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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.
1234 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
No. 977126 ID: b1b4f3

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

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

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

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

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

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 )

"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 )

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 )

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

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

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

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

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

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 )

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

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 )

"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

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

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

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

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

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 )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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