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953982 No. 953982 ID: 5fc3a0

Previous Threads/Wiki: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest
Inventory and Other Info: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest_Statistics
Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/Lagotrope

>"It's time to go, Valsano." I don't know that person, but he must be one of Valsano's current team that's going back down into the mausoleum.
>"Yeah yeah, I just wanted to see how my main squad is doing, living it up."
>"Oh, yeah, it's great!" says Firzel. "I'll tell all my grandkids about the good old days, in which every single day was spent having Zall beat the shit out of us."

We all listen to Valsano, who will make a typical quip back to Firzel.

It doesn't come. He loses his expression and marches off.
1184 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 976953 ID: 465a14

She clearly has the means to survive here. She's also armed. And she's obviously a prisoner hammering rocks, so she must be lonely by now. Seduce her and win your way into her heart!
>>
No. 976954 ID: e2f5cc

Get a bit closer until you're sure you could dome with a rock if she runs, pick up a rock to dome her with if she runs, then announce yourself.
>>
No. 976955 ID: 77abda

Hmm. so you can't precisely tell where is the sanctuary. Might as well ask her, they need to go there from time to time, right?. Or you could just... keep walking, keeping an eye on your back but ignoring her.
>>
No. 976956 ID: b1b4f3

>>976952
You should probably treat everyone down here as if they could try to kill you at any second.
Approach with your sword out, and tell her to drop the hammer. Once she's disarmed, ask for directions to the nearest sanctuary, a general layout of the tunnels (we need a map) and information on where the guards are.
From the layout of the tunnels you should be able to get an idea of how to get to the bottom of the elevator shaft to check for Cheese.
>>
No. 976957 ID: b970b2

It seems odd that she's down here by herself with no one watching, what is she doing? We need information, but we also look like a guard, so I worry there may be hostility because of it.

If we're to announce our presence we're should do it from a distance, we have a sword and thus out-range her if things turn hostile. We need to know a direction to a sanctuary, where the bottom of the lift shaft is, and the layout of the place. We've- got food we can bribe her with, but that's limited. We've also got threats of violence.

I think we ought to call out to get from a safe distance, but we can't really undo that if it turns bad.
>>
No. 976958 ID: 86eb65

Keep your sword ready and approach. Remember that the promise of freedom and staging a possible prisoner revolt exists. If they don't hate you enough to not even consider it.
>>
No. 976960 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160081112142.png - (163.48KB , 800x800 , 1485.png )
976960

I motion for Daspotta to stay while I sneak up on the girl. I hope for everyone's sake, she doesn't run when I call out. I get a small distance from her, and I notice a wheelbarrow has been mostly filled with crushed rocks. I get my hand on my sword and speak.

"Drop your hammer."

She jumps, and spins around.

>"What the - " She looks me over. "Huh? What's wrong?"
"Drop your hammer." Once I repeat myself, she drops it like I set it ablaze. "What are you doing?"
>"I was crushing stones, sir." She's alive at least, and thinks I'm a guard. I'll continue the deception, however inconsiderate.
"Why?"
>"I work best alone, sir, and crushing rocks can be done anywhere."
"I mean, what good are crushed rocks?"
>"The overseers say they're useful in roads and rivers, and they pay me in food for them."

I recognize this behavior. She's trying to be brief and precise, yet polite and attentive. It's a survival tactic among those whos lives can be stopped by a single guard's bad mood. She doesn't have the freedom to be hostile, but she's not a slave that's had her will to live beaten out of her. When I look her over, I find her healthier and better fed than I honestly expected, although it smells like baths are still rare.

"I don't see anyone else around. This is so you can be alone?"
>"That's right, sir."
"Where do you go to recover your mana?"
>"Outpost Fuschia."
"Where is that?"
>"If you take the main passenger shaft down, you'll see signs a few exits above the bottom. It's a huge outpost, you can't miss it."
"Passenger shaft?"
>"You're not far. It's the same one you must have first taken down to get into the mines. If you head up that way and go straight, you'll reach a lift." She gestures to the way I just came from.
"And if I go down on foot?"
>"It's that way." She gestures to the other side of the room. "But that's a much longer path, and easy to lose yourself in."
>>
No. 976961 ID: 7095d8

>>976952
You say it's a lone woman, but are you sure it's a LIVING lone woman? Can you see if they're breathing? Are the movements too exact, like there's no thought behind them?
And which way are the rocks being taken? Some kind of trail or cart path?
>>
No. 976962 ID: 7095d8

>>976960
There isn't much of a way to ask for directions without sounding suspicious. Though I'm also suspicious of her. Ask if she heard anything like a crash recently. If she's really a worker, you can say something broke at the lift and you need to get to the safe spot to figure things out and thus need directions for the long way. No need to say it was on purpose, but if she tries to follow, make her walk in front.
>>
No. 976963 ID: e2f5cc

First, check to see if she's undead. If she seems alive, tell her to lead you to outpost Fuschia and that you'll feed her upon your safe arrival.
>>
No. 976966 ID: b1b4f3

>>976960
Seems legit. Ask her for more detailed directions to the outpost since I don't think you have the authority to take her as a guide. Actually, wouldn't Daspotta know if you do? Or how things would go if you pressed the issue and forced her to be a guide instead of working?
You don't have any easy way to mark a path on stone walls to allow easy backtracking in case you get lost, but you have a candle, so you can drip hot wax to create improvised markings. You could also try arranging stones.

Do not give her any coinage, that won't work as a bribe anyway considering how this place works.
>>
No. 976967 ID: 29d9c3

"Lead me down the passage if you please. The lift is having issues and I don't have time to wait for them to get things running again."
>>
No. 976968 ID: 77abda

Her eyes... I haven't seen any kobold with pink eyes. Ask her more about this place, has she seen anything strange around here? Something that doesn't have to do with mining? Might as well gather information that could be useful later.

Also ask her her name.
>>
No. 976969 ID: b8e56c

You know, this all could have been a really, really misfortunate coincidental accident. It's not likely at all, but keep it in mind as possible. Or, perhaps, as something it might be advantageous to pretend you're willing to think.

Actually? Tell her about the elevator crash and see how she reacts. It might tell you whether coincidental elevator failure is at all likely. This place doesn't seem like it values workplace safety very much. Oh, and ask her for more detailed directions. Maybe telling her will even change her plans enough to send her off from her work and you can follow her.
>>
No. 976970 ID: 2e15a9

Hmm, and I suppose you'd be the one to lead me there?
>>
No. 976971 ID: bb78f2

>>976960
Well unfortunately, the lift has collapsed. An accident has claimed the lives of a few miners. If you were intending to use it yourself, I'm afraid you're going to have to wait until its repaired.

Given that you yourself are now going to have to take the long way, I don't suppose you could take your break now and perhaps lead us through these tunnels? I don't know how long your shift is, but we need to survey the accident site for survivors after replenishing our mana as soon as possible.

We have 20 feet of rope if that actually gives us some alternative options you can think of.
>>
No. 976972 ID: bb78f2

>>976960
wait a minute, she's not wearing anything. There's no way these caves are insulate enough to keep her warm, even with the fur, right? Otherwise, you'd be uncomfortably hot with your gear since you're also a field kobold.

Are nude slaves/miners common in these parts?
>>
No. 976973 ID: b1b4f3

>>976972
Well, it's warmer down here.
...I hope the mask isn't necessary... well, nobody else was wearing one, so it's probably because she's crushing rocks and doesn't want to inhale any rock dust.
>>
No. 976974 ID: 7095d8

>>976972
It's been stated that it's been getting hotter as they've gone deeper. Considering the poor supplies given to the living slaves, I'd doubt any cloth would have survived or even kept around for long.
>>
No. 976975 ID: eecfbe

Tough to make a cover story that has Daspotta as part of it.
Maybe Daspotta's a rookie guard? We have to get her to the outpost to replace a lost sword?

Make yourselves some aliases. I suggest rookie for Daspotta, sarge for Moss.
Ask how much the mask helps. We may have to get a mask ourselves.

>>976971
>break
Slaves get breaks? Yeah right.
>>
No. 976976 ID: 1ebd91

Tough to make a cover story that has Daspotta as part of it.
Maybe Daspotta's a rookie guard? We have to get her to the outpost to replace a lost sword?

Make yourselves some aliases. I suggest rookie for Daspotta, sarge for Moss.
Ask how much the mask helps. We may have to get a mask ourselves.

>>976971
>break
Slaves get breaks? Yeah right.
>>
No. 976977 ID: e7848c

>>976968
All kobold eyes go dark and pink when they start running out of absorbed sunlight. She's been down here for a while.
>>
No. 976979 ID: 77abda

>>976977
Ouch, that can't be good for your health. Poor bastards.
>>
No. 976982 ID: 7095d8

>>976977
They do reabsorb light from fire and start to glow again. That's what happened with Fen.
So if her really eyes aren't glowing despite being close to a candle, that could be taken as her being undead. Are her eyes not glowing, or is it just how it was drawn?
>>
No. 976986 ID: b970b2

Let's not be too chummy, I think, if she thinks you're a guard. Keep some professional distance. Ask for clarification on the by foot path, inform her that the lift the way you came back from is out, and give a simple thanks.
>>
No. 976997 ID: 53560f

Tell her the passenger shaft is no longer functional and ask her to lead you to outpost fuchsia on foot.
Since it’s possible the only route out of the mine just got cut, offer her some spare food from your share as payment if you want to try ingratiating yourself with the slaves. Might pay off depending on how the situation evolves.
>>
No. 976999 ID: 1ed92d

>>976960
Inform her that the main lift has collapsed and that there are a lot of casualties.
>>
No. 977027 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160090528422.png - (132.66KB , 800x800 , 1486.png )
977027

"Did you hear a crash a short while ago?"
>"I did, but I couldn't tell where it came from."
"It was the passenger shaft. Do crashes happen often?"
>"Rarely on the main shafts like that."
"It happened, so it's not operating now. What's your name?"
>"Nillin."
"Here's an odd question. Are you alive?"
>"Yes. The dead don't speak." Her eyes are dim, but so is the light. Mine will probably turn to a faint orange soon enough.
"Can you take me to Outpost Fuschia?"
>"Yes." She has the slightest hesitation to that, and I notice she glanced at her wheelbarrow.
"Where were you bringing these rocks?"
>"There's a small camp we'll be passing through. It has no mana sanctuary, but it does have a gathering station." She realizes she needs to explain things to me like 'gathering station', and continues. "Where I sell my rocks." It's me asking questions like these that prevent me from acting like I'm a guard training Daspotta.
"That is where you stay?"
>"Until I need a sanctuary, yes."
"That's fine. If it's on the way and it won't slow us down, you can bring your wheelbarrow."
>"Thank you, sir. It's all downhill, so it won't."

She leads us down, and I wave at Daspotta to follow. Nillin asks nothing.

We move forward, and she leads with her own torch that she stuck in the front of her wheelbarrow. I flick some wax on some corners to tell where I've been in case I need to come back here for some reason. She was right about this route. The passages start breaking off into thin intersecting webs that are easy to get lost in. I would not have even attempted going this way without a guide.
>>
No. 977028 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160090533315.png - (150.55KB , 800x800 , 1487.png )
977028

Nillin must have questions of her own, but she hasn't asked a single thing.

"Is that mask for the rock dust?"
>"Yes."

We enter a clearing, and I see the camp she mentioned. I don't see any obvious guards, and I look behind myself to make sure Daspotta is still there.

>"Here's the camp. You can see the road goes through it, and on the other side there is the main tunnel to Outpost Fuschia. It's easy to follow, so if it's all the same to you, sir, I don't think you need me to tag along."
"Did I cause any trouble for you?" I regret asking it, because I suspect down here, this is nothing but a trap question that dares them to answer with anything except 'not at all'.
>"No. I have enough rocks to get a meal tonight."
>>
No. 977029 ID: e2f5cc

>>977028
"For tomorrow, you mean." Then hand her a meal's ration.
>>
No. 977030 ID: b1b4f3

>>977028
She said no, believe her and don't offer any compensation.
Let's go into camp, look around a little. I wonder if there's a shop?
>>
No. 977031 ID: 5cb1b2

>>977029
that will probably be something of a kings ransom but oh well
>>
No. 977032 ID: 465a14

She probably knows something more- see if you can charm anything out of her. Actually come to think of it the power disparity would make it creepy, just go along after carefully checking Fuschia Tunnel or whatever the name was for traps or instability.
>>
No. 977034 ID: 86eb65

"Thank you for the assitance."

No handing out rations yet. It's very noticable and our supplies are limited.
>>
No. 977035 ID: 77abda

Thank her. Ask her to point you the path to the Sanctuary.

I am not sure if it would be wise to give her money. She did earn it. But it might give her more trouble down the road. But perhaps some coins will convince her to not tell anybody that you were here.
>>
No. 977042 ID: 904948

Got tips to stay isolated? I dislike the rest of the guards here.
>>
No. 977046 ID: 36784c

>>977028
Do not hand out any rations! That would be very noticeable and would in fact give away that you’re not actually a guard here!
>>
No. 977050 ID: 70d854

>>977028
Don't give out rations, don't give out money, don't show off your medallion. Keep everything close to the chest, until you found a safe space (preferably with cheese nearby so you can assess damage/start to form a plan). Your authority given by Krix means nothing, the only thing you should consider as proof of your status is your sword. Assume everyone here is going to try to get out if given the chance, and act accordingly.
I'd personally suggest "checking your supplies" or some notes nearby this camp, and get an idea of their comings/goings. Try and find some landmark in the tunnels pointing back here, you may need a spot of sanity before you get lost in the black.
>>
No. 977052 ID: 76b5d8

>>977029
That's a nice thought for if he was still a guard at some random stop-gap town with time for naps.
Unfortunately he is in the mine of a scheming noble where most of the workers are either dead or slaves who would likely do anything to get the most comfortable job if not get out. While it would be nice to get a temporary ally, we don't have anything on us that wouldn't be instantly noticed by others and have us swamped for favors.
>>
No. 977061 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160092162379.png - (231.53KB , 1200x800 , 1488.png )
977061

I'd like to make sure I didn't cause her trouble by giving her something, but it's just too risky. I don't know how things are, down here. I'll take a closer look at camp, because as much as I'd like to check on Cheese, it's been a long walk down.

"Thank you." A thanks is all I feel I can give her for pointing to the outpost and the sanctuary that's supposedly in it. I'll stop imposing on her. There's plenty more I can ask, but I can impose on others in town.

Nothing more is said, but we walk in line still since this is the only path. There's only one real building here. Off to the side there are two small holes in the wall and a wooden door. None of them give me a welcoming aura as a stranger. They're most likely living quarters. This looks like the smallest kind of break town.

As we approach, the two people here who had wheelbarrows have emptied them and moved to the campfire where food is being cooked, and that food doesn't smell half bad. The building itself is ran by a lone draconic.

>"Welcome back, Nillin." He says to her as she turns the corner and begins pouring her rocks into another cart.

I notice tools on the side of the wall, each a number I can barely see etched into the wood. This might be some kind of minimal shop.

>"I haven't seen these two around." he half says to her, and half to us.
>"They're travelling to Fuschia by foot." says Nillin.
"The passenger lift had an accident." I add.
>"Really? I hope it was just the dead on those lifts, then. So where are you two stationed?" He asks us.
>>
No. 977063 ID: 465a14

>>977061
Nowhere, now. It wasn't just the dead on the lift and you'll need to report back on missing personnel and a broken lift, since Gahki had personal interest in your expedition.
>>
No. 977065 ID: b1b4f3

>>977061
There's no way people this far underground have been warned ahead of time. Also, you could test showing your visitor coin in this smaller camp, before getting challenged by the outpost proper. So just say you're a visitor.
I wonder... maybe he knows where injured visitors might be taken? You're looking for a third member of your group who fell.
>>
No. 977066 ID: 77abda

>>977063
Yeah, that sound about right.
>>
No. 977091 ID: 1ed92d

>>977061
Inform him that many living were on board, and some survivors may remain at the bottom of the shaft.
>>
No. 977102 ID: 53560f

“I can personally confirm that there were living on that lift, also I am a visitor so I’m not stationed anywhere. Anyway, how are things?”
Also see what Daspotta’s looking at assuming she isn’t just avoiding eye contact.
>>
No. 977106 ID: ce39da

"Nowhere, I'm a visitor."

Be on-guard if he asks you to flash your coin (even if the collars would blow any lie these guys can tell with it out of the water). Keep a tight grip on it, and hold it close to you.

"I can confirm there was at least one other living on the lift with us. I suppose Fuschia's where I should start if I want to report it and look for survivors? One of my aids is down there, and I want to confirm whether she's still alive."
>>
No. 977118 ID: 86eb65

Ask him what the quickest route to the bottom of that lift is. And who to yell at for the lax matinence of the ropes.
>>
No. 977123 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160097523382.png - (108.58KB , 800x800 , 1489.png )
977123

Daspotta's eyes are wandering around the camp, but so are mine.

"There were living on that lift. Since the lift broke, I'm stationed nowhere, and I'm finding where an injured person would be taken." I consider saying more, but I hesitate about keeping this guard facade up for long enough that he interrupts my thoughts.
>"Well if they fell all the way to the bottom, I suppose they'd just be treated in Fuschia. It's that way." He gestures to the same place Nillin pointed us towards. "If you're not in a hurry, though, you two look interesting. You're the first guards I've seen without an assigned station."
"We're not guards, we're visitors."
>"From where?"
"I live in Tunna."
>"I don't recognize the n - wait, from the surface?"

I nod. This guy gives me a frozen look, and Nillin pauses a second before she continues shifting dirt.

>"That gives me a lot of answers, and a lot of new questions. Friend, your business down here isn't any of my business, but we don't get visitors. We get bodies."
"Does this mean anything?" I flash the visitor's coin with a tight grip close to my body.
>"... No, I don't recognize it." He looks me over again. "But I know you're not lying. No collar on either of you, you're too well dressed, you're obviously not familiar with this place. Wait a second, if you came down all the way from Nillin's spot... have you two been drinking any water since you came down in the mines?"
"No, why?"
>"None?" Oh for goodness' sake." He turns to the side and calls out. "Quen! Get me two cups of water over here, would you?"
"I won't complain, but I don't want to impose."
>"Impose? Buddy, friend, surfacer, fellow, I think with the way you've been carrying on, you have another 10 minutes before you impose on us by collapsing from heat stroke."
>>
No. 977124 ID: 465a14

>>977123
Well, people are more forthcomingly helpful here than I expected. I suppose it's not such a surprise- in here you usually have to rely on social connections to survive, both with your peers and with your superiors. You should offer to fuck his ass to strengthen the social bond you've formed and establish that you're not an ingrate.
>>
No. 977125 ID: b970b2

Dammit all, that's something we've overlooked, mines get bloody warm, deceptively so. That explains why everyone you've seen has been wearing so little. You're going to need to shed a good chunk of that armour while down here to stay cool.
>>
No. 977126 ID: b1b4f3

>>977123
Is it really that hot down here? Are/were you sweating? Thirsty at all? If it's hot enough to be sweating and thirsty, then you do need water. Do you not have any water with your rations? You kindof need some water supplies regardless, and this small camp is much less likely to try to kill you than the main outpost-- there would have to be drugged/poisoned water supplies literally everywhere in order for this to be a trap since once the elevator broke there's no way to predict where you would land if you didn't land at the bottom.

Also it occurs to me that if the necromancer wanted you dead he could've just killed you with his guards? I really think it has to either be the crows that did it, or it was pure bad luck.
As for the coin not being familiar, that can be explained. It's probably only useful if you show it to a guard, or important people in an Outpost. Small camps like these can't be expected to get visitors.
>>
No. 977128 ID: fa2754

>>977123
Ask if this is a common problem down here
>>
No. 977130 ID: bb78f2

>>977123
Ok dude, what are the odds that if I'm supposed to flash this coin at guards, they've been instructed to off me immediately?

Sadly, you're going to have to take the coward's way out and let Daspotta take potential poision for you first before accepting the drink. If you get poisioned, she's dead one way or the other. At least if she does, her build may mitigate it better AND you personally have the means to defend yourself and get an antidote as soon as possible, by attacking your poisoner.

Plus, it might give her a morale boost in a weird way. Like taking a sacrifice that hopefully isn't harmful in anyway. She'll probably drink first anyway, assuming she's been trained for such a situation and that has been clarified in her duty manual or whatever.

You of course need to do this in a way that won't give it away that she's serving you and in a way that won't publicly shame you or the one giving the water.
>>
No. 977133 ID: 86eb65

That is a danger if its hot enough. How you feeling?

Carefully sniff water and possibly get your own from the same source instead of accepting it freely from them.
>>
No. 977136 ID: 7c00d9

Well you were sweating a river. I wasn't expecting so much hospitality in this place, but i won't complain, better reception that from the Lord himself. Might as well ask some more questions about what Gahki has been doing in this palce. What ever they know helps. Also about what chances Cheese has of surviving the fall.
>>
No. 977138 ID: 1ed92d

>>977123
I suspect this water supply is tainted.
>>
No. 977140 ID: b970b2

>>977138 >>977130 I'm not sure there's much reason to be concerned about poison, the guards control the only entrance in and out of the mine, and if a rebellion happened they could just cut the ropes for the lifts and let everyone starve while they locked the exit.

There's no need for them to add in more complex ways of controlling the slaves like poison when they have that, and if you suspect the guards ordering this outpost to poison Moss- the time delay makes that impossible. They tried to drop Moss to his death so they have no way of knowing where he is right now, they'd have to send a message to every outpost and hope it gets obeyed, which is logistically unfeasible.

The water might be poor quality from standing still, or if it's sourced from an underground stream it might have minerals dissolved in it, but not poison.

Apologies for being panicky / real serious about it but it's important. Heat stroke is a very real danger that can come on suddenly and it fucking sucks to get. There's a reason why the miners are wearing basically nothing, and Moss has been stomping about in armour all this time.
>>
No. 977143 ID: 36f784

>>977123
I wouldn't be surprised if they are being truthful about heat stroke. Mines can get quite stifling.
Still smell the water. I doubt they will poison you, but I doubt that it will taste that good. At worst you can use it to cool yourselves off.
>>
No. 977227 ID: ec2bbe

>>977138
Most definitely laced with something. Do Not Drink The Water. Fake it if you have to. Make sure Daspotta doesn't consume any either.
>>
No. 977228 ID: 7fa206

Aw shoot. If the guards have the good water supply, that'd make this tough.
How would aquifers work here?
>>
No. 977343 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160123345821.png - (184.01KB , 800x800 , 1490.png )
977343

"Is heat stroke a common problem?"
>"A problem? No, because we know how to deal with it. But we do need to deal with it."

There's no doubt it's hot in here. I'm sweating, but I had bigger concerns than heat.

"Is that why so many of you aren't clothed?"
>"What, did you think we just liked showing off?"
"I'll be honest. I thought you were all poor."
>"Poor? He knocks under the cabinet. "We might not look rich to you, but we have enough fabric back here to clothe everyone in this camp twice over. Maybe not three times over like you, and not with ringmail. Who's that with you anyway, who hasn't said a word?"
>"Don't mind me, sir!"
>"Shy? No problem."

A kobold comes and sets two glasses on the counter, and Tauvel puts them in front of us. I pause. I don't know if this water is safe. Daspotta's quick to nudge her way to grab a glass.

"Hold it. How do we know this water's safe?"
>"... huh? What's wrong?"
>"I am obligated to taste test it, sir!" says Daspotta, possibly speaking to both me and Tauvel.
>"Taste te - wait, do you think this is poisoned?" Tauvel takes a sip out of each before putting them back towards us. "I've heard surfacers murder each other all the time, but things are different down here. Work down here is hard enough without us harming each other. Even if you're not miners, that extends to you two."
>>
No. 977344 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160123346921.png - (141.46KB , 800x800 , 1491.png )
977344

I take the cup, and Daspotta must think I'm about to drink, because she immediately takes a large gulp of it.

It doesn't have any weird smells. It's much cooler than I thought it would be.

This water is fine.

As far as I can tell. That doesn't mean it won't kill me.
>>
No. 977345 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160123353443.png - (160.72KB , 800x800 , 1492.png )
977345

The light in the tunnel towards the outpost shifts. Someone is approaching.

They wear thick cloth. They walk with an authoritative swagger. A sword is visible. It's a guard.
>>
No. 977346 ID: 465a14

You have to work to ensure a good first impression. Exertion and infection are real dangers down here, you can't risk a fight and it's better to take the initiative and deal with him than to hide and hope nothing goes wrong. So you have to deal with him on friendly terms. I recommend good old fashioned ass-fucking.
>>
No. 977347 ID: b1b4f3

Poison shouldn't be a concern really. What's more concerning would be some kind of drug in the water that's meant for the miners. Something that keeps them docile or... I don't know.
If Daspotta feels fine then drink up.

Now, this is a lone guard? I think it's time to see if the visitor coin works, and also find out if the guards know you're here. You should still be worried about being attacked, but it's ONE guard. You can at least fight on even terms with one guard.
>>
No. 977349 ID: a2643d

>>977345
One guard? Well, time to see if the coin works or if you have to cut them down before they cut you down. Have your sword ready either way.
>>
No. 977350 ID: 0c0a56

>>977343
Well then. Let's get around the corner and get naked
>>
No. 977353 ID: 36784c

>>977347
This.
>>
No. 977354 ID: 7c00d9

You don't have much choice in regards with the water. Drink up.
I really don't know how to deal with the guard.
Maybe get out of sight? Tell the miners not to say you were here.
>>
No. 977355 ID: 86eb65

Until we are sure that word has actually gotten down here to kill us we treat them like we are proper visitors.

Still be battle ready though.
>>
No. 977356 ID: 231248

Play it cool. But if that doesn't work play it cooler and blend in by getting naked.
>>
No. 977382 ID: 53560f

Drink the water and ask him if said desire to work together applies to the guards and if he considers them trustworthy.
Then when the guard gets closer ask them if the visitor’s coin means anything to them.
>>
No. 977386 ID: bb78f2

>>977343
Please don't take insult to the paranoia. My job unfortunately requires a lot of it if I want to live longer than a day. I'm forced to deal with noble after noble after noble. It's not fun.
>>
No. 977434 ID: 1ed92d

>>977345
Paranoia is crucial in this line of work.

Anyway, the guard is almost certainly not here to deal with you. Presumably any guards searching for you will be searching the wreckage at the bottom. Casually stand around the corner from the guard so you can follow him and murder him later.
>>
No. 977451 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160131042385.png - (230.44KB , 1200x800 , 1493.png )
977451

Am I seen? I don't know. I hesitate to try and hide, and she stops for a half second. Now I stay where I'm at, because it's too late to hide.

>"Tauvel, how trustworthy are the guards?" I whisper to him.
>"They don't give us trouble if we don't give them trouble. Just give them some respect, answer their questions. Above all, be friendly without being their friend." he says, hardly whispering at all.

The guard approaches, and she puts out her torch. I'll drink the water later. If something's wrong with it, I want it to have its effect on me after this guard leaves. If nothing's wrong with it, I'll owe Tauvel an apology.

I desperately hope I don't have to fight this guard, but I may have to.

She walks forward along the path, notices us, and moves to the opposite side of the counter. She's on guard. So am I. Tauvel speaks to her.

>"Hey there, Keau."
>"Same to you, Tauvel. You been alright?" she asks.
>"Same as always. Here for a surprise inspection?"
>"No. We're making our rounds through all subtown camps, looking for some visitors."
>"Like these two?"
>"Unless we have multiple field kobolds with a diamond forehead patch running around this deep in full chainmail and leather accompanied by a poluputus mountain kobold, then yes, against all odds, they ended up all the way out here." She faces us. "Are you two alright?"
"Good enough. Does this coin mean anything?" I show my coin to Keau. "Tauvel didn't recognize it."
>"A passage coin. Moss and Daspotta, right? You are the exception to the rule of no visitors, so I am not surprised Tauvel didn't recognize the coin. If you both can walk, I have to ask you to come back with me to the local outpost. We have to figure out what happened, because there's evidence of foul play."
"You don't say."
>"... I do say." Her voice is level, but she seems tense.
>>
No. 977453 ID: 86eb65

Remember that this mess could be a third party trying to kill you to expose the lords activities. You enemy might be one of his underlings who is attempting a coup.

The guards are not your enemies just yet. But do insist on tracking down Cheese first. She could be very hurt and we need to check on her.
>>
No. 977455 ID: d8a7af

Well, this was unexpected. In any case, we can't leave just yet, not after we find Cheese. Hopefully alive, if not... we have to at least see the body.
We also have to find what we came to look for here. This is not negotiable.
>>
No. 977458 ID: a9af05

>>977451
You might as well drink the water since you have to go with the guard.

Agree that you'll go with her but only after you find Cheese or confirm that they found her and she's waiting for us up ahead.
>>
No. 977459 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160131703422.png - (101.38KB , 800x800 , 1494.png )
977459

"There was another one with us."
>"The cave mutant, Cheese, correct?"
"That's right. I want to find her, first."
>"We're searching for her, too."
"She's missing?"
>"I don't know the details, but there were witnesses. She was injured, possibly with a broken leg, but she ran away before they could calm her down. We haven't found her since, but if she was badly hurt, it's doubtful she got far."
"I still have other business down here I have to get to."
>"We just want to know what you saw. After we have our questions, you'll be allowed to go back to what you were doing. So please come with me."
>>
No. 977460 ID: 465a14

>>977459
Even if it's a trap, it's the only lead you've got and the bit about dehydration makes it fairly clear you're not going to make it on your own. Drink and go along.
>>
No. 977462 ID: b1b4f3

>diamond forehead patch
You may want to consider obscuring that easily identifiable mark at some point, for when you're walking around in potentially dangerous areas and don't want to be recognized.

Anyway, this seems believable so far, but tell the guard you're a bit worried they'll try to kill you if you go into the outpost, since the elevator accident looked like an attempt on your life. Do they know of anyone who would have wanted you or Cheese dead and had access to the elevator, if not the authorities down here?
>>
No. 977464 ID: d8a7af

Shhhhhhhhhhhhit i dont like this one bit. I personaly REALLY don't go back with her.
>>
No. 977465 ID: 70d854

>>977460
Agreed. Not much we can do at the moment, so go along with it for now.

>>977462
Yeeaaah we should probably remeber that for the future. How rare are diamond marks, exactly?
>>
No. 977466 ID: b8e56c

"I think you might understand why we'd be wary of walking into the middle of a bunch of armed kobolds after "evidence of foul play"? I'd guess Tauvel here has something good for writing things down, so you can ask us questions and head back with them yourself. Cheese is going to be in pain and stressed and we're the only ones here who could calm her down, so I want to start looking for her now before she might get more... panicky."
>>
No. 977467 ID: 42ae67

>>977459
You know, the best traps are usually placed at exit points. If they are leading you towards a trap, then it's possible for you to find a way out at that same spot.
Of course I'm not sure if the people here even care one way or another about you.
>>
No. 977468 ID: 42ae67

>>977459
You know, the best traps are usually placed at exit points. If they are leading you towards a trap, then it's possible for you to find a way out at that same spot.
Of course I'm not sure if the people here even care one way or another about you.
>>
No. 977469 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160132279938.png - (130.78KB , 800x800 , 1495.png )
977469

I pause and focus. I'm feeling oddly faint -

No, not oddly. It's hot. To hell with the paranoia I need that water, so I take a sip. It's far too good. I think I did wait too long, even mine water is apparently fantastic to me now.

I take another sip. No, it's only partially that I needed it more than I thought. It's much better than I expected. It's much cooler than I would have thought down here. It's also no worse than water out of a fresh brook on the surface, and I wonder if they somehow drain water directly from a brook down here so that people have fresh water.

I turn my attention back to her.

>"I'm not convinced that the elevator falling wasn't an attempt on my life." I consider where she would go to lead me to a trap. The answer is anywhere. The tunnels make the entire trip a series of chokepoints.
>"I was told to be cautious if I found any of you, because you might believe that. But the moment you stepped in these mines, we wouldn't have needed to make it an accident."
>"Who else would want us dead down here?"

She pauses and looks around.

>"Tauvel, you listen to me, too. There is evidence that the dead are not docile. Do not trust them, and watch your words and yourselves around their crows. None of this is confirmed, this is speculation around evidence. You heard none of this from me, do all of you understand?"
"What do the crows have to do with this?"
>"They're linked to the dead. I don't know anything beyond that."

Damn it, if all of this is even true, Cheese might be trying to get to the crows right now.

"I have another idea. I give you a report, right here and now, of what we say. Tauvel, you can take notes, right?"
>"My orders are to bring you back." Keau answers before giving Tauvel the chance. "We'll have questions for you, more than just you recounting what you remember right now."
"And I want to find Cheese."
>"If you went looking right now, then we're more likely to find her while you're off losing yourselves in the mines trying to find her."
>>
No. 977470 ID: 465a14

>>977469
Annoyingly plausible. And picking their brains' your best chance to deal with the current information asymmetry, better than gambling with going it solo in the mines. Let's see what's up.
>>
No. 977471 ID: 1ed92d

We have to consider something: If the lich were trying to kill us, why would he not just blast us with a fireball or have his goons kill us with swords? What possible reason does he have to sabotage his own elevator?

It's not like we're Fen and have a reputation for killing entire towns near single-handedly through happenstance. What is going on?
>>
No. 977472 ID: b1b4f3

>>977469
She's partially right, you have no layout of the mines. To look for Cheese you need a map, or a guide.
To hire a guide you need more supplies, and you need at least two waterskins to hold your water supply(one for you and one for Daspotta), which means you need to go to the outpost anyway. I'm afraid you have no other option but to try to make a quick report so you can join the search for Cheese.

Also yeah unfortunately the Crows are the most likely suspect here. They might be aligning themselves with the undead uprising that Fen is fighting, which means there's a second necromancer here...? Or simply undead from a different necromancer sent through tunnels, and they're mixed in with the local docile undead without the noble knowing about it. I don't know which is worse, honestly.
Worst case, unlikely scenario is they're trying to kill you specifically down here in the mines so that a more skilled necromancer can raise you and Daspotta to walk out of the mines "alive" then die somewhere else to avoid suspicion. Maybe Cheese too, depends on factors that Moss doesn't know about yet (other members of her family siding with the necromancers)
>>
No. 977473 ID: 86eb65

"Give me more info first. Let me know more about the dead down here and how I can identify them. Ways to survive and the lay of the land."

"I need a reason to trust you and getting me up to date on my surroundings is the best bet."
>>
No. 977476 ID: bb78f2

>>977469
What you say is logical about the accident, but do you have orders to cut me down if I refuse? Because its not as if my fears aren't just as logical and that it's not exactly unwise to refuse to go with you. A single choice here could make all the difference in the world for a man in my position.

I would appreciate a few moments to contemplate my choices, even if they're illusionary. Could you provide me that courtesy, before I accept the potential consequences of a refusal? I need to breath now that I have that extra bit of information to process.
>>
No. 977478 ID: 42ae67

>>977469
The crows are with the dead. The Crows are upset with Fen. Fen is Fighting the dead. You are allied with Fen.
Could the crows be trying to kill you?
>>
No. 977481 ID: d8a7af

You think that the crows allied with the undead because they are anti-empire? Thus making averyone that is against the undead their enemies as well? If that is the case, we are all kind of fucked in some ways, Fen particulary, with all the gold the crows were saving for him and such. And trying to kill him and his acomplices. So yeah this is going south really fast.
>>
No. 977484 ID: b1b4f3

>>977481
The crows didn't have that gold anymore anyway. Most of Fen's ill gotten gains were reclaimed.
>>
No. 977485 ID: a9af05

>>977469
If you want to find Cheese, then you need to go with the guard. You'll need a guide so you don't get lost down here.
>>
No. 977486 ID: ce39da

"Fine, let's get this done. I agree it's plausible that Gahki's innocent (this time), and I don't have the resources to look for Cheese competently. I'm warning you, though, a recent acquaintance has shown me what the difference between total defeat and just being in a spot is - I wouldn't test me if I were you."
>>
No. 977488 ID: e2f5cc

You have no real reason to not comply with Keau. Resisting will only make this harder on you and she's right when she said you'd already be dead if Gahki wanted you to be. Going with her grants information you clearly need in these winding tunnels along with access to 1. The guard if shit goes down, and 2. Living land, which im sure you remember what happens if you go too long without.
>>
No. 977498 ID: 36784c

>She was injured, possibly with a broken leg, but she ran away before they could calm her down.
How exactly was Cheese able to run away from the guards if she’s got a broken leg?

>We haven't found her since, but if she was badly hurt, it's doubtful she got far.
If she couldn’t have gotten far, then shouldn’t the guards have been able to find her before they found us?

>What do?
We’re gonna need to go with the guards in order to find Cheese. Hopefully if she sees a familiar face, that will get her to calm down.
>>
No. 977526 ID: d8a7af

>>977498
Well, she is still a mutant, and she can easily go through small holes. She always has an ace up her sleeve.
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