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1030186 No. 1030186 ID: 9b127b

This is a NSFW clothing damage adventure!
the quest will contain nudity and violence and possibly some sexual content
Lewd suggestions are encouraged but not required.

A single choice can shape the future, a single person can change the face of the world

This quest is funded by Patreon,
if you'd like to see more consider sending a few coins!
https://www.patreon.com/KingOfPentacles

Previous Threads
https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/780786.html
https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/858442.html
https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/918309.html
https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/966089.html

Discussion
https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/111417.html
Expand all images
>>
No. 1030187 ID: 9b127b
File 165077294934.png - (908.80KB , 657x858 , Pentacle201.png )
1030187

The City of Herrone

It was morning on their arrival.
Garrin had been to the city many times before,
his people the Yengu had a strong presence here and he himself had spent much of his youth working labor at the docks.
Too many years had passed since then and now that life that hardly felt like his own.

The Knight Captain's thoughts on the city are disturbed by a mystical chime heard by him and him alone.
Kalez wishes to speak with him.

Kalez seemed only to contact him to make further demands, demands he might not be able to meet, his task load for the mission had grown heavy and he would be very pressed for time.
He had ignored Kalez' call before. this was understood to be acceptable given that he might be distracted or in to public an area.

he considered whether to do so now
A) ignore the summons. it would be easier to refuse a request if he never learned the specifics
B) answer the high-priestess call, assume whatever she demands is crucial.

>>
No. 1030188 ID: e51896

A. Lets be irresponsible.
>>
No. 1030189 ID: 10c07d

A) more requests from Kalez means less time with the ladies. Garrin can easily make an excuse later.
>>
No. 1030190 ID: 629f2e

B. Garrin does not know yet that the message will only be new demands. It could be information regarding previous ones, potentially vital details. If he's lucky, it may even be to cancel one of his previous orders, lessening his workload some.

Unbeknownst to Garrin, Kalez has been warned of disloyalty from him by Via Vardek. We should engage with this communication to gain some insight into how Kalez will respond to it. If we don't respond, she may start to assume the worst, and won't take any chances.

Besides, knowing how Kalez chooses to address that situation will give us insight into how best to subvert her orders later ;)
>>
No. 1030191 ID: 11f77a

B. since you had to ignore her call before. Don't treat it as urgent though, just listen to what new information or demands Kalez has to avoid annoying her. Doesn't mean we'd follow her orders to a tee.
>>
No. 1030192 ID: c92a02

You can only do that so many times before she stops calling you and starts calling assassins. Check your e-mail.
>>
No. 1030194 ID: e5709d

A) Ignore. The princess is going to squawk like a feathered socialite from here to the border. If you're caught doing anything suspicious, it will be magnified tenfold.
>>
No. 1030202 ID: 3aa06e

B, find a spot no one can ease drop on you. She might have something that will make the mission easier. Or if you’re lucky, priorities have changed.
>>
No. 1030214 ID: 5b0071

>>1030187
B) who knows how many of these you can ignore before her temper flares and she starts sending 'messengers'
>>
No. 1030228 ID: 322af8

B) Might as well hear what she has to say.
>>
No. 1030243 ID: 9b127b
File 165086432128.png - (463.32KB , 657x858 , Pentacle202.png )
1030243

Garrin chooses to answer the message from his high priestess.
a quick glance tells him his companions aren't around.
Garrin steps behind a pillar and pulls out a small mirror letting down a protective ward the mirror lights with the image of the golden scorpion.

Mistress what do you need from me?he whispers with reverence.

Kalez looks with scrutiny through the mirror is this place secure? a complicated situation has arisen and I require your advise
this place is not secure. he could be approached at any time. Garrin is also worried about Kalez asking him for advice, it has been years since she's made such a request meaning she is likely doubting her Vizier's loyalty again.

Where should Garrin find security?
A) inside the wagon, less likely to be disturbed, but if discovered it'll be by a traveling companion
B) in a back alley or hedge shrine, might be seen but likely only by people who won't understand nor care what he's up to.
C) Tell Kalez that he hasn't enough time and will contact her later

>>
No. 1030244 ID: e5709d

A, and find a plushie as a talking decoy.
>>
No. 1030245 ID: c92a02

B. Your traveling companions must suspect nothing.
>>
No. 1030246 ID: 96c896

>>1030243
B.
>>
No. 1030248 ID: 8483cf

B
>>
No. 1030249 ID: 629f2e

B. Your assessment that nobody who might find you would care seems wise. If you're being eavesdropped on by someone who WOULD, then they'd likely listen from outside the wagon anyways.
>>
No. 1030268 ID: 3abd6b

I always got 'traitorous vizier' vibes from that jackal.
>doubting her Vizier's loyalty again
>again
How many times has this happened? Which was the most suspicious?

>>1030246
This.

Side note, I'm beginning to wonder if it's wise to destroy the bridge. If the undead are invading, that bridge is the route reinforcements from the capital would pass through. Though I suppose they could instead arrive by ship...
>>
No. 1030269 ID: 10c07d

B works
>>
No. 1030343 ID: 3aa06e

B. Find a place with thick walls and where you can keep a good line of sight on anyone approaching.

While we're on the subject, what's your opinion on Vizier? Outside of his questionable loyalty, what is he to you on a personal level? He a rival, unfriendly co-worker, or nothing at all to you?
>>
No. 1030347 ID: 322af8

B) Someone will walk in on us knowing our luck if we go with A.
>>
No. 1030415 ID: 9b127b
File 165095382078.png - (423.81KB , 657x858 , Pentacle203.png )
1030415

'One moment' Garrin answers 'I will move to a secure location'

Garrin Considers Kalez' Vizier as he walks to the nearby hedge garden. Aebin Nethar, Kalez had expected Garrin to kill him (among other expendable assets) and take his place as first acolyte about three years ago now, He had displeased and disappointed his Mistress by sparing the jackal's life and refusing the advancement.

Garrin hadn't expected to live much longer than that, and it seemed to him that Nethar had felt much the same way. The Vizier had become cynical and dejected; his spirit broken. Garrin doubted the man had the heart nor the ability to defy whatever doom Kalez would no doubt grant him.

This borrowed time extended from days to months and then into years. yet in all this time Garrin has noticed little improvement in Nethar's outlook, nor any sign of rebellion.

Garrin pulls out the mirror again, Kalez's face still lurking within it's depth 'I am in a secure location'

Kalez pause for a moment and takes a breath then speaks with a steady emotionless tone 'Undead forces have infiltrated Castle Crym, and have attacked several of my servants.'

Shock renders Garrin momentarily speechless, recovering he asks 'How many infiltrator? how many causalities?' the standard crisis questions calmed him while he collected his thoughts.

'The grounds keeper Ulric and Acolyte Eeyfel were attacked, both drained. Ulric is expected to make a full recovery, Eeyfel is in critical condition and will require magical aid to survive' Kalez seemed cold and distant 'only one enemy was seen, but evidence leads me to believe they're a member of the Legion of Thirsts so they aren't operating alone'

Garrin feels compelled to state the obvious 'Could it be a prelude to invasion? perhaps destroying belgate bridge should be delayed, we may need reinforcements from Ivera if we are plunged into war.'

Kalez considers this then responds with measured words'very convenient then that such an attack would occur so soon enough after I gave the order that I could reconsider'

Garrin can't help but agree, that would be very convenient 'You suspect the attack is related to my orders?'

'I suspect Via Vardek's hand in all of this' Kalez hisses with malice 'She may even be in league with the undead, I would put no level of treachery past her.'

Garrin shares his mistress' distaste for the ancient diviner.

suggest responses/questions for Garrin to ask
>>
No. 1030416 ID: 629f2e

"Vardek will desire whichever option we choose if she was involved, so it's better that we stick with the plan of destroying the bridge in the hopes that she isn't. If we stop Vivian Hearth, that will at least ensure one troublesome variable is out of the equation. If we don't, then that's yet another unpredictable element."
>>
No. 1030418 ID: c92a02

It is better for the state if the bridge remains open, rebels and saboteurs will have alternative means of transport armies cannot take. What are your orders, duchess?
>>
No. 1030419 ID: f85c03

Got a particular reason you spared the guy?
Either way, unless I misunderstand >>questarch/856227 Crym's a port castle, so sealift of troops could work. Unless you get blockaded or something, but do the undead even use ships?
>>
No. 1030420 ID: f85c03

Fixed:
>>/questarch/856227
>>
No. 1030422 ID: 96c896

>>1030415
Ask if you should move the princess to another location, and what excuse you could make without blowing your cover. Is there any reasonable way you could tell her there's undead about?

I think there's two possibilities here in regards to the bridge, assuming Vardek foresaw this conversation: 1, we destroy it, and there *is* an undead invasion, but at least Vivian is out of the way. 2, we leave it be, and the vampire was a feint, leaving us to deal with Vivian.

I for one would prefer the open confrontation against undead. It means we can act openly against them and the rebels will be likely to help us, instead of Vivian organizing the rebels against us. It's better for PR.
>>
No. 1030431 ID: 30c3fa

Actually, come to think of it, wasn't the only reason Hearth left was because the Duchess found her price for undead hunting too high? Under the circumstances, it might be worth the price now.
We'd still have to blow the bridge to stop the crazy religious knight lady, but it may be prudent to have Garrin or somebody else (particularly somebody who's actually supposed to have links to Kalez) intercept Hearth to inform her that the Kalez is more open to paying what she asks.
...Unless, of course, the vizier's investigation into the guild turned up something that would make such a course of action unwise?
>>
No. 1030850 ID: 3aa06e

Destroying the bridge may leave us trapped in here with undead, but those Zealots are not good news unless the undead can somehow keep them distracted. Perhaps goading the undead into starting their attack now could keep the Zealots busy, enough to keep our secret hidden.

Vivian on the other hand. If this hero was on our side her idiot's luck and entourage could prove useful but she's not someone we can control. About the only thing we can predict is that she'll fight the undead if the reward is high enough or perhaps if it became a personal problem. We can't directly harm her but maybe putting her reputation on the line could get her to cooperate. Have we dug up any dirt on her or her party?

Regarding the princess, what safer location is there to bring her if these undead are running around?

>>1030422 This relating to the rebels, the plan is to try and turn former enemies into allies for the time being. Between the undead and us, the rebels will likely back us. It wouldn't look great if they continue to attack us while the undead are still a relevant threat.

Overall, none of these possibilities will be open if we destroy the bridge with Vivian and the Zealots on it. Sure we eliminate the risks to ourselves but we'd allow the undead threat to get stronger. Without heroes like Vivian or the Zealots combatting the undead, we're stuck likely fighting this on our own. We should work to get these disorganized forces to unite against the undead. Keeping them focused while we get our own agenda done.
>>
No. 1030978 ID: 9b127b
File 165147127460.png - (419.07KB , 657x858 , Pentacle204.png )
1030978

'Hmmm even so the risk of invasion too great, destroying the bridge would leave us cut off and vulnerable it might even encourage Queen Nerexi to make a move.' Garrin states with a smirk 'I may have another idea to deal with Vivian Hearth'

'Indeed?' Kalez responds intrigued

Garrin explains his moment of inspiration 'As Captain of The Royal Guard, I possess the authority to hire adventurers on the King's behalf, I could acquire her services but redirect any payment to the crown. It should also satisfy her ego knowing that she has succeeded in defying you'

'Good. Do it.' Kalez Concluded 'I'll have Nethar look into Belgate bridge and any possible reason Vardek would need it open for'

Garrin feels this is as good an excuse as any to ask the question on his mind 'Speaking of Nethar, why seek my advice over his today?'

Kalez gave her face's approximation of a smile'It's been a while, hasn't it?'

'Three years' Garrin responds
'Yes. Three years ago I was certain Aebin's use was over, I was certain he would betray me, you risked everything to convince me I was wrong.' Kalez then admits'you were right. you're a very good judge of character Garrin and I need that now'

'Very well, I shall help in whatever way I can' Garrin feels his assessment was more luck than any sort of special insight.

'the plague is spreading again.' is Kalez' grim response 'Eeyfel has contracted Wastrel's curse'

Garrin flinches at the plagues name spoken openly. 'You must be mistaken.'

Kalez responds with a withering stare of disappointment

Garrin's blood runs cold 'I truly thought we were rid of this horror.' He knows if necromancers are spreading the disease once more thousands will die 'Princess Reefa is at grave risk it can't be safe to bring her to Castle Crym now'

Kalez nodsI agree, keep her in Herrone until I've gotten things under control

'We must do everything we can to limit it's spread!' Garrin blurts out impulsively.

A dark look falls over Kalez'Even if that means abandoning Eeyfel?'

Dread creeps into Garrin's heart as understanding reaches him.

A rare sympathy fills Kalez' voice'This is the advice I need Garrin, I'm not sure I can save Eeyfel, what's more Vardek has begun swaying my Hydra, if I don't focus on rebuilding Their trust I could lose them. Vardek wants me distracted by the plague I'm certain of that... and yet I can't ignore it either. I have to be decisive or I risk losing everyone and everything.'

A moment of silence follows


how does Garrin respond?

A) "the Hydra has great hidden power, you should train them as Acolytes to replace Eeyfel; this will show faith and mend wounds, Eeyfel is too weak to survive, if she doesn't die today she'll die tomorrow" (Kalez will likely lose Eeyfel to the legion of Thirst)
B) "Eeyfel is ever Loyal, you owe her your complete attention on tending to her condition. The Hydra is too chaotic to truly rely on and impossible to control, let Vardek have her."(Kalez will likely lose the Hydra to Vardek)
C) "I'm not sure which course is best... you must ask someone else"(Kalez will Likely speak with Nethar, Nethar will likely pick to trust the Hydra)
D) another choice? (Garrin must come up with a brilliant solution or risk Kalez losing both Eeyfel AND the Hydra! and quite possibly others... )
E) "I need to know more before I decide" (Garrin might run out of time and forgo giving a full answer)

>>
No. 1030981 ID: c92a02

Never an easy choice, is it? Choose the Hydra.

Just make sure Eeyfel stays dead, if she dies...
>>
No. 1030982 ID: e1017c

Would it be possible to enlist the Hydra's help in saving Eeyfel? Perhaps first hand witness to this act of charity will convince her you mean well to you loyal followers, including the hydra. You'll need to approach this delicately though.

It wouldn't be right to let Eeyfel die either way.
>>
No. 1030983 ID: 10c07d

Poor Eeyfel I love her dearly but the Hydra is just so much more useful. Choose the Hydra. And yes, if Eeyfel does end up passing, make sure to put a stake through her heart or something, whatever kills vampires in this universe.
>>
No. 1030984 ID: 629f2e

B

The Hydra is powerful, it's true. But their power means little when they can't control it. Eeyfel, while, significantly weaker, has accomplished a lot more than the Hydra has with her gifts.

Eeyfel has:

-Held her own against the Freedom Fighters, dealing many good blows and personally inspiring the BROKEN members of her party to remain with the team

-Made the tough but correct choice to receive Kalez's wrath to ensure an important message was delivered

-Did not have her loyalty shaken at all, in spite of unfair punishment

-Smartly dealt with the unknown threat by taking appropriate caution and calling for help before engaging, which directly lead to her survival.

-Stole carrot panties, dealing a humiliating blow to the invaders and more importantly leaving evidence of their presence.

These actions paint Eeyfel as a loyal acolyte who you can rely on. She has stood by you through your harsh treatment and perilous situations, and despite much hardship she has still pulled through and both accomplished her tasks and survived. She deserves your care.

The Hydra's loyalty has shaken, and her accomplishments are currently outweighed by her failures. If you had the time, she would be worth the investment to save. But compare her to the faithful acolyte who has been through hell and still loyally serves you, and can you honestly say that it's the doubtful one who deserves your attention?

Tend to Eeyfel. You may lose the Hydra, but it is a worthy sacrifice.
>>
No. 1030985 ID: e5709d

This is a new strain. You must find some way to deal with it, but you'll need time and research to find an effective vaccination or treatment. Time that Eeyfel simply does not have.

Choose Hydra. Keep Eeyfel in quarantine, have some healers treat her under lock and key. Study the damn virus. When she turns, let Hydra witness exactly what it is you fight against.
>>
No. 1030986 ID: e51896

B
>>
No. 1030989 ID: 1c6255

Save Eeyfel.
Even if you sway the Hydra today, what of tomorrow? If you discard Eeyfel, the Hydra will expect that of you and make sure she gets the upper hand when her turn comes, for she'll be sure it will come.

You can't gain the Hydra's trust and loyalty by replacing Eeyfel with her. So, saving Eeyfel is the way to go.
>>
No. 1030990 ID: e34b23

Why not delegate one of the tasks?
It's why you have subordinates, yeah?
If one of them is more magically skilled than you, they'd be suited to curing the disease.
Otherwise, the vizier would be good at reminding the hydra why they're loyal to the group.

Also, don't just look into why they'd want the bridge destroyed, look into why they'd want it unharmed.

Of course, if we're not going to blow up the bridge, it begs the question of what to do about the zealots.
>>
No. 1030992 ID: 96c896

The Hydra is more important, but... I have an idea. The Hydra's trust was lost because she believes Kalez treats her minions as tools(which is, let's be honest, mostly true). Why not kill two birds with one stone?

D:
Get the Hydra's opinion on this. Do they want Eeyfel to die, knowing they will be promoted, or... do they want Kalez to spend the time to save her, where she will presumably be too busy to talk. Kalez should also point out that Vardek likely planned for this to happen- to force her into this choice, and sabotage her attempts to make up with the Hydra.
Doing this accomplishes several things:
The Hydra will feel that their opinions are respected.
The Hydra will see that Kalez cares about her minions, both their physical and mental health.
The Hydra will understand that her decisions are not easy.
Lastly, if the Hydra wants to save Eeyfel, we won't lose them by agreeing.
>>
No. 1031016 ID: e5709d

>>1030992
Changing my vote to this.

Be firm, insist that you will make a decision yourself if she cannot reach a consensus, but that you're still uneasy and would like your servants' opinions first.
>>
No. 1031030 ID: 322af8

B) I'd rather we not lose our most loyal subject. Besides think of what it would do to the moral of the others who work below her.
>>
No. 1031049 ID: 3aa06e

>>1030992
This, it will open the Hydra's eyes to many things.

As terrible as it sounds, this should be a learning experience for the them. Give them a sense of weight in the decision, don't sugar coat anything. If the Hydra chooses to let Eeyfel die, make sure she is there throughout it all to witness Eeyfel turn. It will likely inspire a hatred for the enemy. Show the Hydra what the enemy can do and the decisions they force you to make.

Again, state to the Hydra that your hands are tied. You want Eeyfel to recover but you want to mend your relationship with the Hydra. If you choose one you risk, no, you will certainly lose another.

Don't offer the position of Acolyte like it's a promotion. Offer it more like a consequence of her choice. If the Hydra chooses for Eeyfel to die, then the Hydra will have to take Eeyfel's rank. She'll have to watch Eeyfel slowly turn so she understands the weight of these choices. If she chooses for Eeyfel to live then she will witness Eeyfel's recovery, see you care for those under your command.

If the Hydra refuses to choose, state that you'll make your choice, and the Hydra won't like either one you'll make.

At the end, the Hydra will come out hopefully stronger and with a better understanding of what's going on your end of things.

To add on to things if all goes right, if Eeyfel lives:
-We'd have already kindled a small bond between Eeyfel and the Hydra which opens up the doors to further honing the Hydra's skills and loyalty. Acolyte or not we'll have the potential to make the Hydra a bigger powerhouse that can be relied on.
>>
No. 1031077 ID: df76b1

B. Ground Troops are more useful to overall support than a single, high intensity asset.

Without Eeyful our ground troops will not acquit themselves inline with our wishes.

Doesn't mean we're being nice. We're being practical.
>>
No. 1031506 ID: 12f554

>>1030990
This has potential. I'm voting for it.
>>
No. 1032459 ID: 9b127b
File 165273066291.png - (455.05KB , 657x858 , Pentacle205.png )
1032459

After some though Garrin gives his answer.'Eeyfel has been invaluable to our efforts, and her loyalty unmatched. she deserves the attention and we can't afford to lose such a valuable asset.'

The emotion drains from Kalez 'can't afford? there is nothing in this world I can't afford to lose.' Kalez shakes her head'Always the hopeless romantic Garrin.' her face then contorts in rage 'it disgusts me.'

'I-'Garrin attempts

'Shut up.' Kalez speaks slowly as one would speak to a small child 'Loyalty without power is like a hilt without a blade, useless, a blade without a handle at least can still prove deadly.' Kalez's malice is still heard through her softer tone 'Some fools say loyalty can't be bought, this is untrue, you merely need the right currency. Power too can be bought but the price is far higher...'Kalez pauses for a moment and looks away.

Breaking the moment of silence Garrin ventures to speak 'You said you-'

'-needed your advice?' Kalez finishes 'Don't tell me you believed such drivel, do you honestly think your advice holds any value to me? if it did I wouldn't have spent three years not seeking it.'

Garrin wisely chooses to remain silent

'So if I don't need advice, why am I wasting my time talking to you?' When Garrin doesn't respond she adds 'This is not rhetorical. answer the question and try not to disappoint me a second time.'
>>
No. 1032461 ID: 9ed2cd

"Kalez, if you want me to say that you should focus your eforts on taming the Hydra, I will do so. The Hydra will give you great power, yes, but is a power that is difficul to control, is chaos incarnated. Eeyfel, as pathetic as she can be, hasn't failed a single task you send her to do yet. She knows how handle the rest of the lackeys and makes good decisions on the spot.

You have the power to tame the beast, and you clearly don't care about Eeyfel. If you don't need Eeyfel, just gnore her, or dispose of her and focus your atention on the Hydra. You have the means to do it, you are mighty and powerful, but the task will be harduos and the beast might not blend you your will.

You don't need my input, you made that clear, so I'll just say what you want me to say."
>>
No. 1032462 ID: 629f2e

"The question was a test. Either you meant for me to choose the Hydra, assessing her worth above Eeyfel, or neither choice was correct. Perhaps if I'd recommended the Hydra, you would tell me how a blade without a hilt will only harm its user, while a hilt without a blade could at least be used as a blunt weapon if you put force enough into it."

"Whatever the correct answer was is irrelevant. You only wanted to know what my answer would be, and now you do. I don't know what you mean to judge from it, but I will stand by the answer I gave. Unless you have the means to save both, the loyal asset who brings results will always be more useful than the potential asset whose loyalty shakes too easily."
>>
No. 1032559 ID: e51896

"You wanted to test and see to make sure I was a like-minded individual to you that you could trust and thus wanted me to choose Hydra"

"If you still want to focus on the Hydra, go ahead, but I still stand by my decision, for Consider that a handle without its blade has potential to be repaired and smithed into a mightier blade than it was before"
>>
No. 1032677 ID: 12f554

> Kalez seemed only to contact him to make further demands, demands he might not be able to meet

"Isn't it obvious? You want me to do something, and this is your way of making sure I do it to your specifications. You need my strength and cunning, not my loyalty."

"You're wrong though. It's been three years since you've last called on me. My loyalty is something you should value very highly from me."
>>
No. 1032801 ID: 9b127b
File 165294147001.png - (319.52KB , 657x858 , Pentacle206.png )
1032801

Garrin considers 'You wanted to test and see to make sure I was a like-minded individual to you that you could trust and thus wanted me to choose Hydra.'

Kalez smiles 'Yes, Yes! you're very close. it is indeed a test, and obviously the Hydra is the answer I wanted you to pick. Please continue'

Garrin Knows Kalez will be pleased if he simply follows where she leads, but cannot leave Eeyfel to such a dreadful fate.'If you still want to focus on the Hydra, go ahead, but I still stand by my decision, the loyal asset who brings results will always be more useful than the potential asset whose loyalty shakes too easily.'

Kalez's eyes narrow as her excitement fades 'and there's the ever present disappointment that is Garrin Veraki... since you love loyalty so much let's talk more about that.' Her worlds are now filled with venom 'Lying to your liege for thirty years as you secretly plot to place his brother on the throne, is this loyalty Sir Garrin?' her mocking cruelty continues'but them perhaps you're loyal to what's best for the kingdom. well at least the portion of the kingdom that's female and of age, you're definitely loyal to them for a few hours each at least.' Her words are meant to hurt and they succeed 'But there's the princess at least you must be loyal to her, you're loyalty defended her from all potential suitors no matter how much she'd like them. But it's for her good right? it's loyalty right? nothing else?'[

Garrin feels a deep pain in his chest he can not deal with what comes next'...please stop' he manages

Kalez relents 'Very well. I'm not condemning you. Loyalty is nothing more than a promise waiting to be broken, only a fool relies on it. given how you live your life I thought you too would understand this.' her tone drifts to pity. you think Eeyfel is loyal? she's just as treacherous as you are, did I ever tell you how many of her sibling she throttled with her bare hands to get the position she has? we're all drenched in sin here. The "loyalty" you think that Eeyfel posses is bought through fear, fear of the power I have over her.

Garrin clings to blind defiance 'Eeyfel has never betrayed you'

'Only because she's too weak to succeed'Kalez responds

Garrin begins repeating himself in desperation 'She's always been effective the results speak strongly enough'

hah! any "results" she has achieved are mine as I have only assigned tasks I know she can handle.' Kalez Answers 'let's pretend Eeyfel is as loyal as a hand fed pup, and just as nieve, let's even pretend loyalty isn't subjective and irrelevant and instead paramount to any success. even if we assume all this you're still missing the big picture as usual'

and that is? Garrin asks

'Eeyfel has the plague Garrin.' speaks Kalez

Garrin doesn't respond.

'Castle Crym is filled with thousands of graves, all baring names of people I couldn't save, I've fought this plague for thirty years. thirty years of loyalty and dedication proved worthless as I couldn't save them. Kalez continues wearily 'In my hubris I will always try one more time, in the hopes that the first life saved will come tomorrow, however we both know what will really happen'

Kalez is old, Garrin thinks, she's always been old even when he was young.

'I gave you one more chance and You failed my test a second time. in this you've seen the limits of my patience' her words are cold 'Goodbye Garrin, enjoy your women'

The finality of the statement unnerves Garrin, he knows now he has made a grave error, one he may never make right.
>>
No. 1032803 ID: e51896

She'll learn the hard way...

well, no use dreading the consequences, best to get back to our duties. Look around and listen closely to make sure nobody spied on you during that conversation.
>>
No. 1032806 ID: 96c896

Tell her if it's impossible to save her then she shouldn't try.
>>
No. 1032807 ID: 629f2e

That's rough buddy.

You didn't mess up. Let's be clear on that right out of the gate, the decisions you made in that discussion were absolutely fine for you. You stood firm to your beliefs despite knowing it wasn't what she wanted to hear. That speaks to your character, and will mean a lot more in the long run than Kalez' approval ever will. Kalez can be as bitter as she wants, as long as she isn't calling for your job or your head over this.

...Okay, take some time to assess the likelihood that she's calling for either of those, and let that influence your next actions.

If you're still on the line with Kalez, ask two last things to confirm your next actions. Check that hiring Vivian Hearth is still acceptable, and not in fact part of some other stupid test that you also failed, and ask about Inquisitor Sabria. Not blowing up the bridge means she will be able to make it into the city. Vivian Hearth crossing the bridge is bad, but manageable if you can give her what she wants. The Inquisitor may be another story, what is to be done with her?

If you aren't... Take some time to collect yourself, that was a tough conversation. Try to think on these questions yourself, and try to decide if you're going to keep following Kalez' will. There's a lot to consider now that gets in the way of simple loyalty, like whether your boss is actually loyal to you.
>>
No. 1032811 ID: 5137d4

This war against the unending horde has eaten a part of her. She's too weathered and hardened to let that stop her. But the bitterness she holds is a flaw she cannot see.

It is what it is.

Request further orders and end call.
>>
No. 1032828 ID: 322af8

I for one suggest we do as we were told and go enjoy our women. Find the scorpion and try to forget the trouble we just were in with her.
>>
No. 1032839 ID: de5f3b

It’s surprising she gained any minions in the first place with an attitude like that towards them. You should make sure you have an exit strategy, as your usefulness to her seems to be declining.
>>
No. 1033178 ID: 3aa06e

Recollect yourself, remain calm and don't dig yourself into a deeper ditch. There's a way out of this.

Cut back to the matters at hand that you can actually help with. Should we arrange for Vivian to be rehired by us, should the inquisitors still be terminated, should the bridge still stand? Any further orders after?

Don't get yourself too worked up, for one she still needs you to take care of the matters above. Second, she's probably going to lose an acolyte in Eeyfel if she lets her die, Kalez would be a fool to get rid of you. She'd be loosing two acolytes then.

This whole mess has her worked up and snapping at everyone. The best you can do for her is get things going in her favor. Tempting as it is to bail, I've yet to see the other factions that would take her place actually make a dent in the undead threat. Do your part by giving her and the other acolytes some breathing room.
>>
No. 1033181 ID: e51896

Probably best to stay silent now that I think about it. If we ask what orders to follow, she'll think we're incompetent being like "WHAT, YOU FORGOR YOUR ORDERS?! I was considering whether or not to exile you for your decision, but your incompetence just made my decision easier" or something like that.
>>
No. 1033214 ID: e5114d

Well, she's in charge.
She asked for your advice, she got it. What she does with it is up to her, so she's well within her rights to disregard it, which may be good in this case since she knows the plague better than you do.
If she disregards advice too often, it may place her competence in question, but that changes little. She's a noble, after all, and those have a tendency to stay in power regardless of competence.
If she surrounds herself with yes men who praise even stupid ideas that would obviously put her in a poor position against the undead, then maybe we can consider drastic acts. Until then, though, the direction she provides will probably beat the chaos that a leadership vacuum would cause.

That said, do you really care what she thinks? The only serious point she had was that she has yet to cure the plague. The rest was her letting her bias get in the way of actual criticisms. Have you let your desires get in the way of your missions? No, you turned the giant's failure into a partial success. So wave it off, man up, and prove her wrong with your combination of loyalty and skill. If you get laid a bunch in the process, I doubt she'll care so long as her goals are attained.
>>
No. 1034548 ID: 9b127b
File 165462157378.png - (615.24KB , 657x858 , Pentacle207.png )
1034548

Garrin ends the message, he doesn't feel like apologising nor grovelling and he doubts anything else would help his standing.

He is left alone in silence.
Garrin tries to convince himself that he was right to say what he did, It doesn't make him feel better.
Garrin knows he's helped no one least of all himself.

Garrin hates Kalez, there's an ugliness in her deep inside. wether she wrong, right, cruel or kind it's always there under the surface.
He considers why he even serves Kalez, a thought all too common of late. in the past he's told himself his true master is Arch-Duke Midas, but the distinction feels empty today.
The true reason he serves is that Kalez is still the best hope for the kingdom of Terrotha.
Does he believe that she's truly making a mistake? or is the reality that her callous disposition will serve the kingdom just too unpalitable for the knight?
he's not entirely sure it matters what he or anyone believes.

The plague could kill everything he cares about.
It won't kill him though, he suspects, not until he's suffered for his arrogance

He thinks of Princess Reefa and how she could abandon even the pack animals.
yet ultimately she was powereless to-

'SKREEYAAA!'
Garrin is startled by what sounds like a screetching avian warcry.

'HELP! HELP! A VILLIANOUS MURDERER IS ACCOSTING MY PERSON!' it's Princess Reefa there is no doubt!
The prismatican continues to project loudly'WON'T ANY BRAVE SOUL COME TO MY AID?!'

How does Garrin approach
A)Rush in sword drawn?
B)scout what his happening but remain hidden?
C)stroll up casually?
D)other?

>>
No. 1034549 ID: 629f2e

Okay, even odds that Reefa is actually under attack or is reacting strongly to something ultimately mundane. Either way, A, rush in with sword at the ready. You'll be prepared if it's the former, and will at least appear chivalrous for taking her cries seriously if it's indeed the latter.
>>
No. 1034550 ID: d461d1

Maybe consider serving Kalez not for her, but to protect the good people of her kingdom, and your allies?

Although, jumping ship and serving Princess Reefa is sounding more inviting...

For now, A
>>
No. 1034554 ID: 10c07d

A, we must protect our princess!
>>
No. 1034556 ID: 1bb7b8

Kalez is une stoic bitch, in the eworst way posible. Lets just hope that her ways are the ons that the kigndom needs.

I would lik to go with A, but rushing in blindly would be foolish. Be quick but don't go there directly, maintain the element of surprise.
>>
No. 1034557 ID: 899c9f

B, use recon to make the most dramatic entrance possible.
>>
No. 1034558 ID: 322af8

Might as well go with A. Though I'm certain she is blowing the situation out of proportion.
>>
No. 1034559 ID: e5709d

B) If Reefa were in any serious danger, her speech centers would shut down and her maximum volume would be doubled.
Still, you should check up on her. If she's being manhandled...
>>
No. 1034566 ID: 12f554

>>1034548
Do a B about it
>>
No. 1035555 ID: 9b127b
File 165578835065.png - (683.42KB , 657x858 , Pentacle208.png )
1035555

Garrin rushes to action sword drawn.

He finds Princess Reefa has been approached by several city guards.
when she hears Garrin rush up she turns and smiles at him 'Deliverance from Darkness! a brave knight arrives armed to rescue this damsel in distress!'i

Reefa seems delighted to have Garrin behave exactly as she hoped

"Sir Garrin my guardian, I trust you've heard tale of the infamous prince of evil Loedric the hateful?" Reefa ask while glaring at the man

Garrin does know Loedric, he was top top suitor to the princess before he was found guilty of murdering an ambassador and his family.
As Garrin framed him for this crime he, knows well that Loedric is innocent.
this occurred three years ago.
He doesn't know why the prince is dressed as a city guard.

Reefa looks to Garrin expectantly, a crowd is starting to gather.

a) Garrin plays along with the princess' theatrics.
b) Garrin Approaches Loedric professionally and questions him.
c) Garrin lets Reefa handle the other royal.
d) Garrin does something else

>>
No. 1035556 ID: 899c9f

B. It was nothing personal, right?
>>
No. 1035558 ID: 629f2e

A, Play along. It's been a long trip, let her have this. Plus, it's making her like you, and holy shit after how that call with Kalez went, you need all the validation you can get rn.
>>
No. 1035585 ID: 9af117

Oh shit, a romanic rival!
...In all seriousness though, it sounds like Reefa has disdain for whoever this is. What's more concerning is the situation, as several things are off here.
First is how this guy is has gotten back in good graces enough to be trusted with law enforcing. Worst case scenario, new evidence proved his innocence... and made you suspicious. Of course, there's no point in panic over what ifs.
Two is how casually Reefa seems to take possibly blowing her cover to do... whatever it is she's doing. Sure, it's in character for her, but this almost seems personal.
Lastly, does Reefa seriously think of you as if you were an attack dog? Oof. Gotta show that's not just all you are, or all you'll be is an attack dog.
Perhaps there's a way to deal with all three...
D, Quietly ask the princess if she's sure she would so much as acknowledge the existence of this criminal, there's no need to lower herself like that while there are more subtle means, though you will follow her lead.
>>
No. 1035616 ID: 10c07d

A) But let’s give the convoy’s door a little knock to signal Garcio to come out as well in case things turn ugly.
>>
No. 1035643 ID: 9bb8e7

B! Play it stoic. This can go any way you want it it.
>>
No. 1035651 ID: 322af8

B. As much as we need to stay in the princess' good graces, we need to figure out if this guy might be a threat.
>>
No. 1035655 ID: 12f554

>>1035558
Agreed. That sounds hilarious.
>>
No. 1035838 ID: e51896

A. Let her have this.
>>
No. 1035860 ID: e70375

A, but pretend you have no idea who this guy is.
>>
No. 1036241 ID: 9b127b
File 165636464168.png - (674.11KB , 657x858 , Pentacle209.png )
1036241

Garrin has to keep the princess happy

he plays along, in fact he pretends he doesn't know Loedric at all 'My lady, I've heard tell of such a man, but had dismissed him as a boogeyman to frighten children'

Reefa quickly hides a smile and returns to character 'Alas! the devil stands before you in the flesh!'

Loedric seems very confused by the theatrics 'w-what is this?' he exclaims the other two guards exchange exhausted looks but don't intervene.

Garrin lets out a laugh filled with false bravado 'A devil? he is little more than an imp easily squashed.'

'Then he is trivial to you?' Reefa proposes while feigning a haughty boredom.

a few passersby have gathered, they speak to each other in hushed whispers.
"are they putting on a show?" A kobold asks.
"just seems like nobles being nobles to me." another kobold shrugs.
"I'm gonna stick around and watch either way"A vavver laughs.


Where does Garrin take this performance?
A) A duel?
B) dismiss Leodric
C) Interogate Loedric (suggest questions as well)
D) encourage the audience
E) Take leave with the Princess
F) Throw insults
G) something else?

>>
No. 1036244 ID: 899c9f

B. Back to the shadows from whence ye came, imp.
>>
No. 1036245 ID: bf7d5b

C
"By what right does a knave such as you dare even GLANCE at her highness?"
>>
No. 1036247 ID: a5761c

E, with the implication hes not worth our time.
>>
No. 1036248 ID: 629f2e

C, B, and E are our best options I think. A, D, and F will only push the show further, which risks infuriating Loedric and causing trouble. Reefa may be having fun now, but she may change her tune if she gets dragged into a fight. Or worse: If you get your ass handed to you in front of her. You're probably better than Loedric one-to-one, but if his fellow guards fight as well then you'll get whooped.

Let's go with C for now, questioning why he's here accosting the lovely lady. And if the reason is not worth consideration, we can go E and escort Reefa away from this savage.
>>
No. 1036269 ID: 322af8

E) We've confused him and sort of insulted him. Might as well head away now while we can.
>>
No. 1036279 ID: 10c07d

>>1036247
This, but continue to play into reefa’s show
>>
No. 1036297 ID: e5709d

E because you can't risk putting your foot in your mouth before you've entrenched the princess in the Duchess' territory.
>>
No. 1036517 ID: 669e57

>>1036247
Go with this. Let her highness weave the tale of what that was all about afterwards.
>>
No. 1036784 ID: 9b127b
File 165678518518.png - (702.79KB , 657x858 , Pentacle210.png )
1036784

Garrin gives a stoic nod 'Indeed he is beneath us, and hardly worth our time'

'Lord Phelion instructed me to-'Loedric attempts

Reefa looks around.'Do you hear something?'

understanding Garrin respond 'Indeed the wind blows strong today.'

Frustrated Loedric turns and leaves, and the crowd dissipates disappointed.
The Princess continues the story regardless'We best take shelter from the wind, I just so happen to know of a delightful tavern that will serve perfectly'
Garrin has no idea what she's talking about, he's fairly certain she's never been to a tavern in her life.

Before he can question this Garrin hears the clacking of many wooden shoes
wait! wait! please wait! shuffling up is Xiatzu the rachnid merchant.

Reefa stops walking and responds.'oh Ms. Xiatzu, did you want something?'

Xiatzu bows before blurting out 'please forgive me your highness, but Sir Garrin promised to escort me to the supply store.'
Garrin remembers this, he had mentioned the streets were dangerous and she had insisted.

'Did you promise this creature?' Reefa asks, annoyance clear on her face.

A)I did, however it isn't important. Garcio can escort her (spend time with Reefa)
B)I'm afraid so your highness, as a knight my word is my bond, I must escort her. (Spend time with Xiatzu)
C)I gave my word, however matters have changed (explain about the plague and how your journey to Crym-Z'gar will be delayed)
D)Hmm it seems we are short on staff, both of you should stick together while I hire assistance (Look for Vivian Hearth)
E)lets all stick together, these city streets might be dangerous (Spend time with both women)
F)something else?
>>
No. 1036792 ID: b0b5f8

B, C or E sounds right.
We're selling the image of a wholesome honest knight here, keeping it consistent will be best for wooing Reefa, even if it causes a temporary setback for now.
>>
No. 1036802 ID: 899c9f

B.
>>
No. 1036805 ID: 629f2e

Y'know what, screw it, A or C! We've got a good thing going on here with Reefa rn, don't fucking blow it by getting wishy washy and trying to make everyone happy. Make Reefa happy, because that will make you happy. Making Xiatzu unhappy is sad, but you can just be honest with her later and say "Hey, I'm sorry if I lead you on earlier, but I don't think this is happening."

Unless you change your mind and do want it to happen, but if that's the case you'd better commit to her now.
>>
No. 1036806 ID: e51896

A
>>
No. 1036822 ID: e5709d

Mostly D, because any suspicions of womanizing will be lost when Vivian rattles her insufferable head at the two high socials, forcing them to collaborate in persuading this loose cannon.
>>
No. 1036839 ID: 399bc9

A
>>
No. 1036842 ID: 322af8

E) If we can spend time with both, why not go for it.
>>
No. 1036968 ID: 8483cf

A! I have absolutely no ulterior motives.
>>
No. 1038263 ID: 9b127b
File 165794190608.png - (562.83KB , 657x858 , Pentacle211.png )
1038263

Xiatzu may care for Garrin, but Princes Reefa holds his heart
'I did promise, however the task isn't important. Garcio can escort her' Grarcio state speaking only to Reefa

'Oh I just thought...'Xiatzu looks to Garrin in confusion, Garrin stares coldly but doesn't respond she probes for more explanation 'the other night...' Garrin averts his eyes looking to an expectant Princess. Xiatzu then sees his choice.
Disappointment fills the merchant's many eyes, Garrin can see tears glistening for a moment before the woman turns and shuffles away towards the market district with her face in her hands.

'I guess she didn't need protection after all, what an odd woman.'

Garrin always hates this part, how does he handle the scorpion, or is she already handled?
A) go after Xiatzu he can't part on such poor terms
B) the situation is resolved the Princess might get impatient if he delays any longer.
C) Disturb Garcio and make him go after her, the streets are still dangerous
D) other?

>>
No. 1038265 ID: 899c9f

Well, I'd like to do A, but you can't just keep changing your mind back and forth. If you can step out of your roleplay with Reefa for a moment, send Garcio after her so he can swoop in and steal her heart while doing your job.
>>
No. 1038267 ID: a6f7dc

C. Don't toy with her heart by flip-flopping. If you get the chance later, you can apologize for leading her on, but for now send Garci9 to comfort her.
>>
No. 1038273 ID: 322af8

C. The princess might get impatient but we have to have someone escort our host. Make it up by playing it up as a noble knight to the princess while doing so.
>>
No. 1038274 ID: 10c07d

C
>>
No. 1038308 ID: e5709d

D) Slap Reefa. Order Garcio to stare at her menacingly.
A) Immediately chase after Xiatzu
>>
No. 1038438 ID: 12f554

>>1038263
God damn we're an asshole.

C. We might as well send a more heroic knight-type to smooth things over until we can give a proper apology.
>>
No. 1039152 ID: 9b127b
File 165872749936.png - (487.09KB , 657x858 , Pentacle212.png )
1039152

Garrin can't allow Xiatzu to come to harm, the princess can wait a few moments more he decides 'No your highness these streets ARE dangerous, give me a moment I need to fetch Garcio.'

'Garcio? now that you mention it, where has he been all morning?' a touch of annoyance tint's Reefa's tone.

'He's been taking inventory of our supplies.'Garrin lies quickly.

the lie pleases the princess as a smile graces her face'Oh that's wonderful! he will be very useful in helping Xiatzu buy everything we'll need'

Garrin hates pleasing the princess through deception 'Indeed' he responds, he then turns and heads to the wagons.
The knight opens the wagon shutter and gazes in.
>>
No. 1039153 ID: 9b127b
File 165872790369.png - (478.38KB , 657x858 , Pentacle213.png )
1039153

Garrin finds Garcio in the arms of Xiatzu's servants Ling and Ming, he's pretty sure he knows which is which.
The interruption doesn't bother Garcio in the slightest'Oh! Garrin we were about to go for round four, I don't mind sharing.' the two baxets are not impressed by this offer.

Garrin chooses to ignore the comment.'Garcio, enough play, I need you to look after Xiatsu, she is upset and acting recklessly.'

Ming hisses nastily at him 'nasty bird wants to take away our delicious man meat!'
Ling pouts 'he wouldn't do such a cruel thing to us...'

Garcio merely laughs'Hah seems like you're upsetting a lot of ladies today'

'you can't have him! he's my big strong knight!' Ling cries
'you leave now grumpy pigeon!' Ming snarls

Garcio gives his trademark winning smile 'now now ladies, be nice.' he caresses both ladies once more before standing 'Duty calls for now but I'll not leave you two treasure waiting any longer than I absolutely have to. think of these past few hours as a warm up for what I have in store this evening! ' this excites and pleases the women.
Ling hops up and fetches his clothes 'You promised! We know strong man has strong word!'
Ming follows with his armor 'when you're done with sulky miss pincers come back to us very quick~'
the two felines then proceed to dress him.

What further instructions if any does Garrin give Garcio?
>>
No. 1039154 ID: 8483cf

Promise to give Garcio a reward if Xiatzu comes back happy. Maybe he knows a way to cheer her up. Plus this encourages him to play nice instead of just grabbing her and hauling her back.
>>
No. 1039155 ID: 629f2e

Garcio is actually decent with women. Just give him the basic gist, and he'll probably figure out a better way to handle it than you could come up with.

"I fear that I may have lead her on, and she feels scorned. Please tend to her in whatever manner you find appropriate."
>>
No. 1039156 ID: e51896

Probably best to let him know to take inventory of our supplies, just to make that lie more convincing for the princess.
>>
No. 1039168 ID: e5709d

>>1039153
"You realize Xiatzu will dock your pay if she stays miserable, right?"
>>
No. 1039173 ID: 322af8

For further instructions, just tell him to be himself. He's quite charming and the lady needs to be calmed.
>>
No. 1039222 ID: d9c193

Say to tell her you'll apologize later for, well, a personal issue.
Poor girl at least deserves the "too dedicated to the job to give her what she desires" excuse.
Fits, too, because the whole needle scare would prompt that type of epiphany, so... yeah.
>>
No. 1039499 ID: 9540a7

Tell him to take her out somewhere nice. Buy her some nice scorpion lingerie on your dime. Make her feel pretty.
>>
No. 1040436 ID: 9b127b
File 166007540639.png - (642.35KB , 657x858 , Pentacle214.png )
1040436

Garrin doesn't need to micromange, Garcio is better with women then he is.
As the knight steps out of the carriage Garrin simply states 'Be kind to her'.

'You know it!' Garcio responds flashing his winning smile.

'Now that safety has been properly observed, shall we be off?'Princess Reefa states as she begins crossing Belgate bridge'You simply must see this lovely Tavern, you'd love it I'm certain!'
Again the tavern is mentioned, Garrin isn't sure Reefa is playing up an act anymore.
Perhaps Garcio told her about some local establishments?.
Princess Reefa doesn't elaborate and keeps walking.


How does Garrin handle this stroll.
A) Follow silently, only speak if spoken to
B) Question Reefa further regarding this Tavern
c) point out that she's never been to a Tavern in her life
D) start a conversation about something else
E) offer to take her arm as you walk
F) other?

>>
No. 1040438 ID: 899c9f

C. Tell the lady of tales you've er, "heard" travelers to be wary of to try and give her tips, such that she can take it or leave it. But, it is your duty to keep her safe wherever she wants to go.
>>
No. 1040439 ID: ea2a0c

E. Be the gentleman+
>>
No. 1040444 ID: 322af8

Go with E. If she accepts then it shows that we're seen as more than just a guard. If she declines then we know how she sees us.
>>
No. 1040445 ID: e5709d

Just walk behind her and act as if you're the son of a knight talking to a rich duchess.
Eventually you might be able to properly criticize nobility for their narrow-minded long-term decisions, but that's for next year.
>>
No. 1040447 ID: 9bb8e7

F. Offer an anecdote about your own tavern days. What better way to prepare a lady for the bustling world than experience? Surely you've got something you can share. Dig deep!
>>
No. 1040460 ID: 629f2e

E + B. Start a conversation about the tavern as you walk. "I've seen few taverns I'd consider lovely. What raises the caliber of this venue above the rest?"
>>
No. 1040507 ID: 10c07d

>>1040460
This


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