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586991 No. 586991 ID: d470e9

Quest Discussion:

This quest is a reboot from the Chee Quest intermission, however, this is a standalone quest, and reading Cheequest is both unrequired and largely unhelpful.
Expand all images
No. 586992 ID: d470e9
File 140677292368.png - (28.20KB , 800x800 , 2.png )

>"Gmph... I told you to sleep on the edge so you don't wake us up so damn early." My sister, Kiki, grumbles.
"I did. You rolled over me in the middle of the night."

She's already back asleep.
No. 586993 ID: d470e9
File 140677293259.png - (18.51KB , 800x800 , 3.png )

There's a lot to do in the day. My siblings seem too lazy for it, but some of the creatures that are best for hunting are easiest to hunt at sunrise. Even so, sometimes there is no game to catch especially at this time of the season. It could be a waste of time.

On the other hand, my brother, Zizi, told me our rivals have been too quiet. They're often aggressive, and constantly test our defenses. I'm not a bad scout, and it might be good to investigate what they're up to. They're only a half hour run away, and I can make it before the sun lights the forest up too much.

What else... a cave-in happened a week ago, and we're still trying to re-dig that tunnel.

There's a lot to do, and we're all hungry.
No. 586994 ID: 2fd516

It's sunrise. Hunt. The other activities would be more appropriate later in the day.
No. 586995 ID: 1a5a29

Hunt. You'll probably want others to be awake for anything else.
No. 586996 ID: 55c4cf

What all is available for hunting and/or foraging?
No. 586998 ID: 9ddf68

doesn't matter what your rivals are trying to do if you're all too hungry to do anything about it, find some food and then worry about the rest later.
No. 587000 ID: c02e1e

Well you could go out quickly and make sure your rivals are not up to anything and keep a eye out for hunting opportunities along the way.

Just take extra care to not leave any signs leading to or from your home. If tensions are high you better take extra care to keep your family safe.

Food and safety are priority number one and you can work on digging out the tunnel one you are fed.
No. 587001 ID: bb78f2

Where are your parents? Or any other family? Are you kids, teenagers, or adult kobolds?

Create traps. Spam traps.
No. 587003 ID: d470e9
File 140677641093.png - (29.16KB , 800x800 , 4.png )

>What all is available for hunting and/or foraging?
There are some berries around, but we do have crops at home. We'd starve if we only had that. We have to hunt wild animals. There are supposed to be a lot of rabbits, but that means there's also a lot of wolves and other predators. Right now, I'd attack anything so long as it's not in a large pack.

>Where are your parents? Or any other family? Are you kids, teenagers, or adult kobolds?
Zizi and Kiki are my older siblings from one litter before me. We're all young adults now. My mother is still with us, and my father is doing labor for the southern empire. We also had 3 other siblings, but one died young from disease, and two others died in northern empire conscription. Zizi is the only one of us that has ever been pulled into conscription in the northern empire's army, and came back alive.

>Create traps. Spam traps.
We have. Exiting our village is a careful, light footed dance. Our cave-in was a trap as well, and was caused by an accidental trigger.

It might be a waste, but it might not, and there's no point wasting the best time of day. I reach back down into our room and get our bow. Until our sling is fixed, a bow, 3 arrows and my sword is all I have. I also bring a pouch just in case.

I leave in the direction of our primary rivals, but keep my focus on hunting. I find one set of tracks. It's followed for a long hour or two, and eventually I find the signs of a scuffle followed by a single set of kobold tracks heading away. They're heading away from my village, so it must be one of our rivals that got to it first.

Most of our rival's fights have been non-lethal, and we don't want to kill each other. I'm not enthusiastic about stealing a big prize and making our fights more dangerous. But... it looks like he's carrying a big thing, and we could use that.
No. 587004 ID: c02e1e

Well escalating things might get nasty but if they are close I would at least see who got what.

Once you see the situation you can decide if you want to try stealing the catch or backing off. If you get lucky maybe you can find a way of driving them off or getting them to abandon the kill without letting them know it was you.

Who exactly are your rivals and what has the situation been thus far? Also other than them what sort of other powers are in the local area?
No. 587006 ID: 2fd516

If it's a kill, where's the blood? Follow, something is wrong.
If there is blood in fitting with a successful hunt, and it's just not visible from this angle, then don't follow. Keep moving.
No. 587009 ID: c02e1e


Good catch there. No blood and moving something big could be someone being captured instead of a successful hunt.
No. 587010 ID: bb78f2

You can create more equipment, if a bit weaker, from your surroundings.
There should be plenty of sticks to make into makeshift arrows and spears, if combined with using rocks as tools. Or make even better spears and arrows with pointy rocks, which should also be feasible by using rocks as tools on each other.
You can also use rocks and local fauna to create poisons to enhance the effectiveness of the makeshift weapons, as they won't be as good as any counterpart with metal points.

Observe tracks, what beast likely made them? Still should be other tracks around, and not just foot prints that are hard to find, look for droppings.
No. 587011 ID: 92fe71

Follow those tracks and be stealthy about it.
No. 587044 ID: d470e9
File 140678528359.png - (36.67KB , 800x800 , 5.png )

There is no blood, though, but the tracks look like they're from a hooved creature,. It's possible that a snare was set up, or, in the hope to not attract blood smelling predators, the blood was minimal and cleaned up.

I grab a rock I find that fits my hand well, and stick it in my pouch. That's all that's useful around here. Poisonous plants grow far away, and I don't have the time to create more arrows properly. I can also use a sword better than a spear.

I find the source of the tracks. The kobold is wearing feathers from birds that occupy a nearby summit, marking him as a rival. His hunt did turn out to use a snare. It's a heavy creature, and he must have worn himself out trying to bring it back. I hear a familiar river up ahead, and know that it's one hour to their territory. Like us, they have many traps in their territory, and also like us, they decorate the trees with their insignia to alert others of this.

>Who exactly are your rivals and what has the situation been thus far?
They're nothing special. There are a lot of groups of kobolds that made their home here, and we often have to fight. We don't hate each other, so we don't try to kill if possible. It does happen, though.

>Also other than them what sort of other powers are in the local area?
In the area, it's just us. Far to the north, though, and far to the south, are empires that I've only heard about. They sometimes come and take some of us for a few years, but they never go too far. I don't know much about that. Zizi tried explaining it to me once, but I couldn't understand him.

All I know, is that when empire forces show themselves, we bow to them so long as they don't abuse us.
No. 587050 ID: 2fd516

Hmmm. I say ambush him, disarm him, then tell him you're doing him a favor by lightening his load. You're just gonna take SOME of the kill. While we've got his attention, also ask him why his tribe's been so quiet lately. What are they up to?
No. 587058 ID: 879a42

Make sure he doesn't have any friends, if he does try to kill or knock them out first, otherwise just follow 587050
No. 587081 ID: bb78f2

Why not try and see if he wants some help for a few scraps in return?
Honestly, he should probably kill and prepare the animal now for easier transport, unless he doesn't have skinning equipment or he's afraid that might attract dangerous game.
No. 587132 ID: c02e1e

Well that is a impressive catch. Well I see three paths you can take.

First you could kill them and take everything. But that would escalate things quite a bit so you would have to hide the body in a way so no one ever found out. Is a good plan if you are really starving. If you had a non lethal way of knocking them out without them noticing it would be nice because you could steal it while they where out of it.

Second we could bargin a bit. See if they would give up half the kill in exchange for help butchering it and you not just taking it all while they are worn out. That course depends on how charming you think you can be while threatening them. Might raise tensions a bit but would be somewhat polite considering the alternatives.

And finally you could walk away and work on hunting your own game. But if game is scarce right now it could lead to a lonely hungry day. Plus your rivals will be swimming in food for a few days.

I would go for the Threatening option. Unless you are willing and able to just kill them in a surprise attack. Before you do anything though I would watch them for a few minutes so you know what weapons they are carrying and if they have any distinguishing features. The river might make a good "ambush" spot. The noise will help hide your approach and if things go south its a good spot drop a body.
No. 587137 ID: f839a9

>feathers mark the rival tribe
So does your group have any markers? Not sure the camo really counts.

>There are a lot of groups of kobolds that made their home here, and we often have to fight.
I'm going to assume the conflict is due to a lack of resources? If there was enough to go around, there wouldn't be much reason to fight.

Ideally, cooperation might work out better, long term. Less resources wasted fighting, and a more secure environment so you can safely expand agriculture. Uniting tribes is tricky, though. And if you start to build yourselves up that way, you're more noticeable by and vulnerable to the empires. Hmm. So maybe not so easy to improve quality of life around here.

>one hour to their territory
How far back to yours? If he's worn himself getting the catch this far, would you be able to drag it all the way back? Without exhausting yourself? If you're closer to their territory than yours, what are the odds you make it back with the goods before others of his tribe find you? They may come looking in this direction if he's late.

Distance and effort to get back with the goods influences how much you can afford to take.

>animal in one piece
Is it still alive? Is there any reason they'd want it alive? (A beast of burden, a herd, ect). Not sure if that's likely with the whole tribal thing, but if that is the case, he's not going to want to settle with letting you take some of the mean.

>what do
Strong-arming him into giving you share seems the best option. He's tired, he's moving in a set path, we have a ranged weapon. It won't be hard to ambush him. It's banditry, sure, but forcing him to give up some of his kill is better than dying or losing all of it. I mean, if he wants a lump on his head or acupuncture, we can supply. But otherwise...
No. 587348 ID: d470e9
File 140690583133.png - (118.34KB , 800x800 , 6.png )

>So does your group have any markers?
No, we're the only kobolds in the forest, that we're aware of, that have white eyes.

>Not sure the camo really counts.
This isn't deliberate camoflauge, this is just the color of our skin and clothing.

>How far back to your territory?
About two hours.

>If you're closer to their territory than yours, what are the odds you make it back with the goods before others of his tribe find you?
It's always possible, but it's not good. With only around thirty in our tribe, we get stretched thin this far out. Still, I will have to move quickly to avoid any retribution.

>Is the animal still alive?
I doubt it, its head looks too bashed in. Sometimes non-lethal traps are used so it can be beaten to death, as using cutting weapons will ruin its hide.

We like keeping livestock, but there are many kobolds that also attempt to steal domesticated animals.

I follow him to the river. There are no signs he has any allies nearby. He is armed with a club and a sling, with a pouch for some rocks.

I pull my bow back and step out. Zizi has told me that bows exist that can force arrows to go through an entire kobold body, but we don't have that capability. Still, I'm not out to kill him, and getting struck by a bow doesn't lead to a good time.

"Cut that in half, and leave it."
>"What? Are you so obese you can't imagine having more than half of an animal?"
"I don't hate your tribe."
>"You wish to gift this to make apologies for your tribe's past actions?"
"No. We are not sorry, and your tribe has done more to us. We still don't wish starvation on you. Drop your weapons, slowly, a-"
No. 587349 ID: d470e9
File 140690584350.png - (83.07KB , 800x800 , 7.png )

He leaps to a tree! I let the arrow go, and it sinks into his thigh.
No. 587350 ID: d470e9
File 140690585472.png - (35.71KB , 800x800 , 8.png )

But he was already in the air, and the arrow can't stop that. He lands behind the tree, leaving the animal out in the open.

He then lets out a scream, but it's not out of pain. It has a trill to it, and my tribe knows that it's their warcry. I have no idea if there is anyone around to hear it, from my tribe or theirs.
No. 587352 ID: f839a9

Freeze, listen for approach. Get out of sight. If anyone's coming, we'll have to make a quick decision about running or not. You might be able to deal with another one of the feather-tribe if you're lucky, but you can't hold out outnumbered and away from home.

If no one is coming, see about sneaking up on the wounded guy and knocking him out.

>this is just the color of our skin and clothing
Oh, you're naturally blotchy? It was consistent enough over your skin and shirt I assumed it was dirt.
No. 587358 ID: dc4b80

Well you are fairly committed now so get over there and stop him from continuing. He has already let out a alarm but if you leave him alone he will keep doing it. Knocking him out would be nice if possible but get yourself hurt trying to show mercy.

If you can managed to silence him quickly even if others are in range it will take a bit for them to find this place.

Which way does the river flow? If you can disable him quickly and no backup gets here floating downstream a bit would be a quick way of getting yourself and the evidence away without tracks. Of course it depends on how fast and deep the river is. Otherwise you will have to drag things back by hand and leave a big trail.
No. 587359 ID: 2fd516

Draw your sword, go up and hack a limb off the animal. Grab that and run for it.
No. 587390 ID: d470e9
File 140692657840.png - (25.61KB , 800x800 , 9.png )

>It was consistent enough over your skin and shirt I assumed it was dirt.
It is dirt, and unintentional camoflauge. I just haven't bathed.

>Which way does the river flow?
It moves away from both of our places, but it's too shallow and rocky to float down easily. I'm going to have to move the animal back normally, and I can't avoid making a trail, so all I can do is hurry.

I'm tempted to just hack a limb and make a run for it, but the whole animal could feed our entire tribe! I don't hear anyone immediately coming when he quiets down, so I get my sword and run around the tree. I don't want to hack off a limb, but I'm good at using the flat of my blade.

I don't be doing much with it though, if I can't find him. He's gone.
No. 587393 ID: dc4b80

Look up quickly he went up the tree. There are spots of blood and claw marks going up.

Did he take the Arrow out or is it still stuck in his leg?

Not sure how good a climber you are but if he is up in a tree could be dangerous to go up after him. You might be able to snipe him up there but depending on the foliage you might not have any shots.

If you can not get to him to quiet him it might be a good idea to grab the loot and leave quickly. But that has its own dangers with it being so big and heavy. Plus you have him watching you up there until you get out of sight.

Do not get so caught up in this hunt that you go to far and get ambushed. If stuff does not go well in the next few minutes do not be afraid to cut and run.
No. 587396 ID: 2fd516

Look, if you try to drag the whole thing away his buddies are just going to catch you. The only way to get any meat out of this is to cut a piece off that you can easily carry.

Still, you need to deal with this guy first. He's up in the tree so look up, don't let him get the drop on you. Using the flat of the blade is good but don't forget pommel strikes too.
No. 587418 ID: 88960e

Look up. He climbed, it looms like.

Hauling the whole animal back is a tempting idea, but it left this guy tired and vulnerable. Can you afford to drag it further, maybe with his buddies after you?

Question for when you aren't about to deal with an attack from above, I suppose.
No. 587426 ID: d470e9
File 140693948869.png - (35.14KB , 800x800 , 10.png )

>Did he take the Arrow out or is it still stuck in his leg?
I don't see the arrow, it must still be stuck.

He must have climbed up, so I loo


Shit, yes, yes, he's up there! He doesn't have enough room in the tree to use his sling effectively, but that still hurt.

The trees look mushroom in appearance, but the caps are just soft, pillowy leaves. They can be climbed into to hide, and the branches can be used. It's difficult to move in them without shaking the tree leaves too much, though.
No. 587427 ID: d470e9
File 140693950467.png - (80.18KB , 800x800 , 11.png )

I move back to the animal to cut off a chunk, but I see movement in the tree, so I take a shot. It hits!

Thankfully, he doesn't land on the arrow, which would have been bad. I'm going to go knock him out.

I really want to drag the whole animal back! I'm still in good condition, and I know that I have to hurry, while this kobold seemed to take his time.

Even if I just take a chunk, there's always the chance they're going to come after me anyways. If they do, the only way I think I could get back home before they catch up is if I take only a leg or two, and I don't want to have come this far just to take back a small prize and let them keep so much.
No. 587431 ID: 2fd516

Then take more than that. Take his sling and rocks, along with a chunk of the kill. C'mon man you already said you didn't want to take the whole kill because you didn't hate their tribe.
No. 587433 ID: dc4b80

Ok now that he is down quickly retrieve your arrows and bind his wounds once he is knocked out. He might not appreciate it now but mercy now might save you later. Also will remove any direct evidence of your actions and arrows can be expensive.

As for the kill is the idea of floating it downstream at all possible or is the river to shallow? Would let you get out of here quickly with no tracks and help you save some strength.

If you are bent on taking it all do so but be prepared to dump it if someone or something finds your trail. As long as you can get a few hundred yards away without leaving a big obvious trail you might be able to avoid detection.
No. 587436 ID: bb78f2

Hack off a leg or two, man. Look at where he is right now, shot full of arrows because he wanted the full thing for his tribe. You'll be that guy or worse soon if your greed catches up to you.

Be smart, be conscious, be unhurt. This fool's hurt because he decided hauling this entire creature alone to his village most of a way was a good idea. Don't make HIS mistake.
No. 587460 ID: d470e9
File 140694810177.png - (178.01KB , 800x800 , 12.png )

>You already said you didn't want to take the whole kill because you didn't hate their tribe.
Yes, but I don't like them either, and trying to show them compassion earned me a rock in the face. One of my tribe mates is still bedridden from a beating they gave him.

Still, I only take a slab of the meat. It's the good part, but it's in the minority. Both of us would prefer three shares of meat over one share of tasty meat.

He's already knocked out from the fall, so I extract my arrows and tie off the wounds so he doesn't bleed too much. Arrows take a long time to make anyway. Whoever comes for him can deal with the rest, but I've got to get moving.

I run back towards home, but hear rustling and footsteps behind me when I'm nearly back. It's not far to our trap zone, now, but they must be close behind.

My tribe has its own call, we're all well practiced in imitating a bird's cry. Even still, sometimes our enemies can tell when it's fake.
No. 587461 ID: 2fd516

Do it. If they know it's a fake call then they might back off. If they don't, you get a free surprise attack.
No. 587464 ID: dc4b80

If you are close to your trap zone could it be one of your tribe coming to check on you? Or would they have sent out a bird call first?

Well if it is a enemy you would have never made it this close with a heavy burden. If you had you would be in no shape to avoid or fight anyone. I know it hurts to leave behind good food but coming back with something is better than never coming back.

Anyways is there someplace close you could hide and get a look at whoever is following you? You could also make a run for your traps while making your signal call. If they are close enough for you to hear them they might be making a last effort charge to stop you before you make it back to safety.

If you have been moving fast they must have been moving even faster if they followed you all the way. Which means even with your burden they might be open to a counter ambush if you can get behind a tree or something.
No. 587466 ID: 55c4cf

I would hurry for at least half of the way home, if you are lucky and you take your time the latter half you could possibly increase your catch even if only a little bit. Although you did use your arrows, and you didn't take their equipment when you knocked them out.

Taking the sling would have helped a whole lot unless you can replace those arrows quickly. Running low on food and not having ranged weapons for hunting is not good, you don't want to hunt at a deficit when your tribe is low on food.
No. 587469 ID: 9ddf68

make the call, and maybe start zipping around trees, just incase one of them has a bow or something on them as well. It would really suck if you want threw all of that only to get taken out by a lucky arrow shot.
No. 587497 ID: d470e9
File 140695383172.png - (75.66KB , 800x800 , 13.png )

In the end, I took their sling after all. We have some at home, but many are in disrepair.

I make the bird call, and start running faster.

>"Hey, brother!" Zizi comes running to me from the side, not where I was hearing the noise. "Was that you?!"
"Yeah, I'm getting tailed!"
>"I've got Kunz and Makarto coming up and others are gonna follow, so take that thing home. Whoever came this close to our place just made a big mistake."
No. 587499 ID: 55c4cf

Thank them for watching out for you, and get your catch to where it needs to be.

What do you need to do to replenish your arrows?
No. 587501 ID: 2fd516

Yep. Things are going according to plan. After you drop off the meat we can either go hunting some more in a different direction or take a stab at that cave in.
No. 587503 ID: dc4b80

I caught one of the feather tribes hunters dragging a kill home and stole some of his catch. He let out a call before I could shut him up so might be some of his tribe looking for revenge.

I was polite enough to not leave a corpse behind so if they come here they deserve whatever they get.

Bring the food home safely and then head back to reenforce your siblings.
No. 587506 ID: 9ddf68

ah family. Might as well do what he says since the way you talk about your bother he can handle himself and your tribe does need food.
No. 587510 ID: f839a9

Careful. I managed to knock out one of the other tribe and steal from their kill, so they might be kind of well, annoyed. Riled up, at least.

But thanks for the save, I'll get this home.
No. 587597 ID: d470e9
File 140699368523.png - (65.77KB , 800x800 , 14.png )

>What do you need to do to replenish your arrows?
Mostly spend time. I know how to make arrows, but I'm not very good. We have a few people dedicated to that trade, but if they're too busy, I can at least make arrows that won't bend too much midflight.

"Thanks, Zizi. I wounded one of 'em, he should be fine though!" I manage to say, out of breath as I am, while running by. I see a few people from my tribe run past me towards Zizi, waving me home.

>"Hey, Bro! Watch out!"

I spin around to see wh-
No. 587599 ID: d470e9
File 140699369924.png - (73.72KB , 800x800 , 15.png )

No. 587600 ID: d470e9
File 140699371072.png - (98.72KB , 800x800 , 16.png )

I lose a tooth and my entire face is killing me now, but I don't drop. All of the tribes here never show pain in front of enemies, so I turn my back and stumble back home.

By the time I get back to help with the fighting, Zizi and the others have already won. Despite that a few of us got beat up, 4 of the feather tribe are unconscious.

>"That'll teach 'em! Good call, that might've been trouble if you tried to lug the whole thing back. Course, it wouldn't have been trouble if you learned how to fight!"
"You're just really good, Zizi."
>"Wasn't that way till I was taught right! Anyway, you wanna kick these guys a few times for good measure before we go home?"
"I'm not in the mood."
>"Bro, you're not mad at me, are you?"
"Why would I be?"
>"That rock would've just hit the meat if I didn't go and call out to you!"
"No, you're just looking out for me. It could have been lower and broke my spine instead."
>"I'll still give you half my share of the meat. Haha, course, that's just more pain for you since you gotta chew it!"
No. 587608 ID: f839a9

Ouch. So do those grow back? And/or are you going to be in for a painful bout of improvised dentistry, later?


>what do
See about tending to your own wounded, leave the other dorks to slink away or for their friends to find.

Maybe better than the food, we may have bought ourselves an opportunity, a little breathing room, if we took several of them out of commission and they're forced to rest a day or two.
No. 587611 ID: bb78f2

Could a brewed health potion restore the tooth? The poisonous plants are far away, but there MIGHT be healing herbs you can make into a health potion.
Or you could try and visit your friendly neighborhood kobold wizard. Then again, you said some of your injured took a few weeks to get better, so maybe you don't have a kobold wizard anywhere.
No. 587612 ID: 2fd516

Maybe we should interrogate one of the unconscious rivals to see why they've been so quiet.

Also, work on that cave-in.
No. 587626 ID: dc4b80

We should set some time in our schedule to have Zizi train you. Heck he should be teaching everyone as much as he can. A veteran is a valuable resource.

Whats the plan for the knocked out feather tribe? Do you kick them a bunch and drag them out into neutral territory and let them go?

For the tooth see if you can find some numbing herbs to jam in the hole if you can.

So while you are helping clean up after this mess some questions. How long have your tribes been fighting? And what has prevented things from becoming more lethal thus far? Do you have a specific leader or does everyone just sort of do there thing and the elders decide the big stuff?
No. 587631 ID: 55c4cf

Do you have regimented martial training in your clan? Even if it is not organized, having your brother personally train you would assist in your survival abilities especially if you go hunt BY YOURSELF often. (PS: Don't hunt by yourself. It is easier to Fen-d off rivals with more organized hunting parties.)
No. 587636 ID: d470e9
File 140701037191.png - (200.45KB , 800x800 , 17.png )

"Well no, I'm not mad Zizi, but are we going to interrogate any of them to know why they've been quiet?"
>"Yeah, that'll be dealt with. You go back and rest though, man, you did yourself and us proud today!"
"Sure. And I'll try to pay more attention to your lessons."

Zizi does give me lessons, but I admit I've been halfhearted in them. We've learned how to fight through generations of regular combat, but Zizi is one of the few that, through conscription, has learned honestly organized, efficient combat.

>Don't hunt by yourself. It is easier to fend off rivals with more organized hunting parties
We all know this, but we have to cover enough ground just to eat. Obviously there are these risks, but it's worth it.

>How long have your tribes been fighting?
Long before we were born.

>And what has prevented things from becoming more lethal thus far?
It's a lifetime, religious belief that those who intentionally invoke death on another kobold will suffer awful diseases and misfortune. I'm not certain if that's true, but I like to believe that in general, we recognize that we're all the same people deep down.

>Do you have a specific leader or does everyone just sort of do there thing and the elders decide the big stuff?
We do have a chieftain that has the final say on everything. Anyone can have a say, but the shaman is the eldest and the one with the biggest word, aside from the chieftain himself.

>are you going to be in for a painful bout of improvised dentistry, later?
My whole right side of my mouth stings a bunch, but I don't think any of the other teeth are loose enough to have to resort to that. And thankfully the one that was lost, was lost immediately. Just having them knocked loose is the worst.

>So do those grow back?

>We may have bought ourselves an opportunity, a little breathing room, if we took several of them out of commission
This is true, often after a fight goes like this, they have to rest for days.

There's a tradition in the forest to cut someone's forehead, too, leaving a horizontal scar to show that they've been beaten and spared. Recovering from that takes longer than recovering from the beating. At least that's what I hear. Over half of our tribe has at least one sparing scar. Neither me or my siblings do, but I came close, today.

It's just vindictive, I think, but not many others in my tribe feel the same way. Zizi doesn't mind, but I don't think he'd care much if he ever received a scar on his forehead like that. Two of the feather tribe gets their spare scars, and gets left by the tree trunks, the other two are brought as prisoners for interrogation.

Even though it wasn't the whole beast, we can all eat today, and that's enough for celebration as night falls. Our shaman begins a dance around the fire to purify our meat in our stomachs and bring more wildlife to us. He says that sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't, but it's always worth a try.

>Or you could try and visit your friendly neighborhood kobold wizard.
Zizi says that wizards are extremely rare, and wizards sell their services for things like gold and property. I could never afford it.

>Could a brewed health potion restore the tooth?
Zizi also told me about potions that would heal bad wounds nearly overnight, but those are also magic, and so need a rare wizard.

Which is strange, because our shaman is supposed to have magic, and he does do rituals to help heal the wounded, but after hearing Zizi's talks, it doesn't seem like our shaman is very good.
No. 587637 ID: d470e9
File 140701038716.png - (163.78KB , 800x800 , 18.png )

I'm hugged by Luuvi and Theelee. It seems standard for these two girls to cling onto the hero of the day, but they lose interest once a bit of time passes and someone else does something better.

I don't like them very much, to be honest.
No. 587638 ID: 2fd516

Literally fend off the ladies with a stick.

You got your eyes on any other kobolds?
No. 587640 ID: f839a9

>but after hearing Zizi's talks, it doesn't seem like our shaman is very good
It's a matter of degrees, I think. Just because they're not a rare super powerful wizard isn't fair to count against them. Besides, if the shaman were that powerful, they'd have more to do than looking after one little tribe. Or you guys wouldn't stay one little tribe for long.

>dislike flightly hero worshipers
Yeah, it's kind of shallow. Still, it's probably more trouble than it's worth to upset things by dislodging them, unless there's something else you need to be doing, or someone else you need to see.
No. 587641 ID: 55c4cf

Do not trust wizards, they are the worst. Try to hurt the wizard every time you see him.

Are there any kobolds in the tribe who you would enjoy hugs from? I would suggest suplexing these ones to assert dominance and grant space.
No. 587642 ID: dc4b80

Well its nice to be the hero of the day every once in awhile. And a bit of attention can be nice even if its not that genuine.

As for your shaman they tend to come in all different specialties. Much like wizardry if you do not have any formal training you will not get far on your own unless you are a prodigy. The really good ones can learn to talk to the spirits and control the elements a bit. While he might not be the best a bit of knowledge is better than nothing.

So now that we have some down time what are your ambitions? Do you have any pretty girls you want to impress? A craft or trade you wish to follow? While life here seems to be decent things can always get better. Right now your tribe is working hard to keep everyone fed and safe. Being one bad hunt away from starving is not ideal. If I where you I would try to work at improving yourself and your situation in life.
No. 587651 ID: 9ddf68

well just put up with it and don't take it to heart. So anything else you have left to do tonight or are you just going to eat and head off to bed?
No. 587652 ID: bb78f2

Just make sure they aren't trying to pick your pocket or doing anything else weird.
Zizi gets this treatment a lot more than you, right? Maybe ask him about it? Or will he get into a long tirade about some story he probably made up?

Hmm, consider becoming a wizard or better shaman than your shaman. At least, a better alchemist and craftsman. I think your tribe needs it. Just try and hide most of your good shit when the conscription guys come. A learn an actually better good luck ritual.
No. 587655 ID: bb78f2

Actually, on second thought, I might consider even migrating the tribe. Being stagnent can be bad for health and productivity, and we'll be rid of those rivals and meet a few new ones, some probably worse and some better. Even allies. And the farther you get from the empire the less of your people get conscripted. Things are getting thin around here.
No. 587666 ID: d470e9
File 140703058407.png - (97.06KB , 800x800 , 19.png )

Disliking or not, they and their affections have become an icon of heroism and success, and trying to shun that would be rude to everyone I think.

>Just make sure they aren't trying to pick your pocket or doing anything else weird.
And dislike or not, the thought of them stealing from me is absurd.

>I would suggest suplexing these ones to assert dominance and grant space.
They would probably enjoy the display of strength, so I'd rather not.

>Literally fend off the ladies with a stick.
I'll do that if they're still on me in a couple of days. But it was just a single meal for everyone. We don't need a lot of food to sustain ourselves, but we need more than that.

>Are there any kobolds in the tribe who you would enjoy hugs from?
>You got your eyes on any other kobolds?
>Do you have any pretty girls you want to impress?
No. Kiki's been pressuring me to get with one of our girls, but they just don't seem to appeal to me. Kiki has even gone so far to suggest we could capture an enemy girl from far away and marry her to me, but I want a girl, not a prize.

>A craft or trade you wish to follow?
No. I hunt out of necessity. I'm told that I'm a good, natural fighter, and Zizi says I could be the best, aside from him, if I really put my heart into it. But my heart does what my heart wants, not what my soul wants.

>If I were you I would try to work at improving yourself and your situation in life.
I know that trying to improve myself is ideal, as it would improve my situation and lead to better hunts, but just being better so that I can have nights like this more often... it's something, but it's not enough.

>Migrate, the farther you get from the empire the less of your people get conscripted.
We're right in the middle. This is as far away from the empire as we can get without escaping the known lands, and that's just not something someone decides one night to do.
No. 587667 ID: d470e9
File 140703059840.png - (99.94KB , 800x800 , 20.png )

Eventually everyone gets tired on what we consider full stomachs, and my siblings and I cram into our bedroom. The two other girls try to do the same, but there's barely enough room to fit 3 of us, 5 isn't an option. They look hurt that I chose my siblings again over them, but I want to have rest tonight.

"Hey, Zizi, is this as good as it gets?"
>"What're you talking about?"
"You know, celebrating because we managed to eat. Having a couple of girls cling onto you just because you fed them once."
>"Let me tell you something, brother, it doesn't get better than this! Trust me, as tough as life might be here, you haven't seen your standard rank and file guy. You got tired after that hour run, but imagine if you were told to keep up that pace for a whole day with a blade at your neck if you ever slowed down the whole way through. And people who gotta live in the town! They have to work all day every day just to get enough money to feed their families, and they gotta sleep in tiny wood boxes that haven't been cleaned in ages."
"This room isn't much bigger."
>"Yeah but you get to sleep with good company, and the dirt doesn't collect our filth!"
"Doesn't it?"
>"Not like a mattress, no."
>"You're forgetting about nobles." says Kiki.
>"Nope. I wouldn't wanna be one. Sure it sounds nice, but you can't just hang around any street! All the beggars and commoners will just harass you. Trust me, even if I did well enough to become a wood noble or whatever, I'd still decline and head back here."
"And what about those girls? They're nice, I guess, but... they lose interest fast."
>"Just live in the now, brother! Enjoy it while it lasts. If you want their affections every day, then start training better and you can be the hero every day."
"I don't, actually."
>"You're the only guy in the whole tribe that'd say that now or ever. Bro, get out of here, learn to have some fun!"
"No, I'd - "
No. 587668 ID: d470e9
File 140703060539.png - (86.44KB , 800x800 , 21.png )

Zizi shoves me out, and the two girls are still right outside. They immediately clutch onto me and drag me back into their dugout.
No. 587669 ID: d470e9
File 140703065604.png - (105.17KB , 800x800 , 22.png )

I wake up at dawn, and manage to get out before the girls wake up. We're still not starving, but it's no reason to not go hunting. I do a few menial tasks around the camp before Zizi wakes up and has me follow him to Utchali's hut.

>"Hey, Utch! Those feathers are gone. They talked?"
"Yeah, don't think they were lying when they said they've been quiet just cause they have their own problems that didn't involve us. They weren't preparing a big attack or anything, otherwise they wouldn't have followed Fen so far back."
>"Alright. Still, we better keep an eye out. No telling what plans they might get between now and noon."
No. 587671 ID: d470e9
File 140703081853.png - (60.35KB , 800x800 , 23.png )

>"Hey, guys." Kiki comes in. "Someone fired a note on an arrow a few minutes ago from outside of our territory. I'm showing everyone. It reads 'To the white-eyes. The northern empire will be making a visit by sundown. You are expected to carve a trapless path and meet our caravan to guide it through. Our visit is not to take any of your population, rather, we are simply requesting for your assistance in harvesting glowleaves. In return, our own soldiers will protect your village from any threats you may have, as well as feed you for your time. Furthermore, high kobolds will be visiting to learn of the borderlands you dwell in. You will be expected to show them the utmost respect and appearance, so be prepared.' So, get yourselves washed up and polish your nails. Look like you care. This looks legitimate."

"I thought nobles didn't want anything to do with commoners. Anyone can gather glowleaves." They're only mildly special around here, but far off lands think they're exotic and use them to decorate homes.

>"Well, you can ask them yourself when they get here. Just... be polite about it. And only if it looks like they want to talk." says Kiki.
>"Yeah, don't wanna mess with 'em. They may be in the borderlands, but they're used to their rules. And where they're from, it's a capital offense for a commoner to touch a wood noble and up, or to make eye contact with a stone noble and up! Unless they say it's okay." Zizi says.
No. 587673 ID: 2fd516

What the heck is a stone/wood noble?

Go splash in a river or something for a bit then help with clearing out the traps. Speaking of traps, what was that cave-in you were talking about? It looks like you live aboveground so... what caved in?
No. 587676 ID: f839a9

Pff. Nothing personal, but I think your brother's a man of simpler pleasures than you are.

Kiki can read? Wouldn't have thought that would be a common skill out here in the woods.

Not really our place to make a decision regarding the note, but I suppose we should go along with it. Clearing a path and helping herb-gather for food is a fair deal. And you can't really afford to offend or fight with soldiers.

Might as well help establish the trail. And volunteer to be one of the guides, if you're interested.
No. 587677 ID: 9ddf68

fine when they come around we can just go hunting or something, no reason for use to be around them if they don't want us to be around.

huh, think any of them might know Zizi? don't really think so but hey if he was on of the only kobolds to make it back he had to be doing something right.
No. 587679 ID: dc4b80

I like your brother. He knows what he wants and is happy with life in general. Of course that does not mean you have to live like he does.

Anyway this visit is a good chance to see what other Kobolds live like. Maybe you can get some inspiration for what you want to do with your life from watching them.

So volunteer to help with the visit and clean yourself up as best you can. If nobles are touchy make sure you learn what sets them off before they get here.

Oh and this visit would be a good opportunity for your rivals to make you look bad. If they find out about the visit it would be simple to try and do something bad and get your tribe blamed for it. So be careful.
No. 587681 ID: 37aa84

So the note didn't mention what levels of nobles are showing up. How are you supposed to know what level of noble you're looking at just in case a stone noble does show up, wouldn't want one of them demanding you be reprimanded for something as small as looking them in the eye.
No. 587682 ID: bb78f2

If you do a good job, they might actually think about conscripting you guys though! I think they're eyeing us up! I also don't like the idea of failing them either, as then they may have an excuse to arrest us all for our failure, or for conspiracy to attack nobles.

I don't like this, they're task is too weird. Scatter the village. Keep a few to lock the place down, but only a few. Nonfighters and children should be put safe somewhere that won't be expected. Protected from both the rival village AND the empire. Precautions should be made in the case of this being a distraction for something dire, or in the case of extreme success or failure if this isn't part of some plot.
No. 587787 ID: d470e9
File 140709086727.png - (55.99KB , 800x800 , 24.png )

>It looks like you live aboveground so... what caved in?
We have above ground dwellings, but we have a small network of caves so that we can either escape if we get surrounded, or just to hide. We sleep underground. We also have a string setup throughout the network so that someone who his standing guard can pull on the string and ring bells tied to the string that can be heard through the caves.

>Kiki can read?
Most of us can't, and I have a lot of trouble with it. But we do need someone to be able to read notes from the empire.

"Hey Zizi, would any of them recognize you?"
>"No idea! I mean, there's a buncha tribes around here, so there's gotta be some reason why they chose us. Maybe it's me."
"Well, maybe I'll go out hunting or herb gathering. I don't think I need to be here when they're around."
>"Fraid of getting hauled off even if they said they weren't?"
"No, but... I don't like seeing them walk around like they own the place."
>"Nah, you'd better hang around. Most nobles, if they stick around a place, want to keep tabs on everyone. If they think we're hiding people to make it sound like we've gotta do less work, things won't go too well."
"Alright. Let's go to the river and bathe, then. What is a wood or stone noble, anyway?"
>"Ah, just some ranks. Wood, stone, gold, mithril, I think it is, before the big ol' godking himself."
>"To quote a certain captain upon my asking, 'just keep your sword sharp, soldier.'"
"... what?"
>"I mean I know as much as you do!"
"Right. Is there any chance our rivals might figure it out and try to make us look bad?"
>"Yeah." says Kiki. "The redclaw tribe once hosted a noble visit, but the leaf riders planted some notes talking bad about the nobles. You know of the redclaw tribe?"
>"And you know of the leaf rider tribe?"
".... no."
>"Yeah. I'm not worried about our enemies trying anything."
"Okay. I'll help with preparations when we get back."

Zizi and Kiki seemed mildly casual about it, but everyone else is in the village was buzzing. We've had nobles come, do their business, and leave, but we've never been hosts to a noble class. Either way, we go to a deeper river nearby and wash ourselves, keeping an eye out for ambushes.
No. 587788 ID: d470e9
File 140709087997.png - (67.68KB , 800x800 , 25.png )

Most of the preparations are removing the traps, as well as laying out backup ornamentation towards the end of the trail. Many of us are posted around the perimeter to intercept the noble, since we don't know where they're coming from.

Otherwise, we don't have much. Our constructions are bare bones, and we don't have any spare grand feast for them.

No enemy tribes disturb us during the day, and much of it is spent waiting. I wanted to mine out our cavein, but having just bathed, I wait at a perimeter until I hear the village horn blow once, to tell us to gather together.

It blows twice. This only happens in emergencies.
No. 587789 ID: d470e9
File 140709089912.png - (24.96KB , 800x800 , 26.png )

I run back. Everyone is confused. It doesn't appear clear what the emergency is, until Uketile runs back, shaking."

>"E-everyone!" He squeaks it out, before gathering his voice. "Everyone get in a line! Bow your heads! Do not make eye contact with anyone inside of the carried box, and do not speak to them unless spoken to! Even then, keep your head bowed, only up high enough to see them address you! Address the noble as our Lord, and his company as Sir and Lady, do not mistake anyone's gender!"
>"What is wrong with you, Uketile, you know tha-" someone from behind me calls out to him.
>"Just shut up, get in a lateral row, and look down and forward!"
No. 587790 ID: d470e9
File 140709090909.png - (111.57KB , 800x800 , 27.png )

Not even the chieftain questions it, although he stands in front of the row.

>"Listen, everyone." He says. "Our first impulse may be to gawk, but resist that, and keep your eyes down unless told otherwise."
No. 587791 ID: d470e9
File 140709092799.png - (53.13KB , 800x800 , 28.png )

One of ours comes out from the treeline, and waves a group forward. I keep my direct vision down, but still look on at the top of my vision.

At first I thought those were some kind of beasts, but those are mountain kobolds carrying a structure.

I think those are field kobolds in armor forming the outer ranks. I'm not sure, but they're definitely different.

>"That banner is from a mithril noble." Zizi whispers to me. "There's only 7 of those in the entire northern empire, so, kind of a big deal."
No. 587792 ID: d470e9
File 140709105642.png - (45.26KB , 800x800 , 29.png )

The mountain kobolds set it down, and lift the top up to reveal the inside. Oh. No, that person is a field kobold, I don't know what the others are.

>"And here we are, then." the noble says, still sitting. "This looks like about as good of a place as any after all. And, as good a group of kobolds as I could have hoped for! Little as that was, mind everyone. Still, how well prepared everyone looks! Of course, everyone's footwork is off an inch or two in the line - " I don't think anyone budges, but everyone looks like they're about ready to burst to correct everything - "but this is impressive for a savage tribe. And everyone remembered to stare down, too! You must be the chieftain, up in front. What is your name?"
>"Luutik, my lord."
>"Good! My name, since you have been literally living under rocks, is Lord Shup of the Dragonslayer's Empire. My men will be here for one week. We will largely be out of your way with our own tents, and my soldiers will protect your gatherers. Myself, I could use the fresh air now and again, and this is my vacation time, so I expect my stay to be cozy. And lastly... well, my wives may not wish to have anything to do with your kind, but that may not last for long, as my next soon-to-be has taken a surprising curiosity in those in the borderlands. Darling, please step forward to get a better look, while they're all on display. These are the savages, who don't appear to have even bothered to bathe before our arrival. Or, do I dare dread to think that they have? Nevertheless, they will answer any questions you may have about their lifestyle, while, of course, not actually having you be invo..."
No. 587793 ID: d470e9
File 140709107416.png - (44.52KB , 800x800 , 30.png )

No. 587794 ID: d470e9
File 140709108546.png - (26.20KB , 800x800 , 31.png )

No. 587795 ID: d470e9
File 140709109724.png - (77.21KB , 800x800 , 32.png )

No. 587797 ID: d470e9
File 140709112944.png - (26.67KB , 800x800 , 33.png )

No. 587799 ID: bb78f2

Order for Kiki: Push Fen's head the fuck down. Make subtle movements.
Fen, get your fuckin' head down already. There will be better times to sneak a look later!
No. 587802 ID: 55c4cf

What the fuck are you doing, Fen?
No. 587803 ID: f839a9

>What is wrong with you, Uketile
Methinks he recognized someone more important than we were expecting in the visiting procession.

Fen, look down, you lovestruck idiot, before you get yourself and maybe your entire tribe killed, or worse. He sees you looking, and she's going to be his daughter, his companion, his wife, and/or another noble. He's not going to be happy to see you gawking.

Not a bad idea, really. Although it might work better if Kiki's rough about it. Disproportionately. If the tribe swiftly enacts it's own punishment on Fen, the noble might not see it necessary to enact his own. He might even be pleased to see the tribe enforcing his rules.
No. 587804 ID: 2fd516

No. 587805 ID: dc4b80

Well I guess you found something that interested you. Lets just hope to survive the encounter.

It's a bit to late to avert your eyes now. I guess just try to keep your tongue in your mouth and hope he has a bit of mercy for a ignorant "savage" like you.

When they do grab you and ask why you are staring I would start by apologizing and just say you have never seen anything so amazing and just could not help yourself. With luck the nice lady will take pity on you and you can avoid being beaten to death on the spot.
No. 587806 ID: 899a01

Could that be love at first sight I see? You certainly set you sights high didn't you.

Well if you can get control of yourself I would at least try to stop staring. This noble seems like the type to make a example of you. You can't steal his girl if you are dead you know.
No. 587808 ID: 37aa84

You know from what he said I think he may have been lenient to someone looking him in the eye once. I don't think he'll do the same for someone gawking at his fiancee though.
No. 587829 ID: 502058

gotta admit, i can think of worse crimes than looking at her to get yourself beheaded for. she's a pretty one.
No. 587838 ID: dc4b80

When a guy looks at your fiance like that you feel pride because you have something that he does not.

The problem happens when she looks back the same way. Then your ego and pride make you want to do terrible things.
No. 587874 ID: d8a627

Repost because I hit Reply a bit early
>When they do grab you and ask why you are staring I would start by apologizing and just say you have never seen anything so amazing and just could not help yourself.
This. Don't even change up the words to speak of anything specific bout it, make it sound like it's all amazing. Do remember to call him your Lord, and her, Lady.
Of course, if you're brought to a bow or kneel, just try and keep your head down and to the side. Understand, while she may be pretty, you're putting your entire tribe in danger by looking at her.
No. 587903 ID: 0ee153

Hope like hell his wife is a lower rank than him and only a wood noble.
No. 587956 ID: 8de3c7

Come on Fen, snap out of it, grovel, and act like a bumbling fool while apologising. Hopefully they will be amused and feel some sort of pity.
No. 588446 ID: d470e9
File 140738193459.png - (82.64KB , 800x800 , 34.png )

Kiki whaps me over the head, pushing it down.

I want to apologize, but I already messed up hard. I have no idea what this noble expects me to do. I could grovel, but making a bigger scene out of it may make it even worse. If I'm told to, though, I absolutely will.
No. 588447 ID: d470e9
File 140738194331.png - (22.97KB , 800x800 , 35.png )

>"Hrm, and they were all doing so well, too. Well, I suppose there's a disappointment in every family. I can trust that the rest of you, with your gazes all down, aren't like that. But, I'll be letting it slide, after all, this isn't my own territory, is it? Do you have anything to say,..." Shup says, looking at me.
"My name is Fen, sir, and I am both sorry for looking up, and thankful that you will pardon this! It will not happen again, I swear it." Shup pauses, and somehow, it's amazingly clear he's looking for something more. "My lord." That feeling goes away. I think that was it.
>"Yes, well, while it isn't my territory, it is your territory, uh..."
>"Luutik, my lord." the Chieftain says.
>"Yes, that was it. Lily, my fiance, I remind you would like to know about your culture - perhaps you could give a demonstration as to what punishment the Chieftain would give to an underling that makes the rest of the tribe look bad? While I may pardon Fen's action, that action did happen."
No. 588448 ID: d470e9
File 140738196132.png - (33.02KB , 800x800 , 36.png )

The chief comes up to me. He doesn't say anything, but he looks up at me apologetically.

>"Grit your teeth this time, bro." Zizi whispers.
No. 588449 ID: d470e9
File 140738205563.png - (98.36KB , 800x800 , 37.png )

>"Good." Shup says by the time I hit the ground. Chief didn't hold that back, but I understand Shup is expecting at least as much. "I'll be going over the details with your Chieftain, now. We'll fetch people as we need them, but until then, do be accessible and stay within your village."
No. 588450 ID: d470e9
File 140738206813.png - (20.21KB , 800x800 , 38.png )

I'm not called on right away, so I end up sitting and resting my face and its recent trials in a hut, to myself. I don't feel like moving much, and I lose track of time. There isn't much point, anyways. Shup gave us rations, so we don't need to hunt.
No. 588451 ID: d470e9
File 140738207845.png - (59.05KB , 800x800 , 39.png )

One of those armored soldiers comes in and eyes me, and soon, another kobold brings a flat, smooth looking stone and lays it out.

>"Excuse me?"
>"Ah- Hi. I'm Lily, I think you were the one looking at me. Is that right?"
"Y... yes. I'm sorry."
>"No, you don't need to be. I don't think you did anything wrong. I told Shup that I was going to give you permission to look at me."
"I- er, crap!" I didn't even think to not look at her!
>"No, no, you're fine!"
"Oh, er, right. Ah, sorry. Sorry. Uh... did you need help with anything, Li- Lady Lily?"
>"I didn't, no, I just wanted to make sure you were alright. I feel a little bad, I don't think you were looking up until you saw me, and I didn't mean for anything like that to happen. Was it my hat? There were a lot of things to look at, but you seemed fixated on me."
No. 588452 ID: 2fd516

Tell her she is beautiful.
No. 588455 ID: bb78f2

Actually it was the pink scales or fur or whatever she's got. Vivid colors like that aren't very common in the wild out here, and usually are cause for alarm when you are a hunter or even a gatherer.

We guess an automatic instinct was triggered when pink came out of the corner of our eye? We're not really sure. But our own experience has left us to automatically notice and focus on anything that is particularly noticeably different. All the other colors on the carriage and Shup's fur weren't enough to catch the eye. Orange, brown, and red are common enough colors. Before she appeared, there was enough to different things to look at respectively to avoid accidental glances. Mountain kobolds, the armored field kobold. As a hunter, we do have to pay attention to our surroundings, and as a work around to our instincts, we tried to look at moving objects and people that were supposed to be acceptable to look at so our head wouldn't have turned to the carriage accidentally.
No. 588459 ID: dc4b80

I have never seen a Kobold like you before. And hopefully I can say this without offending but you are very beautiful. It sort of made me forget myself for a bit there my lady.
No. 588472 ID: 55c4cf

No. 588474 ID: d8a627

This, then >>588452 this. "Lord Shup is a fortunate man."

...And then realize you feel envious.
No. 588475 ID: 16bdc9

Immediately blurt out "YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL" and then continue to spill your spaghetti.
No. 588480 ID: d8a627

Okay, you know what I'm changing my vote to this. I wanna see how badly Fen ends up stammering and trying to make it sound good instead of offensive.
No. 588483 ID: 2d9b28


Why can't we have both?
"Lord Shup is a fortunate man... I MEAN YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL"
Perhaps including moving towards her immediately to get a better look at her would be a great idea.
No. 588489 ID: f839a9

>There isn't much point, anyways. Shup gave us rations, so we don't need to hunt.
Well, ideally, you guys could be using that temporary freedom from having to constantly worry about feeding yourselves to get ahead on other things that have slipped. Making / improving tools, weapons, clothes, planning, working on your homes, spending time with each other, etc.

>why did you look at me?
...I mean uh, I've never seen a kobold like you before. Lily, Miss, uh, Lady. *glance at the big guy* Or uh, like them I guess but...

>was it my hat?
She might be worried she did something wrong, that it was her fault you got in trouble. You might want to reassure her it wasn't anything she did, really.
No. 588546 ID: 37aa84

Yes let's just sit there and blurt out that she's beautiful right in front of the servants payed by Lord Shup. Just awkwardly tell her it was indeed the hat. No one in the tribe really wears hats and hers is so big and extravagant even compared to Lord Shups.
No. 588555 ID: 488f52

Resist the very strong urge to blurt things out. At least until the guards stop looking at you like that.

Assure her that it was your truly your fault and that she just had a graceful aura around her. Also compliment her on her hat.
No. 588586 ID: 502058

no, it was definitely not the hat.
it was what the genre savvy call obvious love at first sight.
No. 588671 ID: e6f4c6

Go with the honest approach. You were stricken by her beauty.
No. 589631 ID: d470e9
File 140816985981.png - (35.32KB , 800x800 , 40.png )

"It... well, it was partially your hat. And... no, I'm sorry, it really wasn't. I'm, uh, sorry, but you're the most graceful kobold I've ever seen in my life. I think I was drawn to your scales more than your hat."
"But it was entirely my fault!"
No. 589632 ID: d470e9
File 140816986898.png - (36.73KB , 800x800 , 41.png )

>"Hey. You're not getting eyes for Lady Lily, are yo-"
No. 589633 ID: d470e9
File 140816988374.png - (43.45KB , 1000x800 , 42.png )

>"All he did was compliment me." Lily starts speaking, and he doesn't let a single syllable fall out over her voice. "Don't start trouble just because someone says a nice thing about me."
>"....Yeah, dumb of me. Sorry. Just watch yourself around these dirty assed leaf munche-"
>"... I'll keep my loud mouth shut."

That could have gone worse.

>"Thank you, Fen. Have you treated your wounds?" she asks, in her original, gentle voice.
"It's just a bruise!"
>"It's still a wound, though. Even if you don't have a wizard in your tribe, don't you have normal herbs that grow here?"
"Uh... not really. Sometimes our shaman imbues our bandages if it's a serious wound, but we just let small things heal."
>"What? But your shaman doesn't have any mag - oh, oh, I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."
>"Er... I didn't come here to tread on your beliefs or give you doubts about your own tribe."
"Oh, that? Don't worry about it. I've heard Zizi talk about wizards from elsewhere, and it didn't seem like our shaman was reliable at all."
>"Still! He seems like a nice old man, so please don't think he's useless. I'll be leaving, now. Remember, you can look at me from now on..... within reason, of course!"
No. 589634 ID: d470e9
File 140816989376.png - (44.01KB , 800x800 , 43.png )

Lily leaves, and I know better than to pursue her like some stalker. I should work on some things around the village while we're given rations, but I figure a nap won't hurt. An hour or so passes, and Zizi wakes me up.

>"Hey brother. I just spoke to Lily! Said she talked to you! Nice girl. What do you think of her?"
"... ah, we-"
>"Oh maaan you're in love with her, aren't you."
"Wh... what?! I didn't say anything!"
>"Hahaha, it's plastered on your face! I know you better than you do, Fen, don't you forget that!.... no, seriously though, you should probably not get too attached. Trust me, even if it was mutual, she's a noble that... haha, holy fishcakes, she had stonebearers just so she wouldn't have to step on the actual ground! Trust me, that's a deal breaker if I've ever seen one."
No. 589640 ID: d8a627

"It's just... adoration. I'm in love with her image."
Tell him you know nothing would work out. You only even saw her, you shouldn't feel as strongly about her as you do. He might be able to read you like an open book, but you still know yourself perfectly fine.
...All you need is some tasks to occupy your thoughts. Do you still need to stay within the local area, or would you simply have to let one of the soldiers know that you're out to hunt or fish or something?
No. 589642 ID: 2fd516

...what if you were to impress them enough with your fighting skills so that they hired you as a guard?
No. 589643 ID: 1f2a28

"Obviously then the only possible answer is to become equally as impressive."
No. 589646 ID: dc4b80

Tell him that yeah the stone thing is pretty crazy honestly.

But deal breaker or not you can't control what the heart wants. So ask your brother to tell you more about nobles and the empires culture. Maybe he knows what tribe she is from.

Might not have much of a chance right now but until she is married to Shup not all hope is lost. You should at least try and get to know her a bit so you can find out if she might be interested in you at all. If she is not interested you should find a way to make her interested. Not sure what you could do to impress her but it would be nice to have her looking back at you the same way.

Have to tread carefully though. If Shup or his entourage notice you trying to woo Lily you are in for a world of hurt. So whatever you do make sure its something you can pass off as trying apologize for your earlier blunder.
No. 589652 ID: 4b571b

Zizi, I really don't need you telling me I'm being an idiot to know I'm being an idiot.

Heck, I probably never would have acted on it, but even looking became a big deal, and then she followed up on it! How are you supposed to fight being betrayed by your eyes?
No. 589653 ID: d470e9
File 140820725165.png - (32.62KB , 800x800 , 44.png )

"I can't really help what the heart wants, you know. Maybe it's just adoration, but you don't need to tell me I'm an idiot for me to know I'm being an idiot."
>"Haha, looks like you've still got some self insight. You probably also know then that the heart's its own flesh and blood. Careful, cause it's not got much of a brain."
"I know what you're saying. And that stone stepping is pretty crazy. I want to at least get to know her, but I don't even think she cares about me that much."
>"Come on, Fen, she's talked with you for what? Five minutes?"
"... one."
>"Yeah, don't give up that easily."
"I thought you said I shouldn't get too attached?"
>"And you shouldn't, but I know when you're gonna go do it. Just be careful, or you're gonna get more than a punch to the face. Just promise me you'll back off when you find out this is one sided after the week."
"I will. Still, what if I were to impress her somehow?"
>"You know that she was carried in on a mobile house that was just carried by her fiance's guard, right? You're gonna have a lot of work cut out for you."
"What if I fought well, and was hired as a guard?"
>"What, to Shup's guard?"
"Well, yes. Maybe if I sparred against one of them?"
>"Oh, now you're interested in fighting? It's a little late, Fen! You never took your training seriously enough. You're kinda... unrefined, you know? And Shup's guard is gonna be pretty tough. Actually, you know what? That's not a bad idea. You're used to starving rock tossers wandering around, but this'll be a good introduction to how good people can fight from people that aren't your brother."
No. 589654 ID: dc4b80

Improving your fighting abilities is just a good idea in general. Getting some training from Shup's guards would be a great idea even if Lily was not in the picture.

As for impressing her you should find out a bit more about what might interest her first. They came here to get glow leaves because they are rare elsewhere. You should find out if there are any other items around these parts that are rare in the capitol. If you could give her a beautiful gift she has never seen it would not hurt.

Other than gifts you want to impress her with your abilities. Strength and speed are important but maybe she is more attracted to brains than brawn. If you can make her laugh that's good but that will be a tricky one until we know more about her.

So get stop lazing around and get a plan going.
No. 589659 ID: 2d9b28

yeah this is a good idea, see if you can trade for their tools/weapons too, royalty like furs and other non-useful things.
No. 589668 ID: 4b571b

...just promise me I completely screw this up and piss Shup off, you'll push me under the bus. Everyone else doesn't deserve to suffer for my mistakes.
No. 589669 ID: d8a627

Actually, maybe you can get yourself conscripted so that you can end up at their real home if you start getting training. Go for it.
No. 589695 ID: 2fd516

You might also want to try talking to her. Like, Shup said she had an interest in the tribe. Ask her what she likes about you savages, anyway.
No. 589701 ID: d470e9
File 140821719735.png - (40.64KB , 800x800 , 45.png )

"Alright, Zizi, I'll give it a shot. It's just sparring, after all, and it's fine as long as I'm healed in a week. If I mess this whole thing up somehow, I'll take the fall. Is there any chance I might get conscripted if I actually do a good job?"
>"Yeah, but that'll do you well."

>Get a present for Lily
I'll try to think of something rare around here. Most of the vegetation is useless, but it's possible that I may be able to find something. For the time, I'm going to see how well I do against one of Shup's guards, and try to see what Lily likes later once she's gotten some time to wander.
No. 589702 ID: d470e9
File 140821720657.png - (57.69KB , 800x800 , 46.png )

Zizi goes and talks to one of the guards. He's going to one of those huge mountain kobolds with the heavy looking scales. I was hoping he would get one of the limber kobolds.

>"That ex-conscript tells me you'd like to test your stuff against a proper soldier. That right? I could use a warmup, but you look like a stiff breeze would knock you over. I got a couple wood swords if you want to do that, cause I don't think you want to have a fistfight. You sure you wanna do this at all, shrimp?"

Zizi is nodding at me from a ways away. I'm not sure this is going to end well anymore.
No. 589703 ID: bb78f2

Yeah, nothing like a good beating to train you
No. 589704 ID: 563dc1

No point in backing down now. Go for the swordfight; you already have some experience with it, and anything you learn will be more useful later. You're not going to fight most of your serious battles unarmed.
No. 589705 ID: 55c4cf

Even taking hits can help you get better at combat, so it might suck but it'll do you good.

Your footwork is going to be very important. Do not be flatfooted, be ready to hop forward and back to evade and strike. If you stand still you'll be on the ground immediately.
No. 589706 ID: 36f29f

You won't always have the luxury of picking your opponents, or your battles.

That said: even with wooden swords, your new teacher may not use it exclusively. He may try to trip you, shoulder you, or even use that huge tail of his.

All likely preferable to being tied into a bloody knot if you were going to wrestle.
No. 589707 ID: 2fd516

Wooden swords sounds fine.

Take this seriously, Fen. Expect him to be better than you. Try to last as long as possible, to get as much experience as you can. Watch his movements carefully, and learn from them.
No. 589708 ID: dc4b80

Tell him that you had a fight in the woods recently and it made you realize you need to take your training more seriously.

Say that your brother has taught you a bit thus far but there is nothing like getting training from a full time soldier.

He might think you are a shrimp now but if you do your best and take things seriously you might gain some respect from him. Everyone has to start somewhere and many career soldiers love to train new guys. They get someone to beat on and show off to. Plus if you get good they can brag about how they taught you everything you know.

Good luck and remember that even if this goes well you will get the crap beat out of you. But better to learn now with wooden swords than with the real thing.
No. 589711 ID: 4b571b

>I'm not sure this is going to end well anymore.
Hey, you can end up learning even from a beating. And let's face it, how often do you get into a real fight where the stakes are this low? There's no real risk of you being killed, or your tribe being down a man on food gathering and defense.

Take your lumps.

If nothing else, grudging respect from the guards for your putting the effort in is something.
No. 589762 ID: d470e9
File 140824528815.png - (154.23KB , 800x800 , 47.png )

"Yeah, I'm sure. A sword, please."

He goes to grab one out of one of their bags. It's very well carved.

I take a stance to be quick to dodge.

He rushes me down, fast. I'm able to avoid his initial assault, but I don't manage to find any openings. He's also ridiculously strong.
No. 589763 ID: d470e9
File 140824529528.png - (56.66KB , 800x800 , 48.png )

Zizi mentioned in the past that a lot of soldiers barely use their swords for anything but final blows. He tried showing me, and I thought I understood, but I didn't actually try to fight him. I should have, because now that I'm trying to actually fight this soldier, I'm realizing I didn't understand that concept at all. Aside from a defensive swing or two, this person just uses it menacingly to try to shuffle my footwork into his grapples. I could dodge them easily, but that would lead me right into his blade. Having to dodge everything requires more footwork than I've ever employed seriously, and I feel like he's holding back and toying with me.

I knew he could use his tail, but in trying to get in to exploit what I thought was an opening, he sweeps his tail under my feet, knocks me off balance, and strikes my side while knocking my sword hand out of the way with his free hand.
No. 589764 ID: d470e9
File 140824532771.png - (43.51KB , 800x800 , 49.png )

He didn't hit me as hard as he could've, but he certainly isn't soft about his blow. It stings, and he puts his foot on me. Thankfully, not putting his full weight on it.
>"You ever even been in a fight before? If all of you fight like this, I think I might be able to take your whole tribe on." He gloats. He's way too proud over his victory.

I know it's just training, but I have no idea how I could ever beat someone like this after all.
No. 589765 ID: 55c4cf

You do that by practicing...
By training, you goof.
(That is what you are doing)
No. 589768 ID: a36601

>Having to dodge everything
Since you're weaker and a bit faster than average it might be better for you to learn the fencer's way of sword fighting. Quick attacks, slight changes to counter attacks, and deflecting(using the sword to redirect attacks slightly) instead of blocking them.

You also probably have better footing then him, do your best to lure the opponent to hazardess ground; if you put his feet near a set of roots if nothing else it's one more thing for him to have to focus on. You could maybe try the fake opening thing he did; even if it's a real one, so long as you know where it's at then you can react to his shot there faster than him.

You probably won't win this next match or the next few, but you're fighting a trained soldier so of course you will lose. You will get better from the training though.
No. 589769 ID: 4b571b

>I have no idea how I could ever beat someone like this after all
Well, take your humbling in good order, then. It's good to realize your limits. And to recognize just how bad it would be if you made Shup mad enough to loose his soldiers on you.

>You ever even been in a fight before? If all of you fight like this, I think I might be able to take your whole tribe on
Give a short laugh. If you tried to take the whole tribe on at once, they wouldn't fight fair.

But no, not a fight like this. You spend so much time just surviving, and there's not much left to specialize.

>He's way too proud over his victory.
Let him be proud. It doesn't matter if he's small about this, if you can still get what you need from him.
No. 589770 ID: dc4b80

Tell him that's why you came to him. To learn from someone who knows what he is doing. Say you are willing to learn if he is willing to teach you.

How do you think he learned to fight? Like anything it takes hard work and practice. There are all sorts of different fighting styles depending on if you have a weapon and your body type.

Big guys like him tend to be brawlers and can be pretty dangerous in close combat if you do not have a weapon. But someone your size can train to be a fast grappler and using chokes and pins can take someone like him out quickly if you are good.

Learning anything new can seem impossible at first. But if you quit now you will never get what you want.
No. 589771 ID: 79391f

Bite a toe.
No. 589773 ID: bb78f2

Explain to him that's why you wants to get better. Gotta be a good fighter.
No. 589774 ID: 2fd516

Maybe you should train seriously with Zizi then. Get good enough that you can beat him. THEN you can fight a soldier and get useful experience out of it.

To answer his question, be honest. Tell him about how you've gotten in fights with the other kobold tribe and while it's never a fight to the death, you've never lost either. Also, you usually use a bigger weapon, don't you? Ask if he wouldn't mind another bout- you can tell you have much to learn from him. This time whenever he tries to grab you, smack his grabby hand with your sword.
No. 589783 ID: d470e9
File 140825425192.png - (102.73KB , 800x800 , 50.png )

>Bite a toe
As soon as I get the idea, I must give some kind of cue, because he puts more weight on it.

>Maybe you should train seriously with Zizi then.
I certainly will after the soldiers leave. Zizi, to be blunt, isn't much of a teacher though. Even if I try and spar with Zizi, he usually fights strangely, and not at all like he fights actual enemy kobolds.

"If our tribe fought you, we probably wouldn't fight fair."
>"Haha, at least you guys admit to it."
"That's why I came to you, though. Get off me, and I'd like to try again."
>"... eh?"
"I want to try again."
>"What, you think you can take me, you just slipped?"
"No, I don't think I can, and I'd be lucky to land a solid hit but I'd like to learn to get better."
>"Well, lucky for you, we don't have much to do. I'll knock you down as much as you want."

Which is exactly what happens.
No. 589784 ID: d470e9
File 140825427051.png - (49.92KB , 800x800 , 51.png )

I try to focus better on footwork instead of going in for the first chance I get.

He gets more aggressive, and it just takes a longer time to take a harder hit.
No. 589785 ID: d470e9
File 140825431765.png - (35.33KB , 800x800 , 52.png )

I try to do better each time, but while I try to do better, he might just be holding back less. I get knocked down again.

I almost think I've had enough, but there's an audience forming, mostly from Shup's guard.

>"Hey, Tevliss, what are you doing to that poor tribal?" one of the soldiers from the crowd yells.
>"The guy wants to learn how to fight."
>"You just take anyone under your wing?"
>"No, I just slowly kick the ass of anyone who asks. Hey, shrimp, you had enough?"
>"Alright, get back up, let's go at it."
No. 589786 ID: d470e9
File 140825435108.png - (69.42KB , 800x800 , 53.png )

We do it for awhile before the wind is knocked out of me, and I can't get up quickly again. Tevliss tells me to come back later if I want to get hit some more, so I go back into a hut and rest. I'm not full of pride, but it still hurts, almost as much as the rest of me.

>"Hey, Brother!" Zizi comes in. I keep my eyes shut. My head is pounding.
"Hey, Zizi."
>"What was that?!"
"... you did say I was unrefined, but I guess I'm not even as good as I thought."
>"What? No, no, no. You just kept getting up! He'd just knock you down! Everytime we ever trained, I'd poke you with a stick and you'd just go and say you had enough! If I knew a girl in your life could motivate you that much, I'd have tracked down a shiny scaled girl years ago!"
"It's not going to do that much good, though, if I can't even land a hit on a soldier."
>"You were doing better every time. Trust me. I think you improved better today than you have in the last year. Which might not be saying that much, but it's something."
".... thanks. Can we even defeat mountain kobolds? Some of them have softer looking underbellies, but they've got enormous scales."
>"They've got limited mobility. It's real specific, but if you look at the scale formation, then with enough experience, you'll be able to tell where they have difficulty moving. Trust me, I wasn't going hard on you with that guy, those spotted aquatics? They snap swords around like a frog snaps its tongue out. Lemme put it this way. The best warriors of all time? Both emperors of the empires? The dragonslayers? All our kind. Now Bro, tell me honestly, did just seeing a girl clear out your mind, or am I a bad teacher?"
".... you're a really good fighter, Zizi, and I think you could take those soldiers. But, no, you're a natural, and I don't think you ever understood what it was like to be, well, not good."
>"Haha, that's a good let-down. Yeah, lemme see if I can't get one of those guards to actually teach you. Easy enough to get 'em to spar, but not so much to really take on an apprentice, so no promises, okay?"
"Zizi, thank you, but you don't owe me anything, so don't feel pressure."
>"Sure. Careful, Bro, girl-alert incoming. I'm outta here."


>"Excuse me?"
No. 589787 ID: d470e9
File 140825436162.png - (53.08KB , 800x800 , 54.png )

>"Ohhh.... hello, Fen."
"Hi! Uh. Can I help you?"
>"No, I was being shown how all of you preserve the food you get. But I heard that you fought one of our soldiers."
"Well... yes, but it wasn't a real fight, I just wanted to spar them."
>"Sparring? You're badly hurt!"
"This? These are just scrapes and bruises, I'll be fine tomorrow."

She makes some kind of disapproving, gutteral sigh.

>"Why were you sparring?"
No. 589793 ID: d8a627

Well, for one, it's a good distraction. For two, if you ever aren't distracted and end up causing trouble again, you want to know how to actually survive long enough to get away with just being disciplined, rather than getting yourself killed. You don't exactly have the best "Respect the Nobles" manners, after all.
No. 589794 ID: 4b571b

>Why were you sparring?
Well, uh, we don't often get a chance to get good at something. When you spend a lot of time just working to survive, there's not a lot of to practice things.

I mean, I wasn't fighting just to fight. Never saw the point in that. Although he might have been...
No. 589795 ID: 2fd516

To rise above the common kobold, and catch the eye of nobility. Did it work?
No. 589798 ID: e6f4c6

Point out that things are kinda backwards here, and any chance to improve with well trained people in any field is a real opportunity. Point out that maybe medicine would be a more enjoyable topic to learn, but not seeing any obvious doctors or herbalists around that's not likely to happen.
No. 589799 ID: bb78f2

"I'm weak. I should be better than what I am."
No. 589808 ID: dc4b80

Well I want to learn how to fight. No matter what I end up doing in life being able to defend myself and the things I hold dear is important to me.

But mostly because I think getting stronger might help me get closer to my goals. Its not that I like getting beaten up but if you are motivated enough you can face anything.

If she asks what you want so badly say you met a girl recently that you want to impress. Just be careful because her rock bearers are here and you do not need any rumors getting back to Shup.
No. 589834 ID: d470e9
File 140829527582.png - (27.55KB , 800x800 , 55.png )

"I just want to learn how to fight better. We don't get much time to practice anything, because we're always too busy."
>"Don't you fight with other tribes a lot, though?"
"We do, but that's more about ambushes and getting drops on others. I don't often get into direct fights with people."
>"Hm..." she whispers something to one of her stone-bearers, that then leaves.
"If you don't mind me asking... why did you take an interest in us?"
>"Life for the commoners of our empire is tough. Really tough. There's even rumors that the borderlands are a much nicer place to live, to feed off the land and be free. I was always told by my family that that just wasn't true. I believed them, but I wanted to see for myself."
"And what do you think?"
>"I think it's tough, here, but it's also more honest. You know who and what your enemies are. I'm not sure what's better."
"Isn't the empire supposed to be strong, strong enough to support everyone?"
>"It's the people that support the empire. The empire just makes sure as many people live as possible, but nothing more."

The stone bearer comes back with a bag.

>"Shall we?" the bearer asks.
>"No, I'll do it. Please lay the stones out in a line in front of Fen."
No. 589835 ID: d470e9
File 140829528492.png - (55.01KB , 800x800 , 56.png )

"What's this?"
>"These are healing salves. If you're going to fight, you shouldn't be sore for tomorrow. We're only going to be here for a week, after all."
"Are you allowed to do this?"
>"Of course. Well.... Shup wouldn't approve, but I can trust you to not tell him, right?"
"Haha, of course! And... you don't mind that I fought?"
>"It wasn't just for a fight's sake, though. You're willing to take these wounds just to get better at something you feel you need to be good at. Of course I don't mind that. By the way, these huts don't look used at all. What are they used for?"
"Just communal events in bad weather."
>"Then where do all of you sleep?"
"Do you want to see?"
>"Please. Let me just finish up here. Are you wounded behind your clothes?"
"Ah...... no." There are a few cuts, but the stone bearers are giving me a stinkeye when the prospect of taking my shirt comes off. That said, my shirt isn't doing much anymore.
No. 589836 ID: d470e9
File 140829529203.png - (33.09KB , 800x800 , 57.png )

>"I.... I'm sorry, I'm not sure I can go down there. I'm not supposed to touch the dirt here, my home is in the northern empire."
"Hm? You don't need to go down, this is where we sleep."
>"It's..... it's a hole in the ground, Fen.
"Why is it under a tree?"
>"The tree provides cover so that we can hide ourselves in case of a bad raid, and the dirt under the trees are often soft, although the roots make it hard to dig through."
>"And what are those bells for?"
"Oh, they connect throughout all of our dens so that we can pull on one and ring the bells for everyone to hear."
>"How long does it go for?"
"As long as Shup's ears."
No. 589837 ID: d470e9
File 140829530545.png - (20.64KB , 800x800 , 58.png )

uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh should not have said that
No. 589838 ID: d470e9
File 140829531333.png - (25.00KB , 800x800 , 59.png )

>"Hehehehe. Oh, dear... please watch your tongue, Fen! Neph, Lopana, please promise me you won't tell on Fen."
>"I promise. This time."
>"They are pretty long. Come on, Lily, this guy is a bad influence. I don't think Shup would find it funny."
>"Come on, Shup's not so bad." says Lily. "He'll make a show out of it just to dissuade any disrespect, but he won't chop off anyone's tongue over it like some nobles. Okay, Fen, I'd better be going, thanks for showing me. I'll see you again tomorrow."
No. 589841 ID: 4b571b

>Okay, Fen, I'd better be going, thanks for showing me. I'll see you again tomorrow.
Goodbye, Lily. Thank you for the salve.

>I'm not supposed to touch the dirt here
Maybe we should ask about that later? I mean, I guess cool stone under your feet would be nice, but why wouldn't you ever want to feel grass between your toes, or the warm earth?

Although maybe that would be rude to the stone carrying people, implying they aren't needed.
No. 589848 ID: dc4b80

It was no trouble at all. I should be the one thanking you for the healing salve.

If you have any questions about our lifestyle or anything you see around here while you make your rounds let me know.

Well you got off to a decent start. First impressions are vital and you managed to show her some good qualities and make her laugh. Avoid more fighting until we know if your brother can find a proper sparing partner for you.

Now that you are healed up I would think on what might make a nice present for her. Was worried about how it would look if you just started giving her stuff but now that she helped heal you giving her a gift will not look out of place.

Maybe you can ask some of the girls in the tribe what sort of things they would want as gifts. If there are any pretty things around here they would know about them.
No. 589850 ID: d8a627

>Maybe you can ask some of the girls in the tribe what sort of things they would want as gifts.
Make sure to also compare their answers with what Zizi would say the citizens of the empire would accept as gifts. They probably accept different things.
Of course, if you're going to make yourself look proper, you should probably also offer something to Lord Shup as thanks for forgiving your earlier blunder.
No. 589852 ID: d470e9
File 140830067599.png - (24.18KB , 800x800 , 60.png )

"Okay, thank you, Lily, for your treatment and time. Oh, wait, I have one question, actually... I don't mean to be rude - er, ruder - but why do you have stone bearers?"
>"Well, when I first wanted to come down here, I was initially denied. There are some people, like myself, who are never allowed to set foot on soil outside of the empire's borders without good reason. So... I said that I can just bring stones from the empire so that I wouldn't have to. It really was semantics, but Shup said he liked the spirit of that loophole and let it go."
"Ah! So it's not like you can't put your feet in grass ever, just not here?"
>"That's correct."
"Well, I won't keep you any longer. Till next time!"
>"Goodbye, Fen."

It's getting late, and I haven't been called on to do anything, so I just help with reinforcing and repairing what structures we have before we pull out the big fur and sleep outside.

>"You look like you're in a good mood, Fen." says Kiki.
>"Our little Bro's in loooooove."
>"Oh for... fucks sake, Fen."
"Oh, come on! It's not like I'm actively pursuing.... well, it's not like I'm expecting much to happen!" I say, making sure only my tribe is in earshot. "I mean, she spent a little bit of time with me, and... that was nice."
No. 589853 ID: d470e9
File 140830068677.png - (91.18KB , 800x800 , 61.png )

I'm not sure if it was Lily's company or the healing salve, but I feel fresher than I have in years, and completely healed. My siblings wake up with me at my early time, and I go get myself some breakfast. After that, I try to find one of the stone bearers in hopes that I can find out what would make for a good present for Lily.

>"Hey." Te... whatever his name was from the sparring session comes to me. "Shrimp. There you are. Thought you were gonna sleep all day. You wanna spar?"
"Well... I would, but I was hoping to get some pointers first beforehand."
>"Come on, then. Here's the sword. Let's see what you've got." he says, already tossing the sword at me.

I take a quick stance again.

>".... oy, no. No, don't... spread your toes. Widen your feet, and tilt your feet out a bit. Don't balance with your legs, balance with your tail."
"Sure... you'll actually teach me?"
>"Yeah. I've been asked to actually teach you how to suck less. One of our oceanics will teach you, too, since I'm, you know, more about fighting as a sturdy rock, and oceanic fighting is more about fighting like a scared asshole. Like you. Now, I'm gonna start pushing you around. Don't let your feet leave the ground."

I guess I'm doing this now. We start, and I start thinking of what would make for a good present. Then I remember, Zizi once said that he once took a nasty cut, and he may have lost his arm if not for a binding potion made with a few ingredients including tuskflail horns. Those horns as very rare in general, but I know that one of our enemy tribes, several hours jog away, actually had decorative, prized tuskflail horns on top of their central tree. It wouldn't be easy to snag it, but it would be easily the best present I could ever give anyone.
No. 589854 ID: 4b571b

Don't daydream about gifts, for now. You need ti concentrate on what you're doing.

Also, make a point of thanking him for the help, orders or no, when the lesson / beating is over.
No. 589860 ID: d8a627

>Te... whatever his name was
Oh come on I know his name is hard to remember, but to forget the V? Tev-what's-it. Should probably ask him what his name is so that you can actually commit it to memory. Or if he'd be alright being called Tev.
No. 589864 ID: 2fd516

Tevliss is his name. Follow his instructions to the best of your ability, and try to focus on adapting to the new stance.

I think it is too early for a gift of that magnitude. Plus, you're gonna need to get strong enough to fight off the enemy tribe when you steal the horn. Well, an alternative is to try to trade for it, but I doubt they'll even give you the time of day.
No. 589868 ID: d470e9
File 140830586555.png - (175.31KB , 800x800 , 62.png )

Orders or not, it is helpful, and he does show patience with me. At first the stances do more harm than good, but I'm realizing it's more that I'm just not used to it. He never uses his full strength, of course, I have a feeling he could lift all my siblings, myself, and himself if he wanted to.

I stop thinking about the present and focus on the training. Since I'm not getting beat up, much, I can go for a long time.

The oceanic kobold also trains me, introducing himself as Shemi. Zizi wasn't kidding, they're fast, and trains me in being being extremely defensive even when I attack.

Tevliss, who I finally remember the name of without having to ask, starts training me again after he eats while Shemi gives me advice. It's a constant string of do this and that, and it's difficult. Shemi gets impatient with me, and it's difficult to focus well with that going on.

>"And remember, don't look directly at Lord Shup." says Tevliss.
"Yeah, I know, but what brought that up?"
No. 589869 ID: d470e9
File 140830587544.png - (176.86KB , 800x800 , 63.png )

>"Because he's watching us."
>"Oh, don't mind me." says Shup. "I'm just here to watch. Carry on."
No. 589870 ID: 4b571b

Man, new-Shup really does have huge ears. What kind of kobold is he?

That's probably a sword-stick he's got, there. The head and the shaft don't look like one piece.

>don't look directly at Lord Shup
Not really a problem, since you should be focused on your opponents right now. Although in a real fight you'd need a situational awareness, because the environment matters, and third parties might not play fair, but this is one on one training.

We might wonder why he's watching. Because you showed disrespect? Because he'd like to see you trounced? Because Lily is paying attention to you, so he has to? Wondering if he should enslave you?

...for better or for worse, you caught the nobles' attention. Not much you can do about that, now.
No. 589871 ID: 2fd516

Hmm... Lily seems to think he's not that bad. Maybe if you prove entertaining to watch, things won't go so badly for you when/if he finds out you're trying to get at Lily.

Thank him for his interest (don't forget the "my Lord"). Then get back to training, and put your heart into it.
No. 589873 ID: d8a627

Yeah, like he said, don't mind him. Not like you can say anything to him without permission, anyways, so all you can do is focus on the training as long as he permits it, and if you happen to end up in a position where you notice he's in your sight, just avert your eyes.
Of course, if he decides to interrupt the training and bring up your "joke" to Lily earlier, just say something like "Forgive me, My Lord, I meant it as a compliment." You didn't, of course, but you gotta play nice with him. Maybe something about how useful it would be to hear the surroundings better from a Tribesman's standpoint: you can hear whether another tribe is nearby, you could hear your own tribe's calls, and you could hear when there's prey or predators approaching.
No. 589874 ID: dc4b80

Honestly if he gets impressed by your drive and conscripts you then you will get more training and time to court Lily. Just be careful around him. You usually do not get to be a high ranking noble without having a ruthless streak a mile long.

For now I would ignore him and focus on your training. No use worrying about what Shup might do until he does it. Make sure to thank him after the training for letting his men teach you.

Anyways get to the training and do your best.
No. 589877 ID: bb78f2

He's on the grass.
No. 589878 ID: bb78f2

Oh Fen I have an idea how to not accidentally look at Shup.
Train using a blindfold.
No. 589879 ID: 4b571b

Lily said that rule applied to some people, like herself. Not to every noble.

Be pretty silly to apply that rule to every noble in an empire, anyways. How could you send your commanders and generals off on conquest if they couldn't trample foreign lands?
No. 589886 ID: d470e9
File 140831278192.png - (45.32KB , 800x800 , 64.png )

>Train using a blindfold.
Absolutely not.

I focus on the training, still. Shup doesn't say anything, but I can start feeling his presence more. The air seems to change when he's around, but I can't place my finger on it. Still, having to focus is a skill in itself, so it's not all bad.

Tevliss and Shemi keep training, and get more forcible with their techniques and displays. Occasionally we spar and I take a hit, but he pulls his punches. We go at this for hours. Shup really doesn't have anything better to do, before he finally speaks out of nowhere. He got up right behind me without me noticing.

>"You have a big shadow to escape from, Fen." says Shup. "I chose your tribe in particular because of Zizi. Kalos spoke well of his ability, which is why I chose this tribe to visit. You can speak, if you have anything to say."
"I'm hoping to be as good as my brother. Thank you for having your men train me, my lord."
>"I didn't ask them to, but they're allowed so long as they put their duties first. There's Zizi now. I was waiting for him to return."
No. 589887 ID: d470e9
File 140831279132.png - (38.92KB , 800x800 , 65.png )

I think Zizi mentioned Kalos before. He was some kind of war hero that Zizi had to fight for some reason. Apparently they were friendly rivals.

>"Hey, Lord Shup! Whattaya need?"
>"Yes, hello. I don't have any plans on conscription, however, my personal guard does have room for more. You're my top pick."
>"I bet my brother would like that position more."
>"Your brother is... not very good, to put it lightly."
>"Nah, but he's got big pile of ability that someone's gotta yank out from his gut."
>"I do hope so. Is he learning, Tevliss?"
>"Barely been training him at all, but he's at least willing to learn and take a few smacks while he's at it, my lord." he says. "He might not be as hopeless as I first thought."
>"Still, potential doesn't win battles, otherwise we'd all be legendary soldiers. Zizi? I insist. If you accept, I will have my men train more of your tribe so that they can cover the loss of your ability. I may have Fen taught as part of payment for your services as well. It's a generous deal, and I wouldn't suggest declining so quickly."
>"Seriously? I don't think you saw... yeah, let me put it like this."
No. 589889 ID: d470e9
File 140831281122.png - (42.94KB , 800x800 , 66.png )

Zizi shows his back.

>"....... 12.... 17.... 24... 32 marks." Shup counts. "This would explain why you aren't celebrated as Kalos is. Well put, you didn't need to decline after all. I retract my offer. Anyways, Fen? I notice that Lily has taken an interest in you. About that..."
No. 589891 ID: d470e9
File 140831309815.png - (63.54KB , 800x800 , 67.png )

>"Thank you for making her trip more pleasant than I would have expected. Throughout this week, please visit her as you wish to, and continue doing her well. By the way, us field kobolds consider long ears highly attractive. Mentioning that is considered a compliment, and complimenting that is akin to flirtation. You appear capable of learning after all, so I trust you'll bear this information in mind in the future, yes?"
"Y, yes, my lord."
>"Good. Carry on, then, and do your rebellious brother proud."
No. 589893 ID: d8a627

>and complimenting such a thing is akin to flirtation.
No. 589896 ID: 4b571b

Zizi was trying to get them to take you, there. How do you feel about that? I mean, you'd be leaving home, but you'd be closer to Lily. Then again, you'd only be close because you'd be protecting her fiance. Kind of slow torture, there.

>complimenting such a thing is akin to flirtation
...we didn't compliment them, though. What's the opposite of complimentary flirtation? An obscene insult?

Still, might mean those giggles were for different reasons than we though.
No. 589898 ID: d8a627

Unless Fen took my advice offscreen, but still, it might be worth asking for a tutor in, well, manners, as well, to help you avoid slips like that anyways.
No. 589902 ID: dc4b80

The ears thing was a subtle comment that he knows about the joke we made earlier. So from now on assume anything you say around anyone will make it back to him. Lily's attendants work for Shup more than they do her.

Getting on his personal guard would be a good way of following Lily. You would have to impress him enough over the week to have the opportunity and its a dangerous game. But up to you if you want this badly enough. Even if Lily never returns your affections it would give you a chance to see the world and meet new people.

Oh the air changing feeling you get around Shup is probably something magical. A noble of his stature probably knows at least some if not a lot of magic. If he is not a mage himself he has some working for him and would have access to magical items.

After your training is over for the day I would talk to your brother about those marks. The fact that he was talking with Shup so casually means he has a bigger reputation than you realized. But it also looks like he does not blindly follow orders well. Better find out more about what you might be getting into.

I would take his comments on helping Lily at face value. Its what you want to do anyways and gives you a excuse to be around her. Whether or not he has a hidden agenda remains to be seen. Best not to worry what you can't control.
No. 589903 ID: 55c4cf

Try very hard not to punch Shup in his face.

Well I guess if you can train your booty off, you can actually follow your dreams. Say goodbye to your booty.
No. 589910 ID: bb78f2

Oh, hey, you should tell Shup of a better loophole idea regarding the whole stone laying thing.
It would be much more efficient to have shoemaker's lace the the soles of nobles boots with the stones of the empire, placed adequately in the appropriate areas to make it comfortable for kobold's of course, which is why it would take a professional shoemaker. This will make travel much more easier and quicker for any nobles using that idea, and in the end might make a new fashion trend.

Practical too. These wilds are dangerous at times. In case of danger, the noble obeying the tradition wouldn't need to fear breaking that tradition when fleeing onto grass. Admittedly, being IN danger might be reason enough to technically leave the stones of the empire, but if a habit forms around having stones around to hop on, a noble may have a moment's hesitation before actually realizing the surrounding dangers. Precious seconds may be the difference between life and death. So if Shup and Lily would ever like to visit again, stone shoes might be more advisable than stone layers.

Also, Fen, I don't know if you know about business practices, but if you do you can also offer some investment advice. If stone laying and wearing takes off as a trend, investments in quarry and shoe stores may prove quite profitable. Still a risk, as all investments are, but dude, you can hear the fucking ching ching up in that bitch.
No. 589912 ID: 563dc1

I'd recommend against giving him advice on how to make the stone thing more efficient, for the moment.
1. We don't quite understand why they do it this way, so it might not be workable. Gather more intel on it first.
2. Implying that a noble like Shup would be foolish or weak enough to find himself in a dangerous situation (he did waltz in with a crack force!) might be taken as an insult.
3. He probably likes having people carry him around on large blocks - it serves as a conspicuous status signal, and someone might him might be loath to give it up.
4. If it does work, and if 3 doesn't make it unattractive to him, Shup might just take credit for the idea if you tell him first.
5. And similarly, it might make him mark you as clever enough to be dangerous to him, giving him a reason to refuse your service or else watch you more carefully if he does take you on. If you get into his service, being seen as a slow-witted barbarian might give you more opportunities.

Don't do it, at least not now and to him. You can reconsider this once you've gained a better understanding of this custom, noble culture, and Shup in particular.
No. 589913 ID: 4b571b

Yeah, I'd agree with that. We don't need to sir up more trouble, right now.

Also, we'd be putting her rock carrying bolds out of a job! Not sure if they'd be happy to be freed up, or if they'd be annoyed to have the task gone.
No. 589925 ID: d470e9
File 140832560962.png - (25.90KB , 800x800 , 68.png )

>Zizi was trying to get them to take you, there. How do you feel about that?
I'm not sure. Maybe he caught on that I may have wanted to be close to Lily even if it meant conscription, but maybe he wants to see me get conscripted too.

>Suggest that Lily wear shoes of stone bottoms to wear.

"Alright. May I make a suggestion regarding Lily's stone walking?"
>"No." Shup says, and leaves.

We get back to the training.

>"You are one dumb son of a bitch, so let me get you a tip I thought was obvious. Once Lord Shup leaves, so does speaking permission. So don't go running up to him with your heartfelt hellos next time you see him." Tevliss says.
"Yeah, got it, thank you."
>"Here's a real sword. We're not gonna spar with it, you're just gonna swing it five hundred times. And every swing, I'm gonna bark at you as to why you're swinging it wrong. Then we're gonna take a break, and you'll swing five hundred more."
No. 589926 ID: d470e9
File 140832562121.png - (28.55KB , 800x800 , 69.png )

Once the break is over, I move back to the inner village and see Zizi eating lunch.

"Hey, Brother."
>"Hey Bro. Did you really say Shup's ears were long?"
"I kinda blurted it out. I guess Lily's stone bearers work more for Shup than Lily."
>"Maybe. What do you think of Shup anyway?"
"He's... despicable."
>"Yeah that's what I thought you'd say. Most people's bars are set pretty low, though. I saw a gold noble once, when a commoner walked around the corner at the same time as that noble, and they bumped into each other. Know what Goldie did? Broke both his legs right on the spot. So, you know, when I hear you made fun of Shup's ears, and I see Shup leave and you're still standing on both legs with tongue intact and all that and not even an itty bitty scar to show for it, I don't think Shup's too half bad a guy! That, or you were born under the luckiest, shiniest star in the sky and cashed in all your star points right then and there. But yeah setting the bar at average kobold, he's a dick, I wouldn't want to spend an evening with 'im."
"I meant to ask you, you never talked about those scars much."
>"Not much to talk about. Sometimes there were orders I just couldn't follow, having my back opened up a few times is an easy price for it."
"I also didn't know you had such a reputation."
>"Yeah, but conscription is a whole other life, and it's behind me now. Glad I did it, glad to forget about it."
"Including Kalos?"
>"Man, that guy probably wants a rematch, and unlike me who came back here, that guy started training like mad to become a real champion. I'd say I can live my life just fine without ever seeing him again."
"You're trying to get me conscripted, aren't you?"
>"Well, don't you want to?"
"I don't know."
>"Either you get yourself a good life, or you learn to like it here. Either way is good, cause right now, you hate it here!"
"I never said that. I mean, I wondered if it could get better, yeah, but..."
>"Don't bullshit your bro, bro. I saw you with Lily. Sure, you managed to walk around without a big doofy grin plastered on your face, but that doesn't mean I couldn't tell you were actually happy for once."

I'm not sure what to say to that, so I don't say anything.

>"Come on, you've got a free pass for a week of talking to her. Don't go spending it yapping at your brother who's gonna be bugging you for a lot longer."
"Yeah. Yeah, thanks, Zizi."
No. 589927 ID: d470e9
File 140832563624.png - (27.49KB , 800x800 , 70.png )

After some asking around, I find Lily on a makeshift porch that the empire brought in. Her stone bearers are preparing food for her.

"Hello, Lady Lily."
>"Hello! Just Lily, please, Lady Lily never really rolled off the tongue. Please, sit down. I was just asking the shaman about some of his rituals. I know I said he wasn't magic, but I was still curious what some of your ceremonies meant."
"I was thinking, actually, I feel like the air gets a little weird around Shup. Is that magic?"
>"Oh, yes. Shup is actually an incredibly powerful mage, which is amazing, because he wasn't born with the ability, and he's not old at all like most non-gifted wizards are."
"You think highly of him? I mean, of course you do, but - "
>"He can be very rough around the edges, but he can do great deeds. I told you that it was more the people that supported the empire rather than the other way around, but Shup has done a great deal of food drives and skilled profession training. I think I can say that it's self serving, that is, he expects them to return in kind, and it's not that Shup himself is completely selfless, but I think that's okay. It means that he supports those who support him and vice versa, which I think is an improvement."
"I'm glad you're happy to be his fiance." At least I hope that's true, but it was presumptious of me to put it like that.

I barely started a conversation with her and I already managed to turn it in an awkward subject, especially considering that Shup was able to find out about the long eared comment. I'm not doing well at this at all.

Before I can think of a change of subject, Lily helps me buy time by motioning one of her bearers to give me some of that food. It looks like her stone bearers might also simply be her attendants, not just a couple of people that carry her footsteps around.

The rations weren't bad, but this meal is like an explosion of taste.

>"Oh, Fen! Please, that pronged object - please use that to eat, like I'm doing.... is it good?" asks Lily. I forgot about what forks were for.
"It's the best thing I've had in my life."
>"Hahaha, oh, please, Fen, Neph would be pleased to hear that, but that... oh, geez, you might not be exaggerating?"
"No, I'm not!"
>"Oh, geez, is it rude for you to eat this then without sharing with your tribe?"
"We can keep this one a secret."
>"Good! Fen, you're salivating, Lopana, please give him a bit more."
>"You're spoiling him, hun."
>"That's my decision to make."

I didn't think of it until now, but I have no idea why Lily even tolerates my presence, let alone inviting me to see her like this. I also can't help but wonder what Shup is trying to have happen by letting me see her.
No. 589930 ID: bb78f2

Well, if Shup was a story book villain I'd say he was letting you get cozy with Lily and make her happy so that he can do horrible things to you later to manipulate her.
Your not a servant, she doesn't view you as a servant, almost as an equal. You entertain her socially, unlike the servants, so he dictates that hurting you would eventually mean more to her than hurting any of her servants, because ultimately he owns those servants and pays them.
No. 589932 ID: d8a627

I had a thought. Maybe Shup wanted you to spend time with Lily not only because you've been making her trip enjoyable, but because you can learn manners from her while you do so.
Try bringing it up (Swallow your food first!), "I think Lord Shup sees that I'm trying to learn your ways, but... Well, you noticed how quickly I failed to show any pre-existing understanding. Could you-or one of your employees-teach me how to be proper?"
No. 589940 ID: dc4b80

If Shup is a powerful mage and one of the high nobles he could have any number of reasons for doing what he does. Some mages have access to magics that can tell the future a little bit or see far away places. Maybe he read some tea leaves and they told him he would find something interesting if he came along on this trip.

Honestly you should not be trying to figure out his motives right now. Just follow his orders and assume he is always watching you. If he has some plan for you then you will find out soon enough.

As for your liking Lily he might not have noticed or he just does not care. Why would a powerful mage and noble worry about a love struck forest boy? Right now you don't have the power or resources to be a threat in his eyes.

If you want Lily you have to be strong enough to survive taking her away from Shup. He is not just going to stand back and let you.

Anyways for now don't make a pig of yourself and ask Lily to teach you proper table manners. Learn as much as you can so you can try to avoid making any more social mistakes that might piss of Shup.
No. 589942 ID: 4b571b

Maybe he's testing to see what Lily dose? Maybe he's testing to see what you'll do? Who knows.

As for Lily, maybe she just finds your interest or enthusiasm endearing. Or maybe it's interesting to talk to someone who treats her as a person, who isn't conditioned into responding to just her position.
No. 589962 ID: d470e9
File 140833716181.png - (48.20KB , 800x800 , 71.png )

I can't help but imagine Shup's reasoning, but my imagination comes up with a whole lot of ideas that I just have no evidence for. There's no point to thinking about it.

"Could you show me how to be, uh... proper?"
>"Oh, dear, you should learn how to fight, at least you have use for it. There's just too many cumbersome rules that are, well, proper manners are intentionally prohibitive to people not in the circles. Even I'm breaking a few rules, being out here! Just, ah, try to be clean about eating things and I'll be happy."
"You've got it. Something I can't help but ask, either... I don't mean to make it sound like I don't want to be around you, the opposite is true, but there's about thirty other kobolds in my tribe, but you tolerate me?"
>"You treat me like a person. That might sound silly, but my position is overwhelming, even just as fiance. Most people see me as what I am, not who I am. It's amazingly alienating, and it's been a while since I've seen my family, so you're the first person in awhile who I could be comfortable with."

This time, I will avoid bringing up Shup.

We talk about our lives some more. She has positives and negatives to focus on, and I try to do the same without complaining about how much it turns out I dislike it here. Still, I do have family I suppose, and even if I lost Kiki and Zizi, the rest of the tribe would take care of me. And we don't always starve.

The positives seem to be seen as negatives in her reaction, though.

She ends up pausing for an uncomfortable length of time.

>"I'll be honest, though. Shup has his good points that I've been bringing up, even I didn't like him at first."
"But you love him, right?"
>"... I should be honest with you, Fen. We like each other, but in our society, marriages aren't really done for love. Shup just seemed to take a great liking to me, and he does have a few other wives, and me, well... it must sound very selfish, but he's rich, he insists on having me, and my family is in a bad spot. My great grandfather is a wizard, and he's very old. He uses his magic to help grow crops and keep livestock healthy to help boost our villages numbers, and in our world, wizards like that are almost automatically granted wood noble status. Plus, the wizard can request tribute for his services from the village. It's been like that for a long time, but he's old, and his own magic has limits. We don't have any other actual nobles. A noble's family is held in higher regard than a commoner, but not actually a noble, so when my grandfather dies, well, our family has some saved up wealth, but it won't last forever, and I just don't think we can live the life of a commoner. We just don't have the feet for landing on a rough spot. This is why I came out here, I wanted to see if I could understand how people do it... that's why I have a lot of respect for you and your tribe, Fen, because you can live this life that I realize my own family can't. Anyway... when Shup came to me, well, he offered that he would maintain our lifestyle, and my family won't have to work long hours and spend their free time in a line for half a loaf of bread. So, that's why we're marrying each other. I'm not proud of it, but I couldn't look my family in the eye if I told them I turned down a mithril noble. I mean, nevermind that turning down a mithril noble is an awful offense. Sorry, I talked your ear off, there."
"No, it's fine... I don't understand entirely, but, well, we get into heavy fist fights for rotten fish, so marrying someone for their wealth so their whole family can thrive is, well, it's worth it. How big is your family, anyway?"
>"Oh, around four hundred. Er.... is that a lot?"
"Our whole tribe is 30! How many people are in the northern empire, anyway?.... and just how rich can Shup be to support that many?"
>"Millions and millions, Fen, and even if Shup does support others so he can be supported, mithril nobles have an extraordinary amount of resources funneled into their coffers. So... I just wanted to clear the air, this is probably why Shup is letting you speak to me freely. He knows that I have my whole family one step away from the commoner's block, and knows that I wouldn't be so selfish to throw away his hand in marriage to marry anyone I loved. I see the way you look at me, Fen, and if we were born in different lives, then I would have been more than willing to spend months to get to know each other, and, if it all went well, marry out of love, but now that I have a chance to marry a noble, I can't throw that away. I'm sorry."
"No, no, it's fine, it's really an understandable reason, I can barely support myself let alone the weight you've got now. Just hearing you say that we might have had a chance in a different life means a lot."

I lied, though. It's not fine at all. I knew there was virtually no chance of being with her, but hearing it outright.... it hurts. It hurts in ways I didn't know I could hurt.

>"Fen, are you alright?"
"Yes, please don't worry about me."

I'm not alright at all.

>"You can visit me for the rest of the week if you still want, of course, and continue training with our soldiers for as long as you like."
No. 589964 ID: 2fd516


Hey Fen. There's a glimmer of hope in something she mentioned. A wizard tending to crops gained noble status, despite being a commoner. What if you could become someone who was granted noble status, too? I mean, if she's marrying Shup because she has to marry a noble to save her family, then the way to get with Lily is to become a noble as well, even if it's just a wood noble. You're gonna have to ask someone- Zizi, probably, so that Shup doesn't find out you're still gunning for his wife- what ways someone can become a noble, and then make steps towards any ways that are possible for you. I'll be honest though you probably won't become a wizard.

Keep in mind you're still being conscripted. You will still get to be around Lily, even if you two can't get married. Heck, maybe if Shup is actually a REALLY COOL DUDE he could let you become her courtesan. That term is for males too right?
No. 589965 ID: d8a627

Four HUNDRED?! Jeez! Her family is huge! Fen's own family is, what, five? A mother, a father, and the three siblings including himself. The rest of the tribe is just kinsmen, not actually family.

Marrying to protect your family is certainly understandable and respectable, but you can't just leave yourself without friends, can you? From what I've heard, not just from Lily, but from Zizi as well, as rough-around-the-edges as Shup may be, he's a great, generous, kind-hearted man. I don't think he's letting Fen see Lily as a means of torture for either of them, but rather, he wants them to be friends. Lily will be happy for her family thanks to Shup, but it's Fen who can keep her happy for herself, and Shup must definitely realize that.
Point that thought out to her. While you've been upset at your own life, it's for the same reason that she seems upset. Your family and tribe are doing fine for themselves, but neither of you are really treated as a person. You, Fen, are treated for your successes or failures. Zizi sees you as a chance to prove the family isn't all traitors. Kiki sees you as... whatever the heck it is she sees you as. And those two ladies that were cuddling all up to you? They just saw you as the bringer of food. Lily needed somebody to treat her as a person, and guess what? That's exactly what you need, too. Somebody who treats you as a person is not a lover, they are a friend.
No. 589967 ID: dc4b80

Owch that does hurt. Finding out that you would have a good chance with her if not for circumstances outside your control sucks.

Well now you have to make a choice. Do you give up and accept the lot that life has given you? Or do you keep going and try to find a way? If you want to be with her you will need to figure out a way to win your own title and enough money and resources to help her and stand up to Shup. And pretty quickly at that.

Honestly no matter what you do you need to keep training. If you don't want to end up a second rate hunter in this village for the rest of your life this is your best chance.

Tell her that you will gladly visit her whenever she likes and if she has any questions about village life that you will be there.

Then excuse yourself to go punch some trees outside the village for a bit. Its probably not a good idea to be around here until you get your head on straight. After you calm down you should talk with your brother. If anyone would know what you could do it would be him.
No. 589968 ID: 0ee153

I'm not sure Fen could support the family even if he did get noble status, plus refusing a mithril noble is still a terrible offense, as nice as Shup may be.

Frankly, our only chances are to equal Shup's rank or preferably outrank him, which isn't at all doable right now, or find out why Shup likes her and talk him out of it somehow. Not likely, but at least we can do something about it right now. Are pink scales particularly common? Does he just like her personality? I don't think Lily is aware of why Shup likes her from what she said.

...And just in case, how did the godking become the Emperor he is today and how could you do the same? Don't ask anyone else, not even Zizi, walls have ears, just try to remember what you can.
No. 589972 ID: 0ee153

Should've clarified, our options are to talk Shup out of it AND get wood noble status, or get mithril noble/emperor status. Just talking him out of it would leave her and her family high and dry.
No. 589974 ID: 7bbead

Fen you live in a age where a man can win a kingdom with the strength of his sword. Where adventurers can drag vast fortunes out of lost ruins. A time where mages can shake the very foundations of the earth.

All you have to ask yourself now is if you are willing to put your life on the line for your dreams.
No. 589978 ID: bb78f2

Ask if she has any wizards here that might teach you magic? Or is that also a grave offense, for a commoner to ask for training like that? I take it that her great-grandfather wouldn't take any apprentices in the family and share his secrets with? It seems weird he wouldn't, nor would any of his family not be born with magical talent innate if he himself was an innate.
I just realized that the only magic person we know for sure in the group is Shup, which means training by Shup? Could you actually imagine that? It's almost hilarious.

Actually being able to help people here sounds really nice.
No. 589995 ID: e6f4c6

Don't let her know that your heart is broken. Hide that. It's not fair to put that kind of thing on her.

At the same time, you have to ask yourself... would you conquer the world for a woman? Cause that's your only option right now.
No. 590003 ID: 4b571b

>I'm not alright at all.
Well, maybe this tempers you somewhat.

I mean, the idea of talking a girl into abandoning her fiance was kind of a long shot to begin with, especially with your differences. It was even crazier to think you wouldn't somehow bring Shup's wrath down on your tribe. But getter her to betray her whole family? Putting your wants before hundreds? She's not gonna do that. You're not going to do that, either.

The question is, what are you going to do about it now? Do you still want to enjoy her company for the rest of the week, even if you know it's not going anywhere? Would it be worth it to go with them, maybe be someone good in her life even if you aren't together? Or do you take your heartbreak and move on?
No. 590016 ID: e6e219

Tell her that no matter what fate might bring you will gladly be her friend.

Then excuse yourself and go hide in the woods for a bit and have a good cry if need be.

Once you calm down you have some choices to make. If you are going to continue to pursue her it could be a long and dangerous road with nothing but heartbreak at the end of it. But even if you don't win the girl the journey might be worth it in other ways.

You are not happy here and until you figure out what you want out of life its probably best you take a chance and leave. The quickest way out of the village would be to go with Shup. Either by impressing him and getting hired on or by getting conscripted. If you get conscripted you wont have a choice in the matter so don't have to worry about planning for that.

If you impress him and he offers you training and a job after that you had better be ready to obey his orders for awhile. Shup is lenient with you now because you are young and ignorant. He would expect a lot more from you if you worked for him and you would have to be ready to deal with that.

Ask your brother for advice. If there is a way for you to get what you want he might know about it. And if not will be a good shoulder to cry on.
No. 590107 ID: d470e9
File 140841336386.png - (25.84KB , 800x800 , 72.png )

Like the rest of my tribe, we hide our pain, but I'm not used to this. Still, I at least manage to keep my composure.

"I'd love to be your friend, still."
>"I'd love that, too."
"I... do have to wonder, though, how come your grandfather never took on an apprentice?"
>"He has, but we have nothing to show for it. I'm not sure what you've heard about the northern empire, but... magic is very rare, many villages don't even have a wizard to assist the crops. Innate users are one in a million, and it doesn't run in the family. And many don't even believe that the gods themselves even exist, that the miracles are just latent magic exploding in a random place at a random time. And the rest of the non-innate wizards, well, learning magic from scratch requires meditation during nearly all waking hours with absolute devotion. They can't do lots of productive work, so it needs wealth, or a benefactor. Wizards have called the time between the 5th year of training and the moment when they can reliably use magic the grey years. They spent all those years doing nothing but training to learn magic, and there's no guarantee they'll ever get it. So they could quit and put all those years behind them to waste, or they could risk it and spend years more that could potentially be a waste as well."
"You said your grandfather was a wood noble? That's enough to pay for a family that size?"
>"Yes. Well, we don't just sit around and play, we do some working and farming, but our grandfather's income means we don't have to toil away endlessly. He's a very nice man that will welcome even distant relatives with open arms. He always said he hoped I would find a wood noble so that I could be well off, but I think I nearly killed him when Shup stepped on his doorstep. At least, that's what he told me, that he could have died right there as happy as ever. Oh... let's change the subject, I'd like to hear about your life here."
"Yeah... to be honest, I don't like it here. I'm wanting to get conscripted by Shup just to see what life is like out there."
>"That's a big decision, and it's yours to make. But if you do, then I can give a good word for you, but only if you promise to try your absolute best training! I'm still here when you want to talk, but if you mean what you say, then please take advantage of those soldiers that will train you."
"I will. In fact, I'm on a break right now. I'm going to take the rest of the break, and then get back to it. I'll talk with you later tonight, okay?"
>"Yes, please do, Fen."
No. 590108 ID: d470e9
File 140841337379.png - (63.45KB , 800x800 , 73.png )

I couldn't keep my composure for much longer, and there's no way I'm going to Tevliss when I feel like I've got to sob like this. I run a ways out of the village to go punch a tree.

>"Hey, hey bro?" I hear Zizi.
No. 590109 ID: d470e9
File 140841339545.png - (36.97KB , 800x800 , 74.png )

"Zizi... what are you doing here?"
>"I smelled bro-downs. Lily let you down?"
"Yeah... it's not her fault, I mean, she - "
>"Gonna stop you right there. You're my brother, and you've fallen for that girl when I see you brush off a dozen hotties, so she's gotta be good."
"... yeah, she is. I want to get into Shup's guard just so I can at least talk with her sometimes. I don't think that Shup may be as bad as I thought he was yesterday. He might not mind us being friends. Uh... Zizi, how does someone become a wood noble?"
>"Why do... ohhhh. Ohh. Fen. Hold that thought, I know why you're asking. The northern empire, well, it's got a lot of chances for commoner's to become nobles. I have a few ideas, but, well, Kiki would kill me if I gave you any ideas when you're all down and desperate like this! And then kill you if you tried to enact any of those ideas. And, I'll be honest, I love you as my brother, but I don't think you're in any good spot to make any decision either, you know? It's barely been over a day since Shup came. Just hang out for a week, let a bit of time pass, and if your heart is still pounding for Lily, then I'll tell you all about the cliffs you can run off of for her, and I'll deal with Kiki."
"... you may as well tell me now."
>"Oh, do I have some tales for you about how foolish that sounds! Come on, wipe those tears and go let Tevliss knock some sense into you."
"I'm not... crying."
Zizi laughs.
>"Don't lie to family, brother."
"Just tell me. I'm a second rate hunter, Zizi. It was dissatisfying but tolerable up till now... now, the thought of living and dying without taking a chance is the worst thing I could ever think of. Please tell me what I have to do."
>"I'm still gonna wait till you cool off before telling you my ideas, but I will tell you one thing. Every single option you've got, every single angle you have any chance in involves fighting like a champion."
No. 590111 ID: 2fd516

Then Fen will redouble his efforts, and train EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
No. 590113 ID: d8a627

>Every single option you've got, every single angle you have any chance in involves fighting like a champion.
Well, it's a good thing you're already training as such. If more training is the only way to have a chance of becoming a wood noble, then more training is exactly what you'll keep doing.
No. 590119 ID: 88960e

...then that's what I'll do, then.
No. 590121 ID: 0ee153

Well then, time to dry off those tears and train with Tevliss. After thanking your brother, of course.
No. 590130 ID: baf262

Well get to training like a champion then.
No. 590134 ID: d470e9
File 140842204593.png - (120.21KB , 800x800 , 75.png )

I'd better get back to it. I thank Zizi and go.

>"Yeah, that's better, shrimp! Kill that dummy like it wronged your whole family. Don't let that sword slip through your fingers a notch! 450 more swings! Each contact better hit my ears harder than the last! Destroy the fucking thing so we've got less luggage to carry back! What are you doing, trying to cuddle it into submission? Take a step back, you get more swing from farther away!"
No. 590135 ID: d470e9
File 140842206070.png - (33.00KB , 800x800 , 76.png )

>"Your arms feeling like limp noodles yet?"
"I want to keep going."
>"That's more like it. We're going to spar, here's your sword."


>"Shit, what's gotten into you, guy? Did I wrong your family this time?"
"Are you telling me to back off?"
>"Don't be a moron, now there's actually a point to me blocking that's not just showing off."
No. 590136 ID: d470e9
File 140842207758.png - (58.46KB , 800x800 , 77.png )

>"You feeling alright, kid?"
>"Not that I'm complaining about you finally taking this seriously, but if you keep acting like you wanna beat my ass down, then I'm gonna treat you like someone who wants to beat my ass down. What's with the sudden need to fight right?"
No. 590138 ID: d8a627

Tell him you don't just want to get conscripted to see the empire--you want to actually impress them. And according to Zizi, the only things that impress them all require you to be able to fight like a champion.
No. 590139 ID: dc4b80

I realized that if I don't do something drastic with my life I am going to end up a second rate hunter living in a hole in the ground for the rest of my life.

My brother has been trying to train me for awhile now but I never took it seriously. I know he has been happy coming back here after his conscription but I want to get a chance to see the world and maybe make something of myself.

So I have a week to impress Shup so I can maybe go with you guys when I leave. Who knows if that's the right choice but its better than making no choice at all.

Try to avoid mentioning Lily. While he would understand a man fighting for a girl its just best to keep that under your hat. Even if it is painfully obvious to anyone who is watching.
No. 590142 ID: e6f4c6

Ask him if he's ever gone without eating for a week.

When he invariably says no (or even if he says yes) point out you want to go see the world and you don't want to be just another scrub to be taken advantage of when you do.

Tell him you want to be good. Better than good. Tell him you are taking it serious because it is serious, someday you are gonna be swinging a real sword at a real opponent and you'd seriously like to not die when that happens.
No. 590143 ID: 4b571b

>What's with the sudden need to fight right?
I guess I finally found a reason to try and prove myself. It's not enough to be who I was before this.

>Try to avoid mentioning Lily
Yeah. No one but family gets to hear about that, for now. You haven't even talked to her about that, yet. And you might not ever get the chance. You can't tell others before that.
No. 590144 ID: 2fd516

"I want to be the very best. Like no one ever was."
No. 590171 ID: bb78f2

I was taking this seriously before.
Now there's just a fit of desperation I got or hope that gave me a bit of a boost.
I'm just in a mood to destroy shit. Family stuff.
No. 590218 ID: 55c4cf

"I'm not very good at what I do. I'd like to change that."
No. 590230 ID: d470e9
File 140849500872.png - (72.90KB , 800x800 , 78.png )

"Have you ever gone a week without eating?"
"Then you know how bad it is."
>"... yeah. I do. Cept in the army, sometimes you gotta go awhile even if you're good."
"I still want to see the world now, and I don't want to be taken advantage of when I do."
>"That's kinda naive, forest boy."
"... I'm taking it seriously because it is serious. I took it seriously before, just moreso now. And I want to be able to get in an impressive spot, like Shup's guard. Maybe even be the best, but... that's a lot to aim for. I'm not very good at anything I do right now."
>"Ha, ha... kid, I'm here because it pays well and I've got a family back home that needs me, not because Shup's guard is some heroic, honorable duty. This place? Basically all the vacation I get. But whatever, your shit ain't any of my business. Aim for the damn moon for all I care."
"Yeah, thanks. I'll be back tomorrow."
No. 590231 ID: d470e9
File 140849503277.png - (96.30KB , 800x800 , 79.png )

I meet with Lily again, and she cleans up some of my scratches and bruises. We talk well into the night. Even as awkward as lunch may have made things, we can still talk like good friends for a long time about our own experiences and lives.
No. 590232 ID: d470e9
File 140849507110.png - (88.72KB , 800x800 , 80.png )

The third day comes and goes, as does the fourth, and fifth. Breakfast with my family, lunch with Lily, dinner with Tevliss and some of his friends, with training inbetween and talks with Lily afterwards.

>"Good fifth day. At this rate, I might even put in a good word for you. You keep this up, you're gonna become a real dangerous man. Do me a favor and don't let those bastards down south get you. Hell, I'll let you keep the training sword, apparently you jokers practice with actual sticks. Fuckin' hilarious."
"I told you I was taking it seriously. And thank you, th... ah, shoot. Tevliss, I have a question."
>"....... you just wanted to share that or are you gonna ask?"
"Right. Remember how I looked right at Lily at the beginning? I was thinking I could get her a gift as an apology for that. I just don't know what I could get her."
>"Haha, yeah, as an 'apology', not because you've got a raging hardon for her."
>"Oh, excuse me, you must be hanging out all laughs and smiles with her out of some honorable duty? Come on, everyone knows, all the soldiers snicker about it behind your back. Say you're a bit of a tool."
"... do you think that?"
>"No, I think you're a bit of a dumbass. Seriously, If I saw you looking at my wife like that I'd invert your forearm. Oh, right, a gift. Fuck, I dunno, just grab some nice flowers for her or something. If she gives a shit about you and isn't materialistic, she'll like any gift you get her as long as it isn't, ya know, a rock you found outside your hut one morning."
No. 590235 ID: 2fd516

If he'd fuck you up for looking at Lily like that, and all the soldiers are snickering about it behind your back... why is Shup allowing it? I wish it was possible to ask him. Actually, maybe it would be best to ask Lily if you're allowed to give her a really fancy gift. Or at least, fancy to your standards.

If you can, then fuck it, let's get the horn. You'd need like half a day to get it though.
No. 590237 ID: d8a627

...Yeaaah maybe you should just ask how you can show a proper apology to the whole of Lord Shup's entourage then. You might have feelings of love and envy but you're not dumb enough to get on the wrong side of Shup.
You're trying to just be a good friend, because Shup practically asked you to be one, and Lily, quite literally did say that she needed somebody to just be a friend for her. And that's exactly what you promised you would be, a friend.
Finally, "Do you think me so weak willed that I cannot keep to my promise? Yeah, I've got dreams, but I'm not some idiot who expects every dream to become a reality. Lily is Lord Shup's fiance, so any promise to her goes to him. And if it didn't? Stealing her away would still get her and her family punished for betraying a Mythril Noble. The worst I'm guilty of is hoping to get a friend in turn, Tevliss. Somebody who treats me for who I am, and not what I do."
If he questions if that's the truth, t hen yes dammit it is. If he questions if you're really strong enough to surpress yourself, then yes, dammit, you'll power through the pain. You're smart, you're strong, and you've got a promise to keep.
No. 590238 ID: bb78f2

Those rumors concern me, Shup may take them seriously.
Ask Tevlis how seriously Shup might take those rumors. You don't want your head on a stick. You want to get better at this kinda stuff and give her a gift, but also alive because Shup doesn't think you're muscling in on his fiancee, because we're not. You're just trying to respect her, is all, without the whole titles thing getting in the way. Whatever the truth is about your feelings for her, it doesn't matter at all. You're no threat, competition, or anything, no matter how good at fighting we could get. We're smart enough to know that's why Shup tolerates the conversations with Lily, but those rumors could still get you killed if Shup's had enough time humoring you and the rumors turn into an insult on his character.
You could handle dying in battle, you'd be goddamn terrified of it and you don't want that, but shit you'd understand that's how battle goes. But having Shup kill you over rumors? Not what we want. Far from it. That's so lame. After all this training? That's terrifying, unwanted, and super goddamn lame.
Not gonna stop being friends with Lily though, even if we die like a tool because of it. Be a worse tool if we stopped because of it.
No. 590244 ID: dc4b80

Tevliss has turned out to be a decent guy so far but you better never break character with anyone cept your brother. Do your best to never let anyone know what you are plotting. Can't really hide how you act with Lily but such is life.

"I will admit to a case of puppy love when I first saw her. But she shot me down very quickly and I realized it was a ridiculous dream."

"But Shup did tell me that he would like it If I was her friend. So a friend I will be as long as she wishes it. I just treat her like a normal person and she seems to like that. Not like I know the proper way to make friends with a noble. Us dirty assed leaf munchers are ignorant forest savages after all. Then wink and give him a friendly nudge."

"I am not going to second guess what Shup wants so if the others snicker let them. I know nothing about the man so am not about to guess at his motives. I think he is powerful enough to not worry when stupid kids hang out with his fiance."

Anyways for a gift you could go for the horn but I would think over your talks with Lily. Did she ever get excited about something around here? Or a story she or you told? Maybe she mentioned how it sucked not having a so and so out here in the woods. The best gift is something someone never knew they needed.
No. 590247 ID: 0ee153

Shup has already been established to not give a fuck whether or not Fen wants Lily because he knows Lily can't afford not to marry him.

That said, the becoming a noble plan should stay a secret. Tell him you got shot down hardcore and you're in the process of getting over it. Hopefully getting her a gift as a friend will help end it.
No. 590250 ID: 487455

>I think you're a bit of a dumbass
Probably right. You'd have to ask Shup why he's left my forearm unmolested, because I don't understand it.
No. 590383 ID: d470e9
File 140858643551.png - (37.73KB , 800x800 , 81.png )

"Wait, about those rumors... is there any chance Shup might take them seriously?"
>".... what, that you're a toolbag?"
"No, about chasing after Lily."
>"Well ain't ya? It's not like Shup's been oblivious to it either, you know. Course, if you ever went too far with her, or hurt her, this whole place'd end up as a burn mark on the forest."
"I would never. She's shot me down, anyways, so any dream I might have had is gone."
>"Right. Shup doesn't think you'd hurt her either, apparently. If you think you've ever actually gotten alone time with Lily, you're still a dumbass. Shup probably just doesn't feel threatened by some rag wearing dirt roller hanging out with her. Not like I know him that well, but he ain't the jealous sort."
"I know. That's probably right."

>Think over your talks with Lily. Did she ever get excited about something around here? Or a story she or you told? Maybe she mentioned how it sucked not having a so and so out here in the woods.
The only thing I can think of are concepts, like freedom and honesty in our lives. I can't really give her gifts like that.

"I don't want to make it look like I'm trying to steal Lily away, though, so should I get a gift for Shup and Lily? One of our enemy tribes had a horn that's very valuable, but it would take me at least half a day to get it, and dangerous. I'm afraid that the gift might be a bit... too much, though, for a first present."
>".... what, is it made out of solid mithril or something?"
"Er, no, it's just a tuskflail horn."
>"Not bad, but shit, you think you're gonna impress either of them with gifts by its material value? Shup could get like 10 of those things. Made out of gold. Don't even bother with Shup, it'd be like some squirrel offering you a nut. Just man up and get a present for Lily, at least she gives a shit and just cares that you risked bodily harm for something, and that something was thoughtful. I mean if you want I could just walk over to that tribe and demand they hand it over if you wanna be a coward about it, but it'd still be a gift from you to her. Or just give her one of those dinky idols your shaman has in the back hut as a little forest souvenir."

That's right! That's an obvious gift, since she has interest in our tribe, something just handcrafted by us may make for a good gift. Still, they're just loosely carved wooden idols of past heroes, and trying to get the shaman to let me just give one away might be harder than stealing the horn.
No. 590393 ID: 2fd516

Make one yourself then. Hand-crafted gifts usually have more impact anyway.
No. 590404 ID: 60700b

Is there time for that?
No. 590407 ID: dc4b80

She would probably like the horn but might dislike the idea of you stealing it from another tribe. Would be a impressive feat but ultimately would be stealing from another poor tribe like your own. Plus if you did not get it completely unnoticed and leave no trace at all could pull your family into more conflict. You already have problems with the your other neighbors.

The idols could be a good idea. Maybe one of those nicely dressed up in glow leaves or something. Is it something you could make one of yourself or would that take to much time? Simple handcrafted things make excellent gifts. Unless you are completely hopeless with your hands could be a option.

Another idea could be a glow tree seedling. Not sure if you could successfully uproot and pot a small tree but that would make a very nice gift.

Also could think about some of the women of your tribe. Have any of them ever been given a gift they really liked? Or your brother might have some ideas.

So go talk to your brother about your ideas and see what he thinks. The horn and idol or tree are good possibilities but make sure you have a solid plan before you go for something.
No. 590432 ID: d470e9
File 140859892215.png - (90.44KB , 800x800 , 82.png )

"That's... actually a really good idea, Tevliss."
>"Well fuck, don't sound all surprised."
"Really, thank you. I don't think Lily would appreciate me stealing from another poor tribe, to be honest."

I'm not the best carver, but I think I can at least convince our shaman to help me make a carving. I can think of a couple of options.

The dragon, Akizil. Kobolds are said to be the lesser forms made from when a greater creature is torn apart. My tribe and Lily were made out of Akizil, but since we haven't actually seen that dragon, we don't know what he looks like. Our tribe has our own image of him, so I would make it out of our tribe's take on it.

Our first chieftain. It's entirely from our own tribe, but it is unique and might not be as awkward as gifting our take on the dragon to be taken back into a home that probably has a different view on it. I don't like this idea as much, but it is a safer bet.

Or something else.

>"Hey, Tevliss, quit hanging out with the dirt and arm wrestle me!" I hear a soldier down the hill yell.
>"I gotta go. You wanna see me give that fucker some splinters?"
".... I do, actually, but I need to take care of other things. Thanks again, goodnight."
>"I hope you take care of getting an actual shirt. Anyway, don't take those dicks seriously. We mess around a lot."
No. 590433 ID: d470e9
File 140859893465.png - (96.95KB , 800x800 , 83.png )

>Have any of them ever been given a gift they really liked?
Mostly stolen objects or trophies of conquest.

>Another idea could be a glow tree seedling.
Unfortunately, there aren't glow trees, just glow leaves. The regular trees here occasionally sprout a glowleaf, but only the trees that grow on this forest's soil. It wouldn't do Lily much good.

I go to Zizi.
"Hey, Zizi, I'm going to handcarve something for Lily. Do you have any ideas, or for a gift in general?"
>"How about yourself?"
"You mean a carving? That's... incredibly self centered."
>"Yeah good point. Uhhhh... I got nothing, a carving sounds good though. Could make it out of the forest god!"
"The northern empire doesn't really believe in gods though, do they?"
>"No, but that's why it's all exotic."

I wish I had thought of this sooner, I only have two days and three nights to work on it now, as I believe they leave the morning of the 8th.
No. 590434 ID: e62dd0

It could be insulting to Shup if you make a gift for Lily and not for him too, so you might want to keep that in mind.
No. 590435 ID: 2fd516

Forest god.

Also get a new shirt goddamn.
No. 590436 ID: 2fd516

If we get him a gift too he might accuse Fen of flirting with him again.
No. 590437 ID: dc4b80

Well get to it then. You can practice fighting in the day and work on your carving by the light of some glow leaves. Might be tiring but you are young and resilient.

So you will need some nice wood and some tools to carve it with. I would head to your shaman and see if he can help with those. Not sure how easy it is to get along with him but he might like the idea. Shows proper reverence to the local deity and gets his name out into the wider world. What more could a god want.

Another option for tools would be to see if anyone in Shups entourage has any metal tools. Would be much easier to carve if you had a nice sharp knife you could borrow from Telviss or something.

As for what to make the dragon sounds interesting but I would go with the forest god. There are probably plenty of shrines and images of Akizal out in the world but your forest god will be something exotic in the empire.
No. 590438 ID: bb78f2

Carve Lily dummy
No. 590444 ID: d8a627

...You should probably ask about this, on the grounds that you only intend to be polite, and would simply rather avoid embarrassing yourself again with an accidental flirt.

Assuming it isn't considered a flirtatious act, you can gift it to Lily and tell her it is for both her and Lord Shup, "--If he has any interest in a collection of tribal idols." Also, make sure to ask one of the servants how clean it needs to be. You do not want to be tracking unnecessary dirt into a Mythril Noble's home, and Lord Shup has stated that even after your tribe's bath, they all looked dirty to him still.
Leeeet's avoid outright flirts like that. Fen's trying to ignore his love and just be a friend and get Lily to be his friend in return. Without love, friendship is the best he can get, no need to ruin that.
I'd say if you had the time, you could ask Lily about it, and if it would be considered simply polite, or flirtatious to carve a figure of both her and Lord Shup, but I think it would be best to carve either the God or the Dragon. I'm sure Lord Shup can get "Proper" sculptures of himself and his wives and would just be insulted by the Tribal's lesser quality.
No. 590458 ID: 487455

>The only thing I can think of are concepts, like freedom and honesty in our lives. I can't really give her gifts like that.
Well no, but you might be able to give a gift that represents those concepts.

>Could make it out of the forest god!
Wait, out of the forest god? The forest god is a thing you can use for materials? Like, the biggest tree in the forest or something?

Nah, it's not insulting for the squirrel to snub him.
No. 590538 ID: d470e9
File 140867781181.png - (66.94KB , 800x800 , 84.png )

"... and you mean make a carving of the forest god, right, not out of?"
"I think I'll do that. Also, do we have any spare shirts around?"
>"Nah, I'll get Kiki to patch yours up real quick."

Kiki does so, and our shaman lets me borrow our carving knife. I get some pointers, and work well into the night with it.

After the next morning's breakfast, I get back to the training.

"Why has Shemi not been helping train me recently?"
>"What, I'm not good enough?"
"You are, but I'm not sure I could ever fight like a mountain kobold."
>"Good point. To answer your question, because I'm the only one that was outright ordered to train you. Shemi was just told to do it for a day. The rest of 'em don't want to help me or you out with it."
"That's fine, but you made it sound like all the soldiers were suffering from boredom."
>"Yeah, well, wouldn't be the first time we trained people who ended up being our enemies. You got a lot of resentment from us, kid, getting trained by some of the best just cause Lily took a liking to you."
"They could just go and say it to my face."
>"Yeah, then have Lily chew 'em out. Or worse, Shup. They'll be pansies about it with good reason. Hell, I have misgivings about it. Actual soldiers in training are just told to beat each other up to train, meanwhile I'm here giving hard knowledge to forest boy."
"It's not gone unappreciated, Tevliss. Between your training and Lily, I have a reason to join the northern empire and no reason for the southern."
>"Well glad you're not some cut and chaser. I'd better hear your name in the grapevine someday, cause Tevliss doesn't share his secrets with just anybody."
No. 590539 ID: d470e9
File 140867782605.png - (55.24KB , 800x800 , 85.png )

>"Yeah you do, Tev, cause you got ordered to tell a nobody about them. How's the pet coming along?" a field kobold comes up to us.
>"Better than you ever have, fluffy."
>"What, you think he's ever gonna be able to touch one of us?"
>"One of us? You're a weakass shrimp, Werssi! He could probably kick your ass."
>"Don't be a prick, insulting me like that."
>"Here's my training sword. Fen, show me I didn't waste my goddamn time with you and go kick his ass."

No. 590541 ID: 2fd516

Let's fucking do it. Tell him "Come and have a go, if you think you're hard enough." You need a varied experience and this is a good opportunity.

Do you have any idea how a field kobold fights? Fight a bit defensively at first to get an idea how he moves, and what he's capable of, before you go on the offensive and leave yourself open accidentally. Then GET TUFF and try to wreck his face.

I wonder if you're strong enough to grapple him. You could use some mountain kobold tactics against him.
No. 590544 ID: dc4b80

Well give him a salute with the sword and take your fighting stance.

I know its a bit sudden but if your dreams require you to be the best fighter out there you have to start somewhere. Even if you do not win this you should at least have enough training to hold your ground.

Maybe ask Tevliss if you should be actually fighting any of Shups men. Training is one thing but we do not want to get him or us or Werssi in trouble. If Tevliss thinks you can take him you probably can. But there is always room for accidents and he probably is not using a wooden sword.

If you do not get permission you know this is going to end with someone showing up right as you beat the crap out of him and its going to look bad.
No. 590545 ID: 32105d

Go ahead and challenge him. He should have a training sword of his own. If he hesitates or pulls a real weapon you can taunt him about being scared of a beginner with a stick.

Then do your best to win and learn as much as you can about fighting field kobolds while doing so.
No. 590581 ID: 487455

Assume your stance, and wait for him to draw his sword. We're challenging him, not attacking. Meaning he can refuse to fight us if he wants, but he'll look like a coward or a fool doing so.
No. 590595 ID: d8a627

Don't worry about niceties, such as salutes or bows, Tevliss just said they were literally told to beat each other up as training.

Challenge the guy to a fight, and if he accepts or start coming at you, give him a fight. Either this guy has no chance like Tevliss is saying, or he's getting you to train against somebody who poses a challenge to you since you said it yourself that you can never match a Mountain Kobold's strength.
No. 590600 ID: bb78f2

Those legs of his look weak
Definitely something to take advantage of.
Do it do it do it
No. 590639 ID: fe4bfc

Make sure to challenge him and not just "go over and kick his ass". That's fine for the soldiers but if you did that crap it would end badly.

As for fighting him you will need to watch for his footwork I bet. With feet and legs like that I bet he can jump pretty high. Also his footwork will be different than fighting someone like Tevliss or your brother.
No. 590640 ID: 1943a1

get into a fighting stance, arch an eyebro---do kobolds hAVE eyebrows? well, do the gesture paralell to arching an eyebrow and go 'well?'
No. 590641 ID: d8a627

See here: >>587797 They most certainly do have eyebrows.
No. 590885 ID: d470e9
File 140884965525.png - (63.97KB , 800x800 , 86.png )

Tevliss tosses that kobold his own training sword.

"Alright, I'll try, but do I have permission? It's going to look bad if I actually manage to beat him up."
>"Yeah it'll look bad, for him." says Tevliss, "I'm sanctioning this fight, so it's fine for you. And it's not a sparring match, it's a damn fight till one of you yields or can't fight anymore. You don't even need to use the sword if you don't want. HEY EVERYONE. Fen and Wussi are gonna have a fight!"
No. 590886 ID: d470e9
File 140884966427.png - (29.21KB , 800x800 , 87.png )

Tevliss bellows it loud enough for the whole damn forest to hear.
No. 590887 ID: d470e9
File 140884967214.png - (81.02KB , 800x800 , 88.png )

".... I'm challenging you then, Werssi."
>"I'll accept that mistake."

Werssi doesn't go on an offensive, he just starts circling around me. His eyes remain forward, focusing on every little thing I do. Or don't do. The way he moves seems highly controlled, he's rather floaty about his movements.

I start hearing commotion behind me as people start running to watch.

>"You better attack me quick so I can kick your ass before everyone's around to see it."
No. 590889 ID: 487455

Floaty, fast, controlled and observant suggests he's going to be dangerous on the counterattack. Especially since he's trying to goad you into attack. He wants to respond- hit you where you're open when you come at him.

Don't give him what he wants. No going for a fast finish.
No. 590890 ID: 2fd516

Feint. Or just try to hit his sword at first. If the opportunity rises, don't be afraid to use the hilt of your sword.

He's also really confident, so you coouuuuld fake an opening, then punish him for trying to take advantage of it. Maybe if you taunt him enough he'll lose focus, so try that when you're able.
No. 590892 ID: d8a627

I'm guessing that while Mountain Kobols are strong, Field Kobolds are quick. You look to be between the two, which means in terms of just attacking where you can, he'll hit more than you. Play defensively, aim to disarm him, or to disable his legs.
No. 590894 ID: dc4b80

You have been training alone with Tevliss and none of the other soldiers have been paying attention. So he is watching you to see what Tevliss has taught you. Looking for weakness's in your stance and footwork and such.

Ignore his taunts and do the same. He has a lot more to lose in this fight than you do so will be very careful attacking you.

One thing I notice is his tail is much lighter than yours. His center of gravity will be different and you will have to carefully watch how he moves.
No. 590895 ID: 2fd516

If his tail is lighter... and he walks on the balls of his feet... His balance is weak! Knock him off balance.
No. 590906 ID: e5e708

Keep in sword's reach of him to limit his movement, with his range of motion limited he'll be forced to use his weapon rather than his movement to defend himself.
No. 590931 ID: 418109

If he's good at counter-attacking, you need to feint. Just enough that he breaks his defensive stance, so you can attack in return.

Be careful, if he's really good he may counter-feint.
No. 590993 ID: d470e9
File 140891046622.png - (54.51KB , 800x800 , 89.png )

I take a few quick swings to tap his sword, and try to see his style of fighting as much as he's seeing mine.

His legs are thin and weak looking, but he crouches down and seem to have no trouble moving around quickly, like he might spring at me at any second. We both play defensively, and a crowd starts forming. I start moving in, not to attack, but to keep my sword within range of him. He still dances in and out of that range, still incessantly circling me, tapping my own sword. We're both often in striking range, but he still is waiting on me to attack.
No. 590994 ID: d470e9
File 140891047523.png - (63.25KB , 800x800 , 90.png )

He taps my sword somewhat hard, and on his pullaway, I drop down as I lower myself slightly - especially my shoulders - to strike low, and he enters a low guard.

It was a feint, and I snap my sword upwards to go for him.

He, however, ducks down faster than I could have expected, and springs up while I'm completely open.
No. 590995 ID: d470e9
File 140891048466.png - (50.67KB , 800x800 , 91.png )

My ribs get hit hard.

It was a fight, though, Tevless said, so I just bring my sword down on his head.
No. 590996 ID: d470e9
File 140891049330.png - (51.23KB , 800x800 , 92.png )

I thought it would have knocked him off balance, but he just springs up and strikes me again. This time, I try to bring my sword down on him again, but he dodges, and keeps on striking me. He's moving too damn fast, and I can't find my footing or even see straight enough to defend anymore!
No. 590997 ID: d470e9
File 140891053969.png - (41.11KB , 800x800 , 93.png )

Eventually he pushes his sword straight onto my chest and shoves me off my feet. Damnit, I was able to at least hold my own at the start, but I'm just not that good.

>"That's enough." Tevliss says. Even though I was knocked down, Werssi looks like he was going to keep beating me.
>"Think about that one while you're stuck in bed for a week!" Werssi taunts me again and turns. "You're smiling pretty wide for someone who just had his pupil knocked on his ass, Tevliss."
>"Yeah, I guess I am."
No. 590998 ID: d470e9
File 140891055425.png - (36.25KB , 800x800 , 94.png )

Shup is there, facing Werssi as he turns. He could have been there for the whole time for all I know.

>"Well, that was a display. What were you two doing, fighting?"
>"Tevliss apparently thought his pupil could beat me in a fight."
>"And please tell me how it went."
>"As you can see, my lord, I won from a straight fight standpoint, still standing."
>"And if this were a real fight, to the death, with real swords? I did see it, and it appears that Fen gave you a nasty strike onto your head while you hit his ribcage."
>".... yes, but you know how sharp my swords are. He would not have survived, and I did strike him first. Therefore, even in a real swordfight, I would have been victorious."

Shup pauses, and for a second I think he's looking for a longer explanation.
No. 590999 ID: d470e9
File 140891056301.png - (27.53KB , 800x800 , 95.png )

But he then bursts out in laughter, right in Werssi's face.

>"Werssi, Werssi... someday I will convince your father that you need to be sent on a real battlefield, not tap wooden sticks together in a nice, smoothly matted training room day after day. Do you honestly believe that if this were a real fight, a single mortal wound to one's side would fell them instantly? That they would just collapse and lay limp for you to dance on? There have been kobolds with multiple arrows through their torso and limbs that I have seen scale a fort's wall, slay a dozen men, and only then fall down and be dead by the time they hit the ground. No, Werssi, this was a draw. Against a savage, I might add, who has only been receiving proper training for five days. Please think on that. Carry on, then, everyone."
No. 591001 ID: 2fd516

I think you are likely allowed a smile here. Just don't speak directly to Shup or look at him, as usual.

Alright, as has been clearly demonstrated, you need to get faster. I wonder, if maybe you should try training while wounded to learn to ignore pain.
No. 591002 ID: 487455

>waiting on me to attack.
>He, however, ducks down faster than I could have expected, and springs up while I'm completely open.
Well, that's what I expected. He doesn't take the offensive- he waits for an opening and counters.

>this was a draw
Well, that's something, at least. In a real fight, you'd both be dead.

Still, you'd like to get good enough to win fights, not just kill.

Don't let this depress you, but don't gloat, either. You're better than you were, but you still have learning to do. And we've got no reason to make an enemy of Werssi by sticking it to him.
No. 591003 ID: d8a627

I get the feeling trying to smile would induce chest pain.
Do so anyways, it'll be worth it. Lord Shup pretty much did just compliment you, in a backwards way of insulting your opponent instead.
No. 591004 ID: dc4b80

I would get up and bow to Werssi. Then thank him for the lesson. It always pays to have good manners. Short as it was I bet you learned a bunch from the fight.

Shup was correct in calling it a draw. In a real fight he would be dead to a head wound and you would be quickly bleeding to death. Will have to work on learning to attack without leaving yourself completely open like that. But is something that will come with more practice.

Lets just hope that Werssi does not take Shups commentary too personally. Rather not have him holding a grudge against you. Could make a good sparing partner if he realizes he has more to learn yet.

Then check yourself for any injuries that might need tending and ask Tevliss what he thought of the fight.
No. 591033 ID: 89b2a2

Wait until they leave, then ask "Tevliss... this was a setup, wasn't it? Shup manipulated Werssi."
No. 591034 ID: d8a627

LOOOORD Shup. Don't forget the Lord. Never forget the Lord.
No. 592426 ID: d470e9
File 140979664143.png - (37.91KB , 800x800 , 96.png )

The crowd and Shup starts dispersing, Werssi leaves quickly before I get a chance to do much. Just as I try to shout a thanks for the lesson, he turns to me and gives me a nasty look. Any chance of me smiling after that is ruined, as I don't want to have an enemy in the empire.

>He doesn't take the offensive- he waits for an opening and counters.
I thought he might do that, but I wasn't able to stop it even so.
No. 592427 ID: d470e9
File 140979673163.png - (50.78KB , 800x800 , 97.png )

I wait until Tevliss and I are alone again. That takes awhile with people asking me if I'm alright, or saying I did well or I got lucky.

"What was that?" I finally ask. "Did you know that was going to happen?"
>"Nahh, least, not like that. Didn't know if Lord Shup was gonna show up, but really if any of us saw it they could see that you got a draw on him. So you did well."
"I don't feel like I did well."
>"Yeah well, there's a lot of room for improvement, but at least you're catching on. Werssi's just some silver baby that doesn't how to fight worth shi..... okay, fine, he's had some years of fancy pants training at some noble school or something, and I wanted to show Werssi he ain't all that. Guy brags a bunch. But he at least knows something, so I won't say you fought as well as a pile of shit, so there's that. Don't get cocky, I'm still gonna knock you flat till I leave."
"I'm not filled with confidence, right now."
>"Hah, fair point. Can you stand?"
>"Then quit acting like you can't and let's get back to work, damn."
No. 592428 ID: d470e9
File 140979674575.png - (39.43KB , 800x800 , 98.png )

After Tevliss and I finish my training, Lily comes into the town's hut. I figure that she's heard about the fight, and she's somewhat quiet. I'm worried that she doesn't like me fighting. Eventually, I go and address it.

"I'm sorry if you didn't want me fighting Werssi."
"You seem a little quiet."
>"Oh. No, no, I'm just thinking. And, you remember that I'm the one that did tell you to take advantage of our soldier's training, right? Of course it was fine to fight him, as long as it wasn't a real fight."
"I didn't think it would be, but he may have taken it personally."
>"He'll get over it, I think. I'm just sorry I wasn't there to watch. Although... it would have been a little awkward to cheer you on, because of my position and all."
"That's true. I don't think it was worth watching anyway."
>"I think it would have been. At least I could have seen how you got this hurt and still managed to make it a draw, according to the soldiers. Even if you got hurt, whenever they talk about you, they make it sound like you're always giving it your all."
"Did... did they really say that?"
>"Ah, uh... they said it in their own, gruff sort of way."
"All they say is that I keep coming to them to get beat up, don't they?"
>"... yes, Fen, but even the best traits can be put in a negative light, and even looked down upon. I'm sorry, but tomorrow is our last day, and the soldiers are going to be doing a lot of packing up tomorrow, so maybe it's a good day for you to take it easy. Is there anything you'd like to do on your last day while we're around?"

I still have awhile to finish my figurine for her, but I can go a long time without sleeping, so a single all nighter won't hurt, if I can think of anything.
No. 592430 ID: 2fd516

Maybe you can spar with your brother now that you have a better chance of keeping up with him.
No. 592432 ID: d90668

Well if there is anything to show her around here now would be the time to do it.

Or you could just hang out and talk with her. Always nice to cement the friendship you have. Would be good to learn more about the empire and life in it. So when you head up there you at least know how to fit in.

Might be a dangerous subject but I am curious about Shups magical training. She said he was not a natural and that you needed many years of training. If you plan on stealing her away from him you need to know as much about Shup as you can.
No. 592447 ID: 76288e

If you two keep staring at each other like that everyone is going to start talking.

Go do something fun.
No. 592515 ID: ebbdd7

Giving up sleep for the gift seems reasonable.

I wouldn't worry about Shup's magic. That's clearly a long term problem, not a tomorrow problem. And it won't matter if they don't take you with them, anyways.

>Go do something fun.
I like this idea, although there's the question of what we can get away with doing.
No. 592518 ID: fe4bfc

Yeah I can see why the soldiers are talking about you behind your back. You look like a couple of love struck teenagers.

Is there anything in or near the village that is worth showing her? If you were actually dating there would be more options but you have to be careful.

Maybe ask her if there is anything she would like to do or see before she leaves.

Oh ask her about the rock thing while you have the chance. I can't imagine she can get anywhere fast having to get stones carted around in front of her everywhere. Would be nice to know how that mess got started.
No. 592936 ID: e6f4c6

It's date time.

You are gonna wanna wash yourself, fix the holes in your clothes(or grab some new ones) and then take her somewhere nearby that's naturally beautiful. You can present the carving that you are going to finish overnight there.
No. 593258 ID: d470e9
File 141015276569.png - (25.05KB , 800x800 , 99.png )

>Well if there is anything to show her around here now would be the time to do it.
There may be one place, but it can't be shown now. But, I think she may enjoy the view at the top of a tall shroom tree very much, so I'll plan on showing her at the last morning. Somehow, I'll need a way to get her to the top of the tree. Sunset is also nice, but I want to be able to show the finished idol to her then, as well.

>If you plan on stealing her away from him you need to know as much about Shup as you can.
I may want to ask her later, but it is a dangerous subject.

"Are you busy tomorrow?"
>"No, I really have nothing to do. There's a lot to learn from your tribe, though."
"You're probably the only person outside of the tribe who has ever said that."
>"Ahh, but it's true. For instance, how did you get the hay to build this hut?"
"Oh, it wasn't much. The lower elevation in the forest you go, the taller the grass gets. We traded with a farther tribe for some of their hay."
>"Ah! Yes, trading is - oh, you would already know how your own tribe trades. Anyway, I'll be around tomorrow, if you'd like to talk."
"I'd offer to teach you one of our games, but our only games involve, well, can't do much with stepping stones or without physical contact."
>"True. I learned a little bit, and they're very physical, I don't think I'd be much good."
"Doesn't it take a lot of time to get from place to place with those stones needing to be placed down?"
>"Longer, yes, but my attendants have gotten very good at laying them out in front of me. They're very athelic. Oh, anyway, Shup does have some board games, though."
"Board games?"
>"Yes, sort of like little puzzles."
"I... don't think I'd be very good at those."
>"They can be very easy to learn, I think you'll be just fine."
"Then I'll give it a shot, if you think so."
>"Please! Right now?"
"Can we?"
>"Shup is planning our route back, right now, and most of your tribe sets up for the night, so I don't have anything to do."
No. 593259 ID: d470e9
File 141015278788.png - (28.46KB , 800x600 , 100.png )

That's all I need to hear, so Lily leads me into the building the mountain kobolds were carrying by themselves. The stone bearers look at each other strangely, and don't follow us in. The main chamber, where I first saw Shup and Lily, is empty, and Lily guides me into the back into a small chamber that must be her bedroom.

I feel like a bad dust tornado that blew into this pristine building.

"I should have gotten washed up and had some better clothes for this. I'm tracking dirt everywhere."
>"It's really fine, Fen, the housekeepers honestly get nervous if they look like they're not pulling their weight around, and I think they were just a worry away from 'happening' to find an 'accidentally' dumped bucket of muddy water on the floor. So, don't worry about that." Lily says, pulling out a flat piece of thick paper and some well carved idols. "This is Kimankara. It's something that a lot of warband leaders play, they say that it helps a lot with thinking about unit cohesion and complex planning. Each person gets a turn, and can move up to three pieces so long as those pieces are touching each other. I'll explain the rules."

She does so, and we play some rounds. I'm not good at it, but I do get better a few games in. I can tell Lily is going easy on me, but I think she's enjoying herself, and that's what matters too. I don't really get this sort of game, but somehow, I like it. I think it's just the fact that I'm alone wi-

I'm alone with Lily.
No. 593261 ID: 2fd516

Alone with Lily, in her bedroom. Mention it'd be a scandal if anyone found out. You could be in here kissing, for all anyone knows.

Actually, come to think of it... maybe this would be a good time to tell her your long-term goal. To become a champion, and a noble, so that you have a chance of being with her.

Put some of your focus into the game, and ask her to play seriously for a bit. This is supposed to be good for commanders, which means this could help you too. Pay attention to how she moves her pieces, think about why she's doing it. Try to guess at the strategy she's using, because it's probably a better strategy than you've been using.
No. 593262 ID: 8b533b

>I'm alone with Lily.
Well, now you know why they were giving you odd looks.

But, more bluntly, so what? It's not as if you're going to ravish her now. Or like this fundamentally changes either of your situations.

All you can really do at this point is enjoy her company. And the fact that she trusts you.
No. 593263 ID: d8a627

Try and be careful about how you say your goals... Something like being envious of Lord Shup, wishing to know what it's like to even have a little bit of power... But that you suppose you'll just be out here, with your Tribe.
While the training with the soldiers will help you keep your tribe safe and well off, some strategy training would help. If she plays seriously, and explains your mistakes and how she took advantage of them, you could learn from that, right? If you think so, let her know.
No. 593270 ID: d90668

Yeah alone in a small portable building with thin walls. I would bet anything there are at least two people listening in on you right now.

It would be nice to tell her that you are not going to give up that easy. That you have plans to win yourself a title and her heart. But this is probably not the best place to do it.

If you do have a overwhelming urge to tell her your plans be subtle about it. Say that she has inspired you to follow your heart and leave the village to follow your dreams. If there is a way to get what you want out of life you are going to find it quickly.

She should know what you are getting at.
No. 593271 ID: 8b533b

>tell her stuff
Dunno, I'm almost of the mind that we shouldn't be souring our first real chance to have a good time together with our half-baked and far-fetched plans. It'll only make her feel bad if she has to explain why it won't work, or let us down, or worse, pities Fen's naivete.
No. 593274 ID: d8a627

Okay, pose it seriously. "I'm not going to be giving up... I mean, not on everything. I've had dreams of becoming something more, and I understand that the chances of it happening are low, but if I don't take the chance and become somebody, I'll just regret it for the rest of my life.
"I mean, I don't envy Lord Shup his Mythril status, but I do envy his Nobility. Just... Becoming a Wood Noble is enough to help out a family or tribe.
"But I'm rambling on personal goals... I don't expect you enjoy listening to it, do you? We came in here for the game, so we should try and focus on it."
No. 593308 ID: fe4bfc

Keep your thoughts clean Fen. If not for the situation you both are in this would be a great time to do a little flirting and see where it took you.

But does not mean you can not enjoy your time with her while it lasts. Just avoid putting your foot in your mouth if you can.

If you were really alone I would tell her how you feel and that you are not going to give up that easily. That you have a plan to win your own fortune and nobility through some nebulous plan your brother might have. Or maybe skip that last part.

Whatever you do its best to assume that a servant or two are listening in on you. That's sort of what servants do. When they are not busy working they are spying and gossiping.
No. 593319 ID: 094283

>The stone bearers look at each other strangely
>I'm alone with Lily.
errrrrrrrrrrr you know that it doesn't really matter if you don't actually do the old 8 legged lizard with her if shup suspects that you did, right?
that means you either get a witness in here or you might as well just sex that lady up right now. a hard choice to make, i'm sure, but do consider if it's worth losing your limbs for.
No. 593322 ID: fe4bfc


Hmm good point. In some cultures if a married woman even goes to another mans house its considered adultery. And you are all alone with her in her bedroom.

With how you two have been acting some people are going to assume that the instant you came in here you started wildly making out.
No. 593323 ID: e6f4c6

Look, don't tell her you have some insane plan to become a noble and win her. She'll object, even if only for your own sake. It also puts an unfair amount of pressure on her and just makes it more likely you are gonna have problems with Shup.

Instead, use this limited time to get more personal with her. Ask her about her home and family, her dreams and desires. This is the most private moment you are ever likely to have with the woman, don't ruin it with a potential sour note.

She's been expressing an interest in you and your tribe, now it is time for you to express an interest in hers. If you wanna get all teary eyed and proclaim your love... well I'm not saying don't be honest, but don't go blurting out that you have a plan and you'll save her from her situation, because you don't and you can't.
No. 593343 ID: d90668


I think this is the most reasonable plan.
No. 593398 ID: d470e9
File 141023649020.png - (24.54KB , 800x800 , 101.png )

>So what if you're alone with her?
Er, yeah. This isn't much different than normal!

I have an itch to tell her that I want to become a noble or otherwise get enough power to support her and her family.

But.... no. Not right now. I'm just some borderlands barbarian to everyone north and south of here.

"Would you like to play another game after this, Lily?"
>"I would, unless you're getting tired of it?"
"Not at all! Actually, uh... I'd like you to not hold back. I'd like to get good at this game, so please let me know how you beat me at this so well, because I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing wrong."

She smiles, and sets the board up again.
No. 593399 ID: d470e9
File 141023650456.png - (47.54KB , 800x800 , 102.png )

Between games, I ask her about her own family and life. It seems easy and a world away. She also talks about other distant lands, like the coastal reefs of Fisher's Run and touring the infrastructure and road systems of Shup's Goldyard.

"By the way... I really can't help but worry a little bit about our situation. I'm not, uh, you know, trying to make anything of it, but if anyone was to catch us alone in your bedroom... should I be here?"
>"Mm... probably not, but please don't let that stop you. My attendants are really protective of me, and this is the only place I can go without anyone hovering over me. Well... that's not entirely true, but at least the kobolds around us are out of sight."

I leave it at that. The walls honestly don't seem that thin, but I have no idea.

We play a few more games. She's good at it, but she says I'm getting better between a yawn of hers.

>"It's gotten late. Let's do this again tomorrow, Fen."
"It'll be my pleasu-"

I hear some people coming up the stairway.

>"Hm.. you leaving might be a little awkward, sorry, Fen. Lizi, can you let him out?"
>"Yes." I nearly jump. Someone speaks from the floor boards. "Fen, turn around, slide down to the ground, turn around again, and leave forward."
>"Sorry for the quick goodbye." Lily says. "We'll have a better chance tomorrow."
"Y...eah. Sleep well, Lily."
No. 593400 ID: d470e9
File 141023651422.png - (47.37KB , 800x800 , 103.png )

I feel like that exit is as awkward as leaving out the front, but I do so, and wander back to my home to work on my figurine. Zizi tells me that our mother might know a thing or two about carving, so I crawl to her tree hole. Apparently she had a hobby of it when she was in the north.

>"That is a very good knife, Fen." she says. "It's not really one for carving, though. You didn't steal it, did you?"
"No, no! Of course not. Tevliss let me have it. Well, borrow it. I'll probably return it to him tomorrow night."
>"Good. Remember to thank him."
"I'm... not a kid anymore."
>"You aren't? It's so hard to tell, we hardly see each other even within the same tribe. You, Zizi and Kiki are so close to each other."
"We've been so busy. I'm sorry, I didn't get a chance to catch up over the last week."
>"I know. Whenever I've seen you, you were always working hard. I heard from Zizi about Lily. I want to recommend against pursuing her, but not as much as I want you to follow what you want."
"... thanks, mom. By the way, do we have any new shirts?"
>"Hmm... no, I don't think so. I do have some fabric, so I can start on a new one."
No. 593401 ID: d470e9
File 141023652409.png - (213.92KB , 800x800 , 104.png )

I get a little bit of sleep, and the figuring is mostly done. I can finish it up before tomorrow morning. Tevliss and Shemi come up to me soon after breakfast.

>"Hey, Shrimp."
"Hey Tevliss. I thought you two were going to be busy today?"
>"Yeah, we are, so I'm gonna keep this short. Was thinking I didn't want to see my week's worth of training to just get pissed away. So first off, I expect to see you practice some footwork and swing forms today to make sure you remember all of it and can keep practicing. Second off, I've seen your sticks for swords, it's gonna be a goddamn waste of Tevliss's training just to see you club someone in the face with a stick all day. I'm giving you a sword."
"I kind of like my own sword."
>"That thing? It's done you well?"
"Yes. I'm familiar with it."
>"Yeah? You can say that this thing is solid, and it's not gonna go break on you?"
"It's always felt sturdy in my hands."
>"You attached to it? Like a friend?"
"Yes, I am."
>"And it helps you out in a fight?"
"A lot of the tribes around here just use clubs."
>"The hell does that have to do with anything?"
"I mean, yes, it does."
>"Let me see your sword."
No. 593402 ID: d470e9
File 141023653455.png - (25.13KB , 800x800 , 105.png )

No. 593403 ID: d90668

I guess one of your last lessons with Tevliss should be proper weapon maintenance then.

Just be happy it happened in his hands and not in the middle of a fight.
No. 593404 ID: 2fd516

Oh jeez. It's not supposed to do that, it's supposed to bend. Well, thank him for showing you your sword was crap.
No. 593405 ID: 8b533b

Man, Lily has her own ninjas!

...ouch. Rather unrelenting in your lessons, aren't you.

I guess the lesson here is not to get a sentimental attachment to a weapon. Or maybe not to hand over your sword.
No. 593448 ID: e6f4c6

Great, even if you were never gonna use that again there's a LOT of people here who could use a sword.
No. 593476 ID: d470e9
File 141031283794.png - (36.49KB , 800x800 , 106.png )

"Okay, I get your point, but a lot of other people here could have used that sword."
>"Yeah, should've left it with one of your enemies so they can get killed trying to use it. But fine, consider it a trade, my good sword for your dragon shit. This thing was your friend? Well here's your new friend, and it's not going to break on you when you need it most. This one bends. And it's balanced. You ever make a dime, then your next friend should be custom-fit. And for fucks sake I'd better not see you swinging it into trees. Just actual training dummies and bodies. In fact, Shemi, can we just 'forget' to pack a training dummy?"
>"Yeah, and the quartermaster can 'forget' a few coins in your pay.
>"Yeah nevermind. Fen, this blade ain't touching anything but other people. Goddamn, do I need to give you a sharpening stone too?"
"I have one, and I know how to sharpen a blade."
>"I don't trust you."
>"Well why don't you just invite him over to your house and feed him breakfast in bed?" Shemi asks.
>"Fuck you Shemi. Fen you're just getting the sword. If I ever see you again, this thing better be pristine."
"I'll do my best, but if you don't trust me, you can tell me what you know about weapon maintenance."
>"No. Follow me."
No. 593480 ID: d470e9
File 141031318967.png - (78.69KB , 800x800 , 107.png )

Tevliss brings me closer to the village's center, and has me practice some of the forms that include a variety of movements.

>"Hey, conscript!" Tevliss calls out to Zizi as he walks by.
>"What's up, Tev?"
>"Don't call me Tev. You still remember how to take care of a sword, yeah?"
>"Get your brother to treat the new sword right. The only one snapped in half."
>"Yeah I was wondering when that'd happen."
>"Now spar with him. Real swords. Just test out the swings, shrimp."
"Alright." Tevliss had me spar with him a few times with real swords so that I would be forced to practice a lot of control.

The week was informative, I think. I still can't beat Zizi, but Tevliss showed me why I'm not as good as him. What Zizi is doing is now familiar, he just does it better. It doesn't fill me with confidence, but it does give me the sense that I've got a chance to be good.

>"Alright, I'm outta here." Tevliss says to me, like he's not going to see me again. "See ya, shrimp."
No. 593482 ID: 2fd516

Yeah right. "Goodbye Tevliss! We'll meet again someday, and when we do, we'll see if the student has surpassed his master!"
No. 593487 ID: 88960e

See yah, Tev. And thanks.

Well, looks like he doesn't expect you to be conscripted, but we'll see what happens.

You do want to give Lily her gift before the group moves on, especially if you might not be coming with.

If that happens, we'll deal with that then. Maybe find a way to the northern empire yourself.
No. 593508 ID: d90668

Fen you got far enough in a week to see the basics of what your brother does. And he was apparently pretty hot stuff. You still have a long way to go but nothing moves a man forward like having a goal. Just remember to practice every day if you can from now on.

Well get your new sword put away properly and thank him for everything. Then get your gift ready and give it to Lily. Make sure to get it to her early because when there party leaves it will be to busy then.

If anything happens with Shup just roll with it. And if not you can spend a few days gather supplies and make your own way north after figuring out your brothers plan.
No. 593538 ID: e6f4c6

Tell him someday, you are gonna visit the empire, and you are gonna find him, and you are gonna buy him a drink.
No. 593582 ID: e6f4c6

Is that sword really, really short or are you just holding it at a weird angle?
No. 593861 ID: d470e9
File 141057574355.png - (63.21KB , 800x800 , 108.png )

>Finish the present before Lily leaves

"Oh, wait, you guys are still leaving tomorrow morning, right, not sooner?"

It sounds like I have time after all.
"I think I'm going to visit the empire someday, Tevliss, and I think there's a good chance we'll meet again. I'll be better when we meet, though! Thank you for everything."
>"Yeah yeah."

>How long is that sword?
It's a moderate length, really. It's actually heavier than I would like, to be honest, but I think that with a bit of practice I'll like this sword after all.
No. 593862 ID: d470e9
File 141057575539.png - (48.51KB , 800x800 , 109.png )

I end up spending part of the day with Lily again once I find her.

"Will you have any free time tomorrow morning?"
>"Yes. We'll be getting up soon after sunrise, and making final preparations to go. I don't have much to do, after all, since my attendants will be packing my things for me."

We play some more board games, but eventually just find ourselves chatting without bothering to set up the game again.

>"So what do you plan on doing, Fen?" Lily asks.
>"Your life. Do you think you'll be happy here?"
"Er... well, I think so? Uh..."
>"I'm sorry, it's inquisitive, but while you've been informative, you've always sounded like you just don't like it here."
"... it's true. I was thinking of getting conscripted."
>"Whatever commander takes you in, I'm sure will be happy they did. I could give you some recommendations... oh, no, I think Zizi will be better for it. He should know what you want more than I do."
"Yeah... maybe."

It's tough to hold myself in and say that I want to pursue it. I'm almost certain that Lily can see that I want to say more, but instead of asking, she changes the subject to her own goals of medicine practice. She's less interested in a war medic for serious wounds, but rather to practice general health and longetivity for others.

"I've got to do something, actually. If it's not too much trouble... could we meet again a bit before sunrise?"
>"Hm? Ah... yes, yes, I will be. I'll wait outside of my housing and keep an eye out for you."

I say that without thinking. I would like to be able to bring her to a place with a nice view of the treetops. To do so, I can bring her to a nearby location to the top of a tree, but I don't know if her rule counts the top of a tree as the ground. There's also a location overlooking a small cliff that would be good, but it's outside of our territory, and I would need to convince a couple of soldiers to go along with us, as I just don't think that me bringing Lily outside of our safety zone would be looked at well.
No. 593870 ID: d90668

Hmm for that sort of thing it would probably be best to ask Shup or one of Lily's guardians for there permission. Maybe say you want to show Lily the sights before they head off tomorrow and see what they think. That secret guard Lizi might also be a good person to ask.

Unless you learn more from your brother all you can really say is that you are going to find a way that a guy like you could be with a girl like her. So if you want to tell her any more than that you had better go badger your brother into coughing up his plan.

So get permission to show her someplace nice. Talk to your brother so you can let her know what your intentions are without looking like a fool. And give her a nice parting gift.

I know its dangerous to openly tell her your intentions but its worth the risk. She needs to know and you need to know how she will respond.
No. 593880 ID: d8a627

Go to a guard and tell them you wish to show Lily--and Lord Shup, if he's interested in joining her--one final sight in the morning, but it's a short ways away and would need an escort.

As genuinely interested in the peoples as Lord Shup is, he might actually be interested in something that they can enjoy, like the sunrise. Who knows, even if conscription doesn't happen, he may enjoy it enough himself, or recognize the enjoyment others can experience from it, to come out here more often... Likely with Lily.
No. 593888 ID: 8b533b

>but I don't know if her rule counts the top of a tree as the ground.

>There are some people, like myself, who are never allowed to set foot on soil outside of the empire's borders without good reason
Trees aren't soil, even if they grow out of it. If she related the rule verbatim, I think she could go tree climbing. Maybe.

Heck, it's even probably safe, since she has ninja to make sure she doesn't fall.

...going off in a small group to show her something, on the other hand, almost seems like you're tempting fate. You're asking to ambushed, something to happen to her, and you to be blamed.
No. 594006 ID: d470e9
File 141067684748.png - (35.53KB , 800x800 , 110.png )

"Could I speak to one of your attendants alone for a moment, Lily?"
>"Ah? Sure, that won't be a problem at all."

With that, we wish each other well, and go off to the side with one of the stonebearers.

"I wanted to bring Lily to the top of a tree to view the sunrise." I say, deciding against going out of town. Even with a few guards, I don't trust neighboring tribes to not do anything that I might get blamed for. "Is it possible for her to walk on the tops?"
>"Walk? On a tree?"
"The tops are actually very solid."
>"Why would she want to do such a thing?"
"I think she may enjoy the sunrise."
>".... the rule said the ground, but the rule wasn't made thinking these trees could be walked on. But, fine, she might be disappointed if I get in the way, so I'll bring a rug and a ladder so that she doesn't need to touch the tree directly. If it means that much, then get up well before sunrise and meet me in advance to help me set it up."
"I will, thank you."
No. 594007 ID: d470e9
File 141067685754.png - (33.66KB , 800x800 , 111.png )

It's nerve wracking. Eventually it looks like it could be done, but I feel like there's some more carving I may want to do. And carving where I shouldn't carve will make me have to start over and do a rush job. I end up staring at it for hours without doing anything.

>"Get sleep, Fen. We are back to our normal hunting lives tomorrow." says Kiki.
No. 594008 ID: d470e9
File 141067686540.png - (38.56KB , 800x800 , 112.png )

I can't sleep at all, though, so I have no problems getting up in time to help the stone bearer set up the tree climb. Lily eventually makes it.

>"Good morning, or, end of night, Fen. I'm hoping that you like my company so much that waking up this early is worth it for you.?"
"I'm more worried about my own company."
>"So, what is going on?"

I was surprised I could convince them to go along with my plan.

"You couldn't touch - well, walk on any trees, so..."
No. 594009 ID: d470e9
File 141067687905.png - (15.44KB , 800x800 , 113.png )

"I had your stonebearers bring out some rugs, a ladder..." I can't believe I did this. "....and a lot of generosity towards me." This is going to be awful if she doesn't like sunrises. "Thank you very much." I say to, I think it's Neph. "Lily, the view at sunrise is very nice. We're still within our territory, so it's entirely safe, if you'd like to join me..." I rehearsed this a lot, I didn't mean to say 'join me' like some...thing... "...at the top of the shroomtree." It's too early, we're going to have to wait awkwardly for awhile.

Her smile back at me completely devastates my misgivings towards this plan.
No. 594010 ID: d470e9
File 141067689432.png - (215.28KB , 800x800 , 114.png )

I'm still nervous, though. I lose all my words once we're at the top of the tree. She doesn't say much either, but she doesn't look bored. I don't know what got in my head to try to be incredibly romantic about this. If Shup sees us here like this.... the stonebearers probably already told Shup. I could have tried to invite Shup indirectly as well, but I was afraid that he would actually accept.

It feels like years till the sun comes up. Yet despite it's for the wrong reasons, I wished it would last a few more years.

>"Fen. Oh. Sorry, you first."
"No, you."
>"I've got something for you. Well, a couple things."
"Ah? I, uh, I have something for you. But, you first."
>"Neph, please bring it up... thank you."
No. 594011 ID: d470e9
File 141067691498.png - (62.54KB , 800x800 , 115.png )

>"Okay, so, first off is just something small, really... it's not a proper present, it's just a little spare board game set of Kimankara. You seemed to get into it, and I do hear that in good times you do have lots of spare time, so you can probably teach someone else how to play. The real thing I meant to give you, though, is this.

>I noticed that you had some troubles with your shirt, and it seems like fabric around here is rare. This is a fabric piece of treated dragon cloth. As armor, it's fine, but it's extremely durable. It's almost immune to normal wear and tear, and resistant to getting torn up. It's what the mountain kobolds in elite forces are often given as normal wear, since they usually pokes holes in most other things."
"Oh... wow. Uh, mine is..." Mine is nothing in comparison. "It's just a little figurine, actually. Since you took interest in our tribe, I thought you might like, uh, a souvenir." The forest god's image to us is important enough to feel like sacrilege to call it a 'souvenir', but I can't imagine Lily would see it as much more.
>"Ah! Fen, that's lovely. Who made it?"
"Well, I had help."
>"If you did most of it, then you're very good! Thank you, Fen, I'm going to keep that with me."
"Thank you. It's not much compared to this, though!"
>"Yes, it is. You made your own by hand. This is... just wealth that was given to me, that I'm passing on to you since you have more use for it then me. Oh... do be careful, though, it is very expensive, and just wearing it kind of makes you a target. So... be very careful, and only use it for ceremonial gear! Or, that's what I would say, but it's a rectangle right now, and you can make it into anything you like."
No. 594013 ID: d8a627

Well, you should probably bring the dragon cloth to your mother, since she's the one who's been making stuff for you. Of course, asking her to make it for the sake of a ceremony to honor Lily's suggestion is a good course of action.
Now that she's seen the sunrise and received traded gifts, wish her, uh, happiness, I suppose is the proper thing to say? Wish that she has a happy life, and fare her well. Let her know you probably will just use the cloth for ceremonial garb, though how exactly is something you'll have to take some time to think about. Even if she feels that it was just wealth given to her, it's still a rarity for your tribe, and you don't want to screw up and waste it.
No. 594016 ID: bb78f2

Hmm, I actually think to reduce chances of making us a target for having it, we should probably make little emblems for everyone in the tribe with it. Custom cloth types depending on the person that uses it, an arm band, a bandolier, whatever. Each one with a custom-made emblem.

And to make our emblem have special meaning, have it simply be a Flower Lily. An emblem can't be meaningfully robbed by the rival tribe. Armor could. Odds are that flower lily emblem on our chosen cloth strap type will last us our lifetime.
No. 594017 ID: 8b533b

Well, this went pretty well, actually. She liked the sunrise, and she cared enough to find a gift for you too. (And yeah, maybe hers was better, but only since she has access to resources you don't). And it's something she noticed you needed- that's definitely taking an interest. You should be happy.

Don't decide exactly what to do with the cloth, for now. You can work it out later, and get your mother to help you, since she's good with that kind of thing. (Although, if it's that tough, I wonder what we're gonna cut it with).
No. 594020 ID: d90668

Tell her that you will treasure the gift and make sure to use it well.

Then give her a little speech if you feel up to it.

Say that you are happy that you met her. That before she came here you were coasting through life with no goals besides living for tomorrow. But now you realize that there is a big world out there and it has something you want that's worth any risk to obtain. While it will not be easy to chase after it you are not going to give up.

And hopefully someday very soon she will be there to see you realize your dream.

Should be vague enough for anyone listening and she should understand what you are going for.
No. 594021 ID: 607065

Thank her for everything and oh just hug her you fool. Or bumble around for a bit and ask if that's alright first. It's probably the last time you'll be able to see her alone.
No. 594051 ID: d470e9
File 141071290936.png - (53.37KB , 800x800 , 116.png )

"Thank you, Lily, I'll make sure to use it well. It's morning now, so.... you're going to have to go, soon?"
>"Yes, but not this moment. I like this spot, Fen."
"... good. Well..." I have trouble finding the words. "I'm very glad I met you. I wasn't really wanting to go anywhere until you came, but I'd like make something of myself."
>"Then please promise me you'll do your best to succeed, because it sounds like whatever you're going to do, it's going to involve fighting. It'll just be awful if you run off and get killed because you met me."
"Ah, don't worry, I'm going to make sure to practice against Zizi a lot now, because if I have to fight people like Tevliss for my life... well, right now, I really would die, and that's not my goal in life."
>"Good! But it sounds like you want to do more than just get conscripted."
"... I'd like to be put in a position of power where I can take care of everyone close to me."
>"Like a noble?"
"If I can, then yes."
>"Oh, Fen, Fen... Fen... you're not going after me, are you?"
"..... if I am?"
>"Fen, even the most gloriously celebrated warriors took years before becoming a noble. Although it's not been officially set as of yet, Shup and I are to be engaged at the end of this coming winter." She leans in close, and whispers to me. "Oh... if I knew for a fact you would become a noble, then, well, as I once said, I would be highly interested in getting to know you better. I think highly of Shup, and I could see living my life at his side being content, but.... ah. I can't be so reckless as you. I just couldn't face my family. I believe in you, Fen, but to my family, I would have turned down a mithril noble in favor of a barbarian that wanted to become a noble."
"I understand." Egh, she is interested in me, and that's good, but it also means I've managed to make this awkward for her. It might have been easier if she just didn't care about me... no, no, I don't think that's true at all. "I'm not asking anything of you, Lily. Whatever happens, I wish for you to have a happy life. Would it be too much to ask for, well... a hug?"

Her stonebearer chimes in from below.

>"I'm sorry, Fen, but I can't..." she says at a normal volume, but then lowers to a whisper once again. "Not directly. Please stand up."
No. 594052 ID: d470e9
File 141071291668.png - (73.60KB , 800x800 , 117.png )

I do so, and she unfolds the blanket and wraps me in it.
>"This is good enough, I hope."
"More than I could have hoped for."
"Goodbye, Fen, I hope to meet again one day."
"We will. Goodbye, Lily, I'll help you down."
No. 594054 ID: d470e9
File 141071294786.png - (188.07KB , 800x800 , 118.png )

It's going to be hot, today.
No. 594058 ID: e6f4c6

Good work Fen, you let her know how you feel without forcing it on her are making things awkward. She likes you, if circumstances were different I'm sure she'd want to be with you.

Just more reason to go out and conquer. In the name of love of course.
No. 594059 ID: 094283

you fools, he said no, that means it is not too much to ask!
what a missed opportunity.
No. 594063 ID: 8b533b

Ah well.

Stay up there a little linger, and enjoy the heat before you come down.
No. 594064 ID: 2fd516

Let's get some of that turned into a scarf or belt or something, which you will be wearing at all times. There should be enough left over to make some ceremonial garb as well.

Also get to your training. Pursue martial strength like a mad dog.
No. 594065 ID: d90668

Well that went well. She knows how you feel and told you straight out that if you could achieve your goal in time she would be interested in dropping Shup for you.

Well no use making any long term plans until they leave. Shup is a wildcard and he could ignore you or conscript you or who knows what else. Just be on your best behavior and roll with the punches as they come.

I would carefully pack up your gifts and get them stored somewhere safe and private. Then maybe get some more training in with your brother while they get ready to leave.
No. 594075 ID: d8a627

>Her stonebearer chimes in from below.
Was that a "No, it's not too much to ask for," or "No, you cannot ask for that?" It would be quite humorous if the stonebearers were suggesting Lily agree to hug you.

Well, at the very least, you can hope that once you do become a noble (No ifs, young man, you go train with Zizi to ensure you have the strength to do so!), you can at least be friends with Lord Shup's estate. His estate including Lady Lily. I'm sure sponsoring a barbarian turned noble will get him a good bit of fame, after all, it does not sound like something he would turn down.

Go back to your village, ask your mother what sort of ceremonial garb she thinks could work best for the Dragon Cloth, and get back to tribal duties and otherwise training.
No. 594281 ID: d470e9
File 141083913068.png - (50.98KB , 800x800 , 119.png )

I lay down for some time longer. I don't know why, but I don't want to move.

When I do get the energy to go, though, I head down, finding everyone of the northern empire gone, and some of us cleaning up. I head to my mother.

"Hey, mom. I got this, uh, dragon cloth. I don't know what exactly yet, but could you make something out of it?"
>"Oh, no, Fen, you didn't steal that, did you?"
"Of course not! Lily gave it to me."
>"Good. Are you doing alright?"
".... yeah."
>"That little girl must be richer than I thought, or care for you quite a lot. No, I won't tailor you anything made out of that. I can make adequate things, yes, but Fen, this piece of cloth is worth more than most people can get in a lifetime. That, and it is a tough material to work with. If we ever do something with it, we're going to have to hire the services of a proper tailor. For now, let's just keep it hidden in our lockbox to keep the dust off of it. To be honest, I'm not sure what we can do with it."
"Lily suggested that I just use it for ceremonial events, or perhaps make emblems, since wearing it by myself normally would make me a target."
>"She started thinking, but that conclusion is a little naive, don't you think? Dragon cloth is exclusively made in the northern empire, and how would it be seen wearing something like that, either as an emblem or during our own, neutral events? I'm sorry, Fen, lots of people would kill for this, but in our case, we have no use. If you ever go to the northern empire, though, it might have use. It's attention grabbing, but it's often the sign of nobility and elite classes, too, so would be pickpockets and muggers would think twice before targeting you."
"... okay. I'll think about it, and just keep it safe for now."
No. 594282 ID: d470e9
File 141083913635.png - (22.82KB , 800x800 , 120.png )

Even though people are busy, the village seems quiet.

I ask Zizi to spar, using a training sword that Tevliss left behind after all. I do better. Much better. He's still better by a longshot, and I still get the impression he's going easy on me. Even though he's not a good teacher, he is very patient, and I don't think there's going to be a single time that he'll decline helping me train.

>"Finally getting the hang of things! So, you want to hear my ideas on how to get nobility?"
>"Okay then. First off, promise me you will not tell your sister! She'll kill me. Now, noble marriage may take awhile, but if you're gonna get up there fast, you gotta act fast. Now, who would trust just anyone out of the forest to become a noble after mere months of military service or whatever?"
"... would anyone?"
>"Anyone would if they see the benefit! You just have to go in wherever and take your surroundings as yours by storm. Now, that's not gonna happen if you just go to peaceful old northern Fisher's Run and get garrisoned in a port town in the off chance some enemy ships sail near. By the way, that doesn't happen. No, you've got to go big. You've got to go to the Dragon's Fall."
"The capital town?"
>"No, Fen, that's... oh wait, yeah, that is the capital, but it's also the name of the region. Anyway, you got two options that I see. You can enlist in the army there. Those guys get sent on some of the toughest missions, and are usually reserved for the best of the best. In your case, you're egonna need some recommendation or a test of skill or somethin', I dunno, I wasn't in that one. Anyway, you impress people there, and you can get anywhere. Now, a near guarantee to get nobility in a few months' time is to go opt to be a gladiator. There's a good sized arena I hear in the capital, and there's weekly games! The gladiators are well fed and taken care of to give a good fight, and people who give a good show get a good reputation."
"... why isn't everyone a gladiator, then?"
>"Well, the life expectancy of two weeks or so is a deal breaker for some. Most. Well, really, volunteers for the arena are pretty rare. But, all you gotta do is live! As long as you make a name for yourself, you'll be put against better and better fights, and eventually an exit route is given to you."
No. 594288 ID: d8a627

>Well, really, volunteers for the arena are pretty rare.
>eventually an exit route is given to you.
Hold on, is he saying that even if you volunteer for it, you're stuck in there until you get your "exit route?"
Regardless, as quick as that may be, you can't even beat your brother yet. You'd have a much better chance of making a name for yourself in the army, than the arena.
No. 594293 ID: d90668

Well how far away is the wedding? That's the time limit you are up against.

Now the army is a good choice but could you climb the ranks fast enough? There are battlefield promotions but you would have to be in the right spot at the right time. Also you would most likely be working with a team of soldiers. Get in good with your platoon and you would make some nice connections and some valuable friends and allies for later. Depending on your time limit could be a good option.

On the other hand if you only have a few months until winter the Gladiator is the way to go. Quickly rising in the ranks would be more up to your own skill than anything. While I am sure some fights are to the death most would be more about playing up to the crowd and displays of skill.

So figure out how much time you have left and then ask your brother more about the levels of nobility. Can you be a wood noble with no holdings? Or do you get a land grant or something like it when you become a noble? You will need both status and enough wealth to help support your family and Lily's for this plan to work.

Also you have to account for Shup in all of this. How much more powerful is a Mythril noble compared to a wood noble? I doubt he will give up Lily just like that if you come knocking. So you need to make sure you can stand up to him physically and politically.
No. 594296 ID: 858ff4

How long is a tour of duty in the army? If you got shipped off somewhere for six months it would be a problem.

Ask your brother more about how nobility works in the empire. Would becoming a Wood noble be enough or do you need to aim higher?

Ask how far you need to improve in your training before you start on a path.
No. 594297 ID: 8b533b

...not that I don't appreciate the help, but do you really think I have a chance of surviving something like a gladiatorial arena? I mean, I've learned enough to see I have potential, but that's a far cry from being able to beat an entire arena's worth of lifelong fighters who have been forced into it for some horrible crime or another.

I mean, not that I'm not willing to risk myself, but I don't want Lily to feel terrible if I get myself killed jumping into this arena for her.

Well, either way, you kind of have to travel in the same direction, don't you? We should worry about how you're going to get to the north before we worry about what you're doing when you get there.
No. 594306 ID: e6f4c6

I know this is a bit out of line, but wouldn't a better way to achieve nobility be to unify the surrounding tribes and build a proper village here?
No. 594307 ID: e9dec6

Remember what Lily said Fen, she would be devastated if you just ran off and got killed chasing after her. Your fighting skills may be improving, but if you can't even defeat your brother then you may want to think twice about rushing into gladiatorial fights to the death. Ask how tough the army is, and how it compares to being a gladiator lifespan wise.

In any case, you're going to have to do or become something great to just swipe Lily away from Shup, greater than a Mithril Noble at least.

It's a bit farfetched, but I like it. Although it may be a bit selfish to involve the entire tribe just for a girl...
No. 594323 ID: e6e219

Lily said she was going to be engaged at the end of winter. While its not full on marriage I am guessing you would have to have at least Mythril noble status to break things up after that point.

If its early spring I would aim for the army. Impress them to start and get into a elite unit and you will have on the job training and plenty of friends to watch your back. Being a soldier is a good profession with no limit to how far you can rise. Many a high general has sat on the throne in his later years. With a bit of luck and maybe some battlefield looting you could get the rank and wealth you would need in time.

On the other hand if its getting into the middle or late summer the gladiator route might be your only option. Successful gladiators tend to be immensely popular and have all sorts of wealthy patrons. Win a few games with flair and you could be a new rising star. But make sure to ask more about the culture behind the games and the rules.

I know in ancient Rome the arena was a lethal form of professional wrestling. Lots of plots and intrigues and the popular gladiators tended to watch out for each other. But your arena could be mostly bloodsports and 5 guys vs the ogre mage events.
No. 594451 ID: 2fd516

>"Fen, even the most gloriously celebrated warriors took years before becoming a noble."

The army route is not a good long-term plan. However... going there for a little while could get you some more tutelage and a variety of experience, as well as some clout. If you can do some army work in preparation for putting your life on the line in the Arena, that would be best. On the other hand, even getting into that army would be a daunting task. You need some sort of edge before doing ANYTHING.

You need to train, and train hard, until you can beat your brother. Then you can go out into the world, and try to get into the high-risk army position thing. Get training there, reach your peak in physical ability, then go for the Arena.
No. 594477 ID: e6f4c6

I don't know that going out and getting Fen killed in such an extreme manner is the best idea. I like the unify the barbarian tribes idea. It's something that pays off for our friends and family beyond elevating Fen to such a position.
No. 594478 ID: 3188a9

The big problem with that idea is time. It could take years for a unknown tribal to unite the clans. Fen only has a few months to pull this off. He needs to get noticed and knighted fast.
No. 594526 ID: 697427

Get some sort of garment made from the dragon cloth. Approach one of the nearby tribes, act like the whole unification-and-conquest process is already halfway over and they just haven't heard. Do it right, and by the time they realize it was a bluff, it won't be anymore. You've seen how Shup acts, now; use that knowledge. Project arrogance and invincibility.
No. 594564 ID: e607cd

This is not the worst plan I have ever heard. I don't know if the empire is going to be handing out noble titles to newly minted barbarian lords, but starting your own kingdom with blackjack and hookers might get you a queen. I don't know how excited Lilly and her family will be about the standard of living though.
No. 594581 ID: d8a627

Okay, guys, look...
Uniting the barbarians? They're still barbarians. Lily doesn't want that. She likes the freedoms of Fen's tribe, yes, but all the tribes have different ideals, and a lot of them she would not like.
Note that a lot of us are in agreeance that getting yourself killed is a bad idea, but think of this: Lily would NOT like it if you ran off to voluntarily join the Gladiators. That is purposefully putting your life on the line against the strongest trained people, whereas joining the army would just be putting you against some strong (Not stronger or stronegest!) people who your training would give you a chance against. The army generals aren't morons, they aren't going to send you on a suicide mission against somebody stronger than you, just somebody they believe you can handle, even if it will pose a challenge. You might have a risk of losing, but they'll have others to pull your ass out of the fire so that you don't die even if you lose.

Stick to the army. The only reason you should think about the gladiator arena is the worry that you'll commit some crime and be thrown in there, involuntarily.
No. 595179 ID: 602cd8
File 141135738546.png - (26.83KB , 800x800 , 121.png )

It's currently late winter. So, I've got just a about one year to become a wood noble. I think Lily hinted that all she wanted was to have someone that could care for her family, so in that regard, just getting wood noble is enough. But, she also said mithril nobles had far, far more political power and wealth than a wood noble, so to get a girl that Shup had his eyes on... it's complicated. I don't know about those things, but I get the impression it's weird.

"Zizi, what if I tried unifying all of these tribes? We could live in peace, and maybe the northern empire would give me nobility if I ended up handing them a village without them needing to lift a finger."

>"OOooooh.... Fen, that idea is creative, bold, rash, and the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Let me tell you why that's a bad idea! First off, we've enjoyed decades or centuries of aggressively being independent, some other guy trying to unify is gonna be a real tough thing. Second off, maybe the southern empire would go for that, but the northern one loves showing off their military and conquering by force. They probably won't like it if you do it for them. Third, I like it like this. Just last week I told you why this was the life! Sure it's hard, but it's simple and no one is under 4 layers of heels from a chain of command above them."

"Alright, alright, I get it. Really, though, what honestly are the chances of me surviving the arena?"

>"Good enough for a man on a mission!"

".... and what about the army?"

>"Good enough for a man on a mission!"

".... is it possible to be a wood noble with no holdings?"

>"Well maybe initially, but once you get wood nobility, you're not gonna be waiting long for some land to be given to you. There's more villages out there than nobles."

"Okay, well... Lily's going to feel just awful if I run out and get killed. If I go to the arena, can I honestly have a chance, when there's people there who have probably been fighting professionally for years?"

>"Uhhh... I dunno about that, Fen, most of 'em are just slaves that are kept around for entertainment, and don't really have their heart in actual fighting. You could probably beat 'em up right now! Pretty sure gladiators have access to trainers anyway."

"And the army? Is there room for advancement so quickly?"

>"Well, yeah. Look, summer's a good time for rebels to pop up. No one starts shit right before winter, it's way too cold up north. You sound like you're starting to second guess this, bro."

"No. You all would have to keep me chained underground to keep me from going. I'm just trying to be smart about it. Whatever it is I'm doing."
No. 595180 ID: 602cd8
File 141135739635.png - (23.25KB , 800x800 , 122.png )

Zizi and I go over it some more. It's possible to join the army for small periods of time, although Zizi says they won't invest as much in me if I just want to spend a few months there.

When I ask, Zizi is confident that I'll do well no matter what choice I make. Asking him just doesn't give me a realistic picture.

My plan, as I currently see it, is to stay here for the rest of winter and some of spring. I'll train as hard as I can with Zizi during then. Then, I travel to the north, so that I end up in the capital a little while before summer is declared. I'll join the army, then, for 6 months. Depending on how well things are going, I may join the arena during winter to try to finish off what I need to do to become a noble.
No. 595181 ID: 2fd516

Let's do this.
No. 595187 ID: d90668

Sounds like a good plan. One thing to remember is that whatever path you end up on will be a violent one. Have you ever killed anyone before? Will have to get used to the idea before you head out.

Other than learning to fight you need to learn more about the empire and its culture. Do not want to get that far and then ruin it because you crossed the wrong noble.

And finally do you know how to read? Might be good to start now in between training with your brother. Might have to wait on it but never to early to start.
No. 595190 ID: 8b533b

Sounds reasonable, for now.
No. 595236 ID: 99145e

not a single one of the things he said was a reason for why you shouldn't do it. they are all reasons why he wouldn't like you to do it, and reasons why it would be hard.
No. 595241 ID: e6e219

Once you get to the army you will have to find out how they run things. There should be plenty of career soldiers there who have children and wives of there own. So they might have no problem with you running off and getting married over the winter break.

I wish you had a better trainer than your brother. He knows a lot but you said he was not the best teacher. I would spread your training out if you can. Sword work with your brother, Archery with your best hunter, and so forth if you can find people willing to help.

The more you know the easier it will be to impress the army recruiters. At the minimum learn to fight and take care of your own equipment well. Learning to read even a little would be huge. Being able to receive and send out written orders can be a big step on the road to becoming a officer.
No. 595535 ID: 602cd8
File 141152796717.png - (92.68KB , 800x800 , 123.png )

>Have you ever killed anyone before?
Yes... sort of. I've inflicted wounds on two people that I hear died later.

>Can you read?
I can do a degree, but I have trouble with it.

>Being able to receive and send out written orders can be a big step on the road to becoming a officer.
I'll work on my reading ability, but mix it with Lily's board game, which I guess is popular with military leaders.

>Not a single one of the things he said was a reason for why you shouldn't [unite the tribes]. They are all reasons why he wouldn't like you to do it
Most of them were, except he doesn't seem to think the northern empire would appreciate an outsider doing it for them. Even if they did, I don't think I want to go against Zizi, and I don't think my tribe would think much better of it.

I don't rest much over the next few days. I train with Zizi while he's around, as top priority. I also have one of our better hunters start teaching me how to make good bows and how to shoot them, as I'm told that armies almost always use bows over slings. Apparently with the formations they use, needing room for a sling is a bad thing, and not enough people in the army know how to use a sling well, anyway. I dodge around questions as to why my motivation came with simply saying that I'd like to be able to get a girl like Lily if one like her ever comes around again.

I don't think one like her will. I don't want to say that I want to leave the village. To be conscripted is just part of our lives, but to want to go is something that almost never happens unless the village can't support its own numbers. My mother also takes up Kimankara. She's not bad, and we seem to be an even fight.
No. 595536 ID: 602cd8
File 141152797769.png - (80.52KB , 800x800 , 124.png )

A couple of weeks pass. I'm terribly tired, but I can't stand the thought of wasting any time, so I start downing one of the left over rations of Zizi's that he lets me have.

>"FEN!" Kiki screams from across the village.
>"Sorry, bro!" Zizi's voice follows.

It's all followed by Kiki running up to me.

>"What are you doing?!"
"...eating.. breakfast?"
>"Zizi told me you are off chasing that pampered girl!"
"... what if I am?"
>"You are not allowed! Have you come to hate us? We can get you any girl, in this tribe or another. There are lots around. But your diseased brain wants to get a noble girl from the north who could not live here?"
"I don't want to live here for the rest of my life, Kiki."

She looks like she's going to stab me.
No. 595541 ID: d8a627

Kiki is one of the few intelligent girls among the tribes. You aren't into incest, so you can't say anything on her appearance, but you certainly haven't seen an intelligent girl who was also beautiful, like Lily was. That's what you want. Beauty, intelligence, kindness, tact... Really, she embodies just about everything good.
Kiki, are you trying to force your brother to have a miserable life?!
No. 595543 ID: a5bd6c

I should point out that if you unified the tribes you wouldn't have to be offering the territory to the northern empire. You don't need a noble title or their approval, you just need the money and influence that could potentially provide you, so turning your little backwater into a thriving trading village would serve just as well, and bring improvements to friends and family. That said, it's really to tall an order for someone to do in one year.

As for Kiki... dude, you gotta just be honest with her. There's something missing from your life, there's a bigger world out there and you are gonna try your hand it, sooner or later. You've found something worth chasing and now is simply the time.
No. 595545 ID: d90668

Before you start arguing with your sister remember that if you drive yourself to exhaustion you will waste time recovering. So do not be a idiot and get a good nights rest when needed.

Kiki I love you and our family but I have known for a long time that I was not happy here. I just never realized how bad it was until she showed up. If I want more out of life I have to go out and grab it with my own hands.

Our life here might be simple but its far from easy. One bad hunting season or tribal raid and we could lose everything we have. Even if things never work out with Lily I can at least try to find a better way of helping the people I love.
No. 595546 ID: bb78f2

Kiki, I have family here, safety, but not satisfaction. I do not hate it here, but I cannot bear my seemingly pointless life. I feel like I'm simply drifting through to my death.

I'd like to chase after the girl, but I'm not an idiot, odds are very against me, but I'm mostly just using it as motivation to find something, anything that I actually need. It isn't about a girl or who I want to be with. I need more.
Why do you want me here so bad, Kiki. I know you care about me, but why keep me alive for just a bit longer if it just feels so empty here. You want a drone of a brother?

This isn't a decision we're making lightly. I'm not following my dick, or rage, or anything your expecting me to follow beyond the fact I have nothing here but family, and while family is important, all this is not enough for me. Hopefully, we'll see each other again when I'm a better man I actually like being.
No. 595548 ID: 2fd516

If she actually tries to stab you, disarm her to show her how much stronger you are now.

However, you need to make it clear you are not doing this lightly. You've never really been happy here. If you must leave to be happy, to follow your heart and dreams, you will, even if you don't want to abandon your family. Even if it breaks your heart to leave.
No. 595565 ID: 8b533b

>unite the tribes?
There's also the matter that if you did, you'd be basically dragging your entire family and everyone you ever knew along with your scheme, and changing their lives for what you want.

That wouldn't quite sit right with me.

>You are not allowed! Have you come to hate us? We can get you any girl, in this tribe or another. There are lots around
*Sigh* We don't have nobles here, Kiki. There's no one to tell me I'm not allowed to try something different if I want to.

I haven't come to hate you. I know maybe you don't understand it, but I haven't been satisfied since the northerners came. There's some part of me that wants to see that world, and try.

>She looks like she's going to stab me.
I'm half inclined to let her. Get it out of her system, show her we're serious.
No. 595623 ID: fe4bfc

Do I look like I am lazing about pining over some girl Kiki?

I am working my ass off so I can go join the army, become a noble, and then steal her away from her fiance.
No. 596295 ID: 99145e

she's not actually going to. no point in being afraid. (and even if she would, you should be good enough to dodge by now).

calmly explain that it's your choice how you will live your life and that you expect her to support your decisions.
No. 596753 ID: 602cd8
File 141222550995.png - (70.10KB , 800x800 , 125.png )

"Of course I don't hate you. Stop exaggerating." I've made it a point to be nicer, but she makes it difficult. She means well, but her ability to communicate is about as good as Zizi's teaching. She won't actually stab me, but sometimes she makes me wonder. "This isn't some light decision. I don't hate the people I live with, and I wouldn't even say I hate how my life currently is, but I'm far from happy with it. If I'm going to change it, I've got to go out and change it myself, even if the odds are poor."
>"You will not change how you live, you will only die!"
"If I continue this route, then I'll already be like a zombie."
>"Then choose a better route! Joining with the Dragon army? As a volunteer? That is suicide!"
"Zizi doesn't appear to think so."
>"Zizi does not think!" She does have a point, although it misses the current point. "What would our mother think?"
"She would want me to be happy."

She huffs at that.

>"Come, then! Let's ask her ourselves.
No. 596754 ID: 602cd8
File 141222552458.png - (66.26KB , 800x800 , 126.png )

Kiki runs off, and apparently manages to explain the whole situation to our mom in the time it took me to catch up.

>"I'm sorry, Kiki, but I've got to side with Fen on this."
>"Have you ever seen him so, well, alive? Even if he does die, it's because he took a chance to make living worth it. Doing so alone is more living than many people can say they have. Fen, we rarely have tribesmen with your ambition, but I have seen them. Some of them decide it's not worth it, and stay here, but they didn't convince themselves fully. They live and die, and what I usually see is an old age of regret. Of course I'll just feel awful if I live to see you die, Fen, but I would rather see that than imagine you spending your autumn years feeling your life was wasted."

Kiki calms down. She's unhappy, but our mother is one of the few people who she won't be so argumentative against. She does wander off, but it's a calm walk, so I know that she's relenting. I hug my mother for that.

>"She's just worried about you, you know. She'll be fine, and she'll come around. She always does, she's just not good with change."
"I know."
No. 596755 ID: 602cd8
File 141222553378.png - (121.73KB , 800x800 , 127.png )

>Get a good night's rest
It is possible that my training is worse off overall without rest, so I try to get to sleep earlier in the night. Still, any rest that I take is filled with an itch that I should be doing everything that I can do. My heart just isn't into sleeping the days away.

Eventually, after a week, I come to terms with it believing that training at anything below maximum is wasteful in itself, so I mix a decent amount of rest in. Nonetheless, regardless of what time I go to bed, I am always awake at dawn, and Zizi shows his support by waking up with me.

A month and a half or so passes us, and the shaman declares that spring is well underway. I'm not sure how the shaman decides what season it is, exactly, and come to think of it, I don't know why we don't use a calendar like I had seen the northern empire use.

Zizi follows me out of the tree at dawn the next morning as usual.

>"Ready for your big journey?"
"I've been waiting for this for several weeks. Of course I am."
>"That's my bro. Here, take this."
"A bag of... metal?"
>"That's silver. It's a decent amount."
"Oh, money? I don't know much about this."
>"Pretty simple, think of it like a universal good or service you can trade. Crap, I've got to explain the usual prices. The prices are pretty stable from what I heard so... well, we don't need you paying a full gold coin's worth for a meal. Food ain't that much, but people might try to convince you otherwise. I'm gonna share with you a bit of good info. When you get into marketplaces, people are gonna be friendly. I mean really friendly. But they don't have your intentions at heart! They're there to swindle all your money."
>"... yeah, I got a lot to teach you. Oh, to get to the capital, you just go northwest."
"That's it?"
>"Yeah. Just follow the roads. They all lead there in some sort of manner. And you can always ask for directions anyway. I used to have a map, but I traded it during the Great... well, Moderate Food Shortage of a few years ago. It's probably outta date anyway, with the rate northern kobolds rebel, villages and forts are quick to rise and fall. Oh, you gonna bring Lily's cloth she got you? If anyone can make something of it, that someone's out north. And like mom said, it's gonna be one stupid bandit to attack you when you wear it. Even if you're rough around the edges otherwise, you're gonna be too big a target for all but the biggest dumbasses. Yeah, you're probably safer with it on. Otherwise, you're gonna look like some no-name savage, and people'll give you a hard time for it. Oh, yeah, try to take baths regularly."
"I will. On both accounts." Lily made it sound like it might be dangerous to wear, but she probably meant out here with enemy tribes. It just seems right to bring the gift from the person who motivated me to go north in the first place.
>"Anything else you want to know before making your farewells here?"
No. 596759 ID: 2fd516

Yeah he didn't mention specific prices. That would help. Knowing how much is too much is important. Secondly, what items and materials are rare in the markets? Thirdly, does he know anyone out there we can contact for a friend in the field?
No. 596761 ID: d90668

Well other than learning about money you should ask about where you should be sleeping during the trip. Once you get into civilization you might have to be careful where you settle down for the night.

Also ask about any factions up north you should be wary of. How to deal with nobles and other tribes and such.

Oh and ask about laws you should watch out for. Lily had that whole can't touch the ground thing so I bet there are other crazy things you might want to know about.

And the big question is how to present yourself to the army when you get there.
No. 596768 ID: 2fd516

Oh! And food. What sort of city food is good?
No. 596791 ID: 7653d4

Do you have any way of contacting the tribe while you're away Fen? Could you write a letter home?
No. 596793 ID: fe4bfc

Hmm ask for advice on how to act once you get into a town or city. How to avoid getting scammed by locals. Tricks on how to not look like a complete barbarian in social situations.
No. 596799 ID: 8b533b

Because money can be traded for goods and services. Food, water, tools, and little luxuries that make life easier. If a trader can can get you to hand more money over without thinking just by being nice or using tricky words, they've made their life easier or better with very little effort. (Also why theft is so popular. It's hard to steal work, but easy to steal the thing that gets you the same results).

Need a sense of scale? Ask Zizi what kind of wage someone would get for the amount of work you're used to doing to stay alive in this village. (If you know a coin is the equivalent of a full day's work, you'll respect that more).
No. 597389 ID: 8f01e8

Good general strategy, when you're not in a hurry, could be to hang back and watch how much other people are paying for something.
No. 599782 ID: 602cd8
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"I'd like to know what I can actually get with this kind of money. How much do things cost?"
>"Uhhh... geez, it's been awhile. A few copper for a night's rest? Every town worth staying at's got at least one inn, cause most people don't have their own home. If there's no inn, it's probably remote enough you can sleep in the wilderness. Probably the same cost for a day's meal. Uh.. most places haggle though, so make sure you don't jostle your coin bag too much, otherwise you're gonna see prices triple just for you. And attract triple the bandits."
"I'll be careful."
>"Yeah, and you don't need to buy anything right away. You can just linger around markets and stuff and watch what other people do. Follow their lead and all."
"I was just thinking that. And what kind of factions should I watch out for?"
>"Besides the empire itself and the big 7 mithrils? I dunno. I was never into politics. The smaller factions get upturned all the time though, so I dunno anything up to date there."
"And any laws I should watch out for? Lily couldn't even step on the grass."
>"Oh, those are just hoity toity laws for the higher ups to look higher up. I mean there's gonna be laws for the peasantry, but it's just your basic stuff like no murder, no stealing, no looking at officials funny. When in doubt, eyes on your feet, body and mind to yourself."
"What city food is good?"
>"If the water's a weird orange or black, don't trust the merchants, you'd be better off dehydrated. Just use your head, you've got a better sense of good and bad food than any city 'bold."
"Do you know anyone out there that I can speak to? I'd like to be able to trust someone."
>"Careful who you trust! But yeah when you get up there to join the army, just tell 'em you're Zizi's brother. I may not've been in that army, but they'll know me decent enough to at least give you a shot at joining."
"Is there any way I should present myself?"
>"Nope. Just give them respect and your wish to join."

>Do you have any way of contacting the tribe while you're away Fen? Could you write a letter home?
Actually, there is. There's runners that Zizi sometimes sent home. It was only once every few months at least, though, and I'm pretty sure it's kind of expensive.

Zizi's answers are vague, but I try to get a scale of money.

"How much does an average peasant make in a day?"
>"Dunno, three or four copper I guess."
"... you said it was a few copper for a night's rest and a few for food, though."
>".... yeahhhhh. Watch your bag and your back out there, Fen."
"I don't like the sound of that... is there any way I can fit in and not act like I'm from out here?"
>"Don't open your mouth."
"I'm serious, Zizi."
>"Hey, so am I! Really. We have accents. We speak like barbarians. They'll know you're an outsider the moment you say a word."
No. 599783 ID: 602cd8
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Zizi's answers to anything else get even more vague. If dad were around, I could have learned a lot of how things function, but as it is, I'm going to be about as prepared as I can get. Zizi starts giving me a few last pointers on my swordsmanship. It doesn't take long before Kiki and mom get up and give their farewells. Kiki doesn't look me in the eye, but she says she'll forgive me if I leave only if I make it back alive. I do promise that. Mom gives me some food, and some of her better bags to keep my stuff in while I make my last preparations.

Everyone else in the tribe comes one or two at a time throughout the morning to wish me farewell. It's somewhat awkward, as it's so rare for someone to leave the tribe like this on their own decision. Eventually, I have to go say farewell to the people who didn't find me, as I want to get a fast start this morning. I get a lot of mentions that no one will think worse of me if I stay.
No. 599784 ID: 602cd8
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Which would almost be true, if not for myself.
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