[Burichan] [Futaba] [Nice] [Pony]  -  [WT]  [Home] [Manage]
[Catalog View] :: [Graveyard] :: [Rules] :: [Quests] :: [Discussions] :: [Wiki]

[Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [Last 100 posts]
Posting mode: Reply
Name
Email
Subject   (reply to 594093)
Message
File []
Password  (for post and file deletion)
  • Supported file types are: GIF, JPG, PNG, SWF
  • Maximum file size allowed is 10000 KB.
  • Images greater than 250x250 pixels will be thumbnailed.
  • Currently 41314 unique user posts. View catalog

File 141072517484.png - (177.22KB , 800x800 , 9-1.png )
594093 No. 594093 ID: d470e9

>"GAH!"
"Kex?!"
"Do you normally wake up screaming, Kexluk? That may be problematic." asks Zirkala.
>"Er, no, but I had a terrible sense that a Lich was upon me, taking my soul! But then I woke up, and it was only a Lich upon me. And then I remember what happened last night! I do not know just how Story Seeker convinced me to do this."
Expand all images
>>
No. 594094 ID: d470e9
File 141072519282.png - (196.71KB , 800x800 , 9-2.png )
594094

>"Even if I am a Fallen Paladin - "
"You are a Fallen Paladin-In-Training."
>"... that sounds far less... significant."
"It is."
>"As cold as your waking form, Zirkala. Anyways! What silver-lining his words must have had to have me engage in such copious acts between a kobold I could fit in my palm, and a Lich!"
"He didn't. He tried, then I walked by the door without my clothes, and you agreed immediately. That is problematic. You are also... not much of a lizardman in the bed."
>"... harsh, even for you."
"Don't be so insecure. I said you weren't like the typical lizardman, not that you were bad. I mean you were gentle and rather considerate. No matter how many times I told you this body was rather disposable."
>"Yes, and I requested that you not... put it like that."
"Was that what is considered gentle among lizards?"
"Yes." replies Zirkala. "But enough on that. I have a task for the both of you."
"Ah, but I was hoping to tour Muo's cave! Is it pressing?"
"It is. A couple day's walk from Muo's town, there is a secluded Lizardman fortress on the desert side of a mountain range. They worship Order and Justice - enough so that they have a relic with considerable power. It has the capacity to do various things, the thing I am interested in is removing Chaos magic. I've received a report that that portal in Muo's cave is unstable and finite, as Chaos magic often is. So, we want a cost effective way to turn it into a more stable, permanent portal. In short, it's a simple mission, go in, get the relic, get out. Of course, its a sizeable fortress, and we'd rather not have any holy missions on our hands, so... do so without them noticing. Story Seeker, I expect you to fit in just fine with the local kobold slave population, as Kexluk's slave."
>"This seems an ill match, honestly, Zirkala!" says Kexluk. "Order and Justice? To have me on a mission of such opposing ideals for me is cruel at best."
"I think you will find that it will be a positive experience for you, Kexluk. And Story Seeker as well. I am not sending you two because you are the best, I am sending you both because you have much to learn. Frankly, if this were absolutely necessary, I would simply send in Springfoot now and have it back by tonight rather than an expected 6 days. Ah, yes, two days for each way to the fort, and only spend a maximum of three days there. The portal is expected to last 7 days."
>>
No. 594096 ID: d8a627

>To have me on a mission of such opposing ideals for me is cruel at best.
Ah, but we are not opposing the ideals of order and justice! Quite the contrary, we are adopting those ideals for use in this and Muo's cavern--namely, turning the portal from a chaotic object into an orderly one!
Yes, I suppose taking the object from them does not fall into the subject of order, but it is for a just cause, and as such, retrieving it is a form of justice. We will not be stealing it permanently, Zirkala, will we? Just a short term borrowing to stabilize the portal?
>>
No. 594097 ID: bb78f2

You know Zirkala, having Springfoot along might not be a bad idea. Wouldn't mind having a teacher in the field if she doesn't. Might be an interesting challenge for her to handicap herself and be all sorts of fun.
I'd like to see her in the field anyway.
>>
No. 594099 ID: 8b533b

>fallen paladin
>in bed with a lich
Wow. You two corrupted him fast.

Also, first 3-way with a dude. Another check mark for SS. (And another chest day image made canon).

>opposing order and justice is just cruel
Bardic pep talk time.

Well, we're not opposing their ideals, we're removing them of one possession. It would only really hurt them if the forces of chaos made some kind of concentrated effort against them and they were now unable to respond. Which probably wouldn't happen, doesn't sound much like Tom, really. And really, if we bring the artifact to where it can actually impose order near the home of a chaos mage, we're serving the ideal of order aren't we?

And if we're using their keeping people as slaves against them, well that sure seems like justice to me!

Anyways, let's see about getting our gear and supplies ready for a trip. And figuring out what we're using for transportation.
>>
No. 594100 ID: d90668

You two should have a great time. You can help sand some of Kexluk's rough edges off and he can teach you some of his tricks.

Plus you have not had the chance to make any good guy friends. Should be a lot of fun.

Might want to see about getting some slave garb for your disguise before you leave. While you will probably end up with some cheap clothes and a basic collar see if Zikala has some crazy leather slave outfits that you can embarrass the big guy with.

Also will have to spend part of the trip making sure you can both stay in character. Figure out what type of slave you want to be and make sure he keeps his story straight.
>>
No. 594101 ID: 2fd516

>>594094
...how would Springfoot get there and back in less than a day? Maybe we should try to cut down on the travel time too, to give us more wiggle room.

How would we return the relic afterwards- or are we supposed to replace it with a fake of some sort? There is bound to be a considerable amount of security, so taking it without them noticing... I am not sure how to accomplish this at all.
>>
No. 594102 ID: 5154c4

In terms of disguises, you could also go the route of begging Morgana for illusions. You should probably hang out with her more often anyway. Might want to leave Kexluk behind though. Dunno if he'd approve of a dragon (drake) extorting wealth from cave denizens.
>>
No. 594104 ID: d8a627

>>594102
Nope. Morganna's illusions won't last for a whole week's worth of time, so that's a bad idea.
>>
No. 594105 ID: 2fd516

Oh, since you still don't know what the mermaid scale is for, ask Zirkala what it does!
>>
No. 594106 ID: 5154c4

>>594104

Rats. Forgot about that. Ask Morgana to come along adventuring? I'm sure there's plenty to steal in the lizardman fortress. They're probably all jerks anyway.

Maybe the lesson the mission's supposed to teach Kexluk is that Order and Justice's proponents can take things too far and be evil too? That, or the village is full of sexy and dangerous temptations both S.S. and Kexluk need to learn how to keep away from.
>>
No. 594107 ID: 8b533b

I don't think we need to bring illusions into this. This is a mission of wits and cleverness!

And tricky bardic magic (sound manipulation can be used for sneaking or spying, and there's always escape bedroom), and slime transformation (ooze right into the vault or whatever, past bars or a small entrance). Plus, we don't even know half of the tricks our bro might have to bring to the table.
>>
No. 594110 ID: 5154c4

>>594107

I dunno, Kexluk's lack of sexual control isn't that much worse than S.S's. Someone with a bit of sanity/self control could help to keep them out of trouble in case the charm offensive doesn't work.
>>
No. 594113 ID: 323980

>>594110
Who else does S.S. know that has sanity and self control?
>>
No. 594114 ID: 5154c4

>>594113

Well, he knows Morgana, that gnoll guy, naga queen, goblin queen, ... Good point.

Then again, Morgana's overwhelming greed could help keep S.S. over control.

Gnoll guy probably won't want to go, and naga queen probably doesn't want to/has too many responsibilities anyway.

Goblin queen is worse in terms of impulsiveness, but she's good at making things work out for herself anyway, and she does seem to have decent-ish planning abilities (by the stock of anti-magic equipment she had for fighting the naga queen or witch or whatever). She's impulsive enough that there's a chance she might go? Plus she probably has enough magical artifacts to keep the whole party under disguise. Then again, we might not want to let her know about the portal/artifact/relationship with Zirkala. Dunno, just spitballing.
>>
No. 594127 ID: 2fd516

...hmmm... if I was Zirkala, I wouldn't put such an important task in the hands of these two. Rather, I'd send Springfoot ahead to replace the relic with a duplicate, and send these two in as a learning experience like she said it would be.
>>
No. 594128 ID: 572246

>>594127
Yep. The question is whether or not we mention it before we leave. I suspect telling her we already know would be boring, not to mention not instructive for Kexlux. Far better for Story Seeker to go along with it and let Zirkala read his memories after.

Although after the first time he pulled that when he slept with Zirkala, she may be expecting him to figure it out ahead of time. Only one way to find out for sure.
>>
No. 594129 ID: 8b533b

>Then again, Morgana's overwhelming greed could help keep S.S. over control.
In a stealing mission? When we're going to have to sneak into the relic vault, or wherever it is they keep their valuables?

This is a learning mission, anyways. It's supposed to be something we're a little bad at. We don't need to practice Story finding a way to manipulate or charm someone with special talents into solving a problem for him. He's plenty good at that already.
>>
No. 594150 ID: 2fd516

>>594128
He could talk to her in private about it. Tell her that he will act as if the mission is real and do his very best to return victorious regardless of if the relic is already being secured by Springfoot.

Oh wait, no. I'm looking at this wrong. She's giving SS and Kex 6 days to complete the mission. If they return empty-handed, Springfoot can go retrieve the relic and be back before the portal disappears.
>>
No. 594172 ID: d90668

This is a good opportunity to get to know Kexluk with just Story around. He can introduce him to all his friends later on.

That and having girls around would probably distract the big guy enough so he would not get anything done.
>>
No. 594179 ID: d470e9
File 141075150073.png - (108.20KB , 800x800 , 9-3.png )
594179

>Could bring someone along
Alas, the only others I know of are Morgana, who I believe is adventured out at the time, others whos duties lock them in place here, Muo, who I'm sure the nature of the mission would be ill-suited, and the other kobolds, of whom would not follow me on such a dangerous mission. Nevermind that Zirkala likely intends this to be a mission for us two alone!

"Well, it is for an orderly cause in the sense that we are removing the chaos from the portal! And, we are only stealing it temporarily, correct, only having it to use its magic?"
"Well... the item, yes, you will be either putting back or putting a decoy in its place. Of course, the magic we use from it will completely drain it, and whatever it is, it will most likely be a generic object."
>"Then how are we possibly to steal an item of such magical power, and drain it of magic, without them noticing?"
"You will have to figure that out yourself. I do not even know what the item looks like."
"Nonetheless, I am curious about how Springfoot acts in the field! Perhaps having a mentor would help?"
"No, what you're learning isn't assassinations and thievery."
"I am still curious how she would get there in a day and back."
"By running. I doubt either of you can keep up that pace."
"Ah. Well, then! I will travel to pack my bags with rations, camping gear, and such things. Perhaps a slave outfit can be put in order?"
>"Is that truly necessary?"
"Yes. Let's see what we can come up with."
>>
No. 594180 ID: d470e9
File 141075151291.png - (143.73KB , 800x800 , 9-4.png )
594180

Zirkala casts a spell, which clothes me in... something!

"Yes, I was wondering what you would look like in that. Kexluk, what do you think?"
>>
No. 594181 ID: d470e9
File 141075157253.gif - (167.27KB , 800x800 , 9-5.gif )
594181

"No? Then I'll just pull out some old, rotted rags."
>"Can he not simply wear normal gear?"
"He may bring his armor and tailored clothes, but that is not normal wear there. I expect fitting in will be among a goal of yours."
"By the way, Zirkala! How are we to get there?"
"By walking. I will give Kexluk a map, of who I assume knows how to follow one."
>"Correct!"

I said I would pack my gear, but I do realize I have to decide what to bring! I can bring quite a lot of gold! 10 gold is already considered quite a bit for an average kobold to bring. And I believe I will keep it to myself that I do believe if Kexluk and I should fail, Zirkala has a backup plan in motion for this!

http://www.tgchan.org/wiki/Story_Seeker_Statistics

Let me know about anything that should be on there but isn't.
>>
No. 594182 ID: 8b533b

>>594180
If I wear this, people are going to make assumptions about the kind of slave I am. That's probably going to make Kexluk uncomfortable. Although... if they don't think he's interested in women that's one weakness covered. (You have to comment on this, just to mess with him).

The bell's a bad idea, though, if I'm going to be sneaking around. Unless there's a way to choose to silence it? Good misdirection if people think they'll always be able to hear me coming, when they can't.

>what bring
Some gold might be more appropriate for your 'master' to carry. Armor and additional weapons only make sense if you're posing more as a kind of squire. The dagger, you should take, at least.

...maybe we might want to buy a potion or something from Rotfrost? If she's summoned, that is.
>>
No. 594183 ID: d90668

Hmm you will have to remember that outfit for later. If you flounce around in that calling Zirkala mistress and offering to give her back massages you could probably distract her or any of your other lady friends for days.

Anyways best to dress up in something that fits Kexluk's personality more. That sort of outfit looks like something a noble would dress there slaves in. Aim for more of a mercenary and his slave/squire look.

I would pack light. A travel pack with food and some bedrolls and basic traveling gear. Maybe 50 gold or under if you can hide it well. And maybe a knife and your crossbow for hunting.

You need to learn some more utility spells. Probably not enough time to work on it right now but see if Zikala has a basic magic 101 spellbook you could borrow. Need to get some of the simple ones under your belt like starting fires and conjuring lights and such.
>>
No. 594185 ID: bb78f2

Kexluk clearly isn't comfortable with your nearly nude form in that outfit. That threesome must have brought up other new tastes he's yet to come to terms with after last night.

Wow, okay, those bedspells might prove overpowered in certain rooms we might want to escape but have a hard time. Any room could be turned into a bedroom by combining the conjour bed and bedmagic spells.

Test out how Dress Self will work by hiding your magic armor and dagger in a pack somewhere. Maybe on Kexluk's person or a dead drop. I suspect if we wrap the dagger in cloth or fashion it into a necklace, we might be able to appearify it at will because it will technically count as a form of clothes. Find all loopholes with your spells and gear. I'd prefer using a spell to hide your dagger than shoving it up your butt.
>>
No. 594187 ID: 1f2a28

What happened to Chapter 8?
>>
No. 594188 ID: d8a627

>>594182
Covering up his weakness might actually be helpful, but... I think you should maybe lose the bell collar. Honestly, the bell colar is what yells "SEX" in that attire, simply a studded choker would suffice to say "Owned property."
Kexlux might be a little more comfortable if you had a bit of a sash or some other "very worn and torn" torso wear. Like, something he found on the street and said, "Hey, cover yourself up with this."
>>
No. 594191 ID: 8b533b

A slave might also be able to carry an instrument for his master's entertainment (and it would give you something to do while camped out for the two days of travel). Although yours might be too nice for a slave? Maybe you could leave it with Kex when you get close.

>You have to comment on this, just to mess with him
Additional uncomfortable taunts: well I can truthfully claim to have spent a night in bed together...

>>594187
What foolishness do you speak of? This is chapter 8. It always was. There weren't any typos to fix!
>>
No. 594227 ID: 4d446b

Any list of traveling supplies should really start with food and water... which you should avoid obtaining from Muo.
>>
No. 594248 ID: 3545be

Maybe you should ask to be turned into a girl again, to fit Kex's tastes better. If you feigned some sort of attachment to him whilst in girl form, you'd have an excuse to chase away any girls that try to take advantage of him. At the same time, as he knows you're not really a girl, he won't go near you himself.

Also, it makes it less likely that you'll meet someone who knows you, and your own natural face won't gain any of the reputation that comes with pilfering a powerful order artifact.
>>
No. 594254 ID: d90668

>>594248

Oh god that idea would be hilarious but not sure if Kex could handle it. Might want to try it for a bit just to mess with him though.
>>
No. 594257 ID: 0ee153

>>594248
I very seriously doubt Zirkala would agree to it, since she said she intended it to be a positive experience for Kexluk and he clearly has enough problems with Story Seeker wearing this sort of outfit without messing with what he looks like.
>>
No. 594284 ID: d470e9
File 141083916729.png - (145.44KB , 800x800 , 9-6.png )
594284

>Kexluk clearly isn't comfortable with your nearly nude form in that outfit.
Yes, but he seemed quite comfortable around my entirely nude form! I believe it is the outfit on me that offends, not myself.

"Well, I suppose I could do this, but I do hope that we could lose the bell?"
"Story Seeker, that was a joke." Zirkala says, as my outfit dissipates to reveal my old shorts. "You are not going to wear that. Not in the fortress. Nonetheless, there should be no question that you are a slave. They do not appreciate kobolds with autonomy, there. Kexluk, you will have to keep him on a tight leash."
>"Figuratively, I will."
"Nonetheless, that outfit may have given the impression that Kexluk is favorable to males, to lead away from his weakness."
"He will just have to cope."
"Kexluk, I would like to carry 500 gold! 50 on myself, to which I will hide it, and the rest on you."
>"Very we- Where did you get that kind of money?"
"Long story! Say, Zirkala, I don't suppose it would benefit things if I were to become a girl again, would you?"
"I am beginning to think you enjoy being female. Nonetheless, no. A week long polymorph of that caliber is more expensive than it is worth."
>"Regardless, 500 gold is no small amount for an individual to have! As harsh as the desert may be, I expect we will have little trouble! I shall be sure to guard your funds and use them as sparingly as I may."
"As long as we make it back with the relic, the gold is non-consequential!" Words I did not think I would ever say, and words my brethren would shudder to hear from me.
>>
No. 594285 ID: d470e9
File 141083917815.png - (164.22KB , 800x800 , 9-7.png )
594285

We decide on a simpler outfit for the time being, with a studded collar to mark me as 'owned'. After collecting my lute, flute, dagger and crossbow with iron bolts, I come back to find Kexluk waiting for me, map in hand!
>"Pay attention, little friend, for I will explain our route! Normally, I would bring my own camping gear, as I have treaded long without a single copper to my pouch. However, for modest prices if you are willing, we may enjoy ourselves in some beds after all! There are two towns inbetween the fortress and Muo's cavern, yet how unfortunate that they are spread evenly! To stop at one place would mean we must make one day an easy travel and the next one grueling. But! We can make a 3 day trip to begin with to see the sights of the desert, of which I have rarely been to, and hastily spread gathering the relic and coming back in 4 days total when the time comes, if we are feeling bold and we are to maximize our time limit."
>>
No. 594287 ID: 2fd516

>>594285
There is an optimal solution here. Both ways take two days, except the first day is spent getting to the furthest town. So we start the journey at a grueling pace, get to town B and rest well, then the next day is easy travel. Once we have the relic, we come back again starting with a grueling pace, then once we get to town A we can rest there and see the sights we missed on the first trip.
>>
No. 594290 ID: d8a627

>500 gold is no small amount for an individual to have!
...I get the feeling this guy did not grow up in a rich environment. Didn't you have like, a hundred THOUSAND gold? Even if it was only in the loops and you kept spending it like crazy, you did have a lot for a period of time. Clearly, you will need to, once back from the quest, show Kexlux the luxuries of life.
>as I have treaded long without a single copper to my pouch.
...Yeah. Definitely did not live the life of a rich boy.
>>594287
Agreed. Going for the second town sounds like the best idea. Although, after suggesting as much, you should perhaps also tell Kexlux that if he's going to be your master for this trip, then it's his choice what to spend money on.
>>
No. 594295 ID: bb78f2

That place isn't a brothel, is it Kexluk? That smile on your face and your excitement makes me think brothel.
That or you were paid to market it or have been looking forward to staying there for at least a night for a long time.

2nd option, once we have the relic we shouldn't dally with it. 1 day return is safer than a three day return.
>>
No. 594301 ID: 8b533b

>>594287
This sounds like the good plan. We don't want to short ourself on time before we know what challenges we may face securing the relic.

Staying at an inn might have a nice bonus in that we can actually act as a proper bard. Entertaining the common room in an inn is classic bardly work! Even for enslaved ones.

>I get the feeling this guy did not grow up in a rich environment. Didn't you have like, a hundred THOUSAND gold?
Story didn't start with a single copper either, though. He went from rags to riches by pretty much sheer chutzpa, luck, and temporal save scumming / item duplication hacks. These routes aren't exactly available to everyone. Things like 'common sense' and 'self preservation' tend to steer them clear.
>>
No. 594324 ID: d1a330

On one hand, you won't know how challenging getting the relic will be until you get to it, but on the other, you might have some pursuers on your tails if they notice you've nabbed it from under their noses. In the end, I think it's probably best to rush nabbing the relic and then relaxing afterwards.

How wealthy are you now anyway? Relatively speaking I mean, like what could you conceivably purchase with all that gold? Do you even know? Maybe ask Zirkala.
>>
No. 594487 ID: 92f271

Be sure to go get some of your mass back from Muo, a non-sex slave should have some muscle in them.

Also, I know you don't have time for it now, but make yourself a note to go visit with your friends when you come back. Don't forget they know you for a lot less time than you know them!
>>
No. 595551 ID: 602cd8
File 141153243081.png - (158.06KB , 800x800 , 9-8.png )
595551

"Say, that wouldn't be a brothel, would it?"
>"No, no! Kindly take your mind off of sex for one moment, little friend!"
"Actually, I was afraid it was you who was hoping to visit such things!"
>"I'm insulted, Story Seeker! I may be a Fallen Paladin in training, but I still have values beyond heartless romps in bed!"
"Point taken, with apologies returned! Say, Zirkala, I have been wondering, just how rich am I?"
"Enough that you could purchase a plot of land from a human civilization and retire comfortably. With enough left over to purchase enough security to prevent assassins and looters. Kexluk, no, please hold your questions. I'm sure Story Seeker will love to share the story while travelling."
"Correct!"

>Be sure to go get some of your mass back from Muo
Tempting, but I feel like my agility will prove more valuable for this mission, with Kexluk as the muscle! Perhaps someday I will find a happy medium, but simply gathering mass on me as is will make me slow.

>But make yourself a note to go visit with your friends when you come back.
Noted! I have already had to put off taking a tour of Muo's caverns for this adventure.

"I should say, however, that if I am to be your slave, Kexluk, then it would be suiting that you spend my gold how you see fit, correct?"
>"... but, you are not to be my actual slave, friend! But if that is how it is, I have not chosen to be poor out of choice, so I will gladly spend your gold, especially with that last bit of conversation!"
"Nonetheless, I would personally recommend that we spend our first journey at a grueling pace, and hope to get to town B before stopping and resting."
>"... hmmm... very well, we will see the time when our first town is in sight! Now, we have our things, and I see no reason to sit still. Onto my shoulders, tiny legged buddy, and let's be off!"
"Very well. Goodbye, Zirkala!"
>>
No. 595552 ID: 602cd8
File 141153244758.png - (143.74KB , 800x800 , 9-9.png )
595552

Hours later, over a mountain top.

"Kexluk, are you quite alright? Is the sand bothering your feet?"

His pace was going exceptionally steady all the way through a steep hill and some ways beyond into the desert, yet his steps began to shrink as he lays his claws into the sand.

>"Although I have been in the desert some times before, Story Seeker, I have not been in a sandy desert for... years! I am going to set you down for one moment. Do not mind me!"
>>
No. 595553 ID: 602cd8
File 141153245352.png - (133.68KB , 800x800 , 9-10.png )
595553

He's covering himself up in sand.
>>
No. 595554 ID: d90668

This would sort of be paradise for a big lizard. Lots of big rocks for basking and sand baths whenever you like.

Might want to give it a shot yourself. Not sure how scaly you are compared to him though. Your skin might be a bit soft to burrow in sand.

I would ask him what its like though.
>>
No. 595556 ID: 3099db

Hey! No time for fun, pace is grueling! Durk Nuuk'erm would never stand for this!
>>
No. 595557 ID: 2fd516

>>595553
So... I take it he's a desert lizardman? Did he grow up in a desert? Go on, help him bury himself.
>>
No. 595563 ID: 8b533b

Cock your head and watch, for a moment.

Then look down and start skeptically prodding the sand. It feels that good, does it?
>>
No. 595571 ID: 103949

Get some sand on you too, it'll be weird for a slave owner to have the scent and grit of sand on him but not his slave.
>>
No. 595572 ID: 10e6c3

Just let it happen, them lizards love warmth in the ground. Don't let him stay there faffing around for too long, of course. Maybe call it a lunch break if he's really enjoying it.
>>
No. 595668 ID: 602cd8
File 141160666527.png - (116.70KB , 800x800 , 9-11.png )
595668

"Not to interrupt your fun, Kexluk, but what is that like?"
>"Like one million tiny men all giving you one big massage!"
"I take it you grew up in the desert?"
>"No, but that only made the discovery of the desert far more novel."

>Your skin might be a bit soft to burrow in sand.
While I did not think to do such a thing on my way to Muo's caverns, the hard stone of my own caverns have toughened my scales and skin! Still, we both take the moment to eat our lunches.

>Let it happen
yes

yes I see the appeal of the sand.

>pace is grueling!
I'm afraid that the pace has just plummeted! Now is an ideal time for lunch, anyway.

>Desert lizard?
I guess so! Since apparently, we like sand.
>>
No. 595669 ID: 602cd8
File 141160667463.png - (215.47KB , 900x600 , 9-12.png )
595669

Without warning, Kexluk leaps up in a geyser of sand, and I make a smaller geyser more out of surprise than whatever sparked Kexluk upwards, just to see a wagon right in front of us.

>"GOLEMS!!" the goblin in front yells. "Shit, shit, false alarm! Wait, bandits? Are you two bandits?"
>"We are not!" says Kexluk. "We were simply resting ourselves, and your approach had startled me."
>"Yeah, that why you were in the sand?"
>"Correct!"
>"... weirdos. Whatever. You goin' northwest?"
>"We are."
>"You want a lift? 2 gold per town."
>"Certainly not! With no offense to your beasts of burden, I am quite capable of carrying both myself and my companion faster than any caravan!"
>"The heat's getting to you, lizard brain! These camels hardly need any rest."
>>
No. 595673 ID: 2fd516

>>595669
How about a race to the next town then? If they win, we pay double to ride with them to the town after that one. If Kex wins, then... hmm. I don't know, what would they wager? Pride?
>>
No. 595674 ID: d8a627

>>595669
It would help us reach that second town quicker.
>>
No. 595677 ID: 88960e

Sure, a race. If we lose badly enough, we'll swallow our pride and pay for a ride the rest of the way.

If we win, well, bragging rights.
>>
No. 595678 ID: bb78f2

I wonder if we could seduce that down to a 1 coin ride?
>>
No. 595681 ID: d8a627

>>595678
Bad thought! We're working on not sleeping with every girl we meet.
>>
No. 595682 ID: d90668

Sure they need no rest but how fast do they travel?

Might be worth the cost if they are speedy enough.

Either way you want to haggle them down on price just because. 2 gold seems pretty steep just for hitching a ride.

Ask Kex if his stamina is equally unlimited. Would be nice to not be worn down after the trip.
>>
No. 595699 ID: 1bc177

If you go the seduction route they should be paying you for the privilege.
>>
No. 595711 ID: bb78f2

I said seduce, not sleep.Sex for their gain, not our desires.
>>
No. 595730 ID: 8b533b

I'm pretty sure seduction rolls suffer when you're coated in sand. Also, we'd never get where we're going.

Save it for the inn, or the tower, maybe.
>>
No. 596255 ID: 602cd8
File 141193124951.png - (122.72KB , 800x800 , 9-13.png )
596255

I shall hold off on any sort of seduction, to honor the spirit of Zirkala's mission!

"Pardon my words, goblins, but it feels as though 2 gold is quite a steep price for simply fetching a ride!"
>"Yeah, well, maybe we'd settle for 5 silver for you, kobold, but Beef Musclemeat there is probably gonna crack the damn tires."
"Then perhaps a bet is in order! Since you both boast great confidence, perhaps a race to the next town. If you win, we pay double to the next town!"
>"Where're you guys going anyway? Next town is called Duststop, then White Wind after that, then the lizard place called Spearstone."
"The latter is where we're going!"
>"Outsiders, huh? Good luck with that. Alright, really, you can probably beat us to the next town, but we're faster overall cause we can keep our pace up for days. So I tell you what. Let's make it bigger. 25 gold flat bet. We win, you pay us 25. We lose, we pay you 25. Course, if we beat you, there's nothing stopping you from just not showing up at White Wind, so we want to hold onto the pot."
>"And what," Kexluk interjects, "Is stopping you from doing the same?"
>"Come on, meat for brains, we're traders, we'd lose more gold by skipping out on Whitewind than paying up."
>"Kindly refrain from insulting me! What is stopping you from simply keeping the gold and saying we never had a bet?""
>"Fuck you, we're traders, we've got a reputation on the line. Now you gonna bet or not?"
>>
No. 596257 ID: 436cdc

>>596255
we have so much gold that we are basically betting pennies here, comparatively. It'd be wise to learn proper spending habits sometime, but for now I say go for it.
>>
No. 596259 ID: 2fd516

Hang on, if the finish line is Whitewind, we would doubly lose if we don't win. The purpose of this bet was to mainly determine what the fastest way to travel was. Also, uh, they said "days". How long would it take them to get to Whitewind normally? We want to be there by tomorrow.

If they can get there by the end of today, how about this: we get the option to forefeit if they catch up after Duststop, which they likely will. Confer with Kex to ask what he thinks his chances are. Can he keep up the pace all the way to Whitewind? Will he be in any condition to sightsee if he does?
>>
No. 596261 ID: 8b533b

I'm almost proud. Kexluk somehow learned to stop automatically trusting anyone with tits! Still, unfortunate timing.

>What is stopping you from simply keeping the gold and saying we never had a bet?
Aside from not wanting to sully their reputation (which kind of matters when you trade for a living), there's the fact that trouble with a giant lizard is probably more hassle than 25g is worth.

Actually, what are they trading, anyways? I don't see much on their cart (or at least it's all under the tarp).
>>
No. 596266 ID: d8a627

>Kexluk somehow learned to stop automatically trusting anyone with tits!
I don't know about that. These goblins are fairly heavily clad, it may just be that he instantly trusts anybody with scantily clad tits. Or large tits. Heavy cloth masks the size of them, after all.
>>
No. 596272 ID: d90668

Normally I would say no its a stupid idea. First of all you are letting them know that you have that much money. That and handing over the money at the start is a bit silly.

But we did say that Kex could spend our gold as he saw fit. So let him decide and live with the consequences good or bad. I mean its his legs we would be betting on in the first place.

Also find out what sort of traders they are anyways. And what the good luck comment about Spearstone and outsiders meant.
>>
No. 596307 ID: a5bd6c

Fuck yeah, were gonna bet. This is chump change to Story and provides us an in with someone who does business with the place we are headed. We aren't even gonna take the money if we win, we are gonna double the bet so we have something to keep the goblin interested as we go (same even if we lose, nothing a goblin likes more than a mark.)
>>
No. 596319 ID: 2fd516

I'd like to note that while it is chump change to Story, it is a lot of money to most people, and we only have 500 on hand at the moment.
>>
No. 596383 ID: 26d2c4

>>596319

We also might not want to let onto the fact that this is chump change to ss, as that would attract suspicion at best, and robbery at worst.
>>
No. 596737 ID: 602cd8
File 141222212930.png - (157.00KB , 800x800 , 9-14.png )
596737

"This does raise one question! You said 'days.' Does it take days to reach the fort?"
>"A couple I guess. I'm just saying we could go for days. You in?"
"What do you say, Kexluk?"
>"I say that we engage in such a bet!" he answers.
>"You usually let your little kobold talk so much, there, big guy?"
>"Does it bug you so much?"
>"Nah, guess not, you both speak.... weird. The same kind of weird. You're gonna stick out like a sore thumb."
"That does remind me of a new question, if you would be so kind! You wished us good luck about being outsiders. What is that about?"
>"Look, we're in kinda good with them, after years of earning their trust and dealing with 'em. They're pretty secluded and don't like the outside too much. So yeah. Good luck with that."
"May I ask what you're trading, too?"
>"Okay, lizard, your little guy does speak a bit too much. Right now we got crafts from around the land and tools if you wanna buy, but don't go asking what all we deal in."
>"Yes, Story Seeker, our friendly merchants are quite protective of their trade routes and profit strategems, so do be careful how you phrase it! I suggest a simple display of interest in what they may have for sale."
"I'll remember that, with my apologies."
>"... You guys are damn kooky, you know that." the goblin says, taking 25 gold from Kexluk.
>>
No. 596738 ID: 602cd8
File 141222213914.png - (183.30KB , 800x800 , 9-15.png )
596738

"I must say, you behaved quite well, Kexluk! Those ladies were quite attractive, yet you contained yourself with skepticism!"
>"Correct, but I must confess, my weakness lies strongest with my own kind! Goblins... well, let's just say that I desire that which can be a challenge to obtain. And goblins have a well deserved reputation for being quite quick to advances, which I find so terribly unrewarding and empty. A lizardgirl, however! Should one become affectionate, you know that you have struck an honest chord, while the affections of a goblin merely mean you are not horridly unattractive."
"I do not know if I agree, Kexluk, I have seen goblins be surprisingly picky!.... and, that said, some that were as you say."
>"Correct, there are always expections to every rule, but noting similar patterns in almost all interactions will lead to acting as though the same patterns will continue, and that is simply learning. So long as one does not brush away exceptions, it is perfectly reasonable and natural. Of course, it is easy to say so to you, here, but in the heat of the moment, I fully admit that I am guilty of undue prejudices."
"Kexluk, I sort of understood you! And so it is with great risk that I say that that I find you agreeable. Now, I do hope that you are capable of running to whitewind."
>"Story Seeker, those goblins have made a grave error! I am a gigantic lizard who has not seen a blazing sun in far too long, yet who has still trained endlessly to be in top physical condition! And to further your understanding, let's just say that while I admit my vision of a lady may be skewed in general, goblins have rather effectively removed my thoughts of goblin ladies being anything ladylike! Or their men as being anything chivalrous, for that matter. Yet, I cannot simply imagine all ladies as being goblin ladies, as then I would have the opposite problem, and a rather negative one at that."
>>
No. 596739 ID: 602cd8
File 141222215180.png - (216.48KB , 800x800 , 9-16.png )
596739

His talks of speed ring true, it seems! Kexluk switches between a steady jog and a quick walk. Occasionally I drop down to let go of some of his weight, although his walks are my jogs, and his jogs are my sprints, and so I am placed on his shoulder far than I would like to admit. We also pass by a number of travellers going towards and away from Duststop, but Kexluk simply glides by them uneventfully as I eye them carefully, should some turn out to be dangerous.

Upon reaching Duststop, Kexluk shows no signs of slowing as he jogs right through town, stopping only when he sees the first water merchant.

>"Greetings, miss!" Kexluk says, approaching her. "My name is Kexluk, and I have come to refill our canteens with water."
>"Sure thing. That much... that'll be three gold."
>"And here you are!" says Kexluk, to which the girl gives the slightest hint of surprise.

I almost interject, but this place does not appear to be located near a water source of any kind, and so I must relent with acknowledgement of Kexluk's hurry, and the fact that water is likely far more expensive here than anywhere else.

>"Say, Kexluk. I'm looking for a helper. That guy for sale?"
>"I'm afraid you are mistaken!" Kexluk blurts out, but is quick to save it. "Ah, that is to say, he is one of a kind, and I'm afraid I would have difficulty replacing him."
>"Too bad. Hard to find a well groomed kobold these days."

I see Kexluk visibly resisting the urge to make more smalltalk to the girl, but either because of the bet or because of Zirkala's wish, he relents, and we leave after

>"And I expect a better stay next time! This place looks quite cozy for what seems like a bustling trading town, and I expect you may find good stories from what looks to be many travellers passing through. It is only by our bet that I do not insist we do it now!"
"Agreed, and we will see how we are on time. At this rate, it seems like we may make it to White Wind before nightfall." Which, with our pace, makes me think that Springfoot must be capable of running at a sprinting pace throughout a day.
>>
No. 596740 ID: 602cd8
File 141222216366.png - (234.31KB , 800x800 , 9-17.png )
596740

The trip to White Wind is what I would describe as... quieter, if not more dreary. The amount of travellers we cross by diminish by a great deal, and those we do cross seem more on guard with a higher rate of escorts and mercenaries. That feeling is terribly contagious, as I remain on Kexluk's shoulder throughout in order to be his eyes to his sides and back. And Kexluk even walks off the beaten path, at times, as the amount of rocks, crags and valleys increase that just seem as though the earth molded them in ways that favors the ambushing bandit!
>>
No. 596742 ID: 602cd8
File 141222231553.png - (290.45KB , 1000x800 , 9-18.png )
596742

When we reach White Wind, we find it is largely a loosely fortified town that use the rocks and cliffsides as shelter as much as out of building material. A moderate wind picks up sand which has paled as we crossed over the land, giving the town its namesake.
>>
No. 596743 ID: 602cd8
File 141222232508.png - (185.39KB , 800x800 , 9-19.png )
596743

And I dread to say that atop the loose fortifications, I see that goblin we bet against, waving to us with the enthusiasm that I would expect.

>".... how." Kexluk drops the word out, sounding none too pleased about it.
"Don't be too beaten, Kexluk, as this is quite cheap for us. Although that said, I do have to wonder, as their path would have had to be wildly out of the quickest path in order to avert our sights."
>>
No. 596744 ID: 2ec61a

and why come out to meet you? make up an excuse to go to their wagon immediately.
>>
No. 596746 ID: 2fd516

>>596743
They used magic, of course. Teleportation or flight. Or it's an illusion and they called ahead to have someone disguised as the goblin who made the bet. Story should be able to detect magic to discover if it's an illusion, I believe!

At any rate, you can go up and find out how they did it. Maybe ask the guard when the last goblin caravan arrived.
>>
No. 596747 ID: d90668

Well they could be much faster than they look. Or have a secret route that is much quicker. Or any number of other tricks. If they have been on this trade route for awhile they probably know the area like the back of there hands.

Tell Kex that its not a bad situation. If he is a good loser he might be able to buy her a drink and find out how she did it. The knowledge would be worth way more than the gold you lost.

From here on out you had better be careful Story. It would be nice to get a idea of how the native kobolds act around these parts. Your people sound like they are fairly downtrodden around here. While it will be hard you need to practice your obedient slave act. Lots of looking serious and doing whatever body slaves do I guess.
>>
No. 596751 ID: d8a627

>doing whatever body slaves do
Ah, but Story Seeker is an entertainment slave, not a body slave. His master even granted him the possession of an instrument to entertain him and his friends!
>>
No. 596757 ID: d90668

>>596751

Story could try to pretend to be a entertainment slave but honestly I think the body slave is a better option. Gives him a excuse to have a long leash as it were. Also just having one slave that's only a entertainer might get Kex odd looks.

A body slave is a slave that is always at there masters side. Can be personal assistants or bodyguards or entertainers. Or a bit of everything.

Will have to see how badly other kobolds are treated around these parts.
>>
No. 596794 ID: fe4bfc

Hey Story back when you bought water at Duststop how did the water lady know Kexluk's name? Am not going to say that every cute lizard lady you meet is going to be Zirkala or one of her agents but keep the thought in mind. She probably has people in every town within 100 miles of her home base.

This trip was her idea of a test for Kexluk and you so keep your eye out for pretty girls trying to buy you from him. No need to let him know just keep it in mind for later.

As for the goblin she could have ran ahead or teleported or whatever. However she did it take your defeat in stride and figure out how she pulled it off.
>>
No. 596800 ID: 8b533b

Detect magic, and detect gender (just in case that's an illusion. One easy cheat might have been if they could call ahead to someone to trick you).

Then let's go up and talk to the gobbo there, see how she got there so quickly. (Show interest, not accusations. It's possible she cheated, but honestly, the mystery is more interesting than the gold). ...It's possible she got ahead without the rest of the caravan. Which is interesting, because I'm not sure how to call that (does it count when the first person of a group arrives, or when everyone is across the line?).

>body slaves do / entertainment slave
Look, we're obviously some combination manservant / squire / heraldic bard / slave. Any big warrior needs someone to look after his gear, run his errands, and sing his praises.
>>
No. 596882 ID: 602cd8

Kexluk was to introduce himself to the girl, but text was apparently lost. Good eye, but there was no conspiracy here.
>>
No. 596893 ID: d90668

>>596882

Well that being said it probably just means that Zirkala did not make any noticeable mistakes this time. Still be suspicious of any pretty lizardfolk ladies just in case.

Mostly because if you do not Kex will probably accidentally sell you to one in a fit lust induced stupidity.
>>
No. 596922 ID: 602cd8
File 141231491670.png - (322.11KB , 800x800 , 9-20.png )
596922

"It's not too bad, though, Kexluk! Perhaps we can learn how they got here so fast, and that knowledge may prove more valuable than the gold itself."
>"Hrm. That is the bright side. We will see."

We approach the goblin girl.

>"Haha, I'm kinda impressed, actually, that really was fast."

She gestures behind her where her wagon is, with the rest of her crew. I can sense no magic from her, and she is most definitely a female!

>"Explain yourself, goblin merchant!" says Kexluk, rather aggressively at that. "I cannot imagine you beat us in a fair race!"
>"It was fair, we didn't set any rules saying we had to walk it! If you gotta know, there's a teleporter mage in Duststop that can transport people to neighboring towns! It's a pretty penny at 10 gold a pop, but hey, we made it back. I figured you wouldn't find out about little niche shops like that what with being in a hurry, and all."
>"You... hrm. Story Seeker, let's get our lodging for the night."
>"Don't be so beat up, big guy! We'll let you have a discount at our shop."
>"Spare me your patronizing tone, girl!"
"Are there any other teleporters, miss?" I ask, as Kexluk walks off.
>"Nope. Duststop is the biggest trading area around here, so little places like this wouldn't get much business."
"Well, I hope Kexluk is not too sore of it!"
>"Haha, little guy, do you even know how much 25 gold is? We'd be fuckin' pissed, there's a damn reason my guys' crossbows are loaded up with bolts. Course, it wasn't your money, now was it?"
"I suppose it was not! In any case, I'd better go after him."
>"What do you even do for him, anyway?"
"Well, anyone such as him does need someone to look after his gear, run errands, and sing his praises!"
>"Oh, yeah? Maybe I'll ask what his praises are, cause he sure didn't earn any this time!... oh, fuck all, don't tell him I said that."
"I'll spare all of us from that."
>>
No. 596923 ID: 602cd8
File 141231492396.png - (164.32KB , 800x800 , 9-21.png )
596923

I run up to catch up to Kexluk, as we enter what appears to be one of the few inns in town.

The kobold behind the counter appears more dejected than Kexluk. I get a quick glance from her as she looks back down, and she avoids any eye contact with Kexluk. Granted, he brushes against the ceiling, and eye contact can be a challenge.
>>
No. 596924 ID: 602cd8
File 141231493552.png - (155.99KB , 800x800 , 9-22.png )
596924

"Are you quite alright, Kexluk?"
>"Even if you feel the gold was paltry, I have been penniless, and many lizards would work harsh months for such an amount. And this is why I am penniless! I was a fool once again to trust them to play by fair rules! Even if I looked at our remaining funds and agreed with you, the principle alone of this sting. And after wishing to stay in Duststop, too! No, Story Seeker, that was not your fault, as although you suggested initially we speed through our first trip, it was I who got caught up in the competition and hurried us through Duststop without a moment's glance at our surroundings. That bet that I so casually and confidently accepted, thinking they would cheat us so bluntly and not through a mishandled loophole such as teleportation. No, I am not alright, and if not for my paladin training, I expect I would have lost my composure back there."
>>
No. 596928 ID: 2fd516

>>596924
...then perhaps Story's mistake (ours really) was not caring enough about the bet to make sure the rules were set properly. I think we should treat money with a bit more respect.

Tell him that the best thing we can do right now is learn from our mistakes.
>>
No. 596933 ID: bb78f2

Clearly Kexluk, we need to blow off some steam. Because we have a mission to do, and missioning angry will just lead to bad stuff!
>>
No. 596935 ID: 8b533b

Well, if nothing else, the bet gave us a reason to quickly complete the first leg of our mission! We made it to the second town in good time.

And for the moment, you are not penniless, my friend. Take comfort in the fact that the loss does not hurt you and the funds will be doing someone some good.

Although I suppose we have learned a lesson about agreeing to specific rules ahead of time. Otherwise you can't really complain about how others win.

...and for what it's worth, casual and confident acceptance isn't always mistake. It worked for you with me, did it not?

Big picture too, now we know those merchants. They know the inhabitants of Spearstone. We might be able to use that, later. If it helps our objective, that gold might not have been so poorly spent.

>what else do
You're in a proper town. In a proper inn. You gotta get your bard on tonight. This is what bards are for.
>>
No. 596937 ID: f119f8

We learned a valuable lesson, a valuable lesson that in the context of our current situation, wasn't overly detrimental.
>>
No. 596945 ID: d90668

Do not beat yourself up to much over this Kex. They won fair and square because we were not careful while wording the bet and did not look for alternative methods of transportation.

We could have used the teleporter as easily as they could have so its definitely not cheating. So be careful when throwing around statements like playing by fair rules.

Honestly I too have been penniless most my life. Only due to recent luck and some bold actions on my part have I come into my wealth. And if it were not for powerful friends I could easily have everything stolen away from me. I will also take this as a lesson to start treating money with more respect.

So what do you think of this idea Kex. Whatever money we have left over after we get back safety I will split with you. Right now its easy to spend because its someone else's money. If it becomes your money as well then you will have strong incentive to haggle more and watch our finances carefully. Of course if we have a real emergency feel free to spend it all if need be. Do not want to trade our safety for a few coins.

With that out of the way would you mind loudly telling me to entertain you? I want to get my bard on without breaking cover. Plus I want to find out that sad counter kobold's story later. Should be easier to talk if I am just another slave.
>>
No. 596954 ID: 2ec61a

we can also totally mess with them with magic and if they complain we can throw their logic back at them
>>
No. 596955 ID: fe4bfc

The first rule of gambling is to never bet more than you are willing to lose. Because there is no such thing as a "sure thing".

The second that they upped the bet to 25 gold we should have realized that they had a plan brewing. Should have made the bet to include no magical assistance and seen how they reacted.

Honestly if you learned a valuable lesson from this it was money well spent. Also if we play our cards right we might be able to use it to our advantage later. The goblins will brag about winning the bet. If word gets around about the big lizardman who sucks at gambling we might be able to win back the money if we are careful later.

As for getting angry and almost losing your composure that is another good lesson. Everyone get's angry at times. Its how you act when you are angry that makes the difference. You kept your cool and a civil tongue and then left to cool your head.

Also we both agreed to the bet so do not beat yourself up much. Is as much my fault as yours.
>>
No. 596967 ID: 7653d4

Has this happened to you before Kexluk? I know feeling cheated sucks but I don't think that we were completely duped in this case. Perhaps we were too trusting but I don't believe so, maybe if we had won and they refused to pay, but I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt. I think they just used their wits better and that we could have been a bit more discerning also we would have totally made use of such a loophole had we know about it we seem to be really familiar with those.

Totally have to get payback on them later though.
>>
No. 596991 ID: 4831ac

Can we still check out their wares? I don't remember if we brought any special supplies, and it would be nice to have some tricks up our sleeve (so we don't have to always rely on wimpy bard+bed magics and big-lizard attention-attracting paladin powers). Of course, we should probably do that after checking out surrounding shops, if we buy anything at all, so we know we're getting a good deal.

Also, we need to work on Kexluk sucking at the whole role-playing thing. If S.S. is going to ask so many questions, get something to covertly communicate to Kexluk so he can ask. Right now, S.S. is a pretty chatty slave.

Also, given that we've heard that the lizardman town isn't particularly welcoming to outsiders, perhaps we should work on a reason to be there (unless, of course, we do the entire mission without ever letting on we're in town)? Maybe ask around secretly; the traders seemed to have some knowledge of them; asking them might be suspicious though.
>>
No. 597017 ID: 0d8ff4

Story should just seduce the money back in his downtime.
>>
No. 597042 ID: 4831ac

>>597017

Dunno if that's wise. We're limited on time and we might not want to go through goblin slave shenanigans.
>>
No. 597078 ID: d90668

Oh man I bet Story could get so many girls by pretending that Kex is a abusive master and riling up there protective instincts.

But with all the other enslaved Kobolds around here that could backfire. Plus Kex and Story would probably burst into laughter halfway through any act like that they tried.

I know our mission does not include a slave uprising but you should totally put that on the agenda if the local kobolds are being treated worse than usual.
>>
No. 598873 ID: 602cd8
File 141366846536.png - (188.10KB , 800x800 , 9-23.png )
598873

>Oh man I bet Story could get so many girls by pretending that Kex is a abusive master
This is true!

However, Kexlux seems to be having trouble getting himself into a slave owner character, and I do feel that he would not appreciate any such hit to his reputation. He is by far the kindest lizardman I can think of, and even for an ideal lady I would not undermine such!

"Has this happened to you before, Kexlux?"
>"It... has been awhile. I normally keep my wits about me! Well, provided my... weaknesses are not in play, which here, they were not. No, perhaps recent events have hit me harder than I have thought."
"Just remember, it was only in the recent past that I was not just as penniless as you, it was by mere luck and bold actions that I came into my own fortune. Furthermore, another point! This bet motivated you greatly to move quickly, which is precisely what you did!"
>"True, but if we didn't spend that, then we would have found that teleporter, and..." Kexlux takes a deep breath. "No use focusing on the negatives. There is still some daylight out, and... you look like you want to see the town."
"Well... remember that I am hardly a bard in practice..."
>"Hardly a kobold, too, with that tongue."
"And this is an inn... like, an actual inn! I've only briefly been in one before."
>"Ah, yes, you have been practicing your instrumentals and voice for some time. Don't let this grumpy lizard stop you, Story Seeker. I think I would like to rest, now."
"Very well! I do have one other idea. At the end of this trip, I will divide our remaining money in half with you - no, in fact, I will give all remaining money to you, so that you may spend it as though it were your own!"
>"Hm... I decline! The trials of being penniless fit me better. Now, go entertain the inn, this place looked far too dreary. I am going to rest my legs."
>>
No. 598874 ID: 602cd8
File 141366847353.png - (115.88KB , 800x800 , 9-24.png )
598874

I leave with a small pocket of coinage, and ask the desk clerk for directions.

"Hello! May I assume that this inn has a tavern over there, where I can hear the chatter?"
>"Well... yes, sort of. It's connected to the inn, just owned by different people. Uh... the place we can hear though is for, well... not us. They won't feed you, so unless you have business with someone there... you're going to have to settle for the slave's lobby. It's, in the back room here, just down the stairs."
"But is there anything forbidding me from entering the non-slave quarters?"
>"... well... I cannot stop you, sir, but I don't believe that the patrons would enjoy your presence. I really recommend just going in the back, here."

I suppose I'm now faced, then, with a mere choice between entertaining the lower or upper road of society.
>>
No. 598875 ID: 2fd516

>>598874
Start small, Story Seeker.
>>
No. 598877 ID: 8b533b

>then we would have found that teleporter, and...
Spent the gold on the teleporter instead of the bet.

>what do
Entertain and make friends with the slaves until their masters get jealous the bard is being wasted on servants. The you'll be promoted to entertaining people who deserve it.

Honestly, the lower classes probably need their spirits raised more, and you could make contacts you need for this mission. You've met a bunch of upper class people before, anyways (Mages, Dragons, Kings, Liches, Lich-Kings, Princesses, Queens, Time Lords, Chaos Gods...). It's not like you're terribly affected by people's status.
>>
No. 598879 ID: bb78f2

Those slaves could use some cheering up.
Maybe we could free them and wisk them away in the middle of our bold plan. I'm sure Kexluk would like that very much.

After our objective is done, we could probably destroy the slave economy of this town if we so choose. The world is our oyster. Find the worst motherfucking slave owner here, seduce his wife, and free his slaves. Maybe piss off his wife in the process because she like those slaves too, but well, we can't keep every woman we seduce happy.

We're fucking out here, Story. In a strange land, with MANY tools. A literal fucking sandbox.
>>
No. 598880 ID: d90668

You can always peek in on the non slave tavern later. I think the slaves would appreciate your skills more.

Plus slaves are everywhere and see everything. So if you want any info they would be the people to make friends with.

Oh and you did the money thing wrong. Kexluk would never take a gift like that. While he would give charity freely he would have a hard time accepting it. If you wanted to give him money you would have to make him feel like he was earning it.
>>
No. 598893 ID: 3d0d4f

I bet Zirkala sent you out here so you could learn more about how most kobolds get treated. You tribe had it pretty good.

See if you can find out more about the clerk before you headin.
>>
No. 599072 ID: df6309

Has the joke been made that SS is more of a "tale" seeker then a story seeker?
>>
No. 600947 ID: 602cd8
File 141556319342.png - (79.01KB , 800x800 , 9-25.png )
600947

>Has the joke been made that SS is more of a "tale" seeker then a story seeker?
Not to my face!

"I will follow your advice, miss, and head into the slave quarters! However, I've become curious. How did you become a clerk? I was under the impression kobolds here, much like many kobolds, were kept to such rudimentary tasks."
>"Well.. some of us get trained to do bigger things. This isn't... really much though. I just write down the names of people and where the keys are, and deposit money. That's... really about it. I don't run the inn."
"Nonetheless, it seems like a talented job by all respects, and you appear quite comfortable doing it."
>"It's, alright. Uh, sorry, but I'm really not allowed to talk small while on the job."
"Then I will allow you to get back to it, and perhaps talk in a better situation. Thank you for your assistance!"
>>
No. 600948 ID: 602cd8
File 141556320223.png - (207.20KB , 800x800 , 9-26.png )
600948

I opt to join the fellow slaves, admittedly I am only a pretend-slave. And what a sight it is! The chairs are hardly more than mudstone blocks, the tables are like wide versions of the chairs, and the counters like big versions of the tables and chairs, all surrounding by what appears to be a built into a cavern rather than a structure. Simple and plain, unlike the smell, which I can only hope is not the food and drink!

As for the mood, the most important of all, does not seem altogether downtrodden, but this group may be a tough one in their own respect. I am not sure if there is something wrong with my face, or if they stare at every newcomer that comes in.
>>
No. 600949 ID: 602cd8
File 141556320883.png - (89.85KB , 800x800 , 9-27.png )
600949

Of all the things I have been through, it is strange that now I experience a bit of nervousness.
>>
No. 600952 ID: dd8e0b

>>600949
Well, you don't normally have a judging audience. And most of your antics, as dangerous and crazy as they've been, don't really matter to you. They're just for fun. But being a bard matters, to you. It's only natural part of you would be worried about screwing up when your identity is on the line.

That said, be bold. Don't back down. You can do it!
>>
No. 600956 ID: 4f004c

>>600949
Well, before, the only Kobolds you were around were those who knew you your whole life, and you knew already thought low of you. These guys, you're hoping to impress, and haven't been judged poorly yet, so it makes sense that you would feel nervous.
Just, uh, think of them as midget lizardmen, or something.
>>
No. 600964 ID: d90668

You have never performed for a crowd before. All of your antics have been more of a solo endeavor.

But everyone has to start somewhere so this is a good as a place as any.

So head on in and get a feel for the room. Everyone is looking at you because you are a new face. They know nothing about you and how you present yourself will tell them a lot.

Start off small. Introduce yourself if someone asks and make some introductions. You will want to get a feel for the mood of the room before you do anything. You can always offer some music and tales for a meal.
>>
No. 601381 ID: d5f3c4

Look, this is your first gig as a straight up bard. You aren't disguising yourself, you aren't speaking to an audience of one, and you aren't wooing a powerful lady, so it's time to see if you really have that bard chutzpah to stand in front of a room of total strangers and entertain.

Start with some music, if it doesn't go over (or honestly even if it does), move onto a story.
>>
No. 601388 ID: 07a835

>>600949
You have to go talk to the bartender first. You need permission from them to play.
>>
No. 603804 ID: 602cd8
File 141645245315.png - (141.91KB , 800x800 , 9-28.png )
603804

I make my way through to the kobold behind the counter, and interest in me wanes with each stride forward, although it does not dissipate entirly!

"Greetings, bartender!"
>"Hi. Gonna buy something?"
"Certainly! Hand me whatever you'd recommend for a few copper. Say, would this establishment be welcoming to the use of instrumentation and singing?"
>"... define welcoming, kid." he says, handing me a rather off-colored beverage.
"Would I get thrown out for doing so?"
>"If you suck, then yeah."
"Very well, then after drinking, I will treat this as a test of skill!"
>>
No. 603805 ID: 602cd8
File 141645245968.png - (116.72KB , 800x800 , 9-29.png )
603805

I take a sip, and I realize that perhaps Zirkala has spoiled me in recent weeks.

"On second thought, perhaps I will save this for later."
>"No refunds."

At least the bartender is not offended!
>>
No. 603806 ID: 602cd8
File 141645246796.png - (156.30KB , 800x800 , 9-30.png )
603806

My nerves are shaken off as best as I can manage, and I take a central table. People eye me at first, but with but a few warm up chords, I gather myself entirely and share a good neutral tone song that Gnollflakes taught me.

>"... hey, Mister Shinyscales here isn't too shitty."
"Yeah. Was gonna toss my sewage drink at 'im. Hey, Shine! You're gonna get the bar's shittiest drink if you miss a note!"

Well, no pressure, but I am well practiced enough to have confidence still.
>>
No. 603807 ID: 602cd8
File 141645247447.png - (175.09KB , 800x800 , 9-31.png )
603807

At least, until I hear a heavier individual come down the ladder.

>"What the blazing field is going on down here?! We told you vermin to stay unheard!" a lady lizard shouts out before she even reaches low enough on the ladder to see me playing. She continues coming down however, and the other kobolds shuffle off and start looking down at their tables and mugs.
>>
No. 603814 ID: bb78f2

Take the blame.
Ask if the miss would like to hear a song for her troubles, or if she would like anything for it. Just ask her to make sure your Master knows about it first!
>>
No. 603833 ID: 602cd8
File 141645560637.png - (145.09KB , 800x800 , 9-32.png )
603833

"I will take the blame, miss! Would you like to hear a song for your troubles, or some other deed to make up for it?"
>"Let me see your lute."
"Certainly."
>>
No. 603834 ID: 602cd8
File 141645562974.png - (166.88KB , 800x800 , 9-33.png )
603834

SNAPtawwanng
>>
No. 603836 ID: 2ec61a

wick while she is on one leg knock her over!
>>
No. 603839 ID: 0ee153

>>603834
Hi, Zirkala.

Anyway, best to act like a good little slave and cower or some such, I suppose.
>>
No. 603841 ID: a19cd5

>>603834
Tempted to start acting all "My master probably won't take to kindly to that" but it's likely she'll just start beating people because she seems an asshole like that.
>>
No. 603845 ID: 07a835

>>603839
That doesn't look like Zirkala.

>>603834
Say nothing. Just leave.
>>
No. 603849 ID: d90668

Well your first performance went well until the interruption. But this sort of thing can happen anywhere so you need to be able to deal with it in a bard like fashion.

Sweet talking probably will not work but might be worth a shot. Also need to avoid violence if at all possible.

Put on a act for her. Pretend you are crushed and that your master will be very displeased with you and her. Ham it up a bit and see if you can put on a good show for her.

And if we do get Kex involved somehow will be good experience for him.
>>
No. 603866 ID: 4bc980

"Breaking the neck is quite repairable damage. If you really want to show dissatisfaction with my performance you need to crush the main body, rendering the instrument unrepairable, please"
>>
No. 603880 ID: bb78f2

>>603834
That was my master's lute.
He'll be pissed.
>>
No. 603906 ID: ccc4dd

"THE mASter wOUld not appROVE."
>>
No. 603929 ID: eda819

>>603834
Hmm. You're going to need to add mend to your list of spells, if you haven't already.

And note to self: the next time you're preforming in a place where being overheard would be bad, you should use bardic magic to keep the noise from escaping.

Don't overreact, anyways. She's trying to get a rise out of you, hurt you by breaking that. It is annoying, but you can always get another later.
>>
No. 604078 ID: 602cd8
File 141654978691.png - (98.41KB , 800x800 , 9-34.png )
604078

I put on the most displeased face I can muster, which I do hope is quite convincing.

"I don't think my master will approve of that very much."
>"Well your master shouldn't have such an ill mannered kobold running around. Don't let me hear another peep out of you again. That goes for all of you!"
>>
No. 604080 ID: 602cd8
File 141654979573.png - (205.64KB , 800x800 , 9-35.png )
604080

She leaves in a huff, and while I would normally enjoy staying here, the air has stiffened with a few more glaring eyes on me, as though they themselves were not participating! I feel my welcome has dissipated, and so I leave for the upstairs again, only to have someone pull me in a side room before I get anywhere of note. Although that certainly took a turn for the worse, at least things did not turn violent.

>"Hi. I heard your performance. Are you going to Spearstone?"
"Why, yes, I am!"
>"Good. Take this emblem. Please. It's the mark of a slave. You don't have to wear it here, even if this town is all but a satellite of Spearstone Fort, but all kobolds who enter the fort must wear one."
>>
No. 604081 ID: 07a835

>>604080
Thank him and take it. But how did he know you didn't have one?
Cast detect magic on the emblem. Also, on him.
>>
No. 604083 ID: eda819

>I feel my welcome has dissipated
Huh. Odd. I expected the opposite. Normally when the boss comes down on someone, people come together to complain about what a jerk they are and such.

>>604080
Thank them, and then ask why they had a spare.
>>
No. 604089 ID: 2ec61a

don't actually wear it until asked, it could be a trick and the badge actually marks you some other way.
>>
No. 604137 ID: fe4bfc

Ask him about the emblem and more about life both here and in the fort. We need to know what we are getting into beforehand.
>>
No. 604289 ID: f73c29

>>604083
In most cases, yes. But with those in, ah, long periods of oppression the oppressed would start losing hope for a change, seeing it would be better to appease those in charge than to escape. They would treat a dissenter with disdain rather than admiration or something. Maybe.
>>
No. 604392 ID: 602cd8
File 141669154078.png - (150.41KB , 800x800 , 9-36.png )
604392

>Cast detect magic on it
Both he and the emblem seem as mundane as they come.

"Hold on! I'd like to know more about this emblem, and life in the fort."
>"Just wear that emblem when you enter the fortress gates. You will receive your answers soon after."
"Can you at least tell me how you knew I didn't have one?"
>"All answers, soon after you wear that!"
"What about why you had a sp-"
>"ALL ANSWERS."
"Well, thank you nonetheless!"

He slinks out of the window as he yells that at me, leaving me more confused than wishing to put on certain emblems. Well, I suppose there is no harm in holding onto it until we reach Spearstone!

>Normally when the boss comes down on someone, people come together to complain about what a jerk they are and such.
It seems as though the kobolds here legitimately fear the lizardmen! Back at my home, we were careful to even speak in whispers about how weird the goblins could be. Goblins can be quite unpredictable, and perhaps will let little jokes slide or perhaps use that as any excuse to take someone as their slave. Lizardfolk, if those at spearstone are anything like those at my cavern's own lizard fort, are likely more jerkish and vindictive, no offense to my faux-master. In any case, the kobolds here would rather stay out of trouble than attach themselves to someone out of the loop.
>>
No. 604393 ID: 602cd8
File 141669154603.png - (145.32KB , 800x800 , 9-37.png )
604393

I go back to check in on Kexluk briefly, but it seems as though he is already gone.
>>
No. 604394 ID: 07a835

...check the non-slave tavern? Just peek your face in the door. Or ask the doorman if they've seen your master.
>>
No. 604395 ID: d90668

I bet the emblem is some sort of secret emblem for a kobold resistance group.

Well wander around a bit and look for him. Just be careful where you go.
>>
No. 604398 ID: eda819

He's not in your room, or not in the bar?

Hopefully he's not getting into trouble.

Now... the question is, what do you do with yourself? Your first attempt at being a real bard went okay, mostly, and you're kind of supposed to be pretending to be a slave here. What do slaves do in town for fun?
>>
No. 604421 ID: 602cd8
File 141670073703.png - (105.05KB , 800x800 , 9-38.png )
604421

>Check the non-slave tavern
I get some nasty glares, but I still manage to glance in the tavern to check. While it is merely a second that I look, I think I would spot a lizard two heads higher than anyone else! Since I do not, I figure he is not there. If he is causing trouble, then it is rather quiet, as well.

>What do slaves do in town for fun?

"Hello, miss?"
>"Hello again."
"What do slaves do for fun?"
>"You were just in the cavern bar, right? That's basically all."
"No games or any such thing?"
>"Not in public. Lizards don't like to see us having fun, they say it leads to us feeling like we can do whatever we want. So we do stuff that doesn't look like a game. Staring contests. Who can spit in the farthest jar. Who can eat the same meal fastest."
"Hm! Say, have you seen where my master went to?"
>"Ah, uh, no. I saw him left, but other than that, I don't know, sorry. Uh... does he let you have fun? He looks like he's one of the meanest owners. Except you always look like you're in good spirits. Er, I'm sorry. I'm just curious how it is on the outside."
>>
No. 604422 ID: 07a835

>>604421
I suspect there are rumblings of a revolt. Why not encourage things a little? Tell her he let you learn how to play a lute. That's what you've been doing for fun, until you did something dumb and got it broken.
>>
No. 604425 ID: eda819

>Except you always look like you're in good spirits
Hmm. Note to self, you may need to adopt a more downtrodden air when you're undercover in the lizard's place.

>He looks like he's one of the meanest owners.
He looks meaner than he is! Which is useful for keeping trouble away, but less useful for making good first impressions it would seem.

Then again, maybe it's easier to ignore or be mean to people who live near but separate from you than your only company when you're traveling.

*Cough*. He's also trying probably trying to fit in, so maybe we shouldn't be spreading rumors about a pleasant disposition.
>>
No. 604426 ID: 4f004c

I think Kexluk is both the nicest and the meanest lizardman you've ever seen... It just depends on his mood at the time is all.

To answer her question: Kexluk doesn't so much let you have fun as much as he expects it. His tasks may be challenging, but at least he chooses them based on your habits.
>>
No. 604429 ID: bb78f2

>>604421
Oh, I'm in high spirits because I'm on drugs all the time. He'd rather I smile and make him think he's being nice, so he drugs my meals, sadness is something I physically am unable to have! Only disappointment.

I'm also a sex slave, and he sells me to pretty bored girls all the time, so that also helps spirits a bit.
>>
No. 604430 ID: d90668

Tell her a few tales of your life before you started your adventures. And then maybe a few edited ones from after.

Do not mention that you are not really a slave but paint a nice picture of your life before your "master" enslaved you.
>>
No. 604432 ID: a1c4b6

I wouldn't mention anything opposite of you being a slave.

Just say that as long as you do everything you're supposed to he doesn't keep you on a tight leash.
>>
No. 604457 ID: 53688c

>>604429
>drugs
I think this pretty much explains away everything you do or have ever done.

Don't say anything about Kexluk being nice though. We can't risk hurting his rep.
I think we probably want to opt for lazy or ignorant when we insult him behind his back.
Say he's as mean as he looks, when he bothers to be, but he's not too tough to fool, and doesn't keep a very close eye on you, so you can often get away with things behind his back.
>>
No. 604615 ID: 602cd8
File 141676771135.png - (123.33KB , 800x800 , 9-39.png )
604615

"Kexluk is both the nicest and meanest lizardman I have yet seen! His tasks are challenging, but so long as I do them, he often loosens his leash on me, so to speak, so I have some wiggle room for play, and to do things behind his back. Furthermore, I am somewhat of an entertainment slave as well."
>"Oh. Most of us are just... working slaves."
"I wasn't always a slave, though! I did live in a kobold village. Of course, we had the worst spot in the open caverns, and just about anyone could pluck us up for slavery, which is what happened to me."
>"There's kobolds that aren't slaves?"
"Correct, although there are pros and cons to such freedom!"
>"Such as?"
"Well, I cannot vouch for here, but slaves back at my home are quite well fed, while the independent village sometimes had trouble finding enough food. That's the main one! Also, protection. Our village doesn't have giant lizards protecting us from some wayward band looking for murder. But, no one would tell us we couldn't do what we wanted to do."
>"So what does Kexluk do that's... bad or mean?"
>>
No. 604623 ID: 07a835

>>604615
He makes you do demeaning or painful tasks. Like he enjoys watching you struggle.
>>
No. 604626 ID: eda819

>So what does Kexluk do that's... bad or mean?
Well, he does sometimes have a tendency to rush into dangerous situations. He really doesn't like to lose, either.

(Both true, but taken out of context, sound worse than they are).
>>
No. 604633 ID: bb78f2

He drugs my meals to ensure obedience.
He sells me to women who like BDSM.
IF I have blisters from laying the guitar too much he don't care and I continue playing.
He likes sparring, and sometimes I'm a target to spar with.
He likes tossing me around. Literally he tosses me off a cliff then heals my bones with a spell, and we continue this for usually an hour until he's bored. The drugs he feeds me help me not going insane from the pain, at least.
>>
No. 604642 ID: 602cd8
File 141676963240.png - (87.38KB , 800x800 , 9-40.png )
604642

"Well, he does sometimes make me do rather demeaning or painful tasks! Much like he enjoys watching me struggle. Sometimes it involves him rushing into dangerous situations, and he really doesn't like to lose. It doesn't help that he likes to fight and spar, and sometimes I'm the only one around! My meals are drugged to ensure obedience, he sells me off to bored women who often enjoy using kobolds for things ill suitable to mention in conversation such as this, I often have to play my lute even if I have blisters! Sometimes he even tosses me around." Ah, I feel like I'm getting carried away here.
>"He's a fighter, right? He must be good, then, if he's so rich."
"Hm?"
>"I heard that he lost a bet for 25 gold. I mean, unless he bet everything on it, he's got to be really rich, right?"
"How did you know about that?"
>"There's... rumors. They spread really quick around here, you know?"
"Certainly, although it has hardly been any time! People talk right here at this desk?"
>"Oh, there's a little hole under my desk. I don't know how it works, but it does a really good job at moving sound from the cavern tavern where you were at to here, so sometimes I listen in. Actually, that's part of my job, to make sure they're not up to any goo- s-sorry. I'm sorry."
"Ah, were you the one who alerted that lizard lady about my music?"
>"I couldn't hide it. She'd throw me out in the desert if she found out I was hiding something like that."
"I am not mad, miss! Is she the owner of this establishment?"
>"She is, yes. Uhm... you never answered me about if Kexluk was rich? You don't even look shaken up about losing a lute, so it must be easily replaced."
>>
No. 604644 ID: a19cd5

>>604642
"That's because I don't INTEND on answering!"
>>
No. 604645 ID: 07a835

>>604642
Tell her you don't know where he gets his money or how much he has. You're just trying not to think about the lute right now, thanks a lot.

...is she pushing a button? I am suddenly worried about getting robbed.
>>
No. 604649 ID: eda819

>you never answered me about if Kexluk was rich? You don't even look shaken up about losing a lute, so it must be easily replaced.
Man, we stink at sneaking. This girl has inferred a lot about us, pretty quick.

Answer honestly (leaving out the bit that you're rich). No, he's not rich. He didn't bet everything he had, but he wasn't happy that he lost either. And you're sure you'll get your hands on another instrument, though, eventually.

Honestly you're kind of harder to shake up than a lot of people. *Shrug and smile*
>>
No. 604662 ID: 602cd8
File 141677072572.png - (103.47KB , 800x800 , 9-41.png )
604662

"I don't know precisely how much money he has! He didn't bet everything, but you could tell how angry he was at losing that much. I'm also simply difficult to shake up, as I'm sure I'll get a new lute eventually."
>"You know how lizards can be though, right? I've seen lizards get into duels to the death because they lost a few copper on a bet they thought they would win. It's not always about the money, it's about the contest, and... from what you say, well... anyways, most lizards around here consider just a half dozen gold coins to be well off. Uh, er, anyway, I should get back to my job. Thank you for the company, but if my own master finds out I've been chatting too casually for too long, then, well, you know... is... is your master looking for any more slaves?"
>>
No. 604666 ID: 07a835

>>604662
Tell her you'd have to ask him, and she'd have to be useful enough to be worth the money as well.

...we can't take her before the heist, I don't think.
>>
No. 604668 ID: eda819

>is... is your master looking for any more slaves?
Ah. She's looking for an out.

We probably could buy her and give her her freedom after, although I don't know if that would mess up this mission. (Or would someone who knew the local area be an asset?). And we weren't lying that our kobold caves had problems. I mean, we have a pretty cool quality of life, but if she reacts like a sane person to all the liches and monsters that won't really work.

>what do
Ask her her name. If we're going to consider helping her, we should know that, at least.
>>
No. 604672 ID: 60700b

>>604662
...What skills do you have?
>>
No. 604689 ID: 602cd8
File 141677365878.png - (132.45KB , 800x800 , 9-42.png )
604689

"Well, I would have to speak to my master about it, of course! What skills do you have?"
>"I, uh, well, bookkeeping, here. And a lot of patience, and willingness to do anything. Please. I have to stand at this post for almost 18 hours a day every day, just listening in to the cavern below is the closest thing I have to a social life. I'm willing to be tossed around or anything, too! Please put in a good word for me, I'll make it worth it. Um... don't actually say it's me, though."
"That may be a little hard, if I'm to just put in a good word!"
>"I mean, just say there's an obedient kobold, and I guess you have to say who if he demands it, but if my master finds out I'm trying to get out, then, well, uh, it's trouble. Oh, and, uh, I can work for free, just for food. I wasn't asking about how rich he was for the money, it's just nice to have a master that can actually afford to feed me. And... one that can afford to feed me and does. Even if you say he tosses you around and stuff, you... look like one of the healthiest, well fed kobolds around."

Hm, she is suddenly sounding quite desperate! I am thinking that I was fortunate in life even before running to Zirkala and the 'dragon'.

"I may, miss, but even if I'm not to use your name or identity, I would like to know what it is?"
>"Oh, uh... Tulip."

While I would be favorable towards buying her freedom, I do question if it may get in the way of this mission I've been sent on.
>>
No. 604695 ID: 4f004c

>>604689
Well, now that the conversation's over, wish her luck and head back to your room. Not like you can just be wandering about now.
You might want to try putting the mark on and seeing if there's some Kobold Resistance spying on you that's willing to talk once it is on.
>>
No. 604697 ID: eda819

>I'll make it worth it
Too easy. You're not above bedding after a dashing rescue, but taking advantage of desperation is a step too far. (No, don't say this aloud).

>bookkeeping and patience and willingness to do anything
Seems like a skill-set we could find a way to employ with one or another of our friends or patrons back home. I'm sure someone needs a bookkeeper, and literate kobolds who can do sums for food and/or relatively low pay are probably in short supply. (And who wants to pay what an scholar would ask).

>I am thinking that I was fortunate in life even before running to Zirkala and the 'dragon'.
Yeah, you do have a pretty good streak of good luck.

>if my master finds out
Well, she's going to find out eventually, unless you're proposing we steal you. And she'd notice that eventually, too.

>I do question if it may get in the way of this mission I've been sent on
Probably? Although maybe she knows more about the place you're going than you do. And well, how to actually act like a downtrodden slave and blend in. But yes, she might be a liability, or at risk during the actual heist.

I get the feeling this is one of those things you won't get a second chance for, though. If you decide to wait to help her till your trip back, you probably won't get to. It's time to be bold, not smart, I think.

Talk it over with Kexluk. He's probably all for saving people, and better able to guess the risk you'd be taking.
>>
No. 604701 ID: 07a835

Do not compromise the mission. You can pick her up on the way out. Tell her you'll try to convince your master but it may take a couple of days.
>>
No. 604704 ID: d90668

That's good info about gambling and lizardfolk. Kex might be taking the lose worse than we thought. Lets hope he does not try gambling more to make up for it.

Ask her what sort of skills she has. Then tell her you will have to talk to your master and you will let her know after his trip to the fort.

Will have to decide how many if any kobolds we want to try helping while we are here.
>>
No. 604710 ID: 602cd8
File 141677592352.png - (118.21KB , 800x800 , 9-43.png )
604710

>Too easy. You're not above bedding after a dashing rescue, but taking advantage of desperation is a step too far. (No, don't say this aloud).
I'm... not entirely sure that is how she meant 'she'd make it worth it!' Well, perhaps it was, but it could have just meant she would work her hardest to make it worth Kexluk's time and money. Nonetheless, I have no intention of pursuing bed-related actions with her at this time!

"Well, eventually she would have to know you would be taken from her."
>"I know, I know, but if Kexluk doesn't want to take me, then I don't want her to ever know. If Kexluk does take me, then... well, then I won't be tossed out."
"Either way, I wish you good luck, and I will talk it over with my master. It's possible it may take a couple of days, too. Until then, have a good day."
>"Thank you. Enjoy your stay. If there's anything I can help you with, please just let me know."
>>
No. 604711 ID: 602cd8
File 141677596444.png - (112.04KB , 800x800 , 9-44.png )
604711

I retire to my room for the time being, to rest on the bed made for things 4 times my size. Kexluk still appears out, unsurprisingly since it has only been a few minutes of talking. I feel I may have better luck finding him by remaining where he will eventually return to, rather than going out to attempt to find him in this town.

While I wait, I put on this emblem. While I have my suspicions about it belonging to some kind of kobold resistance, it still appears non-magical, as nothing occurs as I put it on. So I continue waiting for Kexluk, but despite how much time passes, he still has not returned.
>>
No. 604712 ID: 07a835

>>604711
I think you'd better go out and look for him. Shouldn't be too hard to find him... Hell, he may be bothering the goblins from before.
>>
No. 604714 ID: eda819

Well, if it's getting late, let's go looking around. Hopefully he's not getting in trouble.
>>
No. 604716 ID: 4f004c

Yeah, going out and looking for him is probably a good idea. Just, remember hat anxiety/nervousness you felt when you first entered the slave's tavern. That fear of failing. Use that fear to guide your posture while out looking for him so that you'll blend in a bit better.
>>
No. 604719 ID: d90668

Man its sad when you have to play the responsible one and drag other people away from whatever vises have ensnared them.

Go find the big lug and see what he has gotten up to.
>>
No. 604764 ID: bb78f2

I think he's being mugged because he just lost 25 gold on a bet and didn't kill anybody.
That has implications for other people, if you had been listening to the bold and thinking.
He's being held hostage right now.

Goddammit, we have to find him before we get enslaved for REAL. Be prepared to kill some lizard dudes.
>>
No. 604768 ID: 602cd8
File 141678673825.png - (96.55KB , 800x800 , 9-45.png )
604768

>I think he's being mugged
Well... perhaps? Given the state of this place, whos lizards perhaps are sounding even more brutal than those in my own cavern, I am beginning to fear for our situation after all.

I will pocket my emblem and go find the big guy.

>Just, remember hat anxiety/nervousness you felt when you first entered the slave's tavern. That fear of failing. Use that fear to guide your posture while out looking for him so that you'll blend in a bit better.
Given how my thoughts are running away from me, I may not need to act this out after all! I search for some time, and eventually I hear a commotion. I hurry off as the words take recognizable form.

>"You overgrown idiot! You think you can just come to our town and take our property?!"
>"I told you already, sir!"
>>
No. 604769 ID: 602cd8
File 141678676781.png - (131.73KB , 800x800 , 9-46.png )
604769

>"I had not set anything in stone, it was to be - Story Seeker! I have a problem."
>>
No. 604770 ID: 602cd8
File 141678677924.png - (300.26KB , 800x800 , 9-47.png )
604770

Does this count as being mugged, I wonder?

>"I had a single kobold come to me begging me for food, then to purchase him out of his previous life. While I did not go and purchase him, I could not leave him to starve! I do not know why he came to me in particular, but he did, and once I was seen feeding a single kobold, all of them came to me! I told you guys, I cannot purchase all of you even if I had your master's consent! I'm not... that rich!"

Oh, what a tragic delivery of a lie that was! I don't think anyone was fooled.

>"You shit!" says the other lizard. "You help any of these little bastards out without any permission, then I know you aren't gonna be leaving this town without a damn coin to your name!"
>>
No. 604773 ID: 07a835

>>604770
Alright time for some ACTING.

Go up to him and grovel on the ground, telling him that you played at the slave bar but you didn't know they were supposed to keep quiet so the owner broke his lute! Beg him to forgive you and not to (make up some horrible torture here) again. Even if he heals you afterwards, you can still remember...
>>
No. 604774 ID: d90668

Well this is entertaining. Either life is in fact bad enough here that all the kobold slaves are desperate enough to pull this stunt in public. Or they just instantly noticed that Kex was a easy mark to try and mob for loose change/food.

Now you just have to figure out which one it is. And then decide if the idea of kobold slavery is offensive enough to the both of you that you need to do something about it right now.

If the slaves here and the fort really do have it that bad it would be great to help them. But you have a time limit on your mission and if you end up with a village worth of kobold slaves you might end up responsible for there welfare.

I would find out more info before making any plans involving the slaves. Go wave them off Kex and see if you can diffuse the situation. While you are doing so check the physical condition of the slaves bothering him. If they are all malnourished and beaten you should be able to tell. If not they might just be looking for a handout.
>>
No. 604779 ID: eda819

Okay, look. This village is going to produce the same amount of food whether Kexlux buys them their meals or not. And the lizards here would have to be stupid to allow all their slaves to starve, then they'd have no slaves! If there's enough food to buy them meals, there's always enough food to keep them from starving.

So obviously he should feel fine not feeding them.

>>604773
That's... not a terrible idea. If you can get him to 'punish' you, or bring up a sufficiently terrible past punishment, it might scare them off.

Especially if it's made clear he's only not harming them because they're the property of others. They'll clear out quick before their master says it's okay to thump them.
>>
No. 604880 ID: 4f004c

Bring up how he lost his gold to the goblins. That ought to get his anger up and scare everybody away.
>>
No. 604891 ID: 01745f

>>604774
It could be some of both. While most of them are probably not literally starving to death (since the town wound run out of slaves that way), being fed enough not to die in the short term does not mean being fed enough for happiness and long term health.
Judging by the local lizards so far these kobolds are taking a risk by asking at all, so I think they probably have good reasons to do so.
>>
No. 605287 ID: 602cd8
File 141688985341.png - (222.14KB , 800x800 , 9-48.png )
605287

>Look at the other kobolds for signs of treatment
It seems most of them are quite thin, but not starving! I suspect that, based on what I have heard in the past, it is possible that the lizardfolk use food as a motivator for their slaves. So if Kexluk fed one, then its master may feel that Kexluk gave that kobold a reason to not work so hard.

Now I will act!

>"Forgive me, master! I broke the rules of this town, and that lute you bought me has been destroyed! I beg you, don't throw me off any more cliffs, or carve messages into my skin! Even if you heal me, I can still remember! I can remember the pain!"
>>
No. 605288 ID: 602cd8
File 141688986239.png - (151.22KB , 800x800 , 9-49.png )
605288

Kexluk puts on quite a scary face! I think he's rolling with it after all. Or... maybe he is actually mad?

>".... that's right." he says. "You can, and you will. You're going to buy yourself a new lute, and for every coin it costs me, I'm going to take it out of one of your bones. And if these ants don't get off of me, I'm going to do the same, regardless of whether or not their master approves! And you!" Kexluk yells at the other lizardman. "If you have a problem with me, then fight!"

Ah, rolling with it! Good.
>>
No. 605289 ID: 602cd8
File 141688986813.png - (201.97KB , 800x800 , 9-50.png )
605289

Well, that did the trick, and even the other lizardman simply glares a bit more at Kexluk before opting to not, in fact, fight him. Kexluk picke me up quite casually and quite... quietly. At least for a few blocks, before he raises me to eye level.

>".... I don't like to act, Story Seeker, and I don't like to compromise. I have built a reputation on distancing myself from this sort of life. You are my friend, and you know that mean no harm to you, just as I know that you did not mean harm to me. Know also, though, that I would rather die fighting every last lizard scum in this shitstain of a desert town than sling my own name through the mud. And I would rather sully my own name than risk either the mission I promised success on or your wellbeing. Do you understand me?"

And, actually quite mad, after all.
>>
No. 605296 ID: 07a835

>>605289
Oops. Understood.

Next time we have to put up an act, how about we go in a completely different direction again? Like, maybe tell someone he's the best master ever? If all the rumors are different then none of them will be believable.
>>
No. 605297 ID: a19cd5

"Sorry, was kinda just thinking on my feet there. Won't make a repeat of it."
And then let's not make a repeat of it.
>>
No. 605300 ID: b1a3f9

Apologize, continue mission.
>>
No. 605315 ID: a19cd5

Oh, now might be a good time to mention counter chick as a post-mission thing.
>>
No. 605316 ID: d5f3c4

We've done Kexluk a dishonor here. That was really thoughtless. To make up for it, when we arrive at our destination, we are going to incite a slave revolt and ensure it's success, to make up for a callous behavior.
>>
No. 605322 ID: bb78f2

...
So why are you using your own name Kexluk?
Names are a weakness.
I understand that's not the point you're making here, and we get your concerns. But Zirkala sent us here for a reason. Unlike a paladin who has oaths, you CAN adapt, and even become better than an average paladin. You actually guide your own path, and may use any tool at your disposal that you see fit. So we must find the right tools, and understand our weaknesses!
You don't have to act, but you don't technically have to sully your name. Let's just plan a bit better for circumstances like these.

Like, for example, while you do have problems bullying people, you can't have a problem bullying bullys, and lizardmen respect power. So be true to yourself, and like, show some motherfuckers up! Instead of threatening kobolds, LEAD them to leave you alone. If you got to get a bunch of people asking you for stuff you can't give them, what WOULD Kexluk do if you didn't have Story Seeker to back you up with a lie, or the money to buy the slaves, or the muscle to get out of here if you pissed off an entire town by freeing them all? If he had a mission of dire importance, and I do mean DIRE. Not "I promised on my honor" DIRE, I mean "LIFE AS WE KNOW IT COULD END IF THE MISSION IS FAILED AND ONLY I CAN DO FINISH THE MISSION SO I MUST PRESERVE MY LIFE OVER MY HONOR" dire.

These kobolds may have been in need of freedom quite understandibly, but they were risking your life, almost practically holding your identity hostage and could have blown the whole thing. They were acting against your life, almost like a common mugger. You don't just give muggers what they want, because they've had hardships that make them desperate, do you Kexluk?
>>
No. 605326 ID: 2c0ee4

Wow, you two suck at blending in. Anyway, apologies seem to be in order... after you two arrive at somewhere more private than the middle of a street where you don't know who might be lurking. I mean, come on, both of you guy's shitty acting skills and known wealth must've attracted at least some suspicion.

Know any bardic privacy spells? Or maybe save the conversation for travel on the open road? Also, you might as well work out what sort of acting is acceptable, because you two'll be doing a whole lot more of it (and hopefully less suckily) when you arrive at the lizard-town. Remember, we're aiming for secrecy here. You can always free some slaves after you've completed your objectives.

Speaking of slaves, try asking Kexluk about the emblem after you work out the lying thing. It's unlikely that he'd know anything about it, but it's worth a shot.
>>
No. 605332 ID: eda819

>Do you understand me?
I genuinely apologize, Kexluk. I am used to playing a role to suit the needs of the moment, and I failed to consider how that would effect you. I meant to help, not disrespect, but I wronged you. We should have been able to do this without sullying your name.

Perhaps, before we reach our destination, we should work out a narrative you are comfortable with?

After that, tell him about your conversation with Tulip. At least one kobold here knows he's not actually cruel, and if she talks, the other kobolds should eventually find out that was an act. So... there's some hope for his reputation.
>>
No. 605403 ID: d90668

I am very sorry Kexluk. I really should have thought this little plan of mine through a bit more. I was inconsiderate and I hope you can forgive me.

We need to work on our story in private before we go any farther. I sort of assumed you would be using a fake name and pretending to be a mercenary and I would be your personal slave. I was having so much fun playing my silly slave role that I never thought about your end of it.

So you tell me how you want to portray yourself to the world and I will help.

When you are in private tell him about the events at the tavern and what you learned from Tulip. The slaves here are not fed that well so are desperate. Would love to help somehow but not sure how to go about it.
>>
No. 605409 ID: e6e219

Kex I am a idiot. I got so caught up in playing this silly slave act that I forgot to consider your end of things. I am sorry for not talking with you beforehand.

So lets get our act together and decide on how we are going to handle this mission.
>>
No. 605879 ID: fab898

>>605289

Apologize, and mention your confusion to Kex how the Lizards who supposedly worship Order and Justice mistreat their slaves enough that they would be -this- desperate to leave them. Let it slip out that while he was dealing with kobolds, we had Tulip ask us to take her as well.
>>
No. 608879 ID: d09e6e
File 141775096349.png - (164.23KB , 800x800 , 9-51.png )
608879

Although it's not exactly a private setting, there appears to be no one around, so we simply hush our voices so as to not be overheard.

"Yes, Kexluk, I understand, and you have my greatest apologies. I think we should establish just what sort of master-slave relation we would like in more detail, in fact?"
>"Yes. I suppose we should. Let me... think it over. Let me establish what I can tolerate having people say about me."
>"Perhaps you would like to use a different name?" he eyes me rather solemnly at that advice. "... ah, right, you don't like to act, as you said. But! Perhaps this is why Zirkala sent us on this mission, as while I apologize for reminding you that you are no longer a paladin, this also means that without such oaths, you may be able to act more freely and adapt!"
>"I did not make those oaths out of some selfish desire to be of a paladin order. I made those because I honestly believed them personally. I do not want to adapt if it means giving those up."
"Another thing that I must wonder... these lizards support order and justice, but they treat their own kobolds as, well, not what I'd call justice!"
>"This is a perverse town. Their 'order' just means what they think is the natural way of things. Lizards at the top, all other races at the bottom, and their 'justice' is simply making sure that their primitive notion of order is maintained. It is not some golden beacon of ethics, Story Seeker. This place disgusts me, and if their main fort is like this, as I expect, then I have no qualms about stealing their artifact."
"I see! I'm glad to hear that, at the least, but once again, I am sorry for not considering your own feelings, Kexluk."
>"Don't worry. Hold on, we're at another tavern. Have you eaten?"
"I have not. Ah, and there is one other kobold that wishes for freedom - well, rather, slavery under you, despite that I, uh, and I apologize again, did not make you sound all that nice."
>"I will see what I can do for this kobold and all of the others in the long run. But I have had enough irritable circumstances already. Let's cool off indoors.
>>
No. 608881 ID: d09e6e
File 141775097693.png - (153.02KB , 800x800 , 9-52.png )
608881

We enter the tavern, and although its walls are no silver lined feats of architecture, it's certainly a far cozier looking place than the underground bar of before.

>"I would like the finest meal for myself and my comp-slave!" Kexluk says loudly upon entry, towards the nearest worker.
>"Sorry, no room for kobolds here. The food and seats as wasted on them."
>"I'm going to insist. There are not even any other lizardfolk here to be offended."
>"There will be when working hours are over, which is soon."
>"We will be fast."
>"NO kobolds.
>"What sort of business would you run without offering food to any who would pay and eat quietly?"
>"A self-respecting one with standards!"
>"That is insanity!" Kexluk says, and the both of them sound more heated with each passing exchange.
>>
No. 608898 ID: 687279

>>608881
Whisper into Kex's ear that he should buy food and bring it outside.
>>
No. 608899 ID: 60700b

>>608881
Poke him with your tail, then tell him when its appropriate to pretend to get extras for himself, while you wait outside, and give them to you afterward.
>>
No. 608946 ID: bb78f2

Hey, Kexluk, why don't you assert authority over her? As more than a customer. Just a thought. Make her respect you and your wants. In a way that's true to Kexluk, of course. But we gotta think HOW.

Make sure Kexluk at least make this look like a power thing though. Make it not about trying to treat kobolds nice, it's about looking like a boss rich fucker and not giving a shit who thinks about you. Flash some cash.

Pfft, self respecting business. Business is about servicing the customer hand and fucking foot. The world is the customers property. This BUSINESS is KEXLUK'S property. OURS.
>>
No. 608961 ID: 4c5cf2

Master, might I suggest you just order takeout?

This having someone to stick up for your dignity thing is weird. Usually you don't even stick up for your dignity!

>you are no longer a paladin
How did that happen, exactly? Was it because he failed his mission versus Zirkala last time? Was it because he lost his sword? Because he broke an oath of Chasity? Or if not chastity, was it the threeway with a lich?
>>
No. 608966 ID: d90668

See if you can feed him some lines about how if she wants to starve her slaves so that they are useless that's her decision. But he likes to keep a eye on his so you do not get into trouble.

Oh or a story about how the last time you got out of his sight half the towns kobolds ended up pregnant. Some reason he would not want you away from his side for long.
>>
No. 608968 ID: 02f106

Yeah, I'm going to have to go with just eating some of Kex's food. The size difference between you guys is so huge, I don't think it's going to matter much if he gets extra or not. No point in attracting more unnecessary attention to yourself.
>>
No. 609196 ID: d09e6e
File 141782568069.png - (148.45KB , 800x800 , 9-53.png )
609196

>How exactly did Kexluk stop being a paladin?
I'm... not actually sure, to be honest! It sounded as though losing the sword was an unacceptable event, although losing a battle against a lich could also have been the cause. I doubt it was the raunchy acts with a lich, nor the servitude with Zirkala, as it sounded as though he had already lost his paladin-hood by the time that occurred.

I whisper into Kexluk's ear, before this gets out of hand.

"I am fine with takeout, Kexluk. In fact, our sizes are so differences, I would likely receive my fill by taking a nibble of your own meal. Or, perhaps mention a reason why you want to keep a close eye on me? Such as causing half a village's kobold population to become pregnant the last time you left me alone?"

I can practically feel Kexluk internally groaning at that sort of excuse, but he turns to the worker.

>"Perhaps you like to nearly starve your own slaves, but I prefer mine in working order! In any case, I cannot leave him alone. He gets into trouble, even if he doesn't mean to."
>"Then that's your problem."
>"Then I will take my business elsewhere."
>>
No. 609198 ID: d09e6e
File 141782571150.png - (132.85KB , 800x800 , 9-54.png )
609198

"Really, Kexluk! I am fine with eating outdoors. In fact, just having a good, prepared meal was something of a rarity for me until recently. For most of my life, it was primarily cave scraps and raw fish!"
>"No! I do not care if I must act as though you are my slave anymore, but I am not going to have you shoved to eat outside like a common animal. We will find you a place to eat where you are welcome."

He says that, but Kexluk is quick to exhaust each option, one establishment after the next. For doing this for my sake, he sure is stubborn, and won't listen to my advice!

"I do hear lizardfolk respect power. I don't suppose that there is a, uh, paladin-friendly way of using force to get what you want? And make it look like a power thing, rather than looking out for me?"
>"Hrm... no, this is for too selfish a reason, even if it is not for my own sake. No, I believe I know where we can go, Story Seeker."
>>
No. 609199 ID: d09e6e
File 141782577115.png - (200.58KB , 800x800 , 9-55.png )
609199

We enter what looks like a place populated by kobolds, who immediately tense up when Kexluk enters the, well, premises. We are in no structure, but rather an area on the outskirts of the town.

>"Be at ease, kobolds!" Kexluk yells. "I am here to feed my own slave, and myself. Barkeeper! Give us enough food for the both of us."
>"Er, uh. Are you sure you wouldn't like to eat at one of the proper taverns around here more fitting to you, sir?"
>"Do you have a problem with my presence?"
>"Well, no. No, but... it's improper. I don't think... your other kind will really like to see you eating here. We don't have, uh, food fit for - "
>"I am going to eat in the company of my slave, one way or the other, barkeep!"
>"Okay! Okay, okay.... okay. Just... sit there. We'll start cooking... what we can."

Well, this is.... possibly not a great idea! I can hardly complain, having just trampled upon Kexluk's own ideas, but he seems rather disinterested in my own!

.... and on the other hand, perhaps I simply find it strange to have someone else sticking up for my own dignity.
>>
No. 609201 ID: 687279

>>609199
Um, won't this exhaust the tavern's supplies and leave no food left for the kobolds? Even if Kex pays a lot for it, they'll have trouble replenishing their stock.
>>
No. 609203 ID: 88960e

Um. They have enough food for someone of his, stature, right? He probably eats a lot more.

Assuming they can, see to smoothing things over with the other bolds. Your master is just being stubborn, and prooving a point. He didn't take kindly to one of the other lizards telling him who he could and could not eat with.

Stubbornness and pride will make more sense to them than him sticking up for you.
>>
No. 609204 ID: 02f106

....Wow. This is an incredibly stupid idea. You're going to attract so much attention. It doesn't help that Kex is huge. I predict angry lizardfolk mob soon.

Besides, as above poster pointed out, they probably don't have enough food for Kex, and even if he gives money to replenish their stores, the lizardfolk will probably just take it from them. If Kex can't manage to get takeout, you might as well just eat separately. Try finding a lizard place near here though so you can keep an eye on Kex. I can't believe SS has to be the responsible one here.
>>
No. 609208 ID: bb78f2

>>609198
>"Hrm... no, this is for too selfish a reason, even if it is not for my own sake. No, I believe I know where we can go, Story Seeker."

Well, you're eating right now, so I guess it doesn't matter, but this seems like a paradox. He's making us both eat outside with the other kobold's, putting our mission at risk, all. That IS selfish. Kexluk, you're confusing the hell out of me! We're also putting these kobold's at risk by doing this.

What he's doing right now is WAY more selfish than just letting you eat outside while he gets a finer meal.
>>
No. 609216 ID: d90668

You know what this is fine. Just tell them that once Kex gets his head set on something nothing will change it.

See if they have enough food to serve you and if a bit of money will help out. Heck maybe you could check with the traders you lost the bet with and buy some food off of them. Then have a big bbq or something. Would be the perfect spot to continue you entertaining that got cut off earlier.
>>
No. 609219 ID: 8732f9

I like the idea of getting food from the traders and starting a big party. Ask your "master" what he thinks of the idea.
>>
No. 610055 ID: 3af16b

>>609199

Well, if we can't convince Kex, we can at least try to get something out of our fellow kobolds.

Ask around your Kobold brethren if they know anything about the fort, and if they question you going off, tell them either your master commanded you not to bother him as he eats, or that he wants a well-informed slave.
>>
No. 621296 ID: 5e00ee

Too bad we can't just slaughter our way through the town , these guys at scum but they may or may not deserve it.
Can we see if the caravan is willing to help us smuggle the kobold slaves out? Can the teleport from here back the other town?
If we can't save them now we can ask if Zirkala is willing to summon Ralex to help clear out the town. Also we mustn't forget to have her summon Springfoot for wooing at the same time.
>>
No. 624582 ID: 602cd8
File 142362636161.png - (152.22KB , 800x800 , 9-51.png )
624582

>I can't believe SS has to be the responsible one here.
Well, there is a first time for everything!

"Kex, I appreciate your concern, but this does put our mission and these kobolds at risk. I would put risk, too, in saying that you are being terribly stubborn about this! I believe we can help these kobolds in better ways, if you would like."
>"Story Seeker... hm. Your points are valid, yet... no, not yet."
"Perhaps we can purchase food from the caravan?"
>"I greatly dislike the idea, but only because of personal reasons! No, I actually like that idea - it is a good way to either get over this, or see if that caravan was truly malicious."

>"Nevermind the order, kobolds, I believe I am not fit for this locale." he says as neutrally as he can. The kobolds appear visibly relieved, and so I believe it's for the best.
>>
No. 624583 ID: 602cd8
File 142362638237.png - (188.70KB , 800x800 , 9-52.png )
624583

>"Oh, it's the big one. You're not too sore, are you?" the lead goblin says, upon our approach. Their armed guards get their weapons ready, but Kexluk doesn't seem to mind."
>"Not sore enough to boycott your caravan. I would like food for myself and my kobold."
>"Yeah?"
>"... yes."
>"Well, we did say we'd give you a discount! Shit, guys, every time I tell you to put the roof higher when we're in lizard country."
>"I actually forgot about that."
>"Oh, damn, shouldn't have said anything, heh. Oh, well. Wait, you're already over our win? That's a little hard to believe."
>"Please do not attribute me to the brutes around here."
>"A lizardman with a heart and wallet of gold, eh? Alright, we'll give you some good food for a good price. Say, you guys still want a ride to the next town? It's on us. We're leaving tomorrow morning."

A tempting offer, although it's also true that Kexluk could likely bring the both of there quicker than the caravan could, but Kexluk is a flesh and blood being that can't have endless stamina, even if it may seem otherwise.
>>
No. 624587 ID: d958ad

>>624583
I believe the plan was to rush to this town then take it easy on the next leg. Let's stick with the plan.
>>
No. 624589 ID: d90668

Well the next town is your objective right? Would be good to be rested up before you start there. Plus rolling in with the caravan will look more natural than wandering in on foot. Also you can chat with the goblins and find out more about the fort. They probably know a good amount about the area if they run this trade route often.

If you stay overnight you will have a chance to talk with Kexluk and make a plan for finding and stealing whatever it is you are after. This object could be forgotten in a basement or proudly displayed on the highest tower. Or the local chief could be sitting on it for all we know.
>>
No. 624614 ID: bb78f2

>>624583
They might also have a teleporter dude her to make it instant, so fuck yeah we'll ride.
>>
No. 624834 ID: a6dc58

Catching a ride with the caravan seems good.
>>
No. 625177 ID: 602cd8
File 142403256253.png - (206.57KB , 800x800 , 9-53.png )
625177

"If you are alright with this, Kexluk, it seems like a fine decision."
>"Were we not going to get there as soon as possible?" Kexluk asks.
>"What're you guys in such a rush for?" says the goblin.
"I wouldn't say that we are! We're simply impatient. Nonetheless, we've made good time. I don't suppose there's another teleporter for the rest of the trip?"
>"Nope, sorry. We're out in the middle of no where, 'bold, so we gotta foot the rest of the way. So, you in?"
>"We're in." says Kexluk.

The goblins craft us a fine dinner, of which puts Kexluk back in good spirit, it seems!

"I apologize for my earlier steam, merchants! Perhaps I had you all pegged wrong, and even if I did not, there was no excuse for me to act that way."
>"Oh don't worry about it you doofus, it's not like you tried to get the town guard on our asses."
>>
No. 625178 ID: 602cd8
File 142403261204.png - (137.12KB , 800x800 , 9-54.png )
625178

"Say, you've been to Spearstone before, right? Might I ask what that place is like? Kexluk and I would like to fit in. As best as we can."
>"Your best, uh... no offense, guys, but your best ain't very good. Still, same sorta outsider stuff as always. Try to avoid eye contact with people, keep to yourselves, just watch what they do, that sorta stuff."
>"What sort of folklore or legends do they have? I hear they are religious." asks Kexluk.
>"Yeah, advocates for order. Their order. Kinda lame even by orderly standards. They even have a big ol' temple devoted to their shi- excuse me, their beloved gods. Gotta watch my damn mouth."
>"Is it simply a normal temple, or does it house important people, or objects?" Subtle, Kexluk!
>"Uh... yeah, they got some relic from their god. I mean, pretty sure their god is false - oh my god at least look around before talking, me - but they still have some some magical thingamajic up on the high altar. Priests and stuff say it talks to them. Gives them orders on little life decisions like whether their farms should be on the east side or west side, little prophecies, stuff like that."
"What kind of prophecies do they have?"
>"Just stuff like 'incoming bad weather!' mostly. I mean the only big one that the artifact gave is that some kobold's gonna go in there and steal the artifact and chaos up the town. That's the sort of vague bullshit though that I'm pretty sure is just there to make lizards give kobolds the ol' dirty eyeballs."
"Do they say what kind of kobold would do that?"
>"Not really, but Kobold's in there have to wear emblems, right? Well they say that the emblem of this one has 6 vertical strokes in the middle circle. Most have 4 or 5."
"I see!" Come to think of it, I believe the one given to me had 6.
>"What happens then, if the lizardman saw a kobold with a 6 lined emblem?"
"I dunno. Probably publicly execute 'im or something. Why?"
>>
No. 625181 ID: d958ad

>>625178
You were thinking you could probably turn him in for a reward.

As for what to do about the emblem, well, turn it! The prophecy specifies vertical strokes. They won't be looking for horizontal or diagonal.
>>
No. 625182 ID: bdfc23

>>625181
that sounds like the BEST idea.
>>
No. 625184 ID: bb78f2

We could just add another stroke in it, can't we? Lucky number 7! Or 8 or 9. You know, just in case horizontal or diagonal is not allowed due to forgeries or some shit.

Will the prophecy change if we change it though? What if no one's heard about the part where we change it to whatever we made it to be?

What we HAVE to do is make EVERY EMBLEM six vertical stripes. And spread them throughout the town. That way, no prophecy can touch us. They're not going to tank their economy by commiting genocide. I mean, come on, their lizard people, not monsters.
>>
No. 625186 ID: 82efdc

Wait, who makes the emblems? Why would they even make an unlucky six strike emblem if it will lead to something bad?

Check your emblem. We may need to modify it.
>>
No. 625195 ID: d90668

Hmm I wonder why you were given that emblem? Seems there are things going on behind the scenes around here.

Well we could modify the emblem. Or just say fuck it and wear it anyway and see what happens. But that might be a bad idea. Still have enough time here to track down the guy who gave it to you I think. Could be a kobold resistance group noticed your horrible acting and realized you were not a slave. And are expecting you to cause a mess when you get to the fort.

Ask the goblins where these emblems come from. And if this "prophecy" is public knowledge doesn't it defeat the point?

Make sure to mention the emblem and encounter to Kex if you have not already. Once out of earshot of course.
>>
No. 625196 ID: 50f73b

Ask what gods they worship. There's might be false but you know there are real ones running around.

And when did it give this prophecy? Cause it sounds like they made it up to keep slaves in line.
>>
No. 626167 ID: 602cd8
File 142464951392.png - (170.74KB , 800x800 , 9-55.png )
626167

>Turn it so they're horizontal.
Of course! A simple idea, but a good one. Crisis averted!

>I mean, come on, their lizard people, not monsters.
So one can hope!

"Ah, I figured if I saw him, perhaps I should know! And perhaps turn him in, too. Who makes these emblems, anyway?"
>"Probly the lizard priests."
"And what is stopping them from simply not making an emblem with 6 vertical strikes?"
>"Look, I don't know, guy. Maybe it's a fake emblem. You obviously thought about this more than they have. Like I said, it's probably just some propoganda."
"If it's public knowledge, doesn't it defeat the point?"
>"I don't know how you guys think!"
"Well, might I ask what kind of gods you worship?"
>"That's private!"
"Then never mind the question!"
>>
No. 626168 ID: 602cd8
File 142464965221.png - (151.07KB , 800x800 , 9-56.png )
626168

We make some idle banter before the merchants start packing up. We retire to our bedrooms, as we get ready ourselves.

"By the way, Kexluk? Earlier today, I was given that very emblem."
>"Oh? Well, I trust you have minded yourself about it. I kept my mouth still, but I too heard of a similar prophecy. You see, Story Seeker, earlier today, I was approached by an old man who claimed that I was the savior of Spearstone, and that I would root out and slay the kobold with 6 vertical stripes."
"Ah, and if that is me?"
>"Then the prophecy is a lie, as many are."
"I take it you do not believe in prophecies either, hm?"
>"I do, but I would also be naive to think that false prophecies and baseless superstition don't exist either. Anyways, I was told to approach a priest in spearstone and say that I was sent by Wazsh, whom I believe was the name of the old fellow. I suppose I may follow up on that, but I have little idea if it's anything I want to be involved in either."
>>
No. 626169 ID: d958ad

>>626168
Waaaaait a minute. If this prophecy is public knowledge, and you were given an emblem with 6 vertical stripes, then you were most likely given it by the true owner of the emblem.

This means there's a chaos worshipping kobold running around. The prophecy is likely true, it's just not about YOU.

On the other hand... you could use this to your advantage. Instead of trying to approach with a low profile, Story Seeker could stir up some shit while wearing the vertical-6 emblem, and Kexluk, as the "savior", will volunteer to guard the artifact. Then he'll steal it instead.

I'm not sure which is the better plan... but Kexluk might not like to be known as a failed guard, so maybe that second plan won't work.
>>
No. 626171 ID: 82efdc

Huh. Was Tulip trying to get you in trouble? Or was she trying to get rid of an emblem that would get her in trouble? Is she the real kobold from the prophecy?

Maybe we should reconsider buying her out of there. If she's prophesied to steal the thing we want, or if she's otherwise involved, maybe having her along might help? Or if she's trying to get you in trouble, better to keep her close?

>prophecies
It occurs to me the prophecy about a kobold stealing the artifact, and Kexluk stopping the theft can't both be true, by definition. Although he's certainly in a position to stop it, if he wanted to...

>I suppose I may follow up on that, but I have little idea if it's anything I want to be involved in either.
It... does give us an in. A legitimate reason to be there, and for them to trust you.

And if you're comfortable with the deception, one of the most effective means to steal something is being the person supposed to guard it.
>>
No. 626172 ID: d90668

Obviously there are all sorts of players here all with there own agendas.

There will be the lizard priests who don't want there sweet gig ruined. And a anti slavery kobold faction hiding somewhere. And maybe a few progressive lizardman members even. And thats not counting any actual chaos or order priests wandering around.

So be ready for anything and don't worry to much about plotting in the background. You have a rather simple job to do and after you do it you can worry about the other stuff if you want.
>>
No. 626173 ID: bb78f2

>>626168
Yeah, no, there's another kobold that was meant to have the stripes. Either it's one we'll give to another or the man who somehow passed it off to you. It's probably him. I mean, he knew about the prophecy if what he said was any indication, so yeah, he intended for you to die today instead of him.

What a dick.
Kexluk, you might actually kill that kobold. He's competition for the artifact, and completely willing to have a naive kobold killed in his place. Despicable.
>>
No. 628535 ID: 602cd8
File 142596339546.png - (159.09KB , 800x800 , 9-57.png )
628535

>He intended for you to die today instead of him.
Yes, I do feel that he likely did not have my own best interests at heart, in hindsight. Nevertheless, now I am aware, and I am not one to bear a grudge!

>It occurs to me the prophecy about a kobold stealing the artifact, and Kexluk stopping the theft can't both be true, by definition.
True! But as Kexluk said - or something like he said - for every drop of true prophecy, there's a bucket of superstition and false predictions.

>Was Tulip trying to get you in trouble?
Ah, Tulip is not the one who gave it to me! That was a mysterious kobold of which I only met once, at which he gave me my rather dubious token.

"Well, the only thing I can think of is stirring up trouble myself, as you offer to guard the artifact! However, the plan ends with you stealing it, and I somewhat doubt you wish to have a reputation as a failed guard."
>"You're learning well, Story Seeker, because that is absolutely correct. But... then again, the entire point of this mission is to steal something, and the only option may require subterfuge." Kexluk lets out a few grumbles, of which I find to be rather dramatically vocalized. "Simply taking it with brute force is likely suicide, and we certainly cannot convince them, from what I have seen. Perhaps... hm, I may yet want to look into a disguise... no, that is no better. I do not hide from my actions."

Kexluk continues having a bit of a crisis, shooting his own ideas down.

"Perhaps we are overthinking this? It seems like there are many factions, and, well... it's complicated, I must admit! I'd like to just focus on the fact that our mission itself, nevermind the various factions, is quite simple."
>"Yes, but while I will do as Zirkala asks, I am having second thoughts about serving her. With that said, if I am to break my loyalty, I shall do it to her personally, not in the middle of her mission. I will swallow my pride for the time, and support the plan to become a guard only to steal it from under them. We can always change the plan, should we learn new material by mingling with that fortress. For now, though, we need our rest, I don't believe it is a long trip to the fort from here!"

Available Options:
Continue as Story Seeker
Switch to Kexluk

>>
No. 628536 ID: d90668

Switch.

As fun as Story is we need to take Kex out for a drive.
>>
No. 628537 ID: d958ad

>>628535
Hmmmmmm... hang on, we can turn this another way. The original 6-lined kobold will attack at one point, right? Then Kexluk can defend the artifact and slay that kobold. Then while the place is celebrating and has lowered its guard, SS can go steal it, as a second 6-lined kobold. Kexluk's name will be clean, as he did what he was tasked with. It was, after all, not going to be permanent guard duty. The only trouble would be getting the artifact out without anyone noticing.

Let's switch to Kexluk for this and do the detective work.
>>
No. 628540 ID: ea0ad9

>"You're learning well, Story Seeker, because that is absolutely correct. But... then again, the entire point of this mission is to steal something, and the only option may require subterfuge." Kexluk lets out a few grumbles, of which I find to be rather dramatically vocalized. "Simply taking it with brute force is likely suicide, and we certainly cannot convince them, from what I have seen. Perhaps... hm, I may yet want to look into a disguise... no, that is no better. I do not hide from my actions."
Subterfuge is much lighter on one's record than double crossing, at least.

Story Seeker is more of the rogue type, while Kexluk could track down the prophesized Kobold, the one that gave away the badge.

I say let's tag along Kexluk.
>>
No. 628547 ID: 7aa8c3

Switch.
Also we're not stealing, we're liberating.
>>
No. 628668 ID: 602cd8
File 142604744878.png - (99.49KB , 800x800 , 9-58.png )
628668

Switched to Kexluk

>"That's correct, our plans will crack if we attempt to wander the maps while in the dark! Let's sleep for now, as we have plenty of time to think."
"That sounds fair, Story Seek-"

He's already sleeping. I'm hardly tired, however, but I can at least keep my thoughts to myself.

>It's not stealing, it's liberating.
This sounds like a weak excuse and justification at first, a mere thought-hop away from 'rules were made to be broken', however... perhaps it may not be. I do not know anything about the relic, and for all I know, the lizards truly aren't the rightful owner at all. If they did steal it, or any other reason why they do not deserve to have such a relic, than that will certainly lift a great load off my mind. I hardly like the idea of hoping that they stole such a thing, mind.

....

Yet realistically, it is likely! The lizardmen around here have been the worst examples of my kind, and this may reflect accurately, and poorly, upon the leadership.
>>
No. 628669 ID: 602cd8
File 142604746996.png - (123.04KB , 800x800 , 9-59.png )
628669

>The original 6-lined kobold will attack at one point, right?
If this whole prophecy turns out to be authentic, then yes. But, I have a stronger feeling that if we wait for a 6 lined kobold, we will be waiting for a very long time.

....

Perhaps he had his reasons for giving Story Seeker the emblem. I hardly wish to slay him on first sighting. After all, the kobolds have been under a relentless heel. Who can blame them for wishing to overthrow their overlords? Certainly not myself. Perhaps he simply had great faith in Story Seeker.

For some reason.

...

Perhaps he simply wanted the prophecy to come true, and decided to take desperate matters into his own hands? Story Seeker does have a lingering stench of chaos, having been in contact by the god of chaos himself, come to think of...
>>
No. 628670 ID: 602cd8
File 142604758836.png - (133.19KB , 800x800 , 9-60.png )
628670

...

That may be problematic. I was overly optimistic in that chaos going away by now. My highly trained paladin senses can just pick that up, but I would be reckless to assume that no priests in Spearstone can pick up on that as well. No, this makes sense. Why else would Story Seeker be so quickly approached? I doubt that handing every travelling kobold an emblem to get them killed is a tradition.

... then again, it could be.

Either way, I will have to purge Story Seeker's latent chaos, if I can, tomorrow morning.
>>
No. 628671 ID: 602cd8
File 142604759833.png - (129.90KB , 800x800 , 9-61.png )
628671

>>
No. 628672 ID: 602cd8
File 142604760881.png - (125.68KB , 800x800 , 9-62.png )
628672

I simply cannot sleep, even if Story Seeker stayed still.
>>
No. 628673 ID: a19cd5

I doubt Story's really capable of ill intent, if you explain what the plan is RE: the chaos taint he'd probably go along with it. Really he just wants good stories and good bed.
>>
No. 628678 ID: d90668

Well Story has been sleeping with the arch priest of the chaos god for awhile now. Plus Tom has been directly interfering with his adventures as well. So while he is not a direct follower of chaos he is probably covered in the stuff.

Not to mention the fact that he has the Lich king and a time lord watching him. And those are just the people we know about. It's probably a good bet you two are being watched by all sorts of celestial entities at this point.

Just remember when dealing with Story that he is just about as good a person as you can find. He is charitable, kind, and does his best to protect his friends. But he is a tiny kobold so he has to steal and sneak and sometimes deal with things in a less than honest manner. When your species is near the bottom of the food chain you have to be tricky if you want to survive.

So don't hold it against him if he comes up with ideas that might be a bit un-paladin like.

As for the morality of stealing this artifact it really depends on what they are doing with it. If they are healing the sick and using it to make life better for everyone it would be a dick move to steal it. But I am guessing the situation is nothing like that. They are probably using it to maintain the status quo and keep there control over the area.

So let Story know about your chaos theory in the morning and you can see what he thinks. Best not to worry about the rest until you get to the fort.
>>
No. 628681 ID: bb78f2

Pet him like a kitty.
If kobold's had ears, I suggest scratching behind them.

Okay no. Umm. Honestly, if you didn't HAVE present company, usually I'd suspect you'd entertain yourself or something because sleeping's easier after that. I dunno.

You know, I actually have a bad feeling. If you think priests have sensed Story Seeker's chaos, there may already be a mob brewing. Look out the window. You've most probably blew your cover early today after the way you acted. You were playing it WAY too close for comfort, and may have put your friend in considerable danger.
>>
No. 628691 ID: d958ad

>>628672
Go for a walk, then.
>>
No. 628708 ID: fe4bfc

Roll Story down a bit and then cocoon him in the blanket so he stops flailing about in his sleep.

Then take a late night walk to clear your head. No point in lying here and worrying about what might happen tomorrow.
>>
No. 628728 ID: 5db52c

>>It's not stealing, it's liberating.
What about crusades and stuff? It's not as if paladins and the like never take things from others- it just has to be for a good reason. Which you hope to heck that's what you're here for.

>keeps moving in his sleep
Is this some kind of kobold survival tactic? Evolved over ages at the bottom rung of cave hierarchies? Continue to evade, remain unpredictable, even at rest?

>paladin senses
...I thought you said you weren't a paladin, anymore?

>can't sleep
Well, it's fortunate you're getting a ride tomorrow, at least. You won't fall behind if you're not well rested.
>>
No. 628776 ID: 602cd8
File 142613060540.png - (124.42KB , 800x800 , 9-63.png )
628776

>Is kobold restlessness some kind of kobold survival tactic?
If it is, it is a poor one! I cannot imagine any threat to a kobold being thrown off by poor sleeping habits.

>There may already be a mob brewing
There may be trouble brewing, but if there is, a normal mob would be a bit more noisy. All I can hear are the crackles of some distant flames.

I do take a look out the window, nonetheless. The window is not that clear, and it takes me a moment to adjust.

>Go for a walk
I'd like to, but having worries about Story Seeker, I am reluctant. Especially if there is any chance that I've put him in danger.

I don't see anyone out there, but I am still uneasy. My well trained paladin regime makes me think that it may not just be a restless night.

>You're not a paladin anymore, are you?
I am not, in title, but the spirit and training does not simply go away at a whim!
>>
No. 628777 ID: 602cd8
File 142613061595.png - (225.30KB , 800x800 , 9-64.png )
628777

I roll Story Seeker into a blanket cocoon, and carry him out with me. I feel like I may be disturbing him simply to satiate my neurotic paranoia, but I would never forgive myself if that paranoia turned out to be well founded. He sleeps like a rock, so this seems like it will work out just fine.

The light sandstorm here does feel nice, to be honest. Should I ever have the luxury of retiring, I would dream of a nice desert home.
>>
No. 628778 ID: 602cd8
File 142613062990.png - (188.08KB , 800x800 , 9-65.png )
628778

... but there's no doubt that someone's out there.
>>
No. 628781 ID: d958ad

>>628778
...giant scorpion on the roof? Keep alert. Prepare for a fight.
>>
No. 628796 ID: d90668

Well looks like someone or something else is wandering the night. Now it could be a threat or it could just be normal activity for around here. Or a thief that heard there was a new rich guy in town who likes to make large bets.

See if you can get a closer look without being seen. Assessing the situation is important but make sure to not look like some night thief yourself.

Also it could be that this has nothing to do with you. You could have accidentally fallen into the middle of someones plotting. I mean we know there might be a kobold resistance group now from what happened to Story. And if they exist there will be lizard spies trying to crack down on them.

Also consider the possibility that Zirkala has agents here and is also watching over you. She could have gotten the relic by herself in a half hour but she gave you two the job so you could get more experience. So you could have stalkers keeping tabs on you as well. Although you probably will never catch a glimpse of them if they exist.
>>
No. 628818 ID: bb78f2

Hmm, my speculation is that person was a kobold or lizard person in tattered robes.

Springfoot? I know Zirkala said she wasn't going to send her unless you failed, but she might've changed her mind, or sent her to challenge you.
>>
No. 628831 ID: 5db52c

No sleep, tonight? (I suppose the cart ride is really fortunate, then. SS will just have to handle things while Kex naps, then).

>neurotic paranoia
It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you.

Too bad you didn't have those instincts up and running on your last mission, but they serve you well, now.

>silhouette on roof
Looks like a head with horns, on the left. Tail and/or arm on the right? The head has horns- the only kobolds we've seen this thread who would match would be lily (horns on the left and right), or the bartender (central horn, small side horns), depending on how the head is angled. Springfoot's head doesn't match the profile (unless she's in disguise).

I'd guess Lily. She wants out, and hasn't heard back from us. She might be desperate enough to sneak around.
>>
No. 628834 ID: 009932

You know if someone is trying to get Story to fulfill this prophecy they might see you as a enemy. You having him in a sack makes those stories he was telling about you look plausible.
>>
No. 629472 ID: 602cd8
File 142655652421.png - (209.42KB , 800x800 , 9-66.png )
629472

It's possible that this is that Springfoot I've heard about. Even if Zirkala did send us to do the mission, it would make sense to have backup as insurance, should we fail.

>Too bad you didn't have those instincts up and running on your last mission,
Unfortunately, the accusations my instincts are destroyed by the sight of a beautiful lady were hardly exaggerated. It's been shameful in hindsight, to say the least. Nonetheless, what more would I do than strengthen that weakness?

>You having him in a sack makes those stories he was telling about you look plausible.
... this does look rather awkward, come to think of it.

I still don't wish to leave him alone despite that I hardly stepped out, and so I continue attempting to take a late night walk. This is no boisterous town, however, and if I first walked into town at this hour I would think it abandoned. I may stand out more than I like, taking a midnight walk like this. Nonetheless, I cannot shake the sensation of being watched.

I am loathe to use my paladin trained powers after becoming a lich's subject, but this is no time for pride. I will sense the life around me.
>>
No. 629473 ID: 602cd8
File 142655653693.png - (199.02KB , 800x800 , 9-67.png )
629473

Sneaky little guys!

Nonetheless, they would be foolish to approach me with such few numbers. And they don't appear to be foolish, so far. Perhaps I should ignore this and head back to our room, or wake Story Seeker so that we may confront a stalker of ours, hopefully without waking the whole town.
>>
No. 629475 ID: d90668

Honestly this could or could not have anything to do with you. Nighttime is probably the only time they can sneak out from under there masters thumbs and do stuff. So seeing you wandering around they are suspicious.

Test to see if they are following you by going one direction for awhile and seeing if they keep following. If they do find a out of the way private place to stop and wake Story. Then you can try making contact.
>>
No. 629498 ID: 602cd8
File 142656135121.png - (173.77KB , 800x800 , 9-68.png )
629498

I must remind myself that this town does have a life beyond new outsiders, and this may have nothing to do with me! And a good thing I didn't do anything hasty, at that. Although their motions are understandably attentive on me, it seems as though others are focused on gathering other kobolds and sneaking out of doors.

Upon finding a rather sketchy looking alleyway, I have to conclude that I'm not the center of this town after all. Although many of the kobold's movements are errant, it does seem as though many are slowly making their way, carefully, out of town. Only a few keep eyes on me, and I expect that they may have done the same to any lizardman out at this hour.
>>
No. 629500 ID: d958ad

Follow them! Maybe wake up SS if things get interesting.
>>
No. 629502 ID: d90668

Probably having some sort of late night party or meeting. If you think you can avoid detection try following them.

Can always wake up Story if need be.
>>
No. 629505 ID: bb78f2

Don't get involved yet. While I'm sure you can handle yourselves... these are kobold's we're talking about. Very sneaky ones. I'm sure they could find a vulnerable side of you to stick a poisoned knife into if they feel the need. Don't underestimate them, ex-paladin. Many poor fools have, even other paladin's I'm sure.

Story Seeker MAY have a chance to diplomasize with them, but only him.
>>
No. 629540 ID: 5db52c

Okay. If they're not messing with you, it's not your place to disrupt the nighttime activities of these kobolds. It makes sense they might have to sneak around behind their masters, given the way they're treated, and that they might want to keep an eye on dangerous lizardfolk and/or strangers. You can't fault that kind of caution, by itself.

Give no sign you're aware you're being watched and go about your walk.

>I am loathe to use my paladin trained powers after becoming a lich's subject, but this is no time for pride. I will sense the life around me.
I would think you're not compromising much by doing that. I'd expect a lich to have means and servants capable of sensing life. That's kind of a thing certain undead do, isn't it?
>>
No. 629564 ID: ea0ad9

I imagine sneaking isn't your specialty. While a simple walk around town wouldn't gather much suspicion, they do notice you, and would be aware if you suddenly started walking in the same direction as them. As they are not acting out against you, you have no reason to initiate a confrontation.

Now, if they come to you, you can ask what they are doing out and about, but remember, even fallen from your post, you have a self-imposed obligation to show respect to the people. If they refuse to talk, that's their right.
>>
No. 629640 ID: e6e219

Are you any good at stealth? If you try to blunder into the secret nighttime meeting they will scatter and you probably lose the chance to talk.

Also why do you have any issues using your powers? The Lich you are "working" for is not evil nor is she having you do evil deeds. Honestly she sent you on this job so that you could make friends with Story and improve yourself. That and work on dealing with your female problem.

So wake up Story if you don't think you can sneak out by yourself. You two can nap on the trip over to the fort if you need to.
>>
No. 629700 ID: 602cd8
File 142664255843.png - (176.23KB , 800x800 , 9-69.png )
629700

>Poisoned knife
Ha, I dare them! Nullifying poison is among the first things paladins learn.

Nevertheless, it is true that many have underestimate kobold in numbers, and so I should exercise caution if just to exercise best practices. And even if I can be relatively silent and subtle should the situation require it, I am no natural nor expert at this, and so I would not attempt to do so.

>Also why do you have any issues using your powers? The Lich you are "working" for is not evil nor is she having you do evil deeds.
The fact that Zirkala is not as evil as I believed a lich would be is the reason why I am merely loathe to, and not completely refuse, to use my paladin powers.

>I'd expect a lich to have means and servants capable of sensing life. That's kind of a thing certain undead do, isn't it?
Correct, this is not a talent only known to paladins. However, the means to acquire such are completely different!

Somewhat!

They're basically the same, one is just done in the name of justice. But that is the principle of the matter, here! My abilities were trained under holy paladins, and to not just have failed, but to take that training and let the lich command it by proxy is... well, I am still conflicted.

In any case, Story Seeker is the only one that can take advantage of this situation.

"Story Seeker, please wake."
>"Ah? Hello, Kexluk! Where are we?"
"Please keep your voice down. I am sensing many kobolds leaving town, mostly southeast now. They move strangely. There is no manner in which I can follow them reliably. Is this something you believe you could investigate?"
>"Hmm... I must admit, that my subterfuge has been left to rust in lieue of tavern related talents. But, I am still a kobold in body, and I haven't seen anything but neutrality at worst from them, therefore, I will do just that!"
"Thank you, but above all else, be careful. Back away if you sense even slight danger."

Story Seeker yawns.

>"Ah, but I'm in the middle of a town ruled by people many times my size who would punch me for fun. Hence, I will be doubly careful!"
>>
No. 629701 ID: 602cd8
File 142664257112.png - (175.91KB , 800x800 , 9-70.png )
629701

Story Seeker gets off my back and scampers up a housetop. It is almost humorous, or perhaps ironic, how the kobolds can skitter about on the rooftops. The lizardfolk here must be completely unaware, as it would be trivial to simply let the rooftops creak and crack under even a bird's weight. I sense Story Seeker being careful, but eventually he and one other make contact. After a tense moment, they both make their way southeast.

>"Turn."
"Gah?! You startled me, sir."

I'm not so easily startled, normally, but I am sensing no life from this person.

>"You are out after curfew. State your business."
"Ah, I apologize, I was not aware this town had a curfew."
>"Ignorance is unacceptable. Please come with me?"
"Where?"
>"Questions from you are unnecessary."

Although I would not be caught without a hidden weapon as needed, I thought my sword too cumbersome for a midnight stroll.
>>
No. 629706 ID: d958ad

>>629701
Flatly refuse.
>>
No. 629707 ID: 5db52c

>I am sensing no life from this person
So they're either capable of concealing their life from your senses, or they're dead?

>what do
Stall, see how he responds.

>Questions from you are unnecessary.
No, but answering them would be polite.

If you are a representative of law enforcement in this town, do you have a badge or other mark of office?
>>
No. 629708 ID: 9297f4

Punch snout to assert dominance.
>>
No. 629712 ID: bb78f2

>>629701
Use detect undead.
>>
No. 629725 ID: d90668

Is that a small lizard man or a huge kobold?

Check if he is undead or not first but do not react once you find out either way. Also detect magic if you have it because it could just be a life masking spell to avoid detection abilities.

Be polite but ask who they are and under what authority they operate under. Ignorance of the law is a valid excuse if there are no plainly posted laws and no guards to explain things. If they really insist and stay polite about the matter go with them.

The fact that you forgot your sword makes me sort of sad big guy. You have to admit that Zirkala was right about you two. You both still need a lot of experience in the real world.
>>
No. 638737 ID: 91ee5f

Hello, Kexluk! This is your common sense speaking! If I could, I would be whacking you on the back of the head right now! You're in an unfamiliar desert town with a bunch of asshole slave owners and unknown dangers lurking around every corner and YOU FORGOT YOUR MAGIC HOLY SWORD?!?! Adventuring Rule #1 is to ALWAYS HAVE YOUR WEAPON WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES!!!!! You better hope that if you can't talk things out with this guy, you can fight without the need for your magic holy sword! Actually, you better hope it's still there in your room! You said so yourself, "Even though it looks big, it is actually light as a feather!" which means anyone can take it!
>>
No. 640241 ID: 86b099
File 143156897995.png - (146.09KB , 800x800 , 9-71.png )
640241

>The fact that you forgot your sword makes me sort of sad
Perhaps it was stupid of me, but the sword was primarily useful simply for absorbing liches! I am far from unarmed. Even if my sidearm is inadequate, I know powerful magic.

>So they're either capable of concealing their life from your senses, or they're dead?
Correct, however, sensing undead involves sensing flesh that once lived - this person also does not fit that bill, meaning that he is either capable of evading any of my detection, or he was never alive. A golem or some form of soulless summon.

>Is that a small lizard man or a huge kobold?
That is also difficult to say, especially since I cannot see if he stands upright or with bent legs! However, if I had to wager a guess, I would believe small lizard man.

"Questions may not be necessary from me, but answers would be nice. If you are law enforcement, do you have a badge or other mark of office?"
>"My word is good. No one here is stupid or reckless enough to pretend to be one of us."
"Nonetheless, ignorance of the law is valid in even the most departed of areas if there are no posted laws and no visible guards to explain such rules."
>"Then you are not well travelled. Come with me. This is your last choice."
"I will not, sir."

He pulls out a sword.

"You will either follow me on your two feet or cold on your back."

>Punch snout to assert dominance.
Admittedly, this is surprisingly effective against many lizardmen, although this particular case may be different. It has been a long time since anyone was able to evade my magic, and golems give me the creeps.
>>
No. 640245 ID: 9297f4

Seems like conflict is unavoidable. Knock that sword away from him and wrestle him to the ground, then knock him out. If he's out like a like a light, stuff him in a barrel. If he's a golem, WE MUST BREAK HIM.
>>
No. 640248 ID: bb78f2

>>640241
>"You will either follow me on your two feet or cold on your back."
Oh shut up you poser. You've been practicing that line in the mirror for at least a week now.

I don't let undead lead me into a corner either. Only stupid people do that. You were going to try and kill me whereever you're going to to lead me, so might as well fight in the street where you don't want to fight.
>>
No. 640262 ID: 8403a7

>>640241
How about this. Follow him until he tries to lead you into an alley or something, then stop.
>>
No. 640580 ID: 91ee5f

>>640241

If you know powerful magic, then let's have a list of said magic so that we know what we can work with.
>>
No. 640626 ID: fe4bfc

I have found in my travels that real peacekeepers take great pains to let everyone know exactly who they are. They wear there badges and symbols of authority with great pride.

So forgive me for thinking that you are just some thug planning on luring me to my death in a ally full of your friends.

Anyways what magic do you have available and what do you know about constructs.
>>
No. 641785 ID: dd338c
File 143218390451.png - (212.35KB , 800x800 , 9-72.png )
641785

>What do you know about constructs?
Only that I prefer them as deconstructs.

"I cannot help but get the feeling you have been practicing that line in the mirror for a week. I may not be the greatest of wanderers, but even the most backwater town I have seen has the most rudimentary seal or badge of authority. To me? You are nothing but a prideless thug leading me to an alleyway for your friends to mug."

>What magic do you know?
I have studied the rawest forms of magic - this means that I am flexible, but it also means that my efforts are inefficient - in other words, it is exceedingly mentally taxing compared to standard issue spells. However, I am well versed in various defensive magic, such as healing the living, infusing objects with a holy aura, hardening my personal scales and strength. Offensively, I do not know as much, but I can emit holy light and fire if the situation demands it. This does including hardening it into various shapes, usually a weapon, which is why I do not feel I need to carry a normal sword as much as the average individual.

Various cantrips are included such as summoning light, minor illusions, telekinesis and other elemental magic on small levels.

Lastly, while I am able to detect living and undead from afar, I can detect things in more detail upon physical contact. Some of their values, how they may feel about their past, their intentions and other symbols of whether or not they are decent people. This is, however, a highly difficult field to use for me, and so I cannot judge an individual off of this alone - the magic itself is, in fact, based off of my own judgement that has been called into question of late. Therefore, I am reluctant to use it.

While I recall this, he lunges at me, throwing his sword out for the kill. And how awful he is at it! His movement is slow, his lunge unpracticed and careless. It is less like a practiced swordsman and more like a child playing soldier. The thrust of his sword is so predictable that I do not even want to grace it with a single sidestep!

Instead, I will simply harden my scales.

tp

"Harmless."

One who can hide their own living status from me would be stronger. This is a weak golem. With a single thought and flick of my wrist, I can disintegrate this unnatural being. And that is what I would do!

And that is what my impulse screams for.

But despite just how badly I wish to stretch my magical muscles, I seem to gather a hint of reservations about demolishing a golem with a burst of holy light in the middle of the night. This is no mission for me, stealth is not my game!
>>
No. 641786 ID: e114bc

>>641785
Instead, disarm it (take its sword in fact, you could use a weapon), hold it still, and see if you can trace its magic back to whoever's controlling it. If it's not being controlled and it's autonomous, then it should have some measure of self-preservation, so you can threaten its pseudo-life to find out who it works for.

If it won't cooperate and you gain nothing from it continuing to operate, dismantle it. There will probably be some identifying mark on it.
>>
No. 641820 ID: bb78f2

>>641785
You may literally disarm him, as you wish.
"It's seems I have the upper leg, construct! Or arm, in this case."
>>
No. 641823 ID: 88960e

You don't want to give away your full strength to whover may be watching. No big flashy displays.

Just, say, take his sword away and flick him into a wall.
>>
No. 641825 ID: 91ee5f

>>641785
Say this to it: "Was that supposed to hurt or are you trying to tickle me to death? Because you are failing to do both."
>>
No. 642021 ID: dd338c
File 143226899978.png - (247.80KB , 800x800 , 9-73.png )
642021

I suppose my brainier half will win, and I will refrain from giving this creature a flash demise.

"Was that supposed to hurt, or are you attempting to tickle me to death?" I say, perhaps a bit hypocritically after mocking him for such dramatic speech.

I say it as I grasp his sword tightly and kick him away, leading to the disconnection of his arm. Weaker than flash, as it turns out! I will keep the sword, if just for best practices.

>Trace its magic
It does appear to be independent rather than a remotely controlled golem.
>>
No. 642022 ID: dd338c
File 143226901213.png - (110.81KB , 800x800 , 9-74.png )
642022

It topples back. I make sure to prepare for any tricks, but this golem does not appear to take damage well.

"Now, tell me who you work for, if you have any self-preservation within you!"
>"I am a guard, an enforcer of the law."

I believe I have wasted enough time with this distraction, although perhaps I should spend a moment to see if an emblem or other mark has been placed on this thing.
>>
No. 642024 ID: e114bc

>>642022
Strip search!
>>
No. 642064 ID: ea0ad9

>an enforcer of the law.
Whose law?
>>
No. 642072 ID: d90668

Strip search the golem. Try to delay or avoid destroying it as long as possible in case its creator has some spells built in to notice its destruction.
>>
No. 642094 ID: 6abeb1

crush its head, search its body, dispose of it, move on.
>>
No. 642096 ID: 91ee5f

>>642021
It's failing its mission. I hope it doesn't try a self-destruct attack to try and take Kexluk with it.
>>
No. 643246 ID: 91ee5f

>>642096
Also, ask if it likes your DISARMING personality! XD
.....I'm sorry I just couldn't resist.
>>
No. 649681 ID: dd338c
File 143484420695.png - (148.78KB , 800x800 , 9-75.png )
649681

"Whose law?"
>"The law of those in charge."

Perhaps it has a self destruct it can activate, or perhaps it has some alert that activates on death. Either way, if it does have such capabilities, then it is a mere coin toss as to whether I end up giving it time to self destruct, or hastily destroy it and cause it to send out an alarm of some kind.

"Be vague, then. I hope you like my disarming personality." Perhaps that would have best been said directly after removing his arm, but I thought of this too late.

Regardless, I shall go with my instincts on this one and stomp on its head to destroy it. While the head remains partially intact, it goes limp.
>>
No. 649682 ID: dd338c
File 143484421453.png - (152.19KB , 800x800 , 9-76.png )
649682

I begin strip searching it. Although its hide is as rocky as the material it came from, it was clearly a golem intended to mix amongst the public.

I find a mark! This is... yes, I believe this is the mark of the Spearstone fortress. While they do not wave their flags here as often as many other establishments, I did see it earlier.
>>
No. 649684 ID: dd338c
File 143484426179.png - (163.75KB , 800x800 , 9-77.png )
649684

Ah! With my focus on preparing myself for any detonation and searching the golem, I forgot to continue sensing the living, and a kobold witness is staring at me over the golem from across the way.
>>
No. 649686 ID: d90668

Wave at him and beckon him over. Just be careful because if you make any threatening moves he is likely to bolt for it.
>>
No. 649695 ID: e114bc

>>649684
As they are a local, ask them if golems like these are legitimate guards, or if this thing is just some kind of privately controlled golem. Regardless, it might be wise to head back home so you don't have to destroy more golems and attract attention to yourself.
>>
No. 649700 ID: ab7529

>>649684
You may go about your business, citizen.
>>
No. 649710 ID: 91ee5f

>>649684
Just tell him that it attacked you first. So you DISARMED it before it could attack you again.
(.....I'm sorry I just couldn't resist.....again.)
>>
No. 649828 ID: dd338c
File 143491162588.png - (86.04KB , 800x800 , 9-78.png )
649828

"This being attacked me first." I say at a half-whisper, beckoning this kobold over. "Was this a legitimate guard?"
>"... yes?" they say, slinking back to the front of an alleyway instead of coming forward. It seems quite scared of me, and gives fast glances to the surroundings.

>Regardless, it might be wise to head back home so you don't have to destroy more golems and attract attention to yourself.
Yes, for all I know, the golem has ways to tell its superiors that I destroyed it, yet this is a backwater fortress, and golems of any advanced nature seem unlikely! Especially considering the golem's idiocy and incompetence. It is possible - likely, even - that this kobold is the sole witness of my rather innocent, if bad looking, deed. What I would do with such a witness, however, is beyond me.
>>
No. 649832 ID: ab7529

> It seems quite scared of me
Well, you are huge, and it did encounter you killing a guard in the dead of night. Those things tend to give people the wrong impression.

>What I would do with such a witness, however, is beyond me.
Well, the standard operating procedure for unwanted witnesses is to dispose of them. Pretty sure you're not going to stoop to that though.

I doubt your powers allow memory magic, so you're not going to be erasing the witness' memory of this.

I'm not sure what you can do other than reassure the kobold you mean it no harm. Then we have to decide what to do with the golem. Do you attempt to move or hide it, or do we leave it where it lays? Or heck, do you just turn yourself in at the local guard station? "Sorry, this being attacked me. Was it one of yours? It would not identify itself when asked, so I defended myself."
>>
No. 649835 ID: d90668

Ask him who controls these things. Tell him that you are new in town and when it did not identify itself properly you suspected it might be trying to lure you somewhere for unsavory purposes.

As for what to do with him try to be as non threatening as possible. Sit down and ask if he would be willing to answer a few questions about these things. And maybe if he knows a more private place to talk than the middle of the street at night.
>>
No. 649847 ID: 0ab7fe

man dont interrogate the innocent bystander, the fuck

just shrug, go "Eh, whatever. sorry you had to see that, yo" and wander off.
>>
No. 649848 ID: dd338c
File 143492160105.png - (191.99KB , 800x800 , 9-79.png )
649848

>Well, the standard operating procedure for unwanted witnesses is to dispose of them. Pretty sure you're not going to stoop to that though.
Absolutely correct!

>I doubt your powers allow memory magic, so you're not going to be erasing the witness' memory of this.
Also absolutely correct! Mind that even if I did have such powers, such a tool would only be used in the most dire of circumstances. Altering one's memory, even in a seemingly minor fashion, leaves a sour taste in my tongue.

"I mean no harm." I tell the kobold, sitting down to lower myself. I must remind myself of how this looks, and if I saw someone over a beaten guard in my own home, heaing that he "meant no harm" would not settle my guts. Nevertheless, there is little to do about it! "Say, do you know who controls this?"
>"U-uhm, er, the barracks, probably!" She says, giving me a brief series of directions to it upon my asking. Another sharp glance to her surroundings is given, and she slinks back into the alley's shadows before I can utter another word. I am not one to pry innocent bystanders, so I let her be.

Although this golem is a lifeless husk that is as belonging on the street as the dirt around it, I still have a paladin heart, and shall not slink back into the shadows and hope in fear that nothing will come of this. I will, however, slink back to the inn to fetch my sword, as I should get back into the habit of walking with it.
>>
No. 649849 ID: dd338c
File 143492160933.png - (184.01KB , 800x800 , 9-80.png )
649849

With my sword successfully retrieved, I head to where I believe the barracks were. There is a light inside, and a welcoming door. Even if Zirkala intended for me to practice subterfuge and, as she might think of them, 'tactics', her ways have only led me astray and confused my ideals. The more I think of it, the more that I will be at my most comfortable if I deal with this matter up front, in the open, under the open light of a torch.
>>
No. 649850 ID: dd338c
File 143492161891.png - (185.00KB , 800x800 , 9-81.png )
649850

>"Greetings, venerable town guard! I have slain your golem, as it appeared hostile for no apparent reason and would not identify itself properly. Upon realizing it was truly a guard, I have come to your barracks both upon the golem's request, as well as to report its deactivation! To how would you like to resolve this issue?"

The two guards that appear on desk duty glance at each other blankly, but unsurprisingly so as I shake the sand off my legs. How often does a lizardman kill a guard of a town and immediately report it to the authorities? To this, I have pride!

>"Drop your sword, turn around slowly, and put your wrists behind your back." the one on my right says, looking back at me.
>>
No. 649852 ID: 3637e8

"You're not very smart, are you."
>>
No. 649854 ID: d90668

Well up to you if you want to comply. If you can get out of the cuffs easily enough and do not mind having your sword be temporarily separated from you surrender might be worth it.

It will be much easier to talk with them if they think that you are in there power. Just remember that you do not have time to sit around in jail if the powers that run this town decide to keep you locked up.

While submitting to lawful authority is good and all remember that it only works if said authority is not evil or corrupt. Just remember there is a big difference between lawful good and lawful stupid.

Just remember that if you get locked up and the guards are all bastards you will have to wait for Story to come back and free you later.
>>
No. 649855 ID: ab7529

Place the golem carefully down, slowly and respectfully remove your sword and prop it up (no dropping it), and then comply.

If these guys owe fealty to the fortress you're heading to, this certainly is going to make an interesting impression on them. First you destroy their sentry, then try to respect their authority.

It might make getting them to trust you easier, actually.
>>
No. 649862 ID: 91ee5f

>>649850
Tell them, "How about 'no'? I'm pretty sure you don't have anything in my size. So, let's just skip past the part where you attempt to put comically small shackles on my wrists and get straight to the part where we apologize to each other. I apologize to you for breaking your golem and you apologize to me for your golem's rude behavior and attacking me for no reason and then we go our separate ways and pretend this never happened. Agreed?"

If this doesn't work, then drop the golem and run. Sure you may be tempted to stay and make up for it because that's what paladins do and normally that would be okay. BUT! You have to remember that Story Seeker is out there somewhere all by himself with a bunch of kobolds that you know nothing about. And now your probably thinking, "He'll be fine he can take care of himself." Well, what if you're wrong? What if right now he's slowly bleeding to death and the only thing that can save him is you? Well guess what happens in that situation? HE DIES BECAUSE OF YOUR PALADIN HONOR OF LETTING YOURSELF GET ARRESTED IN ORDER TO MAKE UP FOR BREAKING THE LOCAL GOLEM!!!!! Do you think you can live with that?! Knowing that you could've saved him, but you didn't because you let yourself get caught! He may not be in any danger right now, but what if he is in danger? It's better to be safe than sorry. So swallow your paladin pride, don't let them arrest you, and go catch up with Story Seeker!
>>
No. 649863 ID: e114bc

>>649850
Propose an alternative. You pay for the repairs to their golem, and they stop harassing you.
>>
No. 649882 ID: dd338c
File 143492917636.png - (184.43KB , 800x800 , 9-82.png )
649882

>Could you live with yourself if Story Seeker was put in mortal danger while you were upholding paladin ideals?
I doubt I could! However! I do not know where precisely where Story Seeker had gone, and the reason for my not following him in the first place still stands as strong as it started. I must put faith in him, and not charge to his rescue when he likely does not need it, to which I'd only bungle his own objectives.

"Perhaps I can propose an alternative - I simply pay you for the golem's destruction, and we shall consider this even." I say, gently putting the golem down and my sword at the side. I do not yet put my hands anywhere where I cannot reach my sword.

They stare at each other once again, making me believe that this is a habitual process for them.

>"Were you out at night or what?"
"That is correct, I was not aware there was any curfew!"
>"Alright, we'll forgive your ignorance this once if you pay us for the golem. 300 gold. If you can't pay it off, you can work it off."

I confess that I have a tenuous grasp, at best, of golem prices. But 300 gold, well over half of our already decadent funds, sounds like a terrible rip off.
>>
No. 649883 ID: e114bc

>>649882
30. You're sure that it would be a simple job for an earth mage.

Haggle!
>>
No. 649885 ID: d90668

300 is a rip off. That was a low quality golem and you were perfectly in the right not going along with it blindly.

These two have a lets fleece the rich out out of towner look. Counter offer with a insultingly low sum.

Tell them that you could buy dozens of golems at that price. You don't want to buy them a whole new police force just replace the one. Say its worth one or two gold at the most.

If they act insulted tell them that you were not even armed when it went after you and any golem you can tear apart with your bare hands is not a quality product. Honestly you should be asking them for money after this stupid thing tried to kill you.

Long story short haggle back and forth for a bit and do not pay more than 5-10 gold at the most. Honestly even that is probably way to much money.
>>
No. 649889 ID: ab7529

That seems rather more than a golem of that quality is worth.

Ask them what working off the debt would entail.
>>
No. 649905 ID: dd338c
File 143493270861.png - (139.64KB , 800x800 , 9-83.png )
649905

"20."
>"What?"
"That golem was hardly worth 20 gold. I was not even armed when it assaulted me! I doubt it's fair to expect me to pay for a whole new force of golems just for breaking one. I expect 20 is more than enough to include both a golem and the inconvenience."
>"Does this look like some merchant stand? If it was, they'd laugh you right out for suggesting less than a tenth of the going price. You wanna work it off or you want to let yourself sit in a jail overnight before we decide what to do with you?" the guard says.
"And what does working entail?"
>"Mercenary work and guard post duty."
"And how much would I get paid?"
>"Let's say, for one year. Don't make that face, we don't care that you delivered yourself to us, golems don't grow on trees! We're in a good mood tonight, so we're letting you off easy."
>>
No. 649907 ID: ab7529

...as a reasonable person, I am willing to entertain respect for local law enforcement. Do not think this respect will persist if you veer into the realm of outright extortion. If you try to rob me, I will deal will you as I would any other highwayman.
>>
No. 649920 ID: dd338c
File 143493447851.png - (189.77KB , 800x800 , 9-84.png )
649920

"I am perfectly willing to give respect to local law enforcement! However, this respect will be shattered if you veer into the realm of outright extortion. If you intend to rob me, then I will deal with you as I would any other highwayman."
>"Hey, hey! No one said any of that shit. If you can't pay, then just serve the work time, or we'll be dealing with you like any other criminal. Either way, unless you spill gold out for us here, we're going to be keeping you overnight. Put your hands behind your back!" he says, getting some rope out. "And if you run, you're dead."

That looks like rope that I could burn away with little effort, but I wonder if breaking out will do me as much favor with the local government as breaking into a fight or running away right now.
>>
No. 649922 ID: e114bc

>>649920
Yeah I say spend the night in jail then just escape in the morning.
>>
No. 649932 ID: 0ee153

>>649922
>get all our shit confiscated and who knows what else
Honestly doesn't seem like a good idea.
>>
No. 649933 ID: ab7529

...you know, the best case scenario here is we get sent to the actual tower you were going to to work off your debt. They hold sway here, if that symbol is any indication, and you're way more useful there then as a guard in this little podunk town.
>>
No. 649935 ID: e114bc

>>649932
I don't think anyone here is capable of wielding the sword, and Kex has shown he's able to fight without it.

What do you want to do instead?

>>649933
Haha that would be an interesting and fortunate turn of events! Maybe Kex can find out where he would be stationed, and if it's in the place we're meant to rob, agree to it.
>>
No. 649938 ID: bb78f2

>>649920
I will humor you for the night.
If 300 gold is the true price of a golem, and you're not extorting me, seriously, consider ripping your seller a new one. It's weak as hell. I wasn't joking. If I am going to be a part of the guard soon, I would rather have a proper golem serving the law alongside me.

Tell you what, for my first and final assignment as guard tomarrow, I will actually get that earth mage make you a golem for free. A year's worth of work in a single day. Hell, let's not even wait, let's do it right now. Don't tell me it won't be entertaining. I mean, really, you'll be cooped up in here all night, nothing to do but maybe drink on the job. Let's have some fun, and rough up a con-artist earth mage.
>>
No. 649954 ID: d90668

A years forced labor in exchange for defending yourself from a attacker who carried no symbol of authority and was willing to kill you in the street for disobeying him. If he was a proper golem guard he would have been equipped to disable not kill. To say nothing of the fact that there are no postings explaining the so called curfew and no one you have run into has said anything about a curfew.

If you had been a normal traveler you would either be dead in the street or wasting a year of your life enslaved by this town.

So if your idea of a paladin is to obey every law you come across I cant imagine you will be in the business for much longer. According to the law here Story is a slave. So after this make sure to tell them that he ran off and make sure they have him beaten and brought back to you in chains. Also you should probably let them know about the secret meeting the kobolds were having so they can punish them. They can probably just add another year to there lifetime of slavery I bet.

Oh and while you are at it turn yourself in for conspiring with a lich to steal the local artifact. Honesty is the best policy after all.

So let them tie you up and go take the punishment that you so rightly deserve.
>>
No. 649970 ID: e114bc

Oh! I just realized, if Kexluk accepts the job deal, he can pay his way out of it at any time.
>>
No. 650037 ID: dd338c
File 143495580527.png - (135.00KB , 800x800 , 9-85.png )
650037

"Well, it may matter where I am positioned!"
>"Wandering around, taking care of any bandits that show up, and guarding some of the posts around the outer wall. If you're interested, I'll tell you more."
"Thank you, but no! I will give you the respect for the night and let myself be put in jail. However, I implore you to get a new mage, one that is capable of creating golems of the slightest competence!"

Their bonds cannot contain me, and so at the time, there is no harm in thinking to myself about current events.
>>
No. 650038 ID: dd338c
File 143495581466.png - (92.96KB , 800x800 , 9-86.png )
650038

I am binded and put into a dimly lit jail cell with unnecessary amounts of shoving, where I will meditate for some time while tied to the back wall.

>If you had been a normal traveler you would either be dead in the street or wasting a year of your life enslaved by this town.
This is correct, and if I had seen a normal traveller get assailed like I had, I would have no reservations against rushing to his aid! However, I am no ordinary traveler, nor do I put myself under any ordinary standards.

While Paladins will engage in holy wars against both the lawless and those with unjust laws, it is not my place to decide that! Therefore, without proper council, I am entrusted to uphold the local laws of wherever I may be out of deference for different cultures. It had proven to be an intense trial at times, but the life of a Paladin was never for the weak hearted.

>If he was a proper golem guard he would have been equipped to disable not kill. To say nothing of the fact that there are no postings explaining the so called curfew and no one you have run into has said anything about a curfew.
Correct, and so I feel no shame at having broken these laws. It is not uncommon, however, for backwater locations to simply expect everyone to know their laws should they ever enter. Tourists and travellers to such locations are rare, and seldom welcome! From what I gather the only visitors from outside here are merchants, who likely make it there business to fit in to a degree.

Of course, that does not mean I will let myself be killed for no valid reason, barring a true crime such as cold blooded murder. Simply to not tread upon the culture itself until proper council has been observed.

>According with the laws, you should have Story beaten and brought back to you in chains.
Then again, I can not think of many paladin councils that wouldn't tread upon laws like these.

>Also you should probably let them know about the secret meeting the kobolds were having so they can punish them.
Hrmmmm, yes, this one as well.

Perhaps, even if I am a fallen paladin, it would still be in the proper spirit to declare this land worthy of reshaping.
>>
No. 650039 ID: dd338c
File 143495583294.png - (88.76KB , 800x800 , 9-87.png )
650039

>Oh and while you are at it turn yourself in for conspiring with a lich to steal the local artifact.
Ahh....

Ah, I am in no place to consider whether or not to engage in some kind of holy war! What would the paladins back home think of me, now? I would like to speak with them to settle my position, be it good or bad. I am far too troubled to act with confidence. I require things to be perceived in black and white, despite that things seldom are. Until then, I will only be wishy washy about whether or not to assist Zirkala in full or to act as though I were paladin in full. My life as it was, or my life as it is.

I thought being a paladin was the toughest thing I could do in life - but now, after having been one, not being one is far worse! Now is not the time to get mopey again, but I am mentally unsuitable for the mission after all!
>>
No. 650046 ID: e114bc

>>650039
Spend tonight meditating on the nature of morality. By completing this mission, are you doing good? What methods are you willing to take to do the most good? How important is your honor when it comes between you and doing good?
>>
No. 650074 ID: a19cd5

>>650046
Try to avoid thinking about that greased Zirkala ass as you do this.
>>
No. 650087 ID: 1f9297

>>650039
>I would like to speak with them to settle my position, be it good or bad. I am far too troubled to act with confidence.

Which, I think, is a common problem for paladins. The world is a grey place, and it's easy to act on what may seem right in the moment, but turn out to be a matter of emotional bias (paladin-types tending to be passionate) or ignorance (which if you'll excuse me is also more likely in a sword-swinging professional). Right now, for example, you know little about what is going on in this town, and you're likely feeling impulses that want to sway your opinion, both to be loyal to your traveling companion and personal commitments, and also to pay heed to the local authority and tradition. When you were a paladin, you could have faith: faith in the judgements of a council and in a code of behavior, which you could feel more trust in than in your own judgement. It might be more apt to say that lack of faith in themselves is as much a quality of the paladin as is faith in something else. Right now, however, you don't have such luxuries. You're surrounded by uncertainty, and whatever you choose to do may turn out to have been the wrong thing to do. Or, more likely, either path will result in mixed goods and ills, and the worry is whether one will outweigh the other.

However, I'll say this. Bending to the local law might or might not be the right thing to do, and might or might not be the wrong thing to do. You don't know whether they're a legitimate authority or not. However, you do know that even if they are not totally unjust, they are definitely somewhat unjust. Where one finds small crimes one should look for big crimes, you know? Besides that, while turning Zrikala and Story Seeker might turn out to be overall better than it is worse, you do know it can't be the entirely right thing to do, as you would be betraying the trust they've showed you. So, in short, fighting the local law might or might not be wrong overall, but would certainly by partly right. Turning against Story Seeker and Zirkala might or might not be right overall, but would certainly be partly wrong.

You cannot be sure either way, but as you no longer have access to a paladin's certainties, you now have to take your moral gambles like everyone else. You've gambled before, right? Maybe not with cards and dice, but I'm sure you've done it in battle. Sometimes you have to take a chance, accepting the possibility you're wrong, but choosing the best bet because not choosing at all would be the worst thing to do. And right now, it looks like fighting the local power is the safest bet.
>>
No. 650088 ID: 88960e

>I thought being a paladin was the toughest thing I could do in life - but now, after having been one, not being one is far worse! Now is not the time to get mopey again, but I am mentally unsuitable for the mission after all!
Certainty of purpose is a great luxury and relief to those who posess it. You are uncertain now, which is why this is difficult.

It's the price one pays for independent thought.

>laws versus paladin
I think you simply have to do what you think is right, wether or not it complies with the law. Simple as that.

Stealing the artifict may be right or wrong- you will have to decide when you meet the people holding it. It might well be the greater evil to leave it their hands than taking it.

It's also worth pointing out you weren't much good as a Paladin if your reasoning could so easily be short circuited by the appearance of female beauty. You could have easily been tricked to your defeat, or into a great evil.

You're fortunate you feel in with people who seem interested in teaching and helping you. Self awareness and reflection is something you will benefit from, paladin or no.
>>
No. 650107 ID: ea0ad9

>I thought being a paladin was the toughest thing I could do in life - but now, after having been one, not being one is far worse! Now is not the time to get mopey again, but I am mentally unsuitable for the mission after all!
Perhaps Zirkala's true reason for sending you on this mission was not to teach you subterfuge, but to help you come to terms with the Gray areas of the law. A paladin may be required to uphold the nature of the law in a sense of black and white, but you are not that! You are more along the lines of a White Knight, and knights are used in a larger variety of settings, requiring them to know how to deal with these sorts of situations that a Paladin would simply ignore or handle with extreme prejudice.

Question your resolve if you must, but do not give in and believe it to be worthless. What you are doing is making a difference, even if you must slink behind the scenes to determine how that difference should best be made, and... Well, in a way, that in itself is actually subterfuge, but of the sort that you should be expected to do! Do not show your hand until you have determined the course of action necessary. If you must show your hand then, then there is no longer any reason to not to. These people do not know what your intentions are, but they also do not need to know unless you have decided to act upon them, and then only need to know the intentions that pertain to them. You are a "Paladin," "White Knight," or whatever else you desire to call yourself, and will deal with unfair laws or lawlessness as necessary, but that you will be taking the artifact is presently not something to declare to the world.
>>
No. 650127 ID: c2fb88

Things are never black and white Kexluk. Only paladins that directly work for particularly stuffy gods get to live like that.

So where does a free agent paladin get his marching orders you ask? Well that is for you to decide. Turns out being your own boss is hard. You can't blindly follow orders because you are the ones giving them.

Every time you come up against something like this you will have to weigh both sides. If the laws of the land are unjust you will have to decide how you will deal with them.

Long story short being a paladin is hard work and will continue to be so forever. If one day you start finding its easy to judge people you should probably retire.
>>
No. 650134 ID: 91ee5f

>>650039
>After having been one, not being one is far worse!
You do realize you never were one in the first place right? You were still in training, so it's not that much of a loss. You can't miss being something you never were in the first place anyways.
>>
No. 650136 ID: bb78f2

>>650039
Not many paladin's have ever had sex with a lich either. They would write SO many nasty things in the bathroom stalls at paladin academy. Really, just terrible things.
Which is why you should ignore them.
You should reach your own ideal, unlabel yourself as a paladin, and be the BEST Kex you can be.
You class is offically "Kexluk" and your job is "Kexluk".
>>
No. 650191 ID: dd338c
File 143501882210.png - (112.28KB , 800x800 , 9-88.png )
650191

>You do realize you never were one in the first place right?
>Not many paladin's have ever had sex with a lich either.
>It's also worth pointing out you weren't much good as a Paladin if your reasoning could so easily be short circuited by the appearance of female beauty.
I know this too well! I would never have been accepted into any Order, not without years of proving myself valid. It was only with the blessing of my predecessor, who perhaps saw a mistaken amount in me, to become an honorary paladin of sorts. It was seldom my own talents and accomplishments that gained the tolerance and respect of my peers and superiors, and instead was perhaps being in the right place at the right time.

But their ability to feel such conviction to a concrete cause inspired me. How easy I found it to do the same when the answers were handed to me! But now I am not, and even if I had the magical components needed to communicate with them from afar, I doubt I would get much. I had not thought of this - or, more specifically, I simply did not want to! It was the time in my life I felt important, but now I must muddle in the greys of life rather than the black and white picture the paladins could paint for me.

I must admit that I am no paladin, and I will never be, now. However, their teachings will not be abandoned by me - such as my ability to do far more for others than for myself. And so I will look to what I can do for others.

>Weigh both sides; decide and gamble on which one is most beneficial
I consider this for hours, thinking on this while those guards appear to bring out some drinks and entertain themselves while on duty.

There is no perfectly right or wrong choice, and much of my time is spent merely contemplating the sheer principle of attaching myself perfectly to an imperfect idea. It is not easy. This society is particularly disgusting to me. But if I were to topple the government - which is a grand hypothetical idea in the first place - where would the kobolds go? As bad as their lives are, I am sure my kind has made them ultimately reliant on their direction and supplies. To give the kobolds freedom would make their fate my responsibility.

As for the artifact! Having mentally disowned my Paladin title that I still thought as having, I am far less troubled by assisting a lich that has appeared nothing short of hospitable, if a bit manipulative. And Story Seeker is the first who I could call a friend in a great while! I would not betray him no matter the law.

I will fetch this artifact. I can break out of my cell at any time, but none of my break out methods are sneaky. It is a simple set of holding cells, and I did not see any side entrances on my way in, and the windows were too small for myself. I have little idea of how to do so without alerting the entire town guard, although this would merely inconvenience the mission more than myself. It is certainly an option.

I must also think on how far I am willing to go to change this society.
>>
No. 650194 ID: 1f9297

Well, Zirkala did ask you to pull this off quietly, and it's a good idea. Getting to the artifact is going to become a lot harder if word of you reaches the place it's kept, so changing this society in any huge and obvious ways might best waiting for later. Right now, I suspect the guards are predisposed to keep quiet about you, because I'm still sure they're lying about how expensive the golem is. The goblin merchant you met earlier thought for a moment that you were golems when you first appeared, so they can't be too rare if there are some randomly wandering around the desert. Unless the ones here are captured from elsewhere and repurposed somehow? Then the expense could be the danger of going out to catch another one, and process it. A puzzle for later. In any case, on the relatively reasonable assumption it's what they're doing, the locals won't want it to get to the wrong people that they're ripping off/shanghaiing visitors.

I wonder, knowing Story Seeker, if he'll show up looking for you if you just wait long enough. Then he could help you escape in a more subtle way. Hmm... if you told the guards you wanted to send word to your slave to check how much money you have (as if you were reconsidering just paying), then they might ask around with the kobolds, and word would get to Story that you're in jail.

Best to wait for that, though, until, say, nearly morning. That'll give Story time to finish whatever he might be doing, and the guards will be at their least alert and less likely to think too hard.
>>
No. 650195 ID: d90668

You are silly Kexluk. You can call yourself whatever you like but as long as you keep fighting for the forces of good and order you are a paladin. Its not a title that someone bestows upon you for years of service. Its a description of any magical warrior who fights to right the wrongs of the world.

Anyways if you want to change this society first you need more information. There is much going on in the background and you need to know the forces at play here. On one side you have the fortress which seems to know that a kobold will be its downfall. And on the other side you have what might be the makings of a kobold uprising.

Heck the prophecy about the artifact getting stolen could be half the reason the slaves are watched as closely as they are. Everyone is nervous that its all going to come crashing down and they don't want to be left holding the ball.

So figure out a way of getting out of here and meeting up with Story. With any luck he might have learned more about what is going on here.
>>
No. 650196 ID: ab7529

>break out
Hmm. Not yet. I think we can still wait and see how this goes. There's a chance we could still use this to get in with the tower.

>I must also think on how far I am willing to go to change this society.
I think you need to progress in small steps. Crusades to upend unjust societies and governments taken up in haste lead to chaos and bloodshed. It takes a lot of planning and work to improve things.
>>
No. 650197 ID: e114bc

>>650191
You realize you could probably just take all the kobolds with you to the lich's settlement, right? They'd have to transition from living on the surface to living underground, but it's feasible. Food did not seem scarce but I don't know the size of the cave kobold settlement. You'd have to ask Story if it would work out.

As for sneaking out, well, they appear to be getting drunk. Let them. Then when most/all of them are passed out you can break free then just walk out, knocking out any guards that try to stop you. That might make it much harder to get into the tower, though. You could instead break free, then just casually exit your cell and make it clear they have no way of actually keeping you prisoner. If they realize you are here of your own free will, and you make a nuisance of yourself, they might get pissed off and kick you out. They might decide to treat you as some sort of problem to work around rather than confront directly.
>>
No. 650659 ID: 91ee5f

Well, now what? We've got to do something to pass the time. Normally I would say get some sleep, but I don't think you should. There's no telling what those guards will do to you while you're asleep! Well, I'm out of ideas. Guess you have no choice but to stare at a wall and be completely bored out of your skull.
>>
No. 650661 ID: 91ee5f

>>650191
Also, congratulations on finally accepting the fact that you're a Fallen Paladin-In-Training! Now the next step is to gain some awesome and badass Fallen powers and use them to help protect innocent lives!
>>
No. 650688 ID: bfbff9

I'm surprised you're worried so much about causing trouble for this "shitstain of a desert town" full of "lizard scum". That's what you said to Story earlier, yes? And that you would rather die fighting this whole town then drag your name through the mud, which you implied would be the case even by just pretending to be a cruel master? How much more, then, would you be sullied by helping uphold a system of such masters? Or just by letting it pass as is?

It seems to me you had already decided how far you were willing to go. If you had remembered a little earlier, it would have saved you a lot of trouble.
>>
No. 651303 ID: dd338c
File 143545996816.png - (87.72KB , 800x800 , 9-89.png )
651303

While the guards become rather loud with their boisterous activity, they do occasionally have discussions with other guardsmen on duty.

>['Paladin' is] not a title that someone bestows upon you for years of service.
The ones who gave me a home thought differently! But many can have the heart and spirit of a paladin without the title, and that is the important thing.

>Crusades to upend unjust societies and governments taken up in haste lead to chaos and bloodshed. It takes a lot of planning and work to improve things.
Indeed! A great lesson that the paladins have taught, as simply submerging a town in fire is little more than violence in the name of yet another ideology. Only to be done when no other alternative can be sought.

>You realize you could probably just take all the kobolds with you to the lich's settlement, right?
This is a possibility that I realize! With that mentioned, however, it seems like flooding those caverns with hundreds of kobolds would upturn the economics of that cavern. I would have to conduct talks with Story Seeker, Zirkala, and any others involved before inviting a legion of kobolds to live in a home that is not mine.

>Now the next step is to gain some awesome and badass Fallen powers and use them to help protect innocent lives!
Th.... if I gain such powers, I am reluctant to call them as 'fallen.' They are simply powers that are my own.

>It seems to me you had already decided how far you were willing to go.
Far, perhaps, but there is only so much I can do to do this correctly, minding that I still have my obligations to Story Seeker and Zirkala.
>>
No. 651305 ID: dd338c
File 143545999371.png - (119.16KB , 800x800 , 9-90.png )
651305

I spend a few hours sorting out my thoughts on all of this, If not for my uncomfortable position, I would have been able to finally catch some sleep. Nonetheless, I hear a little bit of heated, if muffled, commotion amongst the guardsmen. It falls into an uneasy silence before two guards come in. One with a torch who stays back, and the one from before who approaches.

"Hey, Kexluuuuk!" one of the guards from before approaches my cell. "That's you, right? So, uh, mayyyybe there was a little misunderstanding. Anywayyy, we got some wind that there's a bunch of kobolds out there trying to have some shoddy, quiet festival out of town, and one of them is sharing stories from far away. You wouldn't happen to have a slave like that, would you?"
>>
No. 651312 ID: ab7529

I did travel here with a slave, and he is capable of telling stories.

Why do you ask?
>>
No. 651323 ID: bb78f2

>>651305
Many slaves tell stories and sing songs, it is how they past time, since they cannot hold property. What makes mine unique?
>>
No. 651330 ID: db46ec

Hmm. Sounds like Story Seeker is filling the local kobolds' heads with silly stories about fanciful things like "not having horrible lives". I do wonder why they'd come to you about it, though. Do they have some rule that they can't do anything to a slave without involving their master?

In any case, first question: is the other guard, who didn't approach you, not one of the ones you encountered before? That makes me wonder if the guards you did meet are hoping to cover up the "misunderstanding" you had with them, because someone has come by who doesn't allow such things. In which case, you might have leverage. You might also want to be careful admitting a connection to Story, since maybe letting one's slave run amock in such a way is illegal, and they want to pin that on you so they have an excuse to keep you in prison. And who is it who's come by knowing your name? You didn't introduce yourself to the guards, from what I remember.

Say something like: "I have a slave, but any kobold with a tongue could tell stories, so I'll need a better description than that. What misunderstanding do you think we "maybe" had?"

The important thing is to give a non-committal answer while getting an opening to ask about the misunderstanding.
>>
No. 651331 ID: d90668

What sort of misunderstanding exactly?

As for kobolds I do have a particularly talkative slave that I travel with.

So is this you asking for my help with something? Am a bit confused.
>>
No. 651345 ID: e114bc

>>651305
Why do they care? Shouldn't the guards, if they know about this, be out their knocking their tables over and kicking sand in their faces?
>>
No. 651347 ID: ea0ad9

>quiet festival out of town, and one of them is sharing stories from far away. You wouldn't happen to have a slave like that, would you?
Just say:
"That sounds like Story Seeker, yes. I have told him that he is free to tell his stories so long as they do not encourage the Kobolds to violate laws. ...Given that I was arrested for violating Curfew, though, it appears that he has broken that rule, I suppose? Disappointing."
If they take you saying "Disappointing" to refer to Story Seeker, it is their own fault. I imagine you would be disappointed in yourself for letting Story Seeker get himself into trouble, after all!
>>
No. 651363 ID: dd338c
File 143547070752.png - (122.04KB , 800x800 , 9-91.png )
651363

"What misunderstanding?"
>"Eh? You know.... that golem. That you messed up."
"There was no misunderstanding to my recollection. It assaulted me as a highwayman would with no signs it was legitimate guards.
>".... okay, okay, that's not the point here, though! Your slave?"
"I do have a kobold slave, yes, and he does enjoy speaking, but unless it is standard practice to cut the tongues from them here, I expect any are capable of telling stories."
>"Yes, but the stories we're used to them telling are told in muffled tones and are all from local religion and gossip. Apparently, this new one is telling tales like one would in a bustling tavern! Definitely unusual."
"Perhaps it is my slave, perhaps it is not. Your description is vague at best. In any case, I have to wonder why you would care. If slaves are running amok, perhaps it is your own duty to knock their tables over and kick sand in their eyes?"
>"You have a problem with how we do things?"
"It is not my place to openly judge your own ideals. In any case, Story Seeker has enjoyed telling me stories, and I have told him that he is allowed to do the same here so long as he does not violate laws. Considering it was my own ignorance of any curfew laws, perhaps he has broken that rule." I cannot even pretend disappointment, not in either of us, for knowing a rule never introduced.
>"Well, whatever. Some of us know about you, Kexluk, and some of us have respect for you, some of us don't. So what happens to you is gonna depend on who wins what argument. Sorry, but we gotta hang on to you overnight, as is law, but the punishment probably won't be as bad as we made it out to be. Bad news is that we can't return slaves to owners how just broke our own laws, so your slave is gonna be an independent for a bit, and someone might snatch him up. You can always get a new slave though, you know? Slaves that can tell stories aren't that expensive."

This guard is not comfortable around me, and I expect it is because they have caught wind of my identity most likely from another guard's knowledge. Whether or not they respect me, I have reason to believe that, perhaps, they fear me.
>>
No. 651366 ID: 0ee153

>>651363
Hi Chop.

Anyway, ask about this snatching up and whether their supposed opportunity is to be public knowledge.
>>
No. 651367 ID: e114bc

>>651363
I'm sure he'll be able to handle himself.

Well if they're nervous about you and there's no real point in escaping because they're gonna be soft on you, why not just break those ropes so you can get some sleep.
>>
No. 651371 ID: ab7529

>>651363
*Ruefully* Story is nothing if not resourceful. I expect he will manage.

If this is intended as a warning, it might be more useful reaching his ears than mine, as he would be capable of using it. I can hardly act to prevent his being snatched up.
>>
No. 651376 ID: ea0ad9

>>651366
>Hi Chop.
It appears Chop has harnessed his innermost desire to be a part of things again to get a glimpse at what's going on.
>You can always get a new slave though, you know? Slaves that can tell stories aren't that expensive.
That is not the only reason you chose Story Seeker to accompany you, though, and would highly prefer that he not get snatched up. If he does, you'll ensure it does not remain that way. Even if it is not your intention to say it as a threat, you have decided already that you will protect Story Seeker to the best of your ability, meaning it will be no lie.
>>
No. 651389 ID: dd338c
File 143547395848.png - (153.41KB , 800x800 , 9-92.png )
651389

Now with less Chop.

"He is more capable than that alone, and I would appreciate that he not be re-owned."
>"Sorry guy, it's out of our hands!"
"I expect he will manage - and if he does not, I will ensure that he will not remain under another's ownership."
>"Well, yeah, depending on who gets him, it's possible to get him back. It's not uncommon, you know? This sorta thing happens.
"That is good to hear, because I intend it to be so. Well, thank you for the warning. If you are aware of my reputation, then, perhaps you would be so kind as to undue these ropes such that I may sleep?"
>"Er... yeah. Sure, we'll get you a bedroll, too. Two. Don't mess them up."
"Thank you."

I finally manage to get some sleep, although it is uneasy, as I cannot help but worry about Story Seeker despite his own capability.
>>
No. 651390 ID: dd338c
File 143547396763.png - (148.17KB , 800x800 , 9-93.png )
651390

I awake to the cell being opened, and the guard motioning me upwards. He waits for a quick yawn and a brief stretch from me before speaking.

>"Hey, Kexluk. Looks like you're off with a slap on the wrist. A 3 gold piece fine for the golem - yeah, I admit it, they are really shitty golems, but what can we do? - and then it'll be all cleared up. Just a day or two's work if you really are broke. I trust that is acceptable?"
"What of Story Seeker?"
>"Oh, sorry, yeah, he's been reowned. Don't look at me like that - I know it's shitty, but anyone that breaks the law loses just about all their property, so all things considered, you didn't lose much."
"By who?"
>"Scuse me?"
"Who has acquired Story Seeker?"
>"Lady Enlu, of Fort Spearstone."
"Where may I find her?"
>"She has already left for Spearstone."
>>
No. 651392 ID: e114bc

>>651390
How fortunate. We were heading to Spearstone anyway. I'm sure you'll meet up again once we arrive... or not. Story Seeker being a slave under a new owner might work well for staying undercover. After all, if anyone recognizes you, having Story as a slave is suspicious.

Pay the fine, go retrieve your sword, and then it's time to leave town.
>>
No. 651393 ID: ab7529

>story acquired by a Lady of the place we're targeting anyways
So in other words, he's already infiltrated the place and started on wooing her. I'm sure he'll make it work.

I suppose this even means you have a cover excuse to travel there.

Pay your fine and go. I think we're done in this town, unless you wanted to follow up on Story's idea of buying Tulip and getting her out. Don't know if you need the help acting the part without him.
>>
No. 651398 ID: d90668

Well then I will have to follow her and see if she might be willing to part with him.

Pay them the gold and ask what sort of "laws" you might watch out for at the fort. The more info you can get here about the place the better.

And you better hurry. At this rate Story will have seduced half the fort and stolen the artifact without your help. You don't want to miss out on the fun.
>>
No. 651412 ID: dd338c
File 143547891590.png - (147.78KB , 800x800 , 9-94.png )
651412

"Thank you, then." I pay the fine with what little I had on hand. "I will be leaving, then, if we are done here?"
>"Yyyyep, I guess so. Oh, and a tip. Any inn has a book on common law around here for the rare visitor. We'll give you one now, so read it over. It's not long."
"Excellent."

I head back to the inn and gather my supplies. It is quiet without Story Seeker, but I will rescue him yet. I can only hope that his stay is pleasant.

I also remember about Tulip, who Story Seeker had told me begged him for me to purchase her out of the inn. Perhaps I can do so without cover, having "lost" my first slave.

Ah, and I also have an appointment with catching a ride with that goblin caravan. Story Seeker's may be in plight, so perhaps I should simply run to Spearstone as fast as I can since those goblins will not be teleporting.
>>
No. 651413 ID: a19cd5

Yes go get tulip.
>>
No. 651414 ID: ab7529

You might need a native to provide information to help you fit in, since Story isn't around to cover for your bad acting. I'd see about taking her.

The caravan is probably worth it. If you charge in having the run whole way, it'll be seen as kind of aggressive. A challenge. Proof they have something you want. It'll likely just get their back up, and make it harder.
>>
No. 651415 ID: e114bc

>>651412
Yeah sure buy Tulip if it's not super expensive. I'm not sure if being Kexluk the Paladin with a slave is more suspicious than Kexluk the Lizardman without. If the former, you can ditch her somewhere until the trip back.

Story Seeker is probably fine. He's tough, and good at adapting to new situations. Take the ride if you think conserving your energy would help.
>>
No. 651431 ID: d90668

Story is not as powerful as you are but he can take care of himself and does know a little magic. If he let himself get captured there probably was a plan behind it. And if not he knows how to play the proper slave and will be waiting for you.

Might as well buy Tulip if you can. Remember to not let her owner know you are interested. Just mention your slave ran off and you need a new one and hey this one seems to be intact.

Running to Spearstone would be a good idea if you need to get there fast. But might be a good idea to find out how lady Enlu traveled there. If she had a covered carriage and Story was picked up in the morning they might still be traveling there. Plus if you have Tulip in tow you will have to carry her. The trip on the caravan would give you a few hours to chat and learn more about the kobolds and what its like around here.
>>
No. 651433 ID: 9648c5

>"Who has acquired Story Seeker?"
>"Lady Enlu, of Fort Spearstone."
That clever basted, he found a way in.
Lets get tulip and get moving, SS is going to need the cavalry to catch him after he jumps out a window after stealing the relic. and after boning his new mistress.
>>
No. 651578 ID: dd338c
File 143555903509.png - (102.65KB , 800x800 , 9-95.png )
651578

Although time may be of the essence, for all I know, Story Seeker will have the relic by the time of my arrival! In any case, I will pick up Tulip.

"Hello. Tulip, was it?"
>"Er- yes? Are you checking out?"
"Yes. I would also like to speak to your master about purchasing you."
>"O-oh! Um, um, let me get her!"
>>
No. 651579 ID: dd338c
File 143555904926.png - (154.47KB , 800x800 , 9-96.png )
651579

A moment later, a girl looking like she intends to have little business with anyone comes through the side door.

>"What is it?"
"I would like to purchase Tulip from you?"
>".... why? You trying to set up an inn, too? Because that's all she's good for."
>>
No. 651582 ID: e114bc

>>651579
Maybe. Or just general labor. How much?
>>
No. 651583 ID: a19cd5

"She's cute and would make a good pet."
"I require someone to make my bed back in my luxurious hero's mansion"
"MUH DICK"

All of the above are surely great ideas but which do we choose?
>>
No. 651595 ID: e607cd

Keep it under control, Kex. Mission comes first, and if nothing else, you are in too much of a hurry to tarry with this woman.
"I have no plans for starting an inn. My former kobold companion was claimed while I was sorting a misunderstanding with the local authorities last night. This one seems well mannered, and literate. I believe I could do much worse"
>>
No. 651613 ID: e6fcea

If Tulip can tend to an inn, that means she can cook or clean, right? You could use both such capacities for when your journey come to an end and you return homewards. That and your other slave might've taken a liking to Tulip, which is why you seek her specificly. You are willing to compensate the innkeeper for the trouble, as a small extra ontop of her price for Tulip that is.

Sound fair, yeah?
>>
No. 651614 ID: 19955f

>"MUH DICK"
Entirely appropriate but will it fit? Trick question. The answer is: "We'll make it fit!"

>>651595
But this'll do for now

Offer "MUH DACK" as payment.
>>
No. 651621 ID: 88960e

>>651579
I assure you I will not be staying in town to open a competing business, if that is what she's worried about.

You've been seperated from your last slave, and innkeeping covers many of the menial tasks you would need doing.

Probably should make an offer and get to haggling. Get her thinking about the money and not the why.
>>
No. 651624 ID: 8b9822

Innkeeping covers the same basic hospitality skillsets that you require. You could likely get a better suited slave, but that would require searching around, which you don't have time for. So you'll take this one, who you can be sure of at least knowing some of what you require (literacy, for one), and make do with whatever inadequacies she has until you can have her trained more specifically.

(Plus, we're intending to eventually set her free, and if we're going to stabilize Muo's portal, travelers will eventually start coming by to use it. With a bit of investment that I'm sure Story Seeker will be happy to provide, a new inn around the portal's location is likely to become quite profitable. Any other slave we happen to liberate could work there as well, to get their start with.)
>>
No. 651626 ID: bb78f2

>>651579
My slave was recently taken, and I need an extra pair of hands while traveling. I don't feel like going down to a slave market for purchasing another one.
>>
No. 653021 ID: dd338c
File 143603714981.png - (136.17KB , 800x800 , 9-97.png )
653021

>Muh dick
My dick has no place in this conversation! I have learned my lesson, and it must remain low and out of sight.

"I am not interested in a weak slave with no skills. If she can tend to an inn, then she can cook and clean, correct? That she has proven herself capable of learning and writing, as well as being hospitable? She appears physically healthy and capable of supplying an extra pair of hands as well. I am no businessman, Miss, and due to a mishap with the authorities, I have lost my previous slave."
>"50 gold."
"Considering that - "
>"No haggling, you just gave a laundry list of why she's rare. Plus, I've got to train another kobold to do their job, and getting some shitty kobold who barely can tell the difference between a fare sheet and toilet paper isn't something I'm gonna look past. 50 gold, before I change my mind."
>>
No. 653022 ID: 742b4a

>>653021
That's not a terrible price. Take it.
>>
No. 653023 ID: ab7529

Kex had what, 400 something gold on him? And we've really only spent in drips and drabs. We can afford it. We're being ripped off a little, but economic efficiency isn't our objective here. We don't have the time or inclination to go searching for a more reasonably priced slave.
>>
No. 653024 ID: 9297f4

50 gold for a kobold that can run a store. BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY.
>>
No. 653029 ID: dd338c
File 143603955191.png - (177.09KB , 800x800 , 9-98.png )
653029

"Done!"

For a moment, she reveals just a tinge of surprise.

>"Right. Let's see the gold." She says, to which I oblige. "Tulip, come over here!"
>"Yes! What can I do?" Tulip comes running over to us.
>"You're with this guy, now."
>"Er- um..."
>"As in he bought you. You're not an employee here anymore, so unless you two are staying another night, you're loitering. Get outta here. Thanks for the gold."

She doesn't wait for us to leave, in fact, before she walks back through the room with the money. Tulip stares at me, expectantly, as though there is a ritual I am unaware of!
>>
No. 653030 ID: ab7529

>Tulip stares at me, expectantly, as though there is a ritual I am unaware of!
Welcome?

I'm sorry, is there something specific I'm supposed to do or so? I'm not sure I'm fully up to speed on local customs. (Which is something she can hopefully help with, in Story's temporary absence).

We can have somewhat more of a frank discussion when we've left the shop and aren't so liable to be overheard.
>>
No. 653031 ID: 60700b

>>653029
She's probably just waiting for orders.
>>
No. 653037 ID: 742b4a

Order her to follow you. You leave immediately.
>>
No. 653039 ID: ab7529

>>653037
Maybe double check to see if she has anything of her own she needs to pack, first. She may not, but.
>>
No. 653040 ID: ed29df

"If there's something you think I should be doing, Tulip, tell me. I expect as an innkeeper that you have had some experience of what foreigners in this region have been troubled with, and I hope to benefit from that. I will not punish you for speaking so long as there is good reason for it, and will be displeased if you remain silent on matters I would like to know of."

Pause, then:

"If you have nothing to say, then we should be preparing to leave, as I intend to make an attempt to reclaim my previous slave. We are going to Fort Spearstone: if there is anything you think you or we need for the journey, tell me and we shall go acquire it. For the occasion of your purchase, I will also give you five gold to spend or give away as you like, though for safety's sake I'd ask you to tell me what you wish and I will make the exchange for you. It is my habit to let my slaves have some amount of money for their own use, so you need not think too keenly of hoarding it. I will also give you a half hour to make any farewells you wish to make, but again I will have to accompany you. I will have more to tell you once we're on the road."
>>
No. 653087 ID: 53688c

Mention "my previous slave put in a good word for you, so I hope you'll live up to my expectations."

Story Seeker will thank you later.
>>
No. 653125 ID: ea0ad9

>Tulip stares at me, expectantly, as though there is a ritual I am unaware of!
Isn't there something still in the bedroom you had rented? Either way, just tell her "Come" and either go to fetch the things from the room, or head out of the building. You can explain the situation once you're out of view of everybody else.
>>
No. 653199 ID: dd338c
File 143612410847.png - (91.19KB , 800x800 , 9-99.png )
653199

"Tulip, as I am a newcomer and you are an inkeep, I am hoping that you will assist me in knowing the customs, here. I will not punish you for speaking to me given it is an appropriate time to do so, and I will be disappointed if you remain silent on matters I should know. My previous slave has put in a good word for you, so I am sure you will not disappoint."
>"I, I won't! I'll do my best."
"And that is all I ask! If there is nothing I should be doing, or am expected to do, then I am in a hurry to get to the next town."
>"Oh, no! What would you like me to do?"
"For now, simply pack what you may wish to bring as I fetch anything that remains in my room, and to our goblin merchants who will be taking us to Spearstone."
>"Yes, sir!"
>>
No. 653200 ID: dd338c
File 143612411546.png - (204.12KB , 800x800 , 9-100.png )
653200

The merchants are not far, and do not take long to find.

>"Hey, Kexluk!" their spokesperson says. "We were just about to try and find you."
"Yes, I am here and ready. I will be taking this kobold with me, I assume that is no problem since she will be replacing Story Seeker."
>"Wow, that was fast, it almost looked like you cared for the other one."
"I do- that is, I intend on fetching him! I don't suppose you know how Lady Enlu travelled to spearstone? It sounded as though she had acquired Story Seeker, but was also in Spearstone."
>"Yeah, I dunno the details, but I'm pretty sure Enlu was never here. She's a pretty big deal, so I'm willing to bet that she just had one a' her lackeys go and snatch him up under her name."
"A guard told me 'she was already headed for spearstone', but I suppose it does not matter. As long as he is truly either in Spearstone or headed to it, then that is where I will go!"
>"Well it sounds like you were headed there anyway. Not like I care why. We're just about packed up, so sit tight."
>>
No. 653202 ID: dd338c
File 143612429318.png - (195.10KB , 800x800 , 9-101.png )
653202

We embark soon after. The pace feels slow as we leave town, but I must trust that the consistent pace is worth it. I cannot help but notice Tulip looking like she wishes to say something. In fact, she appears quite uncomfortable in a general sense. Perhaps I should tell her more of what's going on, after all.
>>
No. 653203 ID: 742b4a

>>653202
Well she is your slave now. I presume you have bought her loyalty. Wouldn't hurt to tell her a little about the mission, but not enough to get her in serious trouble if she's captured or something.
>>
No. 653205 ID: d90668

Don't talk openly about your true mission while you are around so many people.

Ask her what is on her mind. If she asks you what your plans are say that you need to retrieve Story and then you are going to stay in spearstone for a day or two for business.

Can tell her more in private later. And after you get a feel for if she is trustworthy.
>>
No. 653208 ID: ab7529

>Perhaps I should tell her more of what's going on, after all.
Problem is you can't be too open. You don't know how trustworthy she is yet, and you can't really discuss your intent to steal the artifact in front of all the merchants. Or the whole working for a lich, thing.

I expect part of the reason she's unsettled is she befriended story and asked him to help get her out of there- only now he's nowhere to be seen. She's just left with big imposing you. Telling her what happened there might help.

It also might help to just ask her what's bothering her. You understand she may be used to a situation where sharing her concerns was not welcome, but this is no longer the case. Story gave you the impression she very much wanted to leave that inn.
>>
No. 653229 ID: 91ee5f

>>653202
HOLY SHIT!!!!! :-O
I know you said you were huge compared to everyone else, but damn! I didn't think you were that big! I think this is the first time I've seen a full body picture of Kexluk next to someone else for a comparison!

>Tulip looks nervous.
Well if I were her, I would be nervous too! She's sitting next to a giant that's even bigger than all the other lizards in that town she just left!
.....Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if she thinks she's your sex slave! She's just worried if, when the time comes, you're going to literally break her in half with your giant dick!
>>
No. 653230 ID: bb78f2

>>653202
Kexluk, how are the Oxen pulling this thing supporting your giant ass? You look like you could weight 500 to 600 lbs.
>>
No. 653241 ID: dd338c
File 143613343724.png - (119.32KB , 800x800 , 9-102.png )
653241

>Kexluk, how are the Oxen pulling this thing supporting your giant ass? You look like you could weight 500 to 600 lbs.
A concern that I would have had with what looks like a rather flimsy wagon frame, however, this is the very cart the goblins use to carry their goods. They assure me that they are not loaded to their limit, so I am free to lay upon it so long as I do not do anything reckless such as jump up and down.

"If you did not gather from overhearing before, Tulip, Story Seeker has been re-acquired by someone else due to a mishap with the law. We will be fetching him in Spearstone."
>"Oh! I hope it goes well. He seems like a good person to be around."
"What's on your mind, Tulip?"
>"Ah, oh, um... well, first off, thank you very much for taking me away from there. I'll do my best to make sure I'm worth it."
"Are you concerned about your ability to do so?"
>"Well, um... yes. Um... if I can speak about that...."
"Of course you may. Perhaps keeping your tongue trapped was the norm in the inn, but Story Seeker made it sound like you very much wanted to leave - if things like that were the reason, then perhaps you should start by practicing talking more freely to me."
>"Usually people like me are only worth 10 or 20 gold. That is... that's how much I am worth."
"Ha, are slaves here so cheap? I figured I was not getting the best deal, but that is fine by me. You'll do fine."
>"Oh, you're not mad?"
"Of course not, and if I were, it would certainly not be at you."

Heading into a private location is a trivial task - I can simply walk off the caravan and walk along the side. The question at hand, however, is if I want to tell her the more delicate matters of my mission at all, and if so, how much.

>"Well, still... it means I'm going to work 2 or 3 times as hard for you." Considering what little I have seen, that appears to be an impossible task. "Can I do something for you? Clean your sword or scales?"
>>
No. 653242 ID: d90668

How about giving me information for now. What do you know about the surrounding areas? I am only recently arrived and know little about this land. And have made several mistakes because of my lack of knowledge.

Also tell me more about yourself. Knowing more about your history and skills will be useful.
>>
No. 653243 ID: bb78f2

>>653241
I'm going to lay down and I'd like you to to march around on my back.

How you would even clean a sword of this size, I have no idea.
>>
No. 653271 ID: ab7529

Well, you're not falling victim to your old weakness of automatically trusting someone just because she's female.

I guess the problem is that while she's good cover, and useful, does it really feel right to you to keep up the front of slaveowner with her? If you spilled that Story is your friend, and not your slave, and that you merely traveled that way to fit in around here, it might clarify her own position somewhat. (Although that might just confuse her, too).

...I'm really not sure how we bring up the fact we're sneaking in to steal a treasure. It's a lot to ask of someone, right off the bat. It would be bad if it panicked or scared her into doing something that endangered your cover. Then again, if she knew what we were after, she's potentially more useful than ignorant.

Presumably she's good at keeping things to herself when she needs to. A slave would have needed to be able to hide her feelings to avoid punishment.
>>
No. 653282 ID: ed29df

Perhaps you should feel out her opinions about the things you want to change in this region. Most likely if you up and go "hey Tulip wanna overthrow the corrupt social order" she'll get scared and think it's a trap or something, but you could get a read on what she thinks of maybe eventually being free.

Tell her that, as she can see, you are quite wealthy. You don't need to treat your slaves a long-term investment and, instead of squeezing them for every drop until they keel over, would rather they have something to work towards, to inspire their enthusiasm and initiative. So in exchange for good behavior you allow them to build towards some goal of theirs. Your previous slave, she no doubt noticed, aspired to be an entertainer! You allowed him to do so and, in time, you would have parted ways with him, letting him go lead his own life. So, Tulip, what would you wish to become, if it were your choice?

By her reaction, you should be able to judge whether she's disposed to be suspicious of such a possibility, whether she thinks free kobolds would be unnatural somehow, or if she would be trustworthy with the knowledge that you intend to eventually set her free regardless.
>>
No. 653316 ID: dd338c
File 143615171738.png - (111.78KB , 800x800 , 9-103.png )
653316

>Does it really feel right to you to keep up the front of slaveowner with her?
It does not entirely, but so long as keeping up the front does not involve being truly cruel to her, simply acting as a slaveowner seems relatively harmless.

"Remember, Tulip, I am a relatively wealthy individual. I do not need to work my slaves to the bone. For instance, Story Seeker has aspired to be an entertainer, and you can see that I allow him to pursue that. The same goes for you! Do you have any aspirations?"
>"Oh? Um, welllll, not really? I haven't had the time! I guess sometimes, uh, I'd wonder what it would be like to run my own inn notlikeI'deverexpectittohappenorthink you'd let me run one myself, but, uh, daydreams!"
"It's a good aspiration, Tulip! Of course, kobolds would have to be a free species to do such a thing."
>"Ah, u-uh, I guess so. That's why I don't think it'll happen!"
"Do you believe kobolds being free is unnatural?"
>"K-kinda yes. I dunno what I'd do! As long as I'm fed and taken care of, I can't complain."
"Well, perhaps you will learn what that is. We'll discuss this more later."

>Get backrub
Perhaps later I may indulge this if Tulip continues insisting on doing something, but for now, more pressing matters are at hand.

"Perhaps you can tell me what Spearstone is like?"
>"Oh, yes! I actually have a basic map of it. Uh, I can't tell you what the people are like there, I've only been there a couple times and only briefly, but ..."
"A map would be excellent."
>"Okay!"
>>
No. 653317 ID: dd338c
File 143615173177.png - (265.67KB , 800x800 , 9-104.png )
653317

She gives me a map, and begins speaking.

>"So Spearstone is a fort that runs right alongside a river. There's agriculture around it, too, If I heard right, lizards initially settled here as a branch of another lizardman tribe, but that was a long time ago, and they're completely independent of each other. Spearstone has been around for at least a hundred years, now, with a population of well over 1,500 lizardmen, and, well, we don't know how many kobolds, but definitely a lot more than lizards.
>They're very religious, and the church there is as high up as the rest of the people in charge. They kind of fight each other a bunch, but they haven't taken over each other.
>You, uh, are smart, so probably know this, but even lizards have their own heirarchy. Even the lowest one is above a kobold, but there's a few very wealthy lizards and many that are, well, they don't eat much better than the kobolds, but there's a lot more support for them.
>Oh, and the reason the church is focused on order is that they feel like they have to keep everything as stable as possible, because every once in awhile, a dragon tries to take over the fort, so their defenses and security is really tough."
"Why are the outer walls largely unmarked?"
>"Oh, it's where all the kobolds go, there's not really any mapping done there. It's mostly just, shacks and tents and little dens and stuff. The buildings that are there are mostly security to make sure the kobolds aren't doing any plotting or anything."
"There are also many gaps inbetween the inner area."
>"Yes, there's a lot of, well, open space. The richest lizardsmen have a lot of space going out from their houses. The rest are all bundled together. So, um, I think you'll do better - that is, your lack of familiarity won't hurt as much here, because even though Spearstone is still way out of the way of anywhere else, it still gets more travellers and visitors. So, the natives there are a liiiittle more, uh, patient, with other people forgetting rules. Oh, um, at least they are for lizardmen. And only by so much, they're still a little distrusting."
>>
No. 653321 ID: ebcefd

>because every once in awhile, a dragon tries to take over the fort
The same dragon each time?
>>
No. 653323 ID: d90668

Hmm with a population imbalance like that it would be possible to help the kobolds throw off there shackles and rebel. Possibly if the main city got thrown into chaos after there sacred artifact disappeared?

Of course then you have the possibility of lots of deaths and the whole society breaking down. And if there are occasional dragon attacks there needs to be a strong government to hold things together. So not so simple a matter to change things.

Now the best option would be if you could get the kobolds and the lizards working together for the common good without the whole slavery thing. Not something you could get done overnight. But I have a feeling that this place is a powder keg waiting to go off. Will have to see how things work out.

Anyway tell her that the first order of business is to make sure that Story is ok and try to arrange a meeting with lady Enlu. Then maybe take a tour of the local church to "pay our respects" ie case the joint.
>>
No. 653324 ID: 742b4a

>>653317
The river looks like a good escape route. We'll need to find a path through the back wall though.
>>
No. 653325 ID: ab7529

>run her own inn
Well, she'll have to do something when this mission is over. Do the caves need an inn?

>map
That's a pretty good map, for off the cuff.

Well, we know where Enlu is. Hmm. Do you know where the artifact was being kept, Kex? Obvious guesses would be locked up in either the palace or the church.

Hmm. We'll need to figure out our approach. I doubt just marching in and demanding Enlu return Story will work. And there's the prophecy business, and getting close to the artifact. Tulip might be able to get communicate with Story and see what's been up on his end- two slaves crossing paths on their tasks won't really be noticed unless they act suspicious. Big old you messing with someone else's property might be.
>>
No. 653327 ID: bb78f2

>>653317
That outer wall, inner wall thing seems like a waste of good real estate and stone. What's up with that, Tulip? Do giants constantly attack their borders? This place doesn't seem like it would deal in the standard medieval bickery the human's partake in either, where they'll siege a town. Siege's require an army.

Was this city previously owned by humans, then taken by lizards after some time?

I mean, it might be there to protect precious farmland from raiders, but this map just register's guard posts between the walls.
>>
No. 653395 ID: 27c0e0

I wonder if it would be possible to jump off wall into river? And as a lizardman paladin of light how welcomed will we be?
>>
No. 653418 ID: d33018

Ok so you have three main objectives here.

First rescue Story and find out what he has been up to.

Second steal this artifact and escape with it safely.

And at a distant third start a bloodless revolution that changes the social order overnight so that kobolds are now treated as respected citizens. Honestly this one is the easiest of them because it will probably happen on accident due to other stuff you do.

Oh and you have about 2 days to do it in? How much time do you have left anyways?
>>
No. 653468 ID: ea0ad9

>"Oh? Um, welllll, not really? I haven't had the time! I guess sometimes, uh, I'd wonder what it would be like to run my own inn notlikeI'deverexpectittohappenorthink you'd let me run one myself, but, uh, daydreams!"
>"It's a good aspiration, Tulip! Of course, kobolds would have to be a free species to do such a thing."
As the "slave" of a traveler, the best she would likely manage is quartermaster.
>the natives there are a liiiittle more, uh, patient, with other people forgetting rules. Oh, um, at least they are for lizardmen. And only by so much, they're still a little distrusting.
Would they at least be willing to point out the laws, or lend out a book listing them all, then? I would rather not have to spend another night in a prison!
>Map
Looks like Lady Enlu's estate is on the west, assuming that map follows Up Is North. It's behind the palace, either way, so chances are she's got some powerful rights.
>>
No. 653476 ID: 8a869c

>>653327
The guard posts are there to watch the kobolds, not city defense.
Walls are a good choice when you have any of the following:
1) The only settlement with much wealth for a day's travel in any direction.
2) A large population of slaves who are given a lot of freedom to move around unsupervised.
3) An authoritarian ruling class
4) A feudal society
5) Lots of sand and wind

Dont overanalize here.
>>
No. 653529 ID: dd338c
File 143622570224.png - (125.19KB , 800x800 , 9-105.png )
653529

>Would they at least be willing to point out the laws, or lend out a book listing them all, then?
I actually received such a booklet, which I confirm with Tulip is still relevant in Spearstone, from the guards of which I had the mishap with. I will be studying it throughout the day.

>Do the caves need an inn?
I'll have to remember to ask Story Seeker about this one - but I am sure an inn is needed, somewhere!

"I notice there's quite a bit of use of stone that must be used for the inner and outer wall. Are they cheap walls?"
>"Oh, no, they're very good. The fort itself is located around a rich place to find good stone, so they could make good walls. Of course, it took a lot of labor, but it's done now. There's a few reasons for two walls, but I think it's mostly to keep lizards and kobolds separate. Well, kobolds separate."
"So the whole town was built up from scratch by lizardfolk?"
>"I think so! It may have been a smaller settlement before, but it was definitely something built up by lizards."
"Say, are there any openings between the wall and the river?"
>"Oh, absolutely. Only small ones, and they're usually just for wealthy, privileged lizardmen to go to patios and the like, I hear."

From that, I can assume I could not jump from the wall to the river.

"In any case, our first order of business will to seek out Lady Enlu to retrieve Story Seeker, followed by a tour of their church. Say, the palace and the church, what sort of structures are they? Perhaps castle like structures, or perhaps a tower?"
>"Oh, the palace is sort of like a castle, well, it has a kind of steep wall over it and it has multiple buildings inside, but I never thought of it like a castle. The church is a tower, though!"

The artifact is definitely within the church, then.

"Now, would it be rude of me to simply show up to Enlu's estate and request an audience with her?"
>"Um... prooobably. Well, no, but you'd have to find someone who has that kind of power, or Lady Enlu herself, but trying to get to a person like that is probably pretty tough since you can't just go into her estate without permission or anything. Um, um, uu... y-you can probably ask at the gates or something, maybe a guard will know, or even let you in, and you can work your way up the ladder to get to Enlu I'm very sorry I can't help you much."
"Don't strain yourself over it, Tulip!" I say, putting a finger over her shoulder. I realize that is reckless of me given I do not know how she responds to physical contact, but she stops talking so quickly and fidgeting so much. "Those are good directions, to know I cannot simply walk into her estate."
>"Thaaa thanks! Uh, you were a paladin, right? I think the church might respect you, even if you didn't follow their exact ways. I, um, can't promise that or anything, but you may actually get the best reception there, first. I know I said they were more used to outsiders, but I don't know if that means you'll be okay just wandering around immediately looking for high ranking people. Uhh, also, sometimes the kobolds there get wiiiiiii...."
"What is it?"

She takes a deep breathe, and I have a feeling she was about to say something she had second thoughts of. She has already muttered that much, however, and is smart enough to realize it's too late to back out.

>"Sooometimes kobolds get wind of when noble lackeys are in the outer fortress, so, uh, if you... trusted me enough andyoudon'tneedtoI'llstayatyoursideasmuchasyouwant I can go into the outer fortress and try to see any recent events and schedules involving Lady Enlu."
>>
No. 653532 ID: e114bc

>>653529
Perhaps.
>>
No. 653538 ID: bb78f2

>>653529
I'm concerned you may be stolen like Story was, Tulip. Who knows what may happen in the next few days, even after studying the booklet, we may end up in jail for any reason, especially while trying to get Story back.

Tulip, do you know HOW not to get slaver displaced like Story was, if this situation happens?

We're willing to let you do your thing, but it's dangerous. You could end up with someone worse than your previous owner.
>>
No. 653547 ID: d90668

That is a good idea. But it does make me worried. I have never had any problems giving Story free reign in towns we have visited until now.

Am now somewhat worried that you will get carried off the second you leave my side.
>>
No. 653554 ID: ab7529

>>653529
Sending you to ask around for information may be a tactic to try, yes. Slaves talking among themselves may be ignored, but I myself tend to stick out in memory.

*Joking* I am reasonably confident you won't disappear as soon as you leave my sight.
>>
No. 653559 ID: 0eb158

You're in a desert, so there aren't many places she could go! She could hide in the fort, but eventually someone will find out she has no master and she'll just be sent to be someone else's slave again, and that only if she's lucky. There's little reason to fear her vanishing. The only possibility would be her stowing away with some foreigners when they leave, and I imagine there are measures taken against slaves doing that.
>>
No. 653574 ID: dd338c
File 143623287691.png - (158.64KB , 800x800 , 9-106.png )
653574

"I am willing to let you do such a thing, Tulip, but not without worry! Would you know how to handle yourself in there?"
>"Oh, yes, us kobolds look out for ourselves, and I can lay as low as can be in there! When I have been in Spearstone, I spent much of my time in the outer fort."
"And you can avoid being 'reacquired' as Story Seeker was?"
>"Yes! I just shouldn't be found, and it won't happen, and it's actually really easy to hide in there."
"Then I will let you do so, and I'm reasonably certain you won't disappear as soon as you leave my sight!" I say, joking.
>"U... uh..."
"I'm joking, Tulip."
>"Oh! Ah, sorry! I won't do that though!"
"I trust that. Well, that is all the questioning I have for now, I intend to read my booklet on lizard law."
>"Okay! What can I do for you?"
"If you must do anything, then perhaps walk on my back. But afterwards, I want you well rested for your efforts tomorrow."
>"Okay!"

I spend much of the day resting, and the goblins guards seem quiet. The primary merchant I spoke to talks quite loudly to a friend of hers for much of the day, but eventually the wind picks up and gives me peace.
>>
No. 653575 ID: dd338c
File 143623292370.png - (160.24KB , 800x800 , 9-107.png )
653575

The night goes by uneventfully, and we approach the fortress just as the sun looms over the horizon. It certainly looks affluent for its population, at least for the lizards. Tulip is still asleep. We will be arriving shortly, and I must gather my things to disembark, making sure none of our baggage got mixed in with the goblins' supplies.

Aside from double checking my gear, there is also the question of what my first destination will be.
>>
No. 653578 ID: d90668

That is a pretty nice town. Was sort of expecting the walls to be smaller than that. This one was built for defense that is for sure.

Well the church seems like a good start. If you introduce yourself as a somewhat famous lizardman paladin it might open some doors that would stay closed to a rich mercenary.

That being said it also lets everyone know you are in town. But its not like you can hide in a crowd. Might as well flaunt your identity if you can not hide it.
>>
No. 653579 ID: 0eb158

You'll need some cover story for why you've come here. Since you've fought liches, would it be believable for you to fight dragons as well? You could say you've come by to investigate their dragon problem.
>>
No. 653590 ID: ea0ad9

>>653579
Lies aren't his style. More on point would be saying "After dealing with a Lich, I had learned of a problem here. An elderly fellow told me about a prophecy that there would be a thief here, and I intend to offer my assistance with the matter."
>>
No. 653593 ID: ab7529

First thing to do is find a place to stay, before you approach the church. You want to buy time for Tulip to make contact with Story- if he's set something in motion already, we don't want to mess it up.

Then I guess we get close to the church so we can get the artifact easy. Between your paladin-ness, and the fact there's a power struggle between the church and state looking for advantage, you have an in.
>>
No. 653808 ID: dd338c
File 143631788119.png - (233.51KB , 800x800 , 9-108.png )
653808

>Since you've fought liches, would it be believable for you to fight dragons as well?
Very much so! Although they are a target I would often travel far and wide for, should I find myself in the region and there is a dragon causing disorder, then it is a worthy goal to cross into.

However! Since I do not do well with surrounding myself in lies, I can only find myself offering to assist should a dragon attack, but ultimately be here after being told of this prophecy involving an uprising. Even this is a stretch, as although I believe that prophecies are true events in the world, I also believe there are countless false prophecies for every prophecy deserving of the name.

In the name of finding if there is a way to salvage this unrespectable society and rescue Story Seeker - even chancing he may not need it - I am willing to at least bend truths.

The goblins pass through well guarded gates as though they have done with many times before. The first gate allows us entry with only minimal questions, and we pass through the inner gates. It is certainly a ghetto in every sense. Although the kobolds do not look so miserable and beaten, they are clearly of a lower class of citizenship. There are many mud brick structures, and I do not not believe there are well established lines between the living quarters and the dumps.

Upon passing through a thinner area, I give the go-ahead for Tulip to go on, and she ducks through an alleyway.
>>
No. 653809 ID: dd338c
File 143631789104.png - (182.48KB , 800x800 , 9-109.png )
653809

The inner gates stop us, but after a lengthy discussion, the goblins manage to get both them, their cargo, and myself through those well guarded walls. I feel I owe them, if not for the trip itself, then for giving their good word on my behalf which may have turned a mild challenge into a triviality.

"Hey, Kex!" the merchant says. "We'll be setting up shop. Be sure to stop by if you need random junk! We're not an inn, but there's one literally right there. There's inns back in the outer fort if you wanna save a couple silver, but I wouldn't be caught resting my feet on 'em."
>"Thank you very much and good business to you, goblins, but I must be off.".

While time may be of the essence, sorting out an inn room in advance before I go to the inn may be convenient while it is so close by.
>>
No. 653810 ID: dd338c
File 143631790469.png - (162.59KB , 800x800 , 9-110.png )
653810

I head into a three story inn, which continues to give off that look of self indulgent, liberal use of slavery that I have come to expect in such a place.

>".... ah, welcome." a lady behind the desk says. "The tavern's to your right, if you're here for that. And to your left are the inn rooms. Merely 5 copper a night for a common room, a 2 silver for a normal room, and 2 gold for the upper scale suites."
>>
No. 653811 ID: e114bc

>>653810
Take the normal room, assuming it has a bed big enough for you.
>>
No. 653813 ID: ab7529

With a glance to the ceiling, politely inquire which type of room comes with a bed large enough for you. That's really all you require.

And don't forgot to get a bed for the kobold you're traveling with.
>>
No. 653818 ID: bb78f2

>>653810
...
Common and Normal have two different meanings here? Be careful, it may be a ripoff, Kex. Get exact descriptions of bedding and services.
>>
No. 653830 ID: 6e30ac

If I recall, a "common room" is literally that - a room used in common with others. It would be a largeish room with several beds, with other visitors using it as well.

Ask her which one she thinks has a bed large enough, and whether the upper scale suite comes with quartering for a servant or slave.
>>
No. 653831 ID: d90668

Two gold for the upper scale suites you say? Show me a example first and I will see if they are acceptable.

If you want to rub elbows with the rich you have to at flaunt a bit of wealth. Will only be here a day or so anyway. Then get directions from the clerk.
>>
No. 653850 ID: a1c4b6

How much gold are we down to? We might not be able to get Story legitimately.
>>
No. 653958 ID: 91ee5f

Considering the fact that you keep going into buildings that are almost too small for you to be in without crouching, let's hope the doors are wide enough! Doors that are too small, you can duck under, but doors that are too narrow you might get stuck if you try to go through them. Or cause property damage by breaking the door frame trying to force yourself through it! That would be embarrassing now wouldn't it? Let's ask if someone your size can even fit into any of their rooms.
>>
No. 654067 ID: c80f9b

Ask her what it'll cost to stay in her room.
>>
No. 654080 ID: dd338c
File 143640390729.png - (193.42KB , 1200x534 , 9-111.png )
654080

>Ask her what it'll cost to stay in her room.
It will cost me my privacy with those who I trust, which is far too much!

"I would ask," I say, making a pointed look at the ceiling, "to receive a room capable of fitting myself!"
>"Of course! We can't guarantee you'll fit in a normal room, but we do offer double normals for additional people, which may fit you"
"Would a luxury room fit me, as well as one or two slaves of mine?"
>"Absolutely. It comes with free meals, room service on demand, baths, and sound barriers. They are made to reflect Spearstone's wealth. Would you like to take a look?"
"Please."

She says it reflects the wealth here, and yet it seems like money here goes far longer than it does in other places. I have seen inns that charge as much for dank basement rooms that have seen weeks without cleaning or attention. This, however, is a place of nobility.

I have 421 gold and change. This room is pocket change compared to that, yet I do not know if I want to form a habit of spending money - money that is not even mine - so freely.

>"The kitchen and bath room is on your left." she says, which does appear to be the case. "I'm sorry, but we don't people to enter if they don't pay for it. Oh - and if this bed is too short for you, we have cushions that will fit nicely to expand this bed long enough for you. Other accommodations, if reasonable, can be made."
>>
No. 654081 ID: e114bc

>>654080
Double normal should be fine.
>>
No. 654085 ID: d2058c

Yeah, Story Seeker won't mind you renting this place. If only because, once you get him back, it'll be his to use as well! Plus, this is most likely the best in terms of not being listened in on. A normal room will likely share a corridor with other normal rooms, so your neighbors will be able to listen in. Obviously, you need to avoid that.

You should inquire as to how private it is, actually. Don't say it that way, just ask if you'll disturb anyone if you or your slaves cause too much noise here. If all's well, then take the room.
>>
No. 654086 ID: d90668

If you are worried about the money just think of what Story would do if he were in your shoes.

Of course the answer to that question would be Story renting the room and then waking up here later draped in bodies after having slept his way through half the population.

Just remember that the money is expenses specifically for this mission. You need a safe private location to work from and this will be a good spot. You can always have her show you a cheaper room to compare the two. Maybe they are equally decent. If you feel bad about spending money think of a way to double Stories investment while you are here somehow. Preferably without gambling this time.

Oh and remember to get a bag of pins or symbols with your mark on it in the market later. Can put them on Story, Tulip and any other slaves you end up with so they wont be "misplaced" again.
>>
No. 654088 ID: ab7529

>yet I do not know if I want to form a habit of spending money - money that is not even mine - so freely
It's not like you'll be lounging around in the luxury room. You have things to do! Double normal will do.

Besides, if you're going to get an in with the church or something here, it might look better if they think you need the connections, or could use the work. Flaunting too much wealth makes it look like you might be a player yourself.
>>
No. 654095 ID: bb78f2

Spend the 2 gold.
Story Seeker would love this place.
>>
No. 654120 ID: dd338c
File 143641138867.png - (145.91KB , 800x800 , 9-112.png )
654120

It's a tough decision, but knowing that Story Seeker may have a better appetite for luxury than myself, I decide on the full room. I know that he will not be mad, at the very least, which is why I am comfortable around him.

"Done. I will book through the night, but I do have places to go."
>"Of course. This room will be yours to enjoy as much or at little as you want. Your bed will be expanded by your return. Thank you."
"My pleasure."
>>
No. 654122 ID: dd338c
File 143641148770.png - (185.92KB , 800x800 , 9-113.png )
654122

Next is the church. I can hardly see the tower before what looks like an official in rather decadent clothing.

>"Kexluk? Is that you?"
"It is! Do I know you?"
>"No, but you are known across the land, especially in churches such as ours. I heard rumors of your arrival, but I figured they were just too outlandish. But look at this, here you are! Just as we are being put on high alert for a possible dragon attack - is that why you are here, or are you here over concerns of the palace attempting to overtake our church, even though our church and your order do not always see eye to eye? Or are you here for another reason?"
>>
No. 654126 ID: d90668

Look around for anyone watching and bring him up close to whisper to him.

"I have been traveling through the region on a secret mission involving one of the local liches and had not heard about your dragon problems until the other day."

"As for the palace this is the first time I have heard of it. Why don't you catch me up on local events. Am only in town for a short time but may be able to help you while I am here."
>>
No. 654133 ID: e114bc

Tell him you're here because of the prophecy you heard.
>>
No. 654134 ID: ab7529

>Just as we are being put on high alert for a possible dragon attack
I have heard this city has been so troubled in the past, but I had not heard this alert. Is there a dragon near? (Show interest).

(Fighting off a dragon attack would save a lot of lives. You can't ignore that, even for your mission. Although in this case that actually aids your mission, as it would cement your cover).

>or are you here over concerns of the palace attempting to overtake our church
I'm afraid such politics are largely below, or above, my concern. I can certainly understand their importance to you, but it would be a grave power struggle indeed for a warrior to be needed to intervene.
>>
No. 654157 ID: bb78f2

>>654122
... That's a kobold, isn't it?
Do religious kobold's have automany around here?
>>
No. 654166 ID: ebcefd

>>654134
This. In addition to the immediate potential life saving, if it has been the same dragon attacking them each time than killing it off would help potential political goals, since a threat like that is a fairly strong piece of support for a militaristic order justifying its existence.
>>
No. 654194 ID: a63c95

"I am interested in the dragon, but I actually came to investigate matters in relation to a lich's schemes. Fortunately not anything to panic over, I hope, and I wish to keep it that way, so forgive my secrecy on any further details. I have actually not heard about the issues your church is having, but I would not mind hearing. As I do have tasks to be about already, I cannot promise any aid."
>>
No. 654196 ID: ea0ad9

>Just as we are being put on high alert for a possible dragon attack - is that why you are here, or are you here over concerns of the palace attempting to overtake our church, even though our church and your order do not always see eye to eye? Or are you here for another reason?
I had reasons to be traveling through the region, when I heard about the dragon and decided to investigate, but what is this about a takeover? I cannot promise I can solve all--or even any of these problems, but there is no way for me to know if I don't know the details.
>>
No. 654268 ID: 91ee5f

>Palace taking over church.
I wonder if the kobold in the "prophecy" is actually a slave owned by the palace sent to the church to steal the artifact? Which means the "prophecy" might not have anything to do with Story Seeker after all! Unless he's now owned by the palace and they just happen to send him to the church to steal the artifact, then the "prophecy" is still about him!

>Dragon attack.
If it is the same dragon every time, then killing it will indeed put an end to it's attacks once and for all! But what worries me is that a dragon attack is a perfect distraction! While everyone is busy fighting the dragon, the church won't have as many guards as it normally does, so the palace can easily sneak into the church and steal the artifact with little to no resistance! I know it sounds a little farfetched, but an opportunity is an opportunity, it could happen!
>>
No. 654408 ID: dd338c
File 143648786767.png - (142.75KB , 800x800 , 9-114.png )
654408

>That's a kobold, isn't it?
Surprisingly, no! While this one appears scrawny and employs undesirable posture, it is certainly no kobold.

"I cannot say to know anything about your palace - if it is a matter of politics, I'm afraid I cannot see it intersecting with one such as myself. And though it is not my original mission, an object of interest is this dragon I have heard about - it is the same dragon each attack, correct?"
>"Well, yes. He does not come fight us himself, but he sends a horde of undead with the intent of flattening this town to nothing more than neck level!"

I have to halt myself from asking undead. If this is truly such a dragon, then I would be more tempted than I already am to see about slaying this creature. While that is believable, however, I do not have experience with fighting dragons.

"I have also heard of a prophecy involving a kobold revolting against this town?"
>"Yes - but there are no signs this is to happen. We must remain vigilant, but one such as yourself is only deserving of being trusted with far more immenent problems!"
"In any case, my mission, although a secret, does have to do with a lich."
>"Aha! I will not ask any farther, but I think it may intersect with the dragon after all. We suspect the dragon has lich ties, but I'm sorry, I know nothing that you wouldn't know already, Sir Kexluk!"
"Pay it no mind! But although I doubt it involves me, what is this about your palace attempting to take over?"
>"Nothing new, nothing new at all. Our palace is led by power hungry warlords, and they wish to see themselves expand their borders. We, however, will be far better off strengthening our internal structure as it is."

An ideology I would be glad to hear more often, if I did not know what the 'internal structure' here was like.

"My interest is piqued. Tell me more about this dragon."
>"Too little is known. He commands an army of soulless, mindless bodies. We cannot spare the forces to overpower them on an offensive, but without siege weapons, their attempts to scale the walls are futile. But, farming is both integral and very dangerous for us, and although we have sent would-be dragonslayers to end this threat against much of our livelihood, none have returned to us, at least, not alive. But, you - you may just have a chance. If you slay this dragon, merely an hour or two away on one of our tamed drakes... perhaps you will learn more about your mission, and our debt to you far more than I could describe."
>>
No. 654410 ID: e114bc

>>654408
Why not.
>>
No. 654427 ID: d90668

Well would be worth a look I think. If a dragon is commanding armies of the undead near her domain Zirkala might like to know about it. Plus you could get some good looks at the town from above while flying around.

Of course this could be some regular thing she has set up to keep the town on its toes but you won't know unless you go see.

If it did come to a fight with a dragon do you think you could beat one in combat?
>>
No. 654434 ID: a63c95

I wonder if this "dragon" really exists. A lich could easily create sufficient illusion of a dragon's existence to persuade people. Then those who go hunting a dragon will not be prepared properly to face a lich instead.

Tell him it is enticing, but if a lich is involved, then there are ways that it could have itself alerted to your approach - perhaps something similar happened to previous hunters. The lich could have implanted disguised ghouls as agents in the city, for example. You would like to investigate such a possibility before you undertook such a task. Besides, you have only just arrived! Even you would want to be fully rested before tackling such a fiendish creature.
>>
No. 654438 ID: ab7529

Careful, Kex. Remember that stuff about destabilizing rebellion being bad? And how you learned all liches aren't automatically evil?

Right now the dragon's undead keep this town in check, without actually threatening to destroy it. There's an equilibrium here- what happens if you destabilize it? Why is the dragon choosing to repeat an attack that keeps failing instead of adapting it's strategy? Something is going on here.

Obviously, if people need protecting, you do it. But don't act hastily.

Tell the priest(?) you are seriously considering it, though you may need to prepare. You have fought many undead, but you have yet to slay a dragon. Has the town collected any lore or information on it that might be helpful? Histories or records or accounts when the beast was seen?
>>
No. 654508 ID: dd338c
File 143649897626.png - (150.15KB , 800x800 , 9-115.png )
654508

"I would be interested in this, but I have just arrived in town!"
>"OH, sorry, sorry! I got excited. The legends say that you are a tireless beast who does not rest."
".... the legends have been known to exaggerate their subjects. I still must sleep, and do preparations for any dragon combat."
>"Right."
"Does this town contain lore, perhaps records, of the dragon and its attacks, or what the dragon even looks like?"
>"The guard captain, perhaps. Would you like to see him? We do not keep tight records, but if anyone knows anything of the dragon, it would be him."
"Then I shall see him, if he would see me."
>"Yes, yes! Of course he will. He must have heard of you. Head to the northeastern gate and speak to a guard in front of the tower there, and he will know where the captain is. And if you find time, or simply want a place to rest, please stop by the church, we would love to host you."
"It would be my pleasure, I expect I will be stopping there for some reason or another! Be well, priest."
>"Haha, thank you."
>>
No. 654509 ID: dd338c
File 143649898481.png - (243.99KB , 800x800 , 9-116.png )
654509

I wade through a town that is gradually waking up. It seems that I am far more famous in this town than I was in Whitewind. While my reputation has preceded me, it is not generally so robust. I am made to decline many invitations to homes and breakfasts, and I end up snagging a few individuals that seem to have latched on to me by the time I make it to the guard tower.

>"Hello! I am Kexluk, and I hope to see the captain of your guard."
"Kexluk! You've got it. HEY, open up for the large one down here! The rest of you, get outta here! Sir, he is at the top of the tower, no doubt just waking up. Go on up, it'll be the last room on the ladder."

>"Please help our town out, Kexluk!" one of the ladies behind me shouts as I enter. "My home is your home!"
>>
No. 654510 ID: dd338c
File 143649899158.png - (199.39KB , 800x800 , 9-117.png )
654510

It is a nice change of pace to be met with such hospitality, but as long as I am able to see the captain, it is no matter. I cannot let myself be distracted by girls, not anymore!

That, and I cannot help but sense the fact that for some reason, they are making a little too much effort to be hospitable. I alert the guard outside of the captain's door of who I am, and the captain comes out to greet me himself.

>"Hello, hello! Call me surprised, I didn't expect a holy soldier to come here. Forgive my asking, but why are you here?"
"Although I cannot share the details of my mission greatly, I have taken an interest in your dragon problem. I was hoping to learn more about this one."
>"Right? The bastard started attacking when I was still wielding a wood stick. Been over 20 years!"
"And what do you know of the dragon?"
>"Besides that he's persistent as burning hell? This isn't in the records, as it was a long time ago and my memory isn't what it used to be, but I believe I saw him once... sitting on the ground, not even flying, the smug bastard, just looking over the hill at us as he sends his own hell's army our way. And you know, I could swear, he was green. An odd color for a dragon of necromantic powers!"
"The color of a dragon has little to do with their ambitions and ability to learn."
>"I'd say i- whatever, nevermind me. Guess my memory is siding with you. Either way, other than that one sighting and the fact that the undead are always screaming about the dragon overlord's glory, we'd hardly know there was a dragon in the first place. So, are you gonna take care of our dragon problem?"
"I must deliberate on this. I am considering it, however, my mission may or may not have much to do with a dragon."
>"Look, let's just say, you'd be rewarded real nicely for the effort. I hear you do all kinds of stuff for free, but if you need convincing, we can sweeten the deal for you."
>>
No. 654521 ID: e114bc

>>654510
It's possible the dragon is not responsible, and the undead are being sent against the town to try and get people to kill the dragon. Seems like it's not quite working.

How about this: if you can solve their problem, you would like an invitation to speak with Lady Enlu, along with the gold reward. Maybe also to visit the palace because why not.
>>
No. 654529 ID: ab7529

I must admit I am curious why a dragon would choose such an ineffectual means of attack. Why send wave after wave of undead to break against the walls, instead of searching for some way to topple them?

Tell him your conscience will not let you stand idly by should lives be put in danger. He can count on your aid should the city be attacked. In the meantime, you will prepare. Your fighting style was designed to fight the dead, you will have to meditate on how best to defeat a dragon.

...I think you might need Story's help for this. If there's something weird going on, or the dragon is up to something clever, or the town is being too nice to your for a reason, he'll figure it out before you.
>>
No. 654531 ID: a63c95

I wonder, could the depredations of the dragon have something to do with the lizardfolk's treatment of the kobolds? It is said that kobolds have lizardfolk and dragon blood blended in them somehow, and even if that is not true, it is the case that kobolds share kinship of some sort with dragons. Free kobolds speak a low version of draconic as their native language and, if I recall correctly, often seek to live near and serve dragonkind.

Perhaps the kobolds get treated more poorly for fear of their affinity with this dragon. Or perhaps this dragon is offended by how the kobolds are treated! In which case, the plan of sending waves of undead to curtail this society's growth, but not cause too much harm to life and limb, may make more sense. The dragon might wish to prevent these people from going further afield with their slave-taking ways, while not wishing to endanger the kobolds that do live here. Perhaps someone in this fort actually even realizes this, and the kobold slums are actually a form of living shield against the dragon. Dragons often act haughty and detached even to kobolds, but it would not be far-fetched to imagine that an individual dragon, for some personal reason, has some reason to care for the kobolds in this area.

Hmm. The dragon is green, he says. I know Story Seeker is green, and although he's not from this area, he didn't appear to stand out much. Are most of the kobolds you've seen green?
>>
No. 654540 ID: ebcefd

This dragon business does sound worth investigating, but I think we should check in with Story to let him if possible know what is up before leaving the city. Maybe we should ask the guard captain if he can arrange for us to speak with Lady Enlu before we go so we can sort out a legal misunderstanding we had in Whitewind involving a slave?
(If this guy or Enlu ask about what we keep a slave around for, would it fit with our reputation to say that we got him to chronicle our battles against the undead?)

As a side note, I noticed earlier that the priest mentioned "tamed drakes". We should not ask people around her about it, but I am curious if these drakes are intelligent like other drakes we know of.
>>
No. 654546 ID: d90668

This dragon problem sounds like someone is paying it to scare the town. The dragon gets paid regularly and the local government gets to keep the townspeople scared so they will not think to much about other problems.

Could be a legitimate shitty threat but there might be a influential someone in town who does not want anyone to solve this issue.

Ask for a map pointing to its lair and about those tame drakes the priest mentioned. Tell him you have just arrived but will try to make room in your schedule for looking into the issue. As for a reward you will not turn one down because a guy has to eat after all. Plus you can donate most of it to charity if you like.

We should find out more about its undead attacks and how they deal with them. If they happen all the time but almost no one gets hurt its one thing. But if they lose people all the time to this stuff its another. Of course if all they lose is undesirables and slaves it also points to nefarious goings on.

After you get all the info you can ask about the noble that made off with Story.
>>
No. 654553 ID: dd338c
File 143650349232.png - (134.83KB , 800x800 , 9-118.png )
654553

Hm, I imagine if I slay the dragon I could easily fetch an audience with Lady Enlu, but to slay the dragon, I may wish to check in with Story Seeker to see what he has learned! The town seems almost suspiciously nice, the dragon attacks make little sense, and the whole thing feels off to my senses, and he has a far better knack than myself to get to the bottom of it.

>What color are the kobolds here
Most of them are light brown and otherwise sandy colored, but I have seen a green one on occasion, so Story Seeker is not terribly rare. At least not in the green sense, but he is easily one of the healthier ones I have seen.

"The legends may know me better as a lich slayer, Sir, and although this dragon may have necromantic properties or even ties with a lich, a dragon itself is no small matter even to myself."
>"Oh? From what I heard, the legends said you could smite a colossus as though you were invincible."
"The legends tend to exaggerate things, you know. In any case, I am certainly not backing down if it is a threat to innocent life, I simply need time to prepare and not charge in without knowing anything. Relatedly, I have a slave who has a knack for storytelling, who I am hoping to be my chronicle so that, perhaps, my reputation does not mislead people to think me some kind of demi-god. However, I ran into mild law issues in Whitewind, and although my name has been cleared, my slave has been 'reclaimed' by Lady Enlu. Is there a chance I may speak to her before I go solving any dragon issues?"
>"I- er...." he pauses for a minute, as though carefully thinking what he says next. "If you slay the dragon, she would be hard pressed to deny you a slave or two, especially if it were once yours. If the legends were even a quarter of what they say of you, this will be trivial, we simply don't have the warriors that you are. If you want preparation, then Spearstone will gladly supply you with any material wealth you may need for fighting dragons. Please, we would like you to do this for us."
"While I do not mean to undermine the danger of this dragon, its threat has been described to me as easily defended against. Why, for instance, does it not build siege weapons?"
>"We don't know, but, Kexluk, we find it in poor taste to question a blessing! But, we welcome visitors, and having frequent dragon attacks does poorly for this. Many farms are abandoned farther from town as our protection loses its grip, and, well, we are proud and don't like to get on our hands and knees to beg you to help us, but I'm willing to do it if that's what it takes."
"Tell me, how many people die to this dragon?"
>"Perhaps 15 to 20 lizards and a few hundred kobolds a year. It used to be more, a lot more, but we have learned our defenses well. However, even if we don't lose as many, the destruction and stranglehold of our farms does hit our food supplies, which does limit the kobold population."

There will be no harm in asking for the location of the dragon as well as information such as the tamed drakes, but I am afraid that doing so may make it appear that I have already decided to fight this dragon.
>>
No. 654561 ID: d90668

If what he says is true this is something you should help with at some point. Even if it ends up the dragon is involved in some crazy plot it does sound like this has caused a lot of suffering over the years.

Plus this would get you in good with all the factions in town. Could make retrieving the artifact a lot easier.

But need to make sure you do not go in blind. Better research previous attacks and find out more info on the abilities the dragon.

Also maybe insist on getting Story back to help out. Tell them that his sneaky kobold skills have come in very handy in fighting other threats like this.
>>
No. 654566 ID: e114bc

>>654553
That's a lot of kobolds dead. How big is the kobold population here? I wonder if this is a kobold culling, orchestrated by the lizard royalty here...

I say investigate! See if you can get some cool anti-dragon magical items from these guys just in case.
>>
No. 654572 ID: bb78f2

Regardless, I must see Lady Enlu soon. I may be able to learn necessary information from a visit from her, as well as satisfy a personal curiosity.
>>
No. 654576 ID: ed7f9b

Kexluk, if anything you might do could make Story Seeker mad, it would be to go off and have a dragon-fighting adventure without him! It's right there in his name, you know?

Besides, though it's an even chance that he's taking care of himself well or making progress on your goal or bedding a variety of ladies, it's also fully possible that he is suffering right now. Would you leave, what, another day or more, not knowing if he's all right, when it's partially your actions that have left him wherever he is?
>>
No. 654639 ID: 5e00ee

a dragon that is smart enough to raise the undead but can't build siege equipment? No, its either a dragon with a relic that raises the undead (maybe bought from a lich) or something else that's really good with magic such as illusions and raising the undead.

And do we have an fake mission to tell someone high up if they demand we tell them?
Our fake mission could be that we need the relic to close a chaos portal that's being used by a lich. This way if SS gets the relic and runs we can simply say we'll hunt him down for the relic and if he gets it and comes to us we can say he was aware of the mission and was trying to help.
>>
No. 654663 ID: 91ee5f

So, it's a dragon that just sits there while its undead army does everything? Sure, dragons let their minions do the dirty work and not all dragons can fly, however it doesn't make sense that the dragon doesn't get in on the action as well. By attacking with the undead its chances of success are better and even if it doesn't succeed it will manage to kill more innocents to add to its undead army. This dragon is either extremely lazy or is just an illusion of a dragon because it's actually something else. If it is something else, then it's disguised as a dragon because dragons can be blamed for anything and everyone will believe that. However it doesn't change the fact that the undead ARE real, so something has to be done about them!
>>
No. 654704 ID: eac8be

Definitely don't mention this to any of the locals, but I notice that these 'dragon attacks' seem to be rather conveniently help the agenda of certain certain local groups. Who do we know of that uses the attacks as justification for keeping strict order, does not particularly care for the expansionism that the attacks hinder and would be happy to quietly keep the numbers of the kobolds in check?
As a side note to that, are the methods for making cheap golems also applicable to making animated corpses?
>>
No. 654736 ID: e607cd

>>654639
>>654663
>>654704
All possible I guess, but I continue to be struck by how similar this all sounds to Zirkala's regular, purposely ineffectual undead invasions back in the caves.
>>
No. 654777 ID: dd338c
File 143656563219.png - (130.03KB , 800x800 , 9-119.png )
654777

>Kexluk, if anything you might do could make Story Seeker mad, it would be to go off and have a dragon-fighting adventure without him! It's right there in his name, you know?
This may be the case, although I would argue that his seeking of stories would indicate he seeks others to tell him stories; not him being directly involved!

>As a side note to that, are the methods for making cheap golems also applicable to making animated corpses?
The materials and what animates them, although with parallels, are far different. It is like using magic with fire and wind.

"And about how big is the kobold population, here?"
>"Several thousand for certain."
"From the dragon attacks alone, it sounds like the population would be completely replaced after a mere decade or two."
>"Yes, well, perhaps I overestimated how many kobolds were killed. You should know that it is typical for kobolds to live fulfilling yet short lives, and we do not keep logs of slaves."
"Regardless, I would still like to speak to Lady Enlu."
>"Hrmm, well, it's possible she may see you. I suppose I will give you my seal if you consider removing the dragon, and then I expect Enlu will see you."
"If you will, I would greatly appreciate it and continue considering this."

He disappears for one moment, but returns with an envelope, gesturing for me to take it.
>>
No. 654778 ID: dd338c
File 143656564193.png - (212.50KB , 800x800 , 9-120.png )
654778

I then follow the map Tulip gave me in the direction of Lady Enlu's place. It is not long before more townsfolk begin trailing me.

>"Dear, you once saved my father's life, please let me repay you!"
>"Kexluk, please stop by my place, we just finished cooking breakfast and we made way too much!"
>"And I have actual business with you. Please talk with me."
>"Kexluk, my man, you once saved my father's life, lemme repay you somehow!"

I think about it, however, and realize that this is merely the beginning of day 3 of our mission, and there is plenty of time to spare. Perhaps I can afford to not brush off the townfolk's aggressive hospitality.
>>
No. 654779 ID: e114bc

>>654778
Don't forget about the return trip. You can't afford to have dinner with everyone that wants to talk to you. At best... you could tell them to organize a gathering, so they can all meet you at once.

Someone said they had actual business with you, you can't delay THAT.
>>
No. 654780 ID: ed7f9b

>it is typical for kobolds to live fulfilling yet short lives, and we do not keep logs of slaves.

How do you know they're fulfilling if you don't even bother keeping logs of them? We know from experience they don't even tolerate eating in the same place as the kobolds, and they certainly don't live anywhere near them, so this is plain bullshit. They won't even let kobolds entertain themselves if they don't keep it hidden, and you yourself just said the ones here don't look as healthy as Story does. Besides the fact that, hey, you can't actually ever have a fulfilling life as a slave, since there's nothing about your life that's yours any more. I'm surprised you're able to resist punching this sickening hypocrisy in the face, Kex.

As for the townspeople... have you been anywhere near this area before? Since you seemed surprised/disgusted by their society, I assumed not. In which case, claims of you saving relatives is very suspicious! A fort that gets attacked regularly be a dragon isn't one that people are going to be moving their families to! And no, Kex, you can afford to brush off this hospitality. Your companion, who was formerly not actually a slave, now is a slave, because you decided that it was a good idea to turn yourself in to corrupt guards over destroying a golem that accosted you in a manner that would have been unlawful in any reasonable society.

Tell these people sorry, you have an obligation you need to see to with all haste, perhaps you will have more time later. Tell the person who says they have business that they can walk with you and say what it is, but if it's anything trivial you will not be happy.
>>
No. 654784 ID: ab7529

Maybe you can afford to stall a little? That buys time for Tulip to come back with information before you go to see Enlu. Plus, it's an excuse for not dragon slaying immediately. Do a little PR work, but don't let anyone drag you away.

>Don't forget about the return trip. You can't afford to have dinner with everyone that wants to talk to you.
We're really not gonna stay in town once the return trip has started, seeing as how we'll have stolen the artifact.
>>
No. 654787 ID: d90668

Check on the person who claims to have actual business with you.

As for the other ladies they will still be here later and if you get distracted now you will never get anything done. Plus you need to work on not falling for every girl who walks in front of you.

Is this the standard greeting you get when going to towns that know about you? Or is this just because you are a famous lizardman hero in a town of your own people?

How about a compromise. If you find out where the artifact is and get some more info on the dragon and track down Story you can spend a night on the town. Just remember that if you get your main job done early you have more time to party.
>>
No. 654791 ID: ed7f9b

Actually Kex, I wonder, do you have some personal sigil or logo that would be recognized? If so, you could consider giving a token with such to Tulip, and Story if you get him back, to prove their connection to you if need be. It shouldn't present much difficulty if you seem a little more protective of your slaves than other lizardmen, given that you have this reputation for virtue, and are a foreigner who will be expected to be a little odd. All you need to say, if people call you on it, is that responsibility is important to you, and that if your slaves are your property, then you shouldn't treat any less with someone for spitting on your slave than you would if they spat on your sword. It would also give you an excuse for any glares you might give to people who you see mistreating other slaves - and it could help you explain your desire to find Story again, that you feel you had an obligation to provide for and protect him and that you want to at least be sure he's not being unduly mistreated.

Because, you know, he was your traveling companion, who you accepted willingly, one whose skills are not near suited to combat as yours and who therefore you had implicitly promised to protect, and who placed himself in your power by agreeing to pretend to be your slave, and went into a place where only that pretense to your ownership of him would keep him safe from losing his freedom. Who trusted you. So it's basically the truth.

By the way, Kex, forgive me if this is an indelicate question, but do you have any children? Perhaps any children you're unaware of? If you get hero-worshipped to this degree, I wonder if there aren't any lizard ladies who would think it an honor to have the great lich slayer for a babydaddy. I know Story has a magical method to prevent such, but does your own magic provide any similar assurances?
>>
No. 654795 ID: bb78f2

>>654778
I don't trust these people. Two different father's you've saved? In a row? From this town. Too much coincidence. Don't.
>>
No. 654798 ID: d90668

You know it would be sad if Lady Enlu is the sort that likes to spend her spare time breaking uppity slaves and poor Story is being tortured as we speak because he did not act servile enough in front of one of her people.

All tied up in her dungeon having the spirit beaten out of him.

But you go ahead and hang out with these nice ladies for awhile.
>>
No. 654917 ID: 5e00ee

The real question here is how many ladys can you please at once, if the answer is below 3 then we don't have time for this, but if the answer is "I don't know" then this is the best time to find out.
>>
No. 654989 ID: 91ee5f

>>654778
You need to be careful big guy! Make sure your tail doesn't swing around too much or you'll end up knocking these guys over when they crowd around you like that! Sure, it would be hilarious, but that's not the kind of first impression you want with these guys.
>>
No. 655016 ID: dd338c
File 143664305827.png - (108.29KB , 800x800 , 9-121.png )
655016

>Actually Kex, I wonder, do you have some personal sigil or logo that would be recognized?
I do not, but in hindsight, I wish I had invested in such a thing.

>By the way, Kex, forgive me if this is an indelicate question, but do you have any children? Perhaps any children you're unaware of?
I do not! I have means to prevent this, and I am waiting for marriage prior to any children.

>Is this the standard greeting you get when going to towns that know about you? Or is this just because you are a famous lizardman hero in a town of your own people?
I do not understand fully why I am being greeted like this. Although I have been treated in towns I have saved from liches, I am, at best, treated with good respect in foreign towns, and not as though a hero walking through.

"You, in the suspicious looking alleyway, who say you have business with me! Walk with me and tell me this business if it is so important."
>"... it's private. You have to come with me."
>"Nuh uh, that's just old Yaker!" one of the girls says. "He's just a lonely old hermit!"
>"What?! I have a proposition of gold for Kexluk!"
"What? It's of material wealth?"
>"Yes, I have lost much of my farmland to this dragon, but I will pay handsomely with my savings for you to slay it!"
>>
No. 655017 ID: dd338c
File 143664306538.png - (217.65KB , 800x800 , 9-122.png )
655017

>You know it would be sad if Lady Enlu is the sort that likes to spend her spare time breaking uppity slaves and poor Story is being tortured as we speak because he did not act servile enough in front of one of her people.
>All tied up in her dungeon having the spirit beaten out of him.
>But you go ahead and hang out with these nice ladies for awhile.

"I have no time for these pleasantries!"
>>
No. 655018 ID: dd338c
File 143664307313.png - (191.27KB , 800x800 , 9-123.png )
655018

I rush toward Lady Enlu's, and only slow my pace when the guards brace themselves as though I were going to burst through their gates.

>"Stop! What is your business here?"
"I am Kexluk, and I have the Captain's blessing to see Lady Enlu."
>".... we'll keep you posted, Kexluk, but Lady Enlu is, rather, pre-indisposed at the moment." he claims, upon reading and tucking the Captain's seal.
>>
No. 655024 ID: ab7529

>>655017
11/10, best diplomatic social graces.

>but Lady Enlu is, rather, pre-indisposed at the moment.
...she's totally in bed with Story, isn't she. You should have known it wouldn't take him more than a day.
>>
No. 655031 ID: e114bc

>>655018
Tell him you will wait. Right here.

Stare at him the whole time.
>>
No. 655045 ID: ab7529

Wait, pre-indisposed means she was planning in advance to be indisposed. Does the guard know when she's planning not to be indisposed?
>>
No. 655048 ID: d90668

Indisposed eh? Is it perhaps because of a new slave she recently acquired? One about this tall? Bright green in color and suspiciously healthy? Has horns that look like this? Tends to talk to much and has almost no sense of self preservation?

Because if it is she might want to be interrupted to hear what I have to say about said slave.

Then if they still don't let you in let out a big sigh and say that at least you tried. Start walking away and muttering about how its all in god's hands now and you will pray for the poor ladies soul.
>>
No. 655071 ID: 7ee2dc

Your concern is with a recent acquisition of Lady Enlu's. If you can't speak to her herself, then speaking to whoever manages her affairs would suffice. Surely she has someone who oversees her acquisitions of land, slaves, other property, et cetera?
>>
No. 655083 ID: dd338c
File 143665489971.png - (161.50KB , 800x800 , 9-124.png )
655083

"Indisposed, you say? I don't suppose you know about Lady Enlu's recent acquisition, a slave about so tall, an unusually bright green? Talks a lot?"
>"No, Kexluk, I just guard the gates."
"And yet you knew she was pre indisposed, as though you do know what she is doing?"
>"Just for what decides whether or not someone should be on the inside or outside of the gate. All I was told is that she isn't receiving any visitors."
"I don't suppose I could then see anyone who manages her affairs?"
>"Hrm... yes, I can do that. I'll call someone over to bring you in. Don't start any trouble."
>>
No. 655084 ID: dd338c
File 143665490687.png - (170.56KB , 800x800 , 9-125.png )
655084

I am sat down in a courtyard and told to wait, but I am not kept long before a young lady comes out.

>"Hi! Hi. Kexluk? I'm Miss Nece. They told me you were asking about a slave?"
"Yes. Do you know of whom I'm talking about?"
>"Yes! And I think I was told about how he was acquired, so, um... are you trying to get him back?"
"I am."
>"Right, um... he's not here, though."
"Ah? Where is he?"
>"Um... I'm not going to tell you that. I mean, I can't. I won't."
>>
No. 655085 ID: e114bc

>>655084
Uh, what? What's going on here?

Is he even in the city?
>>
No. 655088 ID: 32cf3a

Story has probably seduced Lady Enlu. It is a thing he does.
>>
No. 655091 ID: bb78f2

>>655084
Can I at least understand the circumstances on how Lady Enlu acquired him from me while I myself was indisposed? He's a valuable assistant for my job, and I pretty much can't even think about slaying the dragon without a few of his skills, particularly information gathering and scouting. And I trust him a lot more than I can trust other kobold's with these skills, or some lizardman mercenary or guardsmen that wants to party up.

He has actual experience with my line of work, with undead and such, I really need him if anything is going to get done in this town.
>>
No. 655104 ID: dd338c
File 143665662066.png - (122.97KB , 800x800 , 9-126.png )
655104

"What?"

I stand before I realize it, and a nearby guard brandishes his weapon.

>"Er!"
"I apologize, but is he even in this city?"
>"Listen, he's being - it doesn't matter, he's a useful slave, Kexluk, and he's being treated like it!" she says, sounding surprisingly hostile considering how nervous she is.
"I should hope so! What is going on here? I hear that Enlu has ownership of him, but he is not even here?"
>"That's Lady Enlu to you, sir, and if you act nice, then maybe Lady Enlu will let you see him if he wants to see you, but but he's not your slave anymore!"
"You are correct that he is a useful slave, and that is why I want him back. I would at least like to know the circumstances on which Lady Enlu acquired him while I was indisposed."
>"I know that many slaves had an illegal gathering, and Lady Enlu forgave a few, including your own."
"Nonetheless, I have considered assisting this town in matters such as these dragon attacks, and he would be invaluable to this."
>"What talents of his do you think would help? Or do you consider it a talent to be tossed him down cliffs and having him climb back up so you can mend his bones and toss him off again? We've heard things about you, and you're not the hero a lot of people claim you are!"
>>
No. 655115 ID: d90668

Oh man she thinks that they are protecting him from you. That little act of Stories earlier got spread among the slaves and now they all think you are a monster. Am guessing that Tulip is hearing all sorts of bad stuff about you right now.

Lady Enlu probably has the same view of slavery that you do and thinks that you will beat him senseless if she gives him back to you.

Might want to explain things. And then have them just ask Story if they want confirmation.
>>
No. 655117 ID: e114bc

>>655104
Tell her that story was an act, to keep the kobolds from bothering you so much in that town. Where did she hear it from?
>>
No. 655124 ID: 7ee2dc

Aw geeze, looks like someone remembered what Story Seeker said to get the beggars off your back in the other town. On the other hand, it looks like the Lady and her friends might actually be nice people! You could have some allies, if you can just... clear up this misunderstanding. Perhaps if you just came clean about that? She won't trust your word right away, but it might at least buy the chance to have a message sent to Story to back you up. Maybe some other evidence would help you.

So, something like: "I see someone employs good ears. Perhaps you had also heard from the same source, then, that when that treatment was spoken of, I had been swarmed by kobolds because I had been charitable to one? Something of a coincidence that my own slave would choose that moment to speak of being horribly mistreated, isn't it? And perhaps you might have heard of an event a little later, when I refused to eat at a tavern that would not allow me to do so without him by my side? I can understand that what you have heard would be reason not to trust to my conduct, Miss Nece, but my issue with Lady Enlu is in fact exactly the same! I consider myself responsible for those under me, so if you can show me conclusive evidence that my former slave will not be mistreated by yourselves, who acquired him due to my negligence, then I would be content enough to leave. Or simply send a message to tell him I am in the city, and that you wish to know how you should treat me. If you don't tell him I am actually here or looking for him, then he should tell you honestly, should he not?"
>>
No. 655134 ID: bb78f2

>>655104
Story said that so kobolds would stop swarming us in the old town.
That doesn't even make sense enough, that's just a waste of my magical skills. The energy it would take to DO that makes the act not profitable.
His skills are information gathering, scouting, and seducing drakes, dragons, liches, nagas, disease witches, slimes, gods, succubi... the list goes on.
He's the only slave I have that could get the information I need. And he usually fucks his way to that information. He's very valuable for paladin work, because a lot of people won't talk to a paladin, but they will for a bard slave. I took down a powerful lich thanks to his help, and I'll need it again.

Miss Nece, please, I am a humble paladin. When in stricter climates, I ask Story to make me sound mean so that I can do my work in places like the town we were just in without the populace thinking I'm too nice of a Master and that's when problems occur.
>>
No. 655139 ID: ab7529

>We've heard things about you, and you're not the hero a lot of people claim you are!
Haha, they think you're a bully. I suppose that will teach Story to make things up about you, now they're protecting him from you!

I think the best response is to bust out laughing. And then explain that Story, as his name suggests, can sometimes exaggerate the truth. Perhaps he shall learn a lesson from this.

Assure her you are not here to harm him, nor are you here to take him by force.

(Problem is we don't know if that's just what they heard, or if Story actually pretended that to get closer to them and the objective. It's possible we're messing with his cover, but if they question if he's lying, he can always talk his way out of it, claim you were acting).
>>
No. 655150 ID: 7ee2dc

>>655139

I think, after Kex told him what he thinks of it, Story wouldn't put that kind of story out again. And though he isn't averse to deception in general, I think he'd refrain from doing so to take advantage of someone's compassion.
>>
No. 655153 ID: dd338c
File 143666110624.png - (167.57KB , 800x800 , 9-127.png )
655153

"..... I think there has been a grave misunderstanding. In the previous town, I first ran in trouble when people thought I was being too hospitable to slaves all around, and so Story Seeker made me out to be a terrible owner to cover. It was misguided but well intentioned. All I ask, then, is to know that he is being treated well, as I am not here to either harm him or take him by force." I will spare them talks of his dealings with lich and succubi.
>"What good's your word on this?"
"Perhaps none, but I am hoping that Story Seeker may yet back me up. I presume it was merely slaves working the rumor mill that led to this reputation of mine?"
>"Maybe. Listen. We're not going to tell you where he is right now, but you may stop by and see him tomorrow morning. We're sure you've been harassed non stop about our dragon, but if you do deal with the issue, and Story Seeker claims you a decent owner, Lady Enlu may be generous in discussing giving him back to you."
>>
No. 655156 ID: e114bc

>>655153
Fine.

...as important as getting Story back is, we don't have a huge amount of time to do the mission. We allocated two days for this, didn't we? Maybe three, if we really rush back.

Let's go see what's up with this damned dragon everyone's pushing us towards. Get some supplies and get to it.
>>
No. 655157 ID: 7ee2dc

"I will do that, but only if YOU, Miss Nece, will give me your personal oath that he will not be harmed or put to any other form of suffering until then."
>>
No. 655164 ID: ab7529

That will be acceptable. I apologize for the worry I have unwitting caused you and this household, miss Nece. (Bow head, or whatever your respect gesture is).

Depart. We should try and meet up with Tulip, see what she learned. Then we should go poke the church or the dragon, I think.
>>
No. 655171 ID: d90668

That is perfectly acceptable as long as you promise he will not be mistreated in your ladies care.

Ok you need to at least find out where this artifact is tonight and as much info on the dragon and its attacks as possible. Spend a few hours getting info and supplies so that you are ready to go whenever its needed.

After that you can relax a bit and take in the sights. Also make sure to retrieve Tulip at some point.
>>
No. 655174 ID: ab7529

>>655157
>>655171
I don't think we need to make her promise to treat him well. As far as these people know, they're standing up to someone who routinely personally takes down dragons and liches, and tortures weaker creatures for fun. They've already shown they're willing to stick their neck out for his well-being.

I mean, realistically, they could expect him to storm in, kill then all, take Story by force, and then kill the dragon while the town cheered, forgave him, and made excuses.
>>
No. 655210 ID: bb78f2

>>655153
Okay, sweet.
Now apologize to the Miss, this really was an awful first impression. That we hope to impress her on the second impression. She seems nice and you really didn't want to get yourself on her wrong foot, you were just concerned about Story is all.
>>
No. 655232 ID: dd338c
File 143667829667.png - (172.04KB , 800x800 , 9-128.png )
655232

"I am constant at a loss at how casually I am requested to slay a dragon, as though being asked to calm down a rowdy gnoll. But I will do so if I am given your personal oath that Story Seeker will not be harmed or put to any form of suffering until I see him again."
>"Wait, what, until you meet him."
"Ergh, as in when I am given the chance to... nevermind it. Thank you for treating Story Seeker well, and I apologize for giving you a first initial impression." I stick my hand out for a shake, but she does not reciprocate.

I realize there is little use in getting their word. If they are the sort that would torment Story Seeker, then they are also the sort with meaningless oaths.

If we rush back to Zirkala's, we have 3 days to do this including today, although only 2 more tops is preferred if not sooner.

I am leaning on making a visit to the dragon, but I should prepare as best as I can within a few hours. However, besides getting supplies from the town guard, I would not know how to prepare for such a thing.
>>
No. 655235 ID: ea0ad9

>>655232
Make sure you get some sort of hauberk that won't melt from fire. If the dragon is hostile, whether on the same side as the Lich or not, you don't want him to leave you naked!
>>
No. 655236 ID: e114bc

Find out what sort of other people tried to go slay the dragon. Like, find out how strong they were and what equipment they used and what they planned to do.
>>
No. 655237 ID: 5d0869

Well, it's not like you could promise he wouldn't ever get hurt, he's not really your slave! He does things to get himself in danger all the time. And even if he was your slave, you live a life of danger yourself, so he could get hurt regardless of whether you mistreat him yourself. Don't tell her that, though.

So, dragon investigation, possibly dragon-slaying. A dragon with undead servants. I assume you know what you need to kill undead and their masters, Kex, and that you have all you need with you to do so, since you didn't take much with you to kill a lich. So, first, make inquiries as to where exactly the dragon lives. What size is it - you'll need to know if a strike from your sword will be able to pierce its vitals - and see if there's any books of dragon lore. Do dragons all breathe fire, or do they have different abilities by species? Given the dragon is accomplished with magic, you'll likely also want to see if there are any means to bypass detection wards. And while you're at it, you should ask around the shops to see what previous, failed dragonslayers equipped themselves with.
>>
No. 655254 ID: d90668

I would not worry about Story. They appear to have the same view on slavery that you do. But now Stories attempts to secure your cover story backfired and they think you are a abusive brute and that anything nice he says about you is because he is afraid of you beating him.

Ok supplies for fighting the dragon. If it is a green dragon you want to prepare for that. Do they breath poison or just flames like other dragons? Maybe get some potions to resist elements. Depends on what dangers you think you might face.

Finding out more information about the threat is the big part. Will not have a idea of what to bring unless you have a idea about what you will face.
>>
No. 655258 ID: dd338c
File 143668323223.png - (210.22KB , 800x800 , 9-129.png )
655258

Although I am well versed in the destruction of the undead, I head to the market to find out what has been purchased to slay dragons.

The weapons here, although fairly crafted, are also mundane. I am told that the previous dragonslayers had gone with regular weapons. Furthermore, they were more or less soldiers who wanted the title of dragonslayer. I begin to see why the dragon issue has persisted. While perusing for any magic, or anti-magic, items that may be of interest, I end up right in front of where my goblin caravan has set up shop.

>"Oh, hey! Already needing supplies?"
"I am in the market for weapons capable of slaying a dragon - or defenses therein."
>"Oh hell yes, I got just the thing. It's a jungle dragon, but it breathes fire."
"You know this? It seems that few people know anything about the dragon here."
>"Yeah, but our livelihood counts on us knowing things, so we get scraps here and there. Those kobolds in the slave district? They know way more about things than they let on, specially to you scale guys. Anyways, I got this headband of anti-fire, was keeping it around to sell for a high price to any would-be-dragon slayer, but since it's you we're - wait, can you even wear a headband?"
".... what? Yes, of course I can."
>"I mean, with your flappy horns in the back..."
"I assure you, they will not prevent the application of a headband. It will not look fashionable, but that is not my concern!"
>"Yeah, sheesh, no kidding, your tank top makes it look like you've got some weird ass growth down your back. Nevermind, sorry, you know I run my mouth too much. Seriously though you should look into custom fit clothing, you look like a peasant. The headband'll still work. So as I was saying, since it's you we're talking about, you actually have a good shot at taking the dragon out. So let's make a deal - you just rent the thing, since there's actually a good chance you make it back. The price is 30 gold, so as collateral just in case you don't make it back, you'll temporarily put down 30 gold, but when you return the fire headband to us, we'll give you back, say, 29 gold, and so it's a 1 gold rental. That, and you put in a little good word for us."
"What do you mean?"
>"The palace or church or whoever may be asking you a few questions like why'd you go off fighting a dragon? Make it sound like it was us who convinced you. You don't need to make it sound like it was our idea in the first place, but you know, tell 'em the gobbos by the merchant gates made it seem like a good idea. So that, and a 1 gold rental for something that'll protect all your body and what you're wearing from fire, and we're sure your sword is big enough to cover the offense. We'll even throw in a free book of dragon slaying, something we were also gonna overcharge some random schmuck who wanted to kill dragons. How about it?"
>>
No. 655260 ID: 0ee153

"I would appreciate proof it functions as advertised before I entrust my life to it."
>>
No. 655264 ID: ab7529

>headband vs arm frills
Is there any reason you couldn't wear it as an armband or somewhere more reasonable? I mean, your wrist is the size of a lesser being's head. Does it need to be worn a certain way for the enchantment to work?

>Seriously though you should look into custom fit clothing, you look like a peasant.
Honestly, you're more comfortably blending in, when he can. And custom clothing can be an expensive luxury to get damaged and destroyed, with your lifestyle. (Todo: introduce Kex to the cutebold tailor. She does good work for cheap).

>put in a good word?
If your products aid me against the dragon, I see no reason I cannot do you this favor.

Get book and headband. You should test test if it works by sticking the tip of your tail in fire or something.

>what else do
Keep an eye out for Tulip. Hopefully she'll have some useful intelligence, or will have seen Story. (Or who knows, got bedded by him offscreen. That would explain the delay, certainly).
>>
No. 655265 ID: e114bc

>>655258
Yeah test it out to see how good it is. Renting it sounds like a good idea though.

Also sure, you can say it was the goblins that convinced you without even lying, merely because they were able to sell you something that would help against the dragon. Otherwise it would be a bad idea.
>>
No. 655269 ID: 5d0869

Say that sounds like a good deal, but of course you'll want to test the headband's powers. Then you'll be happy to put in a good word after the dragon's been dealt with.
>>
No. 655271 ID: d90668

The headband sounds like a good deal actually. Even if it gets damaged its still well within your budget. Plus you can get reimbursed by the city if you need be.

See if they can demonstrate how much fire resistance it would give you. Full immunity usually is a pretty hefty spell so am guessing this band just gives resistance.

As for the book ask them who wrote it. If its full of bad advice from someone who has never slain a dragon I would not bother.

You might want to get more info from the kobolds before you venture out. Hopefully Tulip will have some info for you. And if the kobolds have been taking the brunt of the attacks they should be able to tell you plenty.
>>
No. 655296 ID: 5d0869

I'm still wondering if the kobolds have a connection to the dragon, or vice versa. We should ask Tulip about it. It's not like dragons can't have complex motivations.
>>
No. 655373 ID: bb78f2

>>655258
You know, we don't know if the dragon breathes fire. Could be steam, frost, lighting, smog, deadification breath, etc.
>>
No. 655381 ID: e114bc

>>655373
Yes we do.

>"Oh hell yes, I got just the thing. It's a jungle dragon, but it breathes fire."
>>
No. 655418 ID: bb78f2

>>655381
I don't think we can just trust that the goblin's information is completely accurate. The undead assail this town and the dragon sits back, for the kobold sources to be accurate, they would have had to directly encounter the dragon and see its breath, AND know its the same dragon. What did the kobold's do? Just go in there get breathed on, and come back?

The green scales description don't mean much when illusionists can cloud up things like that.
>>
No. 655463 ID: d90668

Just remember that misdirection is the best defense so if everyone thinks its a green dragon that breaths fire its probably a purple dragon that breaths lightning.

That or its 3-5 kobolds in a rubber suit.
>>
No. 655710 ID: 91ee5f

>>655258
Hey, those kobolds are wearing emblems that look awfully familiar! Didn't a kobold in the last town give Story Seeker an emblem like those ones they're wearing? Try asking about them!
>>
No. 655756 ID: dd338c
File 143683054921.png - (175.26KB , 800x800 , 9-130.png )
655756

>Get Tulip
It has hardly been two hours, it seems as though she would need more time to get more information. With that said, perhaps she still has found some, and with that said, I do not actually know how I would find her offhand, as it seems like she would have a much easier time finding me.

>Hey, those kobolds are wearing emblems that look awfully familiar!
They are, I believe they are the standard token of slavery around here. I will ask, however, just to clarify things.

"This deal sounds acceptable, although I will want to test to make sure it works, first."
>"Yeah, yeah, here, put it on. Slanky, get a torch over here! Kexluk, put your hand over it. Yeah, there we go."
"Hm, that is reassuring." It completely deflects the torch, at least. It is certainly not comparable to dragon fire, but I cannot test that anywhere but the field. Even if there is a chance the dragon does not breathe fire alone, or that this does not completely deflect the dragon's fire, a single gold rental is easily worth the cost. It is also the only thing remotely helpful aside from rations and other utility gear that I have found in the shop. "I will rent this, then!" I say, sorting out the full 30 gold for the collateral assurance. "And who wrote the book on dragon hunting?"
>"Rontohl 'Oak' Tipson, who helped fend off dragon sieges in a far off land. It's as much an autobiography, but it's basically the go-to book for people who just need some quick pointers just in case, you know, they gotta fight a dragon. So for you, perfect. Trust me, it won't teach you 65 ways to kill a dragon with your bare hands, but it's way better than nothing."
"Very well, I will take it." I will read it with a grain of salt. "Next, I intend to gather a drake to fly me to the dragon's lair." This will at least give Tulip more time to gather information if I wish to check in with her beforehand.
"Ah...hahhhh okay okay, yeah, just over there actually, you see that bulge out of the wall? Just go that direction till you hit the wall, and the structure will have signs over it. That's where they keep their drakes."
"Excellent. By the way, those emblems those kobolds're wearing..."
>"Yep. those are the emblems we talked about in Whitewind, just used as slave markers for kobolds on this side of the wall. And on the other side of the wall if they're on business from this side. Standard stuff."
Thank you very much for your support, I will give you a good word given the chance."
>"And thank YOU."
>>
No. 655757 ID: dd338c
File 143683061706.png - (199.65KB , 800x800 , 9-131.png )
655757

I enter the structure of drake care, with a few individuals coming up to assist.

>"Hey! Kexluk, right? What can we do for you?"
>"Are you here for drakes? We've got tough ones!"
"Hello! Yes, I am hoping to take a drake with the intention of riding it towards the dragon's den."
>"Oh, you've decided already you'll be taking on that dragon?" a third one says.
"That is what it is looking like, yes."

Reactions are positive yet conflicted, oddly enough. I would have thought this would be near cause for celebration from what I have seen so far, but some of them still seem pleased while a couple are almost disappointed.

>"Well, that's good." one says. "That dragon's been giving us a hell of a time, so if you manage to take it out, we'll be really pleased." one says, while a couple excuse themselves to get back to work.
>>
No. 655758 ID: dd338c
File 143683064798.png - (212.41KB , 800x800 , 9-132.png )
655758

The one who last spoke turns around and yells into some back rooms.

>"'EY, Drakes! We got Kexluk! If you think you're worthy to carry him to slay the dragon, then come on out!"

>"Oh, shit, lemme take him!"
>"Nonono, I've flown my ass off to get a legend to ride me!"
>"I'm the toughest of you lot, so I g-"
>>
No. 655759 ID: dd338c
File 143683066474.png - (194.62KB , 800x800 , 9-133.png )
655759

>>
No. 655760 ID: dd338c
File 143683068452.png - (254.93KB , 800x800 , 9-134.png )
655760


>"Errr..."
>"Holy shit he's huge."
>"Goddamn my spine hurts just looking at him."

>>
No. 655761 ID: e114bc

>>655760
I guess this was a bad idea. I don't think any of them are big enough.
>>
No. 655763 ID: d90668

Maybe you can work out a saddle connected to several sets of ropes they can carry? Cause if you try to ride one of them its probably the last flight they will ever take. If not maybe they have a large ground mount somewhere?

The mixed reaction to the dragon slaying worries me. If this thing is such a danger you would think everyone would be rather happy with even the possibility of you dealing with it.

Maybe just directly ask some people why there are so many mixed reactions to the whole dragon slaying business.
>>
No. 655764 ID: ab7529

>I do not actually know how I would find her offhand, as it seems like she would have a much easier time finding me
Oh right. Then I guess just don't leave town until she finds you.

>while a couple are almost disappointed.
I wonder if the dragon is part of a political movement. Or some of the kobolds think it's out to liberate them, by opposing their lizard masters? There is an old connection with dragons leading kobolds, isn't there?

Good point to ask Tulip about, hopefully she'll know.

>tiny drakes
Ahahaha, I guess you have an excuse for not setting out to slay the dragon immediately.

Pet the adorable tiny drakes. I don't think you'll be riding them, unless you can hitch a whole bunch of them up to a flying chariot or something.
>>
No. 655768 ID: bb78f2

>>655760
Ask the shopkeeps if there's a weight reduction potion for us or strength thing we can give these guys on the cheap.
>>
No. 655773 ID: d080c3

Obviously, there is only one solution: THE SKY CHARIOT.

What you do is, get a chariot, or a decent-looking carriage or cart or something, then get a levitation enchantment put on it, then have the drakes pull you through the air to your destination. Totally badass.

If you sent someone to get together the various harnesses and ropes and magic you need, it would give Tulip time to come back to you, and you could spend some time talking with these drakes. Start out by asking them about previous people who've gone after the dragon, and once the lizards have started tuning them out, ask them if there's anything odd going on in this town, that these people don't behave like you're used to. The drakes seem like they'd be outside any conspiracies that might be going on, but have enough involvement to have noticed things.
>>
No. 655859 ID: 91ee5f

You'd think the "reputation" you supposedly have would've told about how big you are. Apparently they've heard of you, but they haven't heard of how big you are.

>>655760
Also, I hope you're not self-conscious about your size or your weight because the drakes' reactions sounded almost like a fat joke. Especially when one of them said, "My spine hurts just looking at him."
>>
No. 655871 ID: ea0ad9

>"Holy shit he's huge."
...I suspect being suggested to hire a Drake's transportation services was a prank.
>>
No. 655916 ID: dd338c
File 143691923340.png - (170.13KB , 800x800 , 9-135.png )
655916

>I hope you're not self-conscious about your size or your weight because the drakes' reactions sounded almost like a fat joke.
I am not! Although it has times of inconvenience, for instance right now, but there is no self conscious about it. In any case, the drakes sounded far too dejected for it to be any sort of joke.

While I wonder about the thought process involved in recommending me here, I too did not think about it until I saw the drakes, and nor did the workers here.

>Ask the shopkeeps if there's a weight reduction potion for us or strength thing we can give these guys on the cheap.
I don't believe any one had any such thing, and I searched long enough that attempting to find one would take a great deal of time with a small chance of success.

"Hold, drakes!" I say, jogging after them as they slink back to their place of rest. "Perhaps no one of you can carry me to the dragon's lair, but perhaps with a combined effort, the multitude of you could lift me together?"
>"Oh! Oh, right, yeah, that could work!" one says.
>"That could," says one of the workers who follows me in, "but we will ask that you rent out that many drakes. It would normally by 7 silver for a day, but it will be 1 gold due to the dangerous nature of the mission, and I imagine you will want at least 10 to guarantee that not just can they lift you, but that they will be able to carry you all the way to the lair."

Hm?
>>
No. 655917 ID: dd338c
File 143691928932.png - (148.98KB , 800x800 , 9-136.png )
655917

Upon seeing the open stalls of the drakes, I see that there is an unusual one back here. He is larger than the others, and although he is not as gigantic to other drakes as I am to other lizardfolks, I sense disproportionate strength in him.

"Who is that?" I ask.
>"Er, that's Nezul..." a drake tells me.
"He appears strong!"
>>
No. 655919 ID: dd338c
File 143691939924.png - (155.50KB , 800x800 , 9-137.png )
655919

>"Well, he is, but, I don't think..."
>"Man, let's move! We don't want him overhearing us talk about.... why Kexluk is here."
"Morons! I am not deaf, I overheard Kexluk's arrival as it was shouted." Nezul says.
>"Goddamnit..."
"I am Kexluk, Nezul! I intend on seeing this dragon and, if need be, to slay him."
"I told you, I am not deaf! Nevermind, you want a flight there?"
"Ideally, either by way of hiring a multitude of drakes, or seeing about a larger land steed."
"There is no need for that. I see no reason why I cannot fly you."
>"That's because you're blind, you old, retired bat!"
"I have not let myself decay, you whelp! I can lift four times my own weight!"

>"Er, sir..." the worker comes back to me. "Nezul would be capable of taking you, but normally, the drakes you rent would get close to the dragon's lair, drop you off, and fly off to safety to await your return. Since Nezul, though, is blind, I don't think he could keep safe while you look for the dragon."
"That is more idiocy. I have lived this long in the hopes to get back at that dragon! I would gladly fly Kexluk to the dragon if I knew I would drop dead as soon as he set his foot on the ground."
>"Stop, Nezul! You're kept here safely an honored drake by the palace's command, don't call keeping you safe idiotic!"
"Fool! My blindness has honed my senses, and I can see better in ways than you could ever hope to! Kexluk! I will fly you to the dragon for no price other than to receive my thanks, and this son of a man who had everything handed to him will not keep me!"
>"Kexluk, I would charge you a thousand gold and the palace would charge your head should you come back with so much as a scraped scale! I will give you an absurd discount of charging only 4 gold for 10 drakes, if Nezul is going to do this."
>"Come on, we still want to fly you!" another drake chimes back in.
>>
No. 655921 ID: 04c316

Why don't you take Nezul and just hire another drake or two to fly along with you to take care of him?
>>
No. 655923 ID: bb78f2

>>655919
Umm, doesn't Nezul outrank you? Does he outrank me? Can I even refuse his request without dishonoring the palace? Won't they want my head both ways? Aren't I supposed to honor this honorable drake's request?

I'm confused.
(Actually, no I'm not, I'm trying to make it sound like you HAVE to take Nezul now because he's a noble or something, which might in turn confuse the guy selling these drakes to you, which then confuses the shit out of the palace. It has a logic to it.)
>>
No. 655924 ID: ab7529

>but normally, the drakes you rent would get close to the dragon's lair, drop you off, and fly off to safety to await your return. Since Nezul, though, is blind, I don't think he could keep safe while you look for the dragon
Well, the solution there would be to bring another set of eyes, wouldn't it? Either a kobold to fly off with, or other drakes to follow away to safety.

Why is it the others hold Nezul is such esteem, but have so little faith in his ability to look after himself?
>>
No. 655925 ID: 0ee153

Ask about the mixed reactions to the dragonslaying already.
>>
No. 655927 ID: e114bc

>>655921
Yep! Nezul can do the lifting, and a second drake can protect him while Kexluk is at the lair, or at least alert him to danger so he can fly off.
>>
No. 655932 ID: 04c316

Actually, you could use this as an excuse to visit the palace and snoop around. Such a hero as yourself would of course feel conflicted, as honor is giving contradictory commands, one to let the old drake have his battle and the other to keep him safe. It would be natural for you to want to know the history better, to settle your conscience.

And it would give Tulip time to catch up with you.
>>
No. 655933 ID: 825af6

While you have little doubt ol' Nezul here has honed his other senses to a keen edge since he was blinded, you have much more doubt of their effectiveness at navigation once he's a hundred feet up in the air, wind whistling in his ears. However, the obvious solution to this would be to get another drake to act as his guide. Preferably with another as a backup, just to be safe. And maybe have a light rope for the guide to hold one end and Nezul the other to lead him.

Unfortunately if you try this the drake handlers will almost certainly see what you're doing and refuse to hire out any of the drakes, leaving Nezul grounded. However, Nezul may offer something of value other than carrying you: His first hand knowledge of the dragon. From what you gathered that's a rare commodity around these parts.

Tell Nezul that whether he eventually carries you to the dragon or not, he could aid you further in its demise by telling you of his encounter with it and everything he knows from then. What did it look like? How big and what color was it? Did it use magic, by its breath or otherwise, and if so what kind? How did it act? Also, as an aside, ask Nezul why the palace has him grounded. Don't say this out loud, but you suspect it's because he had an encounter with the dragon and lived and has eye witness knowledge of it.
>>
No. 655937 ID: d90668

I like the hiring another drake or two to watch over him while you are busy.

Also it might be a good idea to ask the drakes what is up with the mood involving the dragon. Tell them that there seems to be a lot of mixed feelings about this dragon slaying business. You do not want to go into the situation without knowing all the facts.
>>