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File 127577807413.png - (87.81KB , 800x600 , 1.png )
188322 No. 188322 ID: f98e0b

So it came to pass that on the fourth day, Emperor Diometricus called before him his vizier, Aaron.
Expand all images
No. 188323 ID: 0b2a05

Did they have cake and ice cream?
No. 188326 ID: f98e0b
File 127577820094.png - (156.88KB , 800x600 , 2.png )

"Aaron," quoth that wise king. "I grow weary upon my golden throne. What leisurely sport do you offer on this day?"

"My lord, we are out of leisurely sports," Aaron did say unto the king, and the king did wax wroth, saying, "Bullshit. There's got to be something to do around here. What kind of fucking palace is this."
No. 188331 ID: e973f4

It looks like the sort of palace that is floating in the air with no floor.

You need to call in an architect and flesh that shit out.

No. 188332 ID: 8bdb6a

Well, there's always the old royal standby of booze, fine food, and bitches.
No. 188334 ID: 1ac39d

kill Aaron, as a vizier he is obviously plotting against you.
No. 188336 ID: ac7834

I hear polo is fun. See if you can find some horses, or horse-like animals.
No. 188337 ID: 0b2a05

Seconding renovation. Your palace will be pimped the fuck out.
No. 188338 ID: 701a19

How about tapping Queen Dahlia?
Alternatively? WAKE UP!
No. 188344 ID: 110e2c

Break off the legs of the throne and use your crown to play ball.
No. 188354 ID: f98e0b
File 127577957777.png - (162.06KB , 800x600 , 3.png )

"Ok do we have any like cake or ice cream," the Emperor of Time did say, his words echoing like thunder off the golden, castellated halls of his palace.
And Aaron his vizier did say, "You ate it all, my wise king."
And Diometricus the Great, the Terrible, and the Glorious did say, "Fuck. Very well. I shall have a feast, I think. The fourth one today. You shall go out into the Kingdom and fetch me the finest mead in the kingdom for me to sate my thirst. You shall bring me the greatest beast in the kingdom for my spit and my meal. And you shall bring me the scullery maid, so I can bang her brains out when I am done with the feast. Maybe a floor too. I'm worried about getting off this throne, gonna be honest. If you don't I'll kill you, I think."

"It is done, O king," said Aaron, and began to say more when his voice was drowned out by a plaintive cry.
"Who weeps in the great halls of my palace?" the King did say. "For sadness is forbidden in my glorious kingdom."
"My king, I believe its source is from outside your kingdom," said Aaron.
Someone outside your weird little dreamscape is crying, Dio.
No. 188355 ID: 0b2a05

...Oh bollocks. Split mind, half sleepwalking?
No. 188356 ID: 1ac39d

oh, you are dreaming. serious up, take control, and go check it out.
No. 188357 ID: 110e2c

Spring out of bed and seek the source.
No. 188362 ID: f98e0b
File 127578033162.png - (66.94KB , 800x600 , 4.png )

Dio shakes half of himself awake.
Good morning, O King.
Shaddap, Vizier. Dio strains his ears. Someone is indeed crying in the next room over.

Which would be Jai's.
No. 188363 ID: 426169

Put some pants on, go see what's wrong.
No. 188365 ID: a594b9

Get some pants on and go check on her.
No. 188366 ID: 1ac39d

dress and roll out.
No. 188369 ID: 0b2a05

Summon pants. And a shirt.
No. 188370 ID: f21281

Use (Greater? Minor?) Glamor to recreate your royal garb from your dream, then burst into Jai's room all regal like.


So seriously, Jai, what's wrong."
No. 188371 ID: 1ac39d

YEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!! ham points ahoy!
No. 188372 ID: 2a421d

This seems like a bad idea, and by bad I mean it would just make us look petty.
No. 188375 ID: d1210a

Ah, do anything you can to completely sober and rouse your mind, get yourself focused quickly and quietly. Pay attention to anything you hear while doing this, THEN we see if we go over or not.

After all, some things can be personal, so on the off chance it isn't something she'd want to have a friend catch, spend some time alerting yourself mentally, and hey, you'll be better equipped if you end up going over anyway.
No. 188379 ID: 4531bc

Check on her, but be stealthy until you figure out what's wrong.
No. 188381 ID: 8bdb6a

Bring it up in the morning when she's had time to regain her composure.
No. 188383 ID: 701a19

Go see what's wrong. Chances are that she's upset about missing out on her chance with you.
No. 188387 ID: e32cb3

Can you glamor a message over to Jai's side of the wall?

Ask if she's okay that way if so. Less intrusive.
No. 188405 ID: f98e0b
File 127578340796.png - (189.77KB , 800x600 , 5.png )

Dio throws on a robe and creeps out the door to outside Jai's room. The door's ajar. Jai's trying to be quiet on the other side, but he recognizes it as her. The lights are all out on the other side and she's not talking, just sort of sobbing.
No. 188406 ID: d560d6

Burst into the room and announce that it is Goofy Time.
No. 188409 ID: 426169

Open the door a little more, and ask "Jai? What's wrong?"
No. 188410 ID: d1210a

Well, softly call out to her, ask her if she's okay.

If she does not bring it up herself in her response, follow up with asking if she could use a friend.
No. 188412 ID: 0b2a05

Knock on the door. Wait for a response.
No. 188414 ID: a594b9

Go on then. Ask her what's wrong. You can speak through the crack right?
No. 188421 ID: f98e0b
File 127578459615.png - (60.15KB , 800x600 , 6.png )

Dio opens the door a little and calls out, quietly, "Jai? What's wrong?"

The crying abruptly stops. There's a silece for about thiry seconds, then he hears the rustling of bedsheets as she sits up. "Hey, Dio," she says, with forced cheer. Her voice is hoarse and strained. "'Sup?"
"Was that you?"
"Um. Maybe. Yeah."
"Need someone to talk to?"
"No. No. I mean, uh, I'm fine. Well, I mean, I'm not, ha, obviously. I mean. But. But there's a psychologist here so I'll just go see her in the morning so. Uh. Sorry to wake you up."
No. 188422 ID: 1ac39d

"at least let me give you a hug, can i do that?" go give her a hug then let her get back to sleep.
No. 188424 ID: f21281

"The most skilled psychologist is no match for a best friend, Jai."
No. 188427 ID: 2a421d

These psychologists are... well they don't really seem to 'get' a Vidder mindset, understand, maybe but still. Perhaps you just need someone to listen to you?
No. 188429 ID: c71597

Tell her that it's no problem and you're her friend. If she needs a shoulder to cry on and someone to listen to her then you're there for her.
No. 188457 ID: 426169

Go in and sit at the side of the bed.
"Psychologist or no, I'm your friend. What's wrong?"
No. 188507 ID: f98e0b
File 127579287942.png - (50.86KB , 800x600 , 7.png )

"Oh," says Dio, opening the door a bit more. "Could I at least give you a hug?"
"I'm naked from the waist down, Dio."
"Ah," he says, retreating a bit. "Do you just want to, uh, talk from there?"
"I don't know if it's anything I should be telling you about..."
"Jai. The most skilled psychologist is no match for a best friend. And, um, no offense to Deve but she's not exactly a vidder expert. What's wrong?"

There's silence again for a few seconds. Then: "I'm your mentor and I should really not be saying this but I am afraid, Dio. Like scared as balls. I think maybe we're biting off way more than we can chew and we're all going to die. There."
No. 188509 ID: a594b9

"Well, that makes two of us."
No. 188511 ID: 8bdb6a

Say "Um... I guess we can still make a break for it. If you're sure we're in deep shit, we can probably talk the Qal into abandoning the fort and heading inland for reinforcements."
No. 188515 ID: 701a19

"We'll be ok.
I know it's a dangerous situation, but for some reason I know we'll come out of this on top."
Send your dream buddy to help her sleep.
No. 188518 ID: 6854be

Also summon up some illusions of cute, adorable animals. If Jai doesn't want to talk about what's bothering her then we might at least be able to cheer her up so she can rest well and see that psychologist tomorrow.
No. 188521 ID: e67080

"Jai, I know its scary, hell, I was terrified for at least an hour before I could finally collapse into sleep. However, Jai, between us we have an illusionist who fought a Dreamthing, and the most kickass and awesome enchanter i've ever had the pleasure of getting my ass kicked to the floor by. If anyone can do this, its us and the Qal, Jai.
No. 188539 ID: f98e0b
File 127579532423.png - (42.06KB , 800x600 , 8.png )

"Jai. Okay, uh, look. It looks pretty shitty right now. I mean, I freaked out about it too for like an hour before I could get to bed. But these Qal really know what they're doing, and hey. Look at me. I killed a dreamthing, remember? I'm a badass."
She laughs, wetly. "The badassest."
"You know I am. And I'm talking to one of the most awesome, kickass enchanters I have ever had the pleasure of getting beat the shit out of by. We're going to be okay. Okay?"
Jai turns to look at him. "I- I mean, I hope so, um I mean I think so, but I still want to go home. I do." Dio nods. "I mean, anything can happen now, right? It's nothing held back. We're actually like in a war. That's, uh, never been something I've had to deal with. And I'd be more okay with it if it wasn't so soon. I mean-" she sits up. "Cyclopes live for a really long time. Like really really long. And I mean if anything happens, if it does... Spirits, Dio, I'm not ready. At all. I'm fucking eighteen. I have so much I still need to do. I have a paper that needs writing as soon as I get back. I want to go to Furlaia and see the Sarid Falls and maybe swim there for a bit and go to the Dream Plane and visit there for a while and maybe buy like a house in the Arcanopolis and one day raise some weird freaky one-eyed kids or something. And- promise you won't freak out."
"I gotta get laid, Dio." He takes a step back. "No, not with you. I mean probably not. I mean- fuck. I just mean I haven't even done that yet. Does that sound petty? I don't care. I mean I was just thinking about Everett and I know it's stupid and we weren't going to go anywhere anyway but spirits. We are going to miss out on things. A lot of things. It's not fair. I don't think I can handle being a corpse with a hymen. I really can't deal with that. I can see the headstone now. Jai Etra Vostra. Here Lies the Chick who Didn't Get Any. I mean-" she starts tearing up again. "It's not fair. There's still so much we have to do..."
No. 188542 ID: 8bdb6a

"I admit, I hadn't thought about that, on account of I don't think we're going to die."
No. 188544 ID: e67080

And cutting her off
"And Jai, trust me, we aren't going to miss out on any of it. We are going to kick some demented animal ass just like we did before, and that was when we were off guard! And then *laugh slightly* were going to find you a nice strong Qal if thats what you want, and make that headstone "Jai Etra Vostra. Here Lies the Chick Who Used Force Magic on Death itself when it woke her up too early. Because thats the girl I've known all these years"
No. 188548 ID: e67080

Ah, and so you know my thinking on the wording, its less brovado he suddenly gained, then some confidence he should have and the importance to put a friend before your own fears.
No. 188567 ID: 6854be

Well if your alienation guide believes that you're both likely to die then you should just make not dying your main priority.

"Jai, we're Arcanopolis students out on an alienation, not some soldiers charging into battle to become heroes. We'll just get out of here if things become too hot to handle, simple as that."
No. 188621 ID: f95872

Ask why she's so sure she's gonna die.
No. 188632 ID: 23bbe0

I'd say you should be encouraging, but the fact is you are suffering similar doubts. Let her know you are frightened too. I think rather than talk to the psychologist you should have opened up to Jai, as she seems to be having similar problems. And a common frame of reference.

Step inside the door and sit down next to it (it's dark and she should be covered anyway). Then open up and share your own worries with her. You can be frightened miserable virgins together.
No. 188635 ID: f95872

Actually, you know what? That's risky advice. It's not unlikely that it'd just upset her more and she wouldn't tell you.

Besides, I suspect she's just experiencing the shock of realizing she's supposed to be a grown up now. Although she's already been on her own alienation, so I don't know. Maybe hers was too quick for the feeling to set in?
No. 188668 ID: 23bbe0

Since your both feeling vulnerable why don't you reminisce with her for a while. If there's some past victory you shared, bring it up now.
No. 188670 ID: f98e0b
File 127580585162.png - (47.23KB , 800x600 , 9.png )

"And we're not going to miss any of it," says Dio firmly. "You seem pretty conviced you're going to die all of a sudden. We'll be fine. If we have to bail we'll bail, simple as that."
Jai sniffs. "I don't know if I want to do that to the Qal. But at the same time I'm sort of freaking out over here."
"Yeah," Dio sighs, dropping the act for a second. "Me too. Want to be miserable, frightened virgins together for a while?"
She scoots over and pulls the covers up for a bit more coverage.

They spend the rest of the night talking about what they're worried about, and the horizon, and what's waiting on the other side.
No. 188682 ID: 8bdb6a

Try and get SOME sleep, if only for an hour after sunup. You might need it.
No. 188684 ID: a594b9

When you wake up you had better experiment with magic to try to turn something invisible. Try Blind by itself. Or maybe it's just a Major Glamour?
No. 188780 ID: 1ac39d

let's summon up that shifting dreamthing. make sure you get the star right this time.
No. 188919 ID: 2eac65

I hope you're wearing pants.
No. 189045 ID: f98e0b
File 127584916242.png - (400.49KB , 800x600 , 10.png )

So they hold on.
And they keep on holding on throughout the next day and the day after and before they know it four days have gone by without activity. And the black mountains in the sky hang over them all, like a hammer lining up for the strike.

And so it comes to pass that dawn breaks over the fort on the fourth day, quietly.
No. 189046 ID: f98e0b
File 127584917653.png - (234.03KB , 800x600 , 11.png )

That’s not to say that they haven’t been keeping busy, of course. The commandant has been keeping his Qal drilling and on their toes almost incessantly. They’ve been patching up holes in the walls and defenses and scouting the area’s soil quality and grass coverage for potential pit traps/ambushes, and setting up contingency plans for a potential grass fire, which is a very real possibility in the dry seasons.
Jai is feeling better about the entire thing after their talk and seeing all the professional activity, and has been drowning her doubts in sparring sessions with Dio and fierce practice every morning. The younger Qal in the barracks like to hang around and watch, as much for the outstanding pyrotechnics displays as for the fact that her workout outfit looks like
No. 189048 ID: f98e0b
File 127584941342.png - (341.84KB , 800x600 , 12.png )

Dio’s been practicing too, just as hard if not quite as nubile.
He’s added a new spell to his list in the form of:
((choose one))
Greater Summon Item: He’s been practicing pulling things out of his mind and has a stronger connection with his imagination. Dio can now summon significantly larger objects, as much as ten feet across, and his summoned weapons can be more elaborate or large and move faster.
Sleep: He can lock his opponents into their own dreams, forcing them into sleep. Any physical harm could easily wake them, but many of Dio’s illusionist powers are significantly more effective against sleeping enemies, and Sleep can eventually chain out into much more interesting abilities and combinations.
No. 189049 ID: d1210a




Can you summon durable blocks, like an anchored shield? If you can get alright at doing that, you could greatly enhance this fighting force, as you could create cover ON DEMAND, and any cover you make could be unsummoned so enemies can't use it.

Also practice making copies of each of the Qal (I assume you have been doing so at least somewhat), so you can throw up false images of reinforcement of flight to manipulate enemy movements.

..Cover on demand the enemy can't use, and being able to make it look like your forces are in different places than they actually are...
...Wow, illusionists are AWESOME for group combat.
No. 189050 ID: c71597

Both sound awesome. But I'm gonna go with Greater Summon Iteam, for making backstabs with ballistas and stuff.
No. 189051 ID: 8bdb6a

Greater Summon Item.

Having Sleep chain into cool stuff later won't help if we get attacked tomorrow. Having a ten foot sword made of screaming faces will.
No. 189053 ID: a594b9

Greater. Summoned. Item.
No. 189054 ID: 701a19

Greater Summon Item.
Try it out by summoning a 10'x10'x10' crate of sticks of TNT, and having people light them and chuck them.
Blast out a gully around the fort to slow enemy advancement.
No. 189055 ID: 1ac39d

oh, and have you been making that summon diagram like i have been saying? a shifting dream thing against non-magic using creatures sounds hella useful. jut remember that line in the star this time and you will do fine.
No. 189082 ID: 2eac65
File 127585212036.gif - (1.43MB , 383x222 , DIO_RoadRoller.gif )

Greater Summon Item is the better choice. Sleep is good for doing one specific thing, but object summoning opens up a world of possibilities.

For instance, this.
No. 189098 ID: f95872

Sleep is cool and potentially useful, but those effects can easily be replicated by a blackjack, whereas summoning an item by mundane means would be a huge hassle.

...We could even summon a blackjack, complete with wielder, if we needed to.
No. 189110 ID: e67080

I'm always in favor of the synergy power. Besides, im pretty sure Sleep and Entomb is pretty much death. Although to be fair, I like both.
No. 189118 ID: 6922af

I'm going to have to disagree with the general consensus here and go with Sleep. I'll agree that Greater Summon Item has more combat situation uses, but Sleep allows more overall options when dealing with enemies. Specifically if non-violence is ever a choice, or interrogation. Dio can't stab his way through all of his problems.
No. 189121 ID: a9573c

Sleep sounds like a very useful skill, but one of the main issues when Dio fights is that he doesn't have a good way to finish off opponents.

I say Greater Summon Item so Dio can summon giant spinning saw blades, nets made of chains, grappling hooks, tools or whatever else the situation calls for.
No. 189127 ID: bcf25c


I think summoning large complicated mechanical devices involves Improved Greater Summoning +1, or something equally crazy.

Sleep is a good choice.
No. 189144 ID: bc1727

I vote sleep, if only because it sounds like it will allow for more elegant solutions than a physical object could. Both sound nice though.
No. 189148 ID: f95872


There exist such things as nonlethal weapons. That fully invalidates your concerns. In addition to blackjacks, there are such things as nets and ropes, which could likely by summoned into an advantageous position.

And Greater Summon Item has out-of-combat use too. All sleep does in that regard is counter insomnia. Useful, sure, but much less so.
No. 189149 ID: 2a421d

Coup de Grace?
No. 189153 ID: 6922af

No, none of those options make my concerns any less valid. All of your proposals require that Dio somehow be trained in the usage of each weapon effectively. They would also require that he somehow overpower his opponent in order to place them into submission.

Having a blackjack doesn't suddenly make another mage less of a threat, nor does it mean attempting to restrain a combat skilled enemy will be easy. You're overestimating the effectiveness of being able to summon weapons.

Sleep could effectively force an enemy into submission and avert combat altogether. Not only that, but my main interest in the ability is how well it would work in concert with others. If Dio can force an enemy into their own subconscious and then fiddle with it, there's no telling how helpful that could be.

Greater Summon Item is a great skill--if we could net both for Dio that'd be great. But my vote remains unchanged.
No. 189155 ID: a1ac99

Go for Greater Summon Item for now, but, at the very least, we should earmark Sleep for later.

I mean, seriously, Sleep + Entomb. They pass out and suffocate to death before they manage to wake up. It's not very useful while occupying a defensive position, though, it'd be more useful for sneaking into an occupied enemy base, making solitary guards pass out and then just die. Wouldn't attract attention. At all.
No. 189156 ID: 2a421d

I must agree... summoning is more versatile. We saw last chapter how sleep can be overcome.
No. 189192 ID: 55e935

Sleep, totally sleep.

Imagine if we linked it with Lesser Summon Item. That could potentially allow us to yank people's worst nightmares into existence or pull things out of deeper dreamspace.

Also, might I propose that you at some point begin looking into The Brown Note.
No. 189273 ID: e31d52



No. 189289 ID: 40cb26

Sleep is handy, but the summoning is versatile as all fucking-get-out.
No. 189344 ID: 620bfb
File 127587483648.jpg - (121.46KB , 800x600 , unlimited_blade_works.jpg )

We just need to get progressively better at item summoning to the exclusion of all other spells.
No. 189364 ID: e3f578


No. 189456 ID: f95872

>No, none of those options make my concerns any less valid. All of your proposals require that Dio somehow be trained in the usage of each weapon effectively. They would also require that he somehow overpower his opponent in order to place them into submission.
I suppose that's true. Nonetheless, they are a far more viable non-magical alternative than exists for greater item summoning. And seriously, it's not that hard to give a fellow a tap on the back of the head. No special training is needed.

>Having a blackjack doesn't suddenly make another mage less of a threat, nor does it mean attempting to restrain a combat skilled enemy will be easy.
Any decent mage will have defense against sleep too. And no restraint is necessary anyway, just a little bit of situational awareness.

>You're overestimating the effectiveness of being able to summon weapons.
I don't really think so, though based on your reaction I may have inadvertently overstated it. You, however, are overestimating the effectiveness of a sleep spell.

>Sleep could effectively force an enemy into submission and avert combat altogether.
If there is no defense against it and it is a magically impenetrable slumber, perhaps. I suspect that neither of those are the case.

>Not only that, but my main interest in the ability is how well it would work in concert with others. If Dio can force an enemy into their own subconscious and then fiddle with it, there's no telling how helpful that could be.
Based on how previous spells have worked, I suspect that sleep has domain merely over the impetus which causes an individual to fall, in the most literal sense, from wakeness to sleep. Not, in fact, control over the entire real of sleep and dream.
No. 189489 ID: 23bbe0

Being able to summon a ten across object is godlike. What's to stop us from dropping boulders on peoples heads? We could drop anvils on peoples, or the comical Monty Python 16 ton weight.
No. 189505 ID: e67080

If I had to take a half second guess, Brom would probably stop us from doing that ;) or some restriction built into either Dio's magical power, or the spell itself. Most of the time ultra powerful, easily abused spells are not going to stay that way long... unless we want the story of Dio, conjurer of heavy blocks.
No. 189510 ID: f95872

I suspect that the main limiting factor will be that killing people with giant fucking anvils will only rarely be in our best interests.
No. 189531 ID: e67080

This is probably true also, unless the pursuit of 1930's-50's style comedy is our best interest.

I mostly just wanted to comment that I really doubt either spell is going to be all powerful. I have my preference... and now ill leave democracy and Brom to this one before I post too much.
No. 189775 ID: 186cef

No. 189982 ID: f98e0b
File 127595442278.png - (218.79KB , 800x600 , 13.png )

Dio has learned Greater Summon Item, and has been summoning giant boulders, anvils, greatswords, and large, comical statues of feet for days. But that's not the most important thing he's been up to. He's learned a lot from when we first met him. He thinks he's ready to tackle what he failed at last time.
No. 189983 ID: f98e0b
File 127595443899.png - (247.51KB , 800x600 , 14.png )

Dio has been practicing these runes for days. He has had time to construct a more sound circle than the hexagram he was working on back at the Arcanopolis, and more than enough runing chalk (since on the Arcane Plane, any chalk is runing chalk). He has checked, re-checked, and re-re-checked every line, and drawn the fourth segment of the Arboreal Star’s trunk with fierce precision. He’s studied Shifting Dreamthings and clarified his spellcasting syntax to better snare and command one, lit supportive incense, and drawn the rune extra-large on a specially treated stone block Jai helped him haul into his room.

He thinks he’s ready to try to summon another shifter.
No. 189985 ID: c71597

Go over it one last time to be extra super sure. Then call in Jai for back up and awestruck audience and summon that dreamthing.
No. 189988 ID: 1ac39d

don't tell jai you want her there for back up though, ask if she want's to watch you do it, would be cool.
No. 189992 ID: d6cb21

Just be sure to summon something that WONT try to kill you.
No. 189993 ID: 0003ac

Ask yourself these questions:
Is the ritual the same on this plane?
Is It Different at all because the Destination is different for the summoning?
Are you wearing anything that might interact with the summoning ritual?

Did you warn the Qal that you were going to attempt to summon and bind a potentially dangerous creature inside their fort?
Did they say 'okay' ?
No. 189995 ID: e3f578

Also, you have to do the proper dance ritual as well. Magic rituals never work as well without the dance. Remember the patooti is absolutely essential to any dance ritual maneuver.
No. 190000 ID: f95872

Don't worry about the Qal. They don't know about cyclopes anyway.
No. 190002 ID: f98e0b
File 127595672994.png - (302.75KB , 800x600 , 15.png )

It's not the same on this plane, but Dio's reconfigured what needs fixing in order to summon the dreamthing to Arcane rather than Material.
The Qal know of the summoning and have in fact encouraged it, needing all the help they can get.

Dio's not sure about letting Jai in. One of the things he's learned about dreamthings is that they dislike being surprised, harassed, or outnumbered during the minutes after the summoning, and any conditioning then may impact their behavior and character strongly. He's not sure how it will react to being faced by two mages as opposed to one shrimp. Plus, Spirits bless her but Jai kind of isn't the most subtle person.
No. 190004 ID: f21281

Have you considered that the inherent magical energies that permeate the Arcane plane may supercharge the ritual process like it supercharged yours and Jai's powers, resulting in you summoning something more potent than what you wanted? Or, even worse, empowering your summon to redonkulous levels.
No. 190005 ID: 1ac39d

well you are the one who studied the crap out of this so if you think jai staying out is a good idea then so be it. let's get this show on the road.
No. 190006 ID: c71597

Hmmm, might be best to leave her out of it then. But make sure you can get to her quickly if you need back up. Then lets get this magic show on the road. Summon ye dreamthing and bind it to your will.
No. 190018 ID: 701a19

Lets do this. Summon away!
No. 190023 ID: d1210a

Hm.... Dio, what do you know about the differences between a Dream thing that manifest on the physical versus material plane?



No. 190026 ID: e3f578

Shake it
No. 190028 ID: f95872

That applies to Jai's magic because she uses the magic of this plane. Dio uses magic of a different plane, so that doesn't happen.
No. 190032 ID: 2eac65

If you can, try to summon a dreamthing that actually wants to be summoned, and won't mind being a servant. Failing that, try for one willing to bargain with you in exchange for aiding it in the future. Even if we can bind it into service, we don't want a morale case.
No. 190063 ID: 55e935

Before the summoning, you'd best have a contingency for if it goes wrong. If you're able to maintain a spell during the summoning, I'd say perhaps you ought to place/summon something very heavy above the rune and then unsummon whatever's holding it up the very moment something goes wrong.
No. 190064 ID: f98e0b
File 127596201734.png - (201.95KB , 800x600 , 16.png )

There’s no real doubt that loyalty is going to be enforced. The Arboreal Star’s function is bondage. His will is channeled through it, and his summon should be more than happy to obey him.
Dio pours his energy into the guiding lines of the circle. They flare with a blue glow at his touch. He feels the power there, in its timeless innate magic, and eagerly pours his own into its confines. The glow burns brighter, and he sits back, concentrating. A glowing nimbus begins to coalesce in the center of the circle.
No. 190065 ID: f98e0b
File 127596203143.png - (321.41KB , 800x600 , 17.png )

It takes form slowly, as Dio wills it along, steam rising from it as he tethers it into reality with his spells and his circle.
No. 190067 ID: f98e0b
File 127596206293.png - (349.58KB , 800x600 , 18.png )

“I am Diometricus Phrale Eregiorium,” says Dio. “Alien Mage of the Arcanopolis.”
No. 190068 ID: f98e0b
File 127596207666.png - (321.97KB , 800x600 , 19.png )

“I have summoned you,” he says, “to serve me in the Arcanum.”
No. 190069 ID: d6cb21

You know what would be funny? If we ended up with the same dreamthing twice. heh
No. 190070 ID: f98e0b
File 127596210410.png - (279.98KB , 800x600 , 20.png )

The figure is silent.
No. 190071 ID: f98e0b
File 127596213087.png - (284.19KB , 800x600 , 21.png )

“Hold on a tick, I have a bit here, don’t I?” it says. “Right. Sorry. New at this. Hem. I am the Shifter called Gryphona, and I answer your Summons, Diometricus Phrale Eregiorium. I am your servant.”
No. 190072 ID: f98e0b
File 127596214956.png - (293.15KB , 800x600 , 22.png )

“Now could you unsummon me for a moment so I can pack, m’lord? Only I’ve got a novel I was about to finish and I hate to leave it sitting.”
No. 190073 ID: d6cb21

heh, I like him already.
No. 190075 ID: 8ce2bf

She seems legit, let her go get her stuff.
No. 190076 ID: d6cb21

Hooooo boy, is that a Xom grin I see there?
No. 190077 ID: 2a421d

Pretty sure it's a her.
No. 190078 ID: 77385d

More like HER.
The hat... its the Undertakeress!
No. 190079 ID: 0b2a05

...If that wouldn't potentially screw things up that sounds fine, eh?
No. 190080 ID: b14128

"Heh, I like you. No."
No. 190084 ID: 701a19

"Heh, you've got style. I like that. Still no, though.
Give me the name of the book and I'll see about getting you a copy."
No. 190086 ID: 1ac39d

[edit posts guys, brom says on irc that if we unsummon we can call her back she is linked to dio now.]
No. 190088 ID: 55e935

Better yet. When you summon things, you pull them out of dreamspace, no? You could not only get a copy of the book, but HER copy of the book!
No. 190090 ID: 6cf050

Best to have a good relationship with your summons even if they are being forced to serve you. I say let her pack.
No. 190091 ID: 1ac39d

don't see why not, after wards show her around the place and explain the situation. then let her meet the other people around here.
No. 190092 ID: a594b9

Well sure. We can just summon her again right after, correct?

"By all means. I would not want your stay here to be an unpleasant one."
No. 190093 ID: b14128

I think we can summon -A- new one if he unsummon her. I don't think we can pick and choose who we get. So if we unsummon her, she's off the hook until she wins the unlucky lotto again.
No. 190095 ID: 1ac39d

[get on irc, brom says she is mind-linked now. the circle isn't needed to summon her]
No. 190098 ID: e67080

Unless it will mess up the summoning, let her/it get its book. Id hate to leave a novel unfinished!
No. 190099 ID: 4531bc

No. 190103 ID: 701a19

Really? Oh.

Well, if that's true then by all means go ahead and let her go get her stuff. Be a gracious host.
No. 190105 ID: 20a559

Seems okay to me. Since you have her name, wouldn't that make it easier to get her specifically back?

Ask how long she would need.
Set up a time you'll summon her back.

Or, if things don't work that way, say you'll try and find her a copy of said book.

Also, you keep getting hot women around you. I'm jealous.
No. 190107 ID: 620bfb

If she's linked, I see no problem. Dreamfolk are people too.
No. 190111 ID: 40cb26

"Of course! Nothing like a good book, after all."
No. 190123 ID: e3f578
File 12759647236.jpg - (40.59KB , 425x260 , metal_gear_awesome_meryls_butt.jpg )

Okay, but get a good look at her ass. It will be important later.
No. 190129 ID: f98e0b
File 127596498568.png - (211.06KB , 800x600 , 23.png )

She-er, It isn't any specific gender, it's a shifter. They can switch them on the fly. Perhaps this particular specimen prefers to be known as female rather than male, but it doesn't mean much in the long term. They're not people so much as creatures.
Okay, so she does have a nice ass, he'll admit, but she could just as easily not.
"What book is it?" asks Dio.
"Warriors of the Shifting Wastes 2," says Gryphona.
"That is a good one," says Dio. "Okay, go. How long do you need?"
"You're a doll," she says brightly. "Bring me back in five, yeah? Can I get you anything while I'm out?"
"Uh, no. I'm fine."
"Right. Back in five."
Dio unsummons her with a pop of air rushing into a vacuum, waits five minutes, then brings back a gray snake, with a top hat matching hers. It has a book clutched in its tail and a chocolate bar clenched in its coils.
"Okay," it says, mouth filled with chocolate. "Fo. Diometricuf- pfah." she swallows. "That's a long name. Can I call you Dee or something?"
"Dio," says Dio.
"Cheers," she says, leafing to the next page with her tail. "So this is the Acane Plane? Sort of tight here. Lke, pressure or something. This is my first time off the dream plane, gonna be honest. Bloody exciting, don't mind telling you. So Dio. What do you need from a shifter like me? Assistance? Espionage? Combat? Companionship? Butlering? Cute little doggy, follow you around?"
No. 190132 ID: 55e935

All of the above?
No. 190134 ID: d6cb21

What DID you want her for, anyways?
No. 190136 ID: a594b9

"Assistance, espionage, combat. An army of animals with combat training is coming to assault this fort, and I really don't want to die. Thus, I have summoned you. It might also be nice if I found out who's sending them.

...what do you mean by 'companionship' anyway?"
No. 190137 ID: 1ac39d

[companionship implies sex]
would say b, c and maybe later e.

also ask what pronoun it wants to be referred to by. does it like she he or it?
No. 190141 ID: e67080

Assistance mostly, were here in a situation that could get dicy at about any moment in theory. So I need something between extreme firepower, stealth, and well... just being that your pretty cool
No. 190142 ID: 620bfb

No. 190143 ID: 8c0848

Companionship? Don't you for one second get it in your hormonal, teenage mind that you have a being under your complete and utter control that could transform into anything you want to do anything you want. That would be a bad thing to think and you shouldn't do that.
No. 190145 ID: f95872

"You get to join my little squad of summoned dreamfolk in the upcoming battles. You get the suicide missions."

Don't actually say this
No. 190147 ID: e3f578

An extra pair of eyes and hands would be of significant assistance in this hostile place.
No. 190150 ID: f98e0b
File 127596583395.png - (211.41KB , 800x600 , 24.png )

"All of the above, really," says Dio. "We're in a fort that is going to come under siege by an army of trained animals any day now, and I'm hoping you'll be able to help against them." He thinks for a moment. "Well, most of the above. What do you mean, 'companionship'?"

"You know, like a friend," says Gryphona. "Someone to talk to, or- What did you think- oh." She sticks her forked tongue out. "Well I didn't really mean it like that. I guess I would have sex with you if you told me to but we've just met and I don't really like you like that, no offense." She flips another page. "You hear urban legends about some weird perverted illusionist summoning a shifter then chaining them up and sating their lusts on them, etc. but that's mostly just in the realm of cheap bodice-rippers and pornos. Besides. You don't really strike me as the type." She turns the page. "When do I start?"
No. 190151 ID: 701a19

"I accidentally a war. It's bad. Somebody trained the local fauna in how to competently wield weapons. Not just clubs and cudgels, but complicated equipment like crossbows.
Like my friend said, 'it's like coming home to see your dog sitting on the couch reading your newspaper'.
In worse news, they already razed the next Qal outpost to the ground, and we're pretty certain they're on the way here.

On the bright side? I didn't summon you for my ego, I'm not going to patronize you, and nobody here is going to disrespect you."
No. 190153 ID: 1ac39d

get in real close and exclaim "NOW!" and have fire erupt from everywhere. illusion fire, but still.
No. 190155 ID: 620bfb

Still not buying the creature thing. Sounds like a people to me. As for when she should start, as soon as she can.
No. 190156 ID: f95872

>"You hear urban legends about some weird perverted illusionist summoning a shifter then chaining them up and sating their lusts on them... When do I start?"
No. 190157 ID: 701a19

"Think you could go on a scouting run once you finish that chapter? We just need to know if there's anything is one or two days out from here."
No. 190163 ID: 2eac65

Now that we've got a dreamthing, we should work it into the group. Show it around the base, introduce it to the troops and Jai, and do a few tests to find out the extent of its abilities. It would be handy if it could masquerade as our shadow or something similarly easy to overlook.
No. 190165 ID: 40cb26

Seconding this, we need some recon.
No. 190169 ID: e3f578

"Sorry about the 'companionship' question, shit gets all sorts of confusing when you're growing up."
No. 190180 ID: 0003ac

"Sooner than later. The situation isn't critical yet, but it could be VERY soon. How quickly can you move, on your own? There is a fort nearby that I need you to look at for me. It may have been razed by shadow-monkeys."
No. 190189 ID: e67080

"nah, im not the type, but ive dealt with enough crazy things I like to be sure to clarify statements. Also the pressure you feel is that there is stronger gravity here I think. Also, if you don't mind being a little shown off, I do need to figure out where we would find you most useful... and maybe gloat a little. Of course, you can finish the chapter first, im pretty sure your at a good part."
No. 190216 ID: f98e0b
File 12759692315.png - (251.94KB , 800x600 , 25.png )

"Sorry about the companionship thing," says Dio. "Shit gets confusing when you're growing up."
"You're telling me, guv," says Gryphona. "I just turned twenty myself. Glad to be out of there."
"Think you could go on a scouting run once you finish that chapter?" says Dio. "We just need to know if there's anything is one or two days out from here."
"'Course," says Gryphona. "I can just turn falcon or something and fly out there. You want me to go now?"
"I could show you around first," says Dio. "Introduce you to the other defenders of the fort."
"I'd like that," says Gryphona, fluttering up to Dio's shoulder and landing on it. She's a bird, now, still with the hat. "Let's go meet the team. I have a good feeling about where this servitude is gonna go. I like you, Dio. Well," she laughs, "I mean, I have to like you on account of your spells, don't I? Where to first?"
No. 190217 ID: e3f578

Tell her you glad you like him. You're first summon tried to kill you.
No. 190219 ID: fddd61

I'd say we do introductions with the Commandant first, work our way around, and end with Jai such that we can spend the most time with her and they can get acquainted the best.
No. 190220 ID: a594b9

That sounds about right.
No. 190221 ID: 1ac39d

let's just walk around and see who we meet.
also "well, i could also order you to tell me what you would think if i did not have any spells in place. orders are weird like that"
No. 190230 ID: 701a19

"I'll introduce you to my old friend Jai first, since she's my alienage mentor so you're going to be working with her a lot.

I'm pretty sure the spells don't work that way, seeing as how the last one I summoned bragged about getting summoned and killing its summoners so it could get free rides to other planes, then tried to demonstrate the concept.
You've got style I can only hope to match; I hope to prove a worthy friend to you."
No. 190291 ID: 02d2bc

I like its hat.
No. 190311 ID: 8bdb6a

Let's show Jai. It'll either be reassuring, or it won't be reassuring in such a way that reveals a problem we're better off knowing as soon as possible.

We can probably breeze through the other introductions. I imagine the Qal will just accept her presence so long as everyone's polite and they're confident Dio's in control.
No. 190346 ID: c71597

Commendant and Jai would probably be good places to start.
No. 190669 ID: f98e0b
File 127604863852.png - (312.54KB , 800x600 , 26.png )

Dio goes to show Gryphona around. As they walk she turns into a sleek black cat that lazily crawls up to his head.
"Well, I could always order you to tell me what you'd think of me if I wasn't controlling you," says Dio.
"I don't really know the answer to that," says Gryphona, licking a paw. "You'd have to unfetter me to find out. Which I'd have to recommend against, m'lord. Chances are I won't be happy about being pressed into service. Bugger. Why do cats do this, my tongue's all hairy now."

They find Jai up on the battlements, tapping out a text message and doing leglifts. She's got heavy iron boots with extra weights lashed to them for additional resistance. "'Sup, Dio," she says. "You work out with Pyramus, right? What's his favorite muscle of his?"
"I don't know if he has one," says Dio. "He was always talking about strengthening his Latissimus Dorsi, though."
"Hmm," says Jai. "Dear Pyramus, you have a smoking Latissimus Dorsi. Not much ring to it."
"Notice anything new?" says Dio.
"Your robe's more purple?" asks Jai, absentmindedly fiddling with her phone.
No. 190672 ID: e31d52

Quietly regret hooking the two of them up.
No. 190673 ID: 620bfb

She can see it, right? If not, make a stupid pun to draw her attention to the new shifter.
No. 190675 ID: e67080

Glamor Jai's phone with something you know from years of experiance to spook Jai out... First prepare a shielding rune.
No. 190676 ID: d1210a

'Huh, you could just text Pyramus you think he has a great ass, you know you've always wanted to be on the giving end of that comment, and I know he'd take it just fine.'

Advice, and a subtle bit of flirting. HOORAY.
No. 190677 ID: 1ac39d

have gryph turn into pyramus and say "sup", would probably startle jai a bunch, then she can change to whatever.
No. 190679 ID: 701a19

Have her resume a vidderoid form, then use a glamor to play a "Party member acquired" riff.

Alternatively, have her assume the form of an attractive Waan man of about Jai's age to make a pass at her.
No. 190682 ID: e31d52

>Alternatively, have her assume the form of an attractive Waan man of about Jai's age to make a pass at her.

No. 190692 ID: d47be3

"I learned a new spell. GO! CAT MISSILE! For great justice!"

Toss Gryphona on her face. :3
No. 190704 ID: f21281
File 12760519307.png - (327.73KB , 380x599 , 380px-Latissimus_dorsi_.png )

The Latissimus Dorsi is the primary musculature of the back, Dio.
No. 190714 ID: 6922af

See, this is a good plan. There should be more plans like this--wait, is she sitting on a ledge high off the ground? Because there is a difference between comic falling over and falling several stories to your death.

Uh, maybe just hold up Gryphona under her cat forelegs all cute like and say, "I got me a kitty."
No. 190733 ID: 2eac65

So the summoning ritual also includes emotion-altering magic? That is distressing. This matter requires further deliberation.

>Alternatively, have her assume the form of an attractive Waan man of about Jai's age to make a pass at her.
That's not something we can just "have" her do. It should be her choice.
No. 190744 ID: 1ac39d

it's like pokemon, no pokemon WANTS to be caught but right after you do they are suddenly your best friend ever.
No. 190746 ID: d6cb21

Gryphona has joined the party!
*Cue fanfare*
No. 190747 ID: f98e0b
File 127605628351.png - (318.93KB , 800x600 , 27.png )

"You could always just complement his ass," says Dio.
"Nah," says Jai. "I like to think I'm a little more creative than that. I mean, it's a nice ass, but..." she shuts the phone. "Whatever. I should probably wait until we're not all about to get attacked by shadowmonkeys to test the waters anyway-"
"'Sup," says Gryphona.
"Holy ballsack why is Pyramus he-
No. 190748 ID: f98e0b
File 127605630822.png - (330.11KB , 800x600 , 29.png )

Wait. No. Pyramus doesn’t have a top hat. Is this yours?” asks Jai.
“Yep,” says Gryphona, stepping into her original form. “Gryphona the Shifter, at your disposal.”
“Welp, I won’t look a gift horse in the, uh…” says Jai, as Gryphona smiles her shark smile. “mouth. Are we sure we can trust it?”
No. 190750 ID: d6cb21

Given that she didnt try to kill us when we let her go for a bit so she could go get a book she was reading, I'd say she's good.

Also, do the party joining thing, just for kicks.
No. 190751 ID: c00244

"What's life without a bit of uncertainty? We'll be fine."
No. 190752 ID: 40cb26

Well you've got her bound and all, but she seems nice enough anyways. Certainly a fair bit better than the last one, as she hasn't tried to kill you yet.
No. 190755 ID: d6cb21

Not to mention she has great taste in books.
No. 190756 ID: 1ac39d

of course! she has had several very good opportunities to kill me already, since none of them where taken i have full confidence.
No. 190757 ID: e67080

"Oh, shes fine with people who recognize her existence, but when shes ignored, death machine. *insert melodrama* Your lucky to be alive, I had to hold her back with every fiber of my being"
No. 190759 ID: 8bdb6a

Say "I'm confident I got everything right, but you can't really be totally sure, when it comes to minds."

Turn to Gryphona. "Hey, how'd you know what he looked like, anyway?"
No. 190766 ID: 701a19

"Pretty sure. She's friendly enough, and hasn't tried to kill me yet."

Hey, can you communicate her when she's unsummoned?
Also, how much of a risk does she run you in terms of breaking the rules of the alienage?
Oh, you should also ask her what her culture thinks of being summoned like this, and if she had plans you're interrupting.
No. 190802 ID: a594b9

"Well, yes. She literally cannot betray us. Still, I'd like to believe that if she wasn't bound to serve me, she'd still help out. After beating the tar out of me, perhaps."
No. 190906 ID: c71597

Yeah sure you can trust her. So long as the spells holding her loyalty are still in place. If those were to fail, oh boy. Things would get interesting fast.
No. 190953 ID: 620bfb

My guess would be something from the mind-linking let her know what Dio knows he looks like.
No. 191108 ID: 0003ac

... come to think of it.. Letting her go get her book gave her enough time to tell other dreamfolk that she'd been pressed into your service, Dio. You'd released her for it, too, so she wasn't in forced-loyalty mode either.

She could have someone else working to free her right this second. You told her your full name. She also recognized that she was somewhere in the Arcane Plane.

She can't lie to you, can she? Ask.
No. 191109 ID: 1ac39d

no, just going home doesn't alter the links binding her to his service. it's a mind-link thing.
No. 191136 ID: d6cb21


I think it would be best if we asked her this.
No. 193372 ID: f98e0b
File 127648072734.png - (155.54KB , 800x600 , 30.png )

"Well, yeah. She's literally bound to obey me," says Dio. "I don't think there's much to worry about loyalty-wise. I like to think that she'd help me out even without the spells. Would you?"
"No idea," says Gryphona.
"What were you going to do with her?" asks Jai.
"Use her for scouting," says Dio, looking up at the mountain. "What does your culture think about being summoned like this, by the way? Am I interrupting anything?"
"Not sure," says Gryphona. "I don't remember much. Spells, again. Dreamfolk don't have much of a culture, but they don't take all that well to summoning, to be honest. I probably resisted the summons pretty bitterly." She shrugs. "I'm okay now. Couldn't be cheerier. When am I going to check out the mountain thing? Am I going now?"
"You certainly seem eager to fly to your possible death," says Jai.
"The mawster's will must be carried out," says Gryphona, in a phony Igor impression.
"Cute," says Jai. "Did the commandant tell you to send her?"
"It," says Dio.
"Whatever," says Jai.
No. 193373 ID: 1ac39d

okay then, let's fly!
No. 193375 ID: e67080

Id suggest checking with others to see if they have a recommendation of your shifters use, although scouting seems pretty solid.
No. 193376 ID: 2eac65

I'd like to introduce her to everyone first, but they might be planning a sudden attack that we'd miss if we don't check now.

If we send her out now, she might die before the others learn anything about her.

I think it's best to finish introducing her and discuss strategy with the others.
No. 193377 ID: 40cb26

We should take her to meet the commandant right now, and then get to scouting. She can meet the others when she gets back.
No. 193384 ID: 8bdb6a

Scouting seems a good plan as long as she's careful to avoid ambush. Tell her to play it cautious and focus on self preservation if things get tricky.
No. 193387 ID: f98e0b
File 127648384970.png - (237.88KB , 800x600 , 31.png )

Dio introduces Gryphona to the commandant.
"I was thinking about sending Gryph to go and scout out our opposition," he explains. "A falcon or something could get in quickly and innocuously."
"With your permission, sir," says Gryphona, now a qal, delivering a rigid salute to the commandant.
"I like him," says the Commandant.
"Her," says Dio, then quickly, "Uh, It."
"Whatever," says the Commandant. "I proclaim it your Aide-de-camp and place it under your direct control. As you equal my rank you can do whatever you see fit with it, which includes scouting. We'd certainly appreciate the help."
No. 193389 ID: 40cb26

Oh for spirit's sake, ask Gryphona to choose one for you and stick to it.

Then get flying, with instructions to be careful. Taking unnecessary risks and getting taken out won't do us any good.
No. 193391 ID: 6834bc

Yeah, just ask Gryphona what gender pronoun he/she/it would prefer us to use.

And on top of the orders of recon and 'be careful', maybe something like "if it looks like you're about to die or be similarly incapacitated, get out of there".
No. 193392 ID: e67080

pretty much agree with this, they now know about the shifting dreamthing, now time to get scouting info.
No. 193402 ID: 0b2a05

Noo it is better. Can she do color too or...?
No. 193433 ID: 2eac65

We should choose something with good camo. We'll be a much less tempting target if we blend in with the sky.

It would be great if she could turn into a cloud or something. What are the limits of her shapeshifting? Can she turn into abstract things like clouds or shadows, or is she limited to animal-like forms?
No. 193436 ID: 8bdb6a

Well, proceed, then. It beats having her sit around waiting for the attack.
No. 193439 ID: f98e0b
File 127649253350.png - (434.46KB , 800x600 , 32.png )

"Okay, I'm sending it- him- uh, are you a he or a she or what, Gryph?" asks Dio.
"Well, guv, I feel comfortable in a bra and my stomach gets butterflies whenever I see a good looking guy in his skivvies or a pair of shoes on sale (just my joke, guv, don't look like that), so I'd say I'm a lady," she says.
"Well, lady, would you scout out the mountains up there? See if you can find out what we're up against and if they're sending us this way?"
"'Course, m'lord. Back in a jiff."
Dio watches i-her turn into a small bird with a purple underbelly and flutter away toward the mountains.

It's just a summon, and if it were freed it's possible it would kill him in a heartbeat. So why is he so worried about her?
No. 193441 ID: e31d52

>So why is he so worried about her?

Because you're a great guy, Dio.
No. 193442 ID: 2eac65

It's only natural to be worried about the safety another living being. That's what makes us decent people.
No. 193443 ID: a594b9

No. 193444 ID: 701a19

Because you're a good person.
Be honest here, you want to get things to the point where she would be your friend and help you even if the spells weren't there.
No. 193448 ID: 8bdb6a

Because she's obviously intelligent, reads books, speaks, and all that. If you cared enough to let her go back and get her novel, you'd naturally care enough to feel sad if she dies.

Still, shifters are very dangerous and hard to kill, and anything able to kill her will probably get noticed before it notices her, so she'll probably be fine.

Practice hitting things with steamrollers.
No. 193454 ID: 2eac65

That too. Forcibly taking an innocent being out of her home and altering her mind to obey your commands shouldn't be normal. That's why I said we should get someone who wanted to be summoned. I didn't mean "make her enjoy it whether she wants it or not".
No. 193464 ID: 0b2a05

Yeah you're a good person Dio, keep being a good person. It's a bit of a dick move to bind a living creature into servitude period, it's only natural to at least want them to live through it.
No. 193474 ID: e3f578

there's also the whole great ass thing if you don't want to take this too seriously Dio, even if she not have one if she wants to.

That and she sounds pretty cool as a person, reading the same book you like and shit. In fact, I can almost see her somehow getting free of her bounds and totally not going apeshit over you. it's bound to happen if life goes anyway according to a book, which it so does.
No. 193600 ID: c2c011

She's quite a charming summon, with a nice small and a nice ass. And she's now bound to you like some sort of pet. Only naturally to be worried about it.
No. 193638 ID: 92ee9e

I don't think she is in much danger regardless, considering her shapeshifting capabilities. I think we can chalk your worries up to hormonal interest in yet another female walking into your life.

I mean, cmon, that comment about companionship is a dead giveaway. It probably doesn't help that this one was reading a book you like, and has cracked several jokes that make you chuckle.

I do have one problem though, and it's to do with dreaming. When dreaming it's impossible to read, I guess those rules don't really apply shifting dreamthings, but it seems on odd place to find a book, since most written publications should be gibberish in dreams.
No. 193674 ID: f98e0b
File 127654222590.png - (285.08KB , 800x600 , 33.png )

He thought he was a good person, but he's having doubts now.

It's not the hormones, either. Not when he's already got so many other distractions crowding his mind. Doing anything with Gryph just seems so bizarre. It's not even a she, really. Not a woman or a man. It's all sorts of things, chief among them being a shifter. A dangerous, alien creature from the Dream Planes with a myriad of forms, male, female, and everything in between. It also just happens to have a sweet hat and an eye for good literature.
Hmph. Dahlia's butt is cuter anyway.

He throws big heavy things at other things for a while (there's no way he could drop something on an enemy unless he was already at a higher elevation; it's chucking only, for now), but his heart's not really in it. Is there anything he should do or someone he should talk to, or should he just stew and wait for Gryphona's return?
No. 193677 ID: 92ee9e

Since you are already at it anyway, why not practice your sparring with Jai. Never hurts to train with a live opponent, as long as you aren't hurting each other.
No. 193678 ID: c00244

That, and you could chat with your parasite about this for a while, if you feel like it. Might provide an interesting perspective on these things.
No. 193703 ID: c2c011

Practice combination with Jai. Like you summon a huge block of ice and she makes it vaporise it to superhot steam as quickly as she can. That should be able to mess up some basards pretty well. Or huge boulder turned into boulder shrapnel launched at the enemy.
No. 193704 ID: 2eac65

Try summoning different things. Big and heavy objects have their uses, but they are limited. To exploit the true value of summoning, you should be able to make things like parachutes, hang gliders, wheeled boats, and giant springs (in that order).
No. 193706 ID: c00244

Other ideas:
-Bear traps and caltrops
-Walls of various useful substances for quick cover, sculpted for military use- consult with the qal regarding the details
-You can conjure large objects, but can you conjure large absence of objects? A pitfall or trench, for example? If so, can you do so just below the top of the ground, to leave them concealed?
-Can you summon swarms of small objects- a flurry of leaves or snowflakes, a blast of sand, that sort of thing?
-What about liquids?
-What temperature can you create things at? Can you manage red-hot metal?
-How large an item can you conjure in terms of surface area? In terms of volume? Mass? Attempt to maximize one characteristic at the expense of the others, as a test.

The point is, push your limits. Ask those around you for creative ideas; they'll have their own backgrounds to draw on to put useful spins on things.
No. 193709 ID: f98e0b
File 127655190037.png - (77.21KB , 800x600 , 34.png )

Dio and Jai practice with spellcasting combinations. The ice idea just ends up a puddle of hot water on the ground, but Jai easily shatters the boulder Dio sends up into the air, and they need to take cover under their cloaks from the shrapnel.
Then Dio suggests sparring, and Jai readily agrees. They use only nonlethal spells, of course, but their cloaks mean they can be a little more aggressive than usual.

As they bout, Dio converses with Thero.
What about, kid?
He's wondering about this whole Gryphona thing. Was summoning her okay?
Welp, I wouldn't know about that. As the dominant race of the Dream plane I can't get summoned against my will. Go me. Uh, as far as I know it kind of sucks, though. You pretty much have complete control over the chick. I'd imagine if she had her own free will she wouldn't want to go up with nine other people against an entire army. Dream denizens don't like getting tied down like that.
Dio was afraid of that.
Well hey, desperate times, I guess. Mages have been dipping into the Dream for summons for years, anyway. You guys are already pretty much Boogeymen for dreamthings as it is. Gryph's fairly young, though. She said she'd never been summoned. Maybe she actually respects you as a leader beyond your spells. I mean, I'm just hanging around 'cos I've got nothing better to do.
Think so?
No, not really. Sorry, kid.
No. 193710 ID: f98e0b
File 127655192162.png - (328.69KB , 800x600 , 35.png )

“You’re actually getting better at dueling,” says Jai.
“Thanks,” says Dio. “Could you maybe get off me?”
“Not until you admit defeat,” says Jai. “and maybe say you’re a little bitch.”
“A punch to the stomach is not a valid dueling rule,” says Dio. “Jean-Luc would have penalized the shit out of you ow my lungs come on Jai I am not a little bitch.”
“There are no rules in open warfare, student of mine,” says Jai. “How does defeat feel? How does it feeeeel?”
“So round and soft, and so inviting,” says Dio, wiggling around. She flicks his ear. “Ow. I am a little bitch.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem,” says Jai. “Oh, and you seemed sort of distracted.”
“I was talking to Thero,” says Dio. “I’m sort of having misgivings about controlling Gryphona.”
“Well, if she saves our lives I’m sure you’ll be able to forgive yourself,” says Jai. She squints up into the air. “Wonder when she’ll be back-“
Her voice is drowned out by a loud yell from the ramparts.
No. 193712 ID: c2c011

Get up and check it out. And prepare the boulder summon, might be the enemy after all.
No. 193717 ID: 40cb26

That must be her, go check it out.

Remember Dio, she may technically be a creature - an "it" - but she is still a person. And as such, the heart and personality of a woman. Having control over her doesn't make it ok to abuse it, and even as she will smile and agree happily to whatever you say there is still going to be the memory of what you did when you eventually free her.

The best you can do is treat her with kindness and respect, keep her safe and make sure when she goes home she doesn't take a painful memory with her. Arrange for her to get her own room, to start with.
No. 193776 ID: 8bdb6a

Go check it out, but then try to pretend you aren't worried when you get there.
No. 193918 ID: f98e0b
File 127658145260.png - (394.96KB , 800x600 , 36.png )

Dio heads up to the ramparts, with a boulder ready to summon at his fingertips. The entire rest of the barracks is crowding the crenelations, looking out across the plains, toward the mountains.
"What's going on?" Dio asks, scanning the mountains with his eye. No bird fluttering toward him. No new fires lit out above.

"Gandrat ground level, mateling," calls Djip.
"Ffucking Planespeech, please, Djip," says Glover, the Armory Master/Blacksmith/Cook, drawing out the F as he seems to always do. He's one for swearing, Dio's found out.
Djip points out at a dark smudge on the horizon, moving closer. "Spirits. Is that what I think it is?" breathes Deve.

"It's a survivor," says the Commandant.
No. 193929 ID: 2eac65

A lone survivor. Perfect bait for a sniper. Be vary.

Retrieve him quickly if possible. Perhaps you could summon a sort of armored wagon which Jai could propel. That could quickly get you over to him and back, while providing protection on the trip.
No. 193930 ID: 701a19

Have Jai go grab him and bring him back while the doctor gets prepped for triage and the cook go gets him some food and water.
Summoning Gryph back to you; she should have spotted this guy, so something is clearly wrong here. For example, she might have been captured, or he might have been released by enemies as bait for a trap.
No. 193933 ID: a594b9

Glamor some stealth onto him before he gets killed by pursuers!
No. 193941 ID: 0b2a05

Make him invisible. Someone's gotta go help him, if you can make them invisible too that would be great.
No. 193948 ID: 2eac65

If there are pursuers, they've probably got their sights on him already. It would be better to camo Jai while she flies to rescue him, if we're going with that plan. Then again, since Dio can split his mind, he can do both at once, but that might make it a bit hard for Jai to find him.

True invisibility is beyond us.
No. 193949 ID: 701a19

Wait, that's a fresh wound.

Yea, call Gryph back.
No. 193950 ID: 92ee9e

Use illusion to give him some cover and then you and Jai use further illusionary cover to go and get him.

If you can you should summon real cover at a distance you should put a wall between him and any potential snipers.
No. 193996 ID: e771aa

DON'T call Gryph back! We told her to scout the mountain to find out what we're up against. She wouldn't report back if she just spotted some stragglers that wouldn't be able to penetrate our fortifications. There are probably no huge armies following right behind this guy.

We're better off waiting so that Gryph can bring back proper recon.
No. 194010 ID: c2c011

Make yourself invisible and go out to get him. Make a duplicate illusion of him and include the guy in your invisibility, make your way back along with him and let the duplicate keep walking towards the fort. Make sure everyone knows this plan so they don't freak out if the duplicate is horribly killed.
No. 194064 ID: f98e0b
File 127661791899.png - (397.18KB , 800x600 , 37.png )

"Who is it?" says Deve, craning her neck.
"Spirits," says Euraeus. "It's Bendis. Bendis got out okay! Do we go meet him, or-"
"Waiwaitwait," says Dio, as Bendis gets closer. "That wound looks recent. Why would he still have the arrow in if he's a qal- Oh, shit." He realizes that Bendis isn't coming alone.

Dio doesn't know how to do invisibility.
What he can do is cover the survivor in camouflage, which he does as quickly as possible. He cries out a warning to get down, but he's not sure it carried across all that space. It doesn't matter. Bendis appears to get the idea and throws himself to the ground, remaining as still as he can.
No. 194065 ID: f98e0b
File 127661801665.png - (344.18KB , 800x600 , 38.png )

And a few seconds later, the Kithik come into view, making the retrieval of the soldier a bit more complicated.
Two of them come loping out of the tall grass, carrying loaded crossbows, sniffing the air.
"Spirits," says the Commandant. "Armed Kithik. Just like you said."
"They're wearing clothes now," says Jai. "Were they doing that when we saw them before?"
"Well I mean there's only two of them," says Euraeus. "Why was Bendis running from just two of them? He's not the kind of guy who'd run."
No. 194069 ID: aeade0

only two that we can see. others could be hiding.
No. 194071 ID: a594b9

He had no weapons... and look at his clothes. It's likely that he had escaped and was trying to get back to civilization for quite some time, and only now got caught.

We need to get someone out there to take out the Kithik. Dio, can you cast Entomb on one of them?
No. 194072 ID: a594b9

Wait a second what the fuck is that shadow in the sky?
No. 194074 ID: 701a19

"He's not running from two of them, he's running to warn us.
This is a trap; he's bait."

Recall Gryph. We might need her for this, and we need to make sure they didn't shoot her down.
Find out who is the best shot with an arrow, and have Jai establish a field that accelerates anything passing through it. Long-range sniping to pick off targets would probably be a significant help.

Oh, and disguise yourselves as Qal.
No. 194075 ID: f83b4e

These could be chasers from a much larger group he's trying to escape.

Generate an illusion of the Qal standing up many, many yards away from where the real one is and try luring them closer to the fort.
No. 194076 ID: e771aa

They can still smell Bendis, especially since he's bleeding!

Put an illusion on one of the Kithiks of Bendis armed with a weapon and about to attack the other Kithik. Hopefully they'll shoot each other in the confusion.
No. 194077 ID: a594b9

>shooting down Gryph
She's a shifter. Extremely hard to kill. I don't think we have to worry about her.
No. 194082 ID: 701a19

Not kill, capture.
Regardless, did you notice that these are now dogs wearing suits and sunglasses that happen to be driving down the freeway talking about politics while about to pull-off a drive-by?
There's one or two metric fucktons of magic involved here, and that much magic is probably capable of making a shifter very, very dead.
No. 194119 ID: 8bdb6a

I don't care if it's a trap. Run down and save him. Grab him and return to the fort as quickly as possible. If the Kithiks spot you before you can get to him, kill them.
No. 194121 ID: e67080

Tis true, if this is to be a retrieval and not a just hide the guy sort of thing. You all need to gear up if your not, and Dio and Jai need to go out and be heros! or at least kick some ass.
No. 194124 ID: c2c011

Take a page out of Dahlias playbook. Make yourself invisible and go slit their throats with a blade, a long one preferably.

While you're attacking them Jai flies out, grabs the injured qual and then flies back. Once he's back to saftey you slink away and get back into the fort.
No. 194129 ID: 92ee9e

It's time to get in there. If it's not going to tax the illusion to the breaking point, add in a distraction for the kithik. I like the idea of the wounded Qal popping up between them, it'll be a perfect distraction and maybe they'll hurt each other.

But maintaining the cover and getting there quick is priority. Get the wounded out of danger fast, then we can take down the kithik, or better yet, lead them around with illusions.

This is all too convenient, I'd have to guess this guy was a POW that they released as part of an ambush. Once the Qal is safe (or at least behind friendlies), we should set up an illusion that's an incredibly tempting target for them. If they tip their hand we can roast them, I don't doubt your ability to handle any number of these things, so long as you get the drop on them, and not the other way around.
No. 194150 ID: f98e0b
File 127663259879.png - (239.68KB , 800x600 , 39.png )

"Who's the best shot?" asks Dio.

Deve jumps up and dashes inside to grab her crossbow. "I've got it," she calls over her shoulder. "Just...yeah, hold on." She dashes into the hotel and he can hear her tearing up the stairs.
"Deve's a triple star marksman," says the Commandant, proudly. "Best damn shooter on the border."
"Can she hit them from here?" asks Dio.
"Might want to get them in a bit closer," says the Commandant. "We don't exactly have the best equipment and I'm worried she could hit Bendis in the tall grass behind all his camouflage."

Dio sends up some distraction/bait for the kithik, glamoring a fake Bendis into reality who proceeds to stand up and hustle for the fort. The kithik chatter excitedly among each other and start firing at him, but they're more enthusiastic than accurate about it, and Dio weaves him around to avoid arrows. He's taxing his mind, keeping these two illusions up at this long range, and there's not a whole lot else he can fit at this point. He thinks perhaps he can split off the lesser glamor covering up Bendis and throw up one more illusion, if he concentrates hard, but it'll be dicey.
No. 194151 ID: 0b2a05

Don't. Don't do everything yourself Dio, just focus on maintaining your two spells. If it gets easier as they move closer and you think you can do it, then you can hide Deve.
No. 194154 ID: bd76fb

Remember to move fake-Bendis so that when they follow him, they won't trip over real-Bendis. Maybe have him dart to one side a meter or two.
No. 194205 ID: f98e0b
File 12766406135.png - (111.00KB , 800x600 , 40.png )

Dio swerves the fake Bendis out of the way of the real one hiding in the grass. The kithik start chasing after it...
...right as Deve reappears on the wall with one of the largest crossbows Dio's ever seen. She props it up against the parapet and stares down the complex sights, muttering to herself.
She pulls the trigger, and the bolt is released with a loud twang.
No. 194207 ID: f98e0b
File 127664079273.png - (233.39KB , 800x600 , 41.png )

It arcs through the air with a grim inevitability, and sinks itself into one of the kithik, which drops instantly without a sound. The other one squeals and drops to the ground, obscuring itself in the grass.
"Intense satisfaction overriding natural guilt," says Deve, already cranking another bolt into place. She scans the horizon. "Shit. Can't get a good shot on the other one. Where is it?"
No. 194212 ID: e771aa

What's the range of Dio's direct effect spells? (entomb, blind, mind jolt, nerve lock)
No. 194215 ID: a594b9

Drop the decoy and put a lesser glamor of a bright redgreen bullseye on where the other one dropped.
No. 194216 ID: 0b2a05

Drop the illusion of fake Bendis, light up the skin of the second one in her vision.
No. 194218 ID: 8bdb6a

Have the illusion drop to the ground, too, then cancel it to free up some attention.

Head out there to rescue him. Bring Jai if she's up for it.

If there's lots more in hiding, all the more reason to hurry, before they eat Bendis.
No. 194221 ID: d6cb21

Hey Dio, see if you cant incapacitate the other one for interrigation.
No. 194223 ID: 059120

Yeah, seconding this, but send out an illusion of either yourself or someone here along another route to act as a decoy this time.
No. 194225 ID: 40cb26

Smoke it out! Drop the fake Bendis illusion and have an illusionary fire burst behind where it ducked so it escapes into view. Have it combine with the glamour hiding Bendis flames so it doesn't run that way, and making one big illusion is probably easier. Just make sure there's at least enough sense of approaching heat towards the creature for it to believe it is real.
No. 194261 ID: f98e0b
File 127664527248.png - (252.47KB , 800x600 , 42.png )

"Okay," says Dio. "I'm going in. Coming, Jai?"
"What kind of mentor would I be if I didn't support your crazy plans?" says Jai, launching herself up into the air.
Dio summons a duplicate just in case, and heads for where Bendis is hiding. Jai soars up above, relying on her robe and shield to protect her. "Don't see anything from up here," she calls. "Nothing but one dead kithik and Bendis. Where's the other one?"
No. 194264 ID: a594b9

Ugh, can't we just flatten all the grass somehow? Like with a big rolling pin or with a blanket of arcane force?
No. 194265 ID: 426169


Summon a big scythe?
No. 194270 ID: 0b2a05


Is there any chance they have an illusionist
No. 194272 ID: e771aa

Stay low, get Bendis and get ready to throw up a smoke screen of illusions behind you. Count on Jai to provide covering fire.
No. 194288 ID: 40cb26

Set the grass on illusionary fire. With illusionary heat.
No. 194291 ID: 2eac65

If they do, this might not be Bendis at all.
No. 194308 ID: d6cb21

This has to be it. Try some fire. Fire solves everthing.
No. 194310 ID: f98e0b
File 127665457481.png - (708.81KB , 800x600 , 43.png )

"Jai, could you flatten the grass?" asks Dio, and then stumbles and falls on his ass as she sends down a flat wave of force that rolls across the plain and pancakes the grass onto the ground.Dio relaxes his mind and lets a blue nimbus of light spring up around his illusions. He recognizes the clump of grass he summoned to hide Bendis. The wounded Qal shifts under it.
No. 194316 ID: a594b9

There. That clump of thick grass down-left of Bendis.

The fucker's got some kind of camo. Another illusionist on the field, perhaps? Nail him, and get Bendis out of here! (also more, better camo plz)
No. 194317 ID: f21281

Everything hates bees.

We could summon up some bees and use some mental mindfuckery to make the Kithik think it's being attacked by a swarm of angry bees, making it run away.

No. 194320 ID: 8bdb6a

Yeah, definitely something strange going on down-left of your boy, there.

Frag it.
No. 194322 ID: 40cb26

That spot right there? Smash it with a boulder.
No. 194344 ID: f98e0b
File 127665685113.png - (166.16KB , 800x600 , 44.png )

"There we are," says Dio, walking over to the other patch of tall grass and pulling a boulder out of his mind. He's poised to crush the kithik flat when a hoarse, hissing voice, like a thousand moths beating their wings in unison, cries out from the grass.

"Mercy! I beg you!"

"What." says Jai.
No. 194347 ID: 8bdb6a

Don't lose your cool.

"Throw your weapon aside."
No. 194348 ID: 0b2a05

Well what the crap. Can you make something less... lethal to put on him so he can't get up? Like a ridiculously heavy tarp?
No. 194349 ID: aeade0

"both arms up to show you are unarmed." then have jai tie him up.
No. 194351 ID: e31d52

I'm leaning to not sparing him, but...

Ask someone. Jai, preferebly.
No. 194352 ID: a594b9

Holy shit, they can TALK!?

Well, then guess what? We capture this guy. No killing. Tell it to throw its weapon out of the grass and come out with its hands up.
No. 194355 ID: 40cb26

Turn it into a big cage and drop it.
No. 194363 ID: 701a19

No. 194368 ID: 620bfb

Well shit, these animals are advancing pretty damn fast. Captoor eet.
No. 194465 ID: f95872

Now, I'm not sure how much control you have over your summoned stuff. Would it be possible to have a cage, instead of a rock, perched over him? Like, without giving him a material chance to escape?

Because if so, we should do that.
No. 194490 ID: f83b4e

If he can actually talk and isn't just mimicing something he heard a Qal say when it was on the ropes, its invaluable for information..

Once its disarmed. Box up your captive and get its monkeybow away.
No. 194495 ID: 8bdb6a

Maybe nobody's training these guys to use weapons or talk. Maybe you just discovered a new, intelligent species. That's an alienation grade accomplishment, right there.

Now we just need to stop them from killing us.

Bring the prisoner back to the fort, on the quick.
No. 194599 ID: 158c5c

Tell them to drop their weapons before you drop yours.
No. 194600 ID: a594b9

Hey. Hey Dio.

You can launch summoned items, without recoil.

Doesn't that mean you could launch something and keep ahold of it, and have the momentum send you flying?

You could fly, Dio. You could fly.
No. 194606 ID: f98e0b
File 127671438095.png - (254.83KB , 800x600 , 45.png )

Dio blinks the boulder out of existence and readies a cage for summoning.

He looks at the grass.

He looks at Jai. She shrugs helplessly.

He turns back to the grass.
"Toss your weapon out then come out slowly," he says, cautiously.

"Yes," says the voice. A crossbow flies out from under the illusion, and then the kithik emerges, with its arms in the air. "See. I come before you in supplication for my life, unarmed." It glances up at its keen claws. "Uh."
No. 194607 ID: 0b2a05

Handcuffs, Dio. And not the fuzzy kind. Made out of some seriously strong material, not just average crappy steel.
No. 194608 ID: a594b9

"Close enough. Don't make any sudden movements. Who's casting the illusion?"

...I hope this isn't a distraction. Cage him or otherwise restrain him somehow... but also make sure the cage is covered enough so that nobody can snipe him to keep him from talking.

Also get Bendis back to the fort.
No. 194609 ID: a594b9

Ooh, instead of a cage, how about an armored cart? Two compartments. One for the prisoner, the other for everyone else. Then it gets propelled by mage hand or something while you displace its location with a glamor so that anyone shooting at it will miss.
No. 194611 ID: 8bdb6a

Don't stall. Cuff him and grab Bendis and start moving back to the fort. Ask him where the illusion came from on the way. Keep your eyes, er, eye peeled for other enemies.
No. 194618 ID: 6164e0

Tungsten carbide would work pretty well, or one of several titanium based alloys. Alternatively, make the cuffs full-forearm manacles with heavy duty chains, if making complex alloys is beyond you.
No. 194636 ID: babce4

How about we have Jai give him a knockout shot. You could do it yourself with a club or something. We want him immobile though, and not bound by anything that's going to disappear when Dio gets distracted.

Have Jai knock him out and grab him, you go help Bendis. Once you are to where Bendis is, put up a wall between you and any potential attackers, and then help him back.

Potentially if you wanted, could you make a wall that could cover any incoming missles, and had a little stretcher that could carry Bendis?
No. 194673 ID: f95872

Strong handcuffs can be fuzzy too. You just get some fuzzy material from a craft store and put it on proper handcuffs.

For fuck's sake, there's no need to be uncivil. He's already surrendered, and has been entirely cooperative.
No. 194676 ID: 2eac65

If we cuff him, he could still use his claws if he was clever. Make some big, poofy mittens to cover them.

I'm not sure this is within our capability, though. Can we make a wide variety of objects, or only ones we're familiar with?
No. 194690 ID: f98e0b
File 127673540195.png - (230.20KB , 800x600 , 46.png )

"That's close enough," says Dio, thinking a pair of cuffs and binding the kithik. "Who was it who camouflaged you?"

"You do not know him? He is your pupil, Masked."
"What?" says Dio.
"Do you not see him?"

"They did not, Belt Buckle," sighs a kithik, rising like a ghost from the tall grass. "You have revealed our hand a little early, I think."
Jai wheels around and channels power into her fists for an implosion, causing the new kithik to hop backward. "Please. Wait. I do not come to your fortress in wrath. It is I, Masked and Scarlet. Horned One, remember? See, I shall unbind your friend."
Bendis breaks out into a bout of hacking and coughing on the ground, gasping for air.
No. 194694 ID: 6164e0

...Jai was crying about maybe dying from this, and acted real worried.

...This seems a stretch, but could a prior jaunt on her part have somehow instigated this progression towards enhanced intellect, and she has been hiding it from you?

Again, seems fairly unlikely, but it somewhat seems like what the creatures are implying.
No. 194698 ID: fdaabb

Jai has never been here in Arcane before, I think? At least, if she was, it wasn't on her alienation. Not allowed to go to the plane your magic specializes in.
No. 194700 ID: e3f578

>He is your pupil, Masked

Uhh, time travel? They know you from the future? Or a future you from the past?
No. 194703 ID: 7b5606

Doubt it.
My current theory is another arcanopolis-trained magician, mixed with a generic 'deity' myth.
No. 194704 ID: 8bdb6a

Okay. So it looks like they were able to learn your spell from seeing it only once. That seems scarily impressive learning speed.

Try to avoid being freaked out by thoughts that they've become not only intelligent but superintelligent. Put them in cuffs and bring them back to the base before they pull any more surprises. Make it clear that they're to present no resistance or you'll be unable to stop the Qal from killing them.
No. 194705 ID: e67080

>Ask for the mage to come and talk. peacefully. You hope.
No. 194706 ID: f98e0b
File 127674045776.png - (162.11KB , 800x600 , 47.png )

"Jai?" says Dio. "Have you ever been here before?"
"What?" says Jai. "No. Why?"
"It was not Scarlet who taught me, Masked," says the kithik. "It was you. Do you not remember? You took from me my arm." He pats his right arm solemnly. "But then, you gave it back to me, along with a Gift. A spark, to reach into the Me that slumbers and bring its accouterments to waking. I wear this, ah..."

"It is a scar, Horned," says the other kithik.

"No," says Horned. "Close." It chitters. "Ah yes. It is called a scarf, I remember this now. I wear it to commemorate these things you have given me. Thank you."
"Does this mean you're coming peacefully?" asks Dio. "Give us a chance to talk?"
"I would it were true," says the kithik. "I come only with a warning, Masked. This place will be taken by the people. The attack is tomorrow, and the hive will send many to fight and kill you and take your buildings. We-" he gestures to himself and the other kithik- "were only meant to scout your defenses. But I have come with more, against my queen's wishes. I have told you of our attack tomorrow, and I have brought one of the Slimey folk to you from the other fort. It is all I can do. Will you give back the one with the belt buckle?"
No. 194707 ID: aeade0

the horned one is who we used MY ARM on before.
No. 194709 ID: 6cf050

Well this one is a quick study. Try to find out why they are after the fort.
No. 194711 ID: babce4

This is very bad. Very bad.

Dio, you are going to hate this, but now that we know what we know, you have to kill him. He's going to be involved in the attack and anyone with illusion abilities is going to have a serious impact on a real battle. If you try to take him prisoner he'll have a significant chance of escaping. I don't like that it's that simple, but it is.

Kill him. Drop a massive stone on him. Don't give him a chance to react or cast any more spells.
No. 194713 ID: c00244

Shit, you're right. Guys, this is incredibly important, change-the-face-of-the-plane stuff. We must find out more.

Of course we will give him back, since it appears that you brought the qal back safely at some risk to yourself. Ask why the hive is expanding so quickly, and more about their culture and queen... if necessary, even offer to return with them and speak further.
No. 194714 ID: 6cf050

If we have a whole hive of these coming at us shortly it might be beyond our abilities even if we do take this one down. We need to find out more about whats going on and talking to him could be our best chance.
No. 194715 ID: aeade0

"so you get smart and the first thing that you do is you start killing people. the fort has just a skeleton crew, the real army will be sent next. if you do not stray from your path then all of you, queen included, will die."
No. 194719 ID: 6922af

Soooo what, kithik are capable of absorbing magic and evolving as a consequence? Not only are they wearing clothing but their capable of conversation now.

Press it about what it means by "the people." It could just be a general term to refer to the other kithik, but it wouldn't have mentioned "the hive" if that were the case. And since its calling the Qal "Slimey Folk" we know it isn't them--this has mage work written all over it.

On another note, if whoever has started this is capable of advancing a species of creatures that were basically wild dogs into higher intelligences, Gryphona might not be safe.
No. 194723 ID: 2eac65

"Why are you so set on open war? We might be able to come to some kind of agreement."
No. 194727 ID: 059120

This is bad. I don't like it, but we should retreat. Not just you and Jai, but the Qal too. You guys can't stand up to an army of these things. We need to a real army in here, to either wipe them out or start actual negotiations. Leave that up to them. If you're going to do that, let them have Buckle back.

If you do decide to stand your ground, though, it's war. You can't just give back prisoners. Try and capture Horned, too. Kill him if you have to.
No. 194733 ID: c00244

I think that at this point, we have to try and send the Qal back to warn others/gather an army, while we attempt to learn more about the seemingly new and improved kithik- which obviously are capable of sophisticated thought, communication, and at least some internal dissension- and attempt to establish negotiations and/or even treaty lines. It might not work, but if there's even a chance to prevent a massive war how can we not try? And who do the Qal have that's more suited for getting out if things go poorly than us?
No. 194737 ID: 63ab82

Propose a trade. They can take us prisoner, but let the guards go home to let the army know the situation and ask for diplomats.

As for us, we befriend them from the inside.
No. 194739 ID: b6ab34


Ah. It seems, Dio, that you using your mind-magic on these creatures caused them to develop mental powers in return. I wonder how they would react to other types of magic?

Still, this fellow is your responsibility. He probably has an instinctive loyalty to his "queen", but is likely willing to talk to you. Perhaps you could suggest giving your "Gift" to his queen? That might make her amenable to negotiation, too.
No. 194758 ID: d6cb21

Dio, do you know what this means?
Time travel. In your future, you will become capable of time travel.

We should thank him and hurry back to the fort in order to prepare defences. Unless of course, our friend here knows of a way to avert the assualt.
No. 194760 ID: 2eac65

I certainly hope not. Any situation with time travel is inevitably a mess.

We might want to go with them and speak to their queen. Not as a hostage, as a negotiator. It's important to find out what they want. Or, we might be able to learn that from talking to this one here.
No. 194761 ID: b8883a

If you don't find a way to make peace between the newly-sentient kithik and the Qal, you might get caught in a species war and get stuck there for years.

How they gained sentience doesn't matter. At this point, for all we know, it could be natural.

Just remember... The kithik are now people as much as any Vidder, Qal, or Dreamthing are. Weigh their deaths accordingly.
No. 194763 ID: a594b9

These guys remind me of dreamfolk.
No. 194764 ID: 40cb26

Stall and make him talk, get more out of it before whatever happens next. After all, you only intended to keep "belt buckle" for information, but he isn't nearly as useful as this guy.

"What is this attack about and who is your queen? Are there more here like you? Or only more like these? You can have your friend back if I understand better, I only caught him to ask him questions."

"If it's only to take the buildings, why attack? Come to us in peace and we can make buildings for them, and teach them to build their own. They have only been known as animals, if they are now known as people they will be treated as such. Tell your queen this."
No. 194773 ID: babce4

I don't think the Qal are planning on retreating. We signed up to help them, and abandoning them at this point would be wrong.

So if anything but a bloody battle is going to occur, we need to go and have peace talks with the kithik immediately. There can be no waiting if this is the plan.

Personally, I feel that we should be pragmatic. War is hell, and this is war. We should kill the illusionist and take the other one prisoner for general grilling about how the kithik operate.

Then we should shore up the defenses. If we get a little info on how they plan to attack that would help, but I expect the situation will involve a horde of the buggers armed with crossbows.
No. 194778 ID: c00244

This isn't war- not really, not yet. It's only a border skirmish. There have been some qal killed, and doubtless some kithik as well, but we haven't reached the full-on slaughtering armies point of no return.

Our main objective has to be avoiding reaching that point at any cost. We did indeed sign up to help the qal, and that includes trying to stop them from fighting a bloody war with a newly empowered and newly intelligent race. We'll come into the fight on their side if we have to, but it would be better if we stopped there from being a fight.
No. 194785 ID: babce4

You remember they slaughtered another base of Qal, right? I think things have already reached bloody conflict status. And again, any negotiations would have to happen immediately. It'd be suicidal for Dio to just go there and try to hold peace talks.

And while these are clearly sentient, it's not just something that happened, there's another mask wearer pulling their strings, and he's obviously not friendly to Qal.
No. 194786 ID: 586db0

Dio IS the one that was mentioned. That kithik picked up illusion magic after Dio using it on him only ONCE.

Are they all that quick to pick up magic, I wonder, or was that guy just lucky?
No. 194787 ID: 701a19

No, what happened is he nervelocked the thing, and it learned illusion magic from that.

Now, since these things learn magic that is used on them it would be a very good idea to try to resolve this without the use of magic. You need to open diplomatic channels.

Also, he said that there's a war party on the way that should get there within 24 hours. That is something that Gryph would have reported.

Game plan: While walking over to the downed one tell 'your pupil' that the arrow wasn't magic, let alone your magic, so your magic can't help him. However, if he's still alive you'll get him prompt medical attention. Then check vitals; if it's alive then have Jai rush it and the Qal back to the fort for treatment. If it's dead then say you're sorry, but there's nothing you can do.
No. 194835 ID: a594b9

We used Nervelock+Minor Glamor for MY ARM. We used Entomb on it as it ran.

It knows those spells now.
No. 194861 ID: 45be60

its not just magic they are learning as they see it, it's everything. Crossbows, clothes, language, there is one cause for all the strange behaviors we have witnessed, and we need to figure out what it is. It is making these guys into a sentient race in a hurry, if someone is doing it intentionally, they have a motive beyond "the kindness of my heart." If some recently uncovered artifact of great power is doing it, we need to know about that too.
No. 194920 ID: bcf25c


Queen, huh? Interesting.
No. 194942 ID: f83b4e

Something has changed the Kithik.. or perhaps they've always been this way, and hid it until now.

Either way, its clear that they aren't the animals the rest of the world has treated them like. War or Peace, things must change. Hopefully, soon.

Ask if the Kithik queen, or a diplomat, would be willing to talk for peace.
No. 195162 ID: f98e0b
File 127684053360.png - (277.56KB , 800x600 , 48.png )

"So you've learned Illusion magic?" asks Dio. "That fast?"
"Kithik are quick learners," says Horned. "Under our new Queen we have become very quick learners."
"They killed Red Shirt, Horned," says Belt Buckle.
"I am not unduly surprised," says Horned.
"So there are more like you?" asks Dio.
"How do you mean?"
"That can talk and cast spells?"
"Most all of us have learned tongues," says Horned. "And I admit I have been taking others in tutelage, to school them as you have schooled me."

Dio feels his heart turning into lead and slowly sliding into his stomach.

"And the first thing you do with this knowledge is immediately go on a rampage?" asks Jai. "Why the open war?"
"It is to carve a true land for the people, that we may continue to expand physically as we have mentally," says Horned. "This is what the Queen has said."
"This isn't the full army you're dealing with," says Jai. "When they show up it'll be a massacre."
"How many Qal are in the Qal lands?" asks Horned. "The ones we are invading. The Delv."
"Uh..." says Dio. He turns to Bendis.
"50,000" croaks Bendis. "We're a tribe."
"And approximately two thirds of you are trained in combat," says Horned. "We learned of you from the first fort. We number half a million. We are learning more. I have passed my spark along, to some. We all shall fight. Every one of the people. Our Queen shall ensure it. I am sorry, Scarlet, but you are right. It will be a massacre."

Dio looks down to Bendis. He's gone pale. Jai's fists are clenched. "We can figure this out," he says. "We can avoid war, okay? Your Queen. Would she be willing to talk for peace?"
"No," says Horned.
"Would she negotiate? Now that we know you're people and not just animals?"
"No," says Horned.
"Is there any way she would agree to see us?"
"No," says Horned.
"What if we submitted ourselves as captives?" asks Dio. "Would she see us if we were her prisoners? If she had the power?"
"What?" says Horned.
"What?" says Jai.
"I... yes, I suppose so," says Horned. "I had not intended to capture you, but... we have several of the Slimey folk as captive, and she has spoken with them. They are defiant. They anger her, and yet she still speaks to them, taunting them, almost. She would agree to have two aliens with the spark of magic brought before her in supplication, yes. That is the way to her ear. But... it seems almost foolhardy, Masked."
No. 195164 ID: 701a19

"Is the queen a Kithik?"

Unless you REALLY want to be a prisoner, destroy the chain.
Also, send Orpheo a text saying "Shit's fucked; apocalypse now."
No. 195166 ID: 4c7b39

"It's a horrible idea. We're gonna do it anyway."
No. 195168 ID: e67080

"Then despite you calling it foolhardy Horned, if you were me, would you see any other way? I suppose lead the way to your queen"
No. 195169 ID: a594b9

Is it possible to contact Gryph without her being visible? We need to let her know what's going on, find out what she knows, and have her as our ace in the hole. The Kithik should not know she is on our side.

How long has it been since she left anyway?
No. 195171 ID: a594b9

Also yes let's go for the diplomatic, prisoner route. It will both give us the best chance of survival and have the best chance of stopping the war.
No. 195172 ID: aeade0

you need to fix it now or you will die later. if prisoner is our only way to keep everyone from dying then so be it.
No. 195173 ID: 701a19

Also, how long has it been since you sent Gryph off?

Alright, so, the basic plan is for you to tell the commander that the assault force numbers between 50,000 and 500,000, that they've gained the ability to use magic, and that the Qal need to fall back to a more defensible position and report in to secure reinforcements.
No. 195187 ID: c00244

"It does seem rather suicidal, doesn't it? But if I have even the smallest chance at saving tens of thousands of lives, I have to take it."

Of course, dragging our companion- who has expressed extreme concerns about potentially dying here- into this is kind of a dick move. We should give her an out, if possible to manage it without somehow insulting or belittling her.

Ask Horned if he will wait a few minutes to allow us to speak briefly with the Qal commander before leaving with him. We'll want to at least get their take on this, and get some idea of their likely response.
No. 195191 ID: 45be60

Don't call her a Kithik, ask if she is one of the people. Gotta use the name they know.
No. 195207 ID: 8bdb6a

You know, this guy could be lying about the odds in an effort to get the enemy to do stupid things like surrender their battlemages without a fight

That said, this is clearly a gigantic fucking threat. We should quietly abandon the fort in the night, set up some shit to make it look like it's still occupied, and run back to Qal territory as quickly as we can, while phoning ahead to let them know that there's an army of magic-using monsters coming.
No. 195240 ID: 0b2a05

This could be an illusionist disguised as a kithik. Their queen might be one too. There's something off here, qal aren't idiots, they can't not have learned this with SO MANY OF THEM.

Ask what species the queen is. Do you think there's any way you could create a kind of suppression field on illusions? Lower their effectiveness in the area?
No. 195307 ID: a594b9

...wait, MY LIMB is Nervelock+Mind Jolt. So we never used Minor Glamor against him directly.

However, upon further review, he has the scarf on the arm he didn't lose. Is this an illusory clone, or did he put it on that arm on purpose?

I wonder if Belt is the only illusionist here, and conjured Horned up to match a story one of his scouts told him. Right now he could be trying to put up an act to convince us to let him live... Is there any way to tell?
No. 195311 ID: 701a19

Sure. Walk up and give him a hug.
No. 195314 ID: 8bdb6a

>However, upon further review, he has the scarf on the arm he didn't lose.
Hey, you're right. Let's assume it's an impostor unless proven otherwise.
Dio: How do we dispel someone else's illusion? If possible, try to get them to where the other Qal can help kick their ass before we try.
No. 195322 ID: 928a6c

Going with him? Right into the lions den?

Half a million, there's no beating that if they are all armed. Even if they aren't, if the entire Qal army was here defending, it'd turn into a siege and eventually a loss just to differences in numbers.

But this is suicide. Maybe you'd get to talk to queen and convince her that war isn't appropriate, but that's making a lot of assumptions.

And he's just given us information that is important. He is their teacher spellcasting wise. You might be able to quash out their spellcasting capabilities with one move, right now. I can't imagine it'd feel very good, but in a long term war it might give the Qal a chance.

10 to 1, if all the Qal were to show up. Right now it'd be 10 to 5 million, so obviously were giving the Qal the word to evacuate the fort.

So are you going with him? Seems like a dead end situation no matter what we do. Dio, if you go through with this you are NOT bringing Jai. That would be putting someone important to you in serious danger.
No. 195331 ID: e67080

huh, this is true. It definitely was effected and used a crossbow with its left hand, but the scarf is on the right.

I guess unless there is a method of counter illusion, we need to get touchy-feely with some knives to see if these are just glamors or such. Or at least ask if as a gift for your 'aid' of magic that you be unbinded as you head to the queen.
No. 195332 ID: 701a19

10 to 1 odds are manageable if you have a capable enough tactician and you're on the defensive, but it'd be dicey. Even more so considering their rapid learning.

Since we don't have anything that can turn one of these mountains into a cloud of shrapnel, we need the Qal to arm themselves with antimatter mops.

Alternatively? Blast the chain to bits and dump enough energy into the mountain to start it drifting away. Too bad Dio doesn't know how to make solid fuel rocket boosters.
No. 195336 ID: 701a19

Might as well go with the prisoner bit I guess.
I don't like it, but it's the least likely to end with massive bloodshed.
No. 195379 ID: 928a6c

But it's the most likely to end with Dio's blood shed.

We are ignoring that this really isn't his fight, beyond this one learning magic from him. We could right that mistake and move on. This is no longer about completing the alienation, this is a situation where pretty much every option is death, except to leave. I don't want to Dio to leave, but hearing that a half a million kithik are about to descend on this fort doesn't leave a whole lot of options.

I wish we knew more about kithik culture.
No. 195383 ID: aeade0

quitting will result in worse then death.
No. 195410 ID: f98e0b
File 127689169856.png - (241.81KB , 800x600 , 49.png )

"Maybe I'll go with you," says Dio. "But I'm not convinced I can trust you. Drop the glamor. Where's the real you?"
"How did you know?" asks Horned, standing up from the grass behind him. His scarf is now tied to his other arm.
"There are ways," says Dio.
"I see," says Horned. "I still have much to learn from you, it seems."
There is an uncomfortable quiet.
"I apologize, Masked," says Horned. "I could not know if you planned to kill me."
"Okay," says Dio. "Fine. I guess I would have done the same thing."
"I am thankful to hear it. If you do wish to go forward in this plan, you may return your Slimey friend and consult with your allies. I will wait here for you for an hour. If your mind remains unchanged then find me and I shall take you captive and show you to the Queen."
No. 195413 ID: a594b9

Ok, we will confer.
No. 195416 ID: e67080

I suppose we might as well take the hour then, although unless a real opportunity presents itself, becoming a hostage may be the only real choice to have a voice.
No. 195419 ID: 059120

Get Bendis medical attention, inform the Qal how fucked the situation is. Oh, and call back Gryph. Even if she's not in danger, we need her report now.
No. 195420 ID: 8bdb6a

He definitely knows Split Mind.

I still don't like plan surrender. They can just ignore us and kill us. Or probably just ignore us and keep us captive while they keep killing Qal. I don't see why their queen would be any more empathetic than the rest of them. We should head back to Qal territory and help with the defense. Maybe they're lying about their numbers. If they only recently became intelligent, then they don't have agriculture or anything. Their population density should be pretty low. (Granted, they're weird magic creatures in a weird, magical plane)
No. 195428 ID: a594b9

Plan surrender gets us in and past the massive, massive army.

If the Queen doesn't listen to reason, we assassinate her and use Gryph and illusions to cover our escape. Heck we might even be able to have Gryph use her shapeshifting ability to masquerade as the Queen and take over their civilization.
No. 195453 ID: 6922af

They have no reason to lie. I doubt the Qal would back down in the face of an attack, even if the odds were severely against them, so a "our forces are bigger than yours" bluff seems pointless.

Go back and confer with the others, get a dialogue going. If you can get in contact with Gryphona then attempt to do so as the situation has just jumped up the volatile scale a good tenfold. I don't like the idea of willingly walking into the enemy camp and choosing surrender, but its an option especially in a bid for more information.
No. 195484 ID: 63ab82

As well, I suspect all the spellcasters may feel similar to this kiith. You are their original teacher of magic, after all. A figure they probably revere up to an extent. You will have allies in the midst of enemies.

Think of the great stories they will tell about you on your graduation day.
No. 195697 ID: f98e0b
File 127692888542.png - (199.40KB , 800x600 , 50.png )

Dio can communicate to Gryphona, but since she isn't an illusionist it'll only be one way. He shoots off a mental message to report back and hopes she gets it.

"In an hour or so then," says Dio, and he and Jai take Bendis away.
"You don't have to come along, Jai," mutters Dio. "Stay with the Qal. They could use you."
"Fuck, Dio," says Jai. "How do you think they'd react if I came home without you? I'm your mentor. That automatically makes me better, stronger, and smarter than you are. You need me."
"I think I can..."
"I'm going with you, Dio. You can try to talk me out of it but I'd save your breath for the Queen."
"Yeah, Dio," croaks Bendis between them. He's still recovering from the arrows and his crushed lungs. "I, uh, came into this conversation early. Hey. My name's Bendis. Where are we going?"
"Border fort near here," says Dio.
"Is this the one with Xjiprate in it?" asks Bendis.
"Yep," says Dio.
"So is, uh, is Deve Jinizsx there?" he asks, his voice brightening up. "Old friend. Blue lady? Stellar booty?"
"Yes," says Dio.
"Spirits. We gotta hurry up then," he says urgently. "I think I've got some serious PTSD or Stockholm Sydrome or something that needs addressing in the sexiest way possible."
"What next, Dio?" asks Jai. "We've only got one hour."
No. 195700 ID: 701a19

Next? Next you realize that you may be helping a spy in disguise into a friendly fort, and tell the Qal to be careful of that.
Then message Dahlia to tell her what you plan to do and why.
No. 195707 ID: 928a6c

God dammit, we can't let Jai put herself in this position. You can risk your own life with inane 1 in a million chances, but risking hers is a step to far.

I suggest you use an illusion to give her the slip when leaving time comes.
No. 195708 ID: c00244

We need to speak with the Qal commander. Tell him everything we've learned and speculated on this, along with our current plans. Get his opinion on the current goings-on.

Send a message to Dahlia. Tell her you're off to do something suicidally dangerous and that you love her. Shouldn't take long.

Hopefully by the time you're done with all that, Gryphona will have returned.
No. 195709 ID: aeade0

if jai goes back to the school without dio it would reflect very badly on her. if the both go down fighting then they will get boatloads of honor.
No. 195712 ID: 701a19

If by "Honor" you mean "Maggots", then yes.
Dead men tap no tails.
No. 195795 ID: 059120

Go back to the commandant, report the situation, and propose your plan. Including that Jai is coming with you. If Gryph's not back in the next half hour, unsummon her and resummon her to you to get a report before you surrender.
No. 195799 ID: c2c011

Tell the commandant everything. And suggest that he pulls out of the fortress and leaves nothing useful there. He needs to pass this information on to his superiors as fast as he can and they need to set up defensive lines to recieve half a million Kithik invaders with magic back up as fast as they can, and call in every ally they can possibly get their hands on. You might succed in convincing the queen to make a settlement or assassinate her, but chances of that really doesn't look very good right now, and either one might not entirely remove the threat.

And Dio, you should make up some contingency plans with Jai yourself. For instance how to get out from the middle of possibly half a million hostile Kithik and get yourself to safety as well as how to kill the commander in such an encampment, and preferably get out alive.
No. 195864 ID: f98e0b
File 127698060642.png - (242.35KB , 800x600 , 51.png )

As they reenter the fortress, the Qal rush into the courtyard to greet their comrade.
"Welcome back, Bendis," says the commandant, warmly.
"Glad to be here, sir," says Bendis, struggling to shake his hand through the mass of Qal.
"Bendis!" says Euraeus. "You're... alive!"
"Acute observation," says Bendis. "Is that Euraeus? Last time I saw you you were four feet tall, kid."
"Ffuck, Bendis, you dickmunch, why didn't you send word?" says Glover, steaming. "We thought you'd all ffucking died. You're covered in your own ffucking blood. It's good to see what's ffucking left of you."
"Love you too, Glover," says Bendis, slapping him on the back.
"Hoyo, mate," says Djip. "Gandrame atta blazer fordy ago, kennin' you was wasted. How got you gone?"
"Traded back, Djip," says Bendis. "Is that what you were asking? I never have any fucking idea what you're saying."
He's nearly tackled to the ground by Deve, who leaps on him. "Intense euphoria and relief Bendis! Spirits, I thought we'd lost everyone up there."
"Whozis?" asks Bendis. He squeezes her butt. "Aha. Hello, Doc. I have missed the crap out of you. Is serious blue lady blueballs a psychological condition?"
She punches him in the arm, causing him to wince on account of the arrows that had recently taken lodging there. "Psych later. Fix your puncture wounds first, Lieutenant. You're getting stains all over."
"I'd be making a joke or something about that right now if I wasn't woozy from blood loss," says Bendis.

The commandant extricates himself from the chattering crowd to go over and speak with Dio. "What happened out there?" he asks. "We saw you speaking to the kithik."
"Yeah," says Dio, and tells him the whole story. His color drains as Dio finishes. "Five hundred thousand?"
"It might be better to pull back," says Dio.
"Overruled," says the Commandant. "You need someone to go in for you if this all goes sour. We're trained in special operations and infiltration. You need us."
"Is there no way I can talk you out of it?" asks Dio.
"I am Qal, Specialist," says the commandant. "There will never be a time I do not stand with my allies. If you're not successful in a day, well, we'll just have to fight our way to you as best we can. What is your plan, exactly, once you're in front of this Queen?"
No. 195868 ID: a594b9

"I'll try to reason with her. Surely she will accept some kind of diplomatic solution. If that fails... assassination. I reckon I should be able to use the element of surprise to kill her somehow... then either sneak out or fight my way to safety."

We really need to figure out how to make people invisible, and stealth our projectiles! I think Summon Item + Minor Glamour should be able to make a projectile invisible. Blind cast in a 'reverse' way on a person might result in invisibility. Instead of that person being unable to see anyone else, nobody else would be able to see them.
No. 195871 ID: 8bdb6a

"Make a plea that she stop attacking out of the kindness of her heart, even though it's pretty clear she's made her mind up about it. Then, after that doesn't work, I summon a ballista bolt aimed at her throat, and hope they haven't figured out magic sufficient to block that. I mentioned they're learning new spells by the day, right? Little upset about that. Took me years. Worried we might be dealing with some kind of superintelligence."
No. 195879 ID: 059120

"Make shit up."

Ask how the Qal would handle negotiations. Would they be willing to grant any land to the Kithik, or try to settle for a peaceful relationship?

Also, still saying we should resummon Gryph here to get more information.
No. 195882 ID: 701a19

"Negotiation if possible, assassination and impersonation if it's not. The queen is the one pushing for war, so we need her to back them down. She seems to be looking for a Qal genocide, which makes things that much tougher.
Hopefully I'll be able to find out what's behind all this and stop the problem at its source, but if not...

I'll be honest; if negotiation works then I'll try to find the least amount of land and goods they'll accept, but they have the advantage and they know it. Even if the queen accepts terms she'll still intend to attack; at best it will give the main Qal forces time to prepare and lower the enemy morale over breaking a treaty.

Speaking of that, you need to send word back of the impending attack. The arcanopolis might be willing to send aid once the problem is described; terms like 'ascended wildlife', 'magical oddities', 'pending apocalypse', and 'extinction by genocide' should get their attention."
No. 195893 ID: c2c011

Get him to atleast send someone back with word of what's going on. His people really needs to know about this before 500 000 kithik come swarming into their lands.

As for plans. You're going to try to atleast make her consider negotiations. Which is really all you can do on that front, you don't have the jurisdiction to make any kinds of promises and expect people to live up to them. You're not a diplomat and you don't really have any kind of idea on the situation at hand here.

If you can't get her to negotiate then the plan is to assassinate her and then get the fuck out of there. If no assassination oppurtunity presents itself then you plan on just getting the fuck out of there and try to call on more arcanapolis support.

And yes you should get Gryph back to you. You're gonna need her for what comes next. She could get in with you by shapeshifting into something small and hiding on you. And having a third person there that can shapeshift into very deadly creatures would amplify your chances by alot.
No. 195906 ID: 8bdb6a

Also, still voting we don't actually do this. This is just a suicide assassination mission under guise of negotiations. We're not actually going to be able to convince her of shit.

And if she sends an envoy to talk to us? Or stands behind bulletproof glass or something? Well then I guess we don't actually have any plan, do we?
No. 195910 ID: c2c011

Not really no. But I don't think we're gonna be able to convince anyone that this is a stupid idea.

Preferably we should just pull back. Get the Qal unified under a common banner, set up defensive lines to keep the Kithik contained or if that's not possible burn the land and pull back so they can't keep themselves supplied.
No. 195916 ID: 059120

I'll support trying to get everyone to pull back, but the Qal seem too stubborn to do that.
No. 195920 ID: 8bdb6a

Xi... Xji... Xip... the commandant said that he was going to stick around in case he needed to support us. If the plan is for EVERYONE to fall back to more defensible territory, he'd probably be okay with that. Or might want a fighting retreat, but hey.
No. 195929 ID: e67080

No matter what, we still must attempt to find out who this queen is, and what has happened to change what were animals until recently so quickly (either to prevent it, work it into a better siatuation, or stop it). Negotiations are second, as avoiding the most immediate threat of mass death should be. Third is attempt to stop this at all costs (assassination). Considering we don't know where this queen really is though, it makes infiltration a little shaky.
No. 195947 ID: f98e0b
File 127698910691.png - (308.80KB , 800x600 , 52.png )

"I'm gonna go before the Queen, and talk to her," says Dio. "Maybe get her to call the war off. But I have to say, she's got the advantage, and she knows it. I'll do what I can but you need to get backup, quick. Let people know what's going on. Reinforce yourselves. Get ready to pull back if this doesn't work."
"What about you?" asks the commandant. "How will you get out?"
"I'll figure it out," says Dio.
He'll figure it out.
He will.

He unsummons Gryphona and bounces her back to him. "I got your message," she says. "I was on my way back."
"What did you find?" he asks.
"Nothing good, guv," she says. "There's a lot of them. A whole lot of them. They've tunneled through the entire mountain, almost seems like. They've made the ransacked fort their HQ. Oh, and there were old siege weapons in there, guv. I think they're... they're fixing them up."
"Oh," says Dio. "I see. Did you see any spellcasters?"
"Come to think of it, yeah, a few of them were illusionists," says Gryph. "You can tell if you're dream. Not many of them, though. All with horns. There was a patrol found me and I had to kill four or five kithik, is that alright?" She shifts on his finger, and he realizes there's blood caked on her talons. "Oops. Sorry about the hand, guv."

"It's fine," says Dio, typing out a message on his phone as he speaks. It's to Dahlia

im about to do something for my alienation thats suicidally dangerous but its the right thing. im gonna go w/ the kithik that can talk now and talk to their queen but if she doesnt listen and she kills me or it doesnt work out then let me just tell you that i l
No. 195948 ID: f98e0b
File 12769891938.png - (105.25KB , 800x600 , 53.png )

i l.

Does he love her? He's...not exactly sure.
He knew her for two days before he left, after all. But... huh.

Does he love Dahlia.
No. 195949 ID: f21281

You were about to type it without consciously thinking it.
No. 195951 ID: becad2

Don' know.

I guess we need to get a bit deeper in this shit to know.
No. 195959 ID: 928a6c

I don't know?

Tell me Dio, do you even know what love is? How would you define it? Is it just biological compatibility, or is it a mystic bond, or is just the normal expression of peoples need to be with other people?

I find real love is something that only time will show. Infatuation occurs quickly, and it's clear that what you have with Dahlia is an infatuation. Does that mean it couldn't grow into love? Sure it could. Time is the only real factor that can tell.

But I don't think that's what you are asking yourself. I think you are doubting your chances of surviving this so you want to actually tell someone you do love them. You are asking yourself whether you love Jai or Dahlia more.

Jai is your best friend, but when I see the two of you I get the impression that you are worried about pursuing her because you are worried it'll go bad and you'll lose her as a friend. I'm going to say right now, if this is the case, don't chicken out, because it'll dog you forever. You'll always wonder what might have been.

Of course, if you don't have that spark of love with Jai, there's no reason not to send a text that says I love you. Even if you don't, when you are dating someone you put on the act.
No. 195961 ID: c00244

Well, you've certainly got stronger romantic feelings for her than any other girl you've known. That's love, right? Whirlwind romance is hardly the ideal for discovering the long-term viability of one's feelings, but it's all you've got at the moment.
No. 195964 ID: e67080

Well, I am most pro Deliah for you Dio.

However, love is a hell of a complicated mess, and I'm so against the notion of saying it as a lie even accidentally I must be against saying it.

However, that totally does not preclude sappy romance bravado! something like "I will be back to see you, no matter what" or such. Also, be prepared to be throttled by her even if you make it back alive for risking yourself, but tis the noble thing to do Dio. you have my support.
No. 195967 ID: a594b9

Better not say that unless you mean it. Dating someone doesn't mean you love them. It means you're interested in finding out if you love them. When dating turns into going steady and living together, then there's a good chance that love is in the cards.

So basically say you really like her and are interested in finding out if that's love or not.
No. 195982 ID: f98e0b
File 127699315058.png - (255.47KB , 800x600 , 54.png )

Dio looks at his phone for a few seconds.
Then he types out an alternate text and flips it shut.
He doesn't really know what to think about this right now and he cannot afford to get distracted by Dahlia or Jai or anything. Not now.
He checks the time. Fifteen minutes until his date with the kithik.
No. 195986 ID: c2c011

Ask the commandant if they have any easily concealable throwing knives as well as any poisons that are very deadly to the Kithik.

See if Jai needs anything. Ask Gryph to take a shape that can easily hide in your clothes and keep hidden there until she's needed.
No. 195989 ID: 2eac65

Hold on. Can't we summon her to our side? If that doesn't take too long to do, we shouldn't bring her with us. Exposing her to danger before she's needed won't do any good.
No. 195991 ID: c00244

Decide what to do about Gryphona. Should she come with you? Follow you in some other form? Be sent home and available to summon up for help should you need sudden backup? I'd go with the last, but she might have an opinion on this.

Ask Jai if there's anything she'd like to plan out in advance, since soon you'll be under the ears of others whenever you're talking. Seemingly innocuous keywords for "let's kill everything" and "I'm going to start subtly illusioning us" are probably a decent start.

Remind the commandant to at least send a message about the army, because if this goes south the Qal are going to have a very large problem on their hands.
No. 195998 ID: 059120

Gryph should wait here. We can magically message her to keep the Qal updated or call them in for help, and if we actually need her in an emergency, we can resummon her.
No. 195999 ID: f21281

Disguise Gryph as fashionable hat.

Wear Gryph.
No. 196030 ID: f98e0b
File 127699878579.png - (197.67KB , 800x600 , 55.png )

Dio has Gryph stay home for now, with strict instruction to stay ready for a summons at any moment.

He finds Jai in the armory, examining the Qal weapons.
"Need anything before we go?" he asks.
"Is there any way you can hide some of these?" she asks. "I'd feel a lot better about the situation if I had some ways to take down a kithik that didn't involve an attention-grabbing fireworks display."
"I'm not sure," he says. "I guess I could try and camouflage a dagger as something, but it wouldn't stand up to much scrutiny if they do a patdown or something."
"Worth a try," says Jai. She sighs. "I think I'm ready. As I'll ever be."
"Nothing else you need?" asks Dio.
"Nope," she says.
"Not even some sudoku? For the road?"
She laughs. "Dammit, Dio. This was a serious moment."
"Drama queen."
"Minimus, of hind'ring knotgrass made."
"We're going to make it," says Dio.
"Yep," says Jai. "'Course."
"We so are," says Dio.

Ten minutes.
No. 196033 ID: a594b9

It's going to take a little while to get out there...

Better get moving.
No. 196036 ID: c00244

>Dio has Gryph stay home for now, with strict instruction to stay ready for a summons at any moment.
You can telepathically communicate with her at will, right? Then that's excessive. Just telepathically keep her appraised whenever you're going into a dangerous situation so that she can get tensed up; the rest of the time she can relax.

I know she has to obey, but keeping her on alert at all times is bound to cause unnecessary discomfort and stress.
No. 196037 ID: 63ab82

Ask for enchantments to increase charisma. The folks on this plane enchant their weapon to death, so it must be here somewhere.
No. 196038 ID: e67080

Get sudoku book, teach kithik the wonders, both for the sake of all that is good.... and to annoy Jai.

... yeah, I got nothing.
No. 196046 ID: d6cb21

You want annoying? Summon a vuvuzela.
In fact, summon as many as you can.
No. 196101 ID: f98e0b
File 127700849673.png - (229.74KB , 800x600 , 56.png )

Dio is pretty sure charisma enhancing gear is mostly in the realm of tabletop RPGs.

He takes back the order to be on guard at all times, instead telling Gryphona he'll send ahead if he needs her. She cocks her head and grins at him, showing her impressive dentistry. "Kind of you, m'lord."

And then he and Jai make their trek to the agreed upon meeting spot. Horned and Belt Buckle are waiting for them. "Are you ready?" asks Horned. "We will take the tunnels direct through the mountains so that we may arrive before the assault begins. It will be a long climb, easy for kithik, but you may have to struggle through it. I am sorry."
"We'll be fine," says Dio.
"If you have any questions, Masked, you may wish to ask them on the journey," says Horned, starting to lope away and gesturing for him to follow. "As soon as you arrive in Kithik lands we may not have much more time to converse before you are imprisoned."
No. 196105 ID: 701a19

"Who or what is your queen? What can you tell us about her?"
No. 196106 ID: e67080

What exactly was it like for you, gaining the knowledge of illusions? How long have you been able to make a glamor, as I obviously never used one on you directly per se.

What is your queen like?
No. 196110 ID: a594b9

How many Kithik died from the assault on the other, more populated fort?
No. 196112 ID: 0b2a05

You never asked what species the queen is. Or why everyone follows her with few questions.
No. 196140 ID: f95872

Never make a promise you might not be able to keep. Damnit.
No. 196164 ID: 059120

What will being imprisoned consist of? We going to be jailed with anyone else? How long will it be before the queen will want to see us?

How long has the queen been in power?

Love is about making promises you can't assure. And then living up to them.
No. 196165 ID: f98e0b
File 127701743027.png - (88.62KB , 800x600 , 57.png )

>Who is the Queen? What is she like?
"The Queen is of the people, or rather the kithik, as I have discovered is our proper name. She was once the leader of our pack by virtue of being the largest and strongest among us. When we were changed, by what power I know not, she was perhaps most dramatically. She is a feared leader now, and great in the eyes of her people.
"Be warned. Knowledge of her station has emboldened her, and she is fiercely proud and quick to quell any challenges to her leadership. Somewhere within her she hears the pack still keening, feels their eyes upon her, judging her. She obeys the immortal law of the kithik, which is to enforce her position with power."

>Why do you obey her?
"She is the Queen. Isn't that what queens are for, obeying?"

>What was it like for you, learning the power of illusion?

"Like learning anything else. Like learning all we have been learning. Imagine that you have discovered how to whistle, after repeated attempts have been futile. For months you have been blowing through pursed lips, desperately attempting to get the slightest note. Suddenly your every breath is a clarion call. It is a euphoric sensation, having this knowledge you were incapable of before.
Now imagine instead of whistling, you have learned to think. The world is unfolding before you like a flower at dawn. For the first time I have a defined me. I can put names to the emotions I feel. I am aware of the planet and my place in it. Things are no longer murky and unclear and driven by hunger or fear or libido. Things make sense now. I can think. This is how it is to learn anything as kithik. It is simple. You demonstrated the specifics of the action, and I simply duplicated it. It is strange, but not many other kithik can benefit from my example of your powers to them. only those with horns, like me."

>How many kithik died in the attack on the other fort?
"I was not present. I would put the number around two hundred, however, against a fraction of that number of Qal. We were less knowing, then. We were... cannon fodder, the word is. We are changing now."

>What will imprisonment consist of? Are we going to be jailed with anyone else? How long will it be before the queen will want to see us?

"You and Scarlet will be placed in a cell until the Queen is ready for you. They are not particularly comfortable. I do not doubt you will end up sharing one cell. Our holding areas are small, and taken up in large part by prisoners of the first fort. I do not know when the Queen will see you. I shall petition her to see you quickly. As I am one of her mates perhaps my say will carry some weight."

>How long has she been in power.
"I do not know. Here is the cage-thing to take us up the mountain. Are you ready for a climb, I hope?"
No. 196166 ID: 701a19

"We're ready.
What is her ultimate goal? A nation to rule? To conquer or kill the Qal?
You said she taunts the captive Qal; do you know why?"
No. 196167 ID: 059120

Yeah, sure. How long ago did you learn to think, then? What happened at the time, or beforehand?
No. 196168 ID: e3f578

It won't be long until DEMOCRACY and INDIVIDUALISM starts showing up in kithik society, which means they might not like some person in power forcing them to sacrifice their lives for the leader. They will start holding values and shit, grow a conscience and not wanting to kill things or hold back a bit at the sudden knowledge of "oh my god, these people can think like i do. feel like i do. i don't like dying. i'm sure they don't. oh noooooo i don't wanna hurt them anymore."

Warn Horned that soon, if kithiks start gaining more knowledge and the ability to think like he has well... welcome to the wonderful world of fucking philosophy where nothing really gets done.
No. 196178 ID: 40cb26

>When we were changed, by what power I know not, she was perhaps most dramatically.
See if we can get a more complete description of how she changed, so that we know what to be ready for. And get a handle on what else has changed for various Kithik. Is it just mental or are there mutations.

>She obeys the immortal law of the kithik, which is to enforce her position with power."
This is going to be an important point, this spells out the way they think. We can manipulate them better with this in mind... or get them to turn on the Queen by weakening her. Ideally, we find a way for Horned to assume leadership.

>We are changing now.
Get him to detail this more. Obviously they're getting smarter and skilled, but what about their nature? Is there more independence or variance to some of them? Are the horned kithik also more... thinky, than the others?
No. 196187 ID: c2c011

Ask about the event that changed them.
No. 196188 ID: 059120

Oh, yeah, ask whether those who had horns can use magic, or those who learn magic gain horns.
No. 196190 ID: 55e935

Ask how long it has been since this new change.
No. 196237 ID: c00244

>This is going to be an important point, this spells out the way they think. We can manipulate them better with this in mind... or get them to turn on the Queen by weakening her.
One potentially effective argument might be to say that between the speaking races, as long as strength is known it does not always need to be exerted to get what one wants- merely pointed out. It's hardly ideal, but if we could convince the queen to stage down from slaughter to intimidation-based negotiation it could help.
No. 196255 ID: f98e0b
File 127705110492.png - (69.58KB , 600x800 , 58.png )

Horned leads them through a narrow, jagged tunnel into a cavernous space inside the lowermost mountain. Dio looks up into the looming dark, hearing the chittering of the kithik high above, seeing the sickly marshfire light of their eyes. He feels very small, very weak, and very exposed. The climb looks near-impossible. He considers bitterly that the might not even have to bother killing him. "Here we are." says Horned. "I'll help you along as best I can. Let's go."

As they climb Dio asks more questions.

"What is her ultimate goal, the Queen?"
"The destruction of the qal and their replacement by the kithik as the dominant race of the world."

"What exactly changed you? How long has it been?"
"I do not know what it was that changed us," says Horned. "Only the Queen was present for the event itself, and she remains tight-lipped. It has been three weeks since our conversion."

"Those with horns. Do they develop them after they learn magic, or before? Is there something different about them?"
"I do not wish to demean my comrades or Belt Buckle, but it seems that those kithik with horns learn more readily than their comrades," says Horned. "They are also the only ones who have been successfully taught magic. Some of us are horned, most of us are not."

"You know," says Dio, grunting as he climbs up another ledge, "if this transformation is as total as it seems, eventually there are going to be even more changes among the kithik. It won't be long until individualism starts showing up in kithik society, which means they might not like some Queen in power making all the decisions for them and forcing them to sacrifice their lives. Maybe eventually they'll realize that they are thinking creatures that do not want to die, and so are the people they are killing."

"Maybe they will," says Horned, quietly, as he climbs above. "Maybe some already have."
No. 196257 ID: 0b2a05

Maybe they should act on it. Defect, etc.
No. 196260 ID: a594b9

Say that if there are people like that... you would help them. You would support a rebellion.

Also, is this a good time to try out that Summon Item Launch + Tether flying trick?
No. 196261 ID: a594b9

Oooh, or you could Summon Item something you can stand on, the launch it BACKWARDS so that it pushes you up.
No. 196262 ID: 701a19

"Gotcha, but I meant en-masse.

Anyway, your queen needs to know that genocide is a very bad goal; the Qal have allies that wouldn't care much about a simple land war, but genocide?
Well... last time something like that happened it ended with a third of an entire plane turned to sand and ash and millions of dead on all sides. There aren't millions of Kithik."
No. 196263 ID: 701a19

Or just Summon Item and hold it aloft. With you on it.
No. 196265 ID: c2c011

Don't pursue that line of question right now. Horned seems a bit receptive to it. But he might not be ready to follow that line of thought to its conclusion yet, and we have no idea on what belt buckle thinks.

Just keep going and memorize the path as well as look for additional paths that might be used and try to note all the guard posts around the path. Make plans for how you would use this and any other paths you discover if you have to escape with hostile forces in pursuit.
No. 196271 ID: 2eac65

Note: They obey the queen based on her strength. This does not make sense. Strength does not make one an effective leader. The ability to make good decisions makes one an effective leader.
No. 196275 ID: c00244

Don't push too hard on the whole rebellion thing. While Horned may be having second thoughts, he still seems loyal, at the moment; directly urging him to rebel could easily backfire and lose us what cred we have with him.

This is true. They also seem to obey the queen because she was present/responsible for whatever gave them their newfound intellect, though, which may be a somewhat better criteria.
No. 196292 ID: aeea2d

Seeing that ounce of remorse is like a ray of hope.

These creatures use a very ape style of pecking order (which I supposed is appropriate). The strongest is the leader and maintains that position through shows of force. It makes sense they haven't gotten past that type of tribal structure in just 3 weeks.

So I suppose we should be thinking of three things to try to give us an advantage. Sow rebellion among the horned kithik. It'd need to be subtle, you'd need to convince them without bludgeoning them over the head with the suggestion. Having this fellow already thinking that way helps.

The second is diplomatic efforts. The more I hear, the less it seems diplomacy will work.

Third is a bit of a last ditch push. It's directly embarrassing the queen in a physical altercation. Again, their tribal structure seems to be the most powerful leads, like a family of actual monkeys. Beat their leader and you are their leader, in a way (don't expect them to be singing your praises if it comes to this and you win though). If it does come to a physical altercation, I want you to use illusion to seem more physically intimidating.
No. 196294 ID: 2eac65

Ask him how and why their tradition of being led by the strongest fighter started. That should get him to question his traditions without directly challenging them.
No. 196350 ID: f98e0b
File 127706397688.png - (60.24KB , 600x800 , 59.png )

Dio is not going to try any weird method of flight until he is assured he will not hurtle off a rock face to his death.

Dio's been climbing for what seems like hours. He can hardly see a few feet in front of him by now, his breath is labored, his clothes are matted with sweat, his arms are on fire from the shoulder down, his legs are banged and bruised, he is thirsty, he is hungry, and it doesn't seem like they're getting any closer to their destination. Horned and Belt Buckle climb above them, chittering to each other in low tones. Jai's below him, stubbornly suffering alongside him.
"Just fly," pants Dio.
"Fuck that," says Jai, through teeth gritted in exertion. "I'm not just taking the easy way out and watching you suffer. Besides..." she swings herself up to another ledge. "This is great for my guns."
Dio struggles upward to a small plateau, and in the process loses a foothold. He flails for a moment when Horned grabs his hand and yanks him up. "We must hurry, Masked," he says. "The invasion begins soon and if you are to have any hope of speaking to the Queen we must be there by tonight. We are almost halfway there."
"Is there time for a rest? A small one?" he asks.
Horned chitters for a moment with Belt Buckle, then says, "Five minutes."
As they sit and catch their breath, Dio speaks more with Horned.

"Your queen needs to know that genocide is a bad goal," says Dio. "The Qal have allies that wouldn't care much about a simple land war, but genocide?
Well... last time something like that happened it ended with a third of an entire plane turned to sand and ash and millions of dead on all sides. There aren't millions of kithik."
Horned shrugs. "Perhaps you will be able to tell her this yourself."
"Why do you obey the queen, anyway? Where did this tradition come from?"
"It is how it has always been," says Horned. "She is our leader. She will not be questioned. So we do not. Are you suggesting we do something against her?" he asks, sharply, turning his eyes on Dio. "It seems almost as if you are attempting to foment some rebellion or civil war. Just because some kithik may disagree does not mean they would turn on her. She is our Queen. We are loyal and loving. It is our nature."
No. 196354 ID: becad2

"... not a rebellion. Sorry. I'm trying to understand you guys. See what makes you tick. Socially. Need to. I gotta understand you, if I have any hope for the Queen to understand me."
No. 196362 ID: a594b9

If you're not going to fly, then assist your climbing by using Summon Item to make some rock picks to dig into the cliff face and give you more purchase.
No. 196364 ID: 2eac65

"It's hard to get used to the idea of an absolute ruler. My people usually choose to follow whoever's policies seem to make sense."

...or something like that.
No. 196375 ID: 2eac65

Does he know we're capable of summoning solid objects? That would be a useful secret to keep.
No. 196377 ID: 8bdb6a

Say "I think what she's doing is a bad idea."
No. 196381 ID: 40cb26

I didn't mean to imply anything, it was more my question of what your nature is. And you answered that.

Is peace too in your nature, besides among yourselves? What do you feel can prevent your queen, or any kithik from making the decision of bloodshed?
No. 196384 ID: 6164e0

'Loving'? Exactly what is loving about wanting to wage a war of genocide, even if evidence could point to it leading to your own eventual destruction? Or how is using your newly gained sapience for the purposes of war loving? I ask not to cause dissent, but because I honestly do not grasp what you reference as being loving within the actions I have thus far seen.
No. 196387 ID: a594b9

Just stick with the 'wanting to know more' explanation.

We don't want to piss off the guy who's leading us there.
No. 196393 ID: 2eac65

Too blatant. People are more receptive to ideas when they think they came up with them on their own.

Also, the question wasn't supposed to be "Why do you obey the queen?" It was supposed to be "Why do you obey the strongest?" (subtext: as opposed to the smartest, or the kindest). The difference is important.
No. 196396 ID: c2c011

Tell him that you weren't trying to make them rebell. You're just curious on their new and very rapidly developing society. To have come so far in just 3 weeks is extremly impressive. Ask him how they have managed to start up a weapons production industry in such a short amount of time.
No. 196447 ID: e67080

Ask Horned what he hopes to be able to do with this gift of magic, beyond of course the queens will. Maybe mention a well known historical illusionist who did good things as an example.
No. 196457 ID: f98e0b
File 127707410285.png - (15.45KB , 600x800 , 60.png )

"I just think what she's doing is a bad idea," says Dio. "I'm sorry. I'm not fomenting anything, I'm just trying to understand you guys. See what makes you tick, socially. I gotta understand you, if I have any hope for the Queen to understand me."
"I see," says Horned, stiffly. "I apologize for snapping at you."
"It's truly impressive that you came this far. How did you already start up weapons production?"
"We didn't," says Horned. "Not yet. I know not where the crossbows came from. Perhaps a stray Slimey patrol or a nighttime raid on an armory."

They keep climbing, until Dio's muscles are threatening to seize up and his vision swims. He can see nothing, and he has to rely on the kithik to guide him along, following the sounds of their voices calling encouragement to find the next handhold. "It is not far, masked," says Belt Buckle. "See. There is the opening off in the distance." Dio strains his eyes. There's a dim light filtering in from above. Looks like they're climbing toward a new tunnel, one that leads to the surface.
"Yesss," pants Jai. "Horizontal land,"
And an army of kithik ready to throw us in a cell, thinks Dio. He says nothing, partially due to his his lungs feeling like they're lined with razor blades.
No. 196461 ID: c2c011

Make that final climb then. And think of how awesome training this climb has been. Climbing is just an all around awesome way to train and you should totally keep doing it in the future.
No. 196480 ID: e67080

do you have any advice for me? and do you find it an honor to be one of the queens mates? are all females larger than males?

also, mentally remember to thank the hell out of Pyramus for putting you through training, else you would be dead instead of dead tired.
No. 196497 ID: f98e0b
File 127707865833.png - (67.96KB , 800x600 , 61.png )

"We are almost there, Masked," says Horned. "Keep going."
Dio grunts in exertion. "Just a few more things," he says, his breath labored.
"Still you ask questions?" says Horned. "We must move."
"Wait," says Dio. "Is it an honor, to be mate of the Queen?"
"Extremely," says Horned, pulling him up.
"Are females larger than males?"
"Not usually. The Queen is," says Horned.
"Do you have any advice?" asks Dio.
"Yes," says Horned. "Hush now and climb."
Dio scrambles toward the light. He finally inhales cool surface air. One more push...
No. 196498 ID: f98e0b
File 127707872048.png - (109.30KB , 800x600 , 62.png )

Dio clambers out onto the summit of the mountain, panting heavily, pulling off his mask, his face and body coated in sweat.
He made it. Spirits. Thank you, Pyramus.
No. 196499 ID: f98e0b
File 127707877056.png - (134.12KB , 800x600 , 63.png )

And for the first time in his life, he is staring at the end of a blade, stuck into his face.

"Do not move, meat."
No. 196502 ID: becad2

Fuck them. Step out of the way, aside, and sit on the floor, back agains the wall. What are they gonna do, kill you even deader?

If you wanna Jai to stay behind, you can say something like "Okay! Okay! Surrender!" in an audible tone.
No. 196507 ID: a594b9

I suggest you stay very still.
No. 196525 ID: f95872

Remember, just because they're being less than polite doesn't mean you have to stoop to their level. Greet them amiably.
No. 196530 ID: 8bdb6a

Try to appear to be weak, and no threat to them.

You're doing great so far.
No. 196563 ID: f98e0b
File 127708559376.png - (121.30KB , 800x600 , 64.png )

"Uh..." says Dio, freezing in place. "I..."

"Wait," says Horned, emerging from the cave. He hurries up to the leading kithik, a great hulking creature with a pair of boxers perched on its head. "Underwear Hat. He is my prisoner. Let me care for him."
"He is the prisoner of all the people. And I do not want to be called Underwear Hat anymore," says Underwear Hat. "I greatly regret my decision to remove this underwear from the Slimey outpost. I wish to be called Fastest Spear, as I am the fastest with a spear."
"You were eager enough to be called Underwear Hat before," says Horned.
"That is before we found out what underwear was," says Underwear Hat, testily. "I had assumed it was headgear for those with large ears. Now I am stuck with this underwear on my head, as that is my name."
"I sympathize," says Horned. "Allow me to move my prisoner unmolested to the HQ. He is a powerful mage and I wish to bring him before the Queen."
"I do not see what interest the Queen would have with a stringy piece of meat brought before her by her paramour," sneers Underwear Hat. Horned hisses at him, and digs his claw into his arm. He winces and pulls back. "Very well. We shall take him to the HQ. But the Queen is very busy preparing to invade. I make no promises he will receive any audience with her."
No. 196568 ID: f98e0b
File 127708624971.png - (261.93KB , 800x600 , 65.png )

They yank Dio up off his protesting feet and march him and Jai to the chain bridge to the next higher mountain, and the fortress of the kithik.

"I apologize for my comrade's behavior," says Horned, as the cage takes them high above the cloud layer. The air is crisp, cold, and sharp here. It's a welcome respite from the interior of the mountain. "Underwear Hat is an understandably angry man."
"I think I can see why," says Jai, glancing up at the sullen kithik loping along the chain above them.
"I doubt I will be able to see you again after you are brought to the cell, so if you have any more of your many questions, now would be a prudent time," says Horned. "I will go to the Queen and beg for an audience for you. Most likely my words will convince her. If they do not..." he falls silent. "I do not know what will happen to you."
"We could jump," mutters Jai. "I couldn't carry you but I could slow your fall just fine. We could just go."
No. 196575 ID: 0b2a05

If the queen won't talk to you, ask if he could get you both transferred across one of these bridges again. Preferably with minimum guard.
No. 196588 ID: 8bdb6a

Look down and say "Go... where?"

Then, to Horned: "Nah, I think I pretty much know the score. Unstoppable army of genocidal shadow monsters. No offense."

Pause, then say. "I think I can make a pretty good case for taking the Qal as slaves instead of killing them all. You guys like slaves, right?"
No. 196589 ID: 9a1fe5

If the queen wont talk to us we are going to do our damnedest to kill her I hope.
No. 196603 ID: e67080

"I don't think I have anymore questions, just something to say as one illusionist to another... no... on some level as mentor and apprentice as weird as that may sound. If I could pass something onto you."

I apologize for such harsh awake
To the path of magic you undertake.
I'm sorry to not train you, as is right
As an illusionist, in dream your might.
At least do what you believe to be good
Do not abuse, do no unneeded harm
Give none reason to hate those with the gift.
In cases of power, do as one should.
Do not abuse your power, just to charm.
Let magic be for its sake, not to rift.
No. 196620 ID: 4590c4

Is there any sort of behavior the Queen REALLY does not like? Even if its something obvious to you. Like, eye contact?
No. 196622 ID: c00244

I do like the "give general advice" bit. In particular, the view that magic is its own purpose is one that should be shared; even if this goes south, that view is likely to bring the magic-users of the kithik into a more amenable mindset if it becomes widespread. And it's not a bad concept in general. We have a lot of combat abilities, but not because we necessarily like fighting- we do this to push our limits.

Should probably give Gryph an update on what's been happening soon.
No. 196628 ID: e3f578

Ask Horned what is best in life.
No. 196629 ID: 63ab82


This is awesome enough that we must do this.
No. 196668 ID: 55e935

"Does the Queen know magic?"
No. 196717 ID: c2c011

If the queen won't talk to you then you're just gonna bust out of jail.

Talking about prisoners as meat is a bit worrying. Ask him what they do to the enemy dead and if he thinks it's possible that they have started eating prisoners that they find useless. Other than that ask about the queen, if she knows magic, what she's like, if there is anything you should never under any circumstances do, those sort of things.
No. 196755 ID: a594b9

Ask how they're supposed to get their army TO the base when the easiest way to get there is apparently past a cliff and a chain-grabber ride.
No. 196786 ID: f98e0b
File 127714569393.png - (191.17KB , 800x600 , 66.png )

"How are you going to get an army to the ground if there's only one chain?" asks Dio.
"No talking," hisses Underwear Hat from above.
"I am not entirely sure, but I believe much of the first invasion force are filtering down or are on the ground already."
"Does the Queen know any magic?" asks Dio.
"Yes," says Horned.
"No talking," calls Underwear Hat.

They reach the second mountain and hike toward the fort. It's getting late and the sky has begun to darken. The dark shadow of the fortress, dug into a foothill, looms before them. Dio can hear kithik scrambling about all around them, buzzing and chittering to each other. They dot the mountain, and their purple eyes stare at the two magi and their escort from all directions like stars in a forbidding sky. Jai's hand is on his shoulder, and as they near the fortress her fingers dig nervously into his arm.
"I see you took Cruel Horned's advice for decoration," mutters Horned, looking up at the parapets, and at the bodies of Qal hanging there, stuck on spears and left on display.
"It is a symbol of our might," crows Underwear Hat. "It shall serve as a warning to invaders,"
"The kithik are the invaders, Underwear Hat," says Horned.
"You fill me with unreasonable anger, Horned," says Underwear Hat.
No. 196788 ID: c2c011

Wouldn't it make more sense to place those bodies further down? I mean how is any Qal going to reach this place alive to see the bodies?

Tell Jai to not worry. Things will turn out just fine. Thank Horned for what he's done so far and ask him if he would kindly accompany you to your cell.
No. 196791 ID: 701a19

This, but without the talking. Just put a glamor on the inside of her mask saying it.
Also? Make sure your cell phone is hidden.
No. 196795 ID: 059120

Stay quiet. Talk to Jai (via magic). Assure her you'll get through this. Ask if she's noticed anything that might be important. Update Gryphona of everything you've learned.
No. 196800 ID: 8bdb6a

I guess just follow along. Not really much else you can do right now.
No. 196801 ID: e3f578

Tell Underwear he should take a chill pill, goddamn son of a bitch is never gonna get a lady kithik if he doesn't stop with this angry bullshit.

Also, comment on the fact that it really seems that the kithik has definently something against the Qal to make 'em decorations along with the genocide thing, mass murder of Qal might be something unsophisticated and powerful foes for land, but...

oh wait mongolians. Nevermind, they might not have anything at all against them. The Queen is just Attila the Hun for Kithik.
No. 196802 ID: a594b9

Maybe Jai can crushsqueeze your hand for comfort.

Asking Jai questions isn't going to work great since she can't really reply in secret like Dahlia can.

Those tunnels up there will be our escape route if diplomacy fails, I think.
No. 196812 ID: f98e0b
File 127714851983.png - (243.72KB , 800x600 , 67.png )

[We're fine,] Dio sends to Jai. She nods, nearly imperceptibly.

The kithik search Dio and Jai for weapons (they don't find the crossbow), then head off into the fortress, leaving Horned to bring the mages to the prison within the mountain.
He brings them into a small, grimy room, cramped and bare but for two cold stone benches on either wall.
"I'll go to the Queen and tell her you're here," says Horned. "It may be a long wait. The holding cells are... humble. If there's anything you need..." He pauses in the doorway and looks apologetically around the spartan conditions of the cell.
No. 196814 ID: e973f4

To be quite honest, I'd say to thank Horned. Despite the situation, he really does seem to be trying.
No. 196816 ID: 6164e0

That, and everything you do to 'humanize' or otherwise encourage empathy for non-kithiks is a good idea.
No. 196819 ID: c2c011

Thank Horned.

Stretch to make sure your climb doesn't leave you extremly stiff. Talk a bit with Jai and ensure her that everything will be just fine. Send some codewords to her to make sure that nobody will overhear them. Use your excellent memory to check back on the path here and plan on how to pull back on that path with hostile pursuit hot on your tail.

After that I think you should just get some rest and maybe meditate some to collect powers or something. Generally just chill and get ready.
No. 196840 ID: e67080

Now is the time for iambic pentameter of Orpheo pleasing!

... since if the queen says no, you may never see your unexpected apprentice again. Besides, might as well give a message to horned for treating you so nicely as such.
No. 196841 ID: a594b9

Hey uh... where are you two going to go to the bathroom? Ask Horned about that.
No. 196844 ID: f98e0b
File 127715097921.png - (231.08KB , 800x600 , 68.png )

Not yet. Dio sees that Horned looks fairly agitated and eager to leave. He doesn't want to hold him up, but he has to ask...

"Are there bathrooms?" asks Dio.
"Is there not a grate?" asks Horned. Dio stares. "It was a joke, Masked. If you need to use the facilities bang on the door and alert a guard. I will instruct them to cater to you there. Anything else?"
"I think we'll be fine," says Dio.
"Very well," says Horned, starting to slide the door closed.
"Oh, and Horned?" says Dio.
"Hm?" says Horned.
"Thank you," says Dio.
Horned pauses, gazing at Dio. His expression is, as with all kithik, entirely unreadable.
"You are welcome," he says, and closes the door. It shuts with a loud clank, and then a click sounds, echoing with finality.

Dio and Jai are alone in the cell. He sends part of his brain to sleep and starts resting in halves to prepare.
"I like him," says Jai. "He's cute."
"Cute?" says Dio. "What-"
"Not that kind of cute," says Jai. "If he was like three feet tall and didn't have claws the size of carrots he'd be so adorable." She looks over at Dio, who's wearily stretching to make sure his muscles don't cramp. "I don't think I've ever actually seen your eye in the light," she says. "'s nice."
"Thanks," says Dio, massaging his aching shoulder. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," says Jai. "I've had enough flipping out for one alienation. It's time to be big damn heroes." She scratches her neck. "Spirits, this helmet is sweaty as balls. Can I, uh... do you mind?"
No. 196846 ID: a594b9

Why would we mind?
No. 196849 ID: e973f4

"Not at all."
No. 196851 ID: becad2

Turn around, then. Let her have her privacy.
No. 196868 ID: d6cb21

Go on, I dont mind.
No. 196873 ID: f98e0b
File 127715374784.png - (297.42KB , 800x600 , 69.png )

"Not at all," says Dio. "Should I turn around or something?"
"Nah," says Jai. "You show me yours, I show you mine..." She takes off her helmet.
She looks as tired as Dio feels.
"Gah. Ooh, yeah. That's better," she says. "Fuckin' metal helmets."
He's seen her without a helmet before, of course, once or twice when she was eating and when they were off-and-on for a bit. That was a long time ago. She's changed.
She catches him looking at her. "Hey," she says.
"Hey," he says.
There's a silence Dio would call less than comfortable. The bench's hard edge digs painfully into his leg.

"When do you think she'll be ready for us?" asks Jai, breaking the quiet.
No. 196876 ID: becad2

"No idea"

Lay back on the bench, if there's enough space for that.
No. 196880 ID: a594b9

I think it could be very soon. We are rather unique prisoners. On the other hand she's not stupid and will make us wait for a while and try to check around to make sure we don't have people waiting to attack or something while we're distracting her.

Hey Dio, time to try to go invisible. How about Blind+Lesser Glamour to create an area where the mind doesn't really want to look at?

Um. Actually half your brain's asleep so I guess you're going to have to wait.
No. 196897 ID: 40cb26

"Too soon, that's when. Let's take the chance to rest while we can."

I don't think now is a good time to mess around with magic. Besides I would think he's tried that trick out at some point during all the training.
No. 196917 ID: f98e0b
File 127715870388.png - (115.11KB , 800x600 , 70.png )

"Too soon, I think," says Dio, stretching on his bench and laying down. "Let's try and get some rest while we can." He switches his mind up and puts the other bit to sleep.
"Yup," says Jai.
She reaches into her pocket and pulls out her cell phone. "Good thing the kithik don't know what these do yet," she says. "I'm gonna tell Pyramus what's up." She starts writing something, then curses under her breath and puts it down.
She stares off into space, as does Dio.
No. 196920 ID: f21281

"Lemme guess. No signal?"
No. 196924 ID: a594b9

"Can't bring yourself to let him know?"
No. 196955 ID: f98e0b
File 127716467290.png - (118.82KB , 800x600 , 71.png )

"No service?" asks Dio.
"Nah, I've got bars," says Jai.
"Can't bring yourself to tell him?"
"It's not that," says Jai. "It's just that... you told me Pyramus wants me, right?"
"Then why has he never showed any indication at all? I pretty much gave him up for a lost cause. He's like- Well, he's like you. He's a really close friend. Sure, maybe you heard him talk about me, but that's just Pyramus for you. He talks about the hotness of half the girls on campus. And so I am sitting here with a text message saying 'Yo Pyramus blah blah blah latissimus dorsi blah blah blah kithik blah blah I want to take it further with you' and I do not know whether or not I can press send."
She sits back. "Fuck it. Now isn't the time anyway."
No. 196957 ID: c2c011

Well you could tell her that he might have been to scared of her to move in directly, so he might have taken the friends route but now he figures he's stuck in the friends zone and unless she drags him out of it he won't be coming out, since he's convinced that would just ruin their friendship.
No. 196958 ID: 407b5b

He was trying to play it cool probably. Keep from seeming desperate. You know how he was before his alienation, right?
No. 196959 ID: a594b9

"Maybe he tried to get to be friends with you to get closer to you, then figured he was friendzoned. Um. Kinda like me, except in reverse. Anyway, he specifically mentioned you, above everyone else. Is he close friends with other girls? Hmm?"
No. 196960 ID: e31d52

Tell her to send it.
"We'll make it out of this. We'll finish this alienation, and when we do, he'll be waiting for you."
No. 196962 ID: 8bdb6a

Admit that you did something similar with Dahlia. Rationalize that you did it so you have something important to do when you get back, to make it more likely that you'll get back alive.
No. 196969 ID: f98e0b
File 127716804423.png - (136.60KB , 800x600 , 72.png )

"Maybe he was trying to play it cool, like befriend you, first, and then figured he was friendzoned. Like me, in reverse," says Dio.
"Maybe," says Jai, glancing at her phone. "It's weird. I feel all torn up about this guy and I haven't even sent one text to him. He doesn't know what's going on."
"Well, I know how you feel about the should-I-send-the-message thing. The same thing happened to me with Dahlia."
"Really? How did you handle it?" she asks.
"Pussied out," he says. "Partially so I'd have something really important to do when I got home. Extra incentive for making it out of here."
"Good excuse," says Jai. "Mind if I borrow it?"

There are two loud bangs on the door that make them jump, then the hatch in the door slides open. Underwear hat's beady eyes appear. "The Queen will see you now," he says. "One of you at a time. Who will go first?"
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