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966089 No. 966089 ID: 6f7a5a

This is a NSFW clothing damage adventure!
the quest will contain nudity and violence and possibly some sexual content
Lewd suggestions are encouraged but not required.

A catles is built to protect, from both raider and traitor

This quest is funded by Patreon,
if you'd like to see more consider sending a few coins!
https://www.patreon.com/KingOfPentacles

Previous Threads
https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/780786.html
https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/858442.html
https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/918309.html

Discussion
https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/111417.html
379 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1013107 ID: 50af53

They seem to be horribly upset and are taking a somber stance. Perhaps they may have somehow lost a head? Eloquently request they face you for inspection. I don't like the thought of getting closer to her should something be wrong, that and approaching an underling is beneath you.
>>
No. 1013116 ID: 3aa06e

>>1013099
Keep your entourage around you until you can reveal what's wrong. Ask the hydras to face you, what did the damned Vardeks do to them? Maybe reveal some genuine concern.
>>
No. 1013163 ID: e51896

>>1013099
support
>>
No. 1014001 ID: 9b127b
File 163574173366.png - (473.83KB , 657x858 , Pentacle183.png )
1014001

Kalez looks back and waves a hand'Lylene, Sezeda. Lock the Vardeks in an empty cell'.

The two slither off catives in tow, Kalez then returns her attention to the Hydra "Hydra I am satisfied to see you are alive" she tries to inflect warmth in her voice, but it sounds more sardonic than genuine.

The heads of the Hydra snort and growl, unmoved by the words of sympathy 'Only because you still need us.' Mifal again speaking for the others

Kalez recognizes Lady Vardeks words as they are parroted by the witless dupe, Kalez shifts the conversation back "your poor arm and tail, are they healing well?" this time attempting a concerned tone.

The Hydra just huffs and shifts their weight, this Kalez knows is good, they are confused meaning there is at least some doubt in whatever Vardek told them.

Kalez ventures a request'Could you please turn around? I would prefer to speak to you face to faces'

The levity in the statement is not well received, in a swift movement the Hydra is facing the golden scorpion and looming over her 'YOU THINK THAT'S FUNNY?!' Fason bellows speaking for the first time
'You killed our friend!' Solia wails.
'She was kind to us, showed us far off places!' Laret hisses
Diavolo Channler. Kalez curses to herself, Vardek must have known revealing her fate would disturb the Hydra

Fason then adds 'Also our arm is better than ever' The Hydra flexes their improved talon

The Hydra seems ready to attack but there is some hesitation and is waiting for Kalez next move.

A) Kalez tries to calm her with words
B) Kalez attempts a spell
C) Kalez attacks
D) Kalez defends
E) Kalez flees
F) something else?

>>
No. 1014002 ID: c92a02

Defend, and since you leave us no further context make some lies up about how you had to kill her for the Hydra's own good, or perhaps how you regret the killing was necessary.
Did you save them because they were needed? No, you saved them because the opposite was true, no one believed they could be saved. The world turned their backs on them. You believed there was still a chance for them. There still is.
>>
No. 1014003 ID: 629f2e

Okay, we'd really like to keep the Hydra, but they're in a terrible mood.

I say that we take a gamble. Don't do anything. Take whatever attack comes, and try to talk to her afterwards. It won't feel great, but it may surprise them enough to hear you out. Whether you lie or tell them the truth, say whatever you think will make them stop.

If you really doubt your ability to succeed that high charisma check though, focus on incapacitation. Cast Trap Maker + Lock Down on her main garment so that you can stop her if she tries to rush you down.
>>
No. 1014004 ID: 35458d

The animal needs to be tamed and know who's its master.

Attack, and demand that it learns its place!
>>
No. 1014005 ID: 094652

"She wanted to see more. I wanted a diviner who wouldn't stab me in the back. It failed, and when she started ranting about how she was going to raze the kingdom and eat her friends piece by piece, I faced her down and stabbed her in the front. Multiple times.
And I will need you if I want to capture the madwoman alive, so Stand. Down."
>>
No. 1014006 ID: e1017c

>>1014001
A
"Think, Hydra! If I need you as a loyal soldier, need you enough to save you from death, then I must want to do everything to keep you loyal, correct? Therefore I would not have done anything to make you question your loyalty if there was any other way. Trust not in my empathy and heart, Hydra, trust in my logic and planning, and trust in your greatness as an irreplaceable interrogator and warrior. I need you now more than ever. Together, we shall do great things and thwart everyone who would spell our doom, through pain and through chain!"
>>
No. 1014008 ID: 62e901

Of course. Of course the somebody who saw the future would be good to the hydra if it would cause this to occur. That was clever of Diavolo. Has she left other surprises? Well, either way...
Appeal to your history with her? Throw shade at Vardek's motives?

"I get that you're mad, I'd be just as mad if somebody tried to hurt you. It's why I fought them, why I came here! If I 'just needed you' as Vardek put it, I could have just ordered some troops to retrieve you, but I had to see if you were alright myself!
I cared for you, made sure you were fed, protected you, gave you a life! Vardek, though, she just sees you as a way to hurt me!

I'd be a fool to ask you to forgive me for what I did to Diavolo. What I will ask, is that if you will still try to kill me after all I did for you, because *Vardek* desires it, (remove your hood) at least look me in the eyes and say it."

Also, ready a floor slip if this fails. Bigger they are, harder they fall.
>>
No. 1014009 ID: dc5d5b

>>1014008
This, and to add further to that. “What has Vardek really done for you other than show you these illusions and grandeur? It’s easy to be kind and to paint the outside world beautifully. But here’s something Vardek never did, make the hard decisions and put time into you.

You all know I’m the one who saved you from death. I got my best mage to save your lives even if he didn’t want to, even though Abin said he could only save a few of you I made sure he saved you all. I got my best to make sure all of you would come out alive.

Who trained you to fight? It was Midas, who taught you all to defend yourselves. So that you wouldn’t be defenseless against those who would harm you. Who taught you five to read and write, to have an education? It was Abin.

And this prison, it’s not the best looking compared to outside but it was the safest place for you all. I could have assigned you to some distant outpost. Someplace far from me, but I chose here because I wanted you five to be safe. Outside the castle, you will find Zealots who will hunt you down for the mere crime of existing. You might be able to take a few but given time, they will send greater numbers and more powerful members to hunt you down. While you sleep and while you wake. To them, the simple fact that you draw breath is enough for them to focus attention on vanquishing you.

Vardek wasn’t the one who saved your lives, she wasn’t the one who taught you all you know, she isn’t the one who provided you shelter and your essentials. She didn’t put the time and effort into you, she didn’t make the hard decisions. I did. Even if you despise me for it, keeping you in this prison was the safest thing to do for you because me and others care.” And I suppose as you remove your hood make one final statement. “To strike at me, you strike at everyone who really cares. You walk away from the people who have given all that you have. People who have made sacrifices Vardek never has.”
>>
No. 1014043 ID: 322af8

I'd argue retreat. What else is the hydra going to do stay in the cage forever? Let them be mad for a bit and then when their anger passes they will come to you again.
>>
No. 1014128 ID: 12f554

>>1014004
This has some wisdom behind it.

There are two possibilities that lead to Kalez keeping the Hydra. Either beat it into submission (risky, liable to cause reprisals later), or convince it to come willingly. Everybody's coming up with some elaborate lie to get the Hydra on our side, but the Hydra heard Kalez admit, without remorse, that she killed their friend. And the Hydra isn't *stupid*.

So let her get a solid hit in. It'll let her work out some of her anger, and it'll make Kalez look less haughty, and that'll provide much better odds of the Hydra actually listening to Kalez.
>>
No. 1014789 ID: 9b127b
File 163661659721.png - (488.62KB , 657x858 , Pentacle184.png )
1014789

Kalez is truly tempted to force the Hydra into submission, but her hand is stayed by an immutable fact; She'd lose

The Hydra is powerful, more powerful than any in the castle realize, save perhaps Midas. The Hydra is powerful enough to ruin everything, powerful enough to ruin her . . . dream.

Dreams.
That's what this is all about.
Melancholy seeps into Kalez' armored shell as hot water on a meal crab.
Dreams of a better tomorrow.
The pain of memory boils under her chitin.

Azzeki notices her pain and seems tempted to comfort the scorpions' distress.

The Hydra remains oblivious.

Kalez motions for Azzeki to hold her position. she then lowers her hood.
the pain on her face is real, as is the sorrow in her words 'I too cared for Diavola . . . in my way'

The hydra is effect by the rare emotion of their jailer but clings to anger,'Liar! you killed her!' Fason voices.
Kalez' sigh comes out ragged'Yes I did, I hated what she had become but I hated myself more for twisting her in into the monster she became'

'Just like how you've twisted us!' Mifal huffs, trying to act strong.

'Yes just as I had Aebin twist all of you' Kalez admits 'I thought ending the monster would ease my guilt but it only weighed heavier on me'

Kalez pauses and a voice of understanding speaks from the head of Solia'and then what?'

The golden scorpion loathes sympathy and snaps back 'then the pain endured. Until today.' a fierceness returns to Kalez 'I no longer think Vardek was lying when she said Diavola lives, this being true places everyone in the kingdom in grave danger, even you she'll not see you as friend anymore.'
Kalez Reaches for the last of her fading passion 'I may not care for you in the way you like, but I AM keeping you safe, all of us in the castle are.' Kalez holds her arms wide a strike against me would be a strike on all of them. we need each other working together now more then ever to survive.

A moment of silence is followed by hushed whispers from the heads. the heads seem wary and Mifal speaks 'we will return to the upper level, for now.'
>>
No. 1014841 ID: 322af8

Good. Then with that crises averted, we all shall return to the normal level and get back to the important business of stamping out the rebels.
>>
No. 1016226 ID: 3aa06e

Not quite out of this mess yet but at least one of your best isn't being used against you. They might even make a great personal guard if you can regain their trust. Get to work on ideas.

Get everyone together and make sure the Vardeks are locked up. Once this prison is back under control, get back to planning.
>>
No. 1016244 ID: c0a638

I don't think she's ready for a hug so... Offer a hand to shake.
>>
No. 1017495 ID: 9b127b
File 163961053726.png - (516.20KB , 657x858 , Pentacle185.png )
1017495

Seeing the danger has passed Sezeda and Lylene emerge from hiding
'Sssooo . . . what now?' Lylene asks.

'Now we leave this wretched place' Kalez hisses

and so the scorpion and her serpents make their exit.
>>
No. 1017496 ID: 9b127b
File 163961062175.png - (408.12KB , 657x858 , Pentacle186.png )
1017496

Again Eeyfel walks across the castle courtyard, she is not alone this time.

Abin Nethar is with her, he is poor company with his harsh chiding demeanor but Eeyfel has been glad of his company.

The night has been dark, darker than it has seemed in many seasons. She chooses to comment on the unusual silence that greets them 'I don't hear Ulric's mumbling or scrapping, shouldn't he be working tonight?

Her jackal companion having been deep in thought responds with his usual snippy dismissal 'The useless wretch is probably off drinking somewhere' upon reaching the center fountain he turns to the small kobold.'I'm going to find Kalez she'll want to know what we've learned, You take these parchments to Midas immediately and inform him as well Nethar then activates the rune for the passage.

Eeyfel looks down the tree lined road leading towards the keep with a deep sense of dread.

The tunnel's grinding movement halt when fully open 'Oh and if you do see Ulric, tell the lazy lout that these trees need trimming' Nethar adds as he descends the stairs.

as her sole companion departs she only feels the dread deepen
>>
No. 1017497 ID: 629f2e

Alright, let's ask the obvious question. What shady thing is Nethar about to do now that he's by himself? Something he doesn't want Kalez to know about, something for Kalez that others shouldn't know about, or just something normal that appears shady because it's happening at night?
>>
No. 1017499 ID: c92a02

Keep an ear out for intruders. There's always someone in this castle that wants to jump you.
>>
No. 1017530 ID: 3aa06e

Status check, how is your hand? Did you get Abin to look at that or are you planning to keep it a secret till it gets worse?
>>
No. 1018152 ID: 9b127b
File 164024076209.png - (463.21KB , 657x858 , Pentacle187.png )
1018152

Fear dominates Eeyfel's every thought. not just from the darkness but from the treasonous parchments littering the streets. the very parchments she hold in her hands.

Abin Nethar wasn't afraid, as if imminent destruction was more of an inconvenience than a real concern.

Or maybe he already knew.

Eeyfel's boots clack again the paving stones, betraying her position to the ominous shadows. Again the kobold wishes her senior acolyte had not abandoned her to the night.

Abin must have already known, he knew we were all doomed. Eeyfel considers that perhaps her colleague welcomes death at least on some level, perhaps he intends to set his affairs in order and let the darkness come.

Eeyfel hear's a groan coming from a nearby tree

The acolyte freezes and decides that unlike Abin she very much would like to live.
>>
No. 1018154 ID: c92a02

Put the papers down and investigate this winded tree. Dark arts at the ready!
>>
No. 1018163 ID: 10c07d

You have spells that could possibly light up the area around the tree right? Why not use one of those?
>>
No. 1018164 ID: 9a2966

>>1018152
A groan could be Ulric, drunk as a skunk.

So, false alarm! Probably. Though you were ordered to tell him to trim the trees... but, on the other hand, you've not seen him, and you were told to deliver the documents to Midas immediately.

See if you can peek whether it's Ulric or not from the path. If it is, yell at him Abin told him to trim the trees. If it isn't or you can't SEE him... maybe just calmly walk onwards, holding carefully on to these precious documents.
>>
No. 1018189 ID: 322af8

I vote clutch the papers close to you and run away. There is trouble afoot and you want no part of it.
>>
No. 1018210 ID: 3aa06e

>>1018152
Have an escape plan in mind but stand your ground.

>>1018164 Yeah it could be Ulric, or it may not be. Just pass the message along as casually as possible to see if you get a response. Don't wait for it either. Get to walking or running, you have papers to deliver.

What exactly did you and Abin uncover?
>>
No. 1018613 ID: 9b127b
File 164073087436.png - (316.21KB , 657x858 , Pentacle188.png )
1018613

Eeyfel is a power-thief acolyte and has the following spells
Sap health (steals life force and gives it to you)
Scry (allows you to see and speak to people in far off places)
Find treasure (detects nearby valuables)
shadow form (improves stealth)
acid dagger (launch a short range acid attack)


Eeyfel clutches on tight to the parchments, she and Abin had found them scattered across Chorum street. they are treasonous poetry with impossible insight. it had taken the two of them hours to collect one of each verse.

The groan is heard again

Suspecting it might be Ulric, Eeyfel peaks around the tree, and confirms a pair of boots that belong to the grounds keeper.
>>
No. 1018614 ID: d2bcfe

"Hey! No sleeping on the job!"
>>
No. 1018615 ID: c92a02

Isn't he supposed to be operating the lift that Eeyfel totally doesn't know about? Bother. Use Scry to warn the castle guard that someone has whacked Ulric. Then use Shadow Form to drag Ulric to safety, if you can.
Dump the verses in the flowerpot, you are on castle grounds in the dark and nobody is going to scatter them again.
>>
No. 1018618 ID: 629f2e

You can already make out the faintest traces of blood, you don't want to join him in whatever was just done, so stay stealthy.

Cast Find Treasure to see if you can detect any close to the prone Ulric. It may seem random, but the simplest motives for someone attacking him would be that either they wanted his valuables, or they were trying to leave with stolen goods and were seen by him.

If you detect anything valuable being carried close to the body, then the suspect is right there and you can't help him. Use Shadow Form to get a look at the suspect without being seen yourself hopefully, and then go report what you've seen. If nothing is detected, you may be safe to simply peek out and see whether or not he's well before rushing to get help.
>>
No. 1018633 ID: 322af8

Should probably scry for help. After all his assailant is probably nearby and we don't want to join him bleeding on the floor.
>>
No. 1019385 ID: 9b127b
File 164126591727.png - (342.71KB , 657x858 , Pentacle189.png )
1019385

Eeyfel feels that she should use her SCRY spell to get help, however she can only use it once without her crystal orb.

in addition she cannot cast any spells unless she puts down the parchments, which she is reluctant to do.

she's also not sure who to contact
A) Bowin should be at the stables feeding the molebeasts
B) Sergeant Geurrel should heading up the wall patrols in the area
though neither are formidable
C) Lady Eshekath serves as Master of Mercenaries,
D) and Captain Mazella leads the town nightwatch, either would could bring a sizable force but they might not listen to her.
E) perhaps she could contact someone else
F) or maybe it's best she just keeps moving.

>>
No. 1019386 ID: c92a02

Eshekath. The wall patrols might be down for the count too. Contact a central source.
>>
No. 1019450 ID: f1b416

Call Bowin for back up I trust him more to provid actual assistance
>>
No. 1019453 ID: 9ace5e

Captain Eshekath
>>
No. 1019528 ID: 322af8

Put down the papers. Step on them so that they don't blow away. Call for Sergeant Geurrel as they should be able to assist and they will listen to you.
>>
No. 1019967 ID: 3aa06e

Contact Bowin, better to get someone who listens and can be counted on to provide back up.
>>
No. 1020057 ID: 629f2e

Lady Eshekath seems like a decent pick. Also, it was a tie between her and Bowin, so here's a nice tie-break vote.
>>
No. 1020278 ID: 9b127b
File 164197447549.png - (340.42KB , 657x858 , Pentacle190.png )
1020278

Lady Eshekath, Eeyfel decides. The Master of mercenaries had an army of mighty serpents at her disposal, and Eeyfel had worked with them before.

She carefully put down the parchments and quietly whispered the incantations.

a window to another place opened in the air and Eshekath came into view.
The serpent started at the sudden intrusion then relaxed 'Oh! an Acolyte I wass indeed looking for one of your lot.'

This surprise Eeyfel 'you are?' she responded a little confused.

'Yessss, my daughter Lylene has missssed her shift again. have you seen her? I hope she isn't harassing the Duchess's sservents again'

Eeyfel can't recall any unusual serpent activity.
>>
No. 1020286 ID: 10c07d

Tell you that you are not really aware of any serpent business and that she should contact Kalez, as she seems to really like the snakes. Then tell Eshekath that you have an unusual situation of your own, the groundskeeper seems to be injured and you need some backup. Ask for her to send over a serpent ASAP.
>>
No. 1020341 ID: 629f2e

You don't know anything about her serpents, but that isn't what matters. You need backup, and fast. You believe the groundskeeper is injured and that his assailant may still be in the area, leaving you unsafe.
>>
No. 1020369 ID: 55e0d4

Her lateness may have something to do with this dead body you found in the garden!
>>
No. 1020409 ID: 3aa06e

Say you haven't seen Lylene and you hope she hasn't slithered into any trouble like what you just found. Report that you need help. The groundskeeper is incapacitated and you're alone out here, his attacker may still be lurking around. Ask to have a pair of serpents sent to your location for assistance.
>>
No. 1020727 ID: 9b127b
File 164261906965.png - (292.26KB , 657x858 , Pentacle191.png )
1020727

Eeyfel trying to control the panic in her voice but isn't certain that she succeeds'I don't know where she is. the groundskeeper's been attack maybe she's been attacked too! I need soldiers here to secure the area.'

Eshekath narrows her eyes 'Where are you?'

'I'm in the outer courtyard on the main path' Eeyfel blurts out quickly

Eshekath ponders for a painful several seconds then responds'I'll sssend a team, they should-'
Just then a sound behind Eeyfel disturbs the kobold's concentration, and her spell comes to an end.

She hears parchment shuffling.
>>
No. 1020730 ID: 2be83f

They’re after your heretical charms! Come out ready to blast ‘em.
>>
No. 1020731 ID: 629f2e

It's the end of the day, you'll be at home resting soon if you make it out of this, let's blow through your spells.

Use Shadow Form and dive into the bushes. Then try to scope out the source of the noise and prepare to launch an Acid Dagger into them. It'll hopefully buy you enough time to run.
>>
No. 1020747 ID: 10c07d

>>1020731
This
>>
No. 1020796 ID: 6c227a

oh no they're after your poetry collection! That took hours to collect! protect it!
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