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File 166701436198.png - (112.47KB , 1000x1000 , LF6c Title.png )
1047747 No. 1047747 ID: 8483cf

Lazy Wiki: https://questden.org/wiki/Lazy_Fairy

Takes Place Immediately After POV 6(b): https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/1037510.html#1037510
69 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1049102 ID: f46656

>>1049071
Wings need to move a lot to fly so the pauldrons would probable be more trouble than help. Excluding that belts and pouches seem function.

>>1049097
The skirt may restrict how far apart she can move the legs.
Would this claw accessories be glued in place? They would need to be attached to a custom glove with buckles to stay in place.

>>1049028
For the most part this seem very functional. If votes count my is for this.
The belts doesn't seem to serve any function as they are, but they could be support for pouches.
The sleeves got to go, they interfere with the feathers.
>>
No. 1049103 ID: e27f22
File 166827854190.png - (84.57KB , 1059x1112 , Illustration.png )
1049103

>>
No. 1049647 ID: 8483cf
File 166889670516.png - (42.30KB , 579x500 , LF6c_11.png )
1049647

>>1049002
Apricot thinks goggles are cool. She has at least three pairs.

>>1049026
I ask what she’s used to wearing, and Apricot mentions her first part-time job was a mail carrier. She’s used to flying long distances with a payload, despite her small stature.

>>1049028
Apricot’s current scouting and ground attack outfit has buckles for payload release as well as places for Apricot to grab on to, but it’s relatively unarmored.

>>1049052
Autumn insists Apricot try on a nightie to kill time while the shopkeep works on a few adjustments to her armor. It’s a huge hit with the Murder members, but I don’t see the big deal. At least it doesn’t take up much space in Autumn’s inventory.

>>1049071
This outfit is a solid choice for defending attacks from above and maintaining light weight. However, Apricot refuses to wear her aerial dogfighting armor without pants.

“I’m a big city bird with big city fashion sense. The pantsless look is so backwater bird,” Apricot declares with utter finality.

>>1049097
Likewise, Apricot also refuses to skimp on her top. The dressed-down look is so provincial.

“Wait,” Autumn says. “Didn’t you come from a small little-“

“SHHH!”

>>1049103
Apricot can put on tee shirts, but taking them off is an adventure all by itself. Plus the sleeves get in the way of her feathers.

Apricot is mixing and matching among different sets of armor. I agree that she should likely armor her talons and/or thighs, but as we’ll be on a reconnaissance mission, this is a preventative measure against unexpected enemies more than anything else. If we actually run into a spirit, there’s very little Apricot can do other than point out its location and relay it to me to finish off with my blade, Samhain.

It would be a terrific help if any of Taranis’s Murder could communicate with me over long distance. I ask if they know any spells that would make communication easier and clearer than using the coded bird calls I normally do. Apricot and Autumn don’t have anything like that. Taranis hesitates, but eventually shakes his head. He’s hiding something, I can tell, but I won’t press him over something so minor.

What genuinely concerns me is that we’ll be searching the area adjacent to where I saw the uncleansed circle of ritual druidic combat. If my old Circle is using that place to fight against other Circles, they’ll likely have a presence in the area. They won’t want to make it known, of course, and Autumn isn’t well-trained enough to spot my Circle’s warriors, scouts or pick out their thralled wildlife. I’ll have to do that myself.

I sincerely do not want to encounter any Circle members, even Uí Liatháin. If they make their presence known, it’s because they have issues with someone. Usually brought up at point of blade, claw or arrow. And that’s assuming we- they- don’t just kill their target without giving it a chance to fight.

Circle members will ignore Apricot, Autumn and Taranis; the Murder is utterly beneath their notice. For me… well, I’ve operated out of neutral territory for years and haven’t run into them yet. But that was before the fights started. My one advantage is that no Circle expects my ruined eye to be working again. I’m the only one of the group who stands a chance at spotting the signs of an elven ambush and surviving. I’m also the only one worth ambushing from their point of view. Again, that’s assuming any of the Circles have an active presence in the area.

With all that said…

Do I give Apricot any advice on whether to armor specific parts of her body? Which armor set/s should she choose?
>>
No. 1049652 ID: e51896

Knee armor and skirt of >>1049097
Shoulder armor, top, of >>1049071
metal talon claw shoes of >>1049028
bag to carry stuff in of >>1049026
goggles of >>1049002
pajamas for night time camping of >>1049052
And finally, this symbol somewhere on her top >>1049103

A little bit of one thing from each of the costumes
>>
No. 1049656 ID: e51896
File 166890108884.png - (356.24KB , 1059x2224 , gear.png )
1049656

>>1049652
pictured is what I'm talking about

One with scarf, one without. (scarf might be a little much since it covers the shoulder armor, but I'll leave it up to Donut and other suggestions)
>>
No. 1049660 ID: b4571d

>>1049656
this is a really good get-up, I personally would go for further the look of hoplites, if its armor she needs leave her arms bare, give her greaves and a muscle cuirass!
>>
No. 1049661 ID: b4571d

NO PANTS THOUGH! Just a birdly skirt...
>>
No. 1049662 ID: dee951

>>1049661

If it's not some kind of leather armor skirt thing with strips of armor hanging down, you definitely want it to have pleats and not be so tight, so your legs have the most freedom of movement!
>>
No. 1049666 ID: dee951

I also REALLY don't like those poorly designed pauldrons (they REALLY restrict wing movement), nor do I like the memetic design.

Honestly, this:

>>1049028

With only the short sleeves removed so as not to impact wing movement, is perfectly fine.
>>
No. 1049677 ID: 629f2e

>>1049097

Honestly, this is my favorite of the lot. It's got my vote.

Wouldn't mind adding the top from >>1049071 if she feels this is a bit too lacking in shirt. Leave off the shoulder bits though, they're a bit much.
>>
No. 1050075 ID: 8483cf
File 166926150262.png - (63.19KB , 855x1094 , LF6c_12.png )
1050075

Apricot’s basic combat gear is lightweight and protects her upper thighs; armoring her lower legs isn’t as necessary, since she can tuck her legs in if she needs to protect herself from enemy fire. I point out that a trained fighter is going to try swinging at her as she attacks, and I recommend she protect against glancing strikes by wrapping her talons and legs in tight, rigid bandages and leather boots that allow maximum mobility without adding too much weight.

The end result is fairly decent protection against anyone that’s not an elf.

Autumn is very proud of her adventurer. Taranis gives a head bob of approval.

With that, we head out to the woods outside Minga. Autumn’s inventory has enough supplies for a one-night trip for two, and I’m more than comfortable roughing it. The only disadvantage is that I’m not able to change into my ghille gear I created specifically for woodland stealth; I’m stuck in my cloak, but it’ll do just fine with a simple camouflage spell. Anything to avoid going back to the adventurers’ guild and dealing with angry witches. Speaking of which, I’ll have to ask Taranis more about that later if we have time away from his minions.

It takes a few hours for us to hike to the edge of the area that malevolent spirits are suspected to be haunting. Autumn hops inside the pouch on the small of Apricot’s back (perfect for dropping things out of mid-flight, and keeping her safe at high speeds) and they fly high into the air. Taranis heads in a different direction to cover more area. We’ve gone over the bird calls we’re to use if we find trouble, and agree to meet up at a designated point in a few hours.

I stick to the ground, and begin my search for things out of the ordinary.

I find nothing.

No signs of ritual combat. No blood or carcasses from spirits of bloodshed. No signs of desperate overhunting or prey starvation, either. Interestingly, the insect population is far below what it should be, and there’s even fewer as I progress inward. It’s almost as if the woodland creatures have just… abandoned the area. The silence is unnerving.

I slow my search after an hour. My senses are on high alert for any signs of movement, sounds of life, or traces of covered tracks. Still nothing.

Something is terribly wrong.

I find a peculiarly shaped rocky outcropping on a slope. It’s a convenient landmark, one I remember from decades ago, and plot my position relative to my Druidic Circle. It’s about a day and a half’s trek from the edge of our territory, and it’s a straight shot from this landmark to the nearest rival Circle as the crow flies.

I peer between the rocks, to the center, where the largest formation is. There’s a straight, narrow slice on the biggest one, cut impossibly deep.

I pull out Samhain and place its blade inside the cut. It slides cleanly through the groove. A perfect match.

My brother was here, and he wants everyone to know it.

-----

I meet up with Apricot, Autumn and Taranis as planned. We pick a spot to camp at, thankfully far from my brother’s mark.

Taranis met up with a flock of starlings passing through. They didn’t spare him much time, but they did tell him this specific area was no longer good to find food in. There are no insects, and the berries and nuts have all gone dry and husky, lacking any nutrients. They told him that it’s safe to spend the night here, but no birds are comfortable spending any time longer than necessary.

Autumn and Apricot haven’t been able to find any signs of spirits or paranormal activity. Theoretically, there might be a spirit that leeches nutrients out of the soil and scares off the wildlife, but I don’t believe a single spirit could affect the area we searched today without leaving any marks, or setting off Autumn’s attunement to magical disturbances. What we’re dealing with is something that’s scared off everything and left nothing.

The sun is setting, and we’ve found no hard evidence of what might be causing the depopulation.

Apricot wants to make camp. Autumn asks if she wants to try on her new nightie, and Taranis cheers the idea. Apricot looks to me with those big bird eyes and asks if I want to call it a night.

I think Apricot’s confused an expedition for a sleepover. She’s far too cavalier.

On the other hand, this is my home turf, and I know the signs of danger and what to watch out for, even from my Circle. It used to be a well-traveled area for adventurers, until the word got out about sprits. My Circle’s eyes may be elsewhere at the moment, and even if they do somehow know I’m here and send a scout to ask what I’m doing, they won’t know I’ve got my ruined eye working again.

It’s a calculated risk, especially considering I don’t know what’s going on. But on the other hand, a little bait might draw out answers.

Should we call it a night?
1. Yes, and tell Apricot, Autumn and Taranis to relax and have fun. Apricot will probably put on her new nightie.
2. Yes, but tell Apricot and the team to stay armored and ready for anything.
3. No, return to Minga and report back now. We’ll still be paid for the day’s scouting work.
>>
No. 1050076 ID: a7a180

2.
>>
No. 1050082 ID: e51896

I originally went with 2, but I think I'll go with 1 instead.
>>
No. 1050111 ID: dee951

2, at least those types of armor that isn't unreasonable to sleep in -- there is a set of armor where you can reasonably do that, yes?
>>
No. 1050112 ID: 629f2e

2, Some precautions are necessary. 3 sounds safer, but you could be ambushed on the way back while you're exhausted. Better to get some rest and try in the morning, while being ready in case of a late night attack.
>>
No. 1050227 ID: 8483cf
File 166945790212.png - (128.66KB , 501x500 , LF6c_13.png )
1050227

I tell Autumn and Apricot to stay armored and ready. Apricot’s armor is lightweight for flying, so she can sleep in it comfortably.

I volunteer to take second watch, since I could probably just stay up all night anyway. It gives Apricot, Autumn and Taranis time to wind down after their day. I lie back against a tree and let my thoughts wander, keeping a half-conscious ear to the woods, and letting my ruined eye keep watch for suspicious movements through the shadows of the trees. Soon enough it’s my turn to take watch, and when I do, I hear a distinct, high-pitched single-tone whistle, barely more than a breeze through the branches. It’s almost impossible to distinguish from the wind, but if you know to listen for it, it’s there.

My Circle is calling me. I surrepetitiously scan the surroundings, and find a single hunched figure a few dozen meters away. There aren’t any others- it’s a note meant to summon me specifically.

I nudge Taranis into wakefulness and whisper to him to keep back and be ready to rouse Autumn and Apricot if I give the signal. He nods and takes flight, and I send the reply whistle back. Three quick clicks come back: we’re to meet at the midpoint of where those clicks came from.

I make my way forward and spy a familiar face.

“Ailín,” I say quietly.

“Ráichéalín,” he responds. “I am happy to see you well.”

“And you,” I say. “Did you receive my messages about the Spirit of Bloodshed?”

“We were already aware of the situation,” he says. “I am here on another matter. There is no time for pleasantries, I’m afraid. Your brother wishes to warn you of an impending conflict, likely greater than any you have seen before. He recommends you seek shelter elsewhere. It would be a tragedy for you to be caught up in it without knowledge, and if you were to be captured by another Circle, it would force Ciarán to respond.”

“How sentimental.” I say, crossing my arms. “You can already guess my response. My family’s made it clear they wished I’d died instead of getting these scars. Why would Ciarán care if a failure like me got captured?”

“You are still his sister,” Ailín says. “A slight to a member of the Circle cannot go unanswered.”

“Of course.” The unspoken implication is that it’s not my honor my brother would need to defend, but his. “I take it he’s been answering other slights to his honor in ritual combat. He’s getting sloppy. Skipping steps in the ritual, letting spirits congregate. Leaving obvious marks where he’s been.”

“Ciarán’s name echoes in the forest,” Ailín nods. “He has become mighty since you left. He has risen to take up your mantle, and done so admirably.”

“Well, good for him,” I say, turning my head aside. “But he’s reckless. The humans are noticing the side effects of the Circle’s work. Just how much blood has my brother spilled in these rituals? How many challengers to his authority has he put down?”

“Many, and he has done so in pursuit of a greater goal. We are no longer binding animals to our will. Instead, Ciarán has found more powerful thralls. Ones we have not seen since twoscore years ago.”

Forty years. That was the time of the great fire. I can’t remember the details- I was too young. But everyone in the Circle knows what horrors the fire banished.

“He’s trying to summon them?” My throat is almost too dry to say it. “The Airceacháin. Father would have beat him bloody for even saying the name. Does my mother know about this madness?”

“No,” Ailín says softly. “She has lain down her arms forever.”

The air chills. My legs go weak.

“M-Mom?” A hand goes to my good eye unbidden, and despite everything, I can’t keep the tears from coming. “She’s gone?”

“It was a good death,” Ailín says. “A great battle. She killed many Clann an lasair before falling. It’s been more than a year, and they still haven’t dared challenge us.”

“A year?” An icy hand wraps around my gut and squeezes tight, filling my throat with sick, acrid bile. “Ciarán didn’t even… not even a single… he… he really does wish me dead, doesn’t he?”

“I’m sorry, Ráichéalín.”

“Fuck you.” I spit at his feet, tears threatening to spill down my cheek. “You didn’t tell me, either. How hard could have been? Just a simple fucking letter.”

“It would have changed nothing. We were far from home, deep within what was once Iasair land. You wouldn’t have been able to-”

“I know! I know that. But she’s my… was my mother. Once the battle was over, Ciarán could have invited me to Mom’s pyre. He couldn’t even let me say goodbye to her, could he?!”

“You know as well as I that our rites are closely kept,” Ailín says, his voice as empty as his heart. “You are not a warrior of the Uí Liatháin. Not anymore.”

“And I’m better off for it.”

Ailín doesn’t respond.

I take a deep, shuddering breath. I can barely hold myself back. I want to murder the elf I thought was my friend since we were children.

“So that’s it?” I ask. “You’ve come here to… to tell me there’s nothing left for me? That I’m not wanted? That I’m free to go? Well, I don’t fucking think so. I’ve got a place here, now.”

“With the humans?” Ailín gestures toward Minga. “You are selling scraps for coin. You could be so much more. And what will you do now? Will you tell the humans that the elves are warring once again? Scurrying in their backyard, growing in power? What will you do, Ráichéalín? Share our secrets with outsiders? Lead them to our beds, as a traitor to your kin?”

“How dare you?!” My voice cracks. “Is that what you really think of me? That I’d stoop so low? Slit my own people’s throats? Fuck you, Ailín. I thought you knew me better, but I’m obviously wrong. Wrong about so many things, and people, that… that are… important, and… and… I…”

A sob bursts out of my throat and I clap a hand to my mouth, finding it wet with tears. My shoulders hitch, and I feel a great, dull emptiness inside my chest that’s growing with every breath.

There’s a soft flutter of wings, and a gentle caress of feathers. When did Taranis land on my shoulder? He’s supposed to be hanging back, and… I don’t care. I just don’t care anymore. I cry into Taranis’s wings until I don’t have any tears left.

Ailín is gone.

I walk back to camp. Apricot and Autumn are still sleeping.

Taranis takes watch and I fall into a deep, deep sleep.

------

When I wake, I find Apricot and Autumn preparing breakfast. Taranis is gone, probably on patrol.

“Oh! You’re up!” Apricot says. “How are you feeling? Taranis said to let you sleep in. Are you okay?”

Okay? Why would I not be-

Oh.

“Leave me alone,” I say, and wrap my cloak tight around me.

I thought I was cast out before, but now, I truly am alone. Alone in every way that matters.

No more adventuring. No more exploring. I just want to curl up and wither away.

I’m done.
>>
No. 1050232 ID: 15c72a

>>1050227
Your brother is out of control. Let me guess- this barren land is like this because of what your brother is trying to summon? Don't you have a duty to protect nature, and stop him? You don't have to betray any secrets... maybe all you have to do is beat him. How did his skill compare to yours? Does he have the eye? Perhaps even a half-working seer's eye will be enough to counteract his, and his overconfidence will be his undoing. You could beat him in ritual combat, then use your position to force the druids to heal the land they've been abusing...

Or maybe the solution lies in the very land itself. Surely the forest must realize what is happening, and that the druids no longer serve nature? Turn the force of the very world against them, and teach them the lesson they have forgotten-- that all live by the mercy of life itself.
>>
No. 1050237 ID: bc4cda

Has he given you a single reason not to report them to relevant authorities? That they're family? Not according to them they aren't. Take that spite and throw it on the pyre for fuel.
>>
No. 1050253 ID: e51896

Think about why Serah, Landi, and Dotti wanted you on their team in the first place, why you were hired, and how well you've protected them this whole time. think about why Taranis chose you to be your companion. If you can't figure out why, ask them. Realize in a way, you have a circle of your own with them.

In fact, here's an idea, while your asking Landi, remember that she has that review coming up with Salt. Maybe if Salt sees that Landi can get Rae out of that slump she is in regarding her circle, it might be a big enough change to help Landi pass. In any case, maybe go talk to Landi about helping you get through your issues.

Alternatively, Maybe you should search out where your mother's grave is at and pay your respects for some closure at least. I'm not sure where it might be, but maybe it could be where your Circle used to hang out a lot in.

But really, don't be an adventurer for yourself and for anyone's approval, become an adventurer to help people who needs it, like Taranis and his witch problem. He trusts you to have his back, just like you trusted him to have yours.
>>
No. 1050258 ID: 629f2e

What a jerk.

"He has become mighty since you left. He has risen to take up your mantle, and done so admirably."

Dude could have just said "He has become mighty" and left it there. Instead he went out of his way to emphasize your failure in his phrasing, contrasting it with how your bro has taken to it well in the way you should have.

"You are selling scraps for coin. You could be so much more."

What the fuck is he talking about? What part of "My family’s made it clear they wished I’d died instead of getting these scars" is he not comprehending here. You aren't wanted there, so you have effectively been FORCED to find your own life outside of it. Why the hell is he shitting on what you've made for yourself and acting like you should just come back to the circle, when it was the circle that seemed to decide it didn't want you? Like, you deciding you still want to be part of the circle doesn't change the fact that nobody there has even the minimum quantity of affection you would need to dedicate yourself to them. Not one fucking letter about mom.

For the record, Ailín didn't deny that your brother wants you dead. He only said "I'm sorry" when you suggested it. So why is he trying to push you into coming back in the same conversation?

Look, my point is that Ailín went out of his way to not simply give you the information he needed to, but to try to guilt you into going back to a place where you aren't welcome. And the fact that you aren't welcome isn't because you're not good enough, it's because they aren't.

You've met people with the capacity to care about people who've made mistakes. Serah kept Landi around in the face of all her screw-ups and bad habits; you had to go on an entire quest to the Terrorscale caves because Dotti amnestied someone, and she's still a member of the party you're all watching out for; and speaking of your failures to the others hasn't seemed to degrade their opinions of you any.

You don't ignore the bad shit, you just accept it. Try to do better next time. If the people of your circle can't accept you because of one screw up that they basically set you up for by tossing you to the wolves before you were ready, then you shouldn't go back to them. They're the ones who need to change, not you. And judging by this conversation with Ailín, they aren't ready yet.

Let's talk about what you should do.

Cuddle with Taranis. It'll make you feel better.

Go back and talk to Serah. You don't want to betray the circle, but the fact is that they've been getting sloppy, and it's putting innocent people in danger. They cannot just be leaving Spirits of Bloodshed behind for others to stumble upon. Something needs to be done, and if you don't have all the answers on the best way to handle it then Serah will. This isn't you being a traitor, it's about protecting others from being caught in the crossfire.

Spend some time with your friends. You could use the distraction.
>>
No. 1050259 ID: e5709d

...You know what? Your brother doesn't deserve a fair fight. The little psychopath is on the verge of starting a war. And for what? To help a demon lord covertly transport an entire army, all because he can't even tell chaos from order anymore?

Screw your secrets. He needs to be stopped, by any means necessary. The province, for all its flaws, doesn't deserve a fucking horde to rape it raw. This could even ruin the continent. Warn the entire country. Rally every human, dwarf, and dragon you can scream to. Stop your family from going down in history as The Hellbringers.

If he wants to slaughter families just to provoke a fight, you'll dump the whole Royal Army on his ass.

And as for Ailín? It's clear that he's simply a tool. His loyalty to your family is used for the purposes of bigotry and genocide. He's been groomed to believe that the more humans he stomps on, the more honor and respect he brings you and your family. His delusions are not worth the lives of your friends. You may need to neutralize him as well, if only to bring the potential body count down by a few hundred.
>>
No. 1050287 ID: 15c72a

Maybe we're focusing too much on what your family is doing. You need to find another purpose? Commune with nature, center yourself, maybe find out if it wants you to do something.
>>
No. 1050347 ID: 8483cf
File 166959073779.png - (37.29KB , 540x329 , LF6c_14.png )
1050347

There’s food in front of me, but I’d just vomit it back up if I ate any.

There’s whispering around me, but I don’t listen. I curl up tight into my cloak and smother myself in darkness.

I’m not sure when it happens, but at some point I feel Taranis nestled against me.

He’s got a life to live. Having fun. Stealing stuff. Migrating around. Living it up. All things I don’t want to do.

I poke my head out of my cloak. Taranis hops in front of me, beady little eyes glimmering. Apricot and Autumn are sitting in a tree, keeping watch for… I’m not sure what. The camp is packed up. My food is gone.

“Go with them,” I say.

Taranis shakes his head.

“You don’t get it,” I say, voice hoarse. “I quit. We’re through.”

Taranis squawks loudly and hops down to my hands holding my cloak tight. He pecks and nips them. Hard. When I pull them away and let go of the cloak, he places himself right in my palms.

“He’s not leaving you,” Autumn says softly. “Neither are we.”

“We’re all going back to Minga,” Apricot insists. “And, fair warning, I’ve carried heavier loads than you with Autumn’s strength spells. So you’re coming back with us one way or another.”

I don’t respond. Taranis is warm and fluffy. It’s kind of nice to cuddle him. Just a little.

At some point I find myself walking again, on the road back Minga.

-------

There’s a knock at my door.

“Rae? Are you in there?”

It’s Serah.

I don’t care.

“Rae, I’m leaving some food outside,” Serah says. “Taranis and his friends told us what happened. I’m sorry, and… if you want to talk, I’m here.”

I go back to sleep.

-------
>>
No. 1050348 ID: 8483cf
File 166959075141.png - (50.14KB , 450x352 , LF6c_15.png )
1050348

There’s fluttering and flapping, and my window blows open to admit Taranis and Landi.

“Room service!” Landi says. A sparkle of inventory magic grows into a glimmer, and a platter of sandwiches and vegetables appear on my desk. “Can’t let good food go to waste. Seriously, you should see some people’s reactions to it. Eat up!”

Taranis lands next to me and nudges my hand. I don’t bother to reply.

“Wow,” Landi says. “You should see the look on Taranis’s face right now, girl. He’s, like, super worried about you. And it’s making me worried too. You sure you don’t want to eat anything?”

“No,” I say.

“Well, it’s here for you when you want it. Can I get you anything else? I know you like books, right? Yeah, I’ll grab some books for ya. Any book you want. Seriously, any. I’ve got a friend who works for literally the biggest library ever. We’ve got myths and fables and stories you barely remember.”

“Just leave me alone.”

“Sure, sure,” Landi says. “But I don’t have anything to do today. I put off my performance review with Big Sodium, so all I have on my calendar is to hang out with you. Guess you and Taranis are gonna have to live with it.”

That’s enough to get me to roll over. “You what? Your performance review?” I remember I agreed to let Landi dress me up for some reason. Was that supposed to be earlier today? Oh, shit...

I let her down. I let Landi down like the complete fucking failure I am.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble into the blankets. “I’m so sorry.”

“No! Nonono!” Landi says. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure Nancy Clarice will be happy if I, like, turn Dotti’s fur green or something. It’s not a big deal at all. We’ve got bigger issues here, like a sad elf. I’m here for you.”

“Landi,” I say, voice rising, “You need to go talk with your djinn. Now. Please.”

“Too late,” Landi says. “I already told her I’ve got an emergency on my hands, so that meeting is kaput. I’ll find something that’ll make it up to her, and that’s my problem, not yours.”

I’m too stupid, forgetful and slow to help Landi. I can’t help anyone.

I push Taranis aside and roll over, facing away from them both.

What do Landi and Taranis do?
>>
No. 1050349 ID: e5709d

Use your combined magic to pull Raelynn straight out of bed and up to Salt.
>>
No. 1050353 ID: e51896

Landi realizes that getting Rae out of her depression might actually help her succeed in her performance review with Salt. She decides to do what Rae said and summons salt right now, and tell her the performance review is back on, and that she is going to attempt to make a depressed elf find a reason to keep on living. That should be a big enough change to succeed in the performance review.

Now to figure out HOW to make Rae feel better. Will figure something out in a future post.
>>
No. 1050366 ID: 5499f4

Remember when Landi dusted people at a party and it enhanced the mood? Do that here Landi! Goooo fairy drugs.

In all seriousness just using a light spritz of dust on her to get her into a lightly more active state to have her like vent or talk or act and then you can go "So I didn't actually use that much dust on you" And get Rae all emberassed and in a somewhat functional mood. It won't resolve it all, but this isn't an immediately resolvable thing, getting her to not wallow is the first step.
>>
No. 1050373 ID: 15c72a

>>1050348
Landi wants extra credit for her performance review, and shaking Rae out of her funk is indeed a big change. So she is very motivated to do it.

Hmmm... the witches might be able to help as well. Perhaps Landi can arrange a trade? The panties, in exchange for their expertise in bringing someone out of depression.
>>
No. 1050638 ID: e51896

I just thought of something, but in order for it to work, Taranis is going to have to sacrifice one of his beloved trophies. But it is for the greater good, to save Rae's life... AND it might also help a certain priestess out.

So right now, Rae have lost all faith, in herself, and in everyone, in life. So what we might need to do is bring her to somebody who is an expert on faith in order to learn how to have faith in herself again, and that person is: Priscilla, the Priestess of Peace!

We need to take Rae to The Church of Eirene to see Priscilla so that she can give some Rae some advice from her sermons on the goddess Eirene, and learn to have faith in herself again.

Now, I'm not expecting Rae will convert to this religion, but I think at least hearing stories from Priscilla about the religion may have some lessons Rae could learn from.

Also, this could help Priscilla out too, her church has been pretty low on attendance. Maybe Rae being there will make Priscilla a little happier that there is someone willing to listen to her preach.

Now, in order to actually GET Rae over there, we'll need to make the ultimate sacrifice, and give Rae Priscilla's panties. the panties have the religion of the goddess Eirene's logo on it, so that might give Rae some incentive to at least go there to return them to Priscilla. From there, perhaps Priscilla will see how depressed Rae is, and invite her in for one of her sermons.
>>
No. 1051665 ID: 8483cf
File 167096873710.png - (75.54KB , 916x893 , LF6c_16.png )
1051665

“If you really don’t wanna eat, that’s fine ,” Landi says. “Naptime again, huh? Can I join?”

I don’t reply.

There’s a tiny flutter of wings and a sudden warmth on my cheek as Landi pulls my hair over her like a blanket.

She’s insane. What if I roll over and trap her? Fairy force field or not, she’d be stuck. Well, it doesn’t matter. I’m just going to lie here and wither away. It’s best for everyone.

Talons click-clacking across my bookshelf. Taranis is pacing.

He should go find someone else to adventure with. Someone who actually wants to adventure. Someone who can actually deal with the fallout of whatever he’s been stealing from the witches at the guild.

----

Taranis is VERY WORRIED about Raelynn, and is thinking of eating crow to make her feel better. He’s dragged her into his feud with the witches, and it’s making him feel bad.

He can RETURN some or all of his Witchy trophies and try to make peace with the witches;
He can “FIND” one or both of Priscilla’s trophies and try to get her help cheering Rae up;
Or try SOMETHING ELSE.

Losing trophies will make Taranis’s collection LESS IMPRESSIVE to lady birds.

>>
No. 1051666 ID: 629f2e

Why don't you just return the magic panties? Everything else should be easily replaceable, the witches won't come after you over mere garments, but those panties have put a target on your friend's back just as much as your own. It'll be a tragic loss, they were pretty darn sweet, but parting with them will do the most to make things better for Rae.
>>
No. 1051667 ID: a7a180

No Taranis, don't become a cannibal!
Help Priscilla find some of her stuff.
>>
No. 1051673 ID: 15c72a

>>1051665
Return the slaaaaaaab
I mean the panties.
>>
No. 1051677 ID: 322af8

Don't return a thing. In fact he should steal more trophies instead. Become more powerful.
>>
No. 1051693 ID: 62f9e7

I dont think giving the witches their stuff back is going to help much. They are already angry at Rae, and I feel Rae will think Taranis didnt need her help dealing with the witches if we give the panties back, making her feel more useless.

Instead, Priscilla is our best bet. She is an expert at finding inner peace considering she worships a peace god. I say we give her her stuff back and bring her to Rae

OR

better yet, this: >>1051677 SOMETHING ELSE. But in a cute way

DONT return anything, and instead, STEAL Pricillia's sash that she has around her shoulders.

BUT make sure she see's you taking it, and try to get her to chase you. Slow down if you need to have her catch up. Bring it to Rae's room, while having Pricillia follow you, and as soon as she is at the destination, give her the sash back, and get her attention on Rae.
>>
No. 1051934 ID: 8483cf
File 167116888622.png - (7.71KB , 353x256 , LF6c_17.png )
1051934

By Odin, Taranis got himself into this situation by stealing clothes, and he’s going to get out of it the same way! He ruffles his feathers and takes flight out the window.

I drift in and out of reality, drinking deep from a fountain of emptiness. The bed is warm and comfy. Safe. Peaceful. I float on that abyss of nothingness and let it buoy me upwards.

Emptiness is good. An empty world feels no pain.

An empty stomach, however…

I hear a growling. It’s not a bird, bear or beast. It’s me.

Landi hops out of my hair. I shiver and hold the blanket tight. When did this room get so cold?

There’s food on my desk. It’s a long way away. Not worth getting up.

Landi, without a word, grabs a spoon and loads a slice of bread up with jam, and bodily lifts the whole slice over her head, carrying it straight to me.

I accept it, wolf it down and move to get the tray. The rest of the food is good too.

The room isn’t so cold anymore.
>>
No. 1051935 ID: 8483cf
File 167116890704.png - (72.88KB , 450x514 , LF6c_18.png )
1051935

There’s a knock at the door.

“Hello?” a girl’s voice calls out. “Hello, is anyone here?”

“Yeah!” Landi replies. “Who’s there?”

“I’m Priscilla. Ah, a little bird asked me to drop by. He’s very insistent.”

“Taranis is back!” Landi bobs in front of me. “Can Priscilla come in? Do you wanna get out of your jammies?”

I shrug.

“Come on in, Priscilla!” Landi says.

The door opens, and Taranis swoops in, landing on my bed like the cat that caught the canary. A small priestess follows behind. She’s barely taller than Dotti… but if I count her fox ears, Dotti probably has the edge.

“Now it’s a party!” Landi declares. “Nice work, Taranis. I dunno who this Priscilla is, but strangers are just friends you haven’t gotten wasted with yet.”

“A party?” Priscilla looks on in confusion. “I didn’t expect one of Odin’s stormcrows to have that in mind when I followed him here. Are you sure this is a party?”

“Of course I’m sure!” Landi says. She zips up and flutters her wings eagerly, getting dust all over my meal. I frown at her and move the tray away. “Um, I mean, if Raelynn wants one.”

“No parties.”

“She speaks!” Landi emits a high-pitched squee and I cover my ears. “Come on, Rae, say something else! I wanna hear what you’re thinking!”

“Hungry.”

“She’s hungry! C’mon, let’s go get more food!” Landi seizes Priscilla by the sleeve and drags her out the door.

“What’s going on?”

“I’ll catch ya up downstairs,” Landi says. “First, though, a question. Is Eirene cool enough to let you turn just a little water into wine? Like, not a lot, just enough to make things fun.”

“I’d have to ask her,” Priscilla says, her voice fading as she follows Landi down the hall. “If it was just a little, I guess I could do it just to be social…”

“Girl we are gonna be best friends forever.”
>>
No. 1051937 ID: 8483cf
File 167116894418.png - (8.54KB , 200x200 , LF6c_19.png )
1051937

Taranis happily watches me eat some more food. I don’t know why he brought that priestess here, but it’s probably to try and cheer me up somehow. That’s nice of him, but I don’t want to know how he did it.

A priestess of Eirene… wasn’t she a minor goddess of peace? What is Taranis trying to accomplish? And did she say something about Taranis being one of Odin’s birds? I’m curious, but more hungry than curious. A priestess is an odd choice of companionship, it’s almost like he wants to hold a wedding, or a-

That familiar bleak emptiness descends down on me.

I don’t want my own funeral for my mother. In fact, I don’t want to think about my mother at all. A priestess of peace? My mother would have nothing to do with her, and even if her spirit hasn’t departed beyond the veil (which most sentient spirits do after a funeral), she’d reject any kind of communion with Priscilla. And it’s been more than a year. She’s almost certainly moved on.

My mother felt the same way as my brother about me after I failed her. She was the one who cast me out. I don’t want to be hurt by seeking her out and learning she’s rejected me yet again.

Still… if there’s even the smallest chance I could talk to her one last time…

That emptiness turns to a dull, throbbing ache.

Should I ask Priscilla to try and commune with my mother?
>>
No. 1051938 ID: 15c72a

>>1051937
Yes. Tell her you have your eye working, to redeem yourself, then tell her about your brother(or the other way around?). Ask what must be done.
>>
No. 1051941 ID: e51896

You should, but... not yet. I think you should be emotionally ready first.

Talk to Priscilla, let her know your situation, and have her thoughts and advice... her holy advice.
>>
No. 1051942 ID: 629f2e

The alternative is to sit here and do nothing. What do you have to lose?
>>
No. 1051947 ID: cdd196

>>1051937
Contacting your dead, abusive mother seems like a great way to get told your worthless by a ghost, lets skip that particular emotional ordeal.
>>
No. 1051962 ID: e51896

>>1051947
Exactly this. But I wouldn't dismiss the opportunity to talk to mother entirely. Just, not now when Rae is in this state. As I said, it's best to have Rae fix her mental state with Priscilla, and the others before she can be better prepared to deal with her mother.
>>
No. 1052157 ID: 38349b

Commune with mom but make sure Landi and the others are there if you can, don’t do it solo, maybe they can let out some choice words you never thought you could say to her, or at least they can understand where you come from if it goes south and provide better support to help!
>>
No. 1052183 ID: 8483cf
File 167139729455.png - (14.50KB , 500x350 , LF6c_20.png )
1052183

I have to reach my mother. This is my one, final chance to redeem myself.

I finish my food just as Priscilla returns with Landi.

The food was good.

“Let me take those plates,” Priscilla says, and I don’t stop her. As she moves the dishes off my bed, I summon up the courage to ask her the most important question of my life so far.

“I need to ask something of you,” I say.

“Anything,” Priscilla replies without hesitation.

“Can… can you contact a spirit that’s already had a funeral? One that doesn’t agree with your Goddess?”

“Yes,” Priscilla says, “If the spirit accepts, and if they’ve decided to linger. It’s dangerous to do so, though, so very few sprits decide to.”

“Danger never scared this one,” I say. “Can you contact them right now?”

“I’d need to prepare the spell, and be certain I’m finding the right spirit,” Priscilla says. “May I ask… is the spirit your mother?”

I nod. Landi already filled her in. Great. I think.

“A little extra preparation is good, in that case,” Priscilla says. “Could you come by my chapel tomorrow? I’ll be tending the garden in the morning. The pumpkins and squash have a few weeks before they’re ready. I’m happy to talk with you while I work.”

“Yeah!” Landi pipes in. “Rae, you wanna help tend some gardens? It’s super relaxing.”

“Can’t I just make a donation instead?” I ask. I want this now, damn it.

“I’m sorry, but that’s not something I’m allowed to accept,” Priscilla says. “It’s a long story, but taking money for communion with the departed is specifically prohibited. That implies that the rich are closer to the heavens, when it’s actually the opposite.”

This is obviously a strategy by Priscilla to try and get me in what she thinks is the right headspace for contacting my mother. Priestesses think they’re so subtle, but they’re as transparent as glass. This is ridiculous; I just want her to try contacting my mom. Why shouldn’t I just go find a priest or priestess of a warrior god or goddess and get them to do it for me? It’s more likely to work, and mom would be happier I’d taken the extra effort to do it right. Plus they’d probably take my money instead of playing gardener.

“What if my mom is tired of waiting for me?” I ask. “What if today is the last day she can wait, and she moves on right now?”

“She might,” Priscilla says, “But time moves differently on the threshold of the veiled gates. Intent matters. If your mother wanted to move on, she would have moved on. If she wants to take the time to stay, her perception of time will speed up, so a day may seem as an hour, a minute, a day.”

“Dotti said it was like that,” Landi agrees. She swoops in and gives me another hug around my neck. “My friend Ellie’s gonna be so disappointed when she hears she can’t calculate the time dilation on the other side. Or maybe she still can. She’s smart!”

“Fine,” I agree. “One more day isn’t going to change anything.”

“You seem better,” Landi says, giving me yet another hug. “Hey, while we’ve got a priestess in the room, I have a confession to make.”

“Oh?” Priscilla says. “Don’t you want to do it in private?”

“Nah, here’s good,” Landi says. “Forgive me, priesty lady, I have sinned! I’ve totally dusted up Rae with my feel good vibes.”

“That explains a lot,” I say, glaring at her.

“It is for the Divine to judge, not mortals,” Priscilla says. “But it’s up to Rae whether to forgive you or not.

“What are the side effects, other than getting my appetite back and, apparently, a fever?” I ask.

“Depends on the person, and how I’m feeling at the moment,” Landi says. “But usually? People that get dusted just wanna party! Or they get really excited and happy. Or they start glowing blue. Usually all three.” She flutters up next to me. “I can give you some more if you wanna…”

Landi’s dust is probably already affecting my mood and judgment, but really, what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like I care about anything anymore.

Do I accept Landi’s offer for more dust?
1. No
2. Yes
3. Very Yes
>>
No. 1052184 ID: a7a180

Yes. Glowing blue sounds fun.
>>
No. 1052185 ID: e51896

>“What are the side effects, other than getting my appetite back and, apparently, a fever?” I ask.

1,

Don't do drugs... or Fairy dust. Especially while depressed. Have a bit of patience.

Rae got a fever from Landi after taking the fairy dust, her fever is going to get worse tomorrow if she takes more, and she won't be able to meet up with Priscilla to help garden and talk to mom, and will just feel worse about not being able to meet her.
>>
No. 1052186 ID: 629f2e

Yes.
>>
No. 1052188 ID: d022a2

Very yes!
Wasn't it said in the first thread that fairy dust can make you fly? As the Gelf said in the first thread, grab Landi by the wings, and spank the fairy dust out of her, then fly around town.
>>
No. 1052214 ID: 15c72a

>>1052183
1. No. You've already had some. Don't overdose.
>>
No. 1052227 ID: 94bc7c

No, let's not get Rae addicted to fairy dust or let her go to a warrior god who will help her commune with her mom right now. Like it or not, the way that seems hardest right now is the best way for her to come out healthy and sane in the long run.
>>
No. 1052231 ID: 0c2c61

Is it actually possible to overdose on Fairy Dust?
What are the effects of the use of Fairy Dust on someone with clinical depression?
What are the effects of long term Fairy Dust use?
Is there a similar substance, like some sorts of hallucinogens, that with the right ritual (read: therapy/trip sitter), can reset a humanoid brain out of clinical depression?
Can mind control magic be used therapeutically and ethically as a cure for clinical depression?
>>
No. 1052633 ID: 8483cf
File 167212165742.png - (10.55KB , 500x500 , LF6c_21.png )
1052633

“You said you felt like you had a fever,” Priscilla reminds me. “Are you sure getting dusted even more is a good idea?”

“Is it really a fever?” Landi asks. “Or is it just being cooped up under all those blankets?”

The blankets are getting hot. I’m not sweaty or anything. How long have I been lying here? Have I even showered since I came back from my trip? Deep questions which I cannot be bothered to answer.

I look over to Taranis. He looks back at me. He’s still concerned, but he’s looking to Landi.

She swoops in front of me and dims her light just enough to see her big smile

“C’mon, come with me and feel the wind on your face. Lemme take your mind off things. Tonight is a worry-free zone.”

She leans in and gives my cheek a nuzzle. She’s warm. Not the uncomfortable heat of the stifling blankets, but more a soft, soothing breeze at my back.

“No more dust,” I say, but I let her keep nuzzling.

It feels kind of nice.

“Atta girl,” Landi says. “Hey, I promise everything’s gonna be okay. No matter what.”

I don’t believe her, but that doesn’t matter. She’s trying her best.

“Hey, I have an idea,” Landi says. “Last time you picked Girls’ Night at the Library. You wanna do that again?”

I shrug.

“Oh, we have Taranis here,” Landi says. “That’s not Girls’ Night. So we can do whatever we want, and you can pick it again!”

“I don’t want to pick,” I say. “Just pick for me.”

“Are you sure?” Landi asks

“I’m sure,” I say.

Landi flutters her wings in delight. “We’re going out tonight! Girls’ Night Out With A Bird! You’re coming, too, Priscilla!”

“Is it because I can turn water into wine?”

“It’s because you’re a sweetie,” Landi giggles, “And because of that, too, yes.”

Landi takes me by the hand and drags me to the showers. I really don’t care what we do tonight, but apparently whatever they have in mind needs me to get cleaned up.

Where do Landi, Taranis and Priscilla end up taking me?
>>
No. 1052634 ID: a7a180

Orcish wrestling night at the adventurers' guild. The champion is defending his belt tonight.
>>
No. 1052641 ID: e51896

Start small. We go to the lake to go fishing. It's relaxing, it requires very little action other than attention, and is rewarding if you catch a fish. And if you don't, you have the nice relaxing ambient sound of the lake to keep you relaxed. (since Rae wasn't doing much to begin with.) Taranis can keep attention to the bobber if Rae isn't feeling it. I'm sure she'll get some interest if a bite happens and she gets the incentive to reel in the catch.

Landi had other plans for the lake tho, she wanted to go here to have Priscilla turn as much of the lake as she can into wine.
>>
No. 1052643 ID: e51896

>>1052641
To add on, if Rae succeeds in catching a fish, maybe she'll feel a little more proud of herself and not feel like a complete failure, and motivate her a little to try other things
>>
No. 1052925 ID: e51896

Another option, visit Priscilla's church and listen to her sermon
>>
No. 1052927 ID: e5709d

Go to a cat cafe! I'm sure the kittens won't eat you all alive and leave you squirming in their premature digestive systems for hours...
>>
No. 1052929 ID: 629f2e

>>1052927

If not a cat cafe, I happen to know of another establishment in town you could visit. It's rather new, but is garnering a bit of a reputation for the strange women running the shop. What better way to brighten Rae's day than with a bit of sweetness from a local bakery?
>>
No. 1053184 ID: 8483cf
File 167279652731.png - (47.87KB , 500x500 , LF6c_22.png )
1053184

I am surrounded by cats.

I am okay with this.

“Who’s a good kitty? Yesyouare! Yesyouare!” Landi says, fluffing one cat’s cheeks. The cat bats at her playfully, and she bobs around, teasing it with a quick bob and midair bounce.

Taranis has chosen to remain outside. A few cats are staring at him from the window. He stares back. I think he’s traumatized by something. Oh, well. I’ll see him again. Sometime. Whenever I’m done here. It might be a while.

A cat sits on my head.

“Cat,” I say.

The cat purrs. Can he sense my mutagen? Probably. Does he care? That’s the real question.

“Hey,” Priscilla says as she rubs a cat’s tummy. “I know you. You’re the one catching the rats around Eirene’s church.”

“These cats all have jobs,” says the waiter. He’s not wearing cat ears and I find it distressing for some reason. “They’re mousers. Don’t worry, we ensure they’re clean when they play with our guests.”

“They’re murderous fluffballs!” Landi says. “Just like Rae!”

“I am not a fluffball,” I say, but my heart isn’t in it. I should also probably object to the murderer thing, but it’s true. I should expect to get a talking to from Priscilla. She’s a priestess of peace, after all.

And… she’s not saying anything.

Aren’t priestesses supposed to evangelize?

I look at her. She looks at me.

“You okay?” Priscilla says, cocking her head to one side.

“No,” I say. “But that’s not important. You’re confusing me.”

“It is important,” Priscilla says, “And I’m sorry about the confusion. I think.”

“You aren’t as preachy as I expected,” I say bluntly. The cat on my head meows.

“Do you want me to preach? I didn’t get the feeling you would appreciate it. I mean, I can, but… there are kitties.”

My head-cat tugs on my bangs. I don’t bother to stop him.

Priscilla sees my ruined eye.

I don’t say anything.

She doesn’t say anything back.

I like her.

We order tea, scones and cat munchies, Landi’s treat. I get an extra scone for Taranis.

“So, like, I have a question for you, Priscilla,” Landi asks tentatively. “You like these cats, yeah? Even though they murder little mice and rats. Isn’t that against Eirene’s teachings of peace and stuff?”

“That’s a common misconception,” Priscilla says. “Eirene is the Goddess of Peace, yes. And violence makes her upset. But peace is often kept through upsetting means, and she understands that. Nature is violent, and it takes enlightenment to overcome it. Not everyone is enlightened.”

“That’s why petting cats is okay?”

“That’s why petting cats is okay.”

Oh.

I’m not an idiot. I can connect the lines that Landi and Priscilla both had this moralizing in mind. They’re trying to make me feel better about myself by comparing me to these cats.

I’m not bothered, though. Is it because of Landi’s dust? Is it because I’m part cat now?

It doesn’t matter. The real question is: how do I convince Landi, Taranis and Priscilla to leave me alone and let me roll around with cats for the rest of the day?
>>
No. 1053185 ID: 629f2e

Just say that that's what you want to do.
>>
No. 1053186 ID: a7a180

Use your catlike stealth to ghost them. Maybe Landi has a spell that will turn you into a cat for a day.
>>
No. 1053193 ID: ae7dbc

>>1053185
This. They'll understand.
Just tell them you genuinely appreciate them for bringing you here, and would like to be alone with the cats for comfort and silently do some thinking and self reflection on your own. Let them know youll consider going to the garden tomorrow depending how you feel after.
>>
No. 1053199 ID: 894419

>>1053185 This
If you need a cat destress then a cat destress is what you should have.
>>
No. 1053227 ID: 3f7b23

Also, after you manage to get everyone out and be alone with the cats and your thoughts, start considering a couple things:

>>1053184
>“They’re murderous fluffballs!” Landi says. “Just like Rae!”

>“I am not a fluffball,” I say, but my heart isn’t in it

>They’re trying to make me feel better about myself by comparing me to these cats.

>I’m not bothered, though. Is it because of Landi’s dust? Is it because I’m part cat now?

>>1047833
>Maybe I could even ask for her to improve my mutagen to the next level, or even try something entirely new.

>The sky’s the limit.

>Maybe cat ears?

>No. No cat ears.

Start thinking that maybe this is actually what you want deep inside, despite the weak objections to it you've been giving: to become a cat in some way. Start to imagine what it would be like to become a cat, and how much of a cat you'd want to become through Serahs mutagens. Would you just want cat ears like you thought? Or maybe you'd also want a tail, pawpads and retractable claws, fangs... being able to purr? Would you want to Be half elf and half cat, or go anthro cat, or full on cat. Wonder if you'll be happier this way

Also wonder if this is what Dotti has been feeling with her wishes to become human. Think also about asking Serah about feline mutagens sometime tomorrow before or after you visit Priscilla in the garden.
>>
No. 1053513 ID: 8483cf
File 167323672181.png - (7.35KB , 401x354 , LF6c_23.png )
1053513

This cat cafe is a good place. A calm place. No drunk adventurers slamming doors and screaming. No roommates getting into trouble. Just cats taking time off from their “jobs” to lounge.

Curious cats line up to see me. Some are outgoing. Some are suspicious. Some demand to be held.

I oblige. It feels nice.

Landi and Priscilla are sipping tea and having idle conversation I don’t feel like joining. They’re relaxed, but guarded. I can tell they’re watching me. Feeling me out. Worried about me. Well, they shouldn’t be. I’m in a good place right now.

After a few more minutes, Landi’s the one to drag me back into the conversation.

“These cats like you a lot,” she says. “Did you ever want a cat companion, Rae?”

“I thought about it,” I say. “I like cats.”

“Hell yeah! Uh, sorry ‘bout the language, priesty girl,” Landi says.

“No need to apologize,” Priscilla says.

“Taranis might not be a big fan of this place,” Landi says, “But I am.”

“I am, too,” I say. “This was a good idea, Landi. Thank you.”

“I am a fountain of great ideas!” Landi beams. “What next? You wanna go back to the adventurers’ guild? I think they’ve got wrestling tonight. Maybe even audience participation! Whattya say we get wasted and flirt with some oiled-up orcs? You know you wanna!”

“I… think I’m fine here,” I say. “I have some thinking to do, and this feels like the right place.”

“I understand,” Priscilla says. “Well, Eirene’s doors are always open. Literally. The locks are all broken; you can drop in any time you want. I’ll be in the garden tomorrow morning if you’d like to chat.”

“Hey!” Landi says. “You don’t get off so easy. Not you, Rae. Priscilla!”

“Me?”

“Yeah! We’re totally gonna go scream at some big muscly dudes.”

“Wrestling sounds violent. I’m not sure Eirene would approve…”

“That’s the secret! They’re not actually trying to hurt each other. I’ll fill you in. Come on! And Rae, put everything you order’s on me. Enjoy! I’mma take care of Taranis too and make sure he doesn’t get ambushed by those witch ladies.”

Priscilla seems even paler than normal, but allows herself to be led out the door.

That went better than expected. It’s just me, the cats, and the waiter/cat herder. Just me and my thoughts, which are unsurprisingly cat-related.

I have the option to be more cat-like if I want. These cats seem to like it just fine. Would a prehensile tail help me pull off more trick shots? Would retractable claws help in an emergency? If I had cat ears, would Taranis have to acknowledge me as the cute one? These are deep questions, but ultimately, I like my body the way it is. Maybe I could have fun changing a few things, but I’ve spent so long as I am now that I couldn’t see myself any other way.

Is this Dotti’s dilemma? She’s been a fox for her whole life, and becoming something else must be stressful and challenging. Maybe I should ask her if she wants to talk about it sometime. Is that prying? I don’t want to bother her when there’s no reason to. Besides, I have bigger conversations to have… like with my mother, if she’s still able to be reached.

I miss her. Despite everything, I miss her.

I miss her looking out for me. Teaching me. Tending my bruises and telling me everything will be okay. After dad died, she was the only one I had to encourage me. Tell me I had a bright future. That all went away when my eye was ruined. She was the one bright spot in my life, and it feels like I lost her even before she died.

I’m not angry at her. Am I? Should I be?

I wish I had that feeling of being safe again. Of being loved. Of having hope.

I miss it so, so much.
>>
No. 1053515 ID: e51896

>I wish I had that feeling of being safe again. Of being loved. Of having hope.

as far as love goes, What about Taranis and Landi? they seemed genuinely worried about you. Landi even went out of her way to cancel her evaluation with the dangerous and strict Salt, risking a whole lot just to make sure you were okay. And Taranis even went out of his way to stay with you despite your rejections, and even brought someone out of the church to help you. If that's not love, I dunno what is.

or maybe it's a sign to go out dating to find someone who could love you... if you'd like. though you did say you weren't too comfortable about it considering your eye injury, but Landi did think it was cool, and Priscilla didn't say anything about it. Maybe you need a wingwoman or something. There is somebody for everybody after all, you might not get a match all the time, but you will find somebody eventually if you tried. And if nothing matters like you've been saying it is, then what do you have to lose if you fail after trying?

For safety, Serah has provided you with a lot of money to make you feel safe, and live a better life than you had before you accepted her job to protect her earlier. You have a nice place with a roof above your head, and meals, and enough money to even have fun or buy souvenirs if you wanted, maybe even enough money to visit this cafe now and then to play with the cats.

and hope is determined by what you are hoping for currently. And right now, you do have some spark of hope. You are planning to speak to your mother after all, so in a way, you are hoping you can resolve some things with her when you talk to her.

But maybe, you also need a new goal and purpose in life to gain that spark of hope again. Since you are right now with your thoughts, with a bunch of cats calming you down. Like... maybe you'd like to spend your life protecting this town as it's guard to maintain its peace? People might appreciate your protection, and you did do a real great job in protecting Serah and her adventuring party during your adventure with them.

or maybe go out and see the world and its lovely different environments and civilizations?

I think right now, this is what you should be thinking about during this quiet moment with the cats, what do you want to do with your life right now, whether your mother forgives you or not?
>>
No. 1053522 ID: ba93b2

>>1053513
You should probably talk to Dotti. Hardly anyone takes Dotti's problems seriously, I'm sure she'd appreciate someone earnestly listening to her point of view on something so important to her identity.

As for your relationship with your mother: you have to avoid romanticizing the dead. She's not literally dead, but she's made it clear you might as well think of her like that.

The mother you had is not the mother you have. She's made choices, and they're painful, awful choices. They're not the kind of choices the mother you have memories of would make. She's isn't the mother of your memories anymore. It's a loss, something to be mourned, but not clung to out of desperation and denial. If you love her so much, you have to respect her wishes and move on from her.

That feeling of security you feel from her, it's something everyone longs to return to. We all want to feel that naiive, innocent sense of pure comfort and peace. But that's just it, it's so perfect a sense of security because it's incomplete. As adults we know better. We understand what truly threatens us now, and it's not the kinds of things we can merely fight and destroy. Life is complicated. It's up to us to build our own safety net and cover ourselves from the things that are out to get us. You don't need to be self reliant, but you do need to be the one to build it.

That's the beauty of being your own woman: you get to set your life up however works for you. You've got these wonderful friends already who are trying so hard to cheer you up. They're quirky, but each one really, honestly does love you and want your success and happiness. Is them going out of their way to make you smile not being loved? Is it not safety to be able to trust them to take care of you? Is the adventure they bring, the stability in your life they offer, not enough of a hope for a future? You have a home, at least for the foreseeable future. You have people who actively want to socialize with you, and most likely more out there in the world who feel similarly! There's adventures and mysteries out there that a woman with your skill set is well suited to. For goodness sakes, you just met someone new today who was practically falling over herself to be your friend. You still have all the potential to make an impact and be a positive influence in the world even if you're doing it with a different group than you originally envisioned. There's plenty to be hopeful for.

It all begins with accepting that the old vision for Raelynn ends here, though. If you continue trying to cling to a reality that's no longer there, then everything will look hopeless, because there's nothing you can do. You'll need to work through your feelings and pick out the acute pain from the deep seated pain to really understand where you sit on this. For now, however, things are still fresh. Don't blame yourself too much for how you're feeling. This kind of thing hurts, no matter how much we might not wish it did.
>>
No. 1053539 ID: 94bc7c

>>I wish I had that feeling of being safe again. Of being loved. Of having hope.

Imagine how those things feel, how it feels to have them. Imagine each feeling in turn, let it sit in you, take your time and savor it. If other thoughts come up that scorn you or the feelings, or try to distract you from what you're imagining, thank them for their opinion and politely set them aside. Focus on the good feelings. You're safe, you matter, you belong, you are loved.

You don't need family, or friends, or things, to have those feelings. They're already yours.
>>
No. 1053977 ID: 8483cf
File 167392803673.png - (11.49KB , 380x475 , LF6c_24.png )
1053977

The cats come in and go out of little cubbies. One aloof cat is staring at me from his hiding hole, curious but unwilling to venture out. I order a few treats from the waiter, asking for the aloof cat’s favorite kind, placing them on the cat-sized pillow beside me. Maybe she’ll join me, maybe she won’t.

I think about going back to my own cubby back at the adventurers’ guild. I’ve got a place there, sort of. Serah will recommend me to anyone else who needs someone watching their back. But would they still give me the job if they knew who I really am, and what I’ve done? Will they ever really trust me?

Circle Uí Liatháin will never take me back. My oldest friend made that clear. He told me, to my face, I needed to get far, far away from their backyard. That I should leave Minga, and never return to darken my brother’s doorstep.

It hurts. It hurts like an arrowhead lodged in my chest, knowing that I can never go home. Even after all the horrible things I’ve seen, experienced, and done, I miss the good times I can never have back. I don’t think I’ll ever really get over it. How could I? Being cast aside and treated like an outsider, by my own mother, even when she was still alive.

I want to think death has given her a new perspective. That she’ll have changed, somehow. That she has her own regrets. I won’t use the word hope; it’s not right. It’s foolish. And yet… I can’t turn that chance away. I have to try, even if it opens me up to being cut again.

I can’t go home again. So now what? Do I shrivel up and shrink away to nothing, like I wanted to this morning? Do I want it now?

The aloof cat approaches me. Cautiously. Delicately. Step by step she tests me, seeing me toy with my hair, staring at of the deformed elf in front of her, watching for any move I might make, even though I’ve played with plenty of cats already with nothing bad happening to them.

Am I that cat? Am I the wary, suspicious girl in Minga, afraid of what might happen if I go for the treats?

I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to run, to fight, to curl up and die. All I know for certain is that if I want this aching wound to heal, I need to stop the bleeding. Even if that means cauterizing it by calling back my mother for one last talk.

The cat darts up to the pillow, grabs a treat, and races back to her cubby. It feasts, eyes shining in triumph over me, even though there was no danger at all.

I tug at my bangs and touch the tender scar underneath.

I find myself reaching for the hilt of my only inheritance: one of a pair of twin shortswords. Samhain.

Should I cut my bangs?
>>
No. 1053979 ID: a7a180

No. They're nice, and whatever symbolic thing they're tied to is probably fine as is. Your eye can see through them just fine.
>>
No. 1053980 ID: e51896

Dont cut it, as it is still symbolically a part of you, no matter how much your reject it or run from it.

That said, still change your hairstyle, brush the bangs off your eye, and pull it back to make it a ponytail or something cool.

Dont reject the rough past you suffered, and instead, learn from their experience by accepting it, and strive to change for the better from it.
>>
No. 1053982 ID: 629f2e

>>1053980

What he said. Don't make a drastic call you can't take back immediately.
>>
No. 1053984 ID: 58dd24

>>1053979
>>1053980
>>1053982
man, don't you guys recognize a symbolic hairstyle change representing character development when you see one? It's a standard trope, and this one is doubly obvious, because she is literally hiding behind the hair.

Cutting the hair is not rejecting the rough past. Cutting the hair is owning it and not hiding the scars any more. And doing something that can't instantly be taken back is the whole point of the gesture, the dramatic break with the past. The commitment to the new way of doing things.

Cut that hair girl. I like your hair, but I can like a new style too.
>>
No. 1053986 ID: e51896

>>1053984
I understood the trope, I just wanted to put a different spin on it where she keeps the hair, but still changes the hairstyle to no longer cover the eye and not hiding the scars.
>>
No. 1053987 ID: 58dd24

>>1053986
Nope. Gotta cut so it can't be easily undone the moment the going gets rough. It's a whole thing.
>>
No. 1053991 ID: a7a180

>>1053987
Nope. Tired of the whole short hair = character development schtick.
>>
No. 1053992 ID: 894419

>>1053980
I like this, the bangs are a part of you like your past, but if you restyle them in a new way then its symbolic of you choosing to master that part of you rather than hide from it.
>>
No. 1053993 ID: 15c72a

>>1053977
Talk to a hairstylist first.
>>
No. 1053994 ID: dee951

>>1053992

Ya, restyle them! Go for a glam up, change your look, but nothing that can't be easily undone, yaknow? Changing the outside makes changing the inside easier!
>>
No. 1053995 ID: 38349b

> Cut bangs
>>
No. 1053996 ID: 429658
File 167393987836.png - (10.70KB , 380x475 , elf_shaved.png )
1053996

Elf shaved, spirits defeated.
>>
No. 1054007 ID: e5709d

I say, wear a half-mask. But make it badass. Add even more scars. Blood and thorns. Make up a motto and make your mask scream it. But most importantly, have it cover up any indication that your eye has power.

Because let me make this clear. The scars are disturbing. The rot in your eye is disturbing. But you know what is outright disgusting? The actual eye itself, and all the powers your parents forced onto you and your eye in a bid for power or glory, and the way they cast all of you aside when their precious eye was damaged. It's like they retroactively defiled their child before she was even born. That's how screwed up your family truly is.

While it's comforting to know that your mother did love you in her own twisted way, she was more enamored with what you could be in her eyes than what you were in the present. That is like gambling with love itself. Not in a "maybe they'll still love me or maybe they'll break up/disown me and I'll crawl into a goth" kind of way, but in a "I sincerely regret ever loving you in the first place" kind of way. They betrayed you.

And that extends to your retainers. The way the circle exiled you for sustaining a wound, rather than inflicting harm upon an innocent or dishonorably. The way your sole confidant willfully chose their clan over you.

Once, you could say that they could have had a point. That perhaps they needed someone who had strength to defend their borders and lead their people.
Now your idiot brother is on the verge of opening a portal to hell for some deal that clearly was not made for the benefit of the reasonable or empathic.
Their argument is now invalid. Fuck them all. You'll build your own legend with the tools you have, the tools they rejected.
>>
No. 1054012 ID: f76895

Keep the bangs, braiding them with friends can be quite therapeutic.
>>
No. 1054013 ID: 018165

Wow, you look badass!! You should try out a Pirate Queen type look! Lean into the fun of it!!
>>
No. 1054364 ID: 8483cf
File 167436718284.png - (38.44KB , 1000x993 , LF6c_25.png )
1054364

I grip Samhain’s hilt, pull it loose in its sheath and… don’t see the point to going through with it. Why give myself fewer options for hairstyles? In fact, if I have the option to cover my eye up every day, doesn’t that make me more courageous for choosing the option to show it off?

I’m not that great at choosing hairstyles. I don’t exactly have lots of experience in that department. What options are there, even? I could go to a stylist… I can afford one, now.

Paperdoll! Edit in a hairstyle and color for Raelynn.
>>
No. 1054370 ID: e5709d
File 167437403105.png - (86.15KB , 751x823 , Rae Haircut attempt.png )
1054370

You get the idea.
Add a half-mask and more accessories, whatever works.
>>
No. 1054373 ID: e51896
File 167437743556.png - (52.94KB , 849x1082 , hair.png )
1054373

>>
No. 1054374 ID: 08de23
File 167437902613.png - (53.67KB , 1000x993 , pdl.png )
1054374

>>
No. 1054389 ID: 681cb5
File 167440720860.png - (65.95KB , 700x700 , Metalgear.png )
1054389

Metal Gear!?
>>
No. 1054403 ID: dee951

Can someone do her up with a version of the Jack Sparrow dreadlocks and bandana and beads, to really tie into the badass pirate queen thing?
>>
No. 1054408 ID: ccbbb0
File 167442679245.png - (51.61KB , 1010x999 , Raellish elves.png )
1054408

Celtic tribal tatoos, let's go!
>>
No. 1054409 ID: ccbbb0
File 167442684314.png - (45.66KB , 1010x999 , Raered Leto.png )
1054409

Or, y'know, this.
Might work, might work.
>>
No. 1054707 ID: dee951

Some of these answers are really cruel and you all should be ashamed. Can we get some serious, constructive answers please? To help the elf look amazing and badass like she can?
>>
No. 1054756 ID: 58dd24

>>1054707
I mean, this one was pretty good >>1053996
>>
No. 1054757 ID: 75f1f5

>>1054756

The pink topknot one is pretty good too
>>1054373

Though it's a bit Aeldari...
>>
No. 1054972 ID: e5709d

>>1053996
I vote for this one.
>>
No. 1054973 ID: a7a180
File 167498531281.png - (85.06KB , 604x795 , wubba lubba.png )
1054973

Serious and constructive haircuts only.
>>
No. 1054974 ID: a7a180
File 167498797664.png - (212.18KB , 800x794 , elf_shelfem.png )
1054974

Who's more amazing and badass than the king?
>>
No. 1054975 ID: d3ec73

>>1054974
kick gum and chew ass...
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