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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.
1458 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
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

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 )

"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 )

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 )

"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 )

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

.... 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

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

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.
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.
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.
No. 980604 ID: b1b4f3

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.
No. 980605 ID: c1fc43

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

Rest and recover.

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

Consider how you're going to propose to Daspotta once you get out of here.
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.
No. 980623 ID: 66d80e

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.
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.
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.
No. 980748 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160503963992.png - (82.02KB , 1200x800 , 1535.png )

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.
No. 980749 ID: 465a14

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.
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?
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?
No. 980755 ID: b1b4f3

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.
No. 980852 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160513439016.png - (131.67KB , 1200x800 , 1536.png )

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."
No. 980856 ID: b1b4f3

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.
No. 980863 ID: e2f5cc

Avert yer eyes and abscond as the lady says.
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?
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.
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.
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.
No. 980872 ID: 700014

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

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...
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.
No. 980875 ID: 36784c

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.
No. 980922 ID: 5fc3a0
File 160530110857.png - (163.45KB , 800x800 , 1537.png )

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."
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?
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.
No. 980925 ID: b1b4f3

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.
No. 980948 ID: bb78f2

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?
No. 980961 ID: 655513

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.
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...
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.
No. 981012 ID: 8fab7a


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.
No. 981032 ID: 10c408

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


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
No. 981487 ID: 1ed92d

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.
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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