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File 166701436198.png - (112.47KB , 1000x1000 , LF6c Title.png )
1047747 No. 1047747 ID: 8483cf

Lazy Wiki: https://questden.org/wiki/Lazy_Fairy

Takes Place Immediately After POV 6(b): https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/1037510.html#1037510
Expand all images
No. 1047749 ID: 8483cf
File 166701447880.png - (114.15KB , 775x600 , LF6c_1.png )

At first I didn’t recognize it. It was disorienting. Unnatural. Dizzying, almost.

There’s a pep in my step.

I have enough money to go where I want. Learn what I want. Be who I want. I even have a companion to do it with; someone to watch my back. Someone who maybe, just maybe, understands a small part of me.

There’s nothing stopping me from getting that enchantment on my bow I’d considered a luxury. Or splurging on a new set of casual clothes. Taking that trip and not having to scavenge for provisions on the way. Buying a whole shelf of books. Just locking myself in my room for a week, turning a page and and enjoying the fruits of my-

There’s a knocking at my door.


“Come out, ranger,” a woman calls. “We need to talk. Now.”

No, we don’t.

The knocking continues, this time more urgently. “I know you’re in there. I can see the light under the door.” She knocks again, even louder. “I’m not going anywhere, so you had better come out now, if you know what’s good for your bird!”

Taranis? What’s he gotten into? Is she threatening him? Faster than I’d admit, the door is open and I’m staring at a glowering witch.

“I thought that might work,” the witch says. “I’m here to get reclaim some stolen property. Your bird stole some powerful… artifacts a few minutes ago from my friends and me.”

“He’s not my bird,” I say.

“Don’t play dumb,” the witch hisses. “I’ve seen that crow on your shoulder, coming and going from this room.”

“And you think this gives me… authority over him?” I raise my eyebrow. “If you have a problem with Taranis, take it up with him yourself.”

“Oh, I will,” she says. “And you’re going to help me find him. Right now.”

I fail to see how this is my problem.

I close the door on her.

“Hey!” the witch shouts. “I’m going to assume you’re getting dressed to come help me find your bird! Or else!”

1. Get dressed
2. Else

No. 1047751 ID: a7a180

Else. You have undergarments on and she does not. This gives you authority over her, per the witch code.
No. 1047752 ID: 629f2e

Get dressed, but not because she told you to. You don't gotta help her if you don't want to, though admittedly you probably should.
No. 1047753 ID: 33319b

2. Just yell through the door that she is being impatient which isn't nice, and explain that there's no point or sense in running around town looking for him when he'll come find you eventually at some point since he's our companion, so why waste our energy playing hide and seek?
No. 1047783 ID: 5499f4

2, supporting this
No. 1047833 ID: 8483cf
File 166708486901.png - (7.24KB , 500x400 , LF6c_2.png )

This witch is obviously not thinking clearly. Why would I waste my time looking for Taranis when I know he’ll just be back here later?

“He’ll be back later,” I tell her through the door. “There. I’ve helped you find him.”

The witch gives positively catlike hiss and stomps away. Good riddance. I’ll have to have a talk with Taranis later to get his side of the story.

In the meantime, I’ve got the afternoon all to myself. I’ve finished my workout, topped off my Go Bag, and thanks to my work getting everyone to and from the Terrorscale Lair safely, I’ve got more money than I’ve ever had in my life. I toss myself back on my bed and enjoy the smell of freshly washed sheets.

I feel pret-t-t-y good.

I let my thoughts wander aimlessly until they settle on the book on my nightstand. I reach out and thumb through the pages of Applied Alchemy. It used to rub me the wrong way to incorporate items I couldn’t make or fix in the field into my arsenal, but ever since Serah gave me that Feline Grace mutagen, I’ve taken a new approach to mixing things up.

Well, that and staring down a life-size dragon may have forced me to reconsider how far my purist approach will get me.

With my new practice making traps, I could ask Serah to coach me on how to safely store, carry and prime freezing and/or explosive traps. Or I could ask for some rudimentary bombs I can fit to special arrowshafts for precision warheads. Maybe I could even ask for her to improve my mutagen to the next level, or even try something entirely new.

The sky’s the limit.

Maybe cat ears?

No. No cat ears.

Should I:
1. Focus on incorporating alchemical bombs and acids into my traps and arrows;
2. Offer to let Serah test out improving her mutagens on me (suggest improvements/specific upgrades); or
3. Other (Refer to Serah’s schools of alchemy here: https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/984338.html#986206)
No. 1047835 ID: d98cb8


But also B) why not something to enhance your vision if you're not gonna give in to the cat ears?
No. 1047838 ID: e51896


Nah, no cat ears as fun as it sounds. She's fine the way she is.

A. Serah has gotten experienced at making these bombs, and her confidence probably got better. I think she's ready to make a GRAVITY BOMB now. I want to see if she'll succeed in making one after all her fears of failing of making one
No. 1047839 ID: a7a180

2! Test out mutagens, those don't need specialist upkeep in the field! Something that allows temporary form shifting, or upgrades to your catlike grace. is there anything that helps her iterate on her patented jotund juice that would have benefits for you too? Potions to make you a longer, more graceful elf that can leap to amazing heights?
No. 1047849 ID: 5499f4

Do you really want to be spending your days in a lab for 1? Really? Even if you come up with dumbed down versions that's still money, and you only just now solved your money problems. Your value is in the utility you have access to and are able to respond with. I think


Would be a good choice, though if you do not prefer the ears of a cat, maybe something more on the eyes, or something shifting related that will add to your flexibility.

OR, if you wanted a good in between, Oils. Oils are less high maintenance to make, can be done with resources gathered in the fields, stored for a long time, and are less volatile and can be used to augment weapons and more importantly *arrows*

So, to clarify, my vote is 2 unless other people agree that 3 is a better option (imo it is), in which case my vote will be to back up 3-oils
No. 1047857 ID: e5709d

Yes to cat tail. With the right setup, you could effectively have a third limb for balance and holding your spare arrows.
Plus they feels good.
No. 1047861 ID: dee951

Cat tail AND cat ears.

But only if you end up with only two ears, not four!

And also, claws, but ONLY the type that can be retracted when not in use!

And fur, but only on tail/ears.

And the ability to purr (not roar), but only if it doesn't interfere with your existing speech!
No. 1047862 ID: ffae58

This, but also most importantly, add beans!

And have her have fur everywhere instead of just ears and tail!
No. 1047863 ID: 894419

I'm gonna put an anti-vote on being a cat-girl here, you're more original than that!

Go for 2 though, ask for mutagens that can increase the density of your muscles and their tensile strength! You could be bounding and leaping your way across city rooftops with your super legs!
No. 1047864 ID: e51896

I'm going to support this one if 1 loses (though we really need to make sure Serah is confident enough to make gravity bombs at some point at a later date if we don't do it now)

I prefer Rae's current design over becoming a cat.
No. 1047866 ID: dee951


Ahhh, muscle density. The old standby of transhuman (and elf and dwarf or whatever) augmentation.

See, there's a thing with this. If you are going to want to increase muscle density, then you're going to want to adjust the composition of your bones to be sturdier while still being light. Then you're going to want to adjust the muscles to also be faster at moving, not just stronger. Then you'll want to adjust the connective tissues so that they can handle the extra stresses. Then you're going to want to adjust your blood's ability to handle oxygen, and the efficiency of your lungs to go with it. Then the nerve rate of signal propagation so you can handle the extra capacity for speed and reflexes and such. Then you'll want to tweak your nutrient intake, what sorts of food you can digest (and where in your body/by what mechanism that digestion happens), your metabolic rate, to balance all these extra calorie-intensive tweaks so that you don't have to spend literally all your time eating, and also to manage your sleep cycle AND by the way, your longevity as well. THEN you start looking into disease and cancer and poison resistance, because a lot of this stuff probably does negatively impact your propensity for cancer later in life... Really if you are going to start down the path of 'just be stronger!', you really, REALLY need a plan. Transspeciesism is NOT for the feint of the heart, the un-dedicated, OR those incapable of pre-planning!

So... for an example, what would a 'basic' comprehensive mutagenic enhancement plan that tweaks a little bit of everything look like, from where you stand?
No. 1047868 ID: dee951


The thing with being a catgirl, you either keep the changes very minor (ears, tail, fur on those), IE, stuff that might go with whatever you look like, OR you go all in (facial structure, fur everywhere, whiskers, cat eyes of some sort, tail, handpaws/footpaws, claws, sense improvements to smell hearing and night sight, balance and proprioception improvement, ability to purr or roar, extra suppleness and flexibility, etc. etc. etc.). You DON'T want to end up in kind of a halfway 'that just looks off' kind of look. You want your look --and capabilities-- to be cohesive and coherent and make sense!
No. 1047967 ID: 629f2e

2, Mutagens

I'm against cat ears on Rae. Rae has a great aesthetic as is, we don't need to fuck it up by introducing traits that don't fit with it.

Muscle density sounds a bit like Jotund's Might, which may give Serah war flashbacks if you suggest it. Maybe she can brew up some Greater Dragon Armor instead? Inspiration from being around Kayk.
No. 1048004 ID: cfd316


Have you considered squid (or perhaps even kraken?). Hard to break bendy bones. Squeeze through all sorts of places. Chamelon skin! Stretch your limbs out to be the tallest whenever desired.
No. 1048015 ID: dca947

+1 woomy to catsquid.
No. 1048016 ID: 629f2e


You're a kid! You're a squid!

Squid mutagen. Yes.
No. 1048038 ID: 15c72a

Extra arms could increase the firing rate of a bow...
No. 1048101 ID: dee951


So could those fancy repeating longbow device thingies. She should get one of those, they're great fun.
No. 1048294 ID: 8483cf
File 166743710214.png - (27.55KB , 600x600 , LF6c_3.png )

I am conflicted. Frankly, I didn’t expect this question to be so difficult to answer.

I’m proud of my body and how well I’ve trained myself. I have a good forty-three years of experience with it, and my muscle memory is very, very good. I can draw and fire an arrow in less than a second completely flat-footed, and if I’m prepared, that only gets faster. I’m not concerned about my rate of fire or my accuracy.

What does concern me are my reflexes and senses. In a fight, the first shot usually wins. Strength is great, but the strongest warrior will still (usually) die to an arrow through the eye socket, barring enchantments, and those can be bypassed with the right counterspells on your arrowheads.

My right eye is fine. I’ve trained it well enough that I have my depth perception back.

My left eye… it should be so, so much more than it is.

The necrotic rot from the bear’s claws should have killed me. My family would have probably preferred that. If I hadn’t been cut down before I was ready, I’d be unstoppable. I’d be able to see my opponents’ moves before they knew what they’d do themselves.

Now? I’m lucky to see their silhouette. Granted, I can see it through solid objects, but it’s still a far cry from what I fucking should be able to do.

I grip my knees tight. Let it go, Rae. No sense being upset over the things you can’t change. No priest or priestess has been able to heal my wound; I’m not surprised, since my rival Druidic Circle prides themselves on that kind of handiwork. I can say many things about how far my people have fallen culturally, I can’t say elves have lost touch with the fine art of battle.

Refocusing on the issue at hand, bomb-arrows are a good idea in theory, but I’m not sure I’d appreciate the time and money sink in practice. Perhaps they could be useful if I had a patron or master-at-arms providing them free of charge, but I really don’t want to join up with anyone long-term. I like my freedom to do, and be, who I want.

I can’t change what’s been done to me. But I could change other things about myself. Just to try it. Just a few weeks of cat ears, maybe a tail? For the sensory boost and extra limb, of course.

No. I already covered this. I’m not the cute one, Taranis has that covered. I have my dignity. My very, very important dignity.

Mutagens that strengthen my strengths are a good idea, I think. I want to be fast, balanced, and maintain my muscle memory. I keep finding myself drawn to the cat mutagens that enhance reflexes and twitch muscles. I think I may be able to train my scarred left eye to be not as horrible, and maybe regain a little more use of it, but it always causes me a bit of pain to remember what I could have been.

I don’t like the idea of softening my body or skeleton with squid mutagens. I need power and precision, not the ability to take a hit. Same goes for dragon armor. Though it is tempting to imagine what Serah could do with a real, live dragon like Kayk to take samples from… hmm.

I like the idea of asking Serah to improve my Feline Grace mutagen to improve my reflexes and regular, allowing me to synergize with my seersight. Feline Grace also already provides perfect balance and increased precision in melee attacks with my ancestral blade. Perhaps she could also improve my tensile strength as well, if she’s confident enough to test her skills on me.

Rae has voiced her opinions on mutagens. This is an additional chance to influence her ultimate decision.
No. 1048297 ID: 15c72a

Cat reflexes it is. Also, perhaps more of a focus on learning to use your damaged eye could restore some of the precognition it had.
...maybe the problem is not the flesh, but the magic? Have you tried seeing a wizard about it, instead of a priest?
No. 1048298 ID: a7a180

Pushing the boundaries of her craft? Samples from Kayk? Go for it!
No. 1048305 ID: 492cd0

Well I guess squids are almost entirely muscle too? Especially krakens if Serah can get a sample. And have an interesting level of bodily awareness give their cameoflague and mimicry.

Also planning around never getting hit means you'll crumble when you do get hit.
No. 1048335 ID: 894419

oh squid/octopus skin mimicry could be REALLY useful, if you feel like that's achievable
No. 1048347 ID: e5709d

The only thing worse than losing something forever is realizing you could never have had it in the first place. Think about it.

... For now, why not take from that which has stolen from you?
Bear Wrists Mutagen - Your grip can shatter bones. Aimed attacks at your arms and wrists will not disarm your bow or arrows. You'll never lose your clawing when hanging on for dear life.

The druids stole your future. Steal theirs.
No. 1048422 ID: dee951

Agree on improving the Feline Grace stuff with associated skills and aptitudes!
No. 1048520 ID: 8483cf
File 166768031475.png - (18.92KB , 500x500 , LF6c_4.png )

I definitely want to improve my reflexes, and see what Serah can do with Kayk to improve her mutagens. The squid mutagen idea seems terrible, but then I remember that they can make their skin blend in with their surroundings. If I was able to do that myself, I’d eliminate the need for my Camouflage spell (assuming the mutagen somehow worked on my hair, too).

Wait. Could the squid mutagen let me change my hair color without magic, whenever I want?

This demands further investigation.

I roll out of bed and get dressed into my supremely comfortable outfit Miss Venmiphi made me a few months ago. I’m tempted to visit her again, but even flush with money as I am, she’s expensive enough to put me off the idea. I’ll find something cheap and casual… but still, that was what got me stuck in that miniskirt and too-small blouse for months. Maybe I can use the fact that her assistant, Patches, burned my old outfit to get another discount? No, still too expensive.

I have other things to occupy my attention, like finding Serah. Despite what I’ve said about my eye, it’s still very, very useful for stealth and searching. Thanks to my training on the trip to the Terrorscale lair, if I focus, my ruined eye can see through most anything, and focus in on shapes from a distance. It’s saved me so much time in searching for Taranis, Dotti and Landi whenever they wander off.

I don’t see Serah anywhere in the guild, not even in the Alchemist’s Lab (there seems to be some minor chaos being cleaned up in there; perhaps the witch wasn’t exaggerating). However, I do find a familiar fluttering fairy’s form in the Adventurers’ Guild lounge. Perhaps she’ll know what Serah is up to. I let my x-ray vision fade into the background and make my way over to Landi.

Landi is even more hyperactive than usual. She’s harassing any adventurer that passes her by, and they’re all fleeing for some reason. This is a red flag, but in Landi’s case, I’m so used to those I could make a quilt out of those.

“Landi,” I say, announcing myself behind her.

“Gah! Stealth elf!” she jolts. “You almost gave me a fucking heart attack!”

It’s pretty nice being able to sneak up on a fairy.

“I need to speak with Lady Kensington,” I say.

“She’s out,” Landi says. “Helping my sorority sister Rocio move house. Won’t be back for a bit.”

“Shouldn’t you be helping? You’re her companion.”

“She’ll be fine,” Landi says. “It’s just moving some heavy boxes in a place famous for its highly caloric food. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“I see. Well, when she returns, tell her I’d like to talk to her about-“

“Sure, sure,” Landi interrupts. “But first, can you help a girl out? Pleeeeeeeease?”


“Come on, don’t be like that,” Landi says. “Look, I’ve got a kind of… uh… performance review tomorrow with Big Sodium, and I need to prove I’ve been doing stuff that makes her happy. And you’re PERFECT for that. Just hang around me tomorrow for a bit in some nice makeup and let me pizzazz your outfit a bit, and everything will be great!”


“Agh!” Landi spins crazily in midair as she tugs on her own wings in distress, the physics of which I can’t begin to comprehend. “Rae, please! You gotta help me look good for the Dandruff Djinn! I’ll do anything within reason.”


“You’re killing me, Rae! Please!”

“You said you’d do anything?”


Everything about this is suspicious. I seriously doubt Landi would be able to make it worth my while for… whatever this is.

Can she? Should I take the deal?
No. 1048524 ID: a7a180

Take the deal. Now, what was Nasty Clarice fond of again? Ah right, change or halting it. The latter is harder without her help, so agree to a chance to dress up in exchange for a chance to change up Landi's outfit too. How'd she look in a leather jacket and tightpants?
No. 1048525 ID: 629f2e

Absolutely take this deal. Putting aside what she can do for you, Salt isn't the kind of entity you fuck around with. Do your part to keep her happy, so that Serah continues to have a fairy companion at all.

Plus, it never hurts to have a favor you can call in from a magical creature.
No. 1048526 ID: 15c72a

Hmmmm... ok, take the deal, but instead of the outfit thing, tell her about your witch problem. Throwing a monkey wrench into her plans should be good.
No. 1048617 ID: 8483cf
File 166777811692.png - (9.72KB , 500x500 , LF6c_5.png )

I’m not sure why I’m suddenly the go-to for trouble with tiny winged creatures. Somehow it feels vaguely offensive. Plus, procrastination on Landi’s part doesn’t mean I should reward her by bailing her out with clown makeup and frilly dresses, which for some reason she sees as essential to winning her patron Djinn’s favor.

Still, Landi needs my help, and she’s offered to pay for it. I’ve definitely taken worse jobs.

“Deal,” I say. “You provide the makeup and dress tomorrow, as long as it’s not that gaudy abomination from Girls’ Night at the library.”

“YES!” Landi shrieks. “You saved my butt, Rae. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“Don’t mention it. Seriously.”

I leave a very relieved fairy behind and head to the park to clear my head.


Things have changed over the past few months. I’ve changed.

As it turns out, I am worthy of an animal companion. A divine one, at that, if a troublesome one.

I have money and respect from Lady Kensington, and potentially future employment if she ventures out again. I have a favor from a manic fairy who has more social connections than common sense. And Dotti isn’t scared out of her wits when she sees me, at least when I don’t look like I’m about to take her out to go jogging.

I hear a familiar chirrup. The skunk is back, fluffier than before. Fall is just a few days away.

“Hello,” I reply. The skunk scoots up to me.

“You look well,” I say, giving it a pet. “I take it that means you’ve been successfully competing for trash with Dotti.”

The skunk chirrups again. It’s a very perceptive animal. I stop petting it, and it looks up at me in displeasure.

“No pets until you answer me honestly,” I say. “You’re not some druid shapeshifting to mess with me, are you?”

The skunk growls indignantly.

“Not a druid, then,” I say. “Are you secretly the Mastermind of Minga, deciding who lives and who dies?”

The skunk sticks out its tongue.

“I knew it,” I say, and resume petting.

I feel very good today.

Rae has FREE TIME today. She has already worked out, studied traps, read a tawdry book, and pondered mutagens.

Suggest an activity.

No. 1048619 ID: a7a180

Archery practice! Can she beat her high score?
No. 1048626 ID: e51896

After accomplishing so much, doing a bunch of training, and having enough money to live a relatively good life, and since we're in this moment of peace...

Do you want to see about giving dating a try and see if it works for you?

You said you weren't looking for a relationship, but that was when you were busy trying to get by. Now that your living comfortably, maybe you're free to look now?

Go into a bar, or the heroes guild cafeteria, find if any adventurers are willing to mingle, just talk and share stories of yours and their adventures. Maybe something will sprout from that.
No. 1048655 ID: e51896

And even if Rae doesn't want to find a suitor, she can still share stories from adventurers. Who knows, she might hear some interesting information for the future. (and love tends to strike when you're not actually actually looking, so who knows, she might unintentionally find a potential date)
No. 1048726 ID: 8483cf
File 166787156451.png - (3.25KB , 300x299 , LF6c_6.png )

I continue to pet the skunk. The skunk continues to enjoy it. This has to be some form of meditation, because it’s easy to lose track of time.

Time. There are only so many hours in the day, and now that I don’t have to worry about so many different things, I’m not sure how to spend it. My first thought is to do what I’ve always done: keep my skills sharp. Maybe I could try out a different style of bow, mix a few things up to get just a little more piercing power? It’s tempting, and I wouldn’t have the pressure of needing a 100% reliable setup to pay for my guild dues.

Or maybe, just maybe, I could go prowling.

It’s been a while since I bothered to let anyone catch my eye… maybe we could shake the bedposts a bit.

It could be fun. It could also be a disappointment, a waste of time, or even worse. I don’t need anybody chasing after something I’m not interested in giving.

No, it’s not worth the hassle. I’m not feeling up to seeing the look of yet another clod when they lean in for a kiss and pull back my bangs.

Archery practice it is.
No. 1048727 ID: 8483cf
File 166787160081.png - (90.59KB , 1000x634 , LF6c_7.png )

No high scores today, but I did get more familiar with several different strings and bows. The best part is that they’re all maintainable in the field- it’s the extra boost of freedom that makes my heart pound.

I make my way back from the bowmaker and spy a familiar silver-streaked crow in the marketplace. He’s perched on a woodlark-kin’s shoulder next to a glowing orange fairy.

Hold on a moment- she’s a ranger from the guild, too. Have I been replaced? I quicken my stride and-

No, that’s ridiculous. I slow back down. He’s probably just flirting with the fairy. Somehow.

A few seconds later, Taranis sees me out of the corner of his eye and flaps his wings excitedly. The ranger girl and her fairy companion turn to greet me.

“Oh! Hi!” the wing-kin says. “You must be Raelynn! I’m Apricot, and this is Autumn.”

“Hello,” says the fairy.

“Taranis invited us to hang out with you tonight,” Apricot says, “And how could we say no?”

“Taranis has very good taste in friends.” Autumn gives a tiny flutter of her wings. “I love your happy hair.”

Oh. Oh, no. It’s so much worse than it seemed.

Taranis has minions.

Choose one or more:
1. Decline the invitation to hang out
2. Tell Taranis he’s in deep trouble with some witches
3. Assert dominance
4. Other
No. 1048728 ID: a7a180

3. Stretch your wings wide and boop all the snoots, the fairy's included. If Taranis is going to gather minions you are going to drill them into birds of one feather!
No. 1048730 ID: e51896

3. Let them know that you were harassed by a witch, and you're going to need their protection if she starts bothering you again, said something about panties stealing or whatever, and you're not sure if she'll have friends to help her against you, so you need Taranis, Autumn, and Apricot on your side to make things even just in case. (pay attention as to how Taranis reacts to your "request")

(You're not REALLY going to fight the witches, rather, you're just playing along to to mess with Taranis a little. If Apricot and Autumn is unsure about this, just whisper to them out of Taranis' earshot that you're mainly doing this to mess with Taranis for stealing. See if he feels guilty for getting you into this mess)

Yes, I'm turning this into the Witch who lost their panties, but this time from the villains perspective.
No. 1048743 ID: 87e33c

Assert dominance playfully, you may not be in a romantic mood, but you were in a good mood, so playing with Taranis in this way when you know that shit's going to come down for *whatever* he did is fair play since you obveously wont throw him under a bus for her to like kill or imprison him.
No. 1048744 ID: f06dc5

So... why does he want panties? Is he amorously unfulfilled and lusting after biped peole? Has he figured out some sort of weird magic involving items obtained by trickery? Or just... some kind of clothing based magic? Why panties in particular, rather than the traditional corvid shiny things? Does he need a supply of powerful magic for self improvement? This might be a bird after your own heart! You have a duty to investigate, and then, as long as it isn't something horrible, *do right by your familiar"!
No. 1048745 ID: 47f46a

2. Tell him about the witches. Ruin his day!
No. 1048793 ID: 8483cf
File 166797020012.png - (14.43KB , 500x402 , LF6c_8.png )

It’s time to establish the pecking order. I hold out my arm and Taranis lands atop it.

“Thank you for the compliment,” I tell Apricot, and give her a quick boop on the beak with the arm opposite Taranis. She lets out a high-pitched chirp of surprise. “It’s good of you to keep Taranis safe.”

“Safe?” Autumn asks. “Is he in danger?”

I nod. “Yes. He’s being hunted. By a coven of witches, in fact.”

“Oooh!” Apricot flaps her wings wide. “Why would want to hunt him? Lemme at ‘em!”

“Why indeed?” I look at Taranis. “The witch I spoke to was very vague about the whole thing. She didn’t give very many details.”

Taranis flutters his wings nervously. Everyone looks at him.

I’m not going to throw Taranis under the figurative wagon by saying my suspicions. That’s up to him if he wants to come clean to his new minions.

Does Taranis confess his crimes?
No. 1048795 ID: 629f2e

Confess? He fucking boasts about it.
No. 1048796 ID: a7a180

To one of his marks? No.
No. 1048797 ID: e51896

He does not, because this is the more silly choice.
No. 1048803 ID: 894419

What ever could you mean Taranis commits no crimes, Taranis only engages in daring resuces and good deeds, all else is slander!
No. 1048807 ID: dee951

Taranis doesn't confess per se. But he boasts about things... and inadvertently lets on precisely what he was ACTUALLY doing, since he IS actually proud of what he did! It's too much to resist, how horrible would it be if no one knew of his genius?!
No. 1048812 ID: e5709d

Taranis takes the shrewd option and short-sells the truth! He chants a lewd song about his newfound powers manifested from the servants of the gods and the wealth they'll bring and the many undergarments he had to steal as ritual components for these boons!
No. 1048891 ID: 8483cf
File 166805397652.png - (14.61KB , 391x500 , LF6c_9.png )

Taranis shrugs his wings. He has absolutely no idea why some witches would be hunting such a helpful and noble bird like him who only does good deeds and performs daring wardrobe-related rescues.

“Yeah!” Apricot says. “A witch hunt doesn’t make sense. What could a cute lil’ bird like Taranis do to a whole bunch of powerful witches with big spells and stuff?”

“Maybe there’s another black bird or familiar who stole something from them,” Autumn says, “and they’re blaming Taranis for it. Clearly, any bird who stole something from a coven of witches would have to be exceptionally clever and quick-clawed to avoid being roasted, especially if that crow had stolen something exceptionally powerful from them.”

Taranis bobs his head in vigorous agreement.

“I heard some witches have magical undergarments,” I say nonchalantly. “Maybe the bird stole it right off them?”

“No way,” Apricot says. “That’s ridiculous. I don’t care how clever some birds might be, they can’t steal the panties right off somebody.”

Taranis ruffles his feathers indignantly. Of course it’s possible!

“It’s silly,” Apricot scoffs. “I think it’s very unfair of those witches to blame you for something you obviously didn’t do. Don’t worry, we’ll defend you.”

“I’m glad you’re on his side,” I say. “What would he do without you?”

Taranis glares at me and makes a long, drawn-out squawk.

“It might not be safe for Taranis at the adventurers’ guild until the witches realize they have the wrong bird,” Autumn says. “Maybe we could go camping for a bit? There’s a reward for information on malevolent spirits in the woods outside Minga, we might even get paid for it.”

“I’m not in my adventuring gear,” Apricot complains. “And I hate getting into it. Plus I left it at the guild.”

“Don’t worry, I have it in my inventory!”

Apricot groans.

“The woods shouldn’t be too dangerous,” Autumn continues, “Except for that Spirit of Bloodshed that got reported a few months ago, and those other ones we haven’t identified yet,” Autumn says. “And gear wouldn’t be very useful against them anyway, unless you have an enchanted weapon. We would just keep an eye out and report back what we see.”

As a matter of fact, I do have a sword that can harm spirits. Samhain is my go-to against… well, everything that gets close, but doubly so against spirits that can’t be affected by normal arrows. I’ve got it and my archery gear with me at the moment.

I don’t like the idea of camping with these two newbie adventurers, but there’s no separating them from Taranis at the moment. And I won’t leave Taranis to deal with either the witches or spirits alone.

What should I suggest?
1. Forget camping; insist we solve the situation with the witches right now
2. Go straight out to camping, and let Apricot go casual
3. Go camping, but insist Apricot gear up first
No. 1048893 ID: a7a180

No. 1048896 ID: 629f2e

3. I'd say 1, but the newbies might follow. Taranis is probably totally guilty. Let's not out him in front of his minions.
No. 1048897 ID: 894419

3 I think
No. 1048898 ID: e51896

kinda 2, kinda 3 (but lean towards 2) Let her decide while giving her a simple warning

Let Apricot know If she doesn't want to gear up, she doesn't have to as you understand it might be less restrictive on a bird that needs their entire wings to fly, and that gear would hold her down... but also warn her that while it might be safe in the forest, she should know that as an adventurer, she should always be prepared for the unexpected and stay protected with gear to protect herself from wardrobe malfunctions or injuries that could happen during a surprise fight.

it's up to her to listen to that warning, as It'll be a learning experience if something does happens to her that required her to gear up, and if she doesn't gear up, you're strong enough to make sure things to get worse for her and she'll learn her lesson. Experience is the greatest teacher after all, and she could use it. And if she complains, just say "i tried to warn you"
No. 1048899 ID: 15c72a

3. Give advice for her to make the gear more comfortable.
No. 1048998 ID: 8483cf
File 166814110113.png - (63.04KB , 1059x1112 , LF6c_10.png )

“A quick foray into the woods is a good plan to make money and buy time,” I say, “But not without protection.”

“Awww,” Apricot whines. “I hate getting into my gear. It’s such a hassle.”

“Even with my help?” Autumn asks, a little downcast.

“I know you’re trying your best,” Apricot says. “Sorry.”

“We could get a few extra accessories, if that would make things more exciting,” Autumn adds. “You have a little money left over from your first mission.”


I follow the duo to a nearby armorer’s shop. They disappear into the changing stall, and I ask them what kind of gear might help her combat style.

Apricot is a dive-bombing melee fighter who relies on Autumn to provide armor and spell resistance, as well as buffs to strength so she can lift magic casters up and drop them from high in the air. With Autumn’s inventory magic adding aerial bombardment capabilities, she also has an (expensive) option for safer assaults if she can buy alchemist’s bombs.

Paperdoll! Edit in an outfit for Apricot to wear.
No. 1049002 ID: fb2164
File 166815379569.png - (80.68KB , 1059x1112 , x-tremetactical.png )


Belt (with room for any consumables to hook in) and Goggles.

Nothing else :V
No. 1049014 ID: dee951

Okay, I'm no artist, but artist people... those talons are going to need some metal bits for extra damage and to protect her primary means of attack! And maybe some cloth armor, something lightweight? But focused on protecting the legs and groin, often from attacks from below! And a leather helmet of some sort! And goggles!
No. 1049026 ID: 481e64
File 166819859536.png - (185.21KB , 1059x1112 , Illustration3.png )

My suggestion is for an outfit which allows the swift delivery of payloads upon all your foes
No. 1049028 ID: 481e64
File 166819866922.png - (214.56KB , 1059x1112 , Illustration4.png )

Here is another featuring some of the suggestions from >>1049014
No. 1049032 ID: 694c7b

That is one badass aviatrix!
No. 1049052 ID: 9b127b
File 166821343220.png - (166.71KB , 1059x1112 , PaperDoll1.png )

A perfectly practical outfit...
No. 1049071 ID: 5499f4
File 166822741870.png - (72.86KB , 1059x1112 , DonutApricotPaperDoll.png )

She doesen't like it because it's hard to get the belts on and the shoulder armor. The leg strap for the knife is also annoying but very neccesary to grasp with her other leg!

Crotches out! Bird crotch power!
No. 1049073 ID: dee951


Out of curiosity, what would cloth armor that is less 'khaki-wearing explorer kit' and more 'actual gambeson or linothorax or something, I dunno!' look like? Most of those tend to be very much torso armor, so I don't know if there's a viable way to do that in a 'you expect attack to come from below' means, hmmm! Still, it's pretty awesome!

As far as the other suggested options... it doesn't LOOK like those claws on the wings can grab things especially well; what sorts of bags and satchels and bandoliers would synergize most with the actual available inventory magic? Maybe something that lets the inventory magic throw alchemical bombs OR metal aerial flechettes equally well??
No. 1049097 ID: a7a180
File 166826596290.png - (93.46KB , 1059x1112 , death from above.png )

Don't need to fuss about your top half when you're flying above your enemies. Save that weight for an armored underside and steel talons. Steel talons rule!
No. 1049099 ID: dee951


Needs more foot and thigh armor! Getting your foot cut off would be horrible! Also lots of important arteries on the thighs!
No. 1049102 ID: f46656

Wings need to move a lot to fly so the pauldrons would probable be more trouble than help. Excluding that belts and pouches seem function.

The skirt may restrict how far apart she can move the legs.
Would this claw accessories be glued in place? They would need to be attached to a custom glove with buckles to stay in place.

For the most part this seem very functional. If votes count my is for this.
The belts doesn't seem to serve any function as they are, but they could be support for pouches.
The sleeves got to go, they interfere with the feathers.
No. 1049103 ID: e27f22
File 166827854190.png - (84.57KB , 1059x1112 , Illustration.png )

No. 1049647 ID: 8483cf
File 166889670516.png - (42.30KB , 579x500 , LF6c_11.png )

Apricot thinks goggles are cool. She has at least three pairs.

I ask what she’s used to wearing, and Apricot mentions her first part-time job was a mail carrier. She’s used to flying long distances with a payload, despite her small stature.

Apricot’s current scouting and ground attack outfit has buckles for payload release as well as places for Apricot to grab on to, but it’s relatively unarmored.

Autumn insists Apricot try on a nightie to kill time while the shopkeep works on a few adjustments to her armor. It’s a huge hit with the Murder members, but I don’t see the big deal. At least it doesn’t take up much space in Autumn’s inventory.

This outfit is a solid choice for defending attacks from above and maintaining light weight. However, Apricot refuses to wear her aerial dogfighting armor without pants.

“I’m a big city bird with big city fashion sense. The pantsless look is so backwater bird,” Apricot declares with utter finality.

Likewise, Apricot also refuses to skimp on her top. The dressed-down look is so provincial.

“Wait,” Autumn says. “Didn’t you come from a small little-“


Apricot can put on tee shirts, but taking them off is an adventure all by itself. Plus the sleeves get in the way of her feathers.

Apricot is mixing and matching among different sets of armor. I agree that she should likely armor her talons and/or thighs, but as we’ll be on a reconnaissance mission, this is a preventative measure against unexpected enemies more than anything else. If we actually run into a spirit, there’s very little Apricot can do other than point out its location and relay it to me to finish off with my blade, Samhain.

It would be a terrific help if any of Taranis’s Murder could communicate with me over long distance. I ask if they know any spells that would make communication easier and clearer than using the coded bird calls I normally do. Apricot and Autumn don’t have anything like that. Taranis hesitates, but eventually shakes his head. He’s hiding something, I can tell, but I won’t press him over something so minor.

What genuinely concerns me is that we’ll be searching the area adjacent to where I saw the uncleansed circle of ritual druidic combat. If my old Circle is using that place to fight against other Circles, they’ll likely have a presence in the area. They won’t want to make it known, of course, and Autumn isn’t well-trained enough to spot my Circle’s warriors, scouts or pick out their thralled wildlife. I’ll have to do that myself.

I sincerely do not want to encounter any Circle members, even Uí Liatháin. If they make their presence known, it’s because they have issues with someone. Usually brought up at point of blade, claw or arrow. And that’s assuming we- they- don’t just kill their target without giving it a chance to fight.

Circle members will ignore Apricot, Autumn and Taranis; the Murder is utterly beneath their notice. For me… well, I’ve operated out of neutral territory for years and haven’t run into them yet. But that was before the fights started. My one advantage is that no Circle expects my ruined eye to be working again. I’m the only one of the group who stands a chance at spotting the signs of an elven ambush and surviving. I’m also the only one worth ambushing from their point of view. Again, that’s assuming any of the Circles have an active presence in the area.

With all that said…

Do I give Apricot any advice on whether to armor specific parts of her body? Which armor set/s should she choose?
No. 1049652 ID: e51896

Knee armor and skirt of >>1049097
Shoulder armor, top, of >>1049071
metal talon claw shoes of >>1049028
bag to carry stuff in of >>1049026
goggles of >>1049002
pajamas for night time camping of >>1049052
And finally, this symbol somewhere on her top >>1049103

A little bit of one thing from each of the costumes
No. 1049656 ID: e51896
File 166890108884.png - (356.24KB , 1059x2224 , gear.png )

pictured is what I'm talking about

One with scarf, one without. (scarf might be a little much since it covers the shoulder armor, but I'll leave it up to Donut and other suggestions)
No. 1049660 ID: b4571d

this is a really good get-up, I personally would go for further the look of hoplites, if its armor she needs leave her arms bare, give her greaves and a muscle cuirass!
No. 1049661 ID: b4571d

NO PANTS THOUGH! Just a birdly skirt...
No. 1049662 ID: dee951


If it's not some kind of leather armor skirt thing with strips of armor hanging down, you definitely want it to have pleats and not be so tight, so your legs have the most freedom of movement!
No. 1049666 ID: dee951

I also REALLY don't like those poorly designed pauldrons (they REALLY restrict wing movement), nor do I like the memetic design.

Honestly, this:


With only the short sleeves removed so as not to impact wing movement, is perfectly fine.
No. 1049677 ID: 629f2e


Honestly, this is my favorite of the lot. It's got my vote.

Wouldn't mind adding the top from >>1049071 if she feels this is a bit too lacking in shirt. Leave off the shoulder bits though, they're a bit much.
No. 1050075 ID: 8483cf
File 166926150262.png - (63.19KB , 855x1094 , LF6c_12.png )

Apricot’s basic combat gear is lightweight and protects her upper thighs; armoring her lower legs isn’t as necessary, since she can tuck her legs in if she needs to protect herself from enemy fire. I point out that a trained fighter is going to try swinging at her as she attacks, and I recommend she protect against glancing strikes by wrapping her talons and legs in tight, rigid bandages and leather boots that allow maximum mobility without adding too much weight.

The end result is fairly decent protection against anyone that’s not an elf.

Autumn is very proud of her adventurer. Taranis gives a head bob of approval.

With that, we head out to the woods outside Minga. Autumn’s inventory has enough supplies for a one-night trip for two, and I’m more than comfortable roughing it. The only disadvantage is that I’m not able to change into my ghille gear I created specifically for woodland stealth; I’m stuck in my cloak, but it’ll do just fine with a simple camouflage spell. Anything to avoid going back to the adventurers’ guild and dealing with angry witches. Speaking of which, I’ll have to ask Taranis more about that later if we have time away from his minions.

It takes a few hours for us to hike to the edge of the area that malevolent spirits are suspected to be haunting. Autumn hops inside the pouch on the small of Apricot’s back (perfect for dropping things out of mid-flight, and keeping her safe at high speeds) and they fly high into the air. Taranis heads in a different direction to cover more area. We’ve gone over the bird calls we’re to use if we find trouble, and agree to meet up at a designated point in a few hours.

I stick to the ground, and begin my search for things out of the ordinary.

I find nothing.

No signs of ritual combat. No blood or carcasses from spirits of bloodshed. No signs of desperate overhunting or prey starvation, either. Interestingly, the insect population is far below what it should be, and there’s even fewer as I progress inward. It’s almost as if the woodland creatures have just… abandoned the area. The silence is unnerving.

I slow my search after an hour. My senses are on high alert for any signs of movement, sounds of life, or traces of covered tracks. Still nothing.

Something is terribly wrong.

I find a peculiarly shaped rocky outcropping on a slope. It’s a convenient landmark, one I remember from decades ago, and plot my position relative to my Druidic Circle. It’s about a day and a half’s trek from the edge of our territory, and it’s a straight shot from this landmark to the nearest rival Circle as the crow flies.

I peer between the rocks, to the center, where the largest formation is. There’s a straight, narrow slice on the biggest one, cut impossibly deep.

I pull out Samhain and place its blade inside the cut. It slides cleanly through the groove. A perfect match.

My brother was here, and he wants everyone to know it.


I meet up with Apricot, Autumn and Taranis as planned. We pick a spot to camp at, thankfully far from my brother’s mark.

Taranis met up with a flock of starlings passing through. They didn’t spare him much time, but they did tell him this specific area was no longer good to find food in. There are no insects, and the berries and nuts have all gone dry and husky, lacking any nutrients. They told him that it’s safe to spend the night here, but no birds are comfortable spending any time longer than necessary.

Autumn and Apricot haven’t been able to find any signs of spirits or paranormal activity. Theoretically, there might be a spirit that leeches nutrients out of the soil and scares off the wildlife, but I don’t believe a single spirit could affect the area we searched today without leaving any marks, or setting off Autumn’s attunement to magical disturbances. What we’re dealing with is something that’s scared off everything and left nothing.

The sun is setting, and we’ve found no hard evidence of what might be causing the depopulation.

Apricot wants to make camp. Autumn asks if she wants to try on her new nightie, and Taranis cheers the idea. Apricot looks to me with those big bird eyes and asks if I want to call it a night.

I think Apricot’s confused an expedition for a sleepover. She’s far too cavalier.

On the other hand, this is my home turf, and I know the signs of danger and what to watch out for, even from my Circle. It used to be a well-traveled area for adventurers, until the word got out about sprits. My Circle’s eyes may be elsewhere at the moment, and even if they do somehow know I’m here and send a scout to ask what I’m doing, they won’t know I’ve got my ruined eye working again.

It’s a calculated risk, especially considering I don’t know what’s going on. But on the other hand, a little bait might draw out answers.

Should we call it a night?
1. Yes, and tell Apricot, Autumn and Taranis to relax and have fun. Apricot will probably put on her new nightie.
2. Yes, but tell Apricot and the team to stay armored and ready for anything.
3. No, return to Minga and report back now. We’ll still be paid for the day’s scouting work.
No. 1050076 ID: a7a180

No. 1050082 ID: e51896

I originally went with 2, but I think I'll go with 1 instead.
No. 1050111 ID: dee951

2, at least those types of armor that isn't unreasonable to sleep in -- there is a set of armor where you can reasonably do that, yes?
No. 1050112 ID: 629f2e

2, Some precautions are necessary. 3 sounds safer, but you could be ambushed on the way back while you're exhausted. Better to get some rest and try in the morning, while being ready in case of a late night attack.
No. 1050227 ID: 8483cf
File 166945790212.png - (128.66KB , 501x500 , LF6c_13.png )

I tell Autumn and Apricot to stay armored and ready. Apricot’s armor is lightweight for flying, so she can sleep in it comfortably.

I volunteer to take second watch, since I could probably just stay up all night anyway. It gives Apricot, Autumn and Taranis time to wind down after their day. I lie back against a tree and let my thoughts wander, keeping a half-conscious ear to the woods, and letting my ruined eye keep watch for suspicious movements through the shadows of the trees. Soon enough it’s my turn to take watch, and when I do, I hear a distinct, high-pitched single-tone whistle, barely more than a breeze through the branches. It’s almost impossible to distinguish from the wind, but if you know to listen for it, it’s there.

My Circle is calling me. I surrepetitiously scan the surroundings, and find a single hunched figure a few dozen meters away. There aren’t any others- it’s a note meant to summon me specifically.

I nudge Taranis into wakefulness and whisper to him to keep back and be ready to rouse Autumn and Apricot if I give the signal. He nods and takes flight, and I send the reply whistle back. Three quick clicks come back: we’re to meet at the midpoint of where those clicks came from.

I make my way forward and spy a familiar face.

“Ailín,” I say quietly.

“Ráichéalín,” he responds. “I am happy to see you well.”

“And you,” I say. “Did you receive my messages about the Spirit of Bloodshed?”

“We were already aware of the situation,” he says. “I am here on another matter. There is no time for pleasantries, I’m afraid. Your brother wishes to warn you of an impending conflict, likely greater than any you have seen before. He recommends you seek shelter elsewhere. It would be a tragedy for you to be caught up in it without knowledge, and if you were to be captured by another Circle, it would force Ciarán to respond.”

“How sentimental.” I say, crossing my arms. “You can already guess my response. My family’s made it clear they wished I’d died instead of getting these scars. Why would Ciarán care if a failure like me got captured?”

“You are still his sister,” Ailín says. “A slight to a member of the Circle cannot go unanswered.”

“Of course.” The unspoken implication is that it’s not my honor my brother would need to defend, but his. “I take it he’s been answering other slights to his honor in ritual combat. He’s getting sloppy. Skipping steps in the ritual, letting spirits congregate. Leaving obvious marks where he’s been.”

“Ciarán’s name echoes in the forest,” Ailín nods. “He has become mighty since you left. He has risen to take up your mantle, and done so admirably.”

“Well, good for him,” I say, turning my head aside. “But he’s reckless. The humans are noticing the side effects of the Circle’s work. Just how much blood has my brother spilled in these rituals? How many challengers to his authority has he put down?”

“Many, and he has done so in pursuit of a greater goal. We are no longer binding animals to our will. Instead, Ciarán has found more powerful thralls. Ones we have not seen since twoscore years ago.”

Forty years. That was the time of the great fire. I can’t remember the details- I was too young. But everyone in the Circle knows what horrors the fire banished.

“He’s trying to summon them?” My throat is almost too dry to say it. “The Airceacháin. Father would have beat him bloody for even saying the name. Does my mother know about this madness?”

“No,” Ailín says softly. “She has lain down her arms forever.”

The air chills. My legs go weak.

“M-Mom?” A hand goes to my good eye unbidden, and despite everything, I can’t keep the tears from coming. “She’s gone?”

“It was a good death,” Ailín says. “A great battle. She killed many Clann an lasair before falling. It’s been more than a year, and they still haven’t dared challenge us.”

“A year?” An icy hand wraps around my gut and squeezes tight, filling my throat with sick, acrid bile. “Ciarán didn’t even… not even a single… he… he really does wish me dead, doesn’t he?”

“I’m sorry, Ráichéalín.”

“Fuck you.” I spit at his feet, tears threatening to spill down my cheek. “You didn’t tell me, either. How hard could have been? Just a simple fucking letter.”

“It would have changed nothing. We were far from home, deep within what was once Iasair land. You wouldn’t have been able to-”

“I know! I know that. But she’s my… was my mother. Once the battle was over, Ciarán could have invited me to Mom’s pyre. He couldn’t even let me say goodbye to her, could he?!”

“You know as well as I that our rites are closely kept,” Ailín says, his voice as empty as his heart. “You are not a warrior of the Uí Liatháin. Not anymore.”

“And I’m better off for it.”

Ailín doesn’t respond.

I take a deep, shuddering breath. I can barely hold myself back. I want to murder the elf I thought was my friend since we were children.

“So that’s it?” I ask. “You’ve come here to… to tell me there’s nothing left for me? That I’m not wanted? That I’m free to go? Well, I don’t fucking think so. I’ve got a place here, now.”

“With the humans?” Ailín gestures toward Minga. “You are selling scraps for coin. You could be so much more. And what will you do now? Will you tell the humans that the elves are warring once again? Scurrying in their backyard, growing in power? What will you do, Ráichéalín? Share our secrets with outsiders? Lead them to our beds, as a traitor to your kin?”

“How dare you?!” My voice cracks. “Is that what you really think of me? That I’d stoop so low? Slit my own people’s throats? Fuck you, Ailín. I thought you knew me better, but I’m obviously wrong. Wrong about so many things, and people, that… that are… important, and… and… I…”

A sob bursts out of my throat and I clap a hand to my mouth, finding it wet with tears. My shoulders hitch, and I feel a great, dull emptiness inside my chest that’s growing with every breath.

There’s a soft flutter of wings, and a gentle caress of feathers. When did Taranis land on my shoulder? He’s supposed to be hanging back, and… I don’t care. I just don’t care anymore. I cry into Taranis’s wings until I don’t have any tears left.

Ailín is gone.

I walk back to camp. Apricot and Autumn are still sleeping.

Taranis takes watch and I fall into a deep, deep sleep.


When I wake, I find Apricot and Autumn preparing breakfast. Taranis is gone, probably on patrol.

“Oh! You’re up!” Apricot says. “How are you feeling? Taranis said to let you sleep in. Are you okay?”

Okay? Why would I not be-


“Leave me alone,” I say, and wrap my cloak tight around me.

I thought I was cast out before, but now, I truly am alone. Alone in every way that matters.

No more adventuring. No more exploring. I just want to curl up and wither away.

I’m done.
No. 1050232 ID: 15c72a

Your brother is out of control. Let me guess- this barren land is like this because of what your brother is trying to summon? Don't you have a duty to protect nature, and stop him? You don't have to betray any secrets... maybe all you have to do is beat him. How did his skill compare to yours? Does he have the eye? Perhaps even a half-working seer's eye will be enough to counteract his, and his overconfidence will be his undoing. You could beat him in ritual combat, then use your position to force the druids to heal the land they've been abusing...

Or maybe the solution lies in the very land itself. Surely the forest must realize what is happening, and that the druids no longer serve nature? Turn the force of the very world against them, and teach them the lesson they have forgotten-- that all live by the mercy of life itself.
No. 1050237 ID: bc4cda

Has he given you a single reason not to report them to relevant authorities? That they're family? Not according to them they aren't. Take that spite and throw it on the pyre for fuel.
No. 1050253 ID: e51896

Think about why Serah, Landi, and Dotti wanted you on their team in the first place, why you were hired, and how well you've protected them this whole time. think about why Taranis chose you to be your companion. If you can't figure out why, ask them. Realize in a way, you have a circle of your own with them.

In fact, here's an idea, while your asking Landi, remember that she has that review coming up with Salt. Maybe if Salt sees that Landi can get Rae out of that slump she is in regarding her circle, it might be a big enough change to help Landi pass. In any case, maybe go talk to Landi about helping you get through your issues.

Alternatively, Maybe you should search out where your mother's grave is at and pay your respects for some closure at least. I'm not sure where it might be, but maybe it could be where your Circle used to hang out a lot in.

But really, don't be an adventurer for yourself and for anyone's approval, become an adventurer to help people who needs it, like Taranis and his witch problem. He trusts you to have his back, just like you trusted him to have yours.
No. 1050258 ID: 629f2e

What a jerk.

"He has become mighty since you left. He has risen to take up your mantle, and done so admirably."

Dude could have just said "He has become mighty" and left it there. Instead he went out of his way to emphasize your failure in his phrasing, contrasting it with how your bro has taken to it well in the way you should have.

"You are selling scraps for coin. You could be so much more."

What the fuck is he talking about? What part of "My family’s made it clear they wished I’d died instead of getting these scars" is he not comprehending here. You aren't wanted there, so you have effectively been FORCED to find your own life outside of it. Why the hell is he shitting on what you've made for yourself and acting like you should just come back to the circle, when it was the circle that seemed to decide it didn't want you? Like, you deciding you still want to be part of the circle doesn't change the fact that nobody there has even the minimum quantity of affection you would need to dedicate yourself to them. Not one fucking letter about mom.

For the record, Ailín didn't deny that your brother wants you dead. He only said "I'm sorry" when you suggested it. So why is he trying to push you into coming back in the same conversation?

Look, my point is that Ailín went out of his way to not simply give you the information he needed to, but to try to guilt you into going back to a place where you aren't welcome. And the fact that you aren't welcome isn't because you're not good enough, it's because they aren't.

You've met people with the capacity to care about people who've made mistakes. Serah kept Landi around in the face of all her screw-ups and bad habits; you had to go on an entire quest to the Terrorscale caves because Dotti amnestied someone, and she's still a member of the party you're all watching out for; and speaking of your failures to the others hasn't seemed to degrade their opinions of you any.

You don't ignore the bad shit, you just accept it. Try to do better next time. If the people of your circle can't accept you because of one screw up that they basically set you up for by tossing you to the wolves before you were ready, then you shouldn't go back to them. They're the ones who need to change, not you. And judging by this conversation with Ailín, they aren't ready yet.

Let's talk about what you should do.

Cuddle with Taranis. It'll make you feel better.

Go back and talk to Serah. You don't want to betray the circle, but the fact is that they've been getting sloppy, and it's putting innocent people in danger. They cannot just be leaving Spirits of Bloodshed behind for others to stumble upon. Something needs to be done, and if you don't have all the answers on the best way to handle it then Serah will. This isn't you being a traitor, it's about protecting others from being caught in the crossfire.

Spend some time with your friends. You could use the distraction.
No. 1050259 ID: e5709d

...You know what? Your brother doesn't deserve a fair fight. The little psychopath is on the verge of starting a war. And for what? To help a demon lord covertly transport an entire army, all because he can't even tell chaos from order anymore?

Screw your secrets. He needs to be stopped, by any means necessary. The province, for all its flaws, doesn't deserve a fucking horde to rape it raw. This could even ruin the continent. Warn the entire country. Rally every human, dwarf, and dragon you can scream to. Stop your family from going down in history as The Hellbringers.

If he wants to slaughter families just to provoke a fight, you'll dump the whole Royal Army on his ass.

And as for Ailín? It's clear that he's simply a tool. His loyalty to your family is used for the purposes of bigotry and genocide. He's been groomed to believe that the more humans he stomps on, the more honor and respect he brings you and your family. His delusions are not worth the lives of your friends. You may need to neutralize him as well, if only to bring the potential body count down by a few hundred.
No. 1050287 ID: 15c72a

Maybe we're focusing too much on what your family is doing. You need to find another purpose? Commune with nature, center yourself, maybe find out if it wants you to do something.
No. 1050347 ID: 8483cf
File 166959073779.png - (37.29KB , 540x329 , LF6c_14.png )

There’s food in front of me, but I’d just vomit it back up if I ate any.

There’s whispering around me, but I don’t listen. I curl up tight into my cloak and smother myself in darkness.

I’m not sure when it happens, but at some point I feel Taranis nestled against me.

He’s got a life to live. Having fun. Stealing stuff. Migrating around. Living it up. All things I don’t want to do.

I poke my head out of my cloak. Taranis hops in front of me, beady little eyes glimmering. Apricot and Autumn are sitting in a tree, keeping watch for… I’m not sure what. The camp is packed up. My food is gone.

“Go with them,” I say.

Taranis shakes his head.

“You don’t get it,” I say, voice hoarse. “I quit. We’re through.”

Taranis squawks loudly and hops down to my hands holding my cloak tight. He pecks and nips them. Hard. When I pull them away and let go of the cloak, he places himself right in my palms.

“He’s not leaving you,” Autumn says softly. “Neither are we.”

“We’re all going back to Minga,” Apricot insists. “And, fair warning, I’ve carried heavier loads than you with Autumn’s strength spells. So you’re coming back with us one way or another.”

I don’t respond. Taranis is warm and fluffy. It’s kind of nice to cuddle him. Just a little.

At some point I find myself walking again, on the road back Minga.


There’s a knock at my door.

“Rae? Are you in there?”

It’s Serah.

I don’t care.

“Rae, I’m leaving some food outside,” Serah says. “Taranis and his friends told us what happened. I’m sorry, and… if you want to talk, I’m here.”

I go back to sleep.

No. 1050348 ID: 8483cf
File 166959075141.png - (50.14KB , 450x352 , LF6c_15.png )

There’s fluttering and flapping, and my window blows open to admit Taranis and Landi.

“Room service!” Landi says. A sparkle of inventory magic grows into a glimmer, and a platter of sandwiches and vegetables appear on my desk. “Can’t let good food go to waste. Seriously, you should see some people’s reactions to it. Eat up!”

Taranis lands next to me and nudges my hand. I don’t bother to reply.

“Wow,” Landi says. “You should see the look on Taranis’s face right now, girl. He’s, like, super worried about you. And it’s making me worried too. You sure you don’t want to eat anything?”

“No,” I say.

“Well, it’s here for you when you want it. Can I get you anything else? I know you like books, right? Yeah, I’ll grab some books for ya. Any book you want. Seriously, any. I’ve got a friend who works for literally the biggest library ever. We’ve got myths and fables and stories you barely remember.”

“Just leave me alone.”

“Sure, sure,” Landi says. “But I don’t have anything to do today. I put off my performance review with Big Sodium, so all I have on my calendar is to hang out with you. Guess you and Taranis are gonna have to live with it.”

That’s enough to get me to roll over. “You what? Your performance review?” I remember I agreed to let Landi dress me up for some reason. Was that supposed to be earlier today? Oh, shit...

I let her down. I let Landi down like the complete fucking failure I am.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble into the blankets. “I’m so sorry.”

“No! Nonono!” Landi says. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure Nancy Clarice will be happy if I, like, turn Dotti’s fur green or something. It’s not a big deal at all. We’ve got bigger issues here, like a sad elf. I’m here for you.”

“Landi,” I say, voice rising, “You need to go talk with your djinn. Now. Please.”

“Too late,” Landi says. “I already told her I’ve got an emergency on my hands, so that meeting is kaput. I’ll find something that’ll make it up to her, and that’s my problem, not yours.”

I’m too stupid, forgetful and slow to help Landi. I can’t help anyone.

I push Taranis aside and roll over, facing away from them both.

What do Landi and Taranis do?
No. 1050349 ID: e5709d

Use your combined magic to pull Raelynn straight out of bed and up to Salt.
No. 1050353 ID: e51896

Landi realizes that getting Rae out of her depression might actually help her succeed in her performance review with Salt. She decides to do what Rae said and summons salt right now, and tell her the performance review is back on, and that she is going to attempt to make a depressed elf find a reason to keep on living. That should be a big enough change to succeed in the performance review.

Now to figure out HOW to make Rae feel better. Will figure something out in a future post.
No. 1050366 ID: 5499f4

Remember when Landi dusted people at a party and it enhanced the mood? Do that here Landi! Goooo fairy drugs.

In all seriousness just using a light spritz of dust on her to get her into a lightly more active state to have her like vent or talk or act and then you can go "So I didn't actually use that much dust on you" And get Rae all emberassed and in a somewhat functional mood. It won't resolve it all, but this isn't an immediately resolvable thing, getting her to not wallow is the first step.
No. 1050373 ID: 15c72a

Landi wants extra credit for her performance review, and shaking Rae out of her funk is indeed a big change. So she is very motivated to do it.

Hmmm... the witches might be able to help as well. Perhaps Landi can arrange a trade? The panties, in exchange for their expertise in bringing someone out of depression.
No. 1050638 ID: e51896

I just thought of something, but in order for it to work, Taranis is going to have to sacrifice one of his beloved trophies. But it is for the greater good, to save Rae's life... AND it might also help a certain priestess out.

So right now, Rae have lost all faith, in herself, and in everyone, in life. So what we might need to do is bring her to somebody who is an expert on faith in order to learn how to have faith in herself again, and that person is: Priscilla, the Priestess of Peace!

We need to take Rae to The Church of Eirene to see Priscilla so that she can give some Rae some advice from her sermons on the goddess Eirene, and learn to have faith in herself again.

Now, I'm not expecting Rae will convert to this religion, but I think at least hearing stories from Priscilla about the religion may have some lessons Rae could learn from.

Also, this could help Priscilla out too, her church has been pretty low on attendance. Maybe Rae being there will make Priscilla a little happier that there is someone willing to listen to her preach.

Now, in order to actually GET Rae over there, we'll need to make the ultimate sacrifice, and give Rae Priscilla's panties. the panties have the religion of the goddess Eirene's logo on it, so that might give Rae some incentive to at least go there to return them to Priscilla. From there, perhaps Priscilla will see how depressed Rae is, and invite her in for one of her sermons.
No. 1051665 ID: 8483cf
File 167096873710.png - (75.54KB , 916x893 , LF6c_16.png )

“If you really don’t wanna eat, that’s fine ,” Landi says. “Naptime again, huh? Can I join?”

I don’t reply.

There’s a tiny flutter of wings and a sudden warmth on my cheek as Landi pulls my hair over her like a blanket.

She’s insane. What if I roll over and trap her? Fairy force field or not, she’d be stuck. Well, it doesn’t matter. I’m just going to lie here and wither away. It’s best for everyone.

Talons click-clacking across my bookshelf. Taranis is pacing.

He should go find someone else to adventure with. Someone who actually wants to adventure. Someone who can actually deal with the fallout of whatever he’s been stealing from the witches at the guild.


Taranis is VERY WORRIED about Raelynn, and is thinking of eating crow to make her feel better. He’s dragged her into his feud with the witches, and it’s making him feel bad.

He can RETURN some or all of his Witchy trophies and try to make peace with the witches;
He can “FIND” one or both of Priscilla’s trophies and try to get her help cheering Rae up;

Losing trophies will make Taranis’s collection LESS IMPRESSIVE to lady birds.

No. 1051666 ID: 629f2e

Why don't you just return the magic panties? Everything else should be easily replaceable, the witches won't come after you over mere garments, but those panties have put a target on your friend's back just as much as your own. It'll be a tragic loss, they were pretty darn sweet, but parting with them will do the most to make things better for Rae.
No. 1051667 ID: a7a180

No Taranis, don't become a cannibal!
Help Priscilla find some of her stuff.
No. 1051673 ID: 15c72a

Return the slaaaaaaab
I mean the panties.
No. 1051677 ID: 322af8

Don't return a thing. In fact he should steal more trophies instead. Become more powerful.
No. 1051693 ID: 62f9e7

I dont think giving the witches their stuff back is going to help much. They are already angry at Rae, and I feel Rae will think Taranis didnt need her help dealing with the witches if we give the panties back, making her feel more useless.

Instead, Priscilla is our best bet. She is an expert at finding inner peace considering she worships a peace god. I say we give her her stuff back and bring her to Rae


better yet, this: >>1051677 SOMETHING ELSE. But in a cute way

DONT return anything, and instead, STEAL Pricillia's sash that she has around her shoulders.

BUT make sure she see's you taking it, and try to get her to chase you. Slow down if you need to have her catch up. Bring it to Rae's room, while having Pricillia follow you, and as soon as she is at the destination, give her the sash back, and get her attention on Rae.
No. 1051934 ID: 8483cf
File 167116888622.png - (7.71KB , 353x256 , LF6c_17.png )

By Odin, Taranis got himself into this situation by stealing clothes, and he’s going to get out of it the same way! He ruffles his feathers and takes flight out the window.

I drift in and out of reality, drinking deep from a fountain of emptiness. The bed is warm and comfy. Safe. Peaceful. I float on that abyss of nothingness and let it buoy me upwards.

Emptiness is good. An empty world feels no pain.

An empty stomach, however…

I hear a growling. It’s not a bird, bear or beast. It’s me.

Landi hops out of my hair. I shiver and hold the blanket tight. When did this room get so cold?

There’s food on my desk. It’s a long way away. Not worth getting up.

Landi, without a word, grabs a spoon and loads a slice of bread up with jam, and bodily lifts the whole slice over her head, carrying it straight to me.

I accept it, wolf it down and move to get the tray. The rest of the food is good too.

The room isn’t so cold anymore.
No. 1051935 ID: 8483cf
File 167116890704.png - (72.88KB , 450x514 , LF6c_18.png )

There’s a knock at the door.

“Hello?” a girl’s voice calls out. “Hello, is anyone here?”

“Yeah!” Landi replies. “Who’s there?”

“I’m Priscilla. Ah, a little bird asked me to drop by. He’s very insistent.”

“Taranis is back!” Landi bobs in front of me. “Can Priscilla come in? Do you wanna get out of your jammies?”

I shrug.

“Come on in, Priscilla!” Landi says.

The door opens, and Taranis swoops in, landing on my bed like the cat that caught the canary. A small priestess follows behind. She’s barely taller than Dotti… but if I count her fox ears, Dotti probably has the edge.

“Now it’s a party!” Landi declares. “Nice work, Taranis. I dunno who this Priscilla is, but strangers are just friends you haven’t gotten wasted with yet.”

“A party?” Priscilla looks on in confusion. “I didn’t expect one of Odin’s stormcrows to have that in mind when I followed him here. Are you sure this is a party?”

“Of course I’m sure!” Landi says. She zips up and flutters her wings eagerly, getting dust all over my meal. I frown at her and move the tray away. “Um, I mean, if Raelynn wants one.”

“No parties.”

“She speaks!” Landi emits a high-pitched squee and I cover my ears. “Come on, Rae, say something else! I wanna hear what you’re thinking!”


“She’s hungry! C’mon, let’s go get more food!” Landi seizes Priscilla by the sleeve and drags her out the door.

“What’s going on?”

“I’ll catch ya up downstairs,” Landi says. “First, though, a question. Is Eirene cool enough to let you turn just a little water into wine? Like, not a lot, just enough to make things fun.”

“I’d have to ask her,” Priscilla says, her voice fading as she follows Landi down the hall. “If it was just a little, I guess I could do it just to be social…”

“Girl we are gonna be best friends forever.”
No. 1051937 ID: 8483cf
File 167116894418.png - (8.54KB , 200x200 , LF6c_19.png )

Taranis happily watches me eat some more food. I don’t know why he brought that priestess here, but it’s probably to try and cheer me up somehow. That’s nice of him, but I don’t want to know how he did it.

A priestess of Eirene… wasn’t she a minor goddess of peace? What is Taranis trying to accomplish? And did she say something about Taranis being one of Odin’s birds? I’m curious, but more hungry than curious. A priestess is an odd choice of companionship, it’s almost like he wants to hold a wedding, or a-

That familiar bleak emptiness descends down on me.

I don’t want my own funeral for my mother. In fact, I don’t want to think about my mother at all. A priestess of peace? My mother would have nothing to do with her, and even if her spirit hasn’t departed beyond the veil (which most sentient spirits do after a funeral), she’d reject any kind of communion with Priscilla. And it’s been more than a year. She’s almost certainly moved on.

My mother felt the same way as my brother about me after I failed her. She was the one who cast me out. I don’t want to be hurt by seeking her out and learning she’s rejected me yet again.

Still… if there’s even the smallest chance I could talk to her one last time…

That emptiness turns to a dull, throbbing ache.

Should I ask Priscilla to try and commune with my mother?
No. 1051938 ID: 15c72a

Yes. Tell her you have your eye working, to redeem yourself, then tell her about your brother(or the other way around?). Ask what must be done.
No. 1051941 ID: e51896

You should, but... not yet. I think you should be emotionally ready first.

Talk to Priscilla, let her know your situation, and have her thoughts and advice... her holy advice.
No. 1051942 ID: 629f2e

The alternative is to sit here and do nothing. What do you have to lose?
No. 1051947 ID: cdd196

Contacting your dead, abusive mother seems like a great way to get told your worthless by a ghost, lets skip that particular emotional ordeal.
No. 1051962 ID: e51896

Exactly this. But I wouldn't dismiss the opportunity to talk to mother entirely. Just, not now when Rae is in this state. As I said, it's best to have Rae fix her mental state with Priscilla, and the others before she can be better prepared to deal with her mother.
No. 1052157 ID: 38349b

Commune with mom but make sure Landi and the others are there if you can, don’t do it solo, maybe they can let out some choice words you never thought you could say to her, or at least they can understand where you come from if it goes south and provide better support to help!
No. 1052183 ID: 8483cf
File 167139729455.png - (14.50KB , 500x350 , LF6c_20.png )

I have to reach my mother. This is my one, final chance to redeem myself.

I finish my food just as Priscilla returns with Landi.

The food was good.

“Let me take those plates,” Priscilla says, and I don’t stop her. As she moves the dishes off my bed, I summon up the courage to ask her the most important question of my life so far.

“I need to ask something of you,” I say.

“Anything,” Priscilla replies without hesitation.

“Can… can you contact a spirit that’s already had a funeral? One that doesn’t agree with your Goddess?”

“Yes,” Priscilla says, “If the spirit accepts, and if they’ve decided to linger. It’s dangerous to do so, though, so very few sprits decide to.”

“Danger never scared this one,” I say. “Can you contact them right now?”

“I’d need to prepare the spell, and be certain I’m finding the right spirit,” Priscilla says. “May I ask… is the spirit your mother?”

I nod. Landi already filled her in. Great. I think.

“A little extra preparation is good, in that case,” Priscilla says. “Could you come by my chapel tomorrow? I’ll be tending the garden in the morning. The pumpkins and squash have a few weeks before they’re ready. I’m happy to talk with you while I work.”

“Yeah!” Landi pipes in. “Rae, you wanna help tend some gardens? It’s super relaxing.”

“Can’t I just make a donation instead?” I ask. I want this now, damn it.

“I’m sorry, but that’s not something I’m allowed to accept,” Priscilla says. “It’s a long story, but taking money for communion with the departed is specifically prohibited. That implies that the rich are closer to the heavens, when it’s actually the opposite.”

This is obviously a strategy by Priscilla to try and get me in what she thinks is the right headspace for contacting my mother. Priestesses think they’re so subtle, but they’re as transparent as glass. This is ridiculous; I just want her to try contacting my mom. Why shouldn’t I just go find a priest or priestess of a warrior god or goddess and get them to do it for me? It’s more likely to work, and mom would be happier I’d taken the extra effort to do it right. Plus they’d probably take my money instead of playing gardener.

“What if my mom is tired of waiting for me?” I ask. “What if today is the last day she can wait, and she moves on right now?”

“She might,” Priscilla says, “But time moves differently on the threshold of the veiled gates. Intent matters. If your mother wanted to move on, she would have moved on. If she wants to take the time to stay, her perception of time will speed up, so a day may seem as an hour, a minute, a day.”

“Dotti said it was like that,” Landi agrees. She swoops in and gives me another hug around my neck. “My friend Ellie’s gonna be so disappointed when she hears she can’t calculate the time dilation on the other side. Or maybe she still can. She’s smart!”

“Fine,” I agree. “One more day isn’t going to change anything.”

“You seem better,” Landi says, giving me yet another hug. “Hey, while we’ve got a priestess in the room, I have a confession to make.”

“Oh?” Priscilla says. “Don’t you want to do it in private?”

“Nah, here’s good,” Landi says. “Forgive me, priesty lady, I have sinned! I’ve totally dusted up Rae with my feel good vibes.”

“That explains a lot,” I say, glaring at her.

“It is for the Divine to judge, not mortals,” Priscilla says. “But it’s up to Rae whether to forgive you or not.

“What are the side effects, other than getting my appetite back and, apparently, a fever?” I ask.

“Depends on the person, and how I’m feeling at the moment,” Landi says. “But usually? People that get dusted just wanna party! Or they get really excited and happy. Or they start glowing blue. Usually all three.” She flutters up next to me. “I can give you some more if you wanna…”

Landi’s dust is probably already affecting my mood and judgment, but really, what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like I care about anything anymore.

Do I accept Landi’s offer for more dust?
1. No
2. Yes
3. Very Yes
No. 1052184 ID: a7a180

Yes. Glowing blue sounds fun.
No. 1052185 ID: e51896

>“What are the side effects, other than getting my appetite back and, apparently, a fever?” I ask.


Don't do drugs... or Fairy dust. Especially while depressed. Have a bit of patience.

Rae got a fever from Landi after taking the fairy dust, her fever is going to get worse tomorrow if she takes more, and she won't be able to meet up with Priscilla to help garden and talk to mom, and will just feel worse about not being able to meet her.
No. 1052186 ID: 629f2e

No. 1052188 ID: d022a2

Very yes!
Wasn't it said in the first thread that fairy dust can make you fly? As the Gelf said in the first thread, grab Landi by the wings, and spank the fairy dust out of her, then fly around town.
No. 1052214 ID: 15c72a

1. No. You've already had some. Don't overdose.
No. 1052227 ID: 94bc7c

No, let's not get Rae addicted to fairy dust or let her go to a warrior god who will help her commune with her mom right now. Like it or not, the way that seems hardest right now is the best way for her to come out healthy and sane in the long run.
No. 1052231 ID: 0c2c61

Is it actually possible to overdose on Fairy Dust?
What are the effects of the use of Fairy Dust on someone with clinical depression?
What are the effects of long term Fairy Dust use?
Is there a similar substance, like some sorts of hallucinogens, that with the right ritual (read: therapy/trip sitter), can reset a humanoid brain out of clinical depression?
Can mind control magic be used therapeutically and ethically as a cure for clinical depression?
No. 1052633 ID: 8483cf
File 167212165742.png - (10.55KB , 500x500 , LF6c_21.png )

“You said you felt like you had a fever,” Priscilla reminds me. “Are you sure getting dusted even more is a good idea?”

“Is it really a fever?” Landi asks. “Or is it just being cooped up under all those blankets?”

The blankets are getting hot. I’m not sweaty or anything. How long have I been lying here? Have I even showered since I came back from my trip? Deep questions which I cannot be bothered to answer.

I look over to Taranis. He looks back at me. He’s still concerned, but he’s looking to Landi.

She swoops in front of me and dims her light just enough to see her big smile

“C’mon, come with me and feel the wind on your face. Lemme take your mind off things. Tonight is a worry-free zone.”

She leans in and gives my cheek a nuzzle. She’s warm. Not the uncomfortable heat of the stifling blankets, but more a soft, soothing breeze at my back.

“No more dust,” I say, but I let her keep nuzzling.

It feels kind of nice.

“Atta girl,” Landi says. “Hey, I promise everything’s gonna be okay. No matter what.”

I don’t believe her, but that doesn’t matter. She’s trying her best.

“Hey, I have an idea,” Landi says. “Last time you picked Girls’ Night at the Library. You wanna do that again?”

I shrug.

“Oh, we have Taranis here,” Landi says. “That’s not Girls’ Night. So we can do whatever we want, and you can pick it again!”

“I don’t want to pick,” I say. “Just pick for me.”

“Are you sure?” Landi asks

“I’m sure,” I say.

Landi flutters her wings in delight. “We’re going out tonight! Girls’ Night Out With A Bird! You’re coming, too, Priscilla!”

“Is it because I can turn water into wine?”

“It’s because you’re a sweetie,” Landi giggles, “And because of that, too, yes.”

Landi takes me by the hand and drags me to the showers. I really don’t care what we do tonight, but apparently whatever they have in mind needs me to get cleaned up.

Where do Landi, Taranis and Priscilla end up taking me?
No. 1052634 ID: a7a180

Orcish wrestling night at the adventurers' guild. The champion is defending his belt tonight.
No. 1052641 ID: e51896

Start small. We go to the lake to go fishing. It's relaxing, it requires very little action other than attention, and is rewarding if you catch a fish. And if you don't, you have the nice relaxing ambient sound of the lake to keep you relaxed. (since Rae wasn't doing much to begin with.) Taranis can keep attention to the bobber if Rae isn't feeling it. I'm sure she'll get some interest if a bite happens and she gets the incentive to reel in the catch.

Landi had other plans for the lake tho, she wanted to go here to have Priscilla turn as much of the lake as she can into wine.
No. 1052643 ID: e51896

To add on, if Rae succeeds in catching a fish, maybe she'll feel a little more proud of herself and not feel like a complete failure, and motivate her a little to try other things
No. 1052925 ID: e51896

Another option, visit Priscilla's church and listen to her sermon
No. 1052927 ID: e5709d

Go to a cat cafe! I'm sure the kittens won't eat you all alive and leave you squirming in their premature digestive systems for hours...
No. 1052929 ID: 629f2e


If not a cat cafe, I happen to know of another establishment in town you could visit. It's rather new, but is garnering a bit of a reputation for the strange women running the shop. What better way to brighten Rae's day than with a bit of sweetness from a local bakery?
No. 1053184 ID: 8483cf
File 167279652731.png - (47.87KB , 500x500 , LF6c_22.png )

I am surrounded by cats.

I am okay with this.

“Who’s a good kitty? Yesyouare! Yesyouare!” Landi says, fluffing one cat’s cheeks. The cat bats at her playfully, and she bobs around, teasing it with a quick bob and midair bounce.

Taranis has chosen to remain outside. A few cats are staring at him from the window. He stares back. I think he’s traumatized by something. Oh, well. I’ll see him again. Sometime. Whenever I’m done here. It might be a while.

A cat sits on my head.

“Cat,” I say.

The cat purrs. Can he sense my mutagen? Probably. Does he care? That’s the real question.

“Hey,” Priscilla says as she rubs a cat’s tummy. “I know you. You’re the one catching the rats around Eirene’s church.”

“These cats all have jobs,” says the waiter. He’s not wearing cat ears and I find it distressing for some reason. “They’re mousers. Don’t worry, we ensure they’re clean when they play with our guests.”

“They’re murderous fluffballs!” Landi says. “Just like Rae!”

“I am not a fluffball,” I say, but my heart isn’t in it. I should also probably object to the murderer thing, but it’s true. I should expect to get a talking to from Priscilla. She’s a priestess of peace, after all.

And… she’s not saying anything.

Aren’t priestesses supposed to evangelize?

I look at her. She looks at me.

“You okay?” Priscilla says, cocking her head to one side.

“No,” I say. “But that’s not important. You’re confusing me.”

“It is important,” Priscilla says, “And I’m sorry about the confusion. I think.”

“You aren’t as preachy as I expected,” I say bluntly. The cat on my head meows.

“Do you want me to preach? I didn’t get the feeling you would appreciate it. I mean, I can, but… there are kitties.”

My head-cat tugs on my bangs. I don’t bother to stop him.

Priscilla sees my ruined eye.

I don’t say anything.

She doesn’t say anything back.

I like her.

We order tea, scones and cat munchies, Landi’s treat. I get an extra scone for Taranis.

“So, like, I have a question for you, Priscilla,” Landi asks tentatively. “You like these cats, yeah? Even though they murder little mice and rats. Isn’t that against Eirene’s teachings of peace and stuff?”

“That’s a common misconception,” Priscilla says. “Eirene is the Goddess of Peace, yes. And violence makes her upset. But peace is often kept through upsetting means, and she understands that. Nature is violent, and it takes enlightenment to overcome it. Not everyone is enlightened.”

“That’s why petting cats is okay?”

“That’s why petting cats is okay.”


I’m not an idiot. I can connect the lines that Landi and Priscilla both had this moralizing in mind. They’re trying to make me feel better about myself by comparing me to these cats.

I’m not bothered, though. Is it because of Landi’s dust? Is it because I’m part cat now?

It doesn’t matter. The real question is: how do I convince Landi, Taranis and Priscilla to leave me alone and let me roll around with cats for the rest of the day?
No. 1053185 ID: 629f2e

Just say that that's what you want to do.
No. 1053186 ID: a7a180

Use your catlike stealth to ghost them. Maybe Landi has a spell that will turn you into a cat for a day.
No. 1053193 ID: ae7dbc

This. They'll understand.
Just tell them you genuinely appreciate them for bringing you here, and would like to be alone with the cats for comfort and silently do some thinking and self reflection on your own. Let them know youll consider going to the garden tomorrow depending how you feel after.
No. 1053199 ID: 894419

>>1053185 This
If you need a cat destress then a cat destress is what you should have.
No. 1053227 ID: 3f7b23

Also, after you manage to get everyone out and be alone with the cats and your thoughts, start considering a couple things:

>“They’re murderous fluffballs!” Landi says. “Just like Rae!”

>“I am not a fluffball,” I say, but my heart isn’t in it

>They’re trying to make me feel better about myself by comparing me to these cats.

>I’m not bothered, though. Is it because of Landi’s dust? Is it because I’m part cat now?

>Maybe I could even ask for her to improve my mutagen to the next level, or even try something entirely new.

>The sky’s the limit.

>Maybe cat ears?

>No. No cat ears.

Start thinking that maybe this is actually what you want deep inside, despite the weak objections to it you've been giving: to become a cat in some way. Start to imagine what it would be like to become a cat, and how much of a cat you'd want to become through Serahs mutagens. Would you just want cat ears like you thought? Or maybe you'd also want a tail, pawpads and retractable claws, fangs... being able to purr? Would you want to Be half elf and half cat, or go anthro cat, or full on cat. Wonder if you'll be happier this way

Also wonder if this is what Dotti has been feeling with her wishes to become human. Think also about asking Serah about feline mutagens sometime tomorrow before or after you visit Priscilla in the garden.
No. 1053513 ID: 8483cf
File 167323672181.png - (7.35KB , 401x354 , LF6c_23.png )

This cat cafe is a good place. A calm place. No drunk adventurers slamming doors and screaming. No roommates getting into trouble. Just cats taking time off from their “jobs” to lounge.

Curious cats line up to see me. Some are outgoing. Some are suspicious. Some demand to be held.

I oblige. It feels nice.

Landi and Priscilla are sipping tea and having idle conversation I don’t feel like joining. They’re relaxed, but guarded. I can tell they’re watching me. Feeling me out. Worried about me. Well, they shouldn’t be. I’m in a good place right now.

After a few more minutes, Landi’s the one to drag me back into the conversation.

“These cats like you a lot,” she says. “Did you ever want a cat companion, Rae?”

“I thought about it,” I say. “I like cats.”

“Hell yeah! Uh, sorry ‘bout the language, priesty girl,” Landi says.

“No need to apologize,” Priscilla says.

“Taranis might not be a big fan of this place,” Landi says, “But I am.”

“I am, too,” I say. “This was a good idea, Landi. Thank you.”

“I am a fountain of great ideas!” Landi beams. “What next? You wanna go back to the adventurers’ guild? I think they’ve got wrestling tonight. Maybe even audience participation! Whattya say we get wasted and flirt with some oiled-up orcs? You know you wanna!”

“I… think I’m fine here,” I say. “I have some thinking to do, and this feels like the right place.”

“I understand,” Priscilla says. “Well, Eirene’s doors are always open. Literally. The locks are all broken; you can drop in any time you want. I’ll be in the garden tomorrow morning if you’d like to chat.”

“Hey!” Landi says. “You don’t get off so easy. Not you, Rae. Priscilla!”


“Yeah! We’re totally gonna go scream at some big muscly dudes.”

“Wrestling sounds violent. I’m not sure Eirene would approve…”

“That’s the secret! They’re not actually trying to hurt each other. I’ll fill you in. Come on! And Rae, put everything you order’s on me. Enjoy! I’mma take care of Taranis too and make sure he doesn’t get ambushed by those witch ladies.”

Priscilla seems even paler than normal, but allows herself to be led out the door.

That went better than expected. It’s just me, the cats, and the waiter/cat herder. Just me and my thoughts, which are unsurprisingly cat-related.

I have the option to be more cat-like if I want. These cats seem to like it just fine. Would a prehensile tail help me pull off more trick shots? Would retractable claws help in an emergency? If I had cat ears, would Taranis have to acknowledge me as the cute one? These are deep questions, but ultimately, I like my body the way it is. Maybe I could have fun changing a few things, but I’ve spent so long as I am now that I couldn’t see myself any other way.

Is this Dotti’s dilemma? She’s been a fox for her whole life, and becoming something else must be stressful and challenging. Maybe I should ask her if she wants to talk about it sometime. Is that prying? I don’t want to bother her when there’s no reason to. Besides, I have bigger conversations to have… like with my mother, if she’s still able to be reached.

I miss her. Despite everything, I miss her.

I miss her looking out for me. Teaching me. Tending my bruises and telling me everything will be okay. After dad died, she was the only one I had to encourage me. Tell me I had a bright future. That all went away when my eye was ruined. She was the one bright spot in my life, and it feels like I lost her even before she died.

I’m not angry at her. Am I? Should I be?

I wish I had that feeling of being safe again. Of being loved. Of having hope.

I miss it so, so much.
No. 1053515 ID: e51896

>I wish I had that feeling of being safe again. Of being loved. Of having hope.

as far as love goes, What about Taranis and Landi? they seemed genuinely worried about you. Landi even went out of her way to cancel her evaluation with the dangerous and strict Salt, risking a whole lot just to make sure you were okay. And Taranis even went out of his way to stay with you despite your rejections, and even brought someone out of the church to help you. If that's not love, I dunno what is.

or maybe it's a sign to go out dating to find someone who could love you... if you'd like. though you did say you weren't too comfortable about it considering your eye injury, but Landi did think it was cool, and Priscilla didn't say anything about it. Maybe you need a wingwoman or something. There is somebody for everybody after all, you might not get a match all the time, but you will find somebody eventually if you tried. And if nothing matters like you've been saying it is, then what do you have to lose if you fail after trying?

For safety, Serah has provided you with a lot of money to make you feel safe, and live a better life than you had before you accepted her job to protect her earlier. You have a nice place with a roof above your head, and meals, and enough money to even have fun or buy souvenirs if you wanted, maybe even enough money to visit this cafe now and then to play with the cats.

and hope is determined by what you are hoping for currently. And right now, you do have some spark of hope. You are planning to speak to your mother after all, so in a way, you are hoping you can resolve some things with her when you talk to her.

But maybe, you also need a new goal and purpose in life to gain that spark of hope again. Since you are right now with your thoughts, with a bunch of cats calming you down. Like... maybe you'd like to spend your life protecting this town as it's guard to maintain its peace? People might appreciate your protection, and you did do a real great job in protecting Serah and her adventuring party during your adventure with them.

or maybe go out and see the world and its lovely different environments and civilizations?

I think right now, this is what you should be thinking about during this quiet moment with the cats, what do you want to do with your life right now, whether your mother forgives you or not?
No. 1053522 ID: ba93b2

You should probably talk to Dotti. Hardly anyone takes Dotti's problems seriously, I'm sure she'd appreciate someone earnestly listening to her point of view on something so important to her identity.

As for your relationship with your mother: you have to avoid romanticizing the dead. She's not literally dead, but she's made it clear you might as well think of her like that.

The mother you had is not the mother you have. She's made choices, and they're painful, awful choices. They're not the kind of choices the mother you have memories of would make. She's isn't the mother of your memories anymore. It's a loss, something to be mourned, but not clung to out of desperation and denial. If you love her so much, you have to respect her wishes and move on from her.

That feeling of security you feel from her, it's something everyone longs to return to. We all want to feel that naiive, innocent sense of pure comfort and peace. But that's just it, it's so perfect a sense of security because it's incomplete. As adults we know better. We understand what truly threatens us now, and it's not the kinds of things we can merely fight and destroy. Life is complicated. It's up to us to build our own safety net and cover ourselves from the things that are out to get us. You don't need to be self reliant, but you do need to be the one to build it.

That's the beauty of being your own woman: you get to set your life up however works for you. You've got these wonderful friends already who are trying so hard to cheer you up. They're quirky, but each one really, honestly does love you and want your success and happiness. Is them going out of their way to make you smile not being loved? Is it not safety to be able to trust them to take care of you? Is the adventure they bring, the stability in your life they offer, not enough of a hope for a future? You have a home, at least for the foreseeable future. You have people who actively want to socialize with you, and most likely more out there in the world who feel similarly! There's adventures and mysteries out there that a woman with your skill set is well suited to. For goodness sakes, you just met someone new today who was practically falling over herself to be your friend. You still have all the potential to make an impact and be a positive influence in the world even if you're doing it with a different group than you originally envisioned. There's plenty to be hopeful for.

It all begins with accepting that the old vision for Raelynn ends here, though. If you continue trying to cling to a reality that's no longer there, then everything will look hopeless, because there's nothing you can do. You'll need to work through your feelings and pick out the acute pain from the deep seated pain to really understand where you sit on this. For now, however, things are still fresh. Don't blame yourself too much for how you're feeling. This kind of thing hurts, no matter how much we might not wish it did.
No. 1053539 ID: 94bc7c

>>I wish I had that feeling of being safe again. Of being loved. Of having hope.

Imagine how those things feel, how it feels to have them. Imagine each feeling in turn, let it sit in you, take your time and savor it. If other thoughts come up that scorn you or the feelings, or try to distract you from what you're imagining, thank them for their opinion and politely set them aside. Focus on the good feelings. You're safe, you matter, you belong, you are loved.

You don't need family, or friends, or things, to have those feelings. They're already yours.
No. 1053977 ID: 8483cf
File 167392803673.png - (11.49KB , 380x475 , LF6c_24.png )

The cats come in and go out of little cubbies. One aloof cat is staring at me from his hiding hole, curious but unwilling to venture out. I order a few treats from the waiter, asking for the aloof cat’s favorite kind, placing them on the cat-sized pillow beside me. Maybe she’ll join me, maybe she won’t.

I think about going back to my own cubby back at the adventurers’ guild. I’ve got a place there, sort of. Serah will recommend me to anyone else who needs someone watching their back. But would they still give me the job if they knew who I really am, and what I’ve done? Will they ever really trust me?

Circle Uí Liatháin will never take me back. My oldest friend made that clear. He told me, to my face, I needed to get far, far away from their backyard. That I should leave Minga, and never return to darken my brother’s doorstep.

It hurts. It hurts like an arrowhead lodged in my chest, knowing that I can never go home. Even after all the horrible things I’ve seen, experienced, and done, I miss the good times I can never have back. I don’t think I’ll ever really get over it. How could I? Being cast aside and treated like an outsider, by my own mother, even when she was still alive.

I want to think death has given her a new perspective. That she’ll have changed, somehow. That she has her own regrets. I won’t use the word hope; it’s not right. It’s foolish. And yet… I can’t turn that chance away. I have to try, even if it opens me up to being cut again.

I can’t go home again. So now what? Do I shrivel up and shrink away to nothing, like I wanted to this morning? Do I want it now?

The aloof cat approaches me. Cautiously. Delicately. Step by step she tests me, seeing me toy with my hair, staring at of the deformed elf in front of her, watching for any move I might make, even though I’ve played with plenty of cats already with nothing bad happening to them.

Am I that cat? Am I the wary, suspicious girl in Minga, afraid of what might happen if I go for the treats?

I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to run, to fight, to curl up and die. All I know for certain is that if I want this aching wound to heal, I need to stop the bleeding. Even if that means cauterizing it by calling back my mother for one last talk.

The cat darts up to the pillow, grabs a treat, and races back to her cubby. It feasts, eyes shining in triumph over me, even though there was no danger at all.

I tug at my bangs and touch the tender scar underneath.

I find myself reaching for the hilt of my only inheritance: one of a pair of twin shortswords. Samhain.

Should I cut my bangs?
No. 1053979 ID: a7a180

No. They're nice, and whatever symbolic thing they're tied to is probably fine as is. Your eye can see through them just fine.
No. 1053980 ID: e51896

Dont cut it, as it is still symbolically a part of you, no matter how much your reject it or run from it.

That said, still change your hairstyle, brush the bangs off your eye, and pull it back to make it a ponytail or something cool.

Dont reject the rough past you suffered, and instead, learn from their experience by accepting it, and strive to change for the better from it.
No. 1053982 ID: 629f2e


What he said. Don't make a drastic call you can't take back immediately.
No. 1053984 ID: 58dd24

man, don't you guys recognize a symbolic hairstyle change representing character development when you see one? It's a standard trope, and this one is doubly obvious, because she is literally hiding behind the hair.

Cutting the hair is not rejecting the rough past. Cutting the hair is owning it and not hiding the scars any more. And doing something that can't instantly be taken back is the whole point of the gesture, the dramatic break with the past. The commitment to the new way of doing things.

Cut that hair girl. I like your hair, but I can like a new style too.
No. 1053986 ID: e51896

I understood the trope, I just wanted to put a different spin on it where she keeps the hair, but still changes the hairstyle to no longer cover the eye and not hiding the scars.
No. 1053987 ID: 58dd24

Nope. Gotta cut so it can't be easily undone the moment the going gets rough. It's a whole thing.
No. 1053991 ID: a7a180

Nope. Tired of the whole short hair = character development schtick.
No. 1053992 ID: 894419

I like this, the bangs are a part of you like your past, but if you restyle them in a new way then its symbolic of you choosing to master that part of you rather than hide from it.
No. 1053993 ID: 15c72a

Talk to a hairstylist first.
No. 1053994 ID: dee951


Ya, restyle them! Go for a glam up, change your look, but nothing that can't be easily undone, yaknow? Changing the outside makes changing the inside easier!
No. 1053995 ID: 38349b

> Cut bangs
No. 1053996 ID: 429658
File 167393987836.png - (10.70KB , 380x475 , elf_shaved.png )

Elf shaved, spirits defeated.
No. 1054007 ID: e5709d

I say, wear a half-mask. But make it badass. Add even more scars. Blood and thorns. Make up a motto and make your mask scream it. But most importantly, have it cover up any indication that your eye has power.

Because let me make this clear. The scars are disturbing. The rot in your eye is disturbing. But you know what is outright disgusting? The actual eye itself, and all the powers your parents forced onto you and your eye in a bid for power or glory, and the way they cast all of you aside when their precious eye was damaged. It's like they retroactively defiled their child before she was even born. That's how screwed up your family truly is.

While it's comforting to know that your mother did love you in her own twisted way, she was more enamored with what you could be in her eyes than what you were in the present. That is like gambling with love itself. Not in a "maybe they'll still love me or maybe they'll break up/disown me and I'll crawl into a goth" kind of way, but in a "I sincerely regret ever loving you in the first place" kind of way. They betrayed you.

And that extends to your retainers. The way the circle exiled you for sustaining a wound, rather than inflicting harm upon an innocent or dishonorably. The way your sole confidant willfully chose their clan over you.

Once, you could say that they could have had a point. That perhaps they needed someone who had strength to defend their borders and lead their people.
Now your idiot brother is on the verge of opening a portal to hell for some deal that clearly was not made for the benefit of the reasonable or empathic.
Their argument is now invalid. Fuck them all. You'll build your own legend with the tools you have, the tools they rejected.
No. 1054012 ID: f76895

Keep the bangs, braiding them with friends can be quite therapeutic.
No. 1054013 ID: 018165

Wow, you look badass!! You should try out a Pirate Queen type look! Lean into the fun of it!!
No. 1054364 ID: 8483cf
File 167436718284.png - (38.44KB , 1000x993 , LF6c_25.png )

I grip Samhain’s hilt, pull it loose in its sheath and… don’t see the point to going through with it. Why give myself fewer options for hairstyles? In fact, if I have the option to cover my eye up every day, doesn’t that make me more courageous for choosing the option to show it off?

I’m not that great at choosing hairstyles. I don’t exactly have lots of experience in that department. What options are there, even? I could go to a stylist… I can afford one, now.

Paperdoll! Edit in a hairstyle and color for Raelynn.
No. 1054370 ID: e5709d
File 167437403105.png - (86.15KB , 751x823 , Rae Haircut attempt.png )

You get the idea.
Add a half-mask and more accessories, whatever works.
No. 1054373 ID: e51896
File 167437743556.png - (52.94KB , 849x1082 , hair.png )

No. 1054374 ID: 08de23
File 167437902613.png - (53.67KB , 1000x993 , pdl.png )

No. 1054389 ID: 681cb5
File 167440720860.png - (65.95KB , 700x700 , Metalgear.png )

Metal Gear!?
No. 1054403 ID: dee951

Can someone do her up with a version of the Jack Sparrow dreadlocks and bandana and beads, to really tie into the badass pirate queen thing?
No. 1054408 ID: ccbbb0
File 167442679245.png - (51.61KB , 1010x999 , Raellish elves.png )

Celtic tribal tatoos, let's go!
No. 1054409 ID: ccbbb0
File 167442684314.png - (45.66KB , 1010x999 , Raered Leto.png )

Or, y'know, this.
Might work, might work.
No. 1054707 ID: dee951

Some of these answers are really cruel and you all should be ashamed. Can we get some serious, constructive answers please? To help the elf look amazing and badass like she can?
No. 1054756 ID: 58dd24

I mean, this one was pretty good >>1053996
No. 1054757 ID: 75f1f5


The pink topknot one is pretty good too

Though it's a bit Aeldari...
No. 1054972 ID: e5709d

I vote for this one.
No. 1054973 ID: a7a180
File 167498531281.png - (85.06KB , 604x795 , wubba lubba.png )

Serious and constructive haircuts only.
No. 1054974 ID: a7a180
File 167498797664.png - (212.18KB , 800x794 , elf_shelfem.png )

Who's more amazing and badass than the king?
No. 1054975 ID: d3ec73

kick gum and chew ass...
No. 1054982 ID: a7a180
File 167502852165.png - (82.01KB , 800x794 , raven locks.png )

Now for the real ones.
Change hair colors for your moody goth phase to the Taranis-matching one. Twin ponytails in back and a long wave in front to make that long hair dark and mysterious.
No. 1054983 ID: a7a180
File 167502858752.png - (71.33KB , 900x894 , secured.png )

You could also batten down the hatches with a tight side bun. No nonsense, all business.
No. 1054984 ID: a7a180
File 167502866919.png - (103.13KB , 900x894 , caduceus.png )

Lastly, put it all into one big braid that goes down the front and wraps around. Can serve as an emergency whip when you nae nae. (The other ponytail becomes a bun tied in the back.)
No. 1054985 ID: dee951

How about something that shows off the eye?
No. 1057405 ID: a0671f
File 167796317587.png - (22.80KB , 745x785 , LF6c_26.png )

Plenty of ideas pop into my head for new hairstyles. Maybe some tattoos, too. Maybe I could even go bald? No, I like having the option of dyeing my hair new colors. It’s nice to change things up.

One thing’s for sure, though. I don’t like my happy hair colors. They don’t fit. It’s time to try out the style Taranis suggested, and go for black and white. I’ll dye it tonight, while I have the energy.

I twirl my hair in my fingers, undo my braids and pull my bangs aside. The air is cold on my scarred skin. I don’t like it, but I’m not supposed to. This isn’t a comfortable thing for me, for people who see me, or for anyone. I push my hair back over my eye for a moment. I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to make myself, or everyone else, deal with this hideousness every time they see me.

Ah, fuck ‘em. I wasn’t born to make people comfortable.

I pull my bangs back again and tuck them behind my ear as best I can. With a wave, I say goodbye to the cats and the waiter. Most of the cats don’t care, but the cautious cat in her cubby watches me go.

Immediately when I step outside, I feel like everyone is staring at me. The streets of Minga aren’t crowded out here in the evening, but even so, it’s enough to set me on edge. One of the women I see stops and does a double-take. I try my best to ignore her and move on.

I continue back to the guild. This is more stressful than I’d thought it would be. How am I supposed to deal with people just… staring at me every time I walk down the street? Is this what it’ll be like for the rest of my life?

I catch a man looking at me for a little too long. Our gazes meet, and his breaks away instantly.

It feels kind of good.

A minute later, I realize I’ve been paying so much attention to what people think of me that I’ve been completely ignoring the sky above me. My stormcrow companion and an unfamiliar magpie are circling midair, passing and pirouetting in a choreographed display with me as the center of their invisible dance floor.

Soon it becomes clear that the magpie is testing Taranis’s maneuverability with tighter and tighter turns. I’m not sure if his ragged tailfeathers, still not recovered from an old injury, are making it hard for him to keep up with the magpie’s showiest moves; either that, or he’s just terribly awkward. The colorful bird sees this and takes the opportunity to shake Taranis off the dance, and dives straight for me. I tense up; Taranis lets out a shriek and cuts her off a few feet before she would have hit me.

The magpie cackles and flaps backward, perching on a lamppost. Taranis is perturbed.

“Who’s that?” I ask him.

Taranis lands on my shoulder and ruffles his feathers in dismissal. It’s no one important, obviously. Just a lady with bad manners.

The magpie cackles again, flaps her wings and shocks us both.

“My manners are as good as your friend’s dancing,” she says, her voice a perfect imitation of a young lady’s. “He thinks he’s cute, but has two left wings. You’re the cute one here, elf. He’s deluded.”

I really don’t know how to take that, so I say nothing. Taranis caws at her.

“Don’t get your feathers in a bunch,” says the magpie. “I don’t see any trinkets worth snatching off your friend here. I have standards. Her shortsword is nice, but it would be such a chore to carry off. It would ruin my perfectly done plumage.”

I feel left out of this conversation, but frankly I don’t want to join it either. I just want to go back to my room at the Guild. I’m tired and this is inane.

Do I:

1. Keep walking and leave these birdbrains to their flirting
2. Defend Taranis from this teasing
3. Ask the magpie about herself
4. Other
No. 1057407 ID: 2e6d92

2. It will feel good to help a friend. Plus he's your animal companion and had tried to help you before, and will probably get you back into the spirit of helping others again.
No. 1057408 ID: a7a180

Ask the magpie if you can have her name.
No. 1057409 ID: dee951

2. Though asking the magpie her name, about herself, maybe how she learned to talk like that might be an interesting thing to do -- but only after getting a jibe in.
No. 1057412 ID: 1371b2

3. “Okay, so who is this Colour duo bird that Taranis can’t impress with his dance moves? She’s not a simple flashy bird of mystery, is she?”
I dunno why for sure but a part of me wants to be a little catty in response.
No. 1057416 ID: 15c72a

2, Isn't he a larger bird anyway? Bigger birds are less agile, as a rule. Also he hasn't used his other abilities...
No. 1057423 ID: 943fe3
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“Do we know you?” I ask the magpie.

“I’ve seen your stormcrow buddy around,” she says, flapping around me excitedly. “I thought he knew how to dance, is all. Guess I was wrong.”

She’s small, but she has to be getting at least a little tired after all this. I hold out my finger. “If I let you land, are you going to keep bothering Taranis?”

“You’re no fun,” she says, but accepts the offer and lands on my finger. “Hey, Taranis! Why aren’t you speaking up for yourself here? You’re smart enough. Come on, join our oh-so-stimulating conversation! Or am I not stimulating enough for you?”

Taranis tilts his head to one side and gives a dismissive caw.

“Like, I get that you don’t get to use the vocabulary that often,” Aífe says, “But isn’t it so much more fun to mess with people when they can understand you? I know you’ve got the pipes for it.”

Taranis rolls his beady little eyes, but I I can tell he’s embarrassed. I bet he’s not willing to try talking in front of a pretty girl. I suppose it’s up to me to carry him out of his mess.

“A talking magpie,” I say, my tone dry as a desert. “Fascinating. Taranis, does this bird of mystery have a dash of parakeet blood in her? That may also explain why she’s so proud of being smaller and faster than you.”

“Hey now. No need to get catty, lady,” the magpie says.

“Then try again,” I say. “My name is Raelynn.”

“I’m Aífe. I’m the granddaughter of one of Aengus’s kisses,” she says, as if I’m supposed to know what that means.


“It’s a long story that I’ve mostly forgotten, but it explains everything up and including why I’m so beautiful! Anyway, Taranis!” She hops up to my elbow and stares up to Taranis, who’s still perched on my shoulder. “At first I was worried you were part of Macha’s war goddess murder ‘cause of all the the trouble you’re causing that priestess of Eirene, but nah, I see it now. You’re totally working for Odin! You’re way too sneaky and peeky to be with anybody else. Am I right? Eh? Eh? I’m totally right, aren’t I? Come on, admit it!”

This is the second time today Taranis has been called one of Odin’s birds. I look at him too, and Taranis lets out an irritated chatter.

“Okay, fine,” Aífe says, “So what if it’s more of an informal thing? You still fill him in on what you’re up to every so often, right?”

Taranis nods.

“And he backs you up on stuff, right? And throws you some tasty birdseed spells when he likes your work, right?”

Taranis nods again.

“So I’m right, right?” Aífe chirps. “I’m always right!”

If she says ‘right’ one more time, I’m going to assume she has a parakeet somewhere in her family tree no matter what she says.

“Annnnnnnyway,” Aífe says, “This is probably going to ruin someone’s fun, but I figured you’d wanna know at some point that there’s this redheaded witch waiting to ambush you both as soon as you get to the front door of the adventurers’ guild. You might wanna take the back way in.”

What do I do? Choose one or more.

1. Pat Aífe on the head. This is a bad idea and will only encourage her inflated sense of self-importance.
2. Tell Aífe she reminds me of a fairy I know. This is a bad idea and will only encourage her to meet Landi.
3. Invite Aífe to spend more time with us. This is a bad idea and will only encourage her to date Taranis.
4. Ask Aífe if she’d enjoy messing with the redheaded witch for us while we sneak around back. This is a bad idea and will only get Aífe on Anita’s bad side.
4. Politely thank Aífe but inform her that I can handle the witch myself. This is the only good option.
5. Other
No. 1057425 ID: 15c72a

3. Taranis could use the practice, and you saw him TRYING to dance with her, he's at least somewhat interested.
No. 1057426 ID: a7a180

2 & 4. Get swooped, witches.
No. 1057428 ID: e51896

2 and 3

2 because I think she'll annoy Landi with her ego, which will let Landi know how that feels

3 because it'll be good training for Taranis.
No. 1057429 ID: e51896

Also, if we choose 2, we can ask her to help with Landi's favor with Salt's performance review thing, and maybe change Aífe's attitude a bit from it.
No. 1057430 ID: 629f2e

Just 2 for me, for the reasons Polt gave.

You may want to ask Taranis to climb in your hand. Hold him tightly, and the ambush you walk in on will probably see it as "Oh, she went out and captured her bird for us", lowering the odds they fire spells on sight.

Not that you couldn't take 'em, but that's a whole thing. Besides, it's Taranis fight to engage in or ignore as he pleases. Doing this just gives you more time to decide whether or how you'll participate.
No. 1057432 ID: e5709d

46) Ask Aífe if she'd like to murder your brother.
No. 1057464 ID: b57fea

2 + 3, I'm full of bad ideas today.
No. 1058351 ID: da497c
File 167865680212.png - (10.31KB , 450x460 , LF6c_28.png )

Aífe may be more energetic and full of herself than I’d like, but at least she’s helpful. That’s more than I can say about some people I know.

“Thank you for the warning,” I tell her. “Taranis, that witch isn’t going to give up. Do you plan on avoiding her forever? She’s going to end up pounding on my door again if we take the back way in. Do you have a plan to handle things, or do you need my help?”

Taranis clicks his beak in irritation.

“I understand that you can handle it,” I say, “But if you’d rather deal with this now, when you can set the terms of engagement, rather than later, it would save me a headache. Or you could take off for parts unknown. I wouldn’t judge you.”

Taranis shuffles up my shoulder and leans against my head. He’s not going anywhere.

That dumb bird.

“Yay! You’re staying!” Aífe cheers. “So what’s the plan? Are you two gonna go in hot, blasting lightning and wind and sword-a-swinging? I wanna see you two in action!”

“What would that solve?”

“It’d solve my lack of evening entertainment. What’s the matter, are you both chicken?”

Taranis squawks at her.

“I don’t fight without good reason,” I say. “There are always consequences.”

“Exciting consequences.”

I rub my forehead in irritation. I don’t need this magpie causing trouble just because she’s bored. I have an idea for how to keep her from making things worse. It’s a bad idea, but not as bad as her trying to goad Taranis into a fight.

“If you’re that bored,” I say, “Tag along on my other shoulder. You’ll have a front-row seat to whatever happens, and when we get inside, there’s a fairy I know who I think you’d get along with.”

“Sure!” Aífe chirps. “Smart move bringing me along. No witch is gonna blast my pretty face.”

Maybe they would if she opened her beak, but I don’t say it out loud.

Taranis hops down my arm and perches himself in my palm. It looks like he wants to place himself in my grip for when we arrive at the guild.

“Are you sure?” I ask. “Diplomacy isn’t necessarily going to work.”

Taranis nods. Diplomacy it is.

We decide to approach the guild head-on, with Taranis mock-encaged in my grip. Sure enough, Anita the red-headed witch is waiting for us at the guild door. I train my enchanted eye on the alleyways around us, and with my transparent vision I can see her three friends crouched behind strategically placed crates where they can open fire on us if need be. I doubt they’ll use lethal spells, but I don’t expect them to hold back on Taranis just because I’m here.

There’s a dozen different ways I could see this playing out, and most of them involve taking advantage of the fact that Anita herself is in the line of fire for her friends’ spells. I also highly doubt Anita is trained in unarmed combat, so even if things escalate, the fight is already decided if I get within grappling distance. Spellcasters are dangerous but manageable, especially if they think they hold all the cards.

None of that matters, though, if she’s shocked by the sight of my scar that she forgets all her plans.

I walk right into the ambush, Aífe on my shoulder, Taranis in my grip, and my scar front and center.

“O-oh,” Anita says, taking a step back and bumping into the door in shock. “Ah. Are… are you okay? Do I need to call a cleric?”

Anita is extremely uncomfortable. What do I do with the initiative? Choose one or more.

1. Hold out Taranis and say he’s come to bargain. Suggest negotiating points.
2. Say Taranis wants to settle this in honorable combat, one-on-one, winner take all
3. Tell Anita to leave me out of her dispute with Taranis, I don’t care how they settle it
4. Stare at her with my ruined eye for a long time
5. Other
No. 1058352 ID: a7a180

4. Gaze into the abyss... gaze into her very soul, if she has one!
No. 1058353 ID: 629f2e

1, Tell her to give Taranis a few pairs of non-magical panties to appease him. He's a pervy birdy. A pair from her and each of her obviously hiding friends would probably satisfy his egotistic want for trophies.

The value exchange should be sufficient for both parties. Underwear isn't super expensive, and Taranis probably wasn't going to use the magic enchantments for much (as it's a bit awkward to carry panties into battle when you can't just wear them).
No. 1058377 ID: 5daeae

4 and then 1. Let's tell Anita that we should address Taranis perverted ways and stealing in a way that doesn't involve someone getting hurt further.

Either that, or.... uhh..... we can turn Taranis into a khajiit. That way, he will have to avoid stealing or collecting underwear to avoud furthering negative stereotypes!
No. 1058378 ID: e5709d

5) "It's an old scar, magically linked to betrayal. Unless you murder the rest of my sociopathic family, there's no healing it."
1) *Grab Taranis with one hand and shove him in Anita's face* "Which is why I'd rather fix this drama before it festers."
No. 1058397 ID: b57fea

I'm liking the 4 into 1 combo. Put her off balance for negotiations.
No. 1059329 ID: 683784
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I stare at Anita, unblinking.

It’s obvious she’s trying to maintain eye contact on my good golden eye. She fails. Finally, after an eternity, she shakes herself out of the staring contest from hell.

“Are you going to say anything?” Anita asks, her voice cracking a bit.

“She’s shy,” Aífe says, hopping out from behind my neck and perching on my shoulder.

“By the Gods!” Anita backs up against the door. “Another one!”

“Hey now,” Aífe says. “I’m not just another magical bird. I’m Aífe the Magnificent Magpie.”

“Are you here to steal underwear, too?” Anita asks.

“I’m a collector of rare shinies. Is the underwear shiny and/or sparkly?”

“It was,” Anita says. “Then it was stolen. By that bird right there.”

“Bummer. Well, you know what they say, right? Snatchers, keepers and all that.”

“That’s not what they say.”

“Eh, if I was supposed to have perfect recall, I’d have been born a parrot,” Aífe says with a shrug. “So, are you gonna let us in or what?”

“Not until your crow friend gives me back my underwear,” Anita says.

“Hey! Did you hear that, Taranis? We’re friends now! But we can be more than that if you want…”

I glare at the lovebirds. This is what I get for inviting Aífe along.

“Ooh, nasty face,” Aífe says. “So gloomy. So spooky. You should hug her, witch lady. Elves need love too.”

Anita and I look at each other and both agree that this would be a terrible idea. It’s time for me to end this farce.

“This is getting us nowhere,” I say, holding out Taranis in my outstretched hands. “Here. Anita, you and Taranis are going to resolve this matter. Now.”

“We are going to resolve it by him giving me back my underwear,” Anita insists. “And Gloria’s, too. And if he doesn’t, we’re going to make him.”

“No, you aren’t,” I say. “It’s underwear. If my underwear got stolen by a bird, I would absolutely not want it back. Why are you so bent out of shape over this?”

“Well, if you insist on knowing, my panties and Gloria’s bra are enchanted. We spent a lot of time and effort weaving those spells into the material, and they’re very valuable.”

“I’m not even going to go into how ridiculous that sounds,” I say, “But if a single bird like Taranis can just steal them off you, then surely that wasn’t the greatest idea to begin with.”

“That doesn’t matter!” Anita huffs. “He needs to give them back right now, or else I’ll perform a citizen’s arrest!”

“On a bird?”

“Yes, on a bird!”

“Uh-huh. I’m sure you and your three friends hiding behind those crates will have great success in pulling that off without him flying away.”

“How did you know about…” Anita shakes her head. “Never mind. Girls, you can come out now. There’s no point in a surprise attack anymore.”

Anita’s friends come out from hiding, but they don’t let their guards down. I hold Taranis up to Anita.

“You two. Settle this. Now. I’m sure a prisoner exchange will suffice.”

“Why should we give up anything further to this thief?!”

“Because otherwise, you’re probably going to cause enough of a fuss in the guild to get a reputation as The Witch Who Lost Her Panties To A Bird.”

“Fine,” Anita huffs. “We can discuss terms. Only, ah… I don’t speak bird.”

“I do!” Aífe chirps.

We all head inside, and the witches begin negotiating the exchange of “hostages.”

I’m exhausted, and all this social interaction is giving me a headache. However, I feel like I should stick around to defend Taranis in case things go south.

Should I excuse myself and go to my room?
1. Yes. Taranis and Aífe can handle this, and I should go address my headache.
2. No, I need to be the enforcer just in case Taranis needs my help.
No. 1059331 ID: a7a180

2. You still have something Taranis doesn't: Thumbs. Also, you can watch a witch lose a very vocal argument about her panties to a bird.
No. 1059332 ID: e51896

2. You're Taranis' companion after all. You probably don't have to do much anyways since this is ridiculous and will probably solve itself with little interactions. Maybe offer drinks at least to set things off on the right foot, with water for yourself.
No. 1059335 ID: 273c18

Gotta agree here.
No. 1059337 ID: 629f2e

1, If Taranis could perform the theft himself, then he can handle the negotiation himself. You just needed to bring him out of the combat-zone to the diplomacy-zone, and now your job is done. If he makes shit offers and gets blasted when the deal falls through, that's on him for getting greedy. You need rest.
No. 1059353 ID: dee951

2. My goodness this is going to be amazing and hilarious, you just know it!
No. 1059414 ID: e51896

actually, has popcorn been invented in this world yet? pop some up for yourself if so. This gonna be good
No. 1059603 ID: 529427
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This negotiation for the exchange of magical underwear is inane and should never have been necessary in the first place. I have no stake in this other than to make sure Taranis doesn’t get turned into crow pâté by these spellcasters. Though they’re unlikely to use their most dangerous spells inside the Adventurers’ Guild, I can’t let down my guard. The only harmless spellcaster is one that’s been properly bound, gagged and blindfolded, and even then you can’t really be sure what magical trinkets they’re carrying that lets them get out of jail free.

Being outnumbered by hostile, competent trained spellcasters ranks high on my list of worst-case scenarios. This could get bad.

“Let this hostage exchange come to order,” says Gloria the water witch. “We, fellow classmates of the Academies of the Elements, sharing the bonds of academic sisterhood and ancient magic, hereby demand that this bird, Taranis, return the items he has stolen from us, on pain of…”

“On pain of getting his butt roasted,” says Rebecca the fire witch.

“And wind-whipped,” Anita the wind witch adds. “I want my enchanted panties back right now.”

“Taranis stole my bra and my panties,” Gloria remarks matter-of-factly. “And Lily’s… uh… Lily, I thought he took your bow?”

“He did,” Lily the earth witch says.

“Then, um,” Gloria bites her lip. “Why aren’t you wearing a bra?”

“Shh!” Gloria puts a hand to her mouth. “Don’t say it so loud!”

“Lily, Gloria could scream it and it would still be less noticeable than those bouncing boulders,” Rebecca snickers. “Seriously, what’s up? You never go braless. Like, ever.”

Lily’s face flushes. “Well, it was common sense. You said we were ambushing a bird who steals underwear. I can’t have my underwear stolen if I’m, um, not wearing it.”

“That’s very, ah… bold of you.” Anita tries to keep her eyes up and fails. “Ah! I didn’t mean because your boobs are, ah, never mind! I meant it’s bold because you don’t have access to your good spells without your enchanted bra.”

“Well, I didn’t want to hurt the poor bird,” Lily mutters.

Rebecca groans. “That was the whole point!”

This is now significantly lower on my list of worst-case scenarios.

“Um, regardless of the status of everyone’s undergarments, we have things to talk about,” Anita says. “Bird. Panties. Now.”

Taranis clacks his beak.

“Not so fast!” Aífe says. “Why should Taranis give up trophies he stole fair and square? It’s the law.”

“What law?”

“Bird law.” Aífe flies over to another table, picks up some pieces of parchment and drops them in front of the witches. “See? We even have paper with words on it. Don’t make me get my bird lawyer, he knows how to read.”

“Ridiculous! Be reasonable,” Anita scoffs. “If I go get the town guard, they’ll make Taranis give my panties back.”

Taranis lets out a long series of caws that sounds suspiciously like laughter. He raises his wing and quietly communicates something to Aífe.

“Taranis doesn’t think so,” Aífe says. “And even if you somehow get them to arrest someone they will bother with, like Raelynn, do you really think Raelynn will care about getting arrested?”

The witches look at me.

I look back with tired, dead eyes. I have bigger problems than getting arrested.

Like, for example, if I should attempt contact my deceased mom who tried her hardest to forget I ever existed. And I also have to deal with my brother, who I’m fairly certain is trying to tear the veil of the dead and let the Airceacháin bleed through. Which are, by the way, the only monstrosities horrifying enough to get the elven Circles to agree on anything in the last hundred years.

So yeah.

“Negotiations it is,” Anita sighs. “Fine. I’ll talk terms for my panties. Lily, do you want to trade something to get your bow back? Gloria, how about you?”

“He can keep my bow,” Lily says. “I have more.”

“My thong has a small enchantment, but I don’t really want it back now that it’s been, you know, bird-ed,” Gloria says. “I need my bra back, though. It’s got the gem and the strongest spells.”

“Okay, since you’re being reasonable now, we’ll be reasonable too. See?” Aífe says. “Everyone’s gonna be reasonable, right? So because Gloria’s bra and Anita’s panties are super magical and have gems, they are worth… two million pairs of regular panties.”

“What?! That’s absurd!”

“Oh yeah and one million bras.”

There is much bickering and gnashing of teeth.
No. 1059604 ID: 529427
File 167989661249.png - (40.94KB , 466x1000 , LF6c_31.png )

Taranis whispers to Aífe.

“Since it’s hard to pay the fair bird market value,” Aífe says, “Taranis will instead accept installment payments of two pairs of panties and one bra every week, from now until forever.”

“You’re crazy!”

“That’s nonsense!”

“How is that magpie talking?”


“Enough!” Anita huffs. “So you’ll accept regular underwear, then? You like going around and collecting new pairs of panties like a perv?”

Taranis nods.

“Then here’s an offer. We’ll all give you two pieces of underwear. That’s even better than you had before. It’s more than fair.”

“Wait, I zoned out for a second. Why am I giving this bird my panties?” Rebecca asks.

“Because the bonds of sisterhood know no limits, that’s why,” Anita says.

Taranis shakes his head and caws.

“Nope,” Aífe translates. “Not good enough. You’re just gonna unload all your old ratty pairs of panties! Taranis wants first pick of all your underwear drawers for two items each of regular underwear, including bras and stockings and all the frilly stuff. And no trying to say one stocking is a single thing!”

The witches huddle and whisper angrily. Soon they reach a conclusion. They’re not happy, but it’s done.

“You drive a hard bargain,” Anita says sullenly. “But if Taranis agrees to never ever try to steal any of our stuff again, and to never bother us as long as he lives, we have a deal.”

Taranis plucks a feather from his wing and dips it in a conveniently placed inkwell to sign on the Bird Law “paperwork”. The witches roll their eyes, but each of them pass around the feather to sign the faux contract with a signature.

After signing, Lily drops the feather on the floor. “Ah!”

Taranis and Aífe share a conspiratorial glance and my instincts tell me something bad is about to happen. Are they really going to risk messing up a done deal? Why? For what reason?

Because they feel like it, apparently.

Aífe flaps her wings and a powerful gust of wind blows up Lily’s skirt, confirming that yes, she did indeed keep her panties safe from bird theft. Lily shrieks. Anita tries once more to keep her eyes up and once again fails.

“We had a deal!” Rebecca shouts.

"Ahaha!” Aífe cackles. “Not with me, you didn’t! So long, ladies! Ciao ciao!”

With that, Aífe shoots down the hall and out the window. The witches glare at Taranis, who shrugs his wings.

“Do I need to supervise you while you go shopping?” I sigh, disappointed in every way.

Taranis shakes his head in the negative.

Good. I can only take so much of this in one sitting. Still, to be sure, I look Anita dead in the eyes and make it abundantly clear I expect Taranis to be in one piece the next time I see him, or else.

I am absolutely, one hundred percent done with today. It’s time to sleep.


I wake up the next morning to see Taranis snoozing inside the cups of a breathtakingly huge bra and surrounded by a shimmering mound of ill-gotten underwear.

I can’t believe I have to deal with this bird.

The sun is just barely peeking over the horizon. I’m feeling tired and drained, not really up to doing anything that feels like effort.

Do I force myself to get up and exercise, or do I sleep in?
No. 1059605 ID: e51896

Wake up briefly to eat, and bathe at least. After that, decide at that point if you're feeling up to exercise, or would want to sleep in. You had a busy day yesterday after all.
No. 1059607 ID: 273c18

Exercise will make you feel better.
No. 1059608 ID: e5709d

Parkour time
No. 1059744 ID: c171f5
File 168005784765.png - (30.32KB , 400x343 , LF6c_32.png )

The morning air is chill and crisp. Fall is beginning to set in. There are no trees in Minga, but the nearby hills are becoming tinged with orange. My gaze wanders and my stride lengthens. Soon the buildings blur together.

My mind dulls into the pleasant, floating sensation as I reach my cadence. The cobblestones, once rough and treacherous under my feet, seem as smooth as glass. I’ve reached the point where I’m so comfortable using the extra balance of Feline Grace mutagen that it feels as natural as breathing.

The city is quiet this early in the morning. I have the streets to myself. There’s nothing that can reach me. Not when I’m like this. Here, I can’t be hurt by anything or anyone.

Before I know it, the buildings are repeating themselves. I’ve completed a lap around the City. I don’t care. I go again, losing myself in the rhythm of my stride.

Some time later, I feel a tingling on the back of my neck. Adrenaline floods my body. I immediately drop and slide into the cover of a door frame, closing off as many lines of sight as possible.

I sweep the area quickly with my ruined eye, peering through the wood and stone around me. There are moving shapes in the buildings, but the tingling sensation I felt was higher up. I look higher and see a winged shape high above.

I put a hand to my chest and sigh deeply. It’s okay, Rae. Just a wing-kin on delivery. Nothing to worry about.

No, it is something to worry about. How long did it take me to pick up on the telltale flapping of wings? How long was she my blind spot? If she’d really meant to do me harm, could I have reacted in time? I know this isn’t a warzone, but I can’t just turn the thoughts off. They’re a part of me. Protecting me. I need them.

Wait. The wing-kin is circling around and doubling back to my last position. It was following me. I knew it.

I focus my ruined eye on the shape through the building walls, tracking the wing-kin until it’s facing far enough away from me. When I’m sure the overhead avian won’t see, I dash into an alleyway out of its line of sight. It’s my turn to double back.

I scale the building façade nearest to me, press myself under the eaves and wait for the shape to come back for a third pass. This time I get a good look at my pursuer.

It’s Apricot. Not a threat, then. I don’t think so, at least. Why was she following me? Why is she searching for me? Doesn’t she know how dangerous it is to try and sneak up on someone like that? She could have been mistaken for a…

My hands are shaking.

I take a moment to collect myself.

Easy, girl.

It’s okay.

I carefully climb down the façade and walk to the middle of the street, waiting for Apricot to find me again. It doesn’t take her long, and she alights on the cobblestones in a clatter of claws and flutter of wings.

“Hi! There you are! Thought I lost ya for a second. You’re fast!”

I don’t say anything back.

“Guess we’re both early birds, huh? I just, you know, wanted to say hi. See how you were doing, since, you know, uh... you know.

"Are you feeling okay? You're kinda quiet.”

I don’t like her. I don't like this. I just want to be left alone. Why is that so hard to understand?

I take a breath and prepare to tell her exactly what I'm thinking.
No. 1059751 ID: dee951

I'm under a lot of stress and I am feeling really really grumpy and I need a lot of space and I was HOPING that exercising would make me FEEL BETTER BUT FUCKING NO, THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN, SO I'M JUST GOING TO SNAP AT EVERYONE!!!
No. 1059755 ID: a7a180

Grab her around the arms (commonly known as a 'hug') and whisper: "Don't sneak up on me again."
No. 1059756 ID: 273c18

Tell her you're not doing okay. You just want to be left alone. Maybe pet a cat.
No. 1059794 ID: 1371b2

“Meditation” or maybe “Bad dreams” might get across the vibe of ‘bad thoughts, running as a means to calm down/deal with bad mood’ and the lack of elaboration should give the hint you don’t want to talk right now.
No. 1059809 ID: e51896

Just tell her you'll be fine once you get some alone time.
No. 1061007 ID: 05aeff
File 168098261001.png - (5.36KB , 258x251 , LF6c_33.png )

I clamp down on my frustration and say exactly what I need to. No more, no less.

“Don’t ever do that again.”

Apricot wilts. She shrinks back, feathers drooping. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sneak up on you. You looked so focused… I was happy to see you. I’m sorry.”

I don’t know what to say to that. I let out a deep sigh. “I was meditating. Alone.”

“That’s so cool you can do that while exercising!” Apricot says. “No wonder you’re in such great shape. I don’t really have exercises, but I do carry heavy packages around. I guess that counts? It’s something I do to make some extra cash while Autumn is doing fairy stuff. I like delivering packages way more than letters. People are always really happy when they see me deliver their stuff! It’s a nice way to start the day.”

I really wish she’d leave me be. Can’t she see I’d rather be exercising? I feel like turning away and just leaving, but then I realize something.

Apricot hasn’t mentioned my scar. In fact, she hasn’t even been staring at it. She’s just… making eye contact normally. Does she not care about my new hairstyle? Is she not put off by the necrotized skin all over my face?

Apricot is a weird bird.

“Well, while we’re here, do you want to grab some breakfast with me? There’s a new bakery that opened up about two weeks ago and it’s owned by a real live dragon! And that fox spirit who lives at the Adventurers’ Guild works there too, she’s the waitress! I think it’s called, uh… Rotisserie de Minga?”


“Oh. Oops. Thanks. But can you blame me? Dragon! I bet she makes a great roast too!”

“I’d rather just go back to the guild and shower,” I say. That should give her the hint I want to be left alone.

“Oh, good idea,” Apricot says. She lifts her wings and gives a sniff. “Yeah, maybe I should too.”

Or not.

“Look,” I say, “I’m dealing with some big issues right now. I need to focus.”

“Oh,” Apricot says. “Do you want to talk about it? Oh! Sorry. Uh, maybe we don’t have to talk. I’ll be quiet if you want me to, I just wanted to thank you for helping me with my armor. Everyone needs breakfast! Or we could just go back to the guild and I can thank you there, or we can do something that you want to do to take your mind off those issues. Something to de-stress, maybe.”

I’m obviously not getting rid of Apricot just yet, and it’s not worth the effort to tell her off. I consider going to the Cat Café, but it’s closed this early in the day. There is, however, one pettable animal in Minga that somehow finds me no matter the time of day.

1. Go to Kayk’s Bakery
2. Go back to the Adventurers’ Guild
3. Go to the Church of Eirene
4. Go pet the skunk
No. 1061008 ID: a7a180

Go to the bakery (she needs the business)
No. 1061009 ID: b8408d

Bakery, we can hit up the skunk on the way out. Also maybe Dotti would be down for a quick pat or 2
No. 1061011 ID: e51896

Considering in the previous thread Apricot wanted Taranis as a animal companion since she is a ranger. She must be looking for an animal companion. That skunk might be perfect for her.

4. Go introduce Apricot to skunky
No. 1061012 ID: 629f2e

Bakery, the threads must converge.
No. 1061058 ID: c74210
File 168107666647.png - (36.41KB , 391x603 , LF6c_34.png )

If Apricot insists on doing something together, it might as well be something that helps Serah’s party. Or is it my party? No, it isn’t. I’m a freelancer. I don’t have a permanent deal with Serah. I want to keep my options open. Maybe take a nice, long trip after I deal with things back home. I mean, with my brother.

My stomach churns. It’s because I’m hungry. There is no other reason.

I jog to the bakery, Apricot trailing above me. It’s good to get more exercise, and we cover the distance quickly enough to arrive before the morning crowds really start to appear. We’re the first ones at Kayk’s bakery.

A familiar fluffy face pokes her head out the front door, her eyes glimmering. She sees my scar and her glimmering eyes go wide for a moment, then she disappears inside.

“Kayk, Rae’s here! She brought a friend, and she’s kind of scary so I’m gonna help her, okay?” Dotti scampers out to greet us and gestures to a table. “Hi! Welcome! Kayk’s a little stressed right now, she’s busy with a few lawyerly things. Is that okay? I can go grab her if you really want to talk to her. Or are you here for breakfast? I like the pancakes with strawberries, the cream is fresh whipped! We have some poppyseed muffins too, and coffee and tea and milk. Here’s the menu!”

“We’re here for breakfast! The muffin sounds great,” Apricot says, and we take a seat at the table. “You know Rae? How wonderful! I’m Apricot.”

“Nice to meet you!” Dotti gives a curtsy, showing off a pair of stockings. Kayk’s fashion preferences are making an impression on her, I suppose.

Dotti looks at me for my order, and it’s obvious she’s trying her best to avoid staring at my scar. I suppose I’d better get used to that. I don’t like sweets, they’ll make me fat. There has to be something at this bakery that isn’t loaded with sugar. Maybe bread and butter.

Everyone is looking at me, and I realize I’ve been led into Apricot’s trap.

I have to say something to keep the conversation going.

Conversation. My least favorite thing.

Suggest something to talk about with Dotti, something to talk about with Apricot, and something for Rae to order for breakfast.
No. 1061059 ID: dee951

Inquire about their savory breakfast options with Dotti, and make smalltalk about availability of appropriate ingredients and such along those lines with her!

Discuss Taranis and that one skunk and Aife and the various animals and animal-people-that-look-like-normal-animals in your life with Apricot, as well as any that she's found have entered her life in a big way recently.

Order a savory breakfast pull-apart 'monkey bread' with some mix of sausage, eggs, cheese, and bacon in it! And some juice or milk to go with it.
No. 1061060 ID: a7a180

Talk about Dotti's new tails and new job, Apricot's fairy Autumn and how they met, and order waffles with butter. Waffles are better than pancakes.
No. 1061065 ID: de0094

Get yourself a Focaccia

Talk to Apricot about that skunk that you keep running into, and Aife. Who knows, they could potentially become Apricot's companion if she wants to meet them.

Ask Dotti how she is liking working with Kayk. Also talk about your plan to see Priscilla later to deal with your own stress later. Serah, and Dotti probably havent heard from us in awhile and are probably worried about us since the last they saw us, we were in bed and depressed, so its probably a good idea to let them know you're handling yourself.

Make it clear your going there ALONE, so Apricot doesnt follow.
No. 1061075 ID: 629f2e

Ask Apricot about herself and where she comes from? Maybe how she got acquainted with Autumn?
No. 1061112 ID: b57fea

This, also order pancakes but go light on the syrup, maybe some scrambled eggs as a side for protein.
No. 1061214 ID: f38037
File 168127971385.png - (236.21KB , 600x338 , LF6c_35.png )

Conversation is the problem. Food is the solution.

“Savory,” I ask. “Eggs.”

“Do you want something filling?” Dotti asks. “If you do, we have focaccia bread stuffed with scrambled eggs, sausage, spinach and tomatoes. We’ll cook it fresh!”

I nod and hand her the menu back. The sooner I get the food, the better. I don’t have to talk if my mouth is full, and that’s a protein-filled entrée without sugar.

“Orange juice it is! I’ll have the waffles with strawberries and cream,” Apricot chirps. “With a lake of syrup. Do you have any juice?”

“We have orange juice today. I squeezed it myself so you know it’s good.”

“I’d like the orange juice.”

“You are very wise,” Dotti says, marking her notepad. “I’ll go get it ready. Just a few minutes, please, thank you!”

Dotti scampers back inside the bakery, which is fairly impressive given she’s wearing heels. She must have been practicing. Is she that invested in her job? Or is she excited about human fashion? Or both? I could ask her, but I don’t want to dive too deep into it. I know I’d feel odd if someone asked me if I’d practiced wearing heels. I don’t want people paying that much attention to me.

…But if that’s true, why am I putting my scar out in the open?

I don’t know. It’s frustrating. I’m frustrating. I give up thinking about it and let the tension out with a long sigh. Apricot notices, of course, and she’s right up in my business again.

“The fox spirit knows you? That’s so cool!” she says, trying to jolt the conversation forward again like a rider kicking a stubborn horse’s sides. “I’ve always wondered how a fox spirit got to fit in here so well. How did you meet?”

“We met a few months ago,” I say. “She wasn’t always so… well-socialized. Things happened, and I got hired to escort her to a dragon’s lair.”

“Whoa…” Apricot’s eyes go wide. “This dragon? The one running the bakery?”

“Her mother’s,” I say. Apricot is hanging on to my every word and it’s making me uncomfortable. “It was just a job.”

“Just a job?” Apricot gapes. “I wish my life was as exciting as yours.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I do! I really do! All I get to do is fly around and deliver letters and packages and fly so high I never get into any danger that isn’t cloud-shaped. Autumn and I are new contractors working together to support emergency service for adventurers, and she always warns me I haven’t ever been in a real battle and that I shouldn’t take tough assignments yet. I need to show I can handle delivering to hot spots or no one will ever take me seriously back home.”

“Hot spots?”

“You know,” Apricot says. “Stuff like urgent, secret, encoded messages to army generals that can’t be sent through magic ‘cause they’re shielded. Evacuating critically wounded or starving adventurers from areas no one else can get to. Taking precious tribute to dragons’ lairs, gems so valuable that everyone will be hunting for it. Bringing magic items and potions to merchants at the ends of the world, then bringing back rare items no one’s ever heard of. Stuff that’s worth telling stories about. Autumn keeps telling me I’m not ready yet, and at this rate I never will be.”

“You’re fortunate,” I say.

“I don’t want to be fortunate! I want to prove myself.”

“That could go one of two ways,” I say quietly, and I catch myself trying to toy with the bangs over my ruined eye but they aren’t there, they’re behind my ear, and I just look stupid. Thank goodness Dotti’s returning and bringing us our orange juice.

“Rae told me she helped take you to a dragon’s lair,” Apricot says as Dotti places the drinks on the table. “How did it go?”

“It was really scary,” Dotti says, “If it wasn’t for Rae, we wouldn’t have even gotten to the lair. And when we got there, two dragons threatened to kill me again, but Rae protected me.”

“She protected you against two dragons?”

“Uh… let me count.” Dotti holds out her paw. “One small one, and one big one and her paladin mate. I didn’t see Jek behind me, but I think he was ready to fight Rae too.”

“It wasn’t like that,” I say, but Apricot isn’t listening. Her eyes are glimmering in awe and I’m never going to live this down. “Ugh. I need to visit the Church of Eirene soon. Dotti, could you please just get our food?”

Dotti’s ears droop and she ducks back inside the bakery.

Shit. That came out harsher than I intended.

I drink my orange juice in silence. I could talk to Apricot about Aífe, or how she met Autumn, or tell her why she’s lucky to have never been in a warzone, but there’s no point. I’d only upset her, like I did with Dotti.

This is why I hate conversations.
No. 1061219 ID: e51896

>Dotti scampers back inside the bakery, which is fairly impressive given she’s wearing heels. She must have been practicing. Is she that invested in her job? Or is she excited about human fashion? Or both? I could ask her, but I don’t want to dive too deep into it

Realize the stockings and heels (mainly the stockings) are probably because Dotti is looking up to Kayk, and has high respect for her, so she is wearing stockings just like Kayk would sometimes wear, to be like more like her. Imitation is a high form of flattery. She seems much happier being adound Kayk than she does with others too

Start thinking about who you respect as much as Dotti respects Kayk. Do you still respect them enough to make them proud? Is there others you might look to gain respect from? Further down this line of thinking, Wonder if Apricot is actually showing some form of admiration and respect to you like Dotti does for Kayk. How does that make you feel? Would you want to train her like Kayk trained Dotti? If not, what would be something someone could do to gain your respect?
No. 1061220 ID: a7a180

Try to explain to a birdbrain with big dreams why everyone comes out of a warzone with scars. point to your BIG OBVIOUS EXAMPLE because she only takes hints that have been dusted with cracker crumbs. Then tell her that not all the scars are physical.
No. 1061222 ID: e5709d

>Why am I putting my scar out in the open?
So long as you spend needless effort hiding it and worrying about what others think about it rather than learning what others think about it, it truly is a wound.

If someone wants you to cover up, fine. But you'll never know how they feel if you waste your time making sure they can pretend you're nothing new.
That's a courtesy they don't deserve.

>Apricot wants to prove herself
"Proving yourself means taking on challenges until your success rate is 'sufficient'.
That won't happen if you die the first time you fail.
Take on challenges with consequences but don't ante anything you can't live without - like your life.
Being forced to bet your whole life isn't a challenge. It's slavery. It's what my House put me through. It's how I lost something I can never get back.
Screw 'em."
No. 1061223 ID: 273c18

The heels might be an illusion. Or would your eye see through that?

Tell her how the dragon escort mission went.
No. 1061232 ID: bf1fa5

Apologize to Dotti for snapping at her.
You don’t need to go lookin for trouble Apricot, trouble will find you. You should keep preparing because it’s a constant process, but the mail will still be an important delivery to someone stricken with disease or in a hurricane.
No. 1061298 ID: e51896

I kinda like this. As harsh as it is, Apricot needs a reality check for her own safety. Let her know flat out that adventuring is not a game, and if she continues to not be mature about it, it could, and will lead to this *points to scar* or worse, death. Mention how she even complained earlier about not wanting to gear up in her adventuring gear the other day too as another example. Let her know that her attitude of not taking adventuring seriously is the reason why Autumn is refusing her to go on adventures. If Apricot complains about what you're saying, tell her flat out to grow up.


this too, if things start turning out too harsh to put things in further perspective.
No. 1061303 ID: 629f2e


I'd just like to add onto this to say: Be gentle. That isn't in Rae's nature, I know, but if she doesn't even try then she'll make this poor bird cry. Just try to be nice about it.
No. 1061346 ID: 18001e
File 168144182901.png - (15.41KB , 700x464 , LF6c_36.png )

Apricot is still looking at me in awe, and it’s pushing all my buttons at once. I was sent to war before I was ready, and it destroyed everything I had. My eye. My future. My family.

If I can talk her out of delivering to “hot spots,” I’ll be doing her the biggest favor of her life.

“Whatever you have in your head about what Dotti just said,” I say, “That’s not what happened. If that dragon had actually started a fight, I’d be dead. Do you get that? Dotti would be dead. Landi would be dead. Serah would be dead. And there wouldn’t have been a thing I could have done to stop it.”

“But… you did stand up to the dragons,” Apricot says, confused. “You’re still brave. And you still protected Dotti.”

“I refuse to take credit for that. A dragon deciding not to eat us even after a loudmouth fairy pissed it off? That’s luck. You know what else is luck? Every time you fly into a warzone, luck is you not getting spotted when you’re exhausted from flying leagues in stormy weather, the enemy archers are fresh, and their arrows are sharp. You’re taking that gamble every time.”

“Please don’t worry about me,” Apricot says. “I’m fast, and Autumn can cast spells to protect me, and-”

“I can see I’m not getting through to you.” I stare her right in the eyes and point at my scar. “How many battles do you think I fought in before I got this?”

Apricot finally has the decency to acknowledge my scar. She looks at it. She gulps, but doesn’t say anything.

I stay silent too.

“Um…” Apricot can’t focus any more, and she stares at the table. “Twenty?”

“Wrong. Lower.”

“Ten. Um. Seven. Five?”


More silence.
“I…” Apricot looks like she’d rather be anywhere but here. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m really sorry.”

I want to snap at her, tell her she’s playing games, to stay far, far away from what she thinks she wants to do. It’d be for that birdbrain’s own good. Maybe, if I do it right, I’ll save her life.

I let out a long, deep sigh. No. No, I can do better. I can be better. I don’t need to lash out at her.

“I don’t want you to say anything,” I say. “I just want you to see, and understand, what happens every single day out there. Don’t complain about things that are meant to protect you, like your armor, and Autumn’s advice. Don’t get yourself hurt. Not all scars can be seen.”

“I’m really sorry,” she says again. “I want to help people, but I don’t know how. You know so many things about how to survive in dangerous places, and I’ve never even come close. You can go anywhere you want because you know how to stay safe, and I’m stuck doing kiddie missions because I don’t have experience.”

“Hm.” A wing-kin, jealous of an elf’s freedom to go places? Are my ears working right? “Keep training. Keep doing your missions. That’s experience.”

“Breakfast experience!” Dotti says, dropping in with our food. “Here you are. I’ll leave you to your food.”

I still feel somewhat badly about how I told Dotti off. I could apologize, but… no. It wouldn’t feel right.

“Dotti, I’m not angry with you,” I say. “I have a lot on my mind. You can stay here if you want.”

Dotti looks at me, then at the downcast Apricot. Impressive: counting myself, I’ve managed to ruin three people’s days just by opening my mouth. Dotti looks like she’s going to make an excuse to leave.

Ugh. I hate having to do this.

“Those are nice shoes, Dotti,” I say, hating how I sound with such an idiotic, awkward compliment.

“Um, thank you,” Dotti says. “They’re new. I really like them, even though they’re hard to walk in.”

“That must have been hard,” I say, soldiering on. “You could have cast an illusion instead, but you didn’t.”

Dotti’s eyes go wide. “You can tell when I’m casting an illusion? Am I that bad at it?”

“I can see through them,” I say, pointing at my damaged eye. “Don’t worry about it. Your illusions are fine, my eye is just different.”

Dotti is unconvinced.

“It still works? Wow! That’s incredible!” Apricot exclaims, then quickly ducks her head down. “I’m so sorry, that was really rude.”

I really don’t want to spend time talking about what it took to get my eye working, and what it’s capable of now versus what it should be capable of. It’s a very, very sore subject, and it’s private for many reasons, most of which are closely-held secrets within my clan.

Plus it’ll be really awkward if people know I can see through their clothes if I focus hard enough.

Do I let Apricot and Dotti drag me into talking about my eye?
No. 1061348 ID: a7a180

Ooh, you already let some of it slip. No, it's kept close to the chest for a reason, let them speculate.
No. 1061356 ID: e51896

If it's a sore subject, then there is nothing wrong with keeping it private. If they push you to reveal some things, just let them know that it's a sore subject with you, and would like to change the subject. they'll understand. Otherwise, just simply change the subject if they don't bring it up.
No. 1061357 ID: b57fea

If you tell them only a little you'll never hear the end of it. An incomplete story will only inspire an eternity of prodding, just spill it.
No. 1061358 ID: dee951

Offer to help Dotti mix her illusions with misdirection and makeup and costuming and stage magic and other performance art style techniques to help defend against those with weird abilities like yours. After all, she's duty bound as a trickster fox spirit to not get no-sold by cheat abilities like yours!
No. 1061360 ID: 273c18

Tell her no. It doesn't, not like it should. Then leave it at that.
No. 1061363 ID: e5709d

Your combat clairvoyance was meant to scale up your opponents as you saw them and predict who they would become.
Your necro eye has the ability to see through walls, glamours, and possibly lies over time - to see what people are now.
...Do you think your family was subconsciously afraid that you would see them for what they truly are? That you'd stop forging a path to a blindingly bright future and address the visible issues that could be solved at that exact moment, to the detriment of their schemes and mania?

>Talk about eye?
I'd rather you talk about your family. About how they felt when your eye changed.
No. 1061367 ID: 629f2e

Do it. It'll probably help your point to Apricot stand if nothing else.
No. 1061452 ID: 0c64a1
File 168158201220.png - (7.03KB , 500x342 , LF6c_37.png )

Ah, damn it. I’ve already let something slip. Taranis used to be the only one who knew my ruined eye still works in some capacity. I need to clamp down on this now, or else even more people will start speculating about me, my eye, and my clan. The absolute last thing I need is for humans to start hunting my people to pry our secrets out.

“It doesn’t work. Not like it should. And you can’t tell anyone about it,” I say firmly.

Apricot brightens. Dotti quickly takes a seat and leans forward, ears perked. No escaping this now.

“Promise me you’ll never tell anyone,” I say.

“Not even Autumn?” Apricot asks.

“Not even Autumn,” I say. I don’t need a fairy learning anything about this, either.

“Is it because you can see through her glow? She’s super protective of that. I’ve never understood it, but fairies are weird.”

“Yes,” I nod. “Illusions, fairy glow, invisible magic sigils. I can see those.”

“So cool…” Apricot sighs.

For the sake of keeping my people’s secrets, I don’t tell them anything else. How the eyes are the windows into the soul, and much I’ve lost. If my eye hadn’t been ruined, I could do things that elves haven’t done for hundreds, maybe a thousand years. Things like reading and influencing minds with the briefest of eye contact. Sense the essence of souls. See the strands of fate and tweak them. And so, so much more. The humans’ belief in the Evil Eye isn’t entirely unfounded.

“Um,” Dotti squrims. “I didn’t know anyone could see through my illusions. It’s kind of scary for me.”

“A powerful enough magic user can see through unskilled illusions,” I say. “But don’t worry. They’re relatively rare, and you can learn tricks to deceive even them. I’ve heard of a few fox spirits that created illusions so real that they were, for all intents and purposes, real.”

“Can you teach me?”

“Not how to make undetectable illusions,” I shrug. “But there are some simple tricks I use for misdirection. A good amount of techniques I use with smoke bombs can carry over to your illusions.”

“And…” Dotti pauses. “Do I have to worry about other elves who have magic eyes?”

Ah. There it is. I take a bite of my focaccia to try and shove down the sickening feeling in my stomach. It works, but only because the food is just that tasty.

“No,” I say. “I’m the only one. It takes decades of training, rituals, and practice to attune an eye to get where I am. Even before the war, it was uncommon. It took me most of my life, and I’m forty-three years old. We don’t live that long anymore. Too much fighting. My mom… I just heard she died in battle when she was just over seventy.”

“I’m sorry,” Apricot says, reaching out with her wing to touch my arm. I don’t like it, but I accept the gesture.

“Huh? Why didn’t she just come back to life?” Dotti asks. Autumn gasps. “Is it hard for elves to cross back over?”

I bite my lip and try to avoid lashing out at Dotti for her massive, massive ignorance and incredible fox spirit privilege. I still don’t know how she managed to make it back to life, but however it happened, she seems to treat it like no big deal.

“Yes, it’s harder for elves than foxes,” I say. “We know some rituals, and they don’t always work. The elves that do make it back… they aren’t the same. It’s almost never worth it.”

Dotti thankfully realizes that maybe, just maybe, she should be quiet for a bit. We finish our breakfast and pay. Apricot tries to cover my share but I’m having none of that, so she just gives Dotti an extra-big tip instead.

“Thank you!” Dotti waves. “Rae, um, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

“It’s fine,” I say. “If everything goes well, I’ll get to talk with her today. I’ll be at the Church of Eirene later. And no, that wasn’t an invitation to join me and offer tips on how to talk to spirits. It’s personal. Very personal.”
No. 1061453 ID: 0c64a1
File 168158205752.png - (63.31KB , 500x500 , LF6c_38.png )

After that, Apricot and I walk back to the Adventurers’ guild and shower up. Taranis joins me in the common room once I’m dressed and settled.

“Hey! Rae!” a blue ball flutters over to us. “There you are. How are ya? Have you had breakfast?”

My stomach churns. I should have expected to be ambushed by Landi. I let her down, and I still don’t know how her performance review went. How badly did I fuck her over by lying in bed for days?

“Yes, I’ve had breakfast,” I say, and don’t know how else to respond because I am definitely not okay.

“Aww,” Landi says. “I was gonna get you some fruit n’ stuff. Maybe tomorrow. But oh! Hey! I almost forgot. I thought you might wanna know a bit more about that priesty girl’s goddess so you don’t feel awkward if you go visit, you know?” Landi pulls a book out of her inventory and holds it out. “I remembered when we did ladies’ night and you really liked books. I hope it’s okay.”

“Um. Thanks,” I say. I take the book.

“Yeah,” Landi says. “I kinda skimmed it a bit, but it turns out, people who worship Eirene aren’t actually, you know, banned from punching people. It’s just her priestesses. And there was one really famous dude who was a soldier and converted to worshipping Eirene and he was a super badass way back when. So you really don’t need to worry about her judging you even if you walk in with a sword n’ stuff. Peace ain’t gonna make itself, you know?”

I hadn’t even thought about whether it was okay to bring Samhain inside a Church of Eirene. This is actually useful information.

“Okay, I gotta go help Serah real quick,” Landi says. “So I’ll leave you and Taranis to your stuff, okay? And please please please don’t wait to talk to me if you wanna talk about anything. Okay byeeeeee!”

Landi zooms away and disappears into the alchemical lab. The world feels upside-down.

“What just happened?” I ask Taranis.

Taranis is flabbirdgasted.

I sit down in the common room and page through the book. It tells me the history of Eirene, her teachings, and the spells her priestesses specialize in. They’re very odd. Eirene’s defensive spells are unquestionably the best in her pantheon, but the catch is they don’t work if the beneficiary is the one to strike the first blow. Ambushing someone blessed by Eirene is a very, very bad idea.

I lose track of time for a bit. Reading about Eirene is actually kind of interesting. When I snap out of it, it’s late morning and Taranis is chit-chattering with Aífe, who showed up when I wasn’t paying attention.

What do I do now?
1. Go to the Church of Eirene and visit Priscilla, Priestess of Peace. I can make an offering, if I feel like it. And talk about death. And mom. And me. Wow, I’m wound up about this… I think I should do it right now.
2. Go visit Serah in the alchemy lab and ask about an improved cat’s grace mutagen.
3. Go talk to Landi about her performance review with S-A-L-T.
4. Invite Aífe along for one of the above three options.
No. 1061454 ID: b57fea

The decision is clear, self maintenance is needed. 1 it is!
No. 1061455 ID: e51896

1. You were scheduled for that after all. Dont bring Aife. This is personal.
No. 1061456 ID: a7a180

2. Then 1! And invite Aife.
No. 1061457 ID: 629f2e

1 for now, but do check up on Landi afterwards.
No. 1061458 ID: b57fea

as an addendum, after 1., 3.
No. 1061462 ID: e51896

As for an offering, looking through Rae's inventory, I'm not quite sure what can work for a worthy enough offering except money, which she has plenty to spare.

there is the Samhain, but I do not think she wants to part with that as it is her birthright, and it is a close range weapon for her. Maybe after we talk with her mother and if things turn out badly, she might be willing to part with it as an offering and as a symbolism that she rejects everything her circle stands for and get a better weapon, but lets wait and see what her meeting with her mother is like

But yeah, just offer money for now.
No. 1061465 ID: 9138e1

What are you even thinking? No, don't offer the Samhain
No. 1061468 ID: e51896

Sorry. I was only thinking it'd be a cool symbolic gesture.

I still think we should offer coins though.
No. 1061474 ID: 273c18

1, make an offering of something that makes you feel peaceful.
No. 1061975 ID: 3de4c5
File 168228065758.png - (8.62KB , 500x464 , LF6c_39.png )

I catch Taranis’s eye and tilt my head sideways, toward the guild door. He gets the message that I’d like to go, and politely says goodbye to Aífe. For things like this, I like that Taranis doesn’t need explaining. He understands.

We leave the guild and go to the Church of Eirene. It’s a run-down building that doesn’t have any distinguishing or elaborate fasciae; it’s easy to miss, especially since it’s in an out-of-the-way part of Minga.

I’ve brought my shortsword Samhain. It’s my birthright; I don’t like to leave it behind. I feel odd about bringing it inside, but my book was clear that Eirene is understanding of these kinds of things. As long as I don’t start waving it around like some people I know, I’ll be welcome.

There’s no one inside. The few pews, all empty, are covered in a fine layer of dust. The candles on the walls are burned down to the nubs, unlit and cold. Taranis hops onto my shoulder and nuzzles up to me. For warmth? To reassure me? Regardless, it feels nice.

I take the scene in for a minute. There’s an empty offering receptacle at the end of the pews, a small tray and a tiny open-lidded box for bigger things like clothes, food or other things. I sigh. I don’t know what a human priestess would consider a good offering. My clan doesn’t really do sacrifieces or offerings; we train, fight and die for (theoretically) our gods and goddesses, and they don’t expect anything else. We used to dedicate beautiful songs, poetry and art, but that was almost five hundred years ago, before the war with the humans. We’re not very good at that anymore.

I decide to offer something that would have meant a lot to me, if I was in Priscilla’s position. I leave three days’ worth of living expenses in the offering tray. It’s far from what I could offer after my latest outing with Lady Kensington, but I don’t want to make this awkward for Priscilla.

My gaze settles on the rear door that’s ajar, leading to the garden. There’s nothing for me inside. I could say a prayer I remember from the book a few minutes ago, but it wouldn’t be sincere. There’s no point.

I head outside.

Priscilla, the priestess, is tossing small, reserved amounts of birdseed to a collection of doves. The white-plumed birds are happily pecking at the ground. One of them looks up at Taranis and me, its beady little eyes curious and inviting.

I raise my eyebrow at Taranis. Does he know that bird? I’ve never seen such a trusting wild animal. Well, except for that skunk…

He shakes his head in the negative. These birds don’t look or act like any avians with divine lineage, like Taranis and Aífe. They’re just regular doves.

“Oh! Good morning,” Priscilla looks up at us and smiles. “I’m so happy you decided to visit. I like your new hairstyle.”

I shrug.

“And you, Taranis. This is very humble birdseed,” Priscilla holds out her hand to Taranis, “But what we have, we have to share. Would you like some treats too?”

Taranis declines. I’m sure he would only accept birdseed of the highest caliber: it would take whole peanuts to get him to hop around on the ground like these doves. The thought is kind of funny, but I’m sure it’d never happen, and I’m not inclined to try it.

“Okay, birdies, that’s enough for today,” Priscilla says. She gives one of the doves a soft pat on the head and gets a soft coo in response. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

The birds don’t respond. They’re birds, and there’s still some birdseed left on the ground to eat. I wonder if Priscilla knows how lucky she is that she doesn’t have to deal with divine birds?

“Let’s go inside.” Priscilla leads us back into the Church and offers a seat in the pews. “Would you like someplace more private? I can close the doors if you want.”

“Later,” I say. I take a seat and shuffle uncomfortably. “I’m not good at conversation, so I’m just going to ask you what I need to know.”

Priscilla sits beside me and Taranis. She waits for a moment, expecting me to say something. She nods.

Ugh. I didn’t expect her to actually listen to me. Aren’t priestesses supposed to preach? I don’t have any questions prepared, and the ones that I do have… they make me sound like a bitch. But she isn’t saying anything.

Fine, then.

“If I ask you to contact my… my mom,” I say, not looking at Priscilla, “How do I know if I’m actually speaking to her, and not an impostor that some goddess is using to try and gain more followers?”

“You can ask her things only she would know,” Priscilla says. “If she hasn’t passed on, then you will be able to speak to her as if she was there with you. If she wants, she can manifest an image in a pool of water, or a mirror.”

“Gods and goddesses know a lot,” I press. “I don’t trust the gods to not be listening in on things. Don’t they control fate? They know everything.”

“Not everything,” Priscilla says. “But if you would like true proof that the spirit you’re talking with is actually your mother, then… you have to rely on all your senses. The feeling you have when you were around her as a child. The pull on your soul from the time you spent with her. It’s more difficult for people who haven’t trained spiritually, but it’s there.”

I’m not sure I like that answer. “How do I know if she’s passed on, or if she’s refusing to answer my call because it’s coming from a priestess of peace?”

“That’s a question for the god or goddess your mother worshipped in life,” Priscilla says. “If she passed on, they’ll know. I can ask Eirene, if you’d like.”

This is irritating me. I don’t trust Eirene. I don’t trust any gods or goddesses. I just want to speak to my mom and be sure it’s her, and not some kind of scam.

Is this all a scam?
No. 1061977 ID: a7a180

Yes. That's what you'd like to hear, isn't it? It's not like they'd ever answer yes either way, so what's the point in asking them? You know better than the experts.
No. 1061985 ID: e51896

If it was a scam, then Priscilla is falling for the scam too since in the previous thread, she thought she was alone with evil spirits (which turned out to be Taranis), and was still following her goddess, mentioning her name too.

while it might not be a scam, still take things with a grain of salt and continue to ask questions, and even challenging questions like you've been doing. If she is falling for the scam, we can help snap her out of it and see the errors of her way, but a good priestess should be able to answer them, convert people or failing to convert others at least be able to impart some of her goddess' teachings to others to have them see things in another light after all. This will be just as much a test for Priscilla to help keep her church running as much as it is a test for Rae to regain some hope in her own life.
No. 1061992 ID: 629f2e

Rae, if you aren't willing to put any amount of faith into Eirene, then why are you here? There's no point if you don't believe any part of this. Did you really come all this way just to call it a scam and leave?

I think you're just scared, and want an out in case you don't get the result you want. You're going to be hurt if your mom has passed on. You're going to be hurt if your mom is around, but has nothing kind to say to you. These are real possibilities, and you're trying to protect yourself from them.

The truth is that you just have to accept that potential for hurt if you want to get through this. You've come this far, and decided that this was what you wanted. Are you really going to turn your back now, when the opportunity may be lost forever?
No. 1061993 ID: 273c18

No. Do you really think the gods would stoop so low?
No. 1062012 ID: 260bc8
File 168229799416.png - (8.54KB , 200x200 , LF6c_40.png )

“No,” I say. I pinch the bridge of my nose and rub my bad eye. “Don’t ask your goddess. I don’t need to talk to your boss.”

I feel ridiculous. Spirits exist. Dotti exists. Gods exist. But I don’t trust them, and they’ve given me no reason to. They want worshippers for the same reason generals want soldiers: to fight their wars and peddle influence. I know that my senses can be tricked. I won’t be fooled just because I need their help, and I don’t want to be tricked by some impostor pretending to be my mother so I’ll be grateful to Eirene. I won’t be played. I won’t allow it. I have to keep questioning Priscilla.

“So,” I press, “You call out to my mother and she appears in a pool of water? Will it be clear enough to see her, or muddied? Will her voice come through? Will I even recognize her?”

“Some bonds are stronger than others,” Priscilla says. “She’s your mother, so her image and voice should be very clear.”

“Uh-huh,” I say. “Real strong fucking bond there. Sure. So what do I need to do for you to find her? Smoke some choice herbs? Drink a magic potion? Heighten my senses, open my third eye, all that? Because that’s not happening.”

“Some people find mind- or mood-altering helpful or calming, but Eirene doesn’t always recommend it,” Priscilla says softly. “She wants to help us be at peace. It’s why she helps connect the living with the dead. Not all gods do. Everyone who wants to speak to the departed has a reason. To find out how they truly felt about someone. To answer unasked questions. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking who they think can fill the void they left. Are you looking to find some measure of peace with your mother?”

“My mom wasn’t a big believer in peace,” I say. “She taught me everything about war, but I never learned it. Not the way she wanted me to. I failed her.”

Priscilla is quiet for a moment. “Do you want her forgiveness?”

“She’ll never forgive me,” I say, and I’m surprised to find myself gripping the back of the pew. I let it go. “I wasted decades of her life raising me to be something I’m not, and now she’s dead.”

“You sound very sure,” Priscilla says.

“I am. She never told me as much, but after I ruined my eye, she didn’t see me as her daughter. It was over.”

“Would you want to talk to her, even if it was painful? Even if you learn she’s decided to pass on?”

“I’m used to pain,” I say. “I have to try, and I have to know it’s her. I have to see proof.”

“I can help connect you, even if it won’t bring you peace,” Priscilla says, “But you will need to trust me, at least a little. Faith is for everyone, not just the devout. At its core, faith is a willingness to accept and move forward, even in the face of uncertainty. It takes bravery to have faith.”

“I don’t want to have this debate,” I say. “If you say I don’t have to take drugs and I actually will get to see my mom and that she’ll be who she says she is, and not some actress or hallucination… then I’ll see if it’s true or not. No faith required. Now take me to a quiet room with some water. Please.”

I’ve talked myself up. I’m ready. Come on, priestess. Show me if you’re more than just talk.

This is it. I’m not backing down. I don’t care what happens next.

Priscilla is willing to cast the spell, and to do so, she will need to weaken the walls between this world and the next. This is your last chance to influence Rae before your voices become AUDIBLE to Priscilla; Rae and her mother will not hear you while the spell is active, but Priscilla will.
No. 1062013 ID: e51896

Thank Taranis for trying his best in helping you through what you're going through. You may not show it, but you appreciate his concerns.
No. 1062014 ID: 273c18

Rae, don't forget, you're doing this to have closure. Get in a big fight with your mother if you have to. Air all your grievances, call her a bitch, do whatever you have to. You won't ever have to see her again after this, and she won't ever have to see you again, or even think about you again, because she'll pass on. Be ready to burn that bridge, because it's going to be torn down anyway.

Also... please tell her about what your brother is doing, in whatever vague language or even foreign language will prevent Priscilla from catching on. Your mother may be the only person who knows how to stop him.
No. 1062015 ID: b57fea

Rae what your looking for is closure. Your mother may not love you and that's a sad truth. She may even resent you, but its not your fault. She wanted you to be something other than who you are and cared more about the image in her head the person who was her daughter. You need to find peace with that, and for once you have to tell yourself and her out loud that it was never your fault.

Whether she's willing to accept it or not you need to put it out there that this was unfair and that all the suffering you've endured was never something you deserved. She may never say sorry, she may never forgive you, but you have to put your foot down stare at her with the eye that was all they ever cared about and make it clear you are more than a scar.
No. 1062016 ID: e5709d

Rae, your eye never saw the truth about your family until it died.
The reason you're here is because of the paranoia holding you back; the fact that your family deceived themselves when you had the ability to accurately predict what they would choose, and started showing their true natures when you lost the ability to detect the signs of their true malice. They were able to manipulate you on a whole different level, to the point that they deluded themselves just to keep you from suspecting a thing with your detection superpowers. They pulled the rug from under your confidence, and you won't be able to stand without an anchor. Closure will be that anchor.
No. 1062838 ID: a5df7d
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Priscilla takes me to a small room in the nave with a heavy wooden door. Inside is a raised stoup and two wooden benches.

“I’ll pour the water into the stoup,” the priestess says. “Just so you know, um, I’m not very good at keeping spirits away when I do this. Some of them may be able to overhear the conversation between you and your mother if she answers my spell. I can leave the room if you want, but the best I can do is keep the malicious spirits away, even if I’m in the room. If that’s not okay, you can look for someone more powerful than me for more privacy.”

“I don’t care,” I say. “I assumed you’d be staying to keep the spell going. You said my mother will know you’re summoning her, so she’ll know there might be eavesdroppers. Do what you want.”

Taranis nestles against my neck. I give him a rub under the beak. I don’t know how to thank him for staying with me through all this… but I appreciate it.

Priscilla pours the water, says the prayer and asks me to put my hand into the bowl and think of my mother. I slide my hand under the surface of the water. It’s warmer than I expected. I close my eyes and let myself drift back to a time when I had hope. Warmth. Family.

When I open them again, I see my mother looking back at me.

The water is suddenly very cold.

“You can take your hand out,” Priscilla whispers.

I do.

“Ráichéalín,” says the image. It echoes in the room. “Ah, and a Priestess of Eirene. I have no doubt you have kept my daughter safe.”

Is it really her? I don’t know. I can’t know. What do I say back?

“I say this,” the image continues, “Because if she were in hiding, surely she would not dye her hair that color, and neither would she present her scar so prominently.”

A long-familiar shrinking sensation fills me. There’s no doubt in my mind: this is my mother.

“M-mother,” I reply. “I was worried you had chosen to pass on after your funeral. I know how dangerous it is for spirits to linger, but you decided to stay, and… I… t-thank you.”

“There is always danger,” says my mother, matter-of-factly, and I feel a sudden pang of pity for whatever spirits may have threatened her on the other side. “As much as I would have preferred to pass on, I had unfinished business. Your brother saw to that at my funeral.”

“He didn’t invite me,” I say, and I don’t know why I feel ashamed admitting it. “No one did. Mom, I’m… I… felt like I didn’t exist. They don’t see me.”

“Good. There is nothing for you there, not anymore. You know this.”

“I know,” I repeat. I thought I would be angry at my mom. I was so, so angry when I left, and ashamed, and now I want to curl up and hide. I wasn’t ready for this. Why did I do this?

Taranis puts his wing around my neck, and I remember that I’m not alone.

“No!” I say, correcting myself. “No, I don’t know that. Mom, the least Ciarán could have done was invite me to your funeral. I didn’t even know you’d died! That was heartless and… and… cruel!”

“Ráichéalín, as always, you fail to understand. He was doing you a kindness. With your fall, he has risen to the forefront, and he used my funeral to give voice to his madness. It would have been incredibly unwise for you to attend, for both you and he.”
No. 1062839 ID: a5df7d
File 168342242073.png - (18.01KB , 797x757 , LF6c_42.png )

“I… what happened, mom? What did Ciarán do?”

“He and his followers declared their intention to summon and enthrall the devourers of souls: the Airceacháin. There were objections. They were silenced.”

My stomach churns. I had suspected it, and Ailín had all but confirmed it, but…

“Mom, what’s happening? Why is he doing this?”

“When I trained him,” my mother says, “He was unlike you in every way. He was ungraceful. Uncoordinated. But passionate, with ambition and bloodthirst. His mind is forged for war. He seeks to pay back the Circle’s blood debts, and reclaim our place of strength. Perhaps he will even wage war against the humans, if he can defeat enough other Circles and force them into servitude. He is at home on the battlefield. Not all are.”

“I know,” I say. Mom is making me relive my three terrible battles. I was terrified. Overwhelmed. Unprepared. I was trained and skilled, but I just wasn’t ready to be thrown into it.

“Your brother had the fire, and you had the gift,” my mother sighs. “When your father died, my hope was that I could kindle your passion and temper his edge by choosing to give you Samhain and him Imbolc. Apart, they are merely deadly. Together, they are ten times the sum of their parts. And yet, you and he never fought to seize one from the other.”

“I don’t understand,” I say.

“What I am trying to say, my daughter,” my mother says, “Is that if you and your brother had done as I hoped and fought each other for the right to wield both swords,” my mother says, “None of this would have happened. You would not have been beaten and sent away, and he would not have gone down this path of madness. I have lingered beyond death to tell you how to set things right.

“Right now, he can only summon two or three Airceacháin, but in the coming years he may enthrall more. Ráichéalín, you must do what should have been done years ago. You must challenge your brother for Imbolc. Take it and his life. He must be stopped.”


I don’t want to. I don’t want to! I can’t!

But... my mother is right. I do have the right to challenge him to combat for his sword, even if I’ve been exiled. I’ve kept up with my training, and… with what he’s planning, it would bring back the soul-eaters.

I’m scared. Ashamed. And I feel very, very small.

You may now speak directly to Priscilla.
No. 1062840 ID: 8f9bc4

Sure is crowded in here. I don't succrowze you might know what I'm cawing about. I crowwnot tell a lie, that we have crow idea who's responsible for your little crowdrobe malfunction. Crow idea at cawll.
No. 1062844 ID: a7a180

Priscilla! It’s me, Raelynn’s mother! That’s an impostor in the fountain, you must warn her! I love her dearly but was too aloof to admit it in life! Don’t listen to the order to kill your brother, it’s nonsense! He’s introducing tax reforms and funding reforestation initiatives!
No. 1062846 ID: 629f2e


Or in plain English: Rae's bird Taranis was the one who stripped you the other day. We tell you this not because we feel it is right, but because it seems funnier for you to know this. Really it'd be wrong to claim moral superiority when we were rooting for him and giving suggestions previously.

In more relevant and important news, please try to comfort Rae. She's feeling fear and shame at the thought of having to take her brother's life, and it's affecting her deeply. Telling her to just not do it won't help, so just try to comfort her in some other way.

Let's see, anything else... Oh, do you know the fox spirit Dotti? Stays at the Adventurer's Guild, works at Kayk the dragon's bakery, part of Serah Kensington's party? She's probably going to get some news about somebody VERY important to her soon, someone she hasn't seen in a long while and can't confirm whether she's even alive. If you could check in with her in a couple of days, you might be able to help her through some shit.
No. 1062848 ID: e51896

Hi Priscilla, I know you can't interrupt Raelyn during this ritual as there's things she needs to hear from her mother, but I wanted you to pass on some messages to Rae after she gets back if you could pass them onto her please

we're spirits who had been following Raelyn, and her friends Serah, Dotti, Kayk, and their fairy. We've been doing what we can to help guide them, make the right choices, and grow.

Can you let Rae know that we are still here guiding her and her friends all this time to keep them all safe and make choices that would benefit them... for the most part? And that we all have her back to help her fight her brother in a duel if she decides to do it?

After all, this is the devourer of soul

If she is skeptical about our skills, let her know that:
We helped their fairy find and get hired by Serah to help each other,
we helped Serah build her confidence
we helped Dotti gain a bit of morality
We helped Rae find her animal companion and made sure she would keep her party safe as they brought back a lizardman back to his dragon wife
We taught Dotti to be more honest and protected her from a dragon with Landi guiding Dotti
We helped their dragon friend Kayk manage her business when all odds are against her.
We helped Taranis become stronger, and helped him try to bring Rae back out of her depression

And now, I want her to know that we want to support Rae the rest of the way, even if she chooses to fight her brother for peace... even if the risk is high for us.
No. 1062854 ID: b57fea


so like you're a priestess of the goddess of peace right? Well rae really REALLY needs to kill her brother. Like its pretty important. Both for the good of the whole world and her own self confidence. Also tell Rae her friends love her, she needs to hear it.
No. 1062856 ID: 273c18

Encourage her. She just needs a little push. Remind her that she has allies. One in particular that will fight with every fiber of her being to keep the soul-eaters away.
No. 1062857 ID: 273c18

Traitor! Strife-sower! Be silent!
No. 1062872 ID: 629f2e


Watch me double down on treachery.

There are some witches at the guild who can support my claim of Taranis' misdeeds. Anita, Gloria, Rebecca, and Lily are their names.
No. 1062877 ID: e5709d

Madame Priscilla, would you please change the channel to "Vocal Audio Output"?
Holy shitdicks, you abusive bitch.
We were going to stay silent and spy on you dysfunctional Thalmor in secret, but screw it. You're disgusting.
You still believe, after all this, after what your children have become, that your soul's very purpose is to give orders?! Has it ever fucking occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, your constant abusing and belittling and criticizing and douchebag superiority-inferiority complex might be the source of their decades-long issues?!
This was your last chance to express yourself as a free woman and you fucked it up. If you want to pray to your gods before we throw you out the door, I'd suggest you beg to be guided by the 'angel' Suizhan - maybe seeing someone who's a fraction of the monster you are will help you realize what you've done.
Thanks for the intel, I can't wait to use it against your people. Miss Ráichéalín, I feel we owe you a debt, somewhere, for not discovering this horrible sack of C'tan fart-pus sooner and burying her in ceramic concrete decades ago. One wish, involving her fate, within our own reasonable limits. Go right ahead.
No. 1062888 ID: 8f9bc4


I have the strangest feeling we just might maybe be the spirits Priscilla has to keep away.
No. 1062889 ID: dee951

Taranis is wonderful and wholesome and is the best bird and is a kindred spirit to MOST of us spirits, because he has a sense of fun, whimsy, mischief, and is a trickster, and doesn't actually really harm people, and has a flair for the dramatically lewd and MANY of us will be very, very, very upset if he comes to harm. We, after all, are quite often mostly benevolent spirits with a sense for the dramatic, a lewd streak, an enjoyment of mischief, who view teaching life lessons without causing real harm as an important task, and Taranis does the same sorts of things as us.

At least, most of us are. A very very few of us are assholes.
No. 1062894 ID: 0cabfa

...Well, I would have stayed silent as moral support for Priscilla, but if I'm right it has to be said... She's perfectly fine with Rae losing. Either way she gets the ultimate elf warlord she always wanted. Quite a clever ploy because either way she wins. Her poor girl is just lucky she died before she could force the issue. Should the swords stay separate though, word will eventually get out about what her bro is doing. He may be a master of war but that does not mean he's a master of strategy so he'll likely overreach and collapse. While Rae here will still be Rae. So everything she worked for is kaput if this fight never happens.
No. 1062990 ID: 76bac2
File 168350777526.png - (28.09KB , 500x468 , LF6c_43.png )

This isn’t how I thought my last conversation with my mother would go. Nothing about this is right. She’s telling me to… to go and kill my own brother.

Priscilla is growing more and more upset as my mother talks. She’s not doing a good job of holding her fury back. Is she going to tell my mother off?

“Your priestess is displeased,” my mother says. “As I expected from such a naïve goddess. Hear this, my daughter. You know why Eirene is weak and feeble; you are everything this goddess is not. End your brother’s madness. The Circle needs your blade.”

I never thought I would hear those words again.

“They… they do?”

“Yes,” my mother says. “You are the only one who can set things right.”

“By killing Ciarán? Mom, he’s-”

“If he is not stopped, he will become a terrible danger,” she says. “Not now, but soon. The next war with him as a leader would bring disaster. The devourers were the only threat great enough to unite the Circles before. It will do so again. Ráichéalín, I have lingered long to tell you this. You must stop him.”

Why is she putting all this on me? Why now? Why is this about her, now? After she left me? After everyone cast me out?

“Mom!” I burst out. “Mom, he’s my brother! You’re asking me to go back after everyone left me! Exiled me! You, Ciarán, Ailín, everyone! I’m better off alone!”

“We did it to protect you,” my mother says. “Rae, your eye, the battle, your injury. It was too much to expect of you. Your heart was not sharpened. And like steel forged too cold, you shattered with your first clash. All of us saw it. We tried to make a clean break, and make it as clear as possible. We wanted what was best for you.”

“And I wanted a family!” I shout. Hot tears are streaming down my face, and I don’t know when they started. “Why didn’t you care? Why didn’t anyone care?! I’m… I’m so alone. It hurts. It hurts even more than my wound.”
No. 1062991 ID: 76bac2
File 168350780255.png - (8.54KB , 200x200 , LF6c_44.png )


“Ráichéalín,” my mother says softly. “Everything I’ve done has been to prepare you for this moment. Tell me I may pass on knowing you will do the right thing.”

“Mom… you’re not… not staying?”

“It is my time,” she says. “There is nothing more I can do for you. I will go to join your father on the other side.”

This is it? These are the last moments I’ll have with my mother? I start to panic. What can I say? What should I do? I choke on my words.

“M-mom, I… I… I love you,” I say. “I… I… I’ll do it. I’ll stop him. I promise.”

“Thank you,” my mother says with a deep sigh. “At last. Goodbye, my daughter. Make me proud.”

The image in the pool fades to cool midnight. The air in the room chills.

“Mom?” I whisper.


The tears flow harder. I cry. I’ve been crying. I can’t tell how long I have been. There’s no point. I don’t know how many handkerchiefs Priscilla has given me, and I don’t know how long Taranis has been cradling my head in his wings.

She’s gone.

The connection is gone and the spell fades. You may now only influence Rae. If you shout, however, Priscilla might still be able to hear you for a bit longer.
No. 1062996 ID: 8f9bc4

No. 1062997 ID: b57fea

Its okay to cry. Take your time. Swift action will be needed in the near future but the next couple of days will not be the difference, take the time to mourn.
No. 1063001 ID: 273c18

Good. That was right. You found closure, and now you have purpose again.
No. 1063002 ID: e51896

shoosh! if Pricillia hears that, she might get so angry with us, she might ward us off, and then we might not be able to help Rae anymore, probably ending the thread! We already gave Rae and her mother the wrong impression of her when she got angry with us, we don't need to make things worse


No. 1063013 ID: 4f675d

...Still seeing no downside to not fighting. Doubt Rae will listen though. Her mom just pulled at her heartstrings hard. Very manipulative.

>No risk to Rae's life
>She confirmed her bro is about to screw up
>She said the elvish circles unite to stop his foolishness
>Perhaps they get their cultural shit together afterwards (seeing where pure war focus goes)
>Should Rae fight and lose he gets both swords which may swing the balance to his side

Plus she completely ignored the whole "Why didn’t anyone care?" question Rae had. Pivoted to "Tell me I may pass on knowing you will do the right thing." Which may as well be "knowing you will do exactly what I want you to do." Worse, she has the gall to say "There is nothing more I can do for you." Which is garbage. She could have answered the question or attempted to comfort Rae before she passed. Every word was calculated to appear as if the only way for Rae to get emotional closure is to fulfill her last wish. Just no words for how awful a mom she is.
No. 1063014 ID: 8f9bc4


it's okay at least we'll have each other
No. 1063026 ID: e5709d

Her brother needs to be stopped, certainly. He's going to get civilians killed on a near-suicidal rampage. Worst-case scenario, what happened to Petra and Dotti happens to multiple other innocent (n' tasty) souls.

But not by playing her mother's twisted game. And not by restoring an oppressive empire.
Rally the armies of man, but have them on long-range artillery. Bring a combination of aerial units and soulless automatons. Refuse to give your brother the battle of a lifetime. Minimize casualties, because sacrificing any of your soldiers for advantage on this particular campaign is unacceptable.

Raelynn, prove that you're a better commander, and he will be nothing.
No. 1063049 ID: 629f2e

You don't have to kill him.

I agree that your brother has to be stopped, but that's all. He needs to be stopped in some way. His death isn't required though, just the cessation of his recent activities.

You could try to reason with him. You could get him arrested. You could make use of your powerful allies to intimidate him, keeping him in check. Hell, just take his sword WITHOUT KILLING HIM! Will the rest of the circle accept it? Maybe not, maybe it'll be considered dishonorable not to finish him off, but who gives a shit? They exiled you, so they don't get to boss you around with their traditions.

Most importantly: Whatever you do, you don't have to do it alone. You have friends. Companions who will help you through this no matter what you decide.

Don't feel like that last promise means you have no other choice. You said what you had to to let the dead move on in peace. That's all.

Oh, and one more thing...

No. 1063051 ID: bc078d

You have to kill him. Half-measures are how it got to this point. Let the summoning of soul reavers go to the grave with him. At least he and your mom will have each other.
No. 1063054 ID: 273c18

Yes, definitely kill him.
No. 1063065 ID: e5709d

He crossed a line.
Murdering someone still means you can make amends in the afterlife.
Devouring their soul is like rejecting their very existence. No amount of apology will make amends to one you tried to erase the testimony of.

Don't let his sickness devour the souls of anyone, even if you have to raze the forest to the ground.
Make amends later. And you will make amends, Rae. Because that's what you want to do.
That alone makes you a better person than your mother.
No. 1063227 ID: b7e398
File 168368346958.png - (20.80KB , 400x400 , LF6c_45.png )

I have to kill my own brother, or he’ll kill so, so many people. If he leads our Circle to victory, many will die, or far worse. If he doesn’t, then everyone I’ve ever known will perish. I have to stop him. I’m the only one who can.

Is this what I was born for? Is it really? Just this?

It tastes bitter, acrid, like bile.

But it’s something.

At some point I can see again through the tears. Priscilla is red-faced and gripping a handkerchief in obvious fury.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “I’ll leave. I’ll go. You must hate me, now. I’m sorry for using you to-“

“What?” Priscilla gasps. “Oh! Oh, no, no! No, I’m not angry with you! I promise. You have so, so much that just happened, and you have so many friends to help you through it. I’m not angry at all, and I trust you’ll do the right thing in the end. I’m happy to talk with you about it, even if you don’t want to tell anyone else what just happened.”

“Then why are you angry?”

“I’m angry at some spirits… and your little companion there.”

“Taranis? Why?”

“He knows why.”

Taranis squawks and shrinks back from the tiny priestess.

“If he’s going to assist you in fighting otherworldly threats,” Priscilla grits her teeth, “Then he will need to demonstrate he can resist the influence of evil spirits. And he won’t have their help in doing so.”

Priscilla claps her hands together in prayer, whispering under her breath and

Priscilla has blocked the spirits’ influence.
No. 1063228 ID: b7e398
File 168368354657.png - (112.47KB , 1000x1000 , LF6c Title.png )


The next thread will begin soon! LAZY FAIRY POV 7: PETRA will feature Lady Serah Kensington.

What penance does Priscilla demand of Taranis? Suggest if you dare.
1. Something acceptable
2. Something unacceptable
No. 1063229 ID: a7a180

No. 1063233 ID: 273c18

No. 1063235 ID: b57fea

2. Taranis must find shiny things... AND THEN DONATE THEM TO CHARITY!
No. 1063237 ID: dee951


Acceptable to whom? In what context?!?! To her? To Taranis? To us??
No. 1063239 ID: a7a180

His firstborn!
No. 1063240 ID: 8f9bc4


Penance? He should demand tribute! Taranis is our only hope now, that he can reveal himself to be the mighty panty warrior he is and impress all the lady crows without our influence.

seriously that underwear thing was probably Odin's fault. All we did was help Taranis not get caught. And then he got caught. Priscilla presumes him to be possessed by evil spirits, so the matter is now said and done with. I believe the matter is not now said and done with.
No. 1063247 ID: 3b86e0

Make him stop stealing panties forever with a curse that turns him into a very ugly human if he does!
No. 1063252 ID: edf864

After Taranis helps Rae defeat the otherworldly threat, he must afterwards find a way rid this world from the evil spirits that influenced him and his companions from this world so that they may never influence anyone from this world again for a long long time
No. 1063255 ID: dee951


Noooooo I dont want to end the quests. :( :(
No. 1063267 ID: dee951

How about this.

Taranis must figure out a way to obtain sufficient unenchanted frilly underwear AND also enough magical materials to enchant them, sufficient to replace what he took with equivalent versions. And he must figure out a way to anonymously use these to replace what he too. AND he must do so following strict ethical and moral guidelines.

FURTHER, if he wants to do future panty or bra stealing or whatever, he must find a way to do it consensually as part of a pre-negotiated prank contest with a willing participant, AND his opponent MUST have a means of pranking him back equivalently, and for equal stakes (like if the underwear is enchanted, he must ante up an equivalent).
No. 1063298 ID: a7403d

...Evil? I stayed out of that whole thing! Gotta be careful, your godess won't look kindly upon punishing innocents, will she?
No. 1063334 ID: 629f2e

1, let's keep the penance reasonable. Rae could shut it down otherwise.

As for what it should be, how about a simple apology? Taranis has to apologize to everybody he stole from or whom he exposed as he did Priscilla. He doesn't even need to return anything, although Priscilla does think he should (she would particularly like her own garments back). It's basically a slap on the wrist, especially with Rae around to protect him from retaliation.

...Of course, if one of his victims was unaware of his involvement in their misfortune, someone who might consider him a friend, then Taranis may find this harder than expected. Looking at Apricot here.
No. 1063335 ID: 0d090d


I like this.
No. 1063417 ID: 8f9bc4
File Crowsezwat.webm - (1.21MB )


How is he supposed to apologize? Crows can't talk. wait
No. 1063426 ID: e5709d

2) Priscilla needs to find a sacred relic stolen by a 'noble' family centuries ago, and this mangy crow is going to find and steal it for her!
And she finds a furry girlfriend instead~
No. 1063433 ID: 629f2e


With help from Rae or Apricot most likely. Rae may not understand him perfectly, but they have an understanding, and she's in the room to hear the task assigned. Apricot would work too if we could get her out of the way early, and she still wants to be pals.
No. 1063441 ID: 273c18

Taranis can talk, he simply chooses not to for some reason.
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