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1030186 No. 1030186 ID: 9b127b

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 single choice can shape the future, a single person can change the face of the world

This quest is funded by Patreon,
if you'd like to see more consider sending a few coins!

Previous Threads

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No. 1030187 ID: 9b127b
File 165077294934.png - (908.80KB , 657x858 , Pentacle201.png )

The City of Herrone

It was morning on their arrival.
Garrin had been to the city many times before,
his people the Yengu had a strong presence here and he himself had spent much of his youth working labor at the docks.
Too many years had passed since then and now that life that hardly felt like his own.

The Knight Captain's thoughts on the city are disturbed by a mystical chime heard by him and him alone.
Kalez wishes to speak with him.

Kalez seemed only to contact him to make further demands, demands he might not be able to meet, his task load for the mission had grown heavy and he would be very pressed for time.
He had ignored Kalez' call before. this was understood to be acceptable given that he might be distracted or in to public an area.

he considered whether to do so now
A) ignore the summons. it would be easier to refuse a request if he never learned the specifics
B) answer the high-priestess call, assume whatever she demands is crucial.

No. 1030188 ID: e51896

A. Lets be irresponsible.
No. 1030189 ID: 10c07d

A) more requests from Kalez means less time with the ladies. Garrin can easily make an excuse later.
No. 1030190 ID: 629f2e

B. Garrin does not know yet that the message will only be new demands. It could be information regarding previous ones, potentially vital details. If he's lucky, it may even be to cancel one of his previous orders, lessening his workload some.

Unbeknownst to Garrin, Kalez has been warned of disloyalty from him by Via Vardek. We should engage with this communication to gain some insight into how Kalez will respond to it. If we don't respond, she may start to assume the worst, and won't take any chances.

Besides, knowing how Kalez chooses to address that situation will give us insight into how best to subvert her orders later ;)
No. 1030191 ID: 11f77a

B. since you had to ignore her call before. Don't treat it as urgent though, just listen to what new information or demands Kalez has to avoid annoying her. Doesn't mean we'd follow her orders to a tee.
No. 1030192 ID: c92a02

You can only do that so many times before she stops calling you and starts calling assassins. Check your e-mail.
No. 1030194 ID: e5709d

A) Ignore. The princess is going to squawk like a feathered socialite from here to the border. If you're caught doing anything suspicious, it will be magnified tenfold.
No. 1030202 ID: 3aa06e

B, find a spot no one can ease drop on you. She might have something that will make the mission easier. Or if you’re lucky, priorities have changed.
No. 1030214 ID: 5b0071

B) who knows how many of these you can ignore before her temper flares and she starts sending 'messengers'
No. 1030228 ID: 322af8

B) Might as well hear what she has to say.
No. 1030243 ID: 9b127b
File 165086432128.png - (463.32KB , 657x858 , Pentacle202.png )

Garrin chooses to answer the message from his high priestess.
a quick glance tells him his companions aren't around.
Garrin steps behind a pillar and pulls out a small mirror letting down a protective ward the mirror lights with the image of the golden scorpion.

Mistress what do you need from me?he whispers with reverence.

Kalez looks with scrutiny through the mirror is this place secure? a complicated situation has arisen and I require your advise
this place is not secure. he could be approached at any time. Garrin is also worried about Kalez asking him for advice, it has been years since she's made such a request meaning she is likely doubting her Vizier's loyalty again.

Where should Garrin find security?
A) inside the wagon, less likely to be disturbed, but if discovered it'll be by a traveling companion
B) in a back alley or hedge shrine, might be seen but likely only by people who won't understand nor care what he's up to.
C) Tell Kalez that he hasn't enough time and will contact her later

No. 1030244 ID: e5709d

A, and find a plushie as a talking decoy.
No. 1030245 ID: c92a02

B. Your traveling companions must suspect nothing.
No. 1030246 ID: 96c896

No. 1030248 ID: 8483cf

No. 1030249 ID: 629f2e

B. Your assessment that nobody who might find you would care seems wise. If you're being eavesdropped on by someone who WOULD, then they'd likely listen from outside the wagon anyways.
No. 1030268 ID: 3abd6b

I always got 'traitorous vizier' vibes from that jackal.
>doubting her Vizier's loyalty again
How many times has this happened? Which was the most suspicious?


Side note, I'm beginning to wonder if it's wise to destroy the bridge. If the undead are invading, that bridge is the route reinforcements from the capital would pass through. Though I suppose they could instead arrive by ship...
No. 1030269 ID: 10c07d

B works
No. 1030343 ID: 3aa06e

B. Find a place with thick walls and where you can keep a good line of sight on anyone approaching.

While we're on the subject, what's your opinion on Vizier? Outside of his questionable loyalty, what is he to you on a personal level? He a rival, unfriendly co-worker, or nothing at all to you?
No. 1030347 ID: 322af8

B) Someone will walk in on us knowing our luck if we go with A.
No. 1030415 ID: 9b127b
File 165095382078.png - (423.81KB , 657x858 , Pentacle203.png )

'One moment' Garrin answers 'I will move to a secure location'

Garrin Considers Kalez' Vizier as he walks to the nearby hedge garden. Aebin Nethar, Kalez had expected Garrin to kill him (among other expendable assets) and take his place as first acolyte about three years ago now, He had displeased and disappointed his Mistress by sparing the jackal's life and refusing the advancement.

Garrin hadn't expected to live much longer than that, and it seemed to him that Nethar had felt much the same way. The Vizier had become cynical and dejected; his spirit broken. Garrin doubted the man had the heart nor the ability to defy whatever doom Kalez would no doubt grant him.

This borrowed time extended from days to months and then into years. yet in all this time Garrin has noticed little improvement in Nethar's outlook, nor any sign of rebellion.

Garrin pulls out the mirror again, Kalez's face still lurking within it's depth 'I am in a secure location'

Kalez pause for a moment and takes a breath then speaks with a steady emotionless tone 'Undead forces have infiltrated Castle Crym, and have attacked several of my servants.'

Shock renders Garrin momentarily speechless, recovering he asks 'How many infiltrator? how many causalities?' the standard crisis questions calmed him while he collected his thoughts.

'The grounds keeper Ulric and Acolyte Eeyfel were attacked, both drained. Ulric is expected to make a full recovery, Eeyfel is in critical condition and will require magical aid to survive' Kalez seemed cold and distant 'only one enemy was seen, but evidence leads me to believe they're a member of the Legion of Thirsts so they aren't operating alone'

Garrin feels compelled to state the obvious 'Could it be a prelude to invasion? perhaps destroying belgate bridge should be delayed, we may need reinforcements from Ivera if we are plunged into war.'

Kalez considers this then responds with measured words'very convenient then that such an attack would occur so soon enough after I gave the order that I could reconsider'

Garrin can't help but agree, that would be very convenient 'You suspect the attack is related to my orders?'

'I suspect Via Vardek's hand in all of this' Kalez hisses with malice 'She may even be in league with the undead, I would put no level of treachery past her.'

Garrin shares his mistress' distaste for the ancient diviner.

suggest responses/questions for Garrin to ask
No. 1030416 ID: 629f2e

"Vardek will desire whichever option we choose if she was involved, so it's better that we stick with the plan of destroying the bridge in the hopes that she isn't. If we stop Vivian Hearth, that will at least ensure one troublesome variable is out of the equation. If we don't, then that's yet another unpredictable element."
No. 1030418 ID: c92a02

It is better for the state if the bridge remains open, rebels and saboteurs will have alternative means of transport armies cannot take. What are your orders, duchess?
No. 1030419 ID: f85c03

Got a particular reason you spared the guy?
Either way, unless I misunderstand >>questarch/856227 Crym's a port castle, so sealift of troops could work. Unless you get blockaded or something, but do the undead even use ships?
No. 1030420 ID: f85c03

No. 1030422 ID: 96c896

Ask if you should move the princess to another location, and what excuse you could make without blowing your cover. Is there any reasonable way you could tell her there's undead about?

I think there's two possibilities here in regards to the bridge, assuming Vardek foresaw this conversation: 1, we destroy it, and there *is* an undead invasion, but at least Vivian is out of the way. 2, we leave it be, and the vampire was a feint, leaving us to deal with Vivian.

I for one would prefer the open confrontation against undead. It means we can act openly against them and the rebels will be likely to help us, instead of Vivian organizing the rebels against us. It's better for PR.
No. 1030431 ID: 30c3fa

Actually, come to think of it, wasn't the only reason Hearth left was because the Duchess found her price for undead hunting too high? Under the circumstances, it might be worth the price now.
We'd still have to blow the bridge to stop the crazy religious knight lady, but it may be prudent to have Garrin or somebody else (particularly somebody who's actually supposed to have links to Kalez) intercept Hearth to inform her that the Kalez is more open to paying what she asks.
...Unless, of course, the vizier's investigation into the guild turned up something that would make such a course of action unwise?
No. 1030850 ID: 3aa06e

Destroying the bridge may leave us trapped in here with undead, but those Zealots are not good news unless the undead can somehow keep them distracted. Perhaps goading the undead into starting their attack now could keep the Zealots busy, enough to keep our secret hidden.

Vivian on the other hand. If this hero was on our side her idiot's luck and entourage could prove useful but she's not someone we can control. About the only thing we can predict is that she'll fight the undead if the reward is high enough or perhaps if it became a personal problem. We can't directly harm her but maybe putting her reputation on the line could get her to cooperate. Have we dug up any dirt on her or her party?

Regarding the princess, what safer location is there to bring her if these undead are running around?

>>1030422 This relating to the rebels, the plan is to try and turn former enemies into allies for the time being. Between the undead and us, the rebels will likely back us. It wouldn't look great if they continue to attack us while the undead are still a relevant threat.

Overall, none of these possibilities will be open if we destroy the bridge with Vivian and the Zealots on it. Sure we eliminate the risks to ourselves but we'd allow the undead threat to get stronger. Without heroes like Vivian or the Zealots combatting the undead, we're stuck likely fighting this on our own. We should work to get these disorganized forces to unite against the undead. Keeping them focused while we get our own agenda done.
No. 1030978 ID: 9b127b
File 165147127460.png - (419.07KB , 657x858 , Pentacle204.png )

'Hmmm even so the risk of invasion too great, destroying the bridge would leave us cut off and vulnerable it might even encourage Queen Nerexi to make a move.' Garrin states with a smirk 'I may have another idea to deal with Vivian Hearth'

'Indeed?' Kalez responds intrigued

Garrin explains his moment of inspiration 'As Captain of The Royal Guard, I possess the authority to hire adventurers on the King's behalf, I could acquire her services but redirect any payment to the crown. It should also satisfy her ego knowing that she has succeeded in defying you'

'Good. Do it.' Kalez Concluded 'I'll have Nethar look into Belgate bridge and any possible reason Vardek would need it open for'

Garrin feels this is as good an excuse as any to ask the question on his mind 'Speaking of Nethar, why seek my advice over his today?'

Kalez gave her face's approximation of a smile'It's been a while, hasn't it?'

'Three years' Garrin responds
'Yes. Three years ago I was certain Aebin's use was over, I was certain he would betray me, you risked everything to convince me I was wrong.' Kalez then admits'you were right. you're a very good judge of character Garrin and I need that now'

'Very well, I shall help in whatever way I can' Garrin feels his assessment was more luck than any sort of special insight.

'the plague is spreading again.' is Kalez' grim response 'Eeyfel has contracted Wastrel's curse'

Garrin flinches at the plagues name spoken openly. 'You must be mistaken.'

Kalez responds with a withering stare of disappointment

Garrin's blood runs cold 'I truly thought we were rid of this horror.' He knows if necromancers are spreading the disease once more thousands will die 'Princess Reefa is at grave risk it can't be safe to bring her to Castle Crym now'

Kalez nodsI agree, keep her in Herrone until I've gotten things under control

'We must do everything we can to limit it's spread!' Garrin blurts out impulsively.

A dark look falls over Kalez'Even if that means abandoning Eeyfel?'

Dread creeps into Garrin's heart as understanding reaches him.

A rare sympathy fills Kalez' voice'This is the advice I need Garrin, I'm not sure I can save Eeyfel, what's more Vardek has begun swaying my Hydra, if I don't focus on rebuilding Their trust I could lose them. Vardek wants me distracted by the plague I'm certain of that... and yet I can't ignore it either. I have to be decisive or I risk losing everyone and everything.'

A moment of silence follows

how does Garrin respond?

A) "the Hydra has great hidden power, you should train them as Acolytes to replace Eeyfel; this will show faith and mend wounds, Eeyfel is too weak to survive, if she doesn't die today she'll die tomorrow" (Kalez will likely lose Eeyfel to the legion of Thirst)
B) "Eeyfel is ever Loyal, you owe her your complete attention on tending to her condition. The Hydra is too chaotic to truly rely on and impossible to control, let Vardek have her."(Kalez will likely lose the Hydra to Vardek)
C) "I'm not sure which course is best... you must ask someone else"(Kalez will Likely speak with Nethar, Nethar will likely pick to trust the Hydra)
D) another choice? (Garrin must come up with a brilliant solution or risk Kalez losing both Eeyfel AND the Hydra! and quite possibly others... )
E) "I need to know more before I decide" (Garrin might run out of time and forgo giving a full answer)

No. 1030981 ID: c92a02

Never an easy choice, is it? Choose the Hydra.

Just make sure Eeyfel stays dead, if she dies...
No. 1030982 ID: e1017c

Would it be possible to enlist the Hydra's help in saving Eeyfel? Perhaps first hand witness to this act of charity will convince her you mean well to you loyal followers, including the hydra. You'll need to approach this delicately though.

It wouldn't be right to let Eeyfel die either way.
No. 1030983 ID: 10c07d

Poor Eeyfel I love her dearly but the Hydra is just so much more useful. Choose the Hydra. And yes, if Eeyfel does end up passing, make sure to put a stake through her heart or something, whatever kills vampires in this universe.
No. 1030984 ID: 629f2e


The Hydra is powerful, it's true. But their power means little when they can't control it. Eeyfel, while, significantly weaker, has accomplished a lot more than the Hydra has with her gifts.

Eeyfel has:

-Held her own against the Freedom Fighters, dealing many good blows and personally inspiring the BROKEN members of her party to remain with the team

-Made the tough but correct choice to receive Kalez's wrath to ensure an important message was delivered

-Did not have her loyalty shaken at all, in spite of unfair punishment

-Smartly dealt with the unknown threat by taking appropriate caution and calling for help before engaging, which directly lead to her survival.

-Stole carrot panties, dealing a humiliating blow to the invaders and more importantly leaving evidence of their presence.

These actions paint Eeyfel as a loyal acolyte who you can rely on. She has stood by you through your harsh treatment and perilous situations, and despite much hardship she has still pulled through and both accomplished her tasks and survived. She deserves your care.

The Hydra's loyalty has shaken, and her accomplishments are currently outweighed by her failures. If you had the time, she would be worth the investment to save. But compare her to the faithful acolyte who has been through hell and still loyally serves you, and can you honestly say that it's the doubtful one who deserves your attention?

Tend to Eeyfel. You may lose the Hydra, but it is a worthy sacrifice.
No. 1030985 ID: e5709d

This is a new strain. You must find some way to deal with it, but you'll need time and research to find an effective vaccination or treatment. Time that Eeyfel simply does not have.

Choose Hydra. Keep Eeyfel in quarantine, have some healers treat her under lock and key. Study the damn virus. When she turns, let Hydra witness exactly what it is you fight against.
No. 1030986 ID: e51896

No. 1030989 ID: 1c6255

Save Eeyfel.
Even if you sway the Hydra today, what of tomorrow? If you discard Eeyfel, the Hydra will expect that of you and make sure she gets the upper hand when her turn comes, for she'll be sure it will come.

You can't gain the Hydra's trust and loyalty by replacing Eeyfel with her. So, saving Eeyfel is the way to go.
No. 1030990 ID: e34b23

Why not delegate one of the tasks?
It's why you have subordinates, yeah?
If one of them is more magically skilled than you, they'd be suited to curing the disease.
Otherwise, the vizier would be good at reminding the hydra why they're loyal to the group.

Also, don't just look into why they'd want the bridge destroyed, look into why they'd want it unharmed.

Of course, if we're not going to blow up the bridge, it begs the question of what to do about the zealots.
No. 1030992 ID: 96c896

The Hydra is more important, but... I have an idea. The Hydra's trust was lost because she believes Kalez treats her minions as tools(which is, let's be honest, mostly true). Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Get the Hydra's opinion on this. Do they want Eeyfel to die, knowing they will be promoted, or... do they want Kalez to spend the time to save her, where she will presumably be too busy to talk. Kalez should also point out that Vardek likely planned for this to happen- to force her into this choice, and sabotage her attempts to make up with the Hydra.
Doing this accomplishes several things:
The Hydra will feel that their opinions are respected.
The Hydra will see that Kalez cares about her minions, both their physical and mental health.
The Hydra will understand that her decisions are not easy.
Lastly, if the Hydra wants to save Eeyfel, we won't lose them by agreeing.
No. 1031016 ID: e5709d

Changing my vote to this.

Be firm, insist that you will make a decision yourself if she cannot reach a consensus, but that you're still uneasy and would like your servants' opinions first.
No. 1031030 ID: 322af8

B) I'd rather we not lose our most loyal subject. Besides think of what it would do to the moral of the others who work below her.
No. 1031049 ID: 3aa06e

This, it will open the Hydra's eyes to many things.

As terrible as it sounds, this should be a learning experience for the them. Give them a sense of weight in the decision, don't sugar coat anything. If the Hydra chooses to let Eeyfel die, make sure she is there throughout it all to witness Eeyfel turn. It will likely inspire a hatred for the enemy. Show the Hydra what the enemy can do and the decisions they force you to make.

Again, state to the Hydra that your hands are tied. You want Eeyfel to recover but you want to mend your relationship with the Hydra. If you choose one you risk, no, you will certainly lose another.

Don't offer the position of Acolyte like it's a promotion. Offer it more like a consequence of her choice. If the Hydra chooses for Eeyfel to die, then the Hydra will have to take Eeyfel's rank. She'll have to watch Eeyfel slowly turn so she understands the weight of these choices. If she chooses for Eeyfel to live then she will witness Eeyfel's recovery, see you care for those under your command.

If the Hydra refuses to choose, state that you'll make your choice, and the Hydra won't like either one you'll make.

At the end, the Hydra will come out hopefully stronger and with a better understanding of what's going on your end of things.

To add on to things if all goes right, if Eeyfel lives:
-We'd have already kindled a small bond between Eeyfel and the Hydra which opens up the doors to further honing the Hydra's skills and loyalty. Acolyte or not we'll have the potential to make the Hydra a bigger powerhouse that can be relied on.
No. 1031077 ID: df76b1

B. Ground Troops are more useful to overall support than a single, high intensity asset.

Without Eeyful our ground troops will not acquit themselves inline with our wishes.

Doesn't mean we're being nice. We're being practical.
No. 1031506 ID: 12f554

This has potential. I'm voting for it.
No. 1032459 ID: 9b127b
File 165273066291.png - (455.05KB , 657x858 , Pentacle205.png )

After some though Garrin gives his answer.'Eeyfel has been invaluable to our efforts, and her loyalty unmatched. she deserves the attention and we can't afford to lose such a valuable asset.'

The emotion drains from Kalez 'can't afford? there is nothing in this world I can't afford to lose.' Kalez shakes her head'Always the hopeless romantic Garrin.' her face then contorts in rage 'it disgusts me.'

'I-'Garrin attempts

'Shut up.' Kalez speaks slowly as one would speak to a small child 'Loyalty without power is like a hilt without a blade, useless, a blade without a handle at least can still prove deadly.' Kalez's malice is still heard through her softer tone 'Some fools say loyalty can't be bought, this is untrue, you merely need the right currency. Power too can be bought but the price is far higher...'Kalez pauses for a moment and looks away.

Breaking the moment of silence Garrin ventures to speak 'You said you-'

'-needed your advice?' Kalez finishes 'Don't tell me you believed such drivel, do you honestly think your advice holds any value to me? if it did I wouldn't have spent three years not seeking it.'

Garrin wisely chooses to remain silent

'So if I don't need advice, why am I wasting my time talking to you?' When Garrin doesn't respond she adds 'This is not rhetorical. answer the question and try not to disappoint me a second time.'
No. 1032461 ID: 9ed2cd

"Kalez, if you want me to say that you should focus your eforts on taming the Hydra, I will do so. The Hydra will give you great power, yes, but is a power that is difficul to control, is chaos incarnated. Eeyfel, as pathetic as she can be, hasn't failed a single task you send her to do yet. She knows how handle the rest of the lackeys and makes good decisions on the spot.

You have the power to tame the beast, and you clearly don't care about Eeyfel. If you don't need Eeyfel, just gnore her, or dispose of her and focus your atention on the Hydra. You have the means to do it, you are mighty and powerful, but the task will be harduos and the beast might not blend you your will.

You don't need my input, you made that clear, so I'll just say what you want me to say."
No. 1032462 ID: 629f2e

"The question was a test. Either you meant for me to choose the Hydra, assessing her worth above Eeyfel, or neither choice was correct. Perhaps if I'd recommended the Hydra, you would tell me how a blade without a hilt will only harm its user, while a hilt without a blade could at least be used as a blunt weapon if you put force enough into it."

"Whatever the correct answer was is irrelevant. You only wanted to know what my answer would be, and now you do. I don't know what you mean to judge from it, but I will stand by the answer I gave. Unless you have the means to save both, the loyal asset who brings results will always be more useful than the potential asset whose loyalty shakes too easily."
No. 1032559 ID: e51896

"You wanted to test and see to make sure I was a like-minded individual to you that you could trust and thus wanted me to choose Hydra"

"If you still want to focus on the Hydra, go ahead, but I still stand by my decision, for Consider that a handle without its blade has potential to be repaired and smithed into a mightier blade than it was before"
No. 1032677 ID: 12f554

> Kalez seemed only to contact him to make further demands, demands he might not be able to meet

"Isn't it obvious? You want me to do something, and this is your way of making sure I do it to your specifications. You need my strength and cunning, not my loyalty."

"You're wrong though. It's been three years since you've last called on me. My loyalty is something you should value very highly from me."
No. 1032801 ID: 9b127b
File 165294147001.png - (319.52KB , 657x858 , Pentacle206.png )

Garrin considers 'You wanted to test and see to make sure I was a like-minded individual to you that you could trust and thus wanted me to choose Hydra.'

Kalez smiles 'Yes, Yes! you're very close. it is indeed a test, and obviously the Hydra is the answer I wanted you to pick. Please continue'

Garrin Knows Kalez will be pleased if he simply follows where she leads, but cannot leave Eeyfel to such a dreadful fate.'If you still want to focus on the Hydra, go ahead, but I still stand by my decision, the loyal asset who brings results will always be more useful than the potential asset whose loyalty shakes too easily.'

Kalez's eyes narrow as her excitement fades 'and there's the ever present disappointment that is Garrin Veraki... since you love loyalty so much let's talk more about that.' Her worlds are now filled with venom 'Lying to your liege for thirty years as you secretly plot to place his brother on the throne, is this loyalty Sir Garrin?' her mocking cruelty continues'but them perhaps you're loyal to what's best for the kingdom. well at least the portion of the kingdom that's female and of age, you're definitely loyal to them for a few hours each at least.' Her words are meant to hurt and they succeed 'But there's the princess at least you must be loyal to her, you're loyalty defended her from all potential suitors no matter how much she'd like them. But it's for her good right? it's loyalty right? nothing else?'[

Garrin feels a deep pain in his chest he can not deal with what comes next'...please stop' he manages

Kalez relents 'Very well. I'm not condemning you. Loyalty is nothing more than a promise waiting to be broken, only a fool relies on it. given how you live your life I thought you too would understand this.' her tone drifts to pity. you think Eeyfel is loyal? she's just as treacherous as you are, did I ever tell you how many of her sibling she throttled with her bare hands to get the position she has? we're all drenched in sin here. The "loyalty" you think that Eeyfel posses is bought through fear, fear of the power I have over her.

Garrin clings to blind defiance 'Eeyfel has never betrayed you'

'Only because she's too weak to succeed'Kalez responds

Garrin begins repeating himself in desperation 'She's always been effective the results speak strongly enough'

hah! any "results" she has achieved are mine as I have only assigned tasks I know she can handle.' Kalez Answers 'let's pretend Eeyfel is as loyal as a hand fed pup, and just as nieve, let's even pretend loyalty isn't subjective and irrelevant and instead paramount to any success. even if we assume all this you're still missing the big picture as usual'

and that is? Garrin asks

'Eeyfel has the plague Garrin.' speaks Kalez

Garrin doesn't respond.

'Castle Crym is filled with thousands of graves, all baring names of people I couldn't save, I've fought this plague for thirty years. thirty years of loyalty and dedication proved worthless as I couldn't save them. Kalez continues wearily 'In my hubris I will always try one more time, in the hopes that the first life saved will come tomorrow, however we both know what will really happen'

Kalez is old, Garrin thinks, she's always been old even when he was young.

'I gave you one more chance and You failed my test a second time. in this you've seen the limits of my patience' her words are cold 'Goodbye Garrin, enjoy your women'

The finality of the statement unnerves Garrin, he knows now he has made a grave error, one he may never make right.
No. 1032803 ID: e51896

She'll learn the hard way...

well, no use dreading the consequences, best to get back to our duties. Look around and listen closely to make sure nobody spied on you during that conversation.
No. 1032806 ID: 96c896

Tell her if it's impossible to save her then she shouldn't try.
No. 1032807 ID: 629f2e

That's rough buddy.

You didn't mess up. Let's be clear on that right out of the gate, the decisions you made in that discussion were absolutely fine for you. You stood firm to your beliefs despite knowing it wasn't what she wanted to hear. That speaks to your character, and will mean a lot more in the long run than Kalez' approval ever will. Kalez can be as bitter as she wants, as long as she isn't calling for your job or your head over this.

...Okay, take some time to assess the likelihood that she's calling for either of those, and let that influence your next actions.

If you're still on the line with Kalez, ask two last things to confirm your next actions. Check that hiring Vivian Hearth is still acceptable, and not in fact part of some other stupid test that you also failed, and ask about Inquisitor Sabria. Not blowing up the bridge means she will be able to make it into the city. Vivian Hearth crossing the bridge is bad, but manageable if you can give her what she wants. The Inquisitor may be another story, what is to be done with her?

If you aren't... Take some time to collect yourself, that was a tough conversation. Try to think on these questions yourself, and try to decide if you're going to keep following Kalez' will. There's a lot to consider now that gets in the way of simple loyalty, like whether your boss is actually loyal to you.
No. 1032811 ID: 5137d4

This war against the unending horde has eaten a part of her. She's too weathered and hardened to let that stop her. But the bitterness she holds is a flaw she cannot see.

It is what it is.

Request further orders and end call.
No. 1032828 ID: 322af8

I for one suggest we do as we were told and go enjoy our women. Find the scorpion and try to forget the trouble we just were in with her.
No. 1032839 ID: de5f3b

It’s surprising she gained any minions in the first place with an attitude like that towards them. You should make sure you have an exit strategy, as your usefulness to her seems to be declining.
No. 1033178 ID: 3aa06e

Recollect yourself, remain calm and don't dig yourself into a deeper ditch. There's a way out of this.

Cut back to the matters at hand that you can actually help with. Should we arrange for Vivian to be rehired by us, should the inquisitors still be terminated, should the bridge still stand? Any further orders after?

Don't get yourself too worked up, for one she still needs you to take care of the matters above. Second, she's probably going to lose an acolyte in Eeyfel if she lets her die, Kalez would be a fool to get rid of you. She'd be loosing two acolytes then.

This whole mess has her worked up and snapping at everyone. The best you can do for her is get things going in her favor. Tempting as it is to bail, I've yet to see the other factions that would take her place actually make a dent in the undead threat. Do your part by giving her and the other acolytes some breathing room.
No. 1033181 ID: e51896

Probably best to stay silent now that I think about it. If we ask what orders to follow, she'll think we're incompetent being like "WHAT, YOU FORGOR YOUR ORDERS?! I was considering whether or not to exile you for your decision, but your incompetence just made my decision easier" or something like that.
No. 1033214 ID: e5114d

Well, she's in charge.
She asked for your advice, she got it. What she does with it is up to her, so she's well within her rights to disregard it, which may be good in this case since she knows the plague better than you do.
If she disregards advice too often, it may place her competence in question, but that changes little. She's a noble, after all, and those have a tendency to stay in power regardless of competence.
If she surrounds herself with yes men who praise even stupid ideas that would obviously put her in a poor position against the undead, then maybe we can consider drastic acts. Until then, though, the direction she provides will probably beat the chaos that a leadership vacuum would cause.

That said, do you really care what she thinks? The only serious point she had was that she has yet to cure the plague. The rest was her letting her bias get in the way of actual criticisms. Have you let your desires get in the way of your missions? No, you turned the giant's failure into a partial success. So wave it off, man up, and prove her wrong with your combination of loyalty and skill. If you get laid a bunch in the process, I doubt she'll care so long as her goals are attained.
No. 1034548 ID: 9b127b
File 165462157378.png - (615.24KB , 657x858 , Pentacle207.png )

Garrin ends the message, he doesn't feel like apologising nor grovelling and he doubts anything else would help his standing.

He is left alone in silence.
Garrin tries to convince himself that he was right to say what he did, It doesn't make him feel better.
Garrin knows he's helped no one least of all himself.

Garrin hates Kalez, there's an ugliness in her deep inside. wether she wrong, right, cruel or kind it's always there under the surface.
He considers why he even serves Kalez, a thought all too common of late. in the past he's told himself his true master is Arch-Duke Midas, but the distinction feels empty today.
The true reason he serves is that Kalez is still the best hope for the kingdom of Terrotha.
Does he believe that she's truly making a mistake? or is the reality that her callous disposition will serve the kingdom just too unpalitable for the knight?
he's not entirely sure it matters what he or anyone believes.

The plague could kill everything he cares about.
It won't kill him though, he suspects, not until he's suffered for his arrogance

He thinks of Princess Reefa and how she could abandon even the pack animals.
yet ultimately she was powereless to-

Garrin is startled by what sounds like a screetching avian warcry.

'HELP! HELP! A VILLIANOUS MURDERER IS ACCOSTING MY PERSON!' it's Princess Reefa there is no doubt!
The prismatican continues to project loudly'WON'T ANY BRAVE SOUL COME TO MY AID?!'

How does Garrin approach
A)Rush in sword drawn?
B)scout what his happening but remain hidden?
C)stroll up casually?

No. 1034549 ID: 629f2e

Okay, even odds that Reefa is actually under attack or is reacting strongly to something ultimately mundane. Either way, A, rush in with sword at the ready. You'll be prepared if it's the former, and will at least appear chivalrous for taking her cries seriously if it's indeed the latter.
No. 1034550 ID: d461d1

Maybe consider serving Kalez not for her, but to protect the good people of her kingdom, and your allies?

Although, jumping ship and serving Princess Reefa is sounding more inviting...

For now, A
No. 1034554 ID: 10c07d

A, we must protect our princess!
No. 1034556 ID: 1bb7b8

Kalez is une stoic bitch, in the eworst way posible. Lets just hope that her ways are the ons that the kigndom needs.

I would lik to go with A, but rushing in blindly would be foolish. Be quick but don't go there directly, maintain the element of surprise.
No. 1034557 ID: 899c9f

B, use recon to make the most dramatic entrance possible.
No. 1034558 ID: 322af8

Might as well go with A. Though I'm certain she is blowing the situation out of proportion.
No. 1034559 ID: e5709d

B) If Reefa were in any serious danger, her speech centers would shut down and her maximum volume would be doubled.
Still, you should check up on her. If she's being manhandled...
No. 1034566 ID: 12f554

Do a B about it
No. 1035555 ID: 9b127b
File 165578835065.png - (683.42KB , 657x858 , Pentacle208.png )

Garrin rushes to action sword drawn.

He finds Princess Reefa has been approached by several city guards.
when she hears Garrin rush up she turns and smiles at him 'Deliverance from Darkness! a brave knight arrives armed to rescue this damsel in distress!'i

Reefa seems delighted to have Garrin behave exactly as she hoped

"Sir Garrin my guardian, I trust you've heard tale of the infamous prince of evil Loedric the hateful?" Reefa ask while glaring at the man

Garrin does know Loedric, he was top top suitor to the princess before he was found guilty of murdering an ambassador and his family.
As Garrin framed him for this crime he, knows well that Loedric is innocent.
this occurred three years ago.
He doesn't know why the prince is dressed as a city guard.

Reefa looks to Garrin expectantly, a crowd is starting to gather.

a) Garrin plays along with the princess' theatrics.
b) Garrin Approaches Loedric professionally and questions him.
c) Garrin lets Reefa handle the other royal.
d) Garrin does something else

No. 1035556 ID: 899c9f

B. It was nothing personal, right?
No. 1035558 ID: 629f2e

A, Play along. It's been a long trip, let her have this. Plus, it's making her like you, and holy shit after how that call with Kalez went, you need all the validation you can get rn.
No. 1035585 ID: 9af117

Oh shit, a romanic rival!
...In all seriousness though, it sounds like Reefa has disdain for whoever this is. What's more concerning is the situation, as several things are off here.
First is how this guy is has gotten back in good graces enough to be trusted with law enforcing. Worst case scenario, new evidence proved his innocence... and made you suspicious. Of course, there's no point in panic over what ifs.
Two is how casually Reefa seems to take possibly blowing her cover to do... whatever it is she's doing. Sure, it's in character for her, but this almost seems personal.
Lastly, does Reefa seriously think of you as if you were an attack dog? Oof. Gotta show that's not just all you are, or all you'll be is an attack dog.
Perhaps there's a way to deal with all three...
D, Quietly ask the princess if she's sure she would so much as acknowledge the existence of this criminal, there's no need to lower herself like that while there are more subtle means, though you will follow her lead.
No. 1035616 ID: 10c07d

A) But let’s give the convoy’s door a little knock to signal Garcio to come out as well in case things turn ugly.
No. 1035643 ID: 9bb8e7

B! Play it stoic. This can go any way you want it it.
No. 1035651 ID: 322af8

B. As much as we need to stay in the princess' good graces, we need to figure out if this guy might be a threat.
No. 1035655 ID: 12f554

Agreed. That sounds hilarious.
No. 1035838 ID: e51896

A. Let her have this.
No. 1035860 ID: e70375

A, but pretend you have no idea who this guy is.
No. 1036241 ID: 9b127b
File 165636464168.png - (674.11KB , 657x858 , Pentacle209.png )

Garrin has to keep the princess happy

he plays along, in fact he pretends he doesn't know Loedric at all 'My lady, I've heard tell of such a man, but had dismissed him as a boogeyman to frighten children'

Reefa quickly hides a smile and returns to character 'Alas! the devil stands before you in the flesh!'

Loedric seems very confused by the theatrics 'w-what is this?' he exclaims the other two guards exchange exhausted looks but don't intervene.

Garrin lets out a laugh filled with false bravado 'A devil? he is little more than an imp easily squashed.'

'Then he is trivial to you?' Reefa proposes while feigning a haughty boredom.

a few passersby have gathered, they speak to each other in hushed whispers.
"are they putting on a show?" A kobold asks.
"just seems like nobles being nobles to me." another kobold shrugs.
"I'm gonna stick around and watch either way"A vavver laughs.

Where does Garrin take this performance?
A) A duel?
B) dismiss Leodric
C) Interogate Loedric (suggest questions as well)
D) encourage the audience
E) Take leave with the Princess
F) Throw insults
G) something else?

No. 1036244 ID: 899c9f

B. Back to the shadows from whence ye came, imp.
No. 1036245 ID: bf7d5b

"By what right does a knave such as you dare even GLANCE at her highness?"
No. 1036247 ID: a5761c

E, with the implication hes not worth our time.
No. 1036248 ID: 629f2e

C, B, and E are our best options I think. A, D, and F will only push the show further, which risks infuriating Loedric and causing trouble. Reefa may be having fun now, but she may change her tune if she gets dragged into a fight. Or worse: If you get your ass handed to you in front of her. You're probably better than Loedric one-to-one, but if his fellow guards fight as well then you'll get whooped.

Let's go with C for now, questioning why he's here accosting the lovely lady. And if the reason is not worth consideration, we can go E and escort Reefa away from this savage.
No. 1036269 ID: 322af8

E) We've confused him and sort of insulted him. Might as well head away now while we can.
No. 1036279 ID: 10c07d

This, but continue to play into reefa’s show
No. 1036297 ID: e5709d

E because you can't risk putting your foot in your mouth before you've entrenched the princess in the Duchess' territory.
No. 1036517 ID: 669e57

Go with this. Let her highness weave the tale of what that was all about afterwards.
No. 1036784 ID: 9b127b
File 165678518518.png - (702.79KB , 657x858 , Pentacle210.png )

Garrin gives a stoic nod 'Indeed he is beneath us, and hardly worth our time'

'Lord Phelion instructed me to-'Loedric attempts

Reefa looks around.'Do you hear something?'

understanding Garrin respond 'Indeed the wind blows strong today.'

Frustrated Loedric turns and leaves, and the crowd dissipates disappointed.
The Princess continues the story regardless'We best take shelter from the wind, I just so happen to know of a delightful tavern that will serve perfectly'
Garrin has no idea what she's talking about, he's fairly certain she's never been to a tavern in her life.

Before he can question this Garrin hears the clacking of many wooden shoes
wait! wait! please wait! shuffling up is Xiatzu the rachnid merchant.

Reefa stops walking and responds.'oh Ms. Xiatzu, did you want something?'

Xiatzu bows before blurting out 'please forgive me your highness, but Sir Garrin promised to escort me to the supply store.'
Garrin remembers this, he had mentioned the streets were dangerous and she had insisted.

'Did you promise this creature?' Reefa asks, annoyance clear on her face.

A)I did, however it isn't important. Garcio can escort her (spend time with Reefa)
B)I'm afraid so your highness, as a knight my word is my bond, I must escort her. (Spend time with Xiatzu)
C)I gave my word, however matters have changed (explain about the plague and how your journey to Crym-Z'gar will be delayed)
D)Hmm it seems we are short on staff, both of you should stick together while I hire assistance (Look for Vivian Hearth)
E)lets all stick together, these city streets might be dangerous (Spend time with both women)
F)something else?
No. 1036792 ID: b0b5f8

B, C or E sounds right.
We're selling the image of a wholesome honest knight here, keeping it consistent will be best for wooing Reefa, even if it causes a temporary setback for now.
No. 1036802 ID: 899c9f

No. 1036805 ID: 629f2e

Y'know what, screw it, A or C! We've got a good thing going on here with Reefa rn, don't fucking blow it by getting wishy washy and trying to make everyone happy. Make Reefa happy, because that will make you happy. Making Xiatzu unhappy is sad, but you can just be honest with her later and say "Hey, I'm sorry if I lead you on earlier, but I don't think this is happening."

Unless you change your mind and do want it to happen, but if that's the case you'd better commit to her now.
No. 1036806 ID: e51896

No. 1036822 ID: e5709d

Mostly D, because any suspicions of womanizing will be lost when Vivian rattles her insufferable head at the two high socials, forcing them to collaborate in persuading this loose cannon.
No. 1036839 ID: 399bc9

No. 1036842 ID: 322af8

E) If we can spend time with both, why not go for it.
No. 1036968 ID: 8483cf

A! I have absolutely no ulterior motives.
No. 1038263 ID: 9b127b
File 165794190608.png - (562.83KB , 657x858 , Pentacle211.png )

Xiatzu may care for Garrin, but Princes Reefa holds his heart
'I did promise, however the task isn't important. Garcio can escort her' Grarcio state speaking only to Reefa

'Oh I just thought...'Xiatzu looks to Garrin in confusion, Garrin stares coldly but doesn't respond she probes for more explanation 'the other night...' Garrin averts his eyes looking to an expectant Princess. Xiatzu then sees his choice.
Disappointment fills the merchant's many eyes, Garrin can see tears glistening for a moment before the woman turns and shuffles away towards the market district with her face in her hands.

'I guess she didn't need protection after all, what an odd woman.'

Garrin always hates this part, how does he handle the scorpion, or is she already handled?
A) go after Xiatzu he can't part on such poor terms
B) the situation is resolved the Princess might get impatient if he delays any longer.
C) Disturb Garcio and make him go after her, the streets are still dangerous
D) other?

No. 1038265 ID: 899c9f

Well, I'd like to do A, but you can't just keep changing your mind back and forth. If you can step out of your roleplay with Reefa for a moment, send Garcio after her so he can swoop in and steal her heart while doing your job.
No. 1038267 ID: a6f7dc

C. Don't toy with her heart by flip-flopping. If you get the chance later, you can apologize for leading her on, but for now send Garci9 to comfort her.
No. 1038273 ID: 322af8

C. The princess might get impatient but we have to have someone escort our host. Make it up by playing it up as a noble knight to the princess while doing so.
No. 1038274 ID: 10c07d

No. 1038308 ID: e5709d

D) Slap Reefa. Order Garcio to stare at her menacingly.
A) Immediately chase after Xiatzu
No. 1038438 ID: 12f554

God damn we're an asshole.

C. We might as well send a more heroic knight-type to smooth things over until we can give a proper apology.
No. 1039152 ID: 9b127b
File 165872749936.png - (487.09KB , 657x858 , Pentacle212.png )

Garrin can't allow Xiatzu to come to harm, the princess can wait a few moments more he decides 'No your highness these streets ARE dangerous, give me a moment I need to fetch Garcio.'

'Garcio? now that you mention it, where has he been all morning?' a touch of annoyance tint's Reefa's tone.

'He's been taking inventory of our supplies.'Garrin lies quickly.

the lie pleases the princess as a smile graces her face'Oh that's wonderful! he will be very useful in helping Xiatzu buy everything we'll need'

Garrin hates pleasing the princess through deception 'Indeed' he responds, he then turns and heads to the wagons.
The knight opens the wagon shutter and gazes in.
No. 1039153 ID: 9b127b
File 165872790369.png - (478.38KB , 657x858 , Pentacle213.png )

Garrin finds Garcio in the arms of Xiatzu's servants Ling and Ming, he's pretty sure he knows which is which.
The interruption doesn't bother Garcio in the slightest'Oh! Garrin we were about to go for round four, I don't mind sharing.' the two baxets are not impressed by this offer.

Garrin chooses to ignore the comment.'Garcio, enough play, I need you to look after Xiatsu, she is upset and acting recklessly.'

Ming hisses nastily at him 'nasty bird wants to take away our delicious man meat!'
Ling pouts 'he wouldn't do such a cruel thing to us...'

Garcio merely laughs'Hah seems like you're upsetting a lot of ladies today'

'you can't have him! he's my big strong knight!' Ling cries
'you leave now grumpy pigeon!' Ming snarls

Garcio gives his trademark winning smile 'now now ladies, be nice.' he caresses both ladies once more before standing 'Duty calls for now but I'll not leave you two treasure waiting any longer than I absolutely have to. think of these past few hours as a warm up for what I have in store this evening! ' this excites and pleases the women.
Ling hops up and fetches his clothes 'You promised! We know strong man has strong word!'
Ming follows with his armor 'when you're done with sulky miss pincers come back to us very quick~'
the two felines then proceed to dress him.

What further instructions if any does Garrin give Garcio?
No. 1039154 ID: 8483cf

Promise to give Garcio a reward if Xiatzu comes back happy. Maybe he knows a way to cheer her up. Plus this encourages him to play nice instead of just grabbing her and hauling her back.
No. 1039155 ID: 629f2e

Garcio is actually decent with women. Just give him the basic gist, and he'll probably figure out a better way to handle it than you could come up with.

"I fear that I may have lead her on, and she feels scorned. Please tend to her in whatever manner you find appropriate."
No. 1039156 ID: e51896

Probably best to let him know to take inventory of our supplies, just to make that lie more convincing for the princess.
No. 1039168 ID: e5709d

"You realize Xiatzu will dock your pay if she stays miserable, right?"
No. 1039173 ID: 322af8

For further instructions, just tell him to be himself. He's quite charming and the lady needs to be calmed.
No. 1039222 ID: d9c193

Say to tell her you'll apologize later for, well, a personal issue.
Poor girl at least deserves the "too dedicated to the job to give her what she desires" excuse.
Fits, too, because the whole needle scare would prompt that type of epiphany, so... yeah.
No. 1039499 ID: 9540a7

Tell him to take her out somewhere nice. Buy her some nice scorpion lingerie on your dime. Make her feel pretty.
No. 1040436 ID: 9b127b
File 166007540639.png - (642.35KB , 657x858 , Pentacle214.png )

Garrin doesn't need to micromange, Garcio is better with women then he is.
As the knight steps out of the carriage Garrin simply states 'Be kind to her'.

'You know it!' Garcio responds flashing his winning smile.

'Now that safety has been properly observed, shall we be off?'Princess Reefa states as she begins crossing Belgate bridge'You simply must see this lovely Tavern, you'd love it I'm certain!'
Again the tavern is mentioned, Garrin isn't sure Reefa is playing up an act anymore.
Perhaps Garcio told her about some local establishments?.
Princess Reefa doesn't elaborate and keeps walking.

How does Garrin handle this stroll.
A) Follow silently, only speak if spoken to
B) Question Reefa further regarding this Tavern
c) point out that she's never been to a Tavern in her life
D) start a conversation about something else
E) offer to take her arm as you walk
F) other?

No. 1040438 ID: 899c9f

C. Tell the lady of tales you've er, "heard" travelers to be wary of to try and give her tips, such that she can take it or leave it. But, it is your duty to keep her safe wherever she wants to go.
No. 1040439 ID: ea2a0c

E. Be the gentleman+
No. 1040444 ID: 322af8

Go with E. If she accepts then it shows that we're seen as more than just a guard. If she declines then we know how she sees us.
No. 1040445 ID: e5709d

Just walk behind her and act as if you're the son of a knight talking to a rich duchess.
Eventually you might be able to properly criticize nobility for their narrow-minded long-term decisions, but that's for next year.
No. 1040447 ID: 9bb8e7

F. Offer an anecdote about your own tavern days. What better way to prepare a lady for the bustling world than experience? Surely you've got something you can share. Dig deep!
No. 1040460 ID: 629f2e

E + B. Start a conversation about the tavern as you walk. "I've seen few taverns I'd consider lovely. What raises the caliber of this venue above the rest?"
No. 1040507 ID: 10c07d

No. 1041354 ID: 9b127b
File 166094966465.png - (591.69KB , 657x858 , Pentacle215.png )

Garrin presents his arm and Reefa casually takes it.

Reefa Appreciates the curtesy

at an appropriate lull Garrin states 'I've seen few taverns I'd considerlovely'Garrin states, "What raises the caliber of this venue above the rest?"

Reefa seems alarmed by his contradiction and responds 'oh ... well ... I understand that the building was well put together and has a pleasant mood to it.'

Garrin gives her a look 'you've never been to this tavern have you?'

'Is it that obvious?' Reefa sighs

'As plain as the beak on my face' Garrin states plainly

Reefa shakes her head 'This is dreadful, I don't wish to embarrass the patron by acting in poor etiquette'

'Well I've been to quite a few, I might be able to give you a few pointers' Garrin suggests.

The delights the princess. 'Oh yes! I simply have no knowledge of how to act among commoners, your guidance would be most appreciated!'

What advice does Garrin give
No. 1041356 ID: 629f2e

Taverns more or less exist as their own societies, so to participate as a patron you simply have to respect the unspoken rules. Respect the staff, especially the bartender; refrain from dishing out what you cannot take; and never claim rank. If you aren't the staff, then you are on the same level as your fellow patrons. The only exception is if you shame yourself and fall below the otherwise equal standard.

Don't take any of these rules as a slight against you. Obviously you could present yourself as a noble and demand respect from all, but the experience you receive would not be normal tavern society.

For the most part, you'll be fine if you don't make any effort to stand out.
No. 1041360 ID: 322af8

Be polite to the servers and try not to stick out too much as a royal. One never knows who might be prowling about. Also he should ask her what sort of drinks she normally prefers.
No. 1041832 ID: 3aa06e

Learn to read the room and adapt so that you may better fit in. Treat the staff with respect, they've probably dealt with all sorts of drunken fights and other shenanigans. Don't flash your noble status, people tend to treat nobility differently and act differently in a noble's presence obviously. This is a golden opportunity to just see how the commoners act without the outside influence of uniformed guards letting them know royalty is around, maybe you might catch them saying something you wouldn't have heard before.

Right see what kind of drinks Reefa might like.
No. 1042027 ID: e5709d

Your authority in the underworld consists of what you can get away with in the next thirty minutes. A fully kitted praetorian guard ready to purge the gutters? Sure, they'll treat you like the goddamn empress. Your lone self and a royal title? They'll cut you to ribbons and sell the scraps for ransom.

Don't overreach, but don't try to stay hidden, they've trained to pick up on that. Make commentary, be contrary, but only by the length of your skills (which are few) and the strength of your blades (which are moderate). Keep a close eye on how your retinue is holding up; if they act nervous when you say something, that means you're indirectly sending them into challenges too tough for them to handle.
No. 1042100 ID: 9b127b
File 166173015651.png - (669.77KB , 657x858 , Pentacle216.png )

Garrin hasn't given proper tavern behavior any thought, yet feels compelled to say what he knows 'well first you should treat the staff with respect and always be polite.'

'I would never-' Reefa seems annoyed at first before cracking a smile, assuming the comment was a joke 'Oh to suggest such a thing! I'm being serious Garrin I could really use your help.'

Garrin changes his approach 'What sort of drinks do you like?'

The princess is delighted to share 'well if I'm feeling indulgent I adore a ninety-three starshine stirred with two doses of crystal firewater, regarding the firewater I prefer Basetian Fort, but I'll settle for Chulmundt heater since I've heard that's more common in southern cities.'
Garrin shakes his head and sighs 'That sort of request might draw a lot of attention, you want to fit in, not stand out.'

Reefa frowns at this 'Fit in?, don't stand out? Are you making sport of me? I am not enjoying this type of conversation.'

Reefa thinks she's being teased, and is upset

'I've tried my very best to blend in, I know I have failed miserably in that task but you'd do no better posing as a king.' Reefa pouts

Garrin has to concede that the princess' large wings and bright scales are exceedingly recognizable, she'll be known wherever she goes.
as if to illustrate the point the bridge guards bow at her approach 'Welcome to Herrone your highness, we are at your service'
Reefa give a nod in response 'no further service is required. your vigil over this fine city is all I ask of you.'

As Garrin and Reefa pass through the gate Reefa remains silent.
No. 1042108 ID: 629f2e

"I suppose it's fine to stand out somewhat, as long as it's not for the wrong reasons. The issue isn't blending in, but acting appropriately."

"To be honest, it's difficult to say. Social scenarios are delicate, and are best played by ear most of the time. Instead of giving unhelpful advice, or insult you by repeating basic manners you were likely taught while you were young, why don't we take a more free-form approach? I'll stay close-by, and will only step in if you give me a signal or if I think an interaction is getting dire."

"Or if you'd prefer, I could stay by your side and help guide a few conversations until you feel confident in dealing with common folk. Whichever you'd prefer."
No. 1042110 ID: 8483cf

No. 1042141 ID: 936ce8

Sheltered and naive. Sheesh, this will be tough.

"Perhaps in the midst of a war posing as a king would work, but otherwise as you say there is a roughness about the edges. Help with that later would be appreciated, there would be few better to teach about kingly poise. Little doubt it would be good for all who could learn how.
For now, though...
Princess, it's not about you, it's about what the request for such a drink says to everybody else there. Perhaps it's upscale enough that such requests are average, but if not, well... Without a doubt you simply like the drink, but to others who don't know better it says, 'I am of a higher stature, I am here to flaunt that stature, treat me differently than everybody else.' Whereas a more common drink will say 'I am here to relax, just as everyone else here is.' Displays of opulence will have that reaction, regardless of if it's from a noble, the wealthy, or simply a commoner on a spending spree. Saying things that indicate you've had an easy life will elicit similar reactions. So, it's all about how you wish to be viewed, Princess. Just be aware that, to a degree, you will be treated differently simply because of your high status."

Little bit curious if she's aware of how exceedingly hostile people can be to those who have had easy lives, especially if they haven't had to toil. However, it's a tough topic to be gentle with, so best to let it lie.
No. 1042809 ID: 9b127b
File 166226243315.png - (634.65KB , 657x858 , Pentacle217.png )

Garrin Concedes the point 'I suppose the issue isn't blending in, but acting appropriately'

Reefa rolls her eyes 'obviously but how would I even begin to do that?'

Garrin marks his words carefully 'To be honest, it's difficult to say' social scenarios are delicate and are best played by ear most of the time.'

'how revolting. you sound like one of my fathers sycophants.' Reefa sneers 'they speak a great deal but commit to nothing.'

Garrin has always loved the fiery passion the princess speaks with, he wonders if she might prefer passionate words in turn but dismisses the idea. his heart is too cold.
'why don't we take a more free-form approach? I'll stay close-by, and will only step in if you give me a signal or if I think an interaction is getting dire.'

'At this rate I think you'd do more harm than good, at least if I say something stupid they'll be my own words that I believe in.'Reefa sighs deeply 'I wish Tawny was here...'

This isn't surprising to Garrin, Sister Tawny Lanix is first among the princess attendants, and the closest thing to a best friend she's ever had.
The Princess, behavior is definitely more touchy than usual, Garrin suspects she may be worried about her friend.

Garrin himself however is more worried about the short masked figure who appears to be tailing them
No. 1042814 ID: 629f2e

Hold your ground. Don't be rude about it, but stand by the answers you've already given, else you'll just be proving yourself the sycophant she thinks you are.

"All that I'm saying is that there's no catch-all answer I can offer for dealing with common people. The rules of what's acceptable, polite, or offensive change so much from person to person, that it just can't be done. I'm not saying this because it's a safe answer, I just can't be more specific without a more precise prompt."

"You said that you had no knowledge of how to act around commoners, and based on that I can only give broad and simple answers: Avoid politics and religion, as such topics are divisive; ask follow-up questions to show that you're listening; and take care not to talk about yourself too much, as it can make you seem vain."

"Before we continue this discussion however, we're being followed. I think we should pause and address them directly while the city guard is still near." Note the blue bird in the bg.
No. 1042815 ID: e5709d

Two mid-level guards are nearby, so there's little chance of a gang ambush. Just move Reefa out of the way and let the man pass. If he waits instead of going about his business, ask why he's waiting. If he doesn't give an appropriate answer, call the guards over and move.
No. 1042816 ID: 515982

Wow. Remember, you could have been shopping with Xiatzu right now.
Your father's sycophants tell him the answers he wants to hear, and clearly that's not what I'm doing right now is it? There are no easy answers, just be humble, be polite, and play it by ear.
Don't act like you're being tailed, and there's no point alarming the princess either with explaining why if you say 'run' she should run like the wind.
No. 1043000 ID: 8483cf

This, and add that "in addition, you also have to worry about assassins, who could also be commoners. So you have an excuse to behave differently than most people. By the way, is that an assassin?"
No. 1043329 ID: 9b127b
File 166275933902.png - (593.21KB , 657x858 , Pentacle218.png )

Garrin continues to choose words careful to express his exact meaning.'There are no catch-all answers I can offer for dealing with common people. The rules of what's acceptable, polite, or offensive change so much from person to person, that it just can't be done. I'm not saying this because it's a safe answer, I just can't be more specific without a more precise prompt'

Princess Reefa seems to mull something over, then bluntly responds.'...Let's just get to the blasted tavern.'

Garrin raises hand and motions for her to stop.'Before we continue, we're being followed. I suggest we halt and address them directly'

The princes rests her face in her hand'Truly? Fine, tell him to jump in the river, I'd like to reach the tavern before sunset.'

Garrin stops and approaches the masked man who also stops.
'you want something pal?' he asks

'I don't like how closely you are following us' Garrin states

Garrin is sure the face under the mask is smirking 'I dunno buddy. seems like you's the one with a problem gettin in folks personal space.' he remarks.

How does Garrin handle the mysterious person?
No. 1043331 ID: 629f2e

Gesture towards the direction you were both traveling and let him know that he can gladly continue on his way if it's a baseless accusation. Put him in a situation where he either admits to following you, or leaves ahead of you so that you can't be ambushed. Don't drop your guard until there's enough distance between him and the two of you for him to do anything.

If the situation goes over smoothly and you get back to your chat, maybe ask Reefa about what she would do at a tavern if Tawny was here. Thinking about her friend might make her feel better, and it'll give you some idea of what she's really looking for.
No. 1043357 ID: 8483cf

"Keep a respectable distance and keep walking, friend."

If he challenges you again, go back the way you came. Don't engage him and allow yourself to be distracted, just delay until you see town guards, and be aware of any additional people who might be waiting to abscond with Reefa when you're distracted.

Seriously, this is a textbook distraction play. Don't fall for it.
No. 1043368 ID: 322af8

Toss them into the river. Should take care of the problem.
No. 1045018 ID: 9b127b
File 166447021561.png - (610.73KB , 657x858 , Pentacle219.png )

Garrin gestures to the road past them, and speaks in a cold manner 'Keep a respectable distance and keep walking friend.'

'Yeah, sure thing buddy' the man responds bluntly before striding away

Garrin motions Reefa to continue at a distance only satisfied when the stranger turns a corner towards some market stalls.
Considering that the situation has calmed down a bit Garrin determines it's now safe enough to continue the conversation 'What would you do if Sister Lanix were here?'

Reefa's prior impatience evaporates, sadness taking it's place.'I ... well going to this tavern was all her idea'

Sister Lanix suggested going to a tavern? an odd choice for a Harbinger Garrin balks.
No. 1045019 ID: 9b127b
File 166447054167.png - (514.38KB , 657x858 , Pentacle220.png )

Perceiving an insult Reefa jumps to her friends defense.'No! Sister Lanix is very kind! She thought it would do me good to make more friends, she just wanted me to have some fun and relax a little bit, she told me the pressure of the court was effecting me poorly. She even managed to convince father!'

Garrin finds that suspect King Flagrion has little patience for frivolity 'The King knew of this-'

Reefa interrupts 'But that's not why I wish she was here! I'm so worried about Tawny! I know you said they had the giant on the run but what if it's an ambush and there's more giants, I'm certain Inquisitor Sabria can handle herself what with all the wars she's fought and Sister Rolita is the sturdiest woman I've ever met, but my poor Tawney she's so long and thin, she's a scholar you know not truly a warrior in any sense and my only true friend in the world, I try to only think of good outcomes but when I close my eyes all I can see is her poor broken body crushed and ruined by those filthy monsters and tossed aside like so much rubbish. I can't bare these horrid thoughts and I feel so utterly useless! Had I the strength of Uncle Midas I could slay them all and protect everyone I care about, had I the wisdom of my father I would have had the foresight to bring a mightier contingent, as it is I continue to play the role of defenseless child while my kingdom burns around me in the fires of chaos, Gods help me I am suffocating under the weight of my unending parade of failures... '

Princess Reefa seems well engaged in the conversation!
No. 1045033 ID: e5709d

"Reefa, is there yet something else troubling you? Typically, people only unleash their emotions if they have something they keep hidden associated with that emotion, even from themselves."
No. 1045039 ID: a7a180

Stiff upper lip, Reefa. No need to make a scene in public. The tavern is a place for you to relax... responsibly, of course.
No. 1045051 ID: 629f2e

Okay, Reefa has just opened up to you about her many concerns. This is the most critical moment in this whole conversation, and you need to respond correctly.

It is very simple, but because you are bad at this I will spell it out clearly: Show her some actual sympathy.

Don't try to hit the root cause of her frustrations so that you can fix them, and don't tell her to calm down. She's stayed calm for some time now, and this was clearly boiling under the surface for a while. It is imperative that you do not make her feel like she cannot trust you with her feelings if you want this to go anywhere.

She's scared for her friend's potential fate, and she's upset that she can't do more to help with either this or the overarching kingdom's situation. These are valid concerns, and there is nothing you can reasonably say that will clear them away in a single conversation.

Loosen up slightly, place a hand on her shoulder, and tell her "I'm sorry. You've been going through a lot."

Maybe after that you can address specific points.

"I wish I could do more as well, even if I don't share the weight and expectations of nobility as you do."

"Our companions will come back, and you will be with your friend again. I have the upmost faith in this."

Let her feel the pain and fear that she does. Share it with her. Make it clear that it's alright to feel that way. When she is ready, she will accept it and continue to move forward. Fear and sadness are simply parts of life.
No. 1045068 ID: 322af8

Gently rest a hand on her shoulder and work on calming her down as you head to the tavern. Suggest she get something strong to help dull the worries.
No. 1045070 ID: 8483cf

This. Place a hand on her shoulder, say you wish you could help but aren't as well-versed as she is, and let her know you're willing to listen to her again in the future as she works through her concerns.
No. 1045080 ID: 7dae82

Oh, this part's obvious, she's laying bare her soul here! Small barbs will feel like deep wounds, while small comforts will feel like... well, you get the idea, so comfort the girl!
Get that charisma going, assure her that her friend is well! Get her swooning! She gets addicted to that comforting presence, she'll be easy to reel in like a fish.

Do take note of Lanix's... unusual behavior though, should she have lied about the king approving, she has to be investigated. Worth keeping an eye on her to see if she slips up or pulls unusual stunts.
No. 1046535 ID: 9b127b
File 166576213146.png - (515.43KB , 657x858 , Pentacle221.png )

Garrin knows when one bares their heart you must tread carefully 'it's true I know little of noble life and I cannot understand the struggles that brings.' He chooses to tap into some genuine sympathy and places a hand on Reefa's shoulder 'However Lanix is not as weak as she may seem, she has never shirked on her training and is every ounce the warrior her sisters are. I know warriors, I've trained many. Fresh youths have surprised me with their resilience and courage many time, Lanix I suspect will surprise us both.' he avoids address how many young soldiers never return.

She doesn't respond for a while when she responds it's with a practiced calm.'Thank you Garrin' she states before adding 'Forgive me for my outburst, I'm so very tired.'

Garrin suspects there's more troubling the women but decides not to press the issue.
No. 1046536 ID: 9b127b
File 166576230179.png - (674.78KB , 657x858 , Pentacle222.png )

Garrin considers his next talking point but has no time to voice it.

'Oh! There it is!' Princess Reefa exclaims.

sure enough a tavern called "the sunken treasure" stand before them.
the building looks clean and expensive, a far cry from the back alley dives Garrin is more familiar with.
A sullen group of kobold hoodlums are loitering nearby.
No. 1046538 ID: e51896

drive those kobolds outta here, we can't have our princess be seen near such disgusting hoodlums that are beneath her, especially when their not bowing to her. Make way for the royal princess!
No. 1046539 ID: 629f2e

Ignore the hoodlums for now. This is a tavern, not everyone who shows up here will be of a higher caliber. If they do anything, then you may respond.

While you're at it, try to gauge how Reefa is looking at them. Does she give them a friendly look that she would give any of her subjects, or one of disgust? Don't attack them just because the lady finds them distasteful, but keep it in mind if the need to confront approaches.
No. 1046554 ID: a7a180

Shoo them away, they are besmirching the fine exterior of this establishment.
No. 1046577 ID: 322af8

Ignore the kobolds. You're not a town guard. If they bother the Princess get between you and them. Otherwise go to the bar, open the door for her and get ready to spend a lot of coin on those drinks.
No. 1046691 ID: 755399

Let's at least give the kobolds a friendly smile and wave. She's their princess too.
No. 1047873 ID: 9b127b
File 166715768490.png - (1.42MB , 657x858 , Pentacle223.png )

Garrin decides to take no action, as they walk past the hoodlums eye the Princess, Garrin gives them a stern look.

Princess Reefa waves to them in response, but they merely sneer and turn away.

She seems a little put off by this but makes no comment.
Garrin opens the door to a lively tavern with an ethereal décor, a cool dampness fills the air and the place smells of the sea.

A few people take notice of the entrance of new patrons, nudges and hushed murmurs follow then one man exclaims loudly 'By the sea mother! Flops' been tellin the truth it's her royal highness!'

There are numerous gasps then all eyes turn to Reefa standing in the doorway.
No. 1047874 ID: a7a180

Just wave to them too, Garrin promises it will be better received this time.
No. 1047875 ID: 629f2e

Let her take the lead. Step in yourself if there's trouble or if she asks, but give her a chance to be independent.
No. 1047965 ID: 322af8

Let the Princess do what she feels needed. Lead her to a table. Maybe next to that one horse lady. If things go poorly with Princess maybe she might lift our spirits...
No. 1047966 ID: e51896

No. 1048017 ID: 8483cf

Who's Flops?

Smile and wave, smile and wave.
No. 1048370 ID: 9b127b
File 166749254861.png - (1.22MB , 657x858 , Pentacle224.png )

Garrin let's the princess handle the crowd.

'Hello everyone!' Reefa waves to the crowd with a large smile on her face 'yes it is I your crown princess!'
The crowd cheers and mugs are raised in support, she motions for them to remain sitting as they begin to stand 'please! don't get up on my account, enjoy you drinks! the kingdom is buying this day! The cheers return louder than before.

A bewildered barkeep emerges from the back room 'Now what's all this-' he freezes when he sees the red figure in his doorway.

upon being noticed by the man the princess shouts 'Surprise!' she gives a cheeky grin 'I've found you at long last!' with that slips past Garrin and begins descending the stairs

the barkeep blinks twice before a warm smile spread across his tired face 'Bless my stars the little spicy pepper has graced my humble establishment!'
Garrin knows this Ichthian well; Philipose "Flops" Oropesci, the king's old jester five years retired.
No. 1048371 ID: 629f2e

If you know them, then offer a greeting of your own. Not too formal, just something appropriately casual for how well you knew them.
No. 1048414 ID: 322af8

Oh bother. Hopefully you have the coin on you to buy all those drinks. Check your coin purse as I doubt the princess has any on her. Other than that say hello to the barkeep and stay close to the princess.
No. 1048423 ID: 8483cf

Remind the former jester that he's not in court, and it's impolite to refer to Reefa as a spicy pepper.
No. 1049037 ID: 9b127b
File 166820578705.png - (1.41MB , 657x858 , Pentacle225.png )

The crown has accounts in all cities, the king however might not be pleased with how his daughter intends to spend his money.
Flops has always been a rival to Garrin for the kings ear, the knight had petitioned for his retirement and Inquisitor Sabria support in this had proved invaluable.
though the king had only agreed after awarding him a hefty some of gold for "loyal service to the crown" his majesty HAD promised that he would have no further contact with the princess...

Reefa hustles delicately over to Flops and embraces him, he turns to his compatriot'haHA! I tol'ya Sheeka I knew royalty! you owe me forty scales!'
A dumbfound Ichthian can only mumble 'of all the things that fool could tell the truth about..' ruffles through her pouch for some coin

Garrin has never liked Flops, too often has he placed the princess in danger for the sake of entertainment.'Mister Oropesci, You are no longer court jester, and this is not the royal court even if you were. you will address her royal highness correctly.'
Flops grins broadly and laughs'haHA! Garrin you old stiff! Didn't see you step in! still running yourself ragged over the little things?' The former jester then mocks Garrin's superior demeanor'You're in My tavern now! as proprietor I order you to relax and take it easy.'
'you better do as he says, he IS the proprietor.' Reefa reiterates, her serious tone ruined by the smile emerging on her face.
Garrin clenches his beak but yields, not to the irritating clown but instead his crown princess 'As you wish your highness..'

The Ichthian Sheeka tries to give a weak smile 'Uh here I go, um repaying my debt, like an upstand citizen yer majesty' she then hands over a small pouch of silver to Flops.
Reefa pouts 'Flops, you should let her keep the money! think of it as penance, shame on you for being so hard to find!'
Garrin quietly agree that he's a shockingly hard man to find. The king had once placed a bounty on the jester, regrettably he's been long since pardoned.

Flops adopts a hurt look 'I weren't hiding far, I sent you you letters.'
Reefa pretends, poorly, to be angry.'letters that had no return address! it was very rude! I couldn't even respond! not that I could when all that was written was a giant "F" '
Flops laughs harder than he needs to at this 'ha HA HAAAAH! I'm so glad you got my letters! did you figure out what they spelled?'

Garrin wonders if he should ...
A) participate in the conversation further
B) scope the place for danger
C) Engage some of the patrons
D) Stand by in case the Princess requires anything

No. 1049063 ID: 322af8

I'd argue B) seeing that is our job. Also listen to what the letters spelled out.
No. 1049069 ID: 8483cf

B. Get a feel for the patrons.
No. 1049104 ID: 629f2e

C. You should try to be social for Reefa's sake, but she'll pick up on your hostility if you can't be civil with the ex-jester. Perhaps you could try talking to Sheeka, while staying nearby.
No. 1049149 ID: 9b127b
File 166836249187.png - (1.02MB , 657x858 , Pentacle226.png )

Reefa recites from memory '"Flops flips Taps N' Tips." a riddle to tell me you were working in a bar'
Flops claps his flippers together 'haHA exactly! now now I have so much to tell you!...'

Garrin Considers the dangers present

1) On the way in Garrin had seen a group of globalan sailors, probably pirates. even if they aren't Globala has taken a lot of Teroth land and always seem to want more.
2) the serving wench is an abeilite, odd for one to be working so far from her hive, abeilites have been known allies of various freedom fighters and rebels could she be one as well?
3) The Elderly kobold peasant was the only one who didn't cheer when Reefa made her entrance, perhaps he's just hard of hearing, but who is that young finely clothed hoofer he's with?
4) Sheeka, she seems nervous yet battle ready clearly she fight for a living but in what outfit?. her exchange with Flops also seemed a little odd. were his comment some sort of signal?
5) A gargoyle, rare in these parts many are worshipers of violent gods. an Ithkarian from the west most likely which would put him at odds with Teroth and it's Prismatican rulers.
6) The local ichthians seem like simple common folk, but there's a lot of them and they stick together, any or all of them could be Flop's cohorts at the very least.
7) more ithkarians, a human and a dwarf, judging from the matching masks likely associated with the gargoyle. they could be spies or mercenaries they're presence in Teroth is technically forbidden though rarely enforced.

he's not sure who poses the greatest threat.

No. 1049150 ID: a7a180

The elderly kobold is quite suspect, seconded by the abellite. Approach calmly, not accusatory.
No. 1049162 ID: 8483cf

Let’s break it down.

1: Sailors are most dangerous when on their ships, and when they get drunk and rowdy. They’re probably just here for a good time, if they’re happy, we’re happy. Not a threat.

2: Abelite: Very odd to see one here. A serving wench would hear many things. An excellent position for an informer and/or freedom fighter.

3: Elderly Kobold is pretty suspicious, but not a physical threat. His companion, however…

4: Body language for Sheeka is very suspect. Keep an eye on her, and don’t let her get close to the Princess.

5: A lone gargoyle? Suspicious by itself. Again, don’t let him near Reefa.

6. Uncertain. Read their body language and intervene if they get antsy.

7. If they’re visible, they’re trying not to get noticed so they don’t get hassled by the authorities. Most likely not a threat.

So, going by the above, 4 is highest, then 3, then 2, then 5.
No. 1049163 ID: 629f2e

That is an irrelevant question.

It doesn't matter which of these parties is the most likely to post a threat, or which would be the most difficult to deal with if they choose to act.

What matters is that if ANY of them act, you have to be ready for it. Most of them probably won't. A good chunk haven't even thought about it, while some simply lack the nerve. It's unlikely that you'll fight more than two of those groups, if any. But if the worst happens, and all turn against you, have an escape route in mind for you and the Princess.

Keep an eye out, but don't treat them with hostility until it becomes clear they will be a threat. Reefa will think less of you if you continue worrying about phantom threats. You don't have to let down your guard, but it wouldn't hurt to pretend you have.
No. 1049198 ID: 322af8

To be honest, I'd argue that if everyone is suspect, we best head to our table quickly and just make sure that no one gets too close other than the server.
No. 1050014 ID: 9b127b
File 166921823283.png - (1.37MB , 657x858 , Pentacle227.png )

The former jester and Princess continue chatting as Garrin scans the room, he ignores most of the drivel.
Reefa claps her hands together '...I've got a great idea! why don't you give me a tour of this wonderful tavern'
'haHA! thought you'd never ask my Spicy Pepper! you can well see my fine collection of wines...'Flops begins escorting Reefa around the place.

Garrin follows somewhat close by, using the tour to pass by some of the more suspicious clients without drawing too much attention, the elderly kobold being top of his list.
On a closer look he recognize the bold, a Gem cutter by the name of Yiddler. he's been a staple personality of the town for many years the bold having worked his trade since Garrin was a boy
Yiddler had been a serious sort of man with strong connections despite the typical station of his kind. Currently he scowls at the princess openly, though Reefa doesn't seem to notice.

'... oh my has Tilipa sprouted! she must be taller than her dear old father now!' Reefa Exclaims.

Flops beams with pride 'that she is! My girls talent has surpassed me as well '

Reefa sways to the music and closes her eyes Hmm I don't know she is quite good, but the way you performed was always so magical

Flops gives a sly grin 'Magic indeed! a spell to enchant a lovely lady into liking my terrible singing haHA!' the Princess laughs along with him.

Garrin takes in the woman accompanying Yiddler, A client perhaps? her state of dress and hair signify a woman of wealth yet she averts her gaze from the princess and is very quiet.
neither trait seems fighting for a noble in the presence of a princess, why hasn't she formally introduced herself?

Does Garrin
1) approach them?
2) sit down near them and listen to what they might say when the Princess walks away.?
3) Continue with Reefa but keep an eye on them?
4) focus on another patron?
5) Rejoin Flops and Reefa's conversation?
6) something else?

No. 1050016 ID: 629f2e

Don't lose sight of the princess, but approach them. Try to be proactive! Greet them, ask what brings them there, and then be on your way.
No. 1050069 ID: 322af8

1) approach them. Introduce yourself first to the lovely lady. You should get to know her...intimately.
No. 1050079 ID: a7a180

2. Don't mix business and pleasure.
No. 1050080 ID: 8483cf

1 (this)
No. 1050386 ID: 61540c

Dude's probably just the capo for the thugs outside. Guard the girl.
No. 1050399 ID: e5709d

Play wingman for Garcio because seriously look at the curves on that mare.
No. 1050588 ID: 9b127b
File 166983413021.png - (1.31MB , 657x858 , Pentacle228.png )

Garrin approaches the taller woman 'My lady, I could not help but notice a fellow troubled soul.' she gives the faint hint of a smile. Garcio had joked many times that Garrin had it bad for moody nobles...
...The man was right of course this woman immediatly appealed to Garrin.

Yiddler clears his throat to draw attention to himself, his efforts are in vain.
Garrin deliberately ignores him and continues to speak with the lady'Indeed the mood is too pleasant here for me as well, might I have your name?'

Her voice has the whisper of one who rarely speaks'T-Tirzaea, Tirzaea Ahtas' Garrin smiles "Ahtas",he knows they name, a Knight household with delusions of grandeur, they have no love for the crown that holds them from higher station.

Garrin nods his head in respect'Ahtas... I know your family well they've served the crown for many generations, a shame I never met your acquaintance before now, I am Garrin Veraki.' Garrin introduces himself honestly, he is too well known in the knightly circles to conceal who he is.
Tirzaea expects that name and nods'I've heard of your deeds Knight captain...' the words are intended as a compliment. "Some of them" Garrin corrects in his mind.

Garrin and the rest of the table are briefly distracted by Tavern keeper beginning to shout 'Ladis! you're a guest in this house! NOT a serving girl!'

His niece Ladis rolls her eyes'I was just helping Snowpea she seemed rather busy...'

Garrin has never seen Flops so angry.'Snowpea can handle the customers herself! you're above all this' he sweeps his hand around the tavern 'you're apprentice to a legendary monster hunter! you need to play the part!' That's right Garrin remembers Vivian Hearth had a minion by the name of Ladis.

Ladis sighs 'She's not legendary and I'm more of a hand maiden really...'

The argument continues but the bar patrons lose interest
Yiddler takes the moment to speak 'We've all heard of your deeds, Knight Captain' his words dripping with disdain 'but we've no time to discuss empty glory and really should be leaving'

Tirzaea looks down and her shoulders slump'Master Yiddler is correct...' despite her words her eyes plead "save me..."
the two stand up ready to leave
No. 1050590 ID: 629f2e

The Princess has been separated by a decent number of her guards, and is also lacking female companionship at the moment. Considering both of these thoughts, you can certainly find justification to pull this knight away for matters of greater importance.
No. 1050591 ID: 3e9cdf

Oh, there’s no need to get up, let your tired old bones rest.
Offer to buy them both another drink as a courtesy for meeting them for the first time.
No. 1050605 ID: e5709d

You have business with Viv, direct orders of your patrons. That's all the excuse you need to keep chatting with her minion.
Have her lure Vivian into your clutches.
No. 1050621 ID: 8483cf

No. 1050627 ID: 322af8

I agree with Himitsu. We should try and get Ahtas to stick around and join our dear princess in talk.
No. 1050808 ID: 9b127b
File 167004559744.png - (1.31MB , 657x858 , Pentacle229.png )

Garrin shakes his head'I'm afraid that's not possible, I need you here Ahtas'

'you do?' The mare smiles with exitement.

Garrin gives a nod'Indeed the Princess has lost most of her guards, and needs replacement companionship'

Tirzaea's smile fades replaced with confusion '...w-what?'

'as you are of fighting age your family's oath to the crown requires you to serve in the role of guardian.' Garrin explains.

Realization finally reaches the woman her voice cracks into a childish whine 'But I haven't been trained for such things, you couldn't expect me to bear arms could you?! My father said-'

Yiddle interrupts with a scowl'Be quite child! you are beholden to the knight captain, you better do has he says or it's the dungeons for you. forget anything your foolish father told you.' the old kobold then hobbles off.

'Y-Yes master Yiddler...' Tirzaea Ahtas seems on the verge of tears. but otherwise seems obediently awaiting instruction.
No. 1050812 ID: 629f2e

"Please calm yourself. My choice of words was intentional, in that the princess requires companionship. She's been separated from her friend, and might benefit from another female acquaintance. Certainly try to protect her if she's attacked, but your main purpose is to help her feel comfortable. Just... Be sociable."
No. 1050829 ID: 4cce43

I'm not asking you to bear arms, I'm asking yout to provide protection and companionship for your princess. Do your best within your capabilities, and you will be rewarded appropriately.
No. 1050861 ID: 322af8

Hopefully the only arms you will require are the two that are attached to your body. We just need to you be friends with the Princess and help keep a look out for trouble.
No. 1051203 ID: e5709d

"I don't think you understand how important this is. You are being assigned as a squire of Princess Reefa's retinue. This is the kind of career opportunity that, over a few decades, promotes you to the cushy position of Knight-Maiden of the Empress' Praetorian Guard. There are dukes who would murder their pets for this kind of privilege.

I'm offering this once-in-a-lifetime deal, because we have a situation. It may not seem like much, but it's classified, and all I can tell Master Yiddler is that if we screw up, a lot of people are going to die. Screaming. We need you specifically. Please help us, and please help yourself."
No. 1051745 ID: 9b127b
File 167104391475.png - (1.24MB , 657x858 , Pentacle230.png )

Garrin sighs 'Please calm yourself. the princess requires companionship from another female acquaintance. Certainly try to protect her if she's attacked, but your main purpose is to help her feel comfortable.'

'I um, alright...' Tirzea stats, though uncertainty clearly remains.

'Just be sociable.' he simplifies. Garrin then takes her to the princess 'Your highness this is Tirzaea of house Ahtas, I imagine she might serve as hand maiden in the absence of Sister Lanix.'

Princess Reefa looks over the woman with a discerning eye.Hmm Ahtas yes, I'm familiar with the house hold but I don't believe we've been acquainted, and you cant be much younger than I am, how odd.

o-odd your highness? Tirzaea responds with quivering dread.

Reefa gives a simple nod'Indeed, given that my father was insistent that all girls of noble birth within five winters of age attend my birthdays, and not once have I met you.' Garrin knows the answer. House Ahtas has regularly scorned many of the kings request not pertaining to defending the kingdom

As Tirzaea looks like she's ready to shrivel up and die under the Princess's glare a conniving lie conjured by the desperate forms on Tirzaea's lips 'Ah my house has been in financial ruin since the war! never could we bear the shame of attending a party without an extravagant gift!'

The princess has no refute for this, it seems plausible.'Oh well that does seem familiar, a shame then that wealth has kept us apart for so many years, a pleasure to meet you at last Tirzaea Ahtas!' Reefa gives a cold smile.

Tirzaea forces a smile in return'Th-the same! I've long awaited our meeting'

just as the tense situation seems to be calming down, a drunkard enters.'Tis true! tis true! yer majesty! she told me indeed she's been waiting a loong time'

Reefa seems confused and looks to Tirzea'you were discussing me?'

'I swear I have no idea who this crazed woman is!' Tirzaea blurts out in a panic

The drunk woman staggers foreword 'She says to me "I can wait till I meet the Crown Princess so I can shove that scrawny mentally deficient inbred puritan into the dirt where all of her demon-blooded hypocrite kind belong" and I says to her "you really want that?" and she says to me "NO I want that ugly malformed hedon dead so that someone with half a brain can rule this kingdom." '

'I DON'T KNOW YOU!!!' Tirzaea shrieks stamping her foot

'oh thas right! I was eavesdroppin, never spoke a word to or that gumpy gramp Yiddler. where'd he go by the way?'the tramp makes a show of looking about. shocked silence has fallen over the room she takes notice.'Oh deary me D'I say something Oi shoun tave?' A predatory grin crosses Vivian's face'jus cant keep moiy big mouth sut it seem EYHAh!'
No. 1051746 ID: d737cf

The word of a drunkard is hardly good evidence, but if Tirzaea actually does want Reefa dead, that's quite bad to have her in a position to let it happen.

Frankly, Tirzaea's reaction to this will be the most useful indicator of how accurate the accusation is. She might be able to fool Reefa, but not us.
No. 1051749 ID: e5709d

>"NO I want that ugly malformed hedon dead so that someone with half a brain can rule this kingdom."
Casually whisper "that's fair" into Tirzaea's ear.

>Tirzaea is a rebel
Still... It's clear she hates the incompetence of the royal family rather than desiring usurpation itself. She might make a good ally for your particular faction of XCOM traitors - if you can keep her knives away from Reefa.

But put all your resources into this madwoman. Now's the time to 'convince' her; she might be feinting with her drunk state, so use further drama between Reefa and Tirzaea to lower her guard for reals.
No. 1051755 ID: d737cf

One additional thing that might get a more honest reaction from Tirzaea is calling out how obvious her lie about finances was. If her house really was broke for years, how could she afford such a nice outfit?

Reefa is so sheltered she probably sees the outfit as normal, but Garrin knows better.
No. 1051854 ID: 322af8

I'd argue we should probably ignore this drunk. At the same time we might want to pat down Tirzaea for any hidden weapons she might have. Just in case.
No. 1051882 ID: 755399

Why stop there? When the princess's security is at stake, we should go with a full strip search. Let Flops keep an eye on the princess while we put this horse girl through her paces. It'll also give us some privacy if we need to ask her some questions or bring her into our confidence.
No. 1051990 ID: 629f2e

This drunk is probably telling the truth. It's not a well-kept secret that the Ahtas family isn't on great terms with the crown, so speaking ill of them in private wouldn't be unthinkable. Expressing intent to harm the princess is a bit harder to excuse, but we'll come back to that.

You already recognized the Ahtas family's feelings before requesting her help. That Tirzaea specifically has spoken ill of Reefa shouldn't change anything. What DOES is that this drunken idiot brought this up right in front of the princess. Suddenly, the value of Tirzaea as a companion has gone down dramatically.

Let's give her a chance to save this, while still leaving the door open to cut her out if she proves to not be competent enough to speak her way out of this. If she can't manage that, she would be a useless companion to Reefa.

"She correctly identified that you were with Yiddler before, which supports her claim of eavesdropping. Do you still deny her claims given that?"

Don't directly oppose her, but if you're going to take a side in this matter it should be Reefa's. If this woman has spoken ill of her, going so far as to express that the whole of her lineage should die, then you should be ready to hand her the consequences of her own actions.
No. 1053540 ID: 9b127b
File 167328661055.png - (1.25MB , 657x858 , Pentacle231.png )

Garrin's face grows serious 'Drunk though this woman may be I cannot ignore a risk to her highness' person.'

Tirzaea continues to stutters and whine'B-but I didn't even-'

The knight does not budge on his choice 'I need to be certain you aren't carrying any weapons or other dangers to the princess.'

Tirzaea stares blankly for a moment, then bolts. though tempted to pursue Garrin worries about leaving the princess to fend for herself.

The knight looks to the drunkard downing her wine; possibly a bandit perhaps worse Garrin can't allow the Princess to be unguarded here. As if to accentuate the danger she also poses the wastrel shatters the wine bottle on the door frame. Garrin pulls the princess down to avoid the shattering glass.
No. 1053541 ID: 9b127b
File 167328665276.png - (1.20MB , 657x858 , Pentacle232.png )

Garrin looks up to see the dangerous women lunging foreward whipping the broken bottle from her hand, aimed not at him nor the princess but instead the fleeing Tirzaea,

The bottle lands embedding itself in the the wooden post of the staircase, pinning the red dress.
No. 1053542 ID: 9b127b
File 167328679846.png - (1.16MB , 657x858 , Pentacle233.png )

Baffelingly the bottle holds and the flimsy garment that is no match for Tirzaea's large strong body, tears easily.
Secrets are revealed that hoofer might prefer to remain hidden.

Garrin is left stunned
No. 1053544 ID: 629f2e

Okay, the hidden blade is understandable, self-defense and all, but the vials are clearly not. This woman is clearly unscrupulous, and we were foolish to trust her.

Finish the job of apprehending her, and turn her over to the local authority. Have the drunk's testimony against her recorded, as the evidence supporting it should lend it some real weight (especially when it becomes clear how important the drunk really is.)

After that, we need to consider damage control. There are basically two ways you can play this off, humble or clever.

The humble way would be to admit that you hadn't been aware of the danger, and simply made a bad call in recruiting her. Be honest with your intentions of wanting Reefa to have someone she could talk with, and relate to her through your failings of seeing such a massive threat. This may make you seem foolish in her eyes if you're unlucky with her mood, but it may also have you come off as more personable and on her level.

The clever way would be to state that the drunk had saved you a day of carefully examining that horse's actions. Claim that you had a suspicion of her true intent from the beginning, and that bringing her on as a guard made it easier to scrutinize her actions and keep an eye on her. You'd been planning to arrest her when she finally tried to make her move, but thanks to the witness you were able to act preemptively. This is a risky strategy. If Reefa sees through it, she'll not only see you as a bumbling guard, but one too stubborn to admit to their own mistakes. You would be less than worthless. Even if you pass the bluff check, taking this approach may make you appear two-faced and hard to truly know, since you don't always say what you mean.

If it comes down to it, I think you're a lot better off with the humble approach than the clever one. You just can't pull the mastermind act off, your charisma stat isn't that high. Even if it was, I think Reefa would think better of you if you show a bit more vulnerability. You haven't been able to really talk on her level yet, always coming off as either a mentor, a bodyguard, or anything but a friend. A somewhat honest conversation where you drop your usual arrogance could help change the way she looks at you.
No. 1053545 ID: 8483cf

Great work, drunk lady. Maybe we should consider hiring her?

In the meantime, our priorities are (1) protect the Princess, and (2) root out future threats against the Princess.

We can't leave Reefa unattended (that breaks priority 1), so Garrin can't chase Tirzaea himself. Fortunately, we have an entire bar full of patrons who Reefa's just bought a round of drinks for.

I bet Garrin's been waiting to use this line his whole life:

"That hoofer is an assassin! SEIZE HER!"

Those globalan sailors look like they'll have no problem helping out.
No. 1053549 ID: cea6bb

Garrin was just keeping by the old adage: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Call for her arrest!
No. 1053609 ID: 322af8

We should do a few things. First, detain our new horse friend. Also should strip her down to make sure there are no other hidden surprises on her. Second if Garrin is aware of what a Gods Champion is like Reefa, he should be very careful around this fox as she appears to be one and the last thing we need is a hero mucking up our plans.
No. 1053611 ID: e5709d

"...Who the hell sold you knight-grade leather bras?"

Try to capture her alive. While your other companions might complain about the need for an execution, Kalez would be ecstatic about acquiring such an enticing white-cloth ninja.
Maybe you'll kill her if she proves untrustworthy, but right now your best bet is to use her toxins against her. Let's see if her poison resistance can withstand two whole vials straight down the gullet.
No. 1055039 ID: 9b127b
File 167513942337.png - (1.34MB , 657x858 , Pentacle234.png )

Garrin has to take control of the situation, but he can't leave Reefa's side 'That hoofer is an assassin! SEIZE HER!' He shouts. a few tougher looking patron get up to go after her

Garrin then points to the globalan sailors on the upper level 'You lot, cut her off from the roof!' he pauses for a moment then adds 'there's gold to be had.' at the mention of gold the sailors start to scramble.

Tirzaea and her pursuers take the action to the streets and Garrin is left in a more silent tavern.

Who does Garrin speak to and what does he say?
No. 1055040 ID: 322af8

Probably ask the drunken adventurer how she knew/how she did that/ if she would assist in projecting the princess or also assist in giving chase to the assassin. More gold to be had and what not.
No. 1055043 ID: 8483cf

Honestly, we should talk with Reefa, and get her someplace quiet and safe. Let's talk with Flops, and see if any of the local ichthians he knows are trustworthy. Reefa's calm and comfort are top priority, she has to be on her A game for engaging with the populace.

Maybe Flops know the drunkard, and if she has a reputation. The more they know, the better.
No. 1055045 ID: 629f2e

To Reefa: "I knew she was up to something, but I truly hoped she didn't intend to go so far. My apologies for being unable to warn you sooner."

Let's keep our cool and act like we knew what we were doing. Heavily suspecting that equine of dubious intent, we tried to recruit her so that we could keep a close eye over her. Force her out of the shadows and keep her under our scrutiny until we could get away.

If Reefa takes this poorly, then show some humility and apologize for your methods. She might get upset that you tried to stick a would-be assassin next to her, that's reasonable. Assure her that you would have given her adequate warning as the first chance you had, and apologize anyways for the fact that she was exposed to a dangerous person.
No. 1055050 ID: e5709d

Concentrate on the mercenary. See if you can get her to sign on as one of Reefa's temporary bodyguards. Then let Kalez reel her in with magics.
No. 1055998 ID: 9b127b
File 167634696918.png - (1.43MB , 657x858 , Pentacle235.png )

Garrin looks to the princess 'You're highness, are you alright?'

She brushes off his concern, excitement on her face 'I'm fine Garrin, but that woman who saved me, do you know who she is?'

A little confused Garrin responds 'A talented mercenary it seems'

All smiles Reefa elaborates 'More than that, This is Vivian Hearth best monster hunter this side of the Falene Mountains!'

'At your service for a modest fee!' Hearth grins and bows at the introduction

Garrin is not so easily impressed by the vagabond, though he expected more this may very well be the monster hunter he's been looking for 'Now that you mention it she does fit the part, perhaps we can make use of her services for your protection.'

Having reservations Reefa asks'is that fair? this woman is needed by the people, we can't have her talents squandered with guard duty.'

'Actually I'd love the job!' the monster hunter beams.

'what about the people?'

Vivian shrugs 'Yeah see about that, I just lost all my coin-n-quip on the dice. deffa need some easy scratch getting back on m'feet can't help no one with nothin.'

'you seemed quite capable with that wine bottle' Garrin offers

'HAH! I'll need that paid for too, was my last bottle... ' Vivian waits expectantly 'Oi we got a deal?'
No. 1056001 ID: a7a180

We got a deal... But! Redirect any payment to the crown, as per our orders. We may give her an advance to cover the wine, as it was instrumental in our lady's defense.
No. 1056140 ID: 322af8

We should be sure to ask if she is aware of any other possible dangers at the tavern at this moment or if the woman who fled was the only one.
No. 1056146 ID: e5709d

Don't speak. Get your contract out and have her read and sign. Make sure she's contracted to Reefa and do not reference Kalez in any way; a 'woman of the people' wouldn't pledge her heart and soul to your ruthless aristocratic mastermind even if it would get her laid with the god of booze. Knowing Kalez, they've probably already met and hate each other.
No. 1056696 ID: 9b127b
File 167699261037.png - (1.38MB , 657x858 , Pentacle236.png )

Garrin Spends the next couple hours helping Reefa draft a contract for Vivian Hearth
The two women enjoy the wine flops provides them as day turns to night.

Vivian has spent most of the time telling outlandish tales that at best could only be half truths never once even considering the documents the princess has her sign.

Sunset approaches, and the tavern begins to fill Flops and his attendants including the volunteer Ladis bring up wet chairs and tables from the basement

Does Garrin...
1) Try and slip in some clause into Vivian's contract?
2) Try and guide the conversation towards a specific topic?
3) watch the tavern entertainment?
4) remain quiet and Alert?
5) enjoy the wine?

No. 1056697 ID: bace04

You definitely need to massage some clauses into Vivian’s contract to ensure that the crown decides the rules of engagement and that privacy is prized over security.
No. 1056742 ID: 322af8

We easily need to slip some clauses into that contract. Something about her working without underwear. Something about her having to keep watch of the Princess at night (so we can slip off and apologize to a certain tradeswoman) Maybe something about her having to give us 20% of all extra loot found when raiding enemies.
No. 1056746 ID: 3a877e

This is what happens when you combine 1 and 5, so let's do that.
No. 1056754 ID: 629f2e

1 is a risky play, considering how observant Vivian has shown herself to be. But since everyone else seems on-board, let's at least be strategic about it.

Put one or two mild additions that you'd like her to miss, as well as something completely outrageous. You're expecting her to catch the obvious issue, something that she'd disapprove of, but use that as a cover for the smaller issues.

Depending on what the outrageous addition is, you may want to play it off as a joke/test to ensure she was reading the contract. The previous suggestion about working in her underwear is definitely one you'd have to treat like that for example. Be careful not to put yourself in a situation where she can call your bluff by the way. It won't look good on you or Reefa if she keeps an amendment like that in, and prances around in her undergarments for the remainder of your trip.
No. 1056996 ID: 755399

Or we could simply write that clause as 'you will strip to your underwear when commanded'. Easier to hide from Reefa if she tries to make it backfire on us.
No. 1057653 ID: 9b127b
File 167812320430.png - (1.31MB , 657x858 , Pentacle237.png )

Garrin clears his throat 'As Knight Captain I should add a few additional provisions' Vivian rolls her eyes and Reefa nods pulling out a fresh sheet a parchment.
The knight starts by adding clause for a twenty percent tax on acquired loot, and another on night watch requirements before quickly adding you will strip to your underwear when commanded to the page

Reefa notices immediately and gasps 'Garrin! what's gotten into you! how could you ruin my wonderful contract with such a vulgar condition!?'

The monster hunter perks up and leans over 'Heeheehe thirsty Boy! Thirsty Boy! have some wine you thiiirsty boy!' she shoves the bottle of wine in Garrin's face, he drinks deeply of it.

'forgive me your highness, I figured I would lighten the mood with a joke, like you said this is a mundain task, a famous hunter like Miss Hearth should be entertained I think'

'Well um, you're right of course and I... I suppose I can see the humour in such a preposterous proposition' Reefa stated with a reservation that betrayed that she clearly did not see any humour in the act at all.

Hear, Hear! Vivian Cheers!, takes back the bottle downs a large swig and signs the sheet.
No. 1057654 ID: 9b127b
File 167812331860.png - (1.36MB , 657x858 , Pentacle238.png )

Garrin and Vivian exchange rediculous stories of outlandish exploits, ocasionally these tales even holding some resemblance to truthe.
Reefa sits awkwardly having little to add.
'Oi, had you pegged for a stuffy straight-edge, but maybe you know to have a little fun after all!' Vivian says with a coy lilt that Garrin feels is either an attempt at seduction, an invitation to indulge further or both.

'Of course! I know may way around just about every tavern this side of the Talon' Garrin boasts polishing off the last of the wine, he turns to call on the waitstaff for another bottle when by chance he spies an old friend slinking in from the night air.
No. 1057672 ID: e5709d

"Garcio, I was going to introduce you to a breedable mare but she was actually an assassin!
Welcome to hell!"
Slap yourself.
"WHAT AM I SAYING?! Barkeep, hangover cure."
No. 1057698 ID: 322af8

Wait a second...zoom in at the bottom right...enhance. Zoom in again. That's Coi-Shi isn't it. Trying to hide from our view. Have Garcio show how strong he is by picking up the cameo and lifting him over his head. That should impress both the princess and our new hire. Also we should introduce the new hire we have procured for our party.
No. 1057732 ID: 2081ed

No. 1057817 ID: 94b79e

Hey wait... Garcio, where's Xiatzu? You didn't leave her alone, did you?
No. 1059650 ID: 9b127b
File 167996524198.png - (1.30MB , 657x858 , Pentacle239.png )

Garcio descends the stairs, tossing aside a loiterer on the steps. 'Outa the ways pipsqueak'

Garrin excuses himself from the table and meats his subordinate halfway 'where's Xiatzu? You didn't leave her alone, did you?'

Garcio doesn't answer the question 'That woman's in a lot of danger, Garrin the sort that my being there probably isn't going to help.'

something curious strikes Garrin and he asks a question he feels he should know the answer too 'What do you mean?'

Garcio responds in a hushed whisper 'Someone's put a bounty on her and she knows it.'
No. 1059658 ID: a7a180

This is an outrage. We can't travel with a bounty on our host's head! We need to sort this out immediately with whoever's offering the bounty. Garcio, why don't you acquaint yourself with our new subcontractor Vivian as we switch off guard details.
No. 1059674 ID: 322af8

Well crap. Ask if he has a wanted poster or how he heard of this bounty. It seems we'll need to work fast to protect our newest friend. Or at the very least blackmail her into more protection done by us. Ask him also where she is now and then go to that location. While also totally bumping into that loiterer. That will show him. You're supposed to be the best bird in the comic.
No. 1059898 ID: 10c07d

This, though we might want to bring everyone back to Xiatzus convoy just for safety while we investigate this bounty.
No. 1059955 ID: 9b127b
File 168023362547.png - (1.38MB , 657x858 , Pentacle240.png )

'You saw bounty posters for her?'Garrin questions

Garcio seems a little sheepish at the question 'No there weren't posters, just a hunch really. the way she wanted me close but always looking over her shoulder, she seemed hunted'

Garrin believes Garcio. should he take everyone he thinks? No, it would be safer to have more numbers but if Garcio is correct that would put the princess in unnecessary danger, Garrin couldn't do that to her. Besides if it's nothing there's no reason to end her tavern visit. 'Garcio, why don't you acquaint yourself with our new subcontractor Vivian as we switch off guard details.'

Relief is plain on Garcio's face, before a trace of worry returns 'be careful. she's at an Inn called the "Verdant Field" her coachman is watching her'

Garrin nods 'I know the place. I'll sort this out, see if it is what you think.'

Does Garrin need to do or get anything else before leaving?
No. 1059957 ID: a7a180

That vial that was on the horsesassin, perhaps?
You should check the outside of Xiatzu's inn for stalkers when you get there.
No. 1059970 ID: 322af8

Sounds more like she was just trying to flirt with the large horseman. Still we should look into it. Not sure if we need anything other than ourselves. She trust us (for now) and if we don't act like anything is off she shouldn't sick her employee on us. We should keep an eye out though for any extra trouble. Actually take Coi-Shi with you. Tell him he is now deputized for the Duchess/Princess.
No. 1059971 ID: 629f2e

Why not pay a visit to Xiatzu's servants to get a quick briefing on the situation. They may be more loose-lipped than Xiatzu herself. Don't dawdle for long though, as you'd be leaving her unguarded.
No. 1059976 ID: 10c07d

This, but let’s say a few parting words to Princess Reefa before we switch duties with Garcio. It would be rude to leave a lady without saying anything! I also support bringing Coi-Shi with us.
No. 1060338 ID: 9b127b
File 168045355159.png - (1.28MB , 657x858 , Pentacle241.png )

Garrin returns to find Reefa enthralled by some wild tale about violent vegetables, Vivian chattering away doesn't address on his return either.
He clears his throat to get their attention'Your highness Garcio will be taking over here, I have a crucial matter to attend to'
The Princess barely looks up 'Oh yes, of course. You are free to go'
The conversation continues as Garrin leaves, he nods to Garcio as he passes and the knight takes his seat.

Garrin grabs the small loiterer who squawks in protest 'Hands off old man!'
The knight looks down at the small man ' you've just been enlisted to the royal army.'
'What?!' the tavern goer gasps in shock.
Garrin plops a helmet onto his head, 'make the best of it.'

* * *

Exiting the tavern a heavy rainfall has started.
No. 1060339 ID: a7a180

Get to Xiatzu, quickly. You may want to hurry inside given this horrid downpour obscuring vision.
No. 1060376 ID: 322af8

Hmm rain. Never good. Means either romance or hard fight ahead. Unless our new ward secretly has the hots for us we're in for a big one. Welp to Verdant Field. Ask for the name of this new fighter on our side as you go.
No. 1060420 ID: 629f2e


Agreed. Let's go straight to Xiatzu without any detours.
No. 1061256 ID: 9b127b
File 168134733948.png - (1.18MB , 657x858 , Pentacle242.png )

Garrin has to get to Xiatzu as quick as possible 'We must hurry soldier!' he states.
His small ally chirps indignantly'I'm not a soldier I'm Coi-Shi A mighty sorcerer!'

Garrin ignores his please and rushes forward.

* * *
The wind picks up as the storm grows heavy.
They have to cross Belgate bridge to get to the Verdant Field Inn

'Where are the guards?' a tiny squawk is heard above the wash.

A good question Garrin thinks 'I don't know...' The guard should be on watch all night, perhaps the took shelter in the tower but why then would they leave the gate open?

shortly after a second question is voiced'What's that light?'

Another good question'I don't know...' it might be a torch light, but there should be lights all along the building, could the harsh storm have blown the rest out?

there is wrongness here, but Garrin has precious little time to investigate.
No. 1061259 ID: a7a180

Quickly, into the gatehouse for shelter and to see why the gate is open.
No. 1061283 ID: 322af8

Ask if Coi-Shi knows any spells that could be of use in this situation. Like ones that would point out people or sense people or...fireball in case of emergencies. Depending on what he knows he might be extremely useful.
No. 1061293 ID: 28b91b

Agreed, this is smart
No. 1061304 ID: 629f2e

Try to get a spell list from Coi Shi while you move. Go inside, and try to get to the bottom of this without dying if you can.
No. 1061308 ID: edef96

Best case, it's nothing.
Worst case, the undead are attempting a preliminary invasion step. Perhaps by destroying the bridge.
It's worth investigating.
No. 1061960 ID: 9b127b
File 168226387060.png - (1.29MB , 657x858 , Pentacle243.png )

Garrin hates shouting but it's the only way he can be heard against the wind 'A sorcerer huh?' Garrin is no novice to magic, he wonders if there's any truth to the scamps words.

the small Yengu screeches back 'Yes! I am lord an master of fire!'

'Ah an elementalist' this makes sense self trained sorcerers and battle mages flock to elemental powers they are destructive, flashy, and outside of causing large amounts of damage and spectacle they are largely useless.

Large waves crash against the bridge, the weather is starting to get out of hand... destructive and flashy, just the sort of thing a powerful elementalist could conjure.
No. 1061967 ID: 322af8

Uh...have him cast a massive fireball at the building at the bridge then? Probably won't destroy it but it will mess with anyone hiding there waiting to attack. If it does destroy it well we're pretty high up the chain and can just blame our cameo friend on the action.
No. 1062021 ID: 332406

You should get a clear view of the situation before you go in and throw around fireballs.
No. 1062088 ID: 10c07d

Let’s not throw any fireballs just yet, but stay cautious. Maybe we could get Coi-Shi to use his magic to keep warm after being in the rain that’ll give him some use.
No. 1062360 ID: 9b127b
File 168281753541.png - (941.90KB , 657x858 , Pentacle244.png )

Garrin Carefully enters the tower, a light shines from the floor above.

now out of the rain Coi-Shi conjures a spark of flame to dry himself off.

the wind and rain continue to howl.
No. 1062361 ID: ff9cef

Quickly warm up, then put it out. Don't want to get spotted.
No. 1062390 ID: 322af8

I suppose we should sneak to the light above then as that would be where an enemy would be encamped.
No. 1062400 ID: a7a180

Put that out, we need to move quickly and quietly.
No. 1062410 ID: 587e8b

Yeah, damp clothes might be bad for a fight, but an ambush would be worse. Go fast to get the worst of the liquid, but keep your head on a swivel.
No. 1063638 ID: 9b127b
File 168393140702.png - (1.13MB , 657x858 , Pentacle245.png )

'Put out the light' Garrin hisses at his companion, the elementalist silently does so.

as Garrin reaches the ladder he begins to hear guttural mumbling, this bothers him for a reason he can almost remember.

against his better judgement he climbs the ladder.
as he reaches the top he is greeted by a face he could never forget.

'Second Acolyte.' the large face croaks, Garrin is unsettled that it recognizes him

but why shouldn't she, as a fellow servant of Kalez. 'fourth acolyte' he responds averting his gaze from Laterna's hypnotic lure

'You shouldn't be here.' she states.

'Neither should you, I thought you were banned from all cities after that tidal wave' Garrin retorts.

'things are different now' she states.

'hmmf.' Garrin snorts.

an uncomfortable silence follows
No. 1063640 ID: a7a180

Things wouldn't be related to bandits attacking the city, would they? I am on a mission transporting... precious cargo and wouldn't want to lose it in the approaching storm. We insist that our plot takes priority, being second acolyte, and if this plot cannot be delayed, that we at least be told what to plan around.
No. 1063657 ID: 322af8

Ask their business here and if they are why the guards are gone. State your business afterwards if things seem on the level.
No. 1063700 ID: 4189f6

We don't need to state our business in specific terms. Just enough to leave things as they are.
No. 1063841 ID: 0c3af1

So are the top 3 acolytes the inner circle? How many acolytes are there? Oh, she's why the rain is so bad, yeah? What else... Her hypno-lure - that is likely why the guards are missing. What orders did she give? Should you be talking about this stuff so close to a non-acolyte (Coi-shi)?
No. 1063856 ID: 9b127b
File 168420370026.png - (970.65KB , 657x858 , Pentacle246.png )

Of Kalez' five acolytes Laterna is by far the most powerful.

Garrin's eyes try to avert from the Lure but it's shine is oppressive

Laterna is the most powerful. between her mind molding and elemental destructive force she could easily be first acolyte if it weren't for a lack of control

Garrin tries to focus 'What ever task you are on, as second acolyte I must demand you end this storm, you could wash away this whole town!'

Mistress believes in me. Laterna states.
Garrin can't think, he can barely hear anything Laterna is saying, the rain is too loud it- the rhythmic rain! the sound It's dulling his mind... and yet it's so soothing... Laterna is the most powerful.

Laterna speaks again'Mistress says I don't have to listen to you anymore, why is that Garrin?' for better or worse Kalez is the only being Laterna fears.
No. 1063857 ID: e5709d

Call your boss and have her fix this.
No. 1063858 ID: a7a180

Because you need your ears cleaned, you soggy witch!
Where is Coi-Shi? We need a fish fried, stat.
No. 1063859 ID: d4dcee

SLAP YOURSELF AND FLEE! Once you're out of visibility continue this with yelling. How long ago did she hear from Kalez? We got a comm from her hours ago, she wanted this place unharmed! Our enemies have powerful mages. Her orders may have been falsified! Just illusions! Should she refuse to stop, get Kalez herself. We know she seeks to keep this bridge in one piece.
No. 1063861 ID: 755399

Right, because the last time we talked with Kalez went so well.

It's clear she's weaving some sort of pacification spell into the rain. Whether we try to fight her or negotiate, we need to take the rain out of the equation *now*. Maybe the firebird has some flame aura spell that would evaporate the rain before it huts us?
No. 1063871 ID: 629f2e

The lure seems to be the issue, so get rid of it. Rip it off, slice it, just remove the lure from the equation.
No. 1063877 ID: 322af8

See? This is why we fireball the tower instead of investigate. Anyway retreat. Retreat with our bird brethren as quickly as possible.
No. 1063954 ID: 10c07d

We can’t flee we have to protect Xiatzu! Slap yourself once or twice and push Laterna back. Make sure to get yourself up from the ladder and invite Koi-shi up for numbers. Demand Laterna stops the rain at once or you’ll have to use force, you are on very important business after all.
No. 1063995 ID: 9b127b
File 168437926969.png - (882.26KB , 657x858 , Pentacle247.png )

Garrin knows he has to get away from the lure, and from the rain... the washing sound of the rain.
He needs to flee get away from her power.

no. Xiatsu needs him if he runs the assassin will get to her... the assassin?
yes Garcio said she was being hunted didn't he?

Garrin squints his eye so he can't see the cursed light. the little yengu man, power to fight power.
Coi-Shi! I need your fire! Garrin can barely hear himself over the rain, the unending rain
the light shines through his closed lids, and for some reason he is less worried.

a sweet voice is talking to him now, Laterna is trying to get his attention, Garrin? Garrin are you alright?

Garrin opens his eyes and sees Laterna is still standing over him.
He looks into her soft gentle face, what was he doing here? he was looking for a woman, was it Laterna?

Garrin you need to focus, we're all very worried about you Laterna is very concerned and her kind bubbly voice is tinged with a rare sadness we're worried you don't like us anymore.

His mouth moves as if to say something, but stops. why does he have to be defiant or rude? his friends are just trying to help right?
No. 1063998 ID: 0e6f90

Part of me wants to trust this fibsh, but now is the time for SUSPICION!
No. 1064001 ID: e5709d

Boobs later swords now
No. 1064004 ID: 755399

Grab the lure with one hand (blocking its light) and pull down her shirt with the other.
No. 1064006 ID: 629f2e


WILL SAVE! Grab the lure and punch 'em in the mouth! You can do it, in spite of your countless failings that have taken place today.
No. 1064013 ID: 322af8

Oooh. Ooh she's good. Using our one weakness against us. The ladies. I uh..what were we doing? Tugging at her clothes, right, yes. Show her that you like them still. I'm sure Coi-shi would say something if we were in trouble.
No. 1064018 ID: 10c07d

This, maybe we can use Lantera’s shock to turn around the situation.
No. 1064111 ID: 273c18

Grab her tits! Stick your face between them! Boobs boobs boobs!
No. 1064199 ID: 3aa06e

Seconding this, tell this fish to quit with the mind tricks right now.
No. 1064539 ID: 9b127b
File 168503302827.png - (1.24MB , 657x858 , Pentacle248.png )

Garrin grabs Laterna's shirt she smiles warmly 'so you do want to stay friends? that makes me soooo happy!'

while preoccupied he quickly tries to grab the lure!
It slips through his grasp!
'Ah! no touchy!' Laterna cries, and before he can react Laterna's mouth clamps down on his arm and there is pain. immense pain.
No. 1064540 ID: d3bf48

In for a penny, in for a pound. Redouble the efforts to get that lure! Clearly we’re being tricked with an illusion since the bite marks aren’t matching up, so focus!
No. 1064541 ID: aec5d1

Call your companion for assistance if you get overpowered by her
No. 1064542 ID: 629f2e

Your senses are being tricked, but not all of them. Your sense of feeling is clearly still accurate. There's also clearly a mental fogging of some sort, as otherwise you would immediately deduce that this was an illusion.

Here's what you do. Close your eyes, throw a punch forward to try and free your arm, and then shout for your companion to launch his flames at the person in front of you.
No. 1064545 ID: 7e6b38

Bad fishy! Go for a throat punch. Focus on your pain.
No. 1064547 ID: e9dcf5

Well, if the lure is the issue take a page from Oglaf. Focus on the boobs, while ignoring the medusa eyes shiny lure. Lower your hood further if you have to do so.
No. 1064548 ID: 755399

I like this plan...but there might be a better target. Use the hood to cover Garrin's eyes and then grab the lure with his beak. His head's close enough that he should be able to bite it off before she intercepts it.
No. 1064551 ID: 10c07d

Get Coi-Shi to cover up the lure with his helmet!
No. 1064553 ID: 322af8

Force face against the boobs to hide from the lure. Ask for Coi-Shi to help push her over but do not use fire on her. She still works for your boss and also you are very close to possible splash damage.
No. 1065475 ID: 9b127b
File 168635671627.png - (1.39MB , 657x858 , Pentacle249.png )

Garrin struggles against Laterna but can gain no leverage with his vice gripped arm. he tries averting his gaze but it helps little. the rain only pours heavier with his closed eyes.

again he calls for aid Coi-shi!he manages to croak through the pain.

What's going on up there? the small bird chirps from the bottom of the ladder.
No. 1065476 ID: 9b127b
File 168635679553.png - (1.45MB , 657x858 , Pentacle250.png )

Garrin tries to grab the lure with his beak, but a sharp blow reaches his head first, He is released both from the hold on his arm and from his precarious balance on the ladder.

Coi-Shi barely has time to let out a distressed *SQWAK!* before being crushed by the armored knight.
No. 1065479 ID: a7a180

Ouch. Well, if she isn't going to respect your authority then for Reefa's safety you need to stop her. You can also do it out of spite if you'd like.
Is the little firecracker still good for anything? If not, drag him back out into the rain, you don't want the fish to hook him.
No. 1065481 ID: 96b370

Well, two ways to handle this. Option one, call up Kalez now that you're free. Option two, use Coi-Shi's magic to light the room she's in on fire. The fire's noises should (hopefully) be louder than her rain's noise.
No. 1065482 ID: 15aaa6

"Thanks for breaking my fall... uhh... you're not dead, are you?

You were bitten. That angular fish wasnt an undead, was he? We might be infected if so.
No. 1065502 ID: adb365

Do not panic, do not set stuff on fire. Logically, are we now a zombie?
No. 1065509 ID: a7a180

Logically no, but philosophically yes.
No. 1065512 ID: 322af8

Alright. We're free of that spell hopefully. We don't need to go that way but we do need to hurry. Grab our possibly dead friend (put them over your shoulder if they cannot walk) and then hurry across the bridge. We need to get to friend.
No. 1065585 ID: 47615d

irl that KILLS the burd...
No. 1066167 ID: 9b127b
File 168712009851.png - (1.15MB , 657x858 , Pentacle251.png )

Coi-Shi has passed out, Garrin hefts him up and gets running.
even if the runt were conscious Garrin doubts that his magic could best Laterna's

He considers contacting Kalez but what would he say? Kalez was furious with him earlier, he's not sure asking for aid would go over well...
No. 1066168 ID: e51896

Just get Coi-Shi to safety to get him treated
No. 1066177 ID: a7a180

Find Xiatzu and regroup, ASAP.
No. 1066182 ID: 582417

>what would he say?
Seriously bro? Kalez stated she desired Bellgate's bridge unharmed. Laterna's presence risks that objective. Garrin HAS to know which takes priority here so that he knows whether she requires Laterna to be stopped. Should she have ordered this, he has to bug out ASAP with his group to keep her master plan on schedule. Otherwise, Kalez calls up Laterna - problem solved.
No. 1066184 ID: 322af8

Well this is a pickle. Contact the duchess because only she will know what to do about this. She might have even ordered it.
No. 1066227 ID: 755399

Yeah, as much as I hate to say it, if we can't resolve this ourselves, it's probably time to tug on some apronstrings
No. 1066347 ID: 13740c

Yep, agreed. We’re not in a position to be making the authoritative call here.
No. 1066394 ID: 629f2e


Agreed. Contact Kalez, and ask what she wants.
No. 1066749 ID: 9b127b
File 168797861875.png - (1.08MB , 657x858 , Pentacle252.png )

Garrin's wounded arm continues to gush blood, his legs feel leaden as adrenalin bleeds from his system.
somehow he manages to gather enough magic in his drained hand to send word to his mistress.
the visage of Kalez appears in a rain slick obelisk it narrows it's eye in vicious contempt, it says nothing and waits.

Garrin ignores her volatile mood for the moment 'Kalez, What do I do? Lat-'
Kalez Interrupts 'beg for forgiveness and mean it truly in your heart.'

Garrin is furious Kalez is still on about that argument earlier'What?! No, not about that! Laterna is attacking the bridge, I need-'.
Again Kalez interrupts 'Your stupidity is no longer charming. You failed my test Garrin, failure has consequences, these are the consequences for yours.'

'Consequence for disagreeing with you?'Garrin is very confused.
'So utterly stupid' Kalez sighs 'I didn't want it to be this way, I hoped you could eventually see things from my perspective, I even dared to believe that you might be persuaded by Laterna, again a disappointment.'

'I don't understand'He truly doesn't, this is about more than disagreeing with Kalez, but he can't think of a single other things he's done wrong.

'I don't think you ever will, I don't think you can. You're just so unbelievably dense Garrin, the King of Pentacles expects so much more from his acolytes.' Kalez then pauses for a dreadful moment as the rain pours across the knight's beak, she then adds with a tinge of pity '..and yet in my un-perelled mercy I will again give you one last chance; beg our lord for forgiveness it matter not that you know why, or if you absolutely must throw your life away defy him one more time here and now and perish as the failure he always told me you would be.'

Garrin doesn't know what's going on, nor does he know what to do, he expects that he'll be dead very soon.
No. 1066764 ID: 755399

Huh. Welp.

So, begging forgiveness seems like a fair plan forward, but also I'm wondering whether this is the real Kalez.

Our favorite grumpy scorpion being mad at Garrin isn't new, but usually she's more than happy to tell him exactly how he fucked up in order to make him feel bad. She's being more evasive than usual about this. A second false Kalez would also explain why Laterna has been given an assignment that directly interferes with ours. Maybe it's Via Vardek's doing?
No. 1066787 ID: f99f83

So you can either give a hollow apology for something you don't understand, or be rejected and likely die. And hey, nobody said you won't die if you apologize, just that you'd be forgiven.

Garrin, look deep in your heart, and answer however feels right. Who are you in this story?

Are you the faithful follower trying his best and yet failing? Will you accept your weaknesses and beg forgiveness for not being more than you are?

Are you the defier, seeing the true face of who you once believed in and rejecting it? Do you truly believe in Kalez and her causes, or will you tell Kalez how little her approval means to you at this point?

Or are you the uncertain? You don't know where your loyalties should lie anymore, or what you should prioritize, so you'll give the answer that may keep you alive for now, as you search for an answer. Is that it?

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here, only the one you choose for yourself. Whatever that may be, I'd like to hear it. What do you, Garrin, want to say here?
No. 1066789 ID: a7a180

To review:
Your boss is an asshole.
Loyalty is nothing more than a promise waiting to be broken. Her words.
Your mission was to keep Vivian Hearth from crossing this bridge. Recruiting her to escort the princess was an alternate, approved means of accomplishing this.
Kalez likely reviewed the facts after suspecting that the bridge being destroyed might play into Vardek's hands, and has decided to go along with it anyway. So Laterna is following orders, and you don't actually have to stop the bridge from being destroyed.
There is, of course, the problem of massive damage being caused to the town in the process.
Well, perhaps your valiant attempt to try and stop her can be played into your double agent persona. You tried to stop her, but she overpowered you and Coi-Shi.

In conclusion:
You don't have time to stand on the bridge and whimper as a tidal wave bears down on you. You need to reach the Verdant Field, get Xiatzu and Coi-Shi to high ground, and try not to die. Survival now, figuring out what the hell is going on later.
She won't be pleased, of course. Whether you survive is solely up to you now.
No. 1066790 ID: 322af8

Lay our knocked out helper on the ground and beg a she requires. She said that Laterna is working for her so we best then head back to the Princess or to Laterna is the Duchess cannot render aid from a afar. Maybe Laterna can magic up some healing. It appears this is the work of the duchess after all.
No. 1066793 ID: 6082c3

Sometimes begging isn't bad, it's just good business.
No. 1066801 ID: f99f83

Since a more concrete answer was requested, I'd say Garrin should apologize. He can't afford to waffle on this, and he doesn't have anywhere to go if he isn't following Kalez. Even after being dismissed, he's been trying to do her will. He's clearly still loyal to Kalez and her goals. He doesn't know how he's failed, how he's let her down, but his apology has been demanded. Pride will get him nowhere at this juncture, give the requested apology and ask what more you can do.
No. 1067011 ID: 9b127b
File 168841535167.png - (1.18MB , 657x858 , Pentacle253.png )

Garrin doesn't feel inclined to die for reasons he doesn't even understand.
he places Coi-Shi on the ground and falls to one knee. 'I beg your forgiveness Kalez I meant only to further our goals'

A bit of fire fades from Kalez' eyes 'Very well, however be careful that our goals continue to align'

Garrin just nods not wanting to state anything else

'now return to the princess and keep watch on her' Kalez states as her visage fades from the the obelisk

the storm seems to lessen somewhat, Garrin can no longer see Laterna's lure in the window
No. 1067013 ID: 5a1df0

Back to the princess then.
No. 1067014 ID: 322af8

Welp. We have our orders. Sorry our dear scorpion love. Pick up our knocked out friend and return to the bar. If he stays knocked out just keep him. New party member.
No. 1067017 ID: a7a180

I hope that assassin treats Xiatzu better than Garrin could.
Dump the body in the river and retreat.
No. 1067019 ID: 8f9bc4

Uh, bandage your arm before you bleed out. And make mental note never to grab Lanterna's lure again.

It's interesting how Kalez asked you to beg the King of Pentacles for mercy, and you begged her for mercy instead.
No. 1067024 ID: 755399

Grabbing her tits is still on the table though, right?
No. 1067026 ID: 3aa06e

Pick up your ally and head back to the princess. Fix up any wounds and consider yourself one lucky bird, this could have turned out worse.
No. 1067071 ID: 835b34

We'll need a cover story for the wounds. Plus the failure to get Xiatzu as well. Surprise ambush at the bridge? We only escaped because of cautiousness due to missing guards?
No. 1068555 ID: 9b127b
File 168999956178.png - (1.16MB , 657x858 , Pentacle254.png )

Garrin has nothing to bandage his arm with.

he picks up Coi-Shi and heads back slowly.

on his way he sees the shining light again, this time returning to the ocean.
No. 1068556 ID: 90d5d6

Did we just get outplayed? I think we did.
No. 1068572 ID: e51896

Just sigh and return to the princess.
No. 1068585 ID: 322af8

Take some of Coi-Shi's outfit off of him to make a makeshift bandage. He won't mind I'm sure. Then head back to the princess. Suddenly remember you need to destroy the bridge and make plans to do so.
No. 1068769 ID: 8f9bc4

Why do I feel like Laterna got played...
No. 1069657 ID: 9b127b
File 169107190948.png - (714.74KB , 657x858 , Pentacle255.png )

Far away in the dungeons of castle Crym

A kobold struggles to find sleep.
No. 1069658 ID: 9b127b
File 169107241461.png - (1.01MB , 657x858 , Pentacle256.png )

Her mistress has hidden Eeyfel away beneath the earth, where she writhes.

she wakes every few sad minutes to stabbing pains of ice filling her body, followed by a sickening coldness that seeps from her arms.

she isn't trapped, just hidden.
she could leave the bed but dares not abandon what sparse warmth it still provides.
her spells could get her through the bars but where would she go? perhaps she could throw herself into a bonfire.
Eeyfel laughs at the idea but it only comes as a wet cough.
she can taste the iron of it.
No. 1069662 ID: e51896

It's okay to cry, let it all out.

Can she still use magic like sap health from a prisoner to make her feel better, or Scry to talk to someone far away? (Not sure who to talk to though).

Is there any prisoners she can talk to?
No. 1069668 ID: 322af8

See what you get for being too nice to obviously undead beggars? You get undead sickness. Anyway that is in the past. Should think about how you can torment the others in their cages. The real prisoners. Show your worth still.
No. 1069669 ID: d3bf48

Good plan, choose an unworthy prisoner to sap energy from.
No. 1070064 ID: 9b127b
File 169176027737.png - (0.99MB , 657x858 , Pentacle257.png )

Eeyfel isn't alone in her cell, she rolls onto her side and looks to the bottom bunk.

Ulrik is here, seemingly asleep and recovering from his injuries.

using Sap Health on him might give Eeyfel the strength she needs to go on.

She could also try speaking with Ulrik but she isn't sure what that'll accomplish, it might be a distraction from the pain though.
No. 1070065 ID: 64dbac

Sup that pup!
No. 1070066 ID: e51896

Sap him for what he has. it's cruel, but that is probably why he is chained up like that despite being in locked up. Plus it's likely a test of loyalty Kalez gave you by locking this prisoner in here with you despite your illness to see if you'll potentially sap the health of this enemy instead of forming a connection with him. Otherwise, you'd be hidden at a doctor's room.
No. 1070067 ID: b6ec4d

Sap as much as you need. It's his fault you feel this bad.
No. 1070068 ID: 41ae60

Talk with Ulrik, to distract you from feeding off Ulrik. If he’s sharing a cell with you, you must both be cursed. What will he garden now, moss?
No. 1070070 ID: 58dd24

oh, huh. Is he chained to the bed in addition to being locked in the cell with you? If so, he's not going anywhere. You can take your time talking first if it means not getting out of bed.
No. 1070074 ID: a3ffd1

The collar is a good look for him.

Chat him up. If he's still evil or if he's just being an asshole, sap him up and go for a walk.
No. 1070132 ID: 322af8

Sap him for strength. If he looks like he's going to be trouble act like you're flirting. Then grope his groin and take the life force.
No. 1070153 ID: 10c07d

This, maybe we can pretend we want to be his vampire wife and escape together.
No. 1070206 ID: 9b127b
File 169197631753.png - (798.31KB , 657x858 , Pentacle258.png )

Eeyfel feels so weak, she can't carry a conversation even if she wanted too, yes she must drain the fool, she needs his strength.

Eeyfel uses sap health on Ulric draining his life force, and adding it to herself!

Eeyfel feels her will returning "You don't deserve this health! it should instead be mine, it will be mine!"

Ulric give a cough and chuckles to himself as he gets out of the bed "You like that? tastes good doesn't it?" he stretches and cricks his neck "You don't need to answer, I already know I taste great"

it's true, Eeyfel found his life force delicious.
No. 1070208 ID: e51896

tell him yes, because revenge tastes sweet after what he and that terrible carrot did to you, and seeing as he's chained up, and as long as you feel this sickness they gave you, you're going to take as much life force as you can from him as long as you feel this pain
No. 1070209 ID: e4eaf6

I'd say "oh no he made it weird" but we already made it weird by doing it sooooooo

Go for broke, he clearly isn't using it for anything good.
No. 1070210 ID: 273c18

Just don't kill him. That would get you in trouble wouldn't it?
No. 1070216 ID: 322af8

Of course he likes it. Takes all the fun out of revenge. Alright now you should have enough energy to talk. Ask him what his angle in all of this is.
No. 1071205 ID: 9b127b
File 169334819547.png - (0.99MB , 657x858 , Pentacle259.png )

Eeyfel is not impressed by Ulric's masochism 'Revenge tastes sweet after what you and that little carrot-Gack! 'Eeyfel finds her throat gripped tightly

Ulric smiles broadly'Now you shouldn't say unkind things about Torique, she was only trying to help you, I still want to help you.'

Eeyfel sputters and cough and Ulric loosens his grip a little. 'Don't worry, I have a gentle touch, back when I worked for my pops he always said so. my pops was a butcher you know? but he always got me to kill the livestock, I got real good at figuring out how much I'd need to squeeze before things went snap.
So I know how not to do that you!'

No. 1071209 ID: 322af8

From butcher to gardener. A jack of all trades. Well be polite while he can snap your neck. Ask him how he intends to help.
No. 1072111 ID: 9b127b
File 169437203142.png - (892.13KB , 657x858 , Pentacle260.png )

Eeyfel chokes back curses and calms herself she's at Ulric's mercy for the moment 'How do you intend to help?'

'By getting you cured' Ulric states'Now Torique didn't curse you, she's not the first undead who's touch you in the last few days is she?'

Eeyfel doesn't respond

Ulric gives a knowing grin 'That's what I thought. now you might be thinking your little tricksy spell bought you some time, but no it doesn't work like that. Lots of folks find ways to ease the pain, ease the hunger they don't even notice when their bodies die. a false life like that is all undeath really is, I don't think you want that.... but if you do there's better ways to get it.'

Eeyfel just sneers. 'why don't you get to what will help, if I'm so short on time'

Ulric shrugs 'Alright, a woman named Diavola Channler can cure you'

'Kalez' old acolyte?'Eeyfel scoffs'she's dead!'

Ulric smiles 'And yet she wrote all those fancy parchments you collected, Kalez thinks they're the key to finding her, she's wrong, the merchant scribe the parchment was purchased from is a dead end, but me I know where to actually find Diavola.'
No. 1072115 ID: a7a180

Does she do house calls? Because last I checked we were locked in here.
This doesn't sound like a cure, more like... making the best of undeath.
No. 1072132 ID: 755399

Interesting, interesting.

Let him prattle. Even if it doesn't lead to a cure, Kalez will kill for a good lead on Diavola. And if she'll kill for it, she might preserve us for it; if the plague can't be cured, it might be held back.
No. 1072133 ID: 8f9bc4

Why is he doing this for you? He knows how much Kalez wants Diavola. Why doesn't he think you'll just go straight to Kalez once you know where she is?
No. 1072135 ID: e51896

You're still loyal to Kalez, but pretend your interested in a cure so you can get more information from him about Diavola
No. 1072159 ID: 322af8

Show interest. Worst he can do is rattle on. As long as he doesn't try to kill you. That should be the main goal, survival.
No. 1072186 ID: 4481aa

"Cure". What do you really mean by that? Can she return you to the way you were before you received this taint, or will her treatment change you?
No. 1072187 ID: 273c18

Pretend to cooperate and want it. Gather information for Kalez.
No. 1073334 ID: 9b127b
File 169577860063.png - (1.04MB , 657x858 , Pentacle261.png )

Eeyfel is pretty sure Ulric can't be trusted, but she still wants to hear what he has to say '"Cure". What do you really mean by that? Can she return me to the way I was before I received this taint, or will her treatment change me?'

Ulric seems amused by the question 'Well that's a funny question, are any of us really the same after we've seen the horrors we have? I don't think so, but know this, "cure" is not a word on plagues taken lightly, if Diavola says it then she means it. and if you don't believe me, well there's no helping that I guess you can just die for the cause like a good little minion.'

Still probing for info Eeyfel askes 'Where even is Diavola?'

Ulric releases Eeyfel and shrugs 'Dunno, but she always knows where I am, she'll find me and you, if we get out of here.'

Eeyfel rubs her sore neck she still doesn't trust Ulric, but he seems very confident with what he's saying, and doesn't seem overly concerned with being betrayed or tricked.

Ulric raises a finger 'now speaking of getting out of here, she can answer all your questions in person once we do, I figure you can use your magic to free me, or we spin a nice lie to your mistress and she just lets us go.'

Eeyfel is pretty sure she won't get more info out of Ulric, likely he doesn't know any more. she has a choice to make.
A: Bust Ulric out with the [Acid Dagger] spell
B: Lie to Kalez
C: Refuse to help Ulric, and hope Kalez can pry more information from him.
D: Wait and consider options

No. 1073336 ID: a7a180

B. There are two kinds of lying: lying to others, and lying to yourself. Kalez respects the former.
No. 1073337 ID: e5709d

C) You already know how trusting your enemy ends. He won't put any planning into betrayal - planning would make him spout red flags out his ass. No, he'll wait, and assist, and help, and even be your friend, and then one day at random a little dice roll in his head will say "welp now's a good time as any" and he'll push you off a cliff or throw you in with the other zombies.
It's going to suck, admitting to Kalez what you've become, but whatever fate she has in store for you doesn't compare to starting a zombie outbreak in what is effectively the nation's capital.
... Maybe you'll admit it while standing on a ledge so you can escape into the woods.
No. 1073338 ID: 63420c

A. Honestly, i believe this is what Kalez wants us to do to get closer to Diavola, and a breakout will trick him into thinking we trust him enough to betray Kalez.
Why else are we locked in with him?
No. 1073351 ID: 322af8

C. The crazy bastard is lost. He already brought more trouble upon you and letting him out is asking for him to do more damage and increase the undead blight.
No. 1073352 ID: 21f5b5

Go with A to play along. Post-cure you have no ties to Diavola so can defect without issue.
No. 1073353 ID: 273c18

Erm, no. Actually going to Diavola won't work. She'll be able to tell you're going to betray her, and will brainwash you or something.

No. 1073367 ID: d3bf48

No. 1073370 ID: 755399

B with a twist. Tell Kalez a lie but hint that you're following up on a lead. She can't fault us for taking some initiative since the alternative is to lay down and die.
No. 1074228 ID: 9b127b
File 169670622546.png - (1.12MB , 657x858 , Pentacle262.png )

Eeyfel shakes her head "You're a fool if you think I'd ever betray <istress Kalez!"

Ulric shrugs "I tried, I really did. but it's your life not mine if you want to throw it away who am I to stop you" he turns and starts looking around the cell testing the bars

Eeyfel decides to ignore the ghoulish man and get more rest
Eeyfel was strong and she'll be rewarded this time she knows it
No. 1074229 ID: 9b127b
File 169670627323.png - (783.90KB , 657x858 , Pentacle263.png )

The next day arrives, Eeyfel tells Mistress Kalez everything she knows from what she experienced personally to what Ulric has said.
Mistress Kalez was pleased, it has been so long since Eeyfel had pleased her mistress.

Eeyfel is dressed in new robes, the finest quality she's ever had. her mistress even offers adornments and accessories.
Eeyfel is given her first staff, she is a true acolyte now. she'd never be the lesser of her peers, never the servant again

Mistress Kalez bids Eeyfel accompany her to the docks, no guards Eeyfel is all the support she needs.

* * *

The sun is warm and the water a refreshing cool, a perfect day Eefel thinks
Eeyfel remembers that Ulric used to do some work here, mistress will need a new grounds keeper, she thinks of potential candidates she'll pick a good one and Mistress will be pleased.

'Are you alright Eeyfel my student?' it is Mistress' voice, but it sounds so strange, there is a kindness Eeyfel has rarely heard and never directed at her.
Eeyfel then realizes the kind words are a question, she's fallen behind taking in the scene.

What does Eeyfel do?
What does Eeyfel say?
What does Eeyfel think?

No. 1074230 ID: e51896

This doesn't seem right. Is this a dream?
No. 1074234 ID: b6ec4d


Perhaps, but that same question could be asked of life itself, could it not? Why let it stop us from trying to answer.

Eeyfel responds honestly that she's not quite as focused as she'd like to be, but doesn't feel terrible.

Eeyfel takes a moment to take things in, forcing herself to try and see what is happening around her.

Eeyfel thinks about her condition, and if it can be cured. If not, then what will happen to her? Even if her mistress offers such lovely rewards, for how long will she enjoy them? Does she even have a year left? Months, weeks, days? Will she die, or be changed to something not quite herself?

Diavola Channler could cure her. That is what Ulric said. It would have been in Eeyfel's report already.

Eeyfel may speak again, asking her mistress if she believes the mongrel's claims about Diavola. Both her survival and her supposed possession of a cure.
No. 1074259 ID: 322af8

This does not seem right. She wouldn't let out an infected person and promote them. Try to fight the mind control or dream and break out of it.
No. 1074260 ID: e5709d

"...Please save us."
Start crying.
No. 1074278 ID: 27f65d

Say "Why are we here alone?" Think "She knows that undead overpowered me so why are we alone?" She casts an anti-illusion spell.
No. 1074315 ID: 32f136

No. 1075432 ID: 0d1c28
File 169816460984.png - (1.12MB , 657x858 , Pentacle264.png )

Eeyfel is convinced this is dream. she pinches herself but the pain is real.

then it must be mind control! Ulric, the mandrake or someone anyone must have used dark magic on her, trapped her in an illusion of beauty, Laterna can do that, others must as well.
but then, why doesn't she feel any pull any influence at all? she still hasn't answered answered Kalez's question and doesn't want too.

Kalez waits, never before seen patience on her faces and maybe sadness? her mistress repeats herself, not annoyed somehow but... worried? 'Eeyfel, are you alright?'

Eeyfel knows this must be trick, but she's just too stupid, too weak and too useless. She can't figure out what's happening here, she just can't. Eeyfel is a sack spilling grain through a hole, there's less and less left of her with each passing moment.

'...Please save me' Eeyfel cries out for salvation.

Kalez nods and holds out one of her hands 'That's why we're here, trust in me and come this way, show me the loyalty Garrin has always seen in you.'
No. 1075435 ID: e5709d

"Wake me up when the Lords have fallen."
No. 1075440 ID: a25322

"Yes... Yes, I am loyal. Please allow me to comtinue serving you."
No. 1075472 ID: 273c18

No evidence of a dream, no evidence of mind control. Could still be an illusion; is there a way to tell if that's really Kalez? Follow for now.
No. 1075475 ID: 755399

Kalez? Not annoyed? It can't be her.
No. 1076340 ID: 0d1c28
File 169902954885.png - (1.14MB , 657x858 , Pentacle265.png )

Eeyfel is hesitant, but takes her mistress' hand.

Kalez guides Eeyfel into the passage. 'Garrin, spoke very highly of you.'

Eeyfel has trouble believing that, Garrin never spoke too her, let alone of her. Eeyfel would sooner have believed Garrin didn't even know she existed. Really? what did he say? Eeyfel manages.

Kalez turns away still guiding Eeyfel by hand 'He told me Your loyalty was unmatched and that you were an invaluable asset we couldn't afford to lose'

Eeyfel tries to laugh at the ludicrous lie Kalez just spewed forth but all she chokes out are a series of wheezing coughs

Kalez doesn't seem to take notice 'it took me far longer than it should but I have come to believe he is right, he'd be lucky to have as strong an advocate.'

Eeyfel wonders, is this a game her mistress is playing? perhaps a test?
No. 1076344 ID: b6ec4d

It's a dungeon. You're to be locked away with the others she could not help, waiting for the day a cure can be found. For those not paying attention, this is the same dungeon we visited last thread.

If Eeyfel can recognize this, then she may know what's coming. There's no point in fighting it, not in her condition. It's for the best she stay with the rest, as if a cure is ever found, she'd be in a position to receive it among the others.

If Eeyfel cannot, then she must simply go off her faith in Kalez. She had the perfect chance to turn away from her mistress with Ulric before, and she rejected it. Eeyfel wants to believe in Kalez. Despite her doubts, she should follow her will.

Whichever it is, here's a question Eeyfel might ask: "Do you think there really is a cure?"
No. 1076367 ID: 755399

Yes, it's probably some sort of illusion but as long as 'Kalez' is being nice? Kiss her. See if that breaks the illusion.
No. 1076371 ID: 322af8

Well that is what we said to the Duchess. Someone could have heard that though or the Duchess might be trying to see where our loyalties lie. Tell her that yes, you would do anything for her as you are her loyal servant.
No. 1077838 ID: 0d1c28
File 170068179156.png - (779.03KB , 657x858 , Pentacle266.png )

Eeyfel doesn't know if it's a trick a lie or a test, but maybe she doesn't care.
This kindness is the only thing keeping a cold hollow feeling away
Distrust drains from Eeyfel 'yes, I would do anything for you Mistress, I am your loyal servant.'

Kalez smiles and strokes her head. 'I Believe you, and please call Kalez, I will be your mistress no longer.'['i]

Eeyfel voices her thoughts as they come to her [i]'I don't understand, I still wish to serve'

Kalez looks away as she guides Eeyfel down the passage 'you've served me as well as you can, but I failed you in your training, you weren't as strong as you could have been, I was too distracted, I never saw your worth.'

Eeyfel stammers in disbelief 'Mistress, it's not you're fault! I'm just a kobold I-'

Kalez interrupts 'please be calm, I will help you, come it's not much further now.'

They enter a large chamber, Eeyfel knows this place it's the elevator room that leads to the second dungeon. There's a worker she doesn't recognize, this makes sense Ulric won't be performing this duty anymore.
No. 1077853 ID: 322af8

Well this won't end well. If she's no longer our master she's about to put us in a deeper prison. RUN.
No. 1077854 ID: b6ec4d

Don't run. You've stood by the wisdom of Kalez up 'til now, and you don't have any more outs. If you have any faith left in her, then you will do as she asks of you.
No. 1077855 ID: 3c2dff

If she wanted to hurt us, she could have done so a thousand different ways. Don't run, let her help you.
No. 1077859 ID: eb0a9c

"Just let me sleep, Lady Kalez. Let us all sleep this hunger off. I - we will make it up to you when the new future arises. We'll work for an eternity - just make the hunger stop."
No. 1077864 ID: c7689b

No. 1077886 ID: 5741dc

You know who’s down there, right? This is a bad idea for both of you.
No. 1079696 ID: 0d1c28
File 170338121072.png - (1.08MB , 657x858 , Pentacle267.png )

Eeyful looks to Kalez with trust but also fear.

Kalez leans forward and lookis into Eeyfel with her many eyes. 'Don't be afraid, I know it's frightening up there. but it's a place you can survive in, and if you cling to that loyalty you'll be kept whole.'

her Mistress' baleful glare and cryptic words do nothing to lessen Eeyfel's fear. 'I don't want to go up there, please just help me you said you could save me'

'This is the only way I can... I need more time, I will find a cure. I will save you, I will save everyone.' Kalez radiates confidence and it spreads to Eeyfel.

The former acolyte nods in acceptance and her mistress carefully lifts Eeyful into the elevator basket.
Again Eeyfel is shown kindness, so rarely given by Mistress Kalez,
rare but not unheard of. Eeyfel remembers it.
No. 1079697 ID: 0d1c28
File 170338127977.png - (862.61KB , 657x858 , Pentacle268.png )

Eeyfel thinks back many many summers ago.

Aebin was very harsh '... The breeding regimen continues to fail in all of it's goals, I don't see why you keep investing coin into it. All I see are failures.'

Kalez turned away from Aiben then and picked up Eeyfel the same way 'Hello there little pup, you're not a failure are you?'

Eeyfel had been so eager to agree 'No Mistress!

Kalez had shown warmth then too 'That's right, one day you might even be an Acolyte!'

No one had ever believed in Eeyfel like that 'Yes Mistress!

'See Aebin? I'm not the only one who believe in the future of the breeding regimen.' Kalez was always so sure

Kalez's faith had always give Eeyfel strength.
and it gives her strength now.

Eeyfel thinks she has the strength for 2 options
A)Ask Kalez for a Pentacle
B)Ask Kalez to ride up with her
C) Ask Kalez to give her minions a message
D) Hug Kalez
E) thank Kalez for everything
F)Curse Kalez and the doom she brought her
H)Attack, Kalez has so much strength, it could be Eeyfels

No. 1079698 ID: a7a180

B, F. Kalez... you will run out of time to find a cure. And when you do, the castle will still be crawling with undead.
No. 1079699 ID: a25322

A and D. A physical item to hold onto and remember your Mistress by, and returning the comfort her hold gave with a hug of your own. A final touch of warmth to stave off the cold washing over your soul.
No. 1079703 ID: fb32ab

A and E. Strength and goodwill is what will keep us going.
No. 1079704 ID: 322af8

D and E I guess. We seem to weak for the rest by now.
No. 1079705 ID: e51896

A + E
No. 1079712 ID: 4da93f

A + D
No. 1079764 ID: 530d93


It's free real estate
No. 1079777 ID: 969209

C) Say to those dimwits that if their incompetent asses die while you get fixed up, you will go to hell just to give them a beating.
E) *sniffle* G-goes for you too Kalez. Die before you fix this you'll d-drag her outta hell just to give h-her a beating too. O-or if she gives up you'll kill h-her and drag her back just so s-she doesn't give up. However Mistress p-punishes doing so will be w-worth it so... so... j-j-just don't give up on this! (Eeyfel seems to not do affection though she does do tough love. Obvious bluster while holding back crying seems... appropriate. Especially with these "putting to sleep a loved pet" vibes Kalez is giving off.)
No. 1080134 ID: 0d1c28
File 170404194365.png - (1.06MB , 657x858 , Pentacle269.png )

Eeyfel feels a bold daring from that internal strength
or perhaps she just knows she has nothing to lose asks for one of Kalez' precious trinkets
'Thank you for everything you've done for me but I need to ask for one more thing mistress, I-I want a pentacle'
she simply must have one, but no sooner has she voiced the words does her confidence falter.
Eeyfel withers under Kalez' judging stare for what feels like eons.

The golden scorpion then detaches a coin from her belt and holds it out 'You want one of these?'
Eeyfel reaches for it and Kalez pulls back a little 'Do you even know what pentacles are?'

'Soul coins'Eeyfel responds mesmerized by it's shimmer

The shimmer is matched be the beguiling glimmer in Kalez' eyes.'Yes, that's right. but there's so much more to them then that.'

Eeyfel tries to recite her studied knowledge but it comes out lacking'they can only be given willing...'

Kalez nods 'If a pentacle is ever stolen, or acquired through deception the thief or swindler is cursed until they return it. should the coin ever leave there person under any other circumstance their life and their soul are forfeit'

Kalez doesn't tell Eeyfel anything she doesn't already know. but the warning is clear. Eeyfel pulls back her hand. 'please, let me have it...' Eyfel pleads

Again Kalez pauses, deep in thought, 'Perhaps I shall, but know this these things are of immense value, people will kill for them, it takes but one expendable body, one soul and a clever master to outsmart the coin, Are you certain you want such a thing?'

a) YES.
b) no...

No. 1080135 ID: b6ec4d

No. 1080137 ID: c773d1

No. 1080138 ID: 322af8

Well we asked so A.
No. 1080139 ID: fb32ab

Yessssssssss, our preciousssssssss
No. 1080145 ID: eb0a9c

B) Your mind is going. You will not be able to defend a single piece of gold.
But if you survive to see the new age... you'll want that coin, please.
No. 1081481 ID: 0d1c28
File 170579435562.png - (1.02MB , 657x858 , Pentacle270.png )

'YES.' Eeyfel says with only the smallest of doubts clawing at the back of her mind.
but the doubts are easy to ignore.

The pentacle is a beautiful thing, so small so precious yet filled with so much power
Eeyfel stares at it taking in it's every facet.
Eeyfel thinks she hears Kalez wish her off, she waves back absent mindedly.

The pentacle glows for Eeyfel, do they always glow? Eeyfel doesn't thinks so, she'd have noticed that on Kalez' belt.
Eeyfel isn't sure if the coins is merely reflecting the light or the soothing warm glow is in her imagination.
Or maybe the pentacle only glows for her. because it knows who it belongs too.
Yes that is definitely it. The glow is her bond to the coin, the only true friend she'll ever have.
Eeyfel feels the elevator move but she gives it little thought.
all the thought she has to give belongs to the Pentacle.
as she should.
No. 1081482 ID: 0d1c28
File 170579442941.png - (1.10MB , 657x858 , Pentacle271.png )

Eeyfel doesn't recall getting off the elevator, but she must have.
The gears grind and the elevator is already heading back down.

Much to her dismay the world returns to Eeyfel, she has to think again.
She needs to protect the pentacle, keep it safe.
The pentacle isn't glowing anymore, maybe it doesn't want anyone else to see.
the peace she felt holding the coin is gone and the dread returns.

Eefel looks upon her new home.
She doesn't like it.

Chapter 5 End
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