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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.
1408 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 979202 ID: 05b21f

>>979199 this is good
No duels or fair fights. You were a guard, he’s a lowlife who’s causing trouble.

Get his attention and stop him from talking. Tell him we either settle this now or knock some sense into him. This should be you’re element, dealing with small angry people. If you have the chance, tell him that there’s nothing you could’ve done for his sister. Also please don’t mention Krix or why you got a job as prison guard. They don't care and it gives away too much about yourself.
>>
No. 979207 ID: 919e82

He and his friends were already notorious criminals before you met and before he got sent here. Chances of him being reasonable are slim to none.

Finding Cheese and getting the three of you out of there is the only thing that matters.

Kill him/them. The chances of them getting you in your sleep or running off to find a guard is way too high.
>>
No. 979216 ID: 2e15a9

Lay him out.
"don't interrupt me."
>>
No. 979279 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160339190492.png - (343.57KB , 1000x800 , 1521.png )
979279

>"If you want to make excuses for not doing anything, then throw yourself on the ground in front of all of us and beg for forgiveness!"
"And get myself killed, just to defend for a bunch of bandits who didn't care about the families they killed when they burned down random farming villages?"
>"They were all working to line the pockets of Shyla, they didn't deserve life!"

Shyla, I remember now, was the noble who this person's sister was sold to. I made the mistake of listening to his woes, so he remembers me best, therefore hates me most. It's not reasonable, but palace prisoners got the sense beat out of them.

A duel crosses my mind, but it won't be fair and I'm not confident. I'm certain he's hiding a knife under his loincloth, and he just called for backup. And as much as I want to lay him out right now, fights don't always go as planned, especially when I just finished an overnight march through unbearable heat. If I got layed out instead, and his group outnumbered us, then I'll be at the mercy of the prisoners that shouted all the awful things they'd do to me given the chance.

Just when I think to step forward, Jafill leaps right over the fire to get between us.

>"You two know the rules, down here! Workers do not attack other workers! Anyone who does that in front of me is getting sent into a whipping cage for a week, you both hear me?"
>"What's going on over there, Roiff?" I hear from behind me, reminding me that Roiff was this ex-prisoner's name.
>"Mudmuzzle's here, so get over here with us before he draws his sword on me!" Roiff responds. "I'm not attacking him, Jafill, see?!" He holds his hands up dramatically.

I'm certain that Roiff is going to attack me the second he believe he has the numbers to win. He still has the mentality of a prisoner, so threats of whips do nothing for him. He'd smile while getting flayed alive if it meant battering me first!

But if Jafill is serious with that threat, me making the first move will get me in even deeper shit now.
>>
No. 979280 ID: 465a14

Ask him why he's so interested in getting his hands on you, did he get a crush on you? Does he have a weird BDSM kink going on? Is he still fantasizing about whatever other juvenile taunts you can come up with to bait him into fucking up?
>>
No. 979282 ID: e2f5cc

"Look, Roiff. I know you're planning on jumping me when you get the numbers, you aren't good at hiding it. But just think for a moment, whose gonna the be the one to start the fight? You. So whose gonna be one closest to my sword? You. You might kill me, yeah, but think about your sister. How would she feel hearing the brother who loved her more than anything died needlessly?"

Bring up the fact the crows and Gahki are in insanely deep shit as well and that he might be able to escape in the chaos that'll ensue after the reveal, but only if you're allowed to get out of here, since only you know it. Don't give the slightest inkling as to why unless absolutely necessary, since he might think he can "carry on the message" or some shit.
>>
No. 979283 ID: 77cba3

Reposition yourself so that this guy and his friend behind you are both in front of you before doing anything else.

I think we need to kill him and his friend behind you fast. So far he has just called you mudmuzzle but as soon as official word gets over here about your bounty he is going to start remembering your real name. Then there will be someone who can cry to the guards about Tauvel helping you and the direction you went.

Even if we can intimidate him down that will only last as long as we are in view. After that we could have him following us or selling us out.


Long story short: Leaving him alive will result in Tauvel and his camp getting killed and allow you to get tracked faster.


My suggestion is to say to Jafill "Some of us are not workers but guest nobles." Then kill Roiff with your sword. Be careful if you are aiming near the neck due to the possibility of the collar blocking or hurting your blade. Then spin and finish off his friend. It's not ideal I admit.
>>
No. 979284 ID: fa2754

Sit back down with your hand on your sword hilt. We're all going to die unless we figure out a plan here.
>>
No. 979286 ID: b1b4f3

You're Field Marshall, not a worker. Stab his ass.
It's either that or duel him and make sure it's a fair fight by searching him beforehand.
>>
No. 979287 ID: 1ed92d

>>979279
Insult his sister and provoke him into attacking you first so you can kill him.
>>
No. 979290 ID: 919e82

You're not a worker and the guards showing up mean your death.

Kill whoever you need to kill to get out of here. Daspotta will back you up, she kind of has to.
>>
No. 979294 ID: 36784c

>>979279
Insult his sister. Say whatever you need to say in order to get him to attack you first.
>>
No. 979295 ID: bb78f2

>>979279
I don't plan on making any moves either.
Think of your community's behalf first before planning anything, Roiff. You and your boys ain't alone anymore. You can't act without affecting the whole. You may as well as try and escape if you're going to tell them to go fuck themselves like this. At least you'd die free, and consistent with your integrity intact.

I hate bullshit punks like you who don't care who they hurt in the process. No sense of fellowship or decency. You'd probably would have traded your own sister to her slaver again if it meant you could beat my ass, right now, huh? You only gave a shit about her when you asked me to kill her instead of letting her get sold. Otherwise you would have kept her out of your life and your crimes.
>>
No. 979296 ID: 8fab7a

>Kill murder slay
No. You need information and help to get out of here. If you are the voice of reason, that gives you some credit.

You need to figure out some way to deal with this fool that isn't killing him so you can get aid from the other, more reasonable, slaves. Killing people - or everyone - is just gonna make a mess, leave even more tracks, and should be the last thing on your list of things to attempt right now.

Hm. Oh. This has an easy solution. Delegate. Let others do work for you. You're the problem. Remove the problem. Walk away.

To somewhere more defensible nearby, obviously. Tell Tauvel to do his thing while you and Daspotta hold down the fort.

"Jafill, Roiff is an idiot and the moment his friends get here, they'll probably do something idiotic. I'm going to head down this path. If he and his friends follow me, I cannot guarantee their safety, because all kinds of shit happens in the mines. Fair?"

Start backing away, and glance over at Tauvel.

"Meanwhile, Tauvel will speak with you regarding what we need and then he'd come better join me, lest I come back. And if they attack you and Tauvel over the opportunity to go attack me over petty revenge, more the fool they."
>>
No. 979298 ID: 63bf07

>>979294 >>979287
Don't insult his sister, that would be going far enough to risk Jafill considering it "fighting words"

Insulting his handling of the situation however, like insinuating it's his fault, could still goad him while staying on Jafill's good side.
>>
No. 979305 ID: 7f1230

>>979279
Maybe you can leverage the fact you are a Field Marshall, who gets to judge and kill nobles, and you could go after Shyla, but only if you live. Although I don't know how good of an idea revealing this information would be.
>>
No. 979306 ID: 9182b4

Field marshal doesn't mean shit down here. We should try to stay civil as much as possible. Mentally prep for hand-to-hand combat, but don't draw your sword. Try to treat them as equals here. Don't lord over them, but don't be submissive either or you will just get turned in.
>>
No. 979308 ID: b1b4f3

>>979306
You missed the point of >>979305

The point is Moss can say "hey I can kill that shitty noble that got your sister" and mean it.
>>
No. 979311 ID: b1b4f3

In fact, I'm switching my vote to that. If the bandits think Moss can take out the shitty noble they hate, then they'll be on his side.
>>
No. 979317 ID: 9182b4

>>979308
>>979311
Issue is that being a field marshal doesn't mean shit up there either. Not really, anyway. Plus, the field marshal is an antiquated position, given what the bandits know, moss would seem to be feeding them bullshit.
>>
No. 979319 ID: 855b59

For fucks sake, we don't have time for this. Can't we just go? Fuck him and whoever he is with him, let's just go.
>>
No. 979336 ID: 6c122f

I had suggested offering to help them escape. Now, I see other suggestions using the Field Marshall angle. Those are good too.

In my opinion, Moss should use diplomacy, here. First, because if they WANT to kill him, despite losses (fanatical mindset), they will. He cannot win against huge numbers. Also, they can refuse to fight, and merely track him while others run to tattle. And moss cannot be on the move H/24, he needs to rest, while numerous enemies can take turns harrying him.

So, he needs DIPLOMACY. He needs to convince them that he is worth more to them alive than dead. Killing him would be satisfying for them, sure, but he wasn't the culprit, at most a cog in a large machine of oppression. It doesn't even matter what they did to get sent to jail. They want revenge ? Sure, let them take that revenge to the nobles who really harmed them.

You might mention that you killed a noble before. It might show them that you're not what you were anymore.

You might tell them that you intend to see Krix dead, one way or another.

Just do whatever you can to get them to work WITH you instead of AGAINST you.
>>
No. 979346 ID: b1b4f3

>>979317
It does. That's why they get assassinated.
>>
No. 979350 ID: bb78f2

You know what, we can vaguely make a deal with the guy I suppose. There's not a lot of harm to it if we're vague. It will lack credibility, but he MAY bite on anything if he's desperate. It's worth a shot.

Just say that you're in a better position than before to help you sister out and will do what it takes to get her out of the hell hole she's in if he helps you out while your here. I know there's animosity between us, and that I'm being vague about what I'm here for and what I'm doing for a living right now, but if I can LIVE long enough, I will promise you that I'll try. I'll probably die in the process but shit, my chances of death are already 99% at all times, what's .01% more by taking that debt on? It's practically a free promise. You could take on MANY debts, they barely matter since you'll probably never be able to pay them back!
>>
No. 979472 ID: 15a025

>>979350
Agreeing with this plan here. We technically are in a better position to get his sister free than before.
>>
No. 980446 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160470865307.png - (113.89KB , 800x800 , 1522.png )
980446

My hand's grip tightens. I need to think about what to say, but every word that comes to mind is poison to this guy's ears because it comes from me. Maybe I need to kill them. With that thought coming in mind, I suddenly feel exhausted. The heavy water I'm lugging is making my knees ready to give out. I can't even set them down out of fear that I'll have to run and leave them behind.

I reposition myself to get to the opposite wall, and there are people coming out from that tunnel that was behind Roiff.
>>
No. 980447 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160470866764.png - (300.41KB , 1200x800 , 1523.png )
980447

And there's yet another tunnel, now to my right, where two more are coming! I don't make eye contact, but I sure don't dare to look at the ground. It's hard to tell if they're prisoners when they aren't behind bars and in the darkness, yet they have that look.

I can't make a mental map of this place when the tunnels are winding all over!

Can I even take these guys if they all pull knives on me? Are they all still fanatical prisoners? They should have some sense by now! Roiff's a tough one to convince, but if I convince everyone else I'm not their enemy, then...

My throat feels tight.

"I'm leaving." The words come out before the idea even fully forms in my head.
>>
No. 980448 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160470869240.png - (181.33KB , 800x800 , 1524.png )
980448

"Come on Daspotta. Move." I walk by and whisper to Tauvel, not daring to turn my back on Roiff. "You talk to them. Come fetch me when it's over, the way we came."

>"Where do you think you're going?!" Roiff calls out to me, but Jafill stops him from following. "Come back, chicken fucker!"

And now yet another prisoner, and one of the worst! If any group deserved to be in the palace dungeon, he'd fit in that group with the crimes he's done. Except now he looks like he's gotten his strength back and then some. He's looking at me, he must recognize me, and I'm positive he's going to kill me. I should have drawn my sword earlier because if I draw it when I'm this close, he'll definitely rush me down. My sword's reach means almost nothing here, and he looks like he's recovered more than his share of strength after being sent here.
>>
No. 980451 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160470879333.png - (221.97KB , 800x800 , 1525.png )
980451

I move ahead. I'm alive.

He didn't stop me. I was certain he was going to attack when he saw my exposed throat. I'm losing my mind, but that isn't stopping me from running down the tunnel until I collapse on a vaguely horizontal rock.

"Crap, Daspotta - !"
>"Sir?" She's here. I forgot to make sure she followed. Of course she followed me, I didn't remember to light a torch. She's been keeping up and lighting my way. I'm being a coward and an idiot. At least I didn't run down every side passage I could without remembering how to get back. The tunnel here is at a weird angle; the ground is more of a slope, and it leads mostly upwards, jaggedly.
"Nothing, it's... this is far enough. Watch our backs."
>>
No. 980452 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160470881482.png - (262.24KB , 800x800 , 1526.png )
980452

>"Are you okay, sir?" Daspotta huffs. Not even she can deal with this idiotically hot temperature perfectly, and I made her run to keep up with me. Not like that must've been hard.
"Do I look okay?"
>"I have to ask when you don't look okay sir, and you don't look okay. You seemed to leave in a rush."
"Tauvel can talk to them. If I spoke... I don't think... the second I realized walking away was an option, I ran."

Maybe leaving Tauvel to it was the right choice. This isn't normal fear. I've got some share of cowardice I don't like to admit to others, but this fear isn't something I've ever felt.

I dump water on myself and somehow collapse further. There's a weird noise. I exhale and confirm that it's my own breath. I'm certain my throat isn't supposed to sound like stomping on dried leaves.

>"Sir, it is my duty to ask you if you're - "
"Shut up, Daspotta."
>>
No. 980453 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160470882432.png - (93.89KB , 800x800 , 1527.png )
980453

And now I regret talking.

"I'm sorry."

"That wasn't an order, talk to me."
>"Yes sir. It's okay, I understand."
"It wasn't okay. That wasn't even close to okay."
>"It's the heat, sir, I've heard that heat can cause all kinds of irritability."

I don't like having excuses made for me, but I shut up before I say more stupid things. Maybe I should've straightened up back there and either fought or talked to those prisoners, and simply let what happens, happen.

Except that once again, I realize that Daspotta's stuck with me and whatever happens. If I want to get her out of here alive, I have to be better than this. I'll have to be in control when I go back to talk, or whatever it is I'm doing.

She lifts my wrist and pushes her fingers into it.

"What's with that look?"
>"It's your pulse. It - that is - it needs to go down. It needs to go down, a lot, right now."
>>
No. 980454 ID: 77cba3

You need water and rest and some way to cool down or you are going to just die in the tunnel here.

Be careful with water and sip it and stop dumping it on yourself for now. Do whatever fieldbolds like you do when you need to cool down.

Can we lay on the stones to absorb heat or are they just as warm as the air?

Tell Daspotta all of this. She will have to be your eyes and ears and hands for the moment. You need to drink and rest.
>>
No. 980456 ID: 1ed92d

>>980453
Keep panting. Deep breaths. You need to avoid getting a heart attack.
>>
No. 980457 ID: e2f5cc

You brought those waters for a reason god damn it!
>>
No. 980458 ID: 1e57b1

Oh shit, you might be having a heart attack. The amout of stress and heat that you are taking is literaly killing you. This must be the first time you are so close to actually dying, that is why you are so afraid. You are the kind of kobold that avoids conflict as much as possible, this situation is the polar opposite and your mind and body knows this.

You need to control your breathing. Inhale from the nose, take really deep breaths. Forget about your situation for now, concentrate on your body. Imagine the oxygen circulating through your body, slowly. As imposible as it sounds, you need to relax.
>>
No. 980459 ID: b1b4f3

>>980453
You need to relax, rest, and cool down.

Remember, that guy said to leave the past behind. Considering the "worst prisoner" didn't attack you, I think that's a common sentiment down here. They're not going to kill you if you're not a threat. The kind of life they have down here might even have reformed most of them a bit. Think about it- they don't have to worry about getting attacked by other prisoners, their relationship with the guards is mostly peaceful, and they can get food and water well enough. It's a decent life, they just have no freedom, and are cut off from the surface.
>>
No. 980486 ID: 8fab7a

Well then. Running? Stupid. But not stupid stupid. You did avoid a confrontation. The prisoners didn't kill you, and you didn't rile them and cause a big(ger) scene. They didn't even follow you. Guess the peace held when you weren't around to let old sentiments fester.

Which is as good a call as any.

>High pulse, overheating
Shave already. If not your entire body, at least enough that you won't die from the heat. You have a blade. Ask Daspotta to do her best with it.

Meanwhile, breathe deep, drink water as able. Wait for Tauvel. If Tauvel doesn't return, move along, find someone else to act your guide.

If your brain badly needs a distraction, get Daspotta to talk about laws or something trivial.
>>
No. 980489 ID: 2748b3

Breath in, breath out, steady your breath. Breath through your mouth / pant. Stay still.

Shaving won't help if your fur wicks sweat away.
>>
No. 980490 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160473188049.png - (284.48KB , 800x800 , 1528.png )
980490

I try and breathe. The air feels like it's burning my throat, but it's that or burn my lungs with a lack of air.

Is this a heart attack? If it's not, it's close. It's also not the worst way to go out, but I always thought I'd die from a guy with a knife who didn't like my face. Like that prisoner, but he didn't do anything. Maybe they do reform, down here, and forget about past grudges. Except for Roiff. They get food, they get water, and apparently free roam of the mines. There's plenty of worse places to be than here, unless they're me and Daspotta.

>"Talk to me, sir."
"I'm talking and trying to relax." I try not to snap at Daspotta again. I need to relax or die and now I'm not relaxing because of that. At least being half passed out on this rock counts as resting, and I force myself to breathe deeply.

Cooling down... it's not happening. On the surface I bet I'd call this hot water. And this rock! I just noticed it's heating me up through my fur, I could cook eggs on this! I lean up and keep my torso off the stone, then drink some water instead of dumping it over myself this time. It just gets regurgitated. From how much water I've already had, and with how nauseating this heat is, it's not going down or staying down.

I consider shaving some of my fur off, but Tauvel told me that it doesn't seem to help field kobolds. I don't know why that would be, but Tauvel knows a hell of a lot more about dealing with heat than I do.

"Daspotta, are you keeping watch?"
>"Yes sir. I've got it covered, sir. Can I get you anything to help cool you down, or relax?"
"Beer."
>"I'm sorry, anything else?"
"Ale. Whiskey. Wine. I'll eat fermented bread if that's what it takes, because I'm hungry too."
>"Sir, I saw a side passage a short distance ago that looked like it went upwards at a steep slope. If we go up that, it should get cooler quickly."
"We have to wait on Tauvel, not hide from him. I'm serious about the beer. I want to check if they have that. I can keep that down better than water."
>"Uhm, sir, I think I am going to invoke addendum 24."
"We both know I don't know what that is."
>"'If the field marshal is unconscious or otherwise oblivious to surrounding danger, the assistant is to take initiative to save the marshal's life by any means necessary.'"
"And am I unconscious or otherwise oblivious?"
>"Sir please forgive me for what I am about to say, but I think you will die if you stay down here. If drinking alcohol is a higher priority to you instead of travelling up to cooler climates to save your own life, then yes, sir, I think you are delirious enough to count as oblivious to surrounding danger. I am willing to invoke that addendum even if you tell me otherwise."
>>
No. 980491 ID: 465a14

>>980490
Well you ain't got a choice and you're talking some nonsense anyway, so go drag yourself uphill.
>>
No. 980492 ID: 2748b3

Trust Daspotta.
>>
No. 980493 ID: 77cba3

"Save my dumb ass life please."
>>
No. 980495 ID: 89c535

Her life is tied to your own and the heat easily can prevent you from thinking clearly.
If you can't keep water down you are likely already suffering from heat stroke and no longer able to evaluate your own well being accurately. Trust her in this measure and listen to what she has to say.
>>
No. 980497 ID: b1b4f3

>>980490
I thought we already went up a bit? Oh well, go further up then.
Don't run this time.

Find somewhere that's survivable, and just stay there. Once you start recovering have Daspotta go back to Tauvel and get the information on where Roc Underpass is from him, since by the time she gets back there he must have asked around a bit. She will of course need to be careful to mark the tunnels so she can get back to you.
If Tauvel comes back with her I guess that's fine, since he seemed to want to stick with you to try to escape.
>>
No. 980500 ID: 36784c

>>980490
Fuck, am I really that bad? Alright help me go upwards.
>>
No. 980528 ID: 70d854

>>980493
Say this, and try and stand. An effort, even a token one, may help you keep on the move.
>>
No. 980529 ID: 8fab7a

>>980493
This.

Do you have anything you can use to breadcrumb Tauvel to your location? The coins, maybe? Or something else relatively worthless down here.
>>
No. 980530 ID: e2f5cc

Be stubborn, because drama is fun.
>>
No. 980532 ID: 53560f

Daspotta, I’m almost proud of you. Maybe one day you’ll have the confidence to tell me that I’m an idiot but until then, I’ll take solace that you know when to force your authority on me.
>>
No. 980533 ID: bb78f2

>>980490
Now that's the courage to stand up I've been waiting for. IF all it took was a little addendum I would have ordered the addendum active on the justification that I'm oblivious all the time.

Ok. Yeah, lets get up higher.
>>
No. 980536 ID: 1e57b1

Sigh... You are a good kid.
Ok then. But we can't go too far away. We need to wait for Tauvel.
>>
No. 980540 ID: 1a8428

"Good for you, Daspotta, I like to see it. I'm not just a drunk, though, I want booze to make myself relax, and to make my blood flow easier. You know people bleed more when they're drunk? Same reason booze makes you feel warmer in the cold but will actually make you freeze to death faster."
>>
No. 980554 ID: 1ed92d

>>980490
Accept Daspotta's commands.
>>
No. 980564 ID: 2e15a9

To be forgiven you need to do something wrong first. Let's go.
>>
No. 980575 ID: 15a025

You're going to run out of water trying to cool off here. Accept and head up so the poor kid doesn't have to haul you herself.
>>
No. 980593 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160481628596.png - (241.43KB , 800x800 , 1529.png )
980593

"I thought we already went up."
>"Not much, the slope we travelled through last night is at a very gentle slope."
"Hrm, fine. 'cept I'm serious about the booze. It helps me cool down when it's warm, I'm sure it still works in extreme heat like this." I think. "We've still got to wait for Tauvel."

I try to get up. It's more of a roll, and I stop myself before I roll right off the rock. I feel like I might roll off anyway until Daspotta puts an arm on my shoulder and pushes me back.

>"Sir I will mark the path I take and come back for Tauvel myself. I am enacting the addendum now, so please be quiet and breath."
"Alright, go and save my dumb ass."
>"Please lift your arms, sir." She takes my waterskin.
"What for?"
>"To save your butt, sir."

She takes off everything I have, and carries it all herself.
>>
No. 980594 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160481632841.png - (83.95KB , 800x800 , 1530.png )
980594

Including me.

'I have to be better to get Daspotta out of here', says my dumb ass that's getting princess carried to safety, naked as the day I was born.
>>
No. 980595 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160481640217.png - (295.14KB , 800x800 , 1531.png )
980595

"Did you need to take all my clothes?"
>"Yes sir, I'm not taking any chances, sir."
"At least let me walk, this is an embarrassment."
>"Sir, if you are capable of walking, then prove it by getting out of my arms on your own. Otherwise, I think you're just going to roll down this whole tunnel."

I feel better, not that much better. She's probably right. I'll leave her arms in a minute.
>>
No. 980596 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160481641546.png - (238.61KB , 800x800 , 1532.png )
980596

Because getting everything and myself carried like this... it's too much.
>>
No. 980599 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160481659835.png - (69.68KB , 1200x800 , 1533.png )
980599

.... huh?

Where is this? I recall vaguely... getting set down. I was spoken too but I didn't understand what was said.

I fell asleep, that's what happened. It's much cooler here. Hot, but compared to that hell, this is cool.

I see a stone tablet left by the candle. I reach over without getting out of this... hammock? This is much better than the stone.

>Dear Sir,
>I went back to the camp, and Tauvel and Jafill seem to have mostly sorted things out. A runner came and told everyone about the bounties already. There was a big discussion and everyone swore that they'd rather see you live than give Sir Gahki what he wants. But! Please DO NOT come back here! The heat is still too much, plus I overheard Roiff and a couple others talk about how they wanted to rough you up if you showed up again. I hope they weren't serious, but I think I now understand why you ran away.
>I went back down, and Tauvel and I are going to work through the day to earn some food and water. I got an advance pay for you, in the form of bread (in the black cloth), and some mead I put behind a loose rock in the little alcove by you. Please use it wisely, because it is more expensive than water!
>We'll be back before nightfall. It's not like there's much of a night down here, but villages have hourglasses to keep track of schedules, and the term nightfall is still used even if it's an abstract concept down here.
>Above all else, I'm certain you've woken up wanting to carry your weight, but since you can't do that if you're dead, please rest and get your health back! I'm too busy to force you to do that, and so I've taken the liberty of leaving a borrowed sledge hammer in your room. So please rest, first, but if you disobey that and feel you MUST work, then please stay there and make loose gravel like how that one girl we met did. Remember to use the bread cloth to keep yourself from breathing in rock dust.
>-With your best interests in mind, Daspotta

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No. 980600 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160481660999.png - (251.53KB , 800x800 , 1534.png )
980600

I move the loose stone Daspotta mentioned near the candle. There's a hole under it with my bag and the waterskin. It looks like everything of mine is in the bag, except for my clothes, because she must think I would immediately bundle up now that I'm only in regular hot air.

I take the waterskin, just to see if there's really mead in here. I smell it. It's not any mead I've had before, I don't think, but it is booze and it smells good.

After all I had her do, she still got me booze.
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No. 980601 ID: 2748b3

Bless Daspotta's dedicated heart, we have got to make sure she gets out of here safely. How do you feel? Be honest with yourself.
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No. 980602 ID: 77cba3

Sip just a sip and then lay down a bit and see how much more rest you need.

I guess the goal now is to keep getting food and water and tracking down Cheese. For the moment you need to recover. We know how dangerous the heat is for you now so we need to figure out how to avoid as much of it as possible.
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No. 980604 ID: b1b4f3

>>980600
Ration it. You don't know how long you're going to be down here.
Take stock of your health. Feel your own pulse and see how badly you're sweating and how easily you can move. Try swinging the hammer around a little if you're confident.
Also scuff more dirt onto your diamond mark.
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No. 980605 ID: c1fc43

You lost your "disguise". Get some mud, you've gotta fix that.
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No. 980614 ID: 36784c

>>980600
Rest and recover.

And pray that wherever Cheese wanted you to meet her isn’t down in that heat!
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No. 980617 ID: e2f5cc

Consider how you're going to propose to Daspotta once you get out of here.
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No. 980620 ID: 8fab7a

Note to self: you may have been underestimating Daspotta.

Eat your portion of the bread. Then wear the bread cloth and use gravel crushing to test your limits with regards to overheating. No, like, push yourself to the limit, but test how quickly or how hard you can exert yourself before you start sweating, so you better know how to act down here.

And do check out if taking a small mouthful of mead actually helps. If it has the rejuvenating cooling properties you claimed it does you'll want to use it sparingly and only when you think you'll be about to need the boost.

... perhaps it's more liquid courage than liquid coolant, but every little bit that keeps you from stressing out and overheating will count.
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No. 980623 ID: 66d80e

>>980614
If Cheese did want us to meet her somewhere in that heat, then we should make a mental note to kick her big fat squishy butt next time we see her.
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No. 980639 ID: 53560f

Welp, might as well rest for a bit and maybe make sone gravel later if we feel up to it to help out daspotta.
Make a mental note to make it up to her somehow because holy shit she’s doing a bit more than just pulling her weight.
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No. 980745 ID: dbd72b

She really bailed you out, so respect her wishes. Get rested and make sure you're ok.

If you feel like you're good, you can work as she mentioned to test your condition, but don't push it. You've got bigger things to do, and can't afford to lose it to heat and manual labor.
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No. 980748 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160503963992.png - (82.02KB , 1200x800 , 1535.png )
980748

I feel pretty shit, but only because of what I had Daspotta do for me. Physically speaking, I'm much better. My heart rate's normal, I feel alert, and it doesn't seem so hot anymore.

I lay down for a bit, but there isn't much gain after I realize I've probably been asleep for several hours already. I get up, eat the bread, wear the cloth, resmudge my forehead, and start taking a few swings with the hammer.

My pace is carefully slow. I also take a longer break after a bit to try the mead. I do my best to make it one single gulp, but it's fantastic. Better than breaktown alcohol. I get back to swinging to distract myself, and it does a good job of that. I've dragged carts across gravel like this before, so I've got a pretty good idea of what's good gravel and what's bad.

A light distracts me - one tunnel out of here goes down, which I assume Daspotta went through. The other one is where the light's coming from.

And about the same time I notice the light, I notice the air is tingling with mana.
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No. 980749 ID: 465a14

>>980748
You've got a hammer, a sword, a candle, and enough of a dirt layer with your rags and eyes that you'd pass for a prisoner. If you can find someplace to hide the sword, do- get dirty enough to cover your diamond and blend in with the local prisoners.
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No. 980750 ID: 77cba3

Well we can stay and find out who or what this is or we can take our stuff and hide or leave.

Is the mana a sign of undead or the living?
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No. 980753 ID: 8fab7a

Hide sword, act as if you'll keep smashing gravel, but try to catch a glimpse of what's coming, whether it be a wizard, an undead or an undead wizard, or something else, you're probably safest pretending to be one of the slaves.

Though, ergh, you still don't have the collar. Hrm. Can you drag your mouthwrap and put it around your neck, so it looks like it's covering up the collar area?
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No. 980755 ID: b1b4f3

>>980748
Evac. Grab sword and candle, go down the darker passage, hide down a side passage and cover the candle. You can handle the heat for a little bit.
The room will look like someone was smashing gravel, finished, then left with a cart of gravel. Which you didn't have; I wonder how you would've transported the gravel you made.
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No. 980852 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160513439016.png - (131.67KB , 1200x800 , 1536.png )
980852

I think I look prisoner enough. I'll risk it, and I roll up my face cloth and tie it around my neck like a collar.

I also slide my sword down in the alcove and move the rock back to obscure it, but the hilt is left out so the blade can be drawn. Whoever's coming is slow, so I take some more swings with the hammer to look hard at work.

Then one person turns the corner, and as we see each other, a second follows closely behind, and it appears to just be these two. Neither one looks undead, but the one in back is dressed so cleanly that I'm sure she's a wizard, and the reason I can sense mana.

>"Shotolli?" She asks. She's looking at me, but the other responds.
>"Yes, dame?"
>"Did our signs not make it clear that this chamber is not to be occupied?"
>"We have, but many workers remain illiterate."
>"But they're the same signs we use - forget it. These new investigations leave us no time to teach this gravel maker basic directions, so tell it to leave and lay out your maps for me to study."
>"Yes dame." Shotolli says and faces me. "Begone and take your work elsewhere, as this chamber is to be used by Dame Allopia."
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No. 980856 ID: b1b4f3

>>980852
Well that explains where the cot came from.

Say goodbye to your sword, Moss. A prisoner-slave has no right to speak to a wizard to ask what she's investigating or even to offer assistance, and a pursued field-marshall will die before he gets any answers.
Take your hammer and leave. You will have to go tell Daspotta what happened then find a new chamber to rest and hide, and hope that either they don't find the sword, or think it was someone else's.
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No. 980863 ID: e2f5cc

Avert yer eyes and abscond as the lady says.
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No. 980865 ID: 77cba3

If you leave your sword here they will find it shortly. Can you wrap it up in the bed secretly as you pack up?

Neither of them are armed openly. How dangerous are mages with no weapons?
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No. 980867 ID: 53560f

If they’re down here then they likely work for gahki and judging by the fact that it’s a wizard with maps, they are either trying to determine the next best place to expand the mine or they are trying to find you with magic and deductive reasoning.
Start packing up, get your sword if you can.
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No. 980870 ID: 298f1c

Oof, well, ther goes the sword, at least for a while. You still have the hammer. Donm't say anything, just bow, take your stuff and leave, you will come back later.
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No. 980871 ID: 6c122f

Well, none of them look armed. Moss, what do you know about wizards ? Are they feared for their martial prowess, or for abilities like controlling people, paralyzing them, or otherwise incapacitating them ?

If so, yes, you should meekly obey, and hope they do not find the sword.

If not, then I reckon you're in a position of strength.

In fact, you could very well surprise them by introducing yourself as the Field Marshall Moss. After all, they are required by law to aid you, aren't they ?

So, you might be able to enlist their aid to exit the mines (they seem to have maps, probably reasonably up-to-date, too), with the promise of a reward for rendered services afterward... I mean, if the local lord tried to kill a Field Marshall, there might very soon be an opening for that lord's position. Same for the Crow zone, which could very well be conquered by Krix's army following this casus belli.

I mean, Krix clearly doesn't care about "Moss" or his life. But the insult of having his Field Marshall, which represents His autority, attacked and nearly murdered, would provide him for a very good excuse to punish them, I think.

A wizard is necessarily a noble, and would probably see a likely raise in status, or at the very least, the favor of a Gold noble, as a good thing. And the other kobold, who seems to be a geometer or some other learned type, wouldn't stand to lose anything either.

If they don't want to work with you, you can always hold them at swordpoint until Daspotta and Tauvel come back. Or murder them, if they really act rashly, and you cannot keep things civil.
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No. 980872 ID: 700014

What's that? Leave? Sure.
Time to eavesdrop.
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No. 980873 ID: b1b4f3

>>980871
The position of Field Marshall is only respected when it is invoked in a place where the Field Marshall can't immediately be killed.

That said, I don't see a weapon on the non-wizard...
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No. 980874 ID: b1b4f3

OH, I have an idea.

Be slow. They're about to spread out some maps, so if you can look at them and see where Roc Underpass is, you won't need help to find it.
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No. 980875 ID: 36784c

>>980874
If their map is anything like the last map we looked at here: >>978893 , then I don’t think getting a quick glance at it will help us.
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No. 980922 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160530110857.png - (163.45KB , 800x800 , 1537.png )
980922

I make sure not to make eye contact with a wizard, especially a pompous one like this who's sure to think she's a noble even if she isn't. I don't know what her purpose is, down here. I doubt she's here to sanctify this chamber then leave. If she does, she'll be among my favorite people in my life, right behind Daspotta.

I turn to gather my things. I am not leaving my sword here. If they see it and confront me, I'll find out how they respond to the field marshall title, and how formidable they are in a fight if needed. The wizard's helper may have a long dagger on him, and the wizard herself... wizards are volatile in a fight, but their magic alone does not often directly help them. With a proper sword, I still have a great advantage.

It doesn't matter. They ignore me as I pick up my things. All I leave is the bed, which Shotolli claims as he rolls out his large map right over it. I don't linger or gawk, but I note that it's about a quarter size from the guard outpost's map. Yet I also notice that there are several sheets, so if it's all one map, the total surface area could be even bigger than the outpost map. It certainly looks as detailed, but I walk away.

I'd sit down down in the tunnel, but it's too hot. So I stand and try to focus on listening in to those other two even as I get distracted by the dawning realization that I'm wearing Daspotta's skirt. They talk and talk about where their destinations are and who they've got to investigate in the next couple of days, but it's all names and routes that could only mean anything to me if I saw the map. Finally, they seem to talk about something relevant.

>"Regardless, next is exploratory camp 270. Is it just me, or do they continue to move farther and farther away?"
>"Yes, dame, their camp appears to be kept minimal and nomadic in order to save time travelling to their work sites each day."
>"Were they ordered to dig so deep?"
>"No, dame."
>"Then while I perform my ritual, explain to them that they are not to dig another foot downward."
>"As you will, dame. When they inevitably ask why you order that, might I suggest indulging them with an explanation?"
>"Do as you wish. Tell them that I am aware that exploratory miners avoid being suspected of attempted escapes by digging far down from the surface, but this group is digging so deep that I'm suspecting them of obstructing our investigation by making it as intolerably hot as possible! I wonder if they somehow know it's far more difficult to perform my ritual when it's that hot, but don't don't tell that outright. Now pack your maps and let's get this over with."
>"I understand, dame. I am obliged to remind you about the abomination camp's batteries."
>"I will charge the batteries as we walk. If they complain about the quality, they can take it up with my superiors and their sudden, haphazard schedule."
>"Yes dame."
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No. 980923 ID: 655513

Mages helping the undead? New this really is getting out of hand. Abominations are not fun, that is for sure. Are they trying to make an army outside of Erja Nokol? Like an forward base?
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No. 980924 ID: 77cba3

Well that is some info at least. We have crews trying to dig super deep into lava and the heat makes blessing area with mana harder apparently?

Abominations are Cheese's people though and are likely to be friendly to her. If we can follow this pair as they recharge things we might find friends. But you will proably heat stroke out if you get into a area that even a draconic thinks is to hot.

Hmm she said that the batteries need to be charged but she can do it while walking? Does that mean she has the mana batteries on her? Is the camp 270 a normal camp or abominations that like the heat? And if they do know about the heat messing with rituals is there a reason they are trying to avoid the ritual?

Following her at a safe distance might be a good idea. Your giant ears do seem to give you a advantage in the sneaking department and we need to know more about what is going on down here.
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No. 980925 ID: b1b4f3

>>980922
Camp 270 is especially deep? Wait... that camp might be the one Daspotta and the others are at.
We have to go down and warn Daspotta, and find another not-so-hot place to hide while the wizard does her ritual. Though it would be nice to avoid getting roughed up, so see if you can call for Daspotta from out of sight.

Attacking the wizard without provocation is right out.
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No. 980948 ID: bb78f2

>>980922
Wait a fucking MINUTE hold up was my bullshit story we almost spun up about the Erja campaign somehow being a threat here for real?
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No. 980961 ID: 655513

>>980948
I am inclined to think so, given what we just heard. The Empire might acutually be in danger for once. If what is happening here is happening in other places inside their territory, they might be in for a nasty surprise. The necromancers might not be in the defensive as we thought they were.
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No. 981001 ID: 6c122f

So, the Crows and the Necromancers really do work hand-in-hand... Yep, that is a nasty surprise. We cannot expect these ones to help, then, as they are clearly colluding with the enemy.

I'm inclined to think that the prisoners might be our best bet, here. Their jailor is clearly working against the empire, so making a deal with them in order to help them escape doesn't seem that illegal to me, now.

After all, if they helped "foil a conspiracy", it might be redeeming enough in the eyes of the higer-ups, right ? Maybe enough, at least, to allow them a reduced sentence, or to commute it to army time, I'd guess. After all, Moss speaks as his Gold noble, unless I'm mistaken. So he should be able to "levy" them, which would cover the legal aspects ? Better check with Daspotta, though...
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No. 981007 ID: b1b4f3

Before we assume this is necromancy, let's keep in mind we don't know what the ritual is for.
Also we should keep in mind the undead here are crap. They are no threat to the empire.
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No. 981012 ID: 8fab7a

Guys.

This mine is in a Dead Zone. They need wizards to regularly replenish mana to areas so kobolds can live here without going bonkers nuts cray and die.
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No. 981032 ID: 10c408

>>980961
We already knew that the quarentine was an abject failure and that the garrison was just LETTING people come and go as they pleased.
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No. 981036 ID: 6c122f

>>981007

The "necromancy" part is due to the term "battery". Remember, necromancers use batteries.
Plus, this lord *is* a necromancer, even if he doesn't act in cahoots with the ones from the Necropol
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No. 981487 ID: 1ed92d

>>980600
You must understand this:

You are Daspotta's weak point right now.

If you die, she will have to axe herself or be executed. You are her lifeline and she's dangling above a pit watching you fray yourself.

Do her a solid and do everything in your power to stay alive and let her take care of things. She's built like a brick shithouse and while she's a bit naive, she's currently prepared to act like a hunter-killer to ensure you both get out of here alive.

All you have to do is avoid dying and do the investigative thinking while you let Daspotta break people in half to save your too-clever ass.
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No. 981640 ID: 15a025

Going back into that room is probably a bad idea for now. Getting caught in there isn't going to go over well. Stick where you are for now.
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