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File 156143455998.png - (50.91KB , 673x407 , redo.png )
937139 No. 937139 ID: 9ed620

i bungled up my first pass at this quest quite a bit so i'm ditching it and starting over. disregard the original thread. i definitely probably have it sorted this time

warning: this quest may contain violence, body horror, animal death, and disturbing themes. also it's gonna be a minimum of Pretty Gay
Expand all images
No. 937140 ID: 9ed620
File 156143458608.png - (121.18KB , 800x533 , p.png )

morning comes, the bitter sting of wind a sharp contrast to the otherwise gentle warmth of dawn.

the home is empty. it doesn't occur to you to wonder at this.

though the grass beneath your feet is soft, you hear the snap of each of your steps as you go about your daily activities, keeping rhythm with the beats of your heart ringing steadily in your ears. the leaves of the plants are still, unbothered even as you reach through to gently clip away the decaying foliage. there's dirt beneath your fingernails.

the rot resists your machinations; with each snap of the shears your foe seems renewed. your struggles last minutes, hours, centuries.

when you rise to your feet you sway for a moment as the world shifts itself beneath your feet. aeren catches you gently by the elbow, steadies you, is gone when you turn your head. there's dirt beneath your skin - you feel the chill of it in your veins as you move through your morning.

No. 937141 ID: 9ed620
File 156143461485.png - (39.99KB , 500x312 , fox.png )

there's been a fox in the henhouse

the cloyingly sweet stench hits you at the same time as the sound of squelching beneath your boot. you don't look down. you don't want to know what you'll see. loose feathers fly in your face as the wind swirls inside the building, and you can't tell what movement from the mounds might indicate surviving life. you need to look. you have to be sure. you ignore the thing in the corner of your eye.

a hand claps you on the shoulder and you feel the cold of it down to your bones

No. 937142 ID: 9ed620
File 156143463339.png - (66.93KB , 500x241 , peepers.png )

then you're awake
No. 937143 ID: 9ed620
File 156143465863.png - (61.93KB , 500x333 , u are my dad.png )

a hand's gripping your shoulder, firmly but not unkindly, the point of contact an anchor as you try to piece your mind back together from where it had been scattered from sleep.

you know you dreamed, but you cannot remember it, only a vague distasteful impression, like an unpleasant aftertaste. it's difficult to shrug off, but your father's speaking to you, and it helps to focus on his familiar voice.

"there you are. I'm sorry to wake you so early, but you sounded troubled."

you're sitting up, now, rubbing your eyes with the back of one hand, and you feel him pressing something into your other hand. iron, warmed by the heat of his palm.

"maybe this will help. if you want it. your mother always swore by it."

superstition, not enchantment, but the sentiment is there.

a) tell him you're fine, it's nothing, to please just let you sleep next time
b) thank him for waking you, but tell him he should keep it. it means more to him than you
c) thank him for waking you, and take the trinket.
d) other?
No. 937206 ID: 2d4d36

C. It'll make him feel better at least.
No. 937217 ID: 5a5548


if it will make him feel better, you might as well take it. who knows, it may help you to keep a bit of your mother with you, as well.
No. 937224 ID: 094652

B) You're not comfortable wearing jewelry without some form of armor on your way to the market.
No. 938602 ID: 9ed620
File 156264034114.png - (46.27KB , 500x361 , 9.png )

you grasp the pendant. it's a simple thing, meant to guide one home if they are lost in a nightmare.
you had forgotten about it, hadn't seen it in years. with your thumb you absently trace the edge of the old pendant, and even though you know it isn't truly magic, it feels comforting to have it all the same.

"thank you."

you rub your eyes, willing yourself to feel lucid enough to face the day. your father stands, and you see him sway, but he doesn't fall, and you know his pride wouldn't allow him to ask for or accept assistance.

though it's earlier than you usually wake, the morning, for the most part, goes as it usually does. as you dress you slip the pendant into your pocket. your break your fast with the last of the bread and the last heel of a loaf of bread before facing the day.

blessedly, it is a perfectly boring morning, and you and your father go through your routine tasks. from where you're crouched trimming plants and inspecting for signs of damage you faintly hear your father quietly talking to the chickens as he collects eggs.

once your tasks for the morning - the ones your father's health prevents him from safely doing nowadays - are finished, you start to work preparing to go into town for your weekly trip. you have a few chickens you arranged to sell on your last trip, and room for more on your handcart.

the trip takes a few hours each way, and there's a chance for your cart to break or of an attack by passing vagrant or desperate local. you have no particular skill in combat, but you do have a few things you might take along for protection

a) make the most of the trip! pack nothing but things to sell or barter, and lots of it

b) pack along a few bundled herbs and some supplies in case you need to camp out, but don't make yourself look like a target.

c) bring a few bundled herbs, a hatchet, and the head of a broken shovel as a makeshift shield. your dad probably won't need them
No. 938610 ID: 094652

C) Nothing says 'subject to bandit tax' like walking down the road without a weapon.
No. 938691 ID: 3d1dd5

B, always good to be prepared if you get held up.
No. 939230 ID: 9ed620
File 156323063984.png - (84.08KB , 681x487 , 10.png )

you decide it's best not to go overboard, and bring along a few bundles of fresh herbs and some basic supplies for yourself: poultices to stop bleeding, bandages, some food and water, a sewing kit, and an old thin blanket.

the clucking of the chickens and the sound of wheels against the dirt path set a steady rhythm as you walk, lulling you into calmness even as you keep an eye out for your surroundings. with the small amount of you have, you're counting on no one attacking you unless they're truly desperate, and, sure enough, you finally reach your destination. setting down the cart, you take a moment to stretch your stiff fingers before diving into the task of handing off chickens and hawking your wares.

in her life your mother was the closest thing the area had to a doctor, self-taught but adept with using healing plants. you might have ended up following the same path yourself, but between your cous aeren's own fascination with medicine and your own preference for growing plants and raising animals, you retained only the most basic knowledge. in addition to providing needed ingredients to aeren, you have a market for simple beneficial herbs, especially among the community of elves where such plants can't be grown themselves.

as you work, you feel eyes on you. you don't know the face, but you've heard enough gossip to identify the traveler by their clothes as being among the diviners from a city larger than you can imagine. stories about their methods vary wildly, but whatever their sources, they're supposedly far more accurate - and secretive - than anyone outside of the fold. this is the first time you've seen one yourself - most of the people who pass through are on decidedly less glamorous missions.

though you mostly manage to keep your attention on the dedicated haggler in front of you, you can't help but be excited at the prospect of something happening important enough to bring someone all the way from the lightwell. though, for all you know, they've predicted an earthquake or the like and are simply trying to judge what impact it will have.

you're only barely aware of your customer leaving, and you startle slightly when you realize who's approached you with a wan smile.

"good afternoon. I am sorry to bother you, but do you have a moment to talk?"

a) you do, but you'd prefer to go somewhere else to talk
b) you do, and you're gonna talk right here and now because this is exciting!
c) it depends on what they want
d) no, you really don't
e) other?
No. 939231 ID: 094652

D. You don't have anything left to sell and you can't risk buying any snake oil before your taxes are paid.
No. 939232 ID: 5b7308

B. Divining, neat!
No. 940028 ID: 9ed620
File 156383674481.png - (93.45KB , 453x501 , 11.png )

you're taken aback by the fact that they're talking to you at all, and slightly concerned by what that may complain, but are too excited by the opportunity not to agree.

"sure. what do you need?"

they walk over to your cart, running their fingers across the edge so lightly that you can't be sure they're touching at all. they seem contemplative, and don't look at you as they talk.

"I suppose you are a local farmer, then?"

"ah, yes, my father and I live not too far from town..."

you're tempted to press for what exactly they want, but presumably there's a reason for this questioning, so you restrain yourself.

"a quiet life, then."

"well, I guess compared to someone like you it would be."

their lips twitch in a slight smile. they've turned to face you, watching you like they're waiting for something. if you're supposed to be doing something in particular, you can't imagine what.

"and you enjoy what you do? you have no problems with your father, with other people...?"

"I...yes, I like my life. I've never been interested in doing anything else."

at that they give a contemplative hum. you're started to become unnerved by these questions.

"I'm sorry, but why are you-"

before you finish, they cut you off.

"I can assume you understand who I am and what I do."

"I have a pretty good idea."

"then you should also know that those things which I have seen and learned are not meant to be spread among the general populace. there is no cause to cause chaos and panic over something that is inevitable and cannot be changed. those who cannot come to terms with this are better off with only what information they can gleam as laypeople, so as to reduce the damage they can cause trying to avert the specific..."

for a moment they hesitate, looking in your eyes, before apparently coming to some sort of internal resolution and carrying on, though now their words are chosen carefully.

"however, in my own point of view...I can be amenable to the idea that there are situations where people deserve to know their own fate, even if they are helpless against it. it could certainly cause disastrous consequences, but I understand wanting to be able to come to terms with the inevitable."

a) if they have information about your future, you want it
b) choose blissful ignorance. if it's inevitable anyway, what does it matter?
No. 940031 ID: 7cc158

a) If it's inevitable, isn't the struggle against it or acceptance also inevitable? You don't seem to have left a lot of space for free will...
No. 940038 ID: 094652

Ignorance is a painkiller of the highest order.
But if national policy is to overdose everyone, there is a problem.
No. 940166 ID: 76456d

Knowing your fate and accepting it are two different things. You can't be certain you'll be capable of either until you hear what this person has to say. Hey, maybe it will be a good fate. After all, not everyone's future could be so dark; even it it seems as such sometimes.
No. 940283 ID: 9ed620
File 156399057625.png - (63.61KB , 430x333 , 12.png )

"if it's inevitable, isn't the struggle against it also inevitable? I don't seem to have a lot of space for free will here."

"though we are able to determine certain inexorable events, we only know so much. there are still so many gaps between what we know. even if every move we make has been plotted out for us, we can only see such a meager amount of the full plan."

you think for a moment, before making your decision.

"I want to know."

you can't quite interpret the flicker of expression that passes over their faces for an instant.

"very well. normally, the things we are able to see are of minor consequence, or we are able to understand them only in retrospect. but over the last few years we have been piecing together information, working to confirm our theories, and have found something more troubling than usual."

they pause for a moment.

"essentially, we have been able to identify a destructive person. we know they will leave grief and destruction in their wake. but we also know what will happen to them: a certain person will come who will strike them down, bringing back stability."

you're not sure whether you should be excited & daunted by the prospect of being a hero, or perhaps just afraid that this just means the region is going to be wiped out.

"and such is your fate. you will become one of the most ruinous individuals in recent memory, and eventually die struck through the heart."
No. 940286 ID: 094652

"... Okay? I thought you were going to say something along the lines of 'there is going to be a cataclysm and it HAS to happen'.

I'm not an expert at fate, but from what you've been saying, it sounds like the best course of action would be to do nothing.

You do realize I'm just a peasant, right? I have no special training or motivations. If you were to, say, bring me to the capital, that significantly increases the chances of me doing something to improve my ability to wreak havoc.

Honestly, I'm willing to believe the stabbing part. What are our options?"
No. 940292 ID: b1b4f3

I'm sorry, what? That can't be right- you don't have any reason to destroy- oh, you'll eventually HAVE a reason, won't you? It must be a good one.

Ask what kind of destruction is involved here. What will you destroy? Destruction can be done for good reasons, and bad people can grieve too.
No. 940307 ID: 3d1dd5

You'll have to forgive me if I find that hard to believe.
No. 940386 ID: 5a5548

well this is exciting! you're to be a monster. the good news is that bringing great destruction is a matter of perspective. after all, wild fires are precursors to explosions of growth in nature.

that is of course, assuming you believe in fate. it is not the realm of pragmatists to believe in future seeing, but is that not the same thought that doomed so many great kings of the hellenes? you should perhaps not worry if this oracle is legitimate or not, you would have no power over the truth of this prophecy either way, such is the nature of fortune telling that it assumes the absence of freewill.

in short, there is nothing to worry about...
No. 940420 ID: 8eaf98

oh, that is unfortunate, but like why not just kill me now while you are here and skip the part where I cause ruin?
No. 940518 ID: 9ed620
File 156417958991.png - (274.54KB , 800x650 , 13.png )

you take a moment to try and process what you just heard.

"but that's....I'm sorry, but I find that hard to believe. why would I do something like that? how could I? you heard me tell you I'm a farmer, I don't know how to fight, I don't know how to use magic - what harm could I even do?"

starting to get agitated, you start to raise your voice, but hardly notice it.

"you're saying I'll hurt people, destroy things. do you even know what it is I'll do? bad people can be hurt too! maybe I - maybe I'll have a good reason for it. if I end up the way you say there has to be a reason for it."

"everyone has a reason for what they do. I do not know what yours will be. but I would not bother to tell you this if I thought this future could be solved simply by you becoming some sort of righteous crusader. this is more serious than that."

"then why don't you just kill me now and skip the part where I hurt people?"

"if it were that easy, I would have already done so. I told you the future is immutable. if I attempted to kill you, it would invariably fail and I would end up with even more problems for assaulting someone with several spectators around."

"so...so what do I do? why would you even tell me this if it doesn't matter? what are my options?"

"you chose the opportunity not to live in ignorance. I have no guidance to give."

they begin to leave, as simple as that, as if it is nothing for them to walk right out of your life with the same ease they entered. when they speak, they don't turn their head to look at you, but you can still hear them clearly.

"I would be lying if I told you I thought you could change anything. but...I would be quite pleased to be proven wrong."

a) you definitely need more information. stop them from walking off
b) surreptitiously follow them from a distance
c) find your cous and talk to her while you're in town
d) go home and pretend none of this ever happened
No. 940521 ID: 8eaf98

No. 940603 ID: 3d1dd5

C. You could probably do with the distraction.
No. 940625 ID: 76456d

You have no evidence that this person is legitimate. Even if they are, you can not change your fate. Even if you were to live a life unlike that which they predicted, you would simply be dancing to a different predetermined song. My advice would be to dance to the song you enjoy, if you are forced to dance at all.
No. 940631 ID: 094652

D - You'd take this more seriously if they tried to kill you or something. They are worshiping obedience rather than fate; even though they believe that any contribution of actions will merely direct towards the same outcome, they showed no hope of mitigating consequences either. There was no fear of imperfection in the prophecy.

This is the kind of person who will worship the prophet who proclaims that injustice will prevail. Leave him alone. If you're driven homicidally insane, then you'll have a damn good reason for it.
No. 941470 ID: 9ed620
File 156503891774.png - (84.01KB , 500x333 , 14.png )

there's a strong temptation to go home and try to put this entire situation out of your mind, but since you're already here, you figure you might as well take the opportunity to talk to your cous. maybe talking about it would help you sort out your thoughts.

once you make your way to the thankfully quiet building where aeren lives and works you leave your cart outside, where it will be visible through the main window, but keep your money on your person out of habit.

after so many years you thought you would've gotten used to stepping through the door, but you've never managed to become desensitized, and the smell hits you; dozens of herbs, clay, something unidentifiably acerbic. you fancy that you can smell blood, but you know it's just in your imagination - though there were visible stains, unable to be worked out of the wooden floors, they'd been scrubbed as well as they could have been. though the space wasn't horribly small, it was so full as to feel cramped, tables full of bottles, boxes, and jars, with barely enough room made for the cots. for you it's almost claustrophobic, but aeren insists it's cozy.

for just a quick glance she turns her head away from her work to see who's entered the door, and gestures to you that she'll be done in a minute. since there are no patients, you perch on one of the worn cots, so you won't have to worry too much about accidentally managing to knock over a dozen glass jars.

sure enough, she soon finishes what she's doing and turns to finally greet you, smiling and wiping her unruly hair out of her forehead. if you didn't know her as well as you do, you'd think she was tired, with the way she heavily slumps onto the cot opposite of you, but you're so close as to be essentially family, and you know she's quite energetic.

"afternoon, stranger," she greets you.

"hey, doc," you respond, and she scrunches her nose at you. she insists she's not a doctor, despite treating people on a daily basis. "you finally get vasko sorted?"

she snorts.

"damn idiot was milk sick and made himself sicker trying to heal himself. I'm not even entirely sure what all he tried drinking, but I finally got him out of here."

you laugh. a lot of your conversations go like this - she complains about the people and you the animals. she asks after your father, you gently pester her about getting enough sleep, and you think to yourself that it's fine, it's as if the earlier incident never happened, but finally she leans forward.

"suban," she starts - full name, a sign she's serious -, "what has you so distracted? did something happen? even if I can't do anything more for him...if something's going on with abba I want to know."

a) tell her what happened
b) lean on the assumption, say your father's health has declined sharply
c) make up another excuse
d) say you're fine, she's imagining things
No. 941471 ID: 8eaf98

a lightwell guy told me it is my fate to become a colossal asshole =/
No. 941472 ID: 094652

ac) "A fateweaver recognized me from one of his visions. He says I'm going to get stabbed in the heart."
No. 942775 ID: 9ed620
File 156599064052.png - (99.38KB , 500x284 , 15.png )

she doesn't interrupt you as you tell her about what happened, but her brow furrows even though you skimmed over the supposed severity of your future actions. when you finish, she says what you knew she'd been thinking the whole time.

"they couldn't have been legitimate or they wouldn't have told you about this."

"but if they weren't, why would they bother? I can't imagine it would be easy or cheap to find someone willing to make you clothes to help impersonate an acolyte. why go to the trouble just to make a fake prophecy about one person? there would be better things to say to stir up trouble, if that's what they wanted."

"assuming you're the only one they're telling things to. eventually people would start to figure it out, but so far out here, it would cause some chaos before the lightwell could get it under control."

you shake your head slowly.

"even so, that doesn't explain why. it's just - it doesn't make sense. no matter how I try to think about it."

she looks at you contemplatively. it's unreasonable to expect her to have an answer, an easy solution that would put your life neatly back to where it was, but part of you had been hoping against hope, and you try not to let your disappointment show.

"so," she finally says. "what are you planning to do?"

a) go to the lightwell and try to get information from them
b) try to track the diviner and see where they're going next
c) try to find evidence of where the diviner was before meeting you
d) find an independent augur and see what they can discern
e) change your identity and live on the down-low elsewhere
f) live your life as normal. as long as you choose to be good it'll be fine
g) learn some magic or combat skills before going back to your life, just in case
h) who can change fate? if they want a monster, you can give them one
No. 942777 ID: 094652

G) Learn some self-defense. For extra safety, focus on using combat shields to mostly-block and sometimes stab.
No. 942779 ID: d91ef0

we demand a training montage
No. 943390 ID: 8eaf98

f. no reason to help this prophecy along.
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