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File 137405941751.png - (41.53KB , 800x800 , 0001.png )
525030 No. 525030 ID: d92f71

I'm not sure how to start the next chapter of twinkle but I still want to draw and write so I'm going to go ahead and do some film noir. also how do I report the twinkle thread as complete?

I arrive at the outskirts of the village close to midnight. the heavy rain beats down upon me, soaking me to the bone. the quiet hamlet sleeps soundly, but there is a rot in the air; an insidious and vile corruption. as a holy inquisitor of the Red Orditas, it is my duty to track down this malignancy and tear it from the earth.
Expand all images
>>
No. 525031 ID: d92f71
File 137405946268.png - (32.18KB , 800x800 , 0002.png )
525031

unfortunately my information on this blasphemy is essentially nonexistent. the person who reported the heresy was frustratingly vague. I merely know that it is and that it is in Red Wood. the town itself is a small fishing village on the foot of an old volcano. they supply the Holy empire with an abundance of food and Obsidian; and therefore its safety is of great importance, as is its purity. it has all the amenities one would expect of a village in our territory: a marketplace that is well stocked with necessities, odds and ends, tools, and crafts, a mighty chapel with attached barracks for the Golden Orditas, and a tavern wiling to sell weak willed souls any vice they can imagine.

the market is closed, obviously; however, both the church and the tavern stay open all night.
>>
No. 525032 ID: d92f71
File 137405949047.png - (17.91KB , 800x800 , 0003.png )
525032

I have prepared for this mission as well as I could on the short notice and minimal information afforded to me.

I have my library of reference materials: the Holy Qetzarche, the Malefichari, and my journal, which documents previous encounters with blasphemers and Daemons.

I have my Atler with 10 missiles and a dagger made from Sequoia and obsidian.

I also have my holy inquisitorial seal, which may be used to prove my credentials, and approximately 50 Kola nuts.

I have much to do, including sleep, which I haven't happened upon in nearly 3 days.

... my name is Matlal Tuzcanti, by the way. I apologize. I am not the best conversationalist.
>>
No. 525034 ID: 005d3f

Nice t' meet ya! Well we could go to the chapel, I'm sure they would provide a man such as yourself with shelter!
Or, you could head to the tavern, you could ask for information or rumors there.
Oh, and don't die.
>>
No. 525037 ID: cad45e

>>525032
Say my flat nosed friend, what exactly IS an heresy according to your order, and for that matter what the hell do you even follow?

Also you should totally not just walk in there if you expect that some of those SECRET heresies are going on. You should probably try to find shelter in the more.. inconspicuous place, like the chapel.
>>
No. 525038 ID: c95833

Right. Three days without sleep is a serious problem and a big disadvantage in the fight against demons and witches and heretics. See about getting to the church and finding a place to rest.
>>
No. 525045 ID: beeca1

>>525037
Secret heresy is more likely to happen in a chapel, where it's easier for them to keep it secret.
>>
No. 525053 ID: bf54a8

click the checkbox on the opening post. go down to the bottom of the page, in the report box type in "complete' and report it.
>>
No. 525065 ID: a23afd

>>525032
Sleep in the church. Don't wanna get ambushed by heretics by sleeping in the tavern.
>>
No. 525076 ID: 9ddf68

go to the church and regain your wits then we can start this hunt proper tomorrow.
>>
No. 525221 ID: d92f71
File 137414266628.png - (22.17KB , 800x800 , 0004.png )
525221

>>525034

Faith is my shield. death no longer frightens me. not as much as failure.

>>525037

The Holy Orditas of the Tezcata Empire teaches us to worship Tezca and Quetzal. Quetzal, the earth mother, carries the world in her womb. Tezca is her half mortal son whose offspring became the Tezcata. there are many more gods that comprise the Tezcatan pantheon but if I were to list every brother, sister, and cousin, I'd be standing here getting a cold till the sun rises.

likewise, listing every law one can break according to our gospel would be just as time consuming. the entirety of the Malefichari is merely a listing of possible blasphemies. for now I think reviewing the "big four" would suffice.

first and foremost is witchcraft. the Quetzarche says in no uncertain terms that unsanctioned magic is an abomination. witches draw magical power from two sources: borrowing it from a Daemon, or stealing it from a God. for obvious reasons, both are treated with equal austerity. the punishment for witchcraft is immediate execution by the hand of the inquisitor.

Second is consorting with Daemons. Daemons are enemies to all mortal beings. to ally with one is not only short sighted and foolish, it is also detrimental to all civilized life. those that flirt with devils are given a slight amount more mercy than witches. they are at least afforded a formal trial before they are given the blade.

Third is Necromancy. Necromancers make a mockery of life with their unthinking shambling minions. personally I'd see them all put to the blade without so much as a verdict, but Necromancy is only illegal because they defile graves, and so the punishment is rarely more than a finger.

Finally, Immortality. the Quetzarche states that Tezca gifted the Tezcata with mortality, and to refuse that gift is heresy; however, there is a gray area large enough that many inquisitors simply refuse to investigate reports of people cheating death. if one is found to be cheating death, then a trial is held to determine if it was done knowingly and if it was done in a way that constitutes heresy.

in any case I will be sure to inform you of any other profanation I think relevant in the future.
>>
No. 525222 ID: d92f71
File 137414272048.png - (18.48KB , 800x800 , 0005.png )
525222

The chapel will surely have a bed for an Inquisitor; however, I wonder how much I should advertise my presence and stature. surely if the filth were to become aware of Inquisitorial meddling, it would retaliate or retreat; though making myself known as a Red Orditas will invariably have benefits of its own. the Inquisition has a sort of connotation to it that can prove useful when bargaining. men of twice my size would likely devolve into whimpering infants were I to flash my seal.

>>525045

as distressing a thought as it is, I can not ignore the possibility that anyone in town may be involved in this dirty business, even members of the Orditas. it would not be the first time that I would be forced to take up arms against those I would normally call comrades.
>>
No. 525223 ID: d92f71
File 137414276833.png - (18.20KB , 800x800 , 0006.png )
525223

after some thought I decide that staying a the church would be preferable, as I do not have enough Kola to be throwing it around for my room and board. after a short walk I reach the massive structure. it is a mighty tower of adobe surrounded by smaller structures for the Orditas to live and work. I enter the double doors of the chapel, eager to be out of the dreariness and cold.

I am greeted by a short and thin Ordita. he hurriedly scampers over to me.

"Inquisitor Tuzcanti! what brings a legend such as yourself to Red Wood? at such an hour as well! if I had known you were coming I'd have cleaned this place up first!"

that was fast. I was expecting to remain anonymous at least until dawn. judging by the look in his eye, I believe I have met one of my many "fans". the Red Orditas has spent the better part of my career grooming me as a major celebrity as both a standard for their Acolytes and as a warning to potential sinners.

it is fortunate that I arrived so late, when the chapel proper is staffed by a single Red Ordita and a handful of Golden Orditas soldiers, otherwise I may have been swarmed for autographs and locks of plumage.

and now back to the Ordita. how shall I respond to him?
>>
No. 525227 ID: bf54a8

explain calmly that your presence is kept utmost secret from the general populace. "i was told that a heretic is hiding in town and if even rumor of my presence reaches them they may flee or hide, making my job that much more difficult. as for what i need, a room to rest, my journey here was long."
>>
No. 525276 ID: 9ddf68

just say you were investigating some rumors and that investigation lead you here. For now all you're looking for is a place to rest for the night so you renew your investigation in the morning.

Just how popular are you outside of the Red Orditas. It seems people inside know of you by sight alone but is it the same for people outside of the order.
>>
No. 525284 ID: beeca1

>>525276
Following this train of thought, do you have a disguise of some sort for your dealings outside the Orditas? If you don't, you may wish to get one. Unless it's heretical for some reason, of course.


...Now that I think of it, disguise yourself right now if you can, in case the heretics really are in the Orditas. Tell the kid not to tell anyone who you are and keep an eye on him.
>>
No. 525289 ID: a23afd

>>525223
Perhaps you should don a less immediately recognizable set of clothes? I think we should also visit the tavern tonight. Get a feel for the populous, and maybe see if we can hear any rumors about the heresy.
>>
No. 525305 ID: cad45e

>>525223
Man this guy is happy to see you, maybe a bit TO happy. I mean, you are the inquisition and considering that it was a surprise... well let's just say i don't trust him or his happy odd coloured little face.
>>
No. 525753 ID: d92f71
File 137434080814.png - (21.54KB , 800x800 , 0007.png )
525753

"I am in the process of an investigation." I reply, "the investigation just happens to bring me here. I will explain more tomorrow morning. for now I need a bed."

"an investigation? how exciting!" he says eagerly, "do you think there's a witch in town? or is it a necromancer? how can I help?"

"for now you can carry my books." I hand him my satchel. he almost crumples under its weight.

"my, they're heavy!"

"they must be. they are weighed down with authority."

he smiles widely. I do not. I lean in closely. close enough to smell his perfume.

"speak of our meeting to no one. if I am to conduct this investigation unmolested I must do so anonymously. understand?"

"y-yes, Inquisitor!"

"I thank you, scribe. see that a set of layman's clothes are sent to my room tomorrow mor-"
>>
No. 525755 ID: d92f71
File 137434083213.png - (28.52KB , 800x800 , 0008.png )
525755

"MATTI!"
>>
No. 525756 ID: d92f71
File 137434090416.png - (22.28KB , 800x800 , 0009.png )
525756

the petite form of the Jurista tackles me with all of the weight of a Serpentine longshoreman. the scribe looks down at the small pile of Superior Orditas, assuredly debating if this career was properly thought out.

"Matti, what are you doing out in the slog?" Erendira asks as she lets go her bear hug.

"I can ask the same thing, Eren." I reply, attempting to retain my brooding atmosphere while prone.

"I'm on vacation with Coyotl for a week."

"and what is to say I am not also on vacation?" I posit.

"Inquisitors don't take vacations. who would mope about and ask shop keepers if their low low prices are the work of Daemons?" she grins widely.

"surely jusristas would have similar problems. after all, who would mind the pile of severed fingers?"

"scribes can't go on vacation either... because then all of our books would get dusty!" the Ordita stutters.

Eren and I look at him with confused stares.

"s-sorry..." he mumbles, "I'll go get your room ready."

"no need." Eren beams, "you can share my room, Matti. it'll be just like in school!"

before I can interject, she puts her vicegrip on my wrist and takes me from the chapel to the barracks to her personal quarters.
>>
No. 525757 ID: d92f71
File 137434094610.png - (19.86KB , 800x800 , 0010.png )
525757

as soon as the two of us are both in the room, she shuts and locks the door, then turns to me. the look on her face is still bright, but has a grave edge to it. the look of a professional Jurista.

"you still haven't said why you came to Red Wood, Matti."

"neither have you." I reply.

she sighs dramatically, but her smile never fades.

"alright. I tell you you tell me, deal?"

I nod. "deal. I'm here investigating a claim by a citizen that some eerie business is going on."

"a 'citizen'?" she asks.

"they claimed it anonymously. they said they might be endangered if they gave a name or details, but they want to meet me tomorrow morning at the tavern."

"that all sounds kind of suspicious to me." she shrugs, "how can you be sure that when you go there you won't get hit in the face with a cream pie?"

"I don't." I reply, "well I can be sure THAT won't happen, but I can't be sure this claim is legitimate."

she smirks.

"a deal is a deal." I say, "what are you doing here?"
>>
No. 525758 ID: d92f71
File 137434101777.png - (12.53KB , 800x800 , 0011.png )
525758

she shows me the inside of her middle finger. on it is a marriage seal.

"you and Coyotl?" I ask.

"yeah. he proposed just yesterday!"

"are you sure it's such a good idea marrying Coyotl?"

her smile leaves. I've only ever seen Eren have this look twice. I curse myself silently, and hope that maybe I can unlock the door and get a good sprint going before I get my head split.

"what does that mean Matlal?" she says in a practiced, professional monotone, not sure how bad she should kick my ass.

"I didn't mean it like that. I mean... he's serpentine, and you're-"

"Coztic. I realize my breed, Matlal. what do you mean 'is it a good idea'?"

"I... I'm not sure why I said that." I lie, "I'm sorry, I guess I'm just overbearing. it comes from my mother. I like Coyotl, I think he'll be a great husband, and I'm happy for you."

she slowly regains her smile, along with the warmth it brings. she hugs me tightly cries happy tears.

"I know you just want to protect me because you love me, Matti."

I return the embrace. hopefully Tezca can let this lie go unpunished.

I should come up with a plan for tomorrow before I commit to anything.
>>
No. 525768 ID: bf54a8

you jelly.

anyway, plans... perhaps ask for some help with a disguise. and be punctual, be there when you need to be there. and keep your weapons on you but hidden.
>>
No. 525772 ID: 9ddf68

other then a good nights sleep you could try heading to the tavern early, sip on some light drinks, and see if you can't overhear some people saying eerie things have been going on around town.
>>
No. 525773 ID: a23afd

>>525758
Plan: Meet the guy in the tavern, investigate the lead, kill witches, fuck bitches. Maybe Erendira could come along to help.

What's this about Coztic and serpentine marriage? Is it a racial prejudice thing? Worried about them being persecuted?
>>
No. 525781 ID: da113d

Serpentine? Coztic? Breed? What are those? So far I think we've only seen Coztics, but what are Serpentine, and why is there a stigma for crossing that barrier?
>>
No. 525818 ID: 5869f6

>>525768
He jelly.
>>
No. 525917 ID: d92f71

discussion thread is up. I'll answer any questions about the setting there as to avoid unneeded text walls.
>>
No. 526325 ID: d92f71
File 137452435369.png - (16.96KB , 800x800 , 0012.png )
526325

"Eren?" I ask as we climb into bed.

"what's up?"

"can I ask for your assistance tomorrow?"

"are you expecting trouble?"

"I always expect trouble."

she yawns and mumbles a yes.

sleep comes easily at first, but rest is beyond me. I feel unconsciousness slip though my clutches constantly. honestly I'm thankful. I've dreamed all the happy dreams I ever will. all that's left for me are nightmares.

I awake at dawn. I would prefer some more repose, but I would simply be laying down with my eyes closed counting the seconds. I stand and stretch the sleep from my bones.
>>
No. 526326 ID: d92f71
File 137452440413.png - (16.36KB , 800x800 , 0013.png )
526326

a few hours pass and a knock at the door wakes Eren.

"Come in" she yawns.

a Golden Ordita walks in, bows, and hands me a set of layman's clothes. men's. I scowl and accept the garments. Eren snickers as the Ordita shuts the door behind himself.

in a few moments I have dressed myself and stowed my dagger and Atler in hidden but easily accessible pockets. I bring my journal, Kola, and seal, as well, though I am sure to hide it.

if you want to do anything before they head for the tavern feel free to say so, otherwise I'm going to go ahead and move forward.
>>
No. 526350 ID: ca1c58

make out
>>
No. 526364 ID: bf54a8

breakfast, if something happens when you get there you wont have time to stop and eat.
>>
No. 526406 ID: e3aff6

>>526364
Seconded. It is nice to not be hungry while hunting heresies.
>>
No. 526846 ID: d92f71
File 137468882455.png - (21.66KB , 800x800 , 0014.png )
526846

"hungry? the tavern has a grilled Tambaqui that'll blow your mind." Eren says as she gets dressed.

I was. I hadn't had anything to eat since I had left Cuzco. "I only have 50 kola."

she arches an eyebrow, "so? I have plenty of Kola. I'm not going to make you watch me eat. it'd be unappetizing."

we make our way to the Tavern. the streets are quiet, most are still in bed or are hard at work at the quarry or the river. the few merchants we pass at their stalls wave and ask if we would like this or that. Eren smiles and waves back. I do not.

we enter the tavern. the smell of Maize and Chili peppers dominates and even this early in the morning it has quite the patronage. some seem to have not yet ended their binge from the night before. others seem to be starting their day with a stiff glass of Octli. we find an empty table and take our seats. after a few moments, a boy approaches.

"what can I get y'all?" he asks.

"the thickest Iztac Atolli you have." I reply out of habit. atolli isn't the most appetizing thing I could ingest, but it sits in one's stomach like a brick, and keeps them nourished for a few days.
>>
No. 526847 ID: d92f71
File 137468886218.png - (17.45KB , 800x800 , 0015.png )
526847

the food arrives after a few moments. Eren and I each take a small piece of food and drop it on the floor. Eren eats slowly and carefully, as though she fears the fish will notice her and take leave if she startles it. I am less inhibited and merely tear into the food like a starved dog.

"when's the last time you ate, Matti?" Eren laughs.

"a week or so..."

a look of concern washes over her face. "Matti, you have to stop going for so long without food or sleep."

"believe me it's not by choice." I sigh, "Juristas are afforded the luxury of permanence. last time I was in Cuzco I wasn't able to return to my house before I was called to duty again."

after a few minutes, a man sits at our table.

"good to meet you, Miss Tuzcanti."
>>
No. 526848 ID: d92f71
File 137468889154.png - (14.90KB , 800x800 , 0016.png )
526848

the Ordita from last night.

"my name's Acalan. Acalan Totolatl."

"you're the anonymous tip?" I ask.

"yeah. I would have spoken up last night but..." he leans in close, with a grave and fearful expression, "I can't be sure who is involved in this."

"then out with it quickly, boy."

he looks back and forth nervously, then produces a wad of paper. he hands it to me, but I do not accept.

"open it and show it to me. slowly." I say. the paper could be cursed, causing anyone touching it to be similarly damned.

he does as I say, and as I see the message scrawled on the paper I nod.
>>
No. 526849 ID: d92f71
File 137468892112.png - (12.42KB , 800x800 , 0017.png )
526849

"Seen this one before, Eren?" I ask.

"it's a mark of a Sanguine daemon, for sure." she replies.

"specifically a mania glyph." I produce my journal, and flip through the pages.

"a glyph of mania?" the scribe sputters, "what is that?"

"who else has looked at this paper scribe?" I ask as I find the page I am looking for.

"none but myself, ma'am. I was working in the chapel when an unmarked parcel was slipped under the door. I opened the note and was bewitched. I sent for the inquisition immediately."

I present the page.
>>
No. 526850 ID: d92f71
File 137468895971.png - (26.18KB , 800x800 , 0018.png )
526850

"the Sanguine mania glyph is a fast acting but weak hex employed by Sanguine daemons and the witches that serve them. upon seeing the glyph, the observer is infected with a contagious madness. those that touch the observer flesh to flesh are similarly infected. hexed individuals experience increased aggression and psychotic behaviors, which increase in severity as time passes. there is no cure, but the psychosis ends when the Daemon relinquishes its grasp and regains its lost power, normally at the rise of the next full moon, or if the Daemon is slain."

"what does that mean?" Acalan stammers.

"it means we need to put you under quarantine." I reply.

"what about you two?" he asks.

"we're experienced in dealing with Daemons and witches." I reply, "we've built up an immunity to weaker hexes such as this."

Eren puts a hand on his shoulder, "we need to take you into custody. for your protection, and for the protection of the town."

he nods solemnly.

"but first I must ask you some questions." I flip to an empty page of my journal and produce a charcoal.

what shall I ask?

feel free to direct your questions to Matlal, Erendira, or Acalan.
>>
No. 526855 ID: 60bf07

Things to consider for perspective:
- Is it normal to be able to immediately tell that you have been cursed?
- Is checking fingerprints a thing that can be done?
- Is paper rare or common?
- How long since/until the previous/next full moons?
- Does the bit about the demon regaining its lost power mean that demons are weaker when they are behind more active magic?
- More information in general on Sanguine daemons and their cultists would be useful.

Questions to ask:
- How long ago and at what time of day was the parcel delivered?
- Was there anything else with the parcel, or just the note?
- Has there been other strange behavior nearby recently, such as an increase in crime?
>>
No. 526856 ID: bf54a8

if any residents started acting a bit funny recently. even doing things that are not normal for them but not overtly strange. or someone has stopped coming to church recently.

also parcel means package, what was with the note?
>>
No. 526860 ID: a23afd

>>526850
Does he have any enemies? Has anyone been acting strangely? Who else has he touched since being hexed?

Actually, this could be a trap to lure in an Inquisitor. Why else give such an obvious and slow-acting hex to a church member?
>>
No. 526861 ID: 9ddf68

any odd groups or individuals around town that might be into the occult or which you think may have more sinister dealings going on then they let on.

hey might as well start with the easy questions right?

Who have you come into contact with physically since you grabbed this paper?
>>
No. 526862 ID: 60ad76

>>526850
who would benefit from hexing someone?
>>
No. 526882 ID: b1c062

Whoever it is I think was smart. Their opening move was to attack the church, which is the bastion against their kind. So we should expect someone skilled, who knows the trade well, and may have even defeated several inquisitors before Tuzcanti. So, if the opening hex scroll move seems noobish, it might be as a test of how 'good' you are. Anyone who can resist that is probably a fairly experienced inquisitor.
Now, your next move probably is to begin tracking that thing. I think the best move would be to stay quiet, and look for anyone else getting nosier than normal.
We could even be dealing with anything up-to an 'anti-Tuzcanti' of sorts, if the heretics have such a thing.
>>
No. 526903 ID: 2f4b71

Sending an almost harmless and fairly easily noticeable Glyph directly to the church seems like a really unsubtle way to summon an Inquisitor.
>>
No. 527253 ID: 2f4b71

>>526903
Supplementary paranoia: "the whistleblowing guy who unfortunately got hexed" is a good cover for whoever is trying to set this up. Keep an eye on him and see if the symptoms he develops from the hex are the ones he's supposed to develop.
>>
No. 527794 ID: d92f71
File 137486171927.png - (14.14KB , 800x800 , 0019.png )
527794

>Is it normal to be able to immediately tell that you have been cursed?
it's a unique feeling for sure, like your soul is sick. he might have assumed due to context, or he might have been cursed before.

> Is checking fingerprints a thing that can be done?
I don't know what that is so I'd venture not.

>Is paper rare or common?
Maize Paper is common enough that all Orditas are literate, but expensive enough that most laymen are not.

>How long since/until the previous/next full moons?
I'm not a stargazer but the full moon just passed a few days ago. last night was a dwarf moon, in fact. I'd venture to say he'll be cursed for at least 4 weeks, unless I find the daemon and slay it, of course.

>Does the bit about the demon regaining its lost power mean that demons are weaker when they are behind more active magic?
>More information in general on Sanguine daemons and their cultists would be useful.
Sanguine Daemons are responsible for happiness, creativity, and hysteria. their sphere of influence is usually artists, but they have been known to meddle with mortals without consent. I've been told in other cultures they are referred to as "Altruists" and are worshiped openly.
yes, active magic is more showy than passive magic. so much fire and light and sound, it bleeds power like mad. Passive hexes and curses such as this are much more efficient.

>this could be a trap to lure in an inquisitor or specifically Tuzcanti.
it's not unheard of. I've met some of my fans on the other side. they will try to outsmart me and are usually quite polite when I finally catch them. they get the blade like any witch, however."

>why give such an obvious and slow acting hex to a Church member?
the logic of witches is beyond me; but it's never complete insanity. there is certainly a reason they felt Acalan needed to see this paper.

"how many days and at what time did you receive this parcel?" I ask
he thinks for a moment. "three days ago. I was working the 9pm-3am service."

"have you noticed any odd behavior from yourself or the townsfolk? any increase in crime?"
he shrugs, "you'd have to ask the local Juristas about crime or anything like that. the local marshal is... um..."
"Tenoch." Eren finishes.

"anyone stop coming to church lately?"
"the night service isn't missing anyone, I'm not sure about the day service, though."

"are there any groups or individuals that may have dealings in the occult?"
he looks back and forth nervously and mutters something.
"speak up, scribe." I say.
"the head scribe, Ichtaca... she's a savant..."

"have you come into physical contact with anyone since you handled the paper?"
he mumbles again.
"what di-"
"ICHTACA. I HAVE COME IN CONTACT WITH ICHTACA."

he seems to be uncomfortable with this line of questioning.

"what else was with the parcel?"
he looks ashamed. "a book. I was going to say something but..."
>>
No. 527795 ID: d92f71
File 137486175212.png - (13.66KB , 800x800 , 0020.png )
527795

he produces a leather bound book. on the cover is a Sanguine Symbol.

"I was going to... translate it." he explains.

"reading such dark texts is dangerous, scribe." I reply, "when you open and read such a tome, it does likewise."

I take the book from him, covering it with a cloth so it does not contact my flesh.

something is stuck in between the pages. a note.

"is this yours?" I ask.

"no, inquisitor. I haven't tampered with the book at all." the scribe answers.
>>
No. 527802 ID: a23afd

>>527795
A love note, looks like. I immediately suspect Ichtaca was behind all this, considering his reaction.

Just in case, treat the note as if it's another glyph. Also, it could be marking a specific page, like a bookmark. So investigate that too.
>>
No. 527813 ID: 60bf07

After briefly investigating the note and page, we need to go find Ichtaca, both for hex quarantine and for questioning. He would probably know where we can find her, though we should probably only mention the hex part to him.
>>
No. 527821 ID: bf54a8

if he needs a little more pushing say that since they both already have it then they can be locked in the same room.
>>
No. 527827 ID: 9ddf68

any way we could take a look at this thing (either the book or the note) without something bad happening to us?
>>
No. 527829 ID: 60bf07

>>527821
Lets avoid locking our suspects in the same room if we can, as that allows them to interact with each other in ways like conspiring, witness silencing, or ritual murder.
>>
No. 527840 ID: e213ca

What happened if Ichtaca stumbled on the book by accident, and then hexed Acalan to make him lusty?

I mean... then it's a teenager doing dumb teenager things. Still going to execute them?
>>
No. 528016 ID: 01531c

>>527840
>I mean... then it's a teenager doing dumb teenager things. Still going to execute them?

Only one of them: the witch.
A curse may be cleansed by a number of means.
A daemon may be purged through force or skill.
A heretic has only one cure: a swift death.

A witch is the embodiment of the ultimate heresy: treason against the Gods.
>>
No. 528090 ID: bf54a8

>>527829
i said SAY we can do, if we actually DO do that, who can say~
>>
No. 528168 ID: 60ad76

>>527795
any way to tell if it's a curse without opening the paper? it's probably a trap.
>>
No. 528920 ID: d92f71
File 137506852964.png - (26.32KB , 800x800 , 0021.png )
528920

>>527840

one does not simply stumble upon a Daemonic artifact like this, and one does not enter vile servitude to a creature of the pit just to spice up their sex life. if this Ichtaca is truly the witch I seek, she is not simply a dumb teenager, she is a blasphemer of the highest accord.

in any case, if she were to form a pact with a Daemon for unholy power simply to make this scribe more virile, this world would greatly benefit from the loss of her stupidity.

>>528016

you speak truth. when one flirts with Daemons, they reject the gods. Witches are an illness, a vile cancer that must be torn out for the body to heal.

in any case, it seems like my best option for now would be to to find Ichtaca.

"where is Ichtaca currently?" I ask, "if you've come in contact with her, we must quarantine her immediately."

"she's in the Church's library, in her office." he sighs, "she didn't do anything wrong, I swear."

"I'll be the judge of that." I reply, "for now I will simply be collecting her for quarantine."

he nods, but the look on his face is that of a frightened animal.

"I thank you for your cooperation" I say, as I pull the note from the book with a scrap of cloth.

"don't worry, Acalan," Eren comforts, "nothing's going to happen to Ichtaca. Matlal and I will make sure the both of you stay safe."

he nods again, looking more confident.
>>
No. 528921 ID: d92f71
File 137506857860.png - (22.18KB , 800x800 , 0022.png )
528921

"to my best friend Matlal.
well, I doubt that you're my friend, but I assure you that I am yours. yes, it is quite a rare thing for one of us to take an interest in one of you. you live such short lives, speak so quickly, you never think before you act, and you don't like us, which hurts.
but I am willing to forgive and forget because, as I said, I'm a friend. you folks are always so quick to assume we want nothing but the destruction of your lifestyle, which honestly I think is a bit conceited, but I digress.
we, as in myself and a few like minded individuals, are interested in helping mortals on their way to fixing the problem that we admit we may have had a hand in creating. but that is in the past. for now, but not for long.
for now, you must ask the question 'do I trust this little piece of paper?'
which is a good question, it boils down to 'can you trust a stranger?', which you shouldn't. except for now. you should probably trust this stranger and this paper. like for instance, I would duck if I were you."
>>
No. 528922 ID: d92f71
File 137506870046.png - (43.96KB , 800x800 , 0022 alt.png )
528922

short hiatus incoming. updates will resume shortly. until then feel free to continue suggesting.
>>
No. 528924 ID: bf54a8

hit the deck, throw table at door.
>>
No. 528925 ID: e3aff6

There does seem to be an odd figure in the doorway. Dodge to the side, and get your atler.

The bit about telling you to duck seems like it would be a sign either of multiple factions or a strategy to gain some amount of trust. At the moment it is looking more like the latter, as that is the simpler theory and would be much easier to set up on their part (unless magically updating a piece of paper or seeing futures are things demons can do).
>>
No. 528929 ID: a23afd

>>528922
Duck! No harm can come from it.
>>
No. 528931 ID: 9ddf68

creepy guy standing in the door at your 10:00, might want to watch out for that guy.
>>
No. 533867 ID: d92f71
File 137634001174.png - (22.23KB , 800x800 , 0023.png )
533867

My name is Endira Cozamalotl, I am a Jurista of the Holy Golden Orditas, and the sound of an atler going off sends me after my knives. out of the corner of my eye I catch Matlal duck behind the table and draw her weapon. the Atler bolt explodes against her chair, sending white hot obsidian shards in each direction. I feel the familiar burning itch that accompanies a near miss from a bolt.

I turn to face the attacker, but they are already gone.

"that was a close one, huh Matti? an other second and they'd have taken your head off." I say.

"unlikely" she replies, "they weren't shooting to kill. I suspect someone is trying to scare us off."

"I think we should take you into custody sooner rather than later, Acalan." I turn to him, "it's not safe for you out-"
>>
No. 533870 ID: d92f71
File 137634007038.png - (25.96KB , 800x800 , 0024.png )
533870

well this is a predicament.
>>
No. 533877 ID: 9ddf68

well they sure scared him off. Lets find the kid before he gets killed or something.
>>
No. 533878 ID: eaa372

Suggest to Matlal to make your way towards the church library. Ichtaca is unlikely to be there but you might be able to see what else Ichtaca might be consorting with.

Do you know any heretics you've hunted before that are still alive?
>>
No. 533879 ID: ab1da0

Did he shoot the hex victim? The evidence?
Either or presents us with major issues.
>>
No. 533897 ID: 2f4b71

>>533867
>they weren't shooting to kill
You mean a weapon that shoots exploding projectiles that projected superheated shards of obsidian doesn't constitute a deadly weapon? The hell does it take to bring you down?
>>
No. 533924 ID: 96c896

>>533870
If somebody's trying to scare you off, that means there are two groups at play here. This is now a Complicated Situation. Is there any way you can call for backup?
>>
No. 533955 ID: 76f779

>>528920
>a vile cancer that must be torn out for the body to heal.
There is little difference between exile and death.

Why not use witches and witch sympathisers as cultural weapons against other nations?

Some indoctrinating brainwashing here, a little false promises there, a lot of brutalizing all around, then sneak them into enemy territory and watch their empire crumble from within!
>>
No. 534001 ID: d92f71
File 137637227201.png - (25.37KB , 800x800 , 0025.png )
534001

"how is firing an atler directly at us not considered shooting to kill?" I ask.

"we're not dead, are we?" Matlal stands and dusts herself off. it seems she got some of the blast on the side of her cheek.

"they could have missed."

"yes but they didn't. how many people do you know who can hit a target as small as the back of a chair from 30 cubits with a hand Atler? did you see their stance? they twisted the barrel as they fired and leaned into the shot. with skills like that, if they wanted me dead, there was little I could do to stop them, certainly ducking behind a table would not pose any challenge for them."

"so are we looking for a military man then?"

"not necessarily." she looks over the note and rune, "the witch or witches are literate and well read. if it's a soldier or a knight, he'd likely have to be quite high in the hierarchy."

"that's assuming the shooter is our witch."

"indeed." Matlal hands me the note, "this note implies that there are multiple forces in play, and while I do not fully trust the information, it would be foolish to disregard it."

"if there are two forces at work and at least one is getting demonic back up, we might need some help of our own." I say as I finish reading the paper.

"if." she shrugs, "the inquisitorial hammer does not deal in 'ifs'. if we are to request their help, we must give them more information and evidence. can you request some Juristas assistance?"

oh Quetzal. "uhh... probably not." I lie, "this is outside Juristas authority."

"they might make an exception given the situation" she replies cooly, unaware of the position she's putting me in.

"possible." I sigh.

it seems we have three current options: we can look for Acalan, head to the library, or speak with the Head Jurista of Red Wood. of course we can split up or stay together.
>>
No. 534002 ID: d92f71

of course those are only Erin's suggestions. feel free to suggest any other course of action.
>>
No. 534006 ID: 96c896

>>534001
I say we look for Acalan first. It wouldn't do to lose a witness.

What's wrong with speaking with the head Jurista?
>>
No. 534021 ID: 360a3c

>>534006
Just guessing here: The moment her superiors get involved is the moment she starts losing freedom and holiday time and all that good stuff. Never put something in your boss' lap unless it was already going to end up there anyway, they hate having more work to do.

I think the first thing we should find out is how compromised the church is, which would tell us if we really, really do have to ask for backup or not.
>>
No. 534220 ID: d92f71
File 137644803059.png - (20.08KB , 800x800 , 0026.png )
534220

Matlal doesn't understand. there is a lot of politics in the Juristas. even if Tenoch agreed to provide some Juristas support, it will be conditional. besides, I hate him.
>>
No. 534235 ID: bf54a8

Acalan is highly contagious right now. if he touches anyone it could start getting worse of an incident.
>>
No. 534276 ID: 96c896

>>534235
That's an even better reason to go find him first.
>>
No. 534288 ID: 9ddf68

witness first, for all we know this attack was meant to get him away from us and he could be the real target.
>>
No. 534597 ID: d92f71
File 137659242517.png - (22.15KB , 800x800 , 0027.png )
534597

"I think we need to catch up to Acalan before he spreads the hex and this situation becomes too complicated." I say, trying to change the subject.

"indeed." Matlal nods and pockets the notes. "however, this lead on Ichtaca may expire soon. besides, I need to stow this book away in my colection before anyone sees it and catches wind of any Daemonic involvement."

"alright. I'll see if I can track down our friend, then."

who do you want to follow?
>>
No. 534610 ID: 2f4b71

Matlal. Either Ichtaca is involved near the root of this, or can lead us to who is.
>>
No. 534795 ID: d92f71
File 137663737051.png - (25.42KB , 800x800 , 0028.png )
534795

>>533955

while that would be sound strategically, I doubt Tezca would look favorably upon us utilizing Daemons and witches, even if we did so for the good of the Empire. in any case, sending our greatest enemies to other nations is likely to end in tragedy.

I return to the room Erin and I shared and place the Sanguine tome into my satchel. while I am here, I take note of my possessions.

I have my library of reference materials: the Holy Qetzarche, the Malefichari, and my journal, which documents previous encounters with blasphemers and Daemons, along with the Sanguine Tome.

I have my Hand Atler with 10 missiles and a dagger.

I also have my holy inquisitorial seal, a set of clothes for both an Inquisitor and a layman, and 50 Kola nuts.

I take a moment to look through the room and find Erendira's stash: blueprints of multiple buildings including the library, multiple holy seals, both Red and Golden, and a whetstone Erin uses to sharpen her many, many knives.

Ichtaca will likely be in one of two places: her personal quarters, or the Head scribe's office. it's possible she will be somewhere else, possibly eating or something.

how will I go about this?
>>
No. 534921 ID: a7fa71

Investigate her quarters first. If the is not there, there is more likely to be evidence there than in her office.
>>
No. 534934 ID: 96c896

>>534795
Why would Eren have multiple seals? Also maybe you should wear your Inquisitor attire now, since everyone of importance already knows you're here.
>>
No. 534936 ID: 9ddf68

head to Ichtaca's room first and then hit the office.
>>
No. 535124 ID: 2f4b71

If Ichtaca is a witch, or in league with one, then her office or her quarters (or more likely, both) are possibly trapped, and almost certainly repositories of artefacts that would put us at a disadvantage in any confrontation. Our best bet is to find here outside of anywhere that is 'her' ground. Catching her in the refectory would be almost ideal if not for the possibility of bystanders, but it may also be the best chance of actually finding here in good time.
>>
No. 535128 ID: d92f71
File 137676317187.png - (13.73KB , 800x800 , 0029.png )
535128

>>534934
trophies. Erin likes to keep the seals of anyone she sentences.

>>535124
if she is a witch, there is a possibility she has placed some sort of lingering hex on her personal effects. I can't be sure of its effects or severity, or even its existence, until I find the glyph.

I change into my familiar vestments and slip my weapons into one of its many hidden pockets.

I take a look at the blue prints. it seems Ichtaca's room is on the other side of the church, in the Red Orditas' quarters.

I make my way there, passing through the Golden congregation. the Ordita speaks some nonsense about how giving the church one's entire income will strengthen their connection to Quetzal. I bite my tongue and pass through silently.

I reach the door to Ichtaca's room unmolested by any Orditas who wish for me to sign their seal or speak one of the god awful catch phrases the Orditas has falsely attributed to me.

I put my ear against the door and hear nothing on the other side. I try the doorknob gently and silently. locked. I could easily pick the lock, but it might take some time, especially if I plan on staying quiet.
>>
No. 535148 ID: 96c896

Can't we just ask for a master key? If not, pick that lock.
>>
No. 535277 ID: 510c77

>>535148
Seconding this. We are authorized to be here snooping around, after all.
>>
No. 535408 ID: d92f71
File 137684365926.png - (22.59KB , 800x800 , 0030.png )
535408

Perhaps huddling over a doorknob, probing its tumblers with picks would arrouse more concern than simply requesting a key. I return to the congregation, which has switched to a sermon about the importance of family values, and look at the Directory near the front of the church.

the head priest and groundskeeper are both likely to have a master key. the head priest, a man by the name of Izel, is currently wrapping up his sermon, and will be finished in less than ten minutes. the groundskeeper, Atl, will likely be tending to one of the gardens at this hour.

Who shall I obtain this key from?
>>
No. 535456 ID: 96c896

>>535408
Groundskeeper.
>>
No. 535480 ID: 510c77

>>535456
Yep. No reason to wait.
>>
No. 535490 ID: 2f4b71

Yup, Groundskeeper. Probably knows a lot more about what's going on in the church than the head priest, anyway.
>>
No. 535639 ID: 360a3c

Probably want to investigate the head priest, if he's preaching that people should give up their grocery and rent money chances are he's socking some away for some reason or another: No sane church takes until it kills and your church must be at least somewhat sane if it survived this long.
>>
No. 535740 ID: d92f71
File 137693900971.png - (25.39KB , 800x800 , 0031.png )
535740

>>535639
it's possible Izel is skimming off the top. the church needs not submit records of its income. if he truly is making money of of these people, the Juristas scalpel will tear him out, but for now I must concern myself with obtaining a key. besides, asking for handouts is simply what the Golden Orditas does.

the Groundskeeper, Atl, is my best option. I leave the church and walk the grounds. after a short search, I find Atl, tilling a new bed.

"Greetings Layman." I say as I approach and draw my seal, "I am sorry to bother you, but I must request your skeleton key."

she turns to me and wipes the sweat from her brow. "not a problem, Ma'am."

she takes a ring of keys from her belt and pulls a long black iron key from it. I hold my hand out.

"sorry, Ma'am, but I gotta ask, what do you need it for?"
>>
No. 535761 ID: bf54a8

"there is an infection curse at large, i need to sneak up on people for their own safety.
>>
No. 535776 ID: 510c77

We are investigating and containing an infectious hex. About that, we would advise her to please be cautious about and report any unusual paper notes she finds.
>>
No. 541093 ID: d92f71
File 137957072637.png - (17.65KB , 800x800 , 0032.png )
541093

I should be upfront with the groundskeeper. due to her position and access to the church she would likely find out sooner or later anyway, and if I were to lie now, it would quickly catch up to me.

"the Holy red Orditas is investigating and containing an infectious hex."

she gasps, "that sounds dangerous."

I nod, "I would suggest caution. do not come into contact with any suspicious individuals or scraps of parchment."

she hands me the large Iron key and removes her hat.

"thank ya for the advice, ma'am." her smile fades, "this is about Ichtaca, isn't it?"
>>
No. 541095 ID: d2995c

We strongly suspect that Ichtaca is either involved or hexed by this point, so we would like to find her as quickly as possible. Is there a specific reason the groundskeeper thinks she would be involved?
>>
No. 541110 ID: bf54a8

"since that is true and i didn't mention her, that means you saw her doing something suspicious"
>>
No. 541146 ID: d92f71
File 137961411323.png - (17.56KB , 800x800 , 0033.png )
541146

"indeed. would you care to report any suspicious activity?"

"one time I seen her boil a pot of water just by touching it."

I nod, "such is not unheard of for Savants."

she looks confused, "what's a Savant? are they like witches?"

"only tangentially."

"what'cha mean, Ma'am?"

"can you move all of the fingers on your hand, Ms. Cozuma?"

"yes Ma'am." she demonstrates.

"and how would you describe how you move the fingers? how you take the will and intention to move them and make them move?"

she thinks for a moment, then shrugs, "I don't rightly know."

"for a Savant, they have a similar relationship with magic. they can control such forces as simply as you can control your fingers."

"magic?" she holds her hand and a look of fear crosses her face, "what can a Savant do? can they curse or possess someone? can they kill someone by just saying their name?"

"such is the realm of Daemons. if a Savant is capable of such things, then they are likely communing with dark beings."

this does nothing to soothe her fear. shall I continue to converse with Atl, hurry to Ichtaca's quarters, or something else?
>>
No. 541161 ID: df5c97

Hrrm. On the one hand Atl doesn't seem too knowledgable about magic, so it'd be hard to figure out from her if Ithica is actually being a witch or just a normal Savant.
On the other hand, if she DOES have any stories about Ithica doing anything on the list of demonic powers, that'd be enough to bring her in. Hard to judge, really.
>>
No. 541162 ID: bf54a8

ask where their quarter's are. so you cna find her later. then find ichtaca
>>
No. 541235 ID: 96c896

>>541146
Just explain to her what sort of stuff Savant magic can do. I'm betting it's mostly elemental stuff, right? Then ask if she saw anything that wasn't like that.
>>
No. 541311 ID: d92f71
File 137965314618.png - (16.34KB , 800x800 , 0034.png )
541311

"any other suspicious or magical activity from Ichtaca?"

"no Ma'am." she shakes her head.

"I thank you, Ms. Cozuma. may I share your quarters sometime later, in case you remember anything else?"

she perks up and smiles widely, "sure! I got a cabin behind the church. I'd love to have you. I... um... I have to clean up first, though. the whole place is dirty, and I need to wash up myself too. when would you want to come by?"

"IF I do come by," I emphasize, "it will be in several hours."
>>
No. 541316 ID: 96c896

Cool, a new friend. Let's go hurry and use that key.
>>
No. 541375 ID: e1609c

Made y'all a favicon, put it up in the favicon thread. Have fun with that, yo.
>>
No. 542192 ID: d92f71
File 138022587980.png - (17.80KB , 800x800 , 0035.png )
542192

>>541235
there is no magic that is inherent to Savants. the Savant mutation is merely being sensitive to and able to control the forces that we refer to as "Magic". Ichtaca sounds as though she has learned some amount of Elementalism, but if she is a sanctioned Savant, she likely knows some amount of curative magic, as well. Sanctioned Savants are forbidden from learning Hex magic, or the more destructive forms of Elementalism, so I doubt she knows much more than controlling her body heat and possibly water manipulation.

I bid farewell to Atl, who continues her work, now happily humming an unfamiliar tune. I return to the head scribe's bedroom door. I run my clawed hand down the length of the door. I feel no glyphs carved upon its surface, though I knew already that I would not. no witch would be fool enough to ward the door to their bedroom for anyone to pass by and discover. I slide the key into the lock and turn it. the heavy click of the tumbler informs me that my passage is no longer barred.
>>
No. 542197 ID: d92f71
File 138022594432.png - (22.67KB , 800x800 , 0036.png )
542197

I enter the bedroom. the first thing I notice is that the room is extremely disorganized. there is a dresser, but Ichtaca does not seem to aware of this fact. the Scribe's bed is hidden underneath a layer of discarded robes, skirts, and briefs. the desk is similarly buried beneath a pile of papers, scrolls, and books, many of which have been written freehand by Ichtaca. there are several tea stains on the pile of parchment, and a stack of dirty tea cups towers precariously, waiting for any sufficient breeze to end its reign.

if I am to search this room I have my work cut out for me.
>>
No. 542204 ID: 7bbaae

>>542197
First thing: that red document under the pillow. Second, look under the bed. Third, check the dresser drawers for anything hidden under the clothes in there.
>>
No. 542231 ID: 4f1dac

Is there any generalized detection for traps that's possible? If she's not insane she had to know that there's a chance that someone, not necessarily yourself, would attempt such a search. Knowing who made such a search is already very useful to her so means of detecting your presence or activity are also worth watching for.
>>
No. 542238 ID: a36601

>>542197
Before you open the drawer, unstack the tea cups carefully. It may end up being a mundane(tea spilled over incriminating evidence) or a magical mishap(what better place to hide a rune to detect movement of the object than on something that will fall if anyone else looks through stuff around it) if it falls over while you are searching.
>>
No. 542332 ID: 2f4b71

Are there any wards YOU can set up? Something that stalls her for a second or two and makes a loud noise would be enough to give you advanced warning.
>>
No. 542395 ID: d92f71
File 138034474329.png - (13.81KB , 800x800 , 0037.png )
542395

>>542332
such would fall under the purview of magic, which I have no aptitude for. it's my understanding that M'raach create "spellbombs", which allow non-Savants to imitate a spell, but for various reasons, Tezcata have declared such items blasphemous.

I carefully remove the stack of tea cups and inspect each one. I find no runes, glyphs, or symbols of any kind. in fact, the cups are strangely devoid of any decoration. an Ordita such as herself would likely have the money to purchase much more ornate tea sets.

I look around the rest of the room quickly for any possible mundane or magical trap triggers. I find no wire, nor pressure plate, nor lever of any sort, and the room's lack of decoration makes it quite easy to figure out that there are no glyphs upon the walls, floor, or any uncovered surface.

I then turn my attention to the small book under the pillow. it appears to be a journal. I pick it up and inspect it. it has a small clasp, which would normally lock and keep one from reading it, but the clasp is currently undone. next to the journal is a small pen, which has recently been dipped into an inkwell, as it has bled slightly upon the bed sheets.
>>
No. 542396 ID: d92f71
File 138034477875.png - (19.42KB , 800x800 , 0038.png )
542396

I reach a hand underneath the bed slowly and carefully, making sure not to trip any hidden trap or trigger. I caress something square and bound in ancient leather, and retrieve a book.


"Of Many Strange Sorceries", a book written by the mortal born Sazerac. a personal favorite of mine. it documents the author's many observations and experiences Savants, Mages, and Witches across Tyson. this book also happens to be forbidden in most libraries due to the fact that it was written by a Daemon. a Sanguine Daemon.

Ichtaca, being a head scribe and a member of the Red Orditas is technically allowed to read such a text, indeed it was how I got my hands on a copy, but for a Sanguine Glyph to appear in the same town as a Scribe with a copy of a Sanguine Daemon's magnum opus is suspicious. I pocket the book.

I turn my attention now to the dresser. I open the top drawer. I find some neatly pressed clothes. pants, shirts, and briefs. they likely do not belong to Ichtaca as they are male's. possibly Acalan's. the second drawer is empty. the third drawer contains... oh my... that is certainly un-lady like...
>>
No. 542397 ID: bf54a8

what? what is it?
>>
No. 542400 ID: 7dbd6b

Pocket the item without showing it to the camera to preserve the lady's modesty, as well as the mystery!
>>
No. 542402 ID: 7bbaae

>>542396
Is the drawer full of dildos?

Flip to the last entry in the journal, that'll give us an idea of where she went.
>>
No. 542456 ID: 4f1dac

>the third drawer contains... oh my... that is certainly un-lady like...

If you can't be bothered to tell us what it is it's *clearly* not important, so therefore continue making notes of everything just in case we're both wrong about that and proceed with the search.
>>
No. 542534 ID: 5690c2

wave your hands in the air like you just don't care
>>
No. 542535 ID: 1f8505

Make out.
>>
No. 542614 ID: d92f71
File 138052029178.png - (23.56KB , 800x800 , 0039.png )
542614

I pocket the masturbatory aid and make a mental note to wash my coat thoroughly, then close the drawer. I open the journal to the last entry:

a wave runs over me. the water is warm, but the ice in my veins can never thaw. the grin on my face is a mask. the tears run down my cheeks and crack the porcelain. I am dead and yet my heart beats. damn the angels and damn the daemons. good and evil battle for my remains even as my body cools and my eyes darken. is this hell? is this the punishment I deserve for my pride? did I fly too high, or dig too low? does it matter? which voice can I listen to now? the one in my head or the one I know is mine? they watch on, evil, incredibly stupid, enjoying my destruction. poor Ichtaca has had an accident I whisper, so may you all.

what? the page is filled with nonsensical and meandering poetry and prose, some of which is entirely illegible. I also notice some singed edges on many of the book's pages.
>>
No. 542615 ID: d2995c

It sounds like the journal is referring to something that happened earlier on. We should check earlier to see if it starts out coherent, then check for when it goes nuts.
Also, with the book about magic, does it contain information that would be useful for someone actually trying to summon a demon? There might be notes or something written in the relevant section if it does.
>>
No. 542616 ID: 7bbaae

>>542614
Sounds like she fucked something up and is now undead or something and struggling to retain her moral compass.

Check previous entries to find out what she was trying to accomplish and where she might have gone. If that doesn't bear fruit, check the papers at the top of the desk's stack, then the drawers.
>>
No. 542623 ID: 4f1dac

Wait, masturbatory aid? I'm gonna have to say that I'm really not sure what use that could be to our investigation and hunt aside from checking to see if there's evidence of recent use. Even that would be minimal as well unless there's a good checklist to follow for determining possible undead/possession/transformation status from such *signs* as physical sexuality evidence. Maybe if there's relevant magic for tracking her that requires a personal item? I'm reaching here mostly as a way of suggesting that I doubt there's a good reason to waste valuable pocket space on a sex toy (other than perhaps your own, if you really need one, which I wouldn't judge).
>>
No. 542650 ID: e1609c

>>542623
Except it could also be a powerful ingredient for spells, a la lust or whatever
What I am saying is, better safe than sorry yo.
Check sex toy for hidden compartments.
>>
No. 542681 ID: 5690c2

use MASTURBATORY AID on SELF
>>
No. 542695 ID: d92f71
File 138060615406.png - (17.02KB , 800x800 , 0040.png )
542695

>>542623

of course I wouldn't! I mean there's nothing wrong with- the Quetzarche says nothing about... the point is I doubt I need this... object.

>>542650

such magic, though unsavory and generally creepy, is not forbidden according to the Holy Orditas, and I really do not want to examine this thing too closely.

I place the... object back into the drawer and close it.

>>542615
Sazerac states that Daemon summoning is akin to slavery, and refuses to give any instruction on any such rituals.

I turn my attention back to the journal. reading the whole thing may take some time so I flip through. there are no dates, but the most recent entry is still wet so it must have been written in the last hour.

the very first entry has immaculate hand writing, but does not seem any more coherent:

a field of gold, red, and blue
a child's laughter echoes through
a leaf wilts much much too soon
and a horrifying truth
life and death sing hand in hand
poking fun at god and man
and I'm weeping all the while
agony behind a smile.


I flip ahead to about halfway through. the page is mostly empty, except for a short few sentences:

Connanti. what does it mean? asking such things will get me killed, likely.

I flip to the page directly before the last, hoping to find some methods to this seeming madness:

Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Bileous. the four humourous Daemons. unlike the whispers, these creatures can take corporeal forms by way of immaculate conception. this is similar to the story of Tezca, who was conceived in such a way, according to the Quetzarche. it seems such Daemons do this willingly, but why? surely they have more efficient ways to influence Tyson. perhaps the Chtzo can shed some light on this phenomenon, however I doubt I will have a chance to meet a Chtzo any time soon, much less likely one that has a vested interest in Daemonology. could this be related to this "Connanti"?

Connanti? Sazerac mentions the word once or twice in its book, but the word is never defined, except as a word M'raach claim that Whispers in the Mane will frequently mutter.

I look at the papers upon the desk. it seems to be the multiple Narratives. none of the stories seem to make it past two pages, and none go past a single chapter. the stories all seem to share Ichtaca's ramblings, causing much of them to be nearly unreadable.
>>
No. 542697 ID: 7bbaae

>>542695
Spend a few moments looking through the desk drawers for anything immediately obvious, then leave and lock the door behind you. If the ink is still so wet, then she may have been recently seen in the halls. Time to start asking around.
>>
No. 542707 ID: 4f1dac

If the ink is still wet, how do you know she's not in the room with you? The pen abandoned dripping on the bed seems to indicate abnormal haste in particular.
>>
No. 542710 ID: e3adfc

What are these Whispers in the Mane? Could Ichtaca have something to do with them?
>>
No. 542719 ID: e1609c

>>542707
haha oh man she woulda seen you grab, pocket, then put back her dildo if this were the case
>>
No. 542731 ID: 7bbaae

>>542707
...

Are there any spells that allow the caster to go invisible? Even if it's just their body, not their clothes? After all, it does look like someone just hastily stripped naked.
>>
No. 542732 ID: e1609c

>>542731
this situation just keeps getting better and better
>grope around blindly in the general direction of any unusual depressions in the carpet or, in lieu of that, lock doors and windows until invisible streaker is located
>>
No. 542734 ID: 4f85d6

Wait...Isn't there a subspecies of you guys that turn invisible after a bit? How long exactly does that take?
I'm wondering if we got sent barking up the wrong tree, and Ichtaca's on the trail of this guy same as we are.
>>
No. 542754 ID: 2f4b71

>>542734
>I'm wondering if we got sent barking up the wrong tree, and Ichtaca's on the trail of this guy same as we are.
I'm thinking that might be the case. Though the last line of her journal referring to herself in the third person is a more than a bit worrying.
>>
No. 542789 ID: d92f71
File 138069377351.png - (19.35KB , 800x800 , 0041.png )
542789

>>542707
>>542731
>>542734
camoflague is a simple trick for many savants, and for a Cuetzpali, it is innate. if she were using some sort of sorcery to cloak herself, she would require concentration to remain hidden, and if she is a Cuetzpali, startling her would cause her pigmentation to turn a bright yellow. in any case, a sufficiently loud and sudden noise would spoil any attempts at staying hidden, though I may attract the attention of any passing Ordita.

>>542710
Daemons which have Possessed the M'raach and whisper directly into their minds.

if she is in the room with me, I should pretend to remain oblivious until I decide how to address the issue. I open the drawers of her desk. inside I find a set of Red Orditas Seals. it seems Ichtaca keeps her old ones, a common practice; one which I myself partake in. I find a Neonate, Acolyte, Scribe, Pen Scribe, and Head scribe seal. interesting. why is she not wearing this one? there is no reason not to wear the highest seal you own, and to not wear one is at best trashy and at worst blasphemous. she would surely attract undue attention without one. perhaps she has a higher seal? if so, why is she still working as a Head scribe?
>>
No. 542791 ID: 7bbaae

>>542789
Oh my. Now this sounds like a conspiracy. Perhaps she has a Whisper that is feeding her information that someone else in the church is taking advantage of in secret? The Whisper could be the cause of the weird poems.

Suddenly knocking over the stack of bowls should make a sufficient noise to reveal her. Then you drag her off to quarantine, and interrogate her to find out what new rank she is and who else in the church is involved. Also, maybe find out who it was that shot at you and what exactly the letter addressed to you was about.
>>
No. 542887 ID: d92f71
File 138078558036.png - (16.60KB , 800x800 , 0042.png )
542887

>>
No. 542888 ID: d92f71
File 138078560298.png - (17.67KB , 800x800 , 0043.png )
542888

>>
No. 542889 ID: d92f71
File 138078562383.png - (25.18KB , 800x800 , 0044.png )
542889

...it appears I am alone.
>>
No. 542891 ID: d2995c

Does showing her seal give her authority among laypeople or something? We might want to take it with us if that is the case.

Anyway, we have more reason to track her down but no clear evidence in what her role is, so its time to go find her.
>>
No. 542892 ID: 7bbaae

>>542889
Drat. Let's leave quickly and seek out the head priest. If you meet anyone in the halls on the way, ask if they've seen Ichtaca around.
>>
No. 543016 ID: d92f71
File 138091645584.png - (23.46KB , 800x800 , 0045.png )
543016

>>542891
her seal would grant authority over those below her, however, as an Inquisitor, I answer only to the Prime Orditas, and my seal is sovereign. keeping her seal on me would not extend my jurisdiction.

and begin down the hall, an Ordita passes, looking under dressed, overly stressed, and disorganized.
>>
No. 543017 ID: d92f71
File 138091648709.png - (19.96KB , 800x800 , 0046.png )
543017

"excuse me, sir." the Ordita looks up and gasps, "Inquisitor Tuzcanti! I'm the Pen Ordita, Xochtitl."

she offers her hand to shake.

"may I ask you a few questions?"

"sure," she nods, "I was just going over the notes for the night service."
>>
No. 543019 ID: d2995c

> keeping her seal on me would not extend my jurisdiction.
Er, I should have clarified. The idea was to keep her from retrieving it and using it to give orders, but when I think about it anyone nearby would already know who she is so it doesn't really matter.

Anyway, ask where she last saw Ichtaca. If she asks why, say that we have reason to believe she is under demonic influence or hexed.
>>
No. 543042 ID: 7bbaae

>>543017
Ask her if she has seen Ichtaca anywhere. She is not in her quarters. Also, if she knows what Ichtaca has been doing lately.
>>
No. 543077 ID: d92f71
File 138095066857.png - (16.97KB , 800x800 , 0047.png )
543077

"I'm looking for Ichtaca. where might she be?"

"Ichtaca is looking for you as well. she said she would like to talk to you in her office. she said she wished to purchase a book from you."

a Red Orditas cipher. it seems Ichtaca wishes to trade secrets.
>>
No. 543079 ID: 7bbaae

>>543077
Interesting. Alright, let's go see what she's got. Wait, did Ichtaca physically contact this girl? She might need to be quarantined as well.
>>
No. 543130 ID: 2f4b71

>>543017
>she offers her hand to shake
Whoops, possible infection vector for a hex.
>>
No. 543181 ID: f0c8ac

Well let's go see this Ictaca wants with us.
smart money says she's got the lowdown on what's up and can tell us more about the situation we DO want to know about, namely the whole mystery anti-inquistor faction here.
>>
No. 545910 ID: d92f71
File 138310963149.png - (23.73KB , 800x800 , 0048.png )
545910

"yes." I nod, "Immortal Avarice. have you read it before?"

"no ma'am." she shakes her emerald crested head. she's uninvolved in whatever business Ichtaca wants me for.

"may I come to you later if I require assistance?"

"of course," she brushes her plumage out of her eyes, attempting to hide the obvious fear on her face, "I'll be working in my office until the night service."

"one more thing, miss Xochtitl, have you come into physical contact with Acalan or Ichtaca?"

"what?" she recoils slightly, "do you mean, like..."

"any flesh to flesh contact whatsoever."

she rubs her chin and bows her head, trying to hide her mouth, likely, "I've never, as in, not um... no ma'am, I haven't come into, well... no I haven't, miss Inquisitor."

I'm having difficulty figuring out if she is embarrassed or simply lying, likely both. should I press her, or continue to Ichtaca?
>>
No. 545911 ID: 53ba34

"not like that, i mean a handshake or a hug, or anything, i do not need details, just a yes or no, and i will assume it was a handshake, okay?"
>>
No. 545915 ID: 7bbaae

>>545910
If she has come into contact with them she needs to be in quarantine, so press the issue.
>>
No. 545996 ID: 4a27cd

"I'm not asking about anything that should stay private, but I've found a curse that's been spreading by contact and I think she could be infected. So if you've brushed her hand while handing her something or anything else where you touched her you might have the curse."
>>
No. 546012 ID: 9f7acd

>>545910
She may be saying the wrong thing because she isn't given context. State the issue of quarantine.
>>
No. 546036 ID: d92f71
File 138318587799.png - (21.17KB , 800x800 , 0049.png )
546036

I must press the issue. if she's carrying the hex I must quarantine her.

"you seem unsure, miss Xochtitl. I will not pry as to the method of contact, I assure you, but it is imperative that you are truthful. Acalan and Ichtaca are infected with a hex which can be spread through physical contact. did you have any sort of skin on skin contact with either Ichtaca or Acalan since last full moon?"

she rubs the back of her neck and sighs, "listen, most of these scribes are straight out of academy. they're mostly kids. please don't involve the Juristas."

"why would the juristas need to be involved?"

"they don't need to be. that's my point."

"Xochtitl... has Acalan..."

"NO!" she gasps, "no, nothing like that! they just... take things from my quarters... undergarments and the like, and pull pranks, and other harmless things, but they're kids. they mean no harm with it, I swear."

"but you feel Acalan may have come into contact with you?"

"he, um... has a tendency to kiss me on the cheek when I'm distracted, but that's all."
>>
No. 546037 ID: d92f71
File 138318593467.png - (20.88KB , 800x800 , 0050.png )
546037

"have you given Consent to this flirtatious behaviour?"

"I can't." she shrugs, "I'm taken."

"that violates the sixth pillar fourth commandment: one mustn't covet the touch of an other without adequate evidence of consent. Acalan and his ilk are sinning daily."

"I don't mind it," she shrugs, "they're just harmless practical jokes."

"it matters not whether you mind, your Orditas are committing crimes under your nose and you are allowing it to happen."

"it's not like that. all the younger Orditas pull pranks on their betters. I did, you did, even the Primas did when they were younger."

"when I was a young scribe I was too busy studying the Quetzarche to grope my superiors."

"say what you will," she sighs nervously, "just, please, do not sic the Juristas on these boys. if they lose a finger, they'll be cast from the Orditas."
>>
No. 546047 ID: 7bbaae

>>546037
I think the quarantine is more important than some minor justice. Tell her if it will get her cooperation you will put off informing the Juristas until you discover the full extent of what is going on here.

It could be a systematic corruption of the church from outside forces.
>>
No. 546071 ID: 7bbaae

...wait a minute, did she say everyone does it? Oh god. The entire church is hexed. This is beyond quarantine. It's an outbreak.
>>
No. 546073 ID: 53ba34

lie, say you wont do anything so she will cooperate. then once this fiasco is over you will launch a full investigation. when allowed to do things with no repercussion they become bolder, eventually they would up their game and start doing bigger sins. if they did it once and were punished then it would not be a big deal, but ignoring a problem ALWAYS makes it bigger.

play the hex up, say that it spreads from any contact at all and at it's peak it causes insanity, it is curable but it spreads very fast if everyone is being touchy feely, and must be quarantined otherwise one could wander into the next town over and the process keeps going.
>>
No. 550691 ID: d92f71
File 138614201952.png - (23.30KB , 800x800 , 0048.png )
550691

"I have no reason to involve the Juristas," I will decide if this is a lie at a later time, "for now we need to make sure that you-"

my eyes widen.

"you said that this is a common occurrence? do they only harass you?"

"no, most of the senior Orditas will have some pranks pulled on them from time to time. why do you..."

the realization hits her like the plague.

"the entire church?" she gasps.

I nod solemnly. "likely the entire church, their immediate families, friends, their families, and so on."

"how can we contain that?!"

"we can not."

this is no longer an investigation. this is an extermination. my only option now is to find the Daemon as quickly as possible and terminate it before the whole damned continent goes up in smoke.

"what can I do to help you, Inquisitor?"

"Help?" I growl.

"this is partly my fault." she says, rubbing her arm awkwardly, "I want to help you fix this."

"partly?!" I laugh, "this is ENTIRELY your fault."

I must plan my next step carefully, and I must act fast.
>>
No. 550692 ID: 53ba34

these pranks were probably why the daemon chose this curse in the first place. it KNEW it would spread because the local boys can't keep their hands to themselves. a little discipline would have prevented all of this.

but for now. if she wants to help then look for Ichtaca or Acalan, if she finds ether she is to bring them to us. regardless of how.

meanwhile, do you have any way to find daemonic energies? if the curse truely has spread far enough the amount of energy it is using may traceable now.
>>
No. 550693 ID: 7bbaae

>>550691
Put the entire village under quarantine, and send out messengers to any city anyone has traveled to or from since the hex started, with instructions to forbid all physical contact until the next full moon. We may not be able to contain it but we can at least limit its scope.

The fastest way of doing this is to inform the head of the church. They may also know of a way to get ahold of our missing suspect.
>>
No. 550700 ID: 36c336

If it's an out of control manifestation this is something your superiors need to know about anyway even if they can't get you timely backup--this is large enough that you cannot personally chase down every possible thread of this curse.
It's also rather dangerous to take on a demon/cult/coven that has been able to pervert/subvert an entire town and remain undetected for a while, so we need to make reasonable worst-case guesses and work downwards on the threat-scale from there.
>>
No. 551457 ID: d92f71
File 138673592105.png - (18.66KB , 800x800 , 0052.png )
551457

"find Ichtaca, and take her to the Chapel. bring the Head Ordita, as well." I lean in close, "your mind is still your own, correct?"

she nods fearfully.

"good." I turn away, "if you hear any voices, have any violent urges, or feel your mind and judgement clouding, resist. if you can not, shackle yourself to something sturdy, understand?"

she nods, "Inquisitor, what will you be doing?"

"I will be contacting my comrades in the Inquisition, and setting up some sort of containment. who is the town Sender?"

"Camaxtli. she's likely in the Divinery, by the church."

I nod and exit. whatever message I need delivered, I can have this Sender transmit it through some arcane means to an other Sender who will inform the Red Orditas.

I ponder what message I should send and to where and utter a sighing growl. I can send the message and it will be received instantly, but the closest town with any notable Inquisitorial presence is Tozotl, which is a full three day journey. I could also send a general message to all other Senders to increase guard presence in their territory but I can't be sure how to identify a hexxed individual, so neither will they. opening a dialog is somewhat tricky with Senders, so I doubt I will be able to get any viable advice, either.
>>
No. 551458 ID: d92f71
File 138673608987.png - (17.33KB , 800x800 , 0053.png )
551458

I enter the Divinery. the scent of hefty incense and smelling salts causes my eyes to mist. I feel the air in the building to be somehow... wrong, like a stranger is standing over my shoulder. a Coatl leans her bulk upon a counter, looking quite bored. she raises a brow and gazes at me with eyes which look to have seen more than their share of hardship as I approach.

"You are Camaxtli?" I ask.

"mm-hmm" she nods lazily, "Who's asking?"

"Matlal T-"

"-Tuzcanti of the Red Moon Inquisition, age 29, born in a small swamp town on the outskirts of Cuzco. am I close?" she snorts, "it's a figure of speech, Inquisitor. it means you'd better be paying upfront."

blasted Senders. deal with one for more than a scant moment and they plunder your mind for any scrap of knowledge or memory that they fancy. the Quetzarche clearly condemns telepathy, and any such tampering with one's mind, but the Senders are simply too useful to the Empire to be excommunicated.
>>
No. 551460 ID: 53ba34

sigh, pay up. money is a small price to keep the peace.

send a message to everyone within a day's travel. a highly infectious hex has been created, is spread by skin to skin physical contact so full body outfits will prevent it, anyone entering town must be detained for a minimum of(however long is the maximum amount of time someone can go before showing signs).
>>
No. 551472 ID: 36c336

Double-check your sender here, if there's an out-of-control curse going around what's to say that this Camaxtli isn't affected, or complicit? Don't be too disrespectful but don't just assume that we aren't facing part of the problem here.
>>
No. 551519 ID: 2f4b71

>telepaths with long-distance links
...Oh shit. Matlal, please tell me the Sanguine Mania Glyph is only transmissible by physical contact or direct observation of the original glyph.
>>
No. 551802 ID: 7bbaae

Wait a minute, if this hex is so dangerous and infectious, why haven't there been previous outbreaks?
>>
No. 551803 ID: 36c336

>>551802
There may have been other outbreaks of this specific curse even, why else would Matlal have recognized the curse sign?
>>
No. 552266 ID: 761017

Apply your priorities, Inquisitor:

1. Interrogate the Sender for Sanguine infection.

2. Discuss price for a message.

3. Send a prelimiary message to Tozotl to warn "Sanguine hex outbreak at Red Wood, quarantine is impossible, symptoms are hidden, deamon is hidden, extermination hunt in progress" in whatever code the Inquisition uses.
>>
No. 559226 ID: 7e38be
File 139056108065.png - (13.71KB , 800x800 , 0054.png )
559226

>>551519
I doubt the curse is transferable telepathically. even so, I expect that most senders are more capable of resisting than even an Inquisitor such as myself.

"Very well, Sender," I drop the bag of Kola on the counter, "no doubt 50 Kola is insufficient for your services; however, I give my word as a loyal servant of Tezca that you will be payed in full by the Red Orditas."

she waves a mighty claw dismissively as she slides the bag of Kola under her side of the counter.

"I know the inquisition's good for it." her scowl lessens in severity, I assume this means she is pleased, "they'd hate to piss off the senders over a handful of Kola, at least."

"I must ask, as a formality, have you come in contact with any suspicious individuals in the past three days?" I take my seat as the Sender pulls various incenses and chalk from a drawer behind the desk.
>>
No. 559227 ID: 7e38be
File 139056110451.png - (19.21KB , 800x800 , 0055.png )
559227

she sets the incense down and begins tracing a circle on the desk,"now that you mention it I was involved in a six man orgy just the other day. I believe Acalan had his cock in my mouth for a good fifteen minutes."
>>
No. 559228 ID: 7e38be
File 139056115420.png - (17.77KB , 800x800 , 0056.png )
559228

"very well." I growl, "I suppose that means 'no'?"

"I see why you're an inquisitor now, miss Tuzcanti." she leaves a small opening in the circle, then lights the incense. the smell of heavy perfume and charcoal fills the divinery quickly, "I would hazard a guess that you know Senders are forbidden to contact others physically, under pain of death."

"you would be right." I nod.

"would you care to guess why?"

"I would not." I glare, "play your mindgames some time else, Telepath."

"fine," she shrugs, "go ahead with your message, Inquisitor."

"I want this message broadcasted to every town within a day's travel, along with Tozotl." I clear my throat, "Sanguine hex outbreak at Red Wood, quarantine is impossible, symptoms are hidden, daemon is hidden, extermination hunt in progress. any individuals arriving in town must be detained for a minimum of one week, or until word arrives of the Daemon's slaying."
>>
No. 559229 ID: 7e38be
File 139056121563.png - (33.20KB , 800x800 , 0057.png )
559229

"very well." she whispers into the circle, then closes it. I feel my ears pop and my breath is stolen away from me. I feel my thoughts slip away and my very soulstuff is touched by the sorcery. Camaxtli seems thoroughly unfazed, likely having to partake in such rituals daily.

"done." she says smugly. "I went ahead and sent your bill to the boys in Tozotl, as well. anything else I can help you with today, Miss Tuzcanti?"

I can not be sure if she is innocent or uninvolved in this business. I feel my best option for now is to detain her in the church with the others. at least then I will have most of my persons of interest in one room.

how shall I go about obtaining her?
>>
No. 559235 ID: 53fda7

She doesn't like you, and you don't like her. But, let's not get carried...
Question. How EXACTLY do you resist a hex? Passively, or does it require something like keeping your cool? Might not be a bad idea try and make sure you don't get overly flustered.
>>
No. 559236 ID: 53ba34

just explain that shit is getting bad and ask if she could stop someone that has gone crazy without touching them. if she can't the she has to come with us if simply for her own protection.
>>
No. 559255 ID: a87e3a

>>559229
I dunno, having a telepath around during the investigation seems like cheating, and there's no way she's hexed. Just tell her not to go anywhere.
>>
No. 559277 ID: 379075

We are going to be the sword-point of an extermination operation here, I doubt that the telepath coming with us would be present for her protection.
A better question is what her protections are like and what her involvement in the town is: Would she be ready, able and willing to organize a defense for uninfected people we find?
>>
No. 559562 ID: 7e38be
File 139075634508.png - (26.08KB , 800x800 , 0058.png )
559562

>>559235

to resist the influence of magic one must cut themselves off from the source of magic, that being emotion. Humours cause both emotion and sorcery and indeed the two are interchangeable in most forms of magical theory. as an inquisitor I have gained control over my emotions to better protect myself from the weapons of my prey. I would think that Camaxtli, being a savant is in perfect control of her feelings, otherwise she'd be bleeding magic, constantly bombarding those nearby with telepathic feedback.

I stand and clear my throat, "miss Camaxtli, I feel I may need to detain you in the church, for your own protection. this hex bends the minds of others into a twisted and violent cacophony. I fear you may be attacked."

"you're wrong, Inquisitor." she says, rubbing her eyes.

"I believe it is in you best intere-"

"not that." she interrupts, "I don't dislike you. and you don't dislike me."

"are you still probing my thoughts?"
>>
No. 559563 ID: 7e38be
File 139075638168.png - (18.16KB , 800x800 , 0059.png )
559563

"and I would contest that you're really in control of your emotions."

"you would?" my teeth clench, "then speak your peace."

"for one thing, miss Inquisitor, you are shivering right now." she grimaces, "and why is that?"

"I am not." I growl.

"you're... afraid?" she looks honestly surprised, "of what?"

realization spreads across her face, "the magic."

"what?!" I roar, "are you accusing me of-"

"how is a witch hunter scared of witches?" she smiles genuinely, a smile I will hate forever, "that's actually kind of cute, Tuzcanti."
>>
No. 559564 ID: 7e38be
File 139075640186.png - (19.20KB , 800x800 , 0060.png )
559564

I lean in closely, "if you are so intent to steal my memories then why not find out why I shake? perhaps then you can stop smirking like a child."

her face remains neutral for a scant few seconds, then she finds what she is looking for.
>>
No. 559565 ID: 7e38be
File 139075642509.gif - (20.72KB , 800x800 , 0061.gif )
559565

[animated]
>>
No. 559566 ID: 7e38be
File 139075644659.png - (19.32KB , 800x800 , 0062.png )
559566

"so will you be staying or coming along, Telepath?"

she rubs her cheek, "lead the way..."
>>
No. 559567 ID: 7e38be
File 139075647829.png - (60.18KB , 2400x1200 , 0063.png )
559567

I enter the church with the Sender in tow. the pews are filled with familiar and unfamiliar faces.

I see an ashamed looking Acalan flanked by Erindira and a Jurista Captain. across from them Xochtitl shifts nervously in her seat next to the head Ordita and Atl the groundskeeper, who has seemed to dress up for the occasion. I look for the head scribe and growl in frustration.

"Ichtaca." I glare at the Pen ordita, who tries as best as she can to become invisible, "where is Ichtaca?"
>>
No. 559568 ID: 7e38be
File 139075650659.png - (21.00KB , 800x800 , 0064.png )
559568

"um." I hear a squeak to my left, and follow it to a very young, very jittery, and seemingly malnourished Cuetzpali, sitting by herself. she wears not a Scribe's tunic, but the vestments of an Inquisitor, colored deep black with brilliant crimson buttons. her seal is a simple black circle.

"here I am." mutters Ichtaca, the Black Moon Daemon Hunter.
>>
No. 559570 ID: be60a1

...Are you outranked?... I suppose now is the time to question Ichtaca, and very carefully.
>>
No. 559587 ID: a87e3a

>>559565
What was THAT about?

>>559568
Well that explains why people spoke of her having dealings with the occult and acting strangely. I think our lead just hit a brick wall.

Tell her there has been an outbreak of a sanguine hex, and Acalan was the origin point. She should know exactly why that concerns her.
>>
No. 559598 ID: 5869f6

>>559565
That...

Didn't seem to be a very cheerful memory, did it?
For what it's worth, I'm sorry you had to go through such a seemingly tragic event.
>>
No. 559600 ID: 8ea63b

>>559568
what's with that red thing? a rash? a CURSE??
>>
No. 559652 ID: d2995c

>Black Moon Daemon Hunter.
Does that mean a deep cover agent, a very high rank, or both?
>>
No. 559658 ID: 7e38be
File 139080075820.png - (26.95KB , 800x800 , 0065.png )
559658

>>559570

there are no ranks in the Inquisition. it keeps the corrupt and sinful from gaining political power in the organization meant to hunt them. Ichtaca is simply a coworker.

>>559587
>>559598

a ghost from the past. one that I have buried long ago.

>>559600

her skin pigmentation is altering itself to camouflage. it seems her undershirt's color is causing her neck to look inflamed.

>>559652

Black Moons are Red Orditas Inquisitors tasked with infiltrating possible heretical communities under cover as low to mid ranking Red or Golden Orditas and gathering information. it seems someone has interest enough in the goings on in Red Wood to send a Daemon Hunter.

I would not mark Ichtaca off the list of suspects yet. I have dealt with more than one Daemon Hunter witch, though I am quite interested in what she has to say.

"Ichtaca." I approach, "I have some questions for you."

I turn to the congregation. I have questions for everyone, I suspect. now would be a good time to ask, I think.

"are you aware of the reasons for my visit, Daemon Hunter?"

she nods, "I was hoping to talk in... um... private... about it."
>>
No. 559659 ID: 53ba34

it's a little late for that, this has gone past a simple hexing to a full epidemic, unless this is something other than that.
>>
No. 559661 ID: a87e3a

>>559658
Everyone seems to think she's the head scribe, though. Why send a demon hunter who isn't allowed to tell anyone who she really is? Did a demon straight-up infiltrate the town and church? Yet despite that here she is dressed in her uniform, not hiding her role anymore. It's as if what she was sent here to do ended in failure, resulting in you being called forth and her no longer needing a disguise.

Accept her offer of privacy for her questioning. Let's speak to the others first however. Ask what happened with Erindira while you two were separated, and who the Captain is.
>>
No. 559679 ID: 53ba34

let's get the big one. the rampant sexual harassment, why has no one stopped it?
>>
No. 559682 ID: 136941

When we talk to Ichtaca privately, ask her if the hex is legit-smart money says it, and the call, was there to get us down here, to secretly get Ichtaca's informaiton to Matlal under the guise of an inquisition...
But there still could be strangness going on-how good of a shot is Ichtaca?
>>
No. 559837 ID: 7e38be
File 139091779218.png - (37.15KB , 800x800 , 0066.png )
559837

yes I suppose I should make a note of Ichtaca's atler stance, though I can't be sure how to do so without alerting her to my intention.

"very well, we will speak in private momentarily. it had better be worth my time." I turn from the Inquisitor. "Erin. you have retrieved the scribe."

she nods, grinning, "yeah it wasn't easy. we-"

"I had to get a manhunt going for the little dirtbag." the Jurista captain rises. he stands taller than even Camaxtli, and wears a heavy overcoat which serves to further emphasis his mass. his plumage is dyed an unnatural purple, I understand it is something of a fashion trend for men in the southern parts of the empire.

"tenoch, I presume?" I nod to the captain, but direct a glare to the scribe.

"Inquisitor Tuzcanti. it's a pleasure." he bows, then pulls Acalan up by the nape of his neck, "it seems Ichtaca's boytoy is also quite experienced at eluding law enforcement."
>>
No. 559838 ID: 7e38be
File 139091782031.png - (24.45KB , 800x800 , 0067.png )
559838

"wait..." Ichtaca perks a brow, "what?"

"wait! wait! no! I didn't say that!" Acalan gasps.

"Acalan." I grind my teeth slightly as I approach the scribe, "you said you came in contact with Ichtaca."

"I did not! I mean I might have! I-" Tenoch squeezes, choking the rest of his sentence away.

"you will not yell in the house of Quetzal again." he snarls.
>>
No. 559840 ID: 53ba34

wait, he was infected the longest, correct? this could be the curse making him erratic. but still, i feel he should be cuffed to something.
>>
No. 559861 ID: a87e3a

>>559838
He is definitely having problems. Tell him to calm down and explain clearly what happened.

If he hasn't been in contact with ANYONE then haha there is no outbreak how silly of us to make a fuss
>>
No. 559923 ID: 379075

How resistant is this captain? Would seeing the inquisitor privately be just a setup to a demonic attack, or is she privy to knowledge that would start a panic here if the others would hear? I don't like any of this.
>>
No. 559969 ID: d6c045

>>559838

You guys aren't very bright.

He was lying and called you for some reason, only to discover person he set up for the fall was actually very dangerous.

So what is this little man really? Why did he have that hex? Why did he lie?
>>
No. 559983 ID: 7e38be
File 139100739288.png - (19.90KB , 800x800 , 0068.png )
559983

I nod to the two Juristas. they know when to restrain the scribe. I can not be sure how well Tenoch is able to resist the curse. as a Jurista, especially one as experienced as he, it is likely he has dealt with witches and Daemons before, but I can't be sure he has experience enough to withstand the hex.

I can't be sure why the Daemon Hunter would wish to speak alone. perhaps she has information that will panic the others, or perhaps she does not wish to let the Golden Orditas in attendance to know what she says, or perhaps she wishes to attack me face to face.

"Acalan." I try to sound sincerely reassuring. Erin's face tells me I have failed, "you need to calm down. tell me the whole story, and speak the truth."

"she... um... we..." he looks to Ichtaca with a look of fear, "Ichtaca help me out here."

Ichtaca furrows her brow, "I don't know what you're talking about, Acalan."

"Ichtaca please!" he speaks quietly but in a panicked tone, "they think I'm a witch! if you don't tell the truth they'll kill me!"

"I don't know what you're talking about." she repeats, more firmly.

"Ichtaca took me in the library." he turns to me with a betrayed look plastered across his face.
>>
No. 559984 ID: 7e38be
File 139100742797.png - (26.69KB , 800x800 , 0069.png )
559984

"WHAT?"

"a month ago." he ignores the Inquisitor, "every other day or so. she'd take me into her office or her room, or... against a bookshelf."

"He's lying!" Ichtaca growls, as the smell of brimstone fills the air and her skin radiates inhuman heat. she stands and approaches the group of Juristas, sweating liquid fire.
>>
No. 559985 ID: 8ea63b

>>559984
is that.. normal..?

don't let her get to him, she'll kill him. be ready for an attack if you have to restrain her physically. also, don't touch her, obviously.

also that is one hot lady
>>
No. 559987 ID: 3bb36a

Ichtaca, that talk in private?
Let's defuse the situation. We don't need to worry about Acalan- if crap goes down he's suspicious enough right now that he'll be caught again if he's actually behind it.
But if Ichtaca fries him that will complicate things.
>>
No. 559995 ID: d2995c

It that sort of thing normal savant magic or crazy demon magic?
>>
No. 560001 ID: a87e3a

>>559984
We DO have a Sender here with us. Can't she tell who's lying?
>>
No. 560003 ID: a87e3a

It's worth noting that I think Acalan is the one lying here. Ichtaca is not reacting in any way like a passionate lover exposed, and Acalan is describing a scenario that would have them EASILY discovered.

Well, it's that or he got fucked by a shapeshifter or illusionist who knew when nobody else would be in the library for a while. Or perhaps these are fake memories.

On the other hand, is it possible that Ichtaca got possessed by a demon to do these things? Her journal seemed to imply some sort of mental instability, and possession might fit.
>>
No. 560011 ID: 0b54f4

I, too, would like to point out that we have a mind-reader present. However, it may or may not be wise to ask her directly and openly, at the moment. (Do, uh, do they KNOW there's a mind reader there? You'd think they'd act differently.)

I might recommend bringing the situation around to speaking with Ichtaca privately - however, to avoid some of the potential funny business, perhaps you can have everyone at one end of the hall, while you speak quietly with Ichtaca (avoiding physical contact, and with everyone aware that you are doing so) at the other end of the hall. Further pedantry: try to avoid acoustically inconvenient spots - avoid areas that have lots of stone curving around you towards the other group, and aim for areas with heavy cloth on nearby surfaces, which will help absorb sound.
>>
No. 560012 ID: 379075

At this point I'm tempted to sit back and watch it all collapse, entertainingly. My intuition is telling me that if she's this far out of control that this either isn't Ichtaca, she's faking Inquisitor status, or she's influenced by the demon as well. Seeing her reveal which is the case on her own terms could be very instructive.
Unfortunately we have a responsibility to try and clean up the mess, don't we? Therefore we have a split-second choice between attempting to use words on Ichtaca or deeds. You're the expert in which is more appropriate, but if you're going to use words maybe try these:

"Ichtaca, control yourself. Surely it is no surprised that someone addled by a demon could fabulate a story, plausible or not, when an investigation is getting close to revealing their schemes. It's more concerning that you may be having difficulty with self control in the face of pathetic provocation. Are you alright?"
>>
No. 560046 ID: 53ba34

>they think i'm a witch

he's getting everything mixed up. we sad we think he's hexed. to his face. i think he's losing it.
>>
No. 560052 ID: a87e3a

>>560046
Or maybe he IS a witch and he thinks we suspect it so he said what he was thinking, and these claims of being a boytoy are to provoke Ichtaca and create a distraction so he can escape again.

After all, he has experience with evading authority.

You know what, I think that's what's going on! We don't need the Sender's help here.
>>
No. 560074 ID: beeca1

>>560052
Wow! A random headvoice has an idea! It must be 100% true and we don't need to get proof with the telepath's help!

Get the Sender.
>>
No. 560075 ID: a87e3a

>>560074
>I can not be sure if she is innocent or uninvolved in this business.

Maybe we shouldn't rely on the telepath.
>>
No. 560079 ID: 7e38be
File 139106934666.png - (27.39KB , 800x800 , 0070.png )
560079

>>559985
>>559995

this is textbook discharge of elemental magic. Ichtaca is angry and so she's bleeding magic. it is quite normal for Savants to have involuntary magical discharge in times of stress.

in any case, I can't have Ichtaca charring my prime suspect. I step in front of the Daemon hunter. there is a deafening hiss as her flesh vents and cools down to mortal levels. she averts her gaze.

"about that talk in private, Daemon Hunter."

"O-of course, Miss Tuzcanti."
>>
No. 560080 ID: 7e38be
File 139106941905.png - (22.96KB , 800x800 , 0071.png )
560080

there they go. one loyal Ordita keeping an other Loyal Ordita from boiling the flesh off of a third. I wonder what that conversation will entail. all I can really do is wonder right now. the thoughtcloud here is too thick to concentrate on a single voice.

my name is Camaxtli. I have no last name, as is custom for Savants. I hear a violent cacophony of thought and emotion. everyone in this chapel is stained and angry and hurt and lying somehow. this is making me uncomfortable. I feel cramped.

nevertheless, any child with any understanding of Tezcata psychology can see through this fabrication. the Witch is certainly in this room, grinning like a child, thinking they're home free so long as they can pin blame on someone else. of course the only question now is if I should share this information with the Inquisitor.

yes, yes, it is my duty as a citizen of the Holy Tezcatan empire founded under Quetzal and Tezca hallowed be thy names as the greatest civilization on Tyson to inform the Inquisition of possible heresy, but on the other hand, this Inquisitor has no reason to trust me, and she certainly dislikes Savants. I can't blame her, but it still complicates the situation.

no I feel perhaps this information is best kept for myself. if and when I feel the need to share it Miss Tuzcanti will be the first to know.

"if I had known there was gonna be a show I'd have brought some popcorn."
>>
No. 560081 ID: 7e38be
File 139106945152.png - (23.41KB , 800x800 , 0072.png )
560081

"hi Camaxtli." the Dameon smiles widely, "my name's Quig. I was hoping you had a minute to talk."

End of Chapter 1
>>
No. 560083 ID: 3a1f17

Hahahaha... your doomed.
>>
No. 560084 ID: 53ba34

DU DUUUUUUUU
IT'S GUTSMAN
>>
No. 560088 ID: a87e3a

Alright, let's sum up. We were summoned by a scribe who then gave us a weird book, pointed out Ichtaca, and delivered an expertly timed note that told us to duck right as we were being attacked. The scribe disappeared but was eventually recaptured. I don't think he was supposed to be recaptured! I think the scribe was told to show us the hex symbol, note and book to make it look like something very serious was going on that required the full attention of an Inquisitor, who would then follow the lead to Ichtaca after the distraction allowed the scribe to escape. Note that Ichtaca is a Demon Hunter who wanted to speak in private, but we were never told in public that she was a Demon Hunter.

So, in other words, Acalan lured an Inquisitor here to speak with Ichtaca while keeping it secret that Ichtaca was working as a demon hunter. Now, are they working together to oust this demon, or was Acalan ordered to do this by another demon, like the note implied?

Is Squig the enemy, or is she just trying to protect the scribe, her pawn in the battle against the other demon? I'm thinking the latter. Squig will most likely try to convince Camaxtli not to spill the beans about Acalan working with her.

I bet there isn't even a hex outbreak. That's a smokescreen to hide the true purpose of the Inquisitor's visit.
>>
No. 560089 ID: a87e3a

I thought further on why such a deception is necessary, and a thought occurred to me- Acalan isn't trying to pin it on anyone. He's trying to buy time for something- that something being Quig. That doesn't match Camaxtli's analysis. Acalan isn't the witch grinning to themselves like a child, despite him definitely being involved with a demon. The OTHER witch is in the room, planning to use Acalan as a scapegoat. I mean, once a witch hunt finds a witch, isn't that the end of things?

I think we can eliminate the Groundskeeper, Erin, and Xochtitl straight away. That leaves the Jurista captain and the head Ordita.

Don't you think if we were brought here to expose the other witch, the area of focus would be where the witch is? We would never expose the Jurista captain if we were stuck in the church all the time. It's the head Ordita.
>>
No. 560108 ID: 4a75fa

>>560081
...agree, cautiously and reluctantly.

I mean, it's not as if you want to speak with a demon, but if all the demon wants is to talk, that sure as hell beats a lot of the possible alternatives.
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