are a skilled warrior, and I will have need of you again in the future,” you explain, “but I also have need of one such as you in THIS capacity, as… What was it you’d said? Cultural Liaison to the Drow of Wevenore?”

The Archer’s crooked smile returns, and he tilts his head, saying: “I appreciate it, truly, yet—”

“I get enough argument from the Hawksong Infiltrator,” you interrupt him again. “Do not tell me she has been a bad influence upon you?”

That elicits a laugh, and before long you are joining him.

“Thank you, Dragon King,” he says, “truly.”

You rejoin the others, and tell them of your plans. The Hawksong Infiltrator is equal parts wary and excited by the news, though both emotions give way to abject disappointment when you tell her she will not be joining the Archer.

“What?” Halle balks. “But I am… I mean to say, SUeprior One, that HE is… More USEFUL to you than I.”

“In this capacity OR as a companion,” you readily agree, “but you will carry his burdens well enough.”

“His burdens?” she asks. “What do you—OOF!”

She nearly buckles under the weight of the repackaged dragon-heart in its great canopic jar, before adjusting her stance. She glares at you, though when you meet it with your own, she quickly bows her head in subservience.

“Yes, Dragonborn,” she mewls.
>>
>>5754004
You cross your arms but, taking some pity on her, explain that she and the other Silkscales shall share the burden.

“Why not the Great One?” she fairly—if impetuously—inquires.

“He and I must be ready to fight,” you explain. “The underdark is no safe place, patrolled by guardsmen and protected by walls.”

“And the Red Dragonborn?” she asks.

You, she, and the masseuses of your big brother’s harem all watch as the overgrown hatchlings clamber about, belching smoke and sparks at one another and occasionally falling upon one another is savage, haphazard ‘play-fights’ to establish their pecking order or settle petty disputes, known only to them… or maybe just to burn off energy. The dearth of food may have reduced their rambunctiousness at first, and slowed their movements, but it ahs only made them testier in the long run—less obedient, more aggressive, and overeager to bolt after any possible food-source if not reigned in. Truly, the Great One spend smore time fighting THEM than any adversary, most of which seem to be frightened by your combined <Fearsome Presence>.

“…Ah,” Halle acknowledges, and says nothing more, your point having made itself.

The rest of the trek back to Bloodrise is a slog. You take the time to discuss your plans for the Succubus with the Heretic, though he is plainly nervous to be so far from his life’s work and the oppressive safety of his allocated sanctuary, and he struggles to adequately explain or clarify the ritual and its effects. Your conversations with Halle prove a bit more stimulating, at least, and she DOES seem to lift out of her critical mindset as you describe the wonders of Bloodrise, and the future you envisage for it.

“A multicultural metropolis like Hawksong then?” she asks, wonderingly. “But… We can go about openly, in our true forms, and live as kings and queens? And worship freely?”

“Something like that,” you agree, “eventually. We are building something new.”

This brightens her mood, and she chatters excitedly with the others of her sex and caste as you fall into easy silence beside your big brother, and help him to maintain order among the younger Dragonborn until your arrival.

The Bloodrise that welcomes you home is different than the one you left, by now almost half a year prior. For one thing, there are FAR more Reptilians than you remember. You return to cheers and fearful, hissed whispers, emanating from lizard lips on faintly familiar faces.

“Operatives, merchants, and servants,” Halle whispers. “From the northern forward base. Though… Some of these ones I had heard rumoured to be dead, or deserters.”

“Not dead, NOR deserters, you reply, with a touch of pride. “Refugees from the failing Old Ways, come at my invitation… And with my blessing!”
>>
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>>5754005
You raise your voice at the final phrase, drawing attention anew, and you proclaim loudly: “Welcome! The Copper Dragon King of Bloodrise welcomes you, children of the Reptilian Race, to our new kingdom!”

At this, the cheers far outnumber the hesitant hisses, and many who seemed unsure how to react to your arrival settle upon celebration. Attendants hurry to you and your companions—‘Svrifneblin’ slaves from among the conquered dwarves, driven forth by the boots of Duergar or Bloodrise Kobold masters—while Reptilian supplicants crowd around to speak with you, or simply to celebrate in the survival nd return of the Great One and his kin.

“Enough, enough!” you cry, overwhelmed by the flood of petitions for your immediate attention; when this fails, you will your <Fearsome Presence> to manifest more fully, projecting your will, and allow the Red Dragonborn to surge forth and put the fear of the Dark Gods into these willful subjects.

“We have traveled long and far, and need rest and food,” you explain, in a took that allows no argument. “Then, I will speak with my council.”

The crowd disperses, or IS dispersed by force in some cases, and you allow your posture to relax with a weary exhalation. You very much intend to eat, and drink, and rest… But even considering the first two matters reminds you of the precarious food situation when you departed. With this surge in refugees… Well, you can only hope that the supplies and livestock traded with Blackpine were enough to shore up your rations, so that there IS food and drink for you! Or perhaps the efforts by the Geologist, Engineer and your Serpent Queen bore fruit in your absence?

Regardless, you are HOME, at long last! What is your first order of business?
>Reunite with Glowie and the Wyrm Princes, and take your rest and respite with them
>Pay a visit to the Serpent Queen, to hold her close and speak of matters of magic, materiel, and your mating
>Call the council—you wish to get a report on all that you have missed, and to begin assembling your team for the mission to come
>Write-in
>>
>>5754006
>Pay a visit to the Serpent Queen, to hold her close and speak of matters of magic, materiel, and your mating.

Novice was given regent authority, so she can give us the run down on anything that might have happened while we were away.
>>
>>5754029
+1

Sounds good.
>>
>>5754006
>>Pay a visit to the Serpent Queen, to hold her close and speak of matters of magic, materiel, and your mating
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>>5754006
>Pay a visit to the Serpent Queen, to hold her close and speak of matters of magic, materiel, and your mating.
>>
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>>5754276
>>5754029
>>5754069
>>5754084
While the siren song of relaxation calls out to you—not unlike to rhythmic humming of your insectoid mate and her spawn—you know you ought to get at least a brief breakdown of what ahs transpired in your absence. You aren’t sure you have the energy for a full-blown council meeting at this time, but here is one place—one female—whom you know for certain can provide situational analysis, useful advice, AND creature comfort to you. You will visit she who you have loved longest, once called Novice Fleshweaver but now more accurately titled Serpent Queen.

“Well, look what the hominid dragged in. And you DO look as if you’ve been dragged! I am your ‘royal’ physician, you know, and I don’t know that I’ve seen you look so weary even after nearly drowning for the third time!”

You sigh. You’re not sure what else you expected, for this is how it has ever been with this one, who was your childhood tormentor long before she was ever your Beloved One. Still, for all her harsh mockery, her fine and steady talons find your flesh with medical precision and the same gentle care which you have come to expect from the self-proclaimed ‘royal physician’, a she immediately sets about checking your condition. Maybe it is not what the humans and elves call ‘love’, but your Sseztlussth cannot hide that she cares about you.

“You are skinny,” she chastises you.

“The underdark can provide for one Dragonborn, maybe even a few Dragonborn, but I traveled with nearly a dozen.”

The Serpent Queen freezes, then seizes your chin and glares at you with those yellow eyes of hers.

“You brought them HERE?!”

“I did,” you admit (though you are not certain why it should feel like an admission).

“You blithering FOOL! You sentimental SIMPLETON.”

“Fleshweaver,” you growl in warning, “I have had a logn journey. I am not in the mood for—”

“A long journey INDEED,” she groans, “from our FORWARD BASE, which those Dragonborn brought to RUIN!”

“Ah,” you say, then pause. “SO you, uh, heard about that.”

She gives you a sharp look.

“Over two hundred and fifty needy Reptilians do not arrive from NOWHERE with NO cause, to increase our food demands—MEAT demands, no less!—by over 30%. So, yes, your LOYAL and HARDWORKING regent heard about THAT.”
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>>5754292
You spend the next few minutes assuring the Serpent Queen of the Great One’s desire to join in Bloodrise’s society, and of the control—a rapport really, but you know what word and what framing will bring your cold-hearted mate more comfort—that you have over them. She still seems unconvinced, such that you hesitate to bring up her father, the (apparently deceased) Chaplain of the northern forward base. It is at least easier to lie to this Beloved Oen than to Ekaterine, for a Reptilian relationship has the coldly-comforting certainty of MUTUAL deceit and manipulation.

“You are looking skinnier yourself,” you note wryly, changing the subject as you rest a hand upon her midsection. “You have laid our egg, then?”

The Once-Novice stops mid-insult as you pull her close and trail claws down her flat abdomen, drawing a small shiver from her despite—alas—surely not being in heat so soon after laying an egg. She averts her gaze, but allows you to hold her without protest, and her long, thick tail even seems to find yours instinctively—a subconscious admission that she missed you, a you missed her.

“You will wish to see it, no doubt,” the Serpent Queen suggests. “You are soft of heart and soft of head like that.”

“I am,” you happily agree. “Show me our child.”

You follow your mate to a chamber within the ever widening complex which was once the Bloodrise Kobolds’ warren, but increasingly resembles a dwarven mountain-hold, for its primary architects. The complex becomes rougher as you turn a corner, more utilitarian and cramped as you enter an area more uniquely ‘kobold’, and it is here than the rookery of the Reptilian races—Master and kobold-servant—can be found. To your surprise, she leads you past and BEYOND the clutches of small, ovoid eggs attended by dozens of kobold females, though you see larger eggs of the Master race among them.

“You left me pregnant with a single spawn, oh ‘Prince of Love’,” the Serpent Queen notes, when questioned. “You expect me to leave my only claim to lasting legitimacy among the unsorted eggs of the rabble, when I have no idea when or IF you will return?”

Indeed, you find the egg—not very different from any other tall, white egg of the Master Race—alone, attended by nearly as many kobolds as the rest of the mountain kingdom’s brood COMBINED—and by Serpent Priestesses who you take for ‘Mother’s Daughters’, the priestesses of the Lady of the Rookery and Mother of Dragons. You approach the egg under their watchful, curious eyes.
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>>5754296
“How long?” you ask.

Inferring your meaning, your Beloved Ones explains that she laid the egg only a month or so ago, and thus its hatching is expected in another month’s time.

“Assuming,” she adds, whispering privately and approaching you so close you can feel her body against yours, and her breath on your neck, “that scions of your Degenerate bloodline matures and hatches at the normal, decent Reptilian rate.”

“I do not remember you complaining about that bloodline when you were begging for me to impregnate you,” you note.

She sputters, then corrects you: “Commanding, not begging.”

“Care to reassert that dominance?” you ask, casting her a sidelong glance.

She hisses and smacks your rear with her tail.

“Down, beast,” she refuses, though without venom, and you stifle your <appetite>.

You both look back at the egg—at your son or daughter, waiting to be born—for a moment longer. You know you must depart soon, if you are to deal with the matter of the Succubus and of the Red Dragon King’s opportunistic consciousness within you, to resolve the matter of the Dark Gods’ apparent abandonment, and to secure your legacy and destiny. But this… This soon-to-hatch child of yours… is it not ALSO a part of your legacy? Your wives here, your family here… You are Prince of Love, a Dragon King who covets community above all else. A part of you wishes to stay here, at least for a while longer.

What will you do?
>Remain in Bloodrise until the Serpent Queen’s egg hatches, that you might see, hold, and name her child
>You cannot afford to delay for a month, or longer—you will get your briefing, resolve what issues are most pressing, and move on to complete this demon hunt

Before your council-meeting, is there anything you wish to discuss privately with the Serpent Queen Sseztlussth?
>The food situation and its possible solutions
>The population dynamics and racial relations of Bloodrise
>The probably death of her father, the Chaplain who raised you both
>Ekaterine’s crowning and the changed diplomatic situation abroad
>Your shame—the truth of how you disobeyed the Dark gods, were forsaken
>Your solution—the plan to hunt down and consume the Succubus, and the Great Green Dragon’s heart, to become a sort of demigod
>Write-in
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>>5754297
What will you do?
>Use Bloodrise as a basis to bind Dragon Heart and Dragon Soul - we have everything here and now

>Your shame—the truth of how you disobeyed the Dark gods, were forsaken
>Your solution—the plan to consume the Dragon Soul, and the Great Green Dragon’s heart, to become a sort of demigod

>Ponder if that will make children Quatergods
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>>5754297
>You cannot afford to delay for a month, or longer—you will get your briefing, resolve what issues are most pressing, and move on to complete this demon hunt.


>Your shame—the truth of how you disobeyed the Dark gods, were forsaken

>Your solution—the plan to hunt down and consume the Succubus, and the Great Green Dragon’s heart, to become a sort of demigod.


>Write-in: Ask Sseztlussth, if she can take material from the assorted dragonborn. And flesh weave it into our child to draconify the growing embryo inside of the egg.
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>>5754297
>Remain in Bloodrise until the Serpent Queen’s egg hatches, that you might see, hold, and name her child

>The food situation and its possible solutions
>The population dynamics and racial relations of Bloodrise
>The probably death of her father, the Chaplain who raised you both
>Ekaterine’s crowning and the changed diplomatic situation abroad
>Your shame—the truth of how you disobeyed the Dark gods, were forsaken
>Your solution—the plan to hunt down and consume the Succubus, and the Great Green Dragon’s heart, to become a sort of demigod
since we're staying

I'd be down to do this too
>>5754305

why leave to hunt down iri when we can just use big red here and now
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>>5754305
>>5754379
>>5754380
[Just a friendly reminder: the necromantic rite needed to use the Red Dragon King for your ascent will destroy your ancestor's sense of self forever, preventing him from attaining eternal rest, and also upset the God of Death. This, and grievance with Irinnile, seem to have been motivations for the previous vote, so I just wanted to make sure they hadn't been forgotten.]

[That said, if it's what you vote for, it isn't too late to change tack.]
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>>5754380
The red dragon king himself was a powerful necromancer, Hapo learned everything he knew from big red's library books. If we try to use a necromantic ritual to break and usurp his soul. I fear he might attempt to pull an Uno reverse card on us using his greater knowledge and mastery of that type of sorcery. Especially now that his spirit is no longer suppressed by our ant-paladin powers.

And then death might also curse us or worse our kids or family. i
In retaliation, for destroying the soul of a previous champion of darkness.

Irr is just a lot less dangerous and the potential consequences less severe to face off against.
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>>5754297
>Remain in Bloodrise until the Serpent Queen’s egg hatches, that you might see, hold, and name her child

Obviously speak about these in private:
>The food situation and its possible solutions
>The population dynamics and racial relations of Bloodies
>Ekaterine’s crowning and the changed diplomatic situation abroad
>Your shame—the truth of how you disobeyed the Dark gods, were forsaken
>Your solution—the plan to hunt down and consume the Succubus, and the Great Green Dragon’s heart, to become a sort of demigod

+

>Write-in: Ask Sseztlussth, if she can take material from the assorted dragonborn - without killing or harming them. And fleshweave it into our child to draconify the growing embryo inside of the egg.
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>>5754506
>>5754380
>>5754379
>>5754305
[Alright, can't put it off forever. Locked and writing!]
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>>5754665
Where is the second linger a little vote?
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>>5754697
See >>5754506 and >>5754380

>>5754665
You resolve in that instant, looking upon this soon-to-hatch offspring, that you will be there to hold and name this child. You even tell your Serpent Queen such when you return to the privacy of her quarters—now stocked with considerably more materials for her research, you note, and a higher grade of equipment.

“Pathetic,” she replies. “Saccharine with sentiment. Ridiculous. What sort of…”

She pauses in her half-hearted lambasting of you to turn to face you, hand on hips and eyes narrowed.

“Wait, where ELSE would you be?” she demands. “You just got back!”

“So you DID miss me,” you note.

She hisses in annoyance, and you sigh and fill her in on your plan to ascend to a state of near-godliness. The Serpent Queen is so exhilarated at the news that you have recovered the Great green Dragon’s heart that it actually takes her a while to register the rest of what you’ve said.

“Your intent is to ABSORB a DEMON into your own SOUL?”

“Well… Yes, essentially,” you say. “The Heretic—whom YOU introduced me to, I will remind you before you begin criticizing my sources—tells me he knows of an ancient ritual used to consume and absorb the properties of a fallen god or demigod, and believes it should be transferable.. Provided a skillful Fleshweaver can also augment my physical form with the heart-blood of the Great Green Dragon.”

“I suppose the potential dangers of this failing have occurred to you?” your mate demands. “Why must you engage in this foolishness? With the dragon-heart ALONE, we could make your Amulet of the Dragon into something more potent, and with the Red Dragon King’s spirit bound to you in order to power it…”

She catches your expression and, shamefacedly, you are forced to explain the REST of your rationale: that is to say, your refusal to follow divine edict, and subsequent loss of power and prestige.

“Idiot!” she cries out. “It is that damn pet HUMAN of yorus—”

“The Queen of Hawksong, you mean?”

Your Fleshweaver wife misses only a single beat, before continuing: “She can be matron to whatever troupe of monkeys she wishes—she is still a liability She has infected you with ‘compassion’ and ‘kindness’ and all sorts of other degeneracy, and look where it has gotten you! Just go back to that damnable surface-scum city and kill her family!”

“I cannot,” you reply. “I made an oath.”

“You don’t need to KEEP oaths if you’re NOT EVEN A KNIGHT ASCENDANT ANYMORE,” she shrieks, before stopping to take a series of deep breaths, clutching at her workbench.
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>>5754739
She’s… She’s TREMBLING, you realize. You step forward, to take her in your arms, but she flails and lashes you with her tail until you let her go. You let her have her moment, watching silently, until finally she can bear to look at you again.

"The oath matters to ME," you admit. "That is the truth of it."

“What does this mean for… For us? Our race? Our family?”

You have to admit, despite her outburst, it is refreshing and even sort of heartwarming to hear her expressing immediate concern for your shared spawn and your people in this fashion, self-centered creature that she usually is.

“Nothing serious, I hope,” you say. “Few adherents get the privilege of directly speaking to the Dark Gods, after all, yet it does not mean they forsake their common worshippers. And if this goes well… I shall no longer be a SERVANT to the Dark Divines, but I shall asend to almost be ONE of them!”

“Egotistical blowhard,” she murmurs, but you see the light of that uncanny ambition in your belove One’s amber eyes now. “Why not simply consume the spirit of the Red Dragon King, then, though? It is closer at hand, and less…”

The Serpent Queen trails off, but sticks out her longue tongue in disgust at the thought of Irinnile the Succubus. You laugh, and nod, for it had occurred to you as well.

“It is a fine fallback plan,” you admit. “I had even considered it. But there are… Complications.”

“More moral compunctions?” she groans.

“Not so,” you retort, then reconsider. “Not ONLY that. There is the matter of how the Lord of Endings might respond to necromancy of that sort, or even the other Dark Gods. He is their champion from ancient days, after all, and belongs to them in eternity.”

“He was a necromancer himself, yes?” the Serpent Queen notes brusquely. “Why should the Gods of Death care what happens to one such as he?”

“Perhaps he has ‘moral compunctions’ about disturbing the natural order in this way,” you tease your mate with her own words. “And is that not a cause for concern as well? His spirit is strong, and his knowledge of magic is vast. What if the Old King can… Reverse the process, somehow? Take the initiative to seize my body and devour MY spirit?”

“Do you think I am his ‘type’?” Your mate asks, tapping her chin with a claw.

You stare at her.

“It was a joke,” she says. “If a true Dragon King is like YOU but MORESO… I have quite enough difficulty with my PRESENT king, thank you very much.”

“Right,” you say flatly. “Though on the subject of you integrating a Dragon King into your bloodline… Do you suppose that once I have assumed demigodliness, it shall pass onto our spawn?”
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>>5754746
“What, and make of the, ‘quartergods’?” the Fleshweaver asks, rattling with laughter, before she sees you are serious. “Well… Maybe. It is difficult to say. I do not know the rite, but I must admit I am not certain it is possible to so extensively modify your default state—let along your reproductive tract and gonads—such that you could pass on such a transformation. It would risk rendering you as sterile as those afflicted humans you asked me to remedy. It is safer to apply it to your Dragonshape, via the amulet.”

“What of the Wyrm Princes?” you point out.

“I modified them in-utero,” she reminds you, “and I would hardly call them DEMIGODS, would you?”

You aren’t sure, honestly, and so you say nothing. They’re certainly not like your brother the Great Green Dragonborn… Not yet, at least. Meanwhile, the only such being she has modified as an adult is… Well, the Junior Novice, a patchwork ghoul-hybrid of rather unattractive and unstable nature.

“Could you modify our egg, then?” you press.

“Right before you leave me alone, AGAIN, to serve as regent, AGAIN?” she asks. “Without any other heir, should it go wrong and destabilize the embryo’s gestation?”

You step forward, seizing her by the hips and making her squawk in surprise.

“We could see about producing another,” you suggest in a low, seductive rumble.

“I am not heat,” she whispers.

“Well then,” you say, with mock-lament, “I suppose this shall be just for fun. You DID once promise me that you would attend to such matters, yes?”

The Chaplain’s Daughter, first of your Beloved Ones, regards you cooly… And then sighs and tilts her head, as her own hands slide down her chest and to your groin.

“You are incorrigible,” she notes, “but predictable, and easy to manipulate.”

“So manipulate me,” you reply.

With skillful healer’s hands and inhumanly long tongue, she does. With overlarge and squeezable hindquarters, you extract your pleasure. And finally, weary from travel and glad to be reunited with your wise, wily Reptilian wife, you take your torpor in one another's embrace, her face buried in your neck and her arms, legs, and tail binding you to her as if a raft in a storm, in site of her protestations of indifference.

At home in her embrace, you dream…
>Of hellfire
>Of dragonfire
>Of steel
>Of ghosts
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>>5754748
>Of dragonfire

Discard bitches, acquire draconic glory
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>>5754748
>“I modified them in-utero,” she reminds you, “and I would hardly call them DEMIGODS, would you?”

>You aren’t sure, honestly, and so you say nothing. They’re certainly not like your brother the Great Green Dragonborn… Not yet, at least. Meanwhile, the only such being she has modified as an adult is… Well, the Junior Novice, a patchwork ghoul-hybrid of rather unattractive and unstable nature.

>“Could you modify our egg, then?” you press.

>“Right before you leave me alone, AGAIN, to serve as regent, AGAIN?” she asks. “Without any other heir, should it go wrong and destabilize the embryo’s gestation?”


I don't understand the novice's rational here or her argument.

The entire reason we greenlight her usage of the red dragonking's slain hatchling, and the body of the Ghoul-dogbold in her cruel experimentation. Was so that she could get hands on experience with flesh weaving draconic material & to refine her technique. Now when it's time to put her experiment's to practice she gets cold feet?

She tore out some of the ghoul-novice's internal organs and inserted draconic ones in their place, to the point where he developed a pseudo fearsome presence. She twisted his Skelton and musculature, She even messed with his spine and implanted/Grew functioning wings into him.

But manipulating an embryo is too hard for her? Even though embryo's have significantly more plasticity than fully grown adults.

And furthermore how would her child in the egg even become a suitable heir in the first place, if the novice refuses to flesh weave and draconicify him?

Our nine bug sons, and nine dragonborn cousin's are all extremely competitive with one another. The red dragonborn are constantly wrestling and nipping at eachother for supremacy. The wyrm's almost murdered and ate each other until we drilled a sense of comradery into them. How does the novice expect her child to command and control two and a half dozen dragon-chimera princes, if her heir is a mere serpent priest with trace amounts of dragonblood. Giving dragonborn commands from a position of weakness did not end well for the northern base and the serpent priests within it.
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>>5754748
>Of ghosts
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>>5754886
>How does the novice expect her child to command and control two and a half dozen dragon-chimera princes

I meant one and a half dozen, don't know why i wrote two.

also I vote this.
>Of hellfire
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>>5754748
>Of dragonfire

>>5754886
Pretty big difference between using some weird creature that can't even talk as a test dummy and doing the same to your own child. We've already seen a lot of cases where Reptilians behave emotionally rather than with the pure rationalism they supposedly possess.
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>>5754886
>Novice's rationale here
[Sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear. What she was trying to convey to Theral was that she doesn't want to mess about experimenting with her own, ONLY egg, if he's about to leave again on adventure without officially appointing her his regent. She wants a credible claim to status and authority in Bloodrise even if he gets himself killed or captured, and cannot return to rule. She PROBABLY could graft the embryo in her egg, but if she messes up there's no spare (not like Glowie's several dozen fertilized eggs when she had the procedure done), and Theral won't be around to sire another heir for her to raise as a Prince or Princess.
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>>5754905
So she will start the dragon grafting process if we name her permanent regent in our absence instead of a temporary one?
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>>5754970
[She just might!]
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>>5754748
>Of steel

It’s our forte anyways
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>>5754893
Hey Mom
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>>5754748
>Of dragonfire
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>>5754748
>>Of hellfire
Some insight into our future source of power perhaps?
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>>5755109
>>5755083
>>5754977
>>5754902
>>5754895
>>5754893
>>5754869
[Locked and writing!]
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>>5755466
In your dreams, you find yourself at the centre of the mountain—deep in Bloodrise, where the volcanism is still active, where the fire-lizards bask and the chemosynthetic and thermosynthetic fungi and mosses grow and Feed the ecosystem leading up to them. In the dreams, you are among them, resting in the magma itself as if a sauna (though without the heart-palpitating fear which accompanies such submersion these days). One of your tamed lizards rests beneath your left hand, as you run your talons gently over its pebbly skin; your right hand rests atop the magma, stirring its surface whenever it threatens to settle and form a rocky crust. You wear your true form—faintly copper, really more salmon-pink, wingless, thin of scale and skin—and yet you do not burn. You do not question this, not in any depth, and instead turn to your companion in this great, burning bath:

The Red Dragon King.

He is towering and bipedal in this dream, unlike the depictions and tales you have heard of him—more akin to your Great Green Dragonborn brother… Or perhaps like you yourself may one day be. You express the thought aloud, feeling relaxed and uninhibited.

“You? Like me?” he rumbles with laughter. “Not by absorbing that little lust demon!”

“The Succubus is a Greater Demon now,” you note, a touch defensive of your plan. “She has fed upon OTHER Greater Demons. She will be a worthy font of power.”

“Maybe it is mightier than I credit it,” you noble ancestor allows as he spreads his tremendous hundred-foot wingspan and leaning back, lowering more of his torso into the molten spa. “But it will not make you MY equal.”

“Then you would rather I perform the ritual with YOU as its principle component?” you suggest, provocatively.

It only elicits another booming laugh,

“I would like to see you TRY, Little One,” he challenges. “You are… What, twenty-one years old? Twenty-two? Only counting the time I was ALIVE, you would need a thousand years to be my equal, or longer. I would eat you alive, Oh ‘Dragonborn’, and reclaim my kingdom. Make no mistake.”
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>>5755496
“I will not live that long enough to equal you, without SOME ritual,” you note, a little sourly. “I do not even know that I will reach the end of my own NATURAL lifespan, with the Gods turned against me.”

“Young One” the Red Dragon King addresses you then, “MOST kings and priests hear from the Dark Gdos rarely, if at all. I MSYELF ruled my kingdom from these mountains for centuries, and I only heard the voices of my creators a dozen times across a whole millennium. You told your mate the truth of things, yet you do not seem to accept this truth yourself: you do not NEED the Dark Gods’ constant interference to rule, or to win wars, or to be Dragon King.”

“But what punishment might they inflict upon me, and my line, my kingdom?” you lament. “I have failed them, and angered them—at least some of them. And my enemies mass against me—or will, soon enough, will they not? I need to be ready to defend my family, my people, my Beloved Ones! I NEED power to do this!”

“Power,” the Red Dragon King rumbles thoughtfully. “Victory. Dominance. Destiny. You chase after these things, but you already know you are made of softer stuff. If you REALLY wanted these things, wanted them as a TRUE Dragon would, you would seize them!... But you do not. You relinquish them, again and again, for the sake of others, and for the sake of that heart.”

“You sound like the Dark Gods,” you grumble, “or like the Novice… I mean, the Serpent Queen. Or like her father, for that matter.”

“The difference is,” your ancestor says, “you do not need to OBEY my advice, or your mate’s, or her dead father’s. You are a DRGAON KING, are you not? My heir? My successor? Or you CLAIM to be. Yet I CONSULTED with the Gods, and did not always heed them. I championed an Age of Dragons, and paid them tribute, but I was SOVEREIGN.”

“Because you were a TRUE Dragon,” you sigh. “A demigod. That’s why—”

“No!”
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>>5755498
You stop, looking up at the Red Dragon King as he looms over you, and lifts a great arm like an ancient tree-trunk, stretching it out to poke you in the chest.

“You tell your stupid apeling—Duergar Regent, whatever you call it—that a True Dragon Soul dwells within, yet you seek your own path to dragonhood WITHOUT.”

He takes his finger away, splashing the magma across the cavern in a great splatter of heavy molten metal and rock, sending insects, lizards, and more native organism scattering in flight.

“Is THIS your fire?” he asks you. “Am -I- your fire? Is your fire found in the Hells, or gifted from above, or even from Below or Beyond?”

You look down where the King of Old prodded you, and find your bare chest alight from an inner flame, swelling and glowing until you can see it through skin. You feel yourself filled with warm, and wonder, until the sheer magnitude of it threatens to consume you utterly.

“Seize the demon and bend it to your will if you wish,” he says, “but remember: before you were an Knight Ascendant, or a Dark Prophet, or whatever other silly little titles you saw fit to bestow upon yourself, you were a DRAGON SHAMAN. Your fire comes from WITHIN.”

When you wake, the dream lingers. You rise slowly, though the still-slumbering Serpent Queen hisses and scratches angrily at you, trying to reclaim your warmth—your fire within. You lightly trace your talons over her chin, down her neck and back, until she is soothed back to restfulness and you extract yourself. Sitting upon the floor, you meditate on the nature of your Dragon Soul, while the dream is still fresh.
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>>5755499
It isn’t longer thereafter that the Serpent Queen rouses herself properly.

“Rare that you wake before my Pureblooded self,” she notes.

“Hm.”

She narrows her eyes, and clicks her tongue.

“You are in one of your serious moods, I see,” she notes. “And even after I allowed you to spill your seed so many times. I begin to feel unappreciated!”

“Hm.”

“Well, get back in your IMPERIOUS mood,” she suggests, standing with a stretch that you cannot help but quickly glance over to admire, especially in light of the memory of your evening together. “It is time to earn your sexual release.”

“I thought your position of power was my price?” you ask wryly.

“I DID tell you I planned to manipulate you, and you even agreed to it,” she reminds you, though with some humour in her tone. “Ugh, and with all the cleaning I had to do, you had BETTER be pliable to my will.”

“It depends what you ask of me,” you say, stretching and standing as well, for you can tell she does not plan to leave you to your meditations.

“Merely that you meet with the council,” she begins, beginning to dress herself in her queenly attire.

“I will,” you agree easily enough, pulling on your Drow-woven silks and chitinous, gem-studded armour overtop of it.

“And follow my lead, obeying my directives for this kingdom unquestioningly as my puppet-king,” she adds casually.

“I will not,” you reply, just as easily, drawing a half-hearted hiss.

“It was worth a shot,” the Serpent Queen says. “I suppose I should have made you make the oath BEFORE your orgasm was spent, yes? Something to keep in mind next time. Well, then there is just one thing…”

You cross your arms and tilt your head, waiting for this more serious request.

“The Serpent Priests,” she says. “Not the PriestHOOD, wherever they are hiding away and plotting our demise, but those who fled here and accepted your—OUR—invitation to join the Kingdom of Bloodrise. They shall join the council.”

You narrow your eyes, and ask: “How many of them are here?”

“A little over a dozen,” your mate replies. “Maybe as many as two dozen, actually, counting myself and the Translator from the first expedition.”

Enough to easily dominate the council and its proceedings, and to establish a Reptilian ruling class—the same caste-dominance which they enjoyed in the society in which you and your mate—a Serpent priestess herself—were raised. The implications are not lost on either of you, and under your skeptical gaze the Serpent Queen squirms slightly.
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>>5755502
“Listen to me,” she snaps, “it is not a matter of… of clan PRIDE or any such thing. Though it IS worth remembering that we alone of the Master Race can work great magics, communicate with the Dark Gods, that we are stronger and taller and more beautiful, AND that we have all been RAISED for leadership.”

“Hm,” you reply.

The one-time Novice Fleshweaver’s tail lashes the stones and she adopts a combative stance and glares at you, then falters and deflates when her threat-posture achieves nothing.

“Our race’s numbers swell here,” she notes. “Most of the newcomers—newcomers YOU invited, and who I accepted because I knew YOU would want me to do so—are not used to… YOUR ways, with dwarves and elves and, ugh, BUGBEARS living among us almost as equals, and kobolds speaking above their station. Without you here, I needed to make… Concessions… or risk mutiny and being replaced.”

“You could have enforced compliance with our soldiers,” you note.

“Oh please,” she huffs, “and be assassinated by poison or demon-summoning or some other secretive means instead? Then who would you be rutting with—GLOWIE? And who would rule—that DUERGAR you’ve taken on as Apprentice? The BASTARD? Be reasonable. I made the compromises I needed to, in order to keep YORU kingdom together and follow YOUR instructions.”

“You already promised it to them,” you infer. “You told them they would form my council.”

The Serpent Queen at least has the good graces to avert her gaze and look somewhat embarrassed.

Will you allow the Serpent Priests of Bloodrise to form the majority of the ruling council?
>Yes, for they DO have much to recommend them and will be readily accepted by the other Reptilians
>Some, and ONLY as representatives of their kind—not as any sort of authority over other Reptilians or the non-Reptilian races
>No, the Serpent Priesthood and their rule has been a failure—it is why you made Bloodrise and independent nation, and you will NOT have them spoil that
>No, and you will have those who object too vociferously imprisoned or executed if they don’t wish to accept this
>Cancel the council meeting—you have no time for this nonsense
>Write-in
>>
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[Oh, and a more accurate pie chart (with Bogbarri included, woops) is attached, to help communicate the over all situation. It doesn't include Drow who live in the outpost you gifted to Wevenroe, who aren't TECHNICALLY your subjects--only the Drowgons and their family.]
>>
>>5755503
>Yes, for they DO have much to recommend them and will be readily accepted by the other Reptilians
This isn't a democracy, though does this option mean the priests have authority over others? The only authority they should have are the ones WE grant them.
>>
>>5755531
[Official members of your council will be seen as respected authorities who have your ear and can influence policy. This will make them de facto community leaders and, due to the nature of Reptilian society, de facto leaders of the Master Race and maybe the kobolds. Failing to clarify the matter or check their authority will inevitably lead to them entrenching themselves as religious and civic leaders of all followers of the True Faith again, as they and the rest of the Reptilian population have long been conditioned to think is good and natural.]
>>
>>5755545
> Failing to clarify the matter or check their authority will inevitably lead to them entrenching themselves as religious and civic leaders of all followers of the True Faith again.
Then we should tell our beloved Serpent this and "check" the priests during the meeting. This isn't the outpost, this is Bloodrise. If they start some bullshit, they WILL be replaced.
>>
>>5755503
>Some, and ONLY as representatives of their kind—not as any sort of authority over other Reptilians or the non-Reptilian races

Three may join the Council - how they decide that there is up to them.

We will not have our multi-species Kingdom dominated by one faction.

In our society merit and draconic will to succeed, not birth, matters most.

>Your fire comes from WITHIN.
I like this source of power the best.

I’d vote to double double on increasing our draconic power, not stealing it from Hell or relying on the Dark Gods
>>
>>5755503
>Some, and ONLY as representatives of their kind—not as any sort of authority over other Reptilians or the non-Reptilian races

Make it clear this comes from us so we take the assassin heat and not bae
>>
>>5755503
>Write-in: The novice claims that serpent priest's are "we are stronger and taller and more beautiful, that we have been RAISED for leadership, work great magics and communicate with the Dark Gods." You believe they are upjumped nepotistic social climbers with half decent propaganda. Nonetheless you are a just king. You will make them prove whether they are worthy of a leadership role in your fiefdom instead of rejecting them outright. Go get the karz and tell him to gather up his armada of reptiles and insect's he summons. Go find the bastard as well and tell him to grab non lethal practice equipment and meet in the arena where we boxed agno.

>If any member of the serpent priest wishes to be amongst bloodrise's leadership, they must either best the bastard in a non-lethal martial duel or best Karz and his beasts in a non lethal contest of magic for the less martially inclined. If any serpent class members feel unconfident in either test. They can instead try their hand and impressing us directly with whatever other skills they profess but warn them you are a harsh critic, and loathe having your time wasted.

The bastard, karz, the pit guard, the thief, the hunter, and others all earned their positions in our kingdom through sweat, blood and mettle. If the serpent class wants similar positions of influence they will have to work for it and prove themselves not just be handed it via nepotism like usual.
>>
>>5755503
>Some, and ONLY as representatives of their kind—not as any sort of authority over other Reptilians or the non-Reptilian races

Echoing statements about checking these scheming fucks.
>>
>>5755552
>>5755587
>>5755619
>>5755622
>>5755681
[Alright, writing!]
>>
Rolled 13, 5, 7, 4, 8, 5, 20 = 62 (7d20)

>>5755732
“They already have you on the council, and as the regent in my absence,” you point out, frustrated with the scheming Holy Ones. “AND the Translator besides. Is that not enough?”

The Serpent Queen’s expression tell you that it is not—not for the Serpent Priests and, by her words, not necessarily in her OWN opinion either.

“This is not some operational outpost,” you endeavour to explain. “This is a kingdom made up of many races from entirely different biological taxa, created in some cases by different GODS. Everyone else on that council ahs earned their place by service, social merit, or loyalty. By blood, sweat, and effort. What have THEY done?”

“We Serpent Priests are BORN better,” she points out, not as a boast but as a neutral statement of fact which the Serpent Queen, even now, still believes. “We are capable of more. Oh, with modern alchemy and your whole… Meritcoratic THING… Others can become as good—”

“Or better,” you interject.

“…Or better,” she begrudgingly allows. “But the Serpent priests represent the biological and intellectual pinnacle of the Master Race under the old customs. It would be foolishness to throw that away for… IDEOLOGY.”

You hiss in displeasure, and so she adds: “The kobolds get THEIR council of elders. Consider this the same, yes?”

“Then they will have what the kobolds have,” you pounce upon her example before she can rescind it. “That and NO MORE. They will get a small council to represent the Serpent Priesthood in Bloodrise, with NO authority over the other races—not Steeltalons, not Dragonblodoed Ones, not Silskcales, not kobolds, bugbears, or dwarves.”

The Serpent Queen’s tail twitches.

“They will not like this,” she notes.

“Then they can take it up with me,” you note lifting your head high and projecting your <Presence>, “and if they care to make an issue of it, they can take it up with me in the same manner Agno the Kobold did—above the Basilisk Pit, hand-to-hand.”

Your Serpent Priestess wife throws her hands up in exasperated surrender, and stalks off. You follow after her, and together you stalk towards the cavern—expanded and beautified as well since your last visit—where council meetings are held.

[Rolling 6d20 for Leadership, with a bonus die for Intimidation and Reptilian Empathy, DC 15/18 due to losing your Knight Ascendant/Voice of the Metatron bonus.]
>>
Rolled 74 (1d100)

>>5755757
There, you are reunited with many familiar faces—the South-Merchant, the Cartographer, and the masked Thief who you sent ahead; The Bastard, Regent of Kobolds, and Karz Throat-singer, Duergar Regent and your personal apprentice; the Pit-Guard and his Apprentice; the Kobold Elders of Bloodrise; the Boss of the Bogbarri bugbears and the Ambassador from Wevenore elves; your wives and queens, both Serpent and Worm.

“Mmmizzzzed you~” Glowie hums happily, squeezing her massive breeding apparatus into the room and curling it about you in embracing intimacy, while her four reflective eyes regard you with unmistakable affection. “You will be staying for a while, my King?”

You clasp her spider, chitin-armoured hand in yours and squeeze in gently, drawing a little chirp of delight, and tell her that you will be. She extracts a promise—easily acquiesced to, unlike those concessions your OTHER queen here seems prone to demand—that you will visit often with her and with the sons she has born you: your Wyrm Princes, first of your line.

Last to enter the room are the Serpent Priests’ displeased coalition. The Translator is among them, though he at least bows his head in supplication quite readily. The stiff-necked nods of the other two Holy Ones who join him is less enthused…

>20

But as your gaze holds steady upon them, their eyes widen, they bow lower in an almost obsequious fashion, and they shuffle speedily and silently to their allotted space. You know well that your message, conveyed via your Serpent Queen’s attendants and by way of the loyal Translator, has been heard, understood, and properly feared: defiance in this chamber will NOT be tolerated. This realm is no democratic one, but nor is it to be a tired theocracy like the last Priest-run Reptilian state.

(CERTAINLY not while the Dark Gods remain absent and silent in response to your prayers, though you don’t say as much)

“I have returned from a long journey,” you say, “to find the Kingdom of the Bloodrise Mountains stronger and more populous than ever! Richer and more beautiful as well! You have all done good work, and THANKS to that good work, we have been able to welcome guests and new subjects to strengthen our society still further. You have served your Serpent Queen well, and you have done me proud!”

This is followed by the cheers and ululations which one might expect, breaking the solemn and almost fearful silence which had preceded it. You bask in it for a moment, and in the cries welcoming you back, and then you hold up a hand.

“I understand that I did not leave you without challenges, though,” you note, and bitterly add: “…And more challenges yet AROSE in my absence, which I did my best to deal with, but some of which will require your aid as well.”

[Food project DC 50/70/90 by default; -30 DC for placing three experts on the matter, +10 DC because you divided the Serpent Queen's attention. Final DC: 30/50/70]
>>
>>5755757
>they love it
lol, where’s our victory nooky novice?
>>
>>5755795
>>5755800
The first and foremost matter which you must discuss, of course, is that of population and of food—two countervailing factors in individual prosperity and kingdom-wide stability, and a principle issue which you journeyed forth to solve. The Translator, who accompanied you to Blackpine, is able to confirm that the shipment of food, furs, livestock and materials arrived as planned. Minerals, tools, and carefully-selected relics were exchanged for these by both representatives of Bloodrise and (under the South-Merchant’s supervision) the Ambassador of Wevenore and the Drow raiders here under his auspices.

“The agreed-upon ratios were followed, except in individual private trade, where this was permitted,” the Translator notes.

“Though more freedom for trade NOT performed by Blodorise citizens would be appreciated,” the Wevenore Ambassador adds quickly, drawing a hiss and a sharp look from the Translator and South-Merchant.

“Is it enough to offset the addition of so many hungry mouths, though?” you ask worriedly. “How many do we number?”

“Roughly 1500, and growing, not counting the Drow,” the Cartograher says.

“More with the Bogbarri,” notes the South-Merchant, a little bleakly.

The Boss of that spiny-and-hairy goblinoid race puffs out his chest proudly, clearly not reading the mood properly.

“They have the same meat preferences as the Ma—the Reptilian race, but they have a warmblooded metabolism, and thus are even HUNGRIER.”
“Growing warriors and breeder both need much meet, Theral,” the Bugbear Boss says with gleaming, snaggle-toothed grin. “They will breed FAST, and fight WELL, huh? I have hit them often, at the right times, so that they know not to eat our skinny or short friends, or any lizards that stand on two legs.”

You nod, slowly, understanding the dilemma at play. The South-Merchant hands you a scroll-passed by Agno, present as your personal servant—and you read it carefully. It is highly technical and numerical—neither your strong suit—but you get the gist.

>74

“Food is still a problem, then,” you note flatly. “We are not starving, but we also are not THRIVING… But I understand we have the means to resolve this?”
>>
>>5755862
Karz stands proud, head held high, and claps his hands (clad in fine leather gloves now you note), and summons two of the Svirfneblin slave-dwarves, who carry an array of charts, maps, materials, and even little dioramas. These all bear the unmistakable craftsdwarfship of the Engineer and her Geologist father—two dwarven experts, not quiet subjects and yet not slaves in the same sense as the Svirfneblin, who you have kept in your captive employment. The Engineer, who you had dressed down rather fiercely when last you saw her, avoids your gaze.

“With the aid of the Serpent Queen’s biological expertise,” the Geologist begins, “and using our own mechanisms, runes, and my knowledge of geology, we have worked out a method to produce food enough for ALL of Bloodrise’s population, and to allow for growth!”

This draws murmurs of appreciation, and of skepticism, but in all cases of extreme interest.

“Do tell,” you prompt him.

Tell he does. The Geologist—and eventually his daughter, too proud of her work to stay silent forever—explain how they used the elder dwarf slave called ‘Stone-sniffer’ to help them find specific mineral deposits which correlated to underground streams and wells, as well as those deposits which seems to best feed productive mossbeds. Using dwarven machinery and magic, they were able to divert these streams and reservoirs closer to the surface, forming oasis-like well. The stone was churned and crunched into small soilbed of sorts, and the process sped further with specific insects and fungi provided by the Drow idea for the purpose or for further fertilizing the resultant earth—

“We are pleased to be of assistance, of course, for all our mutual benefit,” the Wevenore Ambassador chimes in.

—and the one-time Novice Fleshweaver was able to guide them in growing crops of fluffy, almost grasslike moss beyond its normal proportions, and in such a way as to extract and process the chemicals of the stone below into something palatable to the rearing of goats, sheep, and even cattle.”

“It is a good thing that you were able to secure trade with the humans, though,” the Geologist cautions. “One cannot simply BUILD animals, sadly—they must be grown, and then reproduce, and then be housed, raised, and trained to obey, and only once they have bred again can they be slaughtered. We CAN make your kingdoms elf-sufficient… But it will take time.”

“There ARE ways, however, to speed this up!”
>>
>>5755867
All eyes turn to the South-Merchant, who unravels another scroll across the table, and begins to read his proposed suggestions for how to approach the matter of food security in Bloodrise. Theya re, broadly and generally speaking, as follows:

>Limit the trade of Wevenore subjects—and your own subjects as well—to create a government monopoly on trade, and insist upon more livestock and on the trade of fertile soil and livestock feed
[-happiness, -Drow relations, -short-term self-sufficiency, long-term self-sufficiency]
>Tax Wevenore trade through Bloodrise more heavily, and demand food as tribute from the dark elven court
[+happiness, --Drow relations, ~self-sufficiency]
>Divert the Serpent Queen’s biological expertise from the creation of a cure for the Reptilian-made chimera-plague in Hawksong to increase fertility and maturation speed in livestock
[--human relations, +self-sufficiency, +happiness]
>Open trade with other neighbouring baronies and integrate more closely with Hawksong-dominated trade in the region
[--self-sufficiency, +human relations, +Drow relations, +happiness]
>Tighten belts and discourage rampant breeding, until food production scales up
[-happiness, +self-sufficiency, --population growth]

Which do you choose? Or do you…
>Write-in
…propose your own fix?
>>
>>5755873
>Open trade with other neighbouring baronies and integrate more closely with Hawksong-dominated trade in the region

We’ll probably need to do that in the future anyways

>>5754977
>>
>>5755873
>Tighten belts and discourage rampant breeding, until food production scales up

You need to walk before you can run
>>
>>5755873
>>5755873
>Expand farming operations to the surface, using trusted Duregar and disguised Reptilians to man small villages high up in the hills

It stands that we could use this same underground fertilization method to squeeze out food from the shitty farmland we do have access to.

Plus, it'll serve as a good reward for those loyal and trusted enough to execute on it.
>>
>>5756007
>>5755681
Backlink, because my IP is being weird.
>>
>>5755873
You know hapo did burn down the villages near bloodrise, and i doubt anyone has resettled them. And now that the conspiracy is over we can just claim those lands as our territory outright.


>Expand farming operations to the surface, near bloodrise.
+
>Open trade with other neighbouring baronies and integrate more closely with Hawksong-dominated trade in the region
>>
>>5755873
>Open trade with other neighbouring baronies and integrate more closely with Hawksong-dominated trade in the region
we're going legit bois

>Expand farming operations to the surface, using trusted Duregar and disguised Reptilians to man small villages high up in the hills
seems viable
>>
>>5756071
>>5756017
>>5756007
>>5755998
>>5755977
With the last and worst of your potential internal challenges—the Priesthood—cowed into compliance, you decide that this is the best time to drop some good, but controversial, news into the mix:

“I promised the King of Wevenore trade, prosperity, and normalized relations with the surface” you begin, “and I have found a way to grant these things—and, in the process, with the aid of your successful research, I will make our concerns about food AND space to grow and thrive a thing of the past.”

You give your assembled council a chance to mutter amongst themselves, speculating upon what it could be. Your Serpent Queen, who alone knows the whole story, places her face in her palm and sighs at the melodrama, but that’s why YOU are the beloved Dragon King whom none dare speak against or fail to follow, and SHE is the one seeking legitimacy through a child and fearing reprisals for unpopular decisions.

“I,” you announce, “have become the Prince-Regent of Hawksong!”

It is safe to say that not even your most ardent supporters expected that. Almost immediately, everyone present wants to know what this means—practically, politically, religiously, economically. Only then do you consider that you aren’t really SURE yet, and you’re SURE you don’t want them know every particular—such as your vow to place the needs of Hawksong and its people before the dictates of the Dark Gods. THAT is the sort of thing which could really compromise your image of divine inevitability here… It’s almost curious how, spending less than a year amongst humans, you return to find yourself behaving like an Infiltrator at home. It sits ill in your heart, which carves openness and truthfulness over guile and deception, but there is no time for angst. You power on through the questions and concerns to the undeniable benefits:

“Humans settled below, before the Bloodrise Kobolds seize their lands. This was the very action which brought me here—to prevent the exposure of our secrets, the looting of ancient draconic treasure. Well, no more—no more hiding in the confines of these tunnels, fearing human discovery. The surface-world, with all its bounty, is ours! With the new alchemical solutions, we can turn even the least-fruitful terrain into something rich and fertile enough to feed ARMIES of darkness!”

This gets them excited, but it’s not all, as you make clear:

“Better yet, Blackpine is only the beginning. With our territory expansive and full of food, we still would lack for many of the fine things in life, and need to fear the envy of our neighbours as we grow more and more glorious, yes? I say NO, because WHO will invade the Kingdom of their Queen’s husband—her mate? I am as good as HEIR to the Paladin King, and all of his empire! The lands we desire are ours, and the wealth of the surface shall flow through our surface-settlements and FILL our mountain halls!"
>>
>>5756241

This elicits gasps, cheers, and general astonishment... Though you note a few hisses and grumbles from those who would rather these spoiled be taken in conquest or raiding than by mercantile and diplomatic dash. This shift in approach honestly goes against your own nature as well, but the opportunity is hard-won. You wont' sacrifice it, risking everything and everyONE, for the sake of some dramatic confrontation between armies of Light and Darkness. You can't. Perhaps... Perhaps being a Knight Ascendant ISN'T a perfect fit for you? perhaps you've grown BEYOND that role?

Still, despite some quiet misgivings and your own second thoughts, the overwhelming reception of this news is positive. You almost wish you were in your <Dragonshape> so you could spread your wings wide and bask in the wonderment… But in truth, maintaining that form outside of battle is a dangerous thing now, without a source of magical power akin to the Red Dragon King’s soul, or the Succubus’ demoniac energies.

…You’ll need to address that sooner or later. It is at least month away, of course—you plan to survey the whole of your kingdom, to spend time with your Greatworm Queen and Serpent Queen, to impart more lessons to the Wyrm Princes and to meet your first child by your Sseztlussth, but should you bring up your upcoming departure, and the reason for it?
>Yes, make the hunt a great quest for you and your selected allies
>No, keep the hunt (and your departure) a secret for now

What other topics concern you, while you mull this over? Choose as many as you like, but the more you choose, the more updates you spend in a council meeting, so keep that in mind...
>The civilization of the bugbears, and the legal status of they and the Drow
>The matter of your slave population, and their treatment
>What to do with the other Dragonborn and where to settle them
>Establishing a true heir and successor
>Changes to the True Faith, as you now practice it, in light of your resolutions
>Write-in
>>
>>5756245
>No, keep the hunt (and your departure) a secret for now.

>Establishing a true heir and successor.

The novice wants an official, of regent authority and her heir before she start's flesh weaving him into a proper dragonborn like our big brother. So we might as well give it to her.

>Changes to the True Faith, as you now practice it, in light of your resolutions.

We need to ban and outlaw the worship of the prosecutor of the weak. His edicts don't have a place amongst our growing multiethnic kingdom. He was also the only deity who refused to bless/show support for our initial dwarven campaigns. He and his servants have also tried to steal our kingdom via the serpent priest's intended successor. Then he told the serpent to try to put helms of slavery on our brother, in an ill attempt to kill us. He doesn't deserve right to feed off the worship of our kingdom.

The rest of the dark gods edicts can stay the same though.
>>
>>5756306
+1
Yeah sounds good


>told the serpent to try to put helms of slavery on our brother

Wait, did he? I thought it was the priest doing his own plot
>>
>>5756245
>No, keep the hunt (and your departure) a secret for now

>The civilization of the bugbears, and the legal status of they and the Drow
>What to do with the other Dragonborn and where to settle them
>Changes to the True Faith, as you now practice it, in light of your resolutions
>>
>>5756245
>No, keep the hunt (and your departure) a secret for now

>The civilization of the bugbears, and the legal status of they and the Drow
>The matter of your slave population, and their treatment
>What to do with the other Dragonborn and where to settle them
>Changes to the True Faith, as you now practice it, in light of your resolutions
>>
>>5756320

This implies that the plan was concocted or at least supported by the persecutor.

https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2023/5707978/#p5709245

>an altar to a high-horned figure with bowed back, wideset shoulders, and gripping a great maul in one hand and a trailing chain in the other.

>"Oh Forger of Chains and Breaker of Spirits! Oh you who crafted Law, who built order and protected it, who are the font of ALL AUTHORITY! Oh you who teach the strong to subjugate the weak, that the weak will not swallow up the world and drown it in their mediocrity! Oh Persecutor, Lawgiver, Dark God of the Pattern Unbroken! Here me, your humble and stalwart servant, and help me to reassert your rightful dominance!”

>The Chaplain gets his response. He knows what to do.

Of course maybe the Chaplin was simply being delusional, and imagined getting a response, from the lawgiver. But i doubt it considered he usually refused to act unless the grand design dictated it.
>>
>>5756245
>No, keep the hunt (and your departure) a secret for now

>What to do with the other Dragonborn and where to settle them
>Establishing a true heir and successor
>Changes to the True Faith, as you now practice it, in light of your resolutions
>>
>>5756245
>No, keep the hunt (and your departure) a secret for now

>Establishing a true heir and successor
>The civilization of the bugbears, and the legal status of they and the Drow

Respectively, client state and tight-ties partner/ally; both accepted members of the Dark Empire.

>Changes to the True Faith, as you now practice it, in light of your resolutions

Prosecutor worship is no longer tolerated, as anons have said. He's been a real bastard.

>What to do with the other Dragonborn and where to settle them

Perhaps we can create an eyrie of sorts at the peak of the mountain for Green and his boys. He also needs to pick an actual name now that he has the wherewithal for that. Oh, and our sons can frolic with other dragons that aren't just us! Nice.
>>
>>5757117
>>5756566
>>5756403
>>5756327
>>5756320
>>5756306
[Locked and writing! Brace for wordswordswords]
>>
>>5757219
Resolving to discuss you upcoming quest for the succubus later—in more private company, and when it is more immediately relevant—you instead focus on those matters of state which are most pressing to you… or most interesting.

“Among the many new members of our society, there are none more prestigious than my fellow Dragonborn,” you begin, then correct yourself, remembering your egalitarian and meritocratic intentions for Bloodrise: “As firsts among equals, of course, who will still need to prove themselves.”

“Oh they have proven themselves,” one of the Serpent priests spits with bitter venom upon his tongue. “proven themselves menaces, dangers to our entire civilization!”

You fix him with a piercing gaze, and the proud and highborn male shrivels, bowing his head in deep apology. Still, to your dismay, you find his opinion is not his ALONE, nor simply that of disenfranchised members of the old order. You are so used to regarding your Big Brother as an aspirational figure and a source of comfort that, perhaps, you have forgotten exactly how others perceive him: a tremendously large and unpredictable predator, radiating a <Fearsome Presence> which they feel primarily as FEAR. His is an object of veneration of course—a living god, almost, and a representative of the ancient days of yore when dragons ruled. T the dwarves and elves are quite open in their wariness… And if no REPTILIAN would disparage him under normal circumstances, well, these circumstances are anything but normal. But his impulsive decision in pursuit of his freedom DID annihilate an ancient base of operations which had endured a millennium, cost the lives of dozens of members of the Master Race, and provoke a refugee crisis and very nearly a war with Hawksong.

“And what of the Red Dragonborn—when they grow to be the same assize as the Great One?” the South-Merchant asks, trying to appeal to you practically. “They will eat a great deal—require hoards of their own…”

“…And dragons do not play well with others, in ancient legends,” chimes in the Wevenore Ambassador.

“This matter does not concern you!” snaps the Bastard. “It is a matter for the Dragonborn to decide—our Dragon KING.”

“It is something which must concern all of us,” the Translator notes.

You glare at the Serpent Priest, and he bows his head respectfully, awaiting permission to speak. You grant it, grudgingly.
>>
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>>5757252
“The Dragonborn are… As DRAGONS, yes? Oh Majestic One, they respect our authority over them now… But will they forever, or will they seek to take the crown for themselves? What of their DESCENDANTS, should they have them—will they forever bow to yours? And even they do… Will they not wish for more territory? To expand?”

“Good,” growls the Pit-Guard then. “Expansion should be our goal, when we are secure—let the Paladin King’s empire become the Dragon King’s, ruled by dragons, as in the old days!”

“It would mean war with the Race of Man, and his vassals,” the Wevenore Ambassador.

"GOOD!" the Pit-Guard roars again, lifting his war-club high, and the kobolds join him in rejoicing... Though only a few others do besides.

“But what else can we do?” laments the South-Merchant.

A few options occur, but none of your vassals dare speak them aloud for fear of offending you… Save one daring, in perhaps imprudent, soul.

“Could break them in,” the Bugbear Boss volunteers. “Tame them good, like taming a giant bat. Done it before, could do it again. Let me at them!”

“Watch your filthy tongue, you mongrel monster!”

“Vile goblinoid!”

“Throw him OUT!”
>>
>>5757255
In the midst of this resulting outrage, you meet the eyes of your apprentice, Karz Throat-Singer. The Duergar Regent looks… Thoughtful. He has command over insects and reptiles, through his magic—perhaps in SOME way, the Bugbear Boss is right, and they COULD be tamed. They would almost HAVE to be, by some means or another.

It is true, too: no fully-grown, ancient dragons in legend tolerate one another’s presence—or if they do, it is a rare situation, usually a bond between ‘twins’ hatched from the same egg. The Wyrm Princes, merely dragonBLOODED after a fashion, express little care or empathy for one another, and would have eaten one another as hatchlings without your intervention. The Red Dragonborn constantly wrestle, and nip at one another, jockeying for dominance. These conflicts could EAISLY spiral out of control when they are all as your Big Brother is, and there are more of them.

Even before then—as only you and the Seprent Queen know, you will be leaving soon. When you depart, the Dragonborn will be under their own management—or that of your Great Green Brother, who is still somewhat… Impulsive, even savage, in his inclinations, in spite of his increased intelligence and clarity of thought.

What is your short-term solution?
>Try to teach them empathy and kindness, using the lessons you’ve learned
>Let your Big Brother manage them, and keep them isolated in a sort of eyrie, apart from the regular citizenry
>Let the Bugbear Boss ‘tame’ them with his savage conditioning, if he can
>Guide Karz Throat-singer further along the path to a Dragon Soul, in the hopes he can muster a <Fearsome Presence> to rival theirs
>Write-in

What about LONG-term?
>The Dragonborn population’s breeding and movements must be controlled, though you hate to do it
>The Dragonborn Project will be suspended, and their growth curtailed, to keep them from growing too powerful
>Bloodrise will expand, if it must, so the Dragonborn can spread their wings and seize what they need to live happy, draconic lives
>The Dragonborn WILL be integrated into your society, damnit, though it means risking your authority and that of your heirs
>Write-in
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>>5757256
Short term:
>Let your Big Brother manage them, and keep them isolated in a sort of eyrie, apart from the regular citizenry, but guide Karz further on his path as well so that he can act as an intermediary between the Dragonborn and the normal population. Additionally integrate socialization between your Wyrm-princes and the Red Dragonborn so they can become familiar with one another and learn that teamwork can prove more useful than greed

Might be working against natural instinct here, but we've broken more than one legend just by doing what we have already.

Long term:
>Bloodrise will expand, creating subordinate draconic fiefs nearby when the Dragonborn can prove themselves keen rulers rather than bestial bullies

We can and should expect more than stereotypical, Age of Scales, Big Red-style dragons from these boys. We literally fostered their Souls. They are capable of next level benevolent tyrant shit.
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>>5757256
>Try to teach them empathy and kindness, using the lessons you’ve learned

>The Dragonborn WILL be integrated into your society, damnit, though it means risking your authority and that of your heirs
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>>5757277
I like your vision of the future anon, I personally think with all of the biomodification we are releasing into the world we can expect a surge of some horror in QMs universe, no doubt some of our sons and brothers are going to go down some feral/evil paths in adulthood which will offer whatever MC we take control of some decent boss fights/allies
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>>5757323
shhh, spoilers
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>>5757277
I would support this but this line.
>fiefs nearby

Sours it, if we do push for expansion once bloodrise's population grows. It should be by seizing/setting up distant trade colonies in the east and the south, similar to the dwarven companies. In order to redirect wealth and resources to bloodrise. And then the grown dragonborn can watch over and protect said trade colonies/companies.

We shouldn't expand into hawksong territory since our child will eventually be ruling the pax of iron.
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>>5757277
Supporting' that.
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>>5757277
Supporting this
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>>5757256

>Try to teach them empathy and kindness, using the lessons you’ve learned

>The Dragonborn WILL be integrated into your society, damnit, though it means risking your authority and that of your heirs
>>
[Rough day at work. I'll post later. Sorry for the delay!]
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>>5757654
>>5757504
>>5757369
>>5757335
>>5757294
>>5757277
You understand your council’s concerns—you really do. You have a bit of a bias towards your ‘own kind’, even if you are no TRUE Dragonborn by birth. How can you not, given how your Big Brother saw you through the tribulations of youth? But the Dragonborn ARE a danger—and that danger will only grow. They are a problem in need of a solution, if they are going to be asset and not liability.

“The Dragonborn shall be given a keep—an eyrie, perhaps,” you muse aloud, even as you work through the thoughts—thinking, in fact, of here the paladins rear their gryphons. “Somewhere where they can soar, and grow, and learn.”

“And who will manage that growth?”

You look ever to your Serpent Queen, surprised and even a little annoyed at her intrusion into the discussion—and to question you! But then, well, it IS her nature, and the question is fair. You tilt your head, a half-nod, and answer it.

“The Green Dragonborn will be able to contain their… Exuberance. And the Throat-singer—the Duergar Regent—will continue his apprenticeship under me. He can already control lesser reptiles. Given time, he may be able to exert a… Moderating effect upon them.”

Karz the Apprentice bows his head, and tries—fails—to hide a smirk.

“Superior One… Dragon King…” the bastard begins in True Speech, warily eyeing his rival from across the chamber. “Forgive me, but I fear you give the little mammal too much power. He is HUNGRY for such dominance… And if he gains an appetite for it, what if he seizes total control?”

“Hunger and greed are part of having a Dragon Soul,” you tell the Bastard. “Cultivate your own, and you will have nothing to fear.”

You hope this is true, but you are not done—and your next edict is a safeguard against such grabbing for power.

“It isss not enough to CONTROL or DOMINATE the Dragonborn, though,” you continue, reverting to Norther-Common-tongue. “It iss, mosst likely, IMPOSSSIBLE. They must learn the value of COMMUNITY, of TEAMWORK, as WE all have.”

There is a shuffling of feet and sidelong glances by those who, perhaps, recognize they have not fully done so… But everyone follows your message, and stays silent.

“The Wyrm Princes have begin to learn this message, and their mother, your Greatworm Queen, will help to foster it in the Red Dragonborn. My sons shall help to impart this great lesson to their cousins… And to keep them entertained, and occupied.”

And to counterbalance the might of the Dragonborn with their own, as well.
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>>5758137
“And of their appetites, Dragon King?” asks the Translator, while your money-minded South-Merchant nods in appreciation.

You sigh, thinking of Ekaterine—your distant beloved one—and the child in Hawksong, born by now, never yet seen by your eye or held by your hand. You know that what you propose now has implications for the relationships between your heirs, between Hawksong and Bloodrise, between the two world you have inhabited and for the world to come—the World of Darkness, and of Dragons.

“Bloodrise is a kingdom founded in the mountains, NAMED for the mountains… But it cannot remain CNFINED in the mountains, CAGED by them,” you conclude. “In time, we will expand. We MUST expand, if we are to grow and not to stagnate.”

“But… The peace with the humans, the flow of trade…”begins the Wevenore Amabassador.

“Stuff your trade up your end!” the Bugbear Boss laughs. “Anything you trade for can be taken much easier, and with meat on the side, huh?”

There is actually a chorus of agreement from many of the more martial and traditional Reptilians in attendance, earning the Bogbarri leader a bit of goodwill after his earlier sacrilege. Still, you quiet it down and offer assurances, ever the skillful manipulator and mediator:

“This expansion will not take place immediately—not beyond the foothills, not yet. But it is inevitable. The New Age of Darkness is OURs. The world is OURS… But the heir to Hawksong’s throne is one of ‘ours’, too. Human leaders give their cousins and brethren fiefdoms. Perhaps this shall be our path—rule through alliance, rather than war?”

“Boring,” snorts the Bugbear Boss quietly, hunching over somewhat and picking his nose.

You glance at the bestial goblinoid ‘king’, and fear he—or his descendants—may find their future anything BUT ‘boring’, or lacking in wars to wage… But a king, and a father, can hope. Maybe, if you do your job right in both capacities, you really CAN expand and grow, melding one empire into another, without the need for bloodshed between brothers?
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>>5758138
In the here and now, though, it is time to move from realms of material and familial politics to a diplomacy more DIVINE in nature. The True Faith… It is YOUR faith. It always has been your guiding star, your rock of ages. You did not become an ANTIPALADIN by chance, but because of a fervent belief that the Dark Gods Below and Beyond are worthy of worship, and that their ways are the best ways. Over the course of your journey, this faith has repeatedly been proven sound, and rewarded… But it has also been challenged, curbed, mollified, and cast into question. Even now, you plot and scheme a way to work AROUND the Dark Divines, to find your own way to reach and rival them, that you might work unimpeded by the squabbles and short-sighted demands of the Holy Mother, the Sun-Eater, the Baleful Beholder, and even the Lord of Endings himself…

And that’s to say nothing of the FIRST of the Dark Gods to turn his face from you, and still favoured by your enemies among the priesthood: the Lawgiver, Prosecutor of the Weak, and Lord of the Pattern Unbroken.

You know that the practice of True Faith in Bloodrise CANNOT continue as it has. Your multiracial, multicultural society, with merciful treatment of the enslaved, forgiveness and integration of enemies, a mixed-race and mixed-cast nobility, and ties to the children of the Gods of Light, with Serpent Priests in a secondary role to a Dark prophet whom the gods will not always speak to… It is TOO DIFFERENT to ever mesh comfortably with the faith of old.

The question is, HOW must it change? And what changes will your population embrace, or tolerate, or despise?

“We must speak now of faith,” you begin, and all faces turn to you with keen interest.

How will you modify the True Faith, as it is practiced in Bloodrise?
>Elevate a specific deity to a primary status [which one?]
>Cast out the Persecutor of the Weak from the pantheon—his worship is henceforth forbidden, and he is a foe
>Place yourself among the pantheon—Bloodrise shall worship YOU, and your successors, as Godkings
>Embrace the Gods of Light as well—at least, some of them—and allow their worship with a decree of royal tolerance
>Forbid demon-worship and deals with demons and devils of the Hellish Realms
>Encourage dragon-worship and ancestor-veneration in a more secular approach to the tradition, rather than the ritual-filled approach of the old days
>Write-in
[Choose as many as you like, and go wild with modifying or adding things! Backlink 1post IDs, this one is a big one for any future quest I might run.]
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>>5758141
>Cast out the Persecutor of the Weak from the pantheon—his worship is henceforth forbidden

He is not a foe, he is nothing to us or our people

>Encourage dragon-worship and ancestor-veneration in a more secular approach to the tradition, rather than the ritual-filled approach of the old days

This can fill the space for those who don’t believe in the mystic - it’s a more practical or ‘civic’ religion
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>>5758141
>Cast out the Persecutor of the Weak from the pantheon—his worship is henceforth forbidden, and he is a foe.

That lover of banel nepotism had no business being in our kingdom in the first place.


>Place yourself among the pantheon—Bloodrise shall worship YOU, and your successors, as Godkings.

Once we take in the greendragon's heart, and venture on the path of the immortal. We will need worship to strengthen ourselves further, above the common demigod.
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>>5758141
>Cast out the Persecutor of the Weak from the pantheon—his worship is henceforth forbidden, and he is a foe
no one ever liked him anyway

>Encourage dragon-worship and ancestor-veneration in a more secular approach to the tradition, rather than the ritual-filled approach of the old days

>>5758157
Does worship empower gods? I thought we learned from the Heretic that the gods have divine essence, and that's what gives them all their mojo. Anyway telling your subjects you're a god and to worship you is a quick path to getting assassinated or guillotined, so definitely against it until we can pull off some divine feats.
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>>5758164
>Does worship empower gods? I thought we learned from the Heretic that the gods have divine essence, and that's what gives them all their mojo. Anyway telling your subjects you're a god and to worship you is a quick path to getting assassinated or guillotined, so definitely against it until we can pull off some divine feats.

It was stated early in this quest that the gods of darkness were getting "hungry" due to the declining scaly folk population (which is what prompted the mod to build glowies race.). Death (who is the most well fed of the gods) stated that he could feel the power of our faith "grow" like a bonfire when we consecrated him a mausoleum in the dark elf grave site.

And Irr most grew considerably stronger whenever she had a large pool of active worshipers nearby.

Divine essence just means that the major gods can't fade away or severely diminish due to lack of worship. Since the essence make them immoral unless slain by another god. But worship definitely affects gods.

>Anyway telling your subjects you're a god and to worship you is a quick path to getting assassinated or guillotined, so definitely against it until we can pull off some divine feats.

We still have the earth tremor which can shatter towers and castle wall's and our draconic presence of fear. And the whole reason we came to bloodrise instead of staying for eka's coronation is so we could restore our divine powers anyway.
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>>5758141
>>Cast out the Persecutor of the Weak from the pantheon—his worship is henceforth forbidden, and he is a foe
Begone, CEO of Racism
>Encourage dragon-worship and ancestor-veneration in a more secular approach to the tradition, rather than the ritual-filled approach of the old days
If we grow toward half god/full god, this is a spot for us.
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>>5758153
+1

yeah that sounds good

>>5756320
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>>5756554
oh yeah I was thinking of the former at the time
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>>5758141
>Place yourself among the pantheon—Bloodrise shall worship YOU, and your successors, as Godkings
Cult in the boonies? Classic bad boy behavior.
>>
[I quit my job. Let's just say that, like Theral, my bosses got a little too 'reptilian' even for me. This may interrupt service, but only slightly: I have drinks with a sympathetic shoulder tonight, and maybe a weed-gummeis-and-monster-movie date with this babe I've been seeing on Sunday.]
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>>5758848
Shit man take your time
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>>5758848
>>5758037
>[I quit my job. Let's just say that, like Theral, my bosses got a little too 'reptilian' even for me.

Damn bro i feel you power tripping boomer middle mangers, treat their employees like dogs and work them to the bone for trifling pay. And then are shocked when they become short staffed.
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>>5758892
[I appreciate it, but I barely took time off for my DIVORCE. This is nothing. I actually feel better now than I have in YEARS.]

>>5758950
[Gen Xers, in my case. And the pay was okay! But one boss is a nepo-baby who doesn't know how to manage people or run a business, and panicked because of market downturns and decided to dump all her responsibilities on me. pay was even okay. But there were... Issues... And I'm not without savings or options.]

>>5758153
>>5758157
>>5758164
>>5758238
>>5758334
>>5758423
[Enough about me though -- what about DRAGONS?? They're coming right up. Writing!]
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>>5758989
“Bloodrise is a kingdom founded on faith,” you begin, after a brief pause to contemplate. “It is the REVIAL of faith, in fact. We of the Master Race know that we practice the True Faith, yes?”

The Reptilians in the room ululate in fervent agreement. You cringe a little, knowing what comes next, but wait for them to finish.

“We do not.”

Silence follows, impatient and anxious. You do not rush to fill it, though, allowing them to digest it, their objections and fears fomenting… So you can strike at them, and shatter them, with facts and with logic.

“I am a Dragon King,” you begin. “In my blood flows the blood of the red Dragon King. His SOUL burns in my breast. His COUNCIL comes when I call.”

None can object to this, and none do, though those of yorur ace—and the kobolds—struggle visibly to comprehend what you are telling them, and why.

“The faith we practice is NOT the True Faith,” you say. “It is NOT the faith of ancient days, of the last Great Age of Dragons, the Old Age of Darkness. This has been TOLD to me.”

“Dragonborn… Copper Dragon King…” the Translator begins at the hissed, frantic urgings of his caste’s contingent here. “The ancient tomes and oral traditions all concur—”

“Are they more reliable than the very words of the king whom your ancestors SERVED?” you ask “A DEMIGOD? A child of the DARK GODS THEMSELVES, who rule this place for A THOUSAND YEARS?”

The Serpent Priests fall into uneasy silence, as do many others. Those foreign to your culture seem confused (or, in the Bugbear Boss’ case actively disinterested). The Bloodrise Kobolds, though, are excited—and the Bastard, their Regent, seems infected by the mood. You seize the moment, to turn the tide of opinion.

“The so-called LAWGIVER perverted this,” you say in dark tones. “A god of stagnancy, a deity of banal nepotism and antiquated ideas, who would have kept us squashed flat in dark tunnels, seething with impotent rage and coping with eternal inadequacy, as he ad already for AEONS. A god who, while all the OTHER Dark Gods embraced us, turned his back on us—sought to crush and enslave us, even as we advanced the cause of the Reptilian Race and of all other servants of Darkness! THAT is the Persecutor—not a Persecutor of the Weak, but a weakling HIMSELF! A Persecutor of Strength!”

There are murmurs of disturbance, and hisses of rage and confusion, but all fall silent as your gaze turns upon them.

>Natural 20 earlier: everyone fears and respects you too much to challenge you directly in this forum
>>
Rolled 14, 6, 4, 16, 14, 6, 12 = 72 (7d20)

>>5759004
“The ANCIENTS are who we should aspire to be like,” you remind them. “Those who KNEW the Dark Gods, and served them, set out example—not just for Serpent Priests, nor Dragonblooded Ones or Dragonborn, nor even merely other Reptilians of our race. Kobolds are servants of dragons, born and bred, and have guarded, protected, and FOUGHT for this kingdom since its fall—even before I did, before ANY of the rest of us! THEY are worthy of Bloodrise!”

Agno the Kobold rattles in prideful celebration, raising fists above his heads. A few of his elders join him , and when the bastard joins in they ALL do—followers by nature indeed, but loyal, and true.

“The dwarves who have seen the Light Beyond Light—the Light in DARKNESS—are worthy! The Drow and Drowgons, dark elves who were cast out by foolish enemy ‘deities’, have found the Dark Gods whom we ALL serve willing to take them into their serve, as fellow children. Are we to say they, and those among their noble ancestors who renounce the false gods, are NOT worthy? Or the Bogbarri, who have helped to win us this territory? Or even, yes, the Degenerates, the hybrids, the worms?”

Everyone watches you with rapt attention as you state your final case:

“All who served to bring us to this point—a point of RENEWL of ancient TARDITION—are worthy. All who are here now—in this chamber, in Bloodrise, who made this kingdom REAL and began the rise of the New Age of Darkness, they are WORTHY. Those who serve dragonkind and embody a Dragon Soul serve to hasten the Coming Age. THIS is the Grand Design—a tapestry of many colours, woven beautiful in a pattern of scales to protect and shelter us, of great wings to free those who have languished in the dirt, of claws to rip apart out foes. The TRUE Faith is the faith which embraces BLOODRIE—its past, its present, and its future. No faith forged by a God of Chains can do anything but hold us down. Together, following the Dark Gods as our ancestors INTENDED, we will ALL soar like the dragons of old!”

[Religion roll, extra dice for maxed Leadership]
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>>5759005
>16
It is quiet at first, a whispering of support, and muted hurrah… But then Karz, your Apprentice, begins to clap. So to do each of the other councillors in attendance—even, grudgingly, the Serpent priests. Glowie joins in with all four hands, clattering arrhythmically until she simply begins rubbing them together and humming leaning against you.

“I do not underzztand,” she admits, “I zzort of tuned out and juzzt zztarted lizztening and watching you moe and talk. But I LIKED it.”

“It is a bunch of sophistic solipsism. Slop, for pigs and idiots. Obviously self-serving, self-aggrandizing.”

You look over at your Serpent Queen, whose arms are cross, even as you see her body language shifting from stubborn defiance to… Something else.

“It was a good speech, though,” she admits. “Fit for its base purpose. But also dangerous. It threatens to make an enemy of the Dark God of Order, and to bring about his judgement.”

“He is less than enemy, to us, to Bloodrise,” you tell her with confidence. “He is nothing.”

She turns her head, and clicks her tongue in dismissal, but you sense it in her—she is impressed, despite herself.

“You had better be able to back up your talk… Dragon King.”

Ha. Got her. She’s in!

But of course, earning and maintaining the happiness and loyalty of your most bittersweet Beloved One leads directly into your next matter—your FINAL matter for this council-meeting—which requires address. In the mind of this multitude of elves, dwarves, bugbears, kobolds, serpents, lizards, and dragon-descendants, you have formed the shape of a society. You have traced the countours of a future, and made them follow you a step closer towards it. You have set a star in the sky for them to reach towards, with faith in their hearts and a hunger to SERVE—to serve the Dark Gods, or their own people, by emulating and improving upon the greatness of ancient days. You have even begun to craft a common enemy to unite them—one less hazy than the Children of Light, or ‘surface-scum’, who you once railed against but have now begun to integrate…

But who shall rule it?
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>>5759025
As Bloodrise expands, and establishes its fiefdom… As your new technology evolves and develops… As you pass into legend, and your legacy (hopefully, you pray to any God who will listen) carries on… Who shall rule it?

Who shall be your heir and successor?
>The Serpent Queen—first Beloved One, proven regent-shall be Queen even in your absence, and her line shall appoint successors thereafter
[Establishes a Priest-King lineage of cunning scholars]
>Karz Throat-singer, your apprentice and best general albeit a captive, a one-time slave, and dwarf born of the Gods of Light) has proven himself worthy
[Establishes a martial and magical meritocracy, where anyone of any race can rule]
>Your first-hatched wyrm-son, Tudyvak the Scout, shall be your successor, and Glowie shall be queen-mother if you are unable tor ule before he is ‘of age’
[Established primogeniture, or the passage of ruelrship to firstborn sons]
>The Child of Ekaterine, future Monarch of Hawksong, shall also inherit the Bloodrise Kingdom
[Establishes a unified dynastic line with Hawksong, eventually]
>The Green Dragonborn and his issue shall succeed you, by right of conquest and might
[Establishes a line of powerful, demigodly kings, with proven strength and skill]
>Write-in
[Make sure to explain your immediate choice of successor if you are dead or absent for a prolonged period, and by what merchanism the crown should be passed down thereafter]
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>>5759030
Man giant theral death flags this update, but i suppose that is to be expected since we are in the epilogue.

If Eka's child gets both crowns, then by sheer mass hawksong and the pax will swallow up bloodrise. It will cease to be independent/sovereign and will just be another one of its vassal duchies.

Karz although he has his own type of charisma, and is ruthlessly ambitious he is disliked by the reptilian factions. They will likely plot against him if he rules.

Glowie has no leadership experience or really much life experience at all. Having lived in a cramped cave for most of her existence.

Although he is wise the greendragonborn is in a similar boat to glowie. In terms of life experience, management and leadership skills.

So i guess that leaves the novice by default.

>The Serpent Queen—first Beloved One, proven regent-shall be Queen even in your absence, and her line shall appoint successors thereafter.

Hopefully unlike our mother we escape the death flags and manage to return home intact, since it seems the novice is pro nepotism as long as it suits her.
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>>5759030
>The Serpent Queen—first Beloved One, proven regent-shall be Queen even in your absence, and her line shall appoint successors thereafter

Karz is very tempting, but he has too much of a chip on his shoulder about his past life. Last time he had the chance to rule he was overly preoccupied with "getting even" and all that weirdness with the dwarf slaves and eunuchs. Definitely first in line when expansion starts but Sseztlussth did a better job and even made huge food problem solving strides on top of that during her shot so she earned this one.

The rest either aren't born yet or are laughably unsuited to rule, they don't even qualify as choices.
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>>5759030
>The Serpent Queen—first Beloved One, proven regent-shall be Queen even in your absence, and her line shall appoint successors thereafter.

>You will also formalize this cabinet of advisors, a Ruling Council to lend voice to your myriad peoples
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>>5759785
I thought it was formal already, but if not yeah definitely
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>>5759030
>The Serpent Queen—first Beloved One, proven regent-shall be Queen even in your absence, and her line shall appoint successors thereafter

As much as I’d like to support the principles behind a Karz ascension, I want one of our children to rule - and as the other anons have pointed out, none of the other candidates are suitable
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>>5759030
>Last born wyrmson, Nat will be my successor, guided by The Serpent Queen.
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>>5759887
>>5759814
>>5759785
>>5759661
>>5759078
“Of course, if we are to found a new Age then it will outlive any one king,” you begin, segueing into this final matter. “Unless we can TRULY uncover the glories of our illustrious predecessors, of course.”

(Which, soon enough you JUST might…)

“If I am occupied, or one day must pass on the mantle, Bloodrise needs a strong hand to keep order—TRUE order, BENEVOLENT order, an order that guides us to growth and prosperity, not the old, stiff, and broken one. It would be foolhardy to not establish a successor until it too late—and let no one ever say that the Copper Dragon King is a fool!”

The council exchange glances, sometimes with narrowed eyes or quick whispers. They didn’t expect this, perhaps, or are unsure who you will pick. For your part, though, you already know.

You are surprised at how easy the decision is, in the end. Oh, there are many interesting ideas which occur to you, and many candidates who COULD grow into the role… But at the moment, there are few who could IMMEDIATELY fill it. For all the respect and love you have for the likes of Glowie or the Green Dragonborn, neither has much practical experience. Your Wyrm Princes have even LESS life-experience—except maybe Natvodosk—and all have much growing and learning to do before they can be trusted to lead and to rule.

You see the hopeful look upon Karz’s face, and you know HE at least is a proven quality. Better yet, choosing him would really solidify the merit-based nature of Bloodrise, and make it clear that ANYONE can be a worthy Dragon King with the right mentality and drive… But then, does he HAVE that mentality and that drive? Motivated the succeed and ascend as he is, it is his grudge which powers that forward and upward motion. There is darkness in him, but not the capital-D Darkness you hope to promote—just bitterness, spite, and cruelty. All fine enough character traits in a Dragon King, you suppose… But these are the same short-sighted drivers which hold back the Dark Gods from cooperating, and which put you at odds with them.

You turn your face from Karz’s own, and see his expression fall out of the corner of your eyes as you take your Serpent Queen’s hand in yours.

“W-wait,” she says, actually seemingly startled, “what?”

“Really?” you retort bemusedly, voice low, “you were not already confident that you were the ‘obvious’ choice, my queen?”
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>>5759929
She retorts with a sniff and a quick , hidden smack with her tail, though you feel her squeeze your hand in appreciation at much the same time.

“Well… You have a history of making suboptimal choices, you know,” she notes, albeit without venom, then smirkingly asks, “Was last night such a great relief to those overburdened loins, Degenerateborn?”

“My choices are not so impetuous,” you sigh. “Give me SOME credit, while I am giving you status, will you? You have helped safeguard this realm in my absence—to protect it, to expand it, and to solve its problems with mystical and diplomatic skills that MORE than qualify you.”

She demurs, turning her head and shifting under the abundance of praise.

“And more, obviously. I AM the best candidate,” she murmurs, then glances up at you and adds, so quietly you scarcely hear her: “Thank you… For noticing.”

Glowie hums thoughtfully to the other side of you, listening to the conversation and watching the little display. You wonder what she thinks of this… But then, the Greatworm and Serpent Queens have long gotten along, much more than you ever would have expected from an arrogant high-caste scholar and a truly-omnivorous, expansionist insect sovereign. You consider how this came to be, and what might come hereafter with your choice of one queen and lineage ‘over’ the other… But not for long. The rest of the council, after all, still wait with bated breath.

You turn to the others, and raise your voice so they might hear clearly.

“The Serpent Queen, daughter of the northern forward base’s Operational Chaplain, Serpent Priestess of the College of Fleshweavers, shall be my appointed successor. She and her line—that of her egg, soon to hatch—shall wield my authority, and be my heirs. She has proven herself worthy of the role, again and again, beginning with her invaluable assistance in conquering this realm, in interpreting and mastering the ancient king’s library and relics, in settling our refugees, and in preventing our starvation. She has given us unity, stability, and prosperity! She is a queen of VISION, and WISDOM, and SHE has the acumen to lead. Our spawn shall be the Dragon Kings of Bloodrise—the Dark Prophets hereafter, to guide our peoples through the coming age, and to ENSURE it is a New Age of Darkness for one and ALL!”
>>
>>5759932
If the Throat-singer objects, he is wise enough to say nothing—sparing you an awkward conversation and him an inevitable series of assassination attempts by your ruthless Beloved One. As with all other subjects present, he bows and speaks improvised words of fealty.

In truth of fact, you think that the one-time Novice was a more prudent choice than you had realized: with her status as a ‘noble’ descended from the priestly caste of the Master Race, her status must seem inevitable and natural to many present in this chamber. Your selection of her and her similarly-bred scions even seems to mollify the other Serpent Priests, who you intuit must perceive this as a ‘win’ for their kind. You have offered them CONTINUITY, a sense that the great works of the northern forward base are not obliterated, but have been built upon an expanded.

You regard your Beloved One as she swells with pride, and rattles with dark, menacing laughter at the submission of her rivals and lesser, back straight and elegant neck lifted high, eyes imperious and dagger-teeth flashing in the dim torchlight… And you hope, even pray, that there is not TOO MUCH continuity.

With this matter settled, the council meeting settles into more mundane matters. As during this early stage of your reign, you know that the council will continue to be invaluable to your sons who succeed you. No king, even a wise and mighty Dragon King of priestly inheritance, can know EVERYTHING about his territory and its people, or manage it singlehandedly. Though they may bicker and backstab, you are pleased to bear witness to their easy camaraderie on matters of day-to-day administration, and the way in which they give and take, giving consideration to a wide variety of factors from a whole array of perspectives.

You think even EKATERINE would approve. You look towards the south-east and think of her, and your child by her, and of all you have achieved, both here in Bloodrise and in far away Hawksong, and of how the seeds you have planted—in a carnal AND political sense—will grow.
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>>5759934
As you promised before your unhatched egg, you pass the next month in Bloodrise. It gives you ample time to reacquaint yourself with your first clutch of sons. They are still not much larger than when last you saw them, though their vocabulary grows and their energy levels have subsided and become less frenetic. They retain more of what you tell them—or seem to, at least—and some even put conspicuous effort into trying to apply it… Even if sometimes, you must still delegate to their mother, or to their Centipede Lancer babysitter while you appease their mother with hand-holding and close cuddles.

Their first meeting with the Red Dragonborn—settled with your brother and his harem-mates in one of the captured dwarven keeps—will be an interesting one, but you have hope that with Karz Throat-singer’s supervision and your moral guidance, they may be good influences upon their young cousins.

You pay a visit to the Bogbarri, and are shocked to discover how different the females and young appear to the grown males. The warriors of their scattered tribe of goblin-relatives are the only bugbears you have ever encountered, but they truly look little like their breeding-partners or litters except in a broad sense. They BEHAVE alike, though, and you do not envy the brutish Bugbear Boss his task of civilizing them, though you promise what aid you can afford, and ample meat to make it easier to prevent them wandering away to hunt and pillage.

You continue to practice the swords in morning, and to meditate in the evenings—whenever your Greatworm Queen and Wyrmlings do not demand your presence for the evening, at least. It is not quite the same, of course, as it once was. You enjoy your sparring practice with the Drow Duelist Azonia, and you appreciate the exercise for its own sake, but you do not feel the same sense of consistent growth and obviously-swelling physical and spiritual strength which you once did as a Knight Ascendant. When you meditate, you often do so with your Dragonborn brethren, or with Karz or the Bastard… But still, you feel alone in a way you did not before. The absence of the Dark Gods is tangible, and in spite of your inspiring dragonfire dream, you dare not wake the Red Dragon King or give him outlet to assume control over you.

Your <appetite> for power begins to eat at you, growing as this sense of a hole in your centre grows, and your thoughts turn to the Hunt for the Succubus.

What will you do?
>Prepare to journey out to hunt the Succubus yourself—as soon as your heir hatches, you will leave to begin your great quest for godly power
>You will stay here, ruling and attending to personal matters—let your hunters, spies, and warriors locate the demon for you
>>
>>5759936
>Prepare to journey out to hunt the Succubus yourself—as soon as your heir hatches, you will leave to begin your great quest for godly power

Without the Serpent Ascendant's power, we'll need everything we can get to beat Iri. Preparation is key.
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>>5759936
>Prepare to journey out to hunt the Succubus yourself—as soon as your heir hatches, you will leave to begin your great quest for godly power.

I don't want to wine or complain qm, and I understand this fantastic quest is nearing the end so some time skipping is to be expected.

But our egg the next presumed successor after the novice. Is going to hatch soon, and there has been not a single real option to apply fleshweaving to him. Even though we have all the materials needed to do so.

And it's also an important time dependant thing since the amount of modification that can be done to an already born infant is substantially less than an embryo.

But instead of trying to ensure our heir is a proper dragonborn, we spent the last month needless exercising, meditating and playing with our wyrm sons. Minor task's of no real pressing importance.

I personally feel we are being railroaded to have a substandard plain & weak reptilian as an heir.
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>>5759999
>fleshweaving the embryo
[Anon, I can only cover so much at a time in an update, as you say. I wanted to establish this. There will be egg-related votes votes next. You may note, after all, that the Novice/Serpent Queen has not been present, and you should well know by now that she does not spend her time idly in Theral's absence, but busy in her laboratory.]

>railroaded into a substandard heir who isn't a proper dragonborn
[With due respect, there was literally an option in the last vote to appoint full-fledged Dragonborn be your heirs. They would have been 'better' in that regard than what the Novice's child can be crafted into, btw, since they were literally made by a TEAM of specialized, advanced Fleshweavers in a special facility with HUGE amounts of material, rather than grafted/infused after a normal conception and egg-laying between a couple who are a nondragon and a barely-at-all-dragon-but-hehas-heart-and-plastic-surgery (which is all Theral is genetically).]

>tl;dr
[I say all this to do two things: to reassure you that you will get a vote involving your heir, and to also make clear that they will NOT be born a true, towering demigod like the Green Dragonborn or Red Dragonborn. The demigod option was the other one.]
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>>5759936
>You will stay here, ruling and attending to personal matters—let your hunters, spies, and warriors locate the demon for you

tell her the kingdoms all set up and we saved an orgy room just for her
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>>5760012
> I wanted to establish this. There will be egg-related votes votes next. You may note, after all, that the Novice/Serpent Queen has not been present, and you should well know by now that she does not spend her time idly in Theral's absence, but busy in her laboratory.

My apologies, since she hadn't mentioned anything to us i assumed she went back to prioritizing the soil/moss manipulation and cattle steroid program.

I should have been patient and let the master chef cook. Pretend that I the Peanut gallery had said nothing.
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>>5759936
>Prepare to journey out to hunt the Succubus yourself—as soon as your heir hatches, you will leave to begin your great quest for godly power

Ashes to ashes.
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>>5760137
>>5760014
>>5759999
>>5759942
You have enjoyed your time at rest—well, if it can be called ‘rest’ when you are still attending council meetings, corralling offspring and subjects, carefully appeasing romance-minded insectoid overlords. You know it cannot last, though. You have responsibilities here as Dragon King, but part of the idea behind formalizing the Serpent Queen’s rule was to allow you to do what must be done for the Bloodrise’s LONG term prospects… And that means becoming strong again, truly strong, beyond the abilities of mere mortals. And that means you need to leave, soon.

“Agno,” you command your kobold attendant, “gather my forces. I will be leaving the mountain again, soon. Keep it quiet—only those who I tell you to contact should know of this, for now.”

The kobold—once such a defiant little creature, bows his head and scurries off to do your bidding with some excitement. Perhaps he thinks he is coming along; perhaps he IS. But first and foremost, before all that, you came to Bloodrise for a reason, and you stayed with one purpose in mind. It is time to see it through.

You have seen surprisingly little of the Serpent Queen since you appointed her your ‘primary’ queen, and her issue your primary inheritors. You suppose you shouldn’t be shocked: she is not a sentimental creature like the Greatworm Queen, and you have given her much to attend to. From revolutionizing mountain agriculture to curing complex chimera plagues, she has had much to keep her busy. You have spent one or two evenings in her company, taking torpor together, but she has woken nearly as early as you have, and set herself right back to work in her laboratory. Before your Serpent Priest scion hatches, though, there is something you must discuss.

“I am already well ahead of you, oh WISE and INSIGHTFUL king,” your Reptilian mate notes, glancing over her shoulder at you as you step in and raise the issue of your child’s biological inheritance.”

“Wait,” you say, “what? How? When did you find the TIME?”

“What do you think I have been doing for the last three weeks?” she asks, seemingly equally as confused.

“…Serving our kingdom?” you hazard a guess. “Solving the chimera-plague which your father and the Fleshweavers set in motion?”

She turns around then, hands on hips.

“Really?” she asks, more amused than annoyed. “You truly believed I was the sort of female to put duty and responsibility to those peons, or the SURFACE-SCUM in Hawksong, ahead of securing my own heir, and my lasting legacy? ME?”

When she puts it like that, it DOES seem a little optimistic.
>>
>>5760407
Your inability to form a response causes her to laugh aloud, and she steps forwards, wiping some semi-translucent fluid off on her chest. You glower at her, but she takes it in stride, utterly unafraid of you as always.

“Oh ‘Prince of Love’, it is as if you do not know me at all,” she teases.

“Perhaps I was merely hoping you had changed and evolved, as I have,” you retort.

“Luckily for you, I am the same ruthless, brilliant mind as ever!” she replies cheerfully, turning on heel. “After all, you came here to ask about making a Dragonborn out of our offspring, did you not?”

You did—or at least, you’d hoped to discuss the possibility. The other Dragonborn—the ‘true’ Dragonborn—are not suitable to rule the whole of your kingdom as they are, but nor do you wish to needlessly handicap your designated successor. It had been your hope that, with her claim to rule secured by your proclamation, the Serpent Queen would be more open to modifying your progeny into something MORE.

“It can be done,” she tells you, then pauses, tail twitching and eyes narrowing. “Well… Somewhat. I cannot make a REAL Dragonborn of it, of course. It requires a FAR more involved process, and GREAT quantities of draconic material. But with the remnants of the Red Dragon King’s dead hatchlings, I can concentrate and bring to the surface those most ‘draconic’ of physical traits…”

She reaches out to tap your horns, and strokes a talon along the spiny underside of your chin in a way that makes your groin tighten. She cackles at the reaction, and turns back around, beckoning you to the back of her laboratory. The ‘Junior Novice’, hybrid ghoul-dragon chimera of her creation, rouses slightly from where he is kept caged in the corner—albeit in spacious-enough confines, and no longer as closely-guarded as when he once was.

“I have learned to manage its aggression,” the ‘Senior Novice’ replies in answer to your unspoken question. “Periodic administration of a hormonal concoction tempers its territoriality… And an interesting property of that squirming ‘plague chimera’ and its payload has proven useful for more seamlessly merging mammalian and reptilian components.

Huh. Junior DOES look less ‘patchwork’ than he once did, you note. Maybe you’ll take HIM on your hunt, as well… Though he’ll need his aggression. You suspect you’ll need every advantage you can get against a Greater Demon.
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>>5760410
You discover that the Serpent Queen has used her considerable authority to expand her laboratory and to requisition assistants—other Serpent Priestesses, kobolds, and more. It is here, rather than the rookery, where the familiar egg now sits, amongst coveted surfacer cotton and woolen blankets forming an almost bird-like nest—or something akin to a throne—atop a raised dais of gathered stone. The surface of your child’s eggshell is covered in the swirling flowing elegance of Reptilian calligraphy—spells and runes, and magical circles as well—and basins of blood and other, less-certain fluids are placed around it, along with an array of crystals which you can tell from a glance are magically-charged.

“You returned very late into the development process,” the Serpent Queen tells you, her tone a little accusatory. “There is only so much I can do, of course… But the False Degenerate disease can ALSO be sued as a vector to expedite development or modification of physical traits.”

You nod in half-understanding, staring at the egg and trying to picture what will soon hatch from it—what you WANT to hatch from it. This is the being you have chosen to be your legacy here in Bloodrise, after all.

“The more changes we make, and the more drastic they are, the greater chance of… Complication.”

You turn from your inward thoughts of the future and back to the egg’s mother—your queen. You find her looking back at you, expectantly.

“Deformation, sickliness, stillbirth, all are possible,” she says, with chilling casualness in her voice. “The chimera-plague can be sued to modify the embryo, but it is almost fully-grown. It will require careful attentions to maintain stability, at this phase. YOU were modified before your egg was ever lain, I strongly suspect, and look at YOU—barely a dragon at all, save for MY amulet.”

She taps the Amulet of the Dragon resting upon your breast with a claw, and almost fondles it as she admires her work.

“However,” she continues, “there is also the matter of your LATEST hunting trophy, oh Adventurous One.”

It take you a moment to parse out her meaning.

“The Great Green Dragon’s heart,” you whisper.

“Yes!” she agrees brightly. “We could use THAT to make this hatchling TRULY draconic—after all, I had precious little material to work with from the Red Dragon’s clutch after all we have already done, but with the HEART of a fully-grown dragon king of such PURE stock…”

You narrow your eyes, and she sighs.

“I know, I know,” she laments. “Your little demon-dragon-ascendancy ‘project’. Yes, yes…”
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>>5760411
She regards the egg, as you do, in silence for a moment.

“Well, we can always just try with what we have got,” she suggests. “And once you are done your ‘errand’ and have augmented yourself biologically, we can… PRODUCE… Another one. A better one.”

You blink, considering the grim implications of this offhanded remark: that you and your mate could consign your firstborn child together to possible death and deformity, or to the biological mediocrity which comes with being largely unaltered, and simply mate again to produce a ‘better’ secondborn son to take this Young One’s place as your preferred heir, if you were to so choose.

Then again… This WOULD be safer than some options for the soon-to-hatch Serpent Prince or Princess, less wasteful of resources, and it ahs a certain coldly pragmatic logic to it.

What will you do?
>Do not modify the Serpent Scion—let it hatch as it is, safely and without issue, but weaker and less draconic than it would otherwise be
[zero risk]
>Make only small, less-risky, largely-aesthetic modifications so that it will resemble your more ’dragonlike’ features
[low-to-medium risk]
>Use the plague-chimeras to make more substantial modifications—full horns, elongated face, thick armoured scales… Maybe even wings and firebreath?
[medium-to-high risk]
>Integrate the dragon-heart as well, giving up your chance to become a ‘true demigod’ to instead give that opportunity to your child
[low risk, but failure will expend the heart]
>Write-in
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>>5760412
>Integrate the dragon-heart as well, giving up your chance to become a ‘true demigod’ to instead give that opportunity to your child

Big Red was right, we don't need demigodhood to be a poggers king.
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>>5760412
>Use the plague-chimeras to make more substantial modifications—full horns, elongated face, thick armoured scales… Maybe even wings and firebreath?
+
>Write-in: Instead of using the dragon heart. Ask your two main draconic allies for aid. Go to your brother big green and ask him donate his hybrid blood to your offspring during the fleshweaving process. Similar to how our mom donated her blood to stabilize him. Then petition Big red and ask him to permanently inhabit the heir to bloodrise. To aid the novices flesh weaving efforts from the inside out with his sorcery.

I would rather give up on big red's spirit than give up the greendragon's heart. We just need Irr, the heart and the heretic's aid to become a pseudo demi or minor god/demon prince. Thus keeping big red's spirit within us for power isn't necessary. And we can't even withstand using his mana pool now that we are no longer an anti-paladin.

And the majority of our power comes from the fact that our mom, hetzel and irr altered our spirit to be more draconic on the akashic plane. Such spiritual manipulation isn't the novices specialty. But manipulating and altering the spiritual is right up big red's alley.
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>>5760412
>Do not modify the Serpent Scion—let it hatch as it is, safely and without issue, but weaker and less draconic than it would otherwise be

Don’t get greedy.
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>>5760573
+1, with a focus on stablity over anything outlandish like inherent flight.
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>>5760573
>Ask big red, the guy we don't dare even talk to for fear that he'll overpower us and take our body, to inhabit our far more helpless unborn child and out of the goodness of his heart not only refrain from taking that chance to live again but also just sit tight in there and do nothing but charity work to make sure the life risking procedures we're having performed don't end up in catastrophe.

anon, I...
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>>5760788
Actually, yeah, not sure how I missed the part about big red. Just a donation from Great Green and the juvenile Red Dragonborn for my vote.
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>>5760788
>Ask big red, the guy we don't dare even talk to for fear that he'll overpower us and take our body, to inhabit our far more helpless unborn child and out of the goodness of his heart not only refrain from taking that chance to live again but also just sit tight in there and do nothing but charity work to make sure the life risking procedures we're having performed don't end up in catastrophe.


The red dragon kings two ambitions currently. Is to have a body and then be able to once again rule bloodrise.

By letting his demigod spirit reincarnate inside our son and heir, he can accomplish both of those goals. So why would he endanger his chance at a second life?

And we can ensure our kingdom and bloodline is in good hands by letting him pass on into the body of our son.
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>>5760803
> why would he endanger his chance at a second life

Because he doesn’t want to be undermined and serve theral
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>>5760803
[Point of order: your heir in the egg already has a soul. Are you voting to supplant/reaplce it with the Red Dragon King, or to let the RDK's soul share possession with the kid?]
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>>5760803

What's your goal here - to have big red eat our child's soul and take their body, or just take their body and leave them a mental prisoner for life? If not either of those, how do you plan to prevent the above two scenarios?
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>>5760830
Im hoping the RDK will do a ritual and fuse with the childs soul after he is done flesh weaving it.

But Frankly even if he doesn't, we are king. Our first and main priority is to make sure our kingdom and bloodline is in safe hands, for the sake of our people.

The RDK was a nigh unstoppable demigod who defended bloodrise for century's.

I would massively prefer him as our heir then some recycled cannon fodder soul, that death dragged out of the death realm.

We share blood with the RDK, and the RDK seems to now share some of our essence.>>5755496
>He is towering and bipedal in this dream, unlike the depictions and tales you have heard of him—more akin to your Great Green Dragonborn brother… Or perhaps like you yourself may one day be. You express the thought aloud, feeling relaxed and uninhibited.

Due to living inside of our soul. If he is reborn inside the body of our heir i would consider him family just the same as if he was there naturally. So taking into consideration the fact that we share blood and spirit with him. I say let the demigod and his centuries of rulership experience, and unmatched mastery of sorcery be reborn.
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>>5760858
So you want big red to eat our child's soul. Got it. Having a tough time agreeing, hope that's understandable.
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>>5760866
There is a difference between fusion and eating. But anyway if the RDK puts himself in the body of the child we created. Bearing in mind that our ancestor shares blood and spirit with us. He would be then undoubtedly be our true child.

What familial difference is there between that ancestral rebirth. And a random soul being our kid instead, besides the fact that it would be far far weaker??

Also we let the novice rip apart the RDK's unborn eggs and dead hatchling. And we used them for raw power in the amulet, flesh weaving practice on the dog-bold and to draconify the wyrm sons. Instead of giving them a proper burial and funeral rites.

And when the first winter came into bloodrise. Which caused food issues we directly murdered old people and actual living children (not simply potential ones) so we would have less mouth's to feed.

And we did all of that simply because it was the most pragmatic option to take, for the future of our kingdom.

Why would we consider letting a one month old unnamed soul, return to the death realm from which it spawned. A step too far morally.

The RDK being our son would have the strength to protect bloodrise, subordinate the other dragonborn thus preventing any future strife. And would likely become an demigod in his own right overtime due to being born with the soul of one.

By comparison, the alternative kid is likely to be weaker than we are. (it's questionable whether it will even be a firebreather. Let alone an actual dragonborn.) Its doubtful that he would ever be able to make the other dragonborn obey him let alone command them. And assuming we actually do obtain demigod hood and become immortal we might just outright outlive our own heir.
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>>5760412
>Integrate the dragon-heart as well, giving up your chance to become a ‘true demigod’ to instead give that opportunity to your child

We don’t need Demi-godhood - better to empower our child. They will face the true test of inheriting our diverse kingdom

We shall push ahead with our own draconic will and conquer all.

It’s like Big Red said:
>before you were an Knight Ascendant, or a Dark Prophet, or whatever other silly little titles you saw fit to bestow upon yourself, you were a DRAGON SHAMAN. Your fire comes from WITHIN.”
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>>5760412
>>Integrate the dragon-heart as well, giving up your chance to become a ‘true demigod’ to instead give that opportunity to your child

I'd better become a demigod through Draconic Shamaning as Big Red said
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>>5760988
Linking back - as this is a big vote

>>5758153
Me
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>>5760915
>directly murdered old people and actual living children
[Theral actually only culled the elderly, though some children died in his conquests and he later personally butchered children in the Incubus' compound, under Irinnile's influence, and found himself enjoying the carnage.]

>>5760988
>>5761129
>>5760771
>>5760790
>>5760705
>>5760573
>>5760521
[This is a pretty close vote and a big expenditure of a major resource, so I'll leave this open for another hour in case anyone else jumps in or anyone wants to change their vote.]
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>>5761205
As you stare at the rune-speckled shell of your offspring’s egg, another possible solution occurs to you: the Red Dragon King’s soul.

His spirit is unmanageable in your current state, almost useless to you. What if you were to transfer it into your heir? Your offspring would hatch with a fully-formed Dragon Soul, something even your Serpent Queen’s magic cannot replicate, and the REAL source of your power. The Old King is of your blood, he shares something of your spirit… Perhaps that dream, of the two of you basking in lava, signifies a sort of kinship? And surely he would not turn down a chance to live—to rule—once more?

Of course there is almost no way this wouldn’t destroy or dominate the unborn spirit within—that of your true offspring. You know of no way to force a compromise of identity, or a shared custody of the soon-to-hatch body.

You know what your Serpent Queen would say, of course. She would be all for it, if you gave voice to the idea… Which, in the end, is why you don’t. You cannot do such a thing, nor can you bring yourself to inflict a plague—even a managed plague, with benevolent intentions—upon your offspring in the hopes of favourable mutation. No, you will not risk your heir so frivolously, for minor or cosmetic benefit. No, if you are going to give your heir (your true heir, spawn in soul and body) the best shot at succeeding you and leading your empire into the future, you know what you must do.

“Use the heart,” you sigh.

The Serpent Queen looks to you with surprise, and with avaricious excitement made moderate by a flicker of concern.

“What of your ‘ascent’?” she asks, eager enough to continue her grand experiment yet—touchingly—worried on some level about you.

You remember again the dream, the advice of the Red Dragon King.

“My fire comes from within,” you state, striving to convince yourself as much as your mate. “I was a Dragon Shaman first, before I was anything else. THAT was my path, and it still is: the path of the cultivated Dragon Soul.”

The Serpent Queen regards you skeptically for a time, but then shrugs.

“I have no idea what you are blithering about, of course,” she says. “You sound confident, though.”

“I am,” you half-lie.

“Good,” she says with a rattle of laughter building in her throat, “because I will hold you to it.”

Louder, she cries: “ASSISTANTS! Bring me the HEART OF THE GREAT GREEN DRAGON!”

[Normal chance of failure: 25%. With your aid and biological manipulation ability, that is reduced to 10%. Rolling!]
>>
>>5761247
>>5761247
The Serpent Queen and her retinue of extra hands and keen minds move swiftly. T first you believe that your main or only contribution will be your oversight, and perhaps a bit of muscle to move the great, preserved heart in its canopic jar into the laboratory. To your surprise, though, your Serpent Queen grasps your claws in hers as you turn away.

“You are required,” she states.

“Me?” you ask, a little surprised.

She hisses in annoyance, and snaps: “What, you wish for me to beg? Is that it?”

“I would not say ‘no’,” you muse, to her grave irritation.

“You are as good a student as any of these fools I suffer to be here… And this will be no easy task,” she admits. “I… Need you. Please.”

Well, how can you turn down a request like THAT from a female so averse to vulnerability? And anyway, this is your child, and your legacy—you would have helped regardless. No need to tell HER that, though.

“Since you asked so nicely,” you agree, and join in the effort.

The incantations and runes are the magical component, and the part you are best suited to. You are instructed to maintain a meditative mindset—something you are adept at—and to maintain a careful rhythm and tone to your chant, in a repetitious cycle of elder and arcane words.

“A ring of sound and meaning, to around and bind the spirit within,” the Serpent Queen explains, “lest it escape and leave the body lifeless. The specific words remind it of what it IS, and what it should BECOME, to help guide the form and prevent… Mistakes.”

Something about the way she says that last word makes you shudder, picturing a deformed and mentally-deficient creature—something like a warped and twisted parody of your Big Brother, or like the flesh, misshapen abomination of the Shoggoth. You keep your heart calm and mind still, and do as instructed.

Meanwhile, your queen sets herself into frantic, if purposeful, motion. She, and her small army of handmaidens, mix and pour chemical concoctions beyond your ken, with which they anoint the shell. One of them produces a small drill, which your Beloved One snatches from her hands and takes up herself… Drilling into her own egg with a look of dire concentration on her face. Tubules taken from the organs of some unfortunate creature (or subject?) are used as a transmission medium for the steady drip of dragonblood and other unknown fluids into the hole thus produced, which a secondary hole drilled on the bottom is used to extract a thick, syrupy yolk-yellow substance for the egg, occasionally clotting with reddish chunks. You watch in fascination and horror, never letting up in your chanting until…

“STOP!” cries your mate. “CAESE! DESIST! Fools, SHUT UP!”

You all do as she oh-so-politely requests of you, falling silent and watching with bated breath for something, anything, to happen. Instead, the Serpent Queen wheels on you all.

“WELL?!” she demands.
>>
>>5761265
Your servants exchange glances afraid to say anything. You yourself blink in confusion.

“It is not going to hatch for another week,” the Queen Fleshweaver explains with tested patience, and then begins dictating further instructions: “You! Grab the tube, and connect it up to the nutritional supplement to replace the lost yolk! YOU, clean off the runes of transformation and change and replace them with those of health and wellbeing! And YOU—”

“Me?” you ask, a little disoriented.

“Get out!” she snaps. “You are a distraction, doting and fidgeting as you are wont to do!”

You shoot her a look, but do as she instructs. You sense that her demeanour is the product of stress—maternal stress, or the stress of a visionary in the midst of the great project which will define her future, and yours, and that of an entire Kingdom and perhaps a WORLD. Yu depart, and leave her to focus, with all that intensity and energy, upon your heir.

For your part, you know the work is not yet done. If you are to make your scion a TRUE demigod, there is yet one more component which you must obtain: the Succubus, Irinnile, captured and made the material component of this great work. She is no mere trifle, though: aside from being bound the Green Knight who so terrorized your kind and ‘equipped’ with the Kinslayer sword which was formed to detect and destroy all things Reptilian, she is now a Greater Demon. She can read thoughts, sense and affect emotions, inspire lust, rage, or terror. Her possessed ‘partner’ can regenerate, shapeshift. She is stealthy in darkness, and which she is not exactly INTELLIGENT, she is cunning in the base way of Hellish entities.

Agno returns, as you had requested, with those who will aid you in this hunt. Who are you bringing?
>The Hunter
>The Thief
>The Bastard
>The Duelist
>The Occultist
>The Heretic
>Agno the Kobold
>The Junior Novice
>the Lightning Elemental
>The Centipede Lancer
>The Throat-Singer
>The Pit-Guard
>The Pit-Guard’s Apprentice
>The Bugbear Boss
>The Dwarven Brute
>Write-in
[Bring as many as you like, but remember their other responsibilities, their strengths and weaknesses, and the possibility of their death on this expedition if Irinnile strikes back or you encounter other issues. If you bring a great number of Reptilians, it also may entail delays, as you are entering human-held lands and will need to disguise yourselves to avoid panic and impediment.]
>>
>>5761268
>The Hunter
>The Thief
>The Bastard
>The Occultist
>The Heretic
>Agno the Kobold
>The Elemental

A tracker, a stealthy-one, a fellow beefy fighter, a demonologist, an expert in this ritual, Agno because we promised him, and the elemental for a non-Reptilian presence.
>>
>>5761268
>The Hunter
hunting
>The Occultist
demons
>Agno the Kobold
ivno 2
>Duelist
another good fighter
>The Throat-Singer
bards round out parties
>>
>>5761294
Support
>>
>>5761268
>The Bastard
>The Duelist
>The Occultist
>Agno the Kobold
>the Lightning Elemental
>The Centipede Lancer
>The Throat-Singer
>The Pit-Guard
>The Bugbear Boss
>The Dwarven Brute
>>
>>5761505
>>5761431
>>5761294
>>5761281
[Huh. Interesting picks. I didn't expect some of these. There are... Interesting implications. I'll leave this open a bit longer probably an hour so you folks can discuss a bit if you'd like, and maybe other voters can chime in.]
>>
>>5761268
>The Hunter
>>The Thief
>>The Bastard
>>The Duelist
>>The Occultist
>>The Heretic
>>the Lightning Elemental
>>
>>5761268
>The Hunter
>The Thief
>The Duelist
>The Occultist
>The Heretic (once he’s healed)
>Agno the Kobold
>the Lightning Elemental
>>
>>5761505
>>5761431
>>5761294
>>5761281
>>5761518
>>5761531
[Alright, locked and writing!]
>>
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>>5761569
This is a mission of great import, perhaps all the greater on an emotional level, now that you know it is not done for yourself but for your child. It needs a team worthy of it, and well-suited to the task. Among those, there is one candidate who stands out as plainly obvious.

He rattles with laughter when you enter, and takes a rather flamboyant bow. You have worked directly with this male only a few times, but the sinewy Steeltalon has ever been rather dramatic for one of his caste, with his deep-lion pelt on conspicuously oversized bow: the Hunter, master tracker and slayer of dangerous beasts.

“Of course your would choose me, with my title,” he says with casual confidence, “but I must admit: I have never chased down quarry like this. A Greater Demon? Is that like a Demon Pricne?”

“Luckily, no,” comments the occultist—the excitable young Dragonblooded female who you have also summoned. “A Demon Prince would be TRULY terrifying… Maybe too much for us! Oh.. No offence is intended, of course, Dragon King!”

“Hm,” you reply noncommittally, causing her to bow deeply in submissive apology, mortified to have possibly offended you.

Agno is there, too, armed with a pickaxe in one hand and a dagger in the other, eyes gleaming. He reminds you much of Ivno, with his race and station, but it must be said: while you miss your late kobold companion, his brother-in-arms was always the more fiery and fierce of the two. Youa re glad to have him with you on this mission, as a representative of his kind.

“Dragon has killed demons before,” he notes. “Killed them swift-fast. Kill for the Dragon!”

“I agree with the runt,” agrees your sparring partner of late, the Drow Duelist named Azonia, who is perhaps the greatest sword master you know of besides yourself. “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

“E-easy now,” the Occultist interjects. “All this talk of ‘killing’ is… A demon CANNOT be ‘killed’. Only banished back to the Realms of Hell. And… I do not believe that is our intent?”

You nod in confirmation of the Occultist’s supposition.

“We will take the demon ‘alive’,” you say. “We do not wish to banish her, but to USE her. Her power will be vital to the future of the Kingdom of Bloodrise. We need her on this plane.”
>>
>>5761580
You know this much from consulting with the Heretic though, with his infirmity, you cannot bring him. He would be a liability in battle, a laggard in travel as he was on the way here, and now that you plan to place Irinnile within your soon-to-hatch Serpent Scion, the ritual cannot be performed then and there anyway. Better that he wait here, in safety.

Likewise, there were other valuable candidates you were forced to leave: the Junior Novice because of his bizarre physiology, so difficult to disguise even with an amulet; the Bastard and Throat-singer because of their vital roles in governance of Bloodrise’s population; the Thief because your beloved One insisted upon having a spymaster at her beck-and-call to listen in on rivals and potential usurpers.

Those who you HAVE chosen are presented with their badges of honour: the Amulets of Disguise, crafted specially for them. As with all such items, they required the lifeblood of humanoid sacrifices to craft: a dwarven slave for Agno, and the captive half-elf adventurer who had been languishing in your mines and dungeons to outfit the remainder. In spite of this, the Duelist turns up her nose at her own, prideful of her dark and voluptuous form as ever.

“Hide THIS?” she sneers. “Beneath the skin of one of the TRAITORS? Never!”

You glower at her until she agrees to take the amulet, though she grumbles and moans, and refuses to use its magicks then and there. You let the matter pass, though you make it clear that you expect her to use it to its full potential if required, and she does not contradict the order.

“We leave in a week’s time, upon the hatching of my youngest child,” you state. “You will all be ready to depart at a moment’s notice. Until then, the occultist will familiarize the rest of you with what it means to battle a Greater Demon of Lust.”

There is one more entity whom you plan to bring, of course. With the rest of your away-team assembled, you go next to it. Your recruitment mission take you to the top of one of Blodorise’s sharper, higher peaks, where clouds seem to gravitate as if summoned, and where thunderstorms are particularly frequent.
>>
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Rolled 8, 5, 13, 15, 20 = 61 (5d20)

>>5761584
“Spirit of Storm, Child of Lightning,” you beseech it, raising your voice over the roaring winds and shielding your eyes against the rain which accompany them. “Come down! I would have words with you!”

It has been many months now since you have called upon the wild Lightning Elemental who, freed from your <Ring of Elemental Command>, was cowed by your <Fearsome presence> and made a minion to you. Despite this, you have had your subordinates keep watch over it, and they knew where it was. Having found it, you also find it remembers you, and that it still obeys: the clouds coalesce into an increasingly humanoid shape, with sparkling blue-white eyes gazing down at you. It descends, losing cogency and becoming more like a streaking ball, an amorphous falling star coming to crash before you; you do not flinch, though you close your nictitating membranes to protect your vision.

“I have need of you,” you tell it. “We are going to capture a demon—an unclean spirit of smoke and fire. Will you aid me?”

You ask rather than command, and only realize this after---realize you are uncertain if it will still obey you, with your now-diminished <Fearsome Presence>, without the backing of the Dark Gods to reinforce your own sense of command. When it does not immediately respond, you begin to fear the worst…
>>
Rolled 60 (1d100)

>>5761586
>20
You needn’t have worried, though. The spirit rises part-way, forming into the shape of a luminous Reptilian, bowing.

You are still worthy. Of course you are!

The matter of the hunting party thus resolved, you have only to wait for the Serpent Queen’s egg to hatch, to keep your promise to yourself and your heir—to name him, to hold him.

Do you have any other last-minute preparations you wish to make?
>No
>Yes [write-in]

Ignore the mystery-roll
>>
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>>5761589
>>
>>5761589
No.

It was a roll to awake our dragon-soul based divinity upon success, which we are at a total of 60/150 to trigger now?
>>
>>5761589
>No.
>>
>>5761589
>No
>>
>>5761589
>Yes: sate your <Appetite> to completeness, as you will be traveling for some time and Irinille will doubtlessly seek to tempt you
>>
>>5762113
Supporting this
>>
>>5762113

Didn’t we just do that before the council meeting
>>
>>5762113
Eh, sure, why not?
>>
>>5761589
We should also give Kaz his due- some to recognize his exemplary service and reinforce meritocracy. Something nice and just.
>>
>>5762263
And yes, this is me supporting >>5762113, if the QM was confused
>>
>>5762290
Yeah that works for me too.

I’m>>5762176
>>
>>5762113
>>5762290
Support
>>
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>>5762568
>>5762303
>>5762290
>>5762263
>>5762137
>>5762113
>>5761868
>>5761792
>>5761621
Your forces await your command, but still you linger. It is your nature, of course. Your fundamental, core nature, at the very heart of you, is to crave community—to LOVE. You realized that about yourself long ago, with the help of the Master of the Insightful Eye, and that of your mother’s departed soul. It is UPSETTING to say goodbye again—to leave this place, your friends, your wives, your sons.

“Can you not see I am BUSY, Degenerateborn?!”

“I can only see your beauty,” you flatter the Serpent Queen, ‘and your fiery spirit.”

“is that the sort of line which sets a human female into heat, then?” she scoffs, her tail swatting at you as you grip her hips from behind and pull her away from the bench, to your body.

“You DID promise,” you needle her.

“I am no Knight Ascendant, that I must keep my oaths,” she reminds you.

“Consider it… A strategic manoeuvre, then, yes?” you suggest slyly. “I will face a sex-demon soon. Why not help me gird myself against her foul magic?”

“You expect to find her in the next few days, then?” your mate asks sarcastically. “A week? How long can you really go without release, Libidinous One? It does not seem like long.”

“Perhaps that is just because of the stimulation at AHND,” you muse, grabbing handfuls of the ‘stimulation’ in question, and giving her rear a jiggle.

The Serpent Queen’s hiss of irritation turns into a weak mewl, and then to a thrum of pleasure as you squeeze and stroke her thighs and back. She is not in heat, no, but the two of you embrace often. You well know how she likes to be touched, rubbed, held, and massaged. It is not SEXUAL for her, but as you worship her fertile form as surely as any deity, and bite and her neck and collar, your venomous vixen of a ‘wife’ becomes putty.

“You are despicable,” she sighs, trying and failing to muster a hiss as she grips at your shoulders. “Deplorable. Fundamentally defective. A monster. A freak A… A… Ah~! Y-yes… More like… Like that.”

From there, it is a simple matter to play a game of denial and reward, until your Sseztlussth ‘returns the favour’ eagerly for the promise of more of what you can give her.

“…You have tarnished me,” she laments afterwards, sullen in her afterglow.

“Yes,” you agree happily, leaning back against the cave wall, entwined with her naked form.

A comfortable silence lingers then—one you wish could stretch forever.
>>
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>>5762587
“You raise a valid point,” she eventually says. “Strategically, I mean. You are INCREIDBLY easy to seduce, even WITHOUT demonic magic intended for that very purpose. You will be ehlpelss againsta succubus.”

“I have actually rejected her advances be—”

“Take this,” she interrupts you, pushing a vial of greenish-bleu fluid into your hands.

You stare down at it, confused, then look to her.

“My formula for suppressing estrus,” she explains. “From… Our travels together. I had mentioned. It will work just as well for your rut—perpetual though it may be. Take two tablespoons nightly. That should forestall your URGES. DO not use it all at once, but also do not wait until the last moment—it must be taken with food, twenty-four hours prior to any ‘provocations’, to stifle your mating-urge.”

You look at her for a while, while she looks back questioningly, until finally she must look away.

“D-do not stare so much,” she hisses.

“I love you,” you tell her.

“Get out of here!” she snaps. “G-go! Get ready, you mush-brained mammalian moron!”

You do as she asks, your heart full almost to bursting. Perhaps it is even this understated act of love—such as the Serpent Priestess can feel it or demonstrate it—that moves you to your next action. Before you depart, you call your Apprentice to your chamber: Karz, the Throat-singer, the Duergar Regent. He enters, fiddling with the mechanisms of his artificial hand nervously.

“We’re leaving, then” he asks, tone wavering between eagerness and uncertainty. “There’s a lot I need to attend to here first, but I can be ready to join you—"

“No,” you correct him. “You are not coming with me.”

He looks up, worriedly.

“I have done a lot, you know,” he says hurriedly. “I haven’t been idle. I have be instituting your policies with the slave, as requested… Helping to keep fire-lizards and deep-serpents away from the livestock pens, and I have been practicing the meditations you’ve taught me every night.”

You nod, and tell him: “I know.”

He looks pained, and confused, asking you: “Then why will you not bring me? What have I done WRONG?”

You tilt your head. In truth, you can think of a few ways in which your Apprentice could improve, but ultimately that is not the issue. Rather, quite the opposite.

“I need you here,” you say. “To manage the dwarvesss, to keep the Bassstard sstriving asss well. To look after the Dragonborn.”

He is silent.

“I trusst you with all thisss, becaussse you have done an exxemplary job. It iss an honour.”

“And yet…”

He stops short, biting his tongue. You regard him, waiting silently until he finishes the thought.
>>
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>>5762588
“And yet,” he tries again, glaring up at you, “you still deny me command.”

You nod slowly.

“I do,” you say.

“Why?!” he asks, louder than perhaps he expected for he quiets himself afterwards. “Why, Master?”

“Becaussse Bloodrisse isss not yet ready,” you say. “Becausse it would paint a target on your back… And youa re too valuable to risssk.”

“A lot of shit,” he says, through gritted teeth, quietly but not so quiet that you do not hear.

“It isss truth,” you say, loud enough to make him flinch. “You, mosst of all, are the very PROOF of what we are doing her, do your ealzie that?”

That gives him a shocck. He points at himself, questioningly, and asks: “Me?”

“You,” you repeat, stepping towards him. “A captive, a slave, and lowborn and weak before that… Regarded as inferior, as a failure…”

He cringes, seething at the assessment, until you clap your claws upon his shoulder.

“Yet you rosse up, proved yourssself loyal, and sstrong, and invaluable. You ssserved me well, and proved yoursself the equal to any Reptilian—greater than many. You are the very EVIDENCCCE that Bloodrise isss a kingdom for ALL. You are the FACCE of the New Age of Darknesss… My Dark General.”

You produce a medallion—a magical one, repurposed from ancient draconic artefacts found in the odl king’s hoard—something akin to your <Ring of Protection>, but adorned with an eyelike, greenish gem half the size of a fist, cut into a lozenge-shape and set in gold. As the dwarf stares down at it, you pin it upon his breast.

Karz stares at you, at a loss for words. His face is torn between emotions. You sense conflict in him. A part of him still hates you, but it is more than hate now—it is fear and love as one, in fact. It is RESPECT, hard-won and twisted up inside him, but you have become the symbol of authority, of strength, and of striving to this simple, slim-bodied, beardless young dwarf who ahs become bardic mage and bloody-minded warlord under your guidance. Just as you looked to your Dragonborn brother, and the most noble ancestors which lent you your dragonblood and inspired your Dragon Soul, he now regards you: enviously, aspirationally.

The Dark General’s own soul swells, as he squares his shoulders, lifts his head, and straightens his spine. His black leather accoutrements crinkle and shift as he tightens his hands into fists, and you feel it, if just for a moment: his pride and power made manifest, the scintillating sparks of a burgeoning presence… If not yet quite <Fearsome> as he will need it to be, to be a true dragon at heart.

“Your dutiess are clear,” you tell him. “I will return. Do not fail me.”

“Live for the Dragon!” he shouts, pumping one fist in the air in imitation of the kobold chant of allegiance. “Die for the dragon! Kill for the dragon!”

You pat his shoulder, and dismiss him.
>>
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>>5762591
Finally, and at long last, the day is upon you. Only two days after your enthusiastic farewell romp with the Serpent Queen, you are called back to her laboratory’s ornate ritual-chamber. The egg is hatching—your heir is to be born!

“Am I too late?!” you ask a you enter.

The attendants shake their heads, and the Serpent Queen shakes her head, hand on hip.

“What does it matter?” she asks, more amused than annoyed. “Do you think your presence is required for it to be born? What do you plan to DO, besides gawk?”

You aren’t really sure how to answer, in truth. Something just tells you that you OUGHT to be here, to oversee this great moment—the birth of Bloodrise’s first native-born king-to-be. So, yes—you watch, or ‘gawk’ as the by-now-brittle outer shell cracks and splits, and the thin, whitish membrane beneath it warps and bulges with tiny blows from within. You have never seen any hatching or birth before, and a part of you feels out of place among these female rookery-priestesses and kobold den-mothers. If any of THEM regard your masculine presence as untoward or unusual, though, they dare not say so, and you ignore them, focused only on your child’s first, formative struggle. You can remember your own first moments as you watch the hatching—blurry, without context at the time and distant in mindset to the extent that it hardly feels like your memory, but it all comes back. The first time you truly perceived the world beyond the warm, soft embrace of your egg, the weightlessness of yolk and white. The first glimpse of light and of darkness, and of another’s face…

The Serpent Queen laughs aloud, cackling and pointing at you.

“What is that look on your FACE?!” she demands, still rattling.

“Shut up,” you snap, before turning back and immediately feeling your heart hammer in your chest with a new feeling as—for the very first time—you see the face of your successor.

Wide, yellow eyes—almost like those of the child’s mother, but flecked with gold and copper. Small buds of horns, and fine, sharp teeth set in a somewhat-pointed snout. An elegant, aristocratic neck—strong, and long, allowing the hatchling to turn and regard each of its many attendants. Smooth, shiny baby-scales in an earthy copper-brown, tinged green, with flecks of blue-green down the chin, neck, and chest of the emerging Serpent Scion.

“Well?” the Serpent Queen asks, and gestures. “Go ahead. Help it, hold it. You obviously want to.”

“You do not?” you ask.

Your mate scoffs, and you cede the point: obviously, she will hold the child soon enough, and she is not so sentimental as to care about who does so first. You do as she suggests, then, hurrying to catch it before it sends its ovoid home for the last few months toppling from the dais and dashes its tiny skull. You catch the child, and strip away the last of the shell from it, and regard…

>60; roll for hatchling's sex

“…A female?”
>>
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>>5762592


The Serpent Princess—Dragon Princess—stares up at you with wide eyes, curious but barely comprehending. She squirms and thrashes, for the young of your kind are not so helpless as a newborn ape-man, but almost a miniature adult. Her dragon genetics seem to affect her proportions somewhat, making quadrupedal motion easier for her, and so you set her down on all fours and watch as she scurries in stops and starts around the chamber, hissing or chirping agitatedly at every new creature or object she encounters, before hurrying over to her egg to tear it open and sup upon the last of the nutritional contents within.

“You expected a son,” the Fleshweaver notes, stepping to your side.

“I suppose I did,” you note, watching the Princess first meal as the attendants carefully collect errant shards of eggshell for spell-components. “What are those on its—on her back?”

“Hm?” her mother vocalizes, squinting and peering down at your child. “Oh… Hm. I would guess… Wing-buds?”

“W-wings?” you ask, trying to keep the excitement from your voice for decorum’s sake.

“Well, we DID make of her a Dragonborn,” your Serpent Queen notes dryly, and glances sideways at you, delivering a playful bump of her hip. “A REAL one.”

A Dragon Princess… A TRUE Dragon Princess. Well, that IS something!

How do you feel?
>Disappointed—she is still rather small and slim, and female, and you had in truth hopes for a robust and powerful Dragon Prince
>Worried—something about having a DAUGHTER, and so SMALL a daughter, makes you feel more protective than with your sons
>Proud—you have done it! You have finally made good on what your own parents, and the Dark Gods, set in motion!
>Write-in

What name will you give her?
>A powerful and ancient dragon name, as with your sons, conveying might and majesty
>An dark elven name—you are fond of the elf-tongue, after all—conveying elegance and beauty
>A dwarven name—sentimental to you, even after all this time, from the female who helped you learn to love and to know loss
>Write-in

One more indulgent update before your departure, since you had some good write-ins
>>
>>5762595
>Proud—you have done it! You have finally made good on what your own parents, and the Dark Gods, set in motion!
Our real heir instead of one touched by Mother of Bugs

>A powerful and ancient dragon name, as with your sons, conveying might and majesty
>>
>>5762595
>Proud—you have done it! You have finally made good on what your own parents, and the Dark Gods, set in motion!
>A powerful and ancient dragon name, as with your sons, conveying might and majesty
Hey guys, the anon who found Theral's amazing pseudonym of "Long Wang" based off of a real ancient eastern dragon of the sea, I have the perfect name for our little princess, with context!
Its a little different then the usual naming scheme but the associations shared between the actual serpent goddess the name comes from fits with her likely future, I present
>Wadjet
>Patron Egyptian goddess of serpents
>Associated with Ra to the point of the nickname the eye of Ra and the symbology around the sun, ie beholder and serpent ascendant symbology fused which is basically what circumstances she was bred under
>Wadjet is also associated with the color green as she is patron of the land of the living, just because of her coloration
>>
>>5762595
>Proud

>A powerful and ancient dragon name, as with your sons, conveying might and majesty
>>
>>5762595
>Proud—you have done it! You have finally made good on what your own parents, and the Dark Gods, set in motion!

>A powerful and ancient dragon name, as with your sons, conveying might and majesty
>>
>>5763005
+1
>>
>>5762595
>Worried—something about having a DAUGHTER, and so SMALL a daughter, makes you feel more protective than with your sons
>Proud—you have done it! You have finally made good on what your own parents, and the Dark Gods, set in motion!
>A dwarven name—sentimental to you, even after all this time, from the female who helped you learn to love and to know loss
Protective Daddy Dragonborn is cute
>>
>>5762595
>Proud—you have done it! You have finally made good on what your own parents, and the Dark Gods, set in motion!
Damn right we did
>A powerful and ancient dragon name, as with your sons, conveying might and majesty

>>5761809
>>
>>5762611
>>5762658
>>5762701
>>5763005
>>5763096
>>5763140
>>5763147
You gaze upon the Princess and feel proud of the accomplishments—and the future—which she represents. How could you not? Oh, perhaps a female makes for a weaker heir, in theory but… Well, look at the DUELIST, after all. It is not necessarily so. And really, she is a female Dragonborn. You have no doubt that, fully-grown, she will be a fierce creature worthy of inspiring nightmares in any adversary! And speaking of nightmare-inducing adversaries, that’s BEFORE you empower her with the essence of a Greater Demon!

“She will need a worthy name,” you muse.

“Well do not speak it NOW, fool!” your Serpent Queen snaps, with surprising superstition… But then, this is the same female who still fidgets when you call her by HER name. Some cultural taboos run deep, you suppose.

You instead muse silently on the subject, while the Serpent Queen shoos away the attendants. You idly stroke the scales between the newborn hatchling’s horn-nubs, and gently apply the <presence> needed to make her hold still and stop biting at your claws. Ha! Yes, fierce. A fierce protector of the Kingdom of Bloodrise, its people, their faith and future… Hmm…

“Do you know of the great dragon Wajutovok?” you ask the Princess’ mother, when all others have departed and left your little family alone.

“What?” she asks, thrown off by the question. “No, obviously. I am not some dragon-dweeb like you, Degenerateborn. I research things which MATTER, in the here and now.”

You ignore the usual barbs, instead expounding upon the ancient champion.

“Wajutovosk was a serpentine dragon known for spewing noxious venom, superheated, such that it would burn away all life and poison the ground for decades to come,” you explain. “He was not a king himself, but served a queen, so the legend goes—his mother, a golden dragon to the south of the continent.”

“I like the ‘serving the will of she who birthed him’ part,” the shrewd Serpent priestess admits, regarding her spawn with renewed interest.

You knew she would, but as you feel your child struggle against the pressure of your <Fearsome Presence>, you silently suspect she will have her hands full with THIS one. Moreover, that isn’t the part of the story which captures your imagination.
>>
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>>5763311
“Any army which threatened the Golden Queen’s realm was ignored by Wajutovosk, and instead he would fly past them on his great wings, and find their farms, their families, their cities and towns. He would burn them away until they had no source of supplies, or comfort. No home. No record that they ever existed, or were cared for. He left the proud and strong to starve, alone and in empty wasteland… Until they perished. Removing his curse from the land, he allowed these great masses of Unworthy Ones to fertilize the land anew, and it was his MOTHER’s subjects who would move in and reclaim the lands, and the ruins, as if true natives.”

“…He defeated greater forces, destroying old orders,your mate notes, with a subtle note of approval.

"He craeted a new age wherever he went," you agree.

“Still… Ugh, I know it is DRACONIS, but ‘Wajutovosk’? It is so CLUNKY. So OLD… And masculine, besides.”

You look down at your daughter, who stares back at you defiantly, puffing out her cheeks in dismay at her inability to escape your instinctive hold over her—or your much larger talons.

“The mammals she terrorized had a name for him, also,” you note. “‘Ujo’, ‘Buto’… Or ‘Wadjot’. And the feminine form…”

You tilt your head and try it out:

“Wadjet,” you say. “Dragon Princess Wadjet, future Queen of Bloodrise.”

“Not terrible,” the Serpent Queen admits.

Your daughter chirps, and finally squirms free, scampering away before wheeling back, scything the air with her frilled and forked tail, and letting loose a squeak of defiance.

“Not yet,” you admit, “but she will be.”
>>
>>5763314
Loathe as you are to leave—now more than ever, alas—you know you must. You join your forces where they wait for you: Hunter and some unknown attendant to carry his great quiver; Agno, ready with your own weapons and helm; the Duelist, adjusting her attire and stowing away her finely-forged new surface swords (human-made, for she still flatly refuses to handle weapons of ‘inferior traitor crasftelfship’); the Occultist, preparing the ritual that will guide you. Most are unrecognizable as they are, wrapped in half-elven guises (or dwarven, in Agno’s case).

You do not see the Elemental, but you sense it—a tension in the air, like just before a storm; it is near, and it will follow.

“Speak the name of the beast we hunt, Oh Dragon King,” intones the Occultist, eyes rolled back and hands outstretched in the throes of a seeking spell-for no simple summoning can call forth a bound-and-anchored demon of the strength which the Succubus now boasts.

“Irinnile,” you speak.

“Irinnile,” the Occultist repeats. “Irinnile! Master of Insight, Dark God of Secret Things and Hidden Places, hear me! Lesser shades of hunting and finding, of stalking and invasion, of violation and vengeance… Bring us to the Succubus, Irinnile! Give her up, and have your fill of her power! THIS is our pact!”

And thus, the Hunt for the Succubus begins. It carries you out of Bloodrise and through familiar baronies—including, alas, through Sunset Lake, which you had heard of and soon hoped to trade with… But equally, hoped never to visit. You give the great, deep body of water which gives the place its name wide berth, though your Kobold Servant Agno and the Hunter’s quiver-holder venture into settlements as needed to restock supplies and to seek rumours. Alas, they hear no tell of Heinrich Yosef—or anyone matching his description—nor of the sorts of lewd or deadly incidents which might indicate Irinnile’s presence in the area.

In fact, you find no trace of the demoness at all, for nearly a month.
>>
>>5763315
When you first catch a (metaphorical) whiff of Hellish brimstone, is near Hawksong, and the surrounding countryside. Apparently, remnants of a demon cult are suspected to be stealing from the abandoned homesteads and ruined villages of those refugees you led away from the Green Dragonborn’s wake. Those who spot them-and do not geta way-are said to be seized, kidnapped and ransomed… or worse. It is only a tall-tale to many, but you well know of the network of human-smugglers who fed the Dragonborn Project and the northern forward base’s slave-markets, and that the Incubus Cult’s tendrils once crisscrossed these hills with safehouses and not-so-safe houses, depending upon who came calling.

“We go-check?” Agno asks excitedly. “Sneak close, sneak-kill?”

“Hm.”

Your own attention is, admittedly, divided. You keep catching sight of the great spires and tremendous, white-stone walls of Hawksong—the shining city on the hill, domain of your Human Queen Ekaterine… Home to your other newborn child, by now. Your heart pulls at you, and the direction of its pull is obvious.

“Dragonborn?” the Hunter asks. “Are you caught in some… Vision?”

The Duelist sniggers knowingly, with mammalian insight the others here lack, and you glare.

What will you do?
>Visit Hawksong—just for a little bit, to catch up on current events, and to see your Beloved One a Hawksong’s new heir
>Keep your mind on the mission, and your heart on the hunt—pursue this lead on the Succubus and Green Knight
>Split up [specify who goes where]
>>
>>5763317
>Keep your mind on the mission, and your heart on the hunt—pursue this lead on the Succubus and Green Knight

We got shit to do, and just spent awhile with Ekaterine not too long ago. There will be time for re-connection and meeting our new child.
>>
>>5763317
>Visit Hawksong—just for a little bit, to catch up on current events, and to see your Beloved One a Hawksong’s new heir
I know we want to get this over and done with but theres a lot that can go wrong and a lot of forshadowing to the "death" of Theral, we are likely to return from this battle wholly changed, and this is still the body of Heinrich Yosef and a greater demoness who isnt going to be happy with what she'll consider a betrayal, good time to have our demigod child see us before we are something new
>>
>>5763317
>Keep your mind on the mission, and your heart on the hunt—pursue this lead on the Succubus and Green Knight

With every day the trail gets colder, and we’ve delayed long enough
>>
>>5763317
>Keep your mind on the mission, and your heart on the hunt—pursue this lead on the Succubus and Green Knight
>>
>>5763317
>Visit Hawksong—just for a little bit, to catch up on current events, and to see your Beloved One a Hawksong’s new heir
>>
>>5763322
>>5763335
>>5763559
>>5763649
>>5763792
[Alright, locked and writing!]
>>
Rolled 15, 5, 19 = 39 (3d20)

>>5764048
You shake off the feelings which have settled heavily upon you like an ill-fitting cloak: the longing for Ekaterine, the curiosity to meet your other young heir, and the strange sense of dreadful FINALITY which ahs crept into your thoughts. Where did that last one even come from?! You aren’t sure and, as a creature of rationality and pragmatism (well most of the time) you let it pass with the rest. Queen Ekaterine and Hawksong’s newest prince—or princESS—will be there when you are done.

But business must come before pleasure, and this is rim business indeed.

You set the Hunter to his primary task, that by which he earned his title. He and his Quiver-holder go forth, scouring the hillsides for possible leads.

“Do not draw too near, though,” you remind him, “especially at night. The demon can read your thoughts, if she tries.”

The rest of you make camp for a time while you await their return, and consider your next move. What will you do if the Hunter finds the Succubus? How ill you battle such a demon, and how many casualties are you willing to risk to do so? The Serpent Khopesh which you carry can cleave through magic, yes,a nd render it inert… But is dissipating enchantments or shattering spell-barreir sthe same as SLAYING an immortal spirit-being from the Hellish Realms? Is it even enough to stymie her regenerative abilities, or to leach her powers? Maybe the radiant energies of the Moon-blade would be better?

“You know,” the Duelist muses casually, sitting near where you take your own repose and leaning back, the arch of her spine emphasizing those gravity-defying mammaries of hers and provoking <hunger> that you know Irinnile will be wont to exploit, “we COULD be waiting for word down in the villages below.”

“They are mostly empty,” you remind her.

“Exactly!’ she enthuses. “there is loot down there, Theral—”

“Dragn King Theral.”

“—and probably food, and fabric, and beds we could be resting in.”

“Distractions and coddling comforts for weaklings you mean?”

She rolls her eyes at you and nudges you.

“Come on,” she eggs you on, “I have never seen how humans live. Why not? What difference does it make where we sit and twiddle our thumbs? Or... Uh, claws?"

"I HAVE thumbs," you note sourly, and she shrugs and grins lopsidedly, awaiting an answer.

[Rolling...]
>>
>>5764078
You are still stubbornly atop that hill (though beginning to consider securing shelter) when the two Steeltalons return.

“I have found them, Dragon King,” the Hunter boasts.

In truth, he has found what he strongly SUSPECTS is the place which you have heard scattered farmsteads and travellers of the trade road speak of: a farmstead hidden in plain sight, but somehow… Strange.

“A small family—or group of families—lives there,” the Hunter tells you. “The crops and animals all seem uncommonly good, even as the humans seem withered and weak… Sickly, but without any obvious sign of a specific illness. Yet they do not leave, even as all their neighbours do.”

“Did you see the Green Knight, or the Succubus?” you ask. “Any likely candidate to be one of them, or both, in shifted shape?”

“No,” he admits, “but my minion and I have seen them travel to and from the barn repeatedly. They look more haggard upon leaving, and it takes some time.”

“You think…”

He nods.

“They are feeding the beast, and sheltering it,” he surmises. “There is SOMETHING in that barn.”

“You went undetected?” you ask.

The two Steeltalons exchange a glance, and the Hunter shrugs.

“We were seen from a distance, but no comment was made but some shout to show ourselves. We left, instead. We were in our disguises, of course, as now… It is no matter.”

You begin to feel the exhilaration of the Hunt swell in you, and the knowledge that this might soon be over. The Succubus has not gotten far at all, or perhaps she has returned upon hearing that Ekaterine took the throne! After all, she has no reason to suspect that you are out to end her. Perhaps she thinks that she and her human ‘lover’ can retake the mantle and estates of the House of Yosef, under your auspices?
>>
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Rolled 7 (1d8)

>>5764083
Just realized how tactically-important this will be
>>
>>5764085

It is nighttime, however, and the moon is waning. The lesser shadows such as demons are at their strongest when the sun is set and the moon is mostly or entirely dark. Your thoughts will be unprotected against probing, if the demoness is indeed present and is so inclined… And you well know how she can scour the countryside around her base of operations to delve into dreams and manipulate sleepers, as well. Your <Diadem of Clarity> is long gone; only your own willpower can protect you now if it becomes a fight of mind and spirit rather than of steel and muscle.

By daylight, though, these human farmers… if they are minions, they will defend their petty governess from your dark purposes.

What will you do?
>Act tonight—approach the suspicious farmers and their mysterious barn
>Act tomorrow—exercise caution, and delay until daylight can protect you
>Set a trap—have the Occultist prepare the means to ensnare the Succubus, and issue her an invitation to meet you in the near-abandoned town nearby
>Call up a favour—send Agno to Hawksong, to retrieve aid [from who?]
>Pray to one of the Dark Gods for guidance and protection [which one?]
>Write-in
>>
>>5764088
>Act tomorrow—exercise caution, and delay until daylight can protect you

We need her at her weakest. Those human farmers might be devoted but if that’s the case, we can harass them with arrows or ranged weapons. Call the elemental if we must.

>>5763147
>>
>>5764088
>Meditate on the Moonsword- maybe Lunar Magic can assist us?
>Act tonight—approach the suspicious farmers and their mysterious barn
>>
>>5764151
[Meditating on the moon-sword is an option, but the moon is not very strong just now and its patron deity is a Light God]
>>
>>5764088
>Act tomorrow—exercise caution, and delay until daylight can protect you
>>
>>5762588
>*helpless against a
Never go back and reread your writing when you can't change it
>>
>>5764088
>Act tomorrow—exercise caution, and delay until daylight can protect you
>>
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Rolled 5 (1d5)

>>5764258
>>5764209
>>5764151
>>5764120
[Writing! And rolling. You want this to not be a 1.]
>>
>>5764818

With the moon barely-there and the night closing in, even a dark-adapted underground dweller like yourself cannot help but feel an inkling of that terror which your mother’s human ancestors must have felt beneath the faint light of distant stars. You were born in the dark, but the demon you now hunt IS darkness, given form.

“We will find shelter in the village below,” you say, as the Duelist grins and pumps her fist. “We ssstrike tomorrow.”

It is an easy enough thing to obtain lodgings in one of the abandoned homes, for there are more than enough to go around and no humans present dare to peek their heads out of their own homes to challenge the claim of a roving band of armed men and women. You requisition chairs to barricade doors and fabrics to cover the windows, so that your warriors and aides can shed their human skins and relax in their natural shapes; the Duelist claims the finest patterns she can locate, holding them absurdly in front of her and twirling about in front of a half-shattered mirror to admire them and imagine them sewn into more flattering garments. A few of you locate hay or feather-stuffed cushions and mattresses, though most are too proud to sue them; again, save for your dark elven ally and, eventually, the Occultist.

“I… I must be well rested,” the demon-summoning Dragonblood tries to justify herself to you, “for the ritual.”

You try not to laugh, and mostly succeed, though you take your own rest upon the floor... And the first watch. A part of you is sleepless, fearing hat sleep may bring. Will the Succubus, forewarned of watchers, send forth her astral-self to investigate while you all rest, and to invade your minds? How does one protect themselves against that?
>>
>>5764830
>5

Sleep eventually takes you, for you TOO know you must be well-rested, and the travel has been long and hard. You rest only when you have seen to it that none of those who do so first are troubled by nightmares, or animated to ill-purpose. You, too, wake unmolested.

The demoness’ careless attitude must yet persist, you deduce. Lucky you!

Of course, drawing near will trigger her damnable sense for Reptilian blood… AND place you in range of her other abilities, martial and manipulative alike. Theya re weaker in daylight, but not ABSENT. By dawn’s light, you consider your options. What will you do?

>You took the lust-suppressing tincture which your beloved one prepared you last night, and while it will not have FULLY stifled your libido before you arrive, you believe it will be sufficient if you send for Irinnile and have the occultist set a trap in your quarters
>You will send the non-Reptilian members of your party—Azonia the Duelist and the Lightning Elemental—to infiltrate and attack the demon in the farmhouse, while you and the others wait to ambush her if she makes an escape
>You are not here to play at negotiations or to faff about with ambushes—you have brought a small army, and no human farmers will DARE stand against you—or survive if they do—when you come upon them and demand they relinquish the succubus on threat of death
>Write-in
>>
>>5764831
>You will send the non-Reptilian members of your party—Azonia the Duelist and the Lightning Elemental—to infiltrate and attack the demon in the farmhouse, while you and the others wait to ambush her if she makes an escape

Take the lust suppressing tincture as well

>>5764120
>>
>>5764831
>>Write-in: Fly above the roof top and set fire to it with your breath. Then use earth tremor to collapse it. The ensuing chaos will give your party the chance to ambush the demon and any other survivors once they emerge from the ruin.
>>
>>5764831
>>You took the lust-suppressing tincture which your beloved one prepared you last night, and while it will not have FULLY stifled your libido before you arrive, you believe it will be sufficient if you send for Irinnile and have the occultist set a trap in your quarters
>>
>>5764831
>You took the lust-suppressing tincture which your beloved one prepared you last night, and while it will not have FULLY stifled your libido before you arrive, you believe it will be sufficient if you send for Irinnile and have the occultist set a trap in your quarters
Still don’t feel good about this lads
>>
>>5764931
+1, force her into the daylight.
>>
>>5765180
>>5765037
>>5765026
>>5764931
>>5764863
[I have a bit of free time before work, but it looks like we still have a ti. I'll leave this open and probably write the update later tonight, or early tomorrow morning.]
>>
>>5764831
I'll back fiery bombardment
>>
Rolled 9, 2, 17, 8 = 36 (4d20)

>>5765533
>>5765180
>>5765037
>>5765026
>>5764931
>>5764863
If the moon could not avail you, then victory will come in exposing this lesser shade to the blazing wrath of the sun! This is what you hope, anyway. Your plan is simple and direct, but tactically sound: if the demon is strongest in darkness, you must strike at high noon. If she can only fly at night—as you suspect—then you will take advantage of your aerial superiority by the light of day, even if it means appearing in broad daylight against the Succubus’ farmer-followers… Any who survive the assault, anyway.

“They will scatter and flee like the cowardly creatures they are,” the Hunter notes smugly. “Humans play at being predators, but they are not. The monkey and the ape are not natural hunters, but opportunists. Scavengers.”

“I am to resemble that remark,” the Duelist notes drolly, in somewhat-broken True Speech, while she sharpens her blades.

“You said it, not me,” the Hunter remarks, earning a sneer.

You manage to stifle the burgeoning race-rivalry before it can boil over and compromise operational effectiveness.

“Superior One.. Dragon King…” the occultist begins, head bowed low and tail twitching anxiously.

“I know,” you acknowledge. “Your demons will be weakened as well.”

“I may yet bind the creature, if you can destroy or otherwise neutralize the host!” the female Dragonblood is quick to add, raising her head and looking to you hopefully. “I can still be of use!”

You are counting on it, so you certainly hope so. For everything else, well, you have no shortage of capable combatants, and you yourself are still more than capable of laying low some barely-trained rabble. You do not need the Serpent Ascendant for THIS much!

The raid begins, as all good raids do, with reconnaissance. When Agno and the Hunter’s Quiver-carrier have circle the farmstead and ensured that all the residents are accounted-for, you and your party draw nearer. You instruct the others to fan out, to form a half-perimeter, ready to sweep inward or to fan out and catch any who flee. When all are in position, you do your part.

“<Lesser Dragon’s Wings>!”

You take off, casting the first spell of the assault. You raise your hands high, focus you mind upon transformation and ascent, and form the temporary structures which, with a <Jump>-start, propel you upwards. On leather wings, you glide towards barn and farmhouse, heart hardened for what comes next. In your gut, in your throat, filling your mouth: fire, and fury.

[Biological manipulation roll for flight speed, bonus die for athleticism, to see if you get there before being spotted and others being alerted...]
>>
Rolled 3, 13, 9, 1 = 26 (4d20)

>17

Your shadow passes over the outwardly-peaceful property and its populace. You see humans in the field, ending animals, chopping wood: men, women, young ones in their teenager years or even younger. Most are busy at this time with the responsibilities of the rural folk. All are ignorant and unaware of the nature of the winged shape soaring above them…

Until it is too late.

[Firebreath, DC lowered by 2 due to the element of surprise.]
>>
Rolled 7, 18, 9 = 34 (3d20)

>>5766214
Those in the field are spared your fury—for now—as you focus your fire upon the two largest structures: primary and secondary targets, barn and farmhouse. Dragonfire descends from above. It is an echo of the earlier carnage wrought across the countryside by your Big Brother, a reminder of the old-and-new-again order of this world: the rule of DRAGONS!

>13; would have critfailed if not for lowered DC

At first, those witnesses who you can see stare in confusion at the roar of flames and the bright lance of red light, perhaps thinking it a trick of the sun. Only when the screaming begins do you understand that you have been spotted, but by then you have passed over both structures, and they are ablaze. You beat your wings once more, angling your head down and diving. You close your nictating membranes against the wind churned up by your descent, tucking in your wings even as the magic which manifested them fades. You do not tuck into a roll or otherwise brace your fall—not exactly. Rather, you channel your mystical energies downwards as you aim your feet and fist, and shout over the cacophony the incantation for an…

“<Earth Tremor>!”

[Elementalism, DC 16 to bring down the barn and 17 to bring down the farmhouse; decreased by 1 for each because they're on fire, but increased by 1 because you're chaining multiple spells and abilities in rapid succession.]
>>
Rolled 13, 9, 10, 3, 11, 3, 10, 6, 4, 16 = 85 (10d20)

>>5766216
The earth shakes and shivers with your impact, like a struck slave or skillfully-manipulated lover. Like either, like both, it yields to you and dos your bidding. The ground ripples out from you in a wave, soil parting and splitting to reveal fragments of buried stone. Like a pond into which a boulder has been dropped, it splashes against the foundations of the blazing barn…

>18

…And it shakes as well, and wails even as those within and thereabouts wail. It lists, leans… And topples. But that is not the end of it, no: it falls sideways and scatters, flames and shrapnel splashing outwards upon a hapless victim betwixt the two structures. He tremulous earth tumbles outwards, carrying the wreckage as if a dashed ship, and the flaming fragments and hurtled stones of this impact crash like cannonballs into the farmhouse, doing great damage to its own supports. The thundering chaos is so great by this point that you cannot hear the screams of those inside, but you know they must be many, by the distress of the few who manage to escape before it, too, half-collapses upon itself in a mess of dirt, stone, dragonfire, and death.

You have brought low dwarven fortresses, after all, and THESE are far from dwarven fortresses.

[Rolling dice for enemy response, and for the performance of your team...]
>>
Rolled 20, 14, 10 = 44 (3d20)

>>5766222
Feeling a little winded and lightheaded from your exertion—and with your native, inborn magic half-depleted—you stand, and look hopefully to the humans supplicants of your Succubus quarry. You admittedly feel a thrill of delight at their screams of terror and pain, but your burgeoning empathy for the race is such that you genuinely hope that the Hunter’s prediction will prove accurate…

>13, 9: The enemies do not rout

…But sadly, it does not. Instead, at last recognizing what is happening and the threat that you present, those nearest produce farming implements—knives, hammers, axes, pitchforks, sundry other tools of their livelihoods—and they advance. Still others, females and young ones mostly, begin desperately to race to fetch buckets, or to dredge water from the well, or to sprint towards the building and offer aid.

>10 & 3 for the Hunter, 11 & 3 for the Duelist, 10 and 6 for eh Elemental, 4 for the Quiver-carrier

Luckily, the Hunter and your other allies are not SO confident in the humans’ cowardice and ineptitude as to be caught utterly unawares by their resilience. As you had planned, they advance, revealing themselves from amongst the trees. They launch arrows, bolts of lightning, or simply hurtle themselves into the fray. The smoke and fire is such that you cannot be sure what happens next, but all those haphazard attacks which you DO witness fail the hit their targets, or glance off, but the effect is sufficient: the enemy is startled and disoriented, unable to make good on their attempts to surround and slay you. You are given precious time to catch your breath.

“Bastard!”

You whirl around, eyes widening as you see a scythe splitting the air in a downward arc aimed for your head. With too little time to dodge, and unwilling to count on your stylish helmet to absorb AL the impact without a concussion or worse, you move to twist your shoulder and tuck your chin in the hopes of taking the hit to another body part…

>16 for Agno

…But the blow never comes. You hear a strangled, gurgling sound and look up to see the human male wielding the scythe transfixed, as if frozen. A moment later he falls forward, a pickaxe in his back, stabbed through his spin and piercing something that bubbles red-black blood. Agno, the savage and scrappy little kobold, stands with hand still outstretched in a throwing arc.

“L-live for the Dragon,” he exhales, voice tremoring with adrenaline. “Kill for the Dragon!”

You nod your head in appreciation, and turn you attention back to the mad maelstrom of mayhem which you and yours have unleashed upon these demon-harbouring hill-folk. You squint against the smoke peering with sight-beyond-sight to search out and traces of Hellish magic. Where is the Succubus?!

[Spellcraft, DC 16]
>>
>>5766228
>20

“…There you are.”

You mutter the words to yourself with grim satisfaction as you spot your quarry almost immediately—isolated, alone, hidden within the burning ruin of the barn. Amongst the human dead, buried in among the corpses like a rat or maggot, you spy the glow of the so-called Greater Demon which you have come to kill.

Irinnile the Succubus.

She must think herself hidden there, and hope that you will pass her by—or that she can stage some ambush, perhaps. But… No, she is doing something else, too. You recognize the telltale wrapping of the material and magical planes as energy and matter shift and distort with the weaving of demoniac magics. Biological manipulation, necromantic soul-magic, and… Something else. You recognize it after a second: pact-magic, the magic of binding oaths and obligations! She is making a deal of some sort, with… Someone, or something, and the result is a transference and magnification of corporeal and mystical power.

What will you do?
>Take up bow and arrow and, with <Guidance>, fire through the mass of material to strike the succubus within
>Roar a challenge, drawing your khopesh—you know she’s in there, and you challenge her to reveal herself and fight
>Call out to one of your allies [who?] to abandon the battle with the rabble and come to your aid
>Cast <Dragonshape> with the last of your available magic, and make yourself truly combat-ready for whatever the demon is doing
>Write-in
>>
>>5766230
Judging by the position she is in. She was probably in the middle of another power-up orgy when we destroyed the farmhouse.

And now she is trying to use her cultists ,to create some type of flesh horror golem. Like the inccubus did, I say we simply keep on burning her. Even if the fire and heat doesn't significantly harm her, it can burn and destroy the dead bodies she is trying to use for combat.


>Write-in: If the demoness wants to stay laying down let her. Go forward and unleash fire breath directly onto the corpse pile she is in, so you can incinerate it.
>>
>>5766230
>Cast <Dragonshape> with the last of your available magic, and make yourself truly combat-ready for whatever the demon is doing

>>5766414
I think demons still have some resistance to fire-breathing, anon, otherwise I'd be supporting this.
>>
>>5766418
After we burn away the corpses she is using to transform. We can shoot her with a moonbeam or stab her once she is exposed. Since Firebreath doesn't cost us our mana reserves to use.

Mostly we should be focused trying to prevent her from using fleshwarping to turn herself into a combat monster. Since if she just has Yosef's body to work with she will be easier to deal with.
>>
>>5766230
>Take up bow and arrow and, with <Guidance>, fire through the mass of material to strike the succubus within

I don't think fire breath will incinerate the bodies in time, better to disrupt her with an arrow then run in. Don't expect it to do much if any damage, but it's hard to do any advanced casting when pierced.
>>
>>5766414
>>5766418
>>5766547
[Well, looks lie a three-way tie, so I'll hold off for more votes.]
>>
>>5766547
+1

I think we should keep our distance

>>5764863
>>
Rolled 11, 18, 6, 2 = 37 (4d20)

>>5766883
>>5766414
>>5766418
>>5766547
As you puzzle out what fell spellcraft the demoness might be brewing up beneath the rubble, your mind immediate returns to your first battle ALONGSIDE her, as allies: that against the Incubus Cult. When the rival demon’s faithful ere slaughtered, it had constructed a horrifying golem-form of flesh and bone with which to battle you. Perhaps, having devoured and subsumed that demon, Irinnile is now using its tricks?

Not if you can help it!

You know from unpleasant experience how difficult it is to cast while being accosted by enemies. Wary to draw closer until you know exactly what her game is, you inside draw your bow and aim an arrow. Using a bit more of your precious mana to ensure the best possible flight-path and the most damaging direction for the projectile, you loose an arrow with a spell of <guidance> to deliver it into the unholy abomination’s hidden heart…
>>
>>5767133
>18

…And you are rewarded by a sudden dissipation of building arcane energies and an unnatural shriek of frustration and pain. The burning barn’s wrecked remnants rumble and sift with the thrashing of your unseen foe, and then explode outward in every direction as they birth your foe: humanoid, but horned, and winged, and clawed; twisted, distorted, swollen with stolen flesh and souls, but still in subtle details feminine (while masculine in others), and with naked green flesh wreathed in flowing, serpentine tattoos as you recall the Succubus’ favoured projection. The grotesque a swollen proportions shrink and shrivel in on themselves as the shadow-beast clutches at the shaft in her chest and rips it free, gasping for breath. The Hellish wails resolve themselves into mortal syllables and more innocuous curses as you notch another arrow and draw your aim.

“FUCK! Who the HELL do you think you are you—”

Irinnile—for it IS Irinnile—stops short, staring at you. Golden eyes widen in horrified, confused recognition.

“Wh-what? Lisspy’s kid?”

“Yes,” you acknowledge, and let fly your second arrow, striking the demon again in her throat. She chokes and sputters, falling back and grasping at the site of impact… But, of course, not yet dead. Instead, she ducks to avoid the next, and dives behind a still-standing segment of burning wall, unbothered by the flames.

You advance, similarly immune to the fires which so bedevil those others who share the battlefield.
>>
>>5767139
>>5767139

“WHAT?!” she cries again, in outrage and dismay. “Hey, come on, what’s… What’s all this, like, ABOUT, Babycakes? I thought we were, like… Friend and shit!”

Your narrow your eyes, tracking the demon’s movements by your sixth sense, and the shifting energies of another spell in progress on the other side of the wall—something to summon or create, you would wager.

“Is it your dipshit snake-bosses?” she guesses, shouting out to you her desperate guesswork. “Your ‘gods’? Or… Shit, did the paladins put you up to this somehow? Have they got Kat—uh, Eka—hostage? Come on, slow your roll, baby… We can talk about this! Tell your hot-to-trot-aunt what’s happening—you don’t need to do this!”

What do you say?
>Apologize—you don’t necessarily WANT to do this, but you HAVE to, for your kingdom and your family
>Tell her that this is a long time coming—to avenge your mother, and al those of the Master Race whom the Green Knight slew with Irinnile’s aid
>Lambaste her failures of character—her deceit, her bizarre affection for the Green Knight, her cowardice in abandoning Hawksong
>Say nothing—the time for words is over
>Agree with irinnile—you can still talk this out if she comes out with her hands up [lie]

What is your plan of attack?
>Signal an ally to sweep in on her position [Which one(s)?]
>Use a spell to target her where she is [Which one? Keep in mind your mana: you have one, maybe two more spells in you before you will have to stop casting or rely upon the soul of the Red Dragon King]
>Take up one of your melee weapons [which one?] and begin circling around to strike
>Stay put with an arrow notched until she pops up
>Write-in
>>
>>5767140
>Agree with irinnile—you can still talk this out if she comes out with her hands up [lie]
>Apologize—you don’t necessarily WANT to do this, but you HAVE to, for your kingdom and your family
I genuinely didn’t want this Iri, even with your failures in character.

Will admit though, I do kinda want y to lambast her a little bit- partially because the Green Knight love is bizarre, but partially because I think her reaction would be comedic.
>Take up one of your melee weapons [Moonsword] and begin circling around to strike
Probably ain’t the best choice given the circumstances, but I would like to use it once more before the quest ends.

Unless we can Dual Wield- then I vote for that, it’s always been my desire since we got Shoggy.
>>
>>5767149
You have my unyielding support for this course of action
>>
>>5767140
>Apologize
>Say nothing—the time for words is over

In the end, we all fall down.

>>5766883
>>
>>5767140
>Tell her that this is a long time coming—to avenge your mother, and al those of the Master Race whom the Green Knight slew with Irinnile’s aid
>Lambaste her failures of character—her deceit, her bizarre affection for the Green Knight, her cowardice in abandoning Hawksong


>Signal an ally to sweep in on her position [Which one(s)?] Lightning elemental.

The lightning elemental should be unaffected by her potential charm spells, and i doubt she will be able to spell cast while being electrocuted.
>>
>>5767206
[And the method of attack...?]
>>
>>5767280
Forgor

>stay put with arrow notched

>>5767206
>>
>>5767140
>Apologize—you don’t necessarily WANT to do this, but you HAVE to, for your kingdom and your family

>Signal an ally to sweep in on her position [Which one(s)?]
Sparky
>>
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>>5767335
>>5767311
>>5767249
>>5767206
>>5767160
>>5767149
[Locked and writing!]
>>
Rolled 7, 9, 16, 12, 15, 17, 8, 10, 4, 15 = 113 (10d20)

>>5767569
“Don’t I?” you ask, feeling irritation rise. “You say I don not need to do this, but why should I trust you?”

“Come on, baby, we’re on the same side!”

“ARE we?” you demand. “YOU abandoned your post to run away with the human who slew my mother—the female YOU claim to have loved—and you left ME to clean up your mess. You have no returned or made contact for MONTHS. Only now, when you are threatened, do you speak of teamwork and camaraderie. You are just as much a ‘snake’ as any of my one-time masters.”

“One-time…?” the Succubus sound confused, then hopeful. “Hey, look, I told you paladin shitw as outta’ my wheelhouse, right? Come on, you can’t blame a succ for scootin’ out of there when exorcisms and holy weapons ‘n shit are flyin’ around, right? And, I mean, where were YOU, huh, when all THAT was goin’ down?”

You flinch a little bit at this counterpoint for, after all, when SHE was in danger, it was indeed YOU who were teha bsent party.

“I was busy,” you say.

“Well I’ve been getting’ busy too!” she shouts. “Why’s it a problem when -I- do it, but not you? Why’s it all ‘ooo, bad girl, fucking around with enemies of the Big Bad Master Race’, but it’s all fine and dandy when YOU up an’ leave for fuckin’ ever to play hide-the-hemipenes with your blushin’ bride, HUH?”

You are quiet for a moment, considering how to reply… And, more importantly, buying time. When the succubus is speaking, she isn’t casting… Or, at least, you HOPE that is true of demon spellcraft as well. She also isn’t paying attention as you signal your Lightning Elemental to abandon its electrocution of the human farmers to move, quietly sparking with eager energy, towards the demoness.

“You are right,” you concede. “Our partnership was always doomed… No matter what I would have preferred to happen.”

You step closer, drawing forth your pale-white moon-blade, radiant and perhaps even DIVINE weapon of the ancient elven king, Endymion, said to be grandson of the moon goddess herself.

“H-hey,” Irinnile says, “no need for that! Like I said, like… We can still talk this out, right? No need to be all, like… Dramatic ‘n final ‘n shit! I forgive you.”

You take another step and, stealth never having been your forte, and crinkle the grass and crack a small stick. The demon shifts slightly behind the half-collapsed structure which still shields her from your physical sight.

“…Do you, uh, forgive me?”

You gesture to the levitating orb of electricity above her, which comes crashing down with lightning. A scream erupts upon impact.

“I do,” you say. “I am sorry that it has come to this.”

With a powerful bound, you spring into action, ready to finish what the Elemental has started—and to end this grim business once and for all.

[3d20 for the elemental; 2d20 for Irinnile's response, 5d20 Sword Mastery.]
>>
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>>5767575
>>5767575
As you round the corner, you see not a demon laid low, or spasming helplessly upon the ground, as might a mortal struck thousands of volts of electrical energy. Rather, you see the lithe and sensuous figure of Irinnile hidden beneath a suit of emerald armour—organic-looking, leathery, but its design familiar. It is an effigy of Heinrich Yosef’s hereditary armour—the armour of the Green Knight, of a dragon-killer.

You feel rage bubble up inside you at the sight, and… Something else.

>16: still a success

The Demon Knight is still moving, rising from a crouch, and beginning to lift a hand. In that hand is clutches a weapon which is familiar, fearsome, and still really damn cool to behold such that you cannot help but covet it: The Kinslayer, word of Heinrich Yosef’s racial hatred made manifest by Irinnile’s will and magic. The Demon Knight hefts it but slowly, though, half-stunned by the electricity surging through her…

>15(+1 versus Reptilians, +1 versus humans) vs 17 (+1 for Sword Mastery) = narrow win for Theral

…But you are faster. With a quick lunge and a slash, you send the unholy amalgam of Irinnile and Yosef stumbling back into the wall. A moment later you are surging forward in a shoulder check, smashing the demon into the structure and collapsing the last remnant of the structure. However, even as you stagger back and adopt your battle-stance—taking up your Reptilian-made assassin’s dagger in your off-hand for good measure—you know this is not over. The demon is made of sterner stuff, and will be harder than that to kill…

“ffffffFFUUUUUUUCK!!”

And sure enough, like a vulgar phoenix, the Demon Knight rises, casting fiery shrapnel in every direction and glaring through the narrow eye-slit of a shell-like helmet at you.
>>
>>5767585
“What about our DEAL?!” the Succubus roars, voice no longer fully-female, nor as cloyingly sweet, but as much that of Yosef or of the roaring, flesh-stripping winds of Gehenna itself. “We had a BARGAIN! You made me an OATH! N the name of your so-called GOD!”

“It will not be the first oath or bargain broken,” you admit, for that is how you got yourself into this mess in the first place.

“What, so honour means NOTHING to you now?” the Demon Knight demands. “Is that all the word of a filthy LIZARD like you is worth—brief convenience, to be abandoned whenever it’s easier to backstab a friend?!”

It is a difficult question to answer, even to yourself. The Demon Knight IS right, technically. Yous wore not to kill Heinrich Yosef so long as the Succubus’ pact remained in place, on your word as a Knight Ascendant of the God of Glory. You have broken your word to follow the Serpent Ascendant’s orders when you failed to slaughter the last of Queen Ekaterine’s family, but you have never otherwise violated your oaths or broken your word… Not until now.

What will you do?
>Forget the damn promise—you need to do this! There is no going back! Attack!
>Hesitate, and reconsider—your word is your bond, and you still hope to one day regain the favour of the God of Glory
>Let the Lightning Elemental strike again, and thus keep your own hands technically clean of the oath-breaking execution
>Find another technicality to exploit, to keep your oaths unbroken while still securing the power of the Succubus [how?]
>Write-in
>>
>>5767586
Can't we just kill (or consume?) Irinille first then? That way her pact is broken and we can kill Yosef immediatoy after.
>>
>>5767589
[To your knowledge,a demon cannot die, but can be banished or captured. A banished demon could be summoned again, but sending a Greater Demon to Hell has its own risks. Capturing Irinnile is an option... However, she's bound to Yosef, making it hard to remove her without killing him. You could try, but you'd need the help of the Occultist to do so; she's hiding and awaiting your order, being a weak combatant, but you could call her in if you'd like and try.]

[Your own Occultism is weak, and you've spend a lo of decisions avoiding dealing with or learning overmuch about demonology over the quest, so being able to perform a ritual to remove her while she's actively fighting back would probably require a DC 18-to-20 Spellcraft roll without an expert to assist, and would incur an attack-of-opportunity if you failed]
>>
>>5767586
>Find another technicality to exploit, to keep your oaths unbroken while still securing the power of the Succubus [how?]

Don't kill him, but incapacitate him and/or force Iri out of his body. Occultist should be able to manage that.

Maybe even offer to leave him unharmed if Iri surrenders and is willingly bound.
>>
>>5767586
>>Forget the damn promise—you need to do this! There is no going back! Attack!


The dark god's themselves were the ones who wanted the Yosef's dead in the first place. They sent us of dreadful vision's of him early on in this quest. They are the ones who told Izzy of heinrich's family location in the south and commanded her to go fourth and slay them. Heinrich probably would never have come back to hawksong otherwise. And he definitely wouldn't have dedicated his life solely to destroying reptilians.

So sparing Yosef's life as a way to try to regain the Sun eater's favor, seems weird to me. I doubt we would regain very much standing with him at all, since he probably privately disproves of the fact we made that oath at all.

Furthermore the serpent ascendant is a god of conquest and the main enemy of moroth. For the sake of eka we swore to never attack hawksong. A city conquered by a champion of moroth, and we refused to take action against the paladin order. How would we even gain an opportunity to get back the ascendant's favor?


If we do want to swear obedience to a god again and reobtain anti-paladin status. We should probably ask the mother of dragon's to become a defender of the rookery instead. Since stealing a champion from the sun eater to snub him, seems like something she would do.
>>
>>5767586
>Forget the damn promise—you need to do this! There is no going back! Attack!

I’m my own master now.

>>5767206
>>
>>5767597
Support- we should at least try to keep our word, even if it ends up futile. Beat ‘em within an inch of their life.

It’s what Izzy would do, even if Iri failed to live up to her memory.
>>
>>5767597
+1. Non-lethal may be hard, but we have allies and Iri definitely falls outside of the "worthy challenge" category.
>>
>>5767597 >>5767586 >>5767589
This without offering to leave him unharmed. I'd like for us to kill him after "killing" Iri.
>>
>>5767597
Supporting this

Can someone raid the archives and get exactly what we promised?
>>
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>>5767772
[It has been a while, huh?]
>>
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>>5767597
>>5767636
>>5767722
>>5767735
>>5767738
>>5767742
>>5767772
[Looks like we have a preference, though. Locked and writing!]
>>
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Rolled 13, 16, 16, 19, 8, 19, 1, 20, 13 = 125 (9d20)

>>5767806
Is it all true? A part of you had taken a perverse comfort in thinking yourself the best of both worlds—assort of third way between the ruthless, cruel pragmatism of the Reptilian race and the foolish, empty idealism of Man and his ilk: a champion of love long forgotten, an awakener of hearts and of souls. You’d thought of the path of the Knight Ascendant as the right path for YOU, because it matched your natural inclinations towards a draconic inner nobility. When you had seemingly fallen from that path, you had been lost. Youd’ told yourself that it was the PATH that was wrong, the GODS who were at fault…

But was it you? ARE you less a wyrm than an honourless WORM?

“No,” you say quietly.

“I can’t hear you, OATHBREAKER!”

You look up, glowering darkly at your foe, and repat yourself: “I said I am NO OATHBREAKER, demon! I will keep to our bargain!”

This seems to make your foe(s) hesitate, as the Demon Knight lowers the blazing blade of the Kinslayer slightly, and Irinnile’s soft voice returns to the fore, fury abated.

“Wait, does that mean we’re, like… Done here, then?”

You answer with a lunge and a thrust of your dagger, aiming for the gap in armour between sword-arm and shoulder. The move is so sudden, so unexpected, that the Demon Knight barely even has a chance to dodge…
>>
>>5767815
>19 for you

…And so he (she? They??) doesn’t. The blade strikes true, a gush of brackish, blackish blood gushing forth from the site of impact. The Demon Knight cries out in two voices at once, staggering backwards and clutching at the dagger still embedded where you left it.

You laugh quietly, the sound drowned out by the cries of agonized alarm.

“A shame about that,” you note, “but I never did learn to dual-wield very well, anyway.”

You place both hands upon the hilt of the Moonblade of Endymion.

“I suppose I will have ample time to learn AFTER I carve you and your precious Green Knight apart , smash your foolish pact, and take what I came here for!”

The Demon Knight shudders as, finally, the amalgamated adversary etars the assassin’s dagger from where you left it with clenched fist. With Irinnile’s voice it replies:

“Assertive, babycakes. Real hot shit. I’d normally be all over ya’, talkin’ like that…”

Suddenly, the dagger comes whistling back through the air at you with speed to put your Lightning Elemental’s electrical bolts to shame, hurtling towards your face or throat. You step back swiftly, lift your sword to deflect it, and just barely manage to do so…

“Problem is, I ALREADY HAVE A BOYFRIEND!”

You’re so distracted by defending yourself that you don’t even register the Demon Knight’s presence with your <Danger Sense> until the enemy is upon you…

>20

…And the Kinslayer buried in your gut.

The pain… the pain is unlike anything you have ever felt, and you have felt your fair share of pain in your uncommonly-frequent near-death-experiences. It isn’t a pain of the flesh, or not ONLY of the flesh, but of the soul. You feel like your blood is boiling inside you, like the contents of your stomach—a meal eaten with the lust-subduing tincture last night—are struggling to escape. The air flees your body, and then the heat with it, leaving you cold. Your flesh knots inside you. The enchantment of the Kinslayer… Is this what it feels like: to be struck with a bane weapon, arisen from the depths of the Seven Hells and cold-forged in hatred and despair, crated specifically to kill one such as YOU?

>2/5 HP left: The Kinslayer does 2 damage per hit, and you took an extra point for the crit
>The Demon Knight has 2/5, having taken 4 damage and regenerated 1

“…You.”

You look up from the soul-terror which has gripped you—up from the weapon plunged nearly hilt-deep into your abdomen. You see the hateful visage which once plagued your dreams for months: the green helm, the hideous and hollow eyes. The Green Knight, Heinrich Yosef. The man who killed your mother, you dedicated his life to eradicating your kind. The one who a part of you once feared.

Irinnile’s ‘boyfriend’ is awake.
>>
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>>5767828
“YOU!”

The Green Knight kicks you hard in the gut, ripping his sword from you with a flourish of blood and gore as you clutch at the wound and struggle to stay on your feet. That strength… He shouldn’t HAVE such strength, even as well-trained and vengeance-driven as you presume him to be. The man is fighting, like… Well, like demon. And his voice… It is HIS voice, there is no mistaking it, but beneath it… The feminine reverb, the crackle of fire and whisper of unclean winds. He and the Succubus… They are in-sync, as they were not before, sharing a purpose.

“You took them away from us!” the voices roar. “You vile SERPENTS! You fucking LIZARDS! You just don’t know when to STOP!”

With that same burst of unearthly speed, the Greater Demon and Green Knight hurtle towards you, even as-fear0stricken beyond reason—you backpedal and lift your blade with flagging sword-arm to just barely block the next blow—and the next, and the next, as they rain down.

“If you scaly bastards would just LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE, they’d still be here! My father! Your mother! They died because you can’t just LET IT GO!”

You gnash your teeth, trying to choke out a retort through the blood, trying to even take in enough air to do so, but it is all you can do to parry, sidesteps, and block.

“LEAVE! US! ALONE!!”

What will you do?
>Rally! Fight back They may be skilled, and swift, but YOU are the better swordsman… And as a Hexblade, you know just where to strike! [Sword Mastery, DC 15 due to succubus aura of fear]
>Muster your Radiant Aura! Push them back, gain some distance… Though it will require the energies of the Red Dragon King to use such magic [Religion check, DC 14 to use the aura; Leadership DC 18 to retain control of your body]
>Cry out to your Lightning Elemental to swoop down and stun them, so you can regroup and recover. You need a moment to breathe! [DC ???, but you will get a chance to escape and to plan]
>Write-in
>>
>>5767830
>Muster your Radiant Aura! Push them back, gain some distance… Though it will require the energies of the Red Dragon King to use such magic [Religion check, DC 14 to use the aura; Leadership DC 18 to retain control of your body]
EZ pick, final Yosef fight with uncontrollable demon magicks vs Theral and uncontrollable dragon magicks, Big Red would naturally relish the opportunity to fuck up some dragonslayer
>>
>>5767830
>Cry out to your Lightning Elemental to swoop down and stun them
>stay in the fight (sword)

We can’t heal as easily as those two. We need to take them down right now.

>>5767722
>>
>>5767830
>Rally! Fight back They may be skilled, and swift, but YOU are the better swordsman… And as a Hexblade, you know just where to strike! [Sword Mastery, DC 15 due to succubus aura of fear]
oh man
this time we get a real bossfight
>>
>>5767830
>Muster your Radiant Aura! Push them back, gain some distance… Though it will require the energies of the Red Dragon King to use such magic [Religion check, DC 14 to use the aura; Leadership DC 18 to retain control of your body]

>Write-in: If the Radiant aura causes them to stubble, follow it up with a moonbeam if you can.

We need to use light magic, to counter her regeneration.
>>
>>5767830
>Cry out to your Lightning Elemental to swoop down and stun them, so you can regroup and recover. You need a moment to breathe! [DC ???, but you will get a chance to escape and to plan]

Can’t trust Red to give us back our body
>>
>>5767830
>>Muster your Radiant Aura! Push them back, gain some distance… Though it will require the energies of the Red Dragon King to use such magic [Religion check, DC 14 to use the aura; Leadership DC 18 to retain control of your body]
>>
>>5767830
>Rally! Fight back They may be skilled, and swift, but YOU are the better swordsman… And as a Hexblade, you know just where to strike! [Sword Mastery, DC 15 due to succubus aura of fear]
>>
>>5767830
>Rally! Fight back They may be skilled, and swift, but YOU are the better swordsman… And as a Hexblade, you know just where to strike! [Sword Mastery, DC 15 due to succubus aura of fear]
>>
>>5768368
>>5768312
>>5767980
>>5767945
>>5767868
>>5767857
>>5767840
>>5767838
[Locked and writing!]

>>5767840
[I counted the second part as a vote for swordsmanship, even without the aura. If it wasn't, my bad, but without that the aura vote and sword vote both have an equal plurality, but there would still be no option with 50% or more... And triggering the aura and risking possession without it being a clear favourite felt wrong.]
>>
Rolled 8, 1, 13, 4, 18 = 44 (5d20)

>>5768789
A part of you reaches, grasping, deep into yourself-into your heart, where the power of your noble ancestor lays buried. This demon heals faster than you, and you need to end this IMMEDIATELY. One more blow like that—or even dragging this fight out while you are losing blood as rapidly as you suspect you must be—could spell your doom, while the Demon Knight will only get stronger. You underestimated the green Knight and the Succubus, perhaps—thought you were facing cowardly, indirect Irinnile and forgot all about the possibility you would be facing them as a DUO, with all her pact-partner’s skill augmented by her abilities. With the power of the Red Dragon King, though, you could equal them!

…You stop short.

No, not this way. Your power, your FIRE, comes from within—from your OWN Dragon Soul, not HIS! You won’t risk losing everything you have built, everything you’ve BECME, to some old ghost… At least, not unless you absolutely MUST. You’ve overspent your own reserves of magic, maybe, but you are still THE DRAGONBORN ANTIPALADIN… And moreover, you are a master of the Hexbalde sword-style, skilled in subtly weaving biological and divination magics to guide your weapon to wear it can inflict the most damage, at just the right time.

You focus your energies thus, deflecting blows, backing up, and waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.
>>
>>5768789
Yeah thats what i meant by
>(sword)
>>
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Rolled 19, 18, 19, 14 = 70 (4d20)

>>5768805
>>5768809
You take one step back, another. You duck your hea,d avoiding a wild, decapitating strike, and…

“There!”

>18

You lashing out with the spade of your tail, deflecting the abckswing by striking at your opponent’s wrist. You step forward, into the Demon Knight’s embrace, and wing your own moonblade up, charging it with just the faintest spark of energy to set its white stone face blade with radiant energy, and slice open the already-closing dagger-wound you earlier inflicted. You expose tendons and bone with the deep wound, and as the tainted gore splashes your face you grin. It isn’t a human expression of glee, but the exposed teeth of a carnivore, a predator, sensing weakness and hungering for the kill…

>Demon Knight: 1/5 HP

…But you don’t kill them, AN’T kill them, not yet. You need the Succubus intact, and you will not break an oath made in the name of a Dark God—not to make a duel easier, not out of weakness or cowardice. Even as the Succubus’ oppressive aura of extradimensional dread presses down on you like the atmospheric weight of the waves, evoking your near-drowning, your spirit does not break or buckle.

“Surrender!” you demand. “You stand no chance!”

“N-never!” the Green Knight snarls.

He pushes you back, one hand dangling weakly at his side and limply holding his blade. You can already see his flesh beginning to stitch back together, and THAT you cannot allow. You begin to leap forwards, word raised… But suddenly the green Knight’s other hand lifts up, and extends deadly talons, each the length of a sword, to snatch you from the very air!
>>
>>5768815
>19
Your <Danger Sense> flashes, but too late, and with little effect—you lack the available magical energies for it to automatically adjust your trajectory to avoid the five spears plunging towards you. Instead, your twisting in the air merely changes the angle upon which you impale yourself, butterfly-like upon the pinpoints of the demon’s dagger-claws.

>Your HP: 1/5

You squeeze your lips together to suppress a scream of pain and anger, and try to struggle free-but moving worsen the pain, rips open the small wound and makes them large. You are trapped!

The Demon Knight lurches forwards, as the spear-claws shrink inwards, drawing you closer as a spider pulls a fly to itself. With piercing yellow eyes set deep in that organic visor which Irinnile has formed for him, the Green Knight regards you as an alchemist might observe a particularly fascinating, yet disguising, specimen.

“You really thought you had me, didn’t you?” he spits through his own agony, laughing without mirth. “That taking my arm would end me, just like last time?”

Suddenly, another arm burst from his back—and another! Where you have wings, two killing limbs with mantis-like sickles now grow upon his spine, each ending in a biological blade intended for brutal execution.

“Joke’s on you, ‘Dragon’,” the Demon Knight says, once more in both Yosef and Irinnile’s voices. “There’s more arms where that came from!”

Your vision is dark at the edges, going hazy. You feel the onset of unconsciousness, and push it back. You’ve been in worse situations than this… Right? You can still come back from this. You just need an opening…

>Call upon the Red Dragon King to power a magical escape [Low DC, high risk of possession, major consequence for failure]
>Cry out the Lightning Elemental to save you [Medium DC, but even a success may have consequences for your elemental]
>Attempt to talk your way out of this—turn the Demon and Knight against each other, and break this unholy union! [DC unknown, clever writing by players helps lower it]
>Write-in
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>>5768823
>Cry out the Lightning Elemental to save you [Medium DC, but even a success may have consequences for your elemental]

Let’s not bother with this any more. Let the elemental go for the kill.
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>>5768823
>Cry out the Lightning Elemental to save you [Medium DC, but even a success may have consequences for your elemental]

ooof, roll worse please Heinrich
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>>5768823
>Write-in: Call upon the Red Dragon King, to Breathe a powerful moon beam into the demon knight's face.

We are on our last legs but so are they, they are used to us breathing fire so a moonbeam coming out of our mouth instead should take them be surprise.
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>>5768823
>Attempt to talk your way out of this—turn the Demon and Knight against each other, and break this unholy union! [DC unknown, clever writing by players helps lower it]
And what is the plan, after you kill Izzy’s child Iri? Put your meatsuit back to sleep, to live his wretched life in a lust-filled daze, never to truly awaken again?

Look at you now, Heinrich, at the hellish abomination you’ve become. Imagine what you’re parents would think, being subsumed into a meatpuppet by the whore demon that ate their souls? That THIS was what you sold your soul for!

(Figured Talk-no-Jutsu would be our best chance to save us, and also for dramatic flair.)
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>>5768823
>Cry out the Lightning Elemental to save you [Medium DC, but even a success may have consequences for your elemental]

Where are the rest of our allies?

Surely it hasn’t taken them all this time to kill some farmers…
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>>5769521
>all this time
[Keep in mind that in-game, this is not a days-long battle. You bombarded an dcollapsed the buildings a scant few minutes ago -- probably less than five.]
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>>5769398
+1 to this, but adding

>Signal the Elemental to strike once the pair are distracted
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>>5769671
>>5769521
>>5769398
>>5768862
>>5768849
>>5768839
[Writing!]
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Rolled 9, 3, 2 = 14 (3d20)

>>5769798
You feel like you are in the Sveen Hells right now, but as you force your vision to focus and your breathing to normalize somewhat, you really look at the Demon Knight. Irinnile is one thing, btu Heinrich Yosef looks just as ragged as you, in spite of his unholy benefactor. If your’e on your last legs, well, so is your adversary. You only need an opening.

“So thiss iss it, isss it?”

“What?” the two voices ask, the Demon Knight pausing in their master-stroke.

“What iss your plan after thisss, Irinnile?” you hiss. “You’ll kill me, the very LASSST part of the woman you claim to have loved, and then… What is it the humans ssay? ‘Ride off into the ssunssset’? But what happenss to YOSSSEF?”

“What?” both voices repeat, now slightly out-of-sync with one another—just as you’d hoped.

“Do you put your ‘boyfriend’ back to ssleep, turning him into ssome mindless sskinssuit?” you demand.

“H-hey,” you hear the Succubus’ voice object. “No, that’s not—“

“Heinrich Yossef, Green Knight!” you interrupt her. “Iss THAT your desstiny, then? Look at yourself—at this Hellish ABOMINATION you have become! Imagine what your parentsss, who you CLAIM to be avenging, would think you now now---a glorified SSEXX-TOY for the demon WHROE who ate their ssoulss!”

“That’s not—”

“I’m NOT a—”

“I’m only… This is to give me power so that—”

“He’s just trying to divide us, baby! I’m not going to—”

“Give me back my body! I WON'T GO BACK TO SLEEP!”

To your excitement, the Deon Knight’s claws falter and droop. You begin to pull yourself free from the thorny predicament in which you had become entangled, while the composite being argued with itself, in two voices at once.

“Please, Ricky, you’ve got to—”

“What have I… What have you DONE you vile wretch?! What AM I?!”

“WE, baby, it’s—”

“There is no WE, demon!”

“Now!” you roar.

With a final yank, you pull yourself free from the disoriented and divided devil-warrior, staggering back as a ball of crackling energy—your Lightning Elemental, patiently awaiting your signal, comes crashing down upon the Demon Knight one more time. Thunder erupts in the clearing, the force of the explosive impact lifting you briefly off of your feet and the white light nearly blinding you…

[DC 15/17/19]
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>>5769808
>9,3,2
It's over. The Dragonborn have fallen...millions must mutate
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>>5769808
>>5769810
…But when it clears, your heart falls.

>9, 3, 2

The Lightning Elemental does not stand above a fallen, flash-friend Demon Knight. Rather, the possessed Lord Yosef holds the faintly-humanoid Lightning Elemental in a death-grip with one green gauntlet, as surely as any more tangible fleshly victim. It struggles, crackling and buzzing in dismay as it scrambels to free itself, but it is transfixed.

“You…” the green Knight begins, voice low and still slightly asynchronous. “You were just trying to… To trick us! To divide us! To save your own WORTHLESS, SCLAY SKIN!”

You shield your eyes at a second flash as, with a single squeeze and an exertion of arcane force, the Demon Knight breaks the energy-field holding the Lightning Elemental together as a single, cogent being… And then, as easily as breathing in air, inhales it. You watch in growing horror as the energies of your magical minion are absorbed an integrated into the Greater Demon’s own… And the Kinslayer’s baleful light turns bluish white, and begins to surge with that same electrical energy.

“You wanted to know our plans for when we are done with you?” the Demon Knight asks, two voices speaking once more as one. “We’re going to find that Lizard Kingdom of yours and every last ONE of you VERMIN! Now THAT’S something we can BOTH enjoy!”

You take a step back, scrambling to think of another countermeasure—a way to beat this overpowered entity. You narrowly avoid a spark of lightning which rips towards you as the Demon Knights wings its terrible weapon, and you realize that Yosef’s sword-arm is once more mended—at least, enough to move it again and to present a problem.

>Demon Knight spends a turn regenerating, now has 2/5 HP

You need to end this quickly if you’re going to survive this. A single hit and you’re done for. You look around and see you other allies all still engaged with eh surprisingly-fierce human forces. Oh these farmers may not be trained warriors, but they are animated by a dreadful zealotry—the passionate, almost reverential love of the Greater Demon of Lust. Your warriors are their betters, of course, but they are also outnumbered, and only NOW are they starting to gain momentum.

For the first time, you consider retreat as a possible option.

What will you do?
>Tactical retreat is your ONLY option—you must withdraw, regroup with your allies, and make a plan
>You have no other option—you need an area-of-effect spell like the <Radiant Aura>, and that means risking the Red Dragon King’s awakening
>There… In the forest, awaiting your signal… The Occultist! If she can use her demonological knowledge to weaken or bind this lesser shade for even a MOMENT, maybe you can finish this
>You still have one more elemental at your disposal—releasing the Ice Elemental could provide another useful distraction, though it will no doubt be feral at first
>Write-in
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>>5769811
>we have a 4d20 for diplomacy
>roll 3 dice
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>>5769821
[Diplomacy didn't win. Distraction with Lightning Elemental did. I just liked the write-in and integrated it as the distraction you provided the Elemental.] The clever write-in also lowere the DCs by 1
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>>5769811
>You have no other option—you need an area-of-effect spell like the <Radiant Aura>, and that means risking the Red Dragon King’s awakening
Big red wouldve been helping us this whole fight, he'd obviously try to take over but not during the middle of a fight hes not retarded, this is a fucking 2 on 1 fight, lets even the odds here people, hes the secret sauce we keep hidden way too fucking hard, guess what were about to get shit on by some dick with his own sauce he isnt afraid to use because hes lost in it, Irri has brought nothing but a plate of whataburger spicy ketchup, lets bring the burn with some actual dragonfire hotsauce niggers
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>>5769825
You could’ve lowered it by 5 and still had the same impact

>>5769811
>There… In the forest, awaiting your signal… The Occultist! If she can use her demonological knowledge to weaken or bind this lesser shade for even a MOMENT, maybe you can finish this
>You still have one more elemental at your disposal—releasing the Ice Elemental could provide another useful distraction, though it will no doubt be feral at first

Are we so magically starved as to not fleshweave some health back?

>>5769830
And end this quest with Theral being mindcontroled?
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>>5769837
>You could’ve lowered it by 5 and still had the same impact
[As it turns out, but that's the way the dice go sometimes.]

>Fleshweaving health
[You aren't very good at it and have no actual healing spell, but you could try with a higher-than-average DC and with only a SMALL chance of accidentally awakening your ancestor.]

>>5769830
[You have the soul of a poet, anon.]
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>>5769837
If irr wins this she will eat both us and the RDK's soul. And will use the mana to turn into some sort of super demon menace that attacks our kingdom.

That is a far worse potential epilogue than big red affecting our mind.


>You have no other option—you need an area-of-effect spell like the <Radiant Aura>, and that means risking the Red Dragon King’s awakening
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>>5769844
I have faith that she won’t simply eat our soul, but then again I have serious disagreements with this entire affair, so I’m willing to concede the premise to avoid an argument.

Still, using the nuclear option with a 10% of not turning into a Dragon!Heinrich? Like, come on, at least try the other options before hitting the nuclear option
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>>5769837
>Reborn dragon king who will likely carry on our legacy as we tried to carry on his, already powerful and likely "planned" in the grand design
vs
>Demonic hivemind now equip with equivalent if not more powerful draconic magic and will ultimately destroy everything weve built
or even better ending
>Bring forth the dragonfire, bring forth the unholy light, eviscerate the ancient enemy, eviscerate the demon who betrayed your mother, this thing has no place on your world, and the red dragon seeing us as more than just some cage we forced him into, and instead a worthy successor
I like the 3rd option as this fight with Irri shows me I dont want any part of her absorbed in us, we are above this sort of debasement, and her magic makes me feel yucky
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>>5769867
the whole big red respecting us is more of a pipe dream but itd be pretty swag
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>>5769867
The third option is a dream, we need a DC of 18, we probably get one dice, I just don’t see it other than the Hail Mary option. I’m not even getting into the delusional shit where Big Red sees us as a worthy successor and doesn’t try to free himself and become reborn again. (Also, the Grand Design myth came after Big Red died and the Master Race fell underground).

Besides, Iri was always at her best when someone else is in the driver’s seat- and the magic is just hell magic dude.

At least attempt one of the different options before choosing the 90% of ending the quest choice ffs.
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>>5769877
You cant control me you fuck, I have cast my vote and you have not, you have the power to change the tides of fate anon, or will you drown? Every decision you make affects the dice anon, down to the last time you washed your nuts, I gotta tell you bud, Ive had a very good day and my nuts are spit shined atm, I have full unwavering trust that we got this in the bag
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>>5769919
I direct you to >>5769837 Hostile Anon as my vote
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>>5769866
>I have faith that she won’t simply eat our soul, but then again I have serious disagreements with this entire affair, so I’m willing to concede the premise to avoid an argument.

She put us at 1hp, and then went to grab the anti-reptillain bane weapon to finish us.

Whatever reason you have to believe the yosef/Irr fusion won't eat us is severely misplaced.

Consider for a moment she actually once forcible drained our mana on a previous occasion (we needed the diadem to break her hold on us otherwise she might have sucked us dry.) And that was when we were on "friendly" term's with each other.
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>>5769950
The fusion might, but mainly it comes down to my feelings on Iri’s relationship with our mother. We gained True Love status on that relationship, and if she does eat the last remnant of Izzy, it means that the True Love mechanic is a farce. Like, there’s nothing left of our (Izzy’s) work in the last quest except for these two chucklefucks trying to sabotage even that, and she sacrificed True Love with Edwin and her life for this shit. To say that I’m a bit miffed is an understatement.

Besides that, Iri was bone dry when she needed our mana, and assisted us in getting Eka, despite going to the direct HQ of her most feared foes, the Paladins, while essentially drained of mana. And after diplomacy failed with Rufos, was it not her that risked her life to retake control of him and end his threat to us? Not just that, she was putting down her weapon when she thought we were done fighting her- only for us to commence with a surprise attack.
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>>5769958
>Besides that, Iri was bone dry when she needed our mana,

No she had just eaten the incubus a few days prior. She was definitely exaggerating how little mana she had. So she extort more from us.

>And after diplomacy failed with Rufos, was it not her that risked her life to retake control of him and end his threat to us?

She initially did not want to help us at all. the moment she heard chase was involved. We had to badger her to any assistance.

Also it was her shit acting as yosef, and demonic presence that blew our long wang cover to rufos anyway. In a way she was just cleaning up after herself, since if the incubus lived rufos would not have been freed from possession in the first place.


>The fusion might, but mainly it comes down to my feelings on Iri’s relationship with our mother. We gained True Love status on that relationship, and if she does eat the last remnant of Izzy, it means that the True Love mechanic is a farce.

The Chaplain warned our mom, that independent demons can't be trusted. That their shifty nature allows for them to be turned against you if they are too strong. And he strongly recommend that izzy should have destroyed irr's ego and then resummoned her as a puppet. Don't get me wrong the chaplain was far from infallible. But he was a high priest and a learned scholar, he no doubt had read a large amount of demonology during his lifetime.

Perhaps "Loving" a demon a shapeshifting spirit of shadow, smoke and sin, is impossible. And izzy was simply coping in how she viewed her relationship. Since she had no one else truly by her side.

>Like, there’s nothing left of our (Izzy’s) work in the last quest.

No, THERAL lives. When she passed on her divine favor to us instead of keeping it to aid her on her final mission. She left her legacy in our hands like passing on a torch.

Whereas Izzy put her candidate in charge of the mage tower. We put izzy's grandchild on the throne of hawksong. Whereas Izzy got big green out of hawksong and fixed his body. We freed him and fixed his mind. And while Izzy sought a place she could be accepted and call her home. We painstakingly built one, a prospering kingdom that she would've be proud to live in.


We and we alone are Izzy's shining legacy. Yosef and Irinnile are nothing, just worthless ghost's bitting at our mothers shadow. Its time to put these shades of the past to rest, and burn them away in the light.
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>>5769958
>if she does eat the last remnant of Izzy, it means that the True Love mechanic is a farce
[Three quick notes... One, that reflected the depth of the INFILTRATOR's feelings approximately 22 years ago. Irinnile is not even a little bit human and her feelings, while they seemingly lingered enough to put her on friendly terms with Theral when you uncovered her identity and freed her, are not truly knowable. She has an inhuman psychology, moreso even than the Novice or Glowie, who are at least mortal beings.

It's possible to lsoe the True Love status even for a mortal, as happened when the Infiltrator and Edwin broke up. As Irinnile has been separated from the Infiltrator for over two decades now, that mechanic may now he is not be affected. Further, she's prevented from hurting her old flame's lived ones by any hard mechnaical restriction if she can justify it to herself, just as Theral's True Love for Ekaterine didn't preclude you from killing or blackmailing her family if you felt it was necessary for your shared happiness.

Lastly: you showed up to kill her when she thought you were friends, followed up your apology by trying to separate her and her current 'lover' so you can kill them both without breaking your oath, and out of desperation she has awoken and synchronized her emotions with a host who hates your entire race in general, and your mom and you in particular. Suffice it to say she is not currently thinking clearly or feeling very empathetic towards you right now.]

>>5769950
>>5769919
[While I don't expect that this explanation will satisfy EVERYONE, I hope it is sufficient for the majority of players, and helps to contextualize the action and character motivations.]
>>
>>5770027
>>5770104
I’ll tackle these post after I eat, but suffice to say, you did clarify something that’s been rattling around in my mind for a while now.

>>5769811
>You have no other option—you need an area-of-effect spell like the <Radiant Aura>, and that means risking the Red Dragon King’s awakening
Let Theral experience ego-death. I want to be free from this quest experience.
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>>5769811
>You have no other option—you need an area-of-effect spell like the <Radiant Aura>, and that means risking the Red Dragon King’s awakening

Fuck it, Big Red time
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>>5769811
>You have no other option—you need an area-of-effect spell like the <Radiant Aura>, and that means risking the Red Dragon King’s awakening

No going back from this one.
Vengeance is hereby mine.

>>5767840
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>>5770429
[Sorry you're not enjoying it, anon.]

>>5770438
>>5770460
>>5769844
>>5769837
>>5769830
[It would appear we're leaning towards the use of the Aura and the invocation of the Red Dragon King. I'm grabbingbdrinks with a bud tonight and will thus be posting late, or tomorrow at worst.]
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>>5770534
Hey, it happens. I don’t blame you in totality- lord knows anons chose to run away in Iri’s POV when I was visiting my parents, wondering when the next thread would start- had I been there, I would’ve advocated to stay and fight like Izzy would’ve done.

Really my biggest regret desu, not being there to advocate Iri fighting like Izzy would’ve done. Unintentionally lead into a bunch of situations I didn’t like. It’s the sad fact of life I suppose.
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>>5770534
I do want to say, before I get into the previous posts, that I do appreciate you as a QM- I don’t know any QM that would’ve commissioned art to fit their quest, and lord knows I loved Izzy Quest, even if I joined in the middle during the low voter turnout of it- it’s just a difference of opinion, between both you and the anons, that lead to my current predicament. You are a solid QM- one of the better ones, even if I have differing opinions on shit, I just want you to know that before I’m sober.
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>>5769811
>There… In the forest, awaiting your signal… The Occultist! If she can use her demonological knowledge to weaken or bind this lesser shade for even a MOMENT, maybe you can finish this
>You still have one more elemental at your disposal—releasing the Ice Elemental could provide another useful distraction, though it will no doubt be feral at first
throw icy to buy time while we get occultist to save our ass
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>>5770027
>She was definitely exaggerating how little mana she had
Ehhh, I’d don’t believe that- she had a full on Yosef possession to maintain, plus whatever dream shenanigans we had her do- in Izzy Quest, she had to recharge constantly after every major use of her power.
>We had to badger her to any assistance.
Sounds like classic Iri desu- wondering why any of this mattered vs having fun in the moment.
>In a way she was just cleaning up after herself, since if the incubus lived rufos would not have been freed from possession in the first place
Ehh, that’s an uncharitable way to look at it- lord knows she’d rather fuck off and not bother with Rufos in the middle of Paladin Central dude. Besides, Incy was worse to deal with- always tried to weasel outta the deals that rascal, compared to Iri’s good faith assumption that we were freinds, and was totally down with making an exclusive deal to us that had her to rights within our lifetime.
>But he was a high priest and a learned scholar
Yes, in the priesthood of the Prosecutor- I doubt he had any significant demonology knowledge as Izzy had- and even then, it was tainted by the Prosecutor’s purist sentiments, ja?
>And izzy was simply coping in how she viewed her relationship. Since she had no one else truly by her side.
Edwin left True Love status after one dice roll after Izzy told the truth, not about her feelings for Edwin, but about her real job- clearly True Love is a false nomenclature in the quest, if it can be broken so easily with one wrong roll of the dice after many threads of buildup.

And that’s being diplomatic- Izzy deserved better, and trying to psychoanalyze Izzy to a Veteran of Infiltrator Quest is beyond rude and insulting, I’ll have you know.
>No, THERAL lives
He dies the moment we fail the DC of 18, ya dolt- he’ll eviscerate Iri, and then enjoy our body as a meatsuit until the next quest kills him and Theral.
>Whereas Izzy etc. etc.
Ah yes- where Theral destroyes Izzy’s legacy for himself- undoing all the hard work Izzy did so he could compromise the throne of Hawksong away to the Paladin’s favor. Truly riveting shit, that.
>We and we alone are Izzy's shining legacy
Wrong- we are Izzy’s only lasting legacy, to be gambled way on an 90% chance we fail, against an opponent anons blame for their own decisions. Whatever this farce is, Izzy’s enduring legacy it is not.
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>>5770104
Just two things- one, to diminish Izzy only lasting relationship as irrelevant is hurtful as a veteran player- maybe I’m at fault for my perspective, but to have no one care for her, least of all one of my favorite side characters, after she’s been brutally murdered is insulting. Doubly so since ‘True Love’ status is then conferred to her killer, after an very abusive and long antagonistic relationship. Frankly, that still boggles my mind, and maybe that fault is mine since I’m the only one that seems to have a problem with it.

Second, on this point
>Lastly: you showed up to kill her when she thought you were friends, followed up your apology by trying to separate her and her current 'lover' so you can kill them both without breaking your oath, and out o